INTRODUCING MIXTAPE. MONDAY 11/03/2013
Tankus The Henge - image courtesy of Simon Harvey Photography
In the small hours of a Monday morning from 2-3am you can hear a selection of my favourite new tunes compiled into an hour-long mixtape of nonstop music. All the audio is sourced from the BBC Introducing Uploader - some of it recommended by friends and colleagues and some discovered via Twitter and my own Fresh On The Net blog.
From 3am each Monday the latest mixtape is available free via the 6 Music Downloads Page - where you'll also find archived episodes from the previous 4 weeks. All the tracklists and start times for each track are published here - together with a link to each artist's website. These are the listings for Monday, 11th March 2013.
TANKUS THE HENGE - Recurring Dream [start 0:13]
Tankus the Henge (pictured above) are six gentlemen outcasts who specialise in what they describe as "having an anarchic good time." They are currently touring the country with "their high octane live show… (which) will break your heart, lift your spirits and leave you dancing". Their selftitled debut album took three years to finish, and gets its launch in London at The Lexington this Wednesday March 13th.
SPARROWHAWKS - Living Man’s Disease [start 04:28]
Sparrowhawks are an alt/folk. pop four piece from the North Wales border and Living Man’s Disease is taken from their new EP - available as free download from their website. You can catch them live this Wednesday March 15th in Chester at the Rake & Pikel, and in Wrexham on March 28th at The Royal Oak and April 25th at the Focus Wales Festival.
THE BOO-HOORAY THEORY - Helen Lane [start 08:08]
Songwriters Ben Heneghan and Ian Lawson somehow managed to take thirty years to release a first album and Follow The Gleam has been worth every minute of the wait. Several of those years must have been devoted to this track Helen Lane alone - and it captured my heart and ears within the first ten seconds. The Boo-Hooray Theory is the 12-piece band assembled by Ben and Ian to perform this outstanding collection of songs and occasionally they even manage to herd these disparate musicians together for a live show. Although these events are, they say, "vanishingly rare" our heroes are nevertheless "open to offers from anyone with a big enough stage".
PARK PLANET - The Youngest [start 13:04]
Glasgow's Park Planet consist of guitarist and frontman Graham Duff, close blood relative Gordon Duff on bass and drummer Leon Breakey. Although they've been registered with BBC Introducing since July 2010 they seem to have escalated activities around the end of last year, posting tunes on Soundcloud that caught the ear of music blogs such as Instantfilter, Musicyouneed and my own Fresh On The Net. They began work on their debut album in earnest last month at Graham's studio The Outhouse. "First day in the studio finished" he posted on February 16th. "Two songs down, twenty one to go."
YEAH & SHE HAS RED LIPS TOO - (Get Down And) Disconnect [start 16:40]
How great to hear new music from so many old friends this week. Jez and Caz were formerly known to 6 Music listeners as Molloy - whose splendid debut single Hoxton Hips we featured back in April 2008 on Fresh On The Net. With a change of style and a change of sound they've taken their name of their new project from a David Lynch painting. "Yeah And She Has Red Lips Too’s post-apocalyptic new wave rock" they tell us "carries you away on a dark tide of what it is to be human". This single was launched on March 7th in Islington, London.
SHELLSUIT - Death Or Bongo [start 20:47]
I'm also a longstanding fan of the radical Merseyside trio Shellsuit and their 2010 masterpiece of laconic understatement, the selfproduced Walton Prison Blues album. The band have not been idle over the last two years and Death Or Bongo bowled me over with its ambitious expansion of their sound. Bass guitar ! Funk Grooves ! Electric guitar riffs ! Piano chords ! Tempo changes! While all the while retaining Shellsuit's trademark elliptical edge to the lyrics. As a first single, this bodes extremely well for the band's forthcoming second album Wednesday Morning Bootle Strand. I can't wait.
NATALIE ROSS - Feels Just Like I’m 17 Again [start 24:30]
Natalie Ross was one of the first artists ever played on 6 Music Introducing back in 2007 and I've followed her career with interest ever since. Feels Just Like I’m 17 Again comes from her new 5-track EP due out in May called The Thrill of it All. Like Shellsuit, Natalie hasn't let the grass grown under her feet and this record features her newly-recruited band and Alt-J producer Charlie Andrew, no less, behind the controls.
TINHEART - A Million Winters [start 27:52]
Tinheart - or tiNhearT as he prefers to style it - is the solo project of Piers Blewett - songwriter and frontman with Brighton's Stick In A Pot. This comes from his EP "tiNhearteD" which was recorded in Piers's bedroom on a borrowed guitar and released last month on his own Sad Sentry Records imprint. It represents a conscious effort to "write concise songs with plenty of melody". Gigs - including the Brighton Fringe Festival - are in the pipeline, along with plans for a followup EP.
GLASS CAVES - Muscle [start 30:18]
Pontefract five-piece Glass Caves, we're told, "fuse agitated rhythms, yo-yoing guitars and dissonant keyboard sounds with vocals that splinter then soar through their songs. They come at you like a band channelling the spirit of American alternative bands, such as Local Natives and Fleet Foxes, through a very British filter to produce perfectly formed morsels of ballsy alt-rock." So now you know. They've just passed 4,000 likes on Facebook and sold 5,000 copies of their selftitled EP - and you'll certainly need to book early for their headline at Fibbers in York on April 12th.
YAKURI CABLE - Line of Sight [start 33:44]
Yakuri Cable is is a Japanese funicular line in Takamatsu, Kagawa. It's also an indie/synth/pop band formed in Glasgow early last year by Andy, Ross, Jo and Chris who had alrady met as bandmates in the lineup of some previous - and unspecified - local outfit. By the end of the year they had composed five songs, and recorded their EP Beginnings (on which this is the opening track) at Green Door studios in Glasgow. The EP is now available from Bandcamp and they hope to make their live debut in April.
ABIGAILHUBBARD - People Watching [start 38:12]
Abigail Hubbard is, we're told, "a refreshingly original solo artist who collaborates tastes of trip-hop, jazz, classical and folk to create a ensemble of humbling melodies and incomparable beats." Her lifelong career began "as a music loving embryo tapping beats on her mother's navel" and developed through shouting at the sea at age 7, dancing around to Mary Poppins, and first picking up a guitar on her 11th birthday. Since recording her People Watching EP, from which this track is taken, Abigail has been working with a full time band, who will begin recording a debut album this summer with producer The Assembly Worker. Their next gig is in London at The Rattlesnake a week on Tuesday, March 19th.
HEART-SHIPS - Five Forks Of Lightning [start 41:32]
Leeds’ six-piece Heart-Ships will release their debut EP1 both digitally and on 12" vinyl on April 29th. By way of an incentive, if you pre-order it from their website you get a free download of this track Five Forks of Lightning. I'd like to tell you a bit about this band but they give away absolutely nothing of themselves - or about themselves - online. Their Facebook contains only descriptions of their music by various pundits, for example "BBC INTRODUCING: Absolutely Brilliant." Hmm. Thanks for sharing. They play a London show at Camden Barfly on April 22nd and Live At Leeds on May 4th.
WINTER SON - Acid Rain [start 44:50]
"I make dance music halfway between classic house and goth inspired post-punk using a studio jammed with old analogue equipment" says Manchester musician Thomas Ragsdale - aka Winter Son - and also one half of Ghosting Season. His Winter Son manifesto is so evocatively written it bears repeating: "I play live using a battered 30 year old TR-808 drum machine and a host of percussion pads, and am sometimes joined on stage by Jozef K. The name 'Winter Son' comes from those cold Northern English nights walking around Manchester to the sounds of Depeche Mode, Bauhaus, The Cure, and old Chicago house tracks. It comes from immersing yourself in a darkened room packed with sweaty bodies moving as one to the sound of the bass drum and synth line..." Now that's what I call an artist biog. It doesn't have to be factual but it does need to be interesting. The debut Winter Son EP is due for release this Summer on Sasha's label Last Night On Earth.
BROMHEADS - Gonna Let You Melt [start 47:00]
At the end of last year we featured Bromheads' Holding The Gun on the mixtape - their first "official" recording with the new duo lineup - having previously released a dozen singles for free download. They describe themselves as the "Sheffield lad duo" of Tim Hampton and Dan Potter, "a 50’s inspired garage band" formed in 2009 from their acclaimed previous trio lineup as Bromheads Jacket. This track comes from their new album Choro which they'll release on April 15th, and promote by playing 11 cities in 12 days, finishing in Stoke on April 26th. Visit their website for full details.
SWIMMING IN SPEAKERS - Teach Yourself [start 49:16]
I first played the Saranac Lake duo Swimming In Speakers shortly after they formed and released their eponymous debut EP in early 2009 - two songs from which ended up on Grey’s Anatomy. The band consist of Meadow Elizabeth on vocals and Christopher Clarke provided pretty much everything else that you hear on this languid, captivating track from their longawaited debut album Guessing The Others - which finally arrived this year at the beginning of February.
LEAVING ATLANTIS - The Hill [start 53:12]
Our final track in this week's mixtape also comes from a boy-girl duo formed in 2009 - in this case by Danish lyricist and singer Signe Gry Thorup, who joined forces with the Finnish-born, London based drummer and producer Vesa Haapanen to create Leaving Atlantis. This track comes from their debut album Strange New World which was recorded in a variety of locations (London, Copenhagen, Helsinki, Lapland and Zimbabwe) and using a variety of supplementary musicians (Wayne Urquhart, Andy Parkin, Tom Marriott and more). It was recorded, mixed and mastered by James Towler. They're already planning a followup album for this summer and play a live show in Copenhagen next month.