With names like The Murder Capital, Squid, Black Country New Road and Dry Cleaning, this year’s Sŵn line up looks like the honour roll of the class of 2019. Add to this a good serving of the more established alternative acts, from the Mercury nominees The Comet is Coming to the Welsh music royalty Gruff Rhys, and you have a hands down the best and most diverse UK city festival bill.
Ahead of this week’s event, we’ve selected a few of the lesser known new and not-so-new acts worthy of your attention. (Anastasia Connor)
For an extended version of our favourite Sŵn 2019 acts, listen to our Spotify playlist:
Scottish album of the year nominees and alumni of the legendary Glasgow DIY label Night School, synth pop duo Free Love (FKA Happy Meals) are inviting you into the lustrous, devotional rave dream of their sensual rituals. Strong contender for the best live act in the country, they’ll nourish your soul and welcome you into their cult of psychedelic disco utopia!(AC)
Fans of Welsh psychedelic pop in the vein of SFA and Gorky’s will be delighted to hear of Ynys, a brand new project lead by an ex-member of Race Horses, Dylan Hughes. Shining with wistful sweetness and melodic playfulness, Ynys songs provide a much-needed antidote to an otherwise dark post-punk mood of contemporary musical landscape.(AC)
One of the most interesting offshoots of the current post punk deluge, Bristol’s Scalping serve up a bold concoction of techno and post punk. Track titles like ‘Satan II’ and ‘Raptured’ give a good indication of the depths of their dark fury. (AC)
With super hot new acts like Squid and Black Country, New Road, Speedy Wunderground are having a big year. One of their latest recruits, international man of mystery Lazarus Kane has only one single, ’Narcissus’, to his name but its sleazy, confrontational disco demeanour has hallmarks of a bona fide hit. We cannot wait to see and hear more. (AC)
Reminiscent of the Birthday Party, Bambara’s apocalyptic intensity threatens sinister chaos raging through feral psychobilly and malignant towering showcase. Frequently described as a sonic equivalent of David Lynch’s cinematic creations, Bambara’s universe is a disturbing and dark place.(AC)
Bonkers bedroom pop never sounded so good. Imaginative, bright and constantly inquisitive. Alien Tango is the brainchild of Spanish nomad Alberto and his band. An uncategorisable carousel of influences constantly keeps you on your toes from show tunes, exuberant psychedelia to disco and everything in between rushing at you all at once. Watch them try to bottle the essence of joy. (Bill Cummings)
Charlotte Adigéry made her bow this Spring with her excellent multicoloured second EP Zandoli, the Belgian-Caribbean artist proved herself to be a storyteller, dancefloor queen and shapeshifting artist. Tracks like ‘High Lights’ draw inspiration from her Caribbean and African musical traditions and playfully splices them with the modernity of pop and house music. Her set is bound to be a feast for the ears, eyes and the feet! (BC)
A Dublin trio who emerged this spring from the ashes of Girl Band, with their awesome debut ‘Hush’. With an abrasive drum machine powered sound smothered in static and housing insidious arty melodic hooks. Proving there’s more to Irish music than Fontaines DC. The Claque are an exciting unheralded gem, we urge you not to miss them. Bracing and thrilling.(BC)
Rising Welsh stars Melin Melyn lend a charming and artful whimsy to their psych smothered tunes that spiral past your nose like a multicoloured rainbow. With almost surreal almost kids telly style lyrics and toe tapping hooks punctuated by harmonic interludes, bountiful brass, recent single ‘The Big Society’ sounded like the meeting point between early Roxy Music and Super Furries. They carry a suitcase of different tunes a bit like Mr Ben.(BC)
Cardiffians Rosehip Teeahouse have charmed us this past year. They craft a soundtrack for hopeless romantics everywhere. Their debut single ‘Same Sky’ was effortlessly swoonsome, while follow up ‘Growth’ showed more sides. There’s a subtlety to these bars, glistening guitars, clipped drums, balancing homespun indie pop against the more nuanced influence of recent American songwriters. While Faye Rogers’ delicate, bittersweet yet wondrous vocals and effortless knack for melodies and intensely personal lyrics, which give you something to hold on to in hard times, mark Rosehip Teahouse out as the sweethearts you need to see!(BC)
For more information and to get your tickets, go to swnfest.com. Follow @SwnFestival on Twitter.