*Tickets on-sale Friday August 9 at 10am*
ACOUSTIC EARLY BALLOON VIP TICKET here
“Join the band before doors for a special 30 min acoustic performance including audience requests from A Balloon Called Moaning in Welsh or English. Ticket will include a special hand printed signed CD made especially for this tour & an anniversary Balloon.”
Growing up in North Wales, I’d spend those summer days lying on the ground in the hay field at the front of the house, looking up to the sky, imagining familiar shapes in the clouds. Only thing was, the grass in the deep days of summer was often too high to even see any sky at all, you’d just disappear into the perfect hiding place. I think writing these songs became a different type of hiding place for me. Making this album has felt like trying to get a glimpse of the sky. This week, the wind blew the grass clear and we finally set eyes on that beautiful, formidable sky again. While the world today often feels more alluring & uglier than it was when we began this musical journey, I’m nevertheless reminded at how powerful music can be, how it heals, hurts, and how it wakes you up. I can’t wait to share this madness with the rest of you someday soon. – Lots of love, RB (Ritzy Bryan)
THE JOY FORMIDABLE
AAARTH makes a statement unlike its predecessors. Drawing inspiration from a worldwide climate of political and social uncertainty the band transplanted themselves in Utah’s vivid natural landscape immersed in a collage of colors and light, the ever fluid and expansive Southwestern sky mirroring our rapidly-changing world. The deep burnt-orange rocks and canyons became touchstones as the band formed the sonic landscapes of AAARTH. From soaring choruses to percussive pulsating guitars, The Joy Formidable paint an 11 song musical tapestry deftly balancing a sound as grounded as their ancient surroundings and as elusive and mind-bending as a gloaming desert sky.
AAARTH first came to life on the road penning lyrics and recording selected parts in hotel rooms around the world. They self-produced and mixed most of the album in their mobile recording studio. This critically adored trio is comprised of Ritzy Bryan (lead vocals, guitars), Rhydian Dafydd (bass, backing vocals) and Matt Thomas (drums, percussion). Formed in North Wales 10 years ago, each album they’ve released has been a joyful adventure and reflection of their fearless creative discovery and self evolution. The Joy Formidable has always refused to be fenced in or fit in. That restless and boundless artistic journey continues on their fourth album, an arresting and unapologetic tour de force that finds a band at its apex with no sign of getting comfortable.
Certainly, the road to AAARTH hasn’t always been easy. Staying together as a band for 10 years requires immense tenacity and passion, both of which The Joy Formidable have never lost. That same tenacity echoes in their new unrelenting affecting musical treatise. The songs, melodies, and arrangements on AAARTH soar seamlessly from the personal to the epic sometimes in loneliness, vulnerability, disillusionment, joy,and redemption, but all the while refusing to deny the persistence of our own and other’s imperfectly beautiful humanity. Fernando Chamerelli’s evocative album art frames this vibrant, diverse, and playful melodic and lyrical collage.
While the sounds build the mood at the heart of this album are haunting songs that don’t let go, “Cicada (Land On Your Back)” draws on the shamanistic influence of Utah, infusing the melody with a lingering psychedelic impression. “We wanted some kind of rebirth, the way you do in a tribal drug ceremony,” Rhydian says. “We wanted to lose ourselves and start again.” These themes of feeling lost and letting go only to reconnect with yourself thread through the songs. In “All and All” these themes are echoed, as the guitars hypnotically build into a crashing tide of reckless abandon, hope, yearning, and desperation.
There’s one little part of me
that doesn’t want to let go
It’s easier to be the old me
I’m tired of staring down the price of bravery
All in all there’s something missing
All in all there’s something you can do
I won’t play it down or pretend I haven’t found
Because all in all there’s something in you
The album is book-ended by two songs that calls for a world less divided, offering a dual desire that we take on the challenge to find love and forgiveness across entrenched divisions, while reminding us that healing journey cannot happen unless we also allow forgiveness and love for ourselves. “Y Bluen Eira,” written in Welsh, invokes a white feather, a symbol of weakness in British history, and a snowflake. “It’s very easy to write off a whole group of people just by labeling them,” Ritzy notes. “That leads to a lack of communication and isolation. If we can be curious and courageous, then maybe we will find conversation across the spectrums that divide us and maybe even find new patterns to heal our world and ourselves”.
From the contagiously sweeping sonic feast of “You Can’t Give Me” to the careening and addictive “All and All”, (possibly one of the more wrenching and beautiful rock ballads since the Yeah Yeah Yeahs “Maps” shattered male dominated rock radio over a decade ago), their new record grasps its listener tight and refuses to let go. NME has written that, ‘The Joy Formidable has always sounded so much bigger than the stages they inhabit’. With the release of AAARTH later this year, we are poised for the moment where the size of this band’s stages, may just yet, catch up with their sound. For a band who never coveted nor chased mainstream success a much wider audience awaits and, as always for this Welsh trio, it arrives on their timeline and will be met on their own terms.
“The band Twen was born and bred in the Boston DIY punk scene, where lead vocalist Jane Fitzsimmons and guitarist Ian Jones met before moving to Nashville. They recorded a live cassette of their first ever show in a Boston basement, called Twen Live, and though it wasn’t intended for release, the band have toured the EP nonstop for the last two years. Not only does it document the band’s sonic evolution since forming in 2017, but it shows how far they’ve come. Twen are set to release their debut album, Awestruck, on September 20 via Frenchkiss.
Twen’s genre-defying songs, fall somewhere between dream pop and psych rock, with an inherent DIY ethos. While the “Damsel” video’s playful nature speaks to the band’s desire to make thoughtful art and to simply have fun doing it, the concept came to Jane during a full moon, while journaling about ways to bring even more joy to the music project. The answer? Dirt bikes. In the video, they fly through the air against a bright blue sky and Ian and Jane kick up some dirt too — in matching screen printed, logo sets they designed themselves.”
– Nicole DeMarco, I-D Vice
”…the release of new single ‘Damsel’, a powerful and tumultuous rock song that comes out glowing like a jangle-pop great of yesteryear. The duo soon take the opportunity to show off their melodic chops, as Fitzsimmons’ voice washes brilliantly against Jones’ chords, making clear Twen’s ability and desire to be playing on big stages very soon.”
– Rob Hakimian, The 405
“Waste” is an arresting introduction to Twen’s genre-defying sound, blending elements of psych rock and dream pop to make a sunny and energetic mélange, like surf rock a la Sunflower Bean. Theirs is the kind of timeless rock that leaves room for introspection and escapism both, conjuring infectious hooks without ever sacrificing texture. Fitzsimmons assets her worth by way of her androgynous vocals, singing, “I make you want to waste it, I make you wanna be someone / I make you want to waste it, I make you wanna waste some time.”
Twen, who came up through the Boston DIY punk scene, have been a hard band to find thus far, at least online: A search of streaming services returns only a self-titled 2017 live EP, recorded during the band’s debut performance in a Beantown basement. Twen have been honing their live show on the road ever since, taking their DIY approach across the country while piecing together their first album. Stay tuned for more on that front, as we can expect the album’s announcement and release both sometime in 2019.”
– Scott Russell, Paste Magazine
“Feral Guitar, Torn-from-the-chest lyrics…sensational” – The Sunday Times
“a piece of symphonic, drum beating melancholy “ – Born Music
“A voice that deserves attention” – Consequence of Sound
“swirling wave of tidal resonance that confidently sits between Scout Niblett and Sharon Van Etten” – The Line of Best Fit
“Searing” – DIY
“Another astonishing belter….. breathtaking on so many levels”. – Sodwee