Thursday, 2 May 2013


Well, well, well! Do a Band of Badgers Presents Bitesize, I thought. Hhmmmmm! This doesn't seem very bitesizey does it? Unless you like to break your fast with several three-course meals, a 12 multipack of hoola hoops, three litres of coke and a six-pack of Stella Artois.  I don't know what happens. Actually, I do of course. More and more top music keeps falling right in front of me and I just have to pack in as much as I possibly can. I have mountains of reviews backing up for the lovely folk at Prescription PR. Fear not, there will be a post collecting a few of these together very shortly. Plus loads more from them that just MUST be shared. You guys all need to know what's going on, with whom and where at. And there is some top talent about that is all coming your way, I can tell you.

In addition, there's loads I'm being sent ad hoc. Ooooh, I do like this wording, ad hoc. Not exactly ad hoc but this morning the second album from UK americana/roots/alternative folk band The Epstein drifted down on to the door mat. It probably fell, I know - but the music contained therein is so spinetinglingly glorious I rather like imagining it floating itself all the way to me. On its own cloud. People seem to be going on and on about this 'Cloud' in relation to computers and IT. You must get Cloud storage because.....*Zzzzzzzzz* Well, have this - Cloud Parcel Express. Back to the album, Murmurations has been so worth the wait. It is a gem. It is pure musical gold. It is brilliant! There will be words to follow as part of a review and the album is released at the end of the month. After seeing them in 2011 I am uber-excited about getting to see them at this year's Truck Festival. Enjoy this video for Calling Out Your Name and make sure you grab yourself the album upon its release.

I still yearn in desperation for any potential sponsors or employers who would see fit to fly me all over the world to cover some truly fantastic music events, festivals and gigs for a variety of international bands and artists. A dream that is still a fair distance away. In deep space. Far beyond the final frontier and most likely stuck inside a White Hole. Yes a White Hole. Please see Red Dwarf for details.Series IV episode 4. Geek points to me there. I'm rambling. *slap*

Photo by ZeroStudio Photography
The point I'm trying to get at is: I stumbled across a Facebook update from US band My Morning Jacket a few days ago about their appearance at some forthcoming music events collectively titled Americanarama. Naturally, being a child of the 80's and a UK citizen my first thought - for which you can all line up and hit me very hard later - was Bananarama. Reading on to discover what this was in fact all about made me require a paramedic.

Photo by John Shearer
As part of this traveling festival the main headliners will be, My Morning Jacket, Wilco and Bob Dylan. Forgive me while I just pass out again. Oh, that's right. I won't be getting to any of the dates thanks to that bitch of an ocean called Atlantic. How inconsiderate of the sea to settle itself just there! Perhaps it is for the best because I don't think I'd be able to ever come down from the clouds after an evening of such a superb and legendary line-up. I would just die. But safe in the knowledge of......well, I think everything else ever, would be erased from my mind. An experience so amazing would burn itself deep into my soul and I would need to book my place in some asylum beforehand. WOW! Just WOW! A musical triumvirate to rival any other. Any US music fans who can get to one of these shows but chooses not to - I will send my cat to do bad things to you. I mean, who on this earth would purposely choose to miss out on this! You can read a bit more via this link to Rolling Stone magazine >>here<<.

Enough of my rambleage for the moment. Let's crack on with some great new music to share with y'all!

Well, not exactly. You are all welcome all and any time.This is just a quickie from these guys. Oooer (naughty). The guys have been (still are I'm sure) back in the studio which is exciting my ears at the prospect of more new tunes to come from them. They are one of my top bands from last year but just because it is now 2013 doesn't mean they have moved down on that list. The Slow Readers Club are EPIC, to use some modern youth lingo. The Manchester boys are offering up the song One Chance as a FREE download via their Reverbnation page. Get on it people! Top music from a top band here!

LA songstress Melinda Ortner has got to be one of the most hard working solo singer-songwriters out there at the moment. I first came across her magnificent blend of perfect pop when I was asked to review the EP, Strangers, she released last September. I quote myself from that review, '..this body of work is a perfect precursor to what should prove to be a sensational debut album...' In all honesty I was wrong. I Wanna Be OK moves way beyond just sensational! The 4 tracks from Strangers were just a cheeky little tease of what lay behind the scenes in Melinda's repetoir. I have no doubt even with this 'packed to the hilt with talent' debut album, she is still keeping much more behind ready for future releases. There's no way this can end here because it is just too good. It is so electrifying you will be shocked! Melinda will make your hair stand on end in the 'OH MY, this is fooookin AMAZING!' kind of way.

From opening track Wait Another Day to its neighbour and title track I Wanna Be Ok, Melinda demonstrates early on how she's capable of mixing up her sound to make it fresh. I Wanna Be Ok is a real heavily atmospheric tune. A few tracks on with the likes of Another Chance and The Beauty In Me, the generic pop is reined in somewhat. The former adopts a more gentle sound while the latter contains some wonderful pop-rock elements. This one is a bit of a belter! Sweet Little Lies you can sample here in its complete majestic beauty. Let it leave you with an unquenchable thirst for more that sees you click, click, clicking and buying the whole thing. Trust me, that will be the smart move! The album comes to a contemplative and more gentle close with the rather beautiful Maybe. Her vocals aren't exactly hiding themselves throughout the whole record but with Maybe, Melinda really goes for it, exercising a mountainous range combined with a subtle sassiness to woo and entice you in closer. 

Overall this is pure pop perfection! It has everything. Banging tunes with hook-laden melodies and excellent lyrics you can sing along to in no time. Melinda possesses real depth in the huge array of sounds she takes, adopts, manipulates and works with to produce something brilliant. Then those vocals. I keep saying it but this is REAL pop. REAL quality electro-fuelled brilliance. I've been unfortunate enough to be subjected to BBC Radio 1 this week, complete with its vapid rubbish it calls pop. What these mainstream stations need is music like Melinda's here. This has a true soul behind it, not just some executive's empty cash!

Pop as a genre gets a bad press. I have to admit I haven't done much in the past to rectify this but not because I don't believe there is hope for it, in terms of quality music. Doing this job and finding new music, being sent music and reviewing it, I have discovered types and sub-genres of genres I would probably never have given the light of day otherwise. For that I am truly grateful. I can't imagine not having Melinda's record as part of my collection now. This kind of original work is the real future of pop music. Make way all you vapid vacuous excuses for popstars and X-Factor fodder because it is only a matter of time before the likes of Melinda Ortner bring the battle to the very forefront of the industry. I'm not a betting man but I've already made my wager. Ortner is going to wipe the floor with the lot of them!

Come on, I can't hear those clicks. Get clicking on these links here and own your own digital copy of I Wanna Be Ok:

These are UK links but just a few clicks more will direct you to the sites relevant to your home country. It's all about the clicking these days. Fastest finger first, as the game show hosts used to say in the 80's. Oh, let's not go back to the 80's. Not again. That Bananarama flashback was just too much already! Quick, click and get top music from today!


On Monday 29th April, this awesome indie band from up north (Runcorn, not quite beyond The Wall) began their bid for chart stardom. Unlike Simon Coward..erm..I mean Cowell...they want not the glory or riches of beating others to a pulp to get to that 'easy' Christmas Number One. Instead, their intention has substance, just like their music, another thing missing from most of what litters the charts nowadays. The mission is simple: To show the music industry that quality indie music is alive and kicking, and a band-led campaign to get in the charts the good old fashioned way can work. 

There's also a further inspiring incentive. While I'm telling you about this I recommend you click along to iTunes >>here<< or Amazon >>here<< and get downloading Julianne for just 79p or 69p. If the single hits the top 40 and you got your download via iTunes, then on Monday you will receive a full download of the band's forthcoming album Embers Of The Autumn. This isn't due out for another three months either! Bonus! It is a super, smashing record as well. You can take that from me who has listened to it a number of times already. My review will follow in a post or two's time so do keep posted for that.

Julianne is currently at NUMBER 1 in the Amazon Hot New Releases chart so let's keep it there, and get it (to quote M People) MOVING ON UP to break into the UK Top 40 this weekend! It is a cracking tune. Please help us and The Fireflys restore faith to the indie music market. Let this be the stone that starts an avalanche and brings with it a tsunami of REAL music back into the mainstream. Real music from real musicians. Plus you get that awesome full album too! Go get, folks! And also, while you're at it just have a wee listen to the latest brand new song the band have recently started streaming via their Soundcloud page. Hummingbird is yet further proof of the excellence Embers Of The Autumn bears.

One of my regulars, so to speak. Indeed, if this blog were actually a bar it would of course be a place where musicians would be welcomed and beckoned to keep my patrons entertained. Aidan would be one such chap I would want performing on a regular basis. Would be cool to grab a pint or several too, of course. Enough with my waffleage!

Monday 29th April saw Aidan share his new single, Tell Me via his Soundcloud page. This will be the first song released from his debut album and is available for streaming. Take a listen to it above. It is cracking! Listen twice, three times. Love it and show your appreciation by sharing the heck out of it, if you'd be so kind. Aidan has done a work of pure wonder in getting this finished. The tune has ended up with such a marvelous big sound. I am salivating at the prospect of hearing the full set of tunes on the album. Excitement cannot be contained, so please do excuse me if you hear any squeeing coming from the Northampton area of the Midlands. It will be loud and it won't cease until album release day! In the meantime, you can drown out my excited squeeing by streaming Tell Me loudly on repeat until it is itself released on 14th May. Then you must buy it, and continue to spread the word for Mr Logan.

Just hearing the first 10 seconds of Little Letters cements a clear understanding of just why Welsh duo Paper Aeroplanes are receiving some impressive support from radio maestros like BBC6 Music's Lauren Laverne and Tom Robinson, Jen & Ally at Radio 1 as well as BBC London, Q Radio, Janice Long and Bob Harris.

Since coming together in 2009, Sarah Howells and Richard Llewellyn have been out on a seemingly endless tour. Having scaled the length and breadth of the UK I bet they would prove very useful in a Geography quiz. Last year alone they played more than a hundred dates; selling out venues as they went and performing sets at a number of prominent music festivals. Their emotionally charged music hasn't only been exciting the ears of radio folk but has also garnered them some IMPRESSIVE fans in the media world. The Guardian describes their music as, 'Intimate, jaunty and confident low-key pop with great melody..' Sarah's vocals invoke such a wide range of emotions out of you, you will be feeling giddy by the end of the album. The first listen won't be nearly enough though so you may as well ready that repeat button right now! If it sticks, no bother. This is one record you will want to hear again and again.

Their influences are diverse, from Laura Veirs to Bjork via Jeff Buckley and Gillian Welch through to Everything But The Girl and Lucinda Williams. Little Letters is their third album release but the first with Navigator Records. There's also a fuller band feel to the production on this record compared with their previous two. This only serves to bolster up the ambient atmosphere they create so effortlessly. The album is released on May 13th so you don't have to wait too long. Contained therein are 11 little letters full of life and ready to move you someplace better than you were prior to listening. It's always remarkable when music can achieve this.

They are playing a string of dates throughout May, so make sure you get along as and where you can. What's hugely exciting for me is I shall be getting to see these guys play live in a matter of just a couple of weeks. They are on the line up at the wonderful Wood Festival (see my preview >>here<<). After all the touring they've been doing I can sense their live display will be one not to miss. This is going to be something super special so don't miss out if you can get yourself to one of the below dates!

Effortlessly executed folk pop, Paper Aeroplanes are a band in complete control of their talent.

May 11th - Queen's Hall - Narbeth                May 12th - Voodoo Lounge - Edinburgh
May 13th - Arts School - Glasgow                      May 15th - Komedia 2 - Brighton
May 16th - Junction 2 - Cambridge                   May 17th - Deaf Institute - Manchester
May 19th - Glee Club - Birmingham                      May 21st - Colston 2 - Bristol
May 22nd - Bush Hall - London                     May 23rd - Glee Club - Nottingham
May 24th - Brudenell Club - Leeds                               May 25th - Jericho - Oxford
May 26th - Glee Club - Cardiff                           May 28th - Milton Keynes - The Stables

What a record! This is absolutely sublime! As I'm short on time at the moment and really want to write up more about this hugely talented and legendary US singer-songwriter and the sensational album he's about to release, I'm afraid I'm only going to tease you here. Given how superb it is, this is a very cheeky little tickle of a tease as well. I make no apologies. And I'll be doubly teasy by sharing two things. First off, you MUST follow this link to Proper Music Distribution's Soundcloud page >>here<< for a listen to Somebody Else, a track from the album which is currently streaming.

This River threatens to burst its banks and flood all in its path, it is swelled with 'vibrant characters and compelling stories set to Stax-worthy soul, greasy Southern rock and funk, and glorious ballads that stay with you long after the last notes fade..' There's a real nice mix here but sshhhhhh! I will save more until I feature the album proper.

Grey's seventh album and first studio record since 2010's acclaimed Georgia Warhorse. The New York Times writes about Grey's singing as 'impassioned' and the band as playing, 'riff-based Southern rock, cold blooded swamp funk and sly Memphis soul.' Whereas The Sunday Times describes him as 'one of the real voices of America'. Having recently appeared at SXSW in Austin, Texas (was there anyone not at that huge prestigious event, by the way? I even have a Facebook friend from school who attended - I think I need to be there and cover it next year, thank you please) Grey is soon to embark upon a massive cross-country tour of his homeland before heading over for a European leg which include a mixture of major UK festival appearances (including the heavy wooly mammoth that is Glastonbury). It's then back on over to the US for loads more dates through August, including many a US festival to boot. Busy busy busy. So many top new tunes to take out on that long dusty road, though.

Yes, apologies yet again. It seems I cannot remain serious enough to desist from mentioning briefs when using this title. I am on the phone to my therapist right now. As I type. Taking medication now. As I type. No more brief talk but let's get on with it. 1, 2, 3.....GO!

Those rowing boaters (erm, I didn't think that name through at all did I? It's a good job I don't have to name a band myself, be thankful....I think what I mean to say are those boat rowers but the moment has gone now) are resting their oars and heading out on the road with a band called Hot Feet. In addition to this there are a number of other gigs you should be noting down. Come on folks, I need to hear clicks and pens scribbling down dates in diaries. What's that? No one uses pens anymore? Well more clicks then please, as you input it into your electronic organisers or tablets, or smartphones, or whatever. Just get buying tickets and you'll enjoy an evening of top quality live music from this indie-folk juggernaut! Keep up to date with all the gig announcements and tour information at their Facebook page >>here<<.

Indeed, (this seems to be my new word of the moment, as opposed to 'anyway' which I say on the podcast half a million times each episode) for all you lucky Birminghamers (Birminghamonians doesn't really have the right feel to it) there's the Boat To Row and Friends bank holiday event on Sunday 26th May at the O2 Academy. A bit like Thomas The Tank Engine and Friends but with music, and boats instead of trains (no actual boats, at least I believe there are no actual boats). Joining the band for this event will be Hot Feet, Charlotte Carpenter, Chris Tye, Lucy Anne Sale/Sonomama and Rhys David Morris. Tickets are just £5 in advance. Just 5 little pounds for all this AMAZING live music. You are mad if you don't take up this opportunity. Click >>here<< and get yours now! I can't hear that clicking! I know where you live. I shall send round my cat and she is not to be messed with.

While you're in the clicking zone you need to check out and buy some fabulous music from the brilliant Hot Feet below. I'm really looking forward to the 1st June gig. In my actual town too. That doesn't happen often enough.

You should also read this interview the wonderful folks at For Folk's Sake featured after talking to Michael and Ben from Boat To Row, about the making of the last EP Loyal Light. Click >>here<<.

Okay apologies, both for not being brief when I'm instructing you I'm going to be brief. And then double, triple and quadruple apologies for having to be super brief regards the below. I cannot hold off sharing this music for longer though. I will return to each of the below in posts over the next few weeks to add my own little (yeah right) ramble about them.

For a b-side, this is one tunetastic song. You see, I shouldn't be allowed to write too briefly or I use words like tunetastic. This is an awesome tune from an amazing indie rock band. From the Midlands too so they are one of mine. Let the promotion commence. More from Only Shadows VERY SOON!

InMe frontman Dave McPherson is setting out on a solo tour within days, so I thought I better include this super news on this post. I do have a review underway of his excellent new forthcoming album Dreamoirs, so keep your eyes peeled for that one to come in a blog post soon. It is a top album but then I wasn't expecting anything less to be fair. The new record offers 'the complete and sublime intellectual capacity of this gifted and hard working songwriter'.

The album dropped through the door a couple of weeks ago now and while I haven't written the full review yet, I will admit it has been hard to not keep playing it over and over. The vocals are stunning, the lyrics are inspiring and contemplative, the music spot on. It is wonderful stuff! See what you think via the video for Kingdom.

From the Press Release: It was in 2007 when Dave first  started strapping on his acoustic guitar, hopping on trains around the country and couch surfing his way into the ears of listeners who were eager to see a true live artist do his thing. The use of the word true here shouldn't be ambiguous. It is used to describe a performer with a soulful and technically gifted voice, an intricate and passionate style of guitar playing, and one who uses these skills to great effect on an abundance of self-penned material.

This sums up his style nicely. I shall be writing my own words on Dave and Dreamoirs VERY SOON.

It's over to Kansas for this one. One of those 'just in' specials that happens to catch my attention on Twitter as I'm writing up a post. Thanks to Colton and Zara for sending me the link. Enjoy this official cover of Maroon 5's Daylight. I'm loving it and can't wait to check out more of their music to share with y'all.

WOW. There's always at least ONE that really pushes every single button. One that takes my breath away so fast I need an oxygen tank. Tom Moon is that particular one for this post. It is a crime I cannot feature more or write lots at this stage. Soon though. Expect lots more from Tom. Just AMAZING!

Not only does it feel like a crime to not be able to write more words, but to not share performances as phenomenal as this little gem from Daniel Pearson would command the severest of punishments. Enjoy. This guy is easily one of our best singer-songwriter musicians. Share, share, share. Buy, buy, buy. Click, click, click. Let me hear that clicking. I only want to not hear clicking if I can hear you listening to Daniel's brilliant music. Thank you please.

This video really did take my breath away. It's a cliche phrase I use much more than I should but sometimes it really hits the nail right on the head. There's another one. Richie's vocals here are piercing. He demonstrates such a gentle vulnerability while remaining in complete control. The ambient blues guitar that opens it up sets the tone just right. This is a beautiful song all the way through. Hold Your Breath indeed because the quality doesn't end with that. About 2 and half minutes in, Richie moves things to a whole other level with a splendidly rapturous rap. His production credentials shine as bright as the summer sun with how perfect the track has been produced. This is a huge star of the future R & B scene here. His talent lies further than just that though, so no pigeon-holing please. Hear more at Richie's Soundcloud page >>here<<.

This is impressive stuff! Pleas share it on.

This is tasty and delicious alternative pop music from this all-female 6-piece band. If you ever wonder what music would sound like when classical meets band, then look no further because this is it! Between them they have played at Koko, Proud, Roundhouse Studios, 12 Bar, Barfly, The Great Escape Festival, SXSW Texas, Latitude and supported Mumford & Sons, My Brightest Diamond, Ladyhawke and Alessi's Ark to name but a few. I've had this band on the radar for a wee while so apologies I'm only getting to feature them here in brief, for the moment. Expect more to come.

He is indeed and he's doing rather well at it. After the superb EP Sorry For My Words comes this latest tune. This is another one only 'just in' as I saw him tweet about Holding Pattern this morning. Had to share it! Absolutely love it! Naturally, more to come from Laurence in due course. I shall bring all the latest news and updates I can. I seriously need to be getting to a gig soon so I'm hoping there may be some announced shortly. There was word of May 28th from the good man himself but he later admitted in his own true style, this was incorrect. Whatever the date, I will be hoping to descend upon wherever it is. Excellent new tune from a talented fox!

**UPDATE** There's now also a hard copy CD of Laurence's excellent EP, Sorry For My Words. Own it now for £5.99 by clicking on this link >>here<<.

For some proper quality hard rock music that's new and fresh and about to explode onto the airwaves (well, via your CD and MP3 players more precisely) in a not unlike thermonuclear fashion, make sure you DO NOT MISS this stream of alternative rock band Arcane Roots' debut album Blood & Chemistry (OUT MAY 6th). Click >>here<< to hear the record in all its glory but I warn you. Wear protective head gear. Not for any bad reason but this is hardcore and it is fucking AWESOME. Expletive wholly necessary as well! Banging! I am now counting down the seconds to their set at Truck Festival.

This is a band to watch out for because in my opinion they thrash a lot of the more well-established bands into a million pieces with this debut!

Let's end proceedings on a very light note. Have you ever sat there wondering after watching the Lord Of The Rings trilogy for a thousand days, what would Gandalf The Grey sound like if he were to burst into not song, as much as a rap? Well now you need wait no longer for it has surfaced on the wonderous Tube of You. This does come with a warning though, as it features a parody of Justin Bieber. There can be only one Lord Of The Bling. Let him come forth:

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