Finding themselves championed by 6 Music’s Marc Riley and the Eavis family even before selfreleasing debut album ‘Under the Pavement’ in late 2008, quickly established Manchester outfit The Travelling Band as ones to watch very closely.
With the release of sophomore album ‘Screaming is Something’ (2011) they continued to evolve and progress . Recording in isolation on the Isle of Mull the album furthered their growing reputation for songcraft and harmony laden etherealpop production style.
Over six years and 400+ shows since their formation, the band have garnered an enviable reputation as one of the U.K’s tightest live acts and hardest working bands. These factors are captured perfectly within their two live albums, highlighting an ability to utterly feel, not just play music, adapting the painstakingly recorded versions, and adding rawer elements.
And so to 2014 a third album ‘The Big Defreeze’ appears on the horizon, funded through a successful Pledge Music campaign and produced by Iestyn Polson (David Gray, Patti Smith, David Bowie, Simple Kid).
The 'Hands Up' EP served up a taste of whats to come the original ingredients are maintained, intricate guitar lines and infectious rhythms interact with expansive chord structures and subtle tempo changes, while the recipe incorporates a new vivacious flavour.
There’s far more to The Travelling Band than primarily meets eye or ear, continuing to develop and flourish from festival favourites into fully fledged recording artists, building a legacy destined to stand the test of time.
“The sounds they generate took me back to my musical roots… Marvellous music to savour and enjoy” – Michael Eavis, Glastonbury Festival
“They produce an inventive brand of guitarladen cosmic aesthetic and sprinkles of trademark Manchester’s musical lineage” – Clash Magazine
“If you consider the term ‘Mancunian Americana’ to be an oxymoron… try listening to The Travelling Band. Brilliant” Marc Riley, BBC 6Musicwww.thetravellingband.co.uk
We couldn’t find anyone playing vintage jazz in our hometown so we decided to do it ourselves - using a kazoo sellotaped to a cornet, a biscuit tin banjo – and a washboard we’d bought from eBay.
We took our name from the spasm bands that played homemade instruments on the streets of New Orleans in the late 19th Century. “Rabbit Foot” comes from The Rabbit Foot Minstrels – a black touring troupe featuring blues singer Bessie Smith, one of our heroes. I figured that if their troupe featured a spasm band then that was exactly what we needed to sound like.
With no jazz scene to prey upon we threw in our lot with noisy guitar groups - playing indie clubs! In most cases we were the first traditional jazz band to play these venues for over half a century. The local press said we were “the authentic sound of New Orleans – possible during a hurricane” Soon we were successful enough to persuade brass players to join in the fun – and ditched the kazoo solos. We’ve carried on playing clubs like these because they complement the gritty, gutbucket edge of the jazz we love - and we’re winning over a legion of fans who wouldn’t otherwise contemplate dancing to a jazz band.
We’ve also taken in festivals including Glastonbury and Bestival, “serious” clubs like Ronnie Scott’s and The Concorde Club - and we’ve sold out the O2 Academy in Oxford three times. We’ve had front cover features in five magazines and we’ve recorded at session for Mark Lamarr’s BBC Radio 2 show at Maida Vale.
For our first LP Year of the Rabbit (2011) we wrote songs about the seaside, steam trains, pirates, sheds and amateur taxidemists. With the follow up, 2013’s Party Seven we chose deliberately to set our hot jazz and rhythm and blues music deep in the Oxfordshire countryside.
In 2012 we released a single “Greg’s Greats Record Shop” on wax cylinder. In 2013 we launched our own brand of cider – the beverage of choice to British Trad Jazz fans in the 1950s. We’re spending 2014 touring our album Party Seven and working a shedload of new material into our set.
"Probably the most exciting live band on the circuit today"... The Oxford Times
"Noisy and raucous and dangerously sexy jazz" ... BBC Radio 6
"The authentic sound of New Orleans - possibly during a hurricane" ... Nightshiftwww.facebook.com/rabbitfootspasmband
Polly and the Billets Doux are something brilliantly different.
Known for their flawless and energy-filled live performances, the genre-defying quartet Polly and the Billets Doux boast a genius blend of Folk, Pop, Rock N' Roll, Soul, Country, Blues and even Gospel. They have a solid reputation and extensive history of headline tours up and down the country; from Ullapool to Brighton, and almost everywhere in between.
Their debut album Fiction, Half-Truths and Downright Lies had them topping many ‘ones to watch’ lists back in 2010, and the buzz hasn’t stopped since. That same year, they reached number 21 on the BBC Radio 1 Indie Charts and were invited to do sessions with BBC 6 Music’s Cerys Matthews and BBC Radio 4’s Loose Ends.
Support slots with Stornoway, Fun Lovin’ Criminals and Ellen and the Escapades have seen the band bring their music to increasingly wider audiences across the country whilst remaining festival favourites at many UK festivals including Glastonbury, Loopallu, The Big Chill, Secret Garden Party, Larmer Tree and Cambridge Folk Festival.
Between 2010 and 2012, Polly and the Billets Doux have embarked on eight headline tours of the UK and three busy festival seasons, stopping just long enough to write, record and release their latest Hold Fast EP in summer 2012, which gained great reviews from BBC 6 Music and much of the blogosphere including Folk Radio UK, For Folk’s Sake, The Line of Best Fit and The Blue Walrus.
This latest collection of material perfectly demonstrates Polly’s beautiful gospel-inspired voice and the band’s truly original sound.
2014 sees Polly and the Billets Doux releasing their 2nd studio album, touring extensively across the country and venturing into Europe for the first time.
“From hot rocking thrills, to jazzy splendour to country darkness, the musical brief of Polly and the Billets Doux seems to be, if it sounds and feels good, go for it!” The Daily Mirror
“an eclectic and inspired musical blend” The Guardian
"Polly And The Billets Doux deliver a twee sort of nostalgia (all upright bass and brushed snares)...it falls inside the right end of the Imelda May/Fairground Attraction spectrum" The Independentpollyandthebilletsdoux.co.uk
The Lost Brothers first met in an old dusty library in Liverpool, England in 2007.
From their first encounter, they noticed they had a lot in common. They both come from Ireland (Oisin Leech from Navan, Mark McCausland from Omagh), and having both come from musical families, they had both played in various bands since a young age and had now come to Liverpool to seek a brighter future. The pair shared the same love of music (from the Carter Family to Sam Cooke, Mississippi John Hurt to Dion and the Bellmonts, Phil Spector to the Louvin Brothers, the Impressions to Van Morrison), and before long, were jamming together in the dive bars of Liverpool when not on the road with their bands. The pair were regular faces on the Liverpool music scene and when together, people began to call them, The Lost Brothers…
Feeling the pull from across the sea, however, the twosome decided to leave the bands they were in at the time and de-camp to Portland, Oregon. There they hooked up with producer Mike Coykendall (M Ward, Bright Eyes), and recorded in his attic, what would become their folk tinged debut album, TRAILS OF THE LONELY.
Returning to the UK, the duo headed for London where they started their own label, ‘BIRD DOG RECORDINGS’, and released TRAILS OF THE LONELY in November 2008. The Lost Brothers spent the next two years touring and writing.
In 2010, they were off to Sheffield, England with a new batch of songs. These recordings turned out to be their second album, SO LONG JOHN FANTE, released in 2011 on Bird Dog/ Ace records. The album was produced by Colin Elliot and featured members of Richard Hawley’s band.
More recently, the Losties caught the ear of Raconteur, Brendan Benson, who invited them to record their third album in his Nashville studio. The album is their best yet. It is called THE PASSING OF THE NIGHT. The album was released late 2012 on Brendan’s READYMADE RECORDS in the US and on LOJINX RECORDS in the UK and Ireland.
The Lost Brothers return to The Big Brill Camp after their wonderful performance in 2012.www.thelostbrothersband.com/
Count Drachma are a four-piece combining rhythms from Johannesburg, Tehran, New York & London. They play Zulu Maskandi style, the only band in the Northern Hemisphere doing so right now.
The band is lyrically influenced by South African artists Juluka & Mahlathini, musically by Senegalese Orchestra Baobab and Connecticut's tUnEyArDs. Playing traditional Zulu folk songs over modernised beats, as well as their own translated & original material, they offer a truly unique glimpse into the musical melting pot of cosmopolitan South Africa, where half the band grew up learning the language.
After a busy 2013 playing 6 Sofar Sounds sessions, 3 BBC radio plays, a main stage slot at Wilderness plus appearances at several other UK festivals, they are hitting the 2014 summer hard with new recordings under the belt.
"Think of a mix between Paul Simon and the Owimy Sigoma Band and you’re on the right track … this guy is singing so powerfully." - Reviewed at the Sebright Arms, January 2014
"...Oli & Rob Steadman, who are the beating heart of the band... native South Africans, Zulu speakers, and share a deep love of their homeland’s indiginous maskandi music. The Jo’burg rhythms are spliced with looped saxophones, ‘reggaeton’ percussion and the kind of Celtic flavours you’d expect..." - Oxford Times gig preview, June 2013www.facebook.com/countdrachma
The Dreaming Spires have an enviable musical pedigree. Group members - and brothers - Robin and Joe Bennett formerly played with not one but two influential bands - Goldrush and Danny & the Champions of the World, and co-founded not one but two award-winning festivals, Truck & Wood. They staged an event, Truck America, in Upstate New York where they jammed with Mercury Rev, Tim Easton and The Jayhawks (all of whom are now fans of the Spires), provided backing for The Band’s Garth Hudson and toured America with Mark Gardener of Ride.
It’s the latter experience – traipsing across the States in a beat-up Chevrolet van with no mirrors – that informs much of debut album 'Brothers in Brooklyn'. The real story is in the people and relationships established along the way, and “the real show” is back at someone’s house in the desert hours after the gig finished. It’s also about the true and inescapable drive that leads musicians to continue pursuing the dream long after any thoughts of guitar-shaped swimming pools have expired – “we do it 'cos we must, 'cos we need this the most” – the magic of forming lasting friendships and writing timeless songs."...the most thrilling country rock debut album since Big Star" **** Q
“if you’re partial to that lineage of American guitar music that touches on The Byrds, Neil Young, Tom Petty and The Jayhawks, this may well be your album of the year.” Happening
''I love this record'' - Bob Harris OBE
Ags Connolly is a traditional country singer-songwriter from West Oxfordshire in the UK.
Country is the simplest description, but Ags is a proud supporter of Dale Watson’s ‘Ameripolitan’ movement, which supports new music with a roots influence, away from the modern incarnation of country that exists today (you know the stuff…).
Having attempted to write songs for years, Ags found the confidence to take it seriously after attending a workshop with Nashville super-musician Darrell Scott. Since then he’s performed his own songs at events like the 2013 Country2Country Festival at the O2 in London and shared the stage with artists like Fred Eaglesmith, Paul Kelly, Dean Owens and Dale Watson; the latter being at the Continental Club in Austin, Texas.
Ags’s influences come essentially from hardcore country like David Allan Coe, Johnny Cash, Johnny Paycheck, Robert Earl Keen and Chris Knight. However, he also takes major non-country influences from the likes of Loudon Wainwright III and Ron Sexsmith.
Ags’ debut album ‘How About Now’, produced by Dean Owens, was released on Drumfire Records in February 2014, receiving rave reviews.
‘How About Now’ is “as good a country record as you’re likely to hear from anywhere this year” - John Davy, Flyin Shoes
“a masterpiece of British country” - Maverick Magazine
“Ags Connolly is the closest we’ve ever come to an English Willie Nelson” - Duncan Warwick, editor of Country Music People Magazineagsconnolly.com
Duchess are a 6 piece female fronted percussion pop band drawing inspiration from afro and latin rhythms.
Since forming in 2012 Duchess have been blasting audiences with ebullient rhythm heavy afro-caribbean infused indie-pop. A small army of percussionist back up singer Katie-louise Herring’s soulful singing voice, like Blondie partying in Soweto.
According to one audience member ‘Watching Duchess is like being transported to a sweaty costa rican night club full of hip-shaking dusky mamas’.
We’re not totally sure about that but you can definitely expect infectious rhythms, catchy melodies, sweet harmonies and a lot of drums!www.facebook.com/duchessbanduk
In a past existence,Nick Cope was the singer and songwriter in The Candyskins (indie band 1990’s). We toured around the globe and recorded several albums.
I now write and record music for young children and their families. I play regular shows at schools and family centres and throughout the summer at many of the music festivals around the country. I have established quite a diehard following of little people and their parents, and my CD’s have sold, through word of mouth, all over the world.www.nickcope.co.uk
The Family Machine have been delighting audiences around the country with their unique brand of acoustic-indie-pop for the last 7 years. Their album 'You Are The Family Machine' and subsequent singles releases, along with live performances, have put them at the fore of the Oxford music scene
"Inventive indie pop", "Beautifully tender... Grandiose and magical", "Perfectly harmonious, summery indie" - come and find out for yourself!www.youarethefamilymachine.com
Pound Shop Glasses are a bunch of hyperopic Brill-based musicians who rely on discount stores for their spectacles.
Inspired by the driving blues rhythms of John Lee Hooker, Sonny Boy Williamson and Elmore James, they stalk the mean streets of Aylesbury Vale: middle-aged men searching for their mojo.
Songs as diverse as Lou Reed’s ‘Vicious’ (‘Extraordinary rendition’, George W Bush) and Them’s ‘Gloria’ (‘Who?’ Van Morrison) add to their foot-tapping, toe-curling appeal.
|+ New for 2014 - Bear on a Bicyle Stage! More details soon...|