Wednesday, 30 October 2013

The JosieJo Show 6

JosieJo's Great Big Pair of Tips
The JosieJo Show 6

I write this blog because I love great music and I want to share some of it. You're reading this blog and you're looking for great music. I'm JosieJo and this is The JosieJo Show. Each show includes two tracks by two different artists.
The first of the two in this show is The Undercover Hippy. The Undercover Hippy is Billy Rowan from Bristol in the U.K. and he does the whole nine yards. He writes a politically aware blog, creates great, feel-good live videos and delivers deep, yet upbeat, heartfelt music. Teaming up with Alex Crane, Andreas Millns and Joe Gaywood Billy's band The Undercover Hippy creates a sound rooted in reggae, hip-hop and a musical enjoyment that is even more infectious live. I discovered them at Farmer Phil's Festival in 2012 and Billy was the first act I saw. I'd met up with my dear friend, Lisa Greer and her family and both me and her son Adam were immediately interested in the bouncing beats and playful, catchy, semi-acoustic sound. Adam bought the four track E.P. “Why We Fight”and I was hooked. It's Billy's rhymes woven into the music that are the real genius of the stand out sound. The track “Why We Fight” has a brilliant couplet :
“The U.S. Think Tank
Well they tend to think tanks”
I could just recite Billy's lyrics for the whole show, but it's better if I let him do it.
I'm going to play Adam's favourite track “Boyfriend” and it is full of these great rhymes. The Greer family know all the lyrics to this track and sing it loudly altogether in the car. Listen out for “ecstasy” rhymed with “sex for me” and the saturated image that he creates as he rhymes “lips” with “chips”. Also he uses the word “procrastinating” which will always get my vote. With backing vocals by Chloe Laing and Jessica Langton this is The Undercover Hippy and “Boyfriend”

Billy is in the process of trying to record a new album “Monkey Suit” and you can help make that happen by pledging towards it and in return you get exclusive news and pre-release perks and, depending on how much you pledge, they range from just the download through signed copies and t-shirts right up to your very own song written for you if you pledge £500.
You don't have to wait very long at all for the next band's new release because Scowlin Owl have a CD coming out called “These Strange Companions” on the 23rd November 2013. Scowlin Owl are a band of harmonies and stories, but no twee, sugary hearts and flowers for these ladies. They are Nina Lovelace, Yvonne Borden, Sally Gainsbury and Karina Zakri and they have a astonishing ability to expand the versatility of the human voice as well as giving me in a lesson on the gymnastics of the violin. Their songs are about their favourite places, films and inspirational stories. While you're waiting for the physical copy to be formally released, you can actually listen to the tracks from the new E.P. By going to You'll find there a track about the inspirational frontierswoman, Alice Tubbs who ran a poker house in the 1800s, a track about the fight between the grey and the red squirrels, a song about a Japanese John Wayne and this track, “Sugawara and the Sunflower” which tells the story of a Japanese man Mr. Sugawara who managed to sail his boat Sunflower over the 2011 tsuami and survive. There is an absolutely delightful photo of Mr. S. and his wife holding the CD of the song of his story that Scowlin Owl sent him. His grin is infectious, his story inspirational and the song is genuinely beautiful and moving. Like many of Scowlin Owls songs it starts with a remarkable soft sound. The track rises gently and invites you to come through until the end washes over you with the lap of a wave. Scowlin Owl and “Sugawara and The Sunflower”

For news, events gigs and releases follow me on twitter @josiejoshow and go and like my Facebook page for extra content including videos and photos. For links to all the bands I've played on the JosieJo Show visit

Saturday, 26 October 2013

JosieJo's great Big Pair of Tips
The JosieJo Show 5

I'm JosieJo and each JosieJo Show contains two tracks from two very different artists. There s no thread or genre linking the two tracks.This means that the upside of this is that you may just, unexpectedly, find your new favourite band even if you hated the other track in the show. So let's try you on this one.
The Empty Can are from Dudley, in the middle of the UK; what is known as The Black Country. This makes me very happy because I can describe this band as BLACK COUNTRY BLUES. With slide guitar and a lived in vocal you might expect soulful stories of lost love and hobo travels, but James Stevens and Steven Henly have much more to say than that. There's social comment and witty observations in every tune. Couple this with the almost orchestral violin of Rachel Slater brilliantly mixed in and the music takes on a life of its own. The Empty Can is on the Sticky Mamma record label and if you find them on Facebook you can download the whole of the first EP for free. This is British Blues with no buyer remorse. As a lover of narrative how could I resist a track called “The Greatest Story Ever Told”? It starts with that plucked, deep-south sound, but this is no glorious tribute to the great American Way. It is an uncomfortable comment on that element of society that just wants you to “keep your head down” and “tow the line”. Just a warning though, if social criticism and rude words are not your thing this track contains them both. The track has a wonderful classical swell that kicks butt and ends with a spine bending, wobbly reverb. I can't discern a chorus as such, only a thumping, repeated pattern that drives home the theme of the track. Life is too short and if received wisdom isn't questioned we'll run out of time. Listen carefully to The Empty can and “The Greatest Story Ever Told”

I found the last band because they supported another band we played on Round At Milligan's called Flat Stanley Got a New Hideout (you can hear archived versions of Round At Milligan's by going to and click “Listen To The Show” I also get myself to live gigs and this delivers amazing and unexpected experiences.This is how I found Paul Hawkins and Thee Awkward Silences. There is a wonderful lady called Kate Arnold who is in several bands including Fear of The Forest and Lime Quartet and she opens up her living room to invited guests and gives you tea, cake and a live band. I kid you not. The cake is great and the atmosphere is intimate, intense and quite remarkable. Her last “Living Room Special” featured Paul Hawkins and Thee Awkward Silences. That's “Thee” as in “I vow to thee my country”. You see Paul constantly plays with words in a way that had me laughing out loud which, when the audience is small enough to fit into a front room in South London, kinda gets noticed by the band and everyone else there. It's a very extraordinary experience seeing live music like this. Paul Hawkins has played both Latitude and Swn Festivals aswell as other large venues and the band includes Death In Vegas guitarist, Ian Button. All the tunes involve unconventional stories of unconventional characters. It's black comedy about a bunch of oddballs that I can strangely relate to. It's “outsider pop” which, I suppose, is, in itself, a dichotomy. Paul makes the weird accessible and the odd oddly personal. He takes the sort of strange story you hear on the next table in a pub and puts it to music.
This track “The Precautionary Principle” is best heard on headphones or really good, wide spaced speakers because it arrives from the left and leaves boring through your skull. It's about a sort of scientist geek that you imagine wants to blow up the world just to see what colour it would be as it burned or what sound it would make as all life was extinguished. However, he doesn't because the precautionary principle stops him. The subtext of the song is “I really want to ask that girl out in a funny crazy way, but I won't just in case my heart gets broken”. Break your heart anyway with Paul Hawkins and Thee Awkward Silences “Precautionary Principle”

Monday, 14 October 2013

JosieJo’s Great Big pair of Tips
The JosieJo Show 4

Hello. Now you know how important music is.  I don’t need to tell you that.  Music can get into your mind, it can serve as a memory cue, it can be a companion in the harshest of times and scientists have found that it can even release feel good chemicals to change your whole mood.  I’ve heard it described as many things and one of those is that “Music is how emotions sound”.  Now I don’t know how you’re feeling right now, but for this show, as for all my shows, I’ve got two very different tracks from two very different bands.  One band is drums, guitars, bass and an in-yer-face vocal.  The other band…isn’t.
One of the wonderful side effects of loving independent music and consequentially producing this show for you is that I’ve met and befriended some of the most genuinely lovely people in my life.  Among these I can count The Big I Am.  The Big I Am are Peter MacPartland and Colin Heany a duo disregarding the rush and noise of modern life to bring you beautiful sounds that gladden the heart.  I can’t lay claim to the description “acoustic lovelyness” in reference to The Big I Am, but I honestly can’t think of a better one.  With a tenor Ukulele and a Cuatro guitar (which is how I think you pronounce it and is definitely, probably, so I’m told a guitar of the lute family)…with those instruments you can imagine a folky sound, but this Liverpool duo are much more than that.  Not only are they genuinely delightful, calm and charming, together they create an engaging tonal performance.  I’ve seen them play live on a tiny stage in a North London pub, but their uplifting, swelling sound is so much more than the sum of its parts. You can close your eyes and imagine them filling a festival stage, a stadium and even the sky above you.
With this in mind I’m going to play you the title track from their beautiful album “Collecting Skies”, but if you want to hear more of their tracks there are some available for free download on their reverbnation page and if you seek them out on Facebook you can hear over 20 tracks.  If you would like to hear more acoustic versions of their songs try the Rash Records release of the album “Better Days”, but back to the track for this show “Collecting Skies” from the album “Collecting Skies” is a really excellent way to start with The Big I Am.  It has a soulful feel that makes you want to find a hill, stand on the very top of it, to fill your lungs with a big sky, your heart with love and your life with more…well stillness really.  It is subtle and gentle whilst coaxing you to a higher plane.  Lift yourself up with the confidence, pride and gorgeous music of The Big I Am and “Collecting Skies”
“Collecting Skies” by The Big I Am.  I love that track.  It makes me want to never miss a minute of this life, well apart from sleeping; sleeping is good and the really yucky icky bits of life, I could miss those too.  As a little aside there is an exciting project from The Big I Am’s record label Rash Records which involves Peter and others called “The Musician’s Musician”.  Like minded musicians have come together to create a compilation of covers, remixes and collaborations of each others work.  This album includes a performance by The Penguin Party of the funny sunny song “You’re 24, Stop Talking About Disney, Girl” by Ian Thistlethwaite.  Go to the Rash Records homepage and get a copy for a voluntary donation to the charity Epillepsy Action.  Choose what you pay in other words.  Psst be generous it’s for a good cause.

Now wake up.  I don’t know about you, but I’ve learnt that you can love life and everyone in it whilst, at the same time, realising just how objectionable and unpleasant people can be.  The world is a great place, but it can be a bit trying and well…”GRRR….” making.  If music is really how emotions sound then this next band is probably how “Grr” sounds.  This is The St. Pierre Snake Invasion from Bristol, England and they are punk garage alternative rock to shake your bones and shout your general annoyance along to. Live, by all accounts, they are frenzied, committed and crowd surfing.  Their sound is guitars, bass, drums and growling vocals that makes absolutely no excuses for itself.  TSPSI fans (and if you are a true fan that’s what you call them) simply can’t get enough of them live.  If you want to get get up close and personal and help pass the lead singer, Damien, over the crowd then get down the front row with your dancing boots on.  They play the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds on 19th October 2013.
They have a track, “Encore, Encore” out on the Red Side of the 12 inch vinyl Best of Bristol and that track can also be found on their own EP “Everyone is Entitled To My Opinion”, but it is the vocal gymnastics and musical definition of “Call the Coroner” that I want to introduce in this show.  It’s a track about the death of conversation and the instruments very cleverly mirror the “my go- your go” of a conversation at the start of the track.  As the song progresses and the music and the lyrics get increasingly cynical of social interaction, the gaps get shorter so that the other person can’t get in.  The death of the conversation becomes inevitable as the emotion rises and the band gets stronger.  The St. Pierre Snake Invasion and “Call the Coroner”
Boom… and if you’d like to join the TSPSI dedicated fan base, or you’d just like to get your happy little hands on downloads and merchandise then go to
For other links including how get those compilations I talked about The Musician’s Musican and Best of Bristol then go to my facebook page JosieJo Show and you’ll also find extra content including my photos of The Big I Am and others.  For new, events, gigs and releases follow me on twitter @JosieJoShow.  I also blog this show on tumblr and blogger and visit my website where you can contact me with suggestions for future shows and find links to the bands and the show that all started this Round At Milligan’s.  I am and always will be, JosieJo and you are and I suspect always will be lovely.  Thank you for listening.

Thursday, 10 October 2013

by Funke and the Two Tone Baby.

What you get with Funke and the Two Tone Baby is percussion, harmonicas, guitar and a growling, “lived in” vocal that can surprise you with its sudden softness.
“Battles” doesn’t start with the title track. It starts with a dramatic, swelling sound that tickles your attention, then grabs it. “Bella’s Kiss” really stamps Funke’s mark on you as a good opening track should. It makes no excuses. Once your attention is deservedly gained the second track “Mountains” takes you high and firmly establishes the tone of the album with its twanging guitar, relentless beats and elemental themes. It takes you to the top of the mountain and dives you deep as the album swings into the intriguing second track “The Woman Who Stood at the Edge of the Sea”. Its double bass sound and tale of waiting and yearning reminds me of travelling troubadours and of wandering, rail-road riding hobo types peddling tunes just because they can. If you are going to tell tales then what better subject matter than pirates, ghosts or witches? Well a song about a “Pirate Ghost Witch” of course. It’s spooky and slightly scary and rides you into the storm at its conclusion preparing you very nicely for the big hitting title track “Battles” which follows it. It’s clearly intended to be the“main event” of the album and its echoing, calling guitars harmonise with the intention of the words. The anger and determination of the lyrics are all part of the battle as is the way the voice and instruments all parry and support each other, rushing in and withdrawing back ending in a sustaining echo.
After all that pounding emotion comes “I’ll Love You”. This is like the sunny picnic in the middle of a challenging day and has become my “mixtape”, sharing track of the week. With the beautiful sounds of Dulcima Showan duetting on vocals and Laura Callaghan on flute it’s a song about technical sentimentalism; the description of emotions in pragmatic terms and the very best use of the word “luminosity” in a song that I have ever heard. The cute jiggyness of this track makes the next one quite startling. “Now You See Me” has a gentle start giving the harshness of the lyric and its subject a subtle shock. This is an instrumentally sparse ballad with a beatbox backbeat. It’s the dichotomy of this track that defines it. The growling vocal blends into a soft plea and right back again. It’s hard and easy, love and hate, fragmented and flowing, a haunting harmonica and a pounding kick drum. How does Funke and The Two Tone baby follow that? With a kick to the stomach that is “Cannonball” that’s how. As we approach the end of the album I get the sense that we are swishing the ice round the whiskey glass as we deal with the introspective “The Morning After”; a tale of loss and friendship. Then we pour ourselves just one more shot and stare into the comforting flames of the fire as the last chords of “The Morning After” mix into the final track “Winter’s Return”. This track is not a pessimistic, self indulgent roll into greyness, but a celebration of winter. It delivers an uplifting, fresh perspective on endings. It’s the longest track on the album, but somehow as it delightfully fades I find myself leaning forward to pour yet another glass, hit repeat and play the whole thing again. “Battles” is an album that could just get you through Winter’s return and bring you back round to Spring.
JosieJo’s great Big Pair of Tips
The JoiseJo Show 3

Greetings  to you.  I’m glad you’re here. I’m JosieJo bringing you two tracks from two very different bands. Listen up indeed, because I’ll also give you links to extra content and both these bands offer interesting special products and free downloads if you know where to look.  It’s The JosieJo Show – let’s go.
Let me tell you about Nottingham, England.  It is the home town of the record label I’m Not From London which is a label that is an absolute goldmine of great music and we have played quite a bit of it on Round At Milligan’s over the last few years including Captain Dangerous and Practical Lovers.  By following the activity of the label on Twitter I found We Show Up On RadaR also from Nottingham.  We Show Up on RadaR, headed up by Andrew Wright is a pretty pared down sound; magical and sort of sparkly with slightly disturbing subject matter.  It’s a bit like feeling a black shadow move just out of vision on a bright sunny day.  Andrew even apologizes for one of his tracks, “Out For Fallow”, being “a bit of a misery”, however considering that this track is the B-side of a pink vinyl single, the warning is probably justified.  If pink isn’t your colour the 11 track LP is available on blue vinyl and has the curious title “Sadness Defeated” which, whilst being a hopeful phrase somehow always manages to sound unhappy.  I’ve never seen the band live, but, like Golden Fable who are featured on Show 2, they are due to play 2013’s Swn festival in Cardiff.  Listening to We Show Up on RadaR and encountering their videos I soon realised that it is the half sensed enchantment that is the source of the band’s power.  I personally have a secret obsession with puppets and their place in animation and our psyche and this band share that sense of wonder.  There is a spellbinding video for their track “Hands Up if You’re Lost” which is a charming tableau of the puppet band set in the forest; a dark forest that is slightly sinister.
The track “I’ll be the Ghost” that I’m going to play also has that macabre side.  It’s cute and twinkly, speaking of love, comfort and of taking care of the one he loves, jumping over fences and putting coasters under hot drinks and yet…and yet.. it is also voyeuristic and slightly controlling.  Not surprisingly, given its title, it’s a haunting track; fascinating and alarming like the wasp in its story.  Enjoy the baleful and the beautiful as you catch a glimpse from the corner of your understanding .
We Show Up On RadaR and “I’ll be the Ghost”

That was We Show Up On RadaR and “I’ll be the Ghost” and if you are interested in blue and pink vinyl, those amazing videos or even digital downloads head to and if you click the Last FM button on the homepage you can access 6 tracks for free download.
Now then, my next  band is Magic Brothers.  What you need to know about this North London band is that, well they are brothers and that they are Daniel Woodgate who is Woody, the drummer from Madness and his delightful, big souled and also very talented brother Nicky Woodgate.  Now Dave Milligan has been playing Magic Brothers tracks for a little bit now as well as Nicky’s solo projects on his show Round At Milligan’s.  You can dig around in archived version of that show by going to and click the link for listen to the show.  I just adore Nicky’s album Magic Carpets, but the Magic Brothers’s album The Magic line (do you see a thread here) came out this week and they are very proud of it.  I heard it first when  it was played on the jukebox in The Dublin Castle pub in Camden, North London as the boys signed autographs and chatted to fans.  The event had a lovely atmosphere to it and Woody and Nick were charming so given that my first listen of the whole album was whilst I was surrounded by Madness fans in fezs and pith helmets, it wasn’t a huge stretch to hear the soft ska influences of Madness.  Indeed Nick has written many tracks for Madness several of which appear on the last album, having said that you can also discern the sweetness of Nick’s solo sound.  It is seasoned with witty touches such as the thunderclap and rainstorm that opens the track “Sunshine”.  I’ve already got my signed CD, but if you go to the Magic brothers website you can buy the CD (pay a little more and you get it signed) and t-shirts.  You can even order one of only 25 limited edition Collector’s packs which include: a signed CD, digital download, a T-shirt, Woody’s signed drumsticks and Nick’s signed guitar pick, a copy of the album lyrics and a Thank You telephone call from Woody and Nick.

The songs are stories set around their childhood and their adult lives and include many references to north London and that Kentish Town/Camden area around the Magic Line of the title of the album.  The title track “The Magic Line” is the last, not the first track and this is the one I’ve chosen to play you.  Unusual for the album it has no lyrics as such and uses sound that feels like it was found as well as the symphony of the London underground its engines, sirens, voices and the rhythm of the train track laid under, over and through delicate drums, electronic sounds and a guitar that seems to push the air through the tunnel like the train does.  It’s not the most typical track on the album, but with its orchestration and swimmingly floating movement it takes you on its own lilting journey.  This is Magic Brothers and “The Magic Line”

That was magic brothers and “The Magic Line” and you can get free downloads of tracks that didn’t quite fit on the album by going to their Facebook page and click free music.
For bonus content from me including photos of that day in The Dublin Castle, videos I’ve filmed and links to other great bands go visit and like my Facebook page under josiejoshow.  For news, events gigs and releases follow me on twitter @josiejoshow and for my blogs including reviews of full albums follow me on Blogger or Tumblr and links to all that and band s I’ve featured on the show can be found on my website  Follow me on Mixcloud and you’ll never miss a show. Tell your friends and between us we can get the good stuff heard.  It’s been a blast to have your company.  Thank You for Listening.

Wednesday, 2 October 2013

Against The Grain - "Out of the Rain"

JosieJo's Great Big Pair of Tips

JosieJo's Great Big Pair of Tips
The JosieJo Show 3

Greetings to the third JosieJo Show. Each show I bring you two great tracks from two different bands or musicians that you may, or may not have come across before. I can't promise that you'll like everything I play, but you may just find your new favourite band. The JosieJo Show – let's give it a go.

My first track is by the stunning duo Golden Fable. They are Tim McIver and Rebecca Palin. I heard their beautiful choral backgrounds, folk textures and electronic creations at the End Of The Road Festival 2013 and they recently supported Charlotte Church on her recent British tour. They have also played The Union Chapel in London, a venue which used to be a church and, I image, lends itself beautifully to the range and echo of this band. True to their Welsh roots they are due to play the SWN festival in Cardiff (swn is the welsh word for sound. It should have a little roof over the “w”, but I can't find it on the keyboard. Everyday's a school day on the JosieJo Show). Their delicate sound has been captured in a recording studio in North Wales on their debut album “Star Map” by David Wrench. They really are a delightful band. Hauntingly captivating live and just jolly, jolly nice. Plus, because they come from North Wales I have a huge soft spot for them.
You can buy the album via their webpage and if you buy the deluxe CD you are not only buying a low carbon product, you are also getting detailed drawings that have a folk/fable sense about them. You get a poster that is hand stitched, an origami case printed with vegetable based inks, a twelve page booklet and the CD is signed and numbered. These a rea limited edition though so don't hang around.
They are, at the moment, working on a new album, but this track, “Always Golden” is from that first album “Star Map” and it has a beautiful video on You Tube which showcases Rebecca's incredible eyelashes and stunning ear-pieces as well as the pulsating off-beats and layers of sound. It flows in and out of monochrome to colour a little like the music itself. This track reminds me of a life enhancing rainstorm and it ends with big chords of sound like raindrops on soft eyelashes. Enrich your life with Golden Fable and “Always Golden”.

Now ICHI. An artist from Japan who plays with sound in a way you can't even imagine, even if you have seen him live. I've been lucky enough to catch him live twice now, both times at festivals and he is always unexpected and always endearing. He communicates articulately through his music and quite frankly charms the bees from the flowers. One of the genuinely nicest things about seeing Ichi live is the way that children respond to his music. They really get engaged with his performance watching and listening closely as he moves from instrument to instrument. You really have to see what he does as well as hear it, which is why I'm going to point you to a YouTube video, but you can see more of his work by going to his website or follow him on twitter @ICHIcreator...and he really is a creator. I'll try to describe some of the ways he creates music, but frankly I probably won't even get close. He blows up a balloon through a megaphone, bounces a ping-pong ball on a bat and launches it into the audience, he uses his wedding ring as a percussion instrument on the steel muffler of a trumpet, he brushes his teeth to produce a tune, he has a harp that is also a wind instrument, a bass that also doubles up as stilts and he puts water in a steel drum and rolls a ball around under a microphone to create a very weird sound. He also concludes his shows with a wonderful finale involving his hat, but that's all I'm going to say.
This track is called “Wakka” (Ring) and is about the letter “P” on the Japanese alphabet. You don't have to be fluent in Japanese to enjoy the pure, playful pleasure of the alliteration of this track (do you see what I did there?) When I saw it live, his wife, the wonderful Rachel Dadd joined him on stage and harmonised with “Peter Piper picked a peck of pickled pepper” whilst they played a clapping game. There's no point on talking any more about this track you have to hear it and see it. Watch it right to the end to see the lengths he goes to for his music. Ichi and “Wakka”(Ring)
For extra content including a doodle I did of Ichi and Rachel as well as photos and videos check out my facebook page
For news, events, gigs and releases follow me on twitter @josiejoshow
Easy links to all this and links to the bands can be found on my website
Cheers and thanks for reading.