Wednesday, 26 July 2017

Emmy the Great - Mahal Kita | Acoustic live session in Paris

This is Emmy The Great performing an acoustic version of the title track from her current album, Mahal Kita. There are lots of good quality single song live clips of Emmy available online, and you can also watch a musical postcard from Emmy The Great online, in full. 

Emma Pollock - Old Ghosts (Live at Celtic Connections 2016)

This is Emma Pollock performing 'Old Ghosts' at Celtic Connections 2016. It wasn't her first visit to Celtic Connections and, while I've been unable to find a good enough quality full live set of Emma for you, I do recommend her cover of Billy Connelly's 'Everybody Knows That' from 2010's Celtic Connections festival. 

Monday, 24 July 2017

Fantasy Festival #3: The Modern Classics Festival - Lineup

Skating Polly: Skating Polly are a teenage sister duo from Oklahoma, comprised of the fantastically named Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse. They formed in 2009 and have been taken under the wing of  Babes In Toyland (who took Skating Polly on tour with them a couple of years back) and more recently Nina Gordon and Louise Post of Veruca Salt. They make visceral, sometimes angry, sometimes eerie and unsettling guitar driven punk rock in the grunge tradition.

Miya Folick: Miya Folick is a Los Angeles based singer/songwriter who comes from an acting background and makes slightly otherworldly indie rock. She has the kind of voice that can quite literally stop you in your tracks, and you can read an interview with her in Vogue, of all places, from last year. 

Emma Pollock: Legend of the Glasgow music scene, co-founder of Chemikal Underground records, and a former Delgado, Emma Pollock is flying solo these days. Her music is experimental and pared down, making use of strings as much as guitars, understated and stylish. Her current album, In Search of Harperfield, was nominated for the Scottish Album of the Year award in June.

Emmy The Great: Musician and culture writer, Anglo-Chinese Emmy The Great grew up in East Grinstead, and has been making music since 2006. I hesitate to call her a bedroom folk artist, because I've never felt it to be much of a compliment, but I do see her as someone who creates amazing sonic landscapes largely independently much like Nancy Elizabeth. Her album, Mahal Kita, is out now.

Jesca Hoop: Former Mormon, former nanny to Tom Waits' children, and persuaded to decamp from the US to distinctly unsunny Manchester by a certain Guy Garvey. It was always going to be an intriguing backstory, even before Jesca Hoop started to release records. Memories Are Now, her fourth album, was released last year. She is electrifying live, almost Shamanic. She played Latitude on 16th July, and continues to tour and play festivals throughout the summer.

Laura Mvula: I really loved Laura Mvula's debut album, Sing To The Moon, and, while I couldn't get into the follow up, The Dreaming Room, I was still shocked to hear that Sony had dropped her (by email!) earlier this year. Even if The Dreaming Room wasn't my cup of tea, musically, I respected it as a record because it was experimental and new, and was a strong departure from the debut album, which had it's roots in jazz, blues, and soul. Laura is touring at the moment, and into Autumn, so there are plenty of chances to see her live.

Martha Wainwright: Martha Wainwright has been releasing records from 2005 onwards, and her music has taken a number of differing musical twists and turns along the way, from the bloody minded folky j'accuse of 'Bloody Mother Fucking Asshole' to the slinky soul groove of the more recent 'Take The Reins'. She is currently on the Canadian and US leg of her tour.

PJ Harvey: Polly Jean Harvey has been making music since the early 1990s and, as you would expect, her music has evolved and changed considerably in the past (nearly) thirty years, as has her singing voice. In recent years she has been reinventing the protest song and the radio ballad, and has diversified into poetry and broadcasting. One thing Harvey has never lost is her integrity, and her approach to music in recent years has reflected that.

Saturday, 22 July 2017

A positive story about the Glastonbury festival

Anyone who's been regularly reading my blog since the end of June will know that I've been posting a lot of stuff around the theme of women and festivals recently.

This all stemmed from a detailed report that the BBC did into festivals over the past ten years, which revealed a distinct lack of female headliners at festivals as well as that festival headliners were getting older and whiter. The report was released on the eve of this years Glastonbury Festival, which tends to be the sacrificial goat when it comes to festival criticism. I think the fact that Glastonbury is the biggest and most well established of the UK festivals, not to mention the most televised, might have something to do with this. Although the festival's radical, idealistic post hippie roots combined with its contemporary ticket prices are also part of the reason why it tends to get the most stick, rightly or wrongly.

My own response to the BBC report was critical of Glastonbury, in as much as I agreed with the NME that Florence + The Machine should have been offered a headline slot in their own right in 2015 rather than have got a headline slot by accident, but I did try not to single out Glastonbury for criticism specifically because I feel the issues raised in the BBC report are issues affecting festivals in general, not just Glastonbury.

As to why I, personally, can't ever envision myself attending Glastonbury this is a basic equation of: Cost of ticket, travel and camping equipment combined with not knowing in advance who you are going to see = Approximately £300 (probably more, if we include food) spend on festival with potentially very few, or no, bands playing I would like to see. I did spend something in the region of £300 attending British Summer Time last year (I'm including the London hotel bill there..) but I did that knowing who I was going to see, which made all the difference.

As an interesting sideline, it's food for thought that Jeremy Corbyn's appearance at Glastonbury this year gathered equal amount of interest/coverage to that of any of the musical headliners. Which in some ways is a positive thing, reflecting perhaps the youth surge in the 2017 General Election, but it's equally as much a sign of the times so far as changing attitudes of festival audiences are concerned. Not necessarily as much of a warning sign as the New York Times' decision  last year not to cover Coachella and Bonnaroo anymore, in that they felt that both festivals had become a poseurs paradise, the various bands playing effectively no more than decorative wallpaper to the punters gazing adoringly into their phones, but a definite change nonetheless.

With all this in mind, it was oddly heartwarming to read Lifeonlauralane's recent blog post about the fantastic, above and beyond, support she received as an attendee of this years Glastonbury Festival. Despite the traumatic circumstances that led her to contact the festival and ask for help, it's clear from her story that the event staff went above and beyond to ensure she felt safe attending the event. There are reasons why Glastonbury is the most popular and well attended of UK festivals and, hopefully, the attitude of its staff is one reason why people keep coming back.