Listen to Huw Stephens' Sŵn Festival Playlist
Sŵn Festival kicks off this Thursday and to celebrate we've teamed up with Huw Stephens to create a mini playlist of top tunes to get you in the mood for 4 days of musical mayhem. Rather than a playlist of bands playing this year (though one is included) we asked Huw to remind us of some of the bands that made previous Sŵn's so great.
For more information on the festival (which we thoroughly recommend you attend) head to swnfest.com.
Volcano! - Easy Does It
A little known Chicago band who played their mix of piercing and syncopated experimental pop music to an astonished crowd in 2008. Few bands can carry off this tag with such schizophrenic glee or caustic intensity as Easy Does It, does. This song stands testament to their ability to toss your ears around like a dog's toy and somehow create a catchy, weird beauty at cataclysmic speed and noise. It's lucky Rolo Tomassi didn't decide to play upstairs at Clwb Ifor Bach simultaneously, or Swn may be hosting roofless gigs this year.
Beirut - Scenic World
We were lucky enough to have troubadour Zach Condon bring his brass ensemble to the Point in 2007. A now sadly-defunct converted Church, it's reverent atmosphere and stunning sound quality meant the audience were ripe for Beirut's soaring Balkan bombast but cosy enough to enjoy the warming electronics on Scenic World. Thankfully, venues like the National Museum of Wales have picked up the baton from The Point and are hosting this year, as well as The Gate, another apostolic setting, which this year hosts Al Lewis & Paper Aeroplanes.
Disclosure - Latch
It's a nailed on guarantee that come Swn 2013, you will be flicking through this year's line up and your disappointed palm will meet angry face as you realise you missed the next big thing 12 months ago. Sorry about that. You may well have seen Alt-J begin their trip to stardom last year, but possibly not Disclosure, who have the temerity to be painfully young and beat droppingly amazing too. For those who caught early versions of floor fillers Tenderly and Flow, enjoy your smugness, it's deserved.
Aidan Moffat & Bill Wells - Let's Stop Here
Last year's appearance of these two wonderful musicians is one arrestingly etched into my memory, as it was all those who saw the duo play songs off Everything's Getting Older in Ten Feet Tall. Crammed into two parts of the upstairs venue, delicately written ballads of love and regret twinkled across the heads and of those in a venue more used to Jackson 5 and Dance music. In spite, and may because of my proximity to a visually impeding wall, the gig was a plaintively intimate way of experiencing their beautiful miserablism.
Gallops - Eukodol
Post-Rock with the rock kept in for good measure. If that makes any sense. It should when you hear their music, which is by turns angular and electronic, yet muscular and live an enveloping and intoxicating experience. They have graced Swn on several occasions and are sure to pack out O'Neill's this year, and will do well to match last year's show, a frenzied atmosphere offset by the band's charming nonchalance with which they produce their beautiful racket.
Liars - Scissor
It would seem remiss to ignore the festival that awaits us on the weekend (and a bit) of 18-21 October, and it is with great excitement that I look forward to Brooklyn's Liars who play Clwb Ifor Bach on the 19th. Few bands can make music with such impudence to their own back catalogue- every album bringing a new stylistic shift, shot through with the aggressive confidence that marks them live. I for one hope they spare time to play Scissor from 2011's Sisterworld - a creeping, weird alternate L.A. of horrors which is ballsy, heavy, heady and most of all, brilliantly singular.