Wednesday, 21 December 2016

World Tour

l-r: Shopping; The Van T's; September Girls; Estrons
Week 16: The British Isles

Ah. Home sweet home. Well, not so sweet these days, sadly, and I'm not completely done and dusted yet, for we still have some music to discover. Some of you may be wondering why I've dubbed the final leg of our journey 'The British Isles' and not Great Britain or the United Kingdom. Well, I'm taking in Ireland which isn't part of Great Britain but is part of the British Isles. If you're confused, don't worry - I guarantee most British people don't know the intricacies of what is or isn't British (which is ironic in so many ways I don't want to discuss right now...). Maybe this will explain things. Or not... 

Anyway, we're flying back to Blighty from Finland and in London, well it looks like 2016, but it sounds a lot like 1978. Shopping are a trio who sound so firmly rooted in the original British post-punk scene, it comes as a massive shock to see how young they are. Gang Of Four, The Slits, The Cure - all immediately come to mind when you hear Shopping. They've released two albums to date, 2013's 'Consumer Complaints' and last year's 'Why Choose?'. Here's a track from each.

Driving north to Bonnie Scotland and, well, obviously, there are so many brilliant bands in Scotland. That's why there are so many brilliant music bloggers there, right JC, CC et al? While I'm here you guys can take me round your haunts. Coffee and cake (or beer and crisps if you prefer) are on me. I do want to pop into Glasgow though as that's where we'll find The Van T's.

Fronted by twin sisters Hannah and Chloe Van Thompson, The Van T's play echoey, psyched-up guitars with a 60s surf swagger. In 2016, they have supported the likes of Yuck and Rat Boy, played the festival circuit including the BBC Introducing stage at T In The Park, and been talked up in all the cool places like Consequence Of Sound and Clash Magazine. They've just released their fourth single Fun Garçon in November. I like the sound of these guys - look out for them in 2017.

And while we're on a fuzzy psych trip... we're flying to Ireland now to the fair city of Dublin. Here's another country with a rich musical history, we're spoiled for choice. However, I'd long decided who my Irish representatives were going to be. September Girls' second album 'Age Of Indignation' is one of my favourite records of the year. It's been played loads in the car, a good way to start the day.

They started off as the wackily-named pop band Talulah Does The Hula, but morphed into September Girls in 2011, taking 60s garage rock as their inspiration. Debut album 'Cursing The Sea' came out in 2014, closely followed by the 'Veneer' EP, the title track of which remains one of their best tracks to date. But 'Age of Indignation' really raised the bar, a riot of swirly, noisy retro-fused psych rock with more than decent tunes. Love it.

And here's Jaw On The Floor from the latest album:

All good things must come to an end, and so it is we return to where we started from - but not before we take in one more band. And WHAT a band. Now, we could drive south from Dublin to Rosslare and catch the ferry across the Irish Sea to Fishguard in Pembrokeshire. But instead we're actually hopping on the ferry from Dublin and docking in Holyhead on the island of Ynys Môn (or Anglesey to give it its English name). From there, we can get onto the mainland and drive south on the A470 through stunning Snowdonia, the desolate splendour of mid-Wales, the beautiful Brecon Beacons, all the way to Cardiff.

It's here we should be able to catch up with Estrons, the Welsh band most likely to be fecking huge quite soon. Originally formed on a beach in Aberystwyth, Estrons (trans: Aliens) are fronted by the striking Taliesyn Källström. As her name suggests - she's half Welsh, half Swedish. I caught about 5 minutes of Estrons live when they supported Bob Mould back at the start of the year. They sounded awesome and I wish I'd got there a bit earlier. They played Cardiff again last month, but my schedule was too busy to see them then. By the time I do catch them, they'll probably be playing much bigger venues. Their song Make A Man (from last year's 'Whoever She Was...' EP) got loads of radio airplay. Since then they've travelled the world, played the festival circuit and released more songs, including the brand new three-song EP 'She's Here Now' which sounds absolutely IMMENSE! Really, it does.

Take my word for it, Estrons are a band to look out for. Here's a couple of songs for you - Drop was a single released back in the summer, and the video clip shows them performing Make A Man at this year's SXSW Showcase in Texas.

And half an hour later, I'm back home in Newport. Well, the last 16 weeks have been rather arduous, occasionally a little scary, and absolutely exhausting. But it was also a lot of fun. Thanks for joining me. I'm off to bed for a week...!!!


  1. A fitting end to a worthwile journey, Robster, one I enjoyed mightily!

  2. I've enjoyed being on this trip with you Robster.
    An education!

  3. Why haven't I heard of September Girls?

  4. Great to see so many young women going for it, thanks for picking all these.
    You're so right about Shopping and the sound of '78, I felt like I was listening to a Peel show (maybe just after the Fall and before some King Tubby!)

  5. Have liked September Girls for a while, but the other two are new to me. Good stuff. You have been a great companion for seeing the world. Easily my favorite series this year, and there have been some goodies, as you know.

  6. Dreadful carbon footprint.........................

    Huge applause from me for what was a brilliant conception so perfectly executed. Probably, along with WYRCA 200, the best idea for a blog during the past 12 months. How you going to follow that in 2017?

    And listen, if you ever hit Glasgow, then all the coffee, beer, vodka, tea, irn-bru, crisps, nuts, chocolate and sweets are on me. I'll also hopefully get a chance to introduce you to some other excellent bands from round these parts.

    Give your ears a treat and check this LP out. One of my favourites from 2016:-

    PS : Your site is a nightmare to try and post comments on!! I've had my 'open id' credentials refused a few times and lost all sorts of contributions!! I only save this one by doing a copy beforehand....