Marvellous Medicine

If you’ve been searching for the new groove: look no further. How happy I was to be introduced to Oxford-based Marvellous Medicine: very much a mash of jazz and folk, ska and rap, most of their melodies obviously fall into a reggae mood. They say that ‘this is a consistent feature, but you can hear Brecker-inspired funk in our song Colour, klezmer music in Streets and Avenues, and Spice Girls (!) in Girl Back Home.’

Marvellous Medicine met whilst studying at St. Peter’s College, Oxford, (the informal, arty kind of college) and it was the initial efforts of Rob – bass, Piers – keys, Jake – sax, and George – cello/djembe that founded the band. A year later, they were joined by Jamie and Holly, playing the guitar and drums respectively, and together formed MM, the six man wonder-band they are today.

Hailing from all over the UK, their backgrounds are an equally mixed bag when it comes to music. Rob, former member of a thrash metal band, cites a particular love of Bruce Springsteen, which proved of great influence in the song Homecoming. George has had classical training his whole life, and is now a formidable cellist, whilst Piers studied jazz and classical piano in Cardiff. The others are equally enthusiastic about their work, and have all been from an early age. But they do stress that this is foremostly a collaborative effort  – all members of the band sing, and they fondly consider themselves to be ‘a colorful set of personalities, but the music that comes out puts a smile on our faces’. Ours too.

So what’s next for MM? They have just released a four track EP, available on soundcloud here. They intend to continue making music together for the foreseeable future, with the ultimate intention of touring ‘Planet Earth’. I for one cannot wait; this band’s unique and soulful sound is well worth a listen. Catch them on their facebook page: facebook.com/MarvellousMedicine.

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