Junior Bill release four new self-released tracks on the 15th of November to coincide with a run of dates including supporting Danny Goffey (Supergrass) before returning for a homecoming show in Cardiff.
Junior Bill return after the success of their award-winning concert film “Above Your Station” with brand new music. Their new self-titled release features four fresh, exciting recordings steeped in narratives rooted in the history, myths and culture of Cardiff. The record further expands upon Junior Bill’s distinctive, infectious genre-blurring marriage of ska, reggae, dub, latin, punk and pop songwriting that has won them fans both on stage and on record. It was produced with Andrew Sanders (Jemma Roper, Big Thing) at Kings Road Studio In January 2017 and mastered by Matthew Evans (Keys, El Goodo). Lead track "There's A Wolf In Grangetown" with its ghostly dub and catchy lyrical stream that’s use of accent and lingo is infectious and manages to have echoes of both Jamie T and The Specials but still retains the Junior Bill stamp. It documents the long-held myth that a wolf prowls the streets of Grangetown, a lively multicultural area in Junior Bill’s hometown of Cardiff. Some say the wolf has returned to the area in the past month or so, whilst others say it may simply be a marketing ploy from a certain band. The band's mischievous promo antics have already caused the legendary 'Grangetown Wolf' to become a cult Cardiff figure, with a local tourist gift shop creating their own Grangetown Wolf logos, art being created by its inspiration and even a twitter account posing as the wolf itself.(more here)
Second track “Romas” has a lusher distinctively more latin feel with its use of trumpets and sprightly percussion. Its celebratory chorus was written in defence of an ostracised ethnic community; “This one's for the Romas and the Czechs/They don't get no respect”. Both songs see Junior Bill continue to sing the gritty, street-level stories of urban Cardiff whilst delivering catchy choruses that ring around the listener's brain for weeks, just like the whispered provincial rumours from which the lyrics were born. "The Butetown RATS" begins with a more stripped back a haunting isolated vocal and narrative rooted in the history of Cardiff’s docks. It is then joined by skittering military drums, organs and glistening chords that unravels into an addictive singalong that reminds one of Joe Strummer’s latter work. The song is based on a play written and directed by Cardiff's Kyle Legall called "R.A.T.S. - Rose Against The System". The play and the song documents the plight of rats being forced out of the former docks of Cardiff Bay by the new developments of restaurants, pubs and flats. In the play, the rats come across an unexploded bomb from World War II, and plan to blow it up to return the bay to what it once was. Rob Nichols of Junior Bill performed the song at a performance of the play in the Wales Millennium Centre. A live performance video of the track will also be released on the 15th November. Behind the foot tapping dub pop charm of final track “Old Cardiff Winds” lies one of Nichols’s richest and most incisive lyrical sentiments. The song is based on a folk song written by Mike Johnson, the owner of Cardiff’s historic Coal Exchange venue. Rob recontextualised Johnson’s wistful nostalgic chorus about the glory days of Cardiff’s docks - “Oh don’t you wish you’d been there/there brushing steam from your hair” - to make it a sarcastic comment, bemoaning the superficialities of the city’s modern touristic cosmopolitan drive whilst it forgets its true soul and leaves behind the communities who built the it - "Gonna need a bigger rug to hide all you featherweight thugs/Peoples proud and picaresque, make way for the picturesque". It’s this clash of the new and old worlds, social empathy and political understanding that make Junior Bill’s songs so uniquely pertinent and interesting.
Formed in 2013, Junior Bill have been through a few incarnations, but the writing talents of Rob Nichols have combined with keyboard & synth player Joel Beswick and bassist Rory Saunders since the bands inception. The five-piece is currently completed by drummer Jim Strickland and newest member Luke Owen on vocals, samples and guitar. Junior Bill’s live show has been highly praised for its enthralling energy and has earned them the reputation of being one of the best new acts in Wales.This November they will seek to prove it with a run of support shows across the UK with Danny Goffey (Supergrass) before returning for a homecoming show in Cardiff, their first in a year.
Live dates (*supporting Danny Goffey): 16th November – Old Market Assembly, Bristol 17th November – Yellow Arch Studios, Sheffield* 18th November – The Hug & Pint, Glasgow* 19th November – Cluny 2, Newcastle* 20th November – Sunflower Lounge, Birmingham* 21st November – Soup Kitchen, Manchester* 22nd November – Bullingdon, Oxford* 23rd November – Thousand Island, London* 24th November – Gwdihw, Cardiff