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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Bad Flamingo – ‘Running from the Lawman’

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Mysterious masked musical duo Bad Flamingo introduced us to their slick blend of Americana-tinged, exquisite pop finesse with stellar single, ‘Lucky Ones’.

Close to 12 months on and the pair are back with a new single ‘Running from the Lawman’ – and its one that not only continues the high quality but also the western theme. It drips of infectious, sun-drenched tones as it shuffles along strutting basslines, smokey acoustic guitars and a drum beat that trots as the smouldering vocals slink their way between the instrumentation, meandering through the hazy, desert like atmosphere. There is a real air of mystery and intrigue to ‘Running from the Lawman’ with its desert-drenched guitar riffs and swaggering sun-beaten groove. At just over three minutes, ‘Running from the Lawman’ slinks its way into your head, and will be be pleasantly floating there all day.

Listen to ‘Running from the Lawman’ below and rumour has it that a debut LP may be forthcoming in the not so distant future, so keep an eye out for that too.

Accü – ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’

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Accü is the multifaceted, genre blending solo project of Cardiff-based musician and producer Angharad Van Rijswijk.

Formerly one half of Welsh folk-electronica duo Trwbador, Van Rijswijk previously introduced Accü with a series of super and distinctive slices of otherworldly electronica, and collaborations with Cornershop and Kayla Painter. Accü’s is prepping the release of debut album Echo The Red, due out late this summer, and it is preceded by lead single ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?'; and oh my, it is quite something.

An offbeat exploration of imaginative experimentation and colourful, kaleidoscopic sounds, ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’ is a spellbinding cosmic sojourn to psychedelic space. Fusing elements of frayed electronics, squelchy synths, soft-edged psych-pop it tips along a tidy drum beat with reverb-laced vocals swaying through a cascading sequence of crackling, frazzled electronics. Moving with a dreamlike, otherworldly aura; ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’ is colourful, imaginative and fearlessly exploratory off-kilter pop.

Feast your ears on the hazy magic that is ‘Did You Count Your Eyes?’ below, it’s out on May 25 through the impressive Libertino Recordings.

Accü’s debut album Echo The Red is due latter this summer – eyes peeled.

Introducing: David Hopkins

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Las Vegas-based Irish artist David Hopkins has enjoyed a colourful musical career thus far – a former member of LiR, being involved in The Who’s 2001 Quadrophenia Tour, Damien Rice’s 2010 album There Are Debts before going on to front his own band Bombay Heavy in 2014.

Now, it’s Hopkins’ turn in the spotlight, showing off his solo wares with new album Overlook, which came out last month on St. August Records. Lead single ‘C’est La’ is a funky little groover that bobs along with a blend of psychedelic tones, laid-back rhythm, swooning strings and some French touches. A startlingly impressive intro with so much sparkle. ‘Irresponsible’ meanwhile, is quite simply sumptuous as a subtle jazz / bossa nova vibe is married with lush arrangements, swooning strings, with sweetly sung vocals above for a sound that is positively glowing. Two exquisite examples of Hopkins’ pristine popcraft; it is classic, rich, atmospheric and well beyond the reach of most.

You can check out ‘C’est La’ & ‘Irresponsible’ below and Overlook is out now, you can tune in here.

Drens – ‘No’

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Drens are a fuzz loving garage rock / surf punk foursome from Dortmund/Cologne, Germany.

Their debut ‘Wilhelm Be Gone’ was released in January of this year and has been quickly followed by the brand new single, ‘No’. A freewheeling frenzy of energetic surfy punk-tinged indie, ‘No’ packs a hell of punch. Unleashing itself with all the energy of a coiled-up spring, wave after wave of hi-octane racy riffs, spiky guitars, snappy drums and rumbling basslines coalesce with equally springy (Zebedee-esque) vocals for a whirlwind salvo of raucous vitality. A lively, infectious and fun tune, it is a bona fide two-and-a-half minutes of punky indie gold (and the video is pretty nifty too).

Listen to ‘No’ and its predecessor ‘Wilhelm Be Gone’ below: