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Rad Releases 23 – Bubblewrap Collective

December 20, 2023

Rad Releases 23 – Bubblewrap Collective

Our annual end-of-year feature is finally here, the time we enjoy the most where we spend the final two weeks of the year discussing the music that made 2023 special. Our Rad Releases feature is now into it’s 13th year, and we love sharing the site with musicians, labels, and promoters as we discuss their year in music. We take a personal look back on familiar names’ most loved releases of the past 12 months. It’s a time we enjoy and look forward to, through the contributions we get to find new music discoveries, and releases we may have missed throughout the year. 

Throughout the year we’ve been inundated with some incredible releases from Bubblewrap Collective, truly think 2023 was their year. We’ve managed to add some stunning records to our own collection and found some gems in their Spillers Records section too. Over the last 12 months, we’ve featured their releases from Ritual Cloak, Sock, HMS Morris, Ivan Moult, My Name Is Ian, Part Time Signals and AhGeeBe to name a few, but that’s not even touching the surface of the records they’ve backed this year. We are delighted to talk to Richard of Bubblewrap Collective to find out about the label’s year in music..

It’s been a hell of a year at Bubblewrap. With a whopping 11 album/EP releases (not to mention a
shed load of singles from these), it’s really hard to pick any favourites. You can listen to some of
the highlights and explore the albums here

The year started off with the release of the 10th Anniversary edition of Georgia Ruth’s ‘Week of Pines’ for the first time ever on vinyl. The album, which won the Welsh Music Prize in 2013, is available on 180g double transparent green vinyl in a gatefold sleeve. You can get your hands on it here.

Speaking of the Welsh Music Prize… Ivan Moult’s ‘Songs From Severn Grove’ made the shortlist this year, and we sold out of our vinyl run. Listen to the album here, and you can still get your hands on the CD here.

This year was also the return of The Gentle Good, with his first album since his award-winning ‘Ruins/Adfeilion’ in 2018. The new album ‘Galargan’ has been incredibly well received across the board, and even got Folk album of the month over at the Guardian. Gareth also took the album on tour across England and Wales, the latter in collaboration with PYST and Menter Iaith, which saw performances happening in new, different and exciting locations, alongside excellent Welsh language support acts.

Get your hands on the heavyweight black vinyl in tip-on sleeve or the CD here.

Hot on Gareth’s heels, HMS Morris released their 3rd studio album, ‘Dollar Lizard Money Zombie’. The album, produced by Cotton Wolf’s Llion Robertson, is written from the perspective of a gang of wholesome country boys and girls who suddenly find themselves having to navigate a world of Dollar Lizards (obscene cult-leadery economic monsters) and Money Zombies (grey-skinned brain-dead consumers).

In one of my favourite live moments of the year, the band performed the album in full, accompanied by full 360° visuals and a theatrical stage show. We’re very much looking forward to bringing the show back to Cultvr Lab in 2024.

You can still get you hands on the album, pressed onto heavyweight orange vinyl here.

As the year-end approaches, our final release will be from Carwyn Ellis. ‘Ni A Nhw’ (‘Us And Them’) is a new collection of songs, sung mostly in his native Welsh. Drawn from his catalogue under four different guises – Colorama, Rio 18, Bendith and solo as Carwyn Ellis – it features songs spanning over a decade, most of which have not been available to stream before. Or on vinyl for that matter! We’re hoping to ship the vinyl before the end of the year, but it will be out on CD and digitally on 8th December.

Get that here.

I could go on about Bubblewrap’s releases. The quality has been off the scale. Big up to all the other releases from this year. Listen, explore, buy…

AhGeeBe – Chin Up, Chief
My Name is Ian – Go Bananas Go Bananas Go Bananas Go Bananas Go

Part Time Signals – Another Day in Paradise
Quiet Marauder – Introducing Malcolm DelMonte
Ritual Cloak – Vanished in Transition
Sky Barkers – Broken Shiny Love
Sock – Sock

Of course, there’s a huge world of music outside of Bubblewrap. Here’s some of my favourite releases this year…

The Arcs – Electrophonic Chronic

A sweet slice of psychedelic soul from The Black Keys’Dan Auerbachand producer Leon Michels. The album, which was mostly recorded back in 2018, features Richard Swift as a key songwriter. Swift, whose legacy included playing and producing with acts such as The Shins, Foxygen, Stereolab and Fleet Foxes (to name a few), died shortly after recording.

Fenne Lily – Big Picture

Following on from her excellent 2020 Album ‘Breach’, Bristol’s Fenne Lily’s new album totally lived up to my expectations. ‘Lights Light Up’ is probably one of my most played tracks of 2023.

Miya Folick – ROACHA

Strange mix of grunge and electronica, but utterly personal and emotional in delivery. Just can’t enough of ‘Get Out of My House’.

Joanna Sternberg – I’ve Got Me

Listening to Joanna Sternberg makes me feel like I’m at the Gaslight Cafe, New York in the 60s. There’s something extremely endearing in her songwriting and delivery

Les Imprimés – Rêverie

I pretty much love everything that comes out of Big Crown Records, and Les Imprimés debut is well worth a listen if you’re into smooth soul, and relaxed grooves.

Sven Wunder – Late Again

Swedish composer Sven Wunder’s fourth album is full of 70s library music-inspired jazz and psychedelia. For newcomers, I recommend listening to his previous 3 albums, each with its own theme, with this one focusing on the night.

What a year!!! Already excited for what incredible music we get from you next year.

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