Noise Annoys: New Pagans, Wynona Bleach, OK? Festival and AVA 2020
New Pagans collect the cream of their existing recordings in handy mini-album form, Wynona Bleach tease their debut album with a full live run-through and Belfast braces itself for two top music festivals...
REPACKAGED old songs rated? New songs previewed? Upcoming festival line-ups ogled longingly? It must be another edition of Noise Annoys.
:: New Pagans – Glacial Erratic (self released)
DON'T get too excited: this isn't the eagerly anticipated debut album from Belfast alt-rock outfit New Pagans, but rather a mini-album style mop-up of the Lyndsey McDougall fronted outfit's previously released material – with the notable exception of their excellent numbers Workers' Song and Ode To None, possibly only left off to keep the release to a tight six songs and thus avoiding any 'debut album' confusion.
That said, it's impressive how well this collection of songs hangs together given that they've been drip-fed to us in instalments over the past four years. As regular readers will already know, It's Darker, Charlie has the face of a Saint, I Could Die, Bloody Soil, their most recent single Admire and Lily Yeats are all bangers which show off this tastefully retro quintet's masterful way with catchy/crunchy and intriguingly atmospheric guitar abuse, offering enough variation in the songwriting dynamics and the guitars/bass/drums attack throughout that your ears never get bored.
Indeed, these six songs would have made a hell of a 'side one' for that first long player: New Pagans clearly feel they can do better going forward, but in the meantime Glacial Erratic certainly makes for an ice cool serving of top quality indie guitar swing like your ma used to love. Play it loud – grab the digital download now via Newpagans.bandcamp.com and keep an eye on Fb.com/pg/newpagansband for details of how to get hold of it on vinyl.
:: OK? Festival – Saturday March 28, Telegraph Building, Belfast
NEW Pagans will be blasting through some of the aforementioned tunes during their set at the upcoming OK? Festival in Belfast, a music and arts event organised in support of mental health awareness and suicide prevention.
The all-local bill will also feature headliners/festival co-organisers And So I Watch You From Afar (ASIWYFA), Soak, General Fiasco, Junk Drawer, David Holmes, Phil Kieran, Pillow Queens, Problem Patterns, Cherym, Catalan!, Gnarkats, Joshua Burnside and Jordan Adetunji.
Following the death of their friend, Team Fresh MC Andrew Dunbar, at Christmas, ASIWYFA and their friends decided to partner with charities Aware NI, PIPS and Help Musicians to raise money for mental health awareness and suicide prevention charities. The OK? Festival aims to help people recognise that 'it's OK not to be OK' and to encourage them to ask for help and support when they need it.
ASIWYFA man and organiser Rory Friers says: "At times in my life I've really struggled with my mental health, the community of music and the celebration of friends has always helped me find my way back.
"I have my reasons for why I need something like OK? right now, other people will have theirs, so whether you're coming to this show to support the cause, support the music or to find some support yourself, let's make the the loudest most positive noise we can and remind ourselves that we're surrounded by people who care."
Organiser Helen Sloan says: "This event is a necessary coming together, through one of art's great unifiers – music – to reinforce a sense of community and let everyone know there are available support networks for those in need."
Tickets for OK? are already selling fast via Shine.net and Ticketmaster.ie, so move fast if you want to experience one hell of a great line-up while supporting a great cause.
:: AVA Festival expands for 2020
THE AVA Festival is Belfast's annual festival dedicated to electronic music and the electronic arts – and for its sixth year it's going to be bigger and better than ever before, with a new and hugely expanded outdoor festival site at Boucher Road Playing Fields.
Taking place between May 28 to 31, AVA 2020 will combine an opening show and free conference at the festival's traditional home at the MAC on May 28 and 29 with the main festival event featuring headline acts Orbital, Denis Sulta, Laurent Garnier and Fatima Yamaha at Boucher on May 29, followed by closing events at venues in the city centre.
The outdoor festival site promises a distinctive set-up combining industrial stage design with visual and electronic arts and music across four stages. The AVA Main Stage will evoke a warehouse style with a large enclosed headline-ready platform featuring the traditional AVA lighting and visual show, while the Boiler Room and Red Bull Stages will be created using oh-so-on-trend shipping containers and incorporate lighting installations designed and developed by Oisin O'Brien of Visual Spectrum.
Elsewhere, Immerse AVA will offer festival goers a new experience created in association with Future Screens NI. Its scaffolding-based stage will feature a fully immersive lightshow and visuals incorporating surround sound systems to create a memorable experience that is set to tour beyond Belfast.
"Working with a blank canvas is exciting, as the opportunities are endless," comments festival director and founder Sarah McBriar.
"We have been developing the new site design for some time, incorporating the elements we believe will showcase the artists in the best way and make this year's AVA experience unique.
"The breadth of local and international artists in the line-up is a testament to the successes and growth of previous years. We are proud to bring AVA to one of the best crowds in the world for our sixth year running."
Beyond the dancefloor, AVA will once again deliver a full programme of visual art installations and music, arts and culture-led conferencing at the MAC, along with food, cocktails and more.
Full festival passes can be bought online at £75 as part of a group ticket or £85 as a stand-alone, with a deposit scheme from £25. All tickets are on sale now via Avafestival.com/festival.
:: Wynona Bleach album preview at Oh Yeah
LAST but not least for this week, be advised that fast-rising Belfast grungegazers Wynona Bleach will be treating fans to a special live preview of their forthcoming debut album ?at Oh Yeah next Friday as the final show organised by the current team at all-ages gig promoters Volume Control.
Support comes from Enola Gay and After The Flood, online tickets are £5 via Eventbrite.co.uk or buy on the door for £7.