For Koen Van De Wardt, making music is a far greater pursuit than simply creating something to catch someone else’s ear.
Wednesday 16/01/2019 20:00
“It’s always the goal to challenge myself and the band as much as possible. I want the music to even catch me on the wrong foot from time to time”, admits the singer and musical architect who records ethereal, oft- hushed but forever gripping synth-anchored music under the moniker Klangstof.
The Dutch-born, Norway-raised Van De Wardt is on the surface a happy-go-lucky 24- year-old (“People expect a very depressed young man and instead they get this smiling asshole”), and yet when he retreats to his solitary place to write music, much in the way he’s done since first picking up the guitar at age 14, the anxiety, the negativity, the feeling that he’s misunderstood, it all comes pouring out. The result is a collage of the supremely genteel yet haunting vocals, sleek melodies and experimental beats and rhythms.
There’s a patience at play in Klangstof’s aural creations: the musician is a craftsman when constructing the chilling sound that comprises his stunning debut album, Close Eyes to Exit. It’s there in the crisp, slow-building single “Hostage,” electric guitars gently strummed, electronic beats like a rising heartbeat, all giving way to full- throated release: “I ran for shelter/But I got there,” he intones. Or in the way “Sleaze” shifts from whispered confession (“Nintendo is the only thing that makes me smile”) to propulsive, rainbow-hued synths at a moment’s notice.
After moving with his family from his native Netherlands to rural Norway at age 14, the once-social teenager found himself totally isolated. “I was just a guy playing football and hanging with friends in Holland and then all of a sudden I was sitting in Norway with no one around,” he recalls. “My life was torn apart and I had to start all over again. I had to learn a new language and build up a new life”. He turned to music.
In short time, creating music became an almost manic pursuit for the fledging musician. He’d lock himself in his parent’s basement, master one instrument after the next, tinker on his laptop for hours at a time, searching for the perfect sound. Even after attending Hedmark University College and playing bass in a popular Dutch band, Moss, Van De Wardt felt compelled to return to his own well. “That’s when I started to do Klangstof” (“klang” means echo in Norwegian and “stof”, dust in Dutch).
· BEATS 1 ZANE LOWE “ If you love Radiohead, Pink Floyd, My Morning Jacket, Mercury Rev and all of the amazing musicians which take songs into a more widescreen environment, and you get to know Klangstof. It’s called ‘We Are Your Receiver.’"
· NME MATT WILKINSON “'Hostage’ by Klangstof sounds like the more shimmering moments of pre-bloopy Radiohead, if they had aligned themselves with the production tendencies of Abel Tesfaye and the soaring beauty of all those Sigor Ros moments that make nature programmes so atmospheric."
· IDOLATOR MIKE WASS "the soundscape is impressively vast, the lyrics (as sparse as they are) and tone are decidedly intimate."
Petrol Girls are a feminist post-hardcore punk band, originally formed in London, with members from Austria, Lithuania and the UK. Now based all over the place and touring incessantly, the band are strong advocates of freedom of movement, anti capitalism and intersectional feminism. Rooted in a DIY music community that has always combined politics with punk rock, Petrol Girls are part of a counter culture challenging mainstream values like nationalism and the gender binary, and the oppressions that these ideals promote. With a diverse range of influences such as Refused, The Slits, Fugazi and Björk, and having had the pleasure to support bands such as The Dead Kennedys, Propagandhi, RVIVR, Anti Flag and Refused, the band are constantly developing musically as well as politically. Their music frequently toys with unusual time signatures and harmonic movement, with screaming and harsh angular rhythms to sad and desperate melodic moments or raging anthemic choruses. The lyrics grow from direct experiences and genuine questions, pushing beyond repetitive slogans to provoke meaningful conversations about what we’re actually going to do to change something.
Thursday 17/01/2019 22:15
All Round Pool Centrum
Petrol Girls are named after Pétroleuses, mythical women of the Paris commune who allegedly set fire to private property with Molotov cocktails made from milk bottles, and rejected traditional gender roles. The inspiration came from a talk on Women and Protest given by writer Laurie Penny, who loosely translated Pétroleuses to Petrol Girls.
The band first formed in 2013 for a house show that singer Ren was putting on to celebrate International Women’s Day. This feminist context was essential for the band’s formation within a wider music community that at the time did very little to encourage women’s participation.
Petrol Girls release their new album ‘Cut & Stitch’ on May 24th 2019.
After years of relentlessly playing live, Annabel Allum released her debut EP, ‘Absent’ in August 2015. With early support from John Kennedy, The Line Of Best Fit & Gold Flake Paint word spread quickly about Annabel.
Friday 18/01/2019 20:30
Minerva Art Academy
With acoustic demos synced to the upcoming feature film Spaceship (BFI, BBC, SXSW) and acting in the movie itself, it is clear that the artistic value of Annabel Allum is not limited to just one medium. Her original look and self-styling has also gained Annabel a lot of attention on social media, with an ever growing Instagram following she has received endorsements from Bastian Classics, Cheap Monday & various indie clothing brands for her to represent online.
Releasing her debut single Tricks in July 2016, Annabel Allum received multiple spot plays on BBC Radio 6 Music from the likes of Tom Robinson and Melita Dennett, as well as gaining support from Clash Magazine, The 405, and longtime fans The Line Of Best Fit and Gold Flake Paint. After selling out her single launch and debut London headline show at 229, Annabel’s live credibility only increases.
"Boy Azooga is the project of Cardiff Born Davey Newington, whilst playing drums in Charlotte Church’ Pop Dungeon under the pseudonym “Bongo Fury” and other Cardiff bands such as Keys and Monico Blonde, Davey began writing his own music and recording it round his mate Dr Ed Boogie’s house.
Thursday 17/01/2019 22:15
Huize Maas Front
Recording and layering everything himself, he decided on the live front he needed a band. He recruited friends Daf, Dylan and Sam to form the four headed instrument swapping psychedlic dance rock outfit known as Boy Azooga.
Their songs are packed with a love of all kinds of music from The Beach Boys, Sly and The Family Stone, Caribou, Black Sabbath, William Onyeabor, King Gizzard and The Lizard Wizard, Beastie Boys, Can, Outkast, Van McCoy, Ty Segal and so much much more.
They hope to see you at a gig soon and will have a maraca for you to shake.”
Manchester’s The Slow Readers Club are probably the biggest band you’ve never heard of. But that’s all about to change.
Friday 18/01/2019 21:10
The Slow Readers Club are Aaron Starkie (vocals), Kurtis Starkie (guitar and vocals), James Ryan (bass) and David Whitworth (drums). They are a Manchester based four piece who specialise in dark and brooding indie electro that has drawn comparisons with Interpol, The Killers and The National and which feels equally at home in big arenas and festival fields as it does in intimate surroundings.
Formed in 2010, they’ve taken the long road to recognition. Their self-titled debut album featured live favourites like One More Minute, Feet On Fire, Sirens and Block Out The Sun, but despite rave reviews, they remained firmly under the radar. Many bands would have called it a day, but their self-belief, coupled with a growing band of influential bloggers and radio presenters, kept them going.
The phrase “underground phenomenon” doesn’t do justice to what this four-piece have achieved to date. Self-funded and self-managed with no more than word of mouth and an album called Cavalcade at their disposal, they sold out The Ritz in Manchester two months in advance last year and have just repeated the trick with The Albert Hall. Not only that they went to London and sold out Oslo and The Borderline with their army of fans and their ubiquitous “READERS” chant as well as playing to growing crowds around the rest of the country.
Since its release in September 2017, Kara Marni’s debut single ‘Golden’ has amassed incredible radio support from the likes of industry tastemakers MistaJam, DJ Target, Annie Mac, Benji B and Jamz Supernova, with her follow-up single ‘Curve’ premiering on BBC 1Xtra and singles to date totalling over 5.8m streams.
Thursday 17/01/2019 21:25
Whilst supporting Rita Ora on her UK & European tour dates, Marni also released her debut EP ‘Love Just Ain’t Enough’; the title track of which had BBC 1 XTRA A-List support and was the best performing VEVO dscvr session of the series with over 1.3m views.
With two ITV Love Island syncs, Kara peaked at #34 on the Shazam charts and #124 in the iTunes download charts, with her hit track ‘Golden’ also landing a feature in the Netflix hit series ‘Black Lightning’.
After two show-stopping, sold-out headline shows, and a string of Summer festival appearances the 21-year old will conclude the year with a brand new music and an end credit feature on the upcoming Mowgli film which features Benedict Cumberbatch, Christian Bale and Cate Blanchett.
A shaven-headed chanteuse hiding the voice of a soul legend beneath her fluffy bear hood, Sharon Kovacs is an enigmatic phenomenon. Emerging from the music college and improvised open mike nights of Eindhoven in the Netherlands, she has forged her own unique path through life’s devious twists and tangles, and entranced the globe with her wicked allure. The Bond-like tango noir of her 2013 EP ‘My Love’, partly recorded in Cuba, was an instant European hit, even reaching Number One in Greece, and in 2015 her debut album ‘Shades Of Black’ charted in 36 countries, making the Top Ten in Germany and hitting Number One in her Dutch homeland.
Saturday 19/01/2019 22:00
Sixty million YouTube views, a modelling contract with Viva Paris, a clutch of awards and high-profile sets at major festivals and a Robbie Williams support slot later, Kovacs’ dark, raw, bare-hearted soul with distinct touches of the greats (Holliday, Simone, Bassey, Winehouse, Portishead’s Beth Gibbons) is on the verge of making her a sultry superstar. Her second album ‘Cheap Smell’ is one of the most open, honest and inspired future soul albums of the decade, named after her last pre-fame band and – like her debut – out to find the positive in life’s toughest turns. Pulling no punches in tackling the light and shade of modern relationships, it’s a series of confessionals about wild love and abusive romantic webs, about hedonism and addiction, that follows Sharon’s rough emotional rollercoaster over the past few years - losing musical and romantic partners and building a new Kovacs family from scratch around producer Liam Howe. “The whole album is this journey of me finding that actually I need to learn to be happy with myself,” she confesses, “and accepting some parts of myself that maybe aren’t perfect.”
From the wry, jaunty wordplay of ‘Adickted’, about losing an ex to cocaine, to theatrical soul dissections of the draw of abusive
relationships (‘Play Me’, first single ‘Black Spider’) and a heart-rending song about meeting the father she never knew as a child (‘Mama & Papa’), ‘Cheap Smell’ is as dark as it is delicious, but with a twinkle in its eye. ‘Midnight Medicine’ is a straight-up celebration of sex and ‘It’s The Weekend’ an ode to getting righteously, blissfully stoned. Set to slot into the grand canon of legendary modern soul confessionals alongside ‘Back To Black’, ‘Cheap Smell’ is a healing album, a glorious trawl through Kovacs’ emotional rubble in order to finally rebuild. “From here, I’m in quite a good place,” she says, “the people I love now are around me. The album really helped me achieve being more happy. I learned a lot about myself and musically. I’m much more confident with the things I make now than I was before.”