Tuesday, 13 December 2011

Merry Christmas! It's my 60th blog!

If you didn't make it to the Jamboree last Monday, boy, did you miss a great night! It was a festive frenzy with George forcing Christmas hats on the audience. He had a vision, a sea of bobbing red and white. He got in return - steely eyes and quaffed bangs.. The Martyr's headlined what turned out to be an eclectic night of music and poetry with a whole bunch of performers, all very different but almost all uncannily unified by an inclination towards bestiality and innuendo. Weird! It was a great laugh, though our set ended with me almost trashing tommy's drumkit but remembering, first, that I'm not really that "rock and roll," and, second, drum kits are expensive. Damn you conscience! Thanks to everyone who made it down to celebrate the "Jingly Jamboree" and our see our last gig of the year.

And what an amazing year it's been! The Martyrs formed in February and played our first gig at Mr Wolves, Bristol, in March. My solo songs were played on BB6 Music and London Radio and at about the same time we slickly converted from a 5 piece to a 3 piece band, around Easter. Having signed to Big Red Sky Records, we supported the fabulous Secret Sisters in May. We then recorded our debut EP in the same month, before appearing on The Joanne Good Show and BBC London Radio.  And then there was the nervy journey to meet Tom Lewis from Decca Records in June (OMG!).
We played loads of awesome festivals including Cornbury and Wilderness Festival in July and August. Spetember was the gig that almost never happened at The Croft, Bristol,  which turned out to be one of the most fun gigs ever. I recorded my solo EP, "Lover", in September, which has just arrived through the door (so if you want one for a stocking filler, head to my store and I'll get it in the post). Another highlight was when The Martyrs and I were filmed on the roof of the O2 in October and then supported Charley Coombes and the New Breed for BBC Intro O2 Upstairs. November was about chillaxing and rehearsing with Tom Sharp, our new guitarist. The Toms are weary from "beers, beers, beers" (so good, apparently, they named it thrice..), Huck's red leather hang-over suit is beginning to curl at the edges (a sure sign of overuse) and me, well, I need a whole tanker-load of beauty sleep.

Hopefully see you in 2012 for another epic year, and our debut album. Eek! Merry Christmas!

Thursday, 3 November 2011

Upstairs at the O2

Photo by Becks Compton
What a night! The Martyrs and I had been looking forward to this gig for quite some time. It was an awesome line up. ToLiesel played a fine set as in streamed the undead masses of ghouls, gremlins and some guy dressed up as a tall box?!? Samuel Zasada were brilliant as always. I loved the way they were dressed up as dead music icons. Buddy Hollie on bass and Billie Holiday on keys were especially cool! By the time we got on stage the O2 was heating up nicely. It was great to play to such a big crowd. The best part of the evening might just have been turning round to see Humphrey and Tommy rocking out in their Zoro masks! Actually, bringing our new guitarist, Tom Sharp, on stage for the first time for the final three songs might just beat that. It's a mighty honour to be playing with Tom! Charly Coombes and the New Breed brought a classy end to what was a really fun night of bands, booze and bad-ass costumes. Thanks to everyone at the O2 Upstairs team and BBC Introducing. Click on the pictures here to view more images from the night. There will also be a special feature on the BBC Introducing in Oxford show this Sunday. Tune in from 9pm.

Thursday, 27 October 2011

Tamara and the Martyrs on the Roof

The Roof Team
On Monday night we clambered up the fire escape of the O2 Academy and played our new song 'Get Him Out,' for the cameras of the O2 Upstairs/BBC Introducing team. The sun quickly set and the wind was ahowling, which led to a spooky scene for the video. Just right for the Halloween weekend show. If you still haven't heard then we are playing at the O2 on Saturday night with Charley Coombes and the New Breed, Genuine Freakshow, ToLiesel and Samuel Zasada. Thanks to Vicky, Dan and Sam for making such a cool video, here it is:

Wednesday, 19 October 2011

EP Review by Oxford Music Scene Magazine

Oxford Music Scene Magazine have reviewed our EP in this month's issue. Read the full review here on page 26. And, if you still haven't got your hands on a copy, then you can purchase one in our store here.

Wednesday, 12 October 2011

'Reclaim the Night' Launch gig

Monday night was all about charity. It was 'Reclaim the Night' at the Port Mahon organized by Nicola Jane Peters to raise awareness about violence against women.
First on stage was Jazz singer and pianist, Rachel Hughes. She opened with a new song of hers called 'Sometimes Love is Poisonous.' After a softly spoken preamble in which she explained she'd have to reapply frozen peas to her scolded thumb between numbers, her voice was an unexpected delight, rich and deep. Her songs were heartfelt and personal and the audience drank it in in silence.

Up next was Anna Hobson, a poet I've seen perform before at the Oxford Pride Festival, which she helped organize last summer. Her poetry is dark and visceral, performed with confidence and a sharp wit. I especially liked 'A Tale of Modern Courtship'. Read more of her poems here

Claudia and Jessie closed the first half with an awe-inspiring bunch of operatic arias. From Dido's Lament to The Flower Duet from Délibes' Lakmé, there was something to suit every taste. Claudia sang in Italian and Jessie in English. Both with pantomime eyebrows and thespianic gestures, they zigzagged through different operatic registers with ease, making us all well up one minute and belly laugh the next. It's funny how even when presented ironically, Dido's song still triggers a very real emotional response. There's something in it, innit? My favourite performance had to be Jessie singing The Laughing Song from Strauss' Die Fledermaus. A rare and wonderful thing to see, especially from two meters away!

Exonic, an MC from Witney, opened the second half. Her music blasted out over our heads as she snapped into the mic. Her performance evoked in me memories of marveling at the verbal dexterity of Laura Dockrill and Kate Tempest. With a style all her own, though, she tampered with the lyrics of popular songs, sharpening and bending their meaning. The audience were plenty warm by the time I got on!

I chose to open with a cover of 'Behind the Wall' by Tracy Chapman, in keeping with the theme of the night. It's a haunting accapella piece about domestic violence, and has been a favourite song of mine since I was small. I then tested out a few new songs and got a lot back from a delightfully attentive audience.

Lucy Aryton then took to the stage to share some of her poetry. In a highly skilled performance, Lucy took us on a journey through the poetic past of a political activist to an increasingly political present. She charmed us too with tender observations, reaching deep into childhood memories. I especially liked her poem about her best ever summer.

Hannah Bruce saw us to the end of the night. Her cold-kindled, husky voice fitted the close of the night perfectly. Everyone sat huddled around the stage, as the room began to emanate a kind of Autumnal festival vibe. I had to watch from the door as the room was at bursting point. Hannah closed-up with a stunning rendition of 'Me & A Gun' by Tori Amos.

I won't lie. It was so nice to be part of an all-female bill, and to play for a largely female audience. This night stands as proof of all the fantastic female talent that exists in Oxford today. The best thing for me about the event was the atmosphere. Despite any nerves the performers might have had, all these were dispelled once on stage thanks to such a friendly and warm audience, who were as quick to hop on stage to help move a piano or pin up the lights as they were to applaud the huge variety of acts on show.

If you want to find out more read some info here or join the march on the 28th October in Glouscester Green.

Wednesday, 5 October 2011

Solo EP available and the Martyr's album begins...

Humphrey hams it up
Since our journey to the South the Martyrs and I have been slogging away in the rehearsal studio, learning a batch of new songs. Tommy 'Octopus' Longfellow has been getting creative on the drums and trying to prove he ain't just a pretty face. Humphrey 'The Squid' Astley continues to nauseate with his bravura axe wielding. He even finished off one recording session with a bit of slide guitar using a ham and salad bap.

Can it get any more ROCK & ROLL?

The weather was so good  on Saturday that we decided to spend the whole day in the dark windowless rooms of Studio 101 recording 'Charon's Boat' for the album. This is the first track we have laid down for the album and we spent the day getting the bass and drums just right. It's quite a complicated song to record as most of the action takes its cue from the vocals, so with no vocal to guide us timing was no walk in the park.
It's great to have finally started recording our album. We aim to have it complete by the end of the year, ready to take on tour in 2012.
I've now finished recording my solo EP 'Lover' and the first order of CD's should arrive at the end of the month. If you fancy one sent to your door, as soon as they come in, you can pre-order them from the Martyr's store.

Wednesday, 21 September 2011

The Croft, the Beach and lots of Wet Feet...Martyrs on Tour! (well, kind of)

Lone Ranger at the back
Ace weekend in the Martyr's camp! Friday night's gig almost didn't happen. Our convoy of 2 vans were as tight as anything at the petrol station inside the Oxford ring road, but the closer we got to The Croft, Bristol, the more disparate our happy caravan. I arrived in van one (call name: "big black mamma" - yes, we did have radio contact) as the night began and checked out the two music rooms, taking in a little thrash girl-punk metal, nioce. The boys, however, (call name: "lone rangers") failed to hit the M4 and a steely battle of attrition against time and Bristol's dreaded one-way system ensued. Just as we were billed to come off the stage, I began a solo set thinking all hope was lost, when the boys burst onto the stage, 3/4 inch jacks and cymbals in hand, and set up like Tasmanian devils behind me. The crowd were buzzing by this point and ready for something loud so we gave them LOUD. We played a frenzied set of 6 songs before my A string gave up the ghost midway through the last song, Payday Slag. It was definitely one of our most fun and frantic sets. The late start meant Humphrey missed his train home so he was forced to saddle up once more alongside "lone ranger one" and ride down to Devon for a weekend of surfing and campfires. "Welcome to Dennis," he muttered scratchily over the short-wave talkie as we entered Devon on the M5. After some heavily sardonic dreams he awoke on Saturday afternoon a broken man, so we bundled him in a  boxcar at Tiverton Parkway, heading North, and set a course for Putsborough Sands and some 6 foot, onshore slush.

We arrived via Pheasent Country and the winds were racing. We traded in our drums and guitars for wetsuits and surfboards and "hit the surf!". It was all getting a bit spiritual before Tommy almost knocked himself out with his surfboard, during a rad freestyle move called "biting the board without opening your mouth." He rose from the brine, dreads akimbo, with blood gushing from his toothy grin. Luckily he  had only managed to bite a chunk out of his lip and his pearly tombstones were all pretty much present and correct. We packed up and flew the windy beach in search of food and shelter.

In the evening we revisited a favourite haunt of ours in Mortehoe and set the world straight again with beer, fish and chips and whisky chasers. Come bedtime the wind roared and rocked our vans as the rain like nails hammered down. No one slept a wink and I almost froze to death. Who's idea was this?
The next day we decided to visit the old Victorian seaside town of Lynton, twinned with Lynmouth and famed for its cliff railway and valley of the rocks. The brochure read: "fun in any weather" - Tommy would probably agree. This is bullshit. We bid farewell to Tommy, as if for the last time, who strolled on into Lynmouth Gorge like a ghost from 1958.

Can't wait 'til the next Martyr's weekend tour!

Wednesday, 14 September 2011

Arty Farty and Farewell to Ute

Well, what a weekend it was! Inspiring, fun and not a little emotional. First, Friday Night saw me singing solo at the 'Artists "not working" night in The Project Room,' Jericho, Oxford. Toni Le Busque, our favourite badge-making, Dunt-based artiste, was showing off a load of her massive black and white drawings.
It was a great opportunity to see the variety of her work. My favourite was the piece called called 'There Are Stars in the Dirt, There Are Stars in Your Hair, There Are Bits of Stars Everywhere'. After much shmoozing and sucking on stubs of beer d'Alsace I played a few songs, including some newbies from my new solo EP (ready for release any day now).Here's a sneaky peek of the front cover by Toni Le Busque, of course!
EP front cover
The Project Room was a great space to play in and the audience were friendly, attentive and very much captive (since it's a particularly 'intimate' space). I met some lovely and talented people including an enthusiastic cello-playing Dr of Physics and the artist Jeremy Darge (who inspired the band name: The Inventions of Jerry Darge).  A big thanks for Emma Titcombe for putting the night on and for Toni for asking me to play. Dear artists, please put on more nights like this!

Ute's final Oxford gig
"Why emotional?" I hear you cry. Well, Saturday night was the night of the mighty Ute's last Oxford gig at Blessing's Force's take over of Modern Art Oxford. This is the first time I've been to one of these nights and I was pleased to see Oxfork supplying some yummy food to go with the mix of art and music. Ute played an outstanding final gig and the atmosphere on and off the stage was intense. Especially during 'The Innocent Taylor' when they crowd joined in screaming "WHY," which seemed to be the question on everyone's lips. Read their announcement here. I've seen Ollie play in various bands throughout our school days, one of my favorites was Tinderbox. I remember the first time I saw Ute play - it was mesmerizing.. Their sound has changed and evolved so much since then but watching them perform has always been inspiring. You also couldn't hope to meet a nicer bunch of guys. I wish them luck in whatever 'incarnation' they take next. RIP One of Oxford's finest bands.

We're off to Bristol on Friday. Come and say hello if you're down that way.

Tuesday, 30 August 2011

Solo EP, Camden Town and a video to make your momma proud...

This month I have been working on my new solo EP 'Lover'. I've been in the studio putting the finishing touches to the 5 tracks that will feature on the EP and I'm hoping everything will be finished in the next couple of weeks. Cover art-work has been designed by our badge-making guru, Toni Le Busque and there will also be some stunning art-work by Elisa Muliere.

We've been making some kitten steps in Europe by contacting local radio stations and venues about a tour we are planning in the New Year. I can't wait to go back to Germany and Italy, and a trip to Holland may also be on the cards.  Last night we celebrated the Bank Holiday with a Gig at Proud Camden. It's a huge warehouse/gallery in the middle of Camden Market and was a favourite haunt of Amy Winehouse, R.I.P.

For more gig listings check out the poster below designed and illustrated by the dangerously talented Ross Williams:

We have also been busy discussing the making of our 'Payday Slag' video which is turning into an exciting project. Fancy being in the video? We need a bar full of filthy revelers - I thought of you first!
More details to follow soon so stay tuned in.

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

New Video: Payday Slag

Our good friend Bruce Markos filmed our song 'Payday Slag' at The Cellar a few weeks ago. Check it out:

'Payday Slag' by Tamara and the Martyrs - Lemon Coloured Gloves from Bruce Markos on Vimeo.

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

Wilderness Festival and time for a nap...

We've been taking it easy this last week since our gig the other week at the Cellar with LPS. Summer has been incredibly busy. Now it's time to kick back a bit. The boys are currently away on a week's tour with The Epstein in Holland so I'm enjoying the peace and quiet of my acoustic guitar. I've been trying to write 5 new songs a month but this is no easy thing to do when the sun is shining.  Anyway, whose putting together plans to record a debut album in September/October time? O yes! That's us. We're going to record at least 10 tracks and take 'em on a mini album tour across the UK in the New Year. The West Country has treated us well, and with a few more London gigs approaching, who knows? Our next gig takes us to the squeaky streets of Witney.. This event is hosted by Witney Art Studios in collobaration with Toni Le Busque, the wonderful lady who designs all our badges. It's going to be a chilled out acoustic night with Samuel Zasada and Blowhole and it's FREE! In other news we've also been confirmed to play Wilderness festival this weekend and Arcane Festival in September. More details to follow soon.

Thursday, 28 July 2011

Tamara and the Martyrs Soundcheck

Here is a video of us soundchecking 'Charon's Boat' at the cellar on Tuesday night for London Poetry Systems. Video by Bruce Markos

The Martyrs Sound Check from Bruce Markos on Vimeo.

Wednesday, 27 July 2011

Truck Fest, Dance Fest, Cake Fest...

Mooching at Truck
Well, we just about made it back from Truck Fest in one piece. Tommy and I went down on Friday night, arriving just in time to put up the tents before the rain came down. It didn't last long and with the festival buzz in the air everyone was looking forward to a great weekend.  We mooched around the site checking out some of the new stages and extended areas. Our highlight of Friday night had to be watching The Rock of Travolta. They came on at 12:00am and the FM ten was already packed. Their set got stronger and stronger, reaching a crescendo with the 'Last March of the Acolytes'. The whole crowd was singing that killer guitar riff as they left the tent.

Saturday morning's hang over was patched up with copious amounts if iced coffee (only £1), Rotary Club hot chips, and sunshine. We wandered down to the Cabaret tent in time to catch a great set from Mr. George Chopping.  My favourite poem was Swanny which had the crowd in fits of laughter. Shortly after Thomas Truax got us back on the bottle with a very curious set of instruments littering the stage. He proceeded to play them all singing wild stories and jumping into the crowd when the sound cut out.

 We then hot-footed it to the main stage to catch half of the Richmond Fontaine band play a beautiful set. I've never seen this band before but know a lot about them as they're probably Tommy's most favourite band in the world, like, ever. I think they might now be one of my favourite bands in the world, like, ever, too. They played an incredibly moving set and the songs were beautifully tragic. After we dried our eyes we remembered to have dinner this time (Mmmm veggie burger) and vegged out whilst watching an outstanding performance by the Fixers. Then it was back to the Cabaret Tent to check out the burlesque dancers and The Long Insiders. There was a great atmosphere in the crowd, lots of whooping at the talented burlesque dancers as the men in the audience struggled in vain to keep their bulging eyes in their heads. The Long Insiders were awesome and a great appetizer for The Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band, who headlined the night. By this point the crowd were well up for a boogie. We got a great spot right at the front and loved every minute of it. It was a small stage for seven rabbits made even smaller when they invited some of the crowd to dance up there with them. Baron Macbeth poured his heart and soul out to the audience and jived his way through the set. Johnny Moto caught the end of their show above with added laughter from Tommy.  With two encores it was a gig to remember and we shimmeyed over to the cake tent to shake some moves until the sun came up, or the cake ran out - I can't remember which happened first.

Richmond Fontaine
Sunday was a more relaxed affair, it needed to be after 4 hours sleep. The weather held out and we found ourselves in the Wood Tent listening to the quirky but wonderful songs of Rachael Dadd and her Saxophonist. She sang a song about her husbands 2 cats which he found as newborn kittens one day in his sock draw. Again, great song writing and the perfect thing for a lazy Sunday. We also hung out at the Truck-a-Doodle-Doo printing press, reading about the weekend's events while the Oxford Playhouse's site specific performers lined up and danced in front of us. As the evening grew old we headed back to Boxford where the cake and dance tent awaited for one last farewell dance. We sat among the teenage hoards and festival dregs 'til a hot young punk assaulted Tommy. We couldn't decide whether to get security or just leave them to settle their angsty differences. I went to bed.

Friday, 22 July 2011

Back from Bath, off to Truck and then a shower.

The Martyrs and I have had a pretty crazy week kicking off with a spot of recording on Monday at Studio 101. We're demoing some tracks to record for our new Album, which should be available in all good bargin bins of independant record shops in Oxfordshire a little later in the year. For a sneaky listen to what we've recorded (and much much more) you can join our Ongaku Lounge and receive the demos that noone else will ever hear! Tuesday saw Humphrey and I rocking out acousticly at the Gloucester Arms. I've never been to the Gloucester Arms before. I thought it was for metal-heads and hell's angels. It is, but is not as intimidating as it should be and I met a real mix of music-lovers. Thanks to everyone who came down to show their support.
On the road

Last night was one of our best gigs yet at a quirky pub called the Pig and Fiddle in Bath. We re-worked an old Huck and the Handsome Fee classic 'Thinkin' on a Problem' which went down well. The crowd were great. We supported a local band called The Idiot Savants who were very funky. Their sax player was awesome, and Tommy and their drummer were inseperable, gushing over dry-rides and high-hats. If you're in Bath I'd reccomend you go and see this band. And so now it's time for a little R'n'R at Truck Festival. I'm looking forward to catching Bellowhead's set tonight and the Original Rabbit Foot Spasm Band tomorrow. See you there!

Monday, 11 July 2011

Grahame Greene and so was the salad...

Enjoying a spot of Ploughmans 
The other week Humphrey and I went to an evening dedicated to the author Grahame Greene and inspired by 40s British culture. We performed a song I wrote years ago about his book 'The End of the Affair' and Humphrey read an excerpt from it. There were also readings from other Oxford artists including Richard Walters and Baron Macbeth from The Orginal Rabbit Foot Spasm Band. The night was organised by Oxfork, a pop-up restaurant group that is soon to open a cafe on Magdalen Street (where the old bike shop was). The event was held in the crazy and gorgeous Rotunda at Grove House. We found out that Grove House was actually Grahame Greene's place in Oxford, and the round building we were in was where his wife kept her doll collection. You can have a listen to our performance recorded live on the player below. If you want to read more about the night, well - just the delicious food really.. click here for the Oxford Mail's review. If anyone else knows more about the Rotunda or any neat facts about Graham Greene's life in Oxford - let us know. He's one of my favourite writers, and if you've not read 'The End of the Affair' then get yourself a copy. It'll make you weep.

Monday, 4 July 2011

Pictures and recording from our live set on BBC London Radio 94.9 FM

Last Sunday Humphrey and I trekked up to London to appear on Joanne Good's The Late Show: Sunday Sessions. Despite the thick traffic and blistering heat we managed to make it to BBC Studios in enough time for a sound check. Phew! Scoundrels were also playing some songs on the show and Humphrey realised whilst speaking to their lead singer that they had played a gig together before in Oxford. This was Huck and the Handsome Fee's last show with Scoundrels and Kill it Kid, which I couldn't make because I'd lost my voice. What a small world it is. After sound check there wasn't much more we could do apart from find shelter in some London pub, eat chips and try not to get too nervous.  We passed the time trying to name as many Oxford acoustic acts as we could. This didn't take long so we moved on to women we'd seen rocking out in Oxford bands recently. After a couple of hours we went back to the studio to listen to the Scoundrels play some tunes and then got ready for our live set. Joanne Good and her team were so welcoming and friendly and it was a very relaxed affair. As soon as we started playing Hang My Picture all my nerves disappeared. If you missed the show then you can hear it again on the player below. Thanks to all who tuned in and all the support.

Sunday, 26 June 2011

Tamara and the Martyrs on The Late Show with Joanne Good: BBC London Radio 94.9 FM

Tonight Tamara and the Martyrs are playing live on Joanne Good's The Late Show. The show is broadcast on BBC London Radio 94.9 FM from 10.00pm and we are on from 11.00pm. Tune in to hear us play live of listen back by clicking here:
Wish us luck!

Friday, 24 June 2011

Music In Oxford review Riverside Festival

Playing the second stage at Riverside
We got a rather nice review of our set at Charlbury Riverside Festival from the folk at MusicinOxford. The Festival was great fun and some of my favourite acts of the day were The Rock of Travolta, Welcome to Peepworld and Desert Storm. Read the review here.

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

A Honey Pot of Acoustic Goodness: Jess Hall, Tamara and the Martyrs, Goodwin Sands

Goodwin Sands
Last night saw a honeyed mix of musical talent as part of the Oxfringe festival. The Honey Pot is one of my favourite pubs, and the back room can be one of the more intimate performance spaces in Oxford. Tom and Leanne create a friendly and warm atmosphere, and treat musicians well. They also cook some of the best pub grub around. The evening was kicked off by singer/songwriter Jess Hall. It was the first time I'd seen her perform. The spell of her clear, soft voice floated me in from the bar where I was nursing my bowl of massive chips ("Oi, hands orf!"). Huck and I then graced the stage with a few Martyrs songs. The atmosphere in the Honey Pot was perfect for some acoustic strumming. Each act even coaxed in the smokers, who were braving the 'warm summer air'. Headlining was a dutch band, Goodwin Sands. What a pleasant surprise! I knew the guitarist, Pete Barnes, from my uni days, when he used to rock out in his Bath-based band,  'A Neat Science'. But Goodwin Sands is a folk band, and a folk band through and through. I definitely think he's found his musical calling. This isn't just any old folk though, it has a real mesmerizing quality, and the lead singer, Anna Curvers, has a delicate and precise magnetism that has you hanging on every word. When the whole band offer backing vocals and switch instruments between songs the deal is sealed, these guys can really play. The carefully crafted compositions are executed with finesse, and as I watched the band I noticed that they're all smiling - and so are the audience. This is feel-good-folk at its intricate and smiley best. Goodwin Sands are touring the UK so catch them if you can, more info here.

Monday, 13 June 2011

Tamara and the Martyrs website launched

Today we have launched the Tamara and the Martyrs official website. You can keep up to date with all the latest Martyrs business and we even have an online store! You can visit the page by following: http://www.tamaraandthemartyrs.com/

Thursday, 2 June 2011

Tamara and the Martyrs release their first EP 'Hang My Picture'

We are very excited to announce that our first EP 'Hang My Picture' is  released this month by Oxford based label Big Sky Records.  The Martyrs and I have had a great time recording the 4 tracks for this EP which is now available from Itunes for the fabulous price of £3.16. We will begin recording our 10 track album at the end of June and will keep you updated on it's release date. If you're coming to see us play any of our many gigs and/or festivals over the coming month then you can get a copy of the EP directly from us, complete with CD artwork and a free badge...and all these things will soon be available to order from our new website which will also be launched later this month. Enjoy!

Friday, 27 May 2011

Wednesday, 11 May 2011

Supporting the Secret Sisters in Oxford

So, last night we supported the Secret Sisters at the O2 Academy, Oxford. It was my first time at this venue, but the boys have rattled those walls many a time in their Sextodecimo days. I was quite nervous because the place was packed out, but after a few sonic gripes we settled nicely into our set, and Humphrey was grinning every time he picked up his bass. The crowd were great, so attentive and friendly despite the beer being £4 a can!

Backstage with the Secret Sisters
The Secret Sisters were really friendly, down to earth Southern girls. Their set was stunning, punctuated with funny anecdotes and sisterly jibes. It sounds like they've enjoyed the first leg of their UK tour, with crowds warming to them everywhere they go. After us came Simon Lynge, who announced that he'll soon be opening up for Emmylou Harris. He introduced himself as an Eskimo from Greenland and told other-worldly stories of a pastoral youth, watching the glacier fog roll in like a big slug, and mischievously robbing skulls from stone graves - apparently there's no topsoil in Greenland so you have to bury bodies under piles of stones.

Anyway, we're heading down to the Isis on Friday - so come and say hi: Mayhem.

Wednesday, 4 May 2011

Recording, Mayhem and "arrest those men"

"it was them, Officer"
A lot's been going on since I we last spoke. So listen up. The Martyrs and I have been gigging plenty and we had a great time in the borough of Witney, playing Witney Music Festival and Witney's Rapture records day. We also hot-tailed it to London - and Tommy's passion-wagon broke down on the way back (15 miles from Oxford). Maybe shrunken heads hanging from the rear-view mirror aren't so lucky after all..
We had a photo shoot with a mighty-fine photographer called Bruce Markos. It was all good clean fun until the boys turned on me having raided the props cupboard. When I was pressing charges at the local constabulary the policeman said it wasn't often a victim could produce such accurate evidence of an assault. I thanked him kindly, and that was last we heard of the matter.

Passion-wagon R.I.P

This weekend we've been holed up in the recording studio. Every time Humphrey picked up the guitar the song gradually morphed into 'Here comes the bride' (more than a little annoying) so we ended up letting him out to watch the royal wedding. He assured us that they were "happy tears" when we re-clothed him at the end of the ceremony. Tommy said he wouldn't mind doing this sort of thing for a living (recording music rather than dressing sobbing monarchists), but he was eating a big pink slice of French fancy cake at the time - so we could hardly take him seriously. It looks like we are going to have 4 kick-ass tracks by the end of the week. A massive bunch of thanks must go out to our loving Engineer and tea-matron, Mr Martin Newton of Studio 101 and our mixologist and drum-mic god, Jimmy Heatherington.

We're now looking forward to supporting the Secret Sisters next week on  11 May at the O2 Academy. This venue will be a first for us so we're excited. If you're around on Friday May 13th (lucky for some) come and enjoy some sunshine and fine tunes from us at our next event: Mayhem

Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Rocking Out Acoustic Style at The Cellar

Ju from Little Fish
Thanks to all of you who came along on Thursday for what turned out to be an awesome night of music. It was great to finally see Bethany Weimers on piano and I love her new songs - very dark, beautiful. She's recording at the moment and the album will follow soon so watch that space. Samuel Zasada have bulked up since I saw them last. It really suits their songs, with some incredible vocal harmonies still ringing in my head.
You can find out more about them and their next gigs here. Ju and Ben from Little Fish completely rocked the stage and got the audience singing sweetly along to their songs. I loved Ju's new beat song - especially the onstage self-lynching! Check out what's going on in the fish bowl here. We got a real buzz from our first Oxford show and can't wait to set up another Cellar show. There's talk about doing one that focuses solely on the local femmes fatales. [Better give Undersmile a call..] Celebrations spilt well into one of the darkest Fridays on record, but we're back on track and looking forward to this Thursday's gig at the Port Mahon. I leave you with a video of my song 'Billboards' recorded on Thursday night.

Tuesday, 22 March 2011

The Band's First Gig, BBC6 and Radio Cherwell

That red mic sure matches my arms
It has been a busy few weeks for me and the band. We had our first gig at Mr Wolf's in Bristol on Monday 14 March, and were supported by the awesome Mr Duke who had us laughing into our free noodles. The venue started to buzz by the time we hit the stage - quite lucky for a Monday night. It was ace to finally play out to a live audience and to catch up with our pals in Bristol. Even T-Lo's parking ticket couldn't bring the mood down.
The very same night in London my track 'Hang My Picture' was played on Tom Robinson's BBC 6 Music show "Fresh on The Net," which was pretty awesome. Big thanks to Ruth Barnes and Tom Robinson for that.

Huck and T-bone on Radio Cherwell

Last night Huck and I were interviewed for Radio Cherwell in Oxford which was quite an experience. The show is played to all the NHS Hospitals in Oxford, but before you start self-harming you can listen in online too. It was lots of fun watching Huck set the world to rights through a fluffy green mic. As soon as the show is up I shall let you know.

Now we're looking forward to our big Oxford debut at the end of the month with JuJu from Little Fish, Samuel Zasada and Bethany Weimers. After that it will be playing in the Regional Finals for the Live and Unsigned Competition.

 Hope to see you there at the Cellar on the 31st March.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Tamara Parsons-Baker on BBC6 Music

BBC Introducing with Tom Robinson on 6musicMy track 'Hang My Picture' was played on Tom Robinson's BBC 6 Music show Fresh on The Net on the 14th March.  You can hear it again here on BBC iPlayer, I'm on from 1:32.

And read more here.

Wednesday, 2 March 2011

Oxford Mail Review

'By the end of the first number, Tamara is sounding strong and confident, reminding me of a sort of “Siouxie Sioux, Unplugged”, while Bunny notes a brightness to her singing that has grown since we last heard her.'
Read the article in full here

Wednesday, 16 February 2011

French London Radio plays Hang My Picture

Artwork by Elisa Muliere

Check it out. My song 'Hang My Picture' was played on French Radio London by Ruth Barnes last week. Listen to the show here: http://www.frenchradiolondon.com/french/musique/
(On the right hand side of the page scroll down to 'Mardi' and click on 'Recouter' under 8 February)

Monday, 14 February 2011

Live and Unsigned: Regional Finals

Good news from me. Yesterday I auditioned against hundreds of auditionees to secure a spot in the Live and Unsigned Regional Finals. Acts that made it through auditions will now take part in a live Regional Final Showcase in front of thousands of spectators and a professional judging panel, including judges from Kerrang, NME Radio and Radio One. The best auditionees from their Regional Final Showcase also get the opportunity to play support slots with a selection of major headlining acts. Woot!

So, I shall be competing in the Bedford Regional Finals on the 2 April and have 2 free tickets for the live show to give away. For more details and a chance to win, please email tparsonsbaker@gmail.com by the Saturday 26th February when the winner will be picked at random.

Thursday, 3 February 2011

Gig at the Port Mahon TONIGHT!

I shall be performing at my first Live and Loud gig tonight. It will all be happening at the  Port Mahon from 8.00pm. Accompanying me will be the glamorous Mr Humphrey 'Huck' Astley and Mr Jonny P Mills shall be opening the night at 8.30pm.  £4 entry and the facebook group is here. I will have a few limited edition CDs for sale and lots of free BADGES! See you there x

Thursday, 27 January 2011


It's nearly February so I've decided to celebrate.. with badges!

These badges are designed by notorious polymath, Toni Le Busque-Badgetarian, and have on them Toni's own special take on my song lyrics. Each is unique and you can get your hands on one just by joining my mailing list.

Gigs!? Next week I'll be playing at the Port Mahon with Mr Humphrey Astley on guitar and Mr Nizou Ben Ayed on keys. It'll be a little smidge of what my new band has been working on - so do come on down for a listen and to pick up your badge! This night has been organised by a new website called Live and Loud- it's my first L'n'L gig so I don't know how it'll turn out - could be interesting. The FB page is here. Be there for 8.00pm if you can - and it's £4 on the door.

I can now confirm that my new band 'Mara' will be playing our first Oxford show at the Cellar on the 31st March (more acts TBA soon) - so, as the Venerable Chopping puts it: "Get out your diaries! Get out your diaries! Moleskin, iPhone, Filofax..."

Monday, 3 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year! The holidays are gone - way to fast.. but at least the rivers have thawed and the swans are free from their ice-traps. True Story!
A New Year always brings on a little reflection and I have decided to kick start this one by entering Live and Unsigned 2011.  My audition is in 6 weeks  (ARGH!). At the moment I'm trying to figure out which song I should audition with. I have 2 minutes to prove to a judging panel made up of radio presenters and record labels that I'm a worthy contender, so choosing the song isn't easy. Any ideas?

The album artwork has arrived and I've included a little sneak peek of the front cover. Elisa Muliere has done an amazing job, painting an image for each track.  It was an interesting experiment to see how (or if) a painter could translate my music into visual art. Elisa is a poet with a paintbrush so I asked her only to draw what she heard in my songs, without any direction or request from me at all. All I'll say for now is that the result is unsettlingly cool..More news on the album to follow.