Thursday, 17 January 2013

PREVIEW: Tall Ships, Listing Ships, The Sea The Sea and more at BBC Introducing gig

*Originally published for BBC News Oxford (17/1/13)

Tall Ships will be supported by four up-and-coming bands at January's Upstairs at the O2 Academy Oxford in association with BBC Introducing.

The line-up on 19 January includes Oxford acts Listing Ships, Robots With Souls, and The Sea The Sea, plus Stratford-upon-Avon's My Grey Horse.

Ric Phethean, from Falmouth trio Tall Ships, said: "We're really excited to be playing for BBC Introducing again.

"It's the first show for us this year and the line up is looking great. It's going to be awesome."

He added that the band were "stoked" to be asked back to play after their BBC Introducing slots at Reading and Leeds Festival in 2012.

The post-rockers' debut album Everything Touching was released in October to much acclaim, and saw them perform album tracks for Huw Stephens at Maida Vale.

'Oxford is home' 

It will be the second time that Stratford-upon-Avon's rising stars My Grey Horse have played the BBC Introducing stage.

Co-vocalist and guitarist Oobah Butler said: "To be supporting Tall Ships and playing in Oxford for BBC Introducing again is exciting.

"Oxford just kind of fits us; it has a real sense of home. Stratford-upon-Avon has no music scene so we've been really lucky to have such amazing support."

BBC 6 Music's Shaun Keaveny named Need Wood his Record Of The Week in December, which is the lead single for the band's new EP Stop Before The Dry River.

"It's great to have support from people like Shaun at BBC 6, and BBC Introducing, who are so enthusiastic about us," Oobah added.

My Grey Horse have received comparisons to The Shins and Grandaddy, but they find it difficult to describe their sound.

Oobah said: "I really love pop music, but with My Grey Horse we're probably fighting it as much as going with it.

"The main thing is that we always try to put a narrative and a sentiment there."

The band are about to write their debut album.

"I'm not sure exactly where we're going yet, but it'll involve sleeping on floors and possibly hiding ourselves away in a commune in Wales."

'Top secret' 

One-man music machine Steve Wilson, AKA Robots With Souls, has played previous Upstairs gigs as a member of local acts Phantom Theory and Toliesel.

Steve said: "I'm really looking forward to this gig. Upstairs gigs are always good nights and, as it is just me this time, it's very exciting."

He explained how he came to be a solo act: "When everything with Phantom Theory began to slow down, I started looping riffs at home on a beat up old bass guitar, just to play drums to.

"The bass just ended up becoming a part of the drum kit to make the whole process easier and then, as riffs turned into songs, it became less about the drums and more about keeping everything in its rightful place."

Self-described as an "art rock/noise rock band," Steve is influenced by Death From Above 1979, Femme Fatale, and Sonic Youth.

The debut Robots With Souls EP release is pencilled in for the summer and is to be recorded in a "very top secret never-been-done-before super-exciting way".

He added: "Think cassettes and MiniDiscs, melted down to a plastic liquid, then sent to you in an insulated jiffy bag... but maybe in a less abstract way."

'Artistic fervour' 

Newcomers The Sea The Sea are delighted to be playing their second ever gig.

Vocalist and guitarist Matthew Clarkson said: "Opening the bill that sees Tall Ships headline will be a very memorable experience."

The five-piece cite dream pop, ambient, post punk and post rock as their influences, but "ultimately, we write guitar-driven pop songs, experimenting as we go".

Matthew describes Oxford as a "very strong" music scene.

He added: "It's small but bustles with artistic fervour. It's an inspiring and romantic place."

The band released four free singles in the run up to Christmas and will spend 2013 expanding their profile.

Every month a selection of local talent plays the regular band nights at the O2 Academy, with highlights featured on BBC Introducing in Oxford.

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