Ruth Barnes is a new music expert, blogger, podcaster and broadcaster, currently presenting the Breakfast show and The Other Woman on Amazing Radio – the new music network dedicated to emerging and independent artists. Ruth kicked off her career in radio with a six month stint on the BBC London overnight show presenting 4 hours of phone-in radio through the night, which is one way to ensure she’s never short of anything to say once the mic is open!
Ruth was a music reporter for the BBC broadcasting live from the likes of the Glastonbury festival for BBC Radio 5 Live to the WOMAD music festival as far afield as Abu Dhabi for the BBC World Service. Years spent as part of the BBC 6 Music news team meant reporting from music festivals around the country, as well as interviewing musicians – both famous and emerging. Ruth has also been a regular feature maker for the Claudia Winkleman Arts Show on BBC Radio 2, presenting and producing ten minute features on all aspects of the arts world.
A weekly radio show on London’s arts network Resonance FM, The Other Woman, led to a weekly spot on Tom Robinson’s Introducing show on BBC 6 Music. Ruth played her top tips for Tom every week as his Girl Music Guru.
Ruth runs The Other Woman new music blog and podcast, which promotes emerging female talent. Recently Ruth has deputised for Tom on his Introducing show and has presented an all-female 6 Mix for 6 Music.
She has recently embarked on a voiceover career as one of the voices of BBC 1 and BBC 2 continuity.
ELIA & THE LOW TEARS – Sweet Lies
We kick off the Fresh Faves this week with a slice of joyous pop from Elia and his Low Tears. There’s something about this group that immediately pastes a silly grin across your face as you listen to the infectious, pop-tastic beat. Stock Aitken Waterman would have snapped this puppy up for their hit factory in the mid-eighties as a major money spinner. Elia is the son of two established jazz musicians, which could be the reason he has thrown himself wholeheartedly into making pop pop POP! The group do it with such finesse and originality though that I’m sure even Ma and Pa Elia approve.
JOHNNY SANDS – I Am The Ocean
Johnny Sands is living the hippy dream. Randomly select a folk legend of yore and you’ll no doubt find the album (on vinyl of course) in Johnny’s collection. Shades of Loudon Wainwright III, Dylan, Joni Mitchell, Richard Thompson all combine here in a troubadour for the twenty first century. A regular live performer in his home town of Liverpool there’s something quietly ambitious about Johnny Sands… watch this space.
Dear Pariah – So Close The Divide
Charlotte Hinchcliff is Dear Pariah a London based singer, songwriter and musician with a voice that will honestly send shivers down your spine. If not, well then you’re soulless I’m afraid ;) Originally from Somerset but now based in the big smoke, Charlotte’s donned her mantle as she says, when she was at University making music, she felt exactly like a ‘pariah’. A bit harsh on herself maybe, but we’ve all been there at some point or another. Here’s the video for her track So Close The Divide: more »
It’s high time we here at The Other Woman stood on our soapbox (er, beer crate) and triumphantly punched the air. It seems 2013 truly is the year of women in pop. Some will scoff at this statement and cite the last ten years as an excellent decade for women in music but that is where I beg to differ.
Yes, we’ve seen the likes Adele, the late Amy Winehouse, Florence Welch, Rihanna, Leona Lewis, Jessie J and Lady Gaga explode into international megastars. Yes, they’ve dominated headlines, charts and popular culture but it’s never been enough for me, hence the existence of The Other Woman. These stars are all certain types of carefully marketed ‘pop stars’; solo women with either a big diva-like voice or a flamboyant sense of style. Diversity is what I’ve always fought for on The Other Woman - bands and artists a million miles away from the cookie cutter marketing A&R man’s dream. more »
Woodpecker Wooliams – Sparrow
Woodpecker Wooliams says she’s just ‘titting around’, we beg to differ! Some serious music making is going on here, the result being the debut album The Bird School of Being Human out now on Robot Elephant Records. Gemma Williams is a Brighton resident who sings, composes and plays, well, everything frankly: rest assured there are harps, whistles and chimes aplenty. It sounds like a whole band should be making this noise, but it’s all just Gemma. She’s getting some national radio love already which is making us very happy. more »
Natalie McCool – America
We’re big fans of young Widnes guitarist and singer songwriter Natalie McCool, signed to Grammy Award winning producer Steve Levine‘s label Hubris Records. Writing gorgeous big pop ballads that reveal a mind and musical sensibility far beyond her years, inspired by our favourite TV show Game Of Thrones (listen for the references in Fortune, below) and having spent an afternoon brainstorming with Sir Paul McCartney on this very track she’s a sure fire hit in our opinion. So why no daytime radio play on Radio 2? Or Radio 1? Hollyoaks have featured her a few times and they KNOW their audience. Sigh. The radio peeps will catch up soon enough. more »
Another batch of Fresh Faves as voted by YOU! Thanks for lending us your ears… To see the full list, click on Read More
BLANK MAPS – Just Call
Taken from this Newcastle band’s new EP released on August 13th on sterling North East indie Tiny Lights Recordings, Just Call sees Thom, Ben, Jake and Nick really come into their own. There’s that steady driving hip shaking drum beat, tinkly guitars and synths (Maybe that’s a keytar. I want to see more keytars!) and then the vocal knits into the track without a dropped stitch in sight. There aren’t enough knitting analogies in music! The future is bright for this lot.
CORONER FOR THE POLICE – Born Liar
There’s a few people I could dedicate this little ditty too. Taken from their EP Swamp Box, it’s a dirty blend of New Orleans style blues with a heavy riff that pounds it’s way through the track. It’s a relief to get a strong offering from a rock band, guitar music is few and far between these days as the blogs fall over themselves to post the latest husband-and-wife-synth-duo. Where’s the rock ‘n roll?! Oh! Here it is!
DAWN CHORUS IGNITES – Take Me With You
A team effort over a year or two, this band make music about ‘What ever makes us smile, cry, laugh, die!’. The brainchild of Ben Philcox and Mat Cook it’s shoegaze for a walk on a rainy, gusty Devon beach on a summer morning. You know, it’s beautiful but it’s flippin’ freezing and you’re thinking, ‘It’s the middle of JULY!’ Thankfully, this would pull you back from hurling yourself off a cliff, pull your hood up and watch the sun break through the clouds, it’s allll good.
Seaming has a massive voice. In fact the British-Chinese singer is operatically trained and boy can she play piano. This track Sodaslow (sipped) is soaring, otherworldly and frankly fantastic, she’s playing some shows live soon with her Mum, that’s how she rolls. At 1’22″ it’s goosebump central. more »
Andi Dvorak runs Viennese label Fettkakao which is an absolute gold mine of interesting leftfield music from Austria.
First discovery is Plaided, a duo Veronika and Julia whose first album Playdate is just out. The pair got to know each other through organising Ladyfest Vienna in 2005, they say that all the motivated people in that DIY community inspired them to start a band of their own. Absolutely summing up the spirit of Ladyfest!
The resulting debut album is an absolute joy. Singing mostly in harmony creating a quirky choral effect, then diving in with grungey indie guitar and drums. TOW cannot wait to see this band live. more »
Rebecca Jade is a Welsh guitarist and songwriter living in London and, lucky for you, she’s just released her debut album The Distaff Muse. This video was made by shouting out to followers on Twitter who were each featured alongside one line of the song. It’s charming, DIY and completely suits the slightly shambolic off-kilter vibe of the track. This ain’t no straight forward indie rock record neither, Rebecca has teamed up with saxophone, organ, piano, flute… it’s all a bit psychedelic and we here at TOW love it. more »
A strong selection this week and a lovely mix of genres and styles to boot. Our Listening Post favourites take us to Bristol, Wales, Manchester, Australia and back again – for your discerning ears only:
AL LEWIS – Lines Upon the Sand
There’s a gentleness to Al Lewis’ voice which evokes the unassuming effortlessness of some of the great folk troubadours. From North Wales and not one to shy away from singing in his native tongue, it’s no surprise that Al has fans in high places. With BBC airplay under his belt already and some good reviews, the only way is up for our Al.
EMPTY POOLS – Exploded View
Bristol’s Empty Pools are channeling a classic rock sound, not least because of Leah’s strong, ballsy vocal backed by some damn funky guitar and drum lines. TV talent shows make bland supposedly pitch perfect voices the norm in the mainstream. Leah has one of those that’s like a welcome relief on your ears – original, emotive and lyrics that get you thinking… or wandering. more »
Musician Adam ‘Finglebone’ Varney often sends tips our way and when he does they’re always a winner. Take Mevrouw Tamara for example, guitar picking Amsterdam native who makes beautiful simple folk music singing her in home tongue. The Guardian got in touch after she was featured on The Other Woman and made this fantastic video about her as part of their Sounds of Europe series. It tells you all you need to know really… more »
Pisces – Voodoo
Sarah Negahdari is the guitar-toting frontwoman of LA psych-rockers Happy Hollows who themselves have a new album on the horizon but more on that later. This is her side project, more whimsical folk and psychedelic than what she does with HH, Pisces is what you’d get if you stripped back the noise and chaos of HH with Sarah’s voice fore-fronted. Beautiful stuff.
Gaggle – Army of Birds
Gaggle are an all-female alt choir led by songwriter and arranger Deborah Coughlin. They’re signed to Transgressive and their debut album From the Mouth of the Cave is out next month. It’s hugely gratifying to see this genre and boundary defying group of singers get the attention they deserve. Already in just this first taster from the record it’s proving to be polished, varied, funny and above all a brilliant Feminist anthem. more »
Musician Thom Donovan and Nashville singer-songwriter Kendall Morgan met over dinner at the home of a mutual friend, who now manages them as Rossi. Allison Nellis knew a good thing when she heard it too then. Kendall has one of those voices, striking, flawed, utterly compelling. The good people who choose the music for CBS drama The Good Wife (a firm fave here at TOW Towers) have featured them in the hit series and we’re really pleased Thom tweeted us with a link to their Soundcloud. Already a favourite of key bloggers, these two are ones to watch. more »
Amazing Radio has been forced to pull out of DAB in the UK as of midnight last night. For a full explanation as to why we’ve been bullied off this platform read our Boss-Man Paul Campbell’s statement here. In a nutshell it’s all about money, they want more money and we’ve dug our heels in and said No.
Isn’t the point of DAB to have great networks like Amazing Radio on the air? We’re still going strong online and you can listen to us via our free mobile app too, all is NOT lost. In fact onwards and upwards – with groundswell support already from the industry, things can only get better!
What can you do?
Supertalented is Noa Kurzweil and friends: they make short, weird, lo-fi pop tunes about, well, cheesecake and potatoes and things… Weight Watchers and Plus Size are the two albums she’s released on netlabel Birdsong and every song is shorter and sweeter than the next. Their tag line is: “Supertalented are super Lo-Fi for Superpeople.” High five! Also, posting two tracks as they’re so short it’s only fair to get a proper taster… (Thanks to Greg Healey for the tip.) more »
WARNING: THIS WILL GET STUCK IN YOUR HEAD FOR DAYS. It’s the voice (take note The Voice TV show fans – this is how it’s done) and one hell of a hook. Janine Foster fronts Janine and the Mixtape: she sings, writes the songs, produces, plays synths, sorts out the beats – the works. A New Zealander who has spent time in New York and evidently immersed herself in the global electro hip-hop scene, there’s a buzz building… watch this space! more »
“I’m homeless… I’m penniless… and I’m hungry for success” voted lyric of this week’s Listening Post favourites by, well, me! Donna Fullman opens her gorgeous track Restlessness with this line that I reckon speaks for us all. Click the Read More link se see & hear all 12 tracks in alphabetical order. Here we go….
COLE STACEY & JOSEPH O’KEEFE – Light A Candle
Admittedly when listening to tracks sung by dudes, I have to retune my ears as I spend all day listening to tracks sung by gals. It means I’m overly critical when it comes to the fellas and Cole Stacey and Joseph O’Keefe have chosen to cover this track by one of my all time favourites, Neil-Is-God-Young. It’s a lovely arrangement, however, I can only hear one version of this in my head – sorry chaps. But hey, The People voted it into our top 12 tracks so it’s all good! Soundcloud.
DONNA FULLMAN – Restlessness
Donna Fullman is fast becoming a favourite of us all here at The Other Woman. The voice puts me in mind of Sukie Smith, who performs as Madam, and the similarity doesn’t stop there: beautiful arrangements, class musicianship and to top it all off some utterly compelling songs. It’s not twee, it’s not dark, it’s folk music – pure and simple. Lovely. Soundcloud.
The best thing about being part of a network of new music fanatics, is getting tips from your mates. Skopje puts on acoustic nights in Watford, north London, and always nabs himself the best of line ups. Sophie Jamieson is one such tip he sent over to me, and this song The Harbour Wall is just beautiful. And we’re not biased that she’s singing about Dublin at all – but being married to a Dubliner, I like to think I’ve stood at that very spot on Dublin harbour wall, tasted the salt and felt that breeze… more »
These Glaswegian punk rockers play it ear-splittingly loud. When seeing them live at a tiny venue in north London, we left with ears ringing and silly grins on our faces. This video was made by guitarist Vickie and will bend your brain, Horseheads the 7″ is available from Milk Records or from the band live… and trust us you NEED to see this band play! Divorce have also announced that they’ll be recording their first album next month and are putting on a fundraiser because they’re broke – 11 May at The Old Hairdressers in Glasgow if you’re in the neighbourhood. more »
The blogosphere is having a love affair with this video from Manchester four piece Pins. It hit the net last week and has been posted on many a discerning blog, especially as the video’s director Sing J. Lee is being heralded as the frontrunner of a new wave of young, creative and hip Mancunians. You’re either bored to death of this kind of lo-fi, droney, guitar-led indie rock or you get as much a buzz out of it as we do. Click for more
This young Newcastle lass has already supported Ghostpoet in her hometown and launches her Rope Mirage EP at The Cluny on 30th April. You know when you get the feeling that someone’s suddenly going to go stratospheric? That’s the overwhelming vibe from this talented 21 year old who calls her music ’21st Century Soul’. Listing her influences as Jamie XX, James Blake and Jamie Woon it’s definitely a 21st Century sound alright (poststep, apparently?), oh wait, Gil Scott Heron‘s in there too. She’s got a booking agent, press agent and with festival slots already rolling in, what could possibly go wrong? TOW loves this track, it’s been on repeat all morning – turn up the bass… and watch this space!
A psychedelic folk trio from Liverpool, Rich, Guro and Luis make some flippin’ gorgeous music. Rebecca Hawley from fellow Liverpudlian folk-scenesters Click for more
Lady Lykez is a firecracker of an MC from north London: young, sassy, funny, quick fire rap stylings, a massive talent. TOW ‘hearts’ this girl (as the kidz say) and can’t wait for her to accomplish big things. This release of Not Your Hair is the remix featuring Lady Leshurr, Lioness and Stush – a veritable who’s who of young female grime MC’s. Feel the power! Check out this great acapella version (yours truly held the mic boom for this *name drop*!)
Citi Petts – Love in a Riot
Well this tune just automatically puts a big smile on our dial. Pumping electro pop with a great little vocal riff. This trio from Liverpool are fronted by big mouth Lizzie O’Neill, discovered at a house party dance off (er, can we come next time?) the two boys who produce and provide the stomping backing track knew they were onto something special. Saint Signal release this on the 26th March and no, we can’t find much info about this independent label either. Embrace the madness and do a silly hipster head bop to this record… oh, and buy it whydoncha!
The vinyl junkies indie Fruits de Mer decided to reinvent ‘THE definitive rock opera/ concept album’ – that’s S.F. Sorrow by The Pretty Things – with some great new artists, the album is Sorrow’s Children and is out in April. One of those ‘great new artists’ happens to be a TOW favourite, Hi Fiction Science. Their version of Private Sorrow is just fantastic, staying true to their Bristol roots – there’s some trip hop in there and Maria Charles’ ethereal psychedelic vocal lifting the track into another time and space.
Sue Denim is one half of electro indie rockers Robots In Disguise, with Dee Plume they’ve garnered something of a cult following. Appearances in The Mighty Boosh have helped them along and, of course, a string of excellent albums – culminating in Happiness v Sadness last year. Sue’s solo project is quite different, sparse, whimsical, shot through with melancholy that doesn’t quite marry with Sue herself! It’s a beautiful solo effort and one that’s got us mooning over a cuppa on a Sunday afternoon.
Thanks to Tom Jenkins and his excellent Leg Guitar blog for pointing us in the direction of Paolo and Clare – Young Romance. Clare drums standing up ala Tune-Yards and sings, whilst Paolo plays guitar and joins her on vocal duties. This track is just so infectious, we’re loving Clare’s high pitched pop-pitch pure vocal over the grungy guitar and drums… Young Romance are unsigned – not for much longer surely?!
VAGUE-À-BONDE – MV
This little slice of pop loveliness is from V.A.B’s debut release Involution/Evolution which is out now. Nicole Brenny is a 23 year old bedroom producer from Minneapolis, she says: “It’s beat-driven bedroom pop. It’s basically Fleetwood Mac meets K-pop.” Whatever it is it’s catchy as hell and we’re a fan of the layered vocals, which admittedly is achingly hip and getting a bit tired these days, but with beautifully crafted pop beds like on this track she’s onto a real winner. Watch this space!
GHOST IN SATURN – Dusk
What a pairing these two tracks make together! Ghost in Saturn are a French duo consisting of Guillaume Asseline (aka Moon Pilot) and Malika Nid El Mourid. The two of them cite the likes of David Lynch and Lars Von Trier as much of an influence as PJ Harvey and Patti Smith, and there is certainly something deliciously cinematic about the few tracks on their Soundcloud. They’re definitely operating on another level, planetary that is, and when the time comes, we’re on the first shuttle out there!
Margaret Glaspy – Bitter Wind
A best mate of mine Corrina lives in New York, and it’s thanks to her endless quest for interesting and independent live music nights that TOW brings you California native Margaret Glaspy. Living now in Brooklyn she’s fast making a name for herself with her unique voice and original writing style. Margaret is only 23 to boot, which means many happy years of songwriting lie ahead – and we here at TOW wander once again, what have we done with our lives?!
Imaginaire – Holding Onto Hope
Imaginaire are a South East London band consisting of David, Chris and Nico and a revolving party of vocalists. On this one, young singing upstart Kimberly Anne (above) lends her soft lilting vocals as the band explore their electro side with a bank of analog synths and some New Romantic quiffs. This single is out on New Antique Records, with a dreamy B side equally worthy of a listen, Postdrome Waltz.