Alternative music reviews

July 18, 2006

BBC Coventry and Warwickshire: Sounds

Filed under: ramblings — @ 11:50 pm Comments (0)

I have come to regard BBC Hereford and Worcestershire’s Friday Session as essential listening for anyone in the UK who wants to hear new music. Add to that BBC Radio Oxford’s The Download which is local to me and plays local bands (and Oxford is buzzing with great bands at the moment). My only sadness is that I don’t always get to listen right through to the momentous Raw Talent (broadcast on four Yorkshire area radio stations). I should mention Radio Northampton that also has a good show: The Weekender.

The Internet is changing the way you can discover new music. First there is MySpace that has become that dreamed of thing: the place where every band can put some music up and get listened to (increasing numbers of band’s websites just direct to their MySpace page). Now, I am not a great fan of the BBC at times – having had multiple threatening letters for not paying the Licence Fee even though I don’t own a TV. I also think they spend a lot of money stolen from taxpayers’ pockets for unremitting shite (it’s called Saturday Night programming). But the one thing they have got right is the ‘Listen Again’ service on the Internet. This allows you to listen to the previous weeks radio programmes when you feel like it and that includes local radio, which you couldn’t pick up in other parts of the country anyway. I think the BBC local stations have been caught off-guard because they have found out that the local music shows have proved to be really popular on ‘Listen Again’. Often these programmes were put out at times when young people would be out doing whatever young people do (not in the Friday Session’s case). Suddenly they realise that there is an audience. To the BBC’s credit they have responded.

The latest I hear is the opening show of Sounds from Coventry. The first show features The Enemy, a band with attitude and some talent. They play Alt music rooted to the street and if you are looking for a band give you the rush that bands like Kaiser Chiefs did, then look no further. I must dispute their assertion that there has never been any music for Cov (as we call it). I spent ten years there from the age of 18 to 28, and I can assure them that The Specials, Fun Boy Three, and International Megastars (the epitomy of Anarchy, the epitomy of incompetence) were Cov through and through.

This is another welcome addition to the new music fraternity, the host Anita Miah sounds like she understands the music and the bands. I find it interesting that most of the local music that is being played is from smaller radio stations – where the hell is Manchester, Liverpool, and London? Probably so far up their own arses that they never noticed the world has changed.

Box of A Billion Lights by The October Game

Filed under: reviews — @ 8:12 am Comments (2)

The October GameI got an email last week from Carmandie Records, a small record company that has just started up saying was I interested in their first two releases. A promo single and an album arrived this weekend. The album is Box of A Billion Lights by The October Game and it is magnificent – a joy from start to finish. In the area of a very English Cure with the ability to add instrumentation from other genres. There are times when you can hear folk music guitar motifs and times when it’s like a member of Mogwai has done a session for them. It is also than album that you need to hear in its entirety – you get a glimpse from songs on MySpace but the full effect can only come from listening to the whole hour and eleven minutes.

This is uplifting music tinged with sadness, deeply rooted in the history of English music in the same way that Alt-Country is in America. Both can be understood and marvelled at.

The October Game