Tag Archives: music cardiff

Invitation to the FCI 2 listening party!

USW’s School of Music and Sound have a listening launch party for this year’s Create Sampler, FCI 2 on 14th May from 3.30pm, and they want you to go along! 

Following steep competition and over 40 entries, a staff panel selected the final tracks to represent the School and release on vinyl, complete with cover artwork from The Wild Midnight. 

FCI 2 contains 13 eclectic tracks ranging from rock to folk to electro house, collaborations and an exclusive track recorded at Rockfield Studios. The creative standard this year is exceptional and they can’t wait to share the finished product with you. Finished copies will be available on the day and also on the shelves of Spillers Records.

Join us in the Theatre to listen to the album and hear the stories behind the tracks from the artists themselves TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE

Theatre listening party 3.30pm-5pm

Zen Bar Social, DJ & Buffet 5pm – 7pm

Get yourself along and support tomorrow’s musical stars!

Side A

“Y Diweddaraf” – Adwaith

“Zen Me Kan Dao Zi” – Min & Hui

“Curves and Lines” – Suleiman Atta

“Nowhere’s Ark” – Jacob Haslam & 3rd Year BMus Contemporary Music Performance

“Platform 10” – Ste Powell

“Flying Kites” – Chloe Ferguson

Side B

“Advantages” – Bloom!

“Venn Diagram” – Carlen Williams

“Everything is Happening” – Jacob Haslam

“Work Hard” – Dan Ham

“Love International” – Girl International

“My Dear and Me” – Alan’s Bank

“Matulu Moja” – Klementyna Wasiewska & Alastair Evans

Last year’s Sampler, FCI 1 gained critical acclaim in the industry receiving radio airplay and was championed by BBC Producers Huw Stephens, Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn. It is also stocked in Spillers Records and will be available for this year’s Record Store Day. Featured bands MelltThe Kelly Line and Naomi Rae have continued to gain attention in the business and we anticipate big things for this year’s artist rostra.

Join us in the Atrium theatre to listen to the album and hear the stories behind the tracks from the artists themselves.

Theatre listening party 3.30pm-5pm

Zen Bar Social from 5pm

Bought to you by the School of Music and Sound this event is free, open to students & the wider music community, please tell your friends. If you are looking to get into the industry or advance your business within it these talks are for you.

Instagram usw_music


Introducing the Ladies of Rage

Today we welcome Hannah Weiss to introduce the Ladies of Rage, a new Cardiff musical collective. All images here by Aiyush Pachnanda. Enjoy!


The Cardiff collective Ladies of Rage (LOR) was established by radio DJ Ffion Wyn Morris, to unite women in the Welsh music scene. The group is 80 members strong, the group welcomes anyone interested in learning to mix tracks or take their turn on the mic. Whether you’re into D’n’B or old-skool hip hop, writing lyrics or beatboxing, there’s a place for you here.

There’s a LOR showcase for International Women’s Day in March – it will be held on 9 March at The Moon, and we’d love to see you there!

The LOR had a showcase at The Moon in December, which was a real success. The ladies had honed their skills through a series of monthly jam sessions and workshops, ready to take the stage for the first showcase.

The Moon is Cardiff’s prime space for up-and-coming indie acts and the perfect place for the Ladies of Rage to make their debut: large enough to pack a solid audience, small enough to allow each performer to connect with the crowd. There was a mix of men and women; a healthy cross-section of supporters in the scene, people looking for a good show and a handful who wander in throughout the night, drawn by the music to find out more.

Stella Marie and Trishna Jaikara Shan kick-start the showcase. Both DJs are here to demonstrate their skill on the decks, and each brings her own flair to the hip hop mixes they’ve come to play. People drift from the bar to the stage, as the hype builds for the first emcee.

First on the mic is Becky Cee, a new rapper who found performing through poetry. This is evidenced by the compelling lyricism of her words, as she explores anger and anxiety. At times her delivery is backed by music, at others she lets the timbre of her voice fill the space. Each of the trio of tracks is deeply personal, a timely reminder of the purpose of the night: enabling women in music to make their voices heard.

Following her is Judy Price, the leading lady on tech for the night, who blends her words with a self-composed mix that gives her set a smooth, bluesy vibe. There’s a steady confidence in her delivery that matches the evocative self-awareness of her lyrics.

Amelia Unity is up next, an OG in Cardiff’s hip hop scene. The spoken word poet, graffiti artist and B-girl takes the stage to give The Moon a taste of the talent that won her first place at the Swansea Poetry Slam last year. She’s ready with an arsenal of talking points, from the personal to the political.  Quoting the ‘colour war on the high street’ and ‘a gambler who couldn’t play her game’, Unity flips from uncovering cracks in Cardiff’s hip hop community to smoking public discourse on beauty standards and aging, taking her audience on a vivid ride through her experiences of life and art.

Lyrical depth is a clear strength these women share. Leah Hutchinson shifts into a more introspective tone with her mix of singing and spoken word, showcasing her flair for flow and a unique vocal tone. She welcomes the audience into her world through four tracks that unfold in a gorgeous string of metaphors referencing nature, poetry and religion. Framing both her fellow performers and the audience in the statement ‘we are all an expression of infinite art’, she encapsulates the purpose of the night in one beautiful turn of phrase.

Building on Leah’s tentative step through the divide between poetry and music, singer-songwriter Asha Jane dives into a soaring R&B set of self-penned tracks. ‘If you fall in love with a storyteller, you might be in love with the stories’, is the haunting refrain of stand-out track ‘Oyster’. Asha spins a soulful tale of love and loss, while the hype of the audience around her stills to rapt attention.

Asha stays on stage to collab with battle rapper Shawgz, who transforms the crowd’s focus into a flare of energy with a rapid-fire salvo of tracks from her new BLK Tape EP. The pair play off each other’s strengths, letting the tempo rise and fall as they shift flow in perfect sync. Shawgz owns the stage with flair, demonstrating her freestyle chops as she ribs with the audience.

The vibe stays at a simmering high as Lady SP hits the stage with a flow so fast it ricochets around the venue like gunfire. If the first half of this showcase drew the audience in through the ladies’ lyricism and exchange of shared experiences, the latter sets are a performance of sheer power.

The strength of the collective really hits home when Tasha, better known by her moniker TT, rallies for her first time on stage. The other women gather, ready at her back, while the crowd before her chants their collective support to welcome her onto the scene.

The full roster of emcees, singers and DJs share the stage to swap verses in a friendly-fire cypher that rounds out the night with a display of unity and mutual respect. Every women takes her turn on the mic, the hype of the others around her never letting up.

Lubi J and Stella shift the showcase from performance to party, taking turns on the decks to play some D’n’B, with emcee Missy G stepping up to the mic to freestyle over the mix. Before the night comes to a close, the ladies present founder Ffion with a birthday present as she thanks the audience for their support, giving a shout out to each performer’s tenacity and talent, and a nod to Amy Farrah’s photo exhibition. Headshots of the performers line the walls, accompanied by words, as each gives her voice to the need for this new era in music.

The Ladies of Rage showcase is a clear demonstration of the treasure-trove of talent among women emcees, DJs and musicians in Wales. It’s not just a performance, but a call to arms. This is the first time several performers stepped from the edges of the underground scene to go onstage. How many women in the audience, you wonder, might be inspired to pen lyrics and experiment with mixes after watching the skill on show that night?

It’s those women in the crowd the Ladies of Rage came for. The ones who haven’t yet dared to test their skills. Now when they do, there’s a full collective of women ready to share their experiences and stand alongside them.

This is just the first step.




Festival of Voice 2018, Cardiff – preview!

Journalist Ben Newman gives us his lowdown on the wonderful Festival of Voice 2018 – taking over the streets of Cardiff for a fortnight, from the 7 – 17 June …

The Festival of Voice, following the event’s enormously successful Welsh-centric event last year, has returned, promising a line-up that balances pastoral Welsh treats with internationally-renowned performances. At its core, the festival is all about celebrating what makes Wales tick, along with appreciating the power our collective voices have, whether that be artistically or otherwise.

The festival lasts from June 7 – 17, with events running throughout each day across several locations. Most of the festival will take place within the Wales Millennium Centre, but other venues around Cardiff are hosting some events, including Chapter, Clwb Ifor Bach, New Theatre, and so on. The timetable for the festival can be found on the Festival of Voice website, along with a full description of the acts on show.

Highlights, with the obvious show stoppers Patti Smith and Elvis Costello aside, include Gwenno, the Welsh-Cornish alt-pop sensation, Billy Bragg in a special “Voices of Protest” performance, Laura Marling’s and Mike Lindsay’s LUMP, the wonderful one-woman stage performance Lovecraft (Not The Sex Shop In Cardiff), the Charlotte Church curated Utopia – which includes Ionalle of iamamiwhoami fame – and all of the smaller, local performances.

We also recommend following checking out @DTACardiff for a very special and secret pop-up with a difference taking place throughout FOV …

Tickets for each individual event can be found on SeeTickets, with prices varying depending on the act.

Festival of Voice website

Festival of Voice Facebook

Festival of Voice Twitter

Festival of Voice Instagram



Baby Queens – Baby Queens Review: Personality Over Pop Appeal

Benj Newman reviews the new Baby Queens album

Baby Queens debut album

Cardiff-based Baby Queens are enjoying something of a slow burning, organic raise to public consciousness. Though they’ve been around for a while – they were first featured here on We Are Cardiff in 2014 (Baby Queens Our Cardiff Geography) – they’re now signed to SFA man Cian Ciaran’s Strangetown Records, and this year have been part of the BBC Horizons project, spearheaded by new music champion Bethan Elfyn.

The opening track of their eponymous debut is entitled: ‘Tired of Love’. The title of the track is one that we’ve seen many times in music; before our ears have even been properly aquainted with the record there’s a worry that may just be another nondescript British pop album. However, as soon as the music starts, these worries are allayed; in fact, the first track’s seems like it is deceptively there to catch the listener off guard. The track is layered with an infectious electronic drum loop, the lyrics are consciously lovesick and the production shifts between styles effortlessly; it is a signifier that the album packs no punches both lyrically and sonically. The track is evidence that the self-titled nature of the album isn’t simply out of convenience, it is a declaration of the group’s identity, both philosophically and sonically. With the group getting props from Marinia Diamandis on Twitter to write-ups on The Guardian, they’re certainly on their way to something big and show that Cardiff’s tightly-knit music community is still doing great things.

Baby_Queens_SnapRockAndPop_ - 01

The synthesis of synthetic and organic sounds is one of the biggest positives about the album. It is difficult to properly balance these polarising sounds, but Baby Queens have balanced it competently; in fact, they haven’t just found the right balance, they’ve synthesised both sounds creatively. The soft electronic percussion of ‘Hear Me’, for example, pops with the inclusion of the relatively archaic shaker and classic guitar lines. There is an acute awareness throughout the record that the weaving together of opposing sounds leads to a much more pleasing collage of sound. The symbiosis of these two sounds ensures the album’s production stays organic and sonically interesting throughout. It’s difficult not to think of Cardiff when you hear the combination of electronics and natural sound; the electronic production winds around a subtle natural foundation much like the city itself. Cardiff is a city that juxtaposes harshly against a fertile natural landscape; the city is a symbiosis of nature and modernity much like the music it produces. The unique material culture of the city – one that is still grounded in nature despite its metropolitan allure – has been threaded into sonic palette of the record; Cardiff has left an impression on this group, perhaps even unconsciously. The group aren’t afraid to dip their toes into different styles, either, which ensures the album stays stylistically varied.

The album jumps around a few different styles with aplomb. There is a direct trip-hop and pop influence embedded in the album, but it is still stylistically varied. For example, ‘By The River’ veers into a gospel song on points with a strong Americana influence, whereas ‘Forever’ opens with a reggae guitar line and never really threatens to leave the genre for the remainder of the track. There’s always a nice surprises in each track, – like the Aphex Twin-esque drum loop at the end of ‘Forever’ – that keep the listener’s earbuds on the tip of excitement, too. The group’s ability to wind through several complicated genres speaks volumes for their chemistry. Despite foraying into several genres, their harmonies still stay solid and their identity never becomes compromised. The best thing about the album, really, is how the group are so unrelentingly themselves. Leroy’s drumming, too, deserves special mention – it is expertly measured and matured throughout.

Baby_Queens_SnapRockAndPop_ - 03

Lyrically, too, the album displays the group’s deceiving depth. Initially, I thought the album was entirely made up of romantic love songs – not that there’s anything wrong with that – but on further listens I found that the album, in a few tracks, deals with much more relevant and complicated issues. The hook in ‘Forever’ can deceive the listener into believing it is a simple love song, but the overall lyrical content points to something more political. For example, the lyric ‘your skin is light, my skin is dark, that does not change the shape of our hearts’ is a plea for egalitarianism in a time of rampant secularism or straight-up racism. Baby Queens seem ready to shake off their ‘girl group’ stereotype by producing lyrical content that is relevant and political. In a time of Brexit, alt-right and all that other nonsense, it’s good to have a group pushing for people to view each other on more human terms. The vibe of the whole track, too, is suited to the times. It is as utopianistic as it is sombre, in a way. The lyrics contrast sharply with the sombreness embedded in the vocals.  Essentially, the track’s contrasts and tonal hypocrisy mirrors contemporary life; the track realises it is a time where relentless positivity is needed, but where the facts of modern life distils this down into sombre well-wishing.

Overall, Baby Queens was a real surprise packed to the brim with personality and risky production choices. It is out now on Strangetown Records– go check it out, you won’t be disappointed (and if you are then I’m prepared for some comment section shadowboxing).

Baby Queens is out now on Strangetown Records. Find out more:

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Sŵn 2016 – send in your memories for the Music Museum!

It’s (nearly!) here – our annual city-wide music takeover, celebrating the best in new music: it’s Sŵn Festival time again, and this time, Sŵn is ten years old, and they want to hear all your memories from over the years!

The memories will be displayed in the Music Museum. The museum will be open across the weekend and Sŵn have invited music aficionados to bring in three objects or musical memories in advance that mean something to them; these will be on show when the museum opens on Thursday.

Festival goers are still encouraged to share their memories can do so either by social media, or coming into the museum over the weekend to be recorded and added to the digital exhibition. Get involved and share your memories of Sŵn now!


There are now two ways to donate:

1 – via  social media: tweet three images and stories to #SWNMM, or share on Facebook at the Sŵn Music Museum Facebook page.

2 – by bringing items and memories to the Museum to record over the Sŵn Festival weekend!


Friday 21st October (12-5pm)

Saturday 22nd (12-5pm)

Sunday 23rd (12-5pm)

The Sŵn Music Museum Facebook event

Location: Castle Arcade, Cardiff (more info)

The Museum is being built through the crowdsourcing of materials and the organisers are inviting music aficionados to bring along three objects in advance to be displayed during the Sŵn weekend. Virtual contributions can be made via social media or objects and stories can be taken to the museum and recorded on the spot. Students from the CU Archaeology and Conservation department will be on hand to offer advice on how to care for musical memorabilia. All the images and stories will be collected and displayed in the Sŵn Music Museum virtual gallery.

In other Sŵn news: S4C will also be filming an access-all-areas documentary of Sŵn this weekend, to air in December. It will feature interviews with artists, festival goers and organisers Huw Stephens and John Rostron. So make sure you’re wearing your lipstick and guyliner for when the cameras are rolling!

For those who haven’t seen it yet, here’s the line up, in eye-blistering full detail (open the image in a new tab and zoom in for Full Effect).


See you on the dance floor – front left by the speakers, yeah?



Swn Festival 2016 – tenth anniversary! Line up and tickets info


Oh my lordy, TEN YEARS of Sŵn! This October we welcome back our own inner city music festival for its tenth year. Excited? We are!

In case you haven’t been to Sŵn before, here’s the vibe. The festival takes over several venues throughout Cardiff city centre, spreading musical joy and happiness between them all. You buy a wristband – either for the weekend or a day at a time – that gets you into all those shows (provided there’s room – so get there early for bands you really want to see!).

There are additional festival shows in Tramshed that you can buy separate tickets for. Your wristband will get you into these, but again, only if there’s space.

This year’s line up

News: Lonely the Brave all dayer!

Sŵn have now announced the FULL LINE-UP for the LONELY THE BRAVE all-dayer on Saturday 22nd October 2016 at Tramshed, as part of Sŵn Festival 2016. Huge! LONELY THE BRAVE will be joined by FATHERSON, CASEY, BLACK FOXXED, MAX RAPTOR and MUNCIE GIRLS. What a humdinger.

Join the Lonely the Brave all-dayer Facebook event for updates or jump straight to Lonely the Brave all-dayer tickets. If you want to spend the day here you can buy a ticket just for this show for £12.50 OR buy a Sŵn Festival Saturday Wristband or weekend wristband to get entry (subject to capacity)

Volunteering at Sŵn Festival

Fancy working on an award-winning music festival? Drop them an email if this is your bag! If you’re interested in a future career in events or music, this a great way to get experience and have fun too.

Other Sŵn shows …

Sŵn began life as a festival but we get bands asking to play Cardiff all the time, so we now promote shows year-round. To get more live new music in your life, here’s a list of our upcoming shows to take you all the way to Sŵn Festival….

  • WATSKY / JEZ DIOR / 30th Sep / Clwb Ifor Bach  / RSVP / Tickets
  • IN HEAVEN / PALE WAVES / BIRDCAGE / 5th Oct / RSVP / Tickets
  • FEWS / WYLDERNESS / CHROMA / 12th Oct / RSVP / Tickets
  • TALL SHIPS / 17th Oct / RSVP / Tickets

… and there’s over twenty more upcoming shows at SOUND NATION


More Sŵn news … soon!


Festival of Voice – our guide to the venues!

So, unless you’ve been under a rock for the past few months, you will know that there’s a new, fabulous music festival heading for Cardiff, bringing oodles of WORLD RENOWNED artists and mixing them up with all sorts of awesome Welsh talent.

festival_of_voice_banner_on_wmcI’m talking about the Festival of Voice, people! The line up is wonderful:

Charlotte Church, Bryn Terfel, Meilyr Jones, Rufus Wainwright, John Cale, John Grant, Ben Folds, Juliet Greco, Mariza, Laura Mvula, Ronnie Spector, Les Mystere des Voix Bulgares, Femi Kuti, Mbongwana Star, Hugh Masekela, Juliet Kelly, Sianed Jones, Jamie Woon, Flavia Coelho, Scritti Politti and Alexis Taylor (Hot Chip), Lera Lynn, Woman’s Hour, yMusic, Fatima, House Gospel Choir, Candi Staton, Anna Calvi, The Hot Sardines, Keaton Henson, Rustavi Voices of Georgia, Anne Carrere and Amartuvshin Enkhbat.

And if you need further proof of their excellent judgement and taste, they asked me to write the venue guide, which is very natty, if I do say so myself.

Festival of Voice: venue guide

Also, excitingly, we’ve got some tickets to give away to Festival of Voice shows! Keep your ears peeled, people (yes that’s a thing …)





What’s on in Cardiff! 8-14 February 2016

Part two in our series of ‘what’s on’ posts for each week in Feb. If you like them, make sure to comment and we’ll do more. If you hate them, comment, and we won’t do more. If you’re indifferent, say nothing, and we’ll meh along with you.

Here we go!

What’s on in Cardiff this week

Monday 8-13 Feb – The Rocky Horror Show

Bursting at the seams with timeless classics (Sweet Transvestite! Damn it Janet! Time Warp!) Richard O’Brien’s Rocky Horror Show is a non-stop party. Be warned, this show has rude parts!

19:30 – 23:00  |  New Theatre Cardiff, Park Place  | Book tickets for The Rocky Horror Show


Monday 8 Feb – Creative Cardiff Show and Tell

Creative Cardiff’s Show and Tell is a quarterly event that gives a platform to some of the exciting range of creative people and projects in the city. It will bring together Cardiff’s creative community, from emerging talent to old hand, to hear about their current projects and ambitions.

Each of the speakers will give a 10 minute lightening talk. And they’ll bring an object. The object might be the source of their inspiration, a tool of their trade or a comfort blanket. The speakers will share their work and explain the importance of the object they’ve brought along.


Anton Faulconbridge: Anton has worked in creative and interactive media since 1994, specialising in the development and delivery of multi-platform creative software products.

Claire Hill: Claire fell in love with making jewellery after taking an evening class and discovering the zen-like qualities of making after long days working as a director/producer in factual television. She’s also a co-founder of Dirty Protest Theatre and also co-runs the Push:Auto network for people who work across all aspects of broadcasting in Wales.

John Rostron: John is a key figure in Cardiff’s music scene, founding both the Sŵn festival and the Welsh Music Prize. John promotes live music in Cardiff through his company Sound Nation and is the current Vice-Chair of the Association of Independent Festivals.

18:00 – 19:30 | Porter’s, Bute Street, Cardiff, CF10 2FE | Book tickets for Show and Tell


Tuesday 9 Feb -The Devil Inside

A gritty, glittery, Faustian folktale, set firmly in the twenty-first century. Inspired by The Bottle Imp, a short story by Robert Louis Stevenson, this brand new opera echoes his most famous tale The Strange Case of Doctor Jekyll and Mr Hyde. Two friends stumble upon a bottle that will change their lives, a bottle that can grant any wish. But there’s a catch and the bottle demands a payment…

This evening of magic and enchantment, with a touch of Tales of the Unexpected, will keep you guessing, and leave you thinking ‘be careful what you wish for’.

19:30  |  Sherman Cymru, Senghennyd Road | Book tickets for The Devil Inside


Tuesday 9 Feb – Wonderbrass: ANNUAL MARDI GRAS with Barracwda

Mardi Gras is time to be bold. It’s time to be colorful. And it’s time to shake your festival shoes to Wonderbrass as they bring a bouncing night of internationlist world brass-jazz riot to headline our Mardi Brass! As perenial Gwdihw brass-blasting, heat-bringing, booty-shaking favourites, there’s no-one betterto bring the party to the Mardi Gras than the huge (literally, there’s dozens of them!) Wonderbrass, with the release of the “What The Actual Funk” EP!

They packed us out early doors when supporting Broken Brass Ensemble with a stunning set and we expect this to be another cracker, with Mardi Gras party tunes designed to get you shaking your tail, head and shoulder feathers about the room. As if that wasn’t enough, Barracwda will be bringing live Samba drumming to kick things off, and as it’s Shrove Tuesday, expect some free pancakes if you get in early!

WONDERBRASS – https://www.facebook.com/wonderbrasswales/
BARRACWDA – https://www.facebook.com/barracwda

20:00 |  Gwdihŵ Café Bar, 6 Guildford Crescent  |  £4/£3 adv  | Wonderbrass tickets


Friday 12 -14 Feb – From Now On Festival 2016

mark thomas shape records by adam chard

Now in its third year of sonic discovery, From Now On is here, to fill Chapter with adventurous, fresh and boundary pushing music!

This year’s line up: Julia Holter / Stealing Sheep / Meilyr Jones / Laura Cannell / Happy Meals / Laura J Martin / Bas Jan / Apostille / L’Ocelle Mare / Mark Lyken / Giant Swan / Threatmantics / Anna Homler & Steven Warwick: Breadwoman / Tim Parkinson: Time with People / H. Hawkline Gwaed Ar Y Sêr / Sweet Baboo: Synthfonia Cymru / Sleeper Society / CAM Sinema / Chapter Cinema / Club Foot Foot / Arc Vertiac.

Read our interview with Sparky Mark (yeah, I still call him that) from Shape Records from last year’s event

18.00 – 23.00  |  Chapter Arts Centre  |  From Now On Facebook event


Friday 12 Feb – Bullion Presents Break / Dead Mans Chest (Eveson) / Boston

If your idea of a good Valentine’s celebration is some chest-vibrating jungle / drum’n’bass, then get yourself to Clwb for Bullion: Break and Dead Mans Chest (aka Eveson) plus Cardiff local boy Boston will bring some serious Symmetry sounds.

Room two hosted by Switch – electro house music, all night long!

22.00 – 04.00  |  Clwb  |  Bullion Facebook event


Saturday 13 Feb – 6 Nations: Wales v Scotland

giant rugby ball

It’s rare we promote the mainstream sportz on this blog (especially as the game is sold out), but this game’s going to be a BIG ONE – so take this as a warning about getting into / out of / around town on Saturday if you’re planning a casual visit during the day …


Sunday 14 Feb – Cardiff’s Affordable Vintage Fair


If you’ve got shopping on your mind this Valentine’s Day, go vintage! Situated in Portland House – a historic banking hall near Cardiff Bay, it’s the perfect venue for Judy’s affordable vintage fair. Expect over 30 stalls packed with the finest vintage from 1940s onwards! Fashion, homewares, accessories and a full tea room for those feeling a tad peckish!

11.00 – 14.00  |  Entry £2, Under 12s free | Portland House, 113 – 116 Bute Street, CF10 5EQ | Vintage Fair Facebook event


That’s it for this week! Did we miss anything out? Let us know in the comments!

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Maddie Jones, and her rock and roll in the Pretty City

Meet Maddie Jones, a singer, guitarist and songwriter, originally from the Valleys, now living in Cardiff. She’s one of those people I’ve wanted to get on We Are Cardiff for ages, and ended up doing an online interview with … and then bumped into her in person at BBC Radio Wales while Hana and I were there to talk about The 42b (We Are Cardiff Press’ first book). She’s every bit as smart and funny in real life as she was to interview online – and I sat about three feet away from her while she sang on the radio. What a voice!

Anyway, enough of me … meet Maddie! Helia x


I’m originally from just outside Ystrad Mynach, which isn’t far from Caerphilly. You have to make your own fun up there, but I wouldn’t change it for the world. It makes you crazy and creative. Cardiff seemed like such a big city to us, I’ve learnt since that it’s not that huge!

I wrote a song for the Cardiff Songs project about Cardiff from a Valleys person’s perspective. The project came out of the book called Cardiff Songs, by Mike Johnson – who wanted to create a legacy of songs about our city, in the way that so many other cities have. We had the option to cover one of his songs, but I wanted to make mine more personal to me, so wrote Pretty City. It’s one of the things that outsiders say about Cardiff, and I find it to be true, but also hilarious when you look at the place on a matchday, or a hen and stag filled Friday night. So, my song was about the experience of coming down on the train, to a big place, trying to cram in as much fun as possible in a few hours, and then convincing a taxi driver to take you all the way home. It’s from my Valleys perspective, but I’ve lived in Cardiff itself for over four years now, and this is my home.

MaddieJones1 MaddieJones2

When I came home from Nottingham Uni, after the standard ‘stint at your parents, wondering what to do with your life’, myself and some friends moved here to Cardiff. For me, it was to be in a good location to build my career on the music scene, be able to go to loads of gigs, and meet as many people as possible. To be near the action, in short!

I moved to, and still live in Pontcanna. It’s a completely amazing place to live, but we were very lucky to find somewhere we could afford on our artsy incomes. Pontcanna is amazing, I actually wrote a whole article about it once! My favourite cafe is Brava – amazing food, and milkshakes, and rugby player spotting! There are loads of great restaurants too, my favourites are Cinnamon Tree, The Smoke House and Cibo. Pipes Brewery is just round the corner from me, and there’s a butcher, baker (no candlesitck maker), grocer, and a few delis too. Also right by Bute Park/ Taff Trail, and plenty of good pubs too.


Cardiff’s creative scene has been building in the four years I’ve lived in the city. The music scene particularly is coming into its own, with venues like the Moon, and Gwdihw, and more recently the Tramshed, and new festivals too, like HUB and Free for All. A lot of great artistic stuff goes on, especially around Womanby St, Chapter, and the Abacus. I’m mostly involved in music, obviously, but I enjoy art, film, theatre, dance and all sorts! I try to incorporate it into what I do – designing my own CD covers for example, the most recent one people have to colour in themselves!

Thanks Maddie! Check our the video for her most recent single, Could You Be My Rock and Roll? taken from the Colour Me In EP, which was crowdfunded on Pledge Music, and is available in any format under the sun from her Maddie Jones Bandcamp page.

Maddie Jones website / Facebook pageTwitter / Soundcloud

Photos by Ben Blyth, taken at Retro-Vibe Music, Cardiff



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Sŵn Festival 2015 – full programme released!

swn festival 2015

Sŵn is back!

Following two successful outings for its pared-back sibling, DimSŵn, the multi-venue Cardiff festival will return for two days of noise and merriment on November 7 and 8, with Clwb Ifor Bach, Gwdihw, the Moon Club, Undertone, Buffalo, the Abacus, 10 Feet Tall and Four Bars set to play host to a genre-melding bill!

The line up is something to behold. Somewhere near the top are the Go! Team, Protomartyr, Pretty Vicious, Trust Fund, Traams, Du Blonde and plenty more, with the excellent Hooton Tennis Club, Twisted, Oh Peas!, the Prettiots and the BBC Horizons team scattered throughout.

Stereoboard is excited to bring you the full breakdown for the weekend’s activities as the festival’s schedule sponsor. Click the image below for a printable PDF to get your planning started, or here: Swn printable PDF programme (PDF)

Friday night, meanwhile, will see Houdini Dax top a bill at the Abacus, while Jungle will man the decks at Clwb Ifor Bach for a DJ set.

swan schedule 2015

Oh – and don’t forget about our little Swn fringe event … the launch of ‘The 42b’, the first book to be released on We Are Cardiff Press, taking place on Thursday night at Porter’s. WHOOT!


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“It is the last outpost of a memory, an Alamo to encroaching American invaders” – Spencer


I have hesitating trepidation in revealing my Shangri-la in the city. The influx of anything approaching trending would upset what I have found. Luckily the very nature of my choice negates such an occurrence for you see dear reader… I have selected Garlands as my choice memory of Cardiff, having patronised its loving environ for over ten years and at one point had my own table and regular order. I have occasionally got too busy to regularly attend, but like catholic guilt, I am always drawn back to its pleasure.

Located in Duke Street Arcade opposite the castle, Garlands entices with a tobacco stained, penny university aesthetic, the old world Italian allure familiar from films and holiday brochures; perhaps such a place never existed, but these kind of coffee houses continue to offer a faux decadence of fonts, painted pillars, plastic chandeliers and brass decor which has now become a decadence all of its own.

As coffee shops become more standardised (and Garlands is itself a sort of 80’s standardisation) in low- slung cushioned comfort, it is a pleasure to be forced to sit upright like an adult whilst consuming. Garlands harks back to places where people could think, discuss, and plan within a city, yet away from distractions. One can do this elsewhere but well lit, bright colours; open spaces and urban (not urbane) noise can work against this.

By contrast, Garlands has soft brown hues and hushed voices, a more respectful climate than the abrasive places. Here, you will not hear overweight voices bandy out repulsive terms like ‘skinny’, ‘frappe’ ‘latte-a-chino’, the same voices who only a few years ago would have violently rejected such terms (often with violence). This is a place with coffee machines that don’t look like they are about to rise up against the human race, there is none of the spluttering distain of the modern machinations, instead the very mechanical elements themselves are in harmony with the more reserved eatery nature, and its artificial nurture, in unison.

Consequently as I’ve noted, it is a place to think, and many a song lyric/idea has been formulated or completed within its  walls. When I began frequenting, they used to have the Independent newspaper every Friday, making it an ideal place to catch up on the arts supplement over the free coffee refills. The paper has stopped there but the coffee refills continue (for around £1.50 you can have one free refill – sometimes more).

The food is delightful and as simple or complicated as any rival, whilst retaining a delectable character missing from the countless identical test tube paninis the western world over. Ranging from the simple toasted teacake (which you may have to ask for), to the Italian experience jacket potato (capable of summing up an entire country’s cuisine in a potato), via the cream cheese, smoked salon sandwich (alas no capers any more), there is something to sate any visiting town patron. Homemade cakes are proudly displayed in cylinders of sin, next to a fridge containing water, juices and various forgotten carbonated genres of refreshment.

Here is a place to reflect whilst listening to Gershwin, classical excerpts, or themes from motion pictures, and whilst the music may err toward Classic FM, this is no bad thing. Give me this over the nasally forgettable, mid-Atlantic tones of a thousand strumming, anodyne singers called Ryan, Sarah, Ben or Fiona any afternoon.

I suppose its main attraction for this writer is the way it avoids the visitation of the young who seem repelled by its lack of identifiable corporate logo or multi-media advertisement. Garlands is not the community where people jump off loud, high objects whilst making wide eyed hand signals, nor does it display full coloured, sweaty, laminated representations of its wares. It simply has a menu with words like ‘sandwich’, and entrusts the reader with enough intelligence to know what this is. It’s probably too much of a gamble for a youth raised on spoilers and plot revealing trailers. Even when I was young, I wanted to distance myself (when taking my coffee) from the noise of excited bores talking at disbelief over the previous nights substance inspired travail (“man, Ollie was so wasted”). I craved a more ecumenical church, where lecturers, grandmothers, aspiring jobless elitists (like myself), families, crazies and yes even some young people could freely take refreshment in the haven of a reminder of a more homily, intelligent time, where people didn’t ask you if you wanted confectionary on your coffee.

This though is where the contradiction resides. As I’ve noted above, Garlands is also has its own ‘corporate’ identity familiar to anyone growing up in the eighties who was dragged endlessly around town by mothers or family. For me, it is a prompt to being little (and probably slightly bored), eating crisp jacket potatoes with mother whilst playing with a Transformer, asking (and getting) a rare ice cold glass of coke and perhaps a Welsh cake. It is essentially the last outpost of a memory, an Alamo to encroaching American invaders. That’s right… I’m using the confusing yet apt allegory of an America invading itself, replacing our cherished heritage of coca-cola with a skinny-choco-frappe-a-lingo, taking away all we hold dear. I will hold out in my fortress of drawn fireplaces, ginger beer, and cutlery in baskets and take refuge under its gingham moon, shielding myself behind soft paintings until the day is won.

Only please, please please, dear Garlands, bring back capers to the menu and the Independent every Friday and credit my life-partner for the pictures you have of hers on the wall. Then all will be well.

Spencer McGarry is a Swansea born composer living in Cardiff. He is currently halfway through a project to record and perform six albums in six different styles (under the oft misunderstood as arrogance moniker ‘Spencer McGarry Season’) and is a part of Businessman records. He is an avid reader of popular science and religion and inexplicably believes that all pets suit the name Napoleon. He lives with his life-partner near a small Tesco’s outlet. Check Businessman Records on Big Cartel and Spencer’s Soundcloud.

Spencer was photographed in Garlands by Adam Chard