Blog posts by year and month January 2011

Posts (91)

  1. Well, I'm on snow patrol today along with my colleague Sue Charles. We're currently watching a deep area of low pressure out over the Atlantic. This will move towards Britain tomorrow pushing a front northwards bringing a mixture of rain, sleet and snow. Met Office Weather warning. So anoth...

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  2. Oriel Ynys Môn celebrates its 20th birthday this year, and the gallery is kicking off 2011 with a new exhibition by Anglesey-born artist Iwan Gwyn Parry. This new collection of work was completed by the artist over a period of two and a half years. The exhibition is based on two primary themes...

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  3. 9am Friday morning update: There are no waves showing for South Wales yet but fingers crossed that the swell is with us by this afternoon. The outer wave buoys are all picking it up now with the swell ranging between 3-5 metres off Southern Ireland. However, with the swell comes strengthenin...

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  4. The summer of 1715. The Old Pretender is about to land with his army in Scotland, rallying supporters of the Stuart cause to his flag. George I and the whole Hanoverian dynasty appear to be resting on the edge of disaster. Discontent is rife everywhere and in the north Wales town of Wrexham, a...

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  5. In part two of my guide to what's happening in the year ahead, I asked a whole bunch of friends and music industry colleagues for their predictions, tips and any music they were particularly excited about this year. Here's what they said. Huw Stephens, BBC Radio One A Happy New Year to you! I'm looking forward to hearing what Carmarthen band Trwbador will be doing in 2011. They're a duo who I saw play at the Swn Festival and they have something special going on; an intricate, downbeat melodious sound which reminds me of earl-90's lo-fi bands like Gorky's. From Neath, I hope Friends Electric continue to make good music. Their recent single was a belter, and I think they, along with Man Without Country, should be tickling the right spots when it comes to dance-influenced rock. The Welsh electronic scene is on it; listen out for drum'n'bass genius Rockwell and electro whizz-kid Crash Disco! Marcus Warner, music plugger and blogger "For pure party power, Cardiff's Astroid Boys should make a break through beyond Wales - loved every song they did in 2010. Brutality Will Prevail's second album was one of the best and heaviest releases of 2010, so looking forward to hearing more. I would be shocked if Save Your Breath's debut album didn't have lots of great songs on it in 2011. Hip hop wise, Mudmowth And Metabeats new EP will be awesome if the lead track Maad Tight is anything to go by and Squid Ninjaz are due to release their next album. "Finally, I expect Man Without Country and/or Tiger Please to probably be the next big bands out of Wales." Kaptin, DJ and Blogger on Chromekids.com "Astroid Boys have got alot of people talking this year and with a tight live show and a fresh sound that mixes up the dubstep and grime but with a straight up old Skool hip-hop party mentality I think we're going to see some great things from them this year. "Stagga finished the year with a single on Starkey's Slit Jockey label and I know he has more releases lined up for them as well as an album dropping on Rag & Bone, plus more tracks with artists like Basnectar. So think we're going to see him go from strength to strength. His long term partner in crime Monky has to get his dues this year because he is making some seriously exciting music. "It will be interesting to see how the line up change of CRST from Rodski to Raj Clart (aka Don Leisure aka Jamal) goes down. I've got no doubt those boys are going to lock down the whole game this year. In the meantime Rodski in his new guise of Ratcatcher has already started to make waves on a solo tip and has some stunning house releases lined up. 2010 saw 'Cardiff' nights in Amsterdam and Manchester and I think more cities will start to recognise that there's a great scene brewing here in south Wales generally. "Doc Daneeka had a great year and although he seemed to go rather quiet near the end, his 10 Thousand Yen label releases continued to fly off the record shop shelves. Last year felt like everybody in Cardiff was marking out the territory and showing what we can do, this year it's time to go into battle and make sure the world can't help but acknowledge it. Lots of new faces popped up too such as Esoterra, Exotope and STD, I think we'll definitely hear a lot more from them this year." Romesh Dodangoda, producer, Longwave studios "Well, without being biased [he is a little interested - Beth], I am sensing great things for Town. The industry is really loving them and it seems the shows are getting busier and busier. Their launch show in Cardiff was sold out which was great, this year for them is going to be good I think. Tiger Please - fingers crossed they step it up a notch as well and build on the success what they've created in 2010. "I have a good feeling Straight Lines will do well this year. They write amazing songs and again, another band whose shows just keep getting busier. I think they'll have a great year." And with the wider world view, here's Welsh boy Mike Williams, Features Editor at NME "If 2010 was the year of shouty placard waving, then 2011 looks like being the year of gloomy boo-hoos. Well at least January does, anyway. Before the first month is out, the new White Lies record and the debut LP from moody newbies Chapel Club will have been released. Personally, I'm much more excited about Esben And The Witch, a trio of bummed out doom-bringers from Brighton whose dark and droney debut, Violent Cries, comes out on the ace Matador Records on the 31st. "Sticking with drone, Egyptian Hip Hop's debut album should be out in the first half of the year too. If you've seen them live recently, you'll have clocked that the jingly-jangly Cure-a-like indie swing of their early tunes has been ditched in favour of a more Dungen-sounding heavy throb. You'll also have noticed that EHH are the glummest looking, couldn't-give-a-monkeys-est, contrariest folk around, so by the time the record comes out, they might be making thug-step, or some other rubbish. However it works out, these guys rule, so it's bound to be awesome. Canada always seems to donate an amazing band or two each year, and my favourite so far are the mighty Suuns. I don't know much about them at the moment, other than their debut comes out on Secretly Canadian on 10 January. If you're into your music skipping between stabby synths, hands-in-the-air metal and These New Puritans-style menace within the space of one song, check them out. My last two tips for 2011 are both causing a massive buzz, but for different reasons. Surf rocking North Walians Y Niwl - featuring Welsh rock royalty Pete from Gorky's and Sion Glyn - are a band too good to ignore, which must be why everyone from Huw Stephens to Marc Riley to the Sunday Times has been banging on about them recently. Along with Islet, Y Niwl will be the main men of Welsh music this year. Wu Lyf's buzz comes from the fact that no-one knows too much about them. The Wu stands for 'World Unite', the Lyf for 'Lucifer Youth Foundation'. They're from Manchester, they make shouty drone-pop, and you don't really need to know any more than that at the moment. For now, just check this out and then tell me they're not ace." Carl Morris, editor of Y Twll "I'm very active online and I could name scores of blogs I love. But I'll keep it to two that will be tickling my feed reader in 2011, both from Wales. Babylon Wales is dedicated to unearthing the most surprising nuggets from Wales' cultural underground - books, films, art, music, that sort of thing - to shock and delight in (un)equal measure. Fideobobdydd is not even a year old but always surprises me with its cross section of YouTube gold, from music to bloopers. My favourite post so far was the story of Branwen, a LEGO animation made by schoolchildren in Pwllheli. I have a feeling my favourite music podcasts will include the diverse joys of Jazzfync a Gemau Fideo, DJ Jaffa and Radio Amgen." Noel Gardner, Buzz Magazine "My tips for 2011 from Wales include Brandyman (who will release a single this year all being well); 33 (who were supposed to have a single out already), Baronic Wall (this guy lives in Portland right now, but is a South Walian who makes crazy cassettes); Ghast (who just put out a mini-album); H Hawkline (also just put out an album); Nukebirds (Chris from Taint's cross-Atlantic metal band - it says here there is an EP being mixed) and Doc Daneeka ('future garage' dudes already luv him). Tips for 2011 from other places: The Love Triangle, Mob Rules, Liturgy, Bone Awl, Thou, Crazy Spirit, Turquoise Jeep Records, Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, Uzala. Some of those are newer than others but I expect all of them to release good music in 2011; they are also 'tips' in the sense of 'I think you should hear them' rather than 'I think they will be big and well known'. Just so's you know." Thanks to all my friends and contributors, its good to see what everyone's excited about. Feel free to share your comments below with us too. Happy new year!

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  6. Well first of all, a very Happy New Year to you all! Most of us ended up with a white Christmas, although no fresh snow fell in Wales on 25 December. We haven't got all the figures in yet but it looks like last month was the coldest in Wales for at least 100 years and for central England, th...

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  7. Happy New Year to you all. I hope you had an enjoyable and relaxing time, although if family were involved, then I sincerely doubt it! ;) This year I completed my first ever Xmas Day Swim at Coney - the first one to have snow on the ground apparently. I wasn't sure what to expect but c...

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  8. I've been scouring blogs, websites and some of Wales' busiest bands for a comprehensive guide to what 2011 has in store for us music fans. Here are some new bands to look out for. Vvolves Vvolves Releasing an EP in the foolish week of 21 December, erm, when everyone's in ...

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  9. Wales is certainly not lacking when it comes to stories and tales of kings or great warriors. From the mythological heroes of the Mabinogion, where legend mixes easily with reality, to genuine historical figures like the Lord Rhys or Llywelyn the Great, there are so many to choose from. Yet one ...

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  10. Find out what you can expect to see in the night skies above Wales over the next few days with Dr Huw Boulton from the National Museum of Wales: Dr Huw Bolton In January, the BBC's Stargazing LIVE will link astronomers - both amateur and professional from around the world in a three-day event. There are also plenty of other many activities being organized by local astronomical societies and the National Museum of Wales, so everybody can join in. So what is astronomy all about? It is the oldest of the physical sciences and involves the study of the Sun, Moon, planets, stars, galaxies and most fundamentally of all, how we attempt to answer the biggest questions in Nature - the origin and structure of the Universe itself. Whether you are a stargazer, a serious astronomer, or someone who just wants to know more about the Cosmos, astronomy is an outdoor pursuit which you can do from your back garden, with no more elaborate equipment than the naked eye. Even if you are not able to get out and see the stars, the ideas and vistas revealed by astronomy hold extraordinary fascination. Astronomy in Wales has a long history that extends way back over the centuries. There have been a number of pioneers in astronomy in the Principality, and in 1609, whilst Galileo was making his Earth-shaking observations through the newly-invented telescope in Italy. Meanwhile here in Britain, Thomas Harriott in London and his friend William Lower in Carmarthenshire, Wales also acquired telescopes which they used to observe the Moon. During the 1850s John Dillwyn Llewelyn and his daughter Thereza made some of the earliest photographs of the Moon from their private observatory at Penllergaer near Swansea. In 1888 Isaac Roberts of Denbighshire took the first photographs of the famous Andromeda Galaxy, revealing detail of its spiral structure never seen before. This galaxy is visible to the naked eye, and can be seen as a faint misty patch high in the southern sky on autumn and winter nights and is 2.5 million light years away from our Solar System. The recent solar eclipse captured by Kev Lewis at South Stack, Anglesey on 5 January 2011. It was called the 'Little Cloud' by the 10th Century Persian astronomer Al Sufi, and is the most distant object visible to normal unaided eyesight. Its faint glow is the combined output of the billions of stars that make up this giant galaxy. If you have a pair of binoculars, they will give you a great view of this magnificent object. Closer to home, Wales has also received visitors from our own Solar System, not aliens unfortunately, but meteorites - rocky remnants left over from its formation. Famous meteorite falls occurred at Pontlyfni in 1931 and at Beddgelert in 1949 - when the meteorite landed on a hotel. So how can you get involved in astronomy? Firstly, owning a telescope is not a necessity for viewing the night sky. Binoculars are excellent instruments for viewing the skies, and will reveal far more than can be seen with the eye. The UK, including Wales, is lucky in having large numbers of flourishing local astronomical societies, many of which hold public viewing sessions where you can talk to enthusiasts, ask questions, and have the opportunity to use telescopes. Wales, at the moment, is also lucky in that large parts of the nation are still relatively free of artificial lights - the careless use of which blots out the stars making them difficult to see from cities, and increasingly, many smaller towns. Large parts of the country are still free of light pollution however, especially our National Parks. If you want to know more about astronomy, how to take part, what to look for, how to use a telescope (or anything else), follow the BBC's Stargazing Live event, and come along to one or more of the free events being held across Wales to celebrate the night sky. At any event, there will be a wide range of people with different levels of experience, so don't feel shy about asking questions. Dr Huw Boulton National Museum of Wales: See for yourself how these early telescopes worked, and see part of the Beddgelert Meteorite and other meteorites from around the world at the National Museum Cardiff on 8th January 2011 and 2nd April 2011.

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