BRACCO (FRANCE)

Working with the electronic producer Paulie Jan for their first LP, Bracco came up with the sound that faithfully portrays their music. A logic and sensitive mix between dark club-music, and deep post-punk. “Grave”, their first album, referring to the multiple dramas that have stroke the group’s life, forms a skillful deconstruction of references.

In 2022, the duo, based in the venue “La Station Gare des Mines”, in Paris, France, are preparing a new album, signed on Born Bad Records (FR), even more rallying than the previous. It will be released beginning of 2023, on the french music label – Born Bad (Frustration, Villejuif Underground, J.C. Satan, etc.)

Bibi Club (QC, Canada)

Like a song through an open window, it feels like we’ve been waiting a long time for Le soleil et la mer. The debut release by Bibi Club, aka real-life lovers Adèle Trottier-Rivard and Nicolas Basque, is sun-kissed and wave-washed, shimmering and chic, a bilingual party overdue after two years that have felt (to everyone!) like winter.

“Il est tôt, il est tard / Le vent est doux,” Adèle sings over a shining, opalescent beat (It is early, it is late / The wind is soft): a sound like a heart coming back to life, two feet skipping into shoes and out the door, toward the future. She’s been singing for years, including with Nico’s band Plants & Animals, but Le soleil et la mer is her radiant coming-out: the announcement of a project that steps from the home and onto a stage, where Adèle can fully be herself.

The pair named themselves “Bibi Club” for the discothèque in their living-room, where the couple’s bibis—their loved-ones—come and dance. With kids at home, Nico and Adèle had to sneak away to make music: five minutes here, two hours there. Accordingly, their songs imagine that a family’s everyday enchantments might be loaned to the dancefloor, to the nighttime, to a place that’s still thumping as the day breaks.

Throughout Le soleil et la mer, Adèle and Nico set out to create music that is intimate, honest, sparkling with an energy that animates even its quiet moments—and inspired by artists as diverse as Stereolab, Suicide, Alice Coltrane, and Tirzah. It’s a sound as ready for revels as it is for rainy days. Bibi Club will remind you: if it’s not sunny here, it’s sunny somewhere.

Laurence-Anne (QC, Canada)

From her first album Première apparition, Laurence-Anne has established herself on the alternative music scene by reaching the long list of the prestigious Polaris Prize and the top of the list of Francophone albums of the year at CISM. The new darling of critics and college radios performed at all of Quebec’s big festivals and even tested the waters in France (MaMA, Avec le Temps, Aurores Montréal) before returning home to record Accident, an EP with a touch of punk, indie-pop and tropical vibes. This astonishing, fertile sound exploration has led her to her second full-length album Musivision, released on April 23rd via Bonsound. Back on the road in Quebec and France, she also went to the US where she played at SXSW before going on tour as the first act of the Korean band Se So Neon (Brooklyn, Washington, Boston, New-York, etc). Her next album, to be released under Bonsound, is expected in the fall of 2023 and will highlight the nocturnal and hushed sweetness of her musical universe.

Half/Time (New Zealand)

Based in Kirikiriroa (Hamilton) Aotearoa.

Half/Time is a post-punk solo project started during the cosmic hellscape that was 2020 by Wairehu Grant (Ngāti Maniapoto, Ngāti Tūwharetoa). The music is a combo of fuzzed out guitar and outdated drum machines. The lyrics are affirmations from a loud and proud brown boi.

Cassidy Mann (MB, Canada)

As a lyricist, singer-songwriter Cassidy Mann often reshapes a small moment into a powerful and poetic song that feels both personal and relatable.

“My favorite thing is to write about tiny things that make the bigger picture more important somehow,” she says. “It’s interesting to me how memories are interpretable.”

Mann’s latest EP “If It’s Not Forever” served as a catalogue of how her early relationships ended and why – and she hopes that other people feel seen and comforted by her stories.

Certain moments in a relationship are almost always at the core of her songs, whether it’s the potential start of something special (“Since I Met You”) or the inevitable end (“Stop a Heart”).

Her latest offering is the new single “Along For the Ride” – a song she wrote alone in her bedroom and then co-produced with Kris Ulrich and long time collaborator Roman Clarke. The track features back up vocals and harmonies by Georgia Harmer, a choice Mann says is “a musical symbol of the people in your life who support you.”

“This song is about getting caught up in someone else’s life and losing your agency for a while, which is always destabilizing. I hope it can be a reminder that our own goals are worthy of pursuing and the right people will encourage them, not try to bury them.”

PAPERHOUSE

Based in Wrexham and Cardiff, PAPERHOUSE is an evolving collaboration project led by musician Andy Hickie.

Eitha Da

‘Sonic storytelling coloured with splurges of fuzzy garage rock, all bubbled up in North Wales.’ Bido Lito

Eitha Da is Ben Dempsey Sawin, a multi-instrumentalist and North Wales native concocting viscous globules of garage-fuzz since 2016. Propelled by a live band featuring former and current members of Mowbird, Gintis and Baby Brave, Eitha Da have brought to life a unique strain of lo-fi sci-fi fuzzy punk with performances at Green Man Festival and Focus Wales, as well a sharing a stage with the likes of Gwenno, Adwaith and The Beths.

Delta Radio

Wrexham’s psych blues band Delta Radio are setting the standard in this genre, and are a must see at the festival this year.

MINAS

Minas is the project from Cardiff producer James Minas alongside drummer Greg Davies and bassist Bob Williams. The songs tell stories of a chequered past over a mix of deep melodic soundscapes and loud, aggressive stanzas. Covering subjects from personal struggles with mental health to finding a place in the society we have. As a producer James is working to build a new sound for the South Wales scene with a number of artists and genres (such as Luke RV, Dead Method, Dan Bettridge, Razkid and more) but as an artist he presents brutal honesty going against his natural defenses to present the most open and vulnerable self for anyone who wishes to listen.

Minas grew up in the circus with parents who were heavily involved in the 1980’s Punk scene and then moved to secondary school in the Welsh Valleys, with the boredom and misbehaviour that came with it. Minas aims to create music that discusses these things and ends with an empowering feeling of hope, something we all need in right now.

Walt Disco (Scotland)

Walt Disco are a band who defy all convention to create a world of their own, truly like no other. Their fearless, unique pop songs are created without constraint, with a message of self expression at the very core of everything they do.

Supported Interpol, Sports Team, HMLTD, The Joy Formidable and Bodega.

They have played The Great Escape as a First Fifty act, with four packed out shows over the weekend. UK-wide the band played Live at Leeds, Hit The North, Bestival and Isle of Wight amongst others.

Internationally, they have played SXSW, Dutch Design Week, and Paris Fashion Week CELINE afterparty and supporting The Garden in France.

BBC Radio 1 have supported with spins from Jack Saunders, Phil Taggart and Huw Stephens. BBC 6 Music too, with spins from Amy Lamé and Shaun Keaveny. The band have been featured as Jack Saunders’ Next Wave and are in discussion to play a live session at Maida Vale.

Walt have had 3 singles in New Music Friday UK and songs featured in All New Indie, The Indie List, The Rock List, The Punk List, Fresh Finds and The Other List on Spotify. On Apple Music, they have been featured in New Music Daily, Breaking Alternative, Antidote, Best of Scottish Indie, New in Alternative and GAY TIMES Queer & Now. On Deezer, they have been playlisted in Brand New UK and Hot New Rock.

Acid Klaus

If you look at some of the most exciting, innovative & critically acclaimed electronic music that has come out of the beautiful North of England over the past years; from the psychedelic electronic rock of ‘The Moonlandingz’, to the folkloric radiophonic avantgarde Of ‘Eccentronic Research Council ft Maxine Peake’, to the party electro of International Teachers of Pop; at the forefront of all these projects (and many more) is a man in a hat and shades called Adrian Flanagan.

Adrian has spent two decades working on the fringes of alternative music as a songwriter, wordsmith, musician, producer, remixer, DJ and cultural agitator – working with artists as diverse as Maxine Peake, Yoko Ono, The Human League’s Philip Oakey, Fat White Family, Sean Lennon and many more. Adrian returns this year with his debut album under the Acid Klaus moniker, ‘Step On My Travelator: The Imagined Career Trajectory of Superstar DJ & Dance-Pop Producer, Melvin Harris’.

The album features contributions from Adrian’s long-time collaborators and friends including actress Maxine Peake, US musician and video director Charlotte Kemp Muhl (Ghost of a Saber Tooth Tiger), Maria Uzor from Sink Ya Teeth and Bradford born pop-noir singer Hannah Hu who is joined on a track by Mr Richard Hawley who performs lapsteel guitar. The album is completed by a whole host of fresh and exciting artists including Lieselot Elzinga of the Amsterdam-based now-wave electro group, Baby’s Berserk. There’s also the enigmatic Queen Bee of the Calder Valley, solo artist Bianca Eddleston who goes under the name Soft Focus and finally, from South Wales the incredible Welsh language singer songwriter, Cat Rin.

In his own words, Adrian says of the album, “I hereby herald in a masterclass of conceptual brilliance and sonic floor shaking heroism – a record that is both mocking and hugging in its stance. A solid and weighty brick in the face to the horrid and cod sincere, brat histrionics, of the easy on-the-eye, careerist minstrel.” He continues, “conceptually and with great style and panache, there is a sub-narrative that plays out via the imagined career trajectory of fictional musician and DJ, Melvin Harris. It’s a dream cum-nightmare that is perpetuated and encouraged by an industry that reaps the benefits and feasts on the clotted blood of its fallen and broken troubadours.”

MOJA (Japan)

There’s nothing quite like the explosive Tokyo based duo MOJA, and all those lucky enough to have seen them live before will agree. One not to be missed!

Afro Cluster

Afro Cluster are a Cardiff based afro funk, hip hop group, not to be missed at FOCUS Wales 2023. Following a big 2022 festival season for the band that saw them grace festival stages across the UK, they skip into 2023 with a new momentum and an exciting new album in the works.

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