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Watch: Sweet Baboo – ‘Got to Hang on to You’

June 20, 2015 in News

Welsh singer-songwriter Sweet Baboo has just released the video to the track ‘Got To Hang On To You’, taken from his fifth album The Boombox Ballads. Premiering on DIY now, the video sees the Welsh pop wizard surrounded by mirrors – Sweet Baboo’s most reflective video yet!

The new album of personal love songs combine kitchen sink detail with universal appeal, and it shows a new side to Sweet Baboo aka Stephen Black: as the Harry Nilsson of Snowdonia. A gifted songwriter not above lending his dulcet tones to the words of others – Black covers fellow Welsh singer Cate Le Bon on the album, a close friend for whom Black plays bass.

Rich with string-laden arrangements, with lyrics culled from personal experience and resonating with domesticity but imagination and wit too, The Boombox Ballads is Sweet Baboo’s sophisticated pop album: celebratory, a little melancholic, free of cynicism.

SWEET BABOO PLAYS THE RAINBOW BIRMINGHAM ON TUESDAY 22ND SEPTEMBER 2015. TICKETS ARE AVAILABLE HERE

Watch the video for ‘Got To Hang On To You’ below:

Sweet Baboo to play The Rainbow Birmingham

June 3, 2015 in News

Halfway through Sweet Baboo’s fifth album comes ‘I Just Want To Be Good’, in which the North Wales singer appears to describe himself in glowing terms.

“I’m a lovely little man”, sings Stephen Black who, as Sweet Baboo, has written and performed songs of sweet sentiment and charming melody since 2003 but never with such accomplishment as on The Boombox Ballads. Black isn’t celebrating his own loveliness, however. ‘I Just Want To Be Good’ is by fellow Welsh singer Cate Le Bon, a close friend for whom Black plays bass, and she wrote the song about him. It’s the only cover on an album of otherwise personal love songs that combine kitchen sink detail with universal appeal, and it shows a new side to Sweet Baboo: as the Harry Nilsson of Snowdonia, a gifted songwriter not above lending his dulcet tones to the words of others.

Rich with string-laden arrangements, with lyrics culled from personal experience and resonating with domesticity but imagination and wit too, The Boombox Ballads is Sweet Baboo’s sophisticated pop album: celebratory, a little melancholic, free of cynicism.

Sweet Baboo Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

SWEET BABOO PLAYS THE RAINBOW BIRMINGHAM ON TUES 22ND SEPTEMBER 2015. TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE.

Watch the video for ‘Sometimes’ below:

This Week: Gig Roundup 24th – 30th November

November 24, 2014 in News

This week kicks off with a bang with a fantastic four band bill at The Sunflower Lounge, headlined by Nottingham fine young things Huskies. This week also sees visits from Leeds noisemakers Pulled Apart By Horses, pioneers in electric-rock Silver Apples and Sunderland indie rockers Frankie & The Heartstrings.

MONDAY 24th NOVEMBER 

Huskies + Pleasurehouse + Avenues + SLTP @ The Sunflower Lounge

Championed by the likes of NME, Radio 1 and BBC Introducing, Nottingham quartet Huskies are in for big things, and you can catch them live at The Sunflower Lounge this Monday, with support from bright young things Pleasurehouse, Avenues and SLTP. Tickets are available on the door.

Watch the video for ‘Beach’ below:


TUESDAY 25th NOVEMBER 

Pulled Apart By Horses + Menace Beach + Them Wolves @ The Institute 

The Leeds quartet formed in 2008 bring their suckerpunch riffs and zinging choruses to Birmimgham’s Institute to celebrate the release of their third album Blood. The new album sees them embracing their love of psychedelic cinema and developing as a band whilst retaining the thrilling ‘Horses’ sound. It’s their most brilliantly fully-formed yet, a record that matches rhythmic stoner-rock propulsion with hollered hooks. Support comes from Menace Beach and Them Wolves. Tickets are available here.

Watch the video for ‘Lizard Baby’ below:


WEDNESDAY 26th NOVEMBER 

The Vaselines + Schwervon! @ Hare & Hounds

Legendary Scottish indie-pop duo The Vaselines favoured by Kurt Cobain play Birmingham’s Hare & Hounds this week, with support from Schwervon! The band, who rose to prominence in the late 80s, wrote the blueprint for modern indie-pop and are back with their latest album V for Vaselines, a celebration of the continued chemistry of Eugene and Frances. Tickets are available here.

Watch the video for ‘Sex with an X’ below:


THURSDAY 27th NOVEMBER 

Charlotte Carpenter @ Hare & Hounds

Having three previously self-released EP’s under her belt, and her most recent EP Whole climbing to No.10 in the iTunes singer/songwriter charts, Northampton songstress Charlotte Carpenter who channels Laura Marling’s breathless insight with Daughter’s ambient indie. takes to the stage at the Hare & Hounds to showcase her more bluesy, rockier sound to prove why she’s been anointed ‘alts newest darling’. Tickets are available here.

Watch the video for ‘Whole’ below:

Silver Apples @ Hare & Hounds

Formed in 1967 as an electronic rock duo featuring Dan Taylor on drums and Simeon on a homemade synthesizer, Silver Apples quickly gained a reputation as New York’s leading underground musical expression. Many years on, Simeon, working as a solo performer with Danny’s drum sounds recreated by electronic means, has continued the Silver Apples legacy with performances literally all over the world. Tickets are available here.

Watch the video for ‘You and I’ below:


FRIDAY 28th NOVEMBER 

Sweet Baboo & Pictish Trail + Michael King (Boat To Row) @ The Glee Club

Two sonic stallions from the Moshi Moshi stable, Stephen Black, and Johnny Lynch (Sweet Baboo and Pictish Trail, respectively), canter around the counties for a seasonal co-headline tour calling at Birmingham’s Glee Club. Lynch invited Black up to the island to help him record his latest Pictish opus, Secret Soundz Vol.2. For this special advent tour, the pair are reunited for a fortnight of song-swapping, thigh-slapping and local-ale gargling; expect folk-tinged winter hymns, lo-fi audio wizardry and sweet Eigg-nog kisses under the casio. Tickets are available here.

Watch the video for Sweet Baboo’s ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ below:


SATURDAY 29th NOVEMBER 

Goodnight Lenin + The Travelling Band + Boat To Row (DJ Set) @ The Institute 

Birmingham’s Goodnight Lenin play their biggest headline performance to date to accompany the release of the band’s debut album, In The Fullness Of Time. The record, mixed by Jonathan Wilson, is the culmination of four years hard workThe band will be supported by Manchester folk-rock superhumans The Travelling Band who count Michael Eavis and Marc Riley amongst their fans and whose whimsical folk pop melodies are perfect for admirers of Creedence Clearwater Revival, Frightened Rabbit and Elbow. Tickets are available here.

Watch the video for ‘You Were Always Waiting’ below:

Frankie & The Heartstrings + New Bays @ The Sunflower Lounge

The energetic Sunderland indie five-piece have toured with the likes of The Vaccines, Florence and The Machine and the Kaiser Chiefs whilst also starting their own record label Pop Sex Ltd. This week they arrive at Birmingham’s Sunflower Lounge playing songs from their two critically acclaimed albums, Hunger and The Days Run Away. Support comes from Buckinghamshire/Birmingham quartet New Bays. Tickets are available here.

Watch the video for ‘Hunger’ below:

Coasts + Only Shadows @ The Institute *SOLD OUT*

Conceived in 2011 in the crypt of a church, the Bristol-born five piece’s non stop touring has quickly built a growing group of fans across the country and the quintet embark on another headline tour this November, stopping at The Institute this week. Citing Foals and Arctic Monkeys as their current favourite bands, COASTS’ anthem Oceans has now had over 2 million+ plays on Soundcloud. Catch them at a small venue while you still can…

Watch the video for ‘Oceans’ below:


SUNDAY 30th NOVEMBER 

The Xcerts + Kagoule @ The Sunflower Lounge

This week comes to close with a visit from Aberdeen/Exeter three piece The Xcerts, fresh from their US tour with Brand New. The tour coincides with the release of their hugely anticipated third studio album There Is Only You. Support comes from Nottingham grunge trio Kagoule who have played shows alongside the likes of Temples, Merchandise, Drenge, METZ and Iceage. Tickets are available here.

Watch the video for ‘Shaking in the Water’ below:

Sweet Baboo & Pictish Trail to play Birmingham show

July 21, 2014 in News

Two sonic stallions from the Moshi Moshi stable canter around the counties, for a seasonal co-headline tour, calling at Birmingham’s Glee Club on Fri 28th November.

Lyrical singer-songshapers, Stephen Black, and Johnny Lynch (Sweet Baboo and Pictish Trail, respectively), both know the power of collaboration. Something of a fixture within the burgeoning Welsh psyche-pop scene, you’ll recognise Black not only from his prolific solo output, but as a frequent musical cohort to Euros Childs, Cate Le Bon and Gruff Rhys among many, many others. Across four albums, and even more EPs, Sweet Baboo’s dry wit and melodic flair have seen him become a firm favourite with BBC’s Marc Riley (who has had him in session more than any other artist), and deservedly recognised as one of the country’s finest performers.

Meanwhile, from a static caravan up on the remote isle of Eigg, tucked away within the inner Hebrides of Scotland, Lynch runs DIY label and collective Lost Map (formerly Fence Records). As well as producing countless mini-albums, EPs and assorted LPs of self-professed ‘wonky-pop’ material under his Pictish Trail moniker, he’s collaborated with a plethora of the greatest songsmiths across these fair lands, including James Yorkston, Malcolm Middleton, King Creosote, KT Tunstall and Adem. With the latter, he formed electro-pop powerhouse, Silver Columns, proving his chops both as a versatile song-writer and as a wet-spandex leotard model.

Lynch invited Black up to the island to help him record his latest Pictish opus, Secret Soundz Vol.2 – which was very recently given a full nationwide release, alongside Vol.1, by London taste-makers Moshi Moshi. For this special advent tour, the pair are reunited for a fortnight of song-swapping, thigh-slapping and local-ale gargling; expect folk-tinged winter hymns, lo-fi audio wizardry and sweet Eigg-nog kisses under the casio.

Sweet Baboo Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

Pictish Trail Links: Website | Facebook | Twitter

SWEET BABOO & PICTISH TRAIL PLAY THE GLEE CLUB BIRMINGHAM ON FRI 28TH NOVEMBER. TICKETS AVAILABLE HERE.

Watch the video for Sweet Baboo’s ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ below:

Watch the video for ‘Wait Until’ by Pictish Trail below:

INTERVIEW: Sweet Baboo

November 6, 2013 in Interviews

Now into his tenth year as a solo artist, North Wales’ Sweet Baboo (alias of Stephen Black, former member of the relatively unknown, JT Mouse) crafts a unique blend of psychedelic country and pop.

Having toured with the likes of Slow Club and Cate Le Bon, Black may be more well-known for musical outings aside from his solo act, but with four albums under his belt and the upcoming release and tour supporting his new Motorhome Songs EP, we chat to him to find out more about his wonderfully unique solo material.

 

What have you learned over the past decade and how have you celebrated the landmark?

There have been more Sweet Baboo shows this year than ever before so I guess that’s a celebration in itself, but I haven’t really thought about it. My biggest tip is to try and be nice to people. Oh, and to say yes…

 

What are the major differences between performing as a solo artist and as part of a band?

On your own you get all the rider! Being part of a band is always more fun though, it’s nice to be part of a gang.

 

Sweet Baboo is an interesting alias – where does it come from?

When I was a kid I loved the Peanuts cartoon and Charlie Brown’s sister called Lionus ‘My Sweet Baboo’. I always thought it would be a good name for band – it’s a term of endearment in America. I think there may have been another band (according to Google) called Sweet Baboo, so I hope they don’t realise…

 

Previously you’ve referred to Welsh artists such as Super Furry Animals and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci as influences. Were you first inspired to make music because of that thriving national scene and have your musical influences changed since then?

Yes, without those two bands I don’t think I would have started making music. They were, and are still, a massive influence on everything I do, and I think for my friends too.

I guess my musical interests have got broader over the years but without someone like Euros Childs, all those years ago wearing a Pet Sounds t-shirt, I would have never got into the Beach Boys etc.  I guess it’s all a knock-on effect.

 

Which Welsh artists should we all be listening to at the moment?

This is all slightly nepotistic but here are some people who I love:

Cate Le Bon – She’s about to release her new record, Mug Museum, in the next couple of weeks and she’s the best thing since sliced bread.

Islet – Amazing, crazy psychedelic prog music. They released their album, Released by the Movement, last month.

Euros Childs – He’s on tour at the moment promoting his new album, Situation Comedy, and should be a musical role model for us all.

R. Seiliog – Amazing electronic Krautrock released on Turnstile.

I’ve also been listening to Mowbird, Seazoo, H.Hawkline, Alex Dingley, Joanna Gruesome, Gulp, Sh-Apes and Y Niwl to name a few but there’s too many to mention.

 

You have an incredibly distinctive vocal style – are there particular artists who you draw from or admire for their style of singing?

In my mind I sound like Bill Callahan and Van Morrison (Moondance-era) but I think it’s more akin to the guy from Police Academy, Zed. It’s taken me a long time to feel comfortable with my singing voice.

 

You released your fourth album, Ships, in April this year. How do you think you have progressed in terms of songwriting and musical direction?

I have no idea really, the older I get the less depressed and angsty my songs are. That’s a progression I guess. Musically, I’m in my 30′s now so am getting into sickly produced MOR music. That’s going to be my next musical direction.

 

You release your new EP, Motorhome Songs, on 11th November. It’s kind of a concept EP – explain the idea behind it.

The idea of the EP was to write a soundtrack to a fictional road trip I made with my family earlier this summer. It plots the journey from our home in Cardiff, leaving city life and the M4 behind (‘Traffic Report 1’), hitting the open road (‘Motorhome’) and travelling up country to Northumberland (‘Everything’s A1’) for a well-needed rest and holiday. The Beach at Bamburgh Castle was our ultimate destination (‘You are the Best Beach that I Know’) as I’d been told that it was a pretty spectacular place.

For the most part the journey went smoothly but it was not without a few minor bumps in the road (no pun intended). For example, the less than neighbourly couple at Lakeside Caravan Park outside of Thirsk, A61, who took an instant dislike to the size and age of our van (‘A Stand-off with Those at Hook up No.8’). Or when we came face to face with some unfriendly cows on the B1341 who didn’t take kindly to being beeped at to get out of the way (‘Animals Crossing and Cross Animals’). But we made it, in one piece and it was well-worth it.

The journey home (‘Traffic Report 2’) initially felt long and was tinged with sadness (‘Lay Bye Bye’) but, as we drove into Wales, our spirits lifted as we realised it was OK to be home and were excited and ready for our next adventure (‘Motoring Home’). I imagined the road trip being broadcast as a BBC documentary from the late 70s, early 80s, like something Paul and Linda might do. A documentary scheduled between Tomorrow’s World and a Roger Moore Bond film; A documentary that wouldn’t get shown on TV anymore. The music was recorded with this era in mind. Wings and the Traveling Wilburys were the main inspirations for the songs and the Radiophonic Workshop for the incidental music. It’s not a crazy adventure, it’s a road trip to a beautiful place Britain. I’m 31 now and that’s what I like to do.

 

You’re signed to Moshi Moshi records which is a wonderful independent. How have you found life with them?

Moshi are fantastic, and have done wonders for me. I couldn’t have asked for more.*

*I could have

 

You have some truly wonderful music videos – where do the ideas come from for these?

Thanks very much but I can’t take any credit for them. I have some very talented friends.  Casey Raymond made the ‘Swimming Wild’ video and that’s an idea that came from a mutual love for the cat artist, Louis Wain.

James and Mark Hankins’ video for ‘C’mon Let’s Mosh!’ is also brilliant. I have no idea where that came from – they told me it was going to look like Busta Rhymes video and I said OK.

 

You play the Hare & Hounds in Birmingham on November 6. How has the city treated you in the past?

I’ve played at the Hare & Hounds a couple of times I think but never with my band. I have definitely played there as part of Slow Club and Cate Le Bon and as far as I remember we had a fantastic time. We got fed and watered and the crowds were great! My parents are from Birmingham and so it feels like a home from home.

 

What can we expect from the show?

It’s our first night of the tour so expect some seat-of-your-pants, don’t-quite-know-what-you’re-doing fun.

 

Sweet Baboo comes to the Hare & Hounds on November 6 with support from Big Tent & The Gypsy Lantern & Rick Wellings. Tickets for the show are priced at £7 advance and are available here.

Weekly Gig Roundup 4th – 10th November

November 4, 2013 in News

Take a look at the host of live music events taking place in and around the city as we edge ever closer to the festive season.

TUESDAY 5TH

On Tuesday, stunning vocalist Gabrielle Aplin plays at The Institute in Digbeth as part of her second UK tour this year – the first having completely sold out. Responsible for that cover of Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘The Power of Love’ which stormed to Number 1 in the singles chart last year, expect beautifully intricate vocals from this performance. Support on the night comes from husky-voiced Jack Savoretti and Birmingham-based 20 year old singer songwriter, Emma Crowder. To purchase your tickets, priced at £14 advance, check out the event page.

Listen to ‘Home’ by Gabrielle Aplin below:

 

Alternatively, London alt trio Bear’s Den play live at the Hare & Hounds in Kings Heath. Part of only their second ever UK tour, the trio describe their influences as Wilco and Ryan Adams and have toured with Ben Howard, Daughter and The Staves in the past. Support comes courtesy of Arcade Fire-esque London seven-piece, The Mariner’s Children and tickets are completely sold out. More information on the event is available here.

Listen to ‘Agape’ by Bear’s Den below:

 

WEDNESDAY 6TH

On Wednesday, North Wales’ psych-folk-popper Sweet Baboo calls in to the Hare & Hounds ahead of the release of his forthcoming concept EP, Motorhome Songs. Playing a selection of songs from his four album back catalogue, and celebrating his tenth year as a solo artist, Sweet Baboo comes highly recommended as does support for the evening, Birmingham multi-instrumentalists, Big Tent & The Gypsy Lantern & Rick Wellings. Tickets for this event are priced at £7 advance and can be found, along with further information, over on the event page.

Listen to ‘Let’s Go Swimming Wild’ by Sweet Baboo below:

 

THURSDAY 7TH

Two live music events to choose from on Thursday as raucous one-man blues show, Son of Dave comes to the Hare & Hounds to support the release of his forthcoming LP, Blues at the Grand. This is the  first night of the UK tour, which goes on to call at Leeds, Glasgow and Manchester, expect the jaunt to begin with a bang. Find out further information and purchase your tickets, priced at £10 advance, over on the event page.

Listen to ‘We Goin’ Out’ by Son of Dave below:

 

Alternatively, 25 year old singer songwriter Luke Sital-Singh, described as ‘the British Bon Iver’ plays what promises to be a beautiful set at The Glee Club in The Arcadian. Support comes from hotly-tipped Nottingham singer-songwriter, Ady Suleiman – find out more about both artists, and pick up your tickets, priced at £7 advance, here.

Listen to new single ‘Nothing Stays the Same’ by Luke Sital-Singh below:

 

SUNDAY 10TH

Round off your week of live music performances at the Sunday Social which this week features performances from alt acoustic rock songwriter, Riots; autobiographical folk singer, George Gadd; young pensive political storyteller, Connor Hemming and Wolverhampton’s Daniel Beckett. Entry to this event at The Yardbird is, as ever, free and you can find further information on all of the acts over on the event page.

Listen to ‘My Love’ by Riots below:

July Spotify playlists

July 6, 2013 in News

Our July Spotify playlists are now live! They feature some of the great acts we have playing over July, as well some other artists we have recently confirmed and stuff we are generally excited about. They’re split into two playlists, one indie/rock and one folk/singer-songwriters.

Our folk/singer-songwriters playlist features :
Josh Record
(playing 5th July, tickets)
Matt Sheehan
(playing 5th July, tickets)
Gabrielle Aplin (playing 5th Nov, tickets)
Sweet Baboo (playing 6th Nov, tickets)
Saint Raymond (playing 25th Sep, tickets)
Nadine Shah (playing 8th Oct, tickets)
Euros Childs (playing 29th Oct, tickets)
Sylvain Sylvain (playing 24th July, tickets)
Lumi HD (playing 14th July, info)
Honey Ryder (playing 9th July, tickets)

Our indie/rock playlist features:
The Weeks (playing 11th July, tickets)
New York Dolls (Sylvain Sylvain plays 24th July, tickets)
China Rats (playing 11th July, tickets)
Our Mutual Friend (playing 13th July, tickets)
Space (playing 6th Sept, tickets)
SKATERS (playing 1st Sept, tickets)
Peace (playing 13th Dec, tickets)
JAWS (playing 24th Sept, tickets)
Shatter Effect (playing 19th July, info)
Akron/Family (playing 22nd July, tickets)
Sharks (playing 2nd Aug, tickets)
Bleach Blood (playing 2nd Aug, tickets)

Listen to both playlists below

Sweet Baboo to play free show at The Yardbird

February 11, 2013 in News

Very excited to announce Sweet Baboo returns to Birmingham for a free entry show at The Yardbird!

A native of the North Wales countryside, Sweet Baboo aka Stephen Black is a single minded, idiosyncratic singer possessing an ear for sparkling melody and a gift for a deft lyrical turn – from darkly funny to piercingly tender, twinkling boastful to deliciously self-deprecating.

Having already been shortlisted for the Welsh Music Prize in 2011 for his third album ‘I’m A Dancer/Songs About Sleeping’, Black’s evolution as a songwriter and musician is still very much in motion with the new Album ‘Ships’, a concept album about the sea – and a marked step up from his earlier material that reveals his true talent is only beginning to be revealed.

Influenced by the likes of The Beach Boys, Daniel Johnston and Gorky’s Zygotic Mynci, Black indulges his love of brass heavy pop on ‘Ships’ which is released in April 2013 on Moshi Moshi Records.

Black’s productivity is all the more remarkable given his extra-curricular activities which have seen him working with an ever-growing array of musicians including Cate Le Bon, Slow Club and H. Hawkline. He has also performed with and produced Euros Childs, The Pictish Trail, The Voluntary Butler Scheme and Islet and collaborated with Gruff Rhys.

SWEET BABOO PLAYS THE YARDBIRD BIRMINGHAM ON SUN 28TH APRIL 2013, ENTRY IS COMPLETELY FREE. MORE INFO AVAILABLE HERE.

Check out the new video for ‘Let’s Go Swimming’: