Transmission – Ready to take off!

In my previous post I talked about some of the bands who were about to play this weekend’s Transmission events.

Unfortunately I lack a camera so have no pics of my own, but head to Jazzy Lemon’s Flickr photostream to check out some amazing shots of Tom Robinson rocking out with The Union Choir and Brilliant Mind. Here’s one of me and fellow Amazing Radio broadcaster, Tom Cotton watching the spell binding Nadine Shah.

All eleven acts I saw (completely free courtesy of the wonderful guys and girls at Generator) were on fabulous form. I particularly enjoyed cardigan clad post punk rockers Cult Image, blossoming math rock act Toyger (as in ‘Toight like a…”) Vinyl Jacket turned in a tight performance of fantastic calypso pop tracks with fantastic energy and boundless charisma. What was even more shocking was the revelation that temporary guitarist Stuart (of interesting indie band Grandfather Birds) had only been playing with the band for a couple of weeks due to the normal guitarist’s incapacitated wrist!

There are two wagons in particular that I reckon you need to jump onto as soon as possible.

The first is that of solo artist Nadine Shah. Unafraid to plough through her songs with the emotional intensity of the ‘first play’, she transfixed the audience with her ability to command the room with just her stunning, full bodied voice and a keyboard. Her track ‘The Duke’ is currently on rotation in my head. She’s been working with top producers in London, so I’m looking forward to hearing the results. Shah is going on an O2 Academy tour with Shakespeare’s Sister very soon so I’d recommend going just to see her! She is going to be big news very, very soon.

The second band that entirely enthralled me was Chased by Wolves. Their set was packed full of sexy, edgy, bluesy numbers with singer Emma Siobhan Williams’ voice adding real colour to the set. Fellow vocalist Richard Smith’s voice provided a perfect contrast as well as extra power. James Brown on bass was a particular delight and completely addictive to watch – his five string bass was grooved and thrown around the stage, as if the instrument was playing the player.

Congratulations to all the acts, a huge thanks to Generator for throwing the ambitious events, and to Tom Robinson for being ‘glad to be gay’ (joyous.)

Tomorrow (Monday 6th September) I’ll be off to see Holy Mammoth support Fang Island at The Cluny 2, and on Wednesday I’ll return to the same venue to check out The Winter Hill Transmission play alongside Elliot Brood.

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You need this unsigned music in your life…

As all of the acts featured on this post are unsigned, their recordings vary in quality. Therefore get ye to one of their gigs before you make a decision on whether you’d buy a properly produced LP. I’ve always felt very passionately about giving acts a chance in a live environment, as it tends to be more of a testament to their songs and musicianship. For example, many can get access to Garage Band, but not everyone has the money for Logic. When I watch a musician play their own music I know fairly early on into their set if I want to invest in their songs. I also feel cheated when I’ve heard a fabulously produced record, but been spectacularly disappointed with the act onstage. The only type of music I can think of that is not intended for live performance tends to be found in a lift, and last thing I heard, ‘elevator music’ was hardly up there with the greats…

So here are some acts I recommend investing in tickets and travel for. (By all means listen to their demos, but please don’t think of them as the finished product):

Jake Flowers – Bluesy, beautiful, delicate finger spun melodies with understated, sultry vocals courtesy of Shropshire born Flowers. Drums and bass give a welcome added kick whilst lyrics are effortlessly fascinating. Utterly charming, scarily talented.

If you like… Ryan Adams, Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, Mumford and Sons …you’ll love this!

Brilliant Mind – Newcastle bunch who blast out Johnny Marr inflected guitar riffs combined with self depreciating Morrissey-style lyrics without turning into a Smiths pastiche (although I just made them sound like one.) Features divine contrapuntal layers of guitar and organ melodies. Incredibly charismatic as a live act.

If you like… The Smiths, Young Knives …You’ll love this!

Ever Since the Lake Caught Fire – Newcastle rock orchestra with trumpets, occasional female guest vocals, splatterings of saxophone and lashings of indie pop goodness. A force to be reckoned with when live and always a joy to behold.

If you like… The Arcade Fire, Broken Social Scene, Modest Mouse …You’ll love this!

Holy Mammoth Amazing Radio DJ Tom Cotton’s third favourite band (after Radiohead and The National.) A live act that bursts with onstage chemistry developed from years of friendship and experience from touring under different monikers.

If you like… GOOD MUSIC …You’ll love this!

My amazing radio debut and other news…

Today at 1pm my first Amazing Acoustic show will be played on Amazing Radio.

I’m a bit worried about hearing my voice – it’s annoying at the best of times. I’ve kept links short and arranged back to back songs to avoid upsetting Amazing Radio listeners who are used to hearing only music (presenters have been only been on the station some evenings this week – and currently there’s just a few of us.) You can see the presenters here. We each have our own Amazing Tunes page so you can see what we’re listening to and playlisting – and leave us a comment.

Amazing Radio plays only unsigned music which it collects from Amazing Tunes. Artists can upload their tracks onto Amazing Tunes and have the option of purely streaming the tracks to potential listeners, making them available for radio airplay or selling their music for 79 pence. They get to keep 70% of money raised through such sales. Listeners can get their favourite Amazing tracks onto the DAB Amazing Radio station (also online) by tagging them, rating them and generally giving public kudos. The site has a chart too so users can easily see which songs are getting the best feedback.

Other presenters new to Amazing Radio include ex Head of Music/partner in crime Fuzz Chaudhrey, super cool Our Beat is Correct podcast producer Tom Cotton and Trevor Dann, former Head of BBC Music and chief exec of The Radio Academy.

If you miss my show today, it’s repeated Wednesdays at 7pm. I promise to improve as the weeks go on!

In other news, Un Coupe de Foudre, my friend Alex Buckmaster‘s short, no budget (and no time), Custard-Factory-Jay starring film is going to be played at Camden’s Roundhouse Theatre at the opening of their new cinema on the 18th January.

Happy weekend everyone

F