Did y’all know we’ve been selling records at The HATW Flagship Cardiff store for the last few months? Cool right! We linked up with our lovely pals at Big Scary Monsters and picked a bunch of records that really float our boats. Plus, we were lucky enough to stock a few records from Si’s bands Junior and Novo Amor! Class!
With everything that’s been going on we thought now more than ever people need music in their lives! So we’ve decided to put a selection online for you lovely lot to buy.
If you’re a fan of any of these bands then we’d love for you to pick up a record to support us, and if you’ve not heard of them before or aren’t sure then you’re in the right place buddy! We’ve put a handy guide together for you and crafted a little playlist to give you a taste of these various musical delights!
What a start to the playlist- Cardiff’s very own Junior (with bonus HATW Si on the drums) are one of our fave local bands! Whether it’s doing acoustic sets in our shop or repping HATW when they tour the world, these guys have great riffs, posi vibes and are THE most fun you can have at a gig. Did anyone say limbo and professional wrestling?! This tune off their first album Juniorland really sums up their vibe and will leave you moshing round your living room with a massive smile on your face.
Si says: “This is arguably the biggest Junior song, which is funny cuz when we released Juniorland loads of people thought it was too long of a song to be a super smash hit. We sure showed them. But it’s one of the best to play live!”
FFO: The Wonder Years, Blink 182, high fives and stage dives!
A right northern treat! Next up we have Martha; a casual mix of indie, punk, pop and just being flipping excellent tbh. Their record- ‘Love Keeps Kicking’ has been on near constant rotation since it was released just over a year ago, and it’s not hard to see why. Martha is everything that’s right with the UK punk scene with added super personal lyrics that grab your heart and just keep squeezing. This record makes you want to hang out with your pals in the sun in a park. It will leave you with hope and probably wanting to talk to that person you’ve had a crush on for ages.
FFO: Cayetanna, DIY punk, Jeff Rosenstock, Swearin’.
I first saw Cassels in Clwb Ifor Bach in Cardiff and was so taken with their ferocious live show, biting and sharp lyrics and incredible sense of humor I decided to buy their record with my food money for the week (would not recommend- food is important, but the record is great!) The band is composed of two brothers who often seem like one entity on stage, so in sync and seamless are their performances. Charismatic, intelligent and raw lyrics set to pounding drums and discordant aggressive guitar leave you feeling like you’ve had a super strong coffee and like you need to take action and get angry about something . This record, nay, this band- are a must! Check ’em out and please try catch them live when you can!
FFO: The St Pierre Snake Invasion, Woahnows, Gender Roles, Idles, Cleft, going to shows and discovering new bands that blow your hair back!
I managed to catch Cultdreams at a very rainy Arctangent last year after being a fan of their music for ages and let me tell you, dear readers… I was not disappointed. Another two-piece, Lucinda and Connor make an almighty racket. Their lyrics are haunting and intense, often referencing injustice in the music industry, sexual harassment, mental health, and gender stereotpypes. All of this is set to a backdrop of luscious yet weighted instrumentation. Not the most up beat of listens but sometimes you just wanna put a record on that really captures how you’re feeling and to feel like you’re not alone in those thoughts. This is pure class.
FFO: Sonic Youth, Petrol Girls, Manchester Orchestra.
We’re super biased with this one as we’re big fans of Ali (the man behind Novo Amor) and of course Si ( again on drums! This guy is everywhere!). But if sweeping melodies, soaring vocals, delicately interesting instrumentation and soundtracking you falling in love for the last time is your thing- then this is your bag. Beautiful!
Si says: “When I used to work in Urban Outfitters, I sneakily added this song to a playlist in the store, so it would always come on while I was on shift, and help my case when I needed to ask for time off for touring”
FFO: Bon Iver, alternative folk (Is this a genre?!) Phoebe Bridgers, Fenne Lilly
Ahhh Lemuria! Such an underrated band. Their songs are light, breezy, fun and heartfelt. This band always manage to lift my spirits and make me feel like a cool punk rock Instagram girl when I listen to them- if that makes any sense whatsoever! They’re a perfect afternoon in the sun kinda band! You could call them indie rock but I call them a great band- super fun, full of love and lyrically observational. Very rad! This record is packed full of songs I return to time and time again, featuring in every one of my playlists and a band I hate to miss live when they’re in the UK.
FFO: Phoebe Bridgers, Boy Genius, Milk Teeth
Apart from being the most fun name on the list to say, this band personifies the punk rock fist pump! Fast guitars, songs about good times and regrets, this band is a warts and all look at life that isn’t always the prettiest but damn, they’re gonna have a good time whilst they’re here! Pkew Pkew Pkew (just wanted to say it again really) are one massive grin, and just like you need those sad or angry songs that make you think- soemtimes you just need a dumb laugh too right?! Life is about balance and let me tell you, these guys are the fun, light, swaggering, confident, silly side of the scale for sure!
FFO: RVIVR, PUP, Spanish Love Songs, Direct Hit!, pizza and skateboarding
Nervus are pretty much my fave UK punk band right now. Their melodies and politicism speak to me on every level of my being- I believe they truly sing about important things. Sometimes controversial but always engaging and heartfelt, they’re informed and passionate. Plus their songs flipping rip. A particular highlight of their live show is keyboard player Paul’s serious dance moves. Incredible. This song in particular is an ode to accepting yourself and how it’s an ongoing process. Something we can all relate to I’m sure.
FFO: Fresh, Don’t Worry, Cultdreams, Muncie Girls, Onsind
Another Junior banger from their most recent album Beautiful Life. This song is another ripper and shows a definite maturation of the lads’ song writing and skills. This whole record from start to finish is truly wonderful. Emotive, soaring, and powerful! The guys just released a really good tour footage style video for this too- check it out here! Remember gigs and touring?! How good was that?!
Si says: “This was one of the first demos we had for this album, and it was originally like 8 minutes long with the opening guitar riff going on for aaaaages. It had the working title of ‘Space Song’ and I think it sounds a bit like the soundtrack to some punk rock space movie”
FFO: Later years The Wonder Years, Creeper, The Bottom Line, The Blackout, Wrestling! Outer Space!
To me the voice of my generation (and my fave type of music- pop punk) is the one and only Vinnie Caruana. Whether it’s fronting seminal band The Movielife or the very excellent I Am The Avalanche and Peace’d Out, this guy’s voice and songwriting is so recognisable! But also he can be such a vocal chameleon- his voice just works with everything and is so heart felt every time. The man is a true anthem crafter. Survivors Guilt as a whole is the perfect example of using songwriting as therapy. The songs sound cathartic- like he’s expelling his demons with each strum of his guitar and each belted note. Themes of the ups and downs of human connection are weaved throughout each number- always candid, always relatable. We <3 Vinnie!
FFO: Saves The Day, Kevine Devine, The Early November, Hot Rod Circuit, all his other bands!
What can we say about American Football that hasn’t been said already (or memed or isn’t captured perfectly in the opening chords of Never Meant- a song from their first record!) A truly special band- I don’t know a single person that doesn’t like American Football. You’ll find something for everyone here but truly this band is an emo touchstone. Seamlessly blending jazz, pop, emo and intricate guitar parts every record of theirs is brilliant. We picked this song to showcase them because it’s a great gateway and Hayley Williams is a wonderful added bonus! If you don’t know, get to know! Plus I still remember our first Arctangent when these guys headlined the final night, the heavens opened and I had one of those movie-like moments of connecting with the band.
FFO: The Hotelier, Foxing, The World Is A Beautiful Place and I Am No Longer Afraid To Die, Owen, Free Throw, Cap’n Jazz. Basically, American Football, they’re the classics!
Another absolutely beautiful twinkly banger for the ace Novo Amor! This one’s from the first full length album: Birthplace, and hits the feels extra hard. Catch this song live to see the BEST violin solo you’ve ever heard, too.
Si says: “This is always my favourite part of the set. I was originally going to play bass on this song live, but instead I play the bass notes with a sample pad while playing the drums and singing. Y’know, just for a challenge.”
FFO: Lush sweeping atmospheric music.
Another Cultdreams tune from their album Seafoam (and under their old band name- which is why this record has Kamikaze Girls on the front.) This song is so important as it candidly discusses mental health and a yearning to move forward positively. It’s a rallying call to arms and although some may feel it’s quite dark, I find it really empowering. It’s about understanding that you don’t want to feel a certain way, but that you may always do so. But I think acceptance helps you put coping techniques in place and encourages you to fortify yourself to get through the tough times. This song is a masterpiece that culminates in a fuzzy guitar and drum crescendo that kinda forces you into a moment of reflection.
FFO: Caspian with vocals, Black Foxes, Explosions In The Sky.
Monstrous soundscapes, ever developing melodies and ethereal climaxes are this band’s speciality. If you like music to take you on a journey and push you to the limits of your imagination, this is the band for you. The live shows leave you with an endless ringing in your ears as they seem to play endlessly – and you never want them to stop. Big riffs, loads of reverb and the best crescendos in the business.
FFO: This Will Destroy You, Sigor Ross, Mogwai, instrumental vibes!
A band that plays with unusual rhythms and luscious pop hooks, these guys are as math-y as you like and have so many cracking songs that’ll get stuck in your head forever. This is a super exciting band that I reckon are destined for big things in the UK scene. They write emotionally, construct their songs over thought provoking lyrics that tell stories and feel like old friends. Everything sounds simple until you really listen to it and catch the musical complexities happening over the whole record. Groovy, crisp and fluid- sounds like I’m describing a salad… but truly a band to watch!
FFO: American Football, Orchards, Tangled Hair, getting this song stuck in your head forever.
A big finish! And our final Novo track on the playlist, this time from the record Bathing Beach. This song subtly builds strings and guitars with Ali’s lovely soft vocals, all rolling towards a breathtaking climax. All in all, very very pretty music that you can imagine being played at a cool, hipster wedding, or in a film of your life when you fall in love for the last time. Novo Amor is perfect chilling out music that leaves you feeling like you’ve had a really nice hug. Or like you’ve just gone for a windy but sunshiney walk up a mountain with the most beautiful views you’ve ever witnessed. Perfection!
Si says: “I’ve lost count of how many times we’ve played this song in rehearsals or at shows (and how many times I’ve listened to it on record!) but even after all this time, it still makes me feel things when that big drop at the end hits. Stone cold banger.”
FFO: Gorgeous soundscapes, beautiful dreamy music. And as always Bon Iver.