After the success of last year Merthyr Rock, the 3 day alt/rock festival in Cyfarthfa Park, Wales, is back for a second year. This year the fest will run from 31st August – 2nd September, with a number of acts already announced:

Razorlight | Kids In Glass Houses | Deaf Havana | Saves The Day | Yashin | Arcane Roots 

and many more to come!

Festival director Rhodri Jones said “We had an incredible response to the festival last year, and this year’s event is going to be bigger, better, bolder and an awesome way to end this Summer”

Special earlybird tickets are now on sale for £55 (available until 2nd July) through See and Ticketline UK, with day ticket prices to be announced soon. Camping is available at Grawen Farm priced at £15 per person for 3 nights (Fri-Sun).

For more information check out, or follow them on twitter or facebook.

Top 5 of 2011

It’s that time of the year again, and so soon! As we say Goodbye to 2011, our staff take a look back at their own personal highlights from the last 365 days.

Bella’s top 5 Albums of 2011:

The Horrible Crowes – Elsie

This was far and away my number one album of 2011, and though these aren’t in any particular order, Elsie demands to be at the top of the list. As far as I’m concerned, Brian Fallon can do no wrong and his latest partnership with Ian Perkins is absolutely, breathtakingly gorgeous. The album is theatrical and haunting both musically and lyrically from start to finish, and the vocals, as usual for Mister Fallon, are nothing short of magnificent. I don’t throw around the word ‘masterpiece’ too often but I would stick it on Elsie without hesitation.

Kanye West / Jay-Z – Watch The Throne

When choosing my top 5 albums of the year, it is literally IMPOSSIBLE to go past Watch The Throne. What could possibly top two of hip-hops biggest stars of our time, combining their genius and bestowing it upon the world? Not much. The album went platinum, spawned a tour that is currently blowing peoples minds and earned quite possibly the biggest buzz of the year (okay, we’re not counting Adele because she’s magic or something) from critics, publications and fans alike. Both controversial and relentlessly unconventional, there’s something about these two guys that I adore, and by joining up, they’ve just made themselves even more powerful- like when the Power Rangers become Megazord.

Alkaline trio – Damnesia

Is this Technically a cheat? I don’t think I care. Damnesia is a release from 2011, yes. But the songs (save for two and a cover) are not quite new. A re-working of fan favourites, everything old is new again with added acousticy goodness. Some criticised the move to re-release old tracks, but I think with a back catalogue as solid as Trio’s and as many loyal fans, that a ‘greatest hits’ of sorts is earned. The tracks not only stand up to the test of time, but benefit from the keys and strings, the slightly tweeked compositions showing off the skills they’ve fine tuned over the years. Listening to Damnesia is like trying out a new restaurant with a long time lover- ultimately, it’s predictable; you know how the night will play out, but you can appreciate an completely enjoy the different flavours on the way.

Friendly Fires – Pala

Name me a funner, more dance inducing, blessed out live act than Friendly Fires and I will call you a liar. Pala is hands down the ideal summer soundtrack, if ever there was one. It is truly pure stylized excess and unashamedly, unapologetic about it. Rightly so. It’s fast become my go-to for happy times and has barely made it out of my 5 stack player since the week it dropped, well back in march.

Saves The Day – Daybreak

After numerous line up changes and a release date that was nudged back more times than anyone cared to count, Saves The Day FINALLY came back with a stunning return to their glistening best with Daybreak. Chris Conley is quite frankly a legend as far as I’m concerned and has long been a pioneer and a trend setter in the alternative music scene. I don’t think this will be an exception, and that honestly can’t be a bad thing. This album is stunning and well worth the four year wait.

Honourable mention:

Lady Gaga – Born This Way.

Oh. Come onnn