Lovebox festival review 2018

London’s most popular weekend of musical festivities returned this year with arguably it’s strongest line up ever, and their new Gunnersbury Park location. After cancelled and delayed trains, as well as a lunatic trespassing on the tracks of Holborn’s undergroud station, it was fair to say that my mates and I could have had a better start to our journey. However, this soon became highly irrelevant when we felt the thumping bass of various djs pumping through our drunken veins.

Lovebox champions a carnival atmosphere and this is what makes it like no other weekend festival. You can guarantee a euphoric crowd of 50,000 people looking to party; as soon as we stepped into our first arena this was instantly apparent. The Kopperburg Outsider was curated by none other than certified legend Mike Skinner; we were lucky enough to catch Sian Anderson, a 1 Extra DJ, getting the party started with her set of ferocious grime bangers and hard trap – setting the scene nicely for Skepta’s inevitable headline slot. Star.One were equally as enticing and mixed a host of underground sounds; from Bassline to grime  and American rap. £6 for a Kopperbug though? Seems a bit steep to me Lovebox.

As the day progressed, the standard of Acts got better and better. Dave’s set felt like a landmark in his undeniably impressive career. At the age of 20, it bewilders me how much he has achieved and he whipped up a frenzy with his blend of hardcore grime beats and mellow afro trap. Crowd favourites were ‘100 Ms’, one of his most enthralling singles, but I loved the response he got for ‘Calling Me Out’, a chilled out choice on his perfect setlist. Failing to see Mike Skinner, because of a cue that stretched the equivalent length of the great wall of China, filled us with momentary annoyance, until we remembered it was only half an hour until Diplo was to grace the main stage. The multi-talented  American artist, best known for being part of Major Lazer and Silk City, caused chaos with his intense blend of Trap and pop bangers. He was the perfect warm up for Skepta, getting the audience more gassed than an exploding petrol station and even causing a girl to dislocate her knee.

As the rain smashed down on 50,000 eagerly waiting Skepta fans, you could feel the anticipation forming in the air. Being one of the most unpredictable artists in the UK, I was interested to see what world Skepta would create for his performance. The set design of giant fans and steel pipes created a scene as if he was about to escape from prison. The weather suited this setting hugely and all hell broke loose once he dropped one of his latest singles ‘Pure Water’, once again fitting the weather perfectly. He stormed through his hour set, playing Konnichiwa classics like ‘Crime Riddim’ and ‘It Ain’t Safe’ whilst bringing out acts like Suspect and Jesse James Solomon for Suspect’s hit single ‘One Way’. The show was a true celebration of the UKs biggest export of music, grime is here to stay and finishing with his recent A$AP Rocky collaboration proved this. ‘Praise The Lord’ has barely been out a month and has clocked up around 80 million Spotify streams; not bad if you ask me.Screen Shot 2018-07-14 at 21.30.51

I need to give a special shout out to the fits Skepta was wearing too, there is not a better dressed man in the UK. Apparently Vince Staples and Wu Tang Clan equally stole the show; the American’s helping to ease the pain of us English getting knocked out of the World Cup and seeing Donald Trump over in our Isles.

Overall Lovebox was a huge success, when really It’s change of location could have made it a disaster waiting to happen. I am thoroughly jealous of anyone returning today.

Bakar releases debut album ‘Badkid’

It’s been over a year since Bakar released his momentous single ‘Big Dreams’, a contagious 3 chord instant indie classic that won the hearts of so many. Now the finale to his first LP, ‘Big Dreams’ completes a body of work exciting enough to compete with any rock outfit out there at the moment. But this record only scrapes the surface of the indie sphere, Bakar combines elements of garage and grime with synths that Foals would have welcomed with open arms on their debut album ‘Antidotes’.

Cutting between post punk distorted bass-lines and a chorus of psychedelic guitar riffs, BADlands is definitely one of my favourite tracks off the new album. Released as the final single before the LP, it justifies the praise he has received from Skepta, Rejjie Snow and even Elton John. If the mention of Elton isn’t enough to make you listen to this album then I don’t know what will.

‘WTF’ is another stand out tune, which captures manipulated vocal pitch tones that  Archy Marshall would have craved for on his ‘A New Place To Drown’ album, which is still one of my favourites of all time. The Camden based artist creates a beat that flips between garage influences from Mike Skinner and electronic house that could be likened to Jamie XX. Definitely one you could kick back and bun a zoot to in the summer.

Arguably, the only missing element from Bakar’s game, at the moment, is a concrete run of tour dates. Described by NME as ‘one of Britain’s most exciting new acts’, his show at Live at Leeds made waves around the internet for its explosive energy and ‘electrifying performance’. It’s time for Bakar to break big and this album is sure to be the root of his inevitably meteoric rise to fame, especially among the sounds of the underground.

This is a truly unique body of work, an album that will hopefully get the praise it deserves. Give it a listen below.

Bakar is back at it with ‘Million Miles’

It’s hard to put a finger on exactly what Bakar is, you may have seen him on TopMan billboards, hanging out with Rejjie Snow or as part of Milkavelli’s 616 Laigon crew but it turns out he is also a very talented musician. Bursting onto the scene with 2017’s indie smasher ‘Big Dreams’, it was hard to ignore the London based Artist’s simplistic but unique sound. If Pete Doherty and Skepta were to ever interact sexually, Bakar would be the product. Although this is a disturbing analogy, it is one that you will come to grips with very quickly if you listen to his material.

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After a short hiatus following the release of track ‘Small Town Girl’, the man is back with the instantly groovy ‘million miles’ – his biggest showcase of the musical talent we all know he has. Tampering with echoey synths that could be likened to Tame Impala has amplified his innovative qualities and will hopefully be a feature of his future tracks. I’m a sucker for a cow bell anthem too; he uses it brilliantly in this song, similarly to how you would imagine The Specials to back in the day.

Bakar is definitely one to watch this year. You can bet on at least a couple more new tracks to come soon but, for now, go and check out ‘Million Miles’.

Top 10 albums of the year

10. Red Hot Chili Peppers – The Getaway

Kiedis and Co are certified rock legends and 2016 saw the release of their 11th studio album, which was a huge step up from their disappointing 2011 release ‘I’m with you’. In tracks like ‘Goodbye Angels’ and ‘Dark Necessities’ we get the funk aesthetic that we crave from such a prestigious band, if you haven’t already go check out the album, especially those tunes.

9. The Wytches – All Your Happy Life

Back with their second full length LP, the Wytches have diversified their sound and created a ghostly new record full of shrieking melodies and fascinating instrumentation. Tracks like ‘C-Side’ and ‘Ghost House’ are my personal favourites; seeing the new material live was a madness too.

8. Eagulls – Ullages

An anagram of the band’s name, ‘Ullages’ is an album that would be sinful to not listen to all the way through, it is a modern take on some 90s classic indie and truly develops their own sound, if it wasn’t unique enough already. Go listen to ‘Lemontrees’ and ‘Skipping’.

7. Kaytanada – 99.9%

This is one of the best albums I have ever heard from the mind of a self-confessed ‘Producer’. On the strongest debut LP of the year, Celestin shows he is much more than what he is labelled as, he is a true artist and one of the most important figures currently in world hip hop. Listen to ‘Drive Me Crazy’ and ‘Got It Good’.

6. Glass Animals – How to be a human being

Bringing even more tropical vibes to the world, Glass Animals second LP was highly anticipated and it didn’t fail to impress. Based around true stories that Dave Bayley heard from strangers he got talking to last year, the album exposes the realities of life in a way only Glass Animals could. Listen to ‘Pork Soda’ and ‘Youth’.

5. Flume – Skin

Harley Streten’s second album has proved he is one of the most gifted and intriguing electronic artists to have emerged from the broad landscape of electronic music. Collaborations with Vince Staples, Vic Mensa and even Beck shows just how versatile he can be in his production, check out ‘Helix’ and ‘Smoke and Retribution’.

4. Jamie T – Trick

An alternative idol, Jamie Treays released his latest LP back in September. Full of future classics, ‘Trick’ is a grittier album than the cleanliness of ‘Carry On The Grudge’, it truly establishes the rapper-songwriter-producer as a one man genre and thankfully he still hasn’t left the talent he possesses with his sampling. Go check out ‘Tinfoil Boy’ and ‘Solomon Eagle’.

3. Danny Brown – Atrocity Exhibition

The Detroit born mentalist that is Danny Brown dropped the most ambitious and experimental album I believe he ever has this year. Inspired by everything from Joy Division to Rage Against The Machine, this LP isn’t for the faint hearted but is one of the most important releases in modern rap, listen to ‘When It Rain’ and ‘Pneumonia’.

2. Skepta – Konnichiwa

2016 saw many album releases from the grime greats, whether it was Giggs or Kano but since its discharge, there hasn’t been a day gone by where I haven’t listened or heard a song from ‘Konnichiwa’. It was definitely one of the most anticipated British albums of the year and Skepta did not disappoint, as he rarely does. Just listen to the whole thing.

1. Slaves – Take Control

If you know me well then you are probably thinking this is the most cliché number 1 I could have chosen but the roar punk energy of Slaves is something that no one can get near to at the moment. Produced by Mike D and perfected by Isaac and Laurie, it is an album of nothing but straight up punk bangers. Features from the likes of Baxter Dury just tops the record for me and makes ‘Take Control’ slightly more versatile than what ‘Are You Satisfied?’ was, you have to check out this album, buy it for yourself and everyone this christmas.

15 bands you simply cannot miss this year at Glastonbury

Whether you are watching Glasto on the TV or you were lucky enough to snatch a ticket within the hour in which they sold out, we’re always spoilt for choice when it comes to the variety of talent on offer. Here are 15 artists that I believe are definitely worth a watch.

1. Skepta

As the pioneer of the UK grime revival, Skepta has certainly been making a name for himself and his craft over the past couple of years and coming off the back of his latest album ‘Kannichiwa’, there will be a great blend of grime classics and new bangers. Expect Skepta to bring out members of his ‘Boy Better Know’ crew and the sheer energy that they will bring to the stage could insight a riot at Worthy Farm. Jammer, JME and Frisco could all feature and create a moshpit that death metal bands like Anthrax would be afraid to see.

Listen to: ‘That’s not me’, ‘Man’ & ‘I Spy’

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2. PJ Harvey

Mesmerising would be an understatement for Harvey’s latest headline spot at Field Day Festival. This year the artist is on the ‘Other Stage’ at Glastonbury and after stunning Worthy Farm on so many occasions there’s no doubt that she will do it again. Titled ‘The Hope Six Demolition Project’, hopefully PJ Harvey’s new album will only add to her unmissable live set and with 10 other records, it is hard to believe that her slot will only be just over an hour. Nevertheless it will be incredible and one of the best performances on Sunday.

Listen to: ‘The Wheel’ & ‘Down By The Water’

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3. The Last Shadow Puppets

Miles Kane and Alex Turner are coming to Glasto after the release of their second LP ‘Everything You Have Come To Expect’. With blends of orchestral genius and catchy bass lines, as heard in recent single ‘Bad Habits’,  the feeling of a stadium filled gig will be brought to Worthy Farm. You never know, Turner and Kane could treat us to some Arctic Monkeys covers too.

Listen to: ‘The Age Of The Understatement’ & ‘Bad Habits’

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4. White Denim

The cult following of White Denim seems forever growing and with 6 albums now under their belt, there’s something for any rock fan to enjoy. As one of the heavier bands on the bill, if you’re looking for an antidote to tamer artists such as ‘James’, then this outfit are definitely what you need.

Listen to: ‘Mess Your Hair Up’ & ‘Pretty Green’

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5. Vince Staples

Since the release of ‘Summer ’06’, Staples’ debut album, the Californian rapper has become huge among the alternative hip hop scene. Collaborations with the likes of Earl Sweatshirt and more recently Flume shows just how versatile of a rapper he is and with bass heavy tracks like ‘Blue Suede’, it is no wonder he is fast becoming one of the hottest American urban artists.

Listen to: ‘Norf Norf’ & ‘Blue Suede’

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6. Grimes

It is hard to categorise this singer/producer’s music under one genre but her innovative take on art pop is definitely worth catching. If Grimes’ KEXP set is not enough to intrigue you then I don’t know what is, at Glastonbury she will be performing with more of a stage presence of course but her show on KEXP just emphasises how far she has come in the space of 4 years.

Listen to: ‘Flesh Without Blood’ & ‘Oblivion’

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7. Hinds

Hailing from Madrid, Hinds are an indie/garage rock band that have burst onto the alternative scene over the past year. The 4 ladies played the John Peel stage last year and it’s no wonder they have been booked again, they are certainly ones to watch this year following the release of their debut album ‘Leave Me Alone’.

Listen to: ‘Bamboo’ & ‘Chili Town’

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8. Mac Demarco 

Signed to ‘Captured Tracks’, Demarco has released 4 records and hasn’t looked back. His meteoric rise continues with fans across the globe worshiping his twangy, dreamy indie rock. Forget Drake, Mac Demarco is the best artist to come out of Canada in recent years, his quirkiness and natural humour make his songs like no others, he is one of the only guys that you can safely say has a unique sound to his art at the moment, if you’re going to Glastonbury you really would be stupid to miss him. He may even lay down an ‘Enter Sandman’ or ‘It’s Gonna Be Lonely’ cover.

Listen to: ‘Ode To Viceroy’ & ‘Passing Out Pieces’

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9. Bat For Lashes

Natasha Khan is a multi-instrumentalist and song writer. With Mercury nominations and 3 studio albums, she now has a catalogue of songs to dive into and on stage, she has a real presence. If you want a more chilled out approach to Glasto then nothing could be better than Khan and her shrilling vocals – her talent is undeniable.

Listen to: ‘Laura’ and ‘Daniel’

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10. Rat Boy

There’s a lot of hype around Jordan Cardy and his bandmates, with influences from hip hop collectives like Wu Tang Clan and rock stars like Beck, it is always intriguing to see what his set has to offer. An album is expected later this year so new material could be on the horizon, his gigs are unbelievably rowdy and if he can bring that atmosphere to Worthy Farm then literally anything could happen.

Listen to: ‘Left 4 Dead’ & ‘Sportswear’

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11. Mura Masa

Listed for the BBC ‘Sound Of 2016’ award, it is only a matter of time before the producer from Guernsey will be touring like mad. His set could be dark and devilish or mesmerising, Alex Crossan’s music goes all kinds of places, ‘ Soundtrack To A Death’ is an unbelievable mix tape and switches from beautiful beats to sinister hooks constantly. He is one of the best English electronic artists out there at the moment.

Listen to: ‘Bae’ & ‘Lotus Eater’

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12. Stormzy

The Croydon born grime mc had the biggest UK rap song of the year in 2015, ‘Shut Up’ was originally a freestyle in a park but it blew up so much that Stormzy released it as a single where it peaked at number 8 in the singles charts. At the age of 22, it is hard to believe that the rapper has already won 2 MOBO Awards and come 3rd in BBC’s sound of 2015. The energy and passion that ‘Wicked Skengman’, one of his many nicknames, will bring to Worthy Farm will be incredible and definitely worth a watch.

Listen to: ‘Know Me From’ & ‘Not That Deep’

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13. Foals

The rock outfit from Oxford are probably the most exciting English band you could come across at the moment, and their live set is no exception. Many would tip Foals as future Glasto headliners and if they carry on with music as good as their last album then no one will be able to stop them from topping the bill in years to come. ‘What Went Down’ was easily one of the best albums of 2015, the mix of raging guitar riffs and the occasional blissful synth is a real insight to just how far Foals have come since debut LP ‘Antidotes’ and how far they could potentially go. Expect a lot of moshing, screaming and crowd surfing, from lead singer Yannis Philippakis.

Listen to: ‘What Went Down’ & ‘Inhaler’

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14. 2 Door Cinema Club

This will be the Irish band’s first major UK festival appearance for sometime now. They last played Glastonbury 3 years ago but they’re back and should be well up for this one. A new album is in the midst and a new single was released last week so fresh material will surely be debuted at Worth Farm. Singles like ‘What You Know’ should summon madness at Glasto and warm everyone up for the rest of Friday.

Listen to: ‘Something Good Can Work’ & ‘Undercover Martyn’

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15. ZZ Top

Incredible beards, blacked out sunglasses, cowboy hats and leather jackets; the Texas rock band have it all. Playing what is now known as the Motorhead slot, Dusty Hill and co will be sure to put on a set like no other this year at Glastonbury. They are probably past it but so what? To hear hits like ‘La Grange’ live is a prospect like no other, the Texan trio’s  music is just as impressive as their facial hair, expect ZZ Top to be the set that everyone talks about after Friday.

Listen to: ‘Tush’ & ‘Gimme All Your Lovin”

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