Future Of The Left, Young Marble Giants, Clinic, Thomas Truax, Broken Records - SWN is soon: a festival preview.
SWN FESTIVAL 2008. SWN means 'sound' especially of a loud, harsh confused kind, deafeaning noises. There will be plenty of it during this festival of music, art and film taking place across Venues in Cardiff, from the 14th to the 16th November 2008 (with opening night party on 13th November).
In its second year the event founded and organised by local movers DJ Huw Stevens and label honcho John Rostron takes on more of a local feel, rooting it self more firmly to the bosom of the Welsh music scene, thus local acts now make up the bulk of this year's line up. Alongside new buzzy indie acts: who have made the trip across the Severn and complemented by more established names on larger independent labels. Whilst this year's line up has drawn some criticism for not being different enough to many of the gigs that already take place throughout the year in Cardiff, its fair to say that if you've got the stamina you'll get a lot of bang for you bucks at this year's event.
One feels this year's SWN is attempting to bring some of what makes In The City so successful in Manchester to the Welsh Capitol, a diversity of acts that will get fans, labels, talking and enjoying new music. Whilst retaining what is interesting and idiosyncratic about Cardiff as a musical hotbed.
Cardiff residents and GIITTV writers Bill Cummings, Owain Paciuszko and Alex Skinner have been sieving for gold in SWN's sprawling, eclectic line up. Whilst not forgetting the music documentary and music-related film nights in Chapter and multi media seminars in The Atrium building that will lead the way into the main weekend's events of SWN 08. So get your wall planner at the ready, and your marker pen poised to chart your journey through SWN, pay attention at the back, we'll be taking questions at the end.
Weekend Wristbands that will grant you access to all SWN events are priced at Ł45 + booking fee, whilst walk up tickets for individual nights will vary.
More information here:
SWN Festival: Monday 10th to Friday 14th November
Owain Paciuszko guides us through the pre SWN events and makes his way into the opening day's line up. SWN starts even before SWN starts when on Monday 10th at Cineworld there will be an evening of music related films. Featuring animation by Clemens Habicht, whose work will be projected alongside the almighty Clinic's live performance later in the week(Friday: Clwb: 11pm). There'll be a video art piece by Mark James, the chap responsible for Gruff Rhys' Fingermouse-nostalgic Candylion fideo. Speaking of nostalgia there'll be a wistful, teary-eyed look back over the lost beauty of the cassette tape in 'Forget Cassettes?'; mixtapes just aren't as good on CD, the power to skip is a curse not a gift! And all with climax with a live performance by the fantastic Truckers of Husk, alongside the first screening of their brand new music video!
On the Tuesday one of the twisted deviant minds responsible for Buffalo's schlocktastic Sunday Sinema nights takes over Chapter for a similar, yet stranger, film/music mutant event. It promises maverick sound pioneers and deluded pop lunatics ranging from Harry Partch to David Hasslehoff, Erkki Kurenniemi to Wesley Willis!?! One can only wonder what an Avant Garde Boy Band could muster, let alone the concept of 'Apocalyptic Sex Cults Go Pop', but like with all www.clubfoot.com events this promises to be quite unforgettable!
Buffalo Bar boasts a few treats on the Friday night, Cymbient(8pm-8.30pm) are a glorious indie racket ranging from Gorkys-like sunshine to clattering madness with skill and style from their extremely talented line-up. They are followed by Jen Jeniro(9pm- 9.30pm) who are, in my opinion, one of the most intriguing presences on the current Cardiff music landscape, their songs are baggy, psychedelic funk-outs with clear 60s influences - specific comparison to the fuzzy-drug-addled atmospherics of The 13th Floor Elevators - and they boast some damn catchy tunes, most notably the awesome 'Hulusi'.
Bill Cummings says that if you fancy checking out what the other venues have to offer on Friday evening you should catch psychedelic pop practitioners Radio Luxembourg over at Tommy's bar at 9.30pm they will be proving yet again why they've been called the 'new Gorky's Zygotic Mynci.' Take a miss at The Pipettes (9.45pm-10.15pm) at the Point, who where always spuriously claimed as a Welsh act on the basis of having one nominal local member Gwenno, they've recently been through more line up changes than the Sugababes. Spurn their feminine ways in favour of catching reformed Cardiff post punk cult outfit Young Marble Giants (10pm-10.30pm) at the Reardon Lecture Theatre their twitchy lo fi sound that their reputation has only grown in the intervening years since the release of their 1980 album 'Colossal Youth'. They no doubt will draw a considerable crowd so be warned get there early! If you're still awake head back to Tommys to check out Stolen Records' Pete and the Pirates (11pm-11.30pm) who were a hot GIITTV tip earlier in the year they deal in wonderfully heartfelt old school indie tunes, powered by a sprightly rhythm section that bares some passing resemblance to Pavement.
SWN festival Saturday 15th November 2008.
Owain Paciuszko looks at his highlights of Saturday at SWN. Starting at 3pm on Saturday at Tommy's Bar is a glorious picnic of musical treats beginning with, as most picnics should, a spot of tea. The New Tea Party(3pm - 3.30pm) are a Welsh group who create glistening pop nuggets such as the majestic and rousing 'Punctuality Is The Thief Of Time' or the sweet, breezy 'Say "I Love Youâ€ť'; there are destined to set heads a nodding and smiles a smiling.
They are followed by Little My(3.45pm - 4.15pm), who seem to grown in number every time I see them, their erratic, changeable and lively line up guarantees a cacophony of joy. Their centrepiece is the sunshine sing-a-long of 'Sellotape My Hands', which is, like most of their output, short, sharp and to the tweeful point.
Kent's It Hugs Back(4.30pm - 5pm It) add a lucid garnish to their Oh No! Oh My! like pop rambles, with the nice walk on a warm Autumn's day feel of songs such as 'Work Day' and 'Other Cars Go' (surely an Arcade Fire counterpoint?); whilst tracks like 'Early Evening' pull a touch of the Bright Eyes out with Matthew's hushed vocals making things confessional and intimate.
Connan Mockasin (tsk, spell it right Swn!) (5.15pm - 5.45pm) brings a touch of the psychedelic creeps with their eerie jazz that is very reminiscent of the experimental pop work of Joe Meek. With a musical backdrop akin to a 1960s surreal detective show and falsetto Beatles vocals singing songs as wonderfully titled as 'Unicorn in Uniform' or as beguiling as 'Macheeky' they are a fascinating lunch before the main course(s).
Aidan Smith(6pm - 6.45pm), in my humble opinion, is one of the finest singer-songwriter types out there at the moment and he has produced a succession of flawless EPs and two incredible LPs. His initial submission to Twisted Nerve was a humongous load of demos recorded in his living room that they immediately set about releasing. He has a barrage of superb songs pushing and pulling in all manner of directions, from the oddball 'Jam Will Suffice' to the bittersweet 'Everybody Thinks I'm A Millionaire' or the electro-spoken-word of 'Regret Song', he is a prolific and unmissable addition to the festival.
Headlining are The Boy Least Likely To(7pm - 8pm ) who are most well known for the primary school stomp of 'Be Gentle With Me' from their magnificent debut album 'The Best Party Ever', and they continue to craft brightly coloured pop tunes as evidenced by most recent single 'I Box Up All The Butterflies' or the happy-sad 'A Balloon On A Broken String'. They add another dollop of icing and an extra cherry to a deliciously sugary confection.
Upstairs in Dempsey's on Saturday night you will find some gems from the local music scene all cobbled together in one delicious Variety Box. Starting at 8pm with the sweet strains of Silence At Sea, their ramshackle debut LP is one of the diamonds in the rough of local records and their knack for a smart, wry song is one of many reasons to check them out.
The absolutely brilliant Alex Dingley(9pm-9.30pm) follows, this Texas Radio Band member is responsible for one of the year's greatest albums (though I think it came out in 2007 it's so good an album I've allowed it to rollover into 2008), in fact I'd go so far as to say that Dingley's 'I Lost My Honey In The Grass' is one of my favourite albums. Songs such as 'Cotton Wool', 'How To Survive @ Sea' and the romantic, surreal pop of 'Oriole' should be bronzed on a big plaque marked 'CLASSICS'.
He's followed by The Voluntary Butler Scheme(10pm-10.45pm) who crafts his songs out of scratch, looping elements until they form uplifting buoyant, bittersweet, magical wholes. His first EP 'Tomatoes, Peppers, Garlic + Mushrooms' is an essential purchase just for the opening track 'Trading Things In', a funny, sing-a-long song about adapting for love, e.g. 'If you were a brocolli I'd turn vegetarian.'
Finally comes the lunatic charm of Thomas Truax(11.15pm-12am ) who will be howling out his songs on bizarre, home-made instruments like some sort of mad Looney Tunes professor and mixing a potion out of his Nick Cave meets Tom Waits on La Dia De Los Muertos sound. It's all followed by the 'the best indie disco in the UK' Twisted By Design.
Alex Skinner casts his eye over a tremendously strong lines up that are set to tickle your fancy and cure what ales on a Saturday night. Casting a beady eye towards the Barfly establishment we see headliners Amazing Baby (10pm-11pm). The Brooklyn boys have mystical wonderment (they recently supported MGMT). Broken Records() throw down some Scotch alt.-ready vibes not to mention the locals. Cardiff's own The Last Republic(8.15pm-8.45pm), fit the bill with The Muscle Club(7.30pm-8pm), watch out for these guys. A top tip, as they are tipped for the top.
Flashguns (10-30pm-11.15pm) seem worth a hoot with their kooky noise headlining at Buffalo Bar. Also featuring is the majestic non-linear style of Attack + Defend(7.30pm-8pm), the atmospheric nature of Fredrick Stanley Star(8.30pm-9pm), and the twisted lyrical madness of Paul Hawkins and his awkward silences(9.30pm-10pm). Rolling over to Clwb Ifor Bach, Cats In Paris (10.45pm-11.30pm) headliners of The BBC's Introducing night will prove irresistible to missâ€¦so don't miss it.
The excitingly styled line up also sees female fronted pop from north wales in the form of The Joy Formidable (8.15pm-8.45pm) amongst several acts performing including home-grown Klaus Kinski(8.45pm) and Northwalian art punks Ectogram (10pm-10.45pm). The Northeast's casio pop boys and girls Das Wanderlust(8.45pm-9.15pm) feature with lone maverick Euro Childs (9.45pm-10.45pm) who scatters his lovable, bittersweet tunes over the beautiful Reardon Theatre (Museum).
The mighty Eugene Mcguiness(10pm-10.45pm) will be a fine spectacle, and prove well worth the trek over to The Gate. The wonderfully delectable Cate Le Bon (8.45pm-9.45pm) will be a joy after Peggie Sue. Shaping up for a delightfully decadent list of talents. Rocking the Kaz Bar are the tried and tested Truckers of Husk (8.30pm-9.15pm) with Golden Silvers whom recently supported Mystery Jets (OOOOooooo).
SWN festival Sunday 16th of November.
Bill Cummings reackons that If you've just about recovered from the massive hangover of SWN Saturday, then head back to the Barfly on Sunday afternoon to begin the last day of SWN with the rather brilliant literate violin led indie of local boys and girls Picture Books In Winter (4.45pm4.45pm - 5.15pm) and recent much talked about Big Scarey Monster signings Tubelord(5.30pm - 6.15pm) Both are lending back up to Scottish headliners Danananaykroyd(6.30pm - 7.30pm) who are more than just a great name, they're touted as one of the country's best new live bands: their spazzy guitars and fractured rhythms take hammers to ATDI, their bizarre melodies violently head butting the work of !Forward Russia! into submission,
If you're in the mood for something more soothing walk briskly over to the Glo bar for a special set from local boy made good Sweet Baboo (4pm-4.30pm) whose darkly humourous words and downbeat acoustics melt at the confessional altar of alt country: (his recent album 'The Mighty Babboo' is well worth picking up on Businessman records) he will provide the perfect soundtrack to the setting sun.
The final evening of this year's festival offers up a variety of treats, beginning with Georgina Ruth Williams(7.30pm-8pm) with her gorgeous vocals and gentle finger picking she will be hushing audiences at the Reardon Smith lecture theatre. While over at the Point the frankly rubbish (but worth a laugh) comedy RAP of Newport scallies, GLC(8pm-9pm) is followed by the last ever performance from Welsh language heroes Genod Droog.
But if its quality and real diversity you're looking for then take a trip to Clwb Ifor Bach (locally known as the Welsh Club) for a enticing staggering relay between the noisy progressions of the upstairs floor and the female fronted twee of the Peppermint Patti (renowned Chapter promoters) show downstairs. Those kind SWN types have allowed you just enough time between acts to dart back and forth between these strong line-ups, get in training now though because you'll need to be fit to handle Clwb's steel stairs. Kicking off with the wonderful Cherryade indie pop act The Lovely eggs (6.45pm - 7.15pm) downstairs before topping proceedings with headliners Agaskodo Teliverek (9.45pm - 10.30pm) who are apparently 'wierd, they make frantic, electronic guitar concoctions, wear matching body hugging football uniforms'. Then rushing back upstairs toward acts that will expand the mind and leave your ears ringing for days, local experimental two piece Right Hand, Left Hand(8.30pm-9pm) who weave expertly performed post rock instrumentals. Headliners Future of the Left spawn a dense, dirty, and dynamic noise (10.30pm - 11.30pm) no doubt ending SWN with a great big bang.