First Shepherd’s Bush, Then the World

Communion Takes Over Shepherd’s Bush for Bushstock 2011

All the way back in February I was heartbroken to be missing Communion’s Bushstock Festival. The new-folk launch pad/label/international(!) club night was set to put on their first Shepherd’s Bush takeover on May 7th, but it was postponed until this coming Saturday. And while I obviously still can’t go, those of you who can will find it worth the wait: the lineup looks pretty darn fantastic. The four venues (St. Stephen’s Church, Shepherd’s Bar, the Goldhawk, and Ginglik) all feature prominent up-and-comers, as well as some mainstays, in the new-folk world. I’ve previously typed my fingers off about performers like Peggy Sue and King Charles, and certainly the Mystery Jets needs no introduction. So here are some other Bushstock artists I’ve had my eye on for a while, and I would encourage you to check out. But remember, this is really just asmidgeon of the great acts lined up for the event–so take a gander at the schedule and give them all a listen.

I’ve already written about Elena Tonra, who performs as Daughter. Her Demos EP (which is still the glorious price of free) is a lovely thing, delicate and serene. With a beautifully pure tone, Elena’s voice is captivating and expressive. If the four recorded tracks on the EP already feel intimate, a live performance would be stunning indeed. She’s been all over BBC radio, just recorded a session for Daytrotter, was featured in Q Magazine, and likely won’t be underground for very long.

Goldheart Assembly
I was bummed to miss these guys at SXSW. The tight harmonies of Goldheart Assembly’s “King of Rome” will lodge themselves in your brain for weeks, especially as you find yourself yearning for summer sunbathing music. All of last year’s Wolves and Thieves is filled with these retro stylings, a West Coast vibe that alternates between mellow (the soft and gorgeous “Last Decade”, for example) and hyped up (the cheery “Under the Waterway” almost sounds like Fun.’s folkier cousin). It’s supposed to rain here in the Bay Area on Saturday, but London looks sunny and warm. Pull out your Ray Bans and let Goldheart Assembly put you in the mood.

Three Blind Wolves
There’s no other way to say it: I frigging adore Three Blind Wolves. The Glaswegians’ seven song debut, Sound of the Storm, came out on Communion at the end of March, and has been taking over my iPod ever since (it’s easily in my top five fave discoveries of the year so far).The lyrics are clever, melodies catchy, and presentation confident. Lead singer Ross Clark uses his voice like a true instrument, shifting registers and manipulating texture with control. They’ve been called a ‘countrified Modest Mouse’, but that’s really just the tip of the iceberg.

Tom Williams and the Boat
First of all, check out the Station Session they did in July last year. It’s great. Tom Williams and the Boat are of that Frank Turner ilk, where singing morphs into shouting and words are squished together or strung out into conversational phrases. As Tom triumphantly shouts on new single “Concentrate” (check out this version, recorded in a bathroom), he’s a ‘modern man’–and the lyric-driven songs are nothing if not contemporary. The band’s dynamic rock-twinged style would provide a welcome burst of energy in the middle of Saturday afternoon.

Treetop Flyers
Treetop Flyers sound like they’ve been around for a while, by which I mean two things: a) they sound like the modern answer to bands like Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young, and b) they sound like old pros, even though their debut EP was only released in 2009. They also just won Glastonbury’s Emerging Talent Competition, which earns them a spot on the giant festival’s main stage. Check out their amazing Bandstand Busking session, as well as For Folk’s Sake’s interview with vocalist Reid Morrison.


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