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

George Ezra

Hailing from Bristol, this singer-songwriter has just hit number 5 on the BBCs ‘Sound of 2014’ list. And he’s only 19.

According to his page on the BBC, he was first spotted in 2012 by BBC Bristol who were “championing his bluesy, acoustic ballads”. Since then, he’s had a slot on the Glastonbury Introducing Stage as well as recording sessions at Maida Vale (the BBC recording studios in London for those of you who aren’t familiar with the term).

Zane Lowe recently described him as “One of the most compelling and powerful new vocalists around”, and I would have to agree. George’s vocals are far beyond his years, and his bluesy style is reminiscent of the greats like Bob Dylan and his hero Woody Guthrie. He fits very nicely into the emerging style in the industry, creating a beautiful vintage sound and merging it beautifully with modern accoustic tracks.

In spite of his recognition from London, George stays true to his roots, playing a lot of gigs in Bristol and sticking around his hometown. According to him, the town is exciting and “things are happening”.

To hear more of George’s songs or to see where you can see him live, visit his website: www.georgeezra.com

Adam French

Adam French is a 21-year-old singer-songwriter from the North-West of England. His life as a solo-artist has been relatively short, yet he has already accomplished a lot. He has been featured as a top story on the National BBC ‘introducing’ page, as well as recently completing a tour of Southern Africa.

He’s received wonderful reviews for his music both live and recorded and has now produced a music video (featured) for his new single ‘Shiver’, starring Hollyoaks actress Bianca Hendrickse-Spendlove and directed by Dean Straffron.

Adam spins himself as a new, innovative musician and has a genuine love for what he does. He is described by reporters as being incredibly hard-working and seems dedicated to his career. His style has all the workings of indie magic, and his emotive lyrics are thought provoking and well thought out. It’s evident that this is a musician who has worked hard at perfecting his craft and it seems the time has come for that hard work to start paying off.

Adam has also mastered the art of the ‘hook’ – his songs are catchy, almost addictive – and he achieves this with ease (and without the mass irritation caused by most ‘catchy’ tunes). After listening to his single a couple of times you can’t help but find yourself singing a few of his lyrics under your breath throughout the rest of the day. And what’s more, you don’t hate him for it!

If you want to find out more about Adam and his work or listen to more of his music there are several places you can go. Check out his Twitter @AdamFrenchUK or like him on Facebook – www.facebook.com/adamfrenchmusicuk

Alternatively, just visit his website www.adamfrench.co.uk and there are links to all of his social media, bios and much much more!

Mano’s Daughter

I am a fan of Tim Minchin, and as such, I follow him on Twitter. So, naturally when I read the tweet, “Tim Minchin: Gig Tip: Saw @ManosDaughter live the other night. Huge fan. Unique sound, brilliant lyrics, beautiful vocalist. Next gig Dec 6th @Cargo_LDN.”, I decided to check them out.

Upon doing so, I was amazed that this band hadn’t crossed my path before. They are an extremely talented trio, producing a wonderful collection of alternative electronic music, most of which cannot be described as anything less than hauntingly beautiful.

Hailing from London, the group consists of Sarah Carter (Vocals), Matthias Garrick (Synths, programming) and Dan See (Drums). They have been described as a mixture of Little Dragon, Florence and The Machine, with hints of Portishead. When seen live, (by audiences other than Tim Minchin) they have been described as “an explosive three piece, with their almost anthemic choruses and thought provoking lyrics”. They really do provide a really interesting listen, and go particularly well with essay-writing or coursework (something of a preoccupation of mine at the moment!).

Their influences range from The Invisible, Foals, Everything Everything to Bon Iver and Moloko. Mano’s Daughter make songs and song-writing the heart of their sound. The story and production values both play an equal part in this band’s finished product.

Check them out at http://www.manosdaughter.co.uk/ or just search for them on Youtube. Their own written stuff is incredible, but also I can thoroughly recommend their cover of Bon Iver’s ‘Towers’ which is just stunning.

Odinn Orn Hilmarsson

Originally from Iceland and now living in London, Odinn is a graduate of the University of York whom I had the pleasure of meeting in my first year. Evidently a very talented multi-instrumental musician, just listening to him play is a wonderful experience, but it is his composition that sets him apart from the norm.

During his time as a student, Odinn began writing and producing scores for several of the theatre shows and films he became involved in during his spare time and his Masters degree in Digital Film Production. This has only spiralled, with his music now featuring in multiple shows at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival, The King’s Head Theatre (London), The Last Refuge Theatre (London) and many more.

Odinn’s acoustic and ethereal style is beautifully unique; his work has that invaluable quality of the greats like Zimmer and Williams – you know when you’re listening to Odinn Hilmarsson. And when you do listen to his music, you get that other-worldly prickling feeling reserved for finding something truly special. That and the chills usually caused by musical genius.

You can find his newest song Tomasina on his Soundcloud – https://soundcloud.com/gangleri – as well as teasers from his current projects and other experimental work.

Alternatively, you can find more of Odinn’s finished work at http://odinnhilmarsson.bandcamp.com/, or follow him on Twitter @odinnthehole. I can’t recommend highly enough giving this talented emerging artist a listen – you may just get the chance to boast, “I heard it before he was a household name”.

Josef Salvat

Josef Salvat is a singer-songwriter born in Australia but currently living in London. His music is often classed as  pop, but don’t think boy bands and Taylor Swift because you would be way off. Think more along the lines of James Blake.

Josef isn’t really a complete unknown on the music scene. After his first demo, This Life, was put on soundcloud earlier this year there was a fair bit of hype surrounding him.

Hype after one track is a dangerous thing but Josef has just released Hustler and I think if anything it shows he can live up to the initial buzz.

So what does he sound like? Well the two songs on Josef’s soundcloud are really quite different but I’d say both songs are quite dark. Josef’s most recent track, Hustler, has simple piano parts and vocals but the use of layering makes the song sound complex, building up and dropping back to a simple piano part and vocals.

In reality though, the only way you’re going to know what his music is like is if you have a listen, so if you haven’t gone to his soundcloud yet then sort that out now. Check out his tracks and some of the great remixes on there too.

If you want to know more, find Josef on Facebook and Twitter.

Tom Scott

I’ve gone and got myself a new favourite acoustic musician again – I know, I know, it keeps happening, doesn’t it? I promise you, though, it’s always completely justifiable, and this time especially.

Tom Scott is a singer song-writer hailing from Yorkshire and based in Sheffield.  Currently unsigned, he is already building a name for himself on the Sheffield live and acoustic circuit, gigging at numerous venues across the city and making his music free to download via his Soundcloud (on the proviso that you share it round, of course). He has also recently made his way into the final sixteen acts for Kerrang Radio’s Unsigned Lounge competition, and given that there were over two hundred applications, this is no little achievement.

Though Tom describes himself as “an acoustic musician still finding his feet”, the delicate chords that match perfectly with poetic lyrics and a soft, lilting vocal, means he stands with the likes of James Vincent McMorrow and Benjamin Francis Leftwich in his ability to leave the listener mellow, thoughtful and not a little goosepimply. With the positive recognition he is receiving, a growing fan-base and an undeniable talent, Tom is certainly and deservedly set for great things.

For more information about Tom’s music or where you can catch him live, check out his Facebook page, or follow him on Twitter @tomscottmusicuk.

Josephine

Straight out of Manchester, Josephine Oniyama and her soul-rich voice are taking the music press by storm – with Guy Garvey, Lauren Laverne and Paul Lester (The Guardian) all raving about her, she looks set to be the next big thing. A singer-songwriter, she mixes the genres of indie, soul, folk and indie, taking inspiration for her lyrics from the world around her. According to Josephine, anything, be it love, technology or the weather, can be turned into a song.

Josephine has been playing live since her teens, performing her fist gig at the age of 15. Since then, she’s supported the likes of Paolo Nutini and Michael Kiwanuka, and last month she released her debut album, ‘Portrait’. She lists her influences as the Smiths, Joanna Newsom and Joan Armatrading (among others), and you can hear hints of all them in her music.

Josephine has the aptitude to create songs that are simultaneously contemporary and nostalgic, her powerful voice delightfully compatible with the quirks and charming strangeness of the music. She’s not simply another soul artist trying to replicate Dusty Springfield or Mahalia Jackson either; she brings a post-modern element to the genre, with her music a surprising sequence of twists and turns, a unique artist in every way.

If you’d like to see Josephine live, she’ll be touring with the Noisettes, Rodrigo Y Gabriela and Paloma Faith at various points in 2013. To find out more information, visit her website.

– Georgie

Jerome Thomas

I first heard Jerome Thomas one rainy night in New Cross.

Rushing to try and make it on time for some arrangement I was inevitably late for, I passed the dingy New Cross Inn on the corner – haunt to many Goldsmiths students looking for a cheap night out, and some other rather interesting characters besides.

The smooth and soulful sounds I could hear emanating out the door were enough to catch my attention, and pique my curiousity. I had to go in to check it out, no matter how late it might make me, and how sticky the floor was going to be. What I ended up seeing was one of the strongest performances I’ve witnessed since starting at uni, and I’ve been keeping tabs on Jerome’s work since.

I recently caught up with the Dalston-based singer and designer to talk influences, plans, and creativity:

Tell us a little bit about yourself. 

Alright well, I’m Jerome Thomas, Singer/Songwriter from East London. I’ve been singing since i was a little’un, but started taking music seriously about 5/6 years ago.

The Soulnotes are a band i formed a few years back when i was at university and they are my band, so you’ll see em at most, if not all of my gigs. We write and record together sometimes too.

Describe your sound in three words (for all those people out there with short attention-spans!):

Fusion of everything – FOE.

How did you first get involved with music?

I’ve always been around music and creativity. I was writing songs, poems and stories as a kid all the time. In terms of just music, I think i was about 12 or 13 maybe and I performed at a open mic for young’ens and I remember – as cliche as it sounds – feeling really good doing after doing it; the reaction was positive, so from there i just carried on writing and singing.

Where do you take your inspiration from as an artist?

I try not to let others influence me as an artist and I feel that if you’re looking at someone else, you become less focused on you. I forever want to be original and create my own guidelines. 

There are obviously people I admire and would like to follow in the footsteps of in terms of success and musicality;  people like D’angelo, Marvin Gaye and Amy Winehouse. Regardless of their personal matters, their music is flawless to me and speaks for itself. With that said, I love all types of music.  

But most, I’m inspired by freedom: no limits or boundaries, being able to do what you want if and when it suits you.

You also design and sell t -shirts under your boutique brand ‘Foe’ – Can you give us an insight into your work in fashion?

Yeah, I’d been customising a lot of my clothes, getting clothes for cheap in charity shops and markets, and just trying stuff out with studs and bleach and dyes. Then one day, i was chilling making a t-shirt for myself and it clicked – just start selling them. It’s still in the baby stages now though, I’m concentrating more on my music, so the fashion side is sort of like my side job.

What other plans does  Jerome Thomas have for the near future?

Well i got a song looking to drop soonish, so thats coming up. I’ve also been collaborating with other producers and their projects are due for release soon too, so you should be seeing me pop up a bit more ‘fingers crossed’.

Finally, are there any other young musicians out there inspiring you?

Shakka, Etta Bond, Mark Asari, Joel Culpepper – they’re all doing their thing right now. Couldn’t really sit here and list everyone, but those are the standouts for me. 

 

Gaz Brookfield

One day, I was scrolling through my ever-growing and wildly out of control music library, and I happened to stumble across five or so tracks by a chap called Gaz Brookfield. I can’t remember how they got there, and to be honest I don’t much care because, after thirty seconds or so of listening to Gaz’s dulcet tones and delicate chords, I was completely and utterly hooked and I listened to his track “Hell Or High Water” all day, every day for a fortnight straight.

Gaz Brookfield is a folk singer-songwriter based in Bristol who sings about love, life, music and home. His lyrics are at the same time deeply personal and instantly relatable, speaking straight to everyone who’s ever had to work hard, fallen in love or thought that Simon Cowell and his bloody X Factor are collectively ruining the music industry (check out “Diet Of Banality” for full details on this latter point). An acoustic artist, he’s reminiscent of Frank Turner via Newton Faulkner with a dash of Jim Lockey on the side (a combo that’s well up my street, let me tell you), and he’s possessed with a passion and an honesty that makes his music incredibly appealing to anyone who appreciates their listening material with a little meaning behind it.

Since he began his solo career in 2006, Gaz has played over 700 shows and has two studio albums, 2011’s ‘Trial and Error’ and this year’s ‘Tell It To The Beer’, both of which are excellent and fully worth checking out. In 2010, he won acoustic magazine Beautiful Days singer-songwriter competition and on 21st December 2011 he became the first unsigned artist ever to sell out Bristol’s The Fleece. Safe to say, then, that he’s pretty damn good.

If you’d like to find out more about Gaz Brookfield’s music, visit his website.

– Georgie

Rioch Temporal

In the eternal quest to find the new sound, artists come and go, plagiarizing and pilfering from contemporary and historical modes in order to come up with something that is totally unique, with varying degrees of success. One musician that seems to have slipped quite stealthily onto this scene is GHR Leeming (under Rioch Temporal), whose progressive sound strikes a chord somewhere between metal and an acoustic singing sensation. We caught up to discuss all things artsy.

Tell us a little about your background.

I displayed an affinity for visual art and illustration from a very young age, but discovering musicians like Soundgarden, Tool and Cat Power in my teenage years became a catalyst for my desire to write and play music. After moving to Manchester at 18 I became involved with the underground music scene as a writer and promoter.

What creative spheres do you work in?

I’m a part-time music promoter, journalist and graphic designer, but I spend most of my time writing and playing music. I’m mainly a pianist, sampler and vocalist, though I’ll play any instrument I can get my hands on. I wrote both music and lyrics for my material, and am planning pen/pencil based artwork to go with it. When I have the time I create gig posters and band artwork using photography and digital techniques, but am increasingly integrating hand-drawn elements or entirely hand-drawn pieces.

Any hobbies you’d like to share?

I enjoy cooking, cycling, and swearing; and I can’t drive a car, but I can sure pull a damn good pint.

Inspiration?

The natural world: mankind’s history. Mythology, symbolism, and the occult. All colored by my own instincts, emotions, and experiences.

Have you had any training?

I have had classical training in the past, but for the last four years I have been very much self-taught. I constantly try to push the limits of what I’m doing vocally.

What are you working on at the moment?

My solo, piano-based project Rioch Temporal (compared to the likes of Austrian Soap&Skin). Planning a record, whilst working in a trio to prepare my songs for more band-based live performances. More collaborations are also in the works. The Rioch Temporal EP will be out at the end of this year, and I’m currently playing shows whilst getting my teeth into the writing.

Whilst many a young musician is crunching away at scores and tab, Leeming’s natural flair for composition is the piecemeal of great stuff to come. Leeming is currently based in Manchester, and available for gigs. Follow him on his journey up and away over on his blog, or alternatively, to get in contact email manager Rachel Emms at misanthropymusic@hotmail.com. For a free download of the track Helios (Wolves), head to soundcloud here.