Jake Flowers releases ‘bumper selection pack’

My friend Jake Flowers has just popped a whopping 15 tracks on his Bandcamp.

 

They’re available to download as a set for just £3 – which is a bloomin’ bargain. The songs were recorded between 2007 and 2011 – but Jake is still recording and you can hear new materials and demos on his Soundcloud.

Perfect for Summer, don’tcha think?

Ones to watch

There are currently three artists I simply can’t stop listening to – and who I think you sorely need to ‘Soundcloud’ out…

The first of these artists is Kal Lavelle.

I first met Kal way back in my first year of study at the University of Birmingham. I caught the end of her amazing solo performance on the acoustic stage at Prichattsbury 2008 and pestered her for an interview on my meagre £20 dictaphone. Undeterred by my crappy equipment, Kal was more than happy to chat about her music.

Later that summer, covering Lounge on the Farm for BBC Kent, I heard my name called out by an Irish accent; Kal was playing the festival! We caught up and Kal dedicated her song, Disaster to me. To repay the favour, when I was called upon to co-host Myspace Mars Planets Radio with Alex Zane a month or so later, Disaster was the Myspace track I decided to play.

Roll on nearly three years later and I discovered that Kal was to support an Amazing Radio interviewee, Emily and the Woods, at a gig in Newcastle. Once again Kal dedicated Disaster to me, and as I watched her play I realised how far we’ve both come – Kal is steadily racking up a following during support gigs for Atlantic Records artist Ed Sheeran and has even recorded sessions for the likes of phenomenally successful youth broadcaster SBTV (who recently appeared fly-on-the-wall Channel 4 documentary that I provided the site support for).

Kal’s seminal number Disaster will always remain one of my favourite songs, not only for the memories it holds for me but because it perfectly encapsulates the gut-wrenching feelings of a relationship breaking down. No matter how many times Kal performs the song, it never looses its power – something wonderfully demonstrated by the album recording. (Trust me, the accapella moment towards the end of the song is simply stunning.) However, the song I think you should hear first from Kal’s repetoire is Downstairs, a track that introduces you to Kal’s signature mixture of pure longing, sadness and sexual tension.

The second act, Oaken Lee, is another act I have a personal connection with.The musical maestro behind Oaken Lee is Jake Flowers, someone I first saw perform at Birmingham’s Artsfest 2008.

I remember thinking how different Jake was from the other acts playing the Kerrang! stage, with his woolly pullover and acoustic guitar.

In my last year at Uni I got a call from someone seeking music for a charity event at Selly Oak’s Urban Village. I couldn’t get a full band together, but managed to convince my friend and guitarist James to come and play. Jake and his two bandmates were also playing and I remember thanking my lucky stars that James and his friends had convinced me to stay for the performance – it was captivating.

I feel rather honoured that Jake has had the good grace to keep in touch since I left Birmingham, and I jumped with joy went he sent me a copy of his new EP. The sound is ever so slightly lighter than his older recordings, with the occasional sample (in the style of ‘Pop Folk army’ Tunng’s thirties-style orators) and less amplified/electric instruments. It’s perfect for those wistful Summer moments and certainly requires sharing with a friend. (See, that’s how I think of you all now!) The Americana Acoustic numbers feature bass from Jake’s long-time friend and musical contributor, but feature less drums than on older releases, presumably free-ing up Jake to tour independently whilst still staying true to his on-record sound. He also experiments more lavish backing vocals, and revels in the quiet pauses he has total command over.

To see how Jake’s sound has developed, check out the original/Oaken Lee recording of One Summer Gone, one of my favourite tracks from the songwriter. The new version is less lo-fi, with more reliance on acoustic guitar and less on bluesy electric guitars/offbeat drums. The Oaken Lee rendition takes its time and allows one to ponder the terrific lyrics and reflect upon the idea that ‘this world was ours’.

The third and final artist is another who has changed his musical alias of late – and yes, I also have longer-term connections with him, this time being that my band Get Frank supported him as both a two-piece and six-piece back in Birmingham when he performed as Dan Smith.

Dan is now enjoying success as Bastille, with two of his anthemic, sequenced, synth-heavy numbers being featured in E4’s addictive reality series, Made in Chelsea. He commands the synth sounds like no other, making them sound fresh, modern and as foward-thinking as pop songs can be.

Unlike many other ‘artists bearing synths’, Dan’s voice is dexterous and warm. In his former pop life, he could justifiably be described as a male Regina Spektor, with flexible vocals and amazing piano lines. Any former fans fearing Dan’s transition to the programmable side have nothing to fear – Dan’s addition of more keyboards is a journey of progression rather than cynical cashing in. His work remains unique and relevant – and I ruddy love it.

Finger crossed I get them on a Get Frank podcast in the near future!

The victoria sponge to my brewing leaves…

Heres the new song I’ve put on my soundcloud

I recorded it yesterday/this morning with lots of precussion and boundless enthusiansm….which quickly waned as I did take after take on the keyboard (I’m a rubbish player.) A lot of the other tracks/instruments were thankfully done in one take. It’s another rough realisation but one day it would be great to get some proper recordings, particularly of tracks that sound entirely different live.
The song is called Leaves and Crumbs and is based on a cartoon that Alex has that says ‘You are the victoria sponge to my tea.’ He had a rough script that has yet to be filmed which says that ‘tea is cake’s love.’ After I put up a video about 5 mins after writing it someone on youtube said it sounds a bit like a nursery rhyme and needs more depth but to me this song is allowed to sound like a nursery rhyme. In a way its a metaphor about growing old with someone and hoping that they will love you despite the aging process – which is a simple thing. (I think anyway…)
Feel free to download and pass on if you wish.
On tuesday I’ll be playing at the Bulls Head at an event called Bazaar (part of Mosely Festival.) I’m not sure when I’m on but possibly near the end so hope to see you there.

It Runs in the Family (I think)

My family isn’t really known for being musical. My dad played trombone and accordion when he was younger (I don’t really know how well!) and my sister played alto sax for a while (and I don’t even know for how long!) I would say I’m probably the most ‘musical’ in my immediate family.

However, not so long ago I discovered my dad’s cousin, Graham Ward is a former child ‘drumming’ prodigy who played the drums in the movie of Bugsy Malone and owns a recording studio in LA. Nice huh?

Anyway my dad is going to LA (I think for work…this is a rather unsure blog!) and is hoping to pop by so he’s going to try and take a CD of my music along. I guess because we both record (him obviously having the upper hand of a luxury recording complex!)

dscf2770

This is the tracklisting for the CD I’m sending to LA via ‘Dad mail.’ Not all of these songs are on my soundcloud yet, but the ones that are you can download for free. I’ve been recording over the past couple of days so I’ll put them on my cloud soon. I would have put them up already however the Soundcloud site won’t let me upload more than five tracks per month. I have made all of the featured songs on my myspace downloadable so you can grab and go from there! I hope that people who like my music will pass it on and possibly blog about it, however I know my recordings are scrappy. I can’t quite capture my voice as I like it – I know that vocally, I’m much better live. The effects on my desk aren’t great and the reverb is rather difficult to program. I also have coined myself the phrase that ‘I haven’t the time for a metronome’ because none of my recordings are recorded to a click track. I record to literally keep a record of what I’m writing and creating and I like to be quick. If I was recording with other people it would probably be more fun and a more precise process.

In terms of uni work I’ve got a 1,000 creative analysis of a radio play I’ve produced and designed the sound for and I’m ready for the next semester. Hurrah!

Frank x

FREE FOR YOU!

I’ve popped some tracks in/on my Get Frank Soundcloud for you to download and enjoy at your lesiure.

If you like please come along to one of my gigs, at The Victoria on the 26th February or The Yardbird on the 8th March (both are in Birmingham.)

Also feel free to pass the link/tracks on. They aren’t the greatest recordings (just stuff I did in my room!)

I’m hopefully putting a band together for the gigs too so hopefully I’ll have a nice new and improved sound!

(Get) Frank x