This is the second post in my albums of the year. If you missed 20-16 you can catch up here. After this each of my top 10 albums will have its own individual post.
15. Grouplove- Never Trust A Happy Song
Grouplove win the award for the best album name of the year and its a brilliant album too. Super happy, fun and interesting pop music. Also one of the best live bands around at the moment. This is one of those albums you can’t really fault because it feels so perfect as a collection of songs, and every single one gets stuck in your head.
Standout Tracks: Colours, Lovely Cup, and Love Will Save Your Soul
14. Big Deal- Lights Out
2011 has definitely been the year of the boy-girl duos. Some got caught in the haze, but some triumphed, and Big Deal did just that. With just two guitars and two voices they manage to create a sound so unique and beautiful to them. Live, it lacks some spark, but this record is a perfect collection of excellently well written lo-fi pop songs with minimal production and stories of teenage love. It will be interesting to see where they can take this sound next, but a beautiful debut to begin.
13. Coldplay- Mylo Xyloto
Coldplay are a band that seem to divide music lovers. Are they credible? Are they boring? Well who cares, because I love them and they write some ruddy great songs. The melodies in Mylo Xyloto are no exception to the usual sing-a-long stuff of Coldplay. Paradise, Charlie Brown and Every teardrop is a Waterfall show just why Coldplay fill arenas and are hailed as such a perfect festival band.
Standout Tracks: Charlie Brown, Paradise, and Hurts Like Heaven
12. Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell- Kite
Jonny Kearney and Lucy Farrell are yes, another boy-girl duo, but of a very different breed. This is simply gorgeous melancholy traditional folk music. It’s quite a talent to make a whole album have a sad and dreary tone throughout it, but Jonny and Lucy manage to do it in such a lovely way. Such pretty lullaby-esque tunes, all produced by members of The Unthanks, who have always supported their careers. Also check out their debut EP ‘The North Farm Sessions’.
Standout Tracks: Green Leaved Trees, Down in Adarisville and Call Yourself a Friend of Mine
11. Summer Camp- Welcome to Condale
Summer Camp have been a BIG love of mine ever since the mysterious ‘I Only Have Eyes For You’ was released online way back in 2009. This album brought together all the reasons why we all love Summer Camp so much, the summery, happy, romantic 80′s vibes and brilliantly catchy songwriting. Such a great band!
Standout Tracks: Losing My Mind, Down and Better Off Without You
The new Bombay Bicycle Club album ‘A Different Kind of Fix’ is insanely good. One of the best albums of this year so far. This is Shuffle which is the current single from the album but you really must check out the whole thing!
A brand new gorgeous Lucy Rose song is out today, you can buy it on iTunes. It’s called Scar and features Jack Steadman from Bombay Bicycle Club.
A really beautiful song from Our Feathered Embers now! The single is to be released on October 3rd on handmade, hand stamped CD’s which will be sold at gigs and hopefully online too. They have a single launch at 93 feet East on the 3rd October too.
I am really in love with this little instrumental tune from Shura + Hiatus, you can download it for free too!
Another album I am loving at the moment is the new Grouplove album. Its a wonderful mixture of super happy pop songs fresh from California. The album is called ‘Never Trust a Happy Song’ which considering that all the songs on the album are remarkably happy, is probably one of the best album titles of this year.
And another great album that came out last week, the second from Slow Club. This is my favourite song from it so far. They tour the UK pretty soon, go and see them! Brilliant live band.
I haven’t yet raved about the new Laura Marling yet, but as expected, I am in love. She has gone more Joni Mitchell which I am so glad to see. This is one of my favourite tracks from it, and also the first track, The Muse.
And finally. You should be very, very excited to hear this EP. She is wonderful.
Glastonbury Festival is my favorite place on earth. There is no where else which condenses an amazing atmosphere, great music, and a positive spirit quite as well as that place. As Jarvis Cocker said ‘Glastonbury is more than just a festival, its a feeling’, and he couldn’t be more spot on. This year of Glastonbury was my forth year, for me each year gets better, and that was defintely the case this time. Despite the terrible weather of the first few days, we got through and I think everyone their would agree, we had a blast!
I started writing a Glastonbury review, but found I had far too much to say and too many bands to write about! So I have decided to simmer it down and just write about my 10 favorite performances of the weekend. So here goes…
Undoubtedly my favorite performance of the weekend was Coldplay. I had never seen them before, but am a big fan of their first two albums, so they were a must see for me. However they managed to far exceed my expectations. Everything about the performance was perfect, an abundance of hits, a fantastic performance from the band and the most incredible atmosphere. I have never been in a crowd quite like it, and I think it is obvious how much everyone is loving it from watching the footage back. Hearing the sing-a-long and seeing every single persons arms in the air for ‘In My Place’, ‘Viva La Vida’ and ‘Fix You’ among many others, created a moment I will never forget. A proper Glastonbury performance.
Pulp were the secret, or not-so-secret, special guests in the Park on Saturday. Jarvis and co completely stormed the farm showing they would have been more than capable of headlining the bash (maybe in 2013 they will?). They rolled through hits, ending, of course with ‘Common People’. Jarvis’ rather hilarious banter filled in between the songs, and he expressed his love for the festival which transformed Pulp’s career when they headlined in 1995.
I went to see Beyonce partly for curiosity, partly because there was nothing else I really wanted to see, and partly because I knew I would probably never get the opportunity to see her again. And I am so glad I went as I thought she was amazing! There had been some controversy surrounding her performance, does pop belong in Pilton? But I didn’t really see the issue since Lady Gaga, Scissor Sisters and Black Eyed Peas have also been given major slots in the last few years. As Jay-Z did back in 2008, she completely ruled the farm, bringing her big tunes, diva moves and flawless voice to the festival. She too, like so many performers this year, expressed her love for the festival, and said she was living her dream by playing at the farm. Aww!
Back in 1971 Melanie wowed a crowd of hippies with her stunning voice and flower child songs. And in 2011, I think she did exactly the same. The Spirit of ’71 stage was a new addition to this years festival, hosting many acts who played the original festival as well as other oldies. I also saw the Crazy World of Arthur Brown there, but Melanie stole the show. Her voice is still so radiant, but its her songs and love of life and humanity which came across the best. ‘Look What They’ve done to my Song’ was a highlight and she said that if there was to be a film made of her life, that song would be the soundtrack. If only more artists nowadays had that kind of sensibility.
5. Mumford and Sons
In 2009 I saw Mumford and Sons play the Greenpeace stage, on a bill which also included Laura Marling and King Charles. I would guess the capacity was under 300. Two years later, the same band play the Other Stage in front of one of the biggest crowds of the weekend. And they have only released one album. That’s incredible. But from watching their performance its clear to see why. They have so much raw energy, and really brought the folk hoedown to Glastonbury. I predict future headliners for sure.
6. Laura Marling
And following on from the Mumford comment, Laura Marling played the Pyramid Stage. There were concerns that the stage would swamp her but I knew her voice would manage to fill the space and it did. She put on a wonderful show, all songs with a band unlike normally when she plays a solo set in the middle, but the addition of lots of new songs made up for it. ‘A Creature I Don’t Know’, out September 12th, is going to be very special.
I love this band at the moment! So great live and such a fantastic way to start my weekend. They played at 12pm on Friday and attracted a surprisingly large crowd for so early in the day.Being billed so early didn’t stop them from producing the same wild energetic show they normally do. So great!
8. Fleet Foxes
Last time I saw Fleet Foxes at Glastonbury I was rather disappointed. They played the Pyramid Stage but their sound just didn’t fill the space and many punters were left bored. I was disappointed to see that they had been placed on the Other Stage, another whopper, but this year it was a totally different story. They were wonderful, playing a mixture of new songs from ‘Helplessness Blues’ and tracks from the debut. Robin also managed to sneak in ‘Blue Spotted Tail’, my favorite from the new album, so I was very pleased about that!
9. Summer Camp
Since last summer I have seen Summer Camp countless numbers of times in different situations and atmospheres. This was by far my favorite, perhaps since the first time I ever saw them. They played the Crow’s Nest, a tiny tent at the top of the Park with a semi-secret but absolutely excellent line-up and a stunning view of the entire site. Summer Camp played an acoustic set which worked wonderfully in the setting and their pop songs translated brilliantly to the audience. An album should be out soon and I am very much looking forward to it!
Summer Camp- I Want You
10. Emily and the Woods
Emily was one of the finalists of the Glastonbury Emerging Talent competition which I helped to judge. Treetop Flyers were the eventual winners, and well deserved, but this lady also turned a lot of heads through the competition and the audience in her set in the acoustic tent was surprisingly numerous. I’m hoping that through her sweet attire and stunning set, she managed to gain many more fans on the day too. Get her newest EP ‘Eye to Eye’, its wonderful!
Emily and the Woods- Eye to Eye
Also worth a mention: Sea of Bees and Sweet Baboo in the Crow’s Nest, the Crows Nest in general and Caitlin Rose at the Park. The tipi field, Shangri La, and the wonderful events at the Stone Circle.
Thank you to Michael and Emily Eavis for such a wonderful festival! See you in 2013!
Glastonbury is over and its now officially the summertime! And heres a band guaranteed to make you feel like the best thing to do is chill on the beach, go skinny dipping and have a damn good time; I introduce Grouplove.
I was instantly impressed by Grouplove when I saw them live on the NME Radar tour with Anna Calvi. They had so much energy and presence on stage, I think the whole audience was converted into a fan. They all met in Crete, Greece in 2009 and formed as a band, first called Group, and then Grouplove, which was much more google friendly. They now live in LA (when not constantly touring) and have that very Californian sound I love. Their first self-titled EP was released in 2010 and its a wonderful collection of summery, uplifting songs. Their album ‘Never Trust a Happy Song’ is set to be released in the UK on September 5th and I’m sure its gonna be great. Its also quite an ironic title since most of the songs are rather happy! They are playing a sold-out show at London’s Barfly tonight, and you can also catch them at any of these UK shows;
7th- New Slang, Kingston, Greater London
8th- Seen, Darlington
9th- T in the Park, Scotland
10th- Oxygen, Ireland
12th- SNO!Bar, Milton Keyes
13th- West End Centre, Aldershot
15th- Latitude Festival
28th/29th- Reading/Leeds Festivals
I really recommend catching them live, its a fantastic show!
Colours- Grouplove (which I have posted a few times before!)
I am going to do a couple of posts giving you the low down of some of the best festival around the UK this summer. This is part 1!
The Daddy of all festivals. And the best. Glastonbury has of course, sold out, but for those with tickets you are for sure in for a real treat. So much more than a music festival, and with an atmosphere which you cannot recreate anywhere else. In my opinion it is one of the most wonderful places on earth, it completely changed my life and long my it carry on doing so. Theres no Glastonbury for 2012, so 2011 is set to be a big one!
Tickets: SOLD OUT!
Dates: 22-26th June
Headliners: U2, Coldplay, Beyonce
I recommend: Paul Simon, Bright Eyes, Laura Marling, Mumford and Sons, Fleet Foxes, Anna Calvi, Caitlin Rose, Treetop Flyers, The Spirit of 71 stage and the Park special guests.
T in the Park
I’ve never been to T but it boasts a pretty impressive line-up this year with 6 massive headliners.
Tickets: SOLD OUT
Dates: 8-10th July
Headliners: Arctic Monkeys, Coldplay, Foo Fighters, The Strokes, Beyonce, Pulp
I Recommend: Bright Eyes, Villagers, Eels, Noah and the Whale, Grouplove, Blondie.
The Big Chill
A wonderful festival, with a great atmosphere and really eclectic line-up. Big Chill is about so much more than the music though, its about the lifestyle and the incredible night life!
Dates: 4-7th August
Headliners: The Chemical Brothers, Kanye West, Rodrigo Y Gabrielle
I Recommend: Robert Plant, Warpaint, Janelle Monae, Wild Beasts
Last year Latitude boasted one of the best line-ups of the summer, and this year I think it has done it again! I’ve been told the atmosphere is great too, and the site looks beautiful.
Dates: 14-17th July
Headliners: The National, Suede, Paulo Nutini
I Recommend: Bright Eyes, Iron and Wine, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Bombay Bicycle Club, Cloud Control, Anna Calvi, Dry the River and so much more!
A brand new festival for 2011, organised by the folk at Communion. Bushstock is taking over Shepherds Bush for one day, June 4th, and its wonderfully folky line-up gives us a taster of how great its going to be! A Flying with Anna guide of who to see at the festival will be coming very soon!
Dates: 4th June
Headliners: Fink, Peggy Sue, Foy Vance and Guillemots
I Recommend: Cloud Control, Sarah Blasko, Daughter, Treetop Flyers, Lucy Rose, King Charles, Louise and the Pins and almost everything else!
I recon everyone is fully aware that there are a few new Bon Iver tracks doing their internet rounds which has made everyone VERY excited. Including myself. He has also announced a UK tour for later this year. I love the new stuff but it just doesn’t beat ‘For Emma, Forever Ago’. But then again, what does?
Cloud Control are my new favourite band. Incredible live! This is an acoustic version of Gold Canary. Their album comes out on May 23rd in the UK. Grrrrreat.
The new Emily and the Woods EP ‘Eye to Eye’ came through the post a few days ago and its fair to say I’ve fallen in love. I highly recommend that you go and buy it right about NOW from here. One of the songs from it is ‘Steal his Heart’ which is the super sweet video below.
Sarah Jarosz is apparently a new favourite of Mumford and Sons. She looks like Regina Spector, but her music is of a much different vain. Its very country, and also a little Americana and a little pop too. Very catchy stuff. You can grab a free download of ‘Annabelle Lee’ here. And have a listen to this gorgeous acoustic session.
I went to see the stunning Anna Calvi yesterday. She blew me away, as she usually does. An incredible guitarist, singer and performer. She is going to be around for a good while I recon. Supporting Anna was Grouplove. They were also really great. An incredible amount of energy on stage, looked like they were having A LOT of fun. They’re playing lots of festivals this summer, including Glastonbury, so definitely catch them if you can. This is Colours.
I love Mechanical Bride and both this song and video are stunning. Looking forward to hearing what the album will sound like.
And I am going to leave you with something which pretty much blew me away the first time I heard it. Charles Bradley has spent most of his life living on the streets and struggling to make a living as a musician. Now, aged 63, he is releasing his debut album. His live performances are completely on another level to other performers these days. Watch this and see.