It’s a song that has grabbed repeated plays from BBC Radio 2‘s folk mainstay Bob Harris, who counts himself as a “big fan” as a result of The Land Witch‘s gleaming alt-folk pop charm.

He’s not the only one – a long, illustrious list of national DJs have backed the band again and again over the last 12 months, including Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson, Jen Long & Ally McCrae, Dermot O’Leary, Gideon Coe, Chris Hawkins, Gary Crowley and nabbing a record of the week slot on BBC Alba’s RAPAL show.

It’s the final single taken from their enthusiastically-reviewed Black Bank LP, and is accompanied by a smart and slightly tongue-in-cheek spooky video.

If 2013 was a year of huge progress and breakthrough for the Cambridgeshire band, then their ambitions for 2014 are even greater – and who could fail to be won over by a band with such talent and glorious melodies?


strawbearfreshnetIt’s been a year of national success and exposure for Straw Bear, which began with a terrific BBC 6 Music session for Tom Robinson.

Tom has been a wonderful supporter of the band, and has just published a fascinating article by Straw Bear’s Ian Ray on his hugely influential site for emerging musicians, Fresh On The Net.

Ian, in a breezy and thoughtful post, has broached the thorny subject of money; highlighting specifically how modern bands are maintaining independence via combining their musical life with a full-time job.

It’s well worth a read ( – and is another sign that Straw Bear are a band with the right approach to couple with their brilliant tunes.

High-profile coverage mounted up after their 6 Music session, with Clash magazine citing them as one of their highlights of The Great Escape music conference, where they played the BBC Introducing stage – and this was swiftly followed by superlative-laden reviews in national music magazines R2 and Sound On Sound.

A long, illustrious list of the UK’s top national DJs have backed the band too, including repeated support from Bob Harris, as well as Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson, Jen Long & Ally McCrae, Dermot O’Leary, Gideon Coe, Chris Hawkins and Gary Crowley – whilst a glut of key influencing music blogs have heaped praise on their songs.

If 2013 is anything to go by, then 2014 should be another year of success for the band!


Red Sky Noise

ASKME -singles-button-smallIMPACT DATE: 23rd June 2014
LABEL: MUK Records

Red Sky Noise’s sky-scraping – and fiercely dancefloor-driven – assimilation of contemporary bass music, 90’s dance and classic soul always threatened to grab wider attention – and so it has proven!

The innovative Manchester four-piece are about to bring their genre-fusing sound to a voracious audience on national BBC radio, having been selected as 1Xtra’s BBC Introducing Single Of The Week.


Their bass-driven sound, mixing live and programmed instrumentation, is the kind of multi-faceted dance music that sounds unmistakably modern and undeniably massive – and it should find a perfect home on the UK’s premier urban radio station.

Red Sky Noise have been added to the 1Xtra playlist for the week beginning Monday 18th November, and Only You will be played across 1Xtra’s daytime shows:

Monday – Twin B (7am – 10am)
Tuesday – Sarah Jane Crawford (1pm – 4pm)
Wednesday – MistaJam (7pm – 10pm)
Thursday – Trevor Nelson (10am – 1pm)
Saturday – Yasmin Evans (7am – 10am)
Saturday – DJ Target (4pm – 7pm)
Sunday – Adele Roberts (1am – 4pm)

This is something of a repeated coup for Manchester’s MUK Records, whose artist MDNGHT was also recently selected for the BBC Introducing playlist slot on both 1Xtra and Radio 1.

Only You is available on iTunes to pre-order now.

BBC Radio 1Xtra make MDNGHT’s “Into The Night” their Introducing Track Of The Week

MDNGHT_ITTN_largeMDNGHT‘s huge talent has led to them being picked as BBC 1Xtra‘s highly prestigious Introducing Track Of The Week. They’ll be played on daytime shows every day – by the likes of Trevor Nelson, MistaJam and Adele Roberts, starting on 22nd September.

Singer J from MDNGHT spoke to BBC 1Xtra live on Sunday (interview is 48mins in), and not only introduced MDNGHT to the nation but found a fellow Arsenal fan in DJ Target! 


So, huge congratulations MDNGHT for making the 1Xtra daytime Introducing playlist – you can hear them on these shows this week:

Monday – Twin B (7am – 10am)
Tuesday – Sarah Jane Crawford (1pm – 4pm)
Wednesday – MistaJam (7pm – 10pm)
Thursday – Trevor Nelson (10am – 1pm)
Saturday – Yasmin Evans (7am – 10am)
Saturday – DJ Target (4pm – 7pm)
Sunday – Adele Roberts (1pm – 4pm)



Revered music magazine Clash picked Straw Bear as one of their select handful of highlights from The Great Escape music conference.

Straw Bear, over at the BBC Introducing stage, trade in dreamy acoustic pop. Sweet nuggets such as ‘Kitty’ take the sounds of Americana and bring them back to Blighty. Their Midlake-meets-Doves twang makes them perfect for a mid-afternoon set, sounding as cosy as your favourite duvet. Their warmth and familiarity bring compulsory smiles.


The band’s appearance in their pages marks another step in their rapid ascent: both national and regional radio DJs, magazines and a swarm of influential blogs are all enthusing over them and their new single, Snobbery.

Snobbery has already grabbed radio play from Tom Robinson, Jen Long & Ally McCrae, Gary Crowley… and a string of plays on Amazing Radio. It is out on the 5th August.

An illustrious list of other BBC DJs have backed the band, including Bob Harris, Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson, Jen Long & Ally McCrae, Dermot O’Leary, Gideon Coe, Chris Hawkins and Gary Crowley…

They are touring with Kate Rogers Band in July:

Thursday July 25th: MANCHESTER – Night & Day
Friday July 26th: LIVERPOOL – Zanzibar
Sunday July 28th: LONDON – The Dublin Castle

STRAW BEAR – Snobbery

Straw Bear Snobbery

singlesIMPACT DATE: 5th August

LABEL: Oilbug Music

Do your in-laws dress more like outlaws?

Snobbery – the new single from BBC favourites Straw Bear – is a sparkling and wry evocation of love across the class divide.


The song wowed a packed room at BBC Introducing’s Great Escape showcase in May after Straw Bear were handpicked by Tom Robinson to perform on the back of a terrific BBC 6 Music session.

Live tracks from their set featured on Jen Long and Ally McCrae’s Radio 1 show; the pair joining an illustrious list of BBC DJs to back the band, including Bob Harris, Huw Stephens, Dermot O’Leary and Gary Crowley.

Snobbery’s funny, touching lyrics and chiming guitars made it an obvious second single, following the band’s breakthrough Kitty, which was one of Dermot O’Leary’s Radio 2 singles of the week.

“Whispering” Bob Harris raved about the new album Black Bank on his show, and Tom Robinson called Kitty “an understated gem” before booking the band for a session on his BBC 6 Music show.

If you take the song at face value, it’s just an amusing lyric about a horrible snob whose girlfriend’s family is a little rough around the edges,” explains principal songwriter Ian Ray of the single.

“But on a more general level, it’s about that very strange experience of trying to integrate yourself into somebody else’s family. I think everyone has had that feeling of meeting a partner’s family for the first time and thinking: ‘these people are actually insane’.”

The Cambridgeshire five-piece’s album Black Bank is an intriguing collection of oddball folk, alt-country vistas and poppier delights like Snobbery. 

Straw Bear’s infectious hooks, sprightly story-telling and sharp humour looks set to bring them to the attention of a much wider audience very soon.

They are touring with Kate Rogers Band in July:

Thursday July 25th: MANCHESTER – Night & Day
Friday July 26th: LIVERPOOL – Zanzibar
Sunday July 28th: LONDON – The Dublin Castle


After wowing Tom Robinson with a live session on his BBC 6 Music show, he picked Straw Bear to appear alongside some of the UK’s most hotly-tipped new bands at the BBC Introducing Stage at Europe’s most prestigious new music festival, The Great Escape.

This is just another indication of Straw Bear‘s rapid rise to prominence – after local, national and now live national BBC sessions, and endorsement from huge Radio 2 DJs Whispering Bob Harris and Dermot O’Leary.

This recording was broadcast on BBC Radio 1 on 20th May 2013.…n-on-bbc-6-music/

Straw Bear Picked For BBC Introducing Showcase At The Great Escape 2013


Straw Bear have been chosen alongside some of the UK’s most hotly-tipped new bands to perform at the BBC Introducing Stage at Europe’s most prestigious new music festival, The Great Escape.

Selected by hugely-respected BBC DJs Tom RobinsonHuw Stephens, Jen Long and Ally McCrae, Straw Bear will be performing with Childhood, Iyes, and Lauren Aquilina; and live recordings of their show will be played over the various BBC networks the following week.

Read more on the BBC Introducing blog here!

Straw Bear – Kitty

Straw Bear band line up

singles button small

Impact date: 11th March

Label: Oilbug Music

What does it take to write a great song? It’s a question Straw Bear ask on their new single Kitty … the reaction from BBC 6 Music‘s Tom Robinson, among others, suggests they have the answer already.

Tom called Kitty an “understated gem” and booked the band for a live BBC session on March 9.


Kitty is a story of unrealised artistic ambition set to soaring folk-pop that has seen the Cambridgeshire five-piece tipped for big things.

A New Band A Day named Straw Bear as one to watch in 2013, describing Kitty as “a hook-laden song of near-perfect pace, delicious construction, delightful lyrics and sweet intent”.

The influential blog then went on to select Kitty for BBC 6 Music’s Ultimate 2013 Playlist.


The band draws on influences from Van Morrison to Kevin Shields, both of whom are name-checked by the eponymous Kitty in her journey for creative inspiration.

Straw Bear comprise of singer-guitarist Ian Ray, guitarists Chris Gray, Tom Shipp and Catie Wicks and drummer Pas Stratos.

They recorded Kitty with Chris Taylor of The Bays, at his studio in the remote Fens, and its parent album Black Bank is full of eerie Fenland melancholia and alt-country vistas.

City Reign – Ahead of Ideas

Label: Car Boot

Impact Date: NOVEMBER 12 th 2012

Manchester indie-rock trio, City Reign, have announced the release of the first single from their forthcoming debut album ‘Another Step’. ‘Ahead of ideas‘ builds on the raw energy and exciting promise of their early demos, including ‘Making Plans’ which caught the ears of BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq in late 2011.

The band teamed up with Manchester-based producer Sam Jones for the album, who took the band into Sacred Trinity Church in Salford to record. Jones chose the church for its natural reverb, which added more depth to the band’s classic guitar sound. City Reign’s vocalist and guitarist, Chris Bull, said: “I think we’re taking a risk with this single, it’s one of the most ambitious tracks we’ve recorded. The church was a great venue to record in and we have Sam to thank for that. We’re really happy with the rich and atmospheric sound we achieved on the album.”

Using the church as a venue wasn’t without its drawbacks, with the band once having to clear out in the middle of a crucial session recording the string quartet after realising that the church had been double-booked, allowing some confrontational locals to attend a memorial service.

City Reign are song-writing pair Chris Bull and Mike Grice with Duncan Bolton on drums. The album, ‘Another Step’, is due for release in early 2013 and you can catch the band at the following live dates in support of the single:

October 6th – The Deaf Institute – Manchester – Clash Magazine Launch w/ Jim Noir
November 2nd – Belushi’s – Edinburgh
November 3rd – Audio – Glasgow
November 7th – Viper Rooms – Sheffield
November 8th – Lomax – Liverpool
November 9th – Escobar – Leeds
November 20th – Pop In – Paris
November 22nd – Winstons – Amsterdam
November 24th – The Castle Hotel – Manchester

Check out the video for Ahead of Ideas below: