Category: News

LIVE: Meadowlark, Talking Heads, Southampton (12/10/17)

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Meadowlark, Southampton, 12/10/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

Meadowlark returned to Southampton to play an intimate gig at The Talking Heads as part of their UK tour marking the release of debut album Postcards. The band – comprising Kate McGill and Dan Broadley – have been doing their thing for a few years now, steadily building a committed following along the way.

The audience were captivated by the duo throughout the night, listening intently and clearly enjoying themselves. In addition to the band’s enchanting performance, their clever lighting set-up made for a very atmospheric show, with the lights flashing in sync with the beat of the music. Continue reading

Sara Diamond – Stay A Little

Montreal pop R&B singer Sara Diamond has been spending this year releasing singles about the ups and downs of love, and has already built up a sizable following on Spotify. Listening to the absolute tune that is Stay A Little, it’s easy to see why. Expect to hear a lot more from this 22-year-old singer-songwriter.

Sara Diamond – Stay A Little

INTERVIEW: The Big Moon

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Juliette Jackson, The Big Moon (© Sync Music Blog)

The Big Moon‘s tour comes to a conclusion next week, with the intrepid foursome having been on the road for almost a month. Conor Giblin caught up with Juliette Jackson and Celia Archer from the band back at the start of their run of dates to chat about their Mercury Prize nomination, the experience of touring with Marika Hackman and plans for the future… Continue reading

DISCOVER… Fire On The Roof

FireOnTheRoof.jpgWe like to pay fair attention to new bands here at Sync, and they don’t get much newer than Fire On The Roof. The Cardiff four-piece formed earlier this year and have just released their self-titled debut EP.

Luke Prior fronts the show, He is flanked by ‘crazed Lithuanian axe wielder’ (their words not ours!) Artūras (Guitarthur) Eidukas, and Conor Kelly from the darkest depths of North Wales. Welsh Cypriot Tony Haralambos keeps the beats on drums.

Hearing how polished they sound after just a few months as a band, we simply had to find out more about these chaps – thankfully they were happy to oblige with a chat… Continue reading

TRACK OF THE WEEK: Avante Black – Acid Love

Steadily gaining profile, Avante Black have been on our radar for a good long while now. Former tracks Drug Money and Make A Mess have both featured on past Sync Lists and it’ll come as no surprise to know that latest single Acid Love will be appearing on the next one when our latest playlist is unleashed upon an unsuspecting world next week.

This four-piece London-based collective – fronted by Swede Ottilia Zimmerman Kjulsten – clearly have that knack when it comes to catchy yet slightly leftfield pop, and they’ve struck gold again with this one. It’s delicately and neatly produced, with smooth, confident vocals, and strong earworm-quality hooks.

Don’t miss the chance to catch them for an intimate show at London’s Servant Jazz Quarters on 11 December – tickets here.

Avante Black – Acid Love

LIVE: Tora, The Lexington, London (9/10/17)

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Tora, London, 9/10/17 (© Sync Music Blog)

Midway through a huge month-long European tour, Australian group Tora came to London’s Lexington for a sold-out show full of sublime tunes from start to finish.

The quartet from Byron Bay – Jo Loewenthal, Jai Piccone, Thorne Davis, Shaun Johnston – are entirely DIY in their approach, seamlessly blending electronic production with organic instrumentation to create an immersive and wholly engaging sound.

There’s a soulful groove to what they do – something that comes through loud and clear on listening to their debut album Take A Rest. But the live proposition elevates things further still, enabling you to feel as much as hear the music. Continue reading

LIVE: Dua Lipa, o2 Academy, Bournemouth (6/10/17)

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Dua Lipa, Bournemouth, 6/10/17 (photos: Becca Egerstrom)

It has been a pretty incredible 12 months or so for 22-year-old Londoner Dua Lipa. Her rise from relative unknown to major recording artist has come quickly, helped in no small part by an album packed with material that ranks among the most accomplished British pop music of recent years.

Her current ‘Self Titled’ tour – so named since her debut album is indeed self-titled – has seen her packing out venues around the UK with most dates sold out soon after going on sale. In Bournemouth, the clamour was clear, with the queue to get in going around the block. Once the show started, it became clear that the hype had plenty of substance behind it. Lipa was super-energetic, putting plenty of oomph into her performance throughout and transmitting that energy to the audience.

Her set saw her perform most of the tracks from her debut LP, including opener Hotter Than Hell, Blow Your Mind (Mwah), Be The One, and the collaborative tracks that have helped her raise her profile so effectively this year, namely Scared To Be Lonely, and No Lie.

This was a high tempo, superbly polished display, with Lipa’s wide range vocals flawless throughout, and a visual spectacle emphasised by a slick lighting set-up. It’s all a far cry from when we first saw her live back in 2015, performing at Bristol’s tiny Start The Bus venue (now HY Brasil Music Club) in front of a modest crowd of around 100. Although there was nothing lacking in her performance that night, she has certainly grown in stature and as a performer, with her strong material and powerful live show elevating her to the big league.

She wrapped things up with New Rules, arguably the best pop track of the year so far. It was also Dua Lipa’s first UK number one… and almost certainly it won’t be her last.

Photos: Becca Egerstrom

LIVE: The Hoosiers, The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth (4/10/17)

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The Hoosiers, Bournemouth, 4/10/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

This year marks the 10th anniversary of The Hoosiers’ debut album The Trick to Life. They returned to Bournemouth to play at The Old Fire Station as part of their massive 27-date tour to mark the occasion.

Though the band’s line-up may have changed over the years – now the core being Irwin Sparkes (lead guitar) and Alan Sharland (drums) – this doesn’t stop their energetic performance or ability to interact with the crowd. The duo and their touring band took to the stage dressed in a range of bright colours with the crowd cheering in excitement, before opening with the classic Worried About Ray.

This was followed by Worst Case Scenario, where frontman Sparkes got the crowd involved, clapping along. The band rattled through their debut album in its entirety, with fans of all ages singing along to all the hits, including Goodbye Mr A and Cops & Robbers. Continue reading

Ardyn – Life Happens

The law of averages suggests that Ardyn eventually have to put out something we don’t absolutely love. Well, the Gloucestershire brother-sister duo are clearly not aware of any such rule, having today unveiled yet another beauty.

Finely-crafted pop tune Life Happens is just the latest addition to a wonderfully evolving, maturing sound that is seeing their material seemingly explore new directions on each new song. We initially heard it during their set at the Dot To Dot Festival back in May but the finished version is next level. Life affirming stuff.

Ardyn – Life Happens

UPCOMING: Glowrogues

Here’s one for the jazz cats. Glowrogues are a Manchester-based group of phenomenally talented musicians, led by drummer and composer Jim Molyneux, bringing together jazz, hip hop and funk, with tight horns and serious grooves.

Drawing on their inspiration from artists such as The Cinematic Orchestra, Snarky Puppy and The Robert Glasper Experiment, the band is made up of budding talent from Manchester and Birmingham’s jazz scenes, featuring members of Cinematic Folk Septet The Old Dance School, the Beats & Pieces Big Band, as well as members of experimental jazz fusion trio Apes Grapes.

To mark the release of their new live album, they’re hitting the road. Do catch ’em live if any of these tour dates are anywhere near you: Liverpool (10 October), Manchester (12), Newcastle (16), Leeds (17), Durham (18), and Edinburgh (19). Ticket details here.

Glowrogues – White Lie (Live)

LIVE: Seafret, The Old Fire Station, Bournemouth (29/9/17)

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Seafret, Bournemouth, 29/9/17 (photo: Phoebe Reeks)

Acoustic duo Seafret returned to Bournemouth, this time to support Amber Run at the Old Fire Station as part of their current tour. Though it wasn’t a headline gig, they had a large number of dedicated fans singing along to songs including Give Me Something, Atlantis and Wildfire.

The majority of songs came from their debut album Tell Me It’s Real released in 2016. Their set also included unreleased track, Monsters which was well received by the audience. Continue reading

LIVE: Nick Mulvey, Lemon Grove, Exeter (2/10/17)

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Nick Mulvey, Exeter, 2/10/17 (photo © Sync Music Blog)

For the second night of an extensive schedule of UK, European and worldwide dates over the next couple of months, Nick Mulvey brought his show to Exeter, showcasing songs from his second album Wake Up Now.

As he promised when we chatted with him recently, the full band he worked with on recording the album transfers brilliantly to the live stage. For this show at Exeter Uni’s Student Union venue, the small, atmospheric space was packed out with a crowd drawn from across an incredibly wide age range, underlining the broad appeal of Mulvey’s unique sound.

Often categorised as folk, such a label doesn’t really tell the full story of this artist. Mulvey’s time spent living in Cuba a few years ago significantly impacted his creative leanings, with a somewhat exotic lilt to his phenomenal guitar craft. Right across his repertoire, there are hints of folk, sure, but there is also a real air of world music, along with touches of radio-friendly pop thrown in for good measure.

Among the set highlights were Unconditional, Myela and Imogen from the new album, while old favourite Fever To The Form, from his 2014 debut album First Mind, got the kind of enthusiastic reaction you would expect for what is one of his signature tunes. But he sent everyone home bouncing with Mountain To Move, the upbeat track that features the lyric from which the album Wake Up Now takes its name.

What Mulvey is particularly good at is conveying an on-stage demeanour that is as soothing, approachable and reassuring as his faultless vocal tone. That is one aspect of a winning combination – along with his meaningful songs of substance and highly accomplished musicianship – that sets him apart as one of the most creative contemporary talents around.