Tag Archives: Pins

Don’t you wonder sometimes? Norwich Sound and Vision Festival review

15 Oct

NSV13

It’s been a couple of days now and frankly we are still buzzing. This year’s Norwich Sound and Vision festival ended on a rather ridiculous high for the Alphabet Bands crew as we put on a ”stellar line up” (as described to us by 6Music’s Tom Robinson) that featured fantastic performances from Curxes, Strangers and Waylayers. We’ll talk about that some more later, but there was more to our festival experience than just our own showcase, so, to borrow a review style from our good friends at Breaking More Waves, here are four things we learnt at this year’s festival.

Conferencing isn’t just for the industry.
The conference side is a big part of Sound and Vision, bigger actually this year than ever before with new sectors covered across a number of venues. For the first time ever some of the panels were also live-streamed online thanks to taking part in a former Anglia TV studio to help reach an even wider audience. But that doesn’t mean they were just for people in the industry, far from it. The music panels alone contained lots of useful information for up and coming bands, like what not to put in your music videos (swimming pools and boat-lounging are particular no-no’s apparently), how to and how not to approach interviews, how to get radio play and many others. There was also a rather inspirational talk by Jamal Edwards, who is so subtly charismatic that it’s almost no wonder he is so successful, and panels for budding comedy writers, Dr. Who enthusiasts, game and interactive software developers, workshops for young musicians etc etc. The list goes on and all were enjoyed and appreciated by those in attendance, very few of whom were industry representatives.

There are unexpected gems to be found everywhere.
They didn’t even have to be playing as was the case with one of our favourite new discoveries of the festival, Treasureseason. One half of this Norwich based chilled-out-dreampop duo had volunteered to help out this year and was assigned to assist at our showcase and 24hours later, we had bought and downloaded their latest EP. We’ll be featuring more from them in the coming weeks, have no doubt about that.


You could also find some exceptional music being performed in a quiet corner somewhere, and we’re pleased to say we did at the very first show we saw. Even though we had heard Abi Wade’s music, nothing quite prepared us for the show that was to come as she sat, resplendent in her silver/grey jumpsuit/onesie and captivated the entire audience. Plucking, strumming and bowing her cello wasn’t enough as she simultaneously played two more percussive elements with her feet, sang and tapped out multi-tonal beats on the cello shell (the shello?), all at the same time. A bit like a one-man-band but without the shambolic connotations and just brilliant instead. She wasn’t even fazed when a connection failed mid-song, she just did a quick straw poll of the audience (all while still playing) and carried on with a democratically chosen acoustic version. Her songs were bloody good too, beautiful and soothing but also full of drama and emotion when they needed to be. After seeing a set of such varied and impressive musical-multi-tasking we had to ask her one vital question and we can confirm that yes, Abi can pat her head and rub her tummy at the same time.


People still want to rock out.
Once again this year, perhaps more so than in the recent past, there have been claims that the oft heralded return of guitar music is in full swing and cannot be denied. However, there can be no question that in reality it has been pop, synths and electronics that have once again dominated in 2013 and that the guitars haven’t quite broken back through. Despite this, people quite clearly still want to rock out to some rawkus guitars, big riffs and thunderous drums, as was evidenced by Drenge and Pins being the sweatiest (from the crowd) shows we saw. Special mention must go to the Pins ladies who were sipping red wine in between driving the audience crazy with their energy laden tunes. Class and quality, a heady combination.

Festivals are better when you have your own show.
NSV Poster 4We mentioned it before but understandably, the Alphabet Bands showcase was the highlight of our entire festival featuring, as it did, three bands we really, really wanted to see play live. Taking place at Olives, which was all low ceiling and lower lighting, the trio of Curxes, Strangers and Waylayers nearly blew the windows out with performances of energy and excitement that had the crowd on their feet and more than one audience member’s jaw on the floor in amazement.

Curxes especially were astounding, showcasing some new material (one loud, one soft, both fantastic) amongst older favourites (“Haunted Gold” has been stuck in our head ever since) as Roberta came out onto the floor to dance and sing, Macaulay rocked out on guitar and Strangers’ Raife (on double-duty) brought the electro-beats with panache.

Strangers brought the boogie as their infectious-you-like-darkness–infused electro-pop caused many a reveller to push to the front for a dance while the crowd-singing along to “Safe/Pain” was a goosbumps moment. Like Roberta, David came out to the floor to sing, literally bringing the songs to the crowd who lapped it up and called out for more as all too quickly the boys with the Timberlake-meets-The-Cure sound finished their set. Time flies when you’re having fun.

It went quickly for the Waylayers crew as well as they filled the room with their vast, atmospheric synths sounds. Hearing tunes that are so clearly suited for giant fields with huge crowds all singing them back in such a tight space made the night feel even more special. It’s little wonder they are beginning to make an impact in the States and is surely only a matter of time before chart recognition comes from these shores as well. As they drew their set, and the evening, to a close with the magnificent “Magnets” (which we enjoyed a sing-a-long to ourselves) the crowd left satisfied and excited, which is exactly how we felt but with added pride chuffed-ness.


We’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who helped make the night happen. Adrian, Jenny and Rosie from NS&V, Ian and Access to Music, Matt, Chris and Luke for the kit and the sound, Andie from Sessions Productions for promotion and all round assistance, Geoff at Olives for the best rum and coke we had all weekend and Treasureseason’s Dave for working the door. Oh, and Mr. Tom Robinson of course, for putting a rather wonderful cherry on top of a very special cake.

See you next year.

Norwich Sound & Vision: Day 1 – Gig Preview

10 Oct

It’s a chilly Thursday morning in October here in Norwich and we are as excited as a child at Christmas. Why? Because it is the first day of our favourite holiday, the three day Norwich Sound and Vision Festival. As promised yesterday, here is the first of our daily gig previews. We’ll see you there.

NSV13 Thursday

Day 1 – Thursday
The honour of effectively opening the festival (well, they are the first band to play according to the latest timetable we have seen) fittingly goes to a Norwich band, though this year is a little bit different. The Neutrinos kick things off with one of eight scheduled performances over the festival, all taking place in their house. Because why not right? Obviously attendance at these shows must be booked in advance.

Over in more traditional venues the quality is there from the start with likes of Box Of Light (with whom we shall forever be intrinsically linked) headlining the Access To Music stage at Olives, ably supported by Eyes In Istanbull who feature the outstanding Ollie Rudge in their number (times tbc). There is also the fantastically named Let’s Eat Grandma on the Young People’s Stage over at The Garage. We’ve never heard of them but are sorely tempted based on their name alone.

Over at The Birdcage rising stars Abi Wade (20:45) and George Ezra (21:30) – a man our good friends at Breaking More Waves have been getting a bit googly over (though they do have a worrying fascination with his lips – precede the highly anticipated Lady Lamb The Beekeeper (22:00).

Our good friends at Open are getting a little bit Oh-la-la for the evening as they host the French Export Showcase with the likes of Mesparrow (19:30), Brns (20:30) and We Were Evergreen (22:30) bringing a bit of European flair to proceedings.

The wonderful guys and gals of Artrocker have returned to the festival once again and once again have taken over the Hog and Armour for the duration. Thursday night sees them start as they mean to go on with local favourites There’s Someone In The Pond (20:00), the superb and much loved (as well as being critical darlings) Pins (21:40) and then the bonkersly brilliant Comanechi.

Finally for Thursday, the festival’s home, the Norwich Arts Centre, will be playing host to two exciting showcases. In the bar Norwich’s finest, Wombat Wombat, will be hosting some storming up and coming acts including The Mondegreens (21:00) and DOE (21:50) before closing with another of our favourites (and technically speaking, the first band we ever put on ourselves), Horse Party (23:00). Meanwhile, in the main room PRS will host No Ceremony (21:15) and Ghostpoet (22:00). Get down early for that one we reckon.

Where we’ll be:
With even more venues being used this year, we expect a number of people may well be tempted to bed down in one location and stay for the evening, especially when the headliner will be one the de-facto big names of the festival. Not us of course, with so much fantastic new music on the go, we will be hotfooting it from one venue to another, hoping to see as much as possible (but probably missing quite a lot too).

So, our first entirely unachievable plan will see us variously at Olives for Eyes in Istanbull and The Birdcage for Abi Wade and George Ezra. Though, no offence George, we’ll be leaving sharpish to catch some, if not all, of the Pins set at the Hog and Armour before heading to the Arts Centre for No Ceremony, Ghostpoet and Horse Party.

Tracks of the Day






For more information on the festival as a whole and a full list of performers and a programme of gigs, visit the Norwich Sound and Vision website.

Blog Sound of 2013 – The Top 5

3 Jan

blogsound2013 LOGO

The year is barely a few days old and already the hills are alive with the sound of new music. The BBC are in the process of revealing the Top Five acts in their annual “Sound of…” poll and today we can reveal the Top Five in this year’s The Blog Sound of 2013 Poll. You no doubt recall that we, alongside 48 other UK Blogs, voted for acts we think will blow up in 2013 and the longlist of 15 acts was announced back on 3 Dec.

So, without further ado, the Top five are…

5th The Neighbourhood

3rd= Savages

3rd= Pins

2nd Chvrches

1st Haim

HAIM - Dont Save Me2

Keep reading for some details about the poll as well as a handy playlist of tracks from each of the Top five (courtesy of the lovely Robin at Breaking More Waves), first though some of our thoughts.

Our Thoughts
We were not surprised to see Haim top the list. While they didn’t make it into our personal top five, they were on our own long list and we have loved their super-infectious pop, rock and r‘n’b hybrid sound (the more we hear “Don’t Tell Me”, the more we dance).

Haim were the only ones of our own personal long list to make it into the top five and while we don’t have a problem with that at all, some people decried the long list for feeling a bit too safe. It’s understandable but easily explained. The poll was bigger than ever this year with 49 blogs taking part. Getting any kind of consensus from a small group of people is never easy, getting it from 49 bloggers each with diverse and eclectic tastes is going to be nigh on impossible. As a result it will always be the acts that appear most often, though not necessarily at number one, on bloggers lists that will rise to the top and the three sisters from California have been one of the most talked about bands of the last few months and were the second most blogged act by UK Hype Machine listed bloggers in 2012. Not too shabby we think you will agree and a good indication of why they have topped this poll.

The result may not be a slew of artists you have never heard of, or artists from way out in left field but it is a good list of quality acts nonetheless and again includes some that have not featured on the BBC list at all. Also, if you feel like these are safe choices, what about the inclusion of the already extremely successful and established The Weeknd on the BBC poll? Now that is a safe choice. Anyway, we think this is a good list of bands who will do well this year and who knows, may even contain another Mercury award winner?

The Tunes

The Facts
The Blog Sound poll was run by Robin Seamer from Breaking More Waves and Andy Von Pip from The Von Pip Express asking 49 UK music bloggers what emerging acts they were particularly excited about. The poll wasn’t intended to criticise the BBC’s Sound of list, but to simply represent the tastes of the voting bloggers.

The 2013 Blog Sound long list contained 7 acts that were also then revealed to be on the BBC Sound of List (AlunaGeorge, Chvrches, Haim, Laura Mvula, Palma Violets, Savages and Tom Odell) and 8 that weren’t (Curxes, Daughter, Mo, Pins, Randolph’s Leap, Rhye, Seasfire and The Neighbourhood).

In total just over 170 acts received at least 1 vote in the poll, but Haim and Chvrches were way ahead of the chasing pack when it came to the final count. Pins and Savages, tied for third place with The Neighbourhood, the second US act on the list after Haim in fifth.

Of the five most voted for acts all of them are bands and four of them have lead female vocalists. Two of the bands (Haim and The Neighbourhood) are from the US.

The Participating Blogs in alphabetical order:
A New Band A Day / A Pocket Full Of Seeds / All Noise / Alphabet Bands / Both Bars On / Brapscallions / Breaking More Waves / Brighton Music Blog / Details Of My Life So Far / Don’t Watch Me Dancing / Dots And Dashes / Drunken Werewolf / Eaten By Monsters / Electronic Rumors / Faded Glamour / Folly Of Youth / Flying With Anna / God Is In The TV / Harder Blogger Faster / Howl / In Love Not Limbo / Just Music That I Like / Killing Moon / Kowalskiy / Love Music : Love Life / Mudkiss / Music Broke My Bones / Music Fans Mic / Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt / My Bands Better Than Your Band / Not Many Experts / Peenko / Real Horrorshow / Scottish Fiction / Skeletory / Song By Toad / Sounds Good To Me Too / Storm’s Brewing / Sweeping The Nation / The Blue Walrus / The Electricity Club / The Mad Mackerel / The Metaphorical Boat / The Music Hoarder / The Recommender / This Must Be Pop / Von Pip Musical Express / 17 Seconds

Blog Sound of 2013 Long List Revealed

3 Dec

blogsound2013 LOGO

We hope you have been enjoying our 2013 Preview feature; we’re in the home stretch now with the final five of our artists to Listen Out For being revealed this week. We’re not the only ones who have been getting excited about what next year may bring. Alongside 48 other UK Blogs, we voted for acts we think will blow up in 2013 in The Blog Sound of 2013 Poll, in fact the five we are revealing this week were our votes.

Below are some details about the poll and the Long List of nominated artists, which was revealed today and includes four of our own long list of bands to Listen Out For. The top five and ultimate winner of the poll will be announced in January.

“The Blog Sound Poll was first published in 2011. The concept of the poll wasn’t to criticise the established BBC Sound of list, but simply an experiment to see if UK music bloggers could come up with its own list of emerging artists that was more representative of their community and give the artists that were nominated some extra publicity. Indeed the idea was to compliment the BBC list in many ways by providing an alternative to compare and contrast.

Last year’s final long list provided some interesting alternatives to the BBC list; most notably it included Alt-J, this year’s Mercury Prize winners, who didn’t feature on the BBC list at all.
The Blog Sound of 2013 poll has expanded with 49 UK blogs nominating their 5 favourite emerging artists. Just over 170 acts received at least 1 vote. The winning act received votes from around 25% of all bloggers.

The long list represents the very best of new music and draws from major labels, indie labels and completely unsigned acts. The likes of Haim may be featuring on a lot of new music tip lists at the moment, but the Blog Sound poll also highlights lesser known bands such as Curxes and Randolph’s Leap, bands that do not have big PR representation, and this is what makes the Blog Sound list fascinating and exciting.

The poll was organised by Robin Seamer (Breaking More Waves) and Andy Von Pip (The Von Pip Express). “Each blog was allowed to vote for five acts and the diversity of the nominations was staggering. Based on the evidence of the spread of votes anyone that says that music bloggers are sheep and are all writing about the same artists has got it wrong. However, the results of the poll show that certain artists do have a lot of support and love from a significant portion of UK bloggers and those artists make up the Blog Sound of 2013 list,” says Robin”.

The Nominated Artists For The Blog Sound Of 2013

In alphabetical order:

AlunaGeorge – Infectious R&B influenced pop from London
“Your Drums, Your Love”


Curxes – Dark industrial-pop electronic duo from Brighton and Portsmouth
“Spectre”


Chvrches – Scottish electro pop trio formed from a variety of other bands
“The Mother We Share”


Daughter – Minimal / ambient sounding folk
“Medicine”


Haim – Classic rock from LA with pop sensibilities
“Don’t Save Me”


Laura Mvula – Jazz / soul singer hailing from Birmingham
“She”


– Hip soulful female vocal electronic pop from Denmark
“Pilgrim”


Palma Violets – Raw and energetic indie rock band
“Best of Friends”


Pins – Edgily cool and raucous all female indie band from Manchester
“Shoot You”


Randolph’s Leap – Glasgow based indie folk pop with a twist of brass
“Hermit”


Rhye – Smooth and blissful pop duo
“The Fall”


Savages – Intense post-punk with female vocals
Savages – Flying To Berlin


Seasfire – Modern rock band from Bristol who mix electronic beats with guitars
“We Will Wake”


The Neighbourhood – Atmospheric Californian 5 piece rock / pop band
“Let It Go”


Tom Odell – Piano based singer songwriter originally from Chichester
“Another Love”

The Participating Blogs

Also in alphabetical order:

A New Band A Day / A Pocket Full Of Seeds / All Noise / Alphabet Bands / Both Bars On / Brapscallions / Breaking More Waves / Brighton Music Blog / Details Of My Life So Far / Don’t Watch Me Dancing / Dots And Dashes / Drunken Werewolf / Eaten By Monsters / Electronic Rumors / Faded Glamour / Folly Of Youth / Flying With Anna / God Is In The TV / Harder Blogger Faster / Howl / In Love Not Limbo / Just Music That I Like / Killing Moon / Kowalskiy / Love Music : Love Life / Mudkiss / Music Broke My Bones / Music Fans Mic / Music Liberation, Music Like Dirt / My Bands Better Than Your Band / Not Many Experts / Peenko / Real Horrorshow / Scottish Fiction / Skeletory / Song By Toad / Sounds Good To Me Too / Storm’s Brewing / Sweeping The Nation / The Blue Walrus / The Electricity Club / The Mad Mackerel / The Metaphorical Boat / The Music Hoarder / The Recommender / This Must Be Pop / Von Pip Musical Express / 17 Seconds

Listen: New Fever Fever Single – “Pins”

28 Nov

Fast rising Norwich art-punk trio Fever Fever release their new single “Pins” today on Gravy. Check out the wailing, snarling beast of a track below and if you like what you hear, head to the Norwich Arts Centre tonight to catch them live alongside Fight Like Apes. What else have you got to do on a Monday evening?