Hereford & Worcester

Andy O'Hare chooses his top 10 tracks from 2011

Image caption This Wicked Tongue playing live on BBC Introducing in Hereford & Worcester

BBC Introducing in Hereford and Worcester's regular reviewer Andy O'Hare picks his top 10 tracks from coal bands in 2011.

1. Haze by New Chapter - perhaps not the greatest mix this - but without doubt the crackingest new number I've heard this year from the Much Cowarne/Bromyard/Worcester/Callow End five-piece featuring members from Heroes Of Hanoi and The Atats. They played a cracking gig at Bridgebash and their whole set's pretty much packed with crowd-pleasing rocking numbers. Of course they've got a priceless asset in those tonsils of singer Nicola Hardy - who amazingly has never been in a band before.

2. The Last Syllable by This Wicked Tongue - just about every genre of rock music rolled into this song - starts off with a bit of a ballady sound before erupting into stoner rock - there's even a bit of ska in the middle. This is the version before they 'restructured' half-way through the year - but This Wicked Tongue and front-girl Tina V are without doubt the act to watch out for in 2012.

3. Coast To Coast by God Save The King - I have to declare an interest in this two-counties-based outfit - but as Adam Daffurn and Pete Adams have been pretty much the driving force behind the great Hereford and Worcester scene over the last umpteen years it's not surprising that between them, Mike and Ben they've come up with an absolute local classic. Best version of course is the one recorded at the Hatch session with Andrew, Flo and yours truly on backing vocals.

4. Too Many Bears by The Fiction - a storming number from the Hereford four-piece who played a superb set for us at Nozstock. Also involved in one of my gigs of the year at the Black Lion in Hereford with Tramps Like Us - and I absolutely love their cartoon figures logo.

5. Kuranda Brake by Stompin' On Spiders - one of the breeziest numbers I've heard this year from the duo Gary Tolley (aka The Abbot Of Unreason) and Noor Ali (newly reformed Highway 5 frontman) - I'd tag this number under Australiana as it's about a railway journey in Queensland - which is Gary's spiritual and musical home-from-home.

6. Stars by The Cohen Brothers - some great appearances over the year from the Pershore-based bunch of possibly the finest technical musos doing the rounds - their production and quality is never less than first-rate and this number (featuring the delicious vocals of Abby Brant) is off the This Is Life album - which was launched with a wonderful gig at the Prince Of Wales in Ledbury.

7. Robot Song by Calm Like A Riot - yeah, there's been a few 'novelty' records this year - none more so than this one from the Worcester hip-hoppers which sparked a nationwide dance craze over the summer months - well, very nearly. A record was set for the number of participants at BridgeBash (the previous record was five) - a real fun ditty from the mostly oh-so-political four-piece - I still haven't quite mastered The Turn yet though.

8. Pretty Lips (Live) by The Crooked Empire - another 'unmentionable' song, but one of my favourites from the Droitwich trio. This song in its original form would never have made the airways - but this version was recorded at Mockfest in Droitwich during the summer and they modified the lyrics for a mid-afternoon audience. Now expanded to a four-piece - The Crooked Empire are an outfit who are ticking all the right boxes on the promotion front and these pure rock 'n' rollers have a promising year ahead of them.

9. How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Plough by P**** Crasher - another wonderfully off-beat slice of pure power-rock from the Hereford outfit that changed its name from the controversial Tastyhead to an even more contentious monicker earlier in the year. Trouble and strife seem to follow this outfit - who've been with us in one form or another since the show started seven years ago. Besides their session with us at the Tardebigge in Redditch - their other claim to fame was playing so loud that the Mayor of Worcester complained that they spoiled his function at the Guildhall.

10. Cider by F******* T** Bean - without doubt the song that I think should become the title tune of this show - thoughtful lyrics that provide outsiders with a cultural guide as to what really makes our two counties tick. Plenty of breezy ska-punking gigs throughout the year from the Worcester three-piece - just a shame we can't even dare to speak The Beans' full bandname!

Honourable mentions to the following acts who just missed out this year but for whom the future's looking ever so bright - Das Sexy Clap, Robinson, Evilwitch, Roving Crows, Becky Rose, Vault Of Eagles, V2A and Babajack among so many others.

A fond farewell to the fabulous Dandelion Killers (roll on the reunion gig) and a sad loss during the year of the ever-so-promising drummer of The Rubber Nuns Justine McKimmin.

Some inspired reunions and reformations this year included Highway 5 and Passengers - plus a one-off from And What Will Be Left Of Them in London - more please in what's going to be an amazing 2012.

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