In the beginning – new music playlist November 2016

cropped-Spotlight-thumb.jpgThis is the first of a monthly series of playlists featuring music from new artists and those that I believe deserve a wider audience. With the demise of the old major label model, there is now more music, in more formats, than ever before. Anything that can help to guide us through the maze of new music has to be a good thing – right?

The playlist can be found on Spotify here.

Pride of place this month goes to the Oh Hellos. Formed by brother and sister Tyler and Maggie Heath in San Marcos, Texas. Currently touring the US, the band played a great set at last summer’s Green Man festival – despite the horrendous weather! Hello My Old Heart is taken from the self titled EP that is now five years old. If  this has you wanting to discover more, their second full length album Hello Wormwood from 2015 is a treat. Check out the band’s website or follow on Twitter

London based, twenty-two year old Sam Folorunsho – alias XamVolo has an extraordinary voice, a very tight touring band and an exciting future. His new single, Money Store is out now. Having played a great set at the recent Off The Record showcase in Manchester I can recommend seeing the band live. If you are feeling really flash you can catch him in New York on December 1st.  Follow him on Twitter.

Two more bands that lit up Off The Record were Caro and The Orielles. It has been an exciting year for Leeds based Caro. From the tiny back room of the Castle in Manchester to the wide open spaces of Roundhay Park (as opening act on the James / Primal Scream bill) is quite a contrast. Cold Comfort was released in June and the band are currently touring (including The Nation Of Shopkeepers in Leeds on November 30th). Twitter.

The Orielles at Off The Record, Manchester
The Orielles at Off The Record, Manchester

During the conference portion of Off The Record, The Orielles probably got more mentions than any other band appearing in the showcase. The live set did not disappoint.  Their single Sliders was released in April and you can catch them live at the Fallow Cafe, Manchester on November 25th/26th with further December dates in Leeds, Manchester, Hebden Bridge and Sheffield. Twitter.

Samuel S Parkes at Brudenell Social Club
Samuel S Parkes at Brudenell Social Club

Motown legends Martha Reeves sets very high standards in her live performances, so a support slot is much prized. To be asked back for the next tour shows the high standards set by Leeds based Samuel S. Parkes. A thundering set featuring originals and storming northern soul covers (The MVPs Turning My Heartbeat Up a particular favourite) make this band a must see. Lock & Key was released as a single last week with Let Me Go the b side. Twitter.

Jodie Abacus has a voice in the mould of Luther Vandross. OK – a lot to live up to but a great live set (recently supporting Corinne Bailey Rae) as well as increasingly polished records such as She’s In Love With The Weekend, his third single, released in the spring of 2016. Twitter.

It is always nice to stumble across great music by accident. This happened for me at this year’s Green Man. Picking my way through the rain and mud I was drawn to the Courtyard stage by extraordinary harmonies. The sun came out and I was hooked. This was my introduction to I See Rivers, a folk trio from Norway, now based in Liverpool. Loved Ones is a beautiful song to get started with this band. More recorded music is promised shortly. Twitter

There are few better funk bands around than Leeds’ own Haggis Horns. Return Of The Haggis comes from the band’s 2015 album What Comes To Mind. Catch them live on New Year’s Eve at Band On The Wall, Manchester. Twitter

Another band that know how to get feet moving are New Yorkers, The Budos Band. Signed to the famous Daptone label. Up From The South is taken from the band’s 2005 debut album The Budos Band. Again, if you are feeling flash, catch them in New York on New Year’s Eve supporting Kamasi Washington. Twitter

Formerly based in Leeds, Ben Roberts relocated to London last summer. His farewell performance was supporting Eli “Paperboy” Reed at Headrow House. Looking forward to hearing more from Ben in the near future. Lovely Day was released in June and should have been huge! Twitter

Bolton’s best singer/songwriter Janileigh Cohen can often be found busking on the streets of Manchester. Her set on the Introducing stage at Green Man was mesmerising. Modest and unassuming yet extremely talented, this singer should be playing bigger venues and having commercial success. As A Child is the title track of a five song EP released last year. Twitter

Kath Edmonds, Tom Duffissey and drummer Lee Proctor make up Leeds power trio Kath & The Kicks. All My Time is taken from the band’s EP 20 Years Of Screaming and has been featured several times on Radio Barnsley shows presented by myself and Mick Malloy. Catch them live in Barnsley on December 3rd at The Underground. Twitter

Hope you enjoy the playlist. More to come next month.

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No posts for a while – I’ve been busy!

I started this blog almost two years in a fit of enthusiasm and creative spirit. Then, as with 99% of blogs, it kind of petered out and I got on with other stuff. It was a time of great change in my life and I was looking for the next big thing. Over a few months it dawned on me that, having quit my job with no clear idea what to do next (just not what I was doing before!) I had, in fact, retired. At the very least, I had retired from IT and could now do things that interested me rather than what paid the bills.

Each time I tried something new I was meant to blog about it but somehow I was easily distracted and off to the next thing. My involvement with Radio Barnsley has continued. I now do two shows a week – Soul Man on Monday at 3pm (repeated Wednesday at 9pm) and Over The Hump with Mick Malloy on Wednesday at 7pm. I have redeveloped the Radio Barnsley website – www.radiobarnsley.org and maintain it. I tried my hand at rugby league commentary after a workshop with BBC Radio Leeds. A truly terrifying experience! However, I felt the fear and did it anyway. I wrote a few columns for a rugby league website, started a novel (which I will finish!) and even tried camping at a festival.view-from-the-tent OK, so somebody else put the tent up but I dealt with the mud, toilets and rain and already have tickets to do it again next year. I have project managed the refurbishment and move into our apartment and, sometime soon, I will sort out the stuff t
hat has been in storage for the last ten years (at huge cost) and get on top of various pensions to work out my financial status! I have started, quit and started again my quest to learn to play the piano.

I have realised that the one thing that takes up most of my time is music – be it preparing for the radio shows, practising piano, digitising my vinyl collection or just plain listening. Thanks to social media and the radio shows I am now exposed to more new music than ever before. As with most people in radio, it is the love of music and the satisfaction gleaned from sharing it that gives me real pleasure. To that end, i will include in this blog a monthly selection of music I believe deserves a bigger audience. This could be new, young bands just starting out or artists who have been around a while without selling millions. I realise that other people provide this kind of output. However, form a vantage point of age (!) I may be able to add a different perspective. The music is available as a playlist on Spotify and, at some point, I may translate it into a new radio show. Hope you enjoy the first selection.

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