Nice Swan Picks for 2019

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Another year has passed and therefore we only thought it was right to give you our personal picks for the year.

We’ve decided to add a load of our new discoveries that have been released from some amazing acts such as Pip Blom, Silverbacks, Phil Madeley, Bill Ryder-Jones, Hotel Lux, L’Eclair, Just Mustard and many more

Hotel Lux share new single ‘Tabloid Newspaper’ via Nice Swan Records

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Hotly-tipped indie sorts Hotel Lux have today unearthed their first new track since March. Titled ‘Tabloid Newspaper’, it’s out via a label they’ve newly signed to: Nice Swan Records. This tightly-curated label – with a formidable A&R – has given rise to alumni Pip Blom and Sports Team so big things are in the works.

Taken from the Portsmouth-raised yet London-based band’s upcoming debut EP, which is titled Barstool Preaching and out (enter date), the track has been impeccably produced by Dave McCracken (Ian Brown, Pip Blom).

And, in keeping with the band’s style – and the bulk of the label’s roster – the instrumentation is traditional handmade rock n’ roll: a straight drum beat, thunderous bass and choppy post-punk guitars underpins singer Lewis Duffin’s black-humoured lyricism.

On ‘Tabloid Newspaper’ – if we consider the band’s following statement about the song: “That old saying of the journo’s cut, paste and twist is the same in songwriting. Just no-one admits it. These three verses and a silly chorus are a confession” – we see there’s a self-deprecating protagonist. One who questions their integrity as a songwriter. One who pokes fun at the rhetoric appropriated to sell music – ‘be cathartic, deep’. In other words, the song begs the question: Are singers structuring their take on the lyrics to fit the mould they’re taught makes a song good? Possibly. ‘Tabloid Newspaper’ can be heard as a light-hearted exposé of those who are playing games of smoke and mirrors. Equally, it’s a morbid reminder of the sabotaging role the tabloids can play in people’s lives.

‘Tabloid Newspaper’ follows on in the style and witty feel of their March 2019 self-released 7” single ‘English Disease’, which is a tongue in cheek dig at lad culture.

This light-heartedness is relatively new for the band. Dig further back into Hotel Lux’s back catalogue and you’ll see it gets a lot darker.

2017 debut single ‘Envoi’ is evocative British realism; ‘Daddy’ is about paedophilia, written from the victim’s perspective; darkly-psychedelic slow banger ‘Berlin Wall’ is a timely, relevant attack on divide and conquer politics.

Lastly, ‘The Last Hangman’ is a discordant guitar-led epic about the English hangman Albert Pierrepoint. This has been synced in Peaky Blinders Season 5 finale.

Earning this synch has given them a spurt of momentum, but the large majority of their following has been built up through touring.

Feverishly received wherever they go, the response to their gigs at London pub venues, such as The Windmill and The George Tavern, led to support slots for The Chats, Slaves, Fontaines D.C., Shame and more. Packed out gigs at the UK festival circuit (The Great Escape and Y NOT and one in one out shows at Manchester’s

Neighbourhood, Cardiff’s S​ŵ​n and Lincoln’s 2Q) have further cemented their reputation. Impressive, considering this is all before even having an EP or a label. But with that now in place, the feeling is they’re only just getting started and 2020 will be theirs for the taking.

PHIL MADELEY Shares follow up track ‘21st Century Witch Hunt’ on Nice Swan Records

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Observing the hypocritical behaviour of anti-humanist warmongers Trump and Boris Johnson has yielded a song for Birmingham-raised songwriter Phil Madeley.

The newcomers’ second ever single ‘21st Century Witchhunt’ – released via Nice Swan Records (Pip Blom, Sports Team, Silverbacks) –  is a commentary on their appropriation of victimhood. Something he’s noticed from their penchant for using the term “witch hunt”. Their own actions and policies have incomparable, brutal consequences to the suffering they claim to be experiencing themselves.

Knowing his poetic lyrics may not instantly reveal this meaning, Phil Madeley has created some companion information to make his intent clear. He’s created an actual church called ‘The Church of the 21st Century Witchhunt’ – a pedestal for the wrong ‘uns to be united.

Feeling that Trump and Boris clearly have a talent for igniting witch hunts Madeley (who is the self-elected Lord Reverend Speaker) has written formal letters, inviting them to be de facto Lord Reverend Guest Speaker. Invitations to other leaders of their ilk are being written as we speak.
The tune as a whole is a convincing statement of intent from an artist who has the potential to be one of the most prolific solo artists of his generation. His swaggering, evocative vocal hits straight through you and his Americana-tinged guitar playing recalls that of the mighty Neil Young.

The track follows his debut single ‘Same Skies’ which received acclaim from the increasingly influential So Young magazine. Praising him for bringing new life into soft rock, they compare him to the mighty Ocean Colour Scene and Neil Young. High praise, that.

November:

23rd – Southampton – Heartbreakers w/ Do Nothing
26 – London – Peckham Audios w/ Nice Swan Records

 

  

 

 

 

 

Silverbacks share ‘Sirens’ on Nice Swan Records – AA 7″ out on 31st January 2020.

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Nice Swan Records – the indie label which has given rise to the likes of Sports Team, Pip Blom and Fur – will release the limited edition AA 7″ from Dublin band, Silverbacks, on 31st January 2020.

A. Sirens
B. Drool

Pre Order Here

Earning widespread critical acclaim (NME, DIY, Clash, Stereogum, 6Music) for the results, fellow Dubliner and Girl Band’s bass player Daniel Fox produced the last three singles for Silverbacks: ‘Dunkirk’, ‘Just In The Band’ and ‘Pink Tide’. Keeping him on to record ‘Sirens’, we hear the creative spark well intact, with plenty to latch on to. The lushly recorded propulsive rhythm section prompts a visceral response from the three guitarists who weave fuzz-laden riffs, tonally warped solos, and spindly post-punk riffs into the phenomenal mix.

Switching from semi spoken nonchalance to unabashedly catchy glam punk melodies singer Daniel O’Kelly uses these aesthetics to deliver lyrics where he’s camouflaging his disdain towards society with his natural sardonic wit.

Of the lyrics, O’Kelly says: “In ‘Sirens’, the narrator misses riots and important protests taking place in his city because he’s too preoccupied with writing the perfect soundtrack for what is happening. He’s equally distracted by his relationship issues, tennis, and his obsession with his favourite band.”

‘Sirens’ comes towards the end of a very strong year for Silverbacks. Supporting Ride, Girl Band and The Lemonheads, playing Electric Picnic (Ireland) and signing to Nice Swan are just some of the highs. Having finally completed recording of their highly-anticipated debut studio album this year, 2020 is freed up for a major push.

  

 

 

 

PHIL MADELEY Shares debut song ‘Same Skies’ on Nice Swan Records

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Combining a distinctive fusion of originality and homage, 22-year-old Phil Madeley’s music is born of equal parts disdain and anger for the current state of play. Wrapped up in his laid-back, Neil Young meets Jamie T, grit-edged soft rock, are pressing and serious issues of present-day alienation, loneliness and mistrust. With the ability to carry a refined maturity, as well as charming throwaway youthful aphorisms, his voice serves as the perfect vehicle for such reflections – resulting in songs that want to offer as much refuge as they do commentary.

Having cut his teeth as a solo performer, Madeley has crafted a commanding live act that is captivating and exciting, drawing comparisons with Jarvis Cocker and Mick Jagger. Performances at 2019’s Dot to Dot festival and headlines at The Waiting Room and The Sunflower Lounge (amongst a range of supports) have led to live shows defined by clout and purpose.

The early demos Phil recorded at home on his Tascam four-track tape machine served to document the growing maturity and control in his voice and his songwriting. Off the back of recording sessions at RAK studios in London, his long-awaited debut single ‘Same Skies’ is released via Nice Swan Records on October 11th 2019.

On his debut offering, Phil explains, “Same Skies is about losing a sense of understanding in ones standing, whether that be in relationships, or politics for example. It’s about the suffering that’s caused when trying to find a middle ground in a climate of division. It’s coming from the other side fuelled by insecurity to question how hopeless it is to try and make the other person see it my way, but obviously there’s more similarities in us than there are credible points for division.”

 

Catch Phil Madeley live on the following tour dates:

October:

12th – Neighbourhood Fest

29th – London – Peckham Ryewax

30th – Birmingham – O2 Academy3 w/ Violet

31st – Manchester – Night and Day Cafe

November:

23rd – Southampton – Heartbreakers w/ Do Nothing
26 – London – Peckham Audios w/ Nice Swan Records

 

  

 

 

 

 

Nice Swan Picks – 24th October

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As promised every few weeks we are refreshing this humble playlist purely for your aural pleasure. Best of the best only!

We’ve decided to add a load of our new discoveries that have been recently released from some amazing acts such as Happyalone, Silverbacks, Phil Madeley, Bull, Hotel Lux, Pip Blom, Just Mustard and many more

Nice Swan Picks – 20th August

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As promised every few weeks we are refreshing this humble playlist purely for your aural pleasure. Best of the best only!

We’ve decided to add a load of our new discoveries that have been recently released from some amazing acts such as County Line New Runner, Squid, Football FC, FYI Chris, Eyesore and the Jinx, Dry Cleaning​ and many more

Nice Swan at Glastonbury 2019

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After the recent announcement for this year’s hugely anticipated festival. We are proud to announce that three artists from our roster will all be there over the weekend.

Starting on the Friday at 11.30am we recommend all attendees to head down to the legendary John Peel Stage to catch our very own Pip Blom who will be kick starting things on that stage for the weekend! Not only that but Pip will be performing a number of shows across the weekend at the Festival including a later slot at Crow’s Nest on the Friday and also a show at Williams Green on Saturday afternoon!

Catch Pip Blom..
Friday 28th June @ John Peel Stage 11.30am
Friday 28th June @ Crows Nest 8.45pm
Saturday 29th June @ Williams Green


Next up is Sports Team who will be performing twice at the festival across the weekend, including a slot on the Williams Green Stage just before Pip Blom. The band are currently on route to the US for their first headline tour and once back they’ll be heading straight to the farm to blow everyone away with their amazing live show and new songs.

and also they do have another show on the same day TBA…

Image may contain: 8 people, people smiling, indoorand lastly but certainly not the least are one of our earlier realises on Nice Swan, Liverpool’s very own Queen Zee, who will be taking their thunder and sass down to Somerset for their appearance on the Leftfield Stage on Sunday at 5.30pm, following the release of their self-titled record which Iggy Pop is a huge fan of!

What a weekend we have on the horizon….

Get to Know: Haze

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After recently discovering Haze via our very own Pip Blom we decided to catch up with the band and see what they had on the horizon…

Where are Haze based? How does that impact the music you make?

We are somewhat dispersed at the moment between Bristol, London and our childhood home-village of Longwick, deep in Middle-English rural Buckinghamshire. This has hindered our productivity somewhat however we are moving in together in Bristol in a few months. 

For me (Will, vocals), living in Bristol for three years has sort of opened my eyes musically. Bristol’s music ‘scene’ is so diverse, and people seem to make whatever they want without any sort of limitations to experimentation. Whilst we’re definitely not pushing the boundaries as much as many do here – note Giant Swan or EP/64 – seeing bands like this, which would never exist where we grew up, has opened up more possibilities. More generally everyone in Bristol is so accommodating and there’s just so much on all the time, so the city sort of keeps you constantly exposed to new exciting things.

Why do Haze exist?

Me and Dan (drums) watched the School of Rock when we were 10 and obviously formed a classic rock band straight away. The others joined us in secondary school and we not-so-imaginatively became ‘Haze’ after trying weed… we haven’t bothered to change the name since.

If you could have written one song, which would it be?

I wish I wrote Talking Head’s Born Under Punches (the opener of Remain in Light). It’s so danceable and catchy, which I wish we were. Also it’s demanding lyrics of ‘take a look at these hands’ mimic Ollie constantly showing us the effects of steel fabrication has had on his palms.

In your own words, how would you describe your music?

A sort of hybrid of wonky guitar, hip-shaking bass action, discordant rhythms and silly lyrics.

If you could punch one living human being in the face, who would it be?

Not sure about a punch, but I am really enjoying the milkshake activism at the moment, and the far-right accusations of hate crime in response. Fucking ‘snowflakes’.

What was the best show you’ve ever played?

I remember a few years ago we supported Ratboy at the O2 Academy in Oxford which was so weird. There were a thousand 14-year olds going absolutely mental for us, despite the fact they had no idea who we were. We didn’t really know how to digest that one, but on paper that was a crazy crowd I guess. I think Green Man last year was maybe our best. We struggled to keep it together after a long day of drinking, which made its success all the more surprising.

What does the rest of the year hold for Haze?

We’re doing Truck Festival which is always really fun. Later in the year we’re also doing our first show overseas in Rotterdam at Left of the Dial which I am buzzing for. In July we’re heading into the studio to record some new songs for release ASAP, including our new hit single Chuggin’. We can’t wait.