Thursday, 1 November 2012


Howdy then folks. Welcome to the blogcast for the latest podcast, the tenth, no less! Apologies it's been a while to get this one completed but as I mentioned in a previous post, I am trying to get ahead with recording the podcasts so I can keep up a decent amount to air via Acoustic Spectrum. This one is likely to have its regular two plays before I get #11 finished for it. #11 is indeed all ready to record but that blogcast will be another few weeks away at the very least. The songs for #12 are also now all in and they're coming in fast and furious for #13. In between these I also have another special show lined up. How would you like to hear a mix of some classic favourites with one or two recent gems? It means I get to play some golden classics but it will of course be for streaming only. Still, it will be available nonetheless. Do I have some great tunes lined up for that one. I'm sure you're going to really enjoy it.

It may well transpire due to licensing and all that jazz (not actual jazz you understand, but feel free to do jazz hands every time jazz gets written. That's four lots now. I'm watching. Come on, get in the spirit of things peoples!), that I can only let that special show play via Acoustic Spectrum so make sure you tune in at 7pm (GMT - feels so strange after using BST for so long) on Thursdays or you will miss out. Then I will let my cat at you. She's a mean one too. This is due to her age you understand, and not necessarily her nature. She's like a Cylon, The Rani and Servalan all rolled up into one fluffy bundle. Okay, I apologise to any non-sci-fi geeks out there who will have no idea what that means, or indeed how bad it will be if I let my cat out at you. So, best way to avoid finding out is to tune in to the show at Acoustic Spectrum and listen to those classics. I anticipate it will be a few weeks before it gets played as I am hoping to get #11 sorted for next Thursday (8th November) because I have a few new singles to play. I will however try and keep you posted via twitter. If you're not following me on there then you can find me @roberto_baggins where you can see all the rubbish I tweet all the time.

Before cracking on I'm going to ask you for a wee favour (in addition to visiting and listening to the podcast, yes but stick with me). Thanks to the lovely New Zealand singer-songwriter Julie Lamb, I discovered there's a European Podcast Awards. She kindly asked if my podcast was entered into it which, given I'd never heard of the thing it wasn't and so I said I'd check it out. Having done so I decided to propose Band of Badgers Presents for nominations. Scary stuff! Now, I know given the number of podcasts out there in the category (Personality) and how wonderfully amazing people make them, I have little chance of winning. However, as a typical never win anything kind of guy I'm well on the 'It's the taking part that's fun' bus.

I'm aware there are still a couple of issues with my sound quality, mostly with my speaking parts. And no, I don't mean me having a 'cold voice' on this particular episode.

There is some horrid echo thing going on I can't seem to eliminate. I am working on it but I do use a simple free software program to mix things. I paid for Wavepad but not knowing what I was doing, I failed to pay the right price to get the mixing capability. Yes, I know I am a tech fool. The pittance I get paid doesn't stretch to me rectifying this situation any time soon I'm afraid. I've already cancelled Christmas, effectively. If I won this I'd get software I believe but even if not I'm on it soon as I can afford to upgrade my Wavepad. My point is (yes I do have one, cheeky), that I'm aware of this little niggle in sound quality but if you enjoy the podcast, like what I ramble on about at times and the information about the artists and bands I give out; and more importantly if you like the music I offer you each time, then please stop by and vote for me. I will be ever so grateful. So will Valerie. 'Valerie who?' I hear you ask. Valerie, the banjo playing badger of course! Even if you don't vote I am still sincerely grateful for you reading this far with how much I digress from the point most of the time. Thank you!

After all that waffle (mmmm, waffles) let's get on with it!

The Playlist:

  1. Our Forgotten Towns - The Levellers
  2. This Isn't What I Signed Up For - Turnstile Junkpile
  3. A Proud Surrender - Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou
  4. Before The Dawn - Mat Gibson
  5. Lonely Boy (Live Cover) - Luke Jackson
  6. Dance Keith, Dance - The Cakes
  7. Another Acid Day - Art Of Privilege
  8. Lovefool - Grimsell in the Glasshouse
  9. End Game - Umbrella Harbor
  10. Summertime - Gypsy Fire
  11. Deliverance - The Silent Union
The Levellers
What can I possibly add about this bunch of guys? They have been with me since 1997 so naturally they occupy a very special place in my musical life and their importance on my musical journey goes beyond words. It's unfortunate I'm not going to have been to a show this year but it means I will have to try and make it to at least two next year. Although in 2011 I was able to get to about five. Or was that 2010? Whichever year it was, I think I’ve made up for missing one this year. No excuses for missing Beautiful Days though so I will certainly be on that next year. Staying in a camper van if my Band of Badgers Presents Camper Van Festival Tour proposal is successful. Fingers crossed. Actually, everything crossed. I'll keep you updated but I have sent it out to a few places already. Not finished by a long shot.

The Levs rarely break from touring. I imagine they’ve clocked up millions of miles over the years but their shows are always full of their army of fans and just where they get their energy from is anyone's guess. I wouldn't mind some if it's going, though. We fans are more of a family really as everyone gets on so well. I recall I’d had a fair bit to drink at a 2009 gig in Northampton although I wasn’t too drunk. I was moshing away to one of the songs, I don’t remember which one specifically but as I pulled my arm up to punch the air I whacked some poor guy in the face. He just smiled and patted my back. I felt terrible of course but grateful I didn’t get punched back. It wasn’t like I did it on purpose but can you just imagine doing that at most other gigs? Even by accident. There’d be a riot! Perhaps I’m exaggerating and I suppose it does depend on the type of gig it is, the band and the fanbase. At these gigs, I always feel like I'm amongst friends.

Anyway, The Levs are going strong and are most likely working on songs for their next album even as they whizz around Europe and soon the UK. Static on the Airwaves might only have been released this year but these guys are always on the move. What’s great is they never forget their old tunes when touring either. They are crowd pleasers at the core but even so pretty much most, if not all of their new stuff is bang on with their trademark quality. They champion new up and coming talent too. It was on one of their tours I got introduced to The Last Republic who alas, are no more for various reasons. See below for a mention of that devastating news.  I think the above video of Raft of Medusa, also from the latest album and filmed at this year's Beautiful Days Festival demonstrates the reasons for their longevity rather well.

Turnstile Junkpile
I've still not managed to get my review written of this band's fantastic debut album, Everything Is Cheaper Than It Looks. I need a slap. Or more time. May I go with the more time option please? With it being less painful and all that. Seriously though, check out the rest of the tunes from this album because Turnstile, to me, are quite unlike anything else out there. It's like a huge infusion of so many of the great things about americana, alternative country, soft rock and so much more I could probably list for days if I was to include all the little sub-genres and nods to various styles within their repetoire. And that is just from this album alone. I bet they have so many more tricks hiding inside their instrument cases which they relish in bringing out for a live audience. In other words, get yourself to a show if you can. It will be totally more than worth it.

In The Morning popped itself on to my iPod shuffle at work today and it made for a much better day, it must be said. Its delightful gentle dinkle danklin' banjo aside, I think there's an influence of The Beatles on this particular track. And why not? The Fab Four seem to have inspired so many bands and artists spanning across numerous genres. I'm just guessing at the specifics of the influence though as I may be totally wrong. The title track is itself a wonderful bluesy jazz mix with added banjo. It is sublime.Then the likes of Wishing Well gets the shoulders moving, building up to a stonking little electric guitar solo. One of the many awesome such solos. Hit play above and enjoy!

Gigswise (that should so be a word - I'll write to the dictionary peeps), they are supporting another of my recent favourites, The Dreaming Spires on two dates of their forthcoming tour. Wednesday 7th November at the Wilmington Arms before heading to The Palmiera in Brighton on Friday 9th. I should then be seeing The Spires on their date in Oxford on Saturday 10th before the Tom McRae gig on Sunday 11th. There should also be a Kate Rusby gig in Northampton on that Friday for me so that will be one gigged up weekend for me. I won't want to go back to anything less than three per weekend after that I expect. I knew there was something uber important I had to get on with now I've been paid. Find affordable accommodation in Oxford for that Saturday night. It's not proving an easy task it must be said. Perhaps Trevor and Hannah may be up for renting out their Leyland Campervan for the night?

Trevor Moss & Hannah Lou
This duo really mesmerized me with their a cappella version of Nebraska for the recent Nebraska Sessions organised by the great Clubhouse Records. You can watch all the videos recorded for that project >>here<<. You should also keep your eyes peeled for the digital release of that album coming soon although I will of course keep you posted as and when news comes in.

Trevor and Hannah are releasing videos of them recording each of the tracks from their forthcoming album, La Femme De Fontenaille - released 5th November. It looks and sounds stunning and the excitement in me is building up to epic proportions. For the time nears when I will get to see them perform. They are quite within their rights to slap me for missing what I imagine was a superb set at Truck Festival back in July. Supporting TomMcRae on several dates of his solo tour I’m seeing them in Oxford. The duo then head out on their very own headline tour entitled Up The Club. This sees them tour a number of Social Clubs around the UK. This is a real treat, bringing great quality live music to the people. If they're playing a club near you, then get your tickets >>here<<. At just £5 per ticket, it is a wonderfully affordable evening of pure musical quality for you and the family.

If you are new to this sensational duo I have a distinct feeling the above video of the recording of fifth track on their album, Grand Tales In Tired Covers will have you salivating like a dog in a Pavlov experiment gone very wrong. Umbrellas will be required for all around you until you grab what is going to be an album of the year for sure!

Mat Gibson
WOW! Yes folks, this guy is one of those that requires the instant WOW! With an amazing voice, outstanding lyrics and an album brimming with superb quality tunes what more can you ask for? Long Goner is available to buy via Bandcamp for just £5. Just a little fiver. That's the blue paper one. Come on. Payday just hit and Mat deserves payment for such stellar work. That voice! WOW. I'm at it again. WOWing like I've been hit with the WOW stick or something. The opening track, Before The Dawn, which is the one I played on the show sets things off nicely. Did I say set? I can do better than that surely? Okay then, it doesn't set things off nicely. It kicks them off with a gale force power other artists can only dream of. The crispness to the sound blows the mind. Recorded in an old pump house near Shepperton on Thames, Mat really did capture the sonic depth he mentions, fully utilising the naturally large open space. Hit play and hear for yourselves but I warn you buckle up because it will suck you through a vortex with that gale force power I mentioned and you won't return until the closing notes of the final track.

Mat has other albums up for sale that are worth your time as well. 2011's Forest Fire is notably different but only in it sounds less atmospheric. This is not a criticism however because it is still chocked full to bursting with tunes of the highest quality. The overall sound comes down more on the americana side of things and those phenomenal vocals are present in all their glory. There's even a FREE download from this record for you so check this out below. BUT, please check out the rest of the album while you're at it too. I will be keeping a close eye on Mat over the next year. Not in a stalkery way, he'll be glad to hear but in the hope I can see him play live at some point.

Luke Jackson
As I recently wrote and published a full review of Luke's headline gig I just wanted to refer you to that >>here<< for more. As explained, it is from this show the recording I played is taken. I will mention again that Luke is currently on tour supporting Martyn Joseph so I urge you not to miss out on one heck of a great performance.  

The Cakes
Checking out the tunes of this band following Alex's kind comments on one of the posts on this blog, I was well impressed with what was presented to my ears. They sound like they should be played on mainstream radio. By that I mean the good stations and shows, playing proper real music like theirs. Dance Keith, Dance sounds like an indie anthem akin to those greats from the mid to late 90's in my opinion. It doesn't sound like it belongs to that time, however. It is fresh and contemporary, a tune for today but it just has the kind of quality from some bands of that time. Quite frankly, I'm amazed The Cakes aren't more well-known because they damn well should be. Their sense of humour rivals the funniest comedians too by the way. It's always nice when musicians succeed in actually being funny as opposed to those who just try but are so bad at it they deserve to have tomatoes thrown at them for their shocking puns and pathetic punchlines. Merely reading about how this band split up for a year because of the location issue (read it for a laugh) and how their main interests are Bacon, Cake, Cake Bacon, had me wishing I was at a gig right now. I cannot see this humour not translating to the stage to give audiences one heck of a fun time. With amazing music, to boot! Make sure you download some free tracks from their Reverbnation page. Quarantine is a pure delight too and I love how different it is to Dance, Keith Dance.

Art of Privilege
It's not all about softness and folk of course, as much as I love that. So, to satisfy the harder side of my musical likes, there's this Scottish hard rock band. Art of Privilege have been nominated for 'Best Rock Act' in the Online Music Awards so if you enjoy their sound why not help them out by voting for them via this >>link<<. Award season really is upon us isn't it? Voting for these great guys as well as for the podcast in the European Podcast Awards (nudge nudge, wink wink). The band's first single The Crawler is available via iTunes so click >>here<< to get your copy. You can sample the banging video for it below.

Grimsell in the Glasshouse
What struck me instantly from Rob Hirst's latest project in Grimsell in the Glasshouse, is the sheer diversity in the tracks up on their soundcloud page. What is being offered demonstrates the difference in styles these guys are capable of producing and this is something to keep their output fresh. It is progressive and experimental. Well worth checking out. The Acoustic tracks Lovefool and Emily are available via a mountain of sites including Spotify and iTunes.

Umbrella Harbor
Justin Waylon Morgan plays some rather good piano. The fact he pieces things together and just let's it come to him, is astonishing. Especially when the results are sounds like this. It's really great to just relax to or as I do, write to. His compositions can act as an inspiring soundtrack helping to break open those rusted locks to the doors within the creative areas of my mind. All of his music is available for free via his soundcloud page so do check out what's up there. Even for those of you who think instrumental alone isn't your kind of thing. Give it a try. You'll be surprised how hearing something as deep and inspiring as this will open you up to so many other areas of music. Justin says he does it for the enjoyment of it but with a talent like this he has to break into it professionally in some way in the future I'm sure of it! It is only a matter of time before someone discovers him. I know he wants to move to New York and being just a young chap his life is fully ahead. I think his future is going to be bright and involve music quite heavily. Who needs psychics? Thanks for the awesome music, mate and thanks for being a really interesting Twitter friend.

The Silent Union
Although only having a two track EP out at present, acquiring the talented vocal talents of Jay Tennant has meant The Silent Union are able to crack on with an ever-growing collection of songs which will serve for near-future recordings. With their infectious, atmospheric indie rock sound, Deliverance and Hurricane demonstrate their capabilities with flair and passion. It's exciting to be there at the birth of something special like this and I'm looking forward to hearing much more from this band over the coming months. You can download their Acoustic EP for free via soundcloud.

There's a wonderful review of this EP to which I refer you, on another music blog. As well as reading this one, the others up there are pretty impressive too. I'll be checking in to read more from Grahame at Indie Band Land in the future because what he has to say is well worth listening to. Technically it is what he has to write about music is well worth reading and taking notice of. That's for you purists out there.
Moving Along...

Sam Beeton
Nottingham's super sensational singer-songwriter Sam Beeton has a new track out! The latest addition to Season 2 of his Record Club dropped through the door one recent Saturday morning. It's always a great day to receive new tunes, particularly on a lazy relaxing Saturday. Well, I say lazy but I'm writing up parts of this so not technically completely lazy. Born At The End kicked my day off perfectly, as did this wonderful acoustic version filmed in a rescued Methodist chapel at the Tilford Rural Life Centre during Weyfest Music Festival. There's no explanation about what the chapel was rescued from exactly. An alien attack is possible but unlikely, I guess. Maybe it was rescued from an army of Fraggles?

As can be expected from Sam, the quality is phenomenal and that alone is reason enough for you to go join Season 2 of the Record Club right now. For full details click >>here<<. Or if you'd like a free song first to whet your appetites then click >>here<<. There's little doubt you'll be joining up to the club soon enough after hearing this and his other tunetastic treats.

The Fall of the Republic 
Recording this episode of the podcast has taken such a long time because as I mentioned I had to get it done in between sobbing fits at me having to miss the Dry The River gig I’d been waiting for these past six months. That sad sorry state of affairs is not all that caused these painful, heart-wrenching sobs. It was announced a few weeks ago that welsh indie rock band The Last Republic are to be no more. The Republic has fallen into ruin and disarray. Now I can appreciate what it must have felt like in Rome when everything went tits up. I feel like I should have been more prepared as band lead, Jonnie had been talking excitedly about working on a solo project for a good few weeks prior to this devastating news. Even so, I would still have been shocked. As it was, I was devastated. To lose such a great sounding band who come together so amazingly and offered up such tightly constructed music is a bitter blow. Their debut album Parade is a tour de force of what other bands should be doing if they wish to get it right and have any longevity.

Their reasons for disbanding are many and varied of course. They had a member leave which as a cohesive unit would naturally leave a bit of a gaping hole to the remaining members. I imagine with some bands, more so those formed of close friends or even perhaps when it isn’t so at the beginning but it becomes as much. Sometimes when one leaves, others wish to follow or lose the spark that unified the whole. It isn't always the case but when it is, I understand it is best to walk away than continue without the fire and passion that made it so great. Then there’s how incredibly tough it is to make a living doing it these days. The music business is broken. In the recent interview I posted on the blog with Adrian Banks from The Scholars, he described it perfectly with those words about it being broken at present and how it is working itself out. It means there isn’t much trust out there for investment in new bands and music making is a hundred times tougher than years gone by. Even with the advent of the internet and social networks, if the money and investment isn't there then self-promotion can only reach so far.

The guys did have some new tunes they were working on and recorded earlier in the year with a view to releasing them as a band. They were bloody good tunes too!! I could cry I tell thee. I’m just really glad I got to see them one last time at Truck Festival in July. Naturally I wish all members of the band well in whatever pursuits they follow and urge you to check out Jonnie’s solo project Bloodflower up on Facebook and Soundcloud

I’m really looking forward to more from Jonnie in the future and I will be keeping you posted. There’s one song up on the Bloodflower soundcloud page at the moment. If you’re expecting a mere solo version of the band with Indigo then you’re in for a big surprise. A very pleasant big surprise though. With Indigo you get something completely new although with a note of the distinct Jonnie vocals. It is awesome stuff and has already been played on BBC Radio Wales so congratulations Jonnie on breaking out there with only having just got this track recorded and shared. I believe there are more recordings in the bag and waiting to be unleashed. Bring them on, I say!

Angel Kelly
I simply have to share this latest song with you from the wonderful Angel Kelly and while I apologise if it makes you cry, it is totally worth it. Initially written as a poem for one of her very close friends' birthday, Angel sang it at that friend's Celebration of Life when she was laid to rest last year. It pulls at the heart to know of this and it makes what you experience all the more poignant and heartfelt. It really is a celebration of that friendship though and will leave you more with tears of happiness than sadness. Sombre tears of happiness, you might call them. It is quite simply one of the most beautiful songs I've had the pleasure of hearing. There are more tunes for you on Angel's website so do check those out as you pass by.

Brooke Sharkey
Thanks to Never Enough Press I've been introduced to the incredibly interesting Brooke Sharkey. There's a hint of Bjork to this folk-infused sound but it does twist and turn far beyond that one comparison. Again, it can be hard to put your finger on exactly what it should belong to but then I'm not one for pigeon-holing anyway, in spite of having to sometimes label things up for whatever reason. It is refreshing to get something so strikingly original and distinct as this. There's stardom ahead that's for sure. I can totally see Brooke singing out one of the tunes from the smashing debut album, One Dress - Out 5th December - on Later With Jools Holland. I have had a sneaky listen to the album and can confirm it is going to set the music world alight. The quality of music is sublime, with string arrangements so exquisite you'll think you're listening to a whole orchestra at some points. Then there's that wonderful vocal sound. Believe me, this girl is going places! Feel free to grab yourself a copy of the free downloadable track below and please do share it because music this good needs to get out there to as many ears as possible.

Brooke has just landed, or more likely sailed or trained, back in the UK following a stint of live gigs in France where she whiled away her teenage years. There was probably less whiling than I suggest here. She admits drawing on influences such as Billie Holiday, Edith Piaf and Bob Dylan, with more coming from 30's to 70's music than much of the contemporary stuff. Joanna Newsom is one of the more recent artists to have left a mark however. Now, I remember seeing Joanna on an episode of Jools Holland's show a few years back and I believe it would be impossible for anyone to not be in some way affected by the ethereal performance she gives. It is out of this world. Angelic. A pure delight. Citing the likes of Dylan and Newsom (hmm, think of what that double act could produce) then, I must say I'm excited to see Brooke perform live. I'm afraid a mixture of geography and finances will prevent me from doing so but it should certainly not stop you, if you are anywhere near the places she's stopping by on her November UK tour. The dates are listed below so please get along and support a truly remarkable artist!

There's also an album launch party on 5th December at St Pancras Old Church in London. I would so love to attend that but the same old story of geography, day job and lack of money will hinder me. I don't believe I'll have chance to write a full review of One Dress in time for the release but I will do my best to get something written down and up online over the coming weeks if you want my opinion. I absolutely love what I've heard so far! I'll also be playing His Voice on Band of Badgers Presents...#11.
UK Shows - November:
1st - The Revelry, Essex
2nd - Inside Out, Sidmouth
3rd - The Grapevine, Exmouth
6th - The Golden Lion, Bristol
8th - Porters Wine Bar, Hastings
11th - Onetaste Festival, The Bedford, Balham, London
15th - Pegs + Pans, The Vintage Emporium, London
18th - Glad Residency, The Gladstone, Borough, Lonon

To borrow a rather well-known phrase:

'And Now For Something Completely Different'

Now stick with me just for a wee little moment. Sit back, hit play and enjoy something that I think you'll agree verges on the surreal side of things. Yes it is. Fraggles. The little fuzzy creatures that live in 'the rock caves' under that lighthouse somewhere yonder. And yes, it is indeed Ben Folds Five reunited and playing a new tune, Do It Anyway featuring those fraggles. Mad isn't it? Good? What are your thoughts? I must admit I actually quite enjoyed it but remain unsure if it should be kept locked away in the vaults of my musical mind as a guilty pleasure. I will admit one thing. I want one of those Boy Gorg t-shirts. And now, thank you please!

'And Now For Something Even More Completely Different'

It is not my intention to cause any controversy and I sincerely hope you see the funny side in the below. I think it is hilarious and love its crazy madness. Enjoy! No, I know it has absolutely nothing to do with music but just imagine the soundtrack one could create to this. Great stuff, hope you like it too.

I do believe it is time to wrap up. The cold aside, it is time to bring this blogcast to a close. Haha, I am too funny. I know I'm not, don't worry. I am not taking up comedy. By the time this is published I'll most likely have #11 recorded or pretty much almost finished so you'll be able to hear that on Acoustic Spectrum at the usual time, although it will now be GMT as opposed to BST. I'm reminded by this due to the fact it is not much beyond 16:30 yet it is already getting dark. By the shortest day we may as well just stay in bed. Is the Earth moving in other ways do we think? Surely it shouldn't be this dark yet? Anyway, as always I digress. Where was I? Oh yes. As well as having #11 good to go,  all the tunes for #12 in place and #13 coming along nicely, I have about 4 special episodes planned. Organisation station - get in. Well, I shouldn't blow any trumpets or signal the fanfare just yet because a lot can happen in the next half hour so Stingray informed me.

I will sign off now so I can get on with finishing off my review of Glimore & Roberts' latest album, The Innocent Left which will also feature a little review of the awesome gig I went to last Saturday. An amazing night, an amazing album from two amazing musicians. The Innocent Left is OUT NOW and you can purchase a copy >>here<< or if iTunes is your thing then visit >>here<<. The official video for the opening track Scarecrow is below.  

Thanks for listening and reading and thanks as always to Marc Blasco for the opening theme to the podcast. Until next time, peace to you all.

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