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Song of the day: Do I Shout It Out?

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Hello kidos,

So today is Featured Fridays and today I’m going to feature one of the new artist I discovered at the Great Escape which I wrote about yesterday. His name is Mikal Cronin and he has a pretty interesting story. As I mentioned he has that West Coast Americana sound which is just nice and catchy and fun to jam to on a Friday getting into the weekend.

Here is a lovely little song by him called Shout It Out

Have a wonderful weekend I’m off to Field Day – catch you there?

 

Festival Review: The Great Escape // Brighton, England // 17 May 2013 // Day 2: Andreya Triana, MØ, almost the Allah-Las and Mikal Cronin

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Ok so following from our last post, here is Day 2 of The Great Escape.

The day kicked off again by Chris Cooke of CMU who again wrapped up the changes in the music industry but taking an angle on what it means for artist and artist manager. He then did a panel with, amongst others, Brian Message (of ATC management also known as my idol) and Paul Hitchman (of the just released Kobalt Label services). Brian started by echoing Chris’ enthusiasm for the opportunities that are created due to the industry being in a state of flux and how this allows creativity and brilliance to float to the top. Him and Paul then discussed the successful launch of Nick Cave’s latest album. Exciting time for any creative entrepreneurs – amen to that.

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The rest of the day continued to focus on marketing services available to artist, how blogs fit into marketing for bands, tips on how to get gigs. Other highlight was the launch of Music Glue (DTC for music, merchandise and tickets) and Momentum Music Fund (funding for new artists).

Then after a very kind invite to a music industry dinner where I met many very friendly key players in the industry we moved on (a little late) to some more gigs.

First up was Andreya Triana who lives in Brighton so gathered a rather packed audience in Audio. With her up on stage alone with no instrument backing all focus was obviously on her voice – which of course is superb. The best description to me would be grated honey. There is beautiful contrast in the tone of it.

Then off we went to the Queen’s Hotel to catch , who I wrote about last week. It was pity she played in such an awkward venue (the basement of a hotel) because she really tried to create a tremendous atmosphere – dancing like crazy and throwing her self on the floor and all that jazz. To me it was slightly awkward in that environment. None the less she was brilliant. However my angle of the stage was less than ideal for photo taking.

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Then I headed to the Dome Studio to watch the Allah-Las. This was possibly the saddest part of the festival, because even being 30 minutes early I only got in as they finished the set. I was sad to say the least but it turned out to be a good thing as landed up sticking around for Mikal Cronin who were the find of the night.  What energy and wonderful sound. Mikal is the songwriter and singer but he has a whole band playing with him and they rocked me into jumping for 30 minutes straight. It reminded me a lot of Best Coast – it has that Americana west coast feel – they key sound is actually the drums (which for once was played by a lady!). His second album is called MCII and was released just this month. I can highly recommend.

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The queue for the Klaxons was never ending so we retreated to the Queens Hotel for some more networking.
And that was the end of Day 2.

Song of the day: I was on the verge of to scream, when you wouldn’t scream about anything

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Hello kids,

Well moving on from yesterday’s post about the first day of The Great Escape, let me put the limelight on the greatest act of the night: On an On. As I mentioned I just bought their first LP Give In and can’t get enough of it. The first two tracks on the album are clearly the stand out tracks and although I will admit to a couple of fillers I am enjoying the entire atmosphere of the album.

Here is Ghosts

And Every Song

It was a while since music got me dancing alone around my room.
Thank you On an On, you touched me.

Festival Review: The Great Escape // Brighton, England // 16 May 2013 // Day 1: Wolf Alice, Childhood, Everything Everything, How To Dress Well, Blue Hawaii, On an On

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I am just back from a magical 3 days in Brighton, having attended The Great Escape. My legs are sore, my body tired but my face is smiling and so are my ears. The Great Escape, often referred to England’s SXSW, is not only three days of exposing +300 of the best new up-and-coming artists from Europe but also a coinciding 3 day of music industry convention. It’s hard work to wake up for 10h30 start of non-stop keynote speakers, panels, interviews, networking and hot industry launches all ending at 5pm and then off to the gigs you go – dozens of options scattered over more than 30 venues around Brighton (thank goodness Brighton is rather small).

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It’s very different to any other festival I have ever been to, as it’s more about exposing the bands than it is about putting on a show – 30 minutes – high pressure – tight changing times – no encore. But it’s a wonderful atmosphere and everyone attending is fully into the music. And the talent is very very high although still young and fresh. There are however three big headline shows at The Dome: BASTILLE, BILLY BRAGG and EVERYTHING EVERYTHING.

The convention is a once off opportunity to hear key players in the music industry talk about where the music industry is going, have interesting panel discussions, give tips on how to break a new band and analyse the future of music. There are also plenty of chances to network and everyone’s barriers seem to be down and people are open and available to everyone they meet.

If you are working or wanting to work in the music industry this is an absolute must event and worth every penny and then some more you put in it.

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A lot happened in 3 days so I’ll try give you some highlights and break it up into three posts so its digestible.

Convention was beautifully opened my Chris Cooke, Editor of CMU (highly recommended free daily read) who is also in charge of all convention, with the ten big stories that have happened over the last year (Streaming services, digital, crowd sourcing, first year of ‘growth’ to name a few). Each day at a focus on one topic and today was about Data and Discovery. It was amazing to see how many tech platforms (Songdrop, Last.FM, Shazam, This Is My Jam, Pledge Music, Music Glue) offer in depth information about fans and listeners and all types of cool info. I also liked that all the music techies weren’t too deep in the data obsession, and all advised that the worst thing to do is to get addicted to data watching with no action behind it.

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The day ended with Everything Everything interviewed by Xfm’s John Kennedy. The interview started slow but as the band relaxed and the questions got more real we witnessed a very down to earth band. Joking about excitement over buying a new couch from Ikea and using a new vacuum cleaner to jokes about the worst band names they had ever been in and how Alex was only accepted in the band after he put up with Johanthan’s spontaneous toilet paper rolls attacks. They also explained their music: how they wanted to be a band that could like both Radiohead and Destiny’s Child. Jonathan Higgs, the singer of the band, discussed his need to create complex song construction and very rapid and detailed lyrics (which he impressively sings mostly in falsetto – let’s see how long his vocal chords last). He talks about the need to get all those words out and that he normally finds these lyrics while being surrounded by nature back home in a tiny village of Gisland. And that was a nice light way to end the convention for the day.

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Then to the gigs, first catch of the day: Wolf Alice at Coalition who I featured early this week.  The acoustics were so bad on the first song I nearly walked out, but thank goodness that I stayed – because the songs to come blew me away. The boys love to rock it out while Ellie Roswell looks both strangely innocent and dangerous at the same time, but definitely starving. She has a piercing voice and knows how to use the beauty of light and shade.

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Then I stuck around for Childhood, and I am sorry to say I wasn’t really impressed. There is a lot of hype about them being THE new indie rock band to rule England, and they did land the supporting act for the Palma Violets (who are also being hyped up to do the same). And to be fair – the sound it’s all there. Everything I would normally need to like a band. But something special is missing and a band that fails to make me move is a band that fails full stop. The lead singer even has an afro, but that could not make up for the fact that they are missing some magic. So I’m sorry to say I walked out of this one but feel free to give it a good listen yourself.

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Then off I went to see Everything Everything, which was a strange atmosphere really. Don’t get me wrong Jonathan has a voice of an angel and deserve that ridiculously over used cliché and the boys are good. But I guess I’m getting more and more jaded by pop music as I entrench myself in the indieness and I saw the gaps and simplicity of the music – which can be a good thing but this time I’m not sure I liked it all that much. Funny thing is I did enjoy it, but I’m just not sure if I really appreciated it.

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Then I ran to see How To Dress Well, in some hidden venue which was very difficult to find which I then had to queue outside of all of which lead to me in bad mood. I managed to catch just the last song but what an experience that was. Tom Krell explained how this song was about his brother, and that he had once been told off by a fan who said that he couldn’t sing such bad things. He proclaimed he didn’t care and he knew lots of people could relate. And so he stepped away from the mike, asks us not to film it as he hasn’t had enough time  to warm up his voice, and silent hits. He starts to sing acapella right from the heart, and everyone is hit, frozen, we can’t move but stare at him. His voice fills with pain and his eyes are closed with what must be flash backs. And he sings I dream of killing him so we can be friends and people start to get teary eye. The song is called Blue and said to be on a soon to be third album. There is a bad video here from another time he did it so you can get an idea of the amazingness we all experienced.

Then Blue Hawaii comes on – a girl/guy duo from Quebec. It’s made up of Raphaelle Standell-Preston who blows you away with her vocals while Alex “Agor” Cowan plays with all his knobs, bits and buttons to create accompaniment as they loop and loop again. Once the sound erupts you understand why the name is the right pick, it’s warm and happy like Hawaii but blue for all the electronic mechanics in it. Very enjoyable find.

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Then the last run of the day – back to Coalition by the beach – to see On an On. And what a finish. This three piece band is Nate Eiesland, Alissa Ricci and Ryne Estwing, who had been performing together for the last few years with the indie group Scattered Trees and sometime last year decided to break away and do their own thing and bring us this beautiful electric dream pop. And thank goodness for this. I can’t find much about them right now as their site is down. But I love them. I bought their LP Give In and I am playing it now on repeat.

And that is day 1 done.

Song of the day: I’m so lucky, you were my best friend

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Hello kids,

Well I’m on my way to The Great Escape this morning and very excited to catch Wolf Alice tonight if I can. This four piece band from North London is indie rock mixed with some folk and have been playing together since 2010. Here is their wonderful hot new single just released called Bros. The vocals are particularly brilliant and the instrumental will cause you to bounce around your seat. Plus they are on all types soon to be big lists so try tell some people about them before they get famous.

That’s about as fresh as it gets.

Song of the Day: Hypnotic Regression of lives that were lost

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Hello kids,

So as I continue to tear apart The Great Escape line up for some new discoveries here is another band I came across. They are called Girls Names and they are a four-piece from Belfast. And the first single Hypnotic Regression from their second album The New Life released in February made me think of the wonderful discovery from last year that are DIIV.

Have a listen then, and when I’m back I’ll let you know how they are live.