Introducing: CHROMA

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CHROMA are a ferrous alt-rock trio – Katie Hall, Liam Bevan & Zac Mather – from Pontypridd in South Wales.

Welsh trio are a formidable force of nature and self-evidently brilliant guitar band, and led by the charismatic Katie Hall, they have a MASSIVE sound.

As far as an introduction to CHROMA, in a little over three-minutes, single ‘Vampires’ offers that in the best possible way. All scintillating riffs, high-energy, hammering percussion and bass line that pounds incessantly as Hall’s stunning vocals enter the fray, rendering everything else secondary. ‘Datod’ meanwhile, offers another side to CHROMA. Sung in Welsh, it opens quietly, introducing itself with gently a strummed guitar as Hall’s earth-shattering vocals front and centre. It slowly builds, shifting though the gears towards a muscular, cathartic climax that brings the house down around us. The juxtaposition between darkness and light, softness and harsh, is where ‘Datod’ power is sourced, that and the incredibly powerful, searing vocals – as per usual.

Two dizzying displays of what makes CHROMA a very, very exciting proposition indeed. Check ’em below.

 

CHROMA are also one of twelve acts selected from across Wales for Horizons 2018, so you will be hearing plenty more from them over the next 12 months.

Introducing: Badhands

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Dan FitzPatrick, formerly of The Last Tycoons & The Mighty Stef, he has returned with his new solo outfit Badhands.

An album, Predictable Boy is in the offing this year, with inspirations drawn from Nick Cave, Arcade Fire, Villagers and Leonard Cohen. As an opening intro to his new solo wares, FitzPatrick released debut single ‘Waves’ toward the back end of last year. Inspired by the experience when Dan and his brother Jamie swam out to sea to scatter their father’s ashes near their family home in Dublin, ‘Waves’ is a flourishing folk tune that will have your heart fawning from the first note. This warm, glowing organ hum swells, much like the sea, to engulf all in its wake but perfectly complimenting the rusticated guitar picks, that bubbles/buzzes in a Johnny Flynn-esque way and FitzPatrick’s wistful vocals.

A truly beautiful and compelling single, followed more recently by equally endearing ‘Let Me In’. The latest single tells the tale of a late night misadventure as the bluesy guitar and lush string arrangements give the song an ethereal ambience, richly bubbling away, building constantly in intensity to a pulsating finish. The mood is perfectly captured by Jamie Fitzpatrick’s eerie video, filmed at an abandoned farm near Stradbally, Co. Laois.

Dan FitzPatrick’s work with The Last Tycoons & The Mighty Stef is/was sublime and his solo work is of a similar high standard. As a side note, he was exceptional supporting Jeffery Lewis in Newbridge recently so between that and singles ‘Waves’ & ‘Let Me In’, we’ve a lot to look forward to with his forthcoming debut LP.

Listen to ‘Waves’ & ‘Let Me In’ below now:

Horizons Acts for 2018 Announced & Playlist

Horizons-2018

As regular patrons of the site will be acutely aware I have a great fondness for Wales, and more specifically Welsh music (not to mention the footballing powerhouse that is Wrexham AFC).

For a relatively small place, Wales does rather well for itself musically and for somewhere of its size, it is surely unmatched in both quality and quantity. From the towns and cities, mountains and valleys, Wales proves itself time and time again, to be an ever reliable source of creative, superbly inventive and experimental sounds across a myriad of genres.

While I am entirely grateful for the seemingly never ending stream of wondrous sounds, something apparent from a casual listen to Adam Walton’s excellent BBC Radio Wales Programme (see also Bethan Elfyn also of BBC Radio Wales & Lisa Gwilym’s C2 on BBC Radio Cymru) or cursory glance at the Focus Wales lineup or the Horizons showcase.

It is the latter that draws our attention today – a collaboration between BBC Wales and Arts Council of Wales – Horizons aims to showcase exciting new, independent contemporary music in Wales, providing promotional and performance opportunities, incl. festival slots throughout the year.

Just this week, the twelve acts selected from across Wales for Horizons 2018 were announced. There are some familiar names in there; Adwaith, Campfire Social, CHROMA and Nia Wyn, and some new; Himalayas, I See Rivers, Aleighcia Scott, Alffa, Eadyth, Marged, No Good Boyo and The Pitchforks. Either way, new acquaintances or old, it is an incredibly diverse array of artists.

You can, like me, delve in below:

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Introducing: Irascible Fuck Brigade

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Formed earlier in 2017 by one angry Englishman and his machines, Irascible Fuck Brigade are hard to forget; partially due to their rather tasty handle but also because of the ferocity and caustic nature of their electro-punk sound.

While lyrics rage at societies increasing structural inequality and seething anger is never far away from exploding, the music differs in texture and intensity, sliding between punk, rock and electronic. Irascible Fuck Brigade don’t create music which is easy on the ear, rather it reflects a genuine anger and frustration (and a backlash against), proclaiming a defiant message of protest that takes no shit. Take recent singles ‘Slash The Fucking Seats’ & ‘Chocolate Box’, both feisty, ferocious and angry, they chop and change between styles but the instrumentation is intense, releasing the pent up energy like a coiled up spring, whilst the impassioned and flurried lyrics implore the listener to smash the chains. Blistering, righteous and caustic; Irascible Fuck Brigade leave a hell of an impression.

Listen to ‘Slash The Fucking Seats’, ‘Chocolate Box’ & ‘Conservative Dad’ below:

Introducing: Heck Nugget

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Heck Nugget is an indie/garage/punk rock trio – Michael Bartkowiak (Bass), Henry Merschat (Drums) and Connor McBride (Guitar/Vocals) – from Houston, TX who’ve got a flair for a tune, and a DIY ethos.

Heck Nugget’s debut album, Sleeping With The Forcefield On, was recorded in 2016 as a total DIY effort with the trio looking after all recording and mixing duties themselves.

Their latest – equally great in the DIY stakes – singles ‘Never Feel Bad’ and ‘Rookie, Judgement’ demonstrate the dexterity of their sound. The latter is a deeply lo-fi, winding Pavement inspired mix of sullen, vexed vocals, slanted, meaty guitars and percussion. Amid the gloom, melancholy and mournfulness of ‘Never Feel Bad’ there is beauty, defiance and chinks of light shining through. ‘Rookie, Judgement’ is just as anger-filled and takes equally meaty guitars and percussion but throws them through a short, sharp blast of fast paced punk-rock energy. Two rather tasty introductory pieces proving that Heck Nugget are more than skilled in the crunchy indie-rock or scintillating punk-rock stakes.

Both ‘Never Feel Bad’ and ‘Rookie, Judgement’ will be released as part of a 7″ split with an Austin outfit The Red Heroes. Listen to them below, now: