For the past year or so, I have been dying to see the Wytches. So when they announced that they would be playing at Cambridge’s finest pub The Portland Arms, I had to get down there. Blessing us with their divine blend of distorted psychedelics and shuddery lyrics, the 4-piece tore down the beer dampened walls of the venue.
But first was Wierds, a band that I hadn’t really heard of but knew would be half decent if they were supporting the Wytches. I have to say I was blown away by their raw energy and echoing effects, it was like nothing I’ve heard of before and definitely shocked the speechless crowd. They have an album coming out in May, which will be worth a listen considering singles like ‘Phantom’ and ‘Valley Of Vision’ are gaining some much deserved attention from stations like Beats Radio.
Next on were of course the Wytches, who played to a packed out Portland crowd that were more than up for a riot. Kicking off with Gravedweller, an absolute classic on their behalf, the energy never really stopped, with the crowd loving the belters on their ‘All Your Happy Life’ album, as well as ‘Annabel Dream Reader’, and even bloody brilliant b-sides like ‘Darker’ and ‘Holy Tightrope’. It was a surprise to see them play such a varied set in this sense but I couldn’t have asked for a better selection, they powered through the tracks, giving the audience little rest.
I got the impression that the crowd hadn’t witnessed something as raucious as this in a while, which made them even more up for the gig. The energy from the band pulsated to the audience, the lad’s hair covering their eyes as they shredded through the numerous guitar riffs they offer. It was a great night and one that the Portland Arms won’t forget in a while.
I also have an interview coming with them soon so be sure to check that out.
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.
Getting Jamie T tickets all the way back in July meant that it was only this week that it hit me I was going to witness one of the best live performers to come out of the UK in recent years. With a new album under his belt and The Wytches as part of the package I was anticipating a storming night, and it truly was.
Kicking off with the Wytches, the band slammed through 30 minutes of their most thrashing tunes, including the likes of ‘Gravedweller’ and new thunder bolt ‘Ghost House’, which is my favourite cut from ‘All Your Happy Life’. Both the new and the old tracks were fairly well received, how can you not enjoy 4 long haired lads head banging and busting out grungy riffs? However at points I felt as if the crowd didn’t give them the reception they deserved but for me, who was just as thrilled to be watching The Wytches as Jamie T, it was a brilliant performance and one that’s edged me even closer to buying a ticket for their upcoming tour.
Next up was the infamous Jamie T who had a crowd surprisingly varied in age. From 17 year olds to 30 year olds to even 50-60 year olds, there was a true variation in generations but the one similarity we all had was we all went absolutely mental for the Wimbledon born boy. Setting the bar with new track ‘Power Over Men’, the most popular song from ‘Trick’, the audience were up for it throughout. ‘Tescoland’ and ‘Tinfoil Boy’ were equally as well received from the new LP but of course it was the classics like ‘British Intelligence’ and ‘Sticks and Stones’ that summoned a riot at the Corn Exchange. Everyone belted out the ballads too, my personal favourite being ‘Don’t You Find’. Adding to this, the light show was amazing, with glaring spotlights descending onto Treays’ body making him look like a haunting silhouette.
After being ill only a week or so ago I just cannot believe how good a performer Jamie T was. This had to be one of my favourite gigs of the year and one I won’t forget. If you ever have the chance to see either Jamie T or The Wytches live be sure to grab the opportunity because otherwise it will be a decision you’ll regret.
Want to see a clip of Jamie T live? Just click below.
Following up from their single ‘C-Side’, The Wytches have released a more harmonious, sweet-sounding song in ‘Hannover Square’. Debuted by NME yesterday, the track is the B-side to their latest single, which will feature on the 4 piece’s second album ‘All Your Happy Life’; it seems to be shaping up nicely. The atmospheric and dreamy nature of the track makes for a calming listen and could be likened to previous songs in the calibre of ‘The Waving Snowman’, which came from their home recordings ep.
The psychedelic, echoing guitar effects and soothing voice of Kristian Bell showcase the versatility of the Wytches’ sound and even the route they may be going down for their second album; nevertheless we will have to wait until the 30th of this month.