Monday, 27 May 2013

BAND OF BADGERS PRESENTS...#14



 OR

Picture taken from the band's website
It's that time again folks. Time to share the latest podcast via the regular blogcast. I've got lots of top tunes for you from some top quality talent. As mentioned at some point below, this is my current word of the moment - QUALITY! The Sun is out in a clear blue sky this Bank Holiday Monday and I'm struggling to keep my mind from descending into the dark and dank depression that is the awful return to work mindset required after 11 big fat superb stonking days off. The start of this saw me enjoying a wonderful 3 days in the south Oxfordshire countryside at Wood Festival. Time beats me as it always does or else I'd hoped to have had my review of the event up online by now. I've been caught up in a time eddy or a bubble of some sort though. I'm all over it, to use what appears to be one of those dreadful 'management speak' phrases in common use at the moment. Aren't they awful? And yet it is increasingly difficult to not slide down that slippery slope and adopt some such phrases in the day-to-day office culture.
Picture taken from Mark's Facebook page
On the OXJAM Northampton front, I have the main venue I want to host the gig at very interested offering up two provisional dates, so I will be meeting for a coffee to discuss more details and how to proceed with it. Exciting! More news when things are more certain. On the blog front, I've set up my WordPress account so am currently fine-tuning what I want the new blog to look like up on there. I also discovered as I was having a play, that it is possible to import a blog from Blogger. Thus, I hit 'import' but sadly lost all the pictures and media embedded on those posts. It's a learning curve but that only makes sense. I'll be working on it for a while to get it looking just right before launching but I will be adopting a new unique URL that you can store in your memory banks for later - www.bandofbadgerspresents.com I think this is the way forward and cannot wait to unveil it but needless to say the link isn't live just yet. I am so tired of all the technical issues with Blogger. It is most often such a painful experience to complete posts. There won't be much change in content. It will still host the blogcast for my podcasts and there will be the regular multi-music shares, reviews and time permitting some more band/artist profiles. And no, I have not forgotten nor am I neglecting the fabulous The Fireflys. That post, along with a number of others at present, is in the making.

Picture taken from the band's website
Now, without further adieu, let's get on with the show! 

THE PLAYLIST:
  1. Gladiator - Wings Of Apollo
  2. Spooks - The Scholars
  3. Last Of The Hobo Kings - Mary Gauthier
  4. Never Letting You Go - Robb Murphy
  5. Birdsong - Mark Nichols
  6. In The Wreckage - Reichenbach Falls
  7. Microlove - Summa
  8. I've Been Waiting - Lavers
  9. Bad Karma - The Como Brothers Band
  10. Hold On To Saturday - Wings Of Apollo
WINGS OF APOLLO
What a way to open up a podcast. What a way to close a podcast. Yes, I was so torn over which Wings of Apollo track I should play from their tremendous self-titled debut album, I could only settle on two. The album is available to download 100% totally FREE (click >>here<<). If you haven't snapped it up already then you best be quick off the mark now. I have my tech guys* busy locating all your IP addresses so I can send round my cat to sort you out.


Gladiator opens up my playlist as it does the album, with a nice big heavy smack of classic rock combined with incredibly smart and nifty contemporary elements. And some impressive guitar riffs that will knock you clean out with their hurricane-strength force. HELL YEAH!! In contrast but with no less punch behind its impact, Hold On To Saturday helps me demonstrate in one podcast, the versatility and range this band manage to showcase via the album. You think that's amazing you need to get on downloading that full FREE album and checking out the other masterpieces therein. No excuses folks, just top quality banging rock masterpieces. Now GO GET! http://www.wingsofapollo.com/

*there are no such guys, just me.

THE SCHOLARS
Picture from The Scholars Facebook page
When stating how Spooks has always been my personal favourite of The Scholars' most recent batch of singles I feel like I'm a broken record. I've shared and bigged up all the other songs too because quite frankly in this alternative indie rock trio we have a top quality band putting out music that cuts right through to your soul and makes that all-important lasting connection. Make sure you grab your FREE download of Spooks below. Then check out the other releases from the band because there are some more ace freebies too.

The huge atmospheric sound these guys produce is simply put, phenomenal! And they master the live performance like true professionals. Following their recent performance at the O2 Academy Oxford as part of a BBC Introducing event, a number of new dates are set to be announced for June & July. The band is also currently mixing a few new tracks so please get 'liking' their Facebook page too keep on top of these updates. Get along to a show if you are nearby and let's keep music live! https://www.facebook.com/thescholarsofficial

MARY GAUTHIER
There is one word I choose that befits Mary Gauthier and that is musical legend. Okay, that is technically two words but as I mention on the podcast itself, I hold her right up there with the likes of Wilco and Bob Dylan. She has the ability to render me just so in awe to be speechless.


I make it no secret how much Last Of The Hobo Kings has been formally enshrined into my top most favourite songs of all time EVER list. The instrumental opening few seconds of this song move me through space and time. When finally settling and opening my eyes, Old Steam Train Maury is standing right there in front of me as this obituary song plays out. His entire personality is relayed with such vividness I do have to check to ensure I'm not hallucinating. If you don't have Live At Blue Rock then there is something very wrong with you.


Just have a listen to closing track Wheel Inside The Wheel above. You'll notice there's also a hidden track therein. This is a wondrous tasty treat in the form of a heavenly version of Mercy Now, complete with gospel choir on backing vocals. Then the video of a performance of Mercy Now at the Frog Pond. You can thank me later but most of all thank Mary by buying her marvelous music. You can read my review of the album, Live At Blue Rock by clicking >>here<<. http://www.marygauthier.com/

ROBB MURPHY
The song featured, Never Letting You Go, is available as a FREE download from Robb's bandcamp page. When musicians of this stature are giving away music you really MUST NOT pass it by. Entice you into buying some more of Robb Murphy's perfect blend of gentle acoustic alternative indie pop. The acoustics are sublime. The songrwriting is first class. 


With a musicianship to rival the greats, you need to stop stalling and get on board. Robb has debut album Take A Stand out and with it smashes through all barriers with something magnificent. Have a sample of the singles from the album below and judge for yourselves. This is accomplished stuff. Little wonder he's been receiving so many amazing reviews and heady praise. You really need to also be having a listen to the three live demos he's got up on his soundcloud page because they are quite something!


Take A Stand is available in a variety of formats all to aid in your purchasing and thus listening pleasure. http://robbmurphy.com

For you iTuners click >>here<<.
For you Amazoners click >>here<<.
Or from Robb's own online shop click >>here<<.


MARK NICHOLS
What a talent Mark Nichols has. He's no one trick pony either, as he's a rather stunning photographer too. Although even if he was a one trick pony on the side of his sensational music, it would be one incredibly impressive and successful trick to have.



Following the release of the stunning and original EP Traveller last year, Mark followed it up with the release of a FREE acoustic track called In The Arms Of Angels. I'm rather excited about the live acoustic EP he is currently working on and it goes without saying I need to catch him live at the first opportunity I can.


I certainly won't miss out because as I've said before when featuring Mark on the blog, this is one talented young singer-songwriting musician who is going to be HUGE! https://www.facebook.com/marknicholsmusic


REICHENBACH FALLS
These guys certainly didn't disappoint when I caught them live at Wood Festival on Saturday 18th May.  They performed superbly although I regret I couldn't hang around to say hi after their set ended for the only reason I had to mozy on over to the other stage so as not to miss Flights Of Helios. It was great to hear a few more songs that will be featuring on the Reichenbach Falls full album, Reports Of Snow. Some videos of some of the songs are already up on t'intertweb, the one for Stay Home, Elizabeth which is below for you to see in all its gorgeous glory.


Stay Home, Elizabeth from Reichenbach Falls on Vimeo.

I can't believe it was so long ago now I reviewed the wonderful EP I'll Never Go Anywhere Without Her Now. That was back on Band of Badgers Presents...#12. Go >>here<< to read that and make sure you buy a copy so you are fully prepared for Reports Of Snow


Seeing the videos of some others songs and seeing the band play those and the more familiar tracks from the EP has well and truly whetted my appetite for the LP even more. I am positively ravenous for it. A superb title as well and yes it does remind me of Game Of Thrones but how can it not? Winter Is Coming after all. Please do go and 'like' the Reichenbach Falls Facebook page so you can keep up to date with all the latest news and the live dates that are soon to be going up. https://www.facebook.com/ReichenbachFalls 

SUMMA
I use the phrase a lot but then it tends to happen to me quite a lot, so it is only down to the superb music dancing its way to my ears. Blown away. Yes, that's the one - and Summa blew me to Timbuktu with the song Microlove. It was a FREE download and I just had to share it on the podcast after featuring it and the band on the blog a while back. An alternative indie rock duo from Boulder, Colorado I was quite surprised how amazing they sounded. Not that I was being prejudice or expecting it to be anything bad you understand. It just completely blew me away.


Checking out more music and Jake O'Neal's YouTube page I've uncovered even more phenomenal music that has blown me away yet again. I am indeed having to write this bit of the post while whirling around in a hurricane. I will cover Jake's solo stuff separately in a forthcoming post but with how wonderful the music is I cannot but share it here as well, while I'm on the subject. You can check out and buy his own self-titled EP/single from iTunes by clicking >>here<<.


Picture taken from the band's Facebook page
Not only one incredibly talented young guy, Jake is also a part of funk/reggae/soul group Intuit along with fellow Summa member Max Grossman and a bunch of other really great individuals. I've checked this out too of course and there is some superb stuff. You can check out some of these tunes on Intuit's Reverbnation page >>here<<. You can expect them to feature on the blog at some point in the future as well. Back to Jake for a moment though, please visit his Facebook page and hit that 'like' button. You will want to know as his updates go up and being as busy a bee as he is, Facebook will help you do this. Jake O'Neal on Facebook is >>here<<.

Back to Summa and I really can't wait to hear more from these guys because like I say, Microlove just blew me clean away. I explained how it gets really embedded in my head and I play it endlessly on repeat afterwards. On mind radio, I mean. When it no longer pops up on loop I simply ensure I listen to it again and wham bam, it's there for another long stint. I really could listen to it just endlessly. http://www.summamusic.com/

LAVERS
Picture taken from the band's Facebook page
Third time round on the podcast for this Australian band with a song I featured previously on the blog. I've Been Waiting is available from iTunes >>here<<. Let me here those clicks, folks and get downloading this fabulous music. It was recorded at Sydney's Studios 301 with Simon Todkill (Mark Ronson, Matt Corby, Kanye West). You also need to check out their other records up there, The Street Is A Symphony >>here<< and Endless Corridors >>here<<. These two marvelous EPs are also available via bandcamp >>here<< for those of you who prefer to avoid iTunes.


Brothers Dom and Sebastian work ceaselessly to get Lavers where they want to and should be. With added depth and layers from drummer Matt Barnes and bassist Chris Law, the band have a bright future ahead of them. Gigging extensively last year, they became known for their electrifying live shows, complete with mass sing-alongs and crowd participation.


I'm saving hard (seriously? on my salary? if only I could) to get myself over to Australia soon where I can take in the musical delights of Lavers before moving on to New Zealand to soak up the superb sounds of Julie Lamb. Keep yourselves up to date with all things Lavers because the word is out they have another new single due out soon! www.laversband.com

THE COMO BROTHERS BAND
Taken from their most recent EP Still Waters, Bad Karma is the second outing on the podcast for The Como Brothers Band. And why not? Music this great needs to be shared as often as possible. It is a top track as well! Another couple of brothers who are working endlessly to make a success with their music, Matt and Andrew Como are talent incarnate.


Quite rightly so, success is heading their way after a very busy and exciting 2012 that has seen their profile bought to the attention of some movers and shakers. How these guys remain unsigned at present is a mystery but such is the way of the music industry these days. Still, there is no disputing they have more than enough talent to carry them on and through to the big time. Amongst a number of other exciting things, the band's music has been placed on MTV's Real World Portland and the instrumental version of their song Your Love has been placed in adverts for Quicksilver. Not only this, but they have music featuring on a soundtrack for indie film Wingman Inc, due out later in the year.


Having been selected to play The Warped Tour at Nassau Coliseum last year, the band are vying for a place on the Vans Warped Tour 2013. You lovely people can help them get there by voting for them in the Ernie Ball Battle Of The Bands >>here<<. Thank you please. Here's to another big year for a great indie band! Oh, and before I finish, if you don't already have the Still Waters EP you should head to iTunes for it >>here<<. http://comobrothersband.com/

MERCIA EVENTS PRESENTS....LIVE HOUSE
It is always with regret when I am unable to get myself to live events when I am asked and welcomed so nicely. I urge ALL of you live music fans who live nearby to Burton-On-Trent to get yourselves to Mercia Events next Live House gig on Thursday 6th June. Even just you music fans who don't usually extend yourselves to the live circuit. You are missing out on something so special. All the bands or artists featured are top quality indie musicians who live for playing their music and sharing it with you, the people. It will make for a cracking night so get along please!


Following on from last month's amazing night featuring the excellent bands The Cheap Thrills and The Indieannas, June's gig sees the tremendous Trouble With Tuesday and vivacious The Velocets take over the evening to entertain with their remarkably accomplished music. Pure quality from both these bands! That seems to be my new word of the moment - quality. Totally justified by such quality I'm hearing and seeing. I'll be taking a closer look at both the bands in future posts.


So, yet another top night of live music ahead. I really need a helicopter! The venue for you lucky folks who will be able to enjoy this is Brewhouse Arts Centre, Burton On Trent, DE14 1EB. Tickets are just £5 so there is no excuse not to part with such a small sum for such a superb night as this will be. http://www.merciaevents.com/


NEW CASSETTES
Closer to home and the town where I live for this band. Thanks to Craig Gibson of The Puppet Rebellion for pointing me in the direction of Northampton's very own New Cassettes. Another amazing band from this town I had no idea of until they were suggested to me. Just goes to show how much I need to be looking around here a bit more for some top music.


Their second album Winterhead is now available and have a listen below, it is quite something! You can buy it via iTunes >>here<<. This  is crisp and fresh indie rock I am becoming rather a huge fan of. http://newcassettes.com/



THE MID-SUMMER CLASSIC
It's a while since I first came across this US alternative pop rock band. As usual it is just lack of time and space as to why they haven't featured in a post before now. At least, I don't recall them having done so. If they have it will have been quite some time ago now. Either way, their sensational track Space Queen really needs a share. It is AMAZING! So big and atmospheric. I am seriously loving this tune!




Picture taken from the band's Facebook page
The Mid-Summer Classic are as yet unsigned, which given the quality (yes, that word again) of this music, is just a crime. Their bio on Facebook sums them up really well, 'Energetic songs filled with heart-felt relatable lyrics and catchy choruses'. Space Queen is the first track on their most recent EP Euphoria which contains a further 4 stunning tracks. Buy it from iTunes >>here<<. Euphoria is also available via bandcamp and you can have a listen below. https://www.facebook.com/themidsummerclassic





THE SHALLOWS


WOW! Yes, my extreme WOW for this post comes thanks to The Shallows with Honestly. Honestly, how AWESOME is this tune!? Available as a FREE download too. You know what to do by now. Let me hear those clicks, folks. Seriously, there is so much superb music that is totally FREE these days.


There's also a superb animated video for the song. The band strike me as enigmatic with an air about them that is mysterious but honest.


Also for your enjoyment is the acoustic video of Get Gone, filmed down on The South Bank in the Antarctic March temperatures. This is some fantastic music and tuneage here. More to come from The Shallows soon! http://theshallows.co/ << And as the guys have to point out, it really is just .co.....no .uk or anything after it.

WHITE CLOUDS & GUNFIRE
Another fairly local band, this time from neighbouring Peterborough (okay not exactly neighbouring but it isn't far from Northampton). While researching some local talent a couple of weeks ago my ears bathed me in gratitude for stumbling upon White Clouds & Gunfire. Their distinct alternative punk rock sound is instantly catchy and infectious. Infectious in the kind of way that you want to lick them to ensure you catch what it is they got. Perhaps that is taking the metaphor a little bit far but just listen to the sounds, folks! Then get licking, oh, excuse me, I mean clicking...to find lots more from this awesome band.


Hit 'like' on their Facebook page as they have an important tour announcement coming on 7th June you won't want to miss. There's already lots of live dates up on the page for you to get scribbling in your diaries or setting reminders on your digital devices (I did that last time, right? about does anyone still use pens and paper now?). Their band profile page on facebook is actually one of the smartest I've seen and as you can imagine I've looked at quite a lot over the last year or more.



They are giving away a FREE download of the song Satellite too so make sure you click, click and grab it! Superb tunes from a very tight sounding awesome band here. https://www.facebook.com/wcagf

TIME TO GET BRIEF...

CASTRO
From across The Narrow Sea to beautiful Belfast (where they doth film a great deal of the great Game Of Thrones of course) for the latest song from alternative indie band Castro. The opening guitar to this track does things to me. It is top notch stuff. The song overall is impressive, lyrically, vocally and musically. It leaves me yearning for more from these guys.



Make sure you get to their Facebook page and 'like' so you can keep updated on all things Castro Music. https://www.facebook.com/castrobelfast

PHOENIX FOUNDATION
Just a brief one from this New Zealand band for the moment but I could not go without at least sharing something from them. Thanks to the lovely singer-songwriter Julie Lamb for sending me a link to the band on Facebook. It was for a show they were doing in London a few weeks ago, which as I don't live there or near enough (or more importantly don't get paid enough to get myself there often enough for such things) I was unable to make it.


Totally digging the sound of this band though so will be covering more about them soon. http://www.thephoenixfoundation.co.nz

LEWIS WATSON
I was well and truly put in some kind of trance when mooching through some music videos and finding this one. It was likely a tweet or a someone 'liked' it on Facebook. I think Lewis sounds phenomenal so please check out his stuff for me and give some more support.

You can pre-order his EP Four More Songs (due out 1st July) from iTunes >>here<<. This video is for the song Into The Wild, taken from a previous EP, The Wild which can also be purchased from iTunes >>here<<. http://lewiswatsonmusic.com/

LUCAS GULLIFORD
A stunning demo track from Lucas Gulliford up on his soundcloud page. This was another WOW for me, make no mistake. https://www.facebook.com/lucasgullifordmusic


FIRST THINGS FIRST 
THIS IS WHO WE ARE (DOCUMENTARY)
Get to know US alternative rock band First Things First a whole lot more by watching their full documentary on their YouTube channel First Things First TV >>here<<. The trailer for this is below.


These guys are heading out on their This Is Who We Are tour from June 22nd to July 27th across a nice wide range of States so if you're a US reader of the blog and this superb blend of alternative indie rock is your bag, you HAVE to get along to a show. It is going to be something special as this band aims to leave its mark on America. https://firstthingsfirst.bandpage.com/

GUY VALARINO ON THE WALL
This is kind of 'just in' but Guy Valarino has been on my music radar for a wee while now. Well, not The Wall in The North of Westeros, no - but rather beautiful song City Walls, from a wall. Sublime! Guy is a British singer-songwriter from Gibraltar and brings you a warm sound to render those Mediterranean shores beneath your very feet.


I'm way too late in sharing the info but for any London-bound/based readers, Guy has a gig at the famed Ronnie Scott's Bar on Tuesday 28th May. Please do not miss out! To whet your appetite even further there's a video below he did for Garden Gnome Sessions. http://guyvalarino.com/



AND NOW FOR SOMETHING 
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT

TIM MINCHIN'S STORM:
THE ANIMATED MOVIE
I count myself fortunate to have seen the brilliant Tim Minchin perform live twice now. Sadly, I've not seen him billed at any of the festivals I'm attending this summer but I sincerely hope I get to see him again someday. He is one of the most intelligent singing comedians out there, something proven by this short film he released a few years ago.


Well, I must come to a close. If only so I may get on with the mountainous tasks I still have ahead of me. I hope you enjoyed podcast #14 and found some great new music as a result, from the show itself as well as from this extended blogcast. Still so much more I wanted to include but it was already beginning to grow large so the line must now be drawn. Expect lots more posts in quick succession (he says). Album reviews aplenty are still on their way, apologies as always for my ridiculous delay. I seem to be rhyming, it's always the timing, so let's shut my face and get out of this place. Peace to you all and catch you soon.

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