From the Margins ...

  • Velvet ImageVelvet EP CoverVELVET : FIRE EP
    North West Wales musicians' collective CEG are stepping up the pace of releases on their newly minted label. Fifth recording out of the traps, following on from Colossus' Vanarchy in the UK, is the Fire EP from Bangor based indie band Velvet. The title track has already had widespread radio airplay, not least due to the arresting vocals of the band's main songwriter Aimee Dobbie - who Radio Wales DJ Adam Walton has favourable compared to Catatonia's Cerys Matthews. That affinity is striking on first listen, but there is a range of influences at play on the emotive four song set, including David Bowie, Radiohead and The Cranberries. Velvet will be performing at The Skerries in Bangor as part of their EP Launch on Friday, 24th November, with support from Xtacsi and The Darvells.
  • Baby BraveBABY BRAVE : ALONE IN TOKYO ANIMATED VIDEO
    For a long time we had Baby Brave's two perfectly formed EPs on repeat. King Horse and Tacky Birthday are rare artifacts of new wave noise pop, formed from the key elements the genre demands - barely restrained squalling guitars, sharp lyrics and compulsive tunes. The band also make very good videos - the immaculately choreographed rendition of Jitters a case in point - and this new release for Alone in Tokyo is a visual delight, made from rearranged animé clips, that fully illuminates the song.

  • FtM Icon SONG OF THE YEAR & ESSENTIAL ALBUMS OF 2017
    Last year's Song of the Year (Aled Rheon's Wrap up Warm) and our Best of 2016 List are two of the most widely read articles posted to the site so far. Also near the top of the pile is the 2017 Watchlist, which looks none too shabby in hindsight. This year we are repeating 'Song of the Year' and posting a list of the essential albums released with a link to North Wales in 2017. All the picks have been made, and they will be posted here on Friday, December 1st.
  • Focus Wales 2018FOCUS WALES 2018 : TUDUR OWEN'S COMEDY MARATHON : 11.05.2018
    Focus Wales, Wrexham's dynamic annual international music/arts/interactive festival, is stepping up its commitment to Welsh comedy with a new 'Live at the Apollo' style showcase hosted by Tudur Owen. Already confirmed for the bill are rising stars Hywel Pitts from Colwyn Bay and Bangor funnyman Johnny Williams. More names will be confirmed soon.

    Tudur is a well-established act on the UK stand-up comedy circuit. Having started his career in 1999, he is now regarded as one of Wales' finest comedy talents with a string of sell out Edinburgh Fringe Festival runs to his name, as well an impressive writing and broadcasting CV. He has been recently commissioned by BBC Radio 4 for a series next year titled "Putting Anglesey On The Map". Tudur is well known for his comedy whether working in Welsh or English; the showcase will be bilingual, and fun for everyone, regardless of Welsh language abilities. He is, as The Reviews Hub states, 'riotously funny'.

    As Tudur is one of our favourite comedians (read the last review), we are exceptionally pleased to be working in association with Focus Wales to deliver this event; Tudur Owen's Comedy Marathon starts at 7.00pm on Friday 11th May, at HWB Cymraeg, Queens Square, Wrexham. Tickets are £8. Early bird tickets for the whole weekend of Focus Wales 2018 cost just £35 and are available here.

  • POLITICS : SOCIALISM FOR THE WELSH PEOPLE (1979)
    The background material for a recent pair of Desolation Radio episodes, this searing pamphlet (PDF) was written in a different time by Gareth Miles & Robert Griffiths. Although historical, it has a sharp, dissecting foreword written by Dafydd, now Lord, Elis Thomas (then a Plaid MP) and a coruscating main text. You might not agree with much of it - but it is a fascinating read.

  • PatrobasPATROBAS LIVE IN LLANDUDNO : SAT 18 NOV
    Llandudno Christmas Fayre has an outdoor stage headlined on Saturday 18th November by Llŷn peninsula folk-rock band Patrobas, who released a superb debut album earlier in the year. At the time we described the record as "Open hearted, uplifting and infectious music written under a big sky - undeniably magnificent"; and whilst the live shows that have promoted it have ranged from the sublime to the surreal, they have always been entertaining.

    Patrobas' self-penned songs are almost all sung in Welsh, but the appeal of the music is universal, and it will be worth the trip to Llandudno just for the chance to jig about in your winter coat to their exuberant version of Old Crow Medicine Show's Wagon Wheel. They will be on stage in Trinity Square from 6pm.

    There is a full, mixed programme on the same stage Thursday - Sunday, with Saturday titled "Welsh Entertainment Day" - more details here.
  • CrawiaCRAWIA : PERLAU
    When we started the site in 2016 one of the first songs we came across that really lit our collective imagination, via a Cae Gwyn compilation, was Siôn Richards' Bradwr. Crawia is Richards' current recording project and Perlau a first single from it. Enhanced by the pedal steel of Euron Jones and the saxophone of Edwin Humphreys, it was recorded by Aled Wyn Hughes and is a sophisticated late night drift of song, well worth a listen.

  • Libertino RecordsLIBERTINO NEW RELEASES : THE TATES & ARGRPH
    Arriving suddenly and fully formed last year, Carmarthen based Libertino Records is, for the moment, probably Wales most exciting record label. Two new releases continue its record of issuing essential contemporary music. First (01.12.17) ARGRPH has a double AA side single Llosgi Me / Llawn D - the first glimpses of a debut, self-recorded, double album that will see the light of day in 2018. Then The Tates have a new slice of electropop, Water, coming out on 11th December. All three are here:



  • 4GOOD COMEDIANS 7th BIRTHDAY CELEBRATION : NOEL JAMES & MORE : FRI 01 DEC [Bangor]
    Bangor's 4Good Comedians put on a very good gig last time, headlined by Phil Chapman, but their seventh birthday bash threatens to blow out the stops. Top of the bill is Noel James - who The Independent has said "Stands out like a droll giant in a comedy land of trite dwarfs". That much is true, but the rest of the acts booked for the celebration are no slouches either. Rachel Fairburn has a glorious cynical edge to her humour, Ignacio Lopez an engaging ease and intelligence in his stage presence and Kevin Caswell-Jones has been recently described as "charming, pugnacious and very funny" - although that's not what he has on his Twitter page. It should be a great night. Blue Sky Cafe [Bangor] 8pm / £10 & £9 (NUS)

  • NiteroomsNITEROOMS : DEBUT EP
    Niterooms are a young three-piece from Brithdir, a small former mining town in South Wales. They have a distinct, minimalist style - using beats, synths and vocoders to build artful, atmospheric pop. Their four track debut is out on November 20th, Headway is a song taken from it.

  • Merry HellMERRY HELL : RUTHIN & CONWY DATES
    Extraordinary folk-rock band Merry Hell have two dates in North Wales in the next month or so - first Ruthin All Styles Music Club (Nov 16), which is sold out, then Conwy Folk Club (Monday, Dec 11). There's a review of their recent Hermon Chapel, Oswestry acoustic show on the site here - amongst many other words it says, "This is contemporary folk, and it is the very best of it - funny, authentic, warm, universal in its human values and providing moments of unlikely rapture."
  • Plaid CymruPOLITICS FROM THE GRASSROOTS : AN INTERVIEW WITH CLLR. AARON WYNNE
    Earlier this year Aaron Wynne was elected a Conwy County Councillor, representing his hometown of Llanrwst, whilst still only twenty. He is principled and forthright in conversation, and clearly feels honoured to represent the community he is from. Since From the Margins started this is by far the most read article - in a week when the political world seems corrupted and bleak it is worth revisiting. Read the interview.
  • ColossusCOLOSSUS : VANARCHY IN THE UK EP
    November 10th will see the release of a new EP, Vanarchy in the UK, from Colossus, which is the recording name of singer, songwriter and composer Rich Eardley. The four track collection is the fourth release from Welsh label CEG Records.

    Eardley has past form - when he moved to North Wales in the early 90s he joined the band Melys on bass guitar, and went on to recorded eleven sessions for BBC Radio 1 DJ John Peel. Melys built an international reputation and reached the stages of the SXSW Festival in the USA - more recently in 2016 they toured the UK with The Wedding Present.

    Vanarchy in the UK is themed loosely around a road trip, with the title track a tongue in cheek look at the growing trend of people living in converted motorhomes. There is a launch show at Pie, Rhos On Sea on Friday 10th of November, with support from another CEG Records artist, Velvet. The EP is nothing if not varied - you can listen to the new tracks at CEG's website.
  • Rhyl Comedy Club : Ash PrestonRHYL COMEDY CLUB REVIEW
    A trip to Rhyl's monthly comedy club meant witnessing a rapid fly by of eight new comedians, and made for an entertaining night out at the town's Little Theatre. Warrington's wired Ash Preston & Lorna Pritchard (who was brought up in Abergele) stood out from the pack. Read the review.
  • Bob DelynNOVEMBER ALBUM OF THE MONTH : BOB DELYN A'R EBILLION : DAL I 'REDIG DIPYN BACH
    Fourteen years after Dore, Bob Delyn a'r Ebillion have released a new album, Dal i 'Redig Dipyn Bach (Still ploughing on a little bit). From a band credited with putting fire into the 90's Welsh folk revival, the new album does their heritage justice - it is an absorbing, hypnotic listen. Full review.
  • POLITICS : DESOLATION RADIO : YES CYMRU w. SANDY CLUBB
    As commented before, Desolation Radio is a fantastic resource for Wales; offering fearless, informed and insightful political coverage. This recent edition takes the form of a discussion on poor ethical practice in Welsh political life followed by a wide ranging interview with Yes Cymru's Sandy Clubb - covering the case for independence and how the new grassroots organisation is set-up to achieve it.

  • Focus Wales 2018FOCUS WALES ANNOUNCES FIRST SET OF 2018 ACTS
    FOCUS Wales has released details of the first fifty (out of two hundred planned) acts that will appear at next year's event. They include Mercury Award nominated folk singer Kate Rusby, celebrated psych-pop star Jane Weaver and BBC Radio 2 Folk Award winners 9Bach (picture above) - who open the festival with a concert at the new Tŷ Pawb venue in Wrexham. Added to this trio Damo Suzuki, the legendary lead singer of the German krautrock group Can, is set to return to Wales for a special and rare performance.

    Back closer to home, locally sourced notables so far include CaStLeS, Gallops, the hard edged alt. blues rock of Llanrug's Alffa, Welsh Music Prize nominated Mammoth Weed Wizard Bastard, the exhilarating off kilter pop of Seazoo and (as already mentioned at a tangent earlier in the week) West Wales' post-punk marvels, Oblong. Full details of the line up so far are here.

    FOCUS Wales 2018 takes place over 10th, 11th, 12th May across multiple venues in Wrexham, North Wales.

    Full 3 day wristbands for admission to all FOCUS Wales events are available now at www.focuswales.com/tickets at the special Early Bird price of £35 each. If you are momentarily struck uncertain by double digit numbers - that is outrageous value.

  • Band Pres LlareggubBAND PRES LLAREGGUB : CYMYLAU (Feat. ALYS WILLIAMS)
    Mentally mix the cool brass swing of Band Pres Llareggub with Alys Williams' sublime, soaring vocals, and this is what you might dream the result could be - newly released track Cymylau (Clouds) is just short of four minutes of musical rapture. An album, the follow up to last year's Kurn, is out on 4th December, and features further collaborations with Lisa Jên (9Bach), MC Skunkadelic (Afro Cluster), Mr Phormula, Osian Huw Williams (Candelas) & Gwyllt.


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