Sunday, 2 December 2012



I know this one has been published and up for  weeks by now, but I simply couldn't withhold it having completed the recording and mixing. Share, share, share. That is what it's all about and there are the two amazing and fantastic new singles from Derbyshire's indie-rock ravers Whitemoor and Oxford americana maestros The Dreaming Spires, which I really wanted to play and get out there. Thank you if you have already had yourself a listen or download and thank you doubly for coming back for another one or even just to check out the blogcast. Finally, it is here, yes.

I must admit the weekend I spent in Oxford a few weeks back really made me realize I need to make music my life's work. The journalism, promoting and all that side of things I mean, not the music making. I don't have any talent in that respect (I will dare to admit I am seriously going to pick up and dust off the guitar I have and start learning though. Did I say dust off? I better book it in for some kind of industrial clean, it has been standing idle so long. Will probably take me an age just to tune it now. No excuses however, I'm getting right on it!). Just hanging out there and going to those two awesome gigs (The Dreaming Spires & Tom McRae) bought it home again. In fact, all gigs do really. And yet I have to turn down so many I could attend for free in London simply because of logistics and finances. I also missed my first real opportunity to see The Scholars in Birmingham thanks to this pain in the backside of a lingering cold that is inflicting so many people. My immune system is usually not too bad. It's all about the fruit and veg. Just not in this particular case, I guess. The guys even ended up headlining that night due to the main band pulling out. Well done to them and please do go grab yourself a FREE DOWNLOAD of the awesome alternate version of their latest single Wired, it is a treat! More gigs are to be announced soon and nothing is going to prevent me getting to one now I can assure you!

I was recently contacted by New Music Connection's very lovely Stephanie Wright to ask if I'd like a press pass to the TuneBreaker - New Music Connection Awards Launch Party so I could do a little bit of a write up for the event. Gutted, I had to decline such an amazing opportunity yet again. Mix of things, namely lack of annual leave from the day job and complete lack of funds. This doesn't stop me championing the event or put a dampener on such an awesome reason to party. Indeed, the two entities have recently formed a partnership that is only set to strengthen the masses of independent talent out there who struggle to make it via the regular industry channels. In fact, this way, although tough itself is a much better way for them to make it. They can do it their own way without the risk of having to sell out or being sold out by those in who they place their trust along the way. TuneBreaker and New Music Connection have the artist in mind, their integrity and passions and they will strive to allow artists to showcase their own unique styles and talents. Just the way it should be.

All you unsigned and independent artists wherever you are in the UK & Ireland need to get registering to take part in the TuneBreaker & New Music Connection Awards. The voting, as such, runs from now until February and there are two fantastic awards up for grabs. The first will be the award for the act at the top of the charts come the closing date, who will win £1000 in addition to other amazing opportunities. 

The second is the TuneBreaker & NMC Award as voted by a panel for the most "promising" act it sees in the TuneBreaker Live Chart(TM). Many factors will be taken into account in selecting the recipient including songwriting, music, videos,  and well, pretty much everything there is to do with the whole creative and performance process so come on, get yourselves signed up if you want a chance at winning. I know there are so many of you out there more than worthy at bagging first place! Click >>here<< to find out all the info on how you go about entering and if you're not already a part of this excellent online music community get yourself signed up - it is totally FREE! It is a global community so there is a potential global fanbase you will be reaching too.

The launch party was held at The Good Ship in Kilburn on Tuesday 27th November and would have been one heck of a fantastic night celebrating some of the best independent live music. While you're reading this do check out the bands and artists who performed their musical magic at the event: The Vinyls, Sebastian Blake, Ali Ingle & Hollie Trevis. I am more than certain some, if indeed not all, of these talented folk will crop up in one of my playlists over the coming months. I'm currently thoroughly enjoying Ali Ingle's EP, The Man and the Monster. Have a listen to the opening track Something About Jorj below.

The greatness does not stop there either! There is a 2013 tour in the pipeline too. Kicking off in March next year you can be a part of it by simply registering your act with and and sharing your hard work. It is 100% totally and completely FREE to join up so make sure you get sharing links to your music, YouTube videos and any gigs you have coming up wherever they might be. They would love to come along to check you out and support. Wishing everyone taking part and who is involved with this entire venture all the very best. I'm just sorry I could not have been there for it myself. *slaps self* Next time!

Righty-ho then, on with the blogcast!

The Playlist:

  1. High Lights - Whitemoor **NEW SINGLE**
  2. Just Can't Keep This Feeling In - The Dreaming Spires **NEW SINGLE**
  3. Strangers We Meet - The Black Feathers
  4. What It Takes - Russell Toomey
  5. The Man Who Had Everything - Scott Matthews
  6. On This Great Day - Andy Ruddy
  7. Threadbare - Everything On Red
  8. To Make You Proud - Page 44
  9. No Justice, Just Us - Go.Fly.Win
  10. His Voice - Brooke Sharkey
The awesome bunch of guys from Derby who make up indie-rock band Whitemoor certainly know how to push the right buttons and tease their constantly growing fanbase with this stupendously superific new single, High Lights. It is taken from their second album, Horizons which is due to follow in the lofty footsteps of their self-titled debut. Rather than repeat myself (yes, okay you at the back again - I know I sometimes repeat anyway but shush please), click >>here<< to read my review of High Lights.

While mentioning this terrific band though I will request/instruct/command* (*delete as appropriate as long as it is only the first word) you to go and do yourselves a favour by purchasing that first album. It is a stonker that will have you bopping and singing along like a loon. A happy loon however, so it's all okay! With 11 tantalising tracks that are pure indie rock at its very best you will thank me for demanding you buy it. I cannot choose favourites when albums are this good but With Landscapes does always jump out at me when it plays. Strike that! They all do to be fair. These guys are definitely one of those bands where you'll say, 'Ah, this one and this one are my faves....,' before continuing, '...ah, hang on a sec....actually, that one and this one are too....oh and this one and that one.' So don't be a fool any longer and get on the Whitemoor train before those ticket prices rise through the roof. If you're new to them too, remember where you heard them first and who advised you. No, I don't get a cut but I absolutely love the band and their music so if you get chatting to them on Twitter or via Facebook feel free to mention yours truly in passing.

The Dreaming Spires
What a year it has been for the brothers Bennett! Their debut album Brothers in Brooklyn has been gathering lots of very well deserved hype throughout the music journalism world, which is fantastic news. I reviewed it shortly after its release back in June and to save you scrolling through the menus you can simply click >>here<< to read my thoughts on it. You see how nice I am to you lovely folks? It is a smashing debut marinated in the americana tradition and although there are very heavy influences that come through from the likes of The Byrds and Teenage Fanclub (indeed, as mentioned in opening track Singing Sin City) The Spires use their influences very wisely. They utilise them to perfection to be honest.

This comes through even more so on the stage and I've been fortunate enough to see them play twice this year now. First at their very own Truck Festival back in July. Okay, so it's no longer their's, strictly speaking but it is clear they still play a big part in the event (and quite rightly so). That half hour set was no where near long enough but I was uber excited to get to see  a full set at their homecoming Oxford gig at the Bullingdon Arms a few Saturdays ago. What a special evening it was too for their homecoming date. It was awesome to hear them perform every song from the album. I was looking forward to a few of the quieter numbers just because I hadn't heard them live and I was not disappointed. Robin delivered the vocals beautifully but I hadn't expected anything less. Laughing and Dancing, Woman That You Are and the brief but sublime The Dream Inspires were flawless.

The more upbeat songs were delivered with a boundless energy such as this latest single to be released, Just Can't Keep This Feeling In, Everything All The Time and what is one of my top favourites Look At The Stars (They're Really Out Tonight). It is just so grand sounding, and live they really pull no punches. The life they imbue it with is just unstoppable. Then there's the solidness of the hook-laden chorus on Singing Sin City. The music may not lend itself to moshing but there were many in the audience that night bopping up and down to the ravishing rhythms pouring out from the stage. We were also treated to a few other songs including their version of Bruce Springsteen's Atlantic City. Recently recorded for Clubhouse Records' Nebraska tribute album, it was performed with such intensity every single one of the crowd couldn't help but be transfixed. With so many bands and artists out there to see and such limited funds, it is not always easy to get to one gig but for The Dreaming Spires I'll get where I can when I can, even if it means seeing them several times throughout the year. They put on a show that is warm and inviting. You cannot help but just feel like a big part of an extended family of fans.

On another note but tied in, Nebraska Sessions is now available digitally via iTunes >>here<<. It is well worth parting with a little bit of cash for this celebratory album featuring a host of hugely talented independent artists. You can also read more about the album and the artists involved >>here<<.

The Black Feathers
WOW! Yes folks, another gobsmackingly gobsmacking duo that have the WOW factor in abundance. The ticklishly tantalizing sounds of The Black Feathers will put you in a trance and leave you begging for more! They come together so perfectly and harmoniously and are on my list of people I cannot wait to see play live. Yes, there are lots on that list I know but these are right up at the top. I get my wish granted too, in February next year and I'm grateful I don't have to spend a fortune on fuel to get there, as it is in a neighbouring town that is actually within the county I live in. Bonus!

They are hard at work on what will be their debut 5 track EP, due out early next year. In the meantime they have a 4 track EP of demos that are less demos and more crisp and pristine tracks. Each and every one of them demonstrate why The Black Feathers are going to keep on climbing up to become very well known on the music circuit. Just get listening. They are sublime and flawless. I am counting down the seconds to February for what will be one of the gigs of the year for me. I feel confident in making such a claim based purely on these demos and a couple of videos I've seen. Make sure you visit their own website for lots more.

Andy Ruddy

Now, as you may be aware (and for those of you who aren't, well you're about to become aware) - I discovered the terrific talent of Bradford singer-songwriter Andy Ruddy via the 'sponsored' advertisements on Facebook. So, they do work and they do, at times, suggest some truly amazing stuff. This is one of those times because, well, you will have heard for yourself and if not then take a listen, check out his page(s) and get liking. There are downloads a-plenty available at his Soundcloud page, which you can access by clicking on these embedded players.

In fact, there are so many awesome tunes on his soundcloud page I'm really hoping there is an album on the cards because it will definitely be one that will be joining my collection. The sooner the better too! Andy's list of influences makes interesting reading too. Although his own songs have that all-important and necessary mark of distinct originality (and star quality to be fair), I can understand how those influences have been utilized for him to produce such excellence. From Neil Finn and Dan Wilson to Aqualung and Oasis, it still cannot be ignored how Andy brings that touch of something deeply personal to his work. When all songs are so damn good it gets very difficult to pick out any stand outs. They ALL stand out as excellent. I do really enjoy the piano version of My Energy (above) and Only Now is beautiful. But then, I chose On This Great Day to play on the podcast too for the reason I think it has such a life to it and it sums up Andy's style just perfectly. Then there's the contrast which demonstrates his versatility with Fly By Night, you really shouldn't miss.  If you enjoy these then get checking out more and drop him some feedback.

Everything On Red
This northern rock band produce a sound that is immediately infectious! It isn't only infectious but highly contagious too. It may be necessary to request scientists get working on a vaccine to contain it before it threatens to spread across the UK before taking on the world and eradicating all other forms of contemporary rock music. It is great stuff and if other alternative rock bands aren't careful and don't step up to the mark themselves then they only have themselves to blame when Everything On Red leave their mark - which yes, is red - on every corner of Rockdom.

The band's wide range of influences can be heard clearly in their banging tunes. From punk rock to power pop they combine crunching guitars, sweeping synths and heartfelt vocals to create a vibrant, rich and diverse sound. What I think works really well too, is how each of the three members contribute their own individual songs to the band, sharing vocal duties. This means you really do get something different as opposed to having just the one vocalist, as is traditional. Not that there's anything wrong with the traditional of course but, you know, it's always nice to have something different. You can buy a copy of their latest release, Songs For Sirens by visiting the store on their Facebook page .

Page 44
Now these guys are from Birmingham so I demand you go and get yourself a copy of their smashing EP Leave The Last Man Behind right NOW. DO NOT pass GO & DO NOT collect £200. Okay, you can collect the £200 but make sure you take out the £2.70 for this excellent EP. You can grab it via iTunes for one and why would you not part with just £2.70 for the 5 fantastic tracks it will get you. One of them, Watch Me Fade features twice but its second time is a live version recorded at the London Roundhouse. It closes the little collection in perfect style and will whet your appetites for seeing the band live when they head out for shows again next year. 

They play one awesome set, something you can be assured of because they didn't get hand-picked to support The All American Rejects for nothing, you know! They also opened the second stage at Download Festival, I must add! The band are currently in prolific practice mode for their headlining closing show of the year at The Birmingham Ballroom (Other Room) on Saturday 15th December. Tickets are £7 and what a rocktastically rockarific (I really shouldn't should I?) night of quality banging alternative rock music it is going to be. If you're a Birmingham resident then get your tickets >>here<< and get along to support local live music. When it comes in such a quality package as Page 44 you really should not be missing out. These guys are growing and they are going to be big!

It seems like there is just lashing after lashing of FREE music this time round. All of the songs from this alternative rock band are available for FREE via their bandcamp page >>here<<. Make sure you drop by and sample some and then of course download for yourself. Enjoy, share and let's get a mass download going on. It's great stuff and you can hear the passion they will bring to their live shows as it smashes through the music with full force.

Brooke Sharkey
Independent in all senses of the word and with its 5th December release date fast approaching there's no stopping these wondrous gypsy and blues inspired folk ballads from stunning music lovers. With her unique vocal sound reaching you in a mix of both English and French, married with some brilliant and beautiful music, Brooke Sharkey should prepare for Later With Jools now because it is only a matter of time before we see her up on the box. One Dress is a stunning album destined to dazzle. There's a lovely review of it you should read >>here<<. All this clicking but it is totally worth it. Get clicking folks!

While you're in the clicking mood, click play on the video for Our Ways, above to see Brooke in action. I love, love, love her use of flipping between English and French, on this song in particular. Some of those strings sound very 1920's and so elegant how it speeds up too. It is just a wonderful piece of music. Very different to His Voice which only serves to demonstrate how diverse One Dress is, as an album. Make sure you download your FREE copy of His Voice too before you move on. Then buy the album for more greatness!


It's been a heck of a year for this 4-piece indie-rock band from Wandsworth. I wouldn't be surprised if they have to keep pinching themselves. Highlights have been the release of some truly amazing singles, not least the boisterously banging Twenty Three and ethereally electrifying Eve (I've played both these on previous podcasts). Gigs-wise they set off on the road supporting US Rock legends Incubus before being selected to open for the mountainous and magnificent Muse more recently after another band pulled out of a London show.
Determined to end the year up on a lofty high sees the release of their latest 2 track single. Pretty much everything about fiN is amazing and what helps this along is how incredibly interesting they are. They manage it once again with two songs which couldn't be more distinct to previous releases, if they each took up a banjo and started strumming. They haven't of course but what we have to enjoy are two further songs that demonstrates the phenomenal degree of talent they possess. This entertains by way of them creating, exuding and generating such a buzzing energy with everything they do that it immediately pulls you in for one amazing journey. If you're yet to sample their tunes, then get on board but make sure you're strapped in. Even if you're not secure they will take good care of you. Just get listening because you really are missing out on something spectacular.

Life Is Wasted On The Living is a perfect way to end their successful year. Its intro pulls no punches in forcefully sucking you out of the emotional vacuum of reality to deliver lyircs alerting you to be aware of what makes for an enjoyable life. They are just wonderful words with an important message given how so many people grind themselves into the ground. Folk get caught up in the whole rat race, wanting what someone else tells them they should because it's what is 'in' and so-and-so has it. All the while such people are missing the real point and taking for granted those things that are there to make them happy. It sounds hugely philosophical but it's really quite simple and dressed up in such great musical attire, you'll be singing along to the words after just one listen. A hit at their live shows, it's easy to understand why because it is one that will unite the audience in a big sing and dance/mosh along. 'Now, what are you waiting for?'

Lucky You is different yet again. The band move you along effortlessly with the musical arrangements and Luke exercises his vocal range by way of sublime sounding somersaults, with a fiNtastic falsetto that will have you hitting that <repeat track> button because you can't get enough! It wraps things up percectly and is no doubt another kick ass tune on their live set. I so need to see them and SOON please! We have to get on it and quick though because they are so bloody good I can see them selling out huge venues before long.
You can pre-order your limited edition 7" Vinyl, which includes an MP3 download from >>here<<.

Previous releases you really need to be checking out below include the delightful and largely instrumental The Artisan with the die-hard alternative rock of Rapture. The band showed a more delicate side with the very Muse-esque Everybody Dies Alone as it builds to colossal heights, gathering up some truly inspiring instrumentals. It already sounds like it is one of those well-known anthem-type songs played all the time on the radio. This was accompanied by the lovely and hook-laden It Changes Everything, which has some fiNtastic synths. Then prior to the latest, as mentioned above, came Twenty Three and Eve. All these should be available as a full album sometime early next year and I believe it is going to be released digitally following all the double singles being released throughout this year on limited edition vinyl. Such a wonderful way to sell their music, in my opinion. These guys don't just have everything, they have the universe when it comes to originality and I think even with the industry in the kind of disarray it is (same as most industries these days I suppose), there aint nothing gonna stop fiN from breaking out there and getting in everyone's faces (and ears while they're at it of course). It's one lucky world to have them to entertain it, if you ask me. There really isn't any other band out there like them so if you haven't already, get yourselves acquainted. You can interact with the cheeky chaps directly via their Twitter account @fiNuk.


What a remarkable and beautiful song this is! Thanks once again goes to the marvelous folk at Prescription PR for sending this single my way for me to stream on the blog. I'm just sorry I couldn't have got it up sooner and before the release date. Reborn was released by Klak Tik on 26th November so I'm not too late I guess. It is just so atmospheric and listening to it I can feel the kind of cool breeze that just makes the hottest day, perfect. Or, and I know this may be an odd comparison, when you turn over a hot pillow while you're trying to get to sleep and your world feels complete at the calming coolness of the underside of it.

This is the first single to be taken from their forthcoming sophomore album, The Servants - due out next Spring. It follows hot on the heels of their 2010 acclaimed debut Must We Find a Winner, which I am yet to hear but it is the very next on my long list, I can assure you. Reborn is wonderfully written with opening lyrics that instantly grabbed my attention because of how deeply they speak to me:

I thought I knew at least,
What freedom really means
A job that I hate
Work every day
I could be wrong

The chorus is magnificent, 'Now I've finally woken up, to the beauty of the world through a love song, through a love song that I heard from the rivers and the birds,' how it captures the reality of the powerful dream in breaking free of the drab and mundane city life. The epiphany is delivered through a rich mix of instruments (acoustic guitars, soft banjo and a brass section) providing a catchy melody that remains on the right side of ethereal, not least by the way of the gentle harmonious vocals of Søren Bonke. It's serene pace renders you instantly restful to enjoy it and get you ready for what is to come next year. Given the quality of this single I am rather excited to hear the rest of The Servants.

Recorded in a makeshift studio deep underground beneath the Parys Mountain in Wales, it seems a perfect place to have recorded a song about escaping the rat race to appreciate the countryside. The breathtaking Welsh landscape no doubt provided some important influences in the recording of the rest of the album. As I've already mentioned, I am incredibly excited indeed about hearing the end result. Now it is time for you to part with just 79 little pennies for your very own digital copy of Reborn by clicking >>here<<.


I've been intending to include at least a video from these punk-rock melodic maestros (in their own words) for so long I need shooting for not sharing something sooner! But hey, instead of wasting your time lining up to take turns at trying to shoot me I urge you to use your precious time more wisely and hit play on this video for utoXator's The Seas Will Rise. Go on. Do it now and enjoy this f***ing amazing tune! I cannot but use an expletive to express how loud, banging and amazing I find this band. I just love how this tune takes your scalp off with its big heavy sound and yet does it in a very smooth and painless way. More please guys. You can (and bloody well should) grab yourself a copy of the band's first EP, Stop & Listen from their Merchandise site >>here<<.


What I think would make one fantastic night of proper hard rock/metal music would be the awesome Lightfire and utoXator being on the bill. I sincerely hope something like this happens and soon!! Perhaps I should get arranging this although I have no idea where to start. So what, I can learn. Ooh! I'll keep you posted if I manage to get anywhere near it. In the meantime keep your eyes peeled (ears open too) for any dates utoXator announce around their local area and get along because live music is where it's at folks! Listen to Paint On Walls below. Another song that kicks your ass so hard there will be bruising. When it's this good though, bruises are totally worth it.


The Emperors of Wyoming
It may have taken them thirty years to finally get this record off the ground but there's no stopping it rising up the ranks of alternative country and americana lists now it's finally been unleashed. Why so long? All of the friends who make up these mighty musical Emperors have been rather busy with numerous other projects. Not least, Butch Vig producing some of the most successful post-punk records of the 90's (Nirvana, Smashing Pumpkins) and drumming for alternative rock band Garbage. You can read my review of The Emperors' self-titled debut album >>here<< and just hit play on this, the first video to be released for Avalanche Girl and enjoy.


Boat To Row - LOYAL LIGHT **NEW EP**
This indie-folk band wowed me at Truck Festival earlier in the year and continue to do so following the release of their latest EP, Loyal Light. Contemporary folk music has been undergoing a revival of sorts over the past decade and it just keeps going from strength to strength. This collective of highly skilled musicians and singers (from the Midlands no less) have just completed a tour supporting this release. I regret I was unable to make any of the dates near to me and so I do hope a new tour or set of dates will be announced for early in the new year. There are many places they are yet to grace with their stylish musical tones and these places will be at a loss until they play them. Loyal Light will cost you just £3.50 for 5 awesome tracks which you can check out in full below. Ode To Work A Day fits well the theme covered by the two singles I reviewed above (from fiN & Klak Tik) and while I like them all, Old Scenes is a particular favourite.

While we're hanging around in the more folky arena I'd like to mention the sublime indie alternative folk band The Epstein have announced a gig in their hometown of Oxford. Tickets are flying out so if you're nearby or can make it down I suggest you get purchasing your ticket(s), which are just £10, from >>here<<. Support for this PinDrop Mid Winter Festival comes from Wild Swim, Flights of Helios and Danny George Wilson. So, an afternoon and evening of rather splendid and top quality music for you. If only I could make it along myself. No luck with my teleportation device I'm afraid but it is being worked on. I'll try not to collapse a wormhole or create a black hole in the process but I assure you that if I do, there will be some kick-ass tunes playing as everything gets sucked in. I intend to cover more on The Epstein early next year.

Now, if only a lovely empty yellow VW campervan would just drive up and open its door for me to own it.

In Brief...
A very quick stop in Norway to just share a song from singer-songwriter gonnabe, hoola hooper wannabe Johnny Andre Nesje. I believe he began following me on Twitter so naturally I checked out his tunes. He has some fantastic stuff up on his Soundcloud page, which I advise you to check out once you've had a listen to Summertime.

I have recently joined the Mixcloud army! It's a fantastic way for me to be able to bring you lots more playlists of copyrighted music I'm not able to use in my downloadable podcast. Therefore, in between the regular podcasts I'll be running a Band of Badgers Presents Something Else cloudcast. The first one is recorded and will be up soon with a blogcast to follow it. It may be a little while before I get to publish it on the blog but just check by my Mixcloud page for a listen. At this stage and to help keep me producing things as quick as I possibly can, I'm thinking the blogcasts for those cloudcasts will not be anywhere near as long as the likes of those for the podcast. I'm sure I'll pack in as much information, links and other stuff as I can though. Any regulars (I do have some don't I? Or do I scare you all off too quickly?) will know me well enough by now and thus my tendency to waffle on somewhat. Like now, in fact. 

Time to make this a wrap so I can go make an Ovaltine (with lashings of Baileys I must add) and get to bed. I am so rock and roll and cannot believe I just shared with you that I drink Ovaltine. It's not a regular thing by any means but it is the only thing with which my taste buds will allow me to consume Baileys. So it is kinda rock n roll isn't it? No? Okay, I'll work on that and come Christmas I should have a nice bottle of JD or something similar. How's that sound? 

TweetAs ever I've missed out loads of stuff I just don't have the time or space (cue Doctor Who theme) to include but I am working through the list. It grows daily and I will need to be doing this into my second century to fit everything in but I'm up for that. The next show will be a Cloudcast as I mentioned above but the podcast will be back after that with another playlist of top indie talent. Keep safe and I will try not to get sucked into George R R Martin's A Storm of Swords Part Two too badly or else another blog post this month would be unlikely. Remember folks, WINTER IS COMING! Peace.

PS - If you've managed to make it all the way down here, well done. May I ask you if you would be so kind as to vote for me in the European Podcast Awards via this wee little player? My humblest of thanks to you.

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