28 April 2010

Acoustic Guitars and Bedrooms - Ivan Moult & David Newington

I quite like the thought of musicians recording in their bedrooms. I like the thought of Mums interrupting recordings with a cup of tea. I like the thought of neighbours getting annoyed by/enjoying the songs through the paper thin walls. I even like the thought of the toilet flush going in the background. It somehow makes the music seem more real when you know the people making it are sat on their bed with their laptop besides them, rather than in studios being looped, paused, corrected, auto-tuned etc in a studio. And it almost makes good songs that come out of this process that little bit more impressive. Imagine what they could do given all the fancy equipment.

I recently came across two musicians that do as described (although I can't comment as to whether their Mums' are kind enough to make them imprompteu cups of tea) through two BBC Radio presenters; Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn. Adam played David Newington on his show a few weeks back and Bethan Elfyn wrote a blog post about Ivan's growing popularity around Cardiff's open mic shows. And although both do use acoustic guitars and both do make (at least some) of their stuff in their bedrooms, they both display a lot of talent and a real knack for song-writing in the limited number of songs that are available from them so far.

We'll start with Ivan. As I mentioned, I got the tip about Ivan from a Bethan Elfyn blog (which was originally sent to me by Taz, my SU newspaper editor - cheers!), and, as part of my search of UWIC bands, gave his stuff a good listen, and met up with him for an interview (the results of which can be found here). His songs have a really dreamy element to them, and his slightly husky-yet-soothing vocals suit the sound well. His music is very honest (apparently he nearly had some confrontation regarding a song he had written about someone in particular), and it reminds me slightly of Johnny Flynn, only less heavy (if you can possibly call Johnny Flynn "heavy"). It's difficult to pigeon-hole, but Ivan's music can certainly be called folk in one way or another. If you want to know more about Ivan, and you live in the Cardiff area then you are in luck. Ivan gigs tonnes around Cardiff and it'd be hard to miss him. Head to his MySpace to listen to his recently completed debut EP and to find out more about him for yourself. Ivan is also part of Cardiff indie pop group The School (who recently released their debut album), for those interested in checking them out, also.

David Newington's music I heard, on the other hand, without any research needed; on Adam Walton's show a few weeks back. I really enjoyed what I heard, but I also felt motivated to add him to MySpace following Adam Walton's challenge involving just that (David has a sligtly odd and difficult-ish to find URL). I'm glad I did bother to find it though - I was really impressed by the other tracks up on there. "Another Summer Song" has a really nice, lazy feel to it, and, although it isn't necessariyl that folk-y, you can imagine yourself chewing some straw/tobacco whilst walking through corn fields listening to it. The guitar plods along pleasantly with Newington's ever-so-slightly distorted vocals. Speaking of which, David's vocals, especially on "To The River", remind me a lot of Graham Coxon (think more his newer folk album than older punk-y stuff). And "Midnight Shop" opens to a menacing acoustic guitar line which reminds me a little of The Moldy Peaches and features a whistling line I like to join along with. I'm hoping to hear more of David in the next few months, I think he has the potential to have a strong future ahead of him. For more info, head to David's MySpace, and have a listen to and download some of his tracks below (with permission) for free. Find Ivan's stuff below also.

David Newington - Another Summer Song

David Newington - Midnight Shop

David Newington - To The River

Ivan Moult - Fetch Me A Bucket

Ivan Moult - Fix Me

Ivan Moult - I Might Get Cold

26 April 2010

Beaty Heart

I love Animal Collective. And, now seemingly because of this, I like any band that sound a little bit like Animal Collective (see Water Borders, Celebration, Local Natives etc). So when a band go that little bit further than directly ripping them off (not that the afformentioned bands do this, nor would I object to it if they did, at least they have the sense to copy from the best kid in class), but just encorporate some of the feel, pointing it into a new direction, I like it even more. Beaty Heart do just this.

Now, although Beaty Heart don't cite AC as an influence upon their music, I think they'd be fibbing if they claimed to never had enjoyed an AC record or two. The heavy reliance on the drumming side of things (the band are three parts drummer to one part guitarist), combined with the use of electro-loops and chanty/shouty vocal harmonies can't help but conjure images of the Baltimore-born foursome, as well as other accredited sources such as Gang Gang Dance and old gospel music. Think all of this, plus a sort of world music (especially African) feel.

Beaty Heart's 'Cola' is available for free download from The Mix Tape, and you can also check out that, as well as other stuff, on their MySpace and blog.

Edited to add: new song available here.

23 April 2010

Trash Kit

It's really pissing annoying when you plan on going to a gig, get yourself all worked up to see the band, only to realise you alreayd have unbreakable plans. It's even more annoying when the mentioned gig is a free one and the venue is a cosey little affair. This is indeed the situation for me with a Trash Kit gig a couple of days ago. I won't blame Ricky Gervais, though. He was pretty good.

But the more I listen to this Trash Kit self-titled album, which is released in a mere 3 day's time (don't worry, folks, I haven't illegally downloaded it), the more I wish that the nights hadn't clashed and I had seen them live. I bet it was fucking great.

The lo-fi feeling Trash Kit hears vocals that bounce and yelp, not too dissimilar to what we hear on The Slits' Cut, guitar sounds that at times are intricately placed like a math-rock dream and at other times seemingly-uncontrollably freak out, bouncing bass lines, and an active (rather than simple time-keeping) drum roll. But more than this, the album has a great feel. It's fun and it keeps you interested at all times. At points it's punky, with all three girls lending a hand in the vocal-department, and at other times it has a sort of 'experimental indie' (yeah, that sounded as shit in my head as it reads down here) feel (think Micachu and the Shapes) but Trash Kit, despite some evident influences, make sounds that are completely their own. It's a very good album and is one that will probably continue to mount more annoyance towards that dreaded clash of dates.

For more info and stuff like that, check out the band's MySpace or blog.

22 April 2010

New Snowden EP, Free Download

Snowden are back with a darker and dirtier follow up to their post-punk influenced debut, Anti-Anti. They're a band that seem to have slipped under a lot of people's radars, odd for a group who were originally so hyped up in the blog-scene, and who are still putting out good music.

The new release seems to edge the band closer to the 90s shoegaze scene - expect more guitar distortions and noise, which suits their melancholic-feel well - but there's still enough melody and post-punk influence for those fond of their early sound. A full-length follow up is also expected at some point, but with the band struggling with funds, according to their MySpace page, it may be a little while yet.

The EP is available for free download on the band's website or on their MySpace, and their most popular song, which shares the title of their debut album, Anti-Anti, is still available from the band's Last FM page for free download, too.

15 April 2010


Like Gallops, I've long been a fan of Meilir's work. In fact I think I first saw Meilir supporting Gallops, softening the crowd with his experimental take on folk music. I recently conducted an e-mail interview with the Cardiff-based singer-songwriter for my uni newspaper, which can now be found online here.

His debut EP is well worth checking out (there are probably still some copies left at Spiller's Records in Cardiff) for Meilir's haunting vocal work and unique methods to make his music - expect the odd electro-beat and a fair amount of foot-scraped-gravel to accompany acoustic guitar, piano, and a mixture of both English and Welsh vocals. To get a sample of his work and to find out when and where Meilir is playing live, head to his MySpace page here.