|04.02.2016||Vancouver||The Imperial||Buy Now|
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|28.05.2016||Swansea||Liberty Stadium||Buy Now|
Back with a new venture entitled The Pale Blue Dots, consisting of himself and composer Richard Chester.
“This is our Jekyll and Hyde moment,” Bunford explains. “We love pop music, but we also like to lie down, listen to something, and not have to get up to press ‘next track’ for at least half an hour.”
“The album definitely has a number of songs that could find themselves on the radio, but over the coming months we’re looking to take people on a journey into sound.”
A first album entitled ‘Lots Of Dots‘ was released through Strangetown Records on November 3rd 2014.
“It’s more about the now and what we do that affects our future. It’s not about gloom, but action and reaction. Shouting, getting pissed off and not taking any more shit.”
More than a decade into the third millennium, the human race is still fighting over territory, resources and arbitrary beliefs, all the while failing to recognise the erosion of the very fabric of our planet. Meanwhile in a studio in the Welsh capital, Cian Ciarán, known for twenty, ground-breaking years as the keyboard player and production wizard in the Super Furry Animals, begins to sense that now is a breakthrough moment for people to rise to their feet and say: enough is enough.
Born in the university town of Bangor in the north west of Wales, hugging the Menai Straits close to where Ynys Môn gets nudged into the Irish Sea, Ciarán fell in love with football first and music second. A simple formula for happiness amongst young men in provincial towns, kicking a ball and hitting drums invariably lifts the monotony of life in communities battered by oppressive, industry-dismantling politicians. Ciarán’s aptitude for the beautiful game attracted the attention of English league clubs, but a greater passion was being nurtured.
“There was a realisation that I might be able to do this for a living, as opposed to a hobby, when I started getting paid for playing the drums when I was between 14 and 15 years old. It was also a great way to grow up – making music, loads of parties and gigs. Playing football went out the window, but I could have been a contender.”
A career on the pitch faded as acid house got under Ciarán’s skin. The early nineties saw polite society rocked by the celebratory dance culture that went unrestricted by the four walls of dark nightclubs and spilled into the consciousness of polite society as a danger to conservative values. With every beat, Ciarán’s future became clearer as music revealed itself to be a cavernous outlet for his energy and creativity. It was in 1993 that his big brother came knocking and drafted Ciarán into Super Furry Animals.
Dafydd Ieuan’s first band with Gruff Rhys, Ffa Coffi Pawb had imploded a year earlier and, alongside guitarist Huw Bunford and bass player Guto Pryce, were setting off on a life-changing journey and genre-dismantling, era-defining musical project. Ciarán became one fifth of the democratic musical state of the Super Furry Animals, and took the first step on a path that would navigate nine albums worth of fuzzed up, occasionally blissed out, uncompromising, alternative pop.
“What have been the highlights of being in Super Furry Animals? Travelling the world has been beyond anything I thought possible when I was a teenager. There was also owning a tank and DJ-ing from inside it. Headlining the Glastonbury second stage. Playing Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium on New Year’s Eve in 1999, meeting everyone that I have and making and sharing music over the years. It’s probably the things I don’t remember that I enjoyed the most.”
As a songwriter, keyboard player and vocalist, Ciarán’s contribution to a band credited with re-establishing not just Welsh, but British music’s credibility, as the excesses of mid-nineties music started to fade, set the tone for his later solo projects.
Drawing on his love for all things electronic, Ciarán’s recording and producing history as Acid Casuals and Paps earned him a reputation as the member of the Super Furries more often found experimenting with the beats and bleeps over traditional guitars, drums and bass. The assumption that his head and heart was irreversibly won only by techno failed to take into account production and playing credits with artists as diverse as Paul McCartney, Mogwai, Manic Street Preachers and Kaiser Chiefs. Ciarán has always remained a moving target.
Fans and critics alike claimed both surprise and delight as he emerged into the spotlight under his own name in summer 2012 with the album, Outside In, a collection of songs that destroyed those assumptions that his individual output would forever be dance orientated. A collection of mellow songs that channelled John Lennon and the Beach Boys, the album paid respectful dues to his most profound musical influences while remaining an unmistakeable Cian Ciarán original.
“A self-produced series of brilliant sketches from a guy in a band that promises astonishing things for the future.” – MOJO
“These are tastefully plush songs with just a hint of subversion.” – UNCUT
The scarcity of social consciousness and political awareness, not only in music, but in the actions and ambitions of the public of the British Isles if not the World and the morally and financially beleaguered West brings Ciarán to release his second album, They Are Nothing Without Us, released on Strangetown Records in Autumn 2013.
Rage at a political system that allows commercial interests to govern social, economic and environmental policy is wrapped up in a record that weaves incandescent, scathing lyrics amongst mean guitar riffs and the same, lavishly layered vocals that marked out his first solo effort. Partly written and recorded in California, Scotland and Wales, every track was played and produced by Ciarán himself, teaching himself guitar into the bargain.
From within the confines of his Cardiff studio, a burning anger at the imbalances in society and the grave dangers future generations are being forced to confront, through corporate, political negligence and environmental disaster have been laid out in 13 new, powerful songs that are purposefully aggressive without compromising melody. His solo work might share DNA with the Super Furry Animals blueprint, but now Cian Ciarán has had enough and is putting the establishment-baiting battle cry higher in the mix.
“Why “They are nothing without us”? Because it’s true. ‘They’ being the elite, the bankers, politicians and big corporations. I guess this is my protest album” – Cian Ciarán, Cardiff, 2013.
Daf played with Gruff Rhys in their early band Ffa Coffi Pawb. He was a drummer for Welsh band Catatonia from 1993-1996, recording on their early singles and debut album Way Beyond Blue released in 1996. During the same period Super Furry Animals formed and Ieuan left Catatonia to focus on them.
Daf runs the Cardiff based label and recording studio Strangetown Records with brother Cian, he was awarded by BAFTA Wales 2011 for Original Music for the S4C drama Pen Talar filmed by Fiction Factory.
Ieuan released The Golden Mile with The Peth (“The Thing” in Welsh) in 2008, with Welsh actor Rhys Ifans on vocals. A second album, Crystal Peth has been recorded but has yet to be released. With DJ and rapper Rashid “Wibidi” Omar, he recorded and produced music under the band name Wibidi. In 2013, he recorded with The Earth (band), with guitarist Mark Roberts (formerly of Catatonia), bassist Tristan Marley and vocalist Dionne Bennett.
Gruff; born 18 July 1970 in Haverfordwest is a Welsh musician, composer, producer, filmmaker and author. He performs solo and with several bands, including Super Furry Animals who obtained mainstream success in the 1990s. He formed the electro-pop outfit Neon Neon with Boom Bip. Their album Stainless Style was nominated for the 2008 Nationwide Mercury Prize. He won the 2011 Welsh Music Prize for his album Hotel Shampoo. His latest solo album, American Interior, was released in May 2014, accompanied by a film, a book and a mobile app.
Guto; born 4 September 1972 in Cardiff, Wales is a bass guitar player and songwriter in the band Super Furry Animals. With them, he has recorded nine UK Chart Top 25 studio albums, plus numerous singles, EPs, compilations and collaborations. Pryce also records and performs with several other musical acts including his band Gulp.
In February 1996, the band’s debut on Creation, “Hometown Unicorn”, became New Musical Express’s Single of the Week, chosen by guest reviewers Pulp, and the first SFA single to chart in the UK Top 50, peaking at #47.
The follow-up, a re-recording of “God! Show Me Magic”, charted at #33 upon release in April 1996 and also became NME single of the week. Rawer than the “Moog Droog” version, it clocks in at only 1 min 50 secs. In May, their debut album Fuzzy Logic was released, again to wide critical acclaim. Sales were slow, with the album peaking at #23 in the charts, but it garnered a little more interest when next single “Something 4 The Weekend” (a reworked, more mellow version of the album track) was given considerable radio airplay and charted at #18 in July 1996.
The final single from the album, “If You Don’t Want Me To Destroy You”, was to have been backed by a track called “The Man Don’t Give A Fuck”. However, there were problems in clearing a sample from “Showbiz Kids” by Steely Dan which formed the basis of the chorus, and it was switched for a different track. The single charted at #18. However, SFA regarded “The Man Don’t Give A Fuck” as one of their best songs to date and continued their efforts to clear the sample. When they managed this, there was no upcoming release to attach it to – so it came out as a limited edition single in its own right, in December 1996. This ultimately cemented its legendary status and did much to establish SFA as cult heroes, as the song contained the word “fuck” over 50 times and therefore received practically no airplay. However, it hit #22 in the charts and became SFA’s standard closing number when they played live.
- God! Show Me Magic
- Fuzzy Birds
- Something For the Weekend
- Hometown Unicorn
- Gathering Moss
- If You Don't Want Me to Destroy You
- Bad Behaviour
- Mario Man
- Hangin' With Howard Marks
- Long Gone
- For Now and Ever
Singles from Fuzzy Logic
The Man Don’t Give a Fuck is based round a sample from the Steely Dan song “Show Biz Kids” – “You know they don’t give a fuck about anybody else”. The sample is repeated more than 50 times and so the single is claimed to feature the word “fuck” more than any other song, but Insane Clown Posse’s “Fuck the World” in fact beats it with 93 instances of ‘fuck’. However, the live re-issue of “The Man Don’t Give A Fuck” broke that record.
- The Man Don't Give A Fuck
- The Man Don't Give A Fuck (Howard Marks Mix)
- The Man Don't Give A Fuck (Wishmountain Mix)
In early 1997, SFA embarked on the NME Brats Tour and completed work on a speedy follow-up to Fuzzy Logic. Two singles preceded the new album, “Hermann Loves Pauline” in May and “The International Language Of Screaming” in July, hitting #26 and #24 respectively. “Play It Cool” (released September 1997) and “Demons” (released November 1997) both hit #27 in the charts.
- The Placid Casual
- The International Language of Screaming
- Short Painkiller
- She's Got Spies
- Play It Cool
- Hermann ♥'s Pauline
- Torra Fy Ngwallt Yn Hir
- Bass Tuned to DEAD
- Down a Different River
- Mountain People
Singles from Radiator
Ice Hockey Hair is an EP released in 1998.
The EPs title track takes its name from an alternate name for the mullet hairstyle.
The track “Smokin'” was later released on the compilation album Out Spaced while “Ice Hockey Hair” was included on the band’s compilation Songbook: The Singles, Vol. 1.
- Ice Hockey Hair
- Let's Quit Smoking
In November 1998, the album Out Spaced was released. This was a collection of songs from the 1995 Ankst releases (including “Dim Brys: Dim Chwys”), the band’s favourite B-sides, plus “The Man Don’t Give A Fuck” and “Smokin'”.
A limited edition appeared in a comedy rubber sleeve, shaped like a nipple.
- The Man Don't Give A Fuck
- Dim Brys Dim Chwys
- Dim Bendith
- Arnofio / Glo In The Dark
- Don't Be A Fool Billy
- Focus Pocus / Debiel
- Fix Idris
- Pam V
- Pass The Time
- Carry The Can
1999 proved to be a big year for SFA. NME readers named them Best New Band in January. In May, the single “Northern Lites” was released and made #11 in the charts. A dense production, with steel drums clattering out a calypso rhythm whilst Gruff sang an irreverent lyric about Jesus, it was an apt taster for the new album, Guerrilla.
Recorded at the Real World Studios, the album retained SFA’s pop melodies but took a less guitar-centric approach to their execution and was their most experimental work to date. The album swung from glam and garage rock numbers (“Night Vision”, “The Teacher”) to novelty techno (“Wherever I Lay My Phone (That’s My Home)”), ambient indietronica (“Some Things Come From Nothing”) and upbeat drum’n’bass (“The Door To This House Remains Open”).
For the cover art, Pete Fowler created the band’s first three-dimensional models, rather than the paintings he had supplied for the Radiator album and singles.
After playing several of the summer festivals, SFA released “Fire In My Heart”, the most soulful track from Guerrilla, in August and saw it chart at #25. They then embarked on a US and UK tour. SFA finished their UK tour at the Cardiff International Arena in Cardiff, where they showcased the first ever concert in surround sound and broadcast it on the World Wide Web.
January 2000 involved a series of changes for SFA. The last single from Guerrilla, “Do Or Die”, was released and made #20. It was also the last single SFA released on Creation Records, as founder Alan McGee set off to pursue other interests.
- Check It Out
- Do Or Die
- The Turning Tide
- Northern Lites
- Night Vision
- Wherever I Lay My Phone (That's My Home)
- A Specific Ocean
- Some Things Come From Nothing
- The Door To This House Remains Open
- The Teacher
- Fire In My Heart
- The Sound Of Life Today
- Chewing Chewing Gun
- Keep The Cosmic Trigger Happy
Singles from Guerrilla
It had always been SFA’s plan to release their next album on their own label, Placid Casual, as it would be a deliberate sidestep from their recent work: a largely acoustic album of Welsh language songs entitled Mwng meaning “mane”.
A limited edition (of 3000) 7 inch record, “Ysbeidiau Heulog” (meaning “Sunny Intervals”) preceded Mwng in May 2000. It came backed with “Charge” (Theme from Das Koolies), a hard-rock jam recorded as a Peel Session for the BBC. The album, released the same month, sold remarkably well for a non-English LP – it made #11 in the charts – and received a rare distinction for a pop record, being commended in Parliament for its efforts in keeping the Welsh language alive.
2000 also saw the Furries contribute two tracks, Free Now and Peter Blake 2000, for the Liverpool Sound Collage project, which was nominated for a Grammy. They undertook this remixing of unreleased Beatles recordings at the invitation of Paul McCartney, whom they had met at the NME Awards, where they had won Best Live Act.
- Ymaelodi â'r Ymylon
- Y Gwyneb Iau
- Dacw Hi
- Nythod Cacwn
- Pan Ddaw'r Wawr
- Ysbeidiau Heulog
- Y Teimlad
- Sarn Helen
- Gwreiddiau Dwfn/Mawrth oer ar y Blaned Neifion
Singles from Mwng
With the demise of Creation, SFA needed to find a new label for their next album. Sony had long held a substantial stake in Creation and offered deals to many ex-Creation artists, including SFA, who signed with one of Sony’s subsidiaries, Epic. The band pushed for a deal which allowed them to take a new album elsewhere if the label wasn’t interested in releasing it – thereby allowing them to find a home for any esoteric project they might want to undertake in the future.
The greater resources afforded them by Epic were apparent in their first album for the label, Rings Around the World, an album that recaptured the cohesive, experimental feel of Guerrilla but more song-driven and sonically expansive. The first single was a good indication of what was to come: “Juxtapozed With U”, released in July 2001, and made #14 in the charts.
The album followed in the same month, reaching #3 in the album charts. One of the tracks from the album, “Receptacle For The Respectable” featured Paul McCartney on “carrot and celery rhythm track” (a homage to his performance on the Beach Boys’ “Vegetables”). SFA unleashed their experimental side on tracks such as “Sidewalk Serfer Girl” (which switches between light techno-pop and hardcore punk), “(A) Touch Sensitive” (gloomy trip-hop) and “No Sympathy” (which descends into chaotic drum’n’bass).
Rings Around the World is also remarkable for being the world’s first simultaneous release of an audio and DVD album. It was nominated for the Mercury Music Prize in 2001.
- Alternate Route To Vulcan Street
- Sidewalk Serfer Girl
- (Drawing) Rings Around The World
- It's Not The End Of The World?
- Receptacle For The Respectable
- [A] Touch Sensitive
- Shoot Doris Day
- No Sympathy
- Juxtapozed With U
- Presidential Suite
- Run! Christian, Run!
- Fragile Happiness
Singles from Rings Around The World
The next album, Phantom Power, relied less on sound experimentation and proved to be a more stripped-down, back-to-basics recording in contrast to the orchestral Rings Around the World. It was also released as both a CD and DVD album in July 2003, preceded by a single, “Golden Retriever”, in June (chart #13). Although the reviews for the album were generally good and it sold well initially, charting at #4.”Hello Sunshine”, hit #31 in October 2003 .
The group followed Phantom Power in 2004 with a remix version, Phantom Phorce, with tracks reworked by the likes of Killa Kela, Four Tet and Brave Captain. They accompanied this with a download single, “Slow Life”, which also included the track “Motherfokker”, a collaboration with Goldie Lookin Chain, both tracks are now available as a free download via the Placid Casual website. In October 2004 the band released a “best of” album, Songbook: The Singles, Vol. 1, accompanied by a single – a live version of “The Man Don’t Give A Fuck” (chart #16).
- Hello Sunshine
- Liberty Belle
- Golden Retriever
- Sex, War And Robots
- The Picollo Snare
- Venus And Serena
- Father Father 1
- Bleed Forever
- Out Of Control
- Cityscape Skybaby
- Father Father 2
- Valet Parking
- The Undefeated
- Slow Life
Singles from Phantom Power
Songbook: The Singles, Vol. 1 collects all of the Super Furry Animals singles released between 1996 and 2004 as well as B-side “Blerwytirhwng?” (which can be found on their 1995 Welsh only debut EP Llanfairpwllgwyngyllgogerychwyrndrobwllllantysiliogogogoch (In Space)). Songbook… was released in the UK in October 2004, debuting at #18 on the UK album charts. The collection didn’t see a U.S. release until January 2005.
- Something 4 The Weekend
- It's Not The End of The World
- Northern Lites
- Juxtapozed With U
- Slow Life
- Fire In My Heart
- The Man Don't Give A
- Herman Loves Pauline
- Play It Cool
- Ice Hockey Hair
- Do Or Die
- Rings Around The World
- God Show Me Magic
- Ysbeidiau Heulog
- Golden Retriever
- International Language Of Screaming
- Hello Sunshine
- Hometown Unicorn
- If You Don't Want Me To Destroy You
In August 2005, Super Furry Animals released their seventh studio effort, Love Kraft, recorded in Brazil. This represented a departure from their previous working methods: although all five members had always contributed to the development of the songs, Gruff had been the main songwriter. On Love Kraft this was no longer the case, as Gruff, Bunf, Daf and Cian all contributed songs and lead vocals. There was only one single from the album, “Lazer Beam”, released on 15 August (chart #28).
- Atomik Lust
- The Horn
- Ohio Heat
- Walk You Home
- Lazer Beam
- Oi Frango
- Back On A Roll
- Cabin Fever
Hey Venus! is the eighth album by Welsh band Super Furry Animals, described by lead singer Gruff Rhys as “a speaker blowing LP”. The album will be the band’s first full-length release on Rough Trade Records.
After releasing three albums that demonstrated a progression in the band’s sound, Hey Venus! is widely seen by many as a return to the ‘poppier’ tone of their 1996 debut album Fuzzy Logic. It is also their shortest-running studio release to date, clocking at just over 36 minutes.
- The Gateway Song
- Show Your Hand
- The Gift That Keeps Giving
- Neo Consumer
- Into The Night
- Baby Ate My Eightball
- Carbon Dating
- Battersea Odyssey
- Let The Wolves Howl At The Moon
- Crazy Naked Girls
- Moped Eyes
- Inaugural Trams
- Cardiff In The Sun
- The Very Best Of Neil Diamond
- Helium Hearts
- White Socks / Flip Flops
- Where Do You Wanna Go?
- Lliwiau Llachar