BBC Mixtape 16 Sep 2013

Tarek Musa aka Spring King

Artists at a glance


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Every Sunday night (technically Monday morning) from 2-3am on BBC Radio 6 Music you can hear a selection of exceptional new tunes from the BBC Introducing Uploader in an hour-long music mix with minimum speech. Seven of the tunes this week were recommended by BBC friends and colleagues – the rest were handpicked by me from our inbox here at Fresh On The Net. For more about how that particular process works see this post. Out of nearly 200 new tracks I listened to last week, these are my 17 favourites.

Each of these radio shows is available in podcast form via the 6 Music Downloads Page, from 3am. You can also download episodes from the previous 4 weeks. The full tracklists and start times are published here at Fresh On The Net with a link to each artist’s website, plus biog information supplied by the artists. Below are the listings for Monday, 16th September 2013 – previous tracklists can be found via the MIXTAPE tab above or on the BBC website.

SPRING KING – Let’s Ride [STARTS 0:13]
Manchester based Spring King, the alias of up-and-coming producer Tarek Musa, releases “Let’s Ride” at the forefront of a collection of 10 recordings out today (Sept 16th) entitled In All This Murk and Dirt. Recorded at home alone, between a broken bathroom and an empty lounge, Tarek wrote every part and played every instrument across all 10 tracks. You can almost see the faded wallpaper and sickly tiles against which the coughs, howls and snares bounce off and echo against. THE SPRING KING sound is defined by a real pop approach to songwriting, but turned up and smothered underneath layers of fuzz and distortion. “Let’s Ride” is a full blown out punk anthem. Londoners can see Spring King live at the Shacklewell Arms a week on Friday, Sept 27th 2013.

VLKS – Clutter [STARTS 2:41]
Our first BBC Introducing recommendation this week comes from Abbie McCarthy at BBC Kent, for the band Vlks – an “alternative pop group from Chatham and London in England”. They made their live debut at Club Fandango at the Buffalo Bar in Highbury, London in July 2012 and were featured in The Guardian’s New Band Of The Day feature in April 2013 where they were called “an indie chamber pop group, with a neat line in elegiac melodrama”. Their debut EP Vlks V was self-released and critical acclaimed in April 2013 – its lead track Day Of Bees described by The Guardian as a “promisingly miserabilist start – a neat line in elegiac melodrama and camply overblown lyrics” whilst being compared to Wild Beasts and The Smiths. Vlks should be spoken as if it rhymes with ‘books’. It initially comes from the Czech word for wolf, (vlk), which they found interesting simply because it didn’t have any vowels, and didn’t know how to pronounce it.

DONNA – In The Lion’s Mouth [STARTS 06:15]
Thanks to Gareth Fletcher at BBC Introducing In Lancashire for this one… In the history of pop there are many Donnas, both singers and songs. But there is one the world doesn’t know yet: Donna Loman – trading as DO?NA – not just another mainstream name but an artist aiming to etch her own sound. She describes her EP Day Terrors as “an introduction to a personality struggling between dark and light. Donna learns best from what she doesn’t want, and that leads to being a perfectionist from studio performance to throwing out all of her furniture to give extra reverb. She’s currently writing and producing new songs in her attic studio in Blackburn that will include more electronic vibes. She’s from nowhere, or from anywhere, just like her music: international and free.” Donna Loman

JUNIORS – Sharman’s Rug [STARTS 10:13]
Our third BBC Introducing colleague tip this week came from Dean Jackson, host of the legendary East Midlands show The Beat. Juniors described themselves as an “alternative 3 piece from Leicester, ex Junior Fencing Club. Signed to Robot Needs Home Records”. Sharmans Rug comes from their 5-track EP Oscillations. which was released on 20 July 2013. They consist of Jamie Hives, William Bond and Jake Tasker and – that, my friends, is the sum total of the information they are willing to divulge. We wrote and asked them for a paragraph about themselves and their music to go on this blog. They didn’t reply.

SEA STACKS – Numb [STARTS 14:09]
Sea Stacks is the creation of Davy Berryman, aiming to combine orchestral instrumentations to create wind and string-strafed indie music with a distinctly dark, sinister tone of lyrics. Starting in late June 2011 with just a handful of songs and a studio, Davy set out with only one rule, mostly unbroken; that there would be no guitars or pianos used. Seven months, three studios, and nearly forty collaborators later and Sea Stacks was ready to go. In April 2013 Sea Stacks released their first single The High Tide’ along with a video, and recently recorded a live session for my Saturday show on BBC Radio 6 Music. This followup single Numb has just been released and you can view the video here. Live, Sea Stacks perform in a smaller arrangement of eight players, which you can enjoy in London on Sept 24th at The Finsbury and at Guildford’s The Boileroom on Oct 24th.

THE SCHOLARS – Neon Sky (Stars) [STARTS 18:41]
Since we first heard from Banbury’s The Scholars in 2008, they’ve won BBC Oxford’s Battle of the Bands, been featured in the independent film Turbulence, played countless gigs and festivals and slimmed down to a three piece lineup. Now consisting of Adrian Banks. Christian Gillett and Leigh Taylor they released “Love The Thunder” earlier this year which we featured on the BBC Introducing Mixtape at the time. It’s available via their Bandcamp page where you can also find their back catalogue – including the stunning reworking of their BBC Introducing classic “This Heart’s Built To Break”. Earlier this month they were confirmed to play in Oxford for this year’s Oxjam in October, and this single will be released via iTunes on September 30th.

WASUREMONO – Like Bears [STARTS 22:31]
Wasuremono is a project from multi-instrumentalist William Southward who writes and records in his attic studio in Bradford-on-Avon, surrounded by old instruments and recording equipment. Inspired by a previous project produced by Ian Grimble, William learnt how to create unique soundscapes for his own work in the studio. In mid 2013 he recorded his debut EP and invited his friends Adam Newton, Isaac Phillips and Madelaine Ryan over to record with him. William is currently working on his next release – which he plans to record in the coming months. In Japanese, “wasuremono” means “to be forgotten” which is completely the opposite of what he intends his music to become.

DIRTY NORTH – House of Cards [STARTS 25:49]
Introducing DJ tip Number 4 comes from Michelle Hussey at BBC Introducing In Manchester, which -needless to say – is where Dirty North are from. They describe themselves as a three-piece band incorporating reggae, rap and hip-hop influences amongst many others – in a style they themselves refer to as “Wythenshawe Dub”. The members are Johnny Gregory, Carl Palmer and Dave Cookson and in March 2012 they were booked as one of the opening acts for The Stone Roses’ 2012 summer reunion concerts at Manchester’s Heaton Park. Their debut album Down In The Game is released via Bandcamp and Corporate Records on October 1st.Dirty North

TO BE FRANK – Half The Man [STARTS 29:13]
Frankie Pescod is a singer, producer and multi-instrumentalist from Suffolk. He plays London’s Union Chapel on Friday Sept 27th. And that, my friends, is the sum total of the information he provides about himself and/or his music. We wrote and asked for a little more to share with you on this blog, but got no reply. So we’re indebted to Tom Young at BBC Introducing for providing both some interesting facts about this artist and a link to his performance on our stage at the Reading Festival last month.

HIGH SAFARI – Hey Hombre! [STARTS 32:20]
“We are High Safari: a London-based indie duo consisting of Nigel Gamage and James Parker. The band was formed after we met at Sheffield Uni and bonded over a love for artists like The Shins and Elliott Smith. After writing together for a year, we headed into a studio on a shoestring budget and limited time; recording, producing and mixing all of our debut album, Skylight’, in one week. We have released the album onto Bandcamp where it is available to stream and download for free. We are currently scheduling shows around London for the Autumn and looking to record a new EP in the winter.” See – that wasn’t so difficult, was it?

A LIGHT LEFT ON – Don’t Throw Me Away [STARTS 35:05]
Originallly a folk pop duo from Essex featuring David J Brown on vocal/guitar & Tim Fletcher on bass, we now also feature acclaimed blues guitarist Ramon Goose – who was recruited to form an Epic Triumvirate – mainly due to his outstanding on-the-fly Shaky Eggs performances. A Light Left On are appearing at many venues around the country promoting their CD Burning The Candle At Both Ends and their digital EP Gentlemen of the Shade. For more information, tour dates and upcoming releases see our Facebook page. To reassure our more environmentally conscious fans we submit this disclaimer: “we at A Light Left On, in no way actually hold a nonchalant or cavalier attitude towards energy saving and global warning. We do encourage all fans to Leave A Light On – but perhaps not indefinitely.

THIS IS ETHMO – Flying Geisha Machine [STARTS 39:08]
This Is Ethmo is an experimental project by Pocket Gods’ frontman Mark C Lee – aided and abetted by special guests. It mixes beats, World Music and rock to strange effect. We have just released our debut album – By The Light Of The Ancient Aliens – which is out on Academy Recordings. We have already had BBC 6 Music airplay so far not only on the BBC Introducing Mixtape but also on Gideon Coe’s weeknight show. We’re trying to make music that doesn’t fit genres or stereotypes and which is also interesting musically and culturally.

PARK PLANET – How Sinister I Am [STARTS 42:10]
Glasgow’s Park Planet have won a place for their music on the BBC Introducing Mixtape time and again, through the sheer innovative quality of their work. They consist of guitarist and frontman Graham Duff, close blood relative Gordon Duff on bass and drummer Leon Breakey. Although they’ve been registered with BBC Introducing since July 2010 they seem to have escalated activities around the end of last year, posting tunes on Soundcloud that caught the ear of music blogs such as Instantfilter, Musicyouneed and my own Fresh On The Net. They spent the first half of 2013 recording in their outhouse studio. “We are hoping to annouce a few more gigs over the autumn period” they say “but they are likely to be in and around Glasgow. We would love to play in London…” Come on you Sassenach promoters, get your fingers out and invite this outstanding outfit “darn sarf” to play the capital – and elsewhere too, for that matter.

Our fifth BBC colleague tip this week comes from Kelly Betts at BBC Introducing in Beds, Herts & Bucks. Indie-pop band As Elephants Are hail from High Wycombe and have been making music together since 2011. Thanks to Kelly’s support they played the BBC Introducing stages at the Reading and Leeds festivals last month and you can see them performing their debut single War Cry – which received national airplay from various DJs including Mary Anne Hobbs – here. Their latest offering Youth Blood/Lucifer, they tell us, “gives more of a taste of their innovative indie-rock”.

Nineties Boy on ITV CalendarNINETIES BOY – Get It On (ft. ENDOFLEVELBADDIE & TAYALA) [STARTS 48:49]
This record was a well-deserved Fresh Fave here last week. As I wrote at the time, the moment it dropped into our inbox I earmarked it for this mixtape, thanks to Endoflevelbaddie‘s lovely dirtyclean 8-bit beatz and Nineties Boy’s cheeky swaggering vocal – with its pure Northern vowels from the heart of Hull: the whole thing positively oozes style and assurance. My only regrets are that 1) we didn’t get this single a month or two earlier so it could soundtrack the sunshine of the Summer months and 2) we didn’t realise until too late that the Nineties Boy posse of Luke Chambers plus brothers Iain and Alexander would be making a determined assault on London last week – with five shows in five days – as part of their current grassroots Megabus tour. Sharp and funny as this tune is, my guess is that over the coming year we’ll hear deeper and more startling work from this thoughtful, articulate artist as he continues to develop his own idosyncratic style.

THE DEATH OF POP – Sun In My Eyes [STARTS 52:54]
Introducing Tip Number Six comes from Melita Dennett played at BBC Introducing: The South and the band themselves were kind enough to send us a paragraph to publish on this blog. “The Death of Pop are a four piece janglegaze band from London. Since their conception in January 2013 they have been a mainstay of blogs, magazines and radio stations around the world with features in The NME, Indie Shuffle and The Fly to name but a few. The band produce a sound both utterly unique and at the same time timelessly evocative of a vast array of musical genres, compared on BBC Solent to ‘a pop song wrapped in sand paper’. The band operate through their Soundcloud page with a constant stream of music available to download for free. As well as this they have two physical releases, a self playing 10” record and a never digitised cassette ‘Tombola’. Their explosive live show is already being booked across Europe but not before a headline show at The Garage in London on the 11th of October.”

EXPLORERS – Talking to Your Ghost [STARTS 56:43]
Our seventh and final DJ tip in the Mixtape comes from Christian Carlisle at BBC Introducing in Sheffield. Christian forwarded this latest single by our old friends Explorers, who last featured on this Mixtape a year ago. You may recall that Jez Dennis and Rob Bannister – both in their late twenties – originally met on a media course at their local college in Chesterfield. As Explorers they aim to make experimental alternative pop “with a bit of a melancholy edge standing somewhere in between Phoenix, Friendly Fires and Empire Of The Sun. They throw themselves into the ethereal world of dreams, in the constant desire to escape loneliness, haplessly wandering in the longest night that will bring you to the place you lost”. They’ve been selfreleasing a song a month with a view to putting together a new EP – or possibly an album – later in the year.

ARTISTS: A Word Of Warning…

After appearing on The BBC Introducing Mixtape you may well receive unsolicited email from at least one plugger saying they heard your track on the show, thought it “sounded fantastic”, and are wondering if you’re looking for promotion for your releases.

Please check out The Pros And Cons Of Pluggers before responding to any unsolicited emails from anyone suggesting that YOU should pay THEM money for services of any kind.

Tom Robinson

London-based broadcaster & songwriter, born 1950. His best known songs are 2-4-6-8 Motorway, Glad To Be Gay and War Baby; he has also co-written songs with Peter Gabriel, Elton John, Dan Hartman and Manu Katché. Read More...


  1. Steve Kinsale

    Loved the DONNA track – great choice Tom!

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