Paul Golder writes for the Brentwood Gazette
One of the big things we do on Phoenix FM is give airtime to local bands and singers who wouldn’t get the opportunity on our other more commercially-minded local radio stations – which doesn’t make sense to me as everyone has to start somewhere!
Many of the artists we’ve featured while unsigned have gone on to bigger and better things – we’ve been lucky in the past to interview bands such as Kasabian, The 1975 and Wolf Alice in tiny venues long before they made it to headline slots on festivals or stadium gigs.
I’ve been asking some of our presenters which local artists they’re tipping for the top and we’ve managed to come up with our own list of musicians who you should really check out.
SOPHIE GRIFFITHS is a 16 year old singer songwriter from Brentwood who has been featured both as a solo singer and also with Greg Goulding and Will Packham in their band BREAKING 3, sharing a love of classic Motown and soul.
HOLLOW COUNTY are a great Country pop band from South East Essex who feature very strong vocals and tuneful songs from Adam Brucass, Eva Tobin and Dean Bonning.
Young Leigh on Sea guitar pop band BAVARD – brothers Ben and Toby Jordan – whose sound has been maturing over the last 12 months.
Southend band HIGH/LOW released their latest mini-album Skeletons in 2018 – a great band for those who love the 90s fuzzed-up sound of Dinosaur Jr or Nirvana.
LIV LAWRENCE who has featured live on Phoenix FM a number of times and whose new single So Fine is out now.
ROSIE A WEBB, an alumni of the Brit School whose track Summertime was one of many unsigned songs on our A List this year.
Chelmsford singer/songwriter LEANNE LOUISE who has been a regular on Phoenix FM over the years but is still writing and recording great music.
THE CONDRIACS – an adult-contemporary songwriting duo from Essex comprising Peter Spicer and Tony Slaven who combine soulful voices with raw and anarchic rock.
SEAN MUIR – an Essex singer/songwriter whose influences include The Beatles, Oasis, U2, Billy Joel and Elton John.
THE LIGHTSCOPES – a four-piece from Brentwood and Southend who are doing their best to keep guitar music alive. They released their debut single In My Head at the end of 2018.
OCEAN FLAWS – another Brentwood guitar-centric four-piece who have been writing and recording new music this year. Good to see them back after their break for studies and travelling.
VIX 20 – an Essex band who evokes memories of the golden days of new wave music from the late 70s and early 80s, and whose name conjures up memories of home computers from some of us of a certain age!
For fans of Fall Our Boy, All Time Low and You Me At Six, Essex pop/punk band TWO YEAR BREAK have also been releasing new material and will be appearing at the highly-rated Camden Rocks festival in June.
Old favourites in the shape of SAM CALLAHAN, TWO YEAR BREAK, EDD COATES and LOST ON BROADWAY who all have new releases out either now or in the New Year.
Many of these people are playing regular gigs in a venue very close to where you’re reading this now – and it’s a much better night out than 30 quid for a ticket in a big venue where you can only see the back of hundreds of people’s heads!
As well as from myself, recommendations have come from daytime presenters Michelle Ward and Bob Simpson, evening show DJs Nick Field and Patrick Sherring and Sunday morning presenters Jon Good and Tony Smith.
Jon is also continuing to host his Sunday Sessions After Party every Monday evening at the Essex Arms in Warley Hill, recording performances for his Phoenix FM show.
If you’ve got any local tips that you’d like us to feature on the radio in 2019, you know where to find us!