From Carmarthen to the furthest reaches of Eastern Europe, Adwaith’s upcoming album Bato Mato is a record about journeys, and the similarities and differences we find along the way. A life-changing trip to the bracingly cold city of Ulan-Ude in East Siberia took them racing past, “barren landscape and brutalist architecture”, the experience seeping into the record as they attempted to create something, “as big as the limitless sky around us there”.
While the band’s debut album Melyn – which won the prestigious Welsh Music Prize in 2019 – was a musical bildungsroman, dreaming of the possibilities of adulthood, Bato Mato looks in the mirror and sees stark reality biting. Matching Hollie Singer’s explorative lyrics, which yearn for a simple life and “a place to call my own”, Adwaith’s songs constantly shift and evolve, searching for a steady pulse that never sticks. Loose and jam-like in structure, the band were heavily influenced by the psychedelic sense of foreboding conjured by late-’60s krautrock bands Can and NEU!
Cerys Hafana is a musician from Machynlleth. She plays arrangements of Welsh folk tunes and songs, alongside original compositions on the triple harp and piano. Cerys is also a member of Avanc and released her debut solo album, Cwmwl, in 2020. She has also appeared on the TV show Curadur (Curator), wrote an essay on Welsh music and identity which was featured in the book Welsh (Plural), and recently recorded a live session at the BBC Maida Vale studios with Horizons Cymru.
Ex-Vöid were formed back in 2018 by Alanna McArdle and Owen “O” Williams from the Welsh Music Prize-winning punk group Joanna Gruesome. The band have since expanded to their current four-piece line-up and have already shared stages with the likes of Waxahatchee and Speedy Ortiz. With their fantastic self-titled EP released in 2018, and followed up by the single, “Only One”, the band have drawn comparison to the likes of The Lemonheads and Teenage Fanclub with their winning blend of melody and jangle. The band recently released their debut album, Bigger Than Before, out on Don Giovanni Records and Prefect Records, featuring the singles “Churchyard” and “No Other Way”.
Hot Puds channel the fuzzy heartbreak of Weezer, the dudes rock ethos of Guided by Voices, and the tightly-woven pop of The Cars. Their recent Hot Puds 2 EP tackled deeply unimportant subjects such as seasonal allergies (“Hayfever”) and deathly fear of illegal streaming (“Pirate Bay”), are lovingly swaddled in overcharged riffs and ill-advised dual guitar leads.
Eli Vor is a shifting musical project influenced by the loud and the quiet, the light and the dark, the weight and the weightless. Anchored by the songs and singing of London-based multi-instrumentalist Oliver Catt (Fantasy Rainbow, Orpine), Eli Vor uses the inhale and the exhale to explore what it means to be alive at the end of history.
Based out of Zürich, Switzerland, Annie Taylor formed back in 2016. After a series of singles and well-received 2019 EP, the band’s sound shifted away from the rock-tinged pop into what they describe as “grunge psychedelic-rock”. The band’s progress was showcased on their 2020 debut album, Sweet Mortality, a record about “realising how fragile life is and appreciating a beautiful moment.” Having shared stages with the likes of L.A. Witch and FEWS, as well as performing a string of festivals across Europe, the band have become a potent live force, merging old favourites with an exciting hint of their upcoming second album.
A self-described goth Springsteen, Ben Maier is a rock ’n’ roller based out of East London. After a number of well-received singles, last year he released his debut EP, Welcome to My Nightmare, a collection of brilliant riffs, breakneck drum beats and punk-tinged vocals nodding to the likes of The Cars and The Birthday Party. With a burgeoning reputation for his raucous live show, Ben Maier is not to be missed.
Pete Astor is a singer and songwriter. He was the frontman in The Loft and The Weather Prophets on Creation Records. From the beginning they helped to establish the feel and sound of the label. Have a look at David Cavanagh’s My Magpie Eyes are Hungry for the Prize for the full story. A more mythic version comes courtesy of Danny Boyle in his film Creation Stories.
After the break-up of those bands he made solo records before switching to making more electronic music, forming The Wisdom of Harry and Ellis Island Sound, singing to Matador and Heavenly respectively. In the 2000s he started making solo records again for a variety of labels: Hal’s Eggs for Static Caravan, Songbox for Second Language, Spilt Milk for Fortuna POP!
In 2017 he signed to Tapete releasing One For the Ghost backed by The Wave Pictures. You Made Me, an album of covers, followed in 2020 as well as his spoken word project The Attendant. He is set to release his new single “English Weather” in October followed by his new album Time on Earth.
Though London-based duo lilo have only recently emerged, theirs is a bond that runs a decade deep. Christie Gardner and Helen Dixon met at school aged 11, and from that day forward have forged an unshakeable creative bond. Their debut EP, Sleep Country, released early 2022, was built on crystallised moments of calm and contemplation. Over the five tracks that make up the EP, Christie and Helen explore new perspectives on love and friendship, often through the frame of loss. Despite this, the tone remains distinctly hopeful, choosing to treasure the small things in the face of larger sadness.
Hailing from Sweden’s second city of Gothenburg, Holy Now are a quartet dealing in the sort of shimmering indiepop that dreams are made of. The band released their debut album, Think I Need The Light, back in 2018 on Lazy Octopus Records, a collection of songs dealing with growing up, heartbreak and refusing to stagnate. The band have recently returned with a drip-feed of brilliant new singles, culminating in their most recent offering, “Places”, an enchanting song that might just be the band’s best yet. Recalling acts like Alvvays or Amber Arcades, Holy Now make classic pop songs, dressed up with shimmering guitar, passionate vocals and clattering drum beats.
Paolo Ruiu first came to the world’s attention as one-half of the critically lauded duo Young Romance. With the band’s touring plans curtailed, Paolo took the time to explore his musical desires as a solo artist, sharing several singles throughout 2021, later drawn together as his debut EP, Low, released earlier this year. Written and recorded in Ruiu’s home studio on a desk used by Pink Floyd and a Tascam 424 cassette recorder, Low is a celebration of analogue recording, featuring elements of 70’s psychedelia, lo-fi indie and vocals smothered with delightful waves of echo.
London quartet Es first emerged back in 2016 when they released their break-out EP, Object Relations on the influential punk label, La Vida Es Un Mus. The record was well enough received to earn them a spot touring with the Thurston Moore Group, and also catch the attention of Upset The Rhythm, with whom the band teamed up for their 2020 debut album, Less of Everything.
Recorded with Sauna Youth’s Lindsay Corstorphine, Less of Everything is a record that feels like a manifesto, a clarion call to re-think ideas of excess both in music and in the world at large. At the heart of Es’ sound is the dynamic between Katy Cotterell’s bass and Flora Watters’ keyboard, the duo combining with Tamsin M. Leach’s precise drum rhythms to create something minimal, dynamic and delightfully intense. Atop it all is the sheer presence of vocalist Maria Cecilia Tedemalm, her sharp, probing voice perfectly delivering her complex lyrical pronouncements, a brilliant combination of drama and sincerity that’s a thrilling delight.
Adult Nephew are a band formed from three late-20 somethings’ love for the noise rock of Sonic Youth, the rhythms of Talking Heads, and the melodic sensibilities of XTC. Adult Nephew will inspire you to exhale a large “Phew!”, as you realise that the adults are taking the stage, and they have all your wildest post-punk dreams covered.
Savage Mansion have come a long way since their break-out album, Revision Ballads, with 2020’s critically lauded follow up Weird Country. When their touring plans hit an inevitable bump in the road, the band doubled down heading to Glasgow’s Chime Studio to make the fabulous third album, Golden Mountain, Here I Come.
Released via Lost Map, the album is their most collaborative and ambitious record to date. The record takes the DIY-garage rock of their previous material, yet dips its toe into a vast array of genres whether it’s the James Brown-like funk of “The Crucible” or the new wave swagger of “Plans”. For all the experimental edge, what remains so key to Savage Mansion’s charms is the razor-sharp lyricism, whether cutting down the ruling classes on “Football Weather” or urging us to maintain the collective spirit in the face of those that wish to divide us on “Life More Abundant”.
Based out of London via Atlanta, Big Dipper released their self-titled debut album in April last year. Recorded in Hackney, it was a collection of stamping rock ‘n’ roll glamour, bringing to mind everything from MC5 to Jonathan Richman. Now expanded to a four-piece band, and having recently released their brilliantly strutting new single, “Just Love”, Big Dipper’s thrilling retro-kicks are not to be missed.
One of our favourite new bands of recent years, we clearly aren’t the only ones who’ve noticed the brilliance of South Wales-trio Adwaith. Their acclaimed debut album, Melyn, drew near universal critical acclaim, culminating in the band winning 2019’s Welsh Music Prize. The band have wasted no time in following up on Melyn’s success, releasing a series of new tracks that hint at where their fascinating music is headed next.
Describing Adwaith’s sound is a difficult task, each track is equally likely to be a slice of perfect post-punk, an ethereal soundscape or a swampy blast of ravey psychedelica. With an eclectic, magpie-like approach to songwriting, Adwaith manage to create a sound entirely their own, and one that looks set to propel them as far as their ambition and imagination can take them. More than just the future of Welsh-music, Adwaith might just be the future of music as we know it.
The Tubs were formed in 2019 by Owen Williams and George Nicholls, formerly of much-loved Welsh pop band Joanna Gruesome. The two hunkered down in rural North Wales to expand on the fuzzy, hook-laden sounds they propagated in their former outfit, this time incorporating elements of post-punk, traditional British folk, and guitar jangle.
They hit the ground running, releasing the I Don’t Know How It Works 7-inch in early 2020 and playing gigs with UK colleagues like Porridge Radio, Ex-Vöid and Marcel Wave. Their brilliant four-track Names EP came out last year on Trouble In Mind and Prefect Records.
They will be playing a joint headline set as well as solo sets. Tickets are on sale at DICE.
Stanley Brinks began performing officially as André Herman Düne in 1999, sharing lead vocals, guitar playing and songwriting with his brother David in the band Herman Düne for a number of years. They released several albums and toured extensively in UK, gaining and owing a lot to great support from John Peel. He has used many monikers for various side-projects, but since leaving Herman Düne in 2006, he has been known solely as Stanley Brinks.
Born in Paris, Stanley has been living between New York, San Francisco, Malta and Berlin for about a decade, always on the move. He has recorded more than 100 albums, collaborated with the New York anti-folk scene on several occasions, recorded and toured with traditional Norwegian musicians, and played with The Wave Pictures.
Freschard grew up in a farm in Burgundy. Aged 18 she moved to Paris where she baked pies and cakes in a cafe. There, a local musician and regular customer called Stanley Brinks wrote a few songs for her to sing. Homeless in Paris, she saved up just enough money to get herself a ticket to New York. There she found an old electric guitar and started writing her own songs. In 2004 she moved to Berlin, where she recorded her first LP, Alien Duck. Her second album, Click Click, recorded in 2006, features electric guitar by Stanley Brinks.
On her third album, she plays the drums herself. On her fourth “Shh…” she also plays the flute, and she breaks out the washboard on her fifth Boom Biddy Boom. Together they release Lion Heart on Fika Recordings and WIAIWYA in 2022, a follow up to 2018’s Midnight Tequila.