Programmed Percussion…

A Latitude update first of all. Richard ended last month by waxing lyrical (correctly) about the talents of both SuperGlu and Dingus Khan, and I’m happy to report that not one but both acts will perform at Henham Park this month. You might know this already. You might not know this already and want to go and see them. You might not know this already and want to go and see them, but be unable to because such time has passed this month that the festival is over. I hope it’s not the latter.

One event that will have certainly been and gone by the time you read this is the 2016 Aldeburgh Festival. It was great to see a few acts supported by BBC Introducing on the Bandstand on the Beach, including James Spankie, Adam Double, Honey and the Bear and Abigail Blake. Abigail is from Norwich, and technically not in BBC Radio Suffolk’s catchment area as far as airplay is concerned, but with the confirmation of the Aldeburgh appearance came a very good excuse to arrange an interview in our Suffolk studio. She was as delightful in person as she is in song. Her very own brand of Twinklestep is captured magically on Birdcage. If I was forced to choose a standout track from an EP of standout tracks, I would opt for Liar. The programmed percussion is like something from Thom Yorke’s Eraser album and there are also shades of Florence and the Machine. At the time of writing, Abigail is close to confirming another appearance at Latitude on the Inbetweeners Stage.

Towards the end of the month Swanfest will be back in Ipswich and I’m very excited by the line-up. The best in years I would suggest. The aforementioned SuperGlu and Dingus Khan will be present, while Mick Squalor completes the Ben Brown hat-trick. If you haven’t seen Animal Noise in the flesh and you never venture outside of Suffolk’s county town then now really is your chance. The Sink or Swim EP is one of my most played downloads this year (if it was on cassette, it would be ruined) with Bag of Bones now competing with the likes of Rory and Ned (Man Slag), Ten City Nation (TDK 90) and Lettie (Red) for ‘best song we have ever played on the radio’ status.

Also on the bill will be Jack Rundell, whose box set of 70 plus tracks is close to completion and out soon on Antigen Records. Me and the Moon and Rad Pitt come with the strong backing of BBC Introducing after impressive performances earlier in the year at the John Peel Centre. It’s great to see Cathedrals and Cars gigging regularly again with a changed line-up and a new set-list, and they will not disappoint. Polly Preacher, meanwhile, should offer something different. I’ve been a big fan of all of her uploads to date. (I’ve only mentioned around half of the Swanfest line-up there, to mention it all might be too much of a spoiler. Plus I’m running out of characters and I want to talk briefly about Alex Highton.)

Alex Highton, as I’ve mentioned before, is a genius of songwriting. He has two full length albums to his name. 2012’s The Woodditton Wives Club was followed up a couple of years later by Nobody Knows Anything. Alex’s songs should be treasured the whole world over. Everybody should be able to quote his lyrics with ease. But they can’t. Sadly, Alex is cutting down on performing live. He will come out of retirement if he is offered a slot at Glastonbury, but as far as smaller gigs are concerned, the travelling and the costs involved and the time spent away from family in recent years has taken toll.

There will, however, be a 3rd Highton long player. This, of course, is wonderful news. Welcome to Happiness is currently in the making and I was privileged to be among the first to experience a live performance from new track Love is Enough which will be on the record. (Oh yes, he will still play live on the radio. If he’s invited on. Which he will be. A lot. While we’re still here.)