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Preview: Keep Hope Inside


Half music. Half film. Half TV.

Updated: 2017-11-19T22:16:41.433+00:00


Watch: Human Pyramids - Crackle Pop [360 VR Video]


Words: Saam Das

Synesthesia/Synaesthesia (noun): "a sensation produced in one modality when a stimulus is applied to another modality, as when the hearing of a certain sound produces the visualization of a certain colour". The new video for 'Crackle Pop' from orchestral noise merchants Human Pyramids aims to bring the synesthetic experience to all, in an immersive 360 degrees online environment.

At the junction of the rarely trodden path between contemporary classical and post-rock, 'Crackle Pop' is a joyous cacophony, appropriately encapsulated by the John Lynch-directed video. Explosions of shapes and colours prove to be a delightful accompaniment to the musical fireworks of the new track, which appears on the forthcoming second album, 'Home'.

Ahead of the new release, the Paul Russell-led project headlines The Lexington in London, this very evening - Friday 27th October. If you can't make it down to see the ensemble, which may number up to sixteen musicians of various dispositions, then donning a VR headset for the video of 'Crackle Pop' below may well be a suitable alternative.

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'Home' is out November 10th on Three Mile Town Records. Find out more at

Festival Preview: Eight Top Bands To See At MIRRORS 2017


MIRRORS Festival (various venues across Hackney, 28 Oct '17) // Words: Saam DasThe third edition of MIRRORS lands in East London this Saturday, and we'll on hand to confirm whether autumnal music festivals are indeed all the rage. Adopting the popular formula of the bygone Camden Crawl and Communion's ever-popular Bushstock, MIRRORS will be taking over several venues in Hackney, and delivering a diverse and delicious range of acts. Headlined by the likes of Los Campesinos!, Pinegrove, Blind Pilot, we've plucked eight of the finest names on the roster for you to try to check out.Peter Oren (15.00, Paper Dress Vintage)The opening slot of a festival is often a testing one but we're confident that Indiana's Peter Oren will kick off MIRRORS 2017 strongly. His solemn, rich vocals should prove particularly arresting in this early appearance. width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Daniel Alexander (16.30, Oslo)Former Breton bod Daniel Alexander will be showcasing his genre-splicing efforts in another opening slot, this time in the somewhat confusingly named Oslo. His soulful experimentalism provides good reason to get down early. width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="">Boy Azooga (17.00, Paper Dress Vintage)Led by Cardiff's Davey Newington, otherwise known as 'Bongo Fury' while drumming as part of Charlotte Church’s Pop Dungeon, Boy Azooga looks set to bamboozle MIRRORS with their psychedelic pop. width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="">Tom Rogerson (17.30, Oslo)You may know Tom Rogerson from his work in Three Trapped Tigers, but he's currently following a different path. A path that brought him across Brian Eno and the two have collaborated on Rogerson's forthcoming debut 'Finding Shore' album. If Rogerson's compositions aren't quite your cup of tea, Josefin Ohrn & The Liberation's shoegazey-meets-hazy offerings at St John at Hackney (17.30) may well be a suitable alternative. width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="">Tuvaband (18.00, Paper Dress Vintage)It almost feels like a missed opportunity that Tuvaband aren't playing at Oslo bearing in mind that one half of the duo is from the Norwegian city. Perhaps that'd have been a bit too obvious however, and instead their thoughtful melancholy will be present at Paper Dress Vintage. width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="">Los Campesinos! (20.00, St John at Hackney)Certainly the most well-known and well-appreciated band on the bill from our perspective, this ensemble is sure to draw upon an ever-bulging back catalogue, with their sixth studio album dropping earlier this year. Frontman Gareth David Paisey typically accompanies the energetic renditions with acerbic between-song chat, an ideal festival combo. width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>whenyoung (21.00, Paper Dress Vintage)The Limerick threesome have now relocated their grungey vibes to London, falling somewhere between Wolf Alice and the wonky pop of the sadly f[...]

Preview: A Look At Some Of The Best Films For Music Fans At The 2017 BFI London Film Festival


2017 BFI London Film Festival (4-15 October 2017) // Words: Saam DasIt was sad to open this year's programme for the BFI London Film Festival and not find a dedicated sonic strand as has been the case in recent years. There are still plenty of music-related films available for consumption however, including this evening's Opening Night Gala 'Breathe', directed by Andy Serkis and scored by Nitin Sawhney. Fellow FG scribe Lauren Johnson-Ginn has already plucked a couple of music-leaning movies on offer, in the form of 'How To Talk To Girls At Parties' and 'Mutafukaz'. The former, a Neil Gaiman adaptation, that features original material from composer Nico Muhly as well as members of Xiu Xiu and The New Pornographers. The latter film, a self-proclaimed dystopian hip-hop sci-fi animation, led by a duo of French rappers. Below you can find some of the other films from the Festival that might catch the eye of a discerning music fan. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">MUSIC AT THEIR HEARTThe 'Create' strand of the 2017 BFI London Film Festival has gone some way to replacing previous dedicated musical sections, and this year offers documentaries on an arguably forgotten British folk singer ('The Ballad Of Shirley Collins'), a Warren G-led musical movement ('G Funk'), and pioneering punk madams (Here To Be Heard: The Story Of The Slits'), among others. Perhaps most interesting is 'Bamseom Pirates Seoul Inferno' - an examination of Korean punk upstarts Bamseom Pirates, whose oft ill-advised activism (which includes jokingly championing Kim Jong-il) contrasts the uptight society they inhabit. Having already made waves at the Rotterdam Film Festival, this documentary could make a similarly positive impression in London.Outside of the 'Create' strand, there are yet more films with music at their heart. Two notable examples are the curious 'Sheikh Jackson' (a dramatic tale of an Islamist preacher whose faith wavers follow the passing of Michael Jackson) and 'The Drummer And The Keeper', directed by former The Fat Lady Sings frontman Nick Kelly.BIG NAMES, STRIKING SCORESOne of the finest elements of Zack Snyder's divisive 2009 superhero film 'Watchmen' was the manner in which he re-used some of Philip Glass' iconic 'Koyaanisqatsi' score. Glass' latest score is a centerpiece of 'Jane', a documentary of renowned primatologist Jane Goodall directed by Brett Morgen, who brought us the excellent 'Cobain: Montage Of Heck' in 2015.From one acclaimed composer to another, as A R Rahman also makes an appearance on film at this year's LFF. Rahman, who won an Oscar for his compositions on 2008 LFF Closing Night Gala 'Slumdog Millionaire', combines with Oscar-nominated Iranian director Majid Majdi on slum-based, coming-of-age 'Beyond The Clouds'.Fellow Academy Award winner Alexandre Desplat also has his work present at the LFF, on Guillermo Del Toro's already impressively well received new romantic fantasy, 'The Shape Of Water'. At the less well-known end of the film's programming comes the archival video essay 'Arcadia', with Adrian Utley of Portishead and Will Gregory of Goldfrapp providing the score.SOUNDTRACKS AKA SOUND TRACKSDouble Mercury Prize-nominee Richard Hawley has recorded original material for the soundtrack of 'Funny Cow', starring Maxine Peake as an upcoming female comedian battling a troubled home life and challenging audiences. Corrine Bailey Rae and Ollie Trevers also contribute to the soundtrack, and all three musicians make cameo appearances in this bittersweet offering.For those who wish to look back, the double whammy of 'My Generation' and the iconic 'Saturday Night Fever' may be of interest. The 4k restoration of the latter is also a director's cut but one that maintains the formidable presence of the Bee Gees on its soundtrack. The Michael Caine-narrated documentary 'My Generation' explores sixties Britain, with contributions from the likes of Paul McCartney, and tracks from The Kinks and The Who.[...]

Surfacing: nicpreen [New Artist]


Words: Saam Das

The demise of South African upstarts Al Bairre last year was particularly upsetting - their uplifting sound and joyous live shows felt so primed for wider appeal that we can't help but feel that there's a sense of unfinished business. And perhaps Nicholas Preen from the band felt similarly, with a wonderfully evocative beginning to his new nicpreen guise.

'Never Ever' mashes a jangly indie-pop vibe somewhat reminiscent of early Vampire Weekend with leftfield elements such as kazoo-esque brass and calypso-infused percussion. It's brilliant, it's bonkers, it's brilliantly bonkers. Animal Collective would be proud. What a fine debut from nicpreen!

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'Never Ever' is out now digitally, ahead of the forthcoming 'La Da De Ha De Da' EP. Find more info at

Listen: Mined - Girl [New Single]


Words: Saam Das

Kofi Holmes Attivor is Mined. Mined apparently "sings things that warm his heart and break his heart in equal measure." A bittersweet sentiment imbued on recent electronica-meets-R&B single 'Girl', as you can discover below.

Mined's hazy vocals and lovelorn lyrics work well with the dreamy electronics on the longing 'Girl', treading a line between optimism and melancholia. And when 'Girl' comes to its conclusion, you're left thinking "why?" rather than "when?" - a sure sign of strong track, leaving the listener wanting more.

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'Girl' is out now on Peacefrog Records. Find more info at

Preview: Ten Of Our Top Picks At The BFI London Film Festival 2017


Words: Lauren Johnson-Ginn // BFI London Film Festival (4-15 Oct '17)Public booking for the 2017 BFI London Film Festival opens this morning at 10am, with the festival itself kicking off on October 4th with Andy Serkis' directorial debut 'Breathe, starring Andrew Garfield and Claire Foy, and scored by Nitin Sawhney. From the established to the more obscure, we've plucked ten of our most anticipated movies from the LFF's catalogue below. ‘How To Talk To Girls At Parties’ width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Based on a short story of the same name by fantasy darling Neil Gaiman, this ambitious adaptation stars Alex Sharp as a 1970s teen punk who finds himself thrust into an unlikely extra-terrestrial adventure (and romance) after crashing a party full of aliens. Elle Fanning and a Cockney-accented Nicole Kidman also appear – making this one to watch for the accent alone. ‘Bad Lucky Goat’ width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen> Set on the small Caribbean island of Old Providence, this unique coming-of-age comedy (interestingly shot in Creole patois) relates the mishaps and misadventures of two teenage siblings (Honlenny Huffington and Kiara Howard) over 24 hours, as they try to cover their tracks after accidentally running over a goat in their father’s truck. This light-hearted caper promises to bring a healthy dose of sunshine and laughter to the festival line-up.‘Person To Person’ width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Fans of the excellent New York-based comedy series 'Broad City' will be pleased to see Abbi Jacobson make the transition to film in this ensemble comedy-drama alongside Michael Cera, again set in New York. Focusing on events across one day, this ‘tribute to a city’ follows the characters’ individual (but loosely linked) storylines as they navigate their personal struggles, big and small. ‘Amant Double’ width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Adapted from the Joyce Carol Oates novel 'Lives Of The Twins', this psychoanalytical thriller stars Marine Vacth as a former model suffering with undiagnosed stomach pains. All sorts of erotic Freudian shenanigans ensue when, suspecting that the pains might be psychosomatic, the protagonist gets romantically involved with her psychiatrist – and his mysterious twin brother. Francois Ozon's latest sounds tense, intriguing and racy.‘Abracadabra’ width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>The fantastic Maribel Verdú (who you might recognise from Guillermo del Toro’s 'Pan’s Labyrinth' or Alfonso Cuarón’s 'Y Tu Mamá También') leads this supernatural-tinged, very unorthodox-sounding comedy-drama. Verdú plays housewife Carmen, who – after her husband acts as guinea pig to an amateur hypnotist, with unintended results – must embark on a quest to rescue her husband and restore normality. ‘Mutafukaz’ width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Described as ‘dystopian hip-hop sci-fi’, this animated film, produced by Japanese Studio 4°C, sounds like a fascinating mash-up of influences and genres. French rapper duo Casseurs Flowters voice the main characters: pizza delivery boy Angelino and his friend Vinz, who live in the cockroach-infested ‘Dark Meat City’. When Angelino bumps into a mysterious, beautiful stranger, he starts to see things – is he having a breakdown, or are aliens invading the city? ‘Pickups’ width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>For anyone already suffering withdrawal symptoms from 'Game Of Thrones', this comedy starrin[...]

Festival Review: Bushstock 2017


Bushstock Festival (10 June 2017, various venues across Shepherd's Bush) // Words: Saam DasThe Communion Records-run Bushstock Festival is only into its seventh year of running, yet feels like such a vital staple of the UK festival scene. The 2017 edition once again offered the usual Bushstock mix of upcoming artists and notable headliners, with The Staves and Nick Mulvey appearing. A much delayed review of the day follows.We began our day at the umbrella-laden outdoor Courtyard stage, catching Communion's own Rukhsana Merrise and one of our tips for the festival. She did not disappoint, delivering laidback numbers such as 'So They Say' alongside more driven efforts including 'Two Hearts'. Laughing (or rather, sweating) in the face of reasonably hot weather, we dashed over to the Defector's Weld - a worthwhile venture to catch the beguiling alt-pop of Avante Black. width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="">Back at the Courtyard, the understated Mosa Wild were making a solid impression, quietly growing in confidence as the set progressed. Soulful and introspective moments were combined with impassioned choruses, the result falling somewhere along the spectrum of Alt-J to Kings Of Leon. width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>A small attempt was made to catch Seramic's secret set at the impossibly tiny Albertine's Wine Bar but with a considerable queue having already formed, we popped over the road to catch the remainder of John Joseph Brill's set. His booming baritone showcased especially well on tracks such as the crashing 'False Names'. width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="">Heading to arguably Bushstock's finest venue St Stephen's Church, the-band-formerly-known-as-Nocturne-but-now-known-as Nocturn impressed despite some initial issues. Their elongated instrumental opening combined with angelic vocals offered an atmospheric soundscape particularly well suited to the iconic setting. Certainly ones to watch, even if they don't currently have any music online.A relative sprint to Sindercombe Social proved needless as Minke was bogged down by technical issues in the build up to her set - somewhat understandable as this was Leah Mason's official debut show under her new moniker. Offering up melodramatic pop songs, it's not surprising to find out she's already attracted a large following, including none other than Lindsay Lohan. width="100%" height="166" scrolling="no" frameborder="no" src="">Sydney's Gordi has drawn many a comparison to Bon Iver, perhaps understandably as the woman behind the moniker Sophie Payten has contributed live backing vocals for the latter as well as covering '00000 Million'. St Stephen's Church proved a wise choice for her placement during the festival, enhancing her beguiling efforts amid an enraptured audience. width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Arlissa graced the graceful Bush Hall stage - more ballroom than gig venue - and strongly demonstrated why she was sought after by the likes of Crystal Fighters and Nas for collaborations, following an appearance on the BBC Sound Of 2013 list. Her career might not have reached the heights that it[...]

Year In Review: Eight Of The Best Films You May Have Missed In UK Cinemas In 2017


Words: Saam DasWe're approaching that time of the year when the "best of [insert year here]" lists come out and in light of this, we figured it would be a good time to also showcase some of the underexposed movies that might get missed off those lists. These films each made it to the big screen in the UK in 2017, but may have only been on a limited release. 'Split' (Release date: 20 Jan) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Probably the most well-known film on this list, but one that may have been somewhat buried by its Oscar-season release date, coming out on the same day in the UK as the emotionally powerfully Dev Patel-led 'Lion'. Writer-director M Night Shyamalan has long been considered a hit-or-miss talent but his horror-drama was very much a success, with James McAvoy delivering wonderfully distinct split personalities and Shyamalan teasing a sequel to one of his earlier films.'Tower' (3 Feb) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Keith Maitland's incredible part-animated documentary found a deserved place on the shortlist for nominations in the Best Documentary category of this year's Academy Awards, although sadly missed out on a final nomination. Unique and affecting, Maitland captures the story of America's first campus mass shooting fittingly.'We Are X' (2 March) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Having filmed documentaries on the likes of The Rolling Stones and Backstreet Boys, Stephen Kijak turned his adept eye to one of the biggest rock bands to have ever emerged from Asia, X Japan. Led by the charismatic Yoshiki, this music documentary engagingly showcases the tragedy and triumph of the band's story to newcomers and seasoned fans alike.'All This Panic' (24 March) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Jenny Gage and Tom Betterton's impressive documentary immersed us into the lives of a variety of teenage Americans, beautifully capturing the highs and lows of the adolescent journey. As blink-182 once said in their early hit, 'Dammit', "I guess this is growing up". 'Neruda' (7 April) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">An unusual biopic from Chilean auteur Pablo Larrain, who teamed up again with Gael Garcia Bernal and Luis Gnecco, who both appeared in his Oscar-nominated 2012 film 'No'. Gnecco, in particular, is on fine form as poet/politician Pablo Neruda, pitted against a somewhat bumbling detective amusingly portrayed by Bernal. 'Spaceship' (19 May) width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>A stylish teen drama that brings the possibility of alien abduction to the sleepy town of Guildford. Alex Taylor's debut feature has been one of the most fascinating films of the year, and a showcase of fresh young talent both acting-wise and musically - with the likes of Annabel Allum and East India Youth appearing prominently on-screen and on-soundtrack respectively. 'Valerian And The City Of A Thousand Planets' (2 August) width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>We'll always have a lot of interest in Luc Besson's sci-fi forays purely because of how amazing 'The Fifth Element' is. His latest effort falls short of that seminal movie, although 'Valerian' does provide some similarly bonkers aspects, with some especially avant-garde cameos partly responsible. The film is certainly mixed, with questionable elements such as the dialogue and the casting, but visually, it is an utter delight. 'Una' (1 September) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src[...]

Listen: Wy - You + I [New Single]


Words: Saam Das

Back in the seventies, Malmo FF were the dominant force of Swedish football, and were only denied European Cup victory in 1979 by Brian Clough's all-conquering Nottingham Forest. Now (for the purposes of this narrative, at least) it's upto Swedish duo Wy to make Malmo great again. They're on a decent path as new single 'You + I' demonstrates.

A self-proclaimed ode to shyness and perhaps something even deeper, 'You + I' captures the safety net feeling of being in a loving relationship against the difficulty of feeling comfortable with others/outsiders. Think of it as the melodramatic pop counterpart to Alessia Cara's R&B tale of introversion, 'Here', which clocked in at #17 on my tracks of 2015.

The track is one of a couple of lovesongs to feature on Wy's upcoming official debut album, 'Okay', due out on October 20th. Pretty safe bet that it'll be better than just "okay".

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'You + I' is out now on Hybris. Find more info at

Watch: CURXES - In Your Neighbourhood [Official Video]


Words: Saam Das

Having expanded to a trio in 2015, electronic outfit CURXES announced a return earlier in 2017 with a streamlined guise - Roberta Fidora striking out on her own, and relocating to Ryde on the Isle of Wight for good measure. A new album is set to appear in late October, and the lead single has now been launched. Watch the Rob Luckins video to 'In Your Neighbourhood' below.

Thankfully the latest evolution of CURXES appears to be just as promising as its predecessors, who we've supported from their early days through to their more recent threesome. 'In Your Neighbourhood' adopts a softer stance than previous CURXES efforts, a beguiling dose of melodic electronica that still retains some of the experimentalism seen on earlier material.

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New CURXES album 'Gilded Cage' is due to be released on 20th October 2017. Find more info at

Listen: Mikey Mike - 'Doin' Me' [That Canon Advert Song]


Words: Saam DasUS artist/producer Mikey Mike has collaborated with Rihanna - co-producing on her album 'Unapologetic', which also saw producer credits for heavy hitters such as David Guetta and Stargate - as well as being signed to Universal's publishing arm for several years but has remained relatively unknown. But that's all set to change, thanks to the help of legendary producer Rick Rubin and a Megaforce (the filmmaking collective behind the likes of 'Sacrilege' by Yeah Yeah Yeahs) directed Canon advert sync. Mikey Mike's lyrical call-to-arms on 'Doin' Me' is immediately infectious - playful to an extent, also reflected by the twinkling piano sprinkled across the track, boisterous otherwise. The "Cos I won't waste another day / Living someone else's way / I wanna be happy / I wanna be free / Fuck what they say / I'm doin' me" chorus recalls LUH's powerful 'Lament' (and by proxy its predecessor 'Kerou's Lament') with its rebellious content. Rubin's influence on 'Doin' Me' feels pleasingly minimal, allowing the track to breathe while empowering Mikey Mike's words - in a not too dissimilar sense to his backing of Jim Cornette-led professional wrestling organisation, Smoky Mountain Wrestling, back in the early nineties. And much like Rubin, we're backing 'Doin' Me'. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"> frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">Find more info at © copyright – All rights reserved ¦ FADED GLAMOUR Like us on Facebook // Follow us on Twitter [...]

Festival Preview: Eight Acts To See At Bushstock 2017


Bushstock Festival @ various venues across Shepherd's Bush, London (10 June 2017) // Words: Saam DasNow firmly established as one of London's finest one-day festivals, the Communion Records-run Bushstock once again descends on Shepherd's Bush. The festival typically has a strong dedication to new music, much like the mid-noughties clubnights that spawned the Communion brand, previously featuring on-the-rise acts such as Bastille and Daughter before they hit big. We've highlighted a few of our choice bands from the 2017 line up below:Rukhsana Merrise @ The Courtyard (14.00) frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">Both one of Communion and West London's own, this soulful singer-songwriter could be the perfect start to your Bushstock. Although we'd certainly suggest catching the festival's first act of the day, Mirror Fury, if you can. Avante Black @ Defector's Weld (14.30) frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">The melodic-meets-scuzz of 'Imaginary Love' provided one of our favourite tracks of 2015, and Ottilia Zimmerman Kjulsten's outfit has continued to make waves subsequently. They've most recently worked with former Clor man turned producer Luke Smith (Foals, Crystal Fighters) and we're excited to see what they can offer in the live environment.Mosa Wild @ The Courtyard (15.00) frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">This new outfit have only unleashed one song thus far, making them more of a "mosawildcard" option here, amiright? Moving swiftly on...while their material is scant, it is of sufficiently high quality to warrant a mention, successfully channeling the might of The National.Gordi @ St Stephen's Church (17.00) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Shades of Imogen Heap (and therefore Jason DeRulo to some extent) permeate through Sydney musician Gordi's delectable offerings. Bon Iver is another strong influence, as demonstrated by the above cover of '0000 Million', and expect plenty more emotive and delightful efforts.Arlissa @ Bush Hall (18.00) frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">Arlissa's head-turning vocals saw her procure collaborations with Nas and Crystal Fighters, as well as make it onto the BBC Sound of 2013 longlist. She's still belting them out and will be kicking off the Bush Hall strand of Bushstock in undoubtedly imperious fashion. However, if Arlissa isn't your bag, then the hypnotic Siren-esque Tender Central might be up your street, also playing at 6pm but at the Traid venue.Outlya @ Defector's Weld (18.45) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Port Isla played Bushstock in 2015 and it's pleasing to see their latest incarnation have the opportunity to showcase their new material in the intimate pub surroundings of the Defector's Weld. Their piano-[...]

Surfacing: OUTLYA [New Band]


Words: Saam Das

Interestingly, Port Isla's 'A.L.I.V.E' (a solid #24 in my top tracks of 2015) threw in a huge-sounding chorus about how the band "never look back", and now a new chapter has begun for the band. Check out their fresh start on 'Higher' and 'The Light' below.

OUTLYA already have a whole raft of dates lined up on the UK festival circuit this summer, and their take on pop should lead to plenty of attention. Shades of Bastille and Mumford & Sons seep through in the soaring, anthemic elements of 'Higher' but there's also a harder edge as demonstrated on debut track 'The Light'. A potentially potent mix for crossover success.

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Find more info at

Listen: Thea & The Wild - Dark Horse [New Single]


Words: Saam Das // Photo: Julia Naglestad

Norway's Propeller Recordings are one of our fave labels from across the lands, having brought the likes of Team Me and Highasakite to the fore in recent times. They've pulled another stunner from the bag, with this galloping new track from Thea & The Wild, ahead of their forthcoming tour of their homeland.

We've missed Thea & The Wild - less in the sentimental sense in all honesty, and more in the "how on earth did we never hear about her?" fashion. Thea Raknes and company have admittedly been resting for quite some time now, albeit honing her songcraft to a high standard, if 'Dark Horse' is anything to go by. The ebullient melodies contrast the darker lyricism, and the result is Scandi-pop magic.

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Find more info about 'Dark Horse' and Thea's April tour at

Surfacing: Little Rêd [New Artist]


Words: Saam Das

We've been keeping tabs on Ellie James for rather a long time now, first writing about her music way back in 2011. Back then we saw parallels to the same magic of the young Laura Marling that we saw play in a North London pub at one of her earliest gigs. Ellie's latest evolution is as Little Rêd and you can listen to her debut track 'Hell' below.

Last year's 'It's For The Best' saw Ellie in fine fettle and 'Hell' picks off where that anthemic single left off. Carrying forward the emotive Laura Marling influence of yesteryear, there's also touches of the likes of Hozier and Benjamin Francis Leftwich in this rousing first effort. Little Rêd she might be, but she's sounding huge here. A special talent, and one that we hope gets further recognition in this new guise.

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Find more info at

Listen: Mt. Wolf - Heavenbound [New Single]


Words: Saam Das

We first wrote about Mt. Wolf over five years ago(!), and they've finally finally announced news of their debut album - 'Aetherlight' is due out on May 26th. Now admittedly, the London band have some mitigating circumstances for this delay, having actually split before a welcome return in late 2014. Listen to the soaring 'Heavenbound' below.

The first taste of the forthcoming album is evocative and earnest, matching some of the band's hypnotic dream-folk highlights across the years, including comeback track 'Red'. There's a particularly orchestral theme to 'Heavenbound' that will hopefully be carried forward throughout 'Aetherlight' but regardless, this is one of our most anticipated releases of 2017.

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Find more info and pre-order the album via

Year In Review: Tips For 2016 Revisited


Words: Saam DasIt's fair to say that few would have predicted a double whammy of Britain exiting the EU and a Trump victory in the US Presidential Election last year, so perhaps the business of prediction is something of a fruitless exercise. But I do have a soft spot for lists, so here's an assessment of my shortlist of tips for 2016:Al Bairre allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">The humoungous queue for this South African quartet's show at The Great Escape in 2016 brought mixed emotions - sadness that I'd be missing out, but an odd sense of pride. Alas, the vociferous live outfit have recently announced an upcoming breakup, and I can only urge that anyone in their homeland hurries along to their final gigs. Shoulda been huge, what a shame.AOSOON frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">London outfit AOSOON put out a couple of singles in 2016, but most notably, saw main vocalist Marisa Hylton depart. Ella Squirrel has stepped up to the plate, and with the band starting a label of their own, it looks like 2017 will be a fresh start.The Amazons allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">I chose this Reading lot for the Blog Sound Of 2016, and they have graduated to the big leagues, appearing on the BBC Sound Of 2017. A fearsome live band, their triumphant homecoming effort at Are You Listening? Festival took me back to the glory days of my youth. A pattern maintained over the numerous times I've seen these rockers. An album is surely imminent.Cape Cub frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">Chad Male's Cape Cub project continues its solid rise, putting out well received tracks and picking up fans. An approach that will hopefully soon see these songs being played to the huge crowds that I envisaged when I selected these Northerners as one of my Blog Sound of 2016 picks. Day Wave allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Jackson Phillips' stock has grown to the extent that he's now hanging out with American music royalty, having supported Green Day in 2016 and Blink-182's Mark Hoppus being the focus in the 'Stuck' video. An album will be arriving shortly, with accompanying UK dates in May.The Half Earth allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">At the end of 2015, it seemed that Conor Stephenson was on the verge of something really special, having just unleashed the most urgent and insistent track of his career to date in 'Pieces Of Us'. 2016 ended up being a relatively quiet year for The Half Earth, with a support slot on Josef Salvat UK tour being the high point. K.I.D allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Kara and Bobby are still Kids In Despair but they may not be in despair for much longer, as they gear up to an album release in 2017, including a couple of forthcoming UK dates supporting Black Honey. They released some new material in 2016 but there's a sense that it was the calm before the storm. And not[...]

Listen: Dan Black - Headphones [New Single]


Words: Saam DasOne day, I will track down a 7" vinyl test pressing of Dan Black's incredible, otherworldly cover of Notorious B.I.G's 'Hypnotize' and it will become one of my most cherished possessions. Nine or so years from the time that 'HYPNTZ' appeared in a blaze of glory (before Biggie's estate sadly nixed its release) and four years since his collaboration with Kelis, Black is finally prepping his second album. Listen to comeback single 'Headphones' below. Black's appropriately titled debut album 'Un' was released in 2009, with album deux ('Do Not Revenge') set for release later this year. The writer/producer has been building up his credits in the interim working with everyone from Kid Cudi to French singer/actress Louanne. The video for 'Headphones', directed by Chic & Artistic, matches the dream-like nature of Black's production, a more introspective counterpart to Gold Panda's seminal 'You' or even to his aforementioned 'Starman'-inspired debut 'HYPTNZ'. A stunning return. allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560"> frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">Find more info at © copyright – All rights reserved ¦ FADED GLAMOUR Like us on Facebook // Follow us on Twitter [...]

Year In Review: Saam Das' Top Ten Films Of 2016


Words: Saam DasWith the 2017 Oscar results now finalised, I suppose I should also get around to celebrating the best in film in 2016. As per usual, our top ten list is based on UK release dates, meaning that Best Picture winner 'Moonlight' and multiple Oscar winner 'La La Land' will have to wait for my consideration. It should be noted that I would have liked to have caught the likes of Jim Jarmusch's 'Paterson' and Richard Linklater's 'Everybody Wants Some!' but nonetheless, this list represents the cream of the crop from over 50 movies seen in 2016: 10. 'The Revenant' (UK Release: 15 Jan) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">The film that won Leonardo Di Caprio a well deserved Oscar, while also giving Alejandro G Iñárritu back-to-back Best Director wins, only for the latter to be outdone by the film's cinematographer, Emmanuel Lubezki, notching up his third Oscar in a row. This based-on-a-true-story tale of a 19th century frontiersman employed a particularly stunning opening, reminiscent of the earth-shattering beach scene in 'Saving Private Ryan'.9. 'Trumbo' (5 Feb) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Director Jay Roach has been best known for comedic films such as 'Meet The Parents' and the 'Austin Powers' series, but his biopic of blacklisted Hollywood screenwriter Dalton Trumbo is arguably a career peak. A timely film about the vilification of people based on their relatively tame beliefs, albeit with some liberties taken with historical accuracy. Bryan Cranston's rise continues strongly, with his portrayal of Trumbo recognised with a debut Best Actor nominations at the 2016 Oscars.8. 'Finding Dory' (29 July) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Did we need a sequel to 'Finding Nemo'? Probably not. But 'Finding Dory' proved surprisingly pleasant and poignant, offering a more emotional experience than its predecessor. Certainly it lends strong hope to another Pixar sequel, 2018's 'The Incredibles 2'.7. 'Arrival' (November) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">The recent misleadingly-named 'extended version' (an eight minute behind-the-scenes video added after the film ended) hasn't dampened my enthusiasm for 2016's standout sci-fi film. Denis Villeneuve's first foray into the genre was a striking one, driven by Amy Adams emotive central performance and Max Richter's stirring 'On The Nature Of Daylight'. frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">6. 'The Hunt For The Wilderpeople' allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Actor-writer-director Taika Waititi's New Zealand adventure comedy was arguably head and shoulders above all else in terms of funnies in 2016. It even successfully navigated the trenches of musical comedy, with an amusing ode to the film's central miscreant Ricky Baker, played with panache by the youthful Julian Dennison. I am eager to see what Waititi can do with the big bucks on the forthcoming 'Thor: Ragnarok'.5. 'The Nice Guys' (3 June) allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">[...]

Listen: Lea Porcelain - Bones [New Single]


Words: Saam Das / Photo: Peter Kaaden

London-based post-punkers Lea Porcelain are taking on 2017 headfirst, with a four song x four cities gambit, that is seeing them play gigs in London, Berlin, Hamburg, and Paris, and release four new singles. The first of which is 'Bones' - a 2015 track getting a new lease of life. But it's a deserved one.

The German duo have clear influence in Joy Division and Echo & The Bunnymen, while embracing dancier elements that have characterised their homeland in more recent times as well as a more historical Kraftwerk-esque electronic slant. Sweeping and melodramatic, 'Bones' could be described as a throwback, but perhaps more appropriately, it feels timeless.

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Lea Porcelain play the Electrowerkz in London on 15th February. Find more info at

Surfacing: Chances [New Band]


Words: Saam Das // Photo: Etienne Dufresne

The striking promo photo for new Montreal outfit Chances evokes an otherworldly sense - somewhat reminiscent of Paul Verhoeven's Mars-based, Ahnuld-starring 1990 cult classic 'Total Recall' - that is carried forward in their debut offering. Listen to the mesmerising 'Shine' below.

'Shine' mixes futuristic instrumentals with solemnly traditional vocals, even adopting an indigenous tongue (Ojibwe) along the way. The experimentally-led electronic foundation of the track and its percussive nature feel like continuations of Yeasayer and Warpaint respectively, although the Canadian trio's impressive ability to blend sounds marks them as a particular point of interest.

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Year In Review: Rajan Lakhani's Top Ten Albums Of 2016


Words: Rajan LakhaniBefore we jump right into my top ten albums of 2016, here's a collection of my top tracks of 2016 (some of which can be heard below): Suede - 'No Tomorrow' / The Weeknd - 'Starboy' / Christine And The Queens - 'Tilted' / David Bowie - 'I Can’t Give Everything Away' / Jamie T - 'Tinfoil Boy' / Clare Maguire - 'Spaceman' / Mitski - 'Your Best American Girl' / Weezer - 'Wind In Our Sail' / Rae Stremmund - 'Black Beatles' / Band Of Horses - 'Hag'.10. The Coral – 'Distance Inbetween' width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>The Coral have reached indie heritage status alongside the likes of British Sea Power, constantly delivering quality records. The break since 2010’s Butterfly House (2014’s release 'The Curse of Love' was recorded in 2006) seems to have done the group a world of good. 'Distance Inbetween' might be their most focussed record to date, with their signature psychedelic sound never sounding better.9. Jamie T – 'Trick' frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">Kicking off with the brilliant 'Tinfoil Boy', 'Trick' is Jamie T’s most impressive effort to date. Any descriptions of Jamie T as a “one-man Arctic Monkeys” are made totally redundant with this album, showcasing the strength of his songwriting as he skips through several genres successfully with ease.8. Anderson Paak – 'Malibu' frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">In a year of great releases from the likes of Rae Sremmurd and Danny Brown, 'Malibu' stands out the best R&B/Hip Hop album I listened to in 2016. Fusing hip-hop, funk, soul and R&B, Paak has created a warm, joyous album that heralds the arrival of new leading player in urban music.7. Mitski – 'Puberty 2' allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">'Puberty 2' is one of the most personal, unflinching albums released in 2016. It’s made all the more compelling by the fantastic fuzzy, distorted indie rock sound that recalls the likes of Pixies and Weezer.6. Warpaint – 'Heads Up' allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Warpaint are growing in confidence with each record, allowing more of their personality to shine through their music. This record sees them loosen up, moving away from the cool distance of their earlier records to create something dancier, warmer and catchier. 'Heads Up' is their best record to date as a result, and an album to get truly lost within.5. Eagulls – 'Ullages' frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">You know you’ve heard to a special album when it stays with you long after it finished playing and unfurls more details with subsequent listens, which 'Ullages' does. There’s a distin[...]

Year In Review: Simon Opie's Top Twenty Albums Of 2016 [Part Two: 10-1]


Words: Simon OpieFollowing Part One of this best of 2016 albums, featuring the likes of Sub Pop's Heron Oblivion and the now departing Dillinger Escape Plan, comes ten quite exceptional albums that really could have been placed in any order. But here they are, for the purposes of presentation, from 10 to 1:10. Russian Circles – 'Guidance' frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">Instrumental post-metal beautifully produced by Converge’s Kurt Ballou, this album is perhaps Russian Circles’ best to date. Formed in 2004 this trio have worked hard to build a fan-base that now allows them to tour as headliners instead of supporting acts such as Tool and Coheed & Cambria. That’s no small achievement given the limitations of the format and the challenges of delivering it live as a three-piece. Guitar, bass and drums seldom sound so huge as on this record and the compositions are genuinely dramatic. From the pastoral tones of opener 'Asa' to the menace of 'Afrika' and the heaviness of 'Lisboa', the album lures you into its immersive world and it’s totally engaging.Must hear: 'Asa', 'Afrika', 'Lisboa'9. SubRosa – 'For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages' seamless="" src="" style="border: 0; height: 340px; width: 400px;">For This We Fought The Battle Of Ages by SUBROSASubRosa, from Salt Lake City, started as a project of guitarist and vocalist Rebecca Vernon and has grown to include the twin violins and voices of Sarah Pendleton and Kim Pack and latterly the rhythm section of Andy Patterson and Levi Hanna. This album, their third full-length, really sees the band hitting full stride and is as confident a statement as you could wish for. The approach that blends doom laden sludge, folk melody, substantial volume and complex composition delivers a raw, tough and beautiful album. The vocals add an ethereal quality, echoed by the violins, that lifts the songs from metal sensibility to gothic splendour, and the result is very dramatic indeed.Must hear: 'Wound Of The Warden', 'Killing Rapture'8. Kandodo McBain – 'Lost Chants/Last Chance' allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">Kandodo McBain joins together Simon Price (Kandodo), Wayne Maskell, Hugo Morgan and John McBain. Price, Maskell and Morgan are respectively guitarist, drummer and bassist from The Heads, whilst McBain is a participant in the Desert Sessions scene, former member of Monster Magnet and collaborator with the likes of Carlton Melton. The result of their unusual work together is a collection of 5 songs that each exist in two versions – faster (45rpm) and slower (33rpm) – and whilst that sounds gimmicky it actually works extremely well thanks to the quality of the core material and the mixing skills of McBain, as the Bristol sound meets San Francisco method. The heart of the album is a psych/stoner workout using tonal riffs, floating synths, repetition, fuzz & phase – all the regular tools – and from this emerges fully formed and totally engrossing layered compositions. The guitar work here is the icing on the cake and the music has a bite a[...]

Year In Review: Simon Opie's Top Twenty Albums Of 2016 [Part One: 20-11]


Words: Simon OpieIt’s been a quite turbulent year, as they say, and I rather doubt next year will be any calmer. That may be good for music as artists have a cause to create, but in fact 2016 was already a really good year for music. Here’s my list of my favourite 20 albums in descending order – preferences naturally change so I’ve tried to be honest about which records have really inspired my listening this year. I think it’s a cracking collection of geographically diverse albums – hope you enjoy it too!20. Conjurer – 'I' allowfullscreen="" frameborder="0" height="315" src="" width="560">We start with a British band on the up and part of enterprising label Holy Roar’s impressive array of talent. Conjurer hail from Rugby and this debut EP is short and suitably brutish. Uncompromising hardcore metal delivered with great accuracy and a certain swing. Less reliant on simple riffs than their contemporaries, they weave sinuous melodies under growling vocal lines – all underpinned by a high precision rhythm section and great drumming in particular.Must hear: 'Scorn', 'Frail'19. Big Naturals & Anthroprophh – S/T seamless="" src="" style="border: 0; height: 120px; width: 100%;">Big Naturals & Anthroprophh by Big Naturals & AnthroprophhNew School Psych Rock from these column favourites. Big Naturals are Bristol duo drummer Jesse Webb and bassist Gareth Turner and, on vinyl at least, side 1 features an extended and essential work out from the pair, 'God-Shaped Hole'. Paul Allen from The Heads is Anthroprophh and as such he is generally joined by Messrs Webb and Turner for some fairly abstracted freakout action. Both combos are on terrific form here.Must hear: 'God-Shaped Hole', 'Chubbock’s Last Tape (Another Nail)'18. Heron Oblivion – S/T frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">A New American Folk influence pervades this album, though not without some molten psych rock interludes, all of which is testimony to the history of the four band members. Ethan Miller and Noel Von Harmonson were both members of the amazing Comets On Fire – a truly original and mesmerising avant-rock band. Charlie Sauffley and Meg Baird joined them from the poppier fringes of psychedelia and the result is a beguiling melting pot of influences and talents fronted by Baird’s distinctive voice.Must hear: 'Oriar', 'Rama'17. Oathbreaker – 'Rheia' frameborder="no" height="166" scrolling="no" src="" width="100%">Female vocalists are quite a dominant theme of this list and Caro Tanghe certainly takes this album, Oathbreaker’s third, by the scruff of the neck and thereby elevates the band’s output to something very special. It’s an alternative take on black metal with nearly narrative passages interspersed with almost total breakdown, and this Belgian collective link musically and spiritually to [...]

Review: Thirteen Of The Best Films We Caught At The 2016 BFI London Film Festival


Words: Saam DasThe BFI London Film Festival had its typically excellent smattering of arthouse efforts and more mainstream-leaning offerings, and we've highlighted some of our favourites below. Kelly Reichardt's 'Certain Women' came away with the Official Competition prize, and is currently scheduled for a March 2017 release in UK cinemas, and at least one of the other prize-winning films features in our round-up:'All This Panic' width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Director Jenny Gage and her cinematographer husband Tom Betterton successfully immerse themselves (and the viewer) into the lives of various New York-based teenage girls in this spirited, coming-of-age documentary. Punctuated by moments of significant concern and emotion, this is nonetheless an uplifting look at the adolescent journey.'Before The Flood' width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>The unusual combination of Oscar winner Leonardo DiCaprio and Fisher Stevens ('Short Circuit' actor turned producer and director) delivers an urgent and impassioned plea to act on climate change. A strong companion piece to 2006 Best Documentary Oscar winner 'An Inconvenient Truth', it also unexpectedly offers behind-the-scenes glimpses at the production of 'The Revenant'.'Ethel & Ernest' width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Raymond Briggs' loving ode to his parents makes its way from autobiographical illustrations to the big screen. As author of 'The Snowman', Briggs is no stranger to crafting wonderfully sentimental stories and writer-director Roger Mainwood channels the Briggs family tales is a suitably excellent fashion. Watch on BBC iPlayer for a limited time.'Jewel's Catch One' width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Particularly pertinent in the light of Fabric's proposed (but overturned) closure in 2016, 'Jewel's Catch One' showcases the tale of a prosperous LA night club and its incredible owner, Jewel Thais-Williams. Overcoming prejudice from those who took objection to the colour of her skin as well as her sexuality, C Fitz's documentary features glowing references from the likes of Sharon Stone and Madonna but it is the love of her community that is most affecting. If you'll excuse the pun, an unexpected gem.'Kills On Wheels' width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>A rare but welcome sight for a feature to showcase no less than three lead characters with disabilities, but to focus on that aspect would be doing disservice to this unusual Hungarian action flick. Part-buddy comedy, part-thriller, writer-director Attila Till's blends fantasy and reality as the lead trio find themselves (literally) drawn into the criminal underworld.'Lo And Behold, Reveries Of The Connected World' width="560" height="315" src="" frameborder="0" allowfullscreen>Visionary filmmaker Werner Herzog's latest feature documentary is also one of his finest, as he details the birth of the internet and our current digital age. As is now customary, his charming narration both informs and delights, while his disarming demeanour brings pleasingly natural responses from his array of [...]