The Minx are rocketing towards the launch of their new single, No Friends, and are clocking up some exceptional supporters of the brilliant power-pop song en route: Gary Crowley, John Kennedy, BBC Introducing – and repeated support from one of the world’s main punk sites: Louder Than War.

A strong supporter of The Minx since they began, Louder Than War have excitedly backed them as “the best new band in Manchester”, and were the perfect place for The Minx to launch their new video.

No Friends‘ video is a tone-perfect accompaniment to this bounciest of punk-pop songs: colourful, irreverent and – most of all – a ton of fun.

The band’s biggest headline show yet, at Ruby Lounge in Manchester on Saturday 23rd August, is set to be yet another sell-out for a band whose fanbase can’t get enough of their boisterous gigs!


The Minx_Gary_C

Gary Crowley has long been a renowned tipper of up-and-coming young bands, and he’s put his full weight behind The Minx, giving them a lengthy and in-depth interview on his Amazing Radio show!


Gary loves new single No Friends – or, as he says, “how good is that?!”

The Minx are on the road next week, and you can listen to Gary’s show here!




As if to prove how infectious the new single from The Minx is, No Friends was played on BBC Manchester’s Introducing show and another play from the wonderful Gary Crowley at BBC  London – on the same night!


Both of these influential shows were impressed by No Friends’ punchy power-pop.

Michelle Hussey and Natalie-Eve Williams from BBC Introducing Manchester raved at length about the song’s liveliness – “The Minx are one of those bands that make you feel really energetic!”; whilst Gary Crowley from BBC London enthused how he “loved” No Friends.

It all bodes well for the Manchester band, who are playing their biggest-ever headline gig at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge on Saturday 23rd August.

YOU emerge with a breathtaking video for debut single In Halves


ASKME -singles-button-small IMPACT DATE: 19th May 2014
LABEL: MUK Records


They’re seemingly fully-formed; emerging suddenly with a pristine, spine-tingling song and a breathtaking video.

Where on earth have YOU come from?

And, with In Halves, the band is armed with a video to dazzle eyes, and a pristine, shiver-inducing song, pricked by singer Anna Waldmann’s pin-sharp voice.

So where on earth have YOU come from? Well, north London – but by the way of The Cocteau Twins, London Grammar, The XX and Daughter.

It’s a dazzling and confident first step for the North London band, whose early demos caught the keen ears of tastemakers Simon Raymonde and 6 Music’s Tom Robinson last year, before signing to Manchester’s MUK Records.

“One of the best debut singles I’ve heard in my time!” – Gary Crowley on In Halves

A beautiful, unique voice; a coiling, half-dream of a single; a video hinting at end times. What’s not to love?

Keep your eyes and ears open for YOU…

Who are YOU?

Anna Waldmann
Sam Campbell
Harrison Ball
Massimo Zeppetelli
MUK Records

YOU live:

16th May – John Kennedy’s X-Posure @ Tooting Tram and Social
May 7th – The Bedroom Bar, Rivington Street, London
1-3 August – Kendal Calling Festival


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!



ASKME -singles-button-smallIMPACT DATE: 14th January 2014
LABEL: Oilbug Music

Straw Bear are capping a thrilling breakthrough year with a third single, The Land Witch – and it may well be their best single yet.


With repeated plays from Bob Harris – who counts himself as a “big fan”, The Land Witch is a deeply lovely, chiming and soaring ode to youthful fears; showcasing all that is wonderful about Straw Bear. 

A long, illustrious list of national DJs have backed the band, including Huw Stephens, Tom Robinson, Jen Long & Ally McCrae, Dermot O’Leary, Gideon Coe, Chris Hawkins, Gary Crowley and record of the week on BBC Alba’s RAPAL show – whilst a glut of key influencing music blogs have heaped praise on their songs.

Their knack for weaving Ian Ray’s gloriously emotive vocals in and out of their gleaming, singular folk-rock is unsurpassed by few and adored by many – and as the song reaches its shimmering, foggy climax, you’ll wonder if they might just be one of the best new bands of the year.

The song is drawn from their debut LP Black Bank, an album that caused R2 Magazine to gush, “these musicians are made for each other and what they produce is some of the freshest, seminal songs of 2013.”

Said singer Ian of the song’s curious title:

“I was in the back of my nan’s car as a kid and I swear she told my dad that a ‘land witch’ lived in the woods near her house.”
“I sincerely believed that some weird old crone would abduct me if I went too close to the trees. Only years later did I realise I misheard her and made the whole thing up.”

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

Then revered music magazine Clash picked them as one of their select handful of highlights from 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.

Straw Bear are holding a final celebratory gig of 2013 at the beautiful Waterbeach Baptist Chapel near Cambridge on Saturday November 16th.

Sound on Sound‘s Sam Inglis likes their LP Black Bank so much, he asked if he could come and man the mixing desk!

“I’m a big fan of Straw Bear… we all like them very much!” – Bob Harris, BBC Radio 2

When I say that Straw Bear’s album is quite possibly the best thing I have ever reviewed in these pages, be assured that I bloody well mean it.” – Sam Inglis, Sound On Sound Magazine

Their music is part, part indie folk, reminiscent of such American bands as Midlake and early-Elecktra 60s rock sounds. However, everything here – the quirky, insightful and intelligent lyrics, lovely relaxed playing, the melodies and sly vocals – indicates a singular talent.” John Crosby – Rock ‘n’ Reel Magazine

Weatherbird To Release Devastatingly Catchy “Johnny Strange”


singlesIMPACT DATE: 28th October 2013
LABEL: End Of The Trail Records

 Weatherbird are still teenagers – but have the knack for writing unforgettably melodic tracks that songwriters twice their age would kill for.

And new song Johnny Strange doesn’t hesitate getting to the chorus – but when it’s this catchy and huge, why waste time?


Having won The Guardian‘s first Breaking Bands feature, and following debut single I Might Be More Than You Know hitting #1 on the Amazon Hot New Releases Chart, Johnny Strange is an enormously ambitious signal of intent for the boys from Birmingham.

It’s a song resolutely aimed at snagging as many fans as possible via the simple thrill of a brilliant, pristine choruses and an astonishing quiet/loud wall of sound. Johnny Strange‘s talon-sharp hooks will stick in your head and not let go…

Listen if you like: Nirvana/Pixies loud/QUIET dynamic,  R.E.M.‘s rock melodies, The Strypes, or insanely catchy choruses.

Johnny Strange is taken from forthcoming EP Cut Me Loose (also out on the 28th October) produced by the hugely talented Romesh Dodangoda (Funeral For A Friend, Motorhead, Twin Atlantic), and is accompanied by a powerful, enticingly odd video.

Gary Crowley, BBC London:“Impressive!” 
John Robb, Louder Than War: “Powerful, driving, impassioned”
Jim Gellatly, Amazing Radio: “Wonderful!”
Alternative Escape (The Great Escape):Johnny Strange is one of the best songs you’ll hear this year.”
Brighton Source: “Frontman Jacob Ball embodies the punk ethos of Ryan Jarman’s [The Cribs] angsty little brother!”


Jacob Ball – vocals/guitar
Rueben Gwilliam – drums
Josh Taylor – bass
Dom Farley – guitar.


Fri 11th Oct Bournemouth Anvil
Sat 12th Oct Birmingham Actress + Bishop
Sun 13th Oct Newcastle Think Tank
Mon 14th Oct Brighton Latest Bar
Tue 15th Oct London Enterprise
Wed 16th Oct Blackburn Live Lounge
Thur 17th Oct Manchester Retro Bar
Fri 18th Oct Liverpool Lomax
Sat 19th Oct Sheffield Redhouse

CLEAR’s debut single “Sunlight” wowing radio DJs and industry taste-makers


singlesIMPACT DATE: 30th September
LABEL: End of the Trail Records

Clear‘s Sunlight is unexpectedly fresh, yet channelling classic West Coast pop; a new slice of classic songwriting, harking back to a golden age of perfectly-crafted pop songs.

BBC DJs Dermot O’Leary,  Gary Crowley, Tom Robinson, Janice Long and renowned tastemaker Simon Raymonde rushed to play – and heap praise on – their quintessentially pristine tunes. Gary went as far as naming Sunlight one of his “favourite songs of the summer.”


Clear have been carefully honing their craft, absorbing the golden-hued hits from the late 60s and early 70s – and trying to figure out what made them sound so timeless.

Thus, Paul Simon, Neil Diamond, James Taylor, Jackson Browne and that classic west-coast feel was temporarily relocated to the grittier locale of Sheffield when Clear penned Sunlight.

It was a song that catapulted them into the hearts of radio tastemakers, who all rushed to get the song on the air; wowed by the warm, dreamy, seemingly long-lost sounds. Listeners could be forgiven for thinking, “haven’t I heard this song before?”

Clear are hugely talented bunch – and when they sent Colin Elliot (producer of fellow Sheffield star Richard Hawley) their songs, he immediately understood their potential.

After Colin finished collaborating with Kylie Minogue at Abbey Road studios, he invited them into his own studio to capture Clear‘s warm, glossy sound. A short, fruitful session followed – and then Sunlight gloriously rose.

Gary Crowley: “Sumptuous pop music. One of my favourite songs of the summer.”

Janice Long‘s “Janice Loves” Radio 2 feature: “I think this is absolutely gorgeous”

Tom Robinson:Sunlight is a piece of classic pop songwriting – in that it could have appealed to audiences anytime in the last 40 years – yet there’s enough 21st Century sensibility in the writing, recording and performance for Sunlight to sound fresh-wrought rather than some kind of retread.”

Simon Raymonde: “Sunlight is like a happy-go-lucky version of Radiohead’s ‘Let Down‘… which is one of my all-time favourite songs.”

Chris Damms, Clear: “We were contacted by Colin Eliot, who is Richard Hawley’s producer and co-owner of Yellow Arch studios where Richard records all his albums. He had played with Andy, our drummer, and said he fancied doing a couple of tracks with us. The result was “Sunlight”. It had a definite west coast vibe; the sound of the late 60’s early 70’s writers. We didn’t want to copy them but just wanted to work out what exactly made those simple songs so timeless.”

Clear are:
Chris Damms – Piano, Guitars, vocals
Jools Buffey – Piano, vocals
Hugh Ruiz – Bass
Bryan Day – vocals, Guitars, Piano, Keyboards.
Andy Cook – Drums



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

Daystar – Sleeper

Impact Date: 11.06.12

‘Great Stuff, and very Manchester, too’ ED O’BRIEN (RADIOHEAD) 

Daystar is a band I’ve been listening to a lot lately’ CLINT BOON (INSPIRAL CARPETS / XFM)

‘Wonderfully melancholy…already sounds classic’ THE SUN

 Manchester indie/rock five-piece Daystar is set to release their latest single ‘Sleeper’ on 11th June. Their rise over recent months has been impressive to say the least. With a sound drawing expertly from contemporary influences like The Smiths and The Stone Roses and with song craft reminiscent of legendary groups like R.E.M. and The Beach Boys, the band have rapidly developed a reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting up-and-coming indie acts while supporting the likes of The Rifles and The Twang on tour.

Captured by legendary Liverpool producer Ronnie Stone (the man behind Mansun’s hit album ‘Attack of The Grey Lantern’), ‘Sleeper’ is a beautifully hypnotic and mellow song boasting chiming, shimmering guitars with front man Simon Monaghan’s sweet melodies soaring above. It’s an indie lullaby of real quality and, lyrically, a poignant rallying call to the lost souls who drift through life without ever fulfilling their potential. ‘Sleeper’ will be available on iTunes a week ahead of the release of the eagerly anticipated album ‘Daystar’ on the 18th June.

There’s evidence aplenty of the band’s respect and admiration for the work of Syd Barrett from Pink Floyd and perhaps more than a passing nod to the classic harmonies of Brit-pop heroes such as Mansun and The Charlatans.

Lead singer Simon has a voice that exudes distinction and class, delivered amidst a sound that, while unashamedly steeped in familiarity, resonates with a fresh urgency and vitality that has won the band many high profile fans, including Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien, Clint Boon (XFM/Inspiral Carpets), BBC Radio 2’s Janice Long (‘They Said I’d like this, they were right’), presenter Terry Christian and BBC DJ Gary Crowley (‘I’m absolutely loving this, I can certainly hear the Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson influences’).

Catch Daystar live at: