Welcome to part 2 of the “Best of NP 2019”! These tracks have been added to part one so you can listen to them all in one place RIGHT HERE. As I mentioned in my part 1 review, 2019 has been a cracking year for artists around these parts and the good news is that most of them are in the formative stages of their careers. Read on for a bit about the artists and tracks…
Finding Aurora – Overdrive
Finding Aurora started the year playing second on the bill in a Le Pub gig and by August were headlining in front of a sell out crowd at the same venue.
“Overdrive” was Finding Aurora’s first single after a year or so without any releases. It marked a punchier, sharper more rounded sound and a clear step forward in both songwriting and production.
Finding Aurora’s 2019 isn’t yet done as they headline Clwb on Black Friday (that’s the 20th). Click here for tickets…if there are any left!
Feverjaw – Landspeed Record
Assured debut by this Cardiff/Caerleon duo who have showed with just two releases their intent to mix things up and not be constrained to a particular genre.
“Landspeed Record”, the first of their two singles released so far is a luscious affair of strings and harmonies. A beaut of a debut that for some reason caught me by surprise.
Jack Perrett – Going Nowhere
It’s satisfying to watch an artist progress through their career and even more so when you get to know them personally and get an idea of how much work they put in.
It was clear early on that Jack had a knack for a writing a tune and it’s great to see his songs develop. “Going Nowhere” is part Libertines, part Courteeners, part Oasis and a wholly enjoyable 4 minutes that grows with each listen.
It’s also worth mentioning Jack was selected as part of Horizons this year, a BBC Cymru Wales programme aimed at showcasing and developing Welsh music talent.
King Ibex – Ballot
It’s a sad indictment of the current times that a political song can sample quotes from two British Prime Ministers from the the three years…yet not the current one.
“Ballot” is the final track of King Ibex eponymous debut album and in my opinion they left their best till last.
Evoking early Manics when the Blackwood trio were angry, hungry and robust “Ballot” is a big fuck you to the establishment and a reminder that our future is collectively in our own hands. It’s a great tune as well, obviously, that’s why it’s here.
GLC – Which One Of You Is From Cwmbran
What, you thought I was going to do a best of Newport compilation without including GLC? Really?
It’s nearly 20 years now (perhaps it actually is 20 years) since those early pre “Greatest Hits” days and they’re still smashing out the albums, still playing live, still relevant and still hilarious beyond comparison. I could’ve picked any of their tunes released this year, but there’s always one from Cwmbran, inni.
Rogora Khart – Last Train East
It’s probably easy to dismiss Newportograd’s favourite sons as a bit gimmicky, owing to their brilliantly bizarre live shows, however “Last Train East” is a reminder that their songs offer plenty of punch as well as the humour they are famed for
There’s no band that have more fun live in Newport than Rogora Kart which makes them the perfect band to play at the Westgate Hotel this New Years Eve. End your year in style by getting tickets for what will be a smashing evening in this beautiful, historic building with this devilishly fun band.
Dan Burridge – Everyone’s Out to Perform
Contentious choice? Possibly! EOTP may have been the b-side to “Ride Again”, suggesting it is inferior to it’s A-side, but this is far from the case – a point I made when I reviewed it back in August.
Dan’s distinct voice is a major strength, but this would be pointless without a tune to match. With a chorus reminiscent of Suede EOTP takes a turn of direction with a blistering outro with frenetic guitars and vocals bringing the song to a dramatic close.
Crisis Talks – Undone
Crisis Talks are an alternative rock band from three Newport/Magor who have had a busy 2019,
Released in May with a launch night in Le Pub, “Undone” is tinged with darkness, however pop tones shine through with plenty of hope to match the gloom.
Tobias Robertson – Time For You
It would feel wrong to end this compilation with anything but this delicate, sentimental tune by one of Newport’s most well known artists, Tobias Robertson.
“Time For You” is my favourite of the five tracks on his ep “Moving On”; with it’s sweeping melody and soulful vocals reminiscent of Sam Cook. It’s great to see Tobias releasing new music again and with this ep he has laid down a marker for himself.