Easy on the eye

Today I left Newcastle and arrived back at my mum’s house in Maidstone before I start my new job on Tuesday.

A wave of nostalgia hit me not long after arriving back in my old Kent bedroom when I noticed that the long-awaited music video for Grandfather Birds‘ single Higher Bridges had been released online. (Regular readers of this blog may recognise the frontman as my Tynemouth tour guide/occasional kitchen helper, Matt).

Guitarist Stu told me that the single, which comes out at the beginning of May, was recorded under the bridges of Newcastle after a suggestion from Little Comets member Micky Coles (who also produced the single). According to Stu the single was “mainly just an experiment in the dead of night, rubbing the landlord of [Ouseburne Valley pub] The Ship up the wrong way!

“We did have a couple of police cars drive past as we were recording my guitar parts under the High Level Bridge [in Newcastle] and we basically hit the dirt and hid. The last session we did was under the bridge next to the railway station and people came out of the Northern Rail Offices to see what we were doing, telling us to come and ‘do it during the day’ as they were all ‘really bored’!”

The music video for Higher Bridges was masterminded by Stu and local camera man Paul Alton, who has recently demonstrated his philantropic side by organising a series of gigs to raise funds for the Red Cross’ Japanese Tsunami appeal. Continuing the trend created during the recording of the single itself, the video was filmed in the ‘dead of night’ and showcases some of the locations where the band recorded the track.

Grandfather Birds are going on a Northern tour to promote the single after a launch gig with Let’s Buy Happiness and Baskin’s Wish on the 3rd of May at the Bridge Hotel in Newcastle. You can find out a full list of dates by heading to their website and clicking on the handy ‘gigs’ link.

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The all new Get Frank podcast!

I have just finished uploading my very first Get Frank podcast!

I may no longer be working for Amazing Radio, but I want to continue to support new and emerging artists, and I thought that producing and presenting my own podcast would be a good way of doing it.

I’m intending to produce a 30-40 minute episode every 2-4 weeks (depending on the response to the pilot episode). The idea of the podcast is that it will feature a mixture of acts that I have seen live (or am planning to) and will centre around a featured artist who will guest on the show by way of an interview.

The first episode features Wylam five-piece Vinyl Jacket who are currently promoting debut single Painting Stations. The single, which has been released by new Newcastle-based label The Calico Print, has found a home on many a radio station, including BBC Radio 1, BBC 6 Music and Amazing Radio, and should see the boys recruiting a strong fan base. The guys make fantastic interviewees, and I really couldn’t think of a band I’d rather have helping me out on my first episode.

Alongside Vinyl Jacket there’s also mentions for Pandas and People, Let’s Buy Happiness, Grandfather Birds and Pilots, plus plays for Craig Wosahlo, Baskin’s Wish, The Carpels, Toodar and Mammal Club (as remixed by Mr Blazey).

The real challenge I’m currently struggling with is the editing process. This isn’t because I’m inexperienced in using sound editing software, but because I don’t have a professional program intended for the task on my computer. (I miss Adobe Audition greatly!) Currently I’m editing interviews and preparing song extras (with fades/transitions) in Audacity, loading into iTunes and multi-tracking it all together in Garage Band. For the links themselves I’m recording with a Zoom H2 microphone straight into Garage Band. When I was editing the pilot I kept having to rerecord ins and outs because, unbeknownst to me, the clips kept cropping. Once I’m safely back in employment I’ll save up and invest in a copy of Logic Express, and then I can think more about audio imaging and the concept of the podcast itself.

If you have any comments, questions or would like to be featured on the next Get Frank podcast then drop me a line at frankiepromotes@gmail.com. Find out more about the podcast and how to subscribe here.

Jazzy Lemon saves the day!

I’d meant to take a picture of my outfit for The Prison Library single launch at the Cluny 2 last night but headed out the door without thinking.

I don’t take a picture of every outfit I’ve worn, but I wanted a picture because it featured a few items I picked up from the Metro Centre on Wednesday. (I’m also having a wardrobe clear out and am in the midst of deciding what looks good and what would be best placed else where!)

Luckily Newcastle’s staple music photographer Jazzy Lemon was out in force and happened to take a few snaps of me at the gig (which you can see below). You can check out the full album (amongst literally hundreds of thousands of rock and roll moments) here. There’s plenty of great shots of all the acts; this Sunday’s Amazing Folk Roots Show guest The Lake Poets, Let’s Buy Happiness in disc jockey action at the decks, soulful Indie four-piece Grandfather Birds and headliners The Prison Library, who managed to put fears about the departure of brilliant Frankie & the Heartstrings guitarist Mick Ross totally at bay.

Blazer £29.99 by H&M, cropped t-shirt £9.99 by Zara, skirt £11 by Primark, headband by Stone Bridge

I saw this t-shirt on Zara’s website and experienced one of those “HAVE TO HAVE THIS” moments where I wanted to leave my desk and flee to this shop for immediate purchase. I didn’t notice I’d picked up a larger size until I got home but I think it will still work tucked into skirts or with faux leather skinnies. The blazer is one of the comfiest I own and was a complete impulse buy when a band practice was cancelled last-minute.

Shoes by Office, socks by Primark

I decided to brighten up the muted colours, ‘chic-up the geek’ and raise myself off the floor by a good five inches with my Office platform heels. I got these in 2008 when I was paid for my performance in Days of Hope by Howard Goodall at Birmingham’s MAC theatre. Although most of the money went on student rent and a new electric piano, I just couldn’t resist these. They made me at least as tall as most of the audience which meant that I could comfortably see the bands for once!

Satchel by New Look (all photos by Jazzy Lemon)

I’m starting to get rather impatient for Spring to arrive now. I’m resisting hiding in big coats and layering cardigans and my unlined parka in an attempt to be ready lest we be treated to a sunburst or two. Tomorrow I’m heading off to Tynemouth (a bit of the coast to any Southerners reading this) so I’m hoping to find a treat or two. I’ve never been before, but I’m gagging for some good ole seaside chips!

Thanks again to Jazzy Lemon for letting me use her photos!

Must-hear viewing

“Must-hear you say? But these are videos I see below…”

Yes that is indeed correct, but they’re music videos so I hope you watch them to hear them… if that makes sense? Basically they’re videos that if you haven’t seen, you should, and if you have I heartily salute you with my well-bitten fingernails.

Firstly I present to you the wonderful Leeds-based solo artist James Owen Fender. I truly love this artist: Awesome voice, sensational tunes. Also check out his video for former single The Cloud.

Next, here’s lovely songwriter Martin Longstaff, performing live for Amazing Radio as The Lake Poets. This was recorded exclusively for the station at Newcastle’s Blank Studios. I wrote an article recently predicting big things for The Lake Poets in 2011, and Martin will be a guest on my Amazing Folk Roots Show this Sunday from 7pm.

Now I’ve been meaning to post this next video for far too long. It’s Newcastle four piece Grandfather Birds recording in The Amazing Sessions for Amazing Radio. This video was created by the lovely Paul Alton, who often attends local gigs armed with a video camera. (The song’s pretty sensational too).

I wasn’t too big a fan of previous effort Ungrateful, but I have a huge soft spot for this number, Hunger, by Wichita label act Frankie & the Heartstrings. It’s a fantastic video starring Robert Popper of BBC comedy Look Around You and features a particularly fine performance from keyboardist/guitarist/all-round-legend Mick Ross.

Finally I’m not sure if this is an official video. but we’re loving Kyla La Grange at Amazing Towers right now. Her voice might be too sugary for some, but this song, Walk Through Walls, is epic.

So what do you think? Any new acts I should check out?