British Sea Power

“ALERT! ALERT! ACTUALLY DECENT BAND PLAYING IN YORK ALERT!”

Now, upon reading the above on my Facebook news feed, my naturally inquisitive mind wants instantly to investigate. And, the (slightly over-egged) announcement is quite right, these guys are a decent band!

British Sea Power are a six-piece band variously originating from Cumbria, Yorkshire, Ealing and Shropshire who are currently based in East Sussex and on the Isle of Skye. Their multi-instrumental style (guitars, bass, keys, drums, a viola and a cornet) gives them a wonderfully rich and unique sound that seems to have thrilled their fans and reviewers alike. The Sunday Times have called them “the best band in Britain” while a Rolling Stone review dismissed the entire line up of the Reading Festival as “puerile drivel” and adding “we’re off to see British Sea Power”.

Far from starting out, British Sea Power are ten years more mature than their debut album (released 2003), but their new album Machineries of Joy sees them really hitting their stride. Their hard work and perseverance really shows: a recent poll of BBC 6 Music listeners on the most important tracks of the stations lifetime but British Sea Power’s track, ‘Remember Me’ at number 9. Putting this into context, that’s just above Radiohead and just behind Johnny Cash.

If you want to check out this band properly, visit their website – http://www.britishseapower.co.uk/ – where you can find links to all of their social media, videos of their performances as well as tour dates, so you can appreciate them live.

Yoshika Colwell

Known to everyone as Yoshi, Yoshika Colwell is an undergraduate at the University of York and everyone who knows her know about her voice.

Singing live gigs across the city at various cabaret and jazz nights, Yoshi wows audiences wherever she sings with her beautiful smooth tone and alternative covers. She has a range of covers on Youtube under the title ‘Live in the Living Room’ where she re-discovers well known songs in a simple, yet beautiful style. Listening to them, you wouldn’t know she hadn’t written them herself. My personal favourite is her cover of Bob Marley’s ‘Soul Rebel’ – believe me, it’s nothing like you’ve heard that song before!

As well as her beautiful covers, Yoshi also provides the vocal track for the radio drama Trimble, produced by URY (University Radio York) and written by Edward Greenwood. The show is currently nominated in the Best Online or Non-Broadcast Audio drama catagory in the BBC Audio Drama Awards 2014.

I thoroughly recommend listening to Yoshi and checking out her music. Not just because she’s a lovely person, but also because she’s an incredibly talented musician. Her soundcloud has a lot of good examples of her music – https://soundcloud.com/yoshikacolwell – but check out that aforementioned Bob Marley cover – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cqzxYuV_Pwc

Fallingham Fair

I’m back on the folk train again this week people, but I assure you, it is for good reason. Formed in Birmingham back in 2010, Fallingham Fair are a folk-pop trio whose uplifting style and delicious range of vocal harmonies have seen them top my personal iTunes chart for a good few weeks now. After listening to them, I guarantee they’ll be having the same effect on you too.

Fallingham Fair was born out of a series of collaborative live shows between its three members, Fred Claridge (Vocals, Guitar), Aoife McCauley (Vocals) and Tim Gilvin (Vocals, Keyboard). Since then the trio have steadily been building a name for themselves on the indie-folk scene, playing a diverse range of festivals (including New Roots Folk Festival and Camden Rock) and releasing their debut self-titled album in 2011. In March of this year, the group released their second album Songbook to a flurry if praise which, when coupled with their increased airplay from the likes of Channel 4 and 6Music’s Lauren Laverne, surely means that this as yet unsigned band are inches away for  being snapped up.

For me, it is Fallingham Fair’s ability to invite the listener into their songs that makes them such a winning combination. There is a friendliness intertwined in the beautiful chords and soaring harmonies, a sort of soothing and seemingly effortless warmth that is simultaneously enticing and exciting.

For more information about Fallingham Fair, find them on Facebook or follow them on Twitter. You can also visit their bandcamp, where you’ll find download links for all their albums and individual songs.

Sweet Baboo

Welsh folk purist Stephen Black who performs under the moniker Sweet Baboo has created an idiosyncratic sound when comparing his last two releases ‘Ships’ and ‘Girl Under a Tree’. On the latter EP, tracks like ‘The Day I Lost My Voice’ hint at a strong Americana influence with the bright, overdriven rhythm guitar and the Conor Oberst-esque mumble. Yet, when Stephen plays, the mind is not drawn West; instead, there is a palpable sense of Cardiff, Stephen’s home town, especially on this year’s album ‘Ships’. Despite his eclectic and far-ranging sound, Sweet Baboo is local music grounded in Welsh Folk roots.

It is there in North Wales where Stephen began finding his tastes and developed an aptitude for music while watching Welsh bands like The Furries and The Gorkys on Top of the Pops and Jools Holland. Sweet Baboo’s nomination in the Welsh Music Prize 2010/2011 brings full circle the line of Welsh influence in music as he as now become a tastemaker in his own right.

Sweet Baboo has sounded its dulcet tones at Latitude, Green Man, SXSW and the Camden Crawl. Despite the hectic touring schedule, Stephen has found time to craft a concept album about the sea titled ‘Ships’. Psychedelic single ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ exudes the vibrancy of youth and the spectacular Welsh coasts Stephen so loves.

Bandcamp
BBCR6 Session
Facebook

Ryan Keen

When I walked into a bar in Camden on a Wednesday night, and heard this amazing folk voice playing a cover of ‘Stay’ by Mikky Ekko and Rihanna, myself (and the whole crowd) was captivated by this talented voice.

Ryan Keen is an English folk/acoustic/pop singer, all the way from South Devon. When hearing Ryan’s voice live, his voice reminded me of Ryan Adams- and no, its not just because they share the same first name- with the husky voice and folk feel. Not only is his voice superb, but also Ryan’s guitar rhythm and skills are insane. Ryan’s love for music and the guitar started at a young age, picking up his first guitar at the age of eight. Naturally, Ryan’s talent has not gone unnoticed, with already having toured with Lucy Rose, Ben Howard, Delilah, Newton Faulkner, and toured twice with his pal Ed Sheeran. You can see that these musical geniuses have rubbed off on Ryan’s music, and vice-versa.

Ryan’s brilliant tunes, such as ‘Focus’, has been played on both Fearne Cotton’s and Zane Lowe’s Radio 1 shows, with Zane Lowe placing ‘Focus’ on his ‘Next Big Hype’ track.‘Focus’ is not only a great song, but it is an amazing animated video. With joining forces with one of the country’s best stop-motion animators Andy Shackleford, Ryan creates a sweet and creative video, which also won Limelight Award for Best Music Video.

This year you will find Ryan, not only touring round Britain and Europe, but at festivals such as Wakestock, Redfest, Boardmasters, Secret Garden Party, Camp Bestival, Kendall Calling, and Bestival.

So to hear more of Ryan’s music, go to https://soundcloud.com/ryan-keen. And, to book tickets to see Ryan live and more info, go to http://www.ryankeen.co.uk/.

 

 

 

 

Jim Ghedi

Jim Ghedi is the equivalent of a ‘sleeper hit’ in the local Sheffield music scene. Owing to the spiritual bent and ethereal soundscapes which constitute his music, his discreet acoustic creations have been lost on those who haven’t had their ears to the ground.

Another possible reason for slow but steady rise maybe the eclectic styles the 22-year-old draws from. Some have traced his musical roots to ‘Folk, Blues, Free Jazz and Eastern World Music’ putting forward the sound suggestion that Jim Draws influences far removed from hilly suburbs of Sheffield.

Thanks to a series of well-promoted shows in and around the city, word has spread about experimental folk artist. His innovative composition rejects formal structure in favour of a rhythmically and tonally-orientated order of music.

This isn’t music you can ignore; it demands your attention and you risk losing it if the nuances and shades aren’t headed.

Jim’s right-hand man is Neal Heppleston whose instrument of choice is the double bass and his deft picking and emotive bowing lays down the low-end bass frequencies to the songs. So far Jim and Neal have delivered two astonishing releases: ‘Archipelago’ and the recent ‘Of Abyssinia’.

The reference to the old empire reflects the meditative voyage the music navigates through. Though the music is spiritual in its sonic composition the themes are earthy and natural. Recent interest indicates that this ‘sleeper hit’ is causing the steel city to finally stir.

On a side-note, does Jim look a bit like Nick Drake?

Listen to ‘Of Abysinia’ here

Facebook

Introducing: The Natterjacks

Fate is a funny old thing.

If you’ve never heard of a candid camera party, let me fill you in: you’re split into teams, given a list of challenges that you need to complete – the more risky the challenge, the higher the point score attached to it – and you need to get picture evidence. The team with the highest point score at the end wins. And the pictures make for hilarious viewing the next day (although they might not always be Facebook appropriate. You have been warned.)

For example, one challenge could be to pour a pint behind a bar. Another could be to create a human pyramid. Or even asking a stranger to crawl down the street with you – it’s at this point that I met The Natterjacks.

I woke up the next morning with a sore head, a lot of bruises and a business card in my handbag. I type in ‘The Natterjacks’ into Google, and was instantly filled with excitement: these guys are good. Really good.

Freddie, 19, and Mark, 20, sound like the indie folk lovechild of Mumford and Sons, and Ben Howard.

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This video of them performing for BBC Introducing’s ‘The Beat’ on Radio Derby has had almost 150,000 views on Youtube. Not bad for a couple of lads from Chesterfield who started out doing a few pop punk covers. I had to know more:

 

– So you have a really ‘big’ sound, it’s hard to believe there are only two of you! What instruments do you play?

Freddie: I play guitar, some banjo, the tambourine and vocals.

Mark: And I play the guitar, banjo, mandolin, kick drum and a bit of vocals.

– Is music something you’ve always wanted to do? What did you want to do when you were a kid?

Freddie: This is going to sound really corny, but I wanted to be a rockstar! I study dentistry and University of Sheffield so I’m having to split my time between that and gigging, writing and recording at the minute.

Mark: And I wanted to be a chef. We’re good friends and we started to do some open mic nights playing pop punk covers, then I introduced Fred to more folky bands like Mumford and Sons, and now here we are.

– Your sound is very ‘Mumford’; do you have any other influences?

A few of them are Ben Howard, Vaccines, Bombay Bicycle Club. But we’re finding lots of influences working their way into our music as we listen to new stuff.

– What was the first album you ever bought? (No judgement; mine was Britney Spears and I’m still not ashamed to say that, but I probably should be.)

Freddie: A Present for Everyone – Busted, not ashamed to say some of their songs are incredible!

Mark: S Club 7…

– What would be your perfect gig line-up?

Mumford and Sons, Ben Howard, Fleet Foxes, Haim and The Natterjacks (We can’t leave ourselves out of the chance to play a great gig!)

– And when can we hear more of you? Do you have any gigs or releases coming up?

We’re currently in the process of recording an album which we are hoping to have released in the summer. The first few tracks are up online so that’s quite exciting. We’ve got plenty of gigs around Chesterfield and Sheffield, we’re looking to get quite a busy summer sorted too which should be fun. What we really want is to get onto the festival scene – we feel we’d be really well-suited there.

 

Check out their <a href=”www.thenatterjacksofficial.co.uk>website</a> for the latest on their gigs and releases – expect big things from this band.

Bear’s Den

Beards. Banjos. Bear’s Den have it all.

(However before any Glaswegians among you say a word, that’s Bear’s Den as in the animal habitat thing,  not Bearsden as in the town off of Glasgow thing- and don’t let Google correct you different)

Seeing them first this February after a friend kept relentlessly recommending them,  the first thing that strikes you when you listen to them, is just how have you not heard of them before? The acoustic three-man band (Andrew Davie, Kev Jones, and Joey Haynes), are more than on the rise however, and it only seems like only a matter of time before they become a much more well known name. Last year they supported both Mumford & Sons and Of Monsters and Men on their US tours, and are part of the same West London record label Communion that has helped boost the careers of those such as Daughter and Laura Marling.

When describing them I suppose the easy way out is just to directly compare them to the likes of Mumford & Sons, since they are fitted into the same ‘modern folk’ category. But really they’re a bit more mellow than them, and more soulful. But that’s not to say their sound is mournful at all- the prominent use of a banjo and solid drumming keep the pace upbeat and dynamic; their songs can be ridiculously catchy.

But it’s the storytelling and sincerity of their music that makes them vital listening; in particular their best known single Pompeii, and A Year Ago Today from their newest EP Agape is beautiful listening, full of emotion and lovely harmonies.

You can follow them on facebook, twitter, and check out their music on the Communion page.

The Natterjacks

The Natterjacks are an indie folk duo hailing from Chesterfield in Derbyshire. Playing together since 2010, Freddie Bingham and Mark Evans create a rip-roaring, foot-stomping brand of folk that’s accessible, enjoyable and downright excellent.

On first listening, you’d be forgiven for thinking there were more than two people making up this band. Both multi-instrumentalists, Bingham and Evans use mandolin, kick-drum and banjo alongside their two acoustic guitars to create a multi-layered musical track that beautifully compliments the rich vocals. Their sound has distinctly nu-folk feel, with the pair taking their influences from the likes of Fleet Foxes, Laura Marling and Mumford & Sons, and the overall sense of dynamic vivacity that underscores every song makes them a worthy listen, both recorded and live.

The Natterjacks have already built up a dedicated local following, pulling in new fans daily through their storming live shows and the regular release of new tracks via their Soundcloud page. Some of these tracks are free to download, and all of them are – astonishingly, considering the level of quality – recorded in either Mark’s room or Freddie’s shed.

With a session for BBC Introducing’s ‘The Beat’ already under their belt, and both an EP and a new video in the pipeline, the Natterjacks are surely ones to watch – I personally hope we’ll be hearing a lot more from them in the future.

For more information about the Natterjacks, check out their website. You can also like them on Facebook, or follow them on twitter: @thenatterjacks

Savvy & Saving Grace Music

While I was enjoying some great art at the Zetland, I was lucky enough to bump into a fantastic recording artist, turned producer and now record label owner, Savvy. There are so many up and coming artists and musicians out there today, so it’s always awesome to chat with someone who has such raw talent, and is really showing the world what he’s got. With his own music racking up hits on YouTube, and his record label working with every genre from Folk to Grime and everything in between, you’re bound to love him just as much as I did.

Here’s what he has to say…

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Tell me a little bit about yourself and your music?
 
My name is Savvy, some people also may know me as Asaviour, I’m a producer & recording artist from Huddersfield and I’ve worked with a range of artists like: T.E.E.D, DJ Q, Stac, Athlete, Jehst, andDJ IQ to name a few. I’ve released 3 mix tapes as part of the a Play To Win series and have couple of albums out, one called The borrowed Ladder and another called The A Loop Theory. I’m currently working on a new album title to be conformed.

The Gola campaign is called “Born in Britain” are there any British artists that inspire you today?

Thats a long list erm……Mr Scruff, Radiohead, Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, David Bowie, Arctic Monkeys, The Clash, The Who, T.E.E.D, The Stone Roses, The Cure, Dizzee Rascal, Kate Bush, The Specials, Amy Whinehouse, Happy Mondays, Damon Albarn (Blur/Gorillaz), M.I.A, Joy Division, Queen, New Order, The Beatles, Franz Ferdinand, Goldfrapp, Basement Jaxx, erm, erm The Streets, Roots Manuva, Labrinth, Calvin Harris,  Emeli Sandé, La Roux…I can literally go on and on and on……
 
You’ve also been busy working on your own record label “Saving Grace Music” Tell us about the label?

Erm… I guess it was just natural progression for me I stared featuring on peoples records, then got the chance to release my own records via labels then moved onto releasing my own records via my own label. I guess the aim is to give other artists & my self a platform to put out quality music whatever the genre. I stared the imprint in I guess 2007-8 firstly with mix tapes (Play to Win series) then moving onto singles & albums.

What projects and releases can our readers look out from you in the future?

Well I just released a free track from my recently released mix tape Play to Win vol.3 its called Adapt or Die (The Remix) it’s only free for a limited time so grab it while you can. http://soundcloud.com/savvy/savvy-adapt-or-die-remix

The second track is a forthcoming single from an artist I’ve worked with on my last album the A Loop Theory my collaboration album with DJ IQ ( Professor Green’s Tour DJ) has call Pride and it features a singer song writer called Stac, The track is called The Right Idea and features remixes from DJ Q, The Whiteboys, Noji & XLII. take a listen > http://soundcloud.com/saving-grace-music/pride-the-right-idea-ep

And last but not least we have a new artist to the label called Ben Hoo, Hes a singer, songwriter, guitarist, rapper, drummer generally and all round talented guy, he has a single due called Failing its amazing but hey I’m biased.

And I guess my new album, sorry I can’t tell you the title at the moment but I’m aiming to have that out later in the new year, I’m real happy with it so far.

 Finally, anything else you’re dying to tell us?
 
I’m also currently rehearsing with my new band for when we tour the new album its coming together nicely, we got a few special dates planned to make sure you follow me on twitter via @iam_savvy to find out when & where as i’ll be coming to a town near you soon!!

 Laterz…..

 

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Well guys I hope you enjoyed reading that as much as I enjoyed writing it. You can find Savvy online on many platforms, so check out the links below and make sure you’re the first to hear about all the latest news and new releases. Follow him and Saving Grace Music on their journey to bring us the best music has to offer. Don’t be left behind…

Savvy:
Twitter: @iam-savvy
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Saving Grace Music
Until next time guys!
Katie

Ruth Bewsey

Ruth Bewsey is possibly my favourite ever festival discovery. In the sunny summer of 2010, hanging around the eco-powered Greenhouse stage at 2000 Trees Festival near Cheltenham, I happened to catch her short but beautifully constructed set, the sweetness of which took my breath away. Since then, I’ve played her frequently on my specialist student folk show on Forge Radio, and have become quite the dedicated fan (although her southern base has kept me from seeing her live since).

On her Facebook page, Ruth describes her sound as “summerfolk”. If this isn’t already an official genre then I will certainly be starting a petition to make it into one, because it is the perfect way to describe Ruth’s music; her songs have a gentle and uplifting quality that wafts over you like a soothing August breeze, transporting you instantly to a tranquil summer evening or an afternoon’s lazy sunbathing in the park. Her voice is powerful yet soft, allowing her to captivate her audience with no more support than plucked riffs on an acoustic guitar.

Ruth has only been playing solo for a short time but has succeeded in building up a dedicated following, playing a verity of festivals and more intimate gigs. As well as this, she also has a burgeoning career as a vocalist for electro and dubstep producers, demonstrating her cross-genre vocal talents. She is signed to istartedthefire records and word on the street is that she’ll be releasing a solo studio album sometime in the near future, as well as joining some of her label mates on tour.

To find out more about Ruth Bewsey, visit her Facebook page, or check her out on Soundcloud.

– Georgie

Stealing Sheep

Usually when I go to a gig I tend to avoid the support band unless I have a vague idea of who they are. They tend to be a mixed bag and so I’m never sure if they will be worth a watch. However, when I went to see Alt-J earlier this week, I decided to go early and stumbled upon a fantastic band, Stealing Sheep. I heard the harmonies first and wondered how big the band must be, only to be surprised when I discovered it was made up of three young women.

Stealing Sheep are a Liverpool trio comprising of  Becky Hawley, Lucy Mercer and Emily Lansley. Their haunting, mystical music is reminiscent of Fleet Foxes. The three women are refreshingly talented, and use a mixture of harmonies as well as being excellent instrumentalists.

If you enjoy folk music then they are definitely one to have a listen to – although they are perhaps a little more eccentric.  If you’ve not heard them then you’re bound to recognise them as their track ‘Shut Eye’ was recently the backing to a Hollyoaks advert and they’re certainly heading for more success after the release of their debut album ‘Into The Diamond Sun’.

Stealing Sheep are definitely one to watch, their live performances are even more impressive than their album, adding an entirely new atmosphere into the room. With their first headline tour taking place later this year, it’s certainly worth grabbing a ticket.

You’ll like these if you like: Fleet Foxes, The Pierces and Lykke Li.

Tracks worth listening to: Shut Eye, Genevieve, I Am The Rain