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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.


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


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.


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:


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:


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:


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:


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:


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:


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


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.