Powder Blue #3 - Feel It


A very much welcome back to Powder Blue, one of the undoubted discoveries of May's Great Escape Festival (although I had written about them twice prior, the two shows I caught in Brighton served as the perfect arena to fall smitten for the Canadian band who appear, from the included press photo, to have undergone a couple of line-up changes and are now a trio).

"Feel It" arrives some six months later, the first song taken from a forthcoming six track EP II which will be self-released on December 8th and instantly makes me fall in love all over again, another simmering psyche rock epic with a slow-burn maze of swirling guitars hypnotising around beautiful, hazy vocals and big, punishing beats. It's very much the sort of thing that has been filling these pages for over five years now.

The good news doesn't end there with a two week long European tour announced to accompany the release, kicking off at London's Surya on December 2nd - full dates.

The Great Escape - Saturday Preview

By Saturday you might be feeling a little bit tired and more likely a little hungover but don't let that ruin your experience (remember to pace yourself), there still one last day to go. Saturday is usually the busiest day of the festival too as people who couldn't get time off work head to the coast and as ever, there are plenty of acts on offer for us to watch. Below are my five picks for Saturday at The Great Escape 2014.

Powder Blue - TGE Page

10th May 2014 6:45pm - 7:15pm
10th May 2014 1:45pm - 2:15pm

Powder Blue sum up The Great Escape to me, getting the chance to see a band who probably wouldn't be playing in the UK if it wasn't for the festival and the opportunities it brings, it's the Canadian quartet's debut time on these shores so I've naturally no idea what to expect from a live show but from what I've heard so far, I cannot help but be excited...

"Run" is intense, buss saw guitars and throbbing bass colliding the eerily sweet vocal harmonies and "Dream in Black" sounds like an haunted, creatures of the night version of Warpaint. That sort of introduction is surely enough to have you queuing outside the venue before they start (behind me of course).

Blessa - TGE Page

10th May 2014 3:30pm - 4:00pm
10th May 2014 9:30pm - 10:00pm

Another band I've talked about here at great length are Blessa, the recently released "Unfurl" exemplifies exactly why I have and exactly why I think you should go and watch them. An immaculate guitar pop gem which combines a dreamy, exotic melody with seduction and beauty, the sort of band that should be playing on the NME stage aren't because they don't sound like a Libertines / Oasis / Strokes clone. Ah well, more fool them and more joy for us...

Fickle Friends - TGE Page

9th May 2014 9:15pm - 9:45pm
10th May 2014 4:15pm - 4:45pm
(An Alternative Escape Show)

Local band Fickle Friends will be another act I'll be seeing for the first time over the weekend (as I have said already, I think it's the point of TGE, to see new acts) and will possibly be one of the few occasions where I'll be likely rubbing shoulders with the 'cool kids'. Their track "Play" sums up why, the perfect blend of radio friendly excitement and made for summer melody which combines infectious, chiming guitars, bouncing synths and a sweetly, soft vocal. It's impossible not to bop your head along in approval.

Novella - Facebook

10th May 2014 3:40pm - 4:00pm (an Alternative Escape show)

Novella have been quiet so far this year, hopefully because they've been holed up in a studio finishing their debut album but they play a rare live show as part of the Alternative Escape.

I've seen Novella countless times before over the past three years but I'm always left craving more afterwards, there's no other new guitar band that comes close to the London based group, one of a handful of bands who genuinely excite every time. Letting their music do the talking with long crawling sections of hypnotic guitars, a precise rhythm section and hazy vocals. It ticks all my boxes (I hope the 20 minute set time is wrong, that's about three tracks!)...

Eliza Shaddad - Facebook

8th May 2014 5:00pm - 5:30pm
10th May 2014 9:15pm - 9:45pm
10th May 2014 10:45pm - 11:15pm (an Alternative Escape show)

Last but certainly not least in my series of preview posts for this years festival is Eliza Shaddad, perhaps not for the partying sort but for those with a more open mind, Eliza is a guarantee to get your Saturday evening off to the most serene and spine-tingling of starts.

Take a listen to her recent track "You For Me" if you want to understand why, how could a listen to it not make you feel all sort of giddy, happy thoughts. A soft, haunting stunner. The rest of Eliza's live set is no different.

Powder Blue #2 - Run


A quick return for Powder Blue on the blog after an 'Introducing' post last month, the reason is the normal one; great bloody music."Run" is a brand new track which for now seems serves as a standalone single and a taster of what to expect when the Canadian quartet hit these shores in May. It's sure to perk the curiosity of many Great Escape attendees too with a simmering psyche soundscapes and dark, ethereal atmosphere that firmly expands on those early Warpaint comparisons...

In fact it does more than perk my curiosity, "Run" is majestic. It sounds ten times bigger than anything on the aforementioned EP with buzz saw guitar riffs and big, doom-laden drums instantly adding a fiery bite and controlled aggression to the circling rhythms and swirling synth melody, building and building the eerie atmospheric textures that blend perfectly with hazy vocal harmonies to a searing climax of feedback and noise. Exceptional is this. Listen below and see you at the front come what May...

Powder Blue - New Music "Introducing"

Facebook / powder-blue.ca

Over the next few months I expect to discover a good number of bands thanks to their announcement in The Great Escape line-up, even as a New Music blog the one thing that is given is the fact there are always more new bands than you can ever listen to. Powder Blue are a Canadian quartet who released a debut six track EP early last year (available on digital / sexy 12" vinyl now via Bandcamp).

I think my favourite is the first "Go On Forever", the track opens with this foreboding, atmosphere-heavy organ before the tide parts to make the way for slow-burning guitars and reverb-heavy vocal harmonies. The mood remains hazy and hypnotic throughout, a sweet and mysterious beauty that takes you on a blissed-out ethereal journey you don't really want to leave.

The following track "Dream in Black" is perhaps closest to the obvious Warpaint comparisons, with its layers of swirling guitar textured, forever elongated, jangly psyche rhythms which soon embed themselves in your brain whilst western plains are the thoughts during the languid "The Haunting" an exotic, dark and gorgeous combination of spaghetti western soundtrack echoes and surf guitar textures. Yes. I like this a lot. See you in Brighton come what May.