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WATCH: Stevie Parker – ‘Without You’

February 7, 2017 in News

Stevie Parker has launched her stunning new single ‘Without You’ today, directed by Tom Ralph. The track was premiered on Huw StephensRadio 1 show last night.

Stevie Parker established herself as a striking new talent at the end of 2016 with her introductory tracks ‘Never Be’, ‘The Cure’ and her more recent debut EP Blue. Drawing comparisons with London Grammar and The xx, many critics praised the tender emotion of her inimitable vocal as well as her ability to craft tracks rich in both ambient atmosphere, haunting heartbreak and carefully nuanced touches.

Now the 24-year-old Bristol-based musician takes another bold step forward with the release of a brand new track ‘Without You’. The single sees Parker’s expressive vocal range exploring a cavalcade of emotions from yearning to spirited independence, while the track’s relentless rhythmic march gains in intensity before exploding into a dramatic crescendo. People will relate their own experiences to its central rallying cry “I’m doing alright with you”, but early line “Won’t take a breath boy if I’m breathing for you” expresses both pain and pride with poetic precision.

“With this video I really wanted to convey a sense of isolation, which is at odds with the theme of strength and independence evident in the lyrics.” Says Parker, adding “Kind of makes you wonder what the actual message is and I like that ambiguity! The variety in the locations and the number of them only furthers that, a sense of being just as lost in a sea of people as you are on your own.”

Directed by Thomas Ralph with Caviar Productions, the video for ‘Without You’ juxtaposes Parker’s femininity with a series of settings traditionally viewed as masculine, and also contrasts her solitude in places rammed with crowds. The video features many London locations including the recent Women’s March in Trafalgar Square, Billingsgate Fish Market, the Wansted Flats Sunday league football pitches and Hampstead Lido. The video’s memorable opening aerial tracking scene echoes the introduction to Francis Ford Coppola’s 1974 classic The Conversation.

Stevie has just finished touring with Mercury Prize-nominated artist C Duncan, and embarks on her own headline tour this February.

Stevie Parker Links: Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

Stevie Parker plays The Sunflower Lounge Birmingham on Wed 22nd February 2017, with support from Bryony Williams. Tickets available here.

Watch the video for ‘Without You’ below:

Little Comets to play O2 Institute

February 1, 2017 in News

In early February 2017, Little Comets will release their fourth album WORHEAD on The Smallest Label, the follow up to 2015’s Hope Is A State of MindWORHEAD is the most brutally honest Little Comets album to date – acerbic, withering and uncomplimentary about the state of our time; yet woven together with great beauty and care, drenched in positive melody and the percussive thrust of an innocent mind.

Little Comets are a strident five piece from the glorious coast of North East England; Robert, Michael and Matt have been making music together since 2008 with additional pulsing now added by drummer Nathan and a second Matt – the utiliser. From early releases on larger labels, the band now favour a model of total self-reliance – illustrated by being the only act inside the top 200 to self-produce, record, release, market, distribute and publish an album: a task which simultaneously illustrates both a tireless work ethic and love of the craft of song-writing.

Little Comets Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Little Comets play O2 Institute2 Birmingham on Wed 15th February 2017, with support from Eliza and the Bear. Tickets available here.

Watch the video for ‘Salt’ below:

Howie Payne to play Hare & Hounds Birmingham

January 31, 2017 in News

Howie Payne (aka Howard Eliott Payne) is a solo artist, producer, songwriter and the driving force behind Liverpool group The Stands, which he formed in 2002, and with whom he scored four top 40 singles and two top 40 LPs in over just three years before disbanding in 2005.

Following The Stands, Payne teamed up with legendary producer Ethan Johns and recorded his highly influential debut so lo LP Bright Light Ballads, which initially released as a digital download only, reached No 13 in the iTunes Album chart.

After a whirlwind decade of near constant live performances that took him around the globe, Payne took a hiatus from touring and recording to focus on songwriting and production, remaining in the public conscience through his music, with a host of artists recording and performing his songs while both The Stands LP’s, and Bright Light Ballads quickly achieved cult classic status.

September 2016 saw Payne tour the UK for the first time in 3 years, and on October 23rd he released, High Times, Home Recordings, a free 10 track download LP, recorded at his home in the late summer/early autumn 2016. High Times, Home Recordings features outtakes taken from the writing sessions for his next LP, which will be released in 2017.

Howie Payne Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Howie Payne plays The Hare & Hounds Venue 2 Birmingham on Tues 7th February 2017, with support from Matt Millard & Patrick Brewer. Tickets available here.

Watch a live video of ‘The Brightest Star’ below:

This Week: Gig Roundup 30th Jan – 5th Feb

January 30, 2017 in News

Coming up in Birmingham this week we have The Head and the Heart at the O2 Institute on Monday, following the release of their album Signs of Light. Wednesday sees singer-songwriter Tom Walker play a sold out show at The Sunflower Lounge. And after supporting the likes of Ryan AdamsFather John Misty and BeckKieran Leonard returns with his new band Saint Leonard’s Horses on Saturday at The Sunflower Lounge. Check out the full details below:

MONDAY 30TH JANUARY

The Head And The Heart + Cattle & Cane @ O2 Institute2
MORE INFO • BUY TICKETS

The Head And The Heart‘s new release Signs Of Light, recorded in Nashville, crackles with the upbeat, sing-a-long energy of the the band’s finest work. Throughout, the colors are brighter, the electric guitars are louder and the musical touchstones more universal, with nods to classic Fleetwood Mac. Support comes from Cattle & Cane with their finely crafted indie-pop and mesmerising harmonies.

Watch the video for ‘All We Ever Knew’ below:


WEDNESDAY 1ST FEBRUARY

Tom Walker + Grafton Ash + Ryan Sparrow @ The Sunflower Lounge
MORE INFO • SOLD OUT

Recently signed to Sony’s Relentless RecordsTom Walker was born in Scotland and raised in Manchester on his father’s extensive record collection – drawn to artists like Ray CharlesThe Police and Bob Marley. His song ‘Play Dead’ immediately conjures comparisons with some of the UK’s brightest crossover singer-songwriters such as Finley QuayeHozier, and Paulo Nutini. Support comes from 4 piece pop/folk band Grafton Ash and Birmingham singer-songwriter Ryan Sparrow.

Listen to ‘Play Dead’ below:


SATURDAY 4TH FEBRUARY

Saint Leonard’s Horses + Joseph Hicklin + Jack Cooper And The Offshore @ The Sunflower Lounge
MORE INFO • BUY TICKETS

After supporting the likes of Ryan Adams, Father John Misty and Beck, Kieran Leonard returns with his new band Saint Leonard’s Horses. Born out of a visit to Stanley Kubrick’s family estate in St Albans, Hertfordshire, the intention was to harness the creative forces at work in the Kubrick house and record new material as ‘live’ as possible with the five-piece band playing together in the same room, and even lead vocals being laid down live with each track. Support comes from singer-songwriter Joseph Hicklin, and Bob Dylan and Ben Howard inspired Jack Cooper And The Offshore.

Watch the video for ‘Spooky Lover’ below:

Feeder to play The Empire, Coventry

January 27, 2017 in News

Feeder (Grant Nicholas & Taka Hirose) announced their return last year after a four-year hiatus in glorious style, celebrating their highest chart position since 2008 with 9th record All Bright Electric. The record is a true statement of intent representing an even bigger, more exciting Feeder who found a fresh lease of life in making of the album, which became their 7th top 10 release with critics hailing it as up there with the band’s very best.

The third single ‘Another Day On Earth’ showcases the beauty of Nicholas’s songwriting prowess and gives a further refreshing insight into the sheer quality to be found on All Bright Electric“The choices we make can change the rest of our lives” sings Nicholas, the song that is a fitting climax to an album that doesn’t so much announce Feeder’s return as bellow it from the rooftops.

Feeder first shot to fame when their debut EP Swim was released to huge critical acclaim in 1996. Since then they’ve had 25 Top 40 hits with the likes of ‘Feeling A Moment’, ‘Just The Way I’m Feeling’, ‘Just A Day’ and ‘Buck Rogers’, and amassed over 5 million record sales along with 3 Platinum and 2 Gold Albums.

Following 14 incredible SOLD OUT dates last year, including a very special show at London’s Roundhouse, Feeder announce their second installment of UK shows in support of All Bright Electric. The 10 date tour will call at The Empire Coventry on Wed 5th April, seeing the band revisit some of their biggest hits whilst also performing new fan favourites from the album.  

Frontman Grant Nicholas commented: “We are really pleased to be announcing the second leg of the UK All Bright Electric Tour. Last year’s shows were some of our most enjoyable to date and the support for the album from everyone has been amazing. See you on the road.”

Feeder Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Feeder play The Empire Coventry on Wed 5th April 2017. Tickets available here.

Watch the video for ‘Eskimo’ below:

The Head and the Heart to play O2 Institute

January 27, 2017 in News

The Head And The Heart‘s latest release Signs Of Light, recorded in Nashville with producer Jay Joyce (EricChurchCage The Elephant), crackles with the upbeat, sing-a-long energy of the the band’s finest work. Lead single ‘All We Ever Knew’, which was written during the ‘Let’s Be Still’ era but never captured to the band’s satisfaction until now, is sure to be a crowd-pleaser, while ‘Turn It Around’ seems primed to be a future concert staple, matching its inspirational message with a lush and multi-layered soundscape.

Throughout, the colors are brighter, the electric guitars are louder and the musical touchstones more universal. The propulsive, smile-inducing ode to Los Angeles ‘City Of Angels’ and the head-nodding ‘Rhythm & Blues’ nod to classic Fleetwood Mac, while the organ-flecked ‘Dreamer’ is a timeless-sounding ballad that could have been beamed straight out of an old jukebox.

On Signs Of Light, the gamut of emotions is felt most deeply on the Josiah Johnson-penned title track, which none of the other members had ever heard until they happened to walk in on him playing it over and over at the piano during pre-production in El Paso, Texas. “It was one of those moments where no one talks,” Russell remembers. ”No one needs the chords; no one is looking up. You simply pick up your instrument and play. The next thing you know, nearly 10 minutes have gone by and you have no idea how or why or what just happened.”

The Head and the Heart Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

The Head and the Heart play O2 Institute2 Birmingham on Mon 30th January 2017, with support from Cattle & Cane. Tickets available here.

Watch the video for ‘All We Ever Knew’ below:

Introducing: Saint Leonard’s Horses

January 25, 2017 in News

In the past few years Kieran Leonard has toured the UK and USA supporting and playing shows with Ryan AdamsFather John MistyBob Dylan, The StrokesBeckThe LibertinesBilly Bragg and Wolfmother, to name a few. Then, early last year he was invited to work on music at Stanley Kubrick’s family estate in St Albans, Hertfordshire. The intention was to harness the creative forces at work in the Kubrick house and record new material as ‘live’ as possible with the five-piece band playing together in the same room and even lead vocals being laid down live with each track.

They then further honed their skills and the songs through extensive touring and festival appearances (including GlastonburyReading & LeedsThe Great EscapeSXSWand British Summer Time in Hyde Park). This marks the start of Saint Leonard, a culmination of two years work in search of a new recorded sound, citing the experience of the Kubrick estate, and several bizarre episodes in the isolation of stays on the Yorkshire moors and the Californian desert, as the grounds for this shift in artistic identity.

Debut album Good Luck Everybody is available to pre-order now via Xtra Mile Recordings.

Saint Leonards Horses Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Saint Leonard’s Horses play The Sunflower Lounge Birmingham on Sat 4th February 2017, with support from Joseph Hicklin & Jack Cooper and the Offshore. Tickets available here.

Watch the video for ‘Spooky Lover’ below:

Introducing: Tom Walker

January 24, 2017 in News

Recently signed to Sony’s Relentless RecordsTom Walker was born in Scotland and raised in Manchester on his father’s extensive record collection – drawn to artists like Ray CharlesThe Police and Bob Marley. He’s spent the past few years honing his sound, landing in a house-share with twelve other musicians (including members of Whilk & Misky), jamming together in their home-built, soundproof studio.

What has emerged from this environment is Tom’s newest release ‘Play Dead’ – a distinctive, engaging track that immediately conjures comparisons with some of the seminal and brightest crossover singer- songwriters coming out of the UK – Finley QuayeHozierPaulo Nutini and even 21 Pilots in places. Tom has already crafted a remarkably soulful signature, blended with heavier beats and carefully thought-out, understated samples. It’s a track of the kind of polish and ambition that surely marks Tom out as a definite one to watch for this year. Already finding critical acclaim from the more considered tastemakers in Pigeons & Planes and Clash as well as BBC Radio1BBC 1Xtra and Beats1, the influencers are united in what they see as a major new talent.

Tom went from supporting Maverick SabreSamm Henshaw and Gallant, bolstering a growing number of festivals including British Summer Time in Hyde ParkSecret Garden PartyThe Great Escape and Live At Leeds, to then sell out his first ever headline show on the same day that his last single hit 1 million streams on Spotify alone. Tom is now working on his debut full-length, which is to be announced soon.

Tom Walker Links: Soundcloud | Facebook | Twitter

Tom Walker plays The Sunflower Lounge Birmingham on Wed 1st February 2017 as part of Independent Venue Week #IVW17, with support from Grafton Ash and Ryan Sparrow. Tickets available here.

Listen to ‘Play Dead’ below:

Introducing: RedFaces

January 20, 2017 in News

RedFaces are a brand new guitar band snapped up by a major label RCA. With a debut single – the incendiary ‘Kerosene’ – due on February 3, 2017, RedFaces are four lads from Sheffield treading what was once a well-worn path, these days the road less travelled.

The journey started at 2Fly studios in Sheffield, recording demos with Alan Smyth, the man behind the Arctic Monkeys‘ first ventures.

Out of these sessions came the band’s first release ‘Katie Come Home’ in early 2015 – championed by BBC Introducing it also attracted the attention of the London A&R fraternity. An early gig in Sheffield saw representatives from every major label through the door.

RedFaces Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Redfaces play The Sunflower Lounge Birmingham on Sun 29th January 2017 as part of Independent Venue Week 2017 #IVW17. Support comes from SLTP, AutoPilot & Spoort. Tickets available here.

Listen to ‘Kerosene’ below:

Exmagician to play The Sunflower Lounge

January 13, 2017 in News

Belfast duo Exmagician released Scan The Blue on Bella Union earlier this year showcasing a heady mix of guitars meeting synths and spiraling threads of psychedelia from the latest musical incarnation of longtime collaborators Danny Todd and James Smith.

As the songwriting partnership behind Cashier No. 9, the band released the David Holmes produced album To The Death Of Fun in 2011 to widespread critical acclaim. Their new venture is propelled by a love of adventurous, psychedelic sounds, apparent from the opening bars of lead track ‘Kiss That Wealth Goodbye’. Steaming in with a filthy riff that’s the product of a guitar and a synth melding together making one sound indecipherable from the other.

After a succession of radio hits in Ireland with ‘Kiss That Wealth Goodbye’, ‘Job Done’ and ‘Bend With The Wind’, exmagican were nominated for the Northern Irish Music Prize, the band spent Summer touring festivals and doing German dates with July Talk.

Exmagician links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Exmagician play The Sunflower Lounge Birmingham on Wed 25th January 2017 as part of Independent Venue Week #IVW17, with support from Callum Pickard & The Third Look and Jump The Shark. Tickets available here.

Watch the video for ‘Job Done’ below: