On this Saturday before Christmas, in the midst of Chanukah and on the brink of the winter solstice, it seemed a fine time to get festive and deck the halls in holly and ivy. So on UKNY at 11 tonight, nothing but songs of the season from Tracey Thorn, Smoke Fairies, Scritti Politti, Laura Mvula (pictured), Los Campesinos! and others. We'll be mostly snowbound, warmed by wassail, mince pies and some wistful asides ... but expect some cheery caroling too.
Bristol singer and songwriter Nick Talbot, who recorded as Gravenhurst, was to embark on a UK tour this week, celebrating the tenth anniverary of his debut, Flashlight Seasons, an album that was triumphantly reissued by Warp Records on December 1 (along his 2004 mini-album, Black Holes in the Sand, and a new compilation of rarities). But tragically, on December 4, Talbot passed away at the far too young age of 37. Tonight on UKNY at 11, I'll play a lengthy set in tribute to this musician and writer who never received the recognition he deserved, but who was often compared to Nick Drake and Paul Simon while finding his own artistic succor in bands like Slowdive and Flying Saucer Attack. Below, watch a brief, recent documentary on Nick Talbot as he talks about Bristol, a city that inspired many of his finely etched, deeply personal songs. As he poignantly observes in the film, "Given the randomness of the world, you have to try, you have to savour every moment."
Also, recent releases from Emmy the Great, Mogwai, Catfish and the Bottlemen and more.
The new year is just a few weeks away and tonight on UKNY at 11, an early taste of forthcoming 2015 albums from Nadine Shah, Public Service Broadcasting (pictured), The Charlatans and The Unthanks. Looking even further ahead, the BBC's Sound of 2015 longlist was also announced this week: a collection of 15 young artists or bands, chosen by music industry tastemakers and critics, who seem poised for some sort of breakthrough success, however that might be determined (prior winners include Sam Smith, Adele, Haim and Michael Kiwanuka). We'll explore three of those BBC Sound of 2015 longlisted artists that you might have first heard on UKNY earlier this year: Wolf Alice, Years & Years and Soak.
Tonight's UKNY at 11 is devoted to bands and artists bred or based in Manchester. After all, what reflects the mercurial nature of the holiday season better than wistful, witty, bleak, brusque, jubilant, dreamy or wildly danceable songs from one of the great cultural hubs of northern England (and the world)?
Manchester has provided the inspiration for so many groundbreaking groups and scenes, bursting at the seams with iconic figures, that it's impossible to cover even a fraction of the city's diverse artistry. So tonight we'll zigzag from indie legends to Factory Records to Madchester to the latest wave of young artists, so expect tracks from New Order, A Guy Called Gerald and The Smiths as well as recent releases from fresh faces like Money, Plank! and Patterns.
On UKNY at 11 tonight, brand new or forthcoming releases from 19-year-old Aberdeen singer-songwriter Cara Mitchell, London's Anglo-Irish trio The Drink (pictured) and Lake District dream-pop duo Aquilo. Also, music from seminal shoegazers Ride, who broke up nearly 19 years ago, but announced their surprise reunion this week (and tour dates, including a sold-out Terminal 5 gig in June). I'll also play another razor-sharp track from the restlessly outspoken and prolific Sleaford Mods, in New York next Saturday night, November 29, for their very first U.S. show.