Sunday, 27 September 2015

Discoggs 21 - BreakOut West Special

I was lucky enough to be in Western Canada last week, as a guest of Alberta Music and as a speaker at the BreakOut West conference. Not only did I get to see dozens of bands perform across Calgary, Edmonton and Victoria, but I also got to get to know lots of the artists as part of panels and mentoring sessions. Here are some that particularly struck me for one reason or another.

Here's a Spotify playlist version (slightly amended - c'mon artists - get yourselves on Spotify!)

Boreal Sons - Coward
Intelligent piano-art-rock from Calgary. With excellent taste in clothes ;)

Attica Riots - Love, Sunshine and Hysteria
Earworm alert. This comes on like Arcade fire having a party with the Vaccines. So much fun live, and lovely folks to boot.

Yes We Mystic - Wood Wheel
A dizzy mix of cello, samples, pedals, synth and folk.

HIGHS - Handsome Man
Regular readers will know about these guys. From Ontario, rather than the West (they played as part of Rifflandia festival, rather than the Western focussed conference). This is the first cut to be released from the new record, as recorded this summer in London with Luke Smith. It deserves to be huge.

Double Fuzz - Big City Lights
The most entertaining drummer I've ever seen live. For sure.

Port Juvee - Revenge
Like The Strokes taking on The Killers in an arm wrestle.

Samantha Savage Smith - Devilman
There's something a bit Billie Holiday going on with this voice, it's got a hint of jazz, but somehow a little slacker-sensibility.

Mabaleka - Crashed Upon The Waves
Young brothers writing pretty, classic country folk.

Isobel Trigger - Dust and Bones
Vocal that reminds me of Katy B, the promise of dancefloor filling bounce and that driving thing that people love when they're...erm...driving. Classic stuff.

Paul Cournoyer - Yukon
Paul's record was nominated for Francophone recording of the year at the Western Canadian Music Awards, and rightly so. Good to hear someone celebrating their roots and proving you don't need to be in Quebec to do it.

Post Script - Dear Marie
Beautiful 3 piece folk band from Edmonton. Steph has just the most beautiful voice. Delicate and multi layered, backed up with stand up bass and a nod to French-Canadian roots. The album's out on October 15th. You should pick it up. Oh, and watch their 'Elevator Sessions' on YouTube too.

Insanely good garage pop from Vancouver. These guys have already toured the UK this year but we'd like them to come back soon (please?!?). You know you've found something special when there's a crowd crowd surfing in the rain and taking the mic to sing every word back to the band. A rampaging, squally mess of a show. Just wonderful.

Joe Nolan - Tightrope Dancer
Joe is the real deal. He's got heartworn highways written all over him and he's only in his early 20's. A touch of outlaw, a touch of heartbreaker, an old soul in a young man. Just wonderful.

Chad VanGaalen - Peace on the Rise
Chad's not quite of this planet, which made watching him in a church all the more interesting. A hint of Mac DeMarco, an obvious SubPop link and an asthetic that can only be described as 'on acid'.

Hayden - Troubled Times
I was introduced to Hayden through The National's curation of the All Tomorrow's Parties festival. A multi instrumentalist geniuswith a fascinating history. This is an explanation/introduction:

The Wet Secrets - Nightlife
6-piece, smart, fun, garage pop, dressed as a marching band and capable of absolutely destroying your house party I would imagine.

Scenic Route to Alaska - Paris
Indie folk power trio from Edmonton. They played as a three piece for the first time last week (having previously been a quartet) and nailed it first time.

Bend Sinister - I'm The One Leaving You
Bend Sinister have the dubious honour of being the only band I saw last week who needed an ambulance rather than a splitter van when they left the show. Poor Matt the bass player valiantly played on after injuring himself before passing out from pain. Now that's what I call rock n roll...

Close Talker - Heads
Beautifully complicated indie rock from Saskatoon. On a sharp upward trajectory.

Nat Jay - Can't Getcha Out
Another nominee in the Western Canadian Music Awards, Nat is a singer songwriter from Vancouver. And a bloody good one too. This is a pretty perfect slice of pop.

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Discoggs 20 - The Laid Back One

This playlist is ideal for Sundays. Or for rainy days. Or for the days when you just need an hour to take you away from whatever madness surrounds you.

Love Vigilantes - Iron and Wine
Landlord Jackie - Tom Brosseau
Lullaby (Mountain) - The Acorn
Happy I don't Count - The Loose Salute
Rip Van Winkle - Shannon and the Clams
You Can't Call For Love Like a Dog - Holy Holy
Dry The Rain - Beta Band
B a noBody - SOAK
Serpents - Sharon Van Etten
Myth - Beach House
Don't Think Twice - Bob Dylan
Between The Bars - Elliott Smith
Made of Concrete - Kagoule
Chwyldro - Gwenno
I Gave It All - Aquilo

Monday, 13 July 2015

Discoggs 19 - The Mid Summer one

Festival season is in full swing here in the UK and we've been blessed by a tonne of great artists playing in sunny fields so far. Here are some tracks that have had me dancing on grass or soothing my sore head the morning after the night before as I wash the glitter off my face. I hope you find something to enjoy wherever you are enjoying your summer. 

Dreams - Beck
Detroit - Gaz Coombes
Jane - Girlpool
Knows It - Kagoule
Crybaby Demon - Crocodiles
Mystery - Boxed In
Put Your Number in my Phone - Ariel Pink
Friends Hurt - We Are The City
Wonderlust - Kid Wave
Oino - LA Priest
Don't Wanna Lose You - Ex Hex
Headbanging in the Mirror - Ducktails

Sunday, 24 May 2015

Discoggs 18 - the one at The Great Escape

My adventures took me to Brighton last weekend for The Great Escape festival. Like a little SXSW it's the perfect opportunity to catch up with friends from all over the world and find new artists to fall in love with. Here are some of the bands I got to see there, and at other gigs I've been fortunate enough to catch this week:

Spring King brought out my inner 17 year old in a church hall (yes, really) and Dry the River made my heart soar at the end of Brighton Pier. I thought I might die of heat exhaustion at a sweaty PINS show and became transfixed by Viet Cong as they played a surprise gig in London. I lost my heart to Gengahr (again) and had it soothed by Little May. 

Spring King - Demons 

Viet Cong - Continental Shelf

Gengahr - Bathed in Light

Little May - Boardwalks

Dry the River - Shaker Hymns

John Joseph Brill - Muscle and Bone

Arkells - Leather Jacket

Tei Shi - Bassically

PINS - Girls Like Us

Service Bells - Almost/Never

Fist City - Endless Bummer

Marlon Williams - The Ballad of Minnie Dean

Hein Cooper - What Would You Say

Saturday, 9 May 2015

Discoggs 17 - The one where I went to Spain

My adventures this week have taken me to Southern Spain for the SOS 4.8 festival. More specifically, to see my beloved National, but more on them later.
Here's a playlist of SOS artists, artists from a selection of other gigs and other tracks that have tickled my ears this week:


The Maccabees new single is fantastic - but not on Spotify. You can see it on YouTube here:

You can find all of the others across Spotify AND You Tube:

Spring King - City. As seen on blistering form at the Victoria in Dalston this week. Basically, I'll be following them around this Summer.

Metronomy - Reservoir. Bringing ample dancing opportunities to SOS 4.8.

Vaccines - Melody Calling. I'd stupidly written them off as 'not for me' before this single. I'm a chump sometimes.

Lori Meyers - Telescopio Hubble. Looks wise, Lori is like a skinnier, hipster version of Dave Grohl. He's obviously a bit of a national treasure in Spain, judging by the love from the huge crowd in Murcia.

The National - Sunshine On My Back. Surprise recent release from the boys. I was kinda hoping for new material to be debuted at the festival this week, but I'll just have to be patient. This will keep me going.

Sharon Van Etten - I Don't Want To Let You Down. I saw the magical Sharon again at Shepherd's Bush Empire. And Reader; I cried.

Gengahr - She's a Witch. As seen at last week. One of those occasions where the support band have the possibility to eclipse the headliner...

Temples - Mesmerise. Pulsing through their set in Spain.

Patti Smith Band - Because The Night. I've been reading her memoir, 'Just Kids' in anticipation of seeing her next month. What a wonderful woman.

Circa Waves - T-Shirt Weather. Indie pop complete with confetti cannon and 2,000 smiling kids at SBE last week.

HIGHS - Summer Dress. HIGHS are in London recording their new album with Luke Smith (who produced the last Foals album). They have talent by the truckload. Absolutely joyful.

Herb Alpert and Tijuana Brass - Spanish Flea. Ear worm.

Monday, 13 April 2015

Discoggs 16 - The SXSW 2015 Review

After the goldrush, you can find the real treasure...

Here are my full SXSW top 50 (ish) as a Spotify playlist and as a mammoth YouTube compilation.

It’s been pulled together from the bands I saw and loved, those who put CDs into my hand in bars, those who were the names on everyone’s lips and some that I just happened upon. The playlist is in no particular order, as befitting the serendipitous nature of dashing around venues, letting plans fall to the wayside. Without the overblown madness of previous years (Lady Gaga, Public Enemy and Smashing Pumpkins playing in a parking lot, vending machine and empty store respectively last year…) it was possible to concentrate on the things that really matter – finding talent that you might otherwise miss.

Friends took me to see Daniel Romano, a stranger (now a friend) took me to see Whitehorse, others introduced me to Songhoy Blues and Go Wolf. I saw the ‘unheard of’ Stromae (erm, 250million views on YouTube) and the frankly bonkers Wet Secrets. I fell for bands from Vancouver to Nova Scotia, from Sydney to Copenhagen and Brussels to Glasgow. There’s no doubt, SXSW is my little slice of heaven. There’s nowhere else I’d rather be than surrounded by dear friends and fantastic bands.

I recommend that you find a sunny spot, sit back with a Shiner beer and press ‘shuffle play’. You’ll be enjoying the best of Austin in no time.

Sunday, 1 March 2015

Discoggs 15 - The fashionable one

My recent adventures have seen me working in the world of fashion. Here's what's been keeping my ears fashionably occupied during London Fashion Week.

Or for those of a visual persuasion:

Chateau Lobby #4 (in C for two virgins) - Father John Misty
I caught Father John Misty and his rock star good looks twice this week - both stripped down acoustic and in full, throbbing form with his band. A contender for Gig of The Year already. Beg, borrow or steal a ticket to see him this summer.

How We Be - Sinkane
Sinkane wears it well

Mind Your Own Business - Delta 5
Post punk snarl. Wish they were still with us.

Audacity of Huge - Simian Mobile Disco
If I was strutting down the catwalk, I'd want it to be to this.

Where's Your Car Debbie? - Slaves

Go Out - Blur
FINALLY. Taken from 'Whip It', their first studio album as a 4 piece in 16 years. Tickets for the Hyde Park show are selling like hot cakes.

The Seeds You Sow - Prides
Prides are made of glitter and sequins.

Jasper - Hooton Tennis Club
Latest signings to my beloved Heavenly Records.

Muscle and Bone - John Joseph Brill
I've put this on a playlist before, but that's because it's ace. I finally got to see him live this week, plus full band. Excellent beard.

Alone In My Home - Jack White
To be honest, I'd fallen out with Jack a little, but there's something of a return to form on this, IMHO.

Breakfast in Bed - Dusty Springfield
RANDOM FACT: There's a 9ft tall statue of an Easter island head in my back garden and Dusty paid for it. I promise you this is the truth.

Rock and Roll is Cold - Matthew E White
On tour in the UK, US and Canada from this week. Hope you get to catch him...

Turn Away - East India Youth
The boy wonder can do no wrong in my eyes. Here's a glimpse into the next album 'Culture of Volume'. Released 6th April in the UK and 7th April in the US.

La Ritournelle - Sebastien Tellier
Sebastien makes the cut simply by virtue of being chicly Ferrrunch. And because La Ritournelle is one of the greatest songs ever written. Obviously. Makes my heart soar/sore.

Until next time...