Gruff Rhys – ‘No Profit In Pain’

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Hot on the heels of his wonderful new album Babelsberg, Gruff Rhys has shared a new song, ‘No Profit in Pain’.

The track was written for the National Theatre Wales’ NHS70 festival, which is celebrating the National Health Service’s 70th birthday, and all proceeds will go to NHS charities in Wales. It is an ode to the National Health Service on its 70th birthday, defiantly focused on the battle to keep the service in public ownership amid encroaching privatisation – a death knell for the NHS – as profiteers and privateers circle hoping for a vultures picnic. While lyrically defiant, musically is a beautiful, reflective, hazy and whimsical affair, brought to you through the psychedelic eyes of Cardiff’s most innovative musical sons. Bobbing along with soft drums, sparkling synths, rich production and his soothing vocals, it is a rather beautiful and heartfelt ode to the NHS and nod of respect to its staff, for what they do on a daily basis.

Check ‘No Profit in Pain’ below. Buy here: http://bit.ly/NoProfitInPain

Gruff will bring his tour to Ireland this December with the following shows:

Sat December 01 2018 – CORK St Lukes
Sun December 02 2018 – GALWAY Roisin Dubh
Mon December 03 2018 – DUBLIN Button Factory

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.

Horizons Acts for 2018 Announced & Playlist

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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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OMALOMA – ‘Bubblegum’

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Beginning with ‘Ha Ha Haf’ in 2016 and ‘Aros O Gwmpas’ and ‘Eniwe’ a year later, Omaloma have carved out special space on the musical landscape with a series of blissful, spacey psych-pop singles.

Omaloma aka Welsh artist George Amor – formerly of now defunct Welsh psyche supremos Sen Segur – has added ‘Bubblegum’ to this burgeoning list of stellar singles.

‘Bubblegum’ is Amor’s first on vinyl, released as a 7″ single and download, it is utterly divine and arguably marks the high point of the project thus far. Sung in English and Welsh, ‘Bubblegum’ is a four minute sojourn to a spellbinding interstellar paradise. It coolly swaggers as it moves on by, leaving us in a dream-like state, with an alluring blend of slinky, synth-pop with psych brush strokes, woozy synth lines and Amor’s soft, soothing bilingual vocals. Instantly lovable, it breezes gracefully by with a seductive soulful underbelly and charm to woo you, so powerful is this that it will have you headed straight for repeated listens.

Tune in to ‘Bubblegum’ below and the 7″ and download can be found here.

Hippies Vs Ghosts – ‘No Left No Right’

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By now, regular patrons of the blog should be well aware of the esteem in which Hippies Vs Ghosts is kept around these parts.

Under the guise of Hippies Vs Ghosts, Owain Ginsberg, has routinely blown us away time after time with his kaleidoscopic, Morricone meets krautrock sound and latest single ‘No Left No Right’ is no different. Lifted from the stunning album of the same name, the new single is exhilarating, irresistible and manic.

It is a kaleidoscopic mix of feverish experimentation that blows everything else out of the water. The pace is unrelenting, frantically clamouring to one frenetic crescendo after another before momentarily offering a brief breathe with the relative calmness through some rolling drums and undulating waltz of western tones before exploding toward a frenzied finish. This is a ferocious three-and-a-half minutes of breakneck beats, scintillating riffs, off-kilter rhythms and forged together and delivered with a burning intensity – in all seriousness there is nothing quite like Hippies Vs Ghosts, and the project shows no signs of slowing under the careful stewardship of Ginsberg. Hippies Vs Ghosts continues to develop, grow and deliver outrageously good tunes.

Check out ‘No Left No Right’ below and make sure to get on the new album, here.