New music playlist – March 2017

New music

In order to produce my Soul Man show for Radio Barnsley, I tend to spend huge periods of time playing through unknown songs from the sixties, looking for the nugget that will spark the show. I suppose it isn’t that much different to sorting through the huge volume of music that is made today – just fifty years or so! Look at this blog as a helping hand, narrowing down the perplexing array of new sounds to hand pick a small number each month that I hope you enjoy as much as I do.

Live At Leeds
Live At Leeds0 new music

Pole position this month goes to Jordan Allen. The four piece band, named after their main man are from Bolton and building a big reputation as a live band. 110 Ways To Make Things Better is out now a s a single. Catch them at Live At Leeds at the end of April when Jordan plays bar where he used to work – Lending Room at The Library.  Follow on Twitter

Emma Ballantine, from Salisbury, is a singer-songwriter with a warm, pure voice and a gift for writing haunting melodies. The single Harmonise came out earlier this year. Twitter

Another band on the Live At Leeds lineup are London based White Kite. Louis, Tom and Will formed the band less than a year ago and Swans is their debut single and could be one of the sounds of this summer. The band have even attracted the attention of Conor O’Brien of Villagers whose remix has a sharper edge to it. Pay your money and make your choice! Twitter

Splitting her time between Bristol and Paris, Kate Stables is the driving force behind This Is The Kit. Having attracted the attention of many 6 Music presenters, including Guy Garvey, a summer on the festival circuit beckons, with an appearance at Green Man in August high on my list of must sees. Magic Spell is from the EP Rusty And Got Dusty from last year. Twitter

Higher Self was last year’s debut single by Los Angeles based Karmic. Fronted by singers Laura Baruch and Kyle Tkatch alongside drummer Samuel Murphy and multi-instrumentalist Peter Kastner. Twitter 

Clock Opera’s second album Venn is out now. The intriguingly titled Whippoorwill is taken from it. The London based four piece band play Manchester’s Day & Night Cafe on Wednesday April 1st. Twitter

Bourbon soaked gypsy blues bop ‘n’ soul – that’s how the band describe their music on Facebook – what’s not to like. They describe themselves as a collective of shadowy, London based, ne’er do wells, led by Norwegian born songwriter/frontman Paul-Ronney Angel. Shattered Dreams is taken from last year’s album Hellbound Hymns. Twitter

The Milk
New music from The Milk

If you were lucky enough to see them on their recent support slot on tour with the Fun Lovin’ Criminals you will know just how good a live band The Milk are. The Essex four piece – Rick Nunn, Mitch Ayling, Luke Ayling and Dan LeGresley have a great on-stage presence and strong catalogue of songs. Deliver Me / Overtime We Fight is taken from the album Live At Union Chapel. Twitter

Gaika looks set to make a huge impact in 2017. In Between 2 is taken from the Brixton artist’s third album in two years – Spaghetti. (In Between was on the album Security.) Twitter

In musical contrast to Gaika, A New Nowhere are a four piece rock band from Newcastle. Their single, You And Me, was released last month and makes the new playlist. Twitter

Come On Over is the new single from M I S F I R E S. The Swindon four piece have just come off a successful tour supporting The Sherlocks. The band play Leeds Oporto on May 14th. Twitter

Lisbon are a three piece band from Whitley Bay.   The single Vice is insanely catchy and will worm its way into your brain for the rest of the day. The band play The Rocking Chair in Sheffield on April 14th. Twitter

There you go, twelve recommendations for the month and more to come soon.

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New Music Playlist February 2017

A shorter list than usual this month as I have spent most of the last three weeks trying to get around technical problems with my Mac. I suppose Apple are very busy selling millions of phones so it is only right that I test their software and find bugs in the OS. OK, moan over. Here are six music makers that deserve more attention. Let me know what you think.

Listen to the full playlist on Spotify.

The music

Bella Goldwin

First off this month is Bella Goldwin, a superb, Canadian singer-songwriter / violinist. Can’t Forget was released in 2016. Hauntingly beautiful music, ridiculously mature for somebody who is not yet 20, you should be hearing more from Bella Goldwin in 2017. Twitter


This month marks the first anniversary of the formation in Stockport of  Templars. The band consists of Glenn Coope (lead vocals, guitar), Scott Kincaid (lead guitar, backing vocals), Kenny Chiu (bass guitar, backing vocals) and Jack Keogh (drums, backing vocals). Great harmonies and melodies that worm their way into your head – great pop music. Guessing is taken from last year’s Inelegant Relations album. Twitter

Green Man 2017
Green Man 2017

Deep Throat Choir

One of the more intriguingly named acts announced for this year’s Green Man Festival in August are Deep Throat Choir. I, for one, can’t wait! Summed up on their Twitter account as “We are wimmin and we sing” – what more do you need to know? Well, formed by Luisa Gerstein in 2013 the choir can be 30 strong on stage, relying on vocals and drums to create a spell-binding sound. Ada is taken from their new album Be OK – released last week.

Carissa Leigh

Based in Nashville, Carissa Leigh is a country singer and song writer worth investigating. Reap And Sow (with Katie Mae Smith) is taken from Leigh’s album Better Than I’ve Been – great close harmonies that make you yearn for summer! Twitter

Yellow Days

Live At Leeds is just around the corner (well, a couple of months – 29th of April). Already announced on the bill is Yellow Days. For one so young George Van Den Broek, who is still a teenager, has a smoky, cracked and soulful voice that works perfectly with the synths and beats sound of Yellow Days. Gap In The Clouds is from last year’s Harmless Melodies EP. Twitter

The Big Moon

Juliette Jackson, Soph Nathan, Celia Archer and Fern Ford make up London band The Big Moon. Having already earned support slots with Ezra Furman and The Vaccines,  the band are currently working on their debut album Love In The 4th Dimension- due in April. Formidable is taken from the album and is out now as a single. Twitter

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New Music Playlist January 2017

New Music

Mixing desk
Mixing desk

This blog adds a little background to the new music playlist published on Spotify. Click here to listen. The aim of the playlist is to cover artists looking to get heard in a crowded marketplace and those more established bands that I think deserve more recognition.

Rotherham four-piece The Sherlocks look set for big things in 2017. Having just signed for Infectious, the two sets of brothers – Kiaran (lead vocals and guitar) and Brandon Crook (drums) with Josh and Andy Davidson (lead guitar and bass respectively), the band are about to embark  on a major UK tour in support of the single Will You Be There? Catch them at Manchester’s Albert Hall on Feb 10th or Sheffield University on March 3rd. Twitter

Singer-songwriter Tom Ryder’s first single Silence Breaking Through Sound raised thousands for McMillan Cancer Support in 2015. Strings Attached is a mature song from such a young artist and is the title track of the follow up EP from 2016. Twitter

Kings Go Forth are / were a ten piece soul band from Milwaukee. High On Your Love is taken from their 2010 debut album The Outsiders Are Back. Having signed to Luaka Bop the future looked bright but they appear to have disintegrated! Would love to have more information. Facebook

Naughty Devils And Dirty Priests is taken from Kong’s debut EP 8 Ball Pool. Voted best unsigned band in 2016 by Exposed Magazine, you can see them on home turf at Sheffield’s Rocking Chair on January 27th. Twitter

London based reggae singer Kiko Bun’s 2016 release Sweetie is insanely catchy and sticks in the memory (be warned!). Taken from the EP Inna Piano Style which also shows the artist’s versatility with a cover of Nina Simone’s My Baby Just Cares For Me. Twitter

Dirty $$$ by American duo, High Dive Heart is taken from their 2016 album HDH Vs MTR Pt 1. Again, ridiculously catchy, feel good, summer music. High Dive Heart are LA based Jason Reeves and Nelly Joy from Nashville. Twitter

The Weekend by Westward The Tide sounds like it was written to be performed at a sunny festival. Formed in Salt Lake City, Utah in 2012, the band’s first album, Sorry Soul, was released in 2014. The Weekend is taken form the 2016 follow up album Microphone Heart. Twitter

My first exposure to St. Paul & The Broken Bones from Birmingham, Alabama, was a late night slot on the BBC’s Glastonbury coverage last summer. In the tiny area set high above the main festival site, the incredible, soulful vocal performance left me hungry for more. Flow With It (You Got Me Feeling Like) is from their second album Sea Of Noise. Their appearance in Leeds on the 31st of January has been moved to the larger Irish Centre venue and I cannot wait. Twitter

The award for best band name goes to Canadian duoThe Harpoonist & The Axe Murderer. Black And Blue is taken from their 2016 album A Real Fine Mess. The duo, Shawn Hall and Matthew Rogers, teamed up in 2006 and are currently supporting St Paul & The Broken Bones on their UK tour.

A.O.S.O.O.N. is London based songwriter and musician Manny. Already building a fanbase in London and New York, Something was released as a single in 2016. Twitter

Rookie Dreaming is the lead track on the new album, Honest Life, by Courtney Marie Andrews. The singer-songwriter from Phoenix, Arizona has a mesmerising voice and is now on album number six.  She visits Leeds on February 27th, supporting The Handsome Family at Brudenell Social Club. Twitter

Canadian six-piece band, Royal Canoe play The Castle Hotel in Manchester on January 31st. Even without the great music it will be worth going just to see them cram onto the tiny stage! However, it is the music that will grab your attention. Walk Out On The Water is from their 2016 album Something Got Lost Between Here And The Orbit. Great vocals and clever songs should be a winning combination. Twitter

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New music playlist December 2016

A good place to sit and think at fifty four
A good place to sit and think at fifty four

Whilst in no way wishing to sound smug (OK – maybe a bit smug) I am writing this from a rented holiday home in Florida. The sun, beer and grouper sandwiches may have influenced this month’s selections. The only cloud on the horizon is the amount of building work going on in the neighbourhood. I can put up with the sound of honest work but the loud radio that accompanies them is driving me round the twist. The preferred station has so far played nothing released after 1986. I may have to do a deal with them to at least play something new. They could do worse than start with this playlist.

Last month’s new music playlist kicked off with the Oh Hellos and this month we start with a band that have supported them in their early days. Cereus Bright hail from Knoxville, Tennessee and River Run is taken from their debut album Excuses. With hints of Fleet Foxes and War On Drugs, this is a real ear-worm that deserves (and gets) repeat plays. Touring the States through the winter months, it would be great to see them on the European festival circuit next year. Twitter

Ruth Berhe, better known as Ruth B, famously posted videos of herself on Vine, creating a buzz which led to a record contract. Her 2015 debut single,   Lost Boy, made the Top 20 in her native Canada and just nudged the Top 100 in the UK. In My Dreams showcases a beautiful, clear voice with just a hint of Christine McVie. Twitter

Stranger is taken from Lynx Hollow’s 2012 album Harbors. Californian David Shane is the driving force of the band and has been recording under his own name in the intervening years. However, September 2016 saw the release of a new single under the Lynx Hollow – maybe a sign of great things to come. Twitter

In Yorkshire we tend to know a thing or two about Brass Bands (and every other subject for that matter). However, if “brass band” makes you think of Floral Dance, thank again. There are a host of jazz /soul / hip hop brass bands from the States with Brooklyn’s Hypnotic Brass Ensemble being among the finest. Having witnessed them at first hand at the Wardrobe in Leeds a few years ago I am a big fan. Flipside is taken from their eponymous 2009 album. Twitter

AudioDamn! are a trio of Austrians currently based in the US. Their single Radar was released over a year ago and has started them on the road to fame in their adopted country, maybe Europe will follow in 2017. Radar seems like an almost effortless pop song – shades of Maroon 5 (?) ponting the way to bigger things to come. Twitter 

World Music has long been a term that I have disliked – where else would music come from? These days it is rare for any music to not have some influences from outside the immediate home of the musicians concerned. Vaudou Game are a good example. African musicians from Togo, now based in Lyon, France, combining traditional Vaudou rhythms with US funk to produce an irresistible fusion. La Vie C’est Bon was released as a single earlier this year. Facebook

Another example of the fusion of African and American influences comes in the form of Fantastic Negrito – a musician of Somali / Caribbean descent who was brought up in an orthodox Muslim household. When the family moved to Oakland, California and the young musician was exposed to the likes of Funkadelic. His is a fascinating backstory – read more here. Scary Woman is taken from the latest album The Last Days Of Oakland. Twitter

Guy Baron, aka Semi Precious, is a writer and producer from South London. No Distractions is a track from this year’s debut album Ultimate Lounge. Often constructed from samples and loops but with a soft dreamlike vocal added the album invites further listening. Twitter

Formed in 2014, Resistant Hearts is a wonderfully melodic combination of British songwriter John Brandon and American vocalist Tre’ Nation (aka Monte Pierre). Turn This Ship Around was released s a single in 2015. Twitter

Bristol’s Bella Loka are husband and wife Tea and David Boothby. Now based in London and recording at Abbey Road, the duo are attracting the attention of 6 Music and BBC Introducing.  There latest single, Well Done is a fresh, feel good, pop song that will worm its way deep inside your head. Twitter

Sheffield is a city with a vibrant music scene and rich tradition of bands making it big. Next in line could be Oddity Road, a four piece Indie Rock band poised for big things. Debut single Handshake is included here. Twitter

When I published the first of these playlists last month I had a list of around 20 songs I wanted to include but decided 12 was a good number. It has been good enough for most classic albums over the years so good enough for me. However, one mistake was to hold Human from that list, intending to lead with it this month. Of course, in the intervening weeks, Rag ‘N’ Bone Man has deservedly bagged a huge hit and sold out gigs across the country. A rich, powerful voice coupled with an assured performance on Later With Jools Holland has lead to a 2017 Brits Critics Choice Award. Rory Graham is going to be a huge star. Actually, just shy of 54m plays on Spotify suggests he may already be there! Twitter

Listen to the playlist on Spotify


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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 – 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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