The Joy Formidable live in Philadelphia
I have seen The Joy Formidable live in Philadelphia several times, at a mixture of venues… and they never fail to delight.
The Joy Formidable is a Welsh alternative rock band, formed in 2007 in Mold, Flintshire and currently based in London, England. The band consists of Rhiannon “Ritzy” Bryan (lead vocals, guitar), Rhydian Dafydd (bass, vocals) and Matthew James Thomas (drums, percussion).
Childhood friends and then couple Ritzy Bryan and bassist Rhydian Dafydd originally played together as part of Manchester band Tricky Nixon, which later reformed into Sidecar Kisses. After Sidecar Kisses split up in 2007, they regrouped, returning to their Welsh home town of Mold, and formed the Joy Formidable with Justin Stahley on drums. In July 2008, they released their first official single, “Austere”. It was followed by a Christmas single, “My Beerdrunk Soul Is Sadder than a Hundred Dead Christmas Trees”, issued as a 2008 digital download, and the “Cradle” double 7″ in 2009. The band’s debut EP, A Balloon Called Moaning was released exclusively in Japan on 17 December 2008, followed by a UK release in March 2009.
In 2009, Stahley was replaced with Matthew James Thomas. That April, they teamed with a new label started by Passion Pit’s Ayad Al Adhamy, Black Bell Records, to release A Balloon Called Moaning in the U.S, earning favourable reviews from NME, The Guardian, The Times, Spin and Pitchfork.
In 2010, the band signed to Canvasback Records, a subsidiary of Atlantic, and began work on their debut album, The Big Roar which was recorded in London. Dafydd said that “(it) covers a lot of emotional range. It’s captured the battle between the eternal optimist and the manic depressive”. The album was produced by the Joy Formidable with help from engineer Neak Menter. The band traveled to Los Angeles to mix it with producer Rich Costey, who had worked with bands such as Mew, Muse, Foo Fighters and Glasvegas.
The Big Roar was released on 24 January 2011 and included early singles “Austere”, “Cradle” and “Whirring” as well as two further singles, “I Don’t Want to See You Like This” and “A Heavy Abacus” (“Whirring” was later sampled by the Lonely Island on “YOLO”). In November 2011, their song “Endtapes” was featured on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn film soundtrack.