Archives for May 2010

Tip of the Week: Pegasus Bridge - Yoko

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 12:27 UK time, Friday, 28 May 2010


This week, we'd like to draw your attention to Pegasus Bridge and their track, Yoko

They're four chirpy gents from Macclesfield who formed as school friends back in 2003, practising in the caretaker's hut because they were reportedly banned from the music room.

Alex, Ed, Cal and Tom quickly gained support from BBC Manchester and BBC Stoke after uploading tracks to us via the uploader. The latter put them forward for our Maida Vale Weekender back in February, where they recorded three brilliantly infectious slices of pop that screamed 'serious potential' with every note.

Fast forward a few months and you might have seen the band opening our stage at Radio 1's Big Weekend. Despite the early slot, they pulled in a good crowd and were full of beans. Here's Huw Stephens to introduce this week's Tip of the Week:

Here they are at Big Weekend, kicking things off with their new single, Ribena (which you can download for free from their MySpace page):


If you liked that, you'll find plenty more to watch from Pegasus Bridge and the 17 other brand new acts that performed on our stage at the Radio 1's Big Weekend site.

Check out the photos and videos, and let us know which acts you enjoyed most.


Pegasus Bridge performing at Radio 1's Big Weekend

More from the BBC Introducing stage at Radio 1's Big Weekend

Yr Wythnos Fach / The Fringe week - Day 2 in Colwyn Bay

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Bethan Elfyn | 15:28 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

Pastel painted signs, curved glass art deco walls and chalk boards advertising smoothies; Speakers' Corner isn't your normal rock venue, but tonight this small corner of Colwyn Bay is home to night two of Yr Wythnos Fach, the Fringe festival week.

Tonight is also the hardest night of the week musically, with four uncompromisingly loud, hardcore and totally alternative North Walian bands getting a chance to live and breathe some Big Weekend excitement. All of which makes the choice of venue all the more unusual, but there is logic to this madness: Speaker' Corner is already a well-seasoned and respected rock venue in these parts. The staff continue serving unfazed by the chaos around them, even when someone mounts the serving counter on more than one occasion.

Although Speakers' Corner is the smallest of our Fringe gigs this week, tonight has been vital in providing a platform for a genre that struggles to gain acceptance outside of the big cities around the world.

Admittedly, the tunes are difficult to swallow at times, but to me it captures everything about new music that we first fall in love with: rebellion, expression, angst, and passion.


First up: Die Chihuahua Die. Think New York's Trash Talk or England's Gallows for good melodic, driven, tightly-played hardcore. Whatever they are singing about - and it all sounds rather unpleasant - the essential element is the excellent pact between the musicians, each throat-ripping scream delivered parallel to the cascading crescendo from bass, guitar and drums. Each member of the band is captivating to watch. It's an exciting start. 


Next, Kixxstart Kitty. Big hair and eye-catching appearance aside, Kixxstart have been described to me as glam rock. They may not look it, but there's metal, melody, incredible musical showmanship (a la Slipknot) on the drums and guitar, and charisma abounding.

They throw a few crowd pleasing covers in the mix, too, from Placebo and Beastie Boys.


Bastions are on fire! They make a huge impact tonight, with singer Jamie making a passionate Southern Baptist preacher style call to arms to the hardcore crew of Colwyn Bay.

Jamie discovers new ways of expressing this genre of music, making it entertaining and accessible to even the most curious of passing punter tonight. These guys are ready for a bigger international stage.


Finally, Leucine teeter between hardcore and the more mainstream emo side of the genre, delivered with youthful energy and excitement. The faithful at the front know all the words and hang on every bounce. It's a lively end to the night.

Tonight we head to the heartland of Welsh speaking-Wales to a gig in Caernarfon. More from me tomorrow!

Previous posts:

Yr Wythnos Fach / The Fringe week - Day 1 in Wrexham

Bethan Elfyn presents BBC Introducing in Wales on Radio 1

Find out more about Yr Wythnos Fach / The Fringe Festival

Check out the line-up on the BBC Introducing stage at Radio 1's Big Weekend

Hello from Northern Ireland

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Rory McConnell | 11:56 UK time, Wednesday, 19 May 2010

First up - hello from BBC Introducing in Northern Ireland! It's been a long time since we last blogged, but we have a very good excuse!

Put simply: we've been so busy with the sheer amount of incredible new music emerging from Northern Ireland in the last year that we've barely had time to catch our breath.

And as far as excuses go, that's a pretty good one.

2009 saw a mixture of new bands and some familiar faces up their game and break through to a bigger audience. One of the success stories of the year has to be the mighty And So I Watch You From Afar, who released their debut album in Belfast's Mandela Hall with a show that few will forget. As the critical plaudits started to roll in, the North Coast four-piece continued to push forward, taking their explosive live show across the UK and Europe, culminating in a celebratory homecoming show in the Ulster Hall. And with 2010 seeing the boys release their storming Letters EP, it seems they're not ready to slow down just yet.


All the while, young upstarts General Fiasco were tearing up stages across the country, bringing their infectious brand of power pop to hungry audiences. A series of singles did much to increase their profile as momentum geared up to the release of their hotly-anticipated first album, Buildings, in March of this year. With appearances at Glastonbury and Oxegen lined up for the summer, as well as supporting Snow Patrol at their massive homecoming gig in Bangor, County Down, it's shaping up to be a long, hot summer for the mid-Ulster trio.


Adding a touch of continental glamour to the proceedings, Two Door Cinema Club spent much of 2009 wowing French hipsters and signing to Paris based label Kitsuné. Far from their humble DIY beginnings, the start of 2010 found the band becoming the name on a lot of people's lips, as their insanely catchy singles won over hearts and minds across the UK. When an album - Tourist History - arrived in March, the timing was just right, and mainstream success lies paved out before the three smartly-attired Bangor boys.


One of the slow burning success stories of recent years is that of local favourites LaFaro. After spending years as Northern Ireland's best kept secret, 2009 saw the guys hit the road and carve out a reputation for themselves in the UK. And when they finally got round to releasing their long-awaited debut album, they were simply unstoppable. Rock monsters like Tuppenny Nudger and The Ballad of Burnt Dave won over the likes of Zane Lowe, and it seems that the rest of the world is finally ready for a bit of LaFaro action.

As for us - we haven't even time to sit down, as there's a whole host of hungry young bands ready get down to business. From the agit-punk stylings of Axis Of and More Than Conquerors, to the folky pop of Cashier No.9 and The Lowly Knights, it seems we might just have seen the tip of the iceberg as far as new Northern Irish music goes.

And as more and more world class bands sprout up in our little corner of the world, we here at BBC Introducing in Northern Ireland will be right there alongside them. It's a tough job, but somebody's got to do it.

Read the rest of this entry

Yr Wythnos Fach / The Fringe week - Day 1 in Wrexham

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Bethan Elfyn | 14:57 UK time, Tuesday, 18 May 2010

queue_wrexham.jpgAfter a pleasant journey up to Wrexham, (thank you National Assembly for the direct trains that take half the time), I'm sensing a little buzz of excitement in the air.

Considering this is a Monday, school night, exam time, and every other factor under the sun, I'm overjoyed to see the snaking queue rolling around the pavement in front of Wrexham Central Station's live music venue.

Tonight is the first night of the BBC Radio 1's Big Weekend Fringe festival - or Yr Wythnos Fach (literally 'the little week') - an attempt to bring something to the communities of North Wales, rather than just bulldoze through with the big guns at the weekend, and leave a trail of pop n' roll destruction. The Fringe will bring together the best new local talent and showcases them across the week, culminating in two big nights in Bangor city itself, with all styles and genres welcome and a big dance party added to the mix on Friday night.

For me, it's a great chance to see bands we champion all the time, and thanks to the co-curating teamwork of BBC Radio Wales's Adam Walton and C2 on BBC Radio Cymru, I'll see some new bands, which is also what these gigs are all about.

crowd_wrexham.jpgWhen I arrive at the first night, Adam is on the decks playing some fine new tunes from The Drums to We Have Band, and the atmosphere is charged with teenage hormones, student slackers, and even some wisened music fans. It's a mixed bag, but above all, Central Station is packed. 350 people stomp through the door from the off, and Central is a notoriously difficult space to fill.

No Room For Heroes are loud, confident, and have good 'strong' vocals. They probably won't thank me for this but they veer toward the emo within the rock genre with their heartfelt breakdowns, and ballady numbers. They're young and if they stick at it they'll probably grow into their sound a bit more. At the moment they sound a little generic, but still impressive enough.

Trader are also young, heading towards more of the indie lad rock (or Gog Rock, which I've now nicknamed it) associated with the area, especially the Manchester, Liverpool, Wrexham circle. They're clearly influenced by stadium rockers Oasis, Kasabian and the like, but there's a cheeky charm and endearingness to this band, which is all the better for not having the cocky swagger. If they stick together and grow with their music and become more adventurous, again they could really go places.

polly_wrexham.jpgNext its Polly Mackey & The Pleasure Principle. Having met the band recently at South by South West and at a gig in Cardiff, I'm really warming to the PMPP gang and they seem to have been pulling all the strings in the business over the last few years, getting great gigs across the world from Benicassim to Great Escape.

They are professional to the end, with merch table, banners, manners and attention to detail. They rock out, Polly sings impeccably, and they really could be something special, but... personally, I feel like they may need to look at the songs again and simplify the structures a little. Sometimes the melodies get a bit lost in so much going on. I've seen them a few times now and sadly the choruses or melodies refuse to stick in my head.  I really would like to see them do well, and they have all the ingredients, just need to bake it at the right heat now to see it rise!

gallops_wrexham.jpgGallops are on form tonight: loud screaming guitars, throbbing laptop crunches and driving, building melodies. Wrexham is ready for Gallops, and the kids at the front are pogoing like mad to the experience. The heart of the band are the drums, destroying our ears and our minds.

They seem like a tight unit, and yet, as has happened few times now, half way through they combust, with their drummer heading off the stage, deafened by the monitors apparently.

They continue to rapturous reception from Central Station and by the end of the night, everyone is jumping around. It took Gallops to create that, to finish the night with style, energy, and just a blast of pure aggression in the music.

Tonight (Tuesday), we'll be at Speakers' Corner in Colwyn Bay, and I'll update you tomorrow.

Then we're off to Caernarfon on Wednesday before reaching our final destination, Bangor, on Thursday night. If you fancy coming along to one of the gigs, you'll find all the information on the Radio 1's Big Weekend site.

Read Adam Walton's review of last night's gig in Wrexham on the BBC Wales Music blog

Check out the line-up for the BBC Introducing stage at Radio 1's Big Weekend

Huw's DIY Label of the Week: Kanine Records

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Huw Stephens Huw Stephens | 09:53 UK time, Tuesday, 18 May 2010

Last week, my DIY Label of the Week was Kanine Records.


A passionate and hard working label that's brought us Grizzly Bear, Chairlift and most recently Surfer Blood as well as a whole host of new American artists, Kanine has built itself a reputation from its New York roots as one of the most accurate and interesting indie labels in recent years.

Here's my chat on the phone with Lio from the label:


Tip of the Week: Ocean Bottom Nightmare - What Would Judas Do?

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 16:21 UK time, Monday, 17 May 2010

This week, our tip comes from Ocean Bottom Nightmare, an eyebrow-raising rock trio hailing from Nottingham. Our chosen track is the band's debut single, What Would Judas Do? Over to Huw to introduce the tune:

The website they've put together to promote the single reminds us of last year's Challenge Swound! You get to ask what the band's drummer - the titular Judas - would do when faced with a situation of your choosing. So far, Judas has been asked what he'd do if Godzilla attacked, or if faced to choose between stilts for arms or beachballs for legs. Excellent questions, both.


As you might have guessed, when they're not screaming their tonsils red raw, OBN can often be found with their tongues in their cheeks. The band consists of Tom (vocals, bass), Jonny (vocals, guitar) and the aforementioned Judas (vocals, drums), and they make a remarkably ear-busting sound for a trio.

To date they've supported an impressive array of fine like-minded bands like Future of the Left, BaddiesThe Eighties Matchbox B-Line Disaster and Pulled Apart By Horses. If you're in Birmingham, you can see OBN live on the 19th at the Roadhouse. Londoners, head to the Stag's Head in Dalston on the 29th.


Tip of the Week: Man Without Country - Closet Addicts Anonymous

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 16:59 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010


This week, we'd like to draw your attention to the talents of Man Without Country, a trio from Cardiff who are currently in the final stages of completing their self-produced debut EP, entitled Foe.

Experimenting in their home studio, Ryan, Tom and Gareth create a blend of squelchy sub-bass, live drums and reverb-drenched synths and guitars. Some call it shoegaze, others have dubbed it ambient electro-pop. Whatever you call it, it's genuinely hypnotic stuff and we love it.

Man Without Country have been championed from the off by Adam Walton and Bethan Elfyn in Wales. Beth interviewed the band in April over at the BBC Wales Music blog, too, making them her band of the week.

More recently, as part of our week-long love-in with 6 Music, they recorded four tracks at Maida Vale, including this one, Closet Addicts Anonymous, which is our Tip of the Week:

If you like that, listen to three more session tracks from MWC and check out the photos.

Remember, our weekly tip is chosen by Huw Stephens and his Radio 1 team. They look for the most exciting, most inspiring new song they've heard in the past seven days and bestow on it the title BBC Introducing Tip of the Week.

The chosen track is recommended to the producers of our local BBC Introducing shows around the country, many of whom will then give it a spin on air in the following week. It's our way of ensuring that the very best tracks from undiscovered talents reach the widest audience possble.


Huw's DIY Label of the Week - Sacred Bones

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Huw Stephens Huw Stephens | 10:24 UK time, Friday, 7 May 2010

sacred-bones.jpgStraight outta Brooklyn comes Sacred Bones records, with a future-thinking roster that celebrates the diverse, the dark, and the daring.

On my Radio 1 show this week I spoke to Caleb Braaten who runs the label.

If you missed it, here's our chat:

If you run or know a brilliant independent record label, leave a comment below and let us know about it!


You can hear tracks by Zola Jesus and Effi Briest from the Sacred Bones label on this week's Huw Stephens podcast.

BBC Introducing Around the UK - Local Round-up 06/05/10

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 16:24 UK time, Thursday, 6 May 2010

We've been pretty busy round here of late. Between announcing the line-up for our stage at Radio 1's Big Weekend, putting together a week full of special sessions on 6 Music and hosting a nice little shindig down at Maida Vale, we've barely had time to think.

Time, then, to take a breather and go for a leisurely stroll around some of our local shows across the UK to see what they've been up to recently...


Let's start at BBC Suffolk, who have proudly announced that a trio of local acts will be performing on the Lake Stage at this year's Latitude Festival. Cevanne, The Cads and These Ghosts will open the stage over the festival's three days, from 16 - 18 July. The Lake Stage is curated by our very own Huw Stephens and has hosted the likes of The xx and Marina and the Diamonds in previous years.


Jumping north to BBC Northamptonshire, we hear they've... ahem... branched out with a new feature named 'The Tree' (sorry). Every week, listeners suggest a track from a local band which links in some way to last week's song. In the first few weeks, tracks by Bruises, One Toy Soldier and Magic Skool Bus were chosen. While the musical family tree is merely shrub at this point, we look forward to watching it grow over the coming months.


Down in BBC Guernsey, local alternative bands put on a gig at Pieces Bar for charity last month and the Introducing team were there to document the night in photos. Raising money for Motor Neurone Disease Awareness, punks CFS made their live debut alongside hardcore outfit Brutus Stonefist (amazing name, that) and black metallers Nocturnum. We're reliably informed that much moshing was done.


At BBC Essex, presenters Mike and Ollie invited DJ duo Many Faces into the studio for the inaugural "In The Mix" session. Having only taught themselves to mix in the last 12 months, DJs Dean and Greg had never performed a live radio mix before, but pulled it off with aplomb, showing why they've already secured a hotel residency in their native Southend.


Finally, the latest act to take BBC London's Q&A is MC and producer, Courtney Alexander. Courtney says he started producing and writing grime tracks aged 14 with a £5 microphone, but soon grew out of the scene and moved on to make what he describes as "poetic rap with indie/alternative pop production". You can read the full interview and listen to a clip here, or there are more tracks on Courtney's MySpace.

There are over 35 BBC Introducing shows located around the country. Find your local show.

Tip of the Week: Angry vs The Bear - Show Emotion

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Richard Banks Richard Banks | 13:21 UK time, Tuesday, 4 May 2010

Angry Vs The Bear

This week, our tipped band hail from Colchester, Essex and go by the peculiar moniker, Angry vs. The Bear. They are Mitzi (vocals, synth), Darren (bass), Patrick (synth) and Ross (drums). Before we go any further, let's get this out of the way - check out the mountainous 80s hair! Quite the spectacle.

Anyway, their debut single Show Emotion is our latest Tip of the Week. Released in March, it was produced by Simon Gorgerly, who's worked with U2 and Gwen Stefani in the past. It's a synth-tastic slice of retro pop, sounding rather like the Gossip might if all guitars were suddently outlawed.

Here's Huw with the full track:

Ollie and Mike at BBC Essex Introducing have been supporting Angry vs the Bear with airplay on their show for several years now. Back in 2008, they named them their band of the year and, more recently, invited the band to perform a live session in the BBC Essex studios (look: pictures!). 

If you like what you hear, go see the band on tour later this month. The dates are on their MySpace page.


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