The album, The Terror Of Cosmic Loneliness was recorded and mixed in one massive session with long-time Furries collaborator Kris Jenkins at the helm.
Archives for March 2010
They're one of the Welsh bands most likely to achieve recognition far away from our borders. Apparently they're "cute" too. My daughter said so. But she's seven and more fickle than your average Premiership footballer.
I'm not one for nostalgia, raking over the ashes of rock n roll's past in search of some dying embers of inspiration. However two of my favourite releases this year are coloured largely by the sound of yesterdays long past: Y Niwl's debut EP and The School's crafted and melodically sumptuous debut album, Loveless Unbeliever.
This week's show features sets of live musical wonderment recorded at our recent happening in Hendre Hall, Bangor from Aberystwyth's Georgia Ruth, Tregarth's John Lawrence and Machynlleth's Nia Morgan. Have to get those hometowns / villages in there. It was a magical night and these recordings capture that perfectly. Poor blighters have to put up with me interviewing them, too, although John and Nia at least had the advantage of my recording equipment running out of juice partway through.
The day kicks off with music blaring from around 11am, then a minefield of free/but RSVP parties crop up everywhere, and queues form for even a slight whiff of a 'special guest'. For the past few years the Welsh Music Foundation have helped host a Welsh party alongside many other showcases from the UK, so Liverpool, Belfast, Scotland, Yorkshire, and even some cool labels like Transgressive all congregate at Latitude 30 with the best of British.
Today was the Welsh party, and four of Wales' finest are out at the festival. I caught up with them, on Beth's special shaky cam at SXSW.
It's been a sad week for music-lovers: John Sicolo, Micky Jones, Alex Chilton, Charlie Gillett, Mark Linkous - all passing away within days of each other. The mood has been sombre. None of these men were friends, but the music they either made or encouraged was. Their legacies live on, of course, but there is still a sense of loss. When times are hard it's the good people we turn to for solace and inspiration, and there is less of both around at the end of this week.
The four finalists selected to take part in the Welsh Singers Competition have been announced.
The competition takes place every other year and is open to singers from Wales at the start of their careers. The winner goes on to represent his/her country in BBC Cardiff Singer of the World in the following year.
The picture above shows soprano Natalya Romaniw winning the 2008 Welsh Singers Competition. Natalya went on to reach the final of the BBC Cardiff Singer of the World Song Prize in 2009.
Taking part in this year's final, at St David's Hall, Cardiff on Monday 28 June 2010, will be:
- Catrin Aur Davies, soprano, aged 31, from Newcastle Emlyn, Carmarthenshire
- Rebecca Afonwy-Jones, mezzo soprano, aged 31, from Montgomery, Montgomeryshire
- John Pierce, tenor, aged 27, from Holywell, Flintshire
- Samuel Evans, baritone, aged 30, from Aberaeron, Ceredigion
They will be accompanied by the BBC National Orchestra of Wales conducted by Grant Llewellyn.
Making the decision will be a high profile jury, made up of baritone Bryn Terfel, soprano Rebecca Evans, tenor Robert Tear, Director of Opera at the Royal Opera House, Elaine Padmore, and conductor and Cardiff Singer Music Advisor Julian Smith.
The winner receives a trophy and £2,000 and represents Wales in Cardiff Singer next year. Each of the other finalists receives £750.
A five day festival planned for June at Pembrey Country Park is causing concern among residents of the area and nature lovers who fear the 20,000 capacity event will disturb the local wildlife and ecology of the country park.
John Sicolo, founder and owner of TJ's nightclub in Newport, died yesterday at the age of 66. The ebullient, effervescent former Merchant Navy cook had run the venue on Clarence Place since 1971.
Photo courtesy of Leanne Sicolo
By the time they arrive in Wrexham on a frozen Wednesday night, awed whispers have spread around the internet about how excellent this line up had been in Cardiff, Aberystwyth and Bangor on preceding nights. Expectations are high amongst a slightly disappointing crowd.
Y Niwl play guitar instrumentals that are an extension- rather than a pastiche - of the legacies of Dick Dale, Link Wray and The Ventures. Self-limiting your tonal palette to two guitars, bass, drums and the occasional stab of garage organ (and not a single microphone through which to address the crowd), at a time when most home computers can carry round cornucopias of orchestral possibility, is a modernistic philosophy of sound. The timbre has always been important, but it's never been as important as the choice of note, in this context, anyway.
And Y Niwl know their notes.
Jen's spent the last month recording a documentary on the art of a good house party for Radio 1 Stories. You can hear what The Blackout, The Chapman Family and hot new Manchester mc Envy sound like from Jen's kitchen.
Its all rather entertaining listening as you can imagine, so tune in next week for the highlights.
Some BBC Music links:
The Chapman Family
In anticipation of their new album Dirt, we invited them into the Radio One studios in Cardiff to co-host the Introducing show, and it was pretty chaotic and really fun. They pick the music and picked this week's session band Tiger Please.
If you haven't heard the show already to head to the website bbc.co.uk/radio1/bethanelfyn as the interviews, banter, and general nonsense are quite hysterical.
It all started rather surreal manner as Phil, Kids' drummer wasn't sure if he was needed on the show, so started by picking a track from his bed in Bridgend, and changed his mind, so drove manically down the M4 and came in for the last hour. Bonkers!
Full tracklistings and so forth on our website, so do head to the link above, as it'll just be up there till next Wednesday at midnight.
See the Kids In Glass Houses profiles on BBC Music and BBC Wales Music.
Man founder member - and the only member to have been in every line-up of the band - Micky Jones, has died today, aged 63.
Music Week reports that the prog rock band's guitarist passed away after a long illness.
Live Music Forum founder Phil Little is quoted by Music Week: "In the early seventies they were one of the biggest named bands. When people talk about Man they often mention Deke Leonard, but Micky Jones was the only member of Man who was in every line up."
This week's show features superlative live recordings from our gig in Bangor last Saturday evening.
They were nominated from a whole host of band to play the Maida Vale Intorducing weekender, where the Introducing shows across the UK have a weekend to put loads of bands in session. We picked Straight Lines, they got through to the final line up, joining Django Django and others for the two day's record.
The videos, session tracks and interviews are all up on bbc.co.uk/introducing but I also caught up with the band at their album launch last week at Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff to talk "Persistence In This Game".
But my week has also been really hectic, and dominated with Welsh rock, from Straight Lines in session for the show last week, and interviewing them at their launch party with Cuba Cuba and Tiger Please, to heading to see the Lostprophets end of tour shebang at the Bristol Academy on Sunday.
On Monday I was back with Kids In Glass Houses discussing the Welsh music scene in three minutes - an impossible task - for BBC Radio Wales' news shows, and Tuesday I was in London to interview a few key figures in the Lostprophets story.
It's no coincidence that I'm finding myself in the heart of the Welsh rock scene, as I've started producing a rockumentary for Radio One's stories on the glorious South Wales Valleys and the bands that have been spawned from them.
If you have a vital part of the story you'd like to share, please do so in the comments section, it'll help me with my research.
The BBC Wales Music site also has an excellent section on the whole history of Welsh rock, so while you're waiting for my production to air, head on to the main website for the written word.
Listen to the full interview:
Although it hasn't been officially announced, the band's Twitter feed on 2 March contatained the update "Lostprophets announced as part of the Radio One Big Weekend line-up in May! So gonna come and see us?" linking to a story from DigitalSpy.
The Radio 1 festival will take place in May at the Faenol Estate.
Lucie, along with Kym Marsh, Carol Decker, Penny Smith, Liz McClarnon, Sonique and The Cheeky Girls, will record a version of Cyndi Lauper's Girls Just Wanna Have Fun to run alongside the charity's Race For Life.
According to What's On Wales, the ex-Beatle, ex-Wing and solo star will be trawling "through over five decades of material covering his solo work, massive hits from rock band Wings and, of course, the timeless classics from The Beatles."
The concert is scheduled for 26 June 2010.
Watch a BBC News video of Mike Peters in Wrexham today.