Friday, 22 June 2012


The podcast is also available via iTunes by clicking here

Well this is the fourth one and still going strong. Now with added play via the new international independent internet (gosh so many i words there) radio station Acoustic Spectrum. Huge thanks go to Neil King of Fatea magazine and all involved with this fantastic new international radio station helping with all things indie! Make sure you check out New Music Connection too which is a growing resource and community seeking to help support independent music talent from the word go. I could not do the scheme/programme/community justice here so check it out for yourself because it is a truly amazing idea that is on the move here. I will most likely do a little bit of a write up about it at some point in the future.

I'm in the process of re-recording edited versions of the first two podcasts for airplay so at the least all those bands and artists that featured in those will get some airplay and I'll be ahead with getting the podcasts completed and out there. I honestly wish I had more time to get them sorted but I will be putting together one every week which will be played at 7PM (BST) every Thursday on Acoustic Spectrum so make sure you tune in and also check out what else the station has to offer because it broadcasts 24/7. Time restraints will prevent me from publishing them that regularly so I encourage you to sample future episodes via Acoustic Spectrum first.
As usual there has been a slight alteration to the playlist compared with what I envisaged would be included but the three missed out will most certainly be featuring in the coming episodes. You can count on it.

The Playlist:
  1. Intro - Everybody Looks Famous
  2. Falling Lights - Everybody Looks Famous
  3. Alone - Falling Faster
  4. Missing Out, Moving On - Jody Has a Hitlist
  5. Chapters - Whitemoor
  6. Anomaly - Silverbox
  7. Follow Me Down - The Slow Readers Club
  8. If I Had a Boat - James Vincent McMorrow
  9. Song of Sisyphus - Nick Burbridge & Tim Cotterell
  10. Mortal Longing - Sleepthief featuring Jody Quine

Please check out Taking Hayley who are asking for support and assistance in getting their debut album, Tricks and Games released on time after coming up against some unfortunate incidents. They are a four piece rock band from my dear hometown of Birmingham and started out in November 2010. They have been building themselves up a reputation through their gigs and have a couple of really cool videos online.

They've put a lot of hard work into setting a release date for this album, saving money like crazy, which let's face it can be hard enough at the best of times, in order to get it out ahead of their UK headline tour in September. The current situation means there may be a potential set back in releasing the record and so they're calling on the good folk of...well...the world, I guess - this is what the internet is good for. Getting promotion and exposure to as widespread audience as possible.

Check out their page at PLEDGE MUSIC >> here << where you can offer your support so they may be in with a chance of getting the album out on time as planned. There is a whole host of great merchandise and other options available at varying prices to suit all affordability scales. It isn't all about them either as a percentage of ALL money pledged is going directly to the Children With Cancer charity. So there you go, you'd be helping this well-deserving band out massively but also donating to a very worthy cause in the process. Bonus points all round! Get pledging if you can.

Remember I mentioned about Birmingham based band Falling Faster have a string of gigs coming up next month when they hit the road supporting That Sunday Feeling. Please make sure if they're your kind of thing that you get yourself and your friends along to one of the gigs in your area. It would been a huge amount to the bands involved and help them continue making such great tunes.

CD Central.

A bumper delivery of CDs arrived for me last week which has kept me incredibly busy. Aside from the review of Duke Special's Oh Poineer I posted on Monday (the day of its release), my ears were also listening lots to the banging tunes of Lightfire thanks to their three track EP (which I urge you to buy for just £1 >>here<<) and the fantastic debut album from The Dreaming Spires, Brothers in Brooklyn.

That's not all either as I received a promo copy of the forthcoming third album from Kathryn Roberts and Sean Lakeman, Hidden People which after attending one of their gigs in February I have been waiting in anticipation for ever since. Check out my review of that gig here on the blog. My love for Kathryn and Sean's music demonstrates the more folky roots I like from time to time and this album has been years in the making. Well, sort of as they have been bringing up their twins as well as Sean keeping incredibly busy as a prolific guitarist repeatedly playing in the band that accompanies brother Seth on his tours, and well sought after music producer. I'll write a full review but there are some proper moving songs on Hidden People so why not check out a few samples below. Experiencing both Huldra and The Ballad of Andy Jacobs played live is pretty much beyond words but this recorded version of Huldra is simply put, out of this world!!

Actors That Sing.

Being a good actor certainly doesn't mean being a good singer but two I've been following over the last few months have made that leap into music with promising success. Iwan Rheon aka Simon from the smash hit BAFTA award-winning E4 TV show Misfits has gradually been releasing some beautiful acoustic tracks via Soundcloud and up on his Facebook page. He's incredibly talented having starred in a musical, films, TV and now with added music to the mix. His voice offers a really delicate yet raw sound to his accompanying guitar.

Also make sure you check out Mr Billie Piper and ITV show Lewis' Hathaway, Laurence Fox. I stumbled across the first song he posted up on Facebook via his Twitter page. Gunfight is astounding and just the one tune boded well for his output although those which followed are pretty damn good. There are a few songs still up on his Soundcloud page but on the day of writing this I did read a Tweet informing his followers that he will be removing these at some point soon in order to record them properly. Boding very well then Mr Fox.

Fatea Showcases:

You need to be getting yourself over to this website to check out the Fatea Showcase Sessions. As you'll read there, the sessions are intended to provide greater exposure to the artists that have impressed the Fatea team. It's a really great concept that I draw from myself with this podcast. Those bands and artists that have impressed me or whose music, quite simply I'm enjoying at present or more longstanding, I will feature and talk about.

What's great about the showcase sessions though, is they are exclusively available for a three month period after which they will never be available again. You can download the current sessions via a ZIP file which contains high quality music files. Available at present (until 31st July 2012) is Tracks - Summer 12 packed with 18 stonkingly beautiful tunes for your free listening pleasure.

At no cost to yourself why wouldn't you check them out and discover something new and golden you may not have known existed beforehand? This is in line with another primary aim of my podcast too. To bring new music to people as well as the people/fans to the bands and artists. Of course you must remember that while free to you the music herein has been created at a cost to the artists in terms of their time, effort, money and creativity. So, if you check these out and you enjoy one or two (or more) do visit their own websites, follow up on their gigs and purchase yourself an album/EP (or more).

Again, as with my own podcast, the tracks featured in these sessions span different genres which makes for a more eclectic mix for you to enjoy and will thus cater for wider tastes as opposed to any one in particular.

Get your FREE download of TRACKS by clicking >>> HERE <<< now!

There are some blisteringly fantastic songs to enjoy so get listening to it and find your next favourite. One of my favourites so far has been Michael MacLennan who I believe has real star quality demonstrated in this one song, Wolves.


Rainy Boy Sleep who featured in Band of Badgers Present #2 has been working on his new EP and asking him about a release date recently, he's mentioned it could possibly, hopefully be out towards the end of July. Very excited about this from a magnificent performer so keep your ears to attention for it and if you haven't checked out his music yet...what the heck do you think you're playing at? Get to it before I have to set Poppy Cat on you. Sample it below then head to iTunes to grab yourself a bargain!

Well to wrap things up for this one then I'll just mention how incredibly excited I am about the imminent Editors gig, which is next Wednesday 27th June up in Birmingham. Not since 2009 have I been able to catch them and following the slight change in line-up I'm hoping we get to hear some new tunes from the guys in anticipation of a fourth album. Full report to come in due course.

As always thanks to Mark Blasco at podcastthemes for the intro theme tune. The song Drop of Rain by Mark will be featuring next time.

Monday, 18 June 2012


Oh Pioneer by Duke Special: Album Review.

One listen to Oh Pioneer should be enough to convince you just how special Peter Wilson is. Right from the start the beautifully written album opener, Stargazers of the World Unite (A Love Song for Astronomers) indicates with a somewhat delicate subtlety, the gold plated songs and silver topped music in store from this latest studio album. The introductory synths combine perfectly with layered piano underneath those unique vocals fully engaging the ears while the mind is left to unpeel the myriad layers of meaning. The looping chorus of, ‘How am I gonna get myself to heaven?’ with answers such as, ‘Cut the ropes that keep us tethered,’ combined with the building melody, bury themselves deep within where they will remain resting long after the album has finished playing.

Little Black Fish offers up a thrill ride I’m not sure is quite white knuckle but it tries hard to get there and certainly doesn’t disappoint. Thoughtful and melancholic lyrics give the feeling of questioning life, the universe and everything alongside the use of a hefty mix of musical styles. The diverse underlying tones build up to a crescendo that all of a sudden begins to settle into a quieter contemplation.

Duke reminds me a little of the US singer songwriter John Grant (who I was fortunate enough to catch at last year’s BeautifulDays festival) in the way he demonstrates such raw talents that are nevertheless passed through a huge musical car wash complete with all those big fluffy rollers, the end result sounding so polished and near perfect it should be a crime that they aren’t more well-known.

The stakes are raised tenfold by the time Snakes in the Grass makes its appearance. If songs could talk this one would scream at you demanding your full attention simply because its grandeur commands it! It begins like a futuristic nursery rhyme might do but before long the first booming operatic interjection of ‘Wayward Child’ packs such a punch make sure you’re holding on to something if you aren’t sitting down or you might be blown to Timbuktu by its gale force strength. Reminiscent of Queen’s Bohemian Rhapsody, while it was never going to get anywhere near as epic as that anthem this honestly doesn’t feel in any way an underachievement.

Overall this album is a tour de force of diverse musical arrangement but whereby many out there in Popworld today might use this strength to divert attention away from the lack of quality of their lyrics, Peter lines up thoughtful, contemplative and reflective songs of the highest calibre, one after another.

The lyrics for Condition reveal just how delicate Peter can get. Appearing first as somewhat oddly written it exemplifies how deceptive appearances often are. The clever yin-yang nature of its message roots you to the spot. Who hasn’t experienced the cavalcade of completely polar opposite emotions about the self? This is why it works so well and while it remains one of the quieter tracks it is one of the most profound in terms of scope. The concluding minute and a half pulls it all together so tightly there’s no danger of the perfection escaping. Hearing it for just the second time, the profundity of this track almost knocked me over even with its much softer gentler approach. This song alone for me cements the Special[ness] of this Duke.

The opening of Lost Chord is how I imagine Icelandic masters Sigur Ros may sound if they ever leant more towards indie-synth pop however the song swiftly makes a giant leap back to familiar Duke territory. How I Learned to Love the Sun acts as a somersaulting acrobatic exercise for Peter’s wide ranging vocal abilities.

Although immediate predecessor, Under the Dark Cloth, came as the result of a special project with songs based on an exhibit of photographs, in complete contrast Oh Pioneer is a deeply personal adventure revealing much more of the artist’s personality. Music fans should appreciate there is a talent out there producing outstanding music that not only makes one think a little harder but who can layer it with such an eclectic mix of diverse musical sounds, electronic and acoustic alike. For someone with such a prolific output of work, this being his tenth album overall, if it were a cloud it would result in a torrential downpour flooding the world with its quality.

Perhaps what is most important is that in the current music market, Oh Pioneer offers something that sounds original and isn’t an attempt for the artist to tick the boxes that will afford him fame and fortune. What remains clear is Duke Special is in this for the outlet music affords him in expressing his creativity and that is special all on its own.
Much more electronic and synth sounding than predecessor I Never Thought This Day Would Come and less theatrical (but certainly no less dramatic) than Under the dark Cloth, it would be interesting to see how this particular material translates to a live show. From what I’ve heard so far I don’t have a shadow of a doubt he would pull it off in true style.

Irony can truly be a bitch sometimes and with Duke Special putting in an appearance at Beautiful Days festival this year it saddens me further I won’t be in attendance. This is an artist I absolutely most certainly and definitely want to see so my eyes are peeled and ears are open for future dates.

Friday, 8 June 2012


It is with a tinge of sadness I’m unable to make it to my third Beautiful Days festival this year and with the recent announcement that tickets have sold out it is now not even a remote possibility. However, if I am to refrain from turning into my grouchy Mr Grump alter-ego (there’s even a Mr Grump costume but if I show you the pictures I’d have to kill you), my hunger for live music and the festival experience must be suitably fed.

Ever since one of my favourite recent indie bands, TheLast Republic, announced they were to play I’ve been eyeing up TruckFestival. It’s relatively local to me so this will of course keep travel costs to a minimum. Plus, it’s celebrating its fifteenth year in style with a stellar line-up. Add to this the incredible value for money of the tickets and it really should be a no brainer. Although I make a point of kicking myself each morning as I get out of bed for missing out on the early bird tickets which were a steal at such a reduced cost!

With the festival season now in full swing it is make your mind up time if you haven’t already got tickets to one. Truck Festival is one fully worthy of consideration and what The Guardian calls, ‘the Godfather of small festivals’. With a swift glance at the stellar line-up I mentioned, it is easy to see why it carries such a lofty, yet well deserved nickname. This is an independent music festival located between Abingdon and Didcot at Hill Farm near Steventon in the beautiful Oxfordshire countryside. Boasting a cutting edge policy with a varied and eclectic mix of music featuring anything from alternative country folk to heavy rock and everything else you can possibly imagine in-between; there is something to keep everyone fully entertained.

This diamond of a festival is rooted firmly in the indie music scene having been initially set up by brothers Robin and Joe Bennett (of the band The Dreaming Spires) in protest at the rapidly growing commerciality of the more mainstream festivals. It is free from any corporate sponsorship so there is never any corporate agenda trying to lure in festival goers. While naturally it has grown over the years it still manages to maintain its relatively small family-friendly size enticing around 5,000 music fans with a continually lip licking, mouth watering tasty treat of a line-up. This backed up by its renowned facilities including affordably priced real ales and local ciders as well as a tantalizing cocktail bar.

Showcasing music across three stages, the smallest of which is called The Barn and is quite literally a cow-shed, there’s also a second and main stage. The land is a fully working farm closing only temporarily in order to host the event. This may induce humorous images of cows showing off their Morris dancing skills or pigs head banging to a crackling tune (how could I resist that one?) but the only animals inside the barn come festival time will be music animals eager to sap up every morsel from the bands or artists up on stage. With a special nod to the environment The Barn has been fitted with a new solar panel covered roof serving to power the stage inside it. In addition all the bins on site form part of a recycling initiative so a large amount of revellers doesn’t have to mean a mountain of trash for ghastly landfill.

Running over two nights (Friday and Saturday) as opposed to the typical three also means workers don’t have to eat too much into their annual leave or rush off so fast they’re at risk of generating a gale force wind and giving themselves a hernia in the process. Instead there’s an opportunity to continue at the leisurely pace of festival life, perhaps even stopping by a nice country pub on the way home for a Sunday roast. That’s if you don’t smell too funky by the end of your two night camping and use of chemical toilets, of course.

This anniversary line-up includes the likes of Guillemots, KingCharles, Frightened Rabbit, Villagers, Get Cape Wear Cape Fly and US indie folk band The Low Anthem. Friday’s headliners are the multi-talented funny man Tim Minchin and Mystery Jets while Saturday night sees BritishSea Power and The Temper Trap close the main stage in kickass style. Too many great acts to mention them all but a few worthy of special attention include the Bennett brothers, The Dreaming Spires showcasing music from their debut album Brothers in Brooklyn and Welsh post-rockers The Last Republic with their own unique alternative anthems. It will be a great treat for the crowd as this band has a host of new tunes to test out following on from smash hit debut album Parade. Finally, fresh from dates supporting Noah and the Whale and following her own mini headline tour is singer-songwriter Lucy Rose.
With tickets priced at just £69 including full camping and not having to pay even a lone penny for under 12’s you best get clicking for your tickets and quick before they’re all snapped up. With a line-up like this it is one top value for money weekend that should not be missed!

Visit for all necessary information.

Brothers in Brooklyn:

As I mentioned above, The Dreaming Spires have their debut album Brothers in Brooklyn due out on Monday 11th June and you can stream all 11 fantastic tracks via the Club House Records Soundcloud page << here >> which I have embedded below for you to check out. This is also available via the For Folks Sake website where Robin has written a track-by-track guide.

I pre-ordered my copy last week from the Club House Records website following a wonderful promotion whereby you also receive a free signed limited edition 7" vinyl of the single Everything All the Time. After having my ears tantalised by these marvellous musical melodies I'm even more excited about receiving my copy next week.

But Wait...

Also for your very listening pleasure and in preparation of their appearance at the festival check out these three great new songs from The Last Republic. These three songs have since been taken down from Soundcloud but you can still check out Living in the Dark and Out of Reach at the band's soundcloud page >> here.

And Finally.....

I thought I'd round off this post with a video of The Low Anthem singing the beautiful lamentation that is Charlie Darwin. I recorded this at last year's Beautiful Days Festival and I'm really glad I'll be getting to see them play again this year.

Wednesday, 6 June 2012

Play It Again Sam: Introducing Sam Beeton

I know I wrote up a little about how much I'm enjoying Sam's music in a recent blog post but I've since written an 'Introducing' article I think should be shared. If you've not yet checked out what this hugely talented guy has to offer then quick, get to it before Valerie the banjo playing badger hunts you down and does unspeakable torturous things to you. 'What kinds of torturous things?' You may well ask but then they'd be speakable as opposed to unspeakable as I made clear. Now go! Get to Sam's website before it's too late!

Introducing Sam Beeton

I’ll start this off with a relatively simple but much deserved WOW! It’s amazing just to contemplate the sheer amount of talent Sam Beeton exudes as he goes about everything he’s currently doing. A 23 year old singer-songwriter from Nottingham he’s demonstrated musical and lyrical abilities that have been nothing less than phenomenal. 

This is no run of the mill singer-songwriter either and the originality stretches far beyond the music. Wanting to offer dedicated fans something different he set up The Record Club. This is a unique concept putting him, as an independent artist, in direct contact with subscribers. Receiving a new signed and personalised CD every month gives the feeling these varied and dynamic songs are being written and recorded just for you. Following the success of Season 1 last year Sam recently kicked off Season 2 in April but there is no cut off point for joining. It doesn’t matter at what point throughout the year it is you will receive all of the songs already released in that season so far. 

Volume 1 of Season 2 arrived a few weeks ago with the two gorgeous sounding tracks, Call Me the Loner and Something Out of Nothing. The former starts with a gentle guitar strum before more sounds enter the mix and Sam’s soft and delicate vocal begins lamenting about his need to be alone. All this to a melody that hooks itself somewhere deep inside your mind where it rests snugly waiting to play itself back to you afterwards. Being a tune that is more likely to nudge awake your legs and shoulders, encouraging them into a little jig, the latter perfectly showcases the flexibility to his already very proficient style.

Something I'm finding so inspiring is the versatility he demonstrates in the songs I've heard so far. Hearing just the first couple of samples is enough to sell the deluxe double CD of the complete season 1 for all those who missed out on subscribing to it last year. Featuring 22 astounding tracks including the beautifully cryptic Storyteller, which was released as a single via iTunes on 26th March, this track alone further exhibits the diversity of his skills as a songwriter. And this is before even considering the likes of Good Natured Child and Rain Down On You which just blew me clean away.

Citing influences including Jeff Buckley and Paul Simon together with the likes of James Morrison, Paolo Nutini and Benjamin Francis Leftwich I would go so far as to say he actually beats most of these and at the very least isn’t too far off meeting the legend of Paul Simon.

The great thing about his already prolific output is that while yes at times with songs like Rain Down on You and Good Natured Child, he may sound similar to a younger Paul Simon, his vocals still have a very distinct and original sound all of their own. The songs offered are also so varied revealing this is no one trick pony. They echo a confidence to his performance that belies his young age.

Hearing lyrics that require some deeper thought if the listener is to prize them apart and truly get what they’re about is a refreshing change. Sam is a rare talent indeed and one the music industry needs very badly if it is to retain any credibility in the face of the manufactured reality television pop world.
Check out for lots more information about this wonderful artist.

Monday, 4 June 2012

Band of Badgers Presents #3

The podcast is also available via iTunes by clicking here
Episode 3: Support & Sponsor

I'm a little frustrated it has taken another whole month to get podcast #3 out as I've had the playlist sorted for some time now. That said (or written, rather - why do I always write that?) I want things to be done properly and I've been waiting for the arrival of the new microphone. Now I no longer need to apologise for the lack of quality of my own ramblings. Well, by lack of quality I mean the sound quality of course and not my, at times, digressions.

There's a slight but not drastic change to the playlist but you can expect Nick Burbridge, Silverbox, Lightfire and Porthaven to be popping up in the next few podcasts. With having some much needed time off work I should finally be able to get ahead with recording at least the next two podcasts which means I'm hoping to get them out a little quicker from now on. There's also potential for some internet radio play which is another reason (but not  the only one) I've invested in the new microphone. 

Like it says on the website, Acoustic Spectrum is all about free music promotion and has been created by three truly amazing individuals who are staunch supporters of indie music dedicating so much of their time to numerous activities that do just this. Tom Oswald, an entrepeneur who has also set up his own indie record label, Red Dragon Records together with the editor of Fatea magazine, Neil King and station director Jody Goldsworthy utilise their links within the industry to import radio shows worldwide and export their own shows back to those stations. So, it's kind of like a big internet radio network if you like. If you're a band or artist who needs to get some airplay or promotion sorted then check out Acoustic Spectrum but don't forget the other two fantastic outlets offered by Tom and Neil in terms of Red Dragon Records and Fatea magazine.

While I'll be more excited than a puppy with a new bone (that sounds kind of wrong but you get my point), if I get some internet radio play for Band of Badgers Presents, this will be more so because I'll be able to fully pay back all those who have kindly let me feature their music so far. Aside from absolutely loving sharing these playlists, it is primarily to help with promotion and exposure so getting so many more listeners would be amazing!

The Playlist:
  1. Eve - fiN
  2. Turbulence - The Scholars
  3. Don't Worry - T J Courtney
  4. Dance on, Graves - Good Friend
  5. Dirty Stop Out - The Repeat Offenders
  6. Song for Infinity - One Cure For Man
  7. First Light - Under a Banner
  8. Storyteller - Sam Beeton
  9. I Held You Once - The Epstein
  10. Chasin Elephants - The Havenites
  11. Bowies in Space - Flight of the Conchords
Please check out the film Turbulence featuring The Scholars because from the promo bio below it's got me salivating in anticipation of seeing it:

When a failing music venue staffed by fools looks set to close, manager Keith launches a last ditch Battle of the Bands competition. More by accident than by design, musical genius is unleashed by a rapping transvestite, some precocious indie rockers and a barmaid with a golden voice, who together save the world they love. Turbulence, a laugh out loud comedy from a BAFTA winning team.

The Scholars also have a tumblr age >> here. It was here I read a really passionate post from band member Tim Mobbs about why people don't seem to be going to gigs these days. He writes about the quality of venues and the crazy drinks promotions on offer whereby it never seems to really be about promoting the great music on offer, rather just getting young people as drunk as they can for as cheap as possible.

I long for better gigs in Northampton lamenting I have to travel all over the place instead. I don't always mind this because I'm able to see such a great bunch of stuff but it would be nice to be able to just get back from work and take a leisurely stroll to the local venue. Tim's words are written like a sage; from one who just wants to perform good gigs at decent venues for music fans. Come on guys let's get to these gigs and provide the much needed support for these fantastic indie bands. Never forget it is all about your support that keeps the music alive. This is even more crucial for indie artists on indie labels (and even more so for those unsigned) struggling to get themselves out there!


I didn't have any time to talk about festivals as I'd like to have done given the season is now in full swing.

Next weekend (8th to 10th June) sees the mighty rockfest that is Download up at Donnington Park. But alas folks if you haven't already got your tickets I'm afraid short of risking being shot down as you parachute in you will have to wait until next year as it has sold out (I don't advise this method of entry by the way). It's little wonder with the the line up they've managed to knock up including Prodigy, Chase and Status, Tenacious D and Biffy Clyro. This is before even mentioning Saturday night headliners Metallica who are performing The Black Album in its entirety followed by a reformed Black Sabbath to close the festival on the Sunday. 

If you did manage to get tickets before they sold out and you're off to this please make sure you check out  and support two bands I featured in the last podcast, both who are appearing at Download this year too. It's really great they've bagged themselves these slots at such a prestigious event in the music festival calendar because they are so worthy and deserving of it. Page 44 open the Second Stage at 11am on Saturday morning while I Divide feature on the Red Bull Bedroom Jam Stage at about 14:15 on the Saturday afternoon. 

Although I could ramble on about many more of the bands I do want to mention just one more. Bedfordshire based Don Broco are quite simply phenomenal so don't miss their set on the Pepsi Max Stage at 12:30 again on the Saturday afternoon. 

Next weekend also sees Wychwood Festival make its annual appearance at Cheltenham Racecourse. I went along to this one in its early days in 2007 for what was my Levellers fix. I remember being already quite drunk sat down on a chair eating chips when 100 Years of Solitude started. Chips were left behind, drink was swiftly downed so that looning could begin as I weaved my way to the front.

Wychwood is much less rock heavy than Download of course with an emphasis on soft-rock, indie and folk. It's also one that focuses on family so there are loads of things to keep the kids occupied and entertained as well as a remarkable line up. 

Friday night sees headliners in the form of The Damned and Bellowhead while those psychedelic sirens of seventies space rock Hawkwind and indie rock band James entertain the crowds on Saturday night. I was fortunate enough to see James headline the main stage at Beautiful Days in 2010 and they were awesome! 

Welsh band Eric Unseen will also be appearing as part of the BBC Introducing collective of great new up and coming talent. BBC Introducing is a really great avenue for these new bands and artists to use to get themselves out there and heard. Eric Unseen offer a fresh new sound and already have a massive number of live gigs all over South Wales under their belt (with packed out venues to boot), which have received glittering reviews. They made the final of the 'Live and Unsigned' competition at the O2 Arena in July 2010. If you haven't heard them then get over to their Facebook page and check them out. They'll definitely be featuring in the podcast in the future.

Gigs & Other Mentions:

The We The Kings gig in Birmingham at the start of last month was gigtastic to say (write?) the least. Okay, perhaps I shouldn't use such a silly made up word as gigtastic. It sounds rather lame doesn't it? It was one awesome night of music entertainment though as the guys really know how to put on a fantastic show. Thankfully I wasn't the oldest person in the room even though it was beginning to feel like it with so many youngsters in attendance. At least I finally got to see this band who I've been enjoying since 2008. Lead singer Travis did come across a little (and by little I mean a lot) sex-obsessed with almost every word being sex or having a sexual connotation. Not that this bothered me in the slightest of course. The bar staff at the venue were acting a bit like tossers I must say as I was standing near to the bar and they seemed to just be taking the piss a bit, which I was quite annoyed about to be honest. Perhaps it wasn't their kind of music but they work in this place so they should either change their shifts or just shut up, serve drinks or get a job elsewhere!

As great as the headliners were, the highlight for me had to be UK band Don Broco. They're a four piece rock band from Bedfordshire, so as I currently live in Northampton that is kind of my neck of the woods (that saying creeping in again). Well, perhaps more my knees of the woods, I suppose. They are a phenomenal force of musical performance with such a charismatically colourful live presence on stage. They look, sound and feel like they've been doing this professionally for years already so it bodes very well for their future.

Last April, the band supported We Are The Ocean before setting out on their own headlining tour, which I guess explains why they are so damn good. Naturally, I don't wish to offend the more well established US band and like I've explained they were pretty amazing themselves but I honestly would go as far as to say Don Broco were even better. Perhaps I'm just coming down on the side of our very own home-grown talent but I don't think it is just that. To me, they proved to be the better band of the night!

Their single Priorities taken from their soon to be released debut album of the same name, was released on 11th May and is available via iTunes so get checking it out on there where you can also pre-order the full album for just £6.99, which comes out on 13th August (this is also available at They are both well worth it and I'm going to do my best to be able to play these guys in the future so keep your ears in full attention mode for that! The band are putting appearances in at a number of festivals over the summer including Download (as mentioned above), Rhythms of the World and the Boardmasters Festival in Newquay, Cornwall. This is in addition to a number of other dates across the UK so check out their Facebook page for all the details.

Another band worthy of a mention is Fort Atlantic. Hailing from Birmingham; not my home town this time round but from over the pond in Alabama instead. Their self-titled album has just been released and I admit I haven't bought it yet but will certainly be parting with the very respectable £5.99 for 10 tracks (search for it on iTunes). I was introduced to Fort Atlantic via the Noise Trade website I mentioned in the last podcast. I've been sent links to some truly amazing albums, EPs and what they call tasters. This particular taster left my ears and mind hungry for more and although I've been really busy with other music I noticed Fort Atlantic tweeting about this forthcoming release so thought I'd give them a mention. The music is an alternative indie rock sound with a few delicate numbers that are sublime.

It goes without saying (again, writing?) Sigur Ros have established themselves as a music group of a particularly high quality. I gave a few listens to their new album Valtari when the band kindly made it available for streaming via a number of websites prior to its release. It certainly doesn't disappoint! I find their albums so evocative and just so damn interesting. They're unlike anything else out there and definitely a group I MUST see play live as soon as I possibly can! A number of their US dates later this summer have already sold out but their only UK appearance so far is at Bestival on the Isle of White. This is just too much out of my price range (come on sponsors, send me to cover this festival or indeed send me over to the US for their tour and I'll cover this wonderfully dynamic Icelandic band). I must admit they're a band who I'd rather see their own full show as opposed to a festival slot but of course I wouldn't say no if someone offered me the festival.

Featuring next time round should be the following but as ever the playlist is subject to change:

Everybody Looks Famous
Falling Faster
The Slow Readers Club
Jody Has a Hitlist
James Vincent McMarrow
Nick Burbridge
Gypsy Fire

Until then, peace to you all and thanks so much for listening and all the support!

As always thanks to Mark Blasco at podcastthemes for the intro theme tune.