Skinny Lister and Beans on Toast brought their ‘Double Trouble’ tour to the 1865 venue in Southampton for a truly sublime night of music and raucous revelry.
There was a huge crowd assembled to experience these two acts, and, I have to say, the excitement was palpable. Before either of these musical powerhouses took to the stage, I was milling about in the crowd and I got talking to many of the other revelers. ‘What? You’ve never seen Skinny Lister before?’ was the incredulous query levelled at me. And, I’m now ashamed to admit, this was true. The lady then added ‘You are going to LOVE them! They’re probably the best band I’ve ever seen live!’ And, during the exchange, I found out that she was involved with organising ‘Festibelly’, a festival held in The New Forest, so I thought she must know what she’s talking about. Well, did she? I’ll let you know… Continue reading
What’s this? Is Sync shrugging off its customary refusal to acknowledge the onset of Christmas until around the 24 December to embrace the festivities this early?! Well maybe, but don’t tell anyone. It’s just that we’re rather liking this piece of loveliness from Skinny Lister.
Christmas Calls will doubtless be on the setlist for the remaining shows on their current tour – in Cardiff (6 December), Southampton (7), Exeter (8), Bristol (9), and London (10) – tickets here. If they don’t play it then, well, pelting them with snowballs may be in order.
Skinny Lister – Christmas Calls
London-based singer-songwriter Tom Speight has been steadily making a name for himself through a string of support slots with bands including Starsailor, Travis and Turin Brakes. His pure and poetic songs have beguiled audiences across the country but as he prepares to head out on his own headline tour later this week, Sync caught up with him for a brief chat…
SYNC: So you’re covering some crazy miles later this month with the tour. How are you looking forward to getting back out on the road for these headline dates?
Tom Speight: I only just got off tour from supporting Turin Brakes and Starsailor ilast month, so it was nice to be back home writing for a week or so before these dates start. I love touring and playing my songs live. I don’t I will ever get tired from that. Continue reading
The route between punk-rock and acoustic folk is not necessarily the most well-trodden of musical paths, so it is always intriguing to come across an artist whose work transcends genres. Essex singer-songwriter Dominic Benjamin has fronted punk-rock projects Abusing Mary Jane, Forever After and Brave Vultures, touring the UK and Europe over the past couple of years.
Now, he is striking out on his own with a sound of an altogether different flavour and we’re excited to premiere his superb new song In The Morning, released on 4/11. We also caught up with him to find out more about the origins of his versatile music talent, and ambitious plans for a whole load of new songs over the coming months… Continue reading
The latest tune from Irish singer-songwriter Ailbhe Reddy is another beautiful and beguiling song built on a flawless vocal, subtle hook, and clever, relatable lyrics.
The Tube is a strong folk/pop effort from Reddy, who explains: “The song is about having no explanation good enough for someone, so the only thing I had left to offer was the small gesture of walking them to the nearest tube station. It’s a song about struggling to express yourself properly to someone, which I think is probably pretty universal.”
Her autumn tour of the UK and Ireland comes to a close this week at The Canteen, Bristol (1 November) and London’s St Pancras Old Church (2). Details here.
Ailbhe Reddy – The Tube
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
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.
As part of their current tour, Amber Run took to the Old Fire Station for their first ever gig in Bournemouth. The band arrived on stage to a packed-out venue, full of committed fans who sang along to every song on the setlist.
The energetic and catchy Pilot opened the set, which got people pumped for the rest of the night. Following this was Spark, a clearly well-loved track from their debut album, with everyone screaming the lyrics. Fickle Game highlighted the musical bond between the band, as they performed together in what seemed their own little world. Continue reading
Nick Mulvey hits the road again next month. He spoke to Sync about latest album Wake Up Now, the pursuit of free expression, and how his new band has enabled him to open up a whole new set of possibilities…
To say it has been a hectic year and a half for singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey would be something of an understatement. As if relocating from London to the countryside and becoming a father for the first time wasn’t enough, this month has seen the release of his second studio album – and a packed schedule of global tour dates in support of that album are about to kick off on 1 October.
But the 32-year-old has been energised by a wholly positive reaction to his latest set of songs. “It’s been really, really lovely,” he said. “On a personal level, I’ve lived with this album for a long time in terms of the writing of it. The build-up to releasing an album is a long one too, in this case all the way through May, June, July and then into August, and so the pressure ramps up a bit. It’s funny, I almost forgot during some of the more intense moments that the whole goal is to release an album.
“For me, it’s been a really lovely and necessary release in more ways than one. These songs are naturally a bit more provocative and maybe even a bit more divisive in terms of the subject matter, so there has been an interesting complexion to the response from people since it’s been out. But people have been letting me know they love it.” Continue reading
Folk-pop harmonies abound in this enchanting song from The Cedar Sisters. Not actually sisters, the Canadian duo are Jane Carmichael and Elle Hermansen and the pair met when both were brought in as backup singers for a local rock band. The two songwriters felt an instant personal and musical connection, and soon after began writing together, creating songs that they describe as ‘electro-folk pop’.
Wait is their first single and they are currently writing and recording more new songs with the goal of releasing a debut EP later this year.
The Cedar Sisters – Wait
Singer-songwriter Bella McKendree will be releasing her debut EP, Waiting, later this month. Out on 18 August, the four-track EP features the forthcoming lead single, Grieve, seeing Bella and her band combine a darting piano melody with the singer’s tender, emotional lyrics.
Says McKendree: “In this song, I’ve laid out my heart, truly transparent about my own experience of loss. The reality is that sometimes you have to confront that dark place so I didn’t sugar coat the truth. It is the most vulnerable record I’ve written.”
Having grown up in the countryside, McKendree moved to London last year to start a band, perfecting her own material at various Sofar Sounds gigs across the country, as well as support slots for the likes of Ryan Keen, Martin Luke Brown and Keaton Henson. She also started working with Grammy Award-winning producer Brett Shaw (Florence & The Machine, Daughter) on the upcoming EP and is currently touring the UK. Among other dates, catch her at The Half Moon, Putney (7 August), and the Sunrise Celebration Festival, Hereford (19/20 August).
Bella McKendree – Grieve
British singer/songwriter Tom Forest returns with the second release from his upcoming debut album Hope. Believer has all the soulful, uplifting brilliance of previous song Summer.
It has a simple melody, with a sincere vocal delicately delivered and totally compelling. Of the song, Forest says: “Last year I was in a dark place with music. It felt like life was telling me it was time to stop, even though it was something that had always been second nature. To make an album took a huge amount of support from friends and family – many people contributed to that process and I’m so grateful.
“Sometimes the value of dreams is not in whether you achieve or fail, but in the belief in that it brings out in those around you. If you find yourself fighting a battle, even if you lose, you see who comes to join you.”
Tom Forest – Believer
Rising Irish artist Ailbhe Reddy has unveiled Fingertips as the lead single from her new EP, Attach To Memory, which is out this week (24/5). “This EP is an evolution of my first, Hollowed Out Sea,” says Reddy. “Most of these new songs are more up-tempo which shows the fuller sound of my live shows.”
Influenced by the likes of Liane La Havas, Fiona Apple and Hundred Waters, Reddy impresses with an EP built on solid song writing, intricate melodies, and addictive radio friendly hooks – best illustrated on the lead single, Fingertips – albeit with the ‘clean version’ for radio purposes no doubt!
She has been making waves in her native Ireland, ever since a homemade demo of her song Cover Me was used in a Today FM radio advert in 2014. Later that year her first single, Flesh & Blood earned rave reviews and was featured as Song of the Day on Folk Radio UK. She went on to feature on a host of Irish festival line-ups last year.
Reddy has a headline London show this week at The Slaughtered Lamb on 24/5. Tickets here.
Ailbhe Reddy – Fingertips
Here at Sync, we’re proud of our cross-genre track record, but we have to admit, folk probably hasn’t been given due prominence on our playlists. But even if it’s not normally your thing, it would take a pretty hard heart not to fall in love with Almost Home by Keston Cobblers Club.
It’s the joyful title track from their album which came out at the end of last month and is well worth having in your life. And if you like what you hear below, check out another beauty of theirs – Bicycles.
Keston Cobblers Club – Almost Home
New from Tom Speight is this truly beautiful song. Featuring the equally beautiful voice of Jessica Staveley-Taylor from The Staves, Willow Tree is the lead track from an EP of the same name which is due for release on 10 March.
Now we know from experience of seeing Speight live – supporting Turin Brakes on tour last year – just what a class performer he is. If you’ve not had the good fortune of seeing him yet, then get yourself down to one of his forthcoming dates next month when he plays a trio of shows in London (5 April), Manchester (6) and Bristol (7).
Tom Speight – Willow Tree