Spring is here and song is in the air

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After the South By Southwest festival I was involved with BBC Radio Cymru's Brwydr Y Bandiau (battle of the bands), which threw to light some excellent new talent from all over Wales, all the photos and interviews are online at bbc.co.uk/c2 if you want to catch up with all the action before the final this week.

The bands are very young and raw, and some would argue about the merit of these battles but as a first experience into the world of music, I'd hope it's a good experience for the young musicians involved. You learn to deal with everyone from radio engineers to studio producers, and hear your music professionally recorded at the end of the first round and I'd hope that it's about these experiences more than just winning a popularity vote.

At Radio One we've had new tipsters on the show and one in particular brought in some great music from the community project, Newport City Radio. Long standing and respected DJ and promoter Shai brought a fantastic new soul artist to my attention in the form of Miss A. She's at myspace.com/missasoul (an unfortunate web address when you read out loud!), and has amazing beats and a stunning laid back style.

At my weekly gigs at Cardiff's Buffalo bar the aim is to showcase the best from new Welsh artists, and some touring bands. Last night I was blown away by one particular artists, the Potential Paintball Massacre. They're a fun Japanese style combo of keytars and synths to amazing audio effect. I really am lost for words to describe their style. Check them out on MySpace.

And finally, this week another BBC Introducing United Nations gig takes place in Glasgow with a band from each of the four R1shows.

Huw Stephens chose Chickenhawk, a punk outfit from the north of England; Rory McConnell brings And So I Watched You From Afar, a post rock wall of sound from Northern Ireland; and Vic, as it's on his turf in King Tuts in Glasgow, headlines with The Phantom Band.

From Wales I nominated Race Horses, and I look forward to seeing the band who have played some pretty great shows and tours recently with the likes of Fanfarlo, New Zealand's Lawrence Arabia and others. With label Fantastic Plastic they continue to grow in confidence and presence in the British Music Industry. I'll report back from this gig for you later in the week.

All the above, and I haven't begun to tell you about this week's session band for Radio One...

Lots more exciting music news on the way, stay tuned!

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