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Top indie picks for Reading and Leeds 2017

With just a little over two months to go until the annual party kicks off, I’ve chosen what I think may be my five best indie highlights of Reading and Leeds festival 2017!

 

The Magic Gang

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The Brighton-based four piece have proven themselves to be one of the most remarkable bands in indie music this year, supporting Circa Waves back in April and also embarking on their own headline tour. The band broke through in 2016 with support slots with Wolf Alice and Swim Deep securing them a large fan base and a reputation as Britain’s best up and coming live band.

See them on the Friday at Reading and the Saturday at Leeds

 

VANT

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I was lucky enough to catch these guys supporting You Me At Six back in October. Their politically fueled lyrics promise to inspire thoughts on the general self-destruction of mankind and the issues affecting the majority of us today. VANT are definitely one to watch if you like some meaning in your music, coupled with killer vocals and an urge to jump in the moshpit.

See them on the Sunday at Reading and the Friday at Leeds

 

The Japanese House

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Amber Bain is some serious inspiration. The solo artist supported current indie legends The 1975 on their arena tour back in December. Since then I can’t get enough of Bain’s sparkling, shoegazey sound. The Japanese House is fairly enigmatic, inciting mystery around the meaning of the name and a possible collaboration with The 1975. If you’re into a more distinctive, individual vibe then The Japanese House is not one to miss.

See them on the Saturday at Reading and the Sunday at Leeds

 

Declan McKenna

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Its hard to find a bigger breakthrough act than Declan McKenna. The 18 year old sky-rocketed to fame after winning Glastonbury Festival’s emerging talent competition back in 2015. Despite his age, McKenna has amassed a huge following, fans admiring his raspy vocals and sharp-tonged stage humour. His songs feature potent deeper lyrical meaning, capturing the hearts of hundreds and thousands of teens worldwide.

See him on the Friday at Reading and the Saturday at Leeds

 

INHEAVEN

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I caught INHEAVEN supporting Circa Waves back in April and I have to admit, these guys are insane live. A combination of some killer guitar tone mixed with an overall gloomy indie-rock vibe – INHEAVEN are a haze of distorted guitars and are not one to miss this year.

See them on the Saturday at Reading and the Sunday at Leeds

 

Reading Festival will occur on the 25th to the 27th of August at Richfield Avenue and Leeds Festival at Bramham Park

Tickets can be purchased here: http://www.readingfestival.com/reading-festival-2017-tickets http://www.leedsfestival.com/tickets-0

(Cover image by Getty, Images of The Magic Gang, VANT, The Japanese House and INHEAVEN by Lucy Kingsford, Image of Declan McKenna by Meg Firth.)

Festival News: Hoyfest add local band Estrons to lineup.

Hoyfest is back for the second year running and they’ve revealed yet another act set to perform at the event.

Earlier today Hoyfest added local band Estrons to the main stage lineup. Many of Estrons tracks discuss wider issues in society, particularly shown in tracks such as She’s Here Now (Lyrics: “Just because I said I want it / Don’t mean you can call me on it / Listen close to what I’m saying / You’re not asking I am telling.”). Honestly, I only discovered them upon this announcement, however they were soon added to my playlist. If quirky bands with a punk kinda vibe take your interest, these are for you.

Other Acts

Taking the headline slot are Welsh four-piece Pretty Vicious. They’ve blessed our ears with massive tunes such as Cave Song and Are You Ready For Me. Their set is bound to be mega.

Sheffield lads Redfaces will also perform, having recently played a set at music festival Dot to Dot. Tipped to be one of the breakthroughs of 2017, their track Kerosene has racked up nearly 100,000 listens on Spotify alone since it was released last year.

You can also catch Swindon lads Misfires at the festival. The southern quartet make for a number of catchy tunes with dynamic vibes; sure to be a crowd starter. They’ve previously been championed by BBC Introducing, and quickly gained a following across social media after forming in early 2016.

Also set to play are: Himalayas, Vida, The Strawberries, Fossette, Palomino Party, Farebrother, Chroma, and The Americas. With more to be announced.

Talking about the future of the festival, the founder of Hoyfest told us: “My dream is a full weekend of camping in fields with loads of bands over several stages.”

Hoyfest have pulled some great bands out of the bag; and at just £15 a ticket, we certainly wouldn’t give it a miss. Grab your tickets here!

Keep up to date on future announcements: @hoyfest

In Conversation With Brownbear

We spoke to the lead singer of Brownbear, Matthew Hickman, about Michael Jackson, musical influences and what we can expect from their debut album. We also previewed their upcoming single ‘Covers,’ due out on Friday.

Brownbear have used the past few years to gain valuable experience by touring with rock royalty; releasing a string of singles and of course performing to crowds at their own sell out gigs.

After a yearlong break, the boys hit the studio to record their long awaited debut album. A record that lead singer, Matthew Hickman, says he has “a lot of faith in.”

“We didn’t make an album full of singles, we made an album which is a collection of songs that, if you will, have a common theme. All the songs make sense to each other; they’re all related in a way. It all sounds right.”

Brownbears’ philosophy of ‘if it doesn’t fit then it’s not going in’ is taken very seriously. Proof of that lies solely in the confirmation that their first ever, and arguably most famous, single ‘Dead or Alive’ won’t be included in the album. Matthew said:

“People who have seen us live will recognize some of the songs (in the album). But, ‘Dead or Alive’ isn’t in there. My view is, we did it as our first single and it stood itself. To redo it for the album would mean changing it for the sake of it.”

“Two mistakes bands make all the time is: trying to do a song over and over again and ruining it; and secondly, not believing in their new material.”

“Dead or Alive had completely different production to what the album has, so I feel like it’d be a bit like saying ‘oh we don’t trust in our new songs.’ I can only hope that folk will look through iTunes or Spotify when the album is out and find ‘Dead or Alive’ and think; what’s this. We’re still going to play it live obviously; you’ll still hear it at our shows.”

For the band, new material is everything. Matthew told how he has become a keen experimentalist of performing new songs at gigs, especially after a solo tour supporting ‘The View’s’ Kyle Falcnor:

“When you’ve got a new song and you think ‘is it any good,’ the best way to judge that is to go up and play it in front of the crowd with just you and the guitar.”

“The Kyle (Falcnor) tour showed me which songs work and which don’t, by the end I was able to adjust my set to suit. If you play a new song off the cuff and the crowd go wild then you’re on to a winner cause that’s up against more established tunes.”

The lessons learned from that solo experience differed from the lessons the band learned when touring with bigger teams, like the tour with the Libertines. Matt said:

“Different tours teach you different things. Big tours, like the Libertines, taught us a lot about being professional. And then the Kyle tour obviously I learned a lot about playing in front of intimate crowds and reading the room, connecting with an audience. I had the best time on that tour because I had so many people that I’d just chat to after shows and getting to find out what they liked about the show if they enjoyed it.”

One of the new songs the band will be eager to play is ‘Covers,’ the first single off the album. It’s a very upbeat and catchy tune that has the classic Brownbear acoustics; however, it also boasts sobering lyrics that describe the mental unrest of a cheated boyfriend. The combination strangely works well, you’ll be humming ‘and I pull back the covers…’ in your sleep.

Thankfully the lyrics of ‘pull back the covers’ is just a metaphor for the suspected cheating, Matt joked that he didn’t literally catch anyone red handed:

“At the time I was with a girl and we were slowly deteriorating and I was beginning to think she might even be seeing someone else, just a pure gut feeling. I didn’t literally pull back the covers, thank God, that would be like something from a gruesome horror film.”

“The song actually started because I was singing the chorus in the car and sometimes as a writer you think of a line, I was singing like ‘cover and lovers,’ it sort of developed from that.”

Brownbear have developed an alternative acoustic/folk rock vibe over the past few years, something, which Matthew agrees, are the bands “own distinctive sound.” Yet the music Matt grew up listening to is a complete different shade of music to what he plays:

“I grew up very much a student of rock music, I love the Foo Fighters, Metallica and bands like that. I used to kick about with the black sweatbands on and that. But I’m not very metal orientated as a writer, when I began writing songs; they just didn’t come out like that.”

“I also love Michael Jackson, especially the ‘Thriller’ album. That album broke boundaries; it went so much further than the music. It was the first time an African American had been listed on TV; he broke down that relevance for everyone. At the time he had the dark skin and the Afro, I can relate to that part.”

“I think great records have more than just the music. People never really know where to place our music and I think that’s a good thing.”

As for now, Brownbear admitted you’d find a different type of music on his playlist:

“I’ve been listening to a lot of Kendrick Lamar at the moment, and Alicia Keys new album. Both of those have total jazz vibes between them that’s what’s catching my ears I think.”

Transpiring through a range of genres whilst retaining a core Brownbear sound seems to be essential for the band. Matthew told how there’s a song on the album which has a “tip of the hat to mow town,” a genre which he admits is “his thing.” He also told how we could expect a bit of country in there as well:

“We had a guitar player play as a guest in a few songs who used to play in a band called ‘Whiteout’- they were pretty big in the Britpop era. He’s an amazing country player and he did this cool country riff over one of the songs. It just sounded right, man, so we were like ‘let’s just do it.’”

The album is sure to please ears of all music backgrounds and will be available sometime in early autumn. As for the new single, Covers, that comes out on Friday (5th of May). Something that we recommend you definitely check out.

Be sure to keep updated with the band through social media.

Twitter: brownbearband

Facebook: brownbearofficial

Photography: Murray McMillan 

Follow me on twitter: @bdoncook

Royal Blood announce first batch of UK tour dates

Brighton’s finest, Royal Blood have revealed details of a four-date string of UK shows, kicking off next month; with support from Black Honey.

Setting off in Cambridge, they’ll then go on to play Newcastle, Southampton and Leicester; alongside some huge shows at R1 Big Weekend, Glastonbury and Eden Sessions.

The announcement came after the release of their brand new single, and the news of their second studio album; out on June 16th.

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday 28th April.

Keep an eye out on their Twitter for updates and see the announcement below:

Gorillaz announce massive UK return show

Gorillaz have finally released details of a UK comeback show later on this year; Demon Dayz Festival.

The virtual band who are behind hits such as Feel Good inc. and Clint Eastwood have been working on their latest album for the past two years, and last month told fans of its completion; adding that they’re now in rehearsals for live shows.

In January they released brand new single Hallelujah Money which raised fans anticipation to hear more of what’s to come.

The Festival will take place at Dreamland, Margate on June 10th, with the full lineup yet to be announced.

Tickets go on sale at 9am on Friday March 10 and can be bought on the festivals official website.

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Community Festival: ‘A One Day Celebration of the Best in New Music’

Catfish and the Bottlemen, The Wombats and Slaves have been announced as some of the acts to perform at a one-day festival in Finsbury Park.

The Wombats join the show as part of their mini-tour which celebrates ten years since the release of their debut album A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation; with other dates including a set at Truck Festival, Brixton, Glasgow & of course, their hometown of Liverpool.

The event will also see the only English festival appearance that Catfish and the Bottlemen play before they head over to the USA to support Green Day on their stadium tour.

img_2695 Punk-duo Slaves are also part of the exciting lineup; adding to their 2017 festival dates which include Boardmasters, Truck Festival and Y Not.

Other acts on the lineup include Fickle Friends, Nothing but Thieves, and Redfaces.

The event will take place on July 1st; with tickets going on sale at 10am on February 21st costing just £35.

FESTIVAL NEWS: Truck Festival announce first set of acts

21st – 23rd July 2017 will see UK music festival TRUCK return for it’s 20th birthday.

Truck has previously seen a number of acts including The Charlatans, Catfish and the Bottlemen, Peace, The Cribs & Two Door Cinema Club perform at the event – which first took place in September 1998.

After months of discussion on who might be there the first announcement has been released, and it hasn’t disappointed; with The Libertines, The Vaccines, Franz Ferdinand and The Wombats being just some of the acts named so far.

Amongst other acts who will play the Oxfordshire event are Slaves, Sundara Karma, Jaws, Inheaven and The Shimmer Band – with more acts to be released in the coming months. It’s looking like their 20th Anniversary is going to be a special one!

Tier 4 tickets are currently on sale & you can see the lineup so far here.

But who are you hoping to see added to the lineup? Let us know in the comments!

Emily x

GIRLS AGAINST: the group of girls fighting against groping at gigs.

Meet the four teenage girls who are fighting sexual harassment at gigs. After sharing their own stories and experiences, the four girls behind Girls Against decided something needed to change.

Since the campaign was set up it’s received recognition from a huge number of bands and racked up a Twitter following of over 15,000! It was even recognised by Music Festivals in the UK including Reading & Leeds; who advertised it on the screens of some major stages.

 Girls Against support all genders and it’s clearly noted on their Twitter where their bio reads: ‘Four intersectional feminists fighting against sexual assault at gigs – here for all genders.’ this includes those who identify as trans or gender fluid.

We chatted with Bea to find out more about the campaign, their hopes for the next 12 months, and how WE can get involved!

Hiya! Could you tell us a bit about who you are and what you’re all about?

We are a campaign fighting against sexual assault and harassment at gigs, run by 4 teenagers aged 17-18. We mainly focus on spreading awareness and providing support for victims.

What was the main thing that influenced you to come up with and start up this campaign?

We were mainly influenced by the lack of representation of issues of sexual assaults at gig environments, and after all experiencing these ourselves, we thought that it needed to change!

A number of artists have got involved already as we saw in your 2016 video, but are there any others you’d particularly like to gain support from?

We’d love to gain support from some more female artists, obviously aiming big here but having Lady Gaga, Beyonce, Nicki Minaj etc following us would be a dream.

What advice would you give to someone who has an experience of sexual harassment at a gig? What steps would you suggest they take?

We always suggest that you should try and keep together with a group at gigs for your own safety. If you do find yourself in a comfortable position, we would always suggest talking to security, but we know this is often difficult. If there are people around you, and you feel ok doing so, let them know what is happening and move away to a safer area. We hope to release a full in depth action plan soon.

Are there any gigs you’re particularly looking forward to attending this year?

For me, I’m very excited to see The Garden (as i’ve never seen them before and have heard they’re great live) but apart from that, haven’t got many lined up. Hopefully more dates will be released soon!

What are your hopes for girls against in 2017?

We want to team up with security and police to create a full action plan on how to tackle sexual assault at gigs, as well as developing leaflets giving support to victims but also how people can help those around them if they are in danger.

And finally, how can others get involved with this campaign?

Follow us on twitter and help us spread awareness! We’re always looking for extra help and the wider we can spread our message the better!


Follow Girls Against on Twitter: @girlsagainst

Made in Hull! The bands that are placing the city of culture on the map.

As you’ve probably heard, Hull is now the Uk’s City of Culture! With something new and exciting happening every week, an expected 1 million new visitors are to come to Hull in the duration of 2017. Yet despite all this arty and amazing stuff going on just 1 month into the year, it is the Hull bands that are placing this underrated city on the map.

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LIFE

LIFE
LIFE are arguably the biggest band in Hull at the moment as the 4 piece band have just returned from touring as Slaves main support act around Europe, and the career of this punky band is becoming bigger and brighter. A band that do not stop moving once they hit the stage, their crazy and unique stage presence works immensely with LIFE’s punky/ post punk sound, a frenzy of guitar riffs, rythamatic drums and a smooth bass, all accompanied by frontman, Mez’, brash attitude and rock and roll stage presence. LIFE have their own punky sound, fast paced, noisy and full of energy, cementing them as one of the most individual post punk bands going. Some of the most popular hits from the band include, ‘go go go’, ‘rare boots’, and ‘popular music’. With a huge following in Hull alone, expect to hear a lot more from LIFE in the near future!
SONG TO LISTEN TO: Popular music

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FRONTEERS

FRONTEERS
With 12,000 monthly listeners on their Spotify and a support band for Blossoms in 2015, the Fronteers are on to big things and are doing Hull proud! It could be said that the Fronteers can be compared to any alternative/indie band, yet the bands lively tempo and melodious vocals make this a band you come back to hear more and more of. If you are a fan on the Arctic Monkeys or classic britpop bands, you will love the Fronteers. Having just recently released a new single, ‘Next time I’m around’ (a personal favorite of mine), the Fronteers present just how much potential they have. As a band that are a sheer pleasure to listen to, there’s no doubt about it that the Fronteers are going to be selling out shows to the masses in the years to come!

SONG TO LISTEN TO: Full Moon

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THE HUBBARDS

THE HUBBARDS

The quartet who are officially the City of Culture’s ‘Ones to watch’, The Hubbards are indie band that are not only taking hull by storm but have the rest of the UK in their clutches. Similar to the Fronteers, The Hubbards possess charisma, personality and an distinctive sound. In every song it is clear that the band play with passion and spirit, noticeable especially through the strong vocals and pulsating drums, bass and guitar. If you want to hear The Hubbards at their best, catch them at a live show, it is a promise that they will not fail to get the crowd going.

SONG TO LISTEN TO: Dog Bite

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LUMER

LUMER
Despite only being on the scene for just over a year, Lumer have already recently added a fourth member to their original trio, brought their own merch out, made a music video, and got an album on the go. Making their mark on the Hull music scene and becoming more and more popular by the day, Lumer are a band that scream energy, sending any venue that they play into an explosion with their punky/ grungy sounds. The bands sound could be described as a mixture of genres: grungy, punky, psychedelic rock, mental, yet these all work strangely well together with each songs captivating lyrics. Lumer are already beginning to play venues outside of Hull despite the short time they have been together. With new music being recorded right now, Lumer are definitely a band to go check out when they come to a city near you!

SONG TO LISTEN TO: Futile

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VULGARIANS

VULGARIANS
And last but certainly not least, Vulgarians! If you ever go to a Vulgarians gig, be sure to expect some headbanging as this is a band that possess energy, life and sheer heavy rock. Vulgarians have a very psychedelic/ heavy sound which I would say could be compared to the Wytches or 80s mental newcomers, Shame, yet the Vulgarians are a little more heavier and a lot louder! Complete of Ryan on vocals, Jodie playing bass, Connor on drums and Luke on guitar, Vulgarians are a band that you’d be silly not check out.

SONG TO LISTEN TO: Lost sanity smiles
Next time you think of Hull as that rough town on the Humberside with nothing going for it, have a listen to just some of our incredible bands born and breed in good old Hull. There is no doubt about it, Hull’s band are doing us Hull people pretty proud and marking our place firmly on the map as the place to be for cracking music and sick gigs!