Olivia’s Owls take flight

owlsJazz quartet Olivia’s Owls from London write emotive music that promise to take your ears on a musical journey. The band is led by composer and bassist Hedi Pinkerfeld with Alex Coppard on sax, Charlie Laffer on guitar and Josh Stadlen on drums completing the line up.

Between them, these top class musos have played at fancy venues across the UK, toured Europe, performed at festivals including Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds, they’ve joined the Radio 1 team in the Live Lounge and one has been mistaken for Ed Sheeran on numerous occasions!

The band are weeks away from releasing their debut album ‘Moments Arriving’ so they’ve been teasing us ahead of its launch with a sneak peak of the first track ‘Closure’. A captivating animated video has been created by Joris Bergmans & Jonas de Ro to accompany the track which compliments the music perfectly.

olivias owls

‘Moments Arriving’ will be released on the 9th March on F-IRE but if you can’t wait until then to hear more, then you can join Olivia’s Owls at The Spice of Life in Soho on Thursday 12 February.

www.oliviasowls.com

Advertisements

Distracted by DodoBones

Recently I was sent a compilation album of local unsigned artists. I get sent a lot of music so it has to grab me in the first few seconds otherwise it runs the risk of being flicked. When I gave this one a listen in the car I admit I was guilty of a lot of track skipping! Finally half way through, a track came on that drew me instantly and, as soon as the vocals kicked in, I reached for the volume control. Once I checked the sleeve, I wasn’t surprised to see the track in question was by acoustic folk band DodoBonesDodoBones, from Hemel Hemspteadhave such a distinctive sound and have certainly made their mark on the local music scene.

dodobones

The band is led by sensational vocalist Robbyn Snow who feels every word she sings. She’s joined by Steve Patmore on guitar who occasionally adds a cheeky bit of spoken word. Robbyn and Steve began DodoBones as a duo but as they developed their sound, the band grew in size, with Ian Newman becoming Double Bassist and Mark ‘Flash’ Gordon playing cajon and percussion.

For the last month, Robbyn and Steve have been posting a cover-a-day on their YouTube channel, making unexpected tracks their own. They don’t simply just cover a track, they flip it on it’s head and turn it in to a new song in their unique DodoBones way. It’s hard to choose, but I think some of my favourites have been Barbie Girl, Grapevine and You’ve Got a Friend in Me – if only for the costumes!

dodobonesThis week DodoBones released their third studio album ‘Distracted’, featuring twelve superb tracks. Each one is unique and you know that the lyrics aren’t an afterthought, they’re just as important as the notes, riffs and medleys.

To celebrate the long awaited album, they held the launch at The Mermaid in St Albans. It was a fantastic night and the crowd were spoilt with such a great line up featuring three great acts on the bill – Minnie Birch, The Caution Horses and Emma McGrath.

The pub was rammed and the buzzing atmosphere took me back to Cork Jazz Festival in Ireland. It was amazing to see so many people (and a sausage dog) in one room supporting unsigned music. The room was so packed I had to watch most of the set in a mirror’s reflection!

imageDodoBones were sensational and something that gives them an extra edge is
that they have the ability to entertain those who have never heard their music before. They all play their instruments with such passion and they’re visually entertaining to watch. It’s hard not to be pulled in by Robbyn as she performs with such emotion.

This is an album that shouldn’t be downloaded. It’s so beautifully done you need to have the physical copy for the full experience, to enjoy the artwork and lyric booklet.

Idodof you missed the launch get down to CoCo in Croxley Green on Sunday 29 March where they’re playing an intimate gig as part of a RRRANTS Collective night.

http://www.facebook.com/DodoBones

 

 

 

April Blue bag the deal

April Blue

April Blue on Raw Vibes

I’ll be honest, the reason April Blue first caught my eye was because I liked the artwork on their EP ‘Notes’…a jazzy illustration of an owl and a pussy cat playing guitars was enough to get my attention, but there’s no surprise there!

Luckily, when I listened to it, I loved their music as much as the cover.

April Blue stamp their sound as ‘Suburban Soul’ which they say is ‘a meeting of genres rooted in their love of great music’. The band began as a duo but has grown in size and sound with Jazzy joining the line up on drums and Sarah on keys.

Front men Ozz and Ian grew up together and I think it’s their close brother-like bond that adds an extra charm to the blend of their vocal harmonies. April Blue aren’t just an unsigned band, they’re real musicians who ooze passion with every note they hit. They fully produce everything they do to perfection, having creative input on every photo shoot and music video they make.

April Blue LR-9360They are the real deal, giving it their all at every performance, which makes them entertaining to watch… a double whammy treat for your senses! They have everything my ears need including sexy gritty vocals that make me gooey inside like a Gü chocolate pud!

I listen to April Blue’s latest EP ‘Music for Passengers’ on repeat. It’s got tracks to suit every mood, with funky upbeat songs suitable for blasting and the deeper tracks that leave you questioning the story behind the lyrics.

nia and april blueWhen I hosted a little intimate gig in London for my birthday, the guys came along to play. It really was London’s cosiest venue with Ozz’s head skimming the ceiling when he stood on the stage (he’s a tall lad!).
They invited me up to sing with them…trusting me to hit the notes in ‘Stay Pt. II’, even though they’d never heard me sing before. Brave! It was awesome to be able to belt out their song outside of the confinements of my little car!

The band recently battled it out with nine other top unsigned acts at the ‘Be Somebody Grand Finale’. They totally nailed it, bagging themselves a one year recording deal with The Indie Label and a cheque for £1,000. I really can’t wait to hear what’s next from April Blue…once they treat me to a curry with their winnings!big cheque

You’ll have the perfect chance to fall in love with April Blue on Valentine’s Day at Acklam Village Market in Notting Hill or catch them at Trestle Arts Base in St Albans on the 28th Feb.

www.aprilblue.co.uk

 Photos at Vibe 107.6 by Keith Hammond (www.gigshooters.com)

The Sophie Ray way

If I’m honest I’m extremely jealous of musicians because I regret never sticking at an instrument long enough to play a song other than ‘Oh When the Saints’!

photoI love singers who accompany themselves on the piano and Sophie Ray is a singer-songwriter I truly admire.

Recently I hosted my first music night at a beautiful intimate venue in London. I asked Sophie to open the show and the audience were mesmerised. They watched in silence and you really could have heard a pin drop. It was so lovely to be in a room with a crowd who truly appreciated the talent and listened to every word sung and every note played.

I’ve followed Sophie’s music since I began presenting Raw Vibes nearly four years ago and the first thing I ever heard was a track called ‘Wash Me Away’ which she’d written with her Dad. I’m a sucker for family collaborations but it really was a great song and I still play it on the show many years on. (I even have a little dance routine…oh yes, shame there’s no studio webcams!)

Sophie’s YouTube channel is jam packed with original tunes and covers, done in the distinctive Sophie Ray way, usually shot at her house.  Last year she went to Cardiff to shoot an official video for her single ‘Home’ which was watched by thousands within days of being uploaded.

She’s even started stamping her latest vids with some classy graphics… and I do love a bit of typography! I like an artist who is clued up on how to brand themselves, is consistent, keeps sites updated and gets out gigging regularly. Sophie does it all.

soph rayThis week she launches her new EP ‘Treading Water’ and although I’m really excited to hear the final product I’m feeling nervous about the day which is quickly approaching! Sophie has asked me to compere her EP launch at St Pancras Old Church in London…it’s my job to give her an introduction she deserves and welcome everyone to what is going to be a beautiful evening in a stunning setting. And as if that’s not enough, the lovely Harry Phillips will be opening the show. I wouldn’t miss it if I were you.

You can pre-order Sophie’s ‘Treading Water EP’ now bit.ly/sophieTW or come down and get it on Friday.

 

www.sophieraymusic.com

That’s G A double R A double T

I first interviewed Jack Garratt for BBC Introducing…Beds, Herts and Bucks in 2010 when I was their BBC Blast Music Reporter.

I knew Jack from school, he had a huge afro and could be spotted in any corridor from quite a distance. Whilst I struggled with my GCSE music and was forced to go to Composition Club during lunch, a little Jack Garratt who was in year 7 would come in and write catchy songs in minutes! We all knew he had the potential to one day be the next big thing.

I always loved his music and would listen on my iPod when I walked home from school. He won’t thank me for saying I still have his old tracks in my iTunes but they’re brilliant and I still know all the words!

Jack grew up with music around him…it’s in his blood! His parents had many instruments knocking around the house so it wasn’t long before Jack had taught himself how to play most of them. Drums, keys, guitar, trombone and vocals – he could do it all. So it’s no surprise to see him now standing solo on stage multi tasking instruments!

I interviewed Jack a few times and had him live in session on Raw Vibes and my hospital radio show. He would talk so passionately about music and the artists who had inspired him, the soulful influence always shone through in his vocals. I loved having Jack as a guest on my shows and his cackling laugh would always set me off. He drummed in the spelling of his name in every interview… ‘You can find me on Myspace.com/jackgarratt That’s G A double R A double T!’ but I doubt anyone is struggling to find his content online now!

Well, the fro is no more…it’s all about the beard!

It’s so exciting to hear his music blasting on BBC stations and most recently at The Future Festival. 

Jack GarrattWhen I went to his Remnants EP launch party last year I had no idea how much his sound and style had changed. He’s worked hard to develop in to an artist and to be fair, he’s a man now, not the teenager I remember jamming in the music block!

The thing that touched me most on the night of his launch was that he came over to chat before he took the stage, thank us all for coming and have a quick catch up. I used to joke after his interviews to not forget me when he made it… so far so good!

533777_10151699100504543_1199529306_nOne thing he used to say was that Blues Brothers Banned (a band that we started at school), inspired him and how he always wanted to play with us. It’s clear that it was one he wanted to tick off his list before he hit the big time and he did! I would obviously put this on a similar level as him wanting to meet Stevie Wonder and then supporting him last year at Calling Festival!

I’m sure my neighbours would agree that I’m obsessed with Remnants and I’m very eager for the next EP and of course his debut album. I’m so excited to see what’s next for Jack Garratt, that’s G A double R A double T!

http://www.musicglue.com/jackgarratt/products/remnants-ep-digital-/

 

First cheeky show on the BBC

hits on film 3The only thing better than locking yourself away to listen to music is locking yourself in a radio studio and sharing the music that you love with others.

I kickstarted the new year with a cheeky show on BBC Three Counties Radio, my little debut show on the beeb – which was pretty exciting!

‘Hits on Film’ was all about music in films, but none of your cheesy tracks from Dirty Dancing or Footloose … oh no! It was about those moments in film when the music makes the scene memorable. You know, like when you hear the track on the radio and you get transported back to that scene.

Classic moments like Robin Williams dressed as Mrs Doubtfire dancing with the hoover to Aerosmith’s ‘Dude Looks like a Lady’ or the twist contest in Pulp Fiction at Jack Rabbit Slims with Chuck Berry’s ‘Never Can Tell’.

It’s an absolute treat to be let loose on the radio picking the music that you love and fingers crossed I’ll get another chance to put a follow up show together later this year.

 

hits on film 2Click here to listen again on the iPlayer before the end of Jan.

Soul Avengers Strike Back

When you’re at a gig and you can tell that the band on stage are having a great time, it just makes it even more enjoyable!

The Soul Avengers are a New Orleans brass band with a big soulful sound, that ooze enthusiasm and passion for what they do, whilst having a load of fun! As well as a love of music, the band share a love of curry and what better place to have a monthly residency than at a curry house!

The thing I love most about these guys is that not everyone is a full time musician. The band is made up of a colourful collection of people with various jobs including a vet and a paramedic. Luke Aldridge got the band up and running in 2013, calling on everyone he knew and had taught over the years. Some of the band hadn’t picked up their instrument for a few year until they got the call from Luke, which is why I think Luke is pretty great to be honest. He gets everyone involved no matter how rusty they are, it’s all about having fun and making music.

Luke is a drummer but for this project he decided to learn a new instrument… the sousaphone! I’ve even seen him play the drums at the same time, there’s no end to his talents!

Yes, as a brass band they play classics like James Brown, Ray Charles and Sam Cooke but they mix it up with a bit of Beyonce, Jacko and Winehouse. Their set is ridiculously fresh slipping in chart toppers like ‘All About That Bass’, Taylor Swift’s ‘Shake it Off’ and Daft Punk’s ‘Get Lucky’. Told you it was fun!

With such a tight and powerful sound of course they won’t fail to put a smile on your face or to get you up on the dance floor busting out moves you didn’t know were possible, but I think what makes The Soul Avengers extra special, is the individuals who make up the band.

They’re gigging tonight (Thursday 11th December) at soul avengersMumbai Gardens in Headstone Lane, Harrow. Curry and live music = perfect combo!

They popped in to see me at Vibe last month and I squished them in to my tiny studio to perform live. Watch the video here…

www.thesoulavengersband.com

Strikes a Christmas chord…

We’re not even mid December and our ears have been treated to Christmas classics for weeks thanks to shopping centres and TV ads.  Now that radio stations are confidently busting out the festive tunes (and I’ve dug out my Christmas jumper) I think I’m ready to let the Christmas spirit commence.

Steve Young TCT

Singer-songwriter Steve Young from Hertfordshire has been shaking his sleigh bells for a few weeks writing and recording a new track!  His new single ‘Anywhere this Christmas’ is in support of Help For Hereos and you’re all invited to feature in the music video!

It’s not a Christmas song that forces festive cheer but one that makes you listen closely to the lyrics. It reminds you that you’re lucky to be surrounded by the buzz of the ones you love at Christmas. The emotive vocals get you thinking with the last line of the chorus being ‘ but it just won’t feel like Christmas until I’m home with you…’ .

Steve not only writes great original tracks but puts his own spin on various covers of all styles. I was lucky enough to catch him perform live earlier this year at a concert for the Teenage Cancer Trust where the crowd just loved him!

Steve’s got a rather long list of top venues he’s performed at including Royal Albert Hall, Wembley Arena and Shepherds Bush Empire with artists such as Lionel Richie, Peter Andre and Darren Hayes.

NEV_9873Do you think he might add me to his list if I get myself in his music video? I think I could be the ‘insatiable’, ‘mysterious girl’ that is filmed ‘dancing on the ceiling’ (see what I did there? … sorry, I’m not proud of it!) Fancy starring in it? Head to Steve’s website for all the instructions. I’m just off to perfect my lip syncing…

http://steveyounguk.com

Thank funk for this!

I can’t resist a tight horn section and funky bass line!

Smith and the Honey Badgers are an eight piece band based in East London and they’re totally nailing the funk sound. Their tracks have a classic soulful groove that reminds me of The Dap Kings.

Their debut single ‘The Honey Badger Strut’, which they released earlier this year, made my ears prick up the moment the horns kicked in! I bloody love a break down and this track left my hands raw because I got way too in to the funk clap as they stripped it right back to the vocal! 

You can tell that these guys are true musicians and although they do have a few covers up their sleeves, you really need to hear their original material live to get the full Smith and the Honey Badgers experience!

Soulful Sound

JukeJaxon are a London based RnB soul collab between producer and singer-songwriter Jack Moore and Ben Hawthorne.

Their track ‘Paper Town’ is ridiculously catchy with an infectious beat you’ll be moving along to in seconds (you’ve been warned!).

They have a timeless yet fresh sound and if I’m honest, this track didn’t ‘grow on me’, simply because I loved it from the first time I heard it.

They’ll be doing their thing live at Proud Camden on 12th December if you fancy it?

www.facebook.com/jukejaxon