Monday, 11 February 2013


Howdy again. Back so soon I hear you shout in a unison of utter amazement. Indeed. Most of this was already written. Can you imagine if I had attempted to fit all of this into one gigantic post? Madness. Brevity is key these days with our dwindling attention spans so they say. Ah, rubbish! It is because people pander to this false conception that things are now so very short. This in turn makes people have shorter attention spans so it is almost like a self-fulfilling prophecy I'd say. Dear me. I hadn't intended to get so serious there. I can be brief where necessary but this is my blog so I guess I can ramble on as much as I like. You still seem to keep coming back for more so I must be doing something right, uh? A huge thank you from me for your attention, by the way. If there were no readers there would be little point in me carrying on. And even when I do end up spending the majority of my free time putting everything together and then getting frustrated, I just cannot stop. I don't get annoyed too often but hey, I'm human and so especially when Blogger seems to be playing up, or I can't get videos to embed properly and the clock ticks past midnight and all I've done since getting in from work at 6pm is sit at the laptop it can all get on top of me somewhat. There's just too much great music out there to not share it though.

Now, I've finished this latest part of the overview/review it is time to go outside and throw snowballs. Maybe even build a snowman. Yes folks, the UK has been hit by another colossal load of snow. I was supposed to be heading over to Banbury for a birthday afternoon but as is to be expected, the UK grinds to a halt when such weather hits. I will reschedule that planned sojourn, put my feet up (in the vain hope they will warm up at least a little) and enjoy some Fraggle Rock...erm I mean, Game of Thrones. What the heck, I'll watch both! The old Gods and the new, if you like. Hope you enjoy the below. Please share and buy some music from the below bands, get to gigs as and when they're local. Music really does make the world go round and it makes life so much better.


The Scholars
These guys are the business! I have shared many a post and retweeted countless tweets on Twitter about them and what they've been up to over the past nine or so months. I must also convey again how hugely grateful I am for the email interview Adrian and Chris took part in for a special blog post last year (which you can read >>here<<).

I finally got myself along to a gig of theirs at AKA in Banbury recently. This was the closing night of a bunch of gigs promoting the release of their most recent single, Love The Thunder. It is another top tune demonstrating why they need to be signed up to a label and quick smart! Sadly, as Adrian points out in the interview, record bosses aren't taking any risks on new indie acts these days no matter how much talent they display for all to see. It is a crime but an unfortunate and negative result of the current digital age. This is a band that would so pay off! Nevertheless and after downsizing from 5 to 3 members, The Scholars burst back on to the indie scene last October with the release of their first new FREE single Wired. Check it out below and grab your own copy via their bandcamp page. They are shrewd folk when it comes to the business and know exactly where they want to be but also accept the mountain of a challenge it is to get there. In the face of the huge changes across the whole industry they decided to release their latest material as individual singles as opposed to one EP. This means more frequent press for them too as just as the hype from one single is starting to diminish a little, it is time to launch the next.

Playing live last week they rocked big time, closing the set with what I guess has become quite a signature tune, Turbulence. Taken from the independent film of the same name, the band's music was also featured in it.  That was then and this is now, and now they have a catalogue of tunes that pull music fans up close and personal. Considering there are only three of them up there on the stage, they punch out a clear alternative rock sound to match any of the larger established contemporary acts out there. After supporting the likes of The Boxer Rebellion and countless other top bands in the past, what now needs to happen - and it should only be a matter of time (and a short time at that) - is for other big bands to give them a supporting slot on a forthcoming tour. Then will come that all-important signing which the guys are more than ready for as they continue to work on new stuff and plan more shows further afield. To be honest, the Editors who have their fourth studio album due out later this year could do a lot worse than sign them up to support them on their next promotional tour.

This alternative rock band have such an original and unique way to sell and share their music. Think pioneers in these new uncertain times. In a similar vain to The Scholars I guess, with adapting to the way things seem to be going. Getting proactive rather than plodding along in a reactive way. Releasing their album via sets of two track 7" vinyls, fans can snap these up at gigs or via the awesomely named official website That is not all either. The digital online world is spreading ever wider and swallowing up more or less all areas of modern life. As important as holding on to the past is and producing something as unique (for new and current bands these days anyway) as these 7" vinyls via which to sell their work, each purchase comes with a code for fans to gain access to the MP3s, videos and extra footage of each song. See what I mean about being proactive and well, damn cool to be fair. It is a new and creative way to market themselves. Could this be the new way to do it? With vinyl seemingly making a comeback to some degree, I'd say it is likely.

Furthermore, to have supported the likes of Incubus and Muse, heck if you've not heard of fiN before now brace yourself because this year I'm pretty certain you will. Although they hadn't originally planned to, due to huge popular demand I believe the band are releasing an album download. This will collect together the singles they released individually throughout 2012.

I mentioned when selecting Eve as one of my top favourite songs of 2012, how each and every tune they put out is so very different. Again, you can pretty much throw out any attempt to pigeonhole them. They play heavy, they play soft, they do instrumental and when they venture into the realm of general pop, it is pop the way it should be done! I say it about all acts I feature and enjoy so very much but I NEED to see them live and soon. I am still waiting for that expense account for gigs but you know what? fiN are a band I would hitch hike to go see if I couldn't afford to make it. Such is their quality.

This indie outfit from Derby amazed and dazzled me with their debut self-titled album packed to the hilt with indie classic after indie classic. There's a real feel that yet again, this is another band who have come out to produce something rather unique in a world where let's face it, things often do end up sounding the same. Listening to this album for me is like a wondrous journey. Starting with an invasive but very welcome punch with Three Words, it never stops offering up one delight after another.

I've made it well known how much I dig With Landscapes in particular. While I rate all the others this one is a special stand out track, demonstrating with such clarity the extent of talent within this band. The exciting thing is there is not too much longer to wait until the release of follow up album, Horizons. The first single from this was released late last year and was featured in the previous post. 

Everyone needs a bit more hardcore rock in their lives. Look no further and pump it up with the banging sounds from this Cannock-based 5-piece. The three tunes I've come to play over and over again for quite some time now are so tightly produced I'm surprised they are not yet signed up. Understandably there has been a lot of interest so come on execs and bosses, get signing that dotted line already and get these guys producing a full album and out on a UK-wide tour. The UK, no...even the world needs some Lightfire in their lives.

The band recently launched their Run Aground EP with a sold out gig where they no doubt blew the roof of the building off with such force, it's a good job the moon was not directly above or it would have been pushed out of its orbit. Think of the problems with the tides that would have resulted. Still, even if that had have happened it would have been totally worth it to hear these guys play the way they were meant to. And while they are very hard and very loud, their melodies are elegant and they bring out a softness and delicacy that fully compliments their sound. Stunning work!

They also have  that all important Lightfire Man Championship title belt they compete against each other for. Great stuff! and you can purchase Run Aground from iTunes >>here<<.

Out of Fiction  was one of the first iTunes downloads I purchased after finding this hard alternative rock group on Twitter at the beginning of my twitter musical experience. So technically this EP was originally released in 2011 but after getting signed to Engineer Records at about the time I bought this, they relaunched the debut with a number of live shows. They then went through a bit of a drastic change in line-up having to find and gel with a new drummer and bass player. For many, such a major shake-up may have signalled the end of a band even after only having just been signed up. But no! Remaining members Adam Smart and James Wells kept their feet firmly on the ground and rooted to making a success of IRIS.

They are another favourite band who cater for my harder rock sounds although they're by no means one trick ponies. Their tunes are diverse, interesting and bang on what I need to blow the cobwebs away at the end of a rubbish day. One of my particular favourite songs of theirs, The Shade is much less harder sounding but  still packs a mighty good punch. Spine-tinglingly (is that a word? it should be) amazing guitar too! Citing Chuck Norris and Alan Partridge among their influences they have humour by the boat load. As they've now settled into this new line-up they play and produce music of the utmost quality. There's a shed load of live dates up on the website so make sure you get along to a show if they're playing anywhere near you. I am keeping my eyes on the dates for one that I can get to I can assure you.

The Slow Readers Club
These guys are completely mesmerizing! The sheer scale of quality from their versatile electric guitar coupled with Aaron Starkie's captivating lead vocal probe so deep, their music embeds itself in your soul upon the first listen. It refuses to let go so that songs like Follow Me Down will be playing themself on your mind radio for months to come. Keeping you company when you need a decent tune to block out the gloom of places you're not able to hear such music. Their songs provide the kind of range you long for from a band. There's upbeat tunes so catchy your legs will be on the move into a jig, down to the hugely emotive and darker brooding ballads mixed in with electro masterpieces.  They offer hope that there are bands out there with something original to offer. They have been likened to Interpol and Editors which are very worthy comparisons indeed but I must stress there's nothing samey about them. What I'd like to see is a joint-gig with The Slow Readers Club and The Scholars on the bill. What an amazing line-up that would be. 

You should preview their debut self-titled album above and then buy a copy via whichever format suits you best. Make sure you catch them live when they gig too because this is the kind of band to put on that kind of gig which burns itself into your memory for eternity. To purchase via iTunes click >>here<<. For other methods visit the link at their website >>here<<.

Pawns or Kings
From full on rock to this gentler indie folk band from The Ozarks in the US. Their song Come To Pass (in time) from their EP Letters to Lucy is now firmly one of my favourite songs of all time. I can never play it just the once and it will not be uncommon to start playing it when I get in from work, hit that repeat button and to still be listening to it hours later. They have so many more tunes to be proud of too though so do check them all out for yourselves. While I do enjoy hearing original work from all bands I come to follow, covers can always provide something interesting. Particularly when they are made all their own and strikingly different. Pawns or Kings recently covered He Doesn't Know Why by Fleet Foxes. The reason? Well, Ed from the band had the song stuck on loop in his head for quite some time and was finding it difficult to move on from it. So this cover version and video was produced, helping him move beyond it. I have just played it on my headphones at full volume. Goosebumps aplenty. Amazing!

As far as I am aware Pawns or Kings do still have a full length album due out at some point this year so keep those ears wide open for news on that. I will share it as soon as I have it. In the meantime, you can stream a live set they performed recently in which you can view by clicking >>here<<. It was a real delight getting to watch this one night a few weeks ago. And then again that following weekend. I will most likely watch it again too, such is my enthusiasm for these guys. Follow the link if you'd like to check it out. The sound quality is pretty amazing.

The second video is one of Ed's original songs. His attempt at a love song he says. I think you'll agree he pretty much nailed it! There is so much more to enjoy from Pawns or Kings so please get on board. Like, tweet and share galore.

Under A Banner
Back to my own neck of the woods with Under A Banner who I played on the very first podcast I did. I've been following these guys fairly closely since March last year and their album The Ragged Rhythm of Rain is one you should seriously add to your collection. You can purchase a hard copy direct from their website or click below as you sample it to take you to their bandcamp page where you can get a digital download, if that's more your thing. It is a stunning collection of lyrical poetry and marvelous musicianship. There are a number of live dates up on the website so please do get along if you're near because live music is where it's at. This is what the songs were written for and how they are truly meant to be experienced.

As time moves on, things just keep going skywards for Under A Banner. They shared the beautiful artwork at their Facebook page for the digital digital release of their song Some Stories, which has been selected to be a charity single for Help For Heroes. It will be released on May 4th and there has been a video shoot too so I'm really looking forward to seeing that when it is unveiled. It is a really moving song so do have a listen to it below.

Right! It is time to get brief I'm afraid so I will ramble on much less below and just share a few more great bands you should be checking out and listening to.

The Black Feathers

What a find this contemporary folk duo has been! Amazing! Stunning! Just beautiful. I was gutted they had to cancel their gig last Friday but I've been going to gigs for years now and fully appreciate this had to be done. What is most important is that Sian gets herself better and doesn't risk damaging her voice if she had have gone on to perform that evening. Having experience of artists playing when they're clearly not well, I know this decision was not made lightly at all and only at the final point it was obvious rest was needed. I was gutted, but on a selfish level for myself because of how wonderful The Black Feathers are and how much I wanted to see them. Not to worry though as they are playing two gigs in my county in April. I should be there for them both. Now get listening and sharing folks. They have just hit #1 in the UK folk chart on Reverbnation so get in on the action if you haven't already!

Boat To Row
A bunch of hugely talented young contemporary indie folk musicians make up this juggernaut of a group. Not to be missed!

And few more quick shares that cannot be excluded:

Arcane Roots

The Como Brothers Band

Face The King

Echo and Drake



As always, my apologies for those I couldn't include but I will be sharing so much music over the coming year you will no doubt get featured here and there. I finally feel like I'm almost there with concluding this review then with just the live music section to go. That is pretty much all written up already with just one more gig to add and a tweak here and there. Then Band of Badgers Presents...#12 will finally make it to the blog and #13 to follow which I am currently recording. Busy busy busy. You wouldn't think today was my birthday. I don't know what a proper day off looks like anymore but I'm really not complaining. 


PART I   >>here<<
PART II  >>here<<
PART IV >>here<<

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