Tuesday, 12 March 2013


Photo from Sigur Ros Facebook page taken by Alexandre Fumeron 
Howdy music lovers. I am typing this post from the lofty heights of a fine cloud city way up in the atmosphere. Why am I up here, you may ask. You may or may not recall I had tickets to go and see a certain Icelandic band I've been a big fan of for pretty much fifteen years now (yes, that does make me feel on the old side). Sigur Ros is that band and they are responsible for me not being able to come back down to Earth just yet. In fact, their performance was so wonderfully transcendental I will be up here for the majority of the coming year I expect. At least. Perhaps well in to next year too. It is fffffreezing at this altitude though so if someone wouldn't mind throwing up an electric blanket I would be eternally grateful. Oh, I'll be needing a generator as well of course. One with a mighty long extension.

In order to at least try and reign in the lengthy blogcasts, I'm aiming to share on a more regular basis. We'll see how it works out but that Manic Music Monday post I published a few weeks ago seemed to be so well received the number of views it got has leaped so far ahead of any of the others I'm wondering what kind of magic is at play here? May there be dragons in the world helping to release this magic? Yes, more Game of Thrones there I'm afraid. I was all set to begin Big Sur by Jack Kerouac after finishing the Bob Dylan Chronicles. That made a perfect book to follow Mr Bob but I couldn't settle into it. Unlike me. Especially where Kerouac is concerned but it was not that the book itself was holding me back. Not that book anyway but something to do with the fact I'd recently watched 15 episodes of Game of Thrones and couldn't stop thinking about the jaw-dropping events from A Storm of Swords, which I finished at Christmas. So, I just jumped right in to A Feast For Crows last Sunday and am now over half way through it. I'll agree that while it isn't anywhere near as riveting as its two-part predecessor, I am still speeding through it and remain as hooked to the story. Then soon it will be time for A Dace With Dragons. I may disappear for a time when I start part one of that book.

Anyway, without much furhter ado of my rambling and babbling let's get on and share some amazing music shall we?

Another stunning track for you here from Mark. Plus, it is FREE too. You seriously need to be grabbing this because the talent locked up inside this guy, which he demonstrates so aptly through his music (and now photography too no less, see that separate Facebook page >>here<<), is of the highest calibre. Please share this. With it being so good it is a crime it is free. Still, we who are on no pay rises and rubbish wages welcome these freebies and as a thanks to Mark we owe it to him to share it with everyone we can so they too can appreciate and enjoy his talent.

Mark recently finished a few live dates around the UK and is currently on a European adventure as he performs in Amsterdam and Paris before returning to London. He's so captivating I can't wait to get to a show myself.

He also released EP The Traveller back in September last year and this collection of four top tunes is available for just £3.16 via iTunes. Stop wasting any more time, click >>here< and buy them. Then Mark can get right on to his next tour and I can see him play live. This guy is going big places this year so get on board before the bus gets so crowded you can't fit. If you can catch a live show make sure you do! https://www.facebook.com/marknicholsmusic

Over the border and into much heavier territory with this band. What absolutely fantastic sounds Schemata Theory produce! This is the official video for A Complex Slate and it completely knocked me for six. It was after I'd tweeted about listening to some Funeral For A Friend that the band's drummer, Josh sent me a link to the video to check out saying if I liked Funeral, I might like it. I didn't just like it, I love it!!

This is some quality heavy rock from this metal outfit. There are guitar riffs in there that will catch you when you're falling through infinity from the awesome banging rock. This is a top tune to blow away those mangy cobwebs left over from Monday so you are awake, alive and ready to face the rest of the week. While I'm yet to grab a copy of their debut album Dry Lung Rhetoric I shall be rectifying this folly sooner rather than later. A Complex Slate has not just left me hungry for more, it's left me ravenous for more. http://www.schematatheory.com/

What a unique and ingenious concept this is. Bringing music lovers together in an unusual setting, most often a living room. Just wonderful. The set of videos I've had the pleasure to enjoy have barely touched the surface and this is a global movement, folks. It's one of those situations where although it was only a couple of weeks ago (if that), I've had so much on and my mind is darting here, there and everywhere, I can't even remember how I came across Sofar Sounds now. There's intimate performance then there's this. Playing in your living room. Packing in a fair number of folks to enjoy it and just letting go. I must thank them for the two below in particular though because these two guys really are something else. Mark Nichols (featured above) mentioned a gig he did on a narrowboat one time which would be another perfect location for a Sofar Sounds video.

I was well and truly hit by an almighty giant-sized WOW when stumbling across this video. As part of Sofar Oxford #252, it is sublime. Take Off Your Shackles is the third track to feature on Josh's debut EP Mountains In Hurricanes. This is out on this very fine day of 12th March so get buying your copies now please. You can purchase via his bandcamp page >>here<< or via iTunes >>here<<. Physical copies are available too via the bandcamp route.The title track is beautiful by the way. Check it out, go on. Then prepare to part with a little bit of cash to own the awesome EP.

Not one to skrimp (that a word?) on the sharing I MUST also share another of Josh's videos. This one is for the Rooftop Session of the beautiful title track Mountains in Hurricanes. This is magical!
Indeed, if I had space here I would also be sharing Figure You Out filmed live at The Black Boy just a few weeks ago. This one is rather impressive too. You will be able to find it easily enough I'm sure but the link is >>here<< for you anyway. You see how nice I am? Now get buying that EP, thank you please! http://joshsavagemusic.com/

Zander Sharp's is the second video from Sofar Sounds I watched, this time for Sofar Oxford #225. He mesmerized me just like Josh before him. What a stunning vocal he has. There's such a depth of emotion and yet he gets so tranquil. And that summation is based on this amazing performance alone! After seeing this I sought him out and got listening to more awesome songs on his Soundcloud Page. There's a 5 track demo up there as a set. I would pay to own this if I'm honest and that's before any tidying up for a final produced version. Where do I send the money? Send me a neat little CD. Have a listen to these demos below and see if you don't agree by the end of them. His writing is quality!

Things are busy busy busy for Zander as he gears up to release an EP recorded by none other than those Stornoway lads (who themselves released their second album, Tales From Terra Firma this week).

If you want to learn more about Zander from his own words then check out this really great interview with him for NSTV. Just click >>here<<. His outlook is endearing. There really is some great music out there but it takes time and a bit of effort to seek it out from all the dross the mass media piles upon us. He didn't say it himself but Zander's music is some of that really great stuff, even this early on. Like with Luke Jackson, Mark Nichols, Aidan Logan, Leo Stannard and Perry Hood, Zander Sharp and Josh Savage are firmly on my 'ones to watch' list so I'll be featuring lots more from them over the coming year. https://www.facebook.com/zandersharpmusic

Progressive psychedelic Canterbury collective Syd Arthur may currently be across the wide waters readying themselves for their performance at SXSW in Texas but the news needs to be shared about the latest single released from critically acclaimed debut album On An On. It is a double A-side featuring Ode To The Summer / Edge of  The Earth. Try before you buy and have a listen below. I highly recommend the album too while you're at it.

As I said in my review of the album, On An On takes the listener on an epic journey. Ode To The Summer breeds thoughts of hot cloudless days which cascade through the mind and will have you reaching for your Pimms on the porch table while you gaze up at the evening sunset. Listening again I can assure you this is true even in the current depths of wintry hell we find ourselves. If you want to forget about your freezing ice blocked feet then grab Ode To The Summer and get hot. This prepares you perfectly for the next stop on the magical musical journey. Yes, you will venture right to the Edge of The Earth. You will return but you will never be the same again.

I'm uber-excited to have recently confirmed I'll be attending this year's Wood Festival and covering it on the blog. I will therefore be seeing Syd Arthur play there. Full report in due course. More on Wood in my pre-summer festival special soon. http://sydarthur.co.uk/

Praise for debut album On An On
'Dorothy begins with a calmative wash of heat-have guitars, then cedes to a lazy, joined at the hip groove that's a small marvel of poise and subtlety.... Enchanting'

‘Dizzyingly intricate… they bristle with energy and ideas’

‘Strong compositional ideas… a careering piece’

‘Absurdly talented’

‘Syd Arthur are sons and heirs of those Canterbury musicians who did sometimes whimsical, sometimes intense things with psychedelic and progressive rock’
The Guardian.co.uk

‘Intricate compositions, expertly woven to make these stunning aural conversations between all of the major sensory points in your body.’

‘Staggeringly good. It will take something exceptional to beat On An On to Prog Album Of The Year’
Classic Rock

‘Fleet-fingered folky flavours steeped in prime prog history’

‘Their debut album On An On has maintained the psychedelic influences and enhanced them with a modern pop sensibility. The musicianship is intricate and finds them sounding like Devendra Banhart in his softer moments’
The 405

‘Ornate and glassy-eyed perspectives’
Daily Mirror

‘A unique sound that is both full and intriguing… curious and surprisingly uplifting’
Guitar Techniques

 ‘Blends taut mandolin lines with fuzztone propelled jazz guitar… fresh and relevant’

Also heard on 

BBC Radio 2, (Dermot O Leary), BBC 6 Music (Gideon Coe, Cerys Matthews, Tom Robinson), XFM, Amazing Radio, BBC Scotland, NME Radio, Q Radio


Indeed it is time to don those briefs. Oh dear. Apologies if I've just induced vomiting with that one. Tut tut!

Lights At Ten is the latest single from this alternative rock band. They have a tremendous and big sound I'm loving right now. Hope I can get along to a show at some point.


It was announced last week that festival favourites Bellowhead and The Levellers will be headlining this year's Cambridge Folk Festival on the Friday night. This is fantastic news as this is another of the festivals featured on my 2013 festival mission list. I've potentially added a fifth one today but not quite sure I'll be able to make five. Four will be stretching my limited funds enough as it is. Great news these two awesome bands will be at Cambridge though. The Levellers are no strangers to the festival having appeared a number of times as have Bellowhead I'm sure. It's just as sweet for Saturday night with KT Tunstall and The Mavericks. There will be many more an announcement to follow over the coming weeks and months and I will also be featuring this festival in my pre-summer festival feature. It will be a warm up of sorts. Boy, do we all need warming up. Hopefully this Arctic weather is a sign for a beautiful hot festival-friendly summer for 2013. Remember, tickets tend to sell fast for this one and they do often sell out so get yours before the rush. http://www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk/

Following the above announcement, it seems only fitting to share the latest video from this, one of my top most favourite bands of all time (yes indeedy). Alone In This Darkness is one of Simon Friend's songs from their most recent album Static On The Airwaveshttp://www.levellers.co.uk/

While I remember too, you only have a matter of hours left to vote for this album in the Spiral Awards 2013. Please see my post on these awards and who I've voted for in a number of categories by clicking >>here<<. I don't wish to impose my choices upon you but please vote for Nick Burbridge in the Songwriter category and for The Ballad of Andy Jacobs by Kathryn Roberts & Sean Lakeman for Best Song. They so deserve to win their respective awards. They all do I guess but these two are extra special. 

Yes, there is an end. This has not been a bad rounded up post to be honest. I had originally planned to title it Tuesday Tune Takeaway, which I loved the sound of. However, as time ticked on and I kept typing things up and embedding things, it became apparent that possibly one or two people may get to read the published version on Tuesday itself. Thus is why I settled on my second mid-week music mix. The last one was only so many months ago I can't recall but hey, let's chill.

To close here's a funny little video I stumbled across recently. It kind of speaks for itself really and for Levellers fans particularly it should be something to make you laugh out loud*. Until next time folks, which should be very soon indeed, peace to you all. Keep warm! 

*Please note not lol

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