Every Monday morning from 2-3am on BBC Radio 6 Music you can hear a selection of my favourite new tunes in an hour-long music mixtape. All the audio is sourced from the BBC Introducing Uploader – some of it recommended by BBC friends and colleagues, some from the inbox at my own Fresh On The Net blog.
From 3am each Monday the latest mixtape is available free via the 6 Music Downloads Page – where you’ll also find archived episodes from the previous 4 weeks. All the tracklists and start times for each track are published here – together with a link to each artist’s website. These are the listings for Monday, 22nd April 2013.
WEIRD SHAPES – We Need This [Start 00:13]
“All we’ve done for the last 12 months is bang our metaphorical brains against every literal piece of studio equipment that we’ve amassed during numerous recent ebay scouting missions” say Weird Shapes (above). The first product of this technological rampage is this track We Need This. As always its a self assessment, against the backdrop of an escapist eulogy written in the confines of British heavy industry. We Need This is the first in a long line of tracks that we’re going to be releasing on different blogs over the coming months. It got its first play on KYEO/Narc and is available to download for free from our Soundloud page (sounclound.com/weirdshapes). So if there are any bloggers out there who might want to feature some exclusive Weird Shapes material, plus an interview with the band, please get in touch firstname.lastname@example.org.”
JESS HARVEY – Don’t You Wonder [Start 03:35]
A new discovery – whose music forwarded to us by Kelly Betts from BBC Introducing in Beds, Herts and Bucks – Jess Harvey is an 18 year old songwriter who plays keyboard and guitar. Her debut studio EP, “Heard if not Seen” can be heard and downloaded online, along with various live recordings and her latest original tracks. Experimenting with genres such as pop, jazz and acoustic, her aim is to blend “mellow jazz vocals, intricate piano parts and layered vocal harmonies”. She can regularly be found performing around Buckinghamshire and Hertfordshire, and you can catch up with her on Facebook, Bandcamp, Youtube and Soundcloud by googling “Jess Harvey Music”.
BIGGER THAN SEATTLE – When We’re Apart [Start 07:03]
This track was recommended to us by Louise Brierley who co-hosts BBC West Midlands Introducing. Bigger than Seattle are, we’re told, “an Indie Rock band who started out in early 2012 as a quartet of musicians from different Stourbridge based bands: four blokes out to blow your mind with natural grooves and vibes.” Within a few months they had recorded their debut EP Cherish This – and by the end of the year were “playing great venues in cities around the UK. 2013 promises a host of new songs, recordings and further UK gigging. See our twitter for more updates”.
CURXES – Further Still [Start 10:37]
Brighton’s Curxes (pronounced “Curses”) consist of the impossibly glamorous Roberta Fidora and Macaulay Hopwood – who describe themselves as “a decorative set of bones, channelling the ghosts of discotheques past” – and for many of our readers will, I’m sure need no Introducing at all. Their WordPress-based website is not only visually rich but warm and entertaining in style – and clearly written by the band themselves. (A wonderful contrast to the many other fast-rising artists whose idea of interactivity is a form saying “subscribe to our mailing list” and the email address of their management office.) For example: “Among otter things this month (yes, that was deliberate, we’re sorry), we’ve been cooking up some clatterbang with our special brand of “narcissistic flutes” for Scotlandia’s own Chvrches, in a special 1996-style affair: Chvrches vs Curxes. The song is called Recover and you can listen/taste the difference between the original and our remix below. It was released digitally on March 25th and will be out vinylly for Record Store Day (20th April 2013). Yum.” This track Further Still premièred on The 405 before making an appearance on Electronic Rumors, Hand Clap Movement, Wonky Sensitive and Faded Glamour. The song is available not only in this week’s Mixtape but as a free download from their website. As Curxes themselves say, “help yourself pop pickers…”
FLUTES – Kilburn [Start 14:10]
“Hello there, we are genuinely honoured, very excited and admittedly a little surprised that you have a desire to learn more about our band. The roots of Flutes started over ten years ago, when Godfrey met Andy at university on the windswept coast of Fife. Add in Rob and Alex, and for the past 8 years we’ve been concocting a musical story together which contains the following elements: a church hall in Oxford, corporate espionage, recording in sheds, recording on industrial estates, the M6, an old white minibus, too many London gigs circa 2007/08, grizzly old men, a BBC sound technician with a fetish for vintage microphones, big belly laughs, and a Scottish football stadium. More recently, we decamped to a static caravan in Craigenmuir on the outskirts of Glasgow. This put us within striking distance of the recording studio Chem19 to finally document the songs which provided the soundtrack to this chunk of our life. Guided by Jamie ‘The Tornado’ Savage, we’re happy to report that we have a record that we’re dead chuffed with. To top it off, my old primary school friend Mark Buchanan has directed a couple of fantastic videos to accompany the album. We’ve got lots planned for 2013 so please do visit our website for updates, new releases and live dates.”
THE LAKE POETS – April [Start 17:59]
Sunderland musician Martin Longstaff sometimes makes noisy brasss electro music with eccentric local supergroup B>E>A>K. Since April 2010 he has also been writing and performing delicate emotional acoustic music under the name of The Lake Poets – sometimes alone with his guitar and sometimes with a band of kindred spirits. His live shows to date have included appearances in Durham Cathedral, Sunderland Minster and London’s Roundhouse Theatre. On record, The Lake Poets’ music is released by the local label he co-founded, Tiny Lights Recordings – which is also home to Natasha Haws, Blank Maps, The Railway Club – and O’Messy Life whose music also appears at the end of this week’s mixtape. launch show for début single, ‘City By The Sea’, at The Sage sold out 3 months in advance. The launch shows for all three of his singles have sold out months in advance. This one – produced by Mick Ross & James Mottershead – comes out next Monday (April 29th) and he next plays live at at Newcastle’s Evolution festival on May 26th.
MOUNT FABRIC – Heuristic Fits [Start 21:33]
Mount Fabric are nothing to do with fabric, or how to mount it: they are in fact falsetto, reverb, toms, distortion, effects, shattering highs and abusers of all things classic. They plan to release a series of singles throughout 2013 that focus on the meaning of life, of which Heueristic Fits is the first. Last year they opened for the likes of Alt-J, Dum Dum Girls and Exitmusic, toured California and headlined the new music stage at BT’s London Live in Hyde Park last year – before retreating to their Manchester studio to record new material. Their passion lies, they tell us “in creating interesting music; from their avoidance of chords, choruses, and lyrical clichés, to their ultra-cheap D.I.Y. recording set-up, they try whenever possible to avoid the obvious and pursue the slightly unusual. Heuristic Fits will be followed by a second single in June, accompanied by a launch night at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge on June 5th.”
DARK BLUE – The False Idol [Start 25:27]
“Dark Blue descended from the planet Jupiter three weeks ago, landing on the top of a mountain in New Zealand. Despite the lush scenery, he didn’t much like it (due to the many biting insects) so opted instead, to live in Bingley, West Yorkshire. Since then Dark Blue has become fascinated with the local architecture and discovered many books about music at the local Library, which has inspired him to create his own sounds. In June he will be releasing an EP of the music he has created – from which The False Idol is a taster.”
THE RAMISCO MAKI MAKI ROCKING HORSE – Danger Danger [Start 30:09]
The Ramisco Maki Maki Rocking Horse is an alternative indie folk artist from the Scottish Highlands. “Armed with his acoustic guitar and fuzz box the Horse throws forth wherever his hooves land, a guerrilla rocker of sorts with a history of pop-up shows that span parts of the UK, Europe and North America. Previous to becoming The Horse, Ray McCartney was a founding member, songwriter, performer and producer of The Kazoo Funk Orchestra. He performed as Little Beard before leaving the collective for brain surgery late in 2008. Ray was also the founding member / songwriter and frontman of El Jugador until the band split in 2005. A recent session Ramisco did for BBC Scotland with his backing band The Wat Wat Kings will be aired by BBC Alba’s RAPAL Tbh on April 25th at 10pm. His latest EP, Squawk!, is out now.”
NB: BBC Alba is a Scottish Gaelic language digital TV channel jointly owned by the BBC and MG Alba, launched in 2008: the name Alba is the Scottish Gaelic name for Scotland. It’s the first multi-genre channel to come entirely from Scotland with almost all of its programmes made domestically.
OH SO QUIET – Rain At Night [Start 32:49]
Oh So Quiet consists of the core duo of Lucas and Malena Zavala plus a live band. Originally from Argentina, they grew up in the creative environment of a family packed with architects, fine artists and musicians. When our protagonists reached the respective ages of 7 and 3, their parents decided to move to England. By early 2011 they had gathered together musicians from other parts of the world to form a live band, combining indigenous Latin-American music with Western World indie and folk. The full lineup includes Spanish-American Axel Martínez on bass, Lithuanian Silvija Vil on violin and Belgian Martin Gregoire on drums. Their debut release – the Oh So Quiet EP – is released next Monday April 29th.
COUNCIL TAX BAND – A Salty Grave [Start 36:32]
(SHORT VERSION) “Two guitars/synth/drums. And shouting. From Bedford” (LONG VERSION) “Andy, James, Charlie and Laura have unremarkable haircuts and lack an interesting backstory: the best they can hope for is to have a good time before being consigned to the dustbin of art rock obscurity. However, Council Tax Band are happy for you to invent any old guff if it helps them fulfil their ultimate goal of selling their music to be used on adverts flogging cardigans and mobile phones to The Great Unwashed. Their EP Three Songs was recorded in a room full of cardboard boxes in around a day, using a combination of borrowed gear, and gear they bought themselves by slogging their guts out in a variety of shit jobs. It’s the first thing they’ve done that they consider fit for public consumption. Prospective ‘fans’ can download Three Songs for as much or as little cash as they like on our Bandcamp page. Council Tax Band also have Facebook and Twitter accounts exactly where you’d expect to find them, should you feel an overwhelming need to track their bowel movements. Gigs:
April 26th – Bedford, Esquires
May 3rd – London, Cakey Muto
May 21st – St Albans, The Horn
May 24th – Middlesbrough, The Westgarth”
There, you see readers – they’ve turned lacking “an interesting backstory” into far and away the most entertaining and informative band biog of the week.
SILENT CITIES – Beating Heart [Start 39:31]
Silent Cities is the “blissfully obscure” music project of singer,songwriter, and fingerstyle guitarist, S. Maddison. Last year on this blog I wrote about Silent Cities saying “It’s not a question of chords, lyrics, melody or recording quality it’s simply that sometimes you can tell within seconds that you’re listening to The Real Deal. And – take it from me – this artist, my friends, is The Real Deal.” This track Beating Heart is alas not included on Mr Maddison’s forthcoming debut EP which is is now streaming at his “new and very official website”. Its physical & digital release will take place at Leaf on Bold Street, Liverpool on the 18th May in collaboration with Mellowtone and Rebel Soul.
PETE BEAT – Borderline [Start 42:46]
Pete Beat is, he says, “an adventurer in the space of all possible sounds, seeking out sweet harmonies and funky beats wherever they may be found, regardless of danger to his person. Pete Beat released his Doctor Doctor EP (which includes the track Borderline) in March, this being his first release in over two years. A departure from the house and breakbeat styles of his previous released, the new EP has been described as “80s tinged electro pop”. Following this, he is back in the studio working on new material. Look out for new tunes, and at some point in the future, a live band being formed (if he ever gets round to it and can find some like minded members to join).”
THE MAY BIRDS – Leah’s Song [Start 46:53]
The May Birds are a 4 piece Female band based in London who have spent the last two years playing out in London, Brighton and Bristol. “Our basic setup is guitars, cello, piano and four vocals” they say “but the more time we spend writing and playing the more we’re experimenting with bass, percussion and banjo amongst other things. So it’s an interesting time and our live shows are developing in a way that feels really exciting. We played Live and Unsigned last year and have since had brilliant support from Annie Nightingale who was judging. She helped get us played on Radio one’s Introducing show with Ally McCrae. We’re about to start hosting our own music night – called Dusk – at The Bedroom Bar in Shoreditch. The first one will be on May 28th and we have some wonderful acts on the bill. Leah’s Song is set to be our next single: we made a video for it on the boat Ella lives on and it will be out soon! ”
PJP BAND – Vicious Luck [Start 50:45]
When Plymouth’s Patrick James Pearson Band (now known simpljy as PJP Band) played Glastonbury’s BBC Introducing Stage two years ago, one bystander commented: “Astonishing for a keyboard driven outfit, real grit and power”… oh, hold on – that was me. Last year they recorded their debut album with producer Pete Miles. Last November the first single from the record I Am A Racer won the public vote on Radio 1’s Review Show – and the video subsequently clocked up 10,000+ views on YouTube. Their self-financed followup album And So It Goes will be released on their own OUF Record label on June 3rd. They play a series of dates to promote it during May including an appearance at Brighton’s Great Escape Festival on May 15th. Vinyl copies of the album are already available through the band’s website.
O MESSY LIFE – Challenger [Start 54:39]
“O’Messy Life is a band of hacks from Newcastle that make a kind of grunge-cum-pop punk racket with doom-fuzz riffs, actual guitar solos, heartland-rock pianos and a lyrical preference for delivering otherwise unsavoury levels of self pity through the prism of character narrative” they tell us. “We were once described by DJ legend Steve Lamacq as a band that ‘listened to their parent’s The Damned records’. We actually listen to a lot of Bruce Springsteen, Dinosaur Jr and The Weakerthans and read a lot of Ray Carver. We released three EPs and two singles in the last couple of years and are currently writing a two-EP set of Doom Ballads, based on the the NASA Constellation programme. This track Challenger comes from the first of these EPs – a five track release due out in July on Tiny Lights Recordings. We also play occasionally as backing band to Withered Hand and our current collaborators are also members of Bridie Jackson & The Arbour.”