Archives for July 2011

Adam Walton playlist and show info: Sunday 24 July 2011

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Adam Walton Adam Walton | 12:15 UK time, Friday, 29 July 2011

This week's show is now available via the iPlayer. Please visit the link below any time between now and the start of the next programme.

This week we're baking under superb sunshine in the beautiful, expansive grounds of the Faenol Estate in Bangor, at the 5th Gwyl Gardd Goll festival. BBC Radio (us & the wonderful people at C2) recorded all of the bands on the Y Nyth stage on the Saturday, and I get to treat you to excellent sets from Creision Hud and Vvolves.

This e-mail is five days tardy because it took me a while to recuperate from the festival... my two days there are detailed elsewhere on this blog (Saturday and Sunday). There are a lot of words, quite a few pictures, and some mumbling about feeling "existentially adrift"... that sensation has passed now. I put it down to too much bad news, sunshine and too many hours hypnotised by the white lines on the A55.

Elsewhere on the show: Huw Williams introduces us to Joey and the Gentlemen (1964). Ben Hayes makes a stirring (& almost convincing) case for the non-naffness of Electric Light Orchestra and Lara Catrin translates something jangly and ace (about beer goggles) from Pretty Places.

There are only a couple of debut plays on this week's show (Dev79 & Thrills, The Toy Band, Doom Reggae & Xentrix - so, if you're new/you're ace/you've never been played on the radio before, & you're Welsh/based in Wales or on a Welsh label, please throw your music at me (or recommendations of ace bands you've seen) via: themysterytour@gmail.com (mp3s/download links) or by visiting the BBC Introducing Uploader.

Longwinded, but sound, advice on submitting music to the show is available here:

I'm off to make a panad.

This Sunday will feature a preview of the imminent National Eisteddfod in Wrexham. I'm DJing Maes B on Saturday night (30th) & judging a battle of the bands at the same venue on Monday & Tuesday night. See you there. Or, more appropriately, wela i di yna!

Hwyl,

Adam

IFAN DAFYDD - 'No Good ( 12" Version )'
Llanrug

JEN JENIRO - 'Take Your Time'
Llanrwst

SIBRYDION - 'Uwchben Y Drefn'
Waunfawr/Cardiff

JON LANGFORD & SKULL ORCHARD - 'Tubby Brothers ( Featuring The Burlington Welsh Male Voice Chorus )'
Newport

POKET TREZ - 'Ffati Bwm Bwm ( Featuring Swci And Mr Phormula )'
Caernarfon/Cardiff

DEV79 & THRILLS - 'Off In A Minute ( Featuring Skamma )'
Philadelphia/Barry

EVM (EVERMEAN) - 'Fallin''
Mold

JONNY - 'English Lady'
Pembrokeshire

GRUFF RHYS - 'Christopher Columbus'
Bethesda

SOPHIE MADELEINE - 'Candylion'
Brighton

VVOLVES - 'Sailing From Youth ( Live From Gwyl Gardd Goll )'
Monmouth/Cardiff

VVOLVES - 'She ( Live From Gwyl Gardd Goll )'
Monmouth/Cardiff

VVOLVES - 'Where You'd Start ( Live From Gwyl Gardd Goll )'
Monmouth/Cardiff

VVOLVES - 'Wolves ( Live From Gwyl Gardd Goll )'
Monmouth/Cardiff

LA DECADANSE FEATURING GWENNO - 'Pretty Pretty'
Brighton/Cardiff

SOFT-HEARTED SCIENTISTS - 'Pushing Up Daisies'
Cardiff

UNDERPASS - 'The Bends'
Cardiff

SOPHIE BALLAMY - 'Wolf - Mother'
Llangollen

TOY BAND, THE - 'Tough Tough Love'
Cardiff

HUW WILLIAMS - 'Spoken Contribution'
Swansea

JOEY & THE GENTLEMEN - 'Dummy Dum Song'
Cardiff

HOLY COVES - 'All Around You'
Holyhead

HUW HAUL - 'Joanna'
Llanbrynmair/Clynnog Fawr

SAM AIREY - 'The Blackout ( Radio Edit )'
Anglesey

DOOM REGGAE - 'Funeral Reggae'
Llanfairfechan

XENTRIX - 'Here We Go Again'
Lampeter

CREISION HUD - 'Cyllell ( Live At Gwyl Gardd Goll )'
Caernarfon/Cardiff

CREISION HUD - 'Indigo ( Live At Gwyl Gardd Goll )'
Caernarfon/Cardiff

CREISION HUD - 'Dianc ( Live At Gwyl Gardd Goll )'
Caernarfon/Cardiff

CREISION HUD - 'Katrina ( Live At Gwyl Gardd Goll )'
Caernarfon/Cardiff

CREISION HUD - 'Bedd ( Live At Gwyl Gardd Goll )'
Caernarfon/Cardiff

JOANNA GRUESOME - 'Sugarcrush'
Cardiff

SATURDAY'S KIDS - 'Grey On White'
Cardiff

DEAD RAILS, THE - 'Prove Yr Love'
Swansea/Berlin

GIRLS - 'Vomit'
San Francisco ( Welsh Management )

ROSEVILLE BAND, THE - 'Sister Silvia'
Wrexham/Brynford

LARA CATRIN - 'Spoken Contribution'
Bangor/Cardiff

PRETTY PLACES - 'Dyn, Dynes A Cerddoriaeth'
Llanfair P.g.

WINTER VILLAINS - 'Thorns'
Cardiff

BEN HAYES - 'Spoken Contribution'
Ruthin

ELECTRIC LIGHT ORCHESTRA - 'First Movement ( Jumping Biz )'
Birmingham

JONNY - 'Cave Dance'
Pembrokeshire

BONZO DOG BAND, THE - 'Cool Britannia'
London

Gŵyl Gardd Goll, Y Faenol Estate, Sunday 24 July 2011

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Adam Walton Adam Walton | 15:04 UK time, Thursday, 28 July 2011

I wake up on the Sunday morning existentially adrift. This can feel like the loneliest job. You get to flit around countless, remarkable folk, drawn to their talents, banging your dusty antenna against their luminosity, but you never get in. You're a different species. And that's how it should be, I think. Being friends with people in bands strips you of your objectivity, and objectivity is important if you're spending the BBC shilling.

But with all the talk of Norway and Amy Winehouse; the phone call this morning telling me about a close family friend who had suffered a fatal heart attack at the age of 43; a wife 2,000 miles and a week away in Turkey; a daughter who's been passed from pillar to post; I'd gladly ingratiate myself with The Kooks and promise them a month's worth of airplay for the sake of an empathetic smile.

The only reason I know that I'm awake is that gnawing black feeling in my stomach. When life wants to be cruel and ugly, it knows how to pull out all the stops. The little monsters who follow us all, every day, without having to make a big Stephen King song-and-dance about it, are the most unsettling. And the little monsters are everywhere this morning. They're dancing on my desk, they're in all the unopened emails, they're partying in my fridge and pouring into my house through the radio.

Too much? Probably. But what's the point of writing these if they're not rooted in honesty, and if they don't give you the real reason why what happens subsequently is verging on the miraculous. We all listen to music for different reasons. On a day like today, I listen to music because the really good stuff kills all known little monsters DEAD. (Slams a Chloe Leavers mp3 down on the desk with melodramatic force!)

I immerse myself in the routine of putting the night ahead's show together. If I want to get to the final day of Gŵyl Gardd Goll, the whole three-hour show needs to be tied down by midday. And, despite the incursion of a particularly frenzied batch of little monsters via the BBC Introducing Uploader (they most frequently adopt the form of a Sum 41 tribute band) I meet my deadline. I find the clothes that are least creased and crowbar myself into the car.

Steve Sweet Baboo is on the second stage when I arrive. He knows about the little monsters. His songs are filled with their spoor, but also flash bright with the pathos they hate so much. Initially I mistook Steve for a rather jolly chap, probably due to his attire. But his songs are filled with more heartbreak than any one man should have to bear. I wonder, fleetingly, if he masochistically invites it on himself: picks the girls that are least attainable and most likely to screw his heart up, toss it in the bin, because that keeps his well wet . But Steve ain't no muse tourist.

Sweet Baboo

Sweet Baboo

His most plaintive song, If I Died Would You Remember That You Loved Me, couldn't be more incongruous on a vivid summer afternoon if it arrived in a flashing sou'wester. Its thoroughly unselfconscious lyric, funereal tempo and heart wrenching delivery make the audience shuffle uncomfortably, but it connects and transfixes for those very reasons.

Sweet Baboo isn't too cool to reveal every bloody bruise on his heart. OK, some might say that he rather wallows in the reveal, but not me. Steve is the antithesis to every dead soul that ever said "Man up!", as if the mere fact of having a penis protects you from heartbreak.

A friend says: "I wish he'd bloody cheer up."

Well, I - selfishly - hope he doesn't, not too much anyway. His songs, particularly the music hall melodies and self-deprecatory lyrics, are like buoys scattered on the black, choppy seas we all, occasionally, navigate.

And anyone who can write the line: "And Daniel Johnston has written hundreds of great tunes, and I've got six, So I guess there's some catching up to do, to tell you that I love you" has earnt a permanent place on my soul's jukebox.

9Bach

9Bach

In comparison, 9bach seem superhuman. They ride the little monsters with whips and stirrups. I imagine Lisa Jen not taking any nonsense from dry ice demons. She's a salutary lesson in meeting life head on with a bit of wisdom, a voice that could crystallise rainbows, and a garrulous optimism that'd put that there blazing sun in the shade.

9Bach's startling interpretations of traditional Welsh folk songs aren't - in of themselves - happy, not by any means. But the elemental truth of these songs, the reason they've endured, is that they have an emotional intelligence sewn through the tunes, the arrangements, the lyrics, that is undeniable. They work. It's why they've survived. They're songs about murder, on a murderous day, that make murder feel a whole universe away. How... the hell... does that work?

I'm not about to try and explain.

Lisa's voice is all. If the awe-inspiring view of Snowdonia to our left had a larynx, this is the sound it would make.

I love Yucatan, but I miss them in order to get some food and a drink. Dilwyn Yucatan organised this whole shebang. It feels sacrilegious to not see their set. But, I have to rush from the site to get to Wrexham in time for tonight's show. The lentil curry is an essential, and tasty, diversion.

Cate Le Bon

Cate Le Bon

I don't think I can do the next artist justice. I don't know that smart-ass similes or gushing hyperbole can convey the multifold, otherworldy wonder of Cate Le Bon. I don't know that I can express quite how transfixing her set of entirely new songs was. I want to stress her keening originality, but I don't want to paint her as in any way 'weird', because 'weird' infers quirky or self consciously odd.

But the impression scorched on my ear's retina, that's still there as a fuzzy ember if I shut my ears down to black - is one of a woman being nothing other than herself. Reference points to other artists don't really work, because they come out topsy-turvy and misleading, like trying to describe a fifth dimension to Betty Boop. But, here goes: she's a Dark Knight Vashti Bunyan. An oestrogen Arthur Lee. PJ Harvey as done by Patsy Cline. Nico does Hank Williams. She's a whole other species, like Bowie in The Man Who Fell To Earth.

A little sad, a little distant, a lot beautiful, a perplexing riddle of a woman with songs that take the ether of Neil Young's After The Gold Rush and embroider a whole new tapestry from its celestial threads.

But she's none of these things, really. She's a woman with songs. All of the other magic springs up in the mysterious spaces in her sound. Her skill as a lyricist is rarely commented upon, but I love the see-saw, Sapphire and Steel nature of her words: "Fold the cloth, or cut the cloth", is a line imbued with something vague; like a fragment of a nightmare, but one that you want to revisit.

There is a paean to the moon that is so plaintive the birds stop singing to hear it. It is the best song of the weekend until the next song. It might be called Last Boat Out Of Here; whatever it's called it's like nothing I've heard before. I am quivering. Alan Holmes is sat next to me, equally bewitched. We share a nervous laugh and a few big swear words to try and sum up quite how great we think this is.

Then Cate plays a guitar solo so unusual and perfect I can feel myself slipping far, far away. I hold my hands by my side so I don't get snagged on anything. It's the only place I want to go, embracing the loneliness.

Rheola Festival interview

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Bethan Elfyn Bethan Elfyn | 09:38 UK time, Wednesday, 27 July 2011

This year we've seen a spectacular crop of music festivals pop up around Wales, such as Gŵyl Gardd Goll, Laugharne, Mach Comedy Fest, Gŵyl Arall and many others.

Each week I'm sent new links and hear of the fantastic work being done in sometimes the most remote locations of Wales. Wales has long been the place to hold a great event, from Tapestry at Margam to Green Man, and Wakestock when it started on the side of the Abersoch cliffs - we have the best locations, and the best music-loving crowds too.

So it was good to hear that the Rheola crew decided to build on last year's one-day success, and once again put on an event of like-minded bands from all over Wales inspired by the sound of the 60s.

Here's Tom and Elliot on my BBC Radio Wales show last week talking about everything in the run up to this weekend's Rheola Festival.

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Gŵyl Gardd Goll, Y Faenol Estate, Saturday 23 July 2011

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Adam Walton Adam Walton | 15:04 UK time, Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Gŵyl Gardd Goll has grown an awful lot bigger this year. Bumping into it as I arrive breathlessly late on the Saturday evening is like bumping into a sweet niece or nephew who suddenly got teenage-itis. "My, how you've grown" gets the scowl of derision it deserves. I'm not sure whether the extra lumps and bumps are a good thing. This is an analogy it would be dangerous to pursue.

Last year, there was an outdoor stage you could have squeezed into a Hampstead teepee and a stage in a barn that was, well, a stage in a barn. This year, the proper-stage-erecting-people have been called in. God knows how they've managed to squeeze the 'Secret Garden Festival' (English translation) into their busy itinerary, but they have. If there is one growth industry in the UK, it's stage and PA hire for small to medium sized festivals. Small to medium festivals have proliferated like Viagra-assisted bunnies over recent years.

It's said (erroneously) that the largest man-made structure you can see from space is the Great Wall of China. Well that's now been usurped. The largest man-made structure you can see from space - in July - is the amoebous mass of festivals clustered together, tent-by-jowl, across the span of any field you can tow a portable toilet into in the UK. The sound of bongos emanating into space is the Thing Most Likely To Turn Earth Into A Target For Vengeful Aliens, according to a recent survey conducted by the Pan-Galactic Assembly of Vengeful Aliens. (They Capitalise Everything.)

The first thing I notice as I arrive is the paucity of vehicles in the car park. Alarm bells start ringing, but they might not be alarm bells. Islet are on stage as I troop onto the main field. Islet probably use alarm bells somewhere in their sonic armoury. Walking in as they end their set is like walking in for the very end of an hallucinogenic, Avant Garde, arthouse film (I think I've covered all bases of off-kilter and weird, there).

"I think it's like walking in for the very end of an hallucinogenic, avant-garde, arthouse film," I say.

"I think they're awful," says he. I notice the skin on the end of his nose is purple and peeling. He can't keep his eyes off the stage.

He clearly loves the fact that he hates them. One convert for the Islet cause at least, then.

I go to buy a beer, end up calling one of the security staff a 'fascist' (raised on the Young Ones, what do you expect?) and they threaten to escort me off site. I've only been there for 10 minutes. It's not my fault their bar system is farcical beyond words. If it had been a band, even I - in a straitjacket of fair-minded magnanimity, unable to wield a critical plastic spoon, let alone a flaming chainsaw of vitriol - would have slaughtered them. They weren't 'fascists', though. That word was busy reclaiming the full horror of its meaning in Norway.

"Weren't Islet amazing?" says another friendly face as I skulk away from the shaven-headed men in luminous git jackets.

A band from Liverpool called The Loud are on the second stage. They're good, but they aren't Welsh, so my remit forbids me from wasting any more words on them.

News filters around the site that Amy Winehouse has died. I've been at festivals where rumours have spread before. No matter how big or small the festival, you feel completely removed from the outside world, even if you only left it a couple of hours previously. I've heard, variously, that Paul McCartney had passed, that Liverpool had bought Zidane, that Prince was DJing techno from a noodle bar (Glastonbury 1995). None of those rumours had any foundation of truth in them. They were all received with cynicism. But everyone believed the Amy Winehouse rumour the moment they heard it.

Jen Jeniro

Jen Jeniro

Jen Jeniro were one of the highlights of last year's Gŵyl Gardd Goll. They crowded onto the tiny stage like a football team of frogs on a bonsai lily pad. This year they've got much more room to roam around. They don't. They have all the motive energy of Obelix the Gaul if he'd been dropped into a cauldron of pure THC instead of that suspect magic potion.

But the lack of jumping and thrusting (and the somnambulent burn of their music) is just perfect for this sun-tinged hour of the evening. Bryn Terfel's staggeringly big back garden may have played host to some of the world's finest trained voices, but few can have matched the perfect harmonic synchronicity of this. Jen Jeniro blow shimmering West Coast melodies out over our heads. It's narcotic and wonder-filled. Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young would nod their heads in approbation. We just nod our heads, and the colours flow.

All I was under the influence of, I promise you, was the reddening sun.

I start to unwind a little bit. Lara is here, and David and Alan. And Dyl and Dil. And Theston, Carwyn, Kev, Dic and Llyr. I speak broken Welsh. It's a small crowd, far fewer than the festival deserves. But everyone is relaxed and nicely sun sozzled. I (kind of wish) that Klaus Kinski or Bastions or Future Of The Left or Saturdays Kids were here to shake the spell. But I only wish that for the most fleeting of moments. It's good to float.

Honestly, I haven't touched a thing.

"I hated Islet. They're arse." This was said with some vehemence. Admittedly, the vehemence of someone who looked like they'd been sat in the sun drinking cheap lager all day. Lucky this wasn't a football match.

Land Of Bingo

Land Of Bingo

Back to the second stage for Land Of Bingo. They were the loudest thing I heard all weekend. Big fat electronic kick drums, cranked up to the max, bouncing off Snowdonia behind us, loosening shingle and unwary climbers. Land Of Bingo's music is far from aggressive. But it is muscular, and beautiful. It makes me feel about as homoerotic as I ever do feel.

I admire the well-defined, beautifully structured curves of its Air-like abs. A bicep of bass bulges every now and then, and I go all Ancient Greek and dizzy. Tunes like tousled, sun-bleached hair glint and shimmer. It's beautifully cool music that prickles the skin with a frisson of glisten. I have to leave the tent before their set finishes because I need some fresh air and a paracetamol.

"Did you see Islet? They were AMAZING!"

The AMAZING was bawled right into the middle of my Land Of Bingo-damaged ear. It's still echoing around now, in amongst the tinnitus.

Jonny

Jonny

So, we get to Jonny. Jonny are Euros Childs, formerly of Gorky's Zygotic Mynci and Euros Childs, and Norman Blake, formerly (and still, I bloody hope) of Teenage Fanclub. 'Super' groups rarely work. But if I were to formulate one, and the dream line-up of Andrew Falkous (guitar and vox), John Cale (bass, cello and cheekbone appeal), Helen Love (annoying noises and backing vox), Mike Gibbins (drums) and Cate Le Bon (keys and vox) wasn't available, Euros and Norman would make a dream (and, let's face it, more harmonious and feasible) second choice.

I've loved Gorky's Zygotic Mynci for so long, I suspect I loved them before they were formed and, thus, had something of an omnipotent hand in their formation and subsequent playful glory. I've seen Gorky's many times, and Euros on a few occasions. All the memories burn brightly. Gorky's should be taught in Welsh primary schools.

Their legacy is an inspiration to anyone who has been peddled the myth that you need to learn all the expression and accidents out of an instrument before you can actually play them in public or record with them. They should be a key part of our curriculum. They've certainly done more for the standard of living in Wales, and our international reputation, than simultaneous equations. FACT SQUARED.

I've loved Teenage Fanclub for as long I've been able to badly roll a cigarette, or order alcohol whilst looking down my nose at freshers. A friend once crassly described them as "the musical equivalent of Last Of The Summer Wine, with slightly better harmonies", which made me want to punch him on the nose repeatedly, until his nose went into his brain and recommended that he'd better reconsider his heathenism before I went to work on the eyeballs too. But I don't mind that description.

Teenage Fanclub grew up and away from any need to reinvent the wheel early on in their career. From their album Grand Prix onwards, it was all about heart, craft, humour and melodies that would survive passage through a black hole. And what is not to like about those things? I love Teenage Fanclub. I'd choose Bandwagonesque and Grand Prix over almost all other recorded works. They just fit me perfectly, like gloves of love around my heart.

I'm leaving that in, even though I'm appalled by it as a simile. I'm hoping it may grow on me. You never know.

So, from the moment they start their set with anti-bombast, melodiousness, accidental set-list reading (get some new glasses Norm!) set to a number well below 11, because 11 is crass and a bit of a joke too far, I've got a smile completely circumnavigating my big fat head that doesn't leave my big fat head until I squeeze my big fat head into my car to drive my big fat head home.

Many songs from their eponymous début album are played and the combination of Euros's Rolf the Dog keyboard playing, Norman's green grass strums, and the cloud-dispersingly brilliant way their voices combine, levitates each and every member of the audience, who we could possibly have named here without breaking the word count limit. There was sighing and singing along, shared warmth and humour, and many of the rare good things in life rolled into one. Like a spring walk in Snowdonia. The last home game of the season when your team has already won the league. Christmas with a broken telly. A good food festival providing ample excuse to sample real ales. Or Last Of The Summer Wine, but with much better harmonies.

I loved English Lady and Cave Dance. Where were you to love them, too?

Back to the second stage. The second stage is in a big, long tent. The kind of tent that half posh people have their wedding receptions in. For most of today, the second stage tent has looked as if it could have been waiting to hold a half posh wedding reception. Crowd has been sparse on the ground, but as Yr Ods wrestle technical gremlins to get their set started, all of a sudden it looks like a proper festival. There are hundreds of teenagers here. Where did they come from? Some drunk dancing ensues. That's more like it. There's going to be all kinds of rum shenanigans to give parents nightmares going on tonight.

Yr Ods

Yr Ods

Yr Ods are three bands in one. But like the similarly monikered oil, they're very good at doing a lot of jobs well. They're good at Two Door Cinema Club-like uptempo; good at Cure-ish stumble pop; good at billowing riffs that'd have Brandon Flowers lime-faced. I like Yr Ods a lot. I like the fact that they point David Wrench out in the audience and then say, "it's okay, he loves the attention, don't you Dave?"

I like the fact that they're exuberant. I'm not so keen on some of the synth sounds that appear to have been stolen from the currently out-of-work Europe tribute band from down Felinhelli way (most appropriately, given the venue we're at, called The Faenol Countdown).

I just wish they were more uniformly Yr Ods. A stronger identity of their own throughout everything would benefit them, I think. But I'm aware that the sunburn is kicking in, now. It might have affected my mood.

My day ends watching Echo And The Bunnymen treat a tiny audience as if they were the biggest, most important audience in the world. Seriously. After the Bunnymen allegedly pulled out of the recent Chester Rocks festival, because - laudably - they refused to support a tribute band (Australian Pink Floyd), I worried they may have seen their backsides over the small crowd here. But no, quite the opposite. They sounded taut, brilliant and thrilling.

I left before they played Killing Moon, top contender for my funeral song, because I had a long drive ahead of me.

And the talk on the radio was all about death. Celebrations of life and music like Gŵyl Gardd Goll felt all the more important against that bleakest of bleak backdrops.

Michael Jackson fans in Cardiff, 1988

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James McLaren James McLaren | 13:36 UK time, Tuesday, 26 July 2011

With the announcement of a Michael Jackson tribute concert planned for Cardiff, we've been looking though the BBC Wales archive for material from the last time he played in Wales.

Here's a clip from Wales Today in 1988, just before Jackson played Cardiff Arms Park national stadium. Look out for some great clothes and hair:

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Millennium Stadium rises to the occasion for Jackson tribute

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James McLaren James McLaren | 09:41 UK time, Tuesday, 26 July 2011

Yesterday it was announced that Cardiff's Millennium Stadium would be hosting a one-off, major Michael Jackson tribute concert on 8 October.

Promoted by Global Live Events, who have a solid track record in large events, Michael Forever promises to feature "the world's greatest performing artists" in a "spectacular" concert. The line-up will be announced on Wednesday 3 August and tickets will be available from the following day.

In a statement on the official concert website, Jackson's mother Katherine said:

Michael gave his entire life to the world through his love, his music and his devotion to healing the planet. It is with great gratitude for me to give my complete blessing and full support to what I consider to be the one and only official Michael Jackson tribute concert. The event, Michael Forever - The Tribute Concert, will be held at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff, Wales, on October 8, 2011.

I will be there along with as many members of my family that are available. I am positive that this event will be an event great enough in scale, talent and imagination to form a worthy celebration of Michael's life. It is intended to be the biggest, and the best concert event in the world for many years to come. This is how Michael would have wanted it and I am sure it will be exactly that.

Although the Jackson family are split over the concert (with brothers Jermaine and Randy criticising the timing of the event), at least some of Michael Jackson's relatives are expected to attend.

Global Live Events' president Chris Hunt said in relation to the stadium's sliding roof capability:

"It will not be less than four hours long and, rather than looking like a massive outdoor festival, we can create an intimate atmosphere that Michael would be proud to perform in.

"We wanted to do something decent and worthy of Michael's musical genius yet something fun and authentic that you would envision Michael attending with excitement and joy, surrounded by talent that he respected and loved."

This would certainly be one of the major events to come to the stadium, coming almost seven years after Tsunami Relief Cardiff, its last major, multi-headliner, charity concert.

It is certainly a coup for the stadium, the city and for Wales as a whole. Tribute gigs for stars as super as Jackson are few and far between. The iconic twin towers of the old Wembley Stadium are as linked with the Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert in 1992 as they are with Live Aid seven years earlier.

The eyes of the world would inevitably fall on the city, providing that the level of music stars on display is suitably high. The Freddie Mercury Tribute Concert is still the yardstick by which events like this are measured: David Bowie, George Michael, Metallica, Guns N' Roses, Def Leppard, Elton John and, lest we forget, Spinal Tap all played.

One thing that differentiates 2011 from 1992 is technology. This concert is planned to be shown in 30 countries in 2D and 3D. If this is event is pulled off, Cardiff's reputation as a host city for major events will be massively enhanced.

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Ginger nuts about Exit_International

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James McLaren James McLaren | 09:40 UK time, Monday, 25 July 2011

Remember The Wildhearts? For a while in the 1990s the British rockers were big, with chart-topping albums and a wicked way with a tune. They've been solidly influential, not least upon Cardiff noise trio Exit_International.

Exit_international

Wildhearts frontman Ginger has long been a hero to Exit_International's Scott Andrews and the two have been in contact for some while. With E_I's début album, Black Junk, coming out in the UK through Undergroove on 5 September, the two have cooked up a deal and a guest spot that bode well.Andrews said: "When we completed Black Junk I sent a test mix to Ginger so see what he thought. As a hero of mine, thought some honest feedback would be interesting. Turned out he absolutely loved it and within a week or so he had spoken to The Wildhearts' label in Japan (Vinyl Junkie Recordings) and they wanted to check the album out.

"They loved it too and offered us an exclusive deal."

In addition to this Japanese licensing deal, Ginger asked Andrews to contribute to his forthcoming solo record. Andrews again: "Around this time Ginger offered a track to me from his next solo album project, The Frankenstein Effect. It also features guest spots from members of Pulled Apart By Horses and Hawk Eyes.

"I had total control to smash any kind of vocal, as long as it was extreme. I went back to the studio with [60ft Dolls'] Carl Bevan who recorded the E_I album and nailed it. The album is currently being mixed and slated for an autumn release."

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Adam Walton playlist and show info: Sunday 17 July 2011

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Adam Walton Adam Walton | 12:49 UK time, Wednesday, 20 July 2011

This week's show is now available via the iPlayer. Please visit any time between now and the start of the next programme.

This week's show is a dense weave of breathtaking sonic fabrics, focusing some of its attention on the imminent Gwyl Gardd Goll Festival (Friday 22 - Sunday 24 July - https://gwylgarddgoll.com). , a great independent Welsh festival that does much to support the finest indigenous music, regardless of language, and in a most beautiful location.

So, we celebrate a high number of the Welsh artists who are playing (Gruff Rhys, Yr Ods, Y Niwl, Gallops, Race Horses et al) and there are debut plays - from artists who appeared by magic in my inbox - for Les toiles, R. Seiliog, Kameelion, Anna Madeleine and the Nova Saints.

Hurl more hitherto unexplored music at me (or recommendations of ace bands you've seen) via themysterytour@gmail.com (mp3s/download links) or by visiting the BBC Introducing Uploader.

Longwinded, but sound, advice on submitting music to the show is available here:

Elsewhere on the show our crack team of experts bring you Bethesda's reaction to Joy Division (courtesy of Alan Holmes - this week introduced by a track dedicated entirely to him); a translation of Sen Segur's mighty Cyfoeth Gwlyb (diolch, Lara Catrin) and some marvellous, acid-friend hippy nonsense (take a bow, Ben Hayes).

I'm off to buy the waterproof-est cagoule in Christendom for Gwyl Gardd Goll, and a pair of funky wellies.

Have an excellent week,

Diolch yn fawr iawn,

Adam

METHOD, THE - 'We Don't Know'
Cardiff

SIBRYDION - 'Go! Go! Mo!'
Waunfawr/Cardiff

JOANNA GRUESOME - 'Sugarcrush'
Cardiff

YR ODS - 'Nid Teledu Oedd Y Bai'
Gwynedd

CREISION HUD - 'Indigo'
Caernarfon/Cardiff

GALLOPS - 'Miami Spider ( Ponciau Edit )'
Wrexham

SOPHIE BALLAMY - 'My Friend, The Moon'
Llangollen

NATURE SET - 'You Or Nobody'
Aberystwyth/Sheffield

SAMOANS - 'San Marino 1994'
Cardiff/Aberdare

JONNY - 'I'll Make Her My Best Friend'
Pembrokeshire

LES ÉTOILES - 'The Visitor'
Aberystwyth

R. SEILIOG - 'Backward Crawl'
Peniel/Cardiff

BLAKTRIX - 'Sour Grapes ( First Aid Remix - Radio Edit )'
Cardiff

ESOTERRA - 'Eyes And Fingers'
Cardiff

LAND OF BINGO - 'Bottle It In'
Mold/Manchester

KAMEELION - 'Live For The Weekend'
Rhyl

NUCLEUS - 'Home'
Swansea

IFAN DAFYDD - 'Miranda'
Llanrug

EVM (EVERMEAN) - 'U Want More (featuring Amy Wilson)'
Mold

ISLET - 'Dust Of Ages'
Cardiff

GRUFF RHYS - 'Vitamin K'
Bethesda

FOOT VILLAGE - 'Bones'
Los Angeles

ZINC BUKOWSKI - 'Autopsy ( Walking Ghost Phase )'
Pontypridd/Caerphilly

D J COB - 'Alan Holmes'
Ynys Môn

ALAN HOLMES - 'Spoken Contribution'
Bangor

9 1/2 - 'Overloaded And You're Running'
Bethesda

KEYS, THE - 'When You're Young'
Resolven/Cardiff

ANNA MADELEINE - 'The Angel'
Ogmore Valley/Nant-y-moel)

KITTY COWELL - 'Pen And Paper ( Featuring Lex One )'
Newport/Cardiff

ONE LOOK HOOKED - 'Right Now Trigger'
Cardiff

MR HUW - 'Pawb Di Trio'
Caernarfon

Y NIWL - 'Un Deg Saith'
Gwynedd

RACE HORSES - 'Man In My Mind'
Aberystwyth

VVOLVES - 'People'
Monmouth/Cardiff

NOVA SAINTS, THE - 'Indian Summer'
Bristol/Hereford

HOLY COVES - 'All Around You'
Holyhead

JEN JENIRO - 'Ebeneezer'
Llanrwst

LARA CATRIN - 'Spoken Contribution'
Bangor/Cardiff

SEN SEGUR - 'Cyfoeth Gwlyb'
Penmachno

SWEET BABOO - 'Girl Under A Tree'
Bangor/Cardiff

H. HAWKLINE - 'Clown Catches Fly'
Cardiff

SHY AND THE FIGHT - 'How To Stop An Imploding Man'
Chester/Llangollen

BEN HAYES - 'Spoken Contribution'
Ruthin

THE ZODIAC : COSMIC SOUNDS - 'Taurus - The Voluptuary'
Los Angeles

9BACH - 'Gwydr Glas'
Bangor

CATE LE BON - 'Shoeing The Bones'
Penboyr

HALF MAN HALF BISCUIT - 'Bob Wilson - Anchorman'
Birkenhead

Gwilym Simcock nominated for 2011 Mercury Prize

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Joe Goodden Joe Goodden | 13:08 UK time, Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Bangor-born pianist Gwilym Simcock is one of 12 artists shortlisted for the 2011 Mercury Prize.

Simcock's album Good Days At Schloss Elmau is nominated alongside releases from Adele, Elbow, PJ Harvey and Tinie Tempah. Here's the full list:

  • Adele - 21
  • Anna Calvi - Anna Calvi
  • Elbow - Build A Rocket Boys!
  • Everything Everything - Man Alive
  • Ghostpoet - Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam
  • Gwilym Simcock - Good Days At Schloss Elmau
  • James Blake - James Blake
  • Katy B - On A Mission
  • King Creosote & Jon Hopkins - Diamond Mine
  • Metronomy - The English Riviera
  • PJ Harvey - Let England Shake
  • Tinie Tempah - Disc-Overy

Another Welsh connection on this year's shortlist comes with Everything Everything's Man Alive, which was engineered by north Wales-based producer and sometime solo performer David Wrench.

Last September, when The xx won the 2010 award, my colleague James McLaren wrote a piece on the Welsh and the Mercury Prize. He found a total of four nominations since 1992: Manic Street Preachers' Everything Must Go in 1996 and This Is My Truth in 1999; Super Furry Animals' Rings Around The World in 2001; and Scritti Politti's White Bread Black Beer in 2006.

The Mercury judges have traditionally proved indifferent towards the jazz and classical nominees, leading to accusations of tokenism in the shortlist selections. This year's winner will be announced on 6 September, and we'll wait and see whether Gwilym Simcock fares any better. We wish him well.

Interview: Cuba Cuba

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Bethan Elfyn Bethan Elfyn | 15:19 UK time, Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Releasing their début album Where Else Is Safe But The Road? this month, Cuba Cuba popped into the show on BBC Radio Wales to talk about their past, their present tour, and the future for the band.

They admit that they came up with the name as singer Morgan was studying politics at the time, but it perhaps wasn't so clever when it comes to being found in online search engines.

We talk about Caerphilly, Oxford, parties, and touring, and everything in between, but most of all it's so great to see a band supported by a great label like Walnut Tree Records putting their first body of work together and backing it up with a full UK tour.

Cuba Cuba started as such a young band that their sound has evolved quite a bit since I first heard them, but they've retained the poppy hooks and in tracks like Hong Kong have really moved on leaps and bounds.

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The album is getting some good press too:

Punktastic.com - 4.5/5 "The album is a thinking man's record, but it's one that the band can be really proud of, and with any justice it may creep on a few 'Best of...' lists by the end of the year."

AlterThePress.com - 4.5/5 "Altogether Where Else Is Safe But The Road? is an absolute triumph".

SouthWalesSounds.com - 9/10 "If the summer fails to bring us the sunshine we all hope for, this superb release will inevitably keep spirits high whatever the weather."

To keep up to date with the band's movements try these links:

Interview: Broken Vinyl Club

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Bethan Elfyn Bethan Elfyn | 11:18 UK time, Wednesday, 13 July 2011

Every now and again on the Saturday night show on BBC Radio Wales we invite a band in to play a live session. Having sessions on the show is always a joy, and especially when a band has recently done something to warrant a bit of a grilling, it's always better face to face.

Indeed, it's been a curious turn of events that brought Broken Vinyl Club to the attentions of an influential record label Acid Jazz (who brought us Galliano, Corduroy, Brand New Heavies, Mother Earth, and the Sandals in the 90s) and the Totally Wired compilations) so this definitely was one of the subjects I wanted to cover when they popped into the studios recently.

Broken Vinyl Club first came to my attention thanks to that workhorse of a label See Monkey Do Monkey (home of The Method, The Keys, Houdini Dax and Colorama), who put out a first single by the band last summer, but soon found that fate was going to take the band off their hands.

With new single One Way Street scheduled for release in August, and a wedding on the way, we had a lot to catch up and talk about, including the thriving live music scene in the south Wales Valleys at the moment.

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Acid Jazz has just put a compilation CD called Hipsters 2. It's a mix of rare mod grooves and new mod inspired artist. The Broken Vinyl Club and The Method are on it.

Thomas Søndergård joins BBC NOW as principal conductor

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Laura Sinnerton Laura Sinnerton | 10:04 UK time, Tuesday, 12 July 2011

It was back in 2009 when we first worked with Thomas Søndergård. Our principal conductor, Thierry Fischer, had suddenly taken ill and Søndergård entered the fray last minute to conduct a programme of Sibelius, Mahler, and Brahms. His pleasant manner, efficient, yet in-depth rehearsal technique and obvious passion for the music, left an immediate and lasting impression on us.

As we were already aware that Thierry would be leaving us at the end of the 2011/2012 season, the great and infamous orchestral rumour mill was rolling before Søndergård had even left the studio - could he be the one for us?

Fast forward to Monday 11 July 2011: Thomas is with us to perform a programme of Sibelius, Dvorák and Prokofiev (with the fabulous Baiba Skride). Now, management may have tried to keep it a secret from us all, like a surprise gift at Christmas, but the plethora of cameras and official people in the studio pretty much gave the game away that an announcement of exciting proportions was about to be made. There were very wide smiles abounding in the studio (unusually for a Monday morning) as Thomas was announced as our new principal conductor.

Thomas Søndergård in rehearsal with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Monday 11 July 2011

Thomas Søndergård in rehearsal with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Monday 11 July 2011

With that, it was straight into rehearsal. I won't bore you all with the technical details of the rehearsal, but what came across, as did the first time we worked with him, was a great sense of musicality; a love for telling the story of the music, rather than just getting from A to B in the score. Tonight's concert is one not to miss.

I really do believe this to be a very exciting time for our band. Over the past year, we have won a BBC Music Magazine Award for David Matthews Symphonies 2 & 6 (with Jac van Steen) and were nominated for a Grammy for our recording of Sullivan's Ivanhoe. We have recently had a number of fantastic new appointments in key playing positions within the orchestra, bringing fresh blood and enthusiasm with them.

Mark Bowden, a former RPS Composition Prize winner, has just been announced as our new resident composer (in addition to his role as the Rambert Dance Company Music Fellow) and will be joining Simon Holt on our in-house composition team. The addition of Thomas Søndergård to our already established conducting team of Tadaaki Otaka, François-Xavier Roth and Jac van Steen, reinforces the feeling of exciting times ahead.

Thomas Søndergård in rehearsal with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Monday 11 July 2011

Thomas Søndergård in rehearsal with the BBC National Orchestra of Wales, Monday 11 July 2011

The appointment of a new conductor affords us the opportunity to look back and see how far we have come. It also gives us the opportunity to look forward and, in a way to redefine ourselves, seeking ever greater standards of performance and creativity in our role as a BBC orchestra and as Wales' National orchestra.

With Thomas Søndergård we can continue, in the words of Alex Ross in his book Listen To This, to work as an "individual and an institution bringing out unforeseen capabilities in each other".

Laura Sinnerton is a viola player in the BBC National Orchestra of Wales.

Adam Walton playlist and show info: Sunday 10 July 2011

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Adam Walton Adam Walton | 13:46 UK time, Monday, 11 July 2011

This week's show is now available via the BBC iPlayer.

So, after last week's Half-Term Report on the Best Welsh Noises of 2011 ('so far'), we're back on more familiar, unfamiliar ground this week - three hours marvelling at the best sounds that have most recently arrived in my inbox, including début plays for Dee Shae, Poket Trez, La Decadanse featuring Gwenno (track of the week!), Sion Russell Jones, Falcon Lake, Location Baked, Tegan Newydd, Dirty Sparrows, Sŵnami, The Adelines, Sib, Masters7 and Scribble Man.

Throw new Welsh sounds like fresh fish into the gaping maw of a ravenous seal by mailing mp3s/download links to themysterytour@gmail.com.

Alternatively, the BBC Introducing Uploader is an easy way to scatter your finest tracks to all of the BBC Introducing Shows in Wales (Jen Long/Bethan Elfyn).

Elsewhere Huw Williams dons inappropriate crêpe-soled shoes and sweeps us off to Cardiff in the early '60s, reminding us of the Gary Edwards Combo, who kept the capital twisting before Beatlemania.

Ben Hayes comes in to demonstrate that there was (occasionally) more to Herman's Hermits than music hall comedic chaff. In fact, their album Blaze is something of a forgotten, psych-pop classic. As Ben admirably demonstrates with the track Museum.

Unfortunately, last night's show was interrupted by a network failure between Wrexham and Cardiff which means that two hours 12 minutes in the connection drops and we disappear for a while. Please persevere with us (we do return after a short gap, David Woodward in the Cardiff hub treats us to a little Glow... excellent choice!). This gap in proceedings does mean that all of Lara Catrin's excellent translation of Sen Segur's Cyfoeth Gwlyb is lost.

We'll broadcast that section in full, next week. Sorry for any inconvenience. Special apologies to VJKnievil who got a bit of a fright in his shed in Newport when the connection was re-established.

Our transparent ploy for getting you involved with last night's show was to ask you, via Twitter/text message and e-mail, what your favourite ever gig was. The response was incredible, but - due to the network failure - I wasn't able to round your amazing choices up at the end of the night as planned.

A team of crack IT ninjas is - even as I type this - hunting out the problem. There's nothing quite as reliable as an IT ninja.

Have an excellent week and keep your music/gig info/anecdotes/ace Welsh music requests etc coming.

Thank you/diolch yn fawr iawn,

Adam Walton

IFAN DAFYDD - 'Miranda'
Llanrug

JOY FORMIDABLE, THE - 'A Heavy Abacus'
Mold

KIDS IN GLASS HOUSES - 'Animals'
Cardiff

CAMERA - 'Happiness'
Wrexham

DIDZ - 'Jus Like'
Cardiff

DEE SHAE - 'Around Me'
Newport

POKET TREZ - 'Ffati Bwm Bwm ( Featuring Swci And Mr Phormula )'
Caernarfon/Cardiff

JEN JENIRO - 'Madfall'
Llanrwst

BROKEN VINYL CLUB, THE - 'One Way Street'
Cardiff

UNDERPASS - 'The Bends'
Cardiff

HOWL GRIFF - 'Sunrise'
Aberystwyth

WEEKEND - 'Summerdays'
Cardiff

LA DECADANSE FEATURING GWENNO - 'Pretty Pretty'
Brighton/Cardiff

CREISION HUD - 'Pyramid'
Caernarfon/Cardiff

HUW WILLIAMS - 'Spoken Contribution'
Swansea

GARY EDWARDS COMBO - 'The Franz Liszt Twist'
Cardiff

FERNANDO REY - 'Path Of Least Resistance'
Swansea

SION RUSSELL JONES - 'Indestructible'
Cardiff

JON LANGFORD & SKULL ORCHARD - 'Getting Used To Uselessness'
Newport

TRWBADOR - 'Sun In The Winter'
Camarthen/Cardiff

FALCON LAKE - '7699'
Newport/Cardiff

YAJé - 'True Love Will Find You In The End'
Cardiff

DOGBONES, THE - 'All Your Friends Are Going To Kill You'
Holyhead/London

CHLOE LEAVERS - 'Don't Leave Your Joy'
Colwyn Bay

LOCATION BAKED - 'Barry 1972'
Cardiff

SOFT-HEARTED SCIENTISTS - 'The Comet's Tail'
Cardiff

SWEET BABOO - 'Bounce'
Bangor/Cardiff

TEGAN NEWYDD - 'O. G. Kush'
Holywell/Cardiff

DIRTY SPARROWS - 'On It'
Cardiff

SŵNAMI - 'Mwrdwr Ar Y Manod'
Dolgellau

PETE HICKMAN - 'People Seem To Talk'
Wrexham

JEN JENIRO - 'Ebeneezer'
Llanrwst

LARA CATRIN - 'Spoken Contribution'
Bangor/Cardiff

SEN SEGUR - 'Cyfoeth Gwlyb'
Penmachno

ADELINES, THE - 'Somewhere Along The Line'
Swansea

SIB - 'Chase The Dream'
Swansea

TAFFIA - 'Welsh Mountain Zoo'
Cardiff

MASTERS7 - 'Save Me'
Nefyn

SCRIBBLE MAN - 'Brautigan'
Brecon

IFAN DAFYDD - 'No Good ( 12" Version )'
Llanrug

BEN HAYES - 'Spoken Contribution'
Ruthin

HERMAN'S HERMITS - 'Museum'
Manchester

SAM AIREY - 'The Blackout ( Radio Edit )'
Anglesey

MANK - 'Concentricity'
Menai Bridge, Anglesey

Sian Evans joins list of Welsh number ones

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James McLaren James McLaren | 11:09 UK time, Monday, 11 July 2011

Singer Sian Evans has joined an illustrious list of Welsh artists to have topped the UK singles chart, courtesy of her collaboration with DJ Fresh on the track Louder.

Sian Evans. Picture: Hacker Photography

Sian Evans. Picture: Hacker Photography

The frontwoman of Kosheen provided vocals for the single, which comes 10 years after her first foray into the charts with Hide U, a smash for the Bristol-based trio.

she said: "It feels great; it feels fabulous. I guess that we knew, actually, that we had something pretty special on our hands. We were very confident in it, though we didn't have a clue it would turn out to be quite as viral as it has. We loved it when we were making it and that's a good sign."

Evans, who lives in the Vale of Glamorgan and went to school in Whitchurch in Cardiff, hooked up with drumn and bass producer DJ Fresh (aka Daniel Stein) and recorded five tracks with him. She said Stein kept her abreast of the single's performance as it shot to number one early last week and stayed there, going on to sell over 120,000 downloaded copies.

"He called me and told me it went into the charts at number 69 at 10am on Monday and by 1pm it was number one," she says. "My heart couldn't have taken sitting there and watching that."

The single is the latest in a line of Welsh chart-toppers, stretching back to Shirley Bassey's As I Love You in 1959.

For lots more information and video content about Welsh number ones, visit our Welsh number ones page.

Mad Max vibe for Kids In Glass Houses' new album

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James McLaren James McLaren | 09:08 UK time, Monday, 11 July 2011

Kids In Glass Houses have described their upcoming third album, In Gold Blood, as having a "Mad Max" feel.

Kids In Glass Houses

Speaking to NME.com at the Sonisphere festival Aled Phillips said: "It's kind of set in this Mad Max, kind of Warriors world where people are all reduced to their carnal instincts and desires and are at their most basic.

Listen to a clip of their new song Animals:

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"There's two main characters, one's called Annie May, and the other is Gold Blood and it's narrated by them going on this journey. It's kind of an exaggerated version of my own life."

Listen to a clip of Gold Blood:

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Phillips also referred to two other artists who have been inspirations in different ways: "I'm a massive fan of My Chemical Romance and I love their ambition and their drama, but we also took a lot from Born To Run. Bruce [Springsteen] had this massive theatrical tip around then and we've taken a lot of that on board with In Gold Blood."

In Gold Blood is scheduled for release on 15 August and was produced by A frontman Jason Perry.

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Valleys Kids launch The Factory

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James McLaren James McLaren | 11:16 UK time, Thursday, 7 July 2011

One of Wales' iconic buildings, the old Welsh Hills Works site in Porth, has been taken over by a charity who will be launching it as The Factory later this month.

"The aim of the project will be to develop the building as a creative hub for enterprising young people who are involved, or would like to break into industries such as digital media, and live and recorded music," said a spokesperson for Valleys Kids, which will be formally launching the facility on Sunday 24 July.

The building, the former site of Corona Pop, was taken over in 2000 by the Avanti Group, who launched The Pop Factory with Tom Jones, Stereophonics and Cerys Matthews as guests. The Factory will continue to house Avanti's production facilities and TV studios.

The Welsh Assembly First Minister, Carwyn Jones, will launch Valleys Kids' new initiative, revealing the new logo for The Factory, in an afternoon gala launch, which will showcase the creative talents of young people from Valleys Kids ArtWorks. The event will launch Art Of Dignity, an exhibition of Welsh and African inspired art, featuring the Mzansi Cymru Choir, celebrating the multi-cultural creative links between Valleys and South African communities. The launch coincides with the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad open weekend celebrations as part of The Power of the Flame supported by the Legacy Trust UK.

Richard Morgan, one of Valleys Kids founder members said: "We are facing a challenging future as a charity, committed to supporting children and families in the Valleys. The Pop Factory is a unique facility enabling Valleys Kids to explore its entrepreneurial spirit and will help us to sustain our provision in these communities.

"We are committed to changing the lives and outlooks of young people by offering them experiences and skills in the creative industries and this iconic building is a perfect venue, ideally placed to help us deliver this."

Houdini Dax, Telfords Warehouse, Chester - Saturday 18th June 2011

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Adam Walton Adam Walton | 17:20 UK time, Wednesday, 6 July 2011

I really should have eaten something. Damn my weak constitution, bad time management and insatiable thirst for a well-poured stout! I got a little tipsy and pink-eyed at this gig. I mention this, not out of gormless braggadocio, but because moderate inebriation has made some of the details elusive. The whole night has a fuzzy, nebulous quality to it. Which is a shame because this will prove to be one of those gigs I'd most like to remember in my dotage, when these Dax boys are headlining the O2 Glastonbury Music Mall for the eighth time.

I put Coldplay on in this same venue in 1998. Maybe '99. See? Time and a Guinness tide lap inexorably at my memory's shore. All I remember of Coldplay was that they were keen to watch the cricket with our sound engineer (Mo Plume). When Mclusky came and scared the post-work spritzers out of the hooves of a herd of suits from financial services, that's all I remember about the gig. It's as if my brain filters out all of the truly exceptional moments in favour of peripheral flam.

Houdini Dax first energised my airwaves in January 2009. At the time they were barely scraping sixth form. But it was obvious that - even then - they had 'it'. Not the 'It' that Para Tara What's-Her-Face had: i.e. privilege. But 'it', small 'i', the secret, indefinable, impossible to synthesise quality that separates moribund triers from effortless, gilded, supersonic swans of potential genius. On their first demo, the overwhelming majority of bands sound like drunk elephants trying to ice skate. Houdini Dax are the poncey kid at the rink who can skate backwards on one tippy toe whilst all of his peers tumble over two feet from the gate, splattering luminous Slush Puppy all up their faces.

Following that début, I invited the band to record a session for my show. They ended up being led astray (sonically) by that manic bogeyman, the Jack Nicholson of former drummers for 60ft Dolls turned sound engineers, Mr Carl Bevan. I never - ever - want to know what happened to them during their lost day in his studio. They entered as boys and left as men. Men with a strange dance to their eyeballs and an odd buzzing in their earholes.

It didn't do them any lasting harm. The EP that followed - on the fledgling (at the time) See Monkey Do Monkey record label - was more assured than a psychopathic tightrope walker. Bands as young as this are not supposed to play so well, be this cute, have this high a ratio of thrilling execution to exuberant imagination.

They blessed us with their easy charm, anti-depressant melodies and prodigious talent at this year's Radio Wales Music Day. In 15 too-short minutes they charmed the entire audience with their beautifully tailored pockets filled with TUNES and drew a smile across my editor's face that stands, for me, as the enduring image of the day. And they have just released a début album that will have anyone over the age of 25 weeping into their joyless cornflakes. It's disarmingly good. It's not perfect, but it's closer than most: a boggle-eyed tumble through three musical brains that have absorbed all of the grafted guile of early Beatles, Supergrass and the lysergic otherness of Syd's Pink Floyd.

It's a crackerjack of an album. Fizzing, colourful, a fun-packed thrill ride that proves there is exciting chemistry yet to be had out of fearless youth, strings, skins and a well-thumbed record collection. There are a couple of bona fide, killer songs: Robin You Lie, O.L.L. and Fizzy Moon. What the remainder lack in memorable hooks or distinguished songwriting, they make up for in enthusiasm and gusto. Sometimes a band can get that intoxicated by the racket they're making that they forget to take the songs with them. And Houdini Dax are a little guilty of that, but this is nitpicking with a microscopic comb. As a début album, it's within grappling distance of SFA's Fuzzy Logic or the 60ft Dolls' Big Three.

It's live that they make most sense. The broad smiles, unaffected stagecraft and luminous enthusiasm all amplify the best qualities of their songs: all super retro cool, jigging with their instruments (bass), being the mod Buddy Holly (guitar) and the most magnetic drummer in Christendom. Like Supergrass or the Furries (again) there's something indefinable about the band, some heady, uncontrived charisma that just makes you like them the moment they get on stage. You could imagine them all living together in a Help! style terrace, getting up to endearingly slight mischief. But there is more to Houdini Dax than Monkees wannabees, and an awful lot more than Britpop revivalism. Britpop was - for the most part - a celebration of self-limited mediocrity and laddishness. Sparks of intelligence were frowned upon unless you happened to do it in an Oxfam suit, festooned in droll irony.

Houdini Dax are all about sparks.

So, they're a blast. But some of their hinges are over tight. Now that they have this most impressive musical foundation in place that means they can play almost anything that has gone before, I'd like to see them loosen the screws, crank themselves up, and jettison themselves upwards on a completely new trajectory.

And I'll make sure I'm there to coo at it. Soberly.

Adam Walton playlist and show info: Sunday 3 July 2011

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Adam Walton Adam Walton | 17:07 UK time, Wednesday, 6 July 2011

This week's show is now available via the iPlayer. Please visit the link below any time between now and the start of the next programme.

The show, live from Bangor, is a little like the beginning of one of those sprawling shows on American cable TV. It's the 'Previously on Adam Walton' bit right at the start; a quick summation of what's happened in Welsh music *So Far* in 2011. The reason I'm doing this is because so much great music has stumbled or been cajoled into my inbox this year, it will be impossible to sum it up in one fell swoop come December, which is what we normally do. A half-term(ish) report seems fitting.

Also, I'd spent the last week in bed with tonsilitis. I thought that was a kids' ailment, something that guaranteed a day off school watching TV all day with a bottle of Lucozade. But it was a bit worse than that. When you start hallucinating fellow radio presenters throwing cats at you, and you're convinced it's real, you're some way south of being helped by a fizzy glucose drink.

So, there is more great noise than usual packed into this week's three hours. And there was still an awful lot that merited airplay, but that wouldn't quite fit into the flow of things: Pulco, Cowbois Rhos Botwnnog, Toy Horses, Trwbador, Land of Bingo, Plyci truly, there has been a noticeable surge in the amount of fascinating music this year. Well, at least from where I'm sitting.

It was incredibly difficult - even at this midpoint of the year - to choose the best 40-ish tracks. Everyone, for example, appears to have a different favourite track on Gruff Rhys' Hotel Shampoo, which is obvious testament to that album's depth and quality.

Next week's show is going to make up for lost time with regards all of the new tracks that have been building up like magic plaque on a lollipop-addicted dragon's teeth. (Dragons are renowned for their terrible dental hygiene. Well, you try finding a toothbrush down the local chemists that will withstand temperatures in excess of 1000°C.)

New releases/updated release info/demos/gig announcements and provocative correspondence should be directed towards themysterytour@gmail.com with contact info/relevant web links and a short biography.

You can also submit music to the show via the BBC Introducing Uploader.

I really hope you enjoy this week's selection of sounds. It's a great insight into the boggling amount of musical creativity in Wales. Let me know what you think, especially if you have tips for anything I may have overlooked.

Many thanks/diolch yn fawr iawn,

Adam

STRANGE NEWS FROM ANOTHER STAR - 'I Am Weatherproof'
Cardiff

JOY FORMIDABLE, THE - 'The Greatest Light Is The Greatest Shade'
Mold

IFAN DAFYDD - 'Treehouse'
Llanrug

SATURDAY'S KIDS - 'Whisper In My Ear'
Cardiff

LLEUWEN - 'Cawell Fach Y Galon'
Bangor

PAPER AEROPLANES - 'Days We Made'
Milford Haven

GENTLE GOOD, THE - 'Aubade'
Cardiff

GALLOPS - 'Joust'
Wrexham

DAUWD - 'Shimmer'
Llangollen

EVM (EVERMEAN) - 'U Want More (featuring Amy Wilson)'
Mold

XXXY - 'Ordinary Things'
Swansea

MASTERS IN FRANCE - 'Mad Hatter'
Caernarfon

ALAN HOLMES - 'Spoken Contribution'
Bangor

TYNAL TYWYLL - 'Emyr'
Bethesda

CHLOE LEAVERS - 'Don't Leave Your Joy'
Colwyn Bay

ANNI ROSSI - 'Candyland'
Chicago/New York (cardiff Label)

COLORAMA - 'Candy Street'
Benllech

JONNY - 'I'll Make Her My Best Friend'
Pembrokeshire

EXIT INTERNATIONAL - 'Glory Horn ( Alt. Edit )'
Cardiff

ASTROID BOYS - 'Welcome To The Zoo ( Flying Skulls Remix - Radio Edit )'
Cardiff

SKINDRED - 'Cut Dem'
Newport

TINY SKITZ - 'Grime Is The One'
Newport

DISCORD - 'Sunday Dub'
Cardiff/Bristol

Y NIWL - 'Saith'
Gwynedd

GRUFF RHYS - 'Sensations In The Dark'
Bethesda

MOWBIRD - 'Holy Moly Me Oh My'
Wrexham

SHY AND THE FIGHT - 'Living ( Sweeping The Nation Comp Version )'
Chester/Llangollen

JEWELLERS - 'To Live In Your Pocket'
Newport

SPARROW AND THE WORKSHOP - 'Snakes In The Grass'
Wales

KEYS, THE - 'I Tried To Find It In Books'
Resolven/Cardiff

HOUDINI DAX - 'Robin You Lie'
Cardiff

WHITE NOISE SOUND - 'Sunset'
Swansea

LITTLE ARROW - 'Boat'
Cardiff

PETE LAWRIE - 'Just Dust'
Penarth

METHOD, THE - 'Whip Around'
Cardiff

TELEGRAM FROM THE QUEEN - 'Thrashopolis'
Cardiff/Newport/Bristol

KORELESS - 'Up Down Up Down'
Bangor

JUMPING BACK SLASH - 'Kwaai Sneakers'
Ikapa/Wrexham

LOOSE CAPACITOR - 'Theme From Robin's Nest'
Ruthin

METABEATS - 'The Snap Featuring Mudmowth, Rtkal & Ruffstylz ( Radio Edit )'
Cardiff

VICTORIAN ENGLISH GENTLEMENS CLUB, THE - 'Bag Of Meat'
Cardiff

WE ARE ANIMAL - 'Luminous Lights'
Bethel/Caernarfon

LARA CATRIN - 'Spoken Contribution'
Bangor/Cardiff

FFA COFFI PAWB - 'Lluchia Dy Fflachlwch Drosda I'
Bethesda

BEN HAYES - 'Spoken Contribution'
Ruthin

YAZOO - 'Nobody's Diary'
Basildon

SAM AIREY - 'The Blackout ( Radio Edit )'
Anglesey

Adelina Patti's castle up for sale

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James McLaren James McLaren | 08:20 UK time, Wednesday, 6 July 2011

Craig-Y-Nos, the mid Wales castle which was once home to Adelina Patti, the greatest soprano of her day, is up for sale to anyone with a spare £1.5 million.

The opera house at Craig Y Nos

The opera house at Craig Y Nos

Patti, who died in 1919 after a stellar singing career and high-flying social life, bought the castle, which is now a Grade I listed building, in 1878 and installed her own opera house.

Craig-Y-Nos ('rock of the night') has been run as a country house hotel for the past 10 years, but in its heyday as Patti's country retreat it played host to some of Europe's great and good: the then Prince of Wales - the future Edward VII - stayed there, along with the Crown Prince of Sweden and Henry of Battenburg.

The ornate opera house part of the property is decorated with the names of her favourite composers and musicians, among them Verdi, Rossini and Mozart.

Conservationist Mark Baker told the Western Mail: "It's a hidden gem. The theatre there is one of the most sumptuous private theatres in Wales. There are none to compare to it now because theatres were not kept. A lot of [Adelina Patti's] vision is still existing there, with the backdrops and murals."

Picture courtesy of McCartney's Estate Agents.

Kids In Glass Houses curate Merthyr Rocks second stage

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James McLaren James McLaren | 13:06 UK time, Monday, 4 July 2011

More details have been announced for Merthyr Rocks (4 September, Cyfarthfa Park), with Kids In Glass Houses being brought in as curators of the festival's second stage.

Future Of The Left

Future Of The Left

Future Of The Left, Jettblack, Exit_International, Save Your Breath, The Social Club, Spycatcher, Dead Beggars Club and Crossbreaker will play the stage.

Joining local headliners The Blackout on the main stage are Funeral For A Friend, Skindred, Young Guns, Attack! Attack!, My Passion, Revoker, The Guns and Go-X.

Feel free to comment! If you want to have your say, on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login.

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Wanted: funny Welsh songs

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James McLaren James McLaren | 10:26 UK time, Monday, 4 July 2011

This week I'm at a bit of a loss. Whether it's a result of the slightly soporific, lazy-day haziness of the weather or simply an accident of cause and effect, not much seems to be happening.

Sure, there's the Llangollen International Musical Eisteddfod happening and Kids In Glass Houses have been busy with the unveiling of the video for their new single Animals, but there's very little in the way of big news.

So, there are two things I'd like your help with: firstly, fill me in if there's something major that has flown beneath my radar, and secondly, suggest in the comment section below the funniest Welsh songs. Bear with me...

I was thinking some weeks ago about genuinely funny British tracks, and whether there's a uniquely British humour that manifests itself in pop; sometimes it's a Wodehousean arch social commentary, sometimes it's a saucy musical equivalent of McGill's work. Sometimes it's just a musical pratfall.

Here are a few examples of what I mean:

You get the idea.

Feel free to suggest songs from the Welsh canon that makes you laugh, and say why. We'll do a follow-up blog featuring some of the best. If you want to have your say, on this or any other BBC blog, you will need to sign in to your BBC iD account. If you don't have a BBC iD account, you can register here - it'll allow you to contribute to a range of BBC sites and services using a single login.

Need some assistance? Read about BBC iD, or get some help with registering.

Bookies slash odds on Toy Horses before Mercury

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James McLaren James McLaren | 08:14 UK time, Friday, 1 July 2011

Although the shortlist for the Mercury Music Prize isn't announced until Tuesday 19 July, one Welsh band has seen themselves shoot up the list of bookmakers' favourites.

Toy Horses

Toy Horses

Toy Horses - a Radio Wales favourite (watch them performing No One's Ever Gonna Leave You) - have seen their odds come down from 40/1 to 25/1 within the last week.

The step-father/step-son duo of Tom Williams and Adam Franklin have joined the likes of Jessie J and Hurts on 25/1 with their self-titled album, with Ladbrokes, and they're ahead of major names such as Radiohead, Elbow and The Vaccines. Wales also has BBC Wales Music's new bloggers The Joy Formidable at 50/1 for their album The Big Roar.

Tom Williams told us: "It's not very often that you're listed as an 'odd', so we've both put a tenner on!

"We were pretty amazed when the original demos managed to snake their way into people's headphones so for the album to do the same is incredible. We haven't had a major label marketing campaign behind us and have had to rely a lot on word-of-mouth so to see our name surrounded by such huge acts feels great.

"There's a world of difference between being tipped and actually being nominated but all we can hope is that the odds are pointing towards something."

Alex Donohue of Ladbrokes said: "With so many bands on the shortlist there is often a chance we might have overpriced one or two. Music punters with their ears to the ground can make it pay and we're seen some shrewd money for Toy Horses since betting began".

The shortlist is announced on 19 July while the award ceremony is on Tuesday 6 September.

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