It’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 (freshonthenet.co.uk/2013/12/strawbear) – 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!
As if recieving plays from BBC Radio 2‘s Whispering Bob Harris, Dermot O’Leary, and 6 Music‘s Tom Robinson, Absolute Radio’s Geoff Lloyd, Xfm’s John Kennedy… wasn’t enough, Straw Bear continue to attract breathless praise.
This time, it’s from the respected Rock ‘n’ Reel magazine, who gave their new album, Black Bank, a five star review:
The first single from the album, “Kitty,” is released on March 11th 2013.
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:
Impact date: 12:03:2012
Ed O’Brien (Radiohead) ‘Great Stuff, and very Manchester, too’ ,
Clint Boon (Inspiral Carpets / XFM) ‘Daystar are a band I’ve been listening to a lot lately’
‘Don’t Need This’, the latest Daystar single, is set for release on February 27th. Captured by legendary Liverpool producer Ronnie Stone, the raking, shimmering guitars, cascading bass-lines, laidback somersaulting drums and the sweet, soaring melodies of front man Simon Monaghan demonstrate unflinching feeling and belief. In his own words; “This song is about the pretension and conformity of the murky underbelly of the Manchester club scene and the social whores who frequent it”. 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 Mansun and The Charlatans.
Daystar’s rise over recent months has been impressive to say the least. With a sound drawing expertly from contemporary influences whilst effortlessly tapping into the feel-good aspect of sixties mod culture, the band have rapidly developed a reputation as one of the UK’s most exciting up-and-coming indie acts.
Daystar songs charm through the noble art of storytelling whilst creating eclectic soundscapes that conjure fond recollections of classic tunes by The Smiths, The Stone Roses and The La’s, along with song craft reminiscent of legendary groups like R.E.M. This has earned the band many high profile fans, including Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien , Radio 2’s Janice Long (‘They said I’d like this. They were right.’), Terry Christian and BBC London/6 Music’s Gary Crowley (‘I’m absolutely loving this, I can certainly hear the Syd Barrett and Brian Wilson influences’).
To mark the release of ‘Don’t Need This’, Daystar will be playing live shows at:
Manchester’s Dry Bar (18th February)
Manchester, FAC251 (16th March).
Blind Atlas have teamed up again with the incredible animator Volkerfirma films who created the video for ‘My Proud Mountains’ which was ‘Video of the week’ on the BBC6 Music Nemone Show. The latest animation for ‘Kodiak Bear’ is for the title track to their debut album, which is due out in April 2012. The results are simply stunning.
Hailing from Denver, Colorado and disparate points around the UK, Blind Atlas came together in the bohemian suburbs of South Manchester, united by a shared preoccupation with drinking, failed relationships and the Flying Burrito Brothers. Led by singer/guitarist Ross Thompson, Blind Atlas concoct a new take on American alternative country and classic British rock ‘n’ roll, taking inspiration from The Rolling Stones and Townes Van Zandt right through to artists such as Calexico and Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy.
Blind Atlas have notched up headline slots at some of the most iconic venues in Manchester, with dates planned around their forthcoming debut album. They recently released their ‘Iron wall’ EP which, along with their double A-side single ‘4th Street/For Carol“, was produced by The Earlies. Both releases garnered numerous radio plays including BBC Radio 2 (Bob Harris) and BBC6 Music (Cerys Matthews, Jo Good, Tom Robinson, Gideon Coe).
“… dramatic, spellbinding with a touch of darkness in parts make Blind Atlas a thoroughly hypnotic act … powerful and mesmerising… well worth your attention”. [BBC]
“… grizzled vocals and a heart-wrenching lyric sheet … think Ryan Adams fronting The Black Keys, or perhaps Fleet Foxes with a Led Zeppelin fixation; and clearly all designed to soundtrack long, whisky-addled nights of anguished soul-searching.” [CityLife/Manchester Evening News]
Release date: 3rd May 2010 (Blue Cat)
After garnering rave reviews from the likes of Radio 1, Radio 2, 6Music and Xfm, My Albatross retreated into the studio to polish their artillery and work on their follow-up single. The time is now right, and after redoubling their efforts to become a major name on the uk alt-rock scene, their second single, Rich Man’s Daughter, arms the boys with everything they’ll need to take on the music industry (and probably the world too). Glasgow born Dave takes lead vocals again in this punchy 2 minute affair.
The other track ‘I Don’t Love You’, has Sam lending his haunting vocal, which could compare to the fragility of Anthony Hegarty from Anthony and The Johnsons. Check out the recently surfaced ‘unofficial video’, which I’m sure you’ll agree hits just the right note!