This is The Kit
This Is The Kit is the musical project of Kate Stables and long time collaborator Jesse Vernon, who are based in both Bristol and Paris. After appearing on Sunday Best Recordings’ 2006 compilation album ‘Folk Off’, the band received high praise from Drowned In Sound, and have subsequently been embraced by BBC radio for their quintessential ‘Britishness’. From 6Music, DJs Lauren Laverne, Radcliffe and Maconie, Marc Riley, Guy Garvey, Cerys Matthews, and Mary Anne Hobbs, and at Radio 1, Huw Stephens, Jen and Ally, and Phil Taggart have all given the band airplay.
On their third album, ‘Bashed Out’, the band collaborated with Aaron Dessner, best known for his work in The National. Indeed the record features the instrumental talents of not only the touring members of the band (Rozi Plain, Jesse Vernon, Jamie Whitby-Coles), but also session players from the Brooklyn music scene, including Bryce Dessner, Thomas Bartlett (Doveman, The Gloaming), Matt Barrick (The Walkmen) and Ben Lanz (Beirut, The National). The music remains quintessentially British, in a one-of-a-kind eccentric manner, and rooted in folk, but also encompasses elements of psychedelia, alternative rock, and electronic textures and sensibilities.
One of the most distinctive and innovative bands combining dance music and indie in the 200s and 2010s, London’s Hot Chip made their mark with the release of their 2000 debut, Mexico. The EP was a hypnotic wash of nearly subliminal, pulse-like techno beats, acoustic guitars, and plinky pianos, but the vocals were the true star of the show. The voices of Alexis Taylor and Joe Goddard are a find study in contrast: Taylor’s dreamy, effortless falsetto cuts to the heart of the beauty of performers like Jeff Buckley and Nick Drake, while Goddard’s coo monotone sounds world-weary and gruff in comparison.
Self-released by Hot Chip in 2002, Sanfrandisco E-Pee dabbled in more playful sounds, from the beatbox dubbing of the title track to the closing notes of “Fanta,” in which Taylor pleads with the listener to “make sounds of the summer.” The group signed to revered N.Y.C. record label DFA in 2005 and released the Over and Over EP, as well as the excellent 2006 full-length The Warning, which was followed by a DJ-Kinck mix album in 2007.
Later that year, the Grammy nominated single “Ready for the Floor” heralded the arrival of Made in the Dark, which featured some of the band’s most focused grooves and poppiest melodies to date. The mellower One Life Stand followed in 2010, along with a remix collection later that year.
Hot Chip left DFA for Domino, which released the more uptempo, experimental In Our Heads in 2012 and the following year’s Dark and Stormy EP. The band returned in 2015 with Why Make Sense?, which found them reuniting with In Our Heads producer Mark Ralph and exploring sounds ranging from disco in ’90s R&B to post-punk.
Credit Karen E. Graves, Rovi. 30.08.2017
Fránçois and The Atlas Mountains
In 2003 the prodigiously talented Fránçois Marry, hailing from Saintes, turned up in Bristol with a trumpet in hand. Three weeks later after putting an ad in a shop window he was in the weird and magical band Crescent. Since then Fránçois has busied himself recording albums and EPs, released through Too Pure and Fence Records and has performed around the globe with Camera Obscura, Electrelane, Anna Calvi and King Creosote & Jon Hopkins.
Originally an open collective, Fránçois and The Atlas Mountains has become a four-piece band. Following a return to France and the release of their ‘Plain Indonable’ album cocked the ears of Domino Records. Matching French lyrics to African rhythms, the band’s distinctive songwriting is whimsically surreal with a real joyous side. ‘E Volo Love’ is a beautiful collection of Gallic chamber-pop and chanson with rich piano chords, shimmering electric guitars and an all-female polyphonic vocal group. Live, Fránçois has become a unique showman, propelling himself and band into spectacular swirls of electronically-endowed indie colour.
Based out of Cardiff, H Hawkline (Huw Evans) signed to the influential Heavenly Recordings (Beth Orton, Doves, Edwyn Collins etc) in 2014 and issued a compilation called ‘Salt Gall Box Ghouls’. Referring to this new album himself as “strange pop”, informed by Richard Brautigan and Paul McCartney’s Ram, Hawkline has crafted melodic and slightly surrealist music that falls somewhere between post-punk and psych-pop.
Having previously played with the likes of Foxygen, Gwenno and long-time cohort Cate le Bon H Hawkline announced a run of shows with Devendra Banhart, Aldous Harding and King Gizzard & the Lizard Wizard a number of festival appearances in 2017.
In June 2017 H Hawkline released ‘I Romanticize’ and followed this with a UK headline tour.
Bristol Fantasy Orchestra
The Bristol Fantasy Orchestra is a remarkable community project led by Jesse D Vernon, based in Bristol and also in Paris. The Orchestra (motto: ‘more is more’) brings together 40+ musicians, professional and amateur, to create a kaleidoscopic symphonic brigade.
Their eclectic repertoire covers film soundtracks (Morricone, Barry, RD Burman), rock and pop favourites (Hendrix, Beatles, Bowie), and some more obscure treasures. Think psychedelic loveliness, rousing choral noise, and some choice costumes.
‘I can’t remember having such an entertaining, fabulous evening in ages! … Incredible!’
Christina S, Keynsham Music Festival 2016
For all the fun-filled antics the Bristol Fantasy Orchestra is actually a seriously brilliant musical experience.’
Bristol247, Bristol Harbourside Festival 2015 Beth Rowley
Hailing from Bristol, Beth Rowley is known for her rich soulful voice and love of Blues and Gospel. Following the success of her UK top 10 album ‘Little Dreamer’ in 2008, for which she was nominated a Brit Award, she’s now back after working on new material – a trio of EPs, the first ‘Wretched Body’ hit in 2013, with the second and third due to hit this year.
“I lived back in Bristol for 2 years, then London for past 2 years. I decided to get off the treadmill and to write and record new material on my own terms, regardless of however long it took. I’ve had the privilege of writing with some amazing writers, and musicians as well as developing my own sound and defining what I want it to be. I’m here again now and I’m very happy with the music I’ve been making.”
The period since ‘Little Dreamer’ has seen Beth’s film debut with the release of Oscar nominated Brit flick ‘An Education’, starring Carey Mulligan and directed by Danish director Lone Scherfig. Beth’s cameo role as the nightclub singer received rave reviews as did her theme song ‘You Got Me Wrapped Around Your Little Finger’ written with collaborator Ben Castle.
Beth has appeared on stage with some giants of the music world including Burt Bacharach at the Electric Proms, David Arnold (James Bond), and as Angelo Badalamenti’s personal guest (David Lynch’s right hand man) at Ghent film Festival. Beth also performed at Willie Nelsons 4th July Back Yard Festival in Austin alongside Ray Wylie Hubbard. She also recently guested as main support for Laura Mvula’s UK tour at the end of 2013.
ThisisDA is a Bristol based rapper who really caught the attention local and national media in 2015 with his debut EP, Based Off Black. “ThisisDA is bringing us a throwback to that classic soulful rap we all miss” said the MOBO Awards Group of his debut, while Complex UK says he is “a lyricist exhibiting a conscious mind and technical proficiency to great effect.”
Hands of the Heron
Hands of the Heron is a fledgling folk collective who emerged from Bristol’s twisting streets during the strange autumn of 2016. Drawing influence from diverse
musical sources such as Fleet Foxes, Joni Mitchell, This Is The Kit and Gustav Holst, their songcraft is inquisitive and intuitive, capturing moments of high emotion and distilling them into vivid, memorable melodies. The band, led by singer and mandolinist Bethany Roberts, variously features accordion, cello, double bass, tabla, and plenty of harmony vocals.
Goan Dogs are a unique five piece enamoured with, but distinct from, Bristol’s rich musical heritage. Drawing from a vast array of influences, the bands cinematic sound is laden with rich harmonies and tales of the macabre. Their atmospheric live shows are renowned to captivate audiences with pulsating rhythms and striking visuals.