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(Holiday!) Video of the Moment (and more!) #661: Emmy the Great and Tim Wheeler

By on Monday, 19th December 2011 at 9:00 am

In case you didn’t know, Emma-Lee Moss (better known as Emmy the Great, pictured above) and Tim Wheeler of Ash are now an item. (Well, they’ve been one for a while; I kind of guessed something was going on with these videos of Emmy and Tim circulating the internet as early as 2009. Things are going well, judging from a Tweet exchange we had earlier this year. So I am well pleased for those lovebirds! )

So they made a video for their song ‘Home for the Holidays’. It’s off their holiday themed (of course) album ‘This is Christmas’, released in November on Infectious. I suppose this could have gone cloyingly sugary sweet but Emmy and Tim reined this in and this will be an indie Christmas classic for years to come. They’re also giving away album track ‘Christmas Day (I Wish I was Surfing)’, which I guess everyone in the world is thinking. Except people that live in Hawaii maybe…



Tramlines 2011: Day 3 Roundup

By on Tuesday, 16th August 2011 at 2:00 pm

Fortunately, the weather once again holds out on Sunday as thousands of music fans flood into the centre of Sheffield for the last day of Tramlines 2011. By early afternoon, venue capacities become how many people will fit and still be able to get to the bar and the main stage has a steady moving queue. For this reason, I return to the New Music Stage, which today is curated by local screamo/hardcore group Rolo Tomassi. The band have great taste, as the first band I see are Brontide, proper post-rock that appears to convert those present who weren’t already fans. 65daysofstatic are amongst a group of local bands to really bring this genre to the forefront of new rock music so it’s great to see Brontide get such a good billing in the city centre.

Later, London group Three Trapped Tigers also grace this stage but I decide to go for another Tramlines speciality in the form of the Busker Bus. Created and curated by local band Bromheads, the busker bus (crowd shown above) takes punters on a trip across Sheffield (and back) with the benefit of artists playing a gig at the same time. I arrive just in time for today’s special guests, the Everly Pregnant Brothers (photo below). Playing their third set in as many days, the Yorkshire band are comprised of about 10 ukulele and other small instrument-playing middle aged men. Sounds like a recipe for disaster right? Actually, it’s brilliant and quite refreshing to hear a band play a version of Talking Heads’ ‘Psycho Killer’ with all of their own words, whilst a hundred people crammed onto public transport all “fafafafaafa”-ing along. At the stop, everyone’s off and they manage to out-Sheffield Jarvis Cocker at his own song as the group play ‘Common People’ before going into the pub to play another set whilst the bus riders get back on and back to the centre. Next up on the bus are late additions and ever popular Johnny Foreigner. Playing some quieter tracks ahead of their main stage show later today, ‘I’ll Choose my Side’ is put alongside an as of yet, unnamed track to treat those present.

Upon being returned to the city, I head straight for the main stage. After featuring a selection of pop from Olly Murs and Pixie Lott yesterday, as well as Joshua Radin and Guillemots, today’s line-up is distinctly more electric guitar-friendly. I arrive in time to catch the Phantom Band’s sound make its mark on the city and with dedications to any single-malt drinkers in the crowd (sorry security, you missed my flask), the band bring a slightly synthesized and electric folk blended set of tracks to the main stage. The second and much larger set of Johnny Foreigner’s day comes in replacement of their fallen friends: “to anyone at the back who’s confused, we’re not Frankie and the Heartstrings,” explains front man Alexei. Playing to a crowd the size of “an entire tour” the band (pictured below) play tracks that are nearest to being the ‘hits’ collection and do it well. Scatterings of fans across the crowd appreciate to start, many more are dancing, a little, by the end. Even new song ‘Electricity vs. the Dead’ leaves fans seeming quite happy with the progress the band have made.

It’s the hit makers up next though. The Futureheads bring a set list that’s been tried and tested for months in similar billings to Sheffield and get everyone doing “the bouncy bounce” which is effectively jumping in time, as well as constructing mass sing-alongs for ‘The Beginning of the Twist’ and the ever popular Kate Bush cover of ‘Hounds of Love’. It’s the kind of music festivals like Tramlines exist for.

Not that it stops there though, because this evening’s headliners have even more crowd pleasers. Ash (pictured at the top of this post) open with ‘Girl From Mars’, reminding everyone just what a tour de force they’ve been since day one and now with the added sound of Russell Lissack (Bloc Party member two of my weekend), they’re sounding even more like a band worthy of headlining such an event. Their set features all the expected hits, some recent singles from their ‘A-Z’ project and even covers of ‘Teenage Kicks’ and Weezer’s ‘Only in Dreams’ alongside set and festival closer ‘Burn Baby Burn’. What a way to close a festival!

Tramlines probably should have some sort of limits and caps, but I’m not sure there’s a way to implement that without ruining so much about what makes it incredible. Hundreds of bands playing a mass array of free live music can only be good in my eyes. Until next time, thanks Sheffield.


Ash / October 2011 English Tour

By on Monday, 15th August 2011 at 9:00 am

Ash will be playing their seminal album ‘Free All Angels’ in its entirety and their greatest hits on a short tour of England this October. Charlotte Hatherley will be rejoining them for this tour as well. Tickets are on sale now.

Thursday 20th October 2011 – Birmingham HMV Institute
Sunday 23rd October 2011 – Manchester Ritz
Tuesday 25th October 2011 – London HMV Forum


Ash / November 2010 UK Tour

By on Wednesday, 1st September 2010 at 8:00 am

Unlike the crazy A-Z, 26-city tour they went on last year, Ash will play only three dates on their November tour of the UK. The band will play dates in Edinburgh, Dundee and London. Tickets go on sale on Friday (3 September) at 9 AM.

Thursday 11th November 2010 – Edinburgh Liquid Rooms
Friday 12th November 2010 – Dundee Fat Sam’s
Saturday 13th November 2010 – London Shepherds Bush Empire


Album Review: Ash – A-Z Vol. 1

By on Monday, 3rd May 2010 at 2:00 pm

Tim Wheeler was a good sport and stepped in as an alternate on Steve Lamacq’s Roundtable on 15 April (the same day he and his band played in the 6music Hub for Lauren Laverne) when Dresden Dolls / Evelyn Evelyn singer Amanda Palmer was unable to fly from Iceland to London due to the volcano eruption. Even so, I’m sure Ash has had enough of all the volcano jokes. So let’s switch gears and talk about their latest release, ‘Vol. 1’.

When Ash announced in autumn 2009 that they were eschewing the standard album format and planning to release 26 singles, a new one every fortnight, the music business were probably biting their nails. It was a gutsy decision and was, in essence, a game-changing move likely more industry-shaking than Radiohead selling ‘In Rainbows’ with a name-your-price scheme a few years back. If I went through my music collection, I think there’s really only one band I can say who had a consistent string of singles was the Beatles (and in a sense, the Fabs did something similar, by refusing to put their singles on LPs). Releasing individual singles the way Ash has worked it out can be a double-edged sword: it can go horribly wrong if each individual song isn’t up to snuff with the one previous or the one next, but alternatively, the thought of getting a new single every 2 weeks builds up anticipation and excitement.

For anyone who’s not a massive Ash fan and/or did not subscribe to the 26-single series, you can catch up on the story so far at its midpoint by picking up ‘Vol. 1’, featuring the first 13 singles of the series. ‘True Love 1980’, a paean to unrequited love, is a great way to start, and the hits just keep coming. ‘Joy Kicks Darkness’ is a rocking-out song waiting in the wings to become the next stadium anthem. Listen to ‘Space Shot’ on headphones in the dark, and you can imagine you’re in a starcraft hurtling through the great beyond, Wheeler’s lead vocals soundtracking your trip.

Continue reading Album Review: Ash – A-Z Vol. 1


Preview: Glastonbury 2010

By on Friday, 23rd April 2010 at 12:00 pm

Surely I don’t need to explain to you what Glastonbury is – it’s simply LEGENDARY. Even as an American (though, admittedly, an Anglophile), every year I drool over the lineup, despair at not being able to attend and then scour the internet for pictures and videos when it’s over. Each summer, the enormous site at Worthy Farm (about a mile and a half in diameter) turns into a mini-city for the  largest greenfield festival in the world. Since the first Glasto was held 40 years ago in 1970, the festival has come to be known for its truly amazing lineup, and this year is no different.

One of the perks of being the biggest festival around is that you can get the biggest artists around. This year, the Pyramid Stage will be graced by some of the most recognizable names in music. On Friday night, Irish rockers U2 are headlining, with support from Dizzee Rascal, Vampire Weekend, Snoop Dogg, Willie Nelson, and Corinne Bailey Rae. Saturday night sees headliner MUSE share the stage with the likes of Scissor Sisters, Shakira and Jackson Browne. And on the final night, legend Stevie Wonder tops the bill, closing out the festival after performances from Paloma Faith, Norah Jones, Jack Johnson and guitar legend Slash.

But it’s not only the main stage that’s worth visiting. Punters will get quite a workout running between that and the other 12 stages, of which the Other Stage, the John Peel Stage and the Park Stage look the most promising. Over the course of the weekend, the Other Stage lineup reads like the index page of NME: The Flaming Lips, Florence and the Machine, La Roux, Hot Chip, Phoenix, the Courteeners, the Cribs, Kate Nash, Editors, Two Door Cinema Club, LCD Soundsystem, MGMT, We Are Scientists, Temper Trap, the Hold Steady and more.

Originally called the “New Bands Tent,” the John Peel Stage features a mix of old and new favourites. Friday night sees Groove Armada share the stage with the likes of Mumford & Sons, Ellie Goulding and Bombay Bicycle Club. Saturday night is jam-packed with bands we’ve featured here on TGTF, like the xx, Foals, Marina and the Diamonds, Delphic, Wild Beasts and Field Music. And Sunday night remains epic with sets by Ash, Julian Casablancas and the Drums.

All the way across the site, the Park Stage will play host to buzz bands like the xx, Broken Bells, the Big Pink, Midlake, Laura Marling, Stornoway, Beach House, Frankie & the Heartstrings and Dirty Projectors, ending with a headlining set by Australian electronic duo Empire of the Sun on Sunday night. And at the risk of making your heads explode by listing even more bands, at the other stages festival-goers will be treated to performances by Mos Def, Phenomenal Handclap Band, Rodrigo y Gabriela, Turin Brakes, Imelda May, DJ Fatboy Slim, Crystal Castles, Good Shoes, Fanfarlo and Dan le Sac vs. Scroobius Pip.

If you’re not already overwhelmed by the sheer massiveness of the festival, then you can click here to view the complete lineup. But if you don’t already have tickets for the sold out spectacular, then be warned, it will turn you green with envy.

Glastonbury 2010 is completely SOLD OUT. It will be held from Wednesday, 23rd June to Sunday, 27th June 2010 at Worthy Farm, Pilton.


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