Wednesday 29 July 2020

The Lockdown posts: Welsh Wednesday 2020 #10

Rabbit Hole by SERA

(This originally appeared last Wednesday for a few hours until I learned of Tim Smith's sad passing. So I replaced it with a piece about Tim and held it over to this week to avoid it getting lost.)

SERA has been making music for a number of years now, both under her current moniker and as Sarah Louise. A North Walian with Polish heritage, she composes songs in Welsh and English and has released a series of singles since her debut album in 2016.

Rabbit Hole came out last summer and is a little gem, a mischievous folk song with a slightly ominous vibe. SERA releases most of her stuff on her Soundcloud page, and I highly recommend a visit.

This is the final post of the series. It's a good way to bow out, I reckon.

Wednesday 22 July 2020

Singing to God: Tim Smith RIP

What a shit day. The genius that is Tim Smith, beloved frontman of Cardiacs, passed away in his sleep through the night. He is already sadly missed, despite his chronic illnesses meaning he hasn't made music for more than 10 years. At least we knew he was still here.

I'd like to point you towards my Tim Smith series from a few years back, even if you already know and love his work as much as I do. I'll be adding YouTube clips to the posts over the next day or so you can hear the great man's voice again. In the meantime though, here's a couple of songs to tide you over.

Rest easy Tim. Sing to God, and make sure she grants you your every wish.

(Today's Welsh Wednesday post has been replaced and will appear next week instead...)

Wednesday 15 July 2020

The Lockdown posts: Welsh Wednesday 2020 #9

Full Moon Vulture by Alffa

Alffa hail from Llanrug, a village near Caernarfon in North Wales. They're a duo very much in the Royal Blood mould, and somewhat predictably cite the likes of the White Stripes, Black Keys and Jimi Hendrix as influences. They've only been together five years, but there's something of a buzz about them already - in 2019, despite only having two singles out at the time, Spotify named them the most streamed Welsh language act of all time, garnering three million streams.

Since then, a full-length album has been released, the bi-lingual (and dual-titled) 'Rhyddid o’r Cysgodion Gwenwynig / Freedom from the Poisonous Shadows', featuring their first English language single Full Moon Vulture. 'Tis a bit of a beast of a song in truth, certainly bigger than a two-piece line-up suggests.

Wednesday 8 July 2020

The Lockdown posts: Welsh Wednesday 2020 #8

Love Forever by Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard

It's the height of summer so time for a summer anthem. Buzzard Buzzard Buzzard hail from our capital, Cardiff, and have the second-silliest band name in this series. They make what can best be thought of as psychedelic glam rock, or what they themselves describe as “70s sheep in badly-made wolves clothing.”

Led by brothers Tom and Ed Rees (whose dad once drummed for the Bay City Rollers, no less), they've become huge favourites in their hometown and have released a string of the most catchy singles you're likely to come across on You Tube. They also provided last year's Homeless World Cup, held in Cardiff, with its official theme song. Their latest release, the 'Non-Stop' EP features 10 songs, which makes it the EP with the most songs ever released probably. I'm guessing ('cause I haven't heard it at the time of writing) some of the tracks are really short, but still, EP? It's out this week anyway.

The so-called EP doesn't contain today's track Love Forever, sadly. It was released last August and, to me at least, sums up all the best bits of Welsh psych-pop in the tradition of Sibrydion, Yr Ods and, of course, Super Furry Animals. Try listening to it without grinning your face off. It really is an antidote to the shit happening right now.

In a parallel universe where everything is better than the really fucked up one we're in, Love Forever would be being belted out at every festival on the planet.

Wednesday 1 July 2020

The Lockdown posts: Welsh Wednesday 2020 #7

Paper Cups by Bryde

If Welsh Wednesday was still running when Bryde released her first album, she would undoubtedly have featured. Which is why I'm now taking the opportunity to introduce her to the uninitiated. Bryde is Sarah Howells from the west Wales port of Milford Haven. She formed her first band JYLT with her best friend Nia aged just 10. Tragically, Nia died of leukaemia at just 21.

Undeterred, Sarah continued playing, both as touring guitarist for Danish singer-songwriter Tina Dico, and as half of Paper Aeroplanes, who actually had a Welsh Wednesday post way back here, releasing two albums and receiving much acclaim. Sarah has also made a number of vocal contributions to trance records by the likes of Lange, First State and Paul van Dyk.

She launched her solo project Bryde in 2016 and released her debut album in 2018. There were some cracking tunes on there, as there are on her brand new record 'The Volume Of Things' which came out in May. Paper Cups has a 360° video, which means you can drag your mouse around the screen to reveal different elements. Don't get too excited, it's only got a dinosaur in it.