Time to bid a fond farewell to another busy year, and 2015 was certainly that for me. As at the start I was presenting the Saturday morning show Electronic Breakfast; as I had been for a few years. It was time for a move and a change is as good as an expression. And so we moved to Tuesdays for SYNTH CITY. My first show had the joy of having the duo Shelter live and loud in the studio to launch the new show with great music. This continued over the next 7 month with me getting the chance to debut about 90 new tracks from loads of great artists over this period. We had a few more guests along the way and I personally had the joy of DJing at a few great live band gigs this year, as well as witnessing some great gigs too….. and meeting so many great people.
Now, you may come to know I like to look forward more then look back in review, but I have to say it was a great year, with new artists appearing on our radar, great music events and huge amount of great new material released by so many talented artists – So why not rerun my last Synth City of 2015, where we squeeze in an exclusive album track from Sinestar, a stunning track from Neil Francis, a spellbinding remix from Tenek and an exclusive new track from Martyn Bailey…….
Join my Facebook group for SYNTH CITY – Tweet the show @electronicrv – And catch the reruns of the live show via Mixcloud;
This week I sailed into the Phoenix FM studio, care of Barney….the cutely named string wind front we had- glad I didn’t wear a tall hat this week. On the show I did however have more new music, from Color Theory, Men in the Sky, Automatic Writing and exclusive track from the soon to be released new album from Tenek. We had also another live track from Under The Stars; which was recorded at our Creative Session back in August. Another cool Synth Legend and equally cool Under cover track…along with more great gig news and hi-brow banter for moi.
If you missed out on the live show, then why not catch up via Mixcloud below;
You know that saying? You know, the one that everyone says? I’ll remind you in case you’ve not been near any people lately. It’s the popular saying that people say about music and bands in general. “Every band needs a Piers in it“. You remember the saying now right? WRONG. Its a saying I just made up because Piers from Slowgun is in every band thats been on my show ever. Okay two, two bands, but you need to stop trying to pick fault in my words and concentrate on the below video of Slowgun doing ‘Stephen’ on my show. Its the tale of Toni’s (lead singer) friend who is coincidentally named Stephen as he gets into a fight, leaving the other guy “in bits”. It’s the best song about a Stephen I’ve heard since the one I sang in the playground at the tender age of 7 to my friend Stephen Appiah, provocatively titled “Stupid Stephen”.
You can hear the whole interview and session again using the links below and I rather think you should because “it’s better to listen to Slowgun, than to fight a man with a mouthful of tadpoles”. As you may have guessed, I have once again made up a saying, but rest assured, THAT one will catch on.
I love Slowgun alot and you be interested to know that their new single “Next Time/ Sidekick Me” was released last week 29.09.13 and they also just played with Japan’s very own ‘Shonen Knife’. I would like to one day play with Shonen Knife, but I don’t sing or have a band, so I will just have to play with Stanley Knife in my bedroom again.. (I don’t really dear readers – I’m not a Muse fan).
You can hear and read more about Slowgun and their many adventures with Tim Burgess in the below portals:
and buy the new single here: https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/next-time-sidekick-me-single/id695727264
this is the bio that someone else wrote which I recommend to read first before any of this. I shouldnt have put it at the bottom really, but I like each post to be a little like a ‘Choose Your Own Adventure’ book where the narrative jumps all over the place to keep you on your toes:
SLOWGUN formed in 2005 and have been playing their catchy indie-rock-pop tunes on and off ever since. Toni sings and plays guitar, Piers plays another guitar and occasionally attempts to sing, Stef plays bass and Matt hits the drums with drumsticks. Slowgun have played gigs with Shonen Knife, Yuck, Bellini, The Primitives, Pete and the Pirates, Versus, Wussy and many more. Their self released green 7” single “Stephen” has been played on 6music and an earlier demo of “Sidekick Me” was played on Huw Stevens’ show on Radio 1.
p.s. If you are in a band and want to come onto my show, hit me up on twitter, or do what most people do and contact Phoenix FM and make it for my attention.. it will get to me! If you currently go to BIMM, you’re probably all following me on twitter anyway
pps. shout out to all the people who read this far down.
Every now and then I come across an artist that surprises me. It’s not often, but sometimes it happens. Disillusioned with years upon years of seeing singer/songwriters cross my path and then fade away into obscurity due to general lack of – dare I say it – the X Factor, it’s rare I actually sit up and take notice. The music blogosphere is currently overloaded with female singer/songwriters who all sound the same, writing the same old emotional song, using the same vocal nuances, until its almost all white noise. I’m sick of them. In fact I want them all to walk slowly into a river with their acoustic guitars and keep on going until the last thing I see is their capo, glinting in the moonlight while fishes cover their ears with their fins at the indentikit ‘heartfelt’ bullshit these clockwork female singer/songwriters spout.
ON THE OTHER HAND, Hettie Steinmore is not your typical female singer/songwriter. She’s got that indescribable aura of a girl who is going places and has the talent to take her there. I’d seen her on youtube and heard the track she sent me pre-show and the signs were all there – this was gonna be great. So she came in and I crossed my fingers she would even be half as good as what I’d seen/heard and luckily for all involved she not only exceeded expectation, she has almost restored my faith in female singer/songwriters (much like the amazing Emily Capell).
I’m used to seeing girls come in and so Adele covers and if Hettie had attempted ‘rolling in the deep’ I would have had to throw her out of the studio, but NO, she did two original songs (the incredible ‘Cut me Off’ and my absolute favourite ‘Bad Blood’) and a cover of The Staves song ‘In The Long Run’. I actually didnt believe that her two originals weren’t just obscure covers of established bands because they were so so good. Nope, she wrote them herself as you can tell from the audio/video within this post, the lyrics/music belies her years. IT’S LIKE SHE’S POSSESSED BY A 50 YEAR OLD FOLK SINGER (in the best way possible!).
If I had to compare Hettie to any artist currently out there it would have to be Laura Marling, but y’know, when Laura Marling actually had songs you could hum along to (incidentally, why is Laura Marling awful now? so much promise!). I’m mystified how Hettie manages that incredible vocal tone without youth conspiring against her to show her up as a false prophet of folk… she’s just damn good at what she does.
The thing about Hettie that should inspire every unsigned young artist out there is that she is just at the start of her journey; a journey that I have no doubt will take her to deserved fame and fortune, but I am confident she’s not in it for Facebook likes, she is in it to preach her story to anyone who is willing to listen, and people WILL listen. For those of you reading this now, you can say you were here at the start. You were there when Hettie made her first radio appearance. You were there when Hettie made a weird smoothie pre-show that tasted like blood and soil and you heard her talk about adventure time and her fave songs… and somewhere in the middle of all that played 3 songs that heralded her arrival. You can see/hear more by just sticking her name into youtube or visiting the below sites…
This was the day I had two lovely bands on my show! First up is NED featuring my mate Rob Glenister! It was so great to see him and his new band. NED is a 4 piece from London/Essex and they were amazing. Loud and amazing!
You can see and hear more about them at their website: http://www.nedhq.com/
but right now you can listen again to the interview and session by clicking on that link below. You can stream it or right click and save it to your computer for some ipod action!
It was great to welcome Iris, Asano, Koichin and Ken – TAFFY – all the way from Tokyo to Phoenix FM’s studios.
They’re in the middle of their first UK tour but very kindly took time off to visit us to give us acoustic renditions of So Long, HaaH and Jolly Orange. And you probably wouldn’t believe it if we were to tell you this was their first ever live acoustic session … if you missed them first time round you can see them again below.
The band’s debut album, Caramel Sunset, was released earlier this year to rave reviews and you can buy it from here.
Thanks to Bryan for stepping in at short notice to do the interview, to Alex for the excellent camerawork and to Dave from Creative Music Studios for the loan of the bass amp and bongos!
There’s still time to see them live – they’re playing the Wilmington Arms on Saturday along with Blindness and Haiku Salut – tickets still available from here. The band’s official website can be found here.
It has been a funny old week, and now we are finally in a world we are used to, winter…oh ok, Autumn. Still, its nice to be in the studio as always playing great music. We spoke of the big John Wayne costume sale….$180.000 for a Green Beret, worn by Mr Wayne in the classic gung-ho film- ‘Green Beret’. I was kind of after the Rooster cockburn Eye patch myself, but lost it to a bidder of $40,000!! – was that you Eddie Curry?
Todays toofers was for a man, a legend and soon to be married a third time – Sir Paul McCartney. So as he is getting wed today, we say…break a leg; oh no….thats his ex… I mean have a lovely day – We played ‘Jet’ by Wings and ‘Ticket to ride’ by The Beatles.
Sir Paul McCartney - third time lucky aye?
My Comedy show picks for this week…
Paul Merton at the Comedy Store – 9th Oct 2011 •
TV’s Paul Merton will be joining Josie Lawrence at the Comedy Store Players for a night of comedy improvisation. Other comedians on the bill include Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch, Andy Smart and Neil Mullarkey.
Lee Evans’ “Roadrunner Tour” – 11th Oct 2011 • O2 Arena
Bendy comic Lee Evans is embarking on his most ambitious tour to date… playing 50 nights in some of the country’s biggest arenas, to more fans than he’s ever played to before.
Paul Merton at the Comedy Store -16th Oct 2011 •
Paul Merton will be joining Josie Lawrence at the Comedy Store Players for a night of comedy improvisation. Other comedians on the bill include Lee Simpson, Richard Vranch, Andy Smart and Neil Mullarkey.
Live music pick for this week;
Mon 10 Oct
The Darkness – The 100 Club, London
Return of the exuberant hard rock band from Lowestoft, Suffolk.
Tue 11 Oct
Spiritualized – Royal Albert Hall
Space-rock indie group fronted by the enigmatic singer Jason Pierce.
Fri 14 Oct
Chase and Status – O2 Academy Brixton
A session of drum ‘n’ bass, electronic and dubstep from the duo.
Sat 15 Oct
You Me at Six – O2 Academy Brixton
Surrey pop-punk band You Me at Six formed in 2004 and cut their teeth on the underground UK circuit. Their debut breakthrough album ‘Take Off Your Colours’ was released in 2008 and peaked at number 25 in the UK album charts.
Such the busy show…..all the usual flim flam and stunning array of music, along with a great little chat with the Peter Steer and Geoff Pinckney from the band Tenek; whom, fresh from a late night gig in London town, visited us -(@PhoenixFM).
[audio:http://www.phoenixfm.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/09/Tenek-studio-chat-10092011.mp3|titles=Tenek studio chat 10092011]
Twofer’s this week was kind of hidden within the Chat with Tenek, We played two from their forthcoming EP – ‘What do you want from me’ and ‘Elusive’, which gets released Oct 10th.
My Comedy show picks for this week……
Alan Davies: Work in Progress – 12th, 19th, 26th, 29th & 30th Sept 2011
It’s been ten years since Alan Davies last tried stand-up, as he’s been busy doing umpteen series of QI. But he’s decided to jump back in with a series of “Work in Progress” shows at the the Pleasance Theatre.
Lee Evans’ “Roadrunner Tour” – 14th – 19th Sept 2011
Lee Evans is embarking on his most ambitious tour to date… playing 50 nights in some of the country’s biggest arenas, to more fans than he’s ever played to before. Catch “Roadrunner” at the Wembley Arena.
Andy Parsons gets “Gruntled” – 15th Sept 2011
Join Andy Parsons for a special night at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire, where the star of TV’s “Mock The Week” will be recording “Gruntled” — his second live DVD.
Live music pick for this week;
Fri 16 Sep
The Bluetones – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Britpop indie band from the mid-nineties who momentarily filled the gap that the Stone Roses left behind with their jangly pop melodies.
Sat 17 Sep
Gary Numan – O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire, London
Hammersmith-born electronica pioneer, famous for Synth classics, such as ‘Are Friends Electric’ and ‘Cars’. Is on Tour with him new album ‘Dead Son Rising.
It appears V is for weekend..well just viva la weekend, if your not attending the annual V festival. Like me your be missing out on quite a who’s who of artists at the moment on the bill, still at least we can look forward to Big Brother and the Hex factor…..joy..
We had two from those arguing Kings of Leon brothers today on my Twofers – ‘Molly’s Chamber’ and ‘Pyro’ – another 2 next week; maybe your choices??
My Comedy show picks for this week……
Boat Show Comedy Club — Lee Hurst – 20th Aug 2011
Lee Hurst will be appearing at Tattershall Castle — London’s finest floating comedy club — alongside Jarred Christmas and MC John Mann. Lee is best-known for his stint as a team captain on “They Think It’s All Over”.
Marcus Brigstocke, at the Comedy Store 21st Aug 2011
Marcus Brigstocke will be joining the Comedy Store Players for a night of comedy improvisation at the Comedy Store. Other comedians on the bill include Josie Lawrence, Neil Mullarkey, Niall Ashdown, Steve Edis and Brendan Dempsey.
Live music pick for this week;
Sat 20/ Sun 21 Aug
V Festival 2011- Hylands Park, Chelmsford
This year’s bash features headline sets from the phenomenally successful indie-poppers Arctic Monkeys and US hip hop legend Eminem. The festival will also feature sets from huge names such as Rihanna, Plan B, Dizzee Rascal, The Script, Kaiser Chiefs, Manic Street Preachers, Glasvegas, Razorlight, Chase and Status, Scouting For Girls, Tinie Tempah, Bruno Mars, Ellie Goulding, Jessie J, N-Dubz, Hurts, The Saturdays, You Me At Six, Fun Lovin Criminals, Ocean Colour Scene, Eliza Doolittle and many more
Tue 23 Aug
CSS – XOYO, London
Brazillian electro-funksters were the NME darlings of 2006. They are famous for their funky dance aesthetic and sexy frontwoman
Tue 23 Aug
The Vaccines – HMV Forum, London
Formed in June 2010, the band consists of Justin Young (vocals, who previously worked under the name Jay Jay Pistolet, playing indie folk), Anri Hjorvar (bass), Freddie Cowan (guitar, younger brother of Tom from The Horrors) and Pete Robertson (drums).
As part of our 4th birthday celebrations we welcomed Cowboy Racer into the Phoenix studios for the first time. Marijne talked about her life after MTV and Salad, and with Mike treated us to some excellent live performances of three songs from their debut album LOVE STatiOnaRY, which was released in January. Don’t take my word for it though, see for yourself …
For more details on the band you can visit their Facebook page here and you can also visit the Salad/Cowboy Racer fansite Planet In The Ocean.
Tonight I was joined in the studio by Molly and Matt from Learn To Swim. Since their first appearance on the show a year ago, the band (also featuring Mark on guitar & vocals, and Dave the drum machine) have begun work on their first album and gigged across London. The band can next be seen playing the Power Bar in Kilburn on April 5th, and they hope to be posting new material online soon – you can find out more at www.myspace.com/learntoswimuk and also on the band’s Facebook page.
LEARN TO SWIM IN THE STUDIO
I Can See Right Through You (live in session)
The Eels – That’s Not Really Funny
Nirvana – Lithium (live)
Don’t Be the Only One (live in session)
Soda (live in session)
REM – You Are the Everything
The Duke Special – Our Love Goes Deeper
Take Me Home Again (live in session)
Public Image Ltd. – Public Image www.myspace.com/learntoswimuk
This week’s In The Mix saw local band States of Emotion return to the Phoenix studio to talk about their upcoming gig and also play a couple of songs for us. If you missed it or want to just listen back to it, you can by clicking on the play button below…
If you want to hear more music from States Of Emotion check them out on myspace/statesofemotion or add them on Facebook to keep an eye on the dates of their gigs!
Keep reading for the week’s celeb gossip…
Avril Lavigne’s latest album One rock chick we haven’t heard much of lately is Avril Lavigne. To be precise she hasn’t released a record since 2007, which was ‘The Best Damn Thing’.
This is because she had decided she wanted to get more life experience so that she could write more ‘meaningful’ songs for her next album.
She said: “I’ve taken my time on this record, with my life and experienced what I need to in life to write songs that are very meaningful to me. I threw a lot of myself into this record.”
Avril’s next album is called Goodbye lullaby and some of it has been produced by her ex-husband Sum 41 vocalist Deryck Whibley who she divorced after four years in 2010.
She has confessed that it has been inspired by changes in her life and the relationships she has been in. She said: “My first single ‘What The Hell’ is just a song about life and freedom and changes. It’s about personal freedom. ‘Push’ is definitely one of my favourite songs on this record. All my girlfriends love it. It’s a song about fighting for love and believing in love. When you’re fighting and you’re like, ‘Shut up, move forward and move along and let’s do this because we love each other.’ ”
Roan Keating Goes into movies Roan Keating is well known for being part of the boyband, Boyzone however he is moving on from being a singer and becoming an actor.
Keating has recently been a judge on the Australian version of ‘The X Factor’ and it seems like he will return Down Under next month to start shooting scenes for an Ozzy movie!
He said “I’m coming down on April 7, because I’m shooting my first movie in Australia I just gave you a world exclusive actually. I can’t tell you the title but I’m going to be on set on April 10 in Sydney. It’s an Australian movie… I’m very excited.”
He also revealed he auditioned for a role in the upcoming fantasy prequel ‘The Hobbit’ and was keen to launch a film career, saying “I don’t think I’ll get the role of the hobbit. But I would like to take on roles which nobody would expect. I don’t want to be reduced to love stories. I’d like to try dark, edgy roles. I need a challenge.”
The Felonie (l-r): Greg (guitar), Ross (drums), Alex (vocals/guitar), Jamie (bass/vocals).
Tonight I was joined in the studio by locals The Felonie. Formed just over a year ago, the foursome have been gigging frequently around the local circuit, alongside fellow Curveballs regulars The FiftyFours and False-Heads. The band will shortly be entering the studio to record a new demo, and they can next be seen live at Bar Lambs in Westcliff on March 18th. Keep up to date at www.myspace.com/thefelonie.
CREATIVE SESSION – RUSSELL & THE WOLF CHOIR
The Evening Wore On (Part Two)
The Ivy Leaf Agreement
This Fall I Think You’re Riding For www.russellandthewolfchoir.com
THE FELONIE LIVE IN THE STUDIO
The Felonie – Lying Minds
Busker Man (live in session)
Kings of Leon – No Money
Kids (live in session)
Bloc Party – Positive Tension
Summer Days in Essex (Summer Song) (live in session)
Radiohead – Lotus Flower
23 Days (live in session)
Biffy Clyro – The Kids From Kibble & the Fist of Light www.myspace.com/thefelonie
Tonight I was joined in the studio by local singer-songwriter Alex Sherwin. Outside his working life as an eye doctor, Alex writes and produces all his own material, and currently has one 3-track CD available. With more recordings in the pipeline, expect to be hearing much more from Alex later this year. You can hear his latest recordings at www.myspace.com/alexsherwin.
ALEX SHERWIN IN THE STUDIO
Over the Wall (live in session)
Jimi Hendrix – Hear My Train a Comin’
Back to Santa Monica (live in session)
Bob Dylan – Forever Young
More Than You Know (live in session)
Led Zeppelin – Good Times Bad Times
Just Can’t Stop Myself (live in session)
Duran Duran – The Union of the Snake www.myspace.com/alexsherwin
EastEnd Promises (l-r): Wayne (guitar/vocals), Lewis (vocals/bass), Iason (drums), Fonzi (guitar).
During tonight’s 3-hour special I was joined in the studio once again by EastEnd Promises, just ahead of their appearance at the Surface Unsigned competition in Basildon. The band have been gigging consistently since their first appearance on the show in June last year, and have also recorded a new EP which we heard in full during the show. They have a residency on the last Friday of every month at the Bridgehouse 2 in Canning Town, with plenty more gigs to come – keep up at www.eastendpromises.com, www.facebook.com/eastendpromises and www.myspace.com/eastendpromises.
EASTEND PROMISES IN THE STUDIO
Eastend Promises – Troubled London
Eastend Promises – Liam’s Fire
The Hives – Hate to Say I Told You So
Hall & Oates – I Can’t Go For That
Eastend Promises – Want You
Springtide Cavalry – Not Talking
John Mayer – Freefalling
Eastend Promises – Plead Your Innocence
The Brothers Johnson – Strawberry Letter 23
Silent Voices Kill (l-r): Milly (bass), Ben (guitar), Josh (vocals), Seb (guitar), James (drums).
Tonight I was joined in the studio by upcoming local quintet Silent Voices Kill, just ahead of their first headline gig at The Hermit. Originally known as City On Fire, the band formed last summer and have just recorded their first demo track, Intensions, which you can listen to and download here. The band can next be seen live at the Golden Fleece, Chelmsford on March 3rd, and future gigs include Chinnerys in Southend on March 18th – visit the band’s Facebook page for the full list.
Click to hear tracks performed in the studio: Greensleeves Kiss & Tell (You Me At Six cover)
The Tomorrow Men (l-r): Riley (drums/vocals), James (guitar/vocals), Jonny (vocals/guitar), Jake (bass).
Tonight I was joined in the studio by Brentwood’s The Tomorrow Men. The foursome got together two years ago and recently released their debut EP Who Needs Minds?, Which is available from their gigs. The band can next be seen live at the Bowery, London on February 24th, and there’s also the chance to catch them locally when they play the Keys Hall in Warley on March 11th and the Essex Arms on March 12th. For more, head to www.facebook.com/thetomorrowmenmusic or www.myspace.com/thetomorrowmenmusic.
THE TOMORROW MEN IN THE STUDIO
Independent… Yeah Right (live in session)
Oasis – Columbia (Demo version)
The Beatles – Baby’s in Black
Falsehood (from EP Who Needs Minds)
Arctic Monkeys – Fright Lined Dining Room
Strawberry Shades (live in session)
The Magician’s Grip (from EP Who Needs Minds) www.facebook.com/thetomorrowmenmusic
Tonight I was joined in the studio by London singer-songwriter Bobby Brightside. Bobby is currently balancing playing in his band FML with recording his debut EP, from which we heard a couple of tracks live in the studio, and another which was just a day old! You can hear more from him at www.facebook.com/bobzzbrightside and www.myspace.com/bobbybrightside.
BOBBY BRIGHTSIDE IN THE STUDIO
The Killers – Mr. Brightside
Never Alone (live in session)
Muse – Time is Running Out
Nothing Spectacular (live in session)
Damien Rice – Cannonball
I’ll Be OK (live in session)
The Kooks – Naïve www.facebook.com/Bobzzbrightside
Predicting The Fall (l-r): Ross (vocals), Lee (bass), Simon (guitar), Dan (drums), Steve (guitar/vocals).
Tonight I was joined in the studio for a second time by Canterbury’s Predicting The Fall. Since their appearance on the show and the Curveballs gig at Edge last year, the fivesome have released their debut EP, Go-On, Just Get One Out, and taken their own brand of popcore across the UK. They begin recording a second EP in May, and there’s plenty more opportunities to catch them live before then – see the full list and get your hands on the EP (and a free Rihanna cover download!) at www.predictingthefall.com.
Have a listen to the lads chatting about keeping your balance on stage, touring shenanigans and future plans.
PREDICTING THE FALL IN THE STUDIO
Predicting the Fall – You’ve Got Mean Eyes & a Dirty Mouth
The Devil Wears Prada – Anatomy
A Day to Remember – Sticks & Bricks
Predicting the Fall – I’ll Hug You ‘Til You’re Dead
Finch – What It Is to Burn
Predicting the Fall – Just Smile & Wave Boys
New Found Glory – Understatement www.predictingthefall.com