Blogs


Silent Forum Press Hi Res 1 1.jpg
With tongue-in-cheek humour throughout, the themes of  ‘Domestic Majestic’  revolve around self-care in the face of the difficult and mundane early-2020s.  Here’s the Email  is the band at its angriest and mostdestructive - presenting the perspective of the disgruntled office worker, now working from home, juxtaposing corporate life lyrics with jagged post-punk chaos. “Here’s the email / Hope you are safe and well / Hope your family’s well.”

 

Indie number  Me but not Tired  captures recurring thoughts that can plague our minds as we try to sleep (lyrics appropriately written at 2am).  Treat Yourself  is the classic mixture of revealing, uncomfortable lyrics paired with animated, uplifting pop instrumentation. You can hear the band having a ball playing around in much poppier territory than they are used to. “Why don’t you treat yourself to a little self love / You matter, you matter so much / You don’t matter, you matter”.


On the other end of the spectrum you have  Petrol Station Flowers , perhaps the most different and defiant song on the album which could be described as ambient chamber pop. The ghostly slide guitar, reverberating synths and crisp percussion join together as a monumental cloud. It would be the band’s most romantic statement yet if it wasn’t for Better With You, a song which started life as a synth line run through various bass guitar pedals, forming the backbone of the melody. The guitars, trying to find a
way in, pull from classical music tropes rarely heard in rock music. This results in a bombastic, spy movie feel. 

 

Yes Man’s  opening and closing choral sections were devised by producer  Charlie Francis  over 2 years after the band had written the bulk of the track. It sounds as if David Byrne was invited to write a songfor Gran Turismo 5 - the ultimate driving song.

 

The lyrics relate to life working under a psychopath, againneatly fitting into the album’s self-care theme. The eye-catchingly titled  The Grand Burstin Hotel  (named after the dilapidated ship shaped hotel in Folkestone, Kent) provides another curveball with the bandunexpectedly embracing a swing time rhythm.

 

Whilst they wear many hats it all fits neatly on one record.  

 


'Domestic Majestic Tracklist'

1. Yes Man
2. Here’s the Email
3. Treat Yourself
4. Better with You
5. Me but not Tired
6. Cat Pose
7. The Grand Burstin Hotel
8. Petrol Station Flowers
9. U OK?
10. Little Bird

 

 

'Brilliant Band!'


John Kennedy, Radio X 

 

'Silent Forum have the best lyrics'


Bethan Elfyn, BBC Radio Wales

 

'It's my favorite new song'


Gary Crowley, BBC Radio London

 

'Featuring more ideas that some manage in entire careers...that's fantastic'


Adam Walton, BBC Introducing

 

"Eschewing many of the tired troupes of modern indie bands Silent Forum have an ambition, vision andthe tunes that make them irresistible."


God Is In The TV Zine


“Silent Forum are a combination of shadowy post punk and the more accessible side of indie rock. Theymove from cold and brooding to nervy, and almost overbold.” 

Destroy//Exist


“Silent Forum provide a cinematic take on broody indie rock… The band melds thrumming guitar linesand emphatic vocals with an unwavering beat.”


Buffablog


“So many textures and layers...the rippling guitars and the wall of voices that hit you when you first listen to it...i'm absolutley obsessed'


Molly Palmer, BBC Radio Wales


 

Posted in: Music | 0 comments
Photo 24102023 15 12 57.jpg
‘Yn Y Bore ’ is a body of work that capture life changing moments, emotionally, spiritually and geographically over the last two years for singer / songwriter / producer  Gillie . It is the first material the Carmarthenshire born artist has written in the Welsh language and the first songs written and recorded after her return to live in Wales after spending her late teens and early twenties in London.

Deeply influenced by place, Gillie blends musically on songs that make up ‘Yn Y Bore’ gold-flecked guitar loops into an ambient haze on top of relentless driving rhythms. Gillie harnesses the anxieties, stress and struggles of modern life, weaving them into something unapologetic and inherently intimate.

Gillie explains:

“There have been a lot of changes in my life over the time I wrote this collection of songs. It captures a chapter of two years, with lots of uncertainty and big changes - as this track title suggests, I wanted to end the EP on something that says it's all going to work itself out by the arrival of the morning.

This is the first collection of tracks that I have ever released in Welsh, and it feels nice to bind them together within an EP. These songs are really special to me; I can hear the journey that I have gone on as an artist when I listen to them, and a growth in confidence. They are in chronological order with regards to when they were written and released, so I feel it takes the listener on a journey too.

There are moments of light and dark throughout all four tracks, which perfectly encapsulates my feelings around uncertainty and change. It was really cathartic to explore space and texture within this EP, and lay a foundation for what’s to come next.”

Posted in: Music | 0 comments
5 Ways Life in Neolithic Wales Changed the Land Itself

I wrote this for my blog yesterday and, in the process, learned some really fascinating things. Sharing for anyone else who loves a bit of ancient history!

Neolithic Wales was a time of transformation. During this era, the nomadic hunter-gatherers who lived in ancient Wales were mostly wiped out or absorbed by immigrant farmers from the Mediterranean an event that changed not only the way people lived but the landscape of Wales itself. 

The time period we refer to as “Neolithic Wales” began in approximately 4000 BC and lasted until 2400 BC. Archaeologists also call this the Neolithic period or the “New Stone Age.” It wasn’t just that the inhabitants of Britain began farming or using stone tools at this time that brought about a change. It’s more about how and why this transition came about. 

About 6000 years ago, there was a migration of farmers from the Mediterranean to the British Isles. These farmers were the ancestors of the people living in what now is Turkey. When they arrived in Britain, these prehistoric European agrarians found a small population of hunter-gatherers already living on the island, and both groups soon integrated.

The incoming farmers, however, brought with them not only greater numbers in terms of their population size but also better tools and more advanced ways of doing things. Hence, the “New Stone Age” began. They mingled with and eventually mostly absorbed the hunter-gatherers into their own group. The more primitive people learned to farm, raise animals for food, and build homes to live in permanently rather than roam the land. 

New People, New Ways, and Megalithic Monuments


Before the New Stone Age, Neolithic Wales’ people were hunter-gatherers who moved from place to place and found shelter where they could. They built temporary dwellings and stayed in caves or other suitable places. These nomadic peoples looked distinctly different from modern Welsh people, with medium brown to black skin and hazel, blue, or blue-green eyes. 

The Mediterranean farmers who migrated to ancient Wales around 4000 BC were also dark-complected with medium brown skin and dark brown hair and eyes, according to data collected from archaeological finds. Research suggests that they didn’t mix well with the inhabitants of Britain and, within a short period, wiped most of them out. 

Some of the decline of the existing population could have been due to new diseases being introduced. There’s also evidence that the takeover may have been a violent one. In some places, the hunter-gatherers and farmers may have co-existed peacefully. At least a small portion of the hunter-gatherers must have integrated, as some people in Wales today carry DNA that traces back  10,000 years  to the last Ice Age.

Farming in Wales in the New Stone Age


By about 3500 BC, many people in Neolithic Wales were farming. In wooded areas, they cleared forests and used the lumber to build wooden houses. Beyond their villages, they cleared additional land where they could plant their crops. 

The farmers grew wheat, barley, beans, peas and flax. They ground the wheat and barley into flour. They used the flax plant to make linen cloth for clothing, a versatile addition to furs and animal skin garments. However, they continued to find certain plants by foraging, like berries, nuts, and mushrooms.

Another thing these Neolithic farmers in   ancient Wales   did differently than the hunter-gatherers was the amount and kinds of animals they kept. They raised cattle, sheep, goats, and wild pigs that they domesticated. All of these provided meat, but the cows also gave the farmers milk and cheese. The farmers could produce cashmere from the goats’ fleece and, of course, wool from the sheep. They also kept dogs as pets and guardians to protect them against some of Neolithic Wales’ animals, such as wolves and wild boars. Dogs also worked the farms, herding sheep and cattle.

Neolithic Wales’ history is significant because these early farmers shaped and changed the land into what it is today. By clearing trees for growing crops, making grazing areas for livestock, or luring game animals, the soil’s nutrient levels fell over time. The earth also became more acidic. In these conditions, plants such as heather, gorse, and coarse grasses thrived. As the heathland was also being constantly used, it never turned back into woodland, giving much of Wales the landscape it has today. 

Grave Mounds and Stone Circles


The people of this period built stone structures for religious purposes and to honor their dead properly. Cromlechs, cairns, and stone circles are among some of the megalithic structures that tell us more of their story. 

Cromlechs are tombs made of several upright stones with a flat stone laid on top of them. The stones were then covered over with a mound of earth, with the inside being left hollow. There are other meanings of the word “cromlech,” but the above definition is the one that most applies to Wales. 

A cairn is a mound of stones covering a burial chamber, such as a cromlech, or a cairn could be laid directly over graves beneath the earth.  

Stone circles came later in time than cromlechs. Stone circles of varying sizes were often erected around cairns. Sometimes, they may have been constructed to denote places of worship and other times to mark areas for meeting and trade.  

Neolithic Sites: Wales’ Incredible Burial Chambers


Wales is home to many examples of the megalithic structures above, some remarkably well-preserved. Some of these include Bryn Celli Ddu, Lligwy, Parc le Breos, Carreg Coetan Arthur,   Bodowyr , Dyffryn Ardudwy, St Lythans (“Gwal y Filiast” in Welsh, which translates to “Kennel of the Greyhound Bitch”), and Pentre Ifan Burial Chambers.

Pentre Ifan, for example, dates back to about 3500 BC. It is perhaps the largest and one of the most intact of Wales’ Neolithic portal tombs. A “portal tomb” is a burial chamber with two large stones on either side of an entrance. A huge “capstone” (stone placed on top) is then laid across the upright stones. Portal tombs are also called “dolmans.” In Pentre Ifan’s case, the capstone is thought to weigh close to 16 tons. For that reason, it has a third upright stone supporting it from the back. Even though it appears precariously balanced, the monument has stood firm for the last 5000 years.

There are also similar Neolithic sites in Scotland and elsewhere in the British Isles. One of the most famous and insightful examples of a Neolithic stone house built in a place where wood was scarce is  Skara Brae  in Orkney. 

Click here for a  map of ancient sites in Wales Cadw  (Wales’ Historic Environment Service) and  Amgueddfa Cymru  (National Museum Wales) are also excellent resources for ancient artifacts, prehistoric finds, and many fascinating historical gems from Wales’ past. 

Timeline


Neolithic Wales’ timeline spans from roughly 4000 to 2400 BC. This means it began 3000 to 3400 years before the ancient Celts set foot on the island.

4000 BC : Waves of farmers from the area near the Aegean Sea arrive in Britain.

3500 BC : Many people in Wales and across the British Isles are now farming and raising livestock. They also made simple pottery and established more permanent settlements.

3300 BC : Early builders erect some of the first henges and stone circles.

3000 BC : People construct some of the first passage graves. More land is cleared for farming as settlements spread.

2400 BC : The Beaker People arrive in Wales. Metalwork improved with the introduction of bronze, and more sophisticated tools and weapons were developed.

The Neolithic Period for this region drew to a close when a second wave of farmers—the group we now refer to as the “Beaker People”—immigrated to the British Isles. They came from Europe around 4400 years ago, mainly from the Eurasian Steppe (grassland extending about 5000 miles from present-day Hungary to Manchuria). The Beaker People are so-called because of the bell-shaped pottery they made. Their newer technologies of crafting weapons and tools from bronze marked the beginning of the Bronze Age in Britain. 

Neolithic Wales: Facts of Note


In summary, 5 significant ways life changed for people in Wales during the New Stone Age were:


  1. Agriculture replaced the hunter-gatherer lifestyle, meaning people could now establish more permanent dwellings and live together in growing communities.
  2. Over time, farming and animal husbandry altered the land by depleting the soil’s nutrient content and making it more acidic. The landscape went from woodland to cropland and eventually to heathland, which covers many parts of Wales today.
  3. Keeping herds of cattle meant not only a plentiful meat supply but also that milk and cheese became staples in the diet.
  4. Growing flax meant that linen cloth could be spun to make clothing. This durable, breathable, and easy-to-care-for fabric was a considerable advancement over garments made from animal hide.
  5. Because people now lived in communities, they built stone structures to honor their dead, worship, meet for ceremonies or trade, and sometimes act as astronomical observatories. Bryn Celli Ddu, for example, is aligned to the midsummer sunrise. Many of these megalithic monuments were built before the great pyramids of Egypt!

If you’re a fan of ancient artifacts, archaeology, and megaliths, you may enjoy visiting some of Wales’ most intriguing places.  The Old Stones of Wales  is a helpful field guide from a series that covers these historic sites in the country.


unnamed.jpg



This week sees the extraordinary book  Pity the Swagman: The Australian Odyssey of a Victorian Diarist  by Bethan Phillips republished. Described by the late Jan Morris as “a truly fascinating book”,  Pity the Swagman  is a classic that has been out of print for over twenty years. 

The book is the biography of Joseph Jenkins (1818-98) who was a successful farmer in Tregaron in west Wales. Without warning, aged 50, he left his farm and family to travel Australia and live as an itinerant farm labourer. His diaries returned to Wales with him and were kept by one of his daughters for over 70 years, until a chance encounter between the author and Joseph Jenkins’ great-grand-daughter. 

In his Preface to the book, Dr R. Brinley Jones, then President of the National Library of Wales, describes it as “a very moving human story” and Bethan Phillips’ work as both “readable and scholarly”.

The diary illustrates both the state of Welsh rural society at the time – with social and financial inequality between the poor and the gentry - and the corruption in parliamentary elections. The hardships endured by early migrants to Australia and the travails of the Aborigines are described, as well as the fate of the Kelly Gang. 

In her Foreword, written in 2002, Bethan Phillips says:

“The diaries reveal him as a man seeking to exorcise his own demons by attempting to escape from them, but they also reveal him as an astute observer of the people and occurrences impacting on his own eventful life. His dogged determination in keeping a daily journal, often under the most difficult of circumstances and in the most unpropitious surroundings, has given us a uniquely valuable historical record of life in the nineteenth century.” 

Bethan Phillips’ spent 15 years studying the original diaries, which covered a period of 58 years, skilfully choosing extracts from them. She also spoke to Joseph Jenkins’ descendants, still living in Ceredigion, hearing family stories, and reading further writings, including his poetry, which won prizes. She also followed Joseph Jenkins’ footsteps in Australia, which was filmed for a documentary for the BBC. 

Joseph Jenkins’ diary spanned 58 years and is celebrated as one of the richest sources of information about life in rural Australia.  Pity the Swagman  is an in-depth, authoritative study of rural life in the nineteenth century and is studied on the school curriculum in Australia. 


Pity the Swagman 
by Bethan Phillips (£16.99, Y Lolfa) is available now.

Posted in: New Titles | 0 comments

Angharad.jpg
The latest single to be taken from  ANGHARAD’s  debut album,  ‘Motherland’  (out on March 1st) is the joyous and unstoppable  ‘Hormone Called Love’


“If there was ever a song to sum up my recent journey into songwriting and motherhood, it would be this.
This is a feel-good song about music and love. It's about all those gorgeous, juicy hormones we need to bond with one another, make love and... give birth! Oxytocin is often referred to as the love hormone. Along with endorphins and adrenaline, the body creates quite a potent concoction of chemicals during labour.


I practised for birth like I would practise for a gig. In stead of scales and arpeggios, I'd be doing my breathing exercises, my visualisations, my meditations. I took my labour as serious as my music. And it paid off. I had the most wonderful, un-assisted home births - twice - all through the power of hypnobirthing.


I soon realised in the first few days and weeks of my daughter's life, that the only way to communicate with a newborn baby is to sing to them. Singing became a way not only to soothe and entertain my baby, but myself too. This is one of those songs that popped out postpartum, when reflecting on birth and motherhood.



Without oxytocin, the world would be a love-less place. Cwtsh up to your loved ones, and make music people!” -  Angharad  

 


Hormone Called Love Lyrics

 

Chorus

This hormone called love

This hormone called love

Can’t stop thinking of

This hormone called love

Gets you through anything I can think of

This hormone called love

This hormone called love.

 

When I was a child

I wanted to be

A musician first

Then a mother of three

Now I am both

Am I doing it well?

God only knows

Only time will tell.

 

Hypnobirthing yeah

I know that I can and my body will.

Oxytocin yeah,

Cwtsh up baby it’s such a thrill!

 

Chorus

 

I sing in the night

and I sing in the day

I sing when I work and

I sing when I play

I sing to my baby

to get her to sleep

It’s the only way I know

And it sure works a treat.

 

Chorus



 

Motherland – Angharad




I am mother . These are the first words we hear after hitting play on Swansea-based [genre: e.g. pop-folk storyteller] Angharad’s debut album Motherland, and this affirmation resounds across the twelve tracks that follow, revealing the gravity of what initially appears to be a simple statement but is in fact an assertion weighted by the story of mothers and motherhood across the ages. I am strong. I am gentle. I am mountainwoman. I am nourisher . I am life-giver . I am all you need right now. I am the moon and the stars. I am everything to you. I am your world.


It’s said that early motherhood is simultaneously the happiest and hardest period of time a mother can experience, and this is reflected by the juxtaposition of the dreamlike spoken-word jazzscape of title track ‘Motherland’ and the bass-driven midnight-feed nightmare of ‘Postpartum’. In ‘Motherland’ we listen as the tidal pull of the moon ushers new life in – “nocturnal and luminous” – while in the album’s first single ‘Postpartum’ both music and mother unravel in an unapologetic cacophony of fatigue and repetition: “I’m exhausted and I’m broken, exhausted and I’m broken, I’m exhausted and I’m broken…get off my tits.”


As the songs that open the album, these two compositions couldn’t be more different, but as Angharad points out “...this is exactly what motherhood is like. It’s the joys and horrors.  Elation and despair . I put those songs next to each other because that’s how it is in real life – you can feel both emotions simultaneously .”


Although Angharad is an experienced musician, perhaps best-known as part of revivalist Welsh folk band Calan, Motherland represents her first foray into songwriting – something which has long been an ambition. “I’ve always felt like I had a lot to say , but I presumed that someone else somewhere would be saying the same things. It took me so long to realise nobody else can tell my story .” However , it was the double isolation of experiencing early motherhood during Covid lockdowns that finally made her pull on this songwriting thread. “I’ve always collaborated with others when it comes to music, but lockdown forced me to work alone. I’ve written melodies in the past, but never lyrics. I began with making up songs to get my daughter Tanwen to sleep, and then I’d find myself fine-tuning them during daily walks with her in the pram, or making up new ones. I’d never sung before but, after becoming a mother , finding my voice was both a necessity and a gift.”

 

Being out in nature during those spring lockdown walks became a strong influence on the writing of the songs, reflecting how parenthood can promote a realignment with the natural world. But, in ‘Hey , There’s Always the Night’, there is also the acknowledgement that first child can squeeze a creative life – the whirlwind of the day’s activities forcing the artist to snatch inspired moments out of hours. Angharad invites us into this quiet exhale at the end of a day by imagining “when the baby’s asleep, I will write,” but over the course of the song there’s a realisation that mothers never clock off – who else “is keeping us clean and fed and dressed?” – and so the Muse will have to wait her turn.


If nature provided inspiration, then so too did the fact that these songwriting walks were plotted across her hometown Swansea and, when restrictions eased, the wider map of Wales. Angharad’s geographical motherland provides the setting for this album which, even though it covers universal themes, is unashamedly and defiantly Welsh. Angharad admits she has her parents to thank for this desire to tell the stories of ‘here’ rather than ‘there’. Her mother is the Celtic harpist Delyth Jenkins, who Angharad plays violin alongside in folk duo DnA, and her father is the late poet Nigel Jenkins. His long poem ‘Advice to a Young Poet’ is often cited as a ‘go-to’ for writers seeking inspiration and direction – counting last year ’s Forward Prize winner Kim Moore amongst its disciples – and Angharad says it’s a piece she’s revisited a lot while writing the album, having never really put pen to paper before.

 

In the poem, Nigel writes that “[it] may sometimes be there, but here is rarely too small a place.” Entering parenthood after losing a parent yourself often sees raw grief resurface, and so it was a poignant moment to have early listeners pick out the influence of John Cale and Patti Smith on the sound of Motherland, two big musicians from Angharad’s childhood: “I remember my parents driving us to the leisure centre when we were young and Mum telling Dad to stop playing Patti Smith’s Horses because of the swearing. That cassette was on constant rotation in the car , along with Paris 1919 by John Cale. I wasn’t conscious of their effect on my own music, so it was very moving to have people hear their influence on Motherland. It took me right back to listening to them in the car with my dad.”
 

Though she has dabbled with her mother ’s instrument the Celtic harp, the violin has always been Angharad’s main love, taking it up alongside the piano when she was a child. In the foot-tapping funk-inspired ‘Hormone Called Love’, she reveals that when she was growing up she wanted to be both a musician and a mother . But with adulthood came the realisation that women have long been told to choose either children or career: “Having children had a huge effect on my mother ’s career as a musician while she raised us. It was only after my sister and I became young adults that she returned to music properly . Even before I was ready to have children, this question was always something that was on my mind: how can you be both a musician and a mother?” This question is explored across the groove riffs of ‘Hormone Called Love’ and, elsewhere on the album, ‘Because I Am a Woman’ (released as a Double A single alongside ‘Postpartum’) attacks deep-rooted misogyny with a disco upbeat. Angharad wants Motherland to change the narrative, proving that you can make music and be a mother at the same time. These things are not mutually exclusive.


With the exception of playing as part of the album’s string quartet, the recording of Motherland saw Angharad put down her instruments and focus solely on singing and composition. All of the songs on the album (as well as a few that didn’t make it) were written during a prolific period of creativity in 2021, and recorded in the autumn of that year in producer friend Aeddan Williams’ attic studio while Angharad was expecting her second child. Surrounded by vintage Welsh tourist board posters, the two friends were joined by musicians from the Royal Welsh College and managed to record the whole album in a weekend. “Albums usually take a lot longer than that to write and record,” says Angharad, “but once I started writing it was like opening a rusty tap and all the songs appeared within six months. Sleep deprivation helped in a way , giving me more hours in the day to write!”


Luckily the recording of Motherland was wrapped up before Angharad’s second child Idris made an appearance in March 2022, but once again maternity leave has been accompanied by a visit from the Muse: “It’s not sustainable to have a baby each time you need to write a new album, but baby number two was quickly followed by album number two – at least in terms of lyrics and melodies. It seems like my creative process is greatly aided by my time being squeezed.”


As an album of songs Motherland takes a trip across many genres, but with a story that unifies its diverse parts. And this is a story only Angharad can tell – from the soaring power of the string-lush anthem ‘Don’t Burn Bridges’ to the gentle, tragic beauty of ‘Little Baby Embryo’. The second Double A single, ‘I Don’t Know How / Time, Time Again’, will pair two of Motherland’s explorations of time passing – something that is always brought into sharp focus when you become a parent, but seemed sharper again when that happened for Angharad during a global pandemic. ‘Time, Time Again’ was born out of existential questions rising to the surface during lockdown, while she calls ‘I Don’t Know How’ her “anti-botox song…because there is so much to love about getting older .” The album intentionally contains multitudes because that is what motherhood is like. It’s a brightly layered celebration of parenthood, but it also includes a seam of grief for an old life that has been lost forever – a discordant phenomenon that many parents will recognise.


The album closes with a trilogy of love songs for Angharad’s daughter Tanwen. The tender and intimate ‘Every Inch of You’, which feels like the outpouring of a full heart, is followed by the quiet lullaby of ‘Hwiangerdd Tanwen’. Although Angharad predominantly works in the Welsh language for her other musical projects, ‘Hwiangerdd Tanwen’ is the first time we hear Cymraeg on her debut album, drawing upon her work with the charity Live Music Now to help new parents write songs for their children. And so it is time to leave Motherland, the final track ‘Babi Ni’ acting as an ear-worm outro to the record – a foot-stomping slice of fireside folk. Eventually the riotous communal singing falls away to reveal only baby Tanwen, her sweet singing voice closing an album where her mother proves that she has very much found her own. As Tanwen finishes singing, Angharad asks “Eto?” – the Welsh for “Again?” Yes, let’s hit that play button once more, and hear Motherland’s resounding affirmation:  I am mother .

 



Motherland Tracklist

 

1. Motherland
2. Postpartum
3. Little baby embryo
4. I don’t know how
5. Don’t burn bridges
6. Because I’m a woman
7. Hey, there’s always the night
8. Time, time again
9. Hormone called love
10. Every inch of you
11. Hwiangerdd Tanwen
12. Babi ni

 

All songs written by Angharad Jenkins, and arranged by Aeddan Williams. Produced by Aeddan Williams, Samuel Barnes and Angharad Jenkins. Engineered and mixed by Samuel Barnes. Mastered by Charlie Francis. Photographs by Laurentina Miksys Design by Jon Safari

 


Band


Angharad Jenkins: lead vocals, violin


Aeddan Williams: double bass, electric bass, electric guitar, acoustic guitar, backing vocals,
percussion

Alex Burch: drum kit, backing vocals (track 12)

John Close: electric guitar, double bass, electric bass, backing vocals (track 12)

Michael Blanchfield: piano, hammond, backing vocals (track 12)

Samuel Barnes: backing vocals, percussion 

Angharad Jenkins: violin

Aneirin Jones: violin

Haz Thomas: viola

Jordan Price-Williams: cello Horns 

Ted Smith: trumpet

Rachel Head: alto sax (as above and track 10), backing vocals (track 12)

Joe Northwood: tenor sax




Posted in: Music | 0 comments

CC24 lineup Sq v8.jpg



BUY TICKETS HERE



Colour Clash, Gwent's premier one-day festival is thrilled to announce its highly anticipated return to Tredegar Park, Newport on Saturday, 20th July 2024, with headliner ArrDee and special guests Ben Nicky and Shy FX

Early bird tickets for Colour Clash Festival have already sold out, showcasing the immense excitement surrounding this event. However, music lovers can access priority access to the next ticket release here https://www.colour-clash.co.uk/prereg/ UK rapper ArrDee heads up the bill with appearances from, Ben Nicky, and Shy FX, Nathan Dawe, Badger, Issey Cross, Oppidan, Darren Styles, David Rust, Sander Van Doorn, and many more artists will take the stage, ensuring a colourful and vibrant atmosphere throughout the day.

Brighton’s ArrDee is proving to be one of the UK’s most exciting MCs. Adorned with charisma, the self-confessed “cheeky chappy”, rose to instant fame with his feature on Russ Millions and Tion Wayne’s ‘Body (Remix)’. The viral hit became the first drill track to reach number one on the UK charts, soundtracks over a million TikToks, and has clocked up 200 million streams.

The young MC has cemented his place at the top of the charts. He bagged three UK Top 10s in just three months, with ‘Body (Remix), T2-sampling Digga D-collab ‘Wasted’, and the string-

laden ‘Oliver Twist’. Dropping hit after hit, his infectious charisma and witty wordplay have continued to shine through. His most recent, ‘Flowers (Say My Name)’, samples the iconic beats of Sweet Female Attitude’s ‘Flowers’ and Destiny Child’s ‘Say My Name’ behind a garage-heavy deep dive into his Casanova-lifestyle.

Making noise as one of the busiest electronic artists on Earth, Ben Nicky is poised to take on the world. Earning supreme accolades from industry trailblazers, Ben is recognized by Diplo as the “leader of a new movement” and by Armin van Buuren as “one of the hardest working DJs in the industry.” Reaching new heights with chart-topping hits across Beatport, Spotify, and iTunes, Ben has become a household name across the dance music spectrum with his penchant for fast-moving beats. Coined by Pete Tong as a “multi-genre specialist” and “one of the planet’s busiest DJs,” Ben continues to lead fans and artists alike on social media to millions of online followers.

Escape Records, the collective behind Colour Clash Festival, is no stranger to organizing Wales' most prominent music festivals. With a track record that includes successful events such as In It Together Festival, Inside Out, Party in the Park, and the beloved Escape Festival, they have consistently brought world-class entertainment to Newport. Previous events have featured exceptional performances by Example, Jax Jones, Wilkinson, Joel Corry, Professor Green, Lethal Bizzle, Sub Focus, Jason Manford, and Bill Bailey, leaving festival-goers craving more.

As Colour Clash Festival returns to Newport, it reaffirms its commitment to providing an unparalleled experience for music enthusiasts. With its diverse lineup, lively atmosphere, and the expertise of Escape Records, this festival is set to become a highlight of the summer calendar.

Colour Clash will take place in Tredegar Park, Newport on Saturday, 20th July 2024.

Posted in: Music | 0 comments

51662bae9cba738abf0e7e020bfdc024.jpg



AmeriCymru: You have some news for the readers and members of AmeriCymru. Care to share?

John: After what turned out to be a 48-year, 3-month vacation in America, I’m packing up my books, socks, underpants, musical instruments, mementos and (did I forget something?) memories, in order to head back across the Atlantic Ocean to live again somewhere near Port Talbot, Swansea Bay, or as the locals call it–San Pablo on the Costa del Abertawe.

AmeriCymru: What are your predictions for 2024? Will Wales land on the moon?

John: We already did, but it was on the dark side at midnight, and nobody saw us. Predictions? Wales will have a wet summer in 2024. 25, 26, 27...

AmeriCymru: How would you rate the success of the AmeriCymraeg course over the years?

John: I’d have to say it has been pretty successful considering. Our online Welsh language classes are ongoing, and will have to adapt to time differences, but quite a few people have gone on to become fluent.

AmeriCymru: Will you continue to teach Welsh when you get home?

John: Yn bendant/definitely. I’ve already contacted pro-active types in the area, and hope to contribute to the local efforts and also teach music in Welsh. Particularly Welsh Traditional. There’s increasing interest in both language and folk music in South Wales. Relearning and helping people learn Y Gymraeg/The Welsh Language was an act of love for me, as well as a political statement. Being able to speak to my mother in her native language, as well as showing the middle finger to the naysayers and the old enemy across Offa’s dyke, is the gift that keeps on giving.

AmeriCymru:. What can you tell us about life in Port Talbot?  

John: AAAH! I love the smell of the Steelworks in the morning!! I grew up in the shadow of the blast furnaces, and the romance of unbounded emissions has never left me. It’s the classic “Dirty ol’ Town” that everyone born there loves. Most–unlike myself–never leave, or certainly not for long. But I’m looking forward to the strange industrial beauty of the rolling mill on a balmy summer evening, the sweet coughing of the songbirds, and startling contrast of the nearby seashore, gorse-covered hills, rivers and valleys. So, to answer your         question directly, life in Port Talbot is contradictory.

AmeriCymru: Are you for or against Marmite?

John: I would remind you that I’m a part-time vegan (cockles, Mrs Evan’s pies, cod and chips excluded)!

AmeriCymru: Have you missed proper bacon?

John:
I didn’t know he’d left.

AmeriCymru:  Any musical recommendations? Current Welsh bands/artists? 

John: Adwaith, The Gentle Good (no relation). An oldie but goody (no relation), if you can find recordings, the Rocking Sikh with his big local hit “My Poppadom Told Me”, “Turbans Over Memphis”, and “Who’s Sari Now”?

AmeriCymru: What's next for John Good? Will we be hearing from you in Port Talbot?

John: I’ll still be contributing short stories and poetry to Ninnau, and you can always see what I’m up to at my website: https://tramormusic.com

AmeriCymru:. Any final message for the readers and members of AmeriCymru?

John: People have asked me over the years why I had left such a beautiful place as Cymru/Wales. My stock answer was that it was a slow Wednesday. It’s certainly not been slow living in San Francisco, LA, Phoenix and now Prescott Valley, Arizona. Now, people ask me why I’m leaving such a beautiful place as the high grasslands of Yavapai County. Well, I don’t have a trite answer this time. The tug of war of many close friends in both countries is intense, but in the end adventure, family, language, culture and hiraeth have won out. Strange to say these days, having been gone so long, Cymru/Wales is something of a foreign country to me, but is simultaneously my home, an old friend, a half forgotten lover, no one can turn down. I’m thankful for all my American playmates, friends of disaster and fellow dreamers. It has been a hell of a three month trip, and before I change my mind, I’ll just say Hyd y tro nesa/Until the next time.

Posted in: News | 0 comments


unnamed 15.png
Cardiff based post-rock band ' AARONSON'  today release their brand new single   'SHIPWRECKS'  via  Dirty Carrot Records.

Taken from last year's acclaimed debut album  'The Great Swells That Carry Us Will Pull Us Under'  which was a sonic marvel filled with beautifully arranged ambient post-rock and grabbed the attention of numerous corners of the music press and Radio  including  Adam Walton BBC Radio Wales A Closer Listen Where The Music Meets Buzz Magazine Destroy Exist, Amplify The Noise, Ear To The Ground Music,  and many more.

 

SHIPWRECKS  is the final release from  AARONSON’s  2023 album ' The Great Swells That Carry Us Will Pull Us Under'  and charts the turbulent midwaters of the record. It has become a staple in  AARONSON’s  live set, bringing unique time signatures and textures to  AARONSON’s  ethereal, cavernous sound.

 

"A writhing, haunting introduction that lurches unsteadily underfoot, and grows confidently as the song progresses into a sweeping, euphoric midsection."

 

Strings and guitars meld into one as waves of melody intertwine before the band finish with a trademark crescendo; guitar motif's that loop and build as they blossom into a wave of reverb-drenched layers thatenvelop the listener, while the drum patterns become increasingly frenetic and thunderoustowards the track’s breathless end.


AARONSON  are a post rock band from South Wales, whose towering layers of melody and epic crescendos have seen them share a stage with  NORDIC GIANTS COLDBONES A-TOTA-SO  and  FALSE HOPE FOR THE SAVAGE , finished runners up at The Big Gig Wales 2020, be nominated for a Cardiff Music Award and release their cinematic EP  'YOU ARE NOT A STRANGER HERE'.

 

 

QUOTES FOR AARONSON

 

'a perfect post-rock title'

A Closer Listen


"exceptionally adept at what they do!"
Destroy Exist

 

"an aural aura of being caught in between the rolling deluge of the ocean"
Amplify The Noise


"brilliantly craft a near perfect post rock sound"
Ear To The Ground

“Songs that incorporate plenty of slow burn and build up,

resulting in gorgeous crescendos”
The Razor’s Edge

 


'Soaring guitar melodies, pummeling percussion, dips and valleys that explode like fireworks from a bonfire'

Tome to The Weather Machine


 

Posted in: Music | 0 comments

unnamed 8.jpg
WELSH  band  Three Smiles Wide  will donate all the money raised from their latest single to help pay for treatment for a 38 year old with cancer.


Three Smiles Wide were recording the single at Sonic One Studios in Llanelli when they heard that Luke had suffered a seizure whilst walking in central London. Luke Thomas, from Kidwelly in the Gwendraeth Valley, found out he had seven metastases in his brain – type four cancer.


He was originally diagnosed with skin cancer in 2014 and has raised more than £65,000 for Melanoma Focus while walking the entire Welsh coast. The treatment he received originally worked and doctors classified Luke as ‘NED’ or ‘no evidence of disease’.


However, with the new diagnosis, options are beginning to run out and once he builds resistance to the targeted treatment he has been receiving for the past three years, there will be no more alternatives on the NHS.


Luke’s family and friends are now raising money to pay for immunotherapy as he doesn’t meet the criteria for it to be paid for by the NHS. They’ve managed to raise nearly £25k already.


Three Smiles Wide are hoping they can add to that and help Luke exceed the £100k needed for one round of immunotherapy. Drummer Sam Peric went to school with Luke and the trio are all from the Kidwelly area. The three-piece band also played at ‘Luke Fest’ in 2019 to raise money for Melanoma Focus.


The song, called Warm Ice Cream, will be available to buy from Friday,  2nd February 2024 and coincides with a sold out Party for Luke event taking place on Saturday, 3rd February.


Posted in: Music | 0 comments

Silent Forum Press Hi Res 1.jpg
With tongue-in-cheek humour throughout, the themes of  ‘Domestic Majestic’  revolve around self-care in the face of the difficult and mundane early-2020s.  Here’s the Email  is the band at its angriest and mostdestructive - presenting the perspective of the disgruntled office worker, now working from home, juxtaposing corporate life lyrics with jagged post-punk chaos. “Here’s the email / Hope you are safe and well / Hope your family’s well.”

 

Indie number  Me but not Tired  captures recurring thoughts that can plague our minds as we try to sleep (lyrics appropriately written at 2am).  Treat Yourself  is the classic mixture of revealing, uncomfortable lyrics paired with animated, uplifting pop instrumentation. You can hear the band having a ball playing around in much poppier territory than they are used to. “Why don’t you treat yourself to a little self love / You matter, you matter so much / You don’t matter, you matter”.


On the other end of the spectrum you have  Petrol Station Flowers , perhaps the most different and defiant song on the album which could be described as ambient chamber pop. The ghostly slide guitar, reverberating synths and crisp percussion join together as a monumental cloud. It would be the band’s most romantic statement yet if it wasn’t for Better With You, a song which started life as a synth line run through various bass guitar pedals, forming the backbone of the melody. The guitars, trying to find a
way in, pull from classical music tropes rarely heard in rock music. This results in a bombastic, spy movie feel. 

 

Yes Man’s  opening and closing choral sections were devised by producer  Charlie Francis  over 2 years after the band had written the bulk of the track. It sounds as if David Byrne was invited to write a songfor Gran Turismo 5 - the ultimate driving song.

 

The lyrics relate to life working under a psychopath, againneatly fitting into the album’s self-care theme. The eye-catchingly titled  The Grand Burstin Hotel  (named after the dilapidated ship shaped hotel in Folkestone, Kent) provides another curveball with the bandunexpectedly embracing a swing time rhythm.

 

Whilst they wear many hats it all fits neatly on one record.
 

 

'Domestic Majestic Tracklist'

1. Yes Man
2. Here’s the Email
3. Treat Yourself
4. Better with You
5. Me but not Tired
6. Cat Pose
7. The Grand Burstin Hotel
8. Petrol Station Flowers
9. U OK?
10. Little Bird

 

 

'Brilliant Band!'

John Kennedy, Radio X 

 

'It's my favorite new song'

Gary Crowley, BBC Radio London

 

"Eschewing many of the tired troupes of modern indie bands Silent Forum have an ambition, vision andthe tunes that make them irresistible."

God Is In The TV Zine


“Silent Forum are a combination of shadowy post punk and the more accessible side of indie rock. Theymove from cold and brooding to nervy, and almost overbold.”  Destroy//Exist


“Silent Forum provide a cinematic take on broody indie rock… The band melds thrumming guitar linesand emphatic vocals with an unwavering beat.”

Buffablog

“There is something really interesting, almost PIL-like with those guitars." Adam Walton,  BBC Radio Wales

Silent Forum Album Cover HI Res.jpg


 

Posted in: Music | 0 comments
 / 533