Wednesday, 8 August 2012

BAND OF BADGERS PRESENTS #6

                              



Howdy all. Herein lies podcast number six. Not quite sure why I welcome you all in this way given the title says it all (as does your ability to count) but ah, well. I may as well continue the way I started. Besides, I like to give you a warm welcome and express my gratitude for taking the time to stop by. I am fully aware how precious free time can be and I'm also fully aware about how much I can ramble on, at times. I studied Philosophy, so that should say all there is to about that. Rambling can be good. Depends what one rambles on about of course. I really should relegate my rambles to the end of the post shouldn't I? That way you're not faced with it at the start. That is if you haven't just skimmed it briefly, moving swiftly on to the playlist and other music news below. I certainly don't blame you to be fair but check out my exciting new musical promotion proposal. 

While at Truck Festival a couple of weeks ago (I know, I know, where's the review? I honestly wish it hadn't taken so long and I'm not moaning (okay I may be moaning about the lack of time issue again but well, it is an issue after all. Perhaps cloning myself would assist in some way. Two (or more) of me to speed things along a bit)), seeing all the luxurious campervans in attendance made me think, wouldn't it be groovy (the youth still say groovy, right?) if I had one myself and was able to go on a grand musical adventure visiting as many UK music festivals as I could next year.

Covering the length, breadth and width of the entire UK (including Northern Ireland, if they'll have me) attending one every two or three weeks. What a mission it could be. Perhaps helping raise money for charity along the way as well as assist in promoting for whoever would be generous and kind enough to sponsor the whole thing. Yes, there is that. I'm still no lottery winner just yet. Writing up the adventure would be an amazing experience too as would all those bands and artists I would get to see. And what about Band of Badgers Presents Live Sessions whereby artists or bands performing at the festivals sing a song or two inside the home on wheels? (or rather by the side as a campervan is not a TARDIS - although who knows maybe one might well be a TARDIS, the camouflage is kind of the point is it not?) Maybe I am just dreaming, especially that last part, or reaching a tad too high but hey, at least I'm reaching somewhere. I can see it now....a band of banjo (and guitar, flute, violin, drums etc...) playing badgers painted on one side of the campervan. Oh, right, yes. I appear to have woken up now.

Part 1 of my Truck review will follow this post quite quickly, by the way. Just in time for Bakewell Music Festival this coming weekend. Bring it on!

Enough of all that for the moment though and on with (cue Echo sound effect) THE PLAYLIST. And you may want to sit back & relax because below, have I got a jam packed blogcast* for you.

*I'm not sure if this word should be patented by Aidan Logan, a singer-songwriter I played on the last podcast. He coined the term in a Tweet and it has kind of stuck. 

The Playlist:
  1. This Heart's Built to Break - The Scholars
  2. Mad Hatter - Echo & Drake
  3. Our Little Empire - Lavers
  4. Accordion - Brian Wright
  5. To The Sea - Kid Conventional
  6. BYOB - Let's Go Safari
  7. Coast Fiction - Porthaven
  8. Moon - T E Morris
  9. Kia's Song - Nate Jones
  10. Ghosts - Perry Hood
BAND OF THE MOMENT: >> THE SCHOLARS <<

It would be misleading to claim The Scholars are my only band of the moment (there's just too much music in orbit around me at present) but they are certainly at the top of that list! I think I've mentioned before how I was immediately hooked by their sound after hearing the song I played here, This Heart's Built To Break, for the first time. It is available as a free download and I snapped that up as soon as I was made aware quite some time ago now so make sure you do too by visiting their >>bandcamp<< page.

As I mention in the podcast I've been fortunate enough to be able to hear the five brand spanking new tunes the band have recently recorded and which they will be releasing individually as singles from September onwards. I'll talk and write more about them in the coming months and I honestly cannot wait to be able to play the first new single, Wired (in a few episodes time). Initially the recordings were going to be put out as a 5 track EP but the band decided to take the single route instead. It makes sense as they will be able to focus on promoting each track they end up releasing gathering more press in the process. There will of course be a string of gigs to help promote the first release but dates and venues are all still to be arranged and announced. Naturally I will report what I can whenever I hear it. These guys are a band I would travel wherever I needed to in order to get to a show. Lucky for me, they are only down the road (albeit a long one) in Banbury, Oxfordshire. 

Going from a five to a three piece band they have managed to retain the real core element of the sound they had established so perfectly. In addition though it is clear they have also built on what came before so their musical development is evident. Adrian and Chris actually played an acoustic set in support of Spring Offensive at a free gig in Banbury last Friday 3rd August receiving a good reception. I wish I could have been there although in my defence it was my mum's birthday (Happy Birthday mum) and I was visiting the family to meet my newborn nephew for the first time. You see, my mad scientist cloning idea would prove useful for so many things.

If you haven't done so already then why not check out the excellent 5 track EP, Arrival/Departure, from the band, which was released in 2011. When you've had a listen below and realise how talented and amazing these guys are head to iTunes where if you part with just £3.95 the EP can be all yours. Make sure your ears are paying full attention so you don't miss any gig announcements to come because if you miss them when they're near you, then the SMAs (pronounced Smars..Special Music Agents) will hunt you down and may just torture you for crimes against indie music. Don't say I didn't warn you!


I know I've gone on about interviews before and still not featured any as yet but there is a master plan. Okay, maybe less of a master but there is a plan and I'd like to see the first interview in podcast #10. Hopefully I'll be able to bag one with The Scholars which would be pure awesomeness. 

I ended up forgetting to mention the name of the other music podcast that featured the recent interview with them. I didn't do this on purpose in spite of my little jest about withholding the information until the end of the show. It is called From the ladder factory and I honestly do urge you to check it out if you enjoy your music podcasts. Which as you're here I'm hoping you do.

GET YOUR NEW NEWs HERE!

So many new singles out at present or on their way. And EPs or albums to boot. Although I only played Cosmic Ambulance last time, which is taken from their EP The Street is a Symphony (released in 2011/iTunes 2012) the recent release of Our Little Empire is an opportunity for me to assist further with promoting (in my own small way) this breathtaking Aussie brotherly duo, Lavers. These guys cover an astounding range with their songs drawing comparisons from the likes of Jeff Buckley, Ryan Adams and even The Beatles. These are not just random names casually thrown about, either. Just one listen to the first EP will have you agreeing in some way, shape or form as you marvel at the eclectic mix contained therein. 

Our Little Empire is available to buy right now from either their >>bandcamp<< website or via >>iTunes<<. It is taken from their forthcoming seven track EP, Endless Corridors due for release on 25th August. How awesome is that? With seven tracks you're pretty much getting a near complete full album. You can pre-order it if you'd like to by following the necessary links on the bandcamp page. Check out the video for the single (shot in Japan) below. Do also take a look at the startling stop-motion animation video for Tangled Up In Dreams >>here<<. This was produced to help raise awareness about the issue of avoidable blindness.



Electro/Indie/Pop band, Let's Go Safari are indie in all senses of the word. Signed to the independent record label Red Dragon Records, the four-piece band are set to release their second single, BYOB (Bring Your Own Beer) on 20th August so I'm grateful to them and Red Dragon Records for allowing me to play it here ahead of that release. They are just starting off on their musical journey together but BYOB sounds like they've been at it for so much longer. It is a proper catchy summer tune that will have you bopping about and wanting beer for sure. 
The force of singer-songwriting power that is Kid Conventional is playing a gig at the O2 Academy in Birmingham on 24th October supporting Tom Forbes. With tickets at just £6 in advance you are clinically insane if you live in or nearby the area and do not go along to support this amazing talent! Tickets can be purchased >>here<<. He will also be playing ArtsFest in September but more about that in due course.

T E Morris is unique. Unique and so prolific I'm surprised he manages to fit in any sleep. Or anything other than making inspirational, moving and top quality music. With EP after EP and the album, We Were Animals released earlier this year there is yet another full album, And You Were The Hunter, due out on August 27th. I swear Tom has single-handedly redefined the word, prolific. It's like he's written a thesis on it by way of his relentless output. There is no sign of his work tiring either with the quality just getting crisper.



Now, I haven't yet said it this time but Perry Hood's 4 track EP, Ropes, blew me clean away. Okay, perhaps I mentioned being blown away after having a quick listen to an album I'd been sent to review. Seriously though, whereas I needed to catch a flight back to listen to the remainder of that album, Perry's sincere and experienced sounding songs blew me even further - out into deep space. Here is a guy who's lyrics and voice are just so engaging. Please visit his Facebook page and hit the 'like' button. Let's get his numbers on the increase like he deserves. Then pop to his >>bandcamp<< page and offer a decent price (although at 'name your price' it is a bargain opportunity) to buy your own digital download of Ropes.



As I've mentioned so many others from this particular show it would be a heinous crime to leave out the passionate indie acoustic US singer-songwriter, Nate Jones. I am WOWed by a lot of the music coming my way these days but there are always those that push it so much further beyond even WOW. I still can't help but be shocked, at times. Hearing Nate sing his own personal and intelligent original songs I was quite near drowned by the sheer intensity of the passion he packs within them, and with his performances. This is a guy destined for big things, I believe! He is so young to have such an accomplished sound as well but I'm certainly not complaining. Make sure you get to his >>Facebook page<< or alternatively his >>Reverbnation page<< where you can listen to the perfection he demonstrates with the likes of Autumn Road (or click play below) and Hello Catastrophe. Nate is also a fan of the US writer Jack Kerouac, as am I, and with how poetic he comes across this does influence his music I think, even if not directly. More from Nate in the future, you can count on it!



LUKE JACKSON'S DEBUT ALBUM OUT 13/08

I'm a really big fan of the acoustic indie roots singer-songwriter Luke Jackson who's song White Lies I played on the very podcast. I'm yet to play another but in the next show I'm going to revisit a number of previously featured bands and artists, Luke will definitely be one of those returning. What better way to celebrate the release of his first full length album More Than Boys, due out on 13th August. I've been following his music for quite a while now and I can't believe how quick the time has passed since he was first talking about the possibility of recording this with the assistance of Martyn Joseph. To say I'm excited about this album would be understatement of the century. Luke is working hard to assist Tom Morris in redefining the word prolific as he continues to gig all over the place, uploading many a video to his websites while being at college and working a part time job. What is the secret? If it's a secret magic word like in SuperTed then I'll be sure to ask him. Oh yes, I have booked tickets to a gig he is headlining for Rugby Roots at the Merchant Inn on Monday 8th October. Tickets can be purchased >>here<<

Another singer-songwriter I played on the first podcast, I will be writing much more about Andrew Page next time as well but I could not pass up the opportunity to include the below video of him covering the Tom Petty song Free Fallin' because you just HAVE to hear and see him perform. Magical. Sublime. Outstanding. I'm yet to see him myself but that situation needs to be remedied and quick!



And then there's the awesome Aidan Logan who played a gig at the Oh Yeah Music Centre in Belfast just yesterday. This video is of his own song Tell Me, which he has been tweeking a bit for recording but here it is in its original form. I'll be playing this song on the next podcast.



A Game of Chess with Pawns or Kings. 

As you may or may not know I do frequent the Twitter-verse a fair bit which is one chief way I pick up so much new music. Last Friday night I received a tweet from this US-based folk band asking for my opinion on their music. This is just the latest in a number of bands who have asked for my opinion. I am just so grateful my opinion is sought after. Citing they sounded a bit like Mumford and Sons I knew I'd like what I came across but OMG (if I may be allowed to abbreviate)!! If you could really fall in love with music then this would be it for me. Instantly, like love at first sight. Okay, the love references might start getting a little weird or inappropriate but believe me what Pawns or Kings provide is something I needed, even if I didn't realise it was missing.
Having listened to the songs from their album, Letters to Lucy I can understand where the Mumford and Sons comparisons arise. However, make no mistake these guys are no mere mimics. They have produced some masterpieces that sound like a perfect mix of folk infused americana. I don't have space here to elaborate much at present but you can expect Pawns or Kings to feature in a post all by themselves at some point soon. I've included one song you MUST listen to. Come to Pass has the added sound of the penny-whistle and I'm not afraid to admit it gave me goosebumps.

It just so happens the guys are self-confessed Tolkien geeks, just like me. Wow, cool musicians like what I like (see also Nate Jones being a fan of Kerouac). There is some Philosophical logic that would deduce (I think, it's been a while) I too must be cool. I like this kind of logic.



Tom Smith - In brief.

Let me make it very clear, Tom Smith is worthy of much more than this brief mention will manage to convey. Perhaps I should have waited until next time when I have more time and space but then you would have had to wait far too long to be bought to this Irish singer-songwriter's exquisite, atmospheric music. Citing influences such as Johnny Cash, John Lennon and Cathy Davey, I must admit you can really hear tones of James Vincent McMorrow in this song Moon Bird. That said, as with all those I feature just because they have influences or they sound like another particular band or artist, it doesn't make them imitators. With Moon Bird, Tom proves he has just what it takes to make his own mark on the music world with a song brimming with his own unique talent. You can (and you should) purchase the single from his bandcamp website by clicking on the artwork below. As with Perry Hood above, it is another 'name your price' deal so you really want to be snapping up these bargains before these gifted folk enter the music stratosphere. Although being such down to earth, lovely people I have no doubt they will still be offering fantastic value for your money with their future releases.

Tom also has a Soundcloud page and I've included the song Runaways below too. To me this encapsulates a very Dylan-esque kind of sound. I've only heard a few songs but this is a chap I am really looking forward to hearing more from. I will of course be playing a tune in a future show so stay tuned (well, not tuned I guess, but you know what I mean).




And Finally...

I believe I need to wrap this one up pretty sharpish given how long I've been waffling on. There's just so much to say (write) and report about. So much I enjoy sharing. 

I'm really looking forward to Bakewell Music Festival this weekend. I'll be doing a review and will endeavour to get it completed and up as soon as possible after my return. I'm excited about seeing what this small idyllic festival has to offer. Excited too at getting to see Saturday headliners Gypsy Fire before Seth Lakeman. Second time this year for Seth, always a huge joy.

To play out the show. Oh, I see. Alrighty then, to sign off the blog post accompanying the show (or the blogcast) I have two bright sparkling gems. You may need to cover your eyes they shine so bright. Simon Friend of The Levellers has his own side project called Seismic Survey. I believe they only toured for the first time last year, possibly the year before. Frankly, I'm shocked I haven't got myself to a gig yet because as much as I love all things Levellers, I do have a fondness for Simon's songs such as Boatman, Battle of the Beanfield, Believers, Angel, Elation....the list goes on but a delicious performance of the latter is below.



Also just before you go (I know the hour is late, but think not of your tired morning state, this tune I know you'll rate, so click on play let's not debate!) this is the most recent tune from Laurence Fox. Enjoy!



As ever, a humungous mountain-sized load of thanks from me for your time and attention. I hope you've enjoyed #6 and can take something away with you. As mentioned above, next time will see me playing a set of songs from previously featured bands and artists so I hope you'll come back for that one. Until next time, peace to you all and in the words of Essnemma Caulfied, Stay Gay! Go >>here<< to see what I'm on about.

Also, thanks to Mark Blasco at podcastthemes for the intro theme tune. 




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