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  • The Beauty of Folk Music as Protest: bath Based Humm Talk Queerness and Nature

    Humm have a vintage honesty, a rare legitimacy and striking poetic truth glinting with late 60s spirit. I had the pleasure to speak to them just before the release of their personal, wistful and yet distinctly hopeful single “Danced Alone (who I am when I’m in love)” earlier this year. Carys has that warmth that normal people like me have to work at daily to achieve, and still fall short. Both radiate with a deeply comforting presence, even through my smudged laptop screen. They spoke to me with gentle rumination and delicate compassion, like you can tell they’re truly listening. This care and attentive understanding I think is the secret to their beautifully present music, as if they’ve somehow walked in your shoes. On a first listen, ‘Danced Alone’ read to me as a love song, which I guess was not entirely wrong. It is a song about love, just not how you might assume. Carys: “As cheesy as it might sound, the song is about what it means to love yourself” “We were both going through amicable breakups, and I remember having this deep conversation with Arty… the song was based on that. It’s figuring out what it’s like to be on your own and spend time in your own company, to figure out what you like separate to another person” Arty: “Initially when the line [I danced alone] came to me, the song had a bit of a different meaning, I guess had a bit more of a pessimistic point of view. For me it was about realising all the mistakes I’d made in my relationships… It was having that retrospect, making sense of the person you were.” Carys: “The first verse is knowing in your sub-conscious, having this gut feeling that you’re not happy anymore and that you need to get out. That happened to me, and I ignored it for so long, so it’s definitely this plea, like listen to yourself” They recorded with Josh Clark, Kate Rusby’s drummer and producer in his studio just outside of Bath. They tell me about their kind taxi driver, and the cups of tea at their arrival. Arty: “So much of it came together in the studio”. Carys: “It was really nice honestly; he was really listening to the music.” But Humm are not only focused on creating beautiful songs; they have a message they’re begging you to listen to. Advocacy for the environment is the lifeblood of their music – their earlier releases ringing with righteous, folk-styled rage. A particular stand out is exert from “Mankind (no more)”: “Mother Nature I’m on your side, I am not mankind… I don’t eat with them, I don’t sleep with men, They keep their bitter hands to themselves” Carys: “Folk music is protest song. We’re both very politically driven… If we had different political interests we would’ve lasted a week”, she offered with her characteristic laugh. But it’s honest, this is so much more than chords and melody to Humm. Carys: “Everything is about nature and the planet; it really is ingrained in what we do. The combination of [Arty’s] factual knowledge and my interest in whimsy, fairy tales and folklore, along with our shared love for the plant creates this puzzle piece thing that comes through in the music. I’m from Cornwall, I was lucky enough to grow up there and be around nature for most of my childhood, and I like to share a little bit of that in the music.” And Carys refusal to be anything but wholly genuine is powerful, a concrete reminder of the impact it has to be proudly yourself. “I’m non-binary and also queer, so of course my experience seeps into my writing; it’s definitely both intentional and unavoidable. There’s a lot of hatred in the world for queerness – it’s crazy how connected the hatred is for the planet and for the gay community. “Everything I write is queer.” Humm are playing at Holburne Museum Pride in Bath at 11am on June 15th, and if you can handle a morning gig, you should be there. They are a powerful reminder of what folk music can, and I would argue should be.

  • The Solara Girls

    Solara Festival is a complete feat, and before meeting the three girls responsible, I fell into the trap of questioning if it was even possible. What if it chucks it down? What about first aid? And most importantly…will there be enough alcohol? But meeting them quelled my fears. Bubbly and passionate natures balanced with a strong determination, laser-focused vision and firm sense of self-belief - you can tell they really care about what they’re doing here. I left feeling excited, and I think you should be too. Meet Liv, Jess and Isabelle, three young women hailing from Oxfordshire ready to make their mark on the Bristol music scene. They could’ve just done a massive gig (like sane people), but one night, apparently, just isn’t enough. “We’re extremely ambitious people, and I think we like putting ourselves out of our comfort zone. We just wanted to be those people and push ourselves as far as we can. The nice thing with a music festival is it isn't just about the music; we’re getting as much of the community involved as possible.” So, important questions first…what if it chucks it down? “We're in a position where luckily because we're doing it in the castle, two of our stages are inside the turret, and our third outside stage is underneath a marquee, so we are very ready for the English weather!” And can you keep up with the South West’s demand for cider? “Attendees are allowed to bring as much alcohol as you can carry… just not into the castle walls.” And the girls assure me that Walton Castle will have a fully stocked bar for when you’re inside. But these women hope to make this more than your average live music event. One of their big motivators is the glaring inequality in the festival scene, both on and behind the stage. “Something like 10 percent of CEOs in the music industry are women, and 13 percent of headliners at UK festivals. Putting on Solara felt like a way to really make a statement -  like ‘hey listen, we're just three girls and look what we've been able to do.’ That's kind of what's driven us the whole time.” “It’s one of our big ethos’. We wanted to make sure there was equal opportunity when it came to our line-up…Yeah, we've got exactly 50/50.” And while a gender balanced line-up may not seem like a revolutionary act, it’s a sad truth that most of the big-name events can’t come close to what the Solara girls have achieved. You’ve got to believe that putting the work in at every level can really make an impact. But attempting to combat sexism certainly doesn’t excuse you from its grasp. “I feel like we notice [a bias] so much, especially when talking to men. I’ve found that we've been kind of belittled.” “It's been quite patronizing at times. I feel like that’s the stereotype: thinking that we couldn't do it alone, but we've been very much in control of everything. This is our business; we know what we’re doing.” And their confidence is built by hard work. “I think that was kind of our drive as well… at the start we just we didn't really have any support - it's kind of nice to prove people wrong” they said with a shared smile. Getting to this point has been a major undertaking, and you can tell they are rightly proud of the effort they’ve put in. “If we had just absolutely sailed through we wouldn't have learned half the things that we've learned as a team. I think it's actually quite nice that we've managed to overcome all of these hurdles because it makes it so much more meaningful and personal. Everything that you see when you come on the day has been handmade. We've literally poured our blood sweat and tears into this.” It’s impossible to overstate how important events like these are to the community and the music scene at large. Artists need opportunities like this to cut their teeth and get good for the summertime heavy hitters. I’m sure you’ve heard it a hundred times now, but if you want big names at the top, you have to support your local scene. “Without grassroots events like this there is no music. These artists could be on the biggest stages at Glastonbury in a few years, and supporting them at the most crucial moment gives them that opportunity to go forward. As musicians ourselves we’re trying to give that support and voice that we know is so needed.” And the girls are not only championing local independent artists, but making tangible steps to ensure their event is a safe space for everyone. “We’re donating a portion of our proceeds to South Avon Rape and Sexual Abuse Support, and it’s felt really significant that we've incorporated everything that we believe into one project.” “Festivals can be a real hotspot for those issues, so it’s a really great charity to cover.” Festivals never get off the ground unless they’re a true passion project, and they’re rarely the money-makers you would assume. It takes people with equal measures unshaking optimism and organisational precision, something I think that between them, this team of girls have got in excess. “We couldn't have done this without our family and friends - the community, just everyone gathering around us and helping so massively is how we’ve got here. It’s down to the sound technicians, down to the lighting techs, down to our university asset store allowing us to hire the entire thing out and really pissing some people off in the process. All the vendors, the venue, the volunteers, the musicians, everyone.” “It's nice to see other people investing in us when we're trying to invest in other people.” “And if everyone has a laugh in a castle it will all be worth it.” If you, like me, want to see their nine months long vision come to life through the three stage, two-day community event, tickets for Solara are still available through their website. These girls really deserve the win.

  • neverlove: Reluctant brilliance in a much needed debut

    Unassuming in presentation and seemingly begrudging self-promotion, neverlove are a band with a soft disposition and all-encompassing crescendo, and have flown under the radar for too long. I had the pleasure of seeing them live at Safe with Sound’s Electric Bar gig, and the second they started playing I felt as though I’d been missing out on this grand secret, like somehow Bath’s most interesting, earnest band had been just out of my view. They have this indescribable, self-effacing spark of main stage energy, like I was meant to be seeing them as part of a full crowd, all rocking back and forth, feeling the bass in our chests. Their debut single ‘motionless’ balances its busy nature expertly, giving you just short of too much. Simmering with their technical precision, it sounds distinctly modern while keeping that American Football branded charm, every element of the track drenched in character. The lyrics are poignant without over-explaining, the instrumentals dancing from intricate to headbanging with graceful impact. Just as you start to think you know where it’s going next, it moves somewhere else. They know how to not let their obvious skill get in the way of the feeling. It feels like there should be a full-length neverlove album that I can listen to in its entirety from the comfort of my bedroom floor. Since the bound-to-be cult classic doesn’t yet exist, I guess I’ll have to make do with playing ‘motionless’ on repeat – something that will not be a struggle.

  • Nova Scotia Live at The Louisiana

    April 3rd 2024. @sunderpresents Nova Scotia are maybe the best first supports I’ve ever happened to stumble across. The frontwoman was captivating, mic lead draped around her neck in a move that was somehow both demure and commanding. Dressed in the floral tradition of Florence Welch with the rich vocal timbre to match, her performance was like imagining if someone really pissed off Stevie Nicks. The pure passion was almost overwhelming, and yet I was with her the whole time, hooked to the end of every line. It never lost its musical grasp, even in their headiest moments they were somehow still note perfect. I feel like I witnessed a complete redefinition of the meaning of powerhouse vocals. The whole band were incredibly tight, clearly well-rehearsed and polished, you could tell they take this seriously. The drummer played like she was dancing, a mesmerising fluid motion, somehow smiling the whole time. They were possibly the happiest angriest people I’ve ever seen. Catching them after the show they spoke to me with a characteristic, almost frantic sweetness, clearly still finding the buzz from performing that we’re maybe all chasing. I can’t recommend them more. Find the Cardiff natives on Spotify, and back in Bristol to play Crofters Rights on May 4th. @louisiana.bristol

  • Joely June: the irony of emotional vulnerability, Taylor Swift and saying goodbye to seventeen.

    I met with Joely June on one of the first blue skies days of the year, in a coffee shop which was unfortunately playing pop music that sounded just a little too AI generated. Despite the overstimulation, Joely greeted me with her trademark gentle demeanour, acoustic guitar in tow, like the best embodiment of a stereotype. Joely June has everything you want in a modern folk artist. Scorching lyricism that feels like it was written with excerpts from your diary as inspiration. Beautifully mixed guitar. Delicate hazy vocals, like Lenker for the pop-trained ear, or Eilish for the folk cultist. I’ve been a fan of Joely for years now, and her recent rebrand and subsequent releases feel like her strongest yet, the same artistic hand as her old music, but bigger, bolder strokes, like a shift from watercolour to oil. We started our conversation on her new single, ‘Not a Crier’, a beautifully heart-wrenching tribute to the times in life when all you can do is cry your heart out. You could see Joely’s face light up as she spoke about it – “it's like my baby. I think I’m more excited to release this than anything that came before it. “I have a guard up with my emotions so much, which is ironic as someone who is an artist for a living. But talking about my feelings with people and being vulnerable in that way is something I really struggle with. This song really goes into that contrast.” Alongside the single, ‘Not a Crier’ has a music video set in a downpour. And when it comes to the DIY nature of independent artistry, Joely had the film effects all in-hand - “We couldn’t just rely on the weather, so we just used a hosepipe. The thing with that was, I didn't really anticipate that it wouldn't feel like rain…it would feel like a shower. It was coming down super intensely and I got really ghastly.  You can see it in the video, I literally couldn't breathe. But it works for the song.” And while maybe drowning for the vision is a little over-zealous, the song is truly soul-grabbing and raw – hard to achieve against the backdrop of Joely June’s years spanning introspective discography. “I’m trying to not put any pressure on myself for this song to do what ‘Cool’ did…this is such an authentic song; it's playing out my feelings in this vulnerable way. I don't want to be stressing over the marketing, I just want it to be out and connect with people” ‘Cool’ is Joely June’s Spotify darling, an upbeat ode to infatuation with equal measures 90s energy and country sensibility. “I'm very disillusioned by the idea of commercial success and fame…song-writing is the part of this I really love. Especially in a live context – playing intimate gigs and that feeling knowing that the audience are right there with you… everything else feels like complete window dressing. It felt wrong to talk about the song with this much of a gut-punch and not ask Joely how she was doing now. “I wrote ‘Not a Crier’ like last January, and it just goes to show that you can be in a very dark place, and give it a year you'll be fine” she said with a genuine relaxed smile. I take comfort in knowing you can hit ‘Not a Crier’ type lows, and yet time still heals. On the note of time, Joely has recently taken her first self-titled EP off of streaming services, much to the despair of long-time fans such as myself. “It wasn't an impulsive decision at all. I wrote those songs when I was 17, and it feels very much like I was experimenting and trying to figure out my sound. It definitely feels like a work in progress EP, and that doesn’t really reflect where I am now” “I have been having conflicting thoughts about it because I know a lot of it is like an ego thing. I think most artists feel this about their old music - you're always gonna be like ‘oh that's not me anymore’ and cringe at it a bit, and you definitely shouldn't let that interfere too much. So, it was important for me to still make it accessible” I do oftentimes think that it reaches a point where the artist’s opinion of their work is almost the least important. ‘deep cuts’ is available on Bandcamp if you, like me, want to own a little bit of Joely June’s music history. This new era definitely has widened its scope, with big band instrumentation not just as decoration, but part of the music’s core. We got into a conversation about genre definition, and how she feels about the “sad-girl” label. “The concept of womanhood is important to me, but I just hope that people don't see me as a ‘female’ artist, they just see me as an artist. I don’t want to be in a box - the “sad-girl” thing, I actually want to push against that a little bit. I'm not Phoebe Bridgers” she said with a slight chuckle. I think at this point even Phoebe Bridger’s probably feels pretty trapped by the ‘Phoebe Bridgers sad-girl thing” that somehow became synonymous with the indie folk genre. Framing emotion as a feminine endeavour is nothing new, but when men write a sad folk song no-one feels the need to prerequisite it with a trendy, mildly condescending phrase – it’s just good music. It’s no surprise that artists like Joely June want to distance themselves from the label. This being said, Joely feels absolutely no shame embracing female fandom – as both ardent long time Taylor Swift fans, I was interested to know how she felt about Swift’s complete cultural domination of late. “I think what it’s done is create a really safe space for female fans come together. I feel like there can be a lot of like shame involved in owning the things you love, especially as a woman, and ‘Swiftie’s’ have no shame and I love that. I’m a Swiftie and unashamed! I'm going to the Eras tour and I'm probably gonna cry, but I'm gonna feel so safe there. I think it’s giving young women a place where they feel like they can completely be themselves and not have to worry about male validation.” The feminine joy that can come from community is a powerful thing, and having an artist like Taylor Swift reach such heights while being so proud of her female fanbase can only help legitimise not only female artists, but female tastes (capitalism can at least respect what’s moving money). Joely June is the ultimate professional, her thoughtfulness evident in every word. It is clear how much this means to her, which makes her successes even more deserved. ‘Not a Crier’ is available to stream in all the usual places, alongside the literally breathless music video. You can catch Joely June as the Friday headliner of Bristol’s brand-new music festival Solara – a jam packed weekend of live music situated in Walton Castle, where Joely June is bound to bring her trademark softness and unshakable presence to get the whole grounds swearing they’re normally not a crier.

  • The first ever MolesFest was a triumph of creativity, community and the cross sections of good music

    MolesFest was a triumph, atmosphere buzzing; sunny in spite of the grey clouds outside. It felt like a true celebration of the local music scene and its genre diversity, with an audience that were supportive and fully hooked on every act, rock and folk alike. Put on by organisational force Bobby Crowhurst at promotion company Ease Events, and the ever-talented team at Moles in Bath, the first ever ‘MolesFest’ was comprised of 14 acts, 7 hours, 2 stages and many, many drinks. The acoustic stage upstairs was dressed in typical Ease Events fashion, draped in subtle blue fabrics and delicate chiffon, expertly creating a soft, intimate vibe from Moles’ usual bold black paint and brickwork. Local artist Amu was on the easel, and getting to watch her capture the space in her beautiful, gentle style was a captivating addition to the soundscape. The line-up was jampacked, with the downstairs mainstage boasting funk fanatics Badlands, Bristol’s very own female fronted force NO:IR, and topped off the bill with the charismatic, feverish output that is gaws. There truly wasn’t an act on the line-up that disappointed, but these are just the ones that really spoke to me. Starting strong with a self-accompanied performance from freshly Bristolian artist Pindy, the Ease Events stage was introduced with remarkable form. Electric guitar parts reminiscent of Hozier’s intricate instrumentalism and vocals winding, these truly beautiful elements were joined by lyricism that cut right to the heart, spoken word and French sections bringing with Pindy’s mesmerizing voice to create something I felt genuinely privileged to see. Next up was mainstage openers Badlands, a charismatic crew, dressed to the nines with catchy tunes to match – energy reverberating offstage and opening the night with undeniable stage presence and a great mix of suavity and genuine fun. Double Bluff mix the vocal tone of Morrissey with the animation of Elvis, and create something truly unique. The addition of the saxophone and the well-timed Black Midi cover made for a performance laced with musical references and individuality. Lucy Marshall on the acoustic stage stunned, with classically good piano chops coupling her light, airy, ethereal voice reminiscent of Kate Bush. Joined with two other talented musicians, the arrangements were considered and interweaved naturally, elevating the songs and achieving a beautiful sense of completeness. With lyricism empowered and poetic, the track in celebration of female friendship felt particularly poignant, a performance grounded and confident in its grace. NO:IR on the mainstage was killer. With a heady, colossal performance that sent the audience to near feral level of excitement, the front woman had a command and presence that was a complete experience to witness. With powerful song writing and room-shaking ability, NO:IR were a true highlight. Hushwing are a romantic, classy acoustic offering whose chemistry is interwoven with their charm, finding soft, intimate ways to spin delicate love songs, avoiding cliché and creating a uniquely joyful output in the acoustic folksy scene. Voices blended with beautiful flow, and left a sweet atmosphere that rang throughout the room. gaws closed out the show – an adrenaline fuelled affair with an intoxicating energy, leaving the whole crowd carnally crazed and fizzing with headbanging stamina. The frontman Archie Jones oozes that unlearnable thing, a fervid spirit that is utterly infectious. It was one of the most engaged audiences I’ve ever witnessed at Moles, mosh pit raging in tameless force. A truly fitting end to a tremendous event.

  • Common Molly live at The Electric Bar: characterful indie pop with a delicate hand

    Common Molly is a band whose subtlety is interwoven with their charm, with soft harmonies and rich vocal character defining their unique and nostalgia laced sound. This gig in celebration of their debut single ‘Gentle’ was set at hometown venue The Electric Bar, and as always, the staff and sound were sublime, with the atmosphere comfortable and drenched in a velvet ease. The staging was genuinely stunning, with fabric draping, twinkling lights and plants placed to soften the space, making the scene entirely their own. Ease Events have a talent for bringing personalisation and silky atmosphere, and being joined by artist Lia Parry on the easel was a complete joy – she worked with remarkable confidence and abandon, creating eye-catchingly beautiful pieces for each act. There were also handmade, sustainable merch items up for grabs, with talented creator Ebonie Thompsonhandcrafting Common Molly themed fish earrings, and front woman Bobby Crowhurst having made a range of stunning crochet tops in the band colours – merch that was truly personal, beautifully made and that side steps the usual perils of fast fashion, with sustainable sensibility at the core of Common Molly’s principles. First on the bill were breath-taking Bath folk duo Humm, and they presented an ethereal wonderland that left me truly captivated. Carys Lewin’s vocals bottle the soaring, otherworldly tone of Kate Bush, swirling with soft sopranic style. Guitar parts by Arty Jackson were intricate and palatial, and the combination of their voices was beautifully, hazily smooth. Their energy drew the room into a state of true entrancement; lyricism poignant and poetic, with subtle harmonium additions melding the soundscape with ease. Sometimes you can tell when people are meant to work together, and this is definitely one of those instances. Humm were delicately divine. Next up were indie newcomers Lambridge, a performance infused with youthful vigour and heart. With well-placed cover of childhood classic theme tune “What’s New Scooby-Doo?” bringing the crowd onside with sunny spirit, Lambridge brought a light-hearted energy to couple their fresh-faced and relatable song writing, a band that I found myself routing for, their earnestness heart-warming. Headliners Common Molly were welcomed onstage with warm regard, and genuinely played the best I have ever seen them. Frontwoman Bobby Crowhurst sparkled, her warm, rich vibrato laced tone on top form, original songs flowing to an audience enthused and delighted from the opening note. Effortlessly cool bassist Heather Hughes brought refined groove and rhythmic sensibility, and lead guitarist Tom Bettle infused a nostalgic feel, solos combining understanding with genuine skill and spirit. Coming together with tenderly placed airy backing vocals, they often joined with lead vocalist Bobby in flowing three-part harmony that gave a folksy charm to an indie affair. Drummer Ella Thomas completes the bands line-up, complimenting the songs with satin understated polish, building a colourful soundscape interwoven with characterful charm. One of my personal favourite moments was their version of Haim’s vivid ‘Summer Girl’, mixing Haim’s joyfully feminine effervescence with their own brand of indie-girl charm. Their songwriting is catchy, interweaving pop sentiment with lyrical gold – finding strength in simplicity. But the moment that truly stole the show was Bobby’s out-the-box and totally fantastic clarinet solo, which she played with grace and ease, bringing an element of something fresh to an indie show, while the deep rich tones kept that nostalgic tone that carried throughout the show. It was a pleasure to catch Common Molly’s inaugural headline at The Electric Bar. An evening filled with creativity, personality and all round entrancing performances. Photography by Zaczyk Douglas. Written for TuneFountain. All words by Amy Overd.

  • Skye Britton live at The Electric Bar: gracefully smooth pop for the heartsick and hopeful

    Skye is a classic talent, and it was a pleasure to catch her headline gig at Bath’s very own Electric Bar, Komedia’s cosier, more intimate little sister. Skye Britton doesn’t shy away from the sad-girl label; with a long running joke that she could sell tissues as merch, which given her genre, definitely wouldn’t go unused. The gig was warm, personal and relaxed, a perfect pairing of venue and artist. Duo Nate and Hannah opened up the evening in sultry and soulful style, with clean-tone electric guitar played with masterful technique, riffs looping with delicate delight. Their stage presence was comfortable, and despite being to an unfamiliar crowd, you felt as though they were playing to friends; really settling the audience in - the best quality of a good support act. Their songwriting was sublime, with melodic interest sprinkled throughout, but the highlight for me was definitely their voices; Hannah’s rich, fervent tone silencing the room, and Nate’s warm, expressive vocals joining with impressive form, harmonies flowing together with charismatic charm. Next up was artist Meg Rasmussen, a solo artist accompanied by the members of Bath’s own romantic folksy output Hushwing, and it was a pleasure to see them turn their hand to a pop adjacent offering. A pairing of Florence Welch’s whimsical vibrato and Christina Aguilera’s powerhouse command, Meg’s voice fills the space with inescapable presence. The arrangement was spacious and respectful, and the harmonies were considered and airy, leaving space for Meg to riff, run, and put on a show. Headline act Skye entered to a stage dripping in florals, and her presence instantly put the room at ease. Accompanied by prolific and dazzlingly talented keys player Charlotte Blunn, their set was larger than life, weaving heartfelt acoustic moments with drum tracks that unlocked the full pop potential of Skye’s songwriting chops. Drenched in bittersweet nostalgia and references to going back home, Skye’s lyricism speaks to a yearning for stability that is just a little too relatable for anyone in the clutch of heartache. Laced with emotional lyricism and gorgeously catchy melancholic melody lines, the music is tinged with a pop sensibility that leaves you singing the choruses long after the gig is finished. Her vocals were deliciously soft and seeped with sentiment, the type of voice that is impossible not to enjoy. Hers’ and Charlotte’s voices melded in sumptuous style, moving together in satisfying harmony, with Charlotte’s ability to place just what is needed a real homage to her talent. Coupling her introspective pop with light-hearted stage talk, Skye drew in the audience and kept them with her the whole way, showcasing that you can own a stage with tender presence and heartfelt honesty. It was a beautiful evening that’s emotional sincerity left me feeling contented, open-hearted and all round grateful to have witnessed such an angelic evening. You can catch Skye’s next gig at Burdells’ Yard, Bath on 30th May. Follow her on Instagram here and wait in anticipation for her debut single with the rest of us!

  • The Easy Peelers at Moles

    Live powerhouses celebrated their new indie rock direction in delicious form The Easy Peelers are a band whose vibrant character cannot be contained by a stage: infectious energy, catchy melodies and bursting with spirit. The Peelers, as they are affectionately dubbed (mainly to those, like me, too lazy to say their full name) are definitely best witnessed on a night like this, where you can be guaranteed a free sticker, or seven, and an absolutely killer show. For those not in the know, The Easy Peelers’ are the band that you see featured on stickers plastered on almost any bus stop in Bath, a live outfit made up of four talented (and genuinely lovely) musicians, whose energy and obvious passion for performance reverberates throughout the room. The band boasts prolific rock drummer Mia Holmes, bass master Joe Spragg, playful lead guitarist Troy Krivacska and effervescent frontman Jake McGregor. Collectively they certainly know how to whip up a crowd. Set at well-loved, cult classic Bath venue Moles, the Peelers headline was hosted by fledgling promotion company Ease Events, and the combination of these entities seems to have been something of a perfect storm. The top room greeted you with local creative Ebonie Thompson selling handmade earrings in the shape of mini easy peelers (yes, I mean the oranges and not that she’d handcrafted mini band figurines, although maybe that’s an idea for next time). Downstairs welcomed you into what might as well have been the inside of Jake McGregor’s head - a band logo banner big enough to cover the space twice over, orange chiffon and an orange slices garland just to nail the point home. Paired alongside the tantalising promise of live artwork from local artist ‘San’ and washed down with a customised drinks menu, it was truly the most personalisation of a venue I’d ever seen for a gig, creating something wholly theirs. Opening strong with a new song whose chorus leant heavy into that classic rock distortion, The Peelers’ arrived with glorious new punch. Their ability to keep such command of the audience even through a set comprised of almost entirely new material is truly impressive, and speaks to their sparkling stage presence - and the undeniable energy of the new songs. But this isn't just rock for the sake of making noise. You can tell from the melding of lyrical quality and anthemic sensibility that McGregor has grown up on a diet of Fleetwood Mac and early 80s pop giants like Yazoo, bringing a larger-than-life flair to toplines that you can’t help but sing along to, without ever scrimping out on clever and often heartfelt lyricism. The beauty of the new tracks lies in the space for each member to shine, with the songs sitting perfectly for Jake’s unique vocal tone, celebrating Joe’s exceptional bass chops and letting Mia captivate, leaning into her rock musicality to drive the show with remarkable command. A standout part of the charm of a Peelers gig is watching lead guitarist Troy get absolutely lost in his own zestful riffs (if you’ll mind the citrus pun), animated with joyful disregard. Some highlights for me throughout the night were: Indie styled “Stuck In A Tree”, a rare departure from behind the guitar for Jake, and giving him a fantastic opportunity to take full advantage of his stage presence mastery Rascal Flatts’ iconic ‘Life is a Highway’, the perfect choice of a cover that rings with playful energy; I’ve never seen an audience react to a cover with quite so much excitement The well-welcomed return of crowd favourite “Sudocrem”, their spritely 2022 single bursting with head bopping satisfaction Having to duck in mild fear due to the Peeler themed inflatable beach ball pinging its way across the crowd They closed out the show with a brilliant encore of what is my personal favourite track of theirs, sweeping rock ballad “Playtime’s Over”, drums driving towards a magnificent close of what was a standout headline. Overall, I think that this clearly meticulously planned show was the best way to reintroduce the Peelers to their hometown crowd, returning a more confident, amps turned up kind of band. Somehow more orange and vibrant than ever, The Easy Peelers have kept a firm grasp on the elements that make them who they are: genuinely brilliant songwriting, captivating energy, and their unique sense of fun. If you get the chance to see them, you absolutely should. You can catch The Easy Peelers’ supporting Kudos at Moles, Bath on May 1st.

  • ‘Skarlette’ captivate with graceful piano vocal stylings, bringing silky elegance and romantic charm

    ‘Skarlette’ is the new endeavour from Bath based musicians Charlotte Blunn and Skye Britton, a wedding music duo made up of two accomplished vocalists and instrumentalists who embody graceful sophistication through their artistic work. I had the pleasure of catching Skye and Charlotte’s set at the prestigious Bath venue Holburne Museum. Recently famed for its feature in Netflix triumph ‘Bridgerton’, ‘Skarlette’s delicate arrangements and sweeping harmonies would not be out of place in the acclaimed show’s soundtrack, their performance flowing with beauty and silky elegance. The duo put the room at ease with their soft, interweaving harmonies and considered choices of well-loved romantic classics presented with an opulent charm; arrangements featuring Charlotte Blunn’s first-class piano stylings, Skye Britton’s heavenly vocal presentation and their combined mastery of harmonic flow. You can tell that they are comfortable with each other and confident in their ability, working seamlessly in tangent to create a tranquil atmosphere, and it was noticeable that the audience settled, put at ease with the knowledge that ‘Skarlette’ would not disappoint. A particular highlight of the evening for me was their rendition of Whitney Houston’s iconic “I Wanna Dance with Somebody” - bringing a soulful, heartfelt touch with a captivating acapella section that had the audience enchanted. If you’re looking for a duo that will bring luxurious performance and genuine professionalism to your special day, I highly recommended Skye and Charlotte. You can check out Skarlette’s beautiful offering for yourself on their website, or find them on Instagram.

  • Jess Stewart “hell-bent on having fun” in playful pop masterclass ‘Twenties’.

    With rueful relatability woven into the very heart, Jess Stewart’s upcoming single “Twenties” is a celebration of the bewildering, giddy, totally inescapable experience of entering the start of your so-called adult life. Bold, bright and bubbly from the beginning, the record is as timely as you can get, a proudly Gen-Z soundscape laced with spirited lyricism. “Twenties” is the track you want to sing along to in the car, windows down, capturing that carefree summer spirit. Entering swimming in swirling synths, Jess’ rich, warm vocal tone arrives in glorious fashion, with a drum track that you just can’t help but move to. The melody flows with unmistakable energy, intertwining light-hearted spoken-word phrases with a chorus that bursts forth with dynamic direction, truly displaying her vocal command. Sitting rightfully among 2023’s response to the high saturation of lockdown catapulted ‘sad- girl pop’, Jess Stewart would not be out of place in a line up with the new wave of artists championing the return to playful pop, perfect for fans of TikTok sensation Caity Baser, or upcoming pop princess Mimi Webb. Produced, mixed and mastered entirely by Jess Stewart herself, ‘Twenties’ speaks to the mastery that can be achieved as an independent artist if you’re willing to put the work in, like Jess clearly has. Sections building to resolve with rewarding result, the track is a triumph of clean, punchy drum sounds and satisfying pitch shifting. ‘Twenties’ is as impressive as it is fun - creating a world that celebrates new beginnings in the face of uncertainty. Sometimes, the cliche is just the truth; this really should be your song of the summer.

  • The Easy Peelers Interview

    Bath's most mischievous music makers. The Easy Peelers are what you want to imagine an old-school band to be, genuine friends making music because they love it. The Peelers are a band as exciting and new as it is nostalgic, balancing a youthful spirit and playful charm with some proper rock writing that knows how to whip up a crowd. Their new single “Tables Turn” is a piece they can really be proud of, and certainly their best yet. I had the pleasure of chatting with the Peelers at lead singers Jake McGregor’s’ fancy new apartment, where they feel slightly out of place and like they have to sneak their smoke breaks in silence for fear of their next-door neighbour shouting out the window. Chatty and inviting laced with a strong hint of mischief, the Peelers are a band that you just want to be friends with, and this new single really reflects that optimistic, stick it out together energy. Jake: “I wrote [Tables Turn] ages before we played it. In rehearsals I’d always present two songs for us to learn, and these guys would always pick the other option. When we finally learnt it… I mean obviously it slapped”. “Our keys player did these spaced-out chords, and I thought his part sounded better than what I was doing so now that’s the guitar part I play, that syncopated feel. Mia [Peelers’ drummer] always said it sounded like that Taylor Swift song…” Mia & Jake start singing: “It feels like a perfect night...” Mia: “On my set list I always had to have ‘Taylor Swift song’ written because I didn’t know the name of it yet” This single feels different to what the Peelers have put out before. It has that catchy energy at its core, but this definitely feels more defiant, Jakes’ vocals a real stand out moment, a far grittier, bolder sound, like he’s singing with some real purpose. It suits his voice and the band in general who are right there, turning up the dial with him. Jake: “I think this was more sing-along, feel-good vibes we were going for with this one” Mia, interrupting: “Rock.” (probably combined with some kind of rock-and-roll hand gesture) Troy [Peelers guitarist]: “Yeah, rock, feel-good.” Jake: “The chorus has this double meaning… “Take what you need and you make it work”, it’s half this commentary on a situation I had with an old friend who ended up acting pretty selfishly, like they were just taking what they wanted regardless of how it effected anyone else, but then the more we’ve played it together it’s also turned into this like motivational thing, you gotta take what you need and not put yourself out for people who couldn’t give a shit about you.” I think the opening line really sums up the whole track, “I’m a second away from a new thing”, this bold sense of optimism that something better is coming, you just gotta grit your teeth and get there, wait for the tables to turn if you will. I wanted to know if the guys wrote their own sections, because I needed to know who to thank for the guitar part [which I did attempt to sing]. Jake, to Troy: “Yeah the guitar part slaps, it does. I learnt to play that because I love it so much, I just sit and play it to myself” Troy: “Most of the times when I write it just sort of leaves my hands, and then I try to learn it afterwards. I wanted to make the catchiest song ever, I want you to be able to sing along and get it stuck in your head.” It’s one of those rare songs where the riff really is the bit the crowd will be chanting. Troy may have been being mildly sarcastic when he said that the riff “came from within”, but a talent like his for earworms is one you can’t really teach. Jake: “Joe [Peelers bassist] just picked up the bassline I’d written and immediately made it better, as he always does" Mia: “And with the drums, Jesus takes the wheel, and I just see what Jesus does [starts laughing] … and then I replicate it afterwards”. Troy: “I did definitely steal from Stacey’s Mum for the second verse”. It’s good to know that the influences are solid, but you can just tell from a listen that everyone is really feeling what they’re playing, the enjoyment just rings out through the track. It’s almost like I can picture Troy bopping about or Mia smiling away behind the kit. Mia: “We recorded Tables Turn with Archie Jones, and he genuinely took such good care of us” Jake: “I’m not very good at recording [which I think we can all agree is not true], so I was pretty nervous, but Archie just knew what we needed and got great takes out of us.” Mia: “We spent a long time picking the drum sound, we ended up using a Ludwig Black Beauty Snare and then I just put some duct tape on it to get it right.” Mia being a pro got the recording down in three takes, although of course she won’t tell you that on the record. Another element that really nails home the Peelers aesthetic is the artwork for the single – a cheeky DIY cartoon that could’ve fallen right out of the early 2000s. Troy: “The single cover was a combo of me and Charlie Hughes, who hand drew our characters. They reminded me of Bratz dolls…” Mia & Jake: “Or the Gorillaz” Troy: “It was trial and error with a lot of fonts, but we wanted to lean into that 2000s nostalgia thing, and also like… we just love to skate.” Mia: “Please sponsor us Route One.” [Mia is currently sticking all the mini peelers stickers to her knuckles] Jake, whispered: “Mia, stop it.” Laughter follows, as it always does when these guys are together. When asked what’s coming up for them next, their energy was buzzing. Jake: "We’re going back in the studio with Mr Archie Jones, and we’ve got a huge Halloween show [Saturday 28th, in Bath] at Moles, which is kind of like a home ground for us. We’ve got tote bags and new tiny little stickers [unfortunately the stickers were misprinted so they’re about ¼ of the size they were meant to be] that you can get at the show, and Blue Ray and Badlands are supporting, so it’s gonna be epic." If you want a plan for Halloween that involves great live music, no pressure to dress up and a stage full of people in skeleton onesies, then I can’t recommend The Easy Peelers’ more. A Halloween show is the perfect single release celebration for a band where the enjoyment really does come first. I’ll be rooting for them, and listening to 'Tables Turn' on repeat. It’s always a joy to find music that actually puts a smile on your face, and that energy comes from the connection and family that these guys have together. Check out The Easy Peelers here.

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