Gideon Conn documentary on TV tonight

Manchester’s finest folk-hip-hop troubadour is to spread his sweetness on telly boxes all over the country tonight with a folkumentary on Channel M.

The fly-on-the-wall documentary is part of the series ‘Hitting Home’ produced by students at Salford University.

Album: She & Him – Volume One

She & Him are not a band willing to live by clichés. By all means, the first collaboration between a guitar-wielding bluesman and a Hollywood starlet should be equal parts dull and self-indulgent. Volume One breaks the formula effortlessly from the heartbreaking opening vocals by actress Zooey Deschanel, one half of a team completed by M. Ward. The key is the wide range of influences audible in every track – there is as much room on Volume One for the softer side of Motown as there is for the livelier side of Les Paul and Mary Ford. ‘Why Do You Let Me Stay Here’ takes its leaf out of the latter’s book, a charming and energetic track in which one can hear every ounce of joy that the band have squeezed out of putting together their album.

Album: Slow Club – Yeah So

Before this debut album arrived to review, I already had 12 Slow Club tracks on my iTunes, which gives some idea of how prolific they’ve been already. So here are 12 more (13 if you include the secret track), and, mostly, they’re a very welcome addition to the Slow Club cannon.

Album: Bibio – Ambivalence Avenue

Stephen Wilkinson, AKA Bibio, is one hell of a busy guy, only six months after releasing Vignetting The Compost, his fifth release on Mush Records, he’s back on a new label (Warp) with Ambivalence Avenue a fascinatingly beautiful hybrid of folk and electronica.

Live: Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman jerks around the stage like Chris Martin. Which is a bit weird. It is good for the band, though, for without his eccentricity, a four-piece who’s debut album is a glorious indy-blues stomp would look distinctly out of their depth in the live arena.

Single: King Creosote – No One Had It Beter

Domino records are never happy. Already having given us superb stuff from the likes of Eugene McGuinness, Lightspeed Champion and Cass McCombs, they now have released King Creosote’s latest album Flick the Vs. No One had It Better is taken off this album which is roughly Creosote A.K.A Kenny Anderson’s fortieth release.

Review: Latitude festival 2009

At four years old, Latitude has grown out of toddlerdom and is now walking happily on its own two (eco-friendly) feet. It has developed into a wonderful family-friendly festival that is the darling of the liberal media and the middle classes. But such a reputation cannot be built upon vegan food stalls and top-notch recycling alone; no, Latitude Festival is built instead upon that most solid of all foundations – damn good entertainment! Whilst the festival is indeed ‘more than just a music festival’ with its impressive array of cabaret, comedy, literary and poetry acts, it is the music I wish to talk about.

Album: Duke Garwood: The Sand That Falls

Duke Garwood’s album is the first of this kind of music I have really paid attention to. What kind is it? Good question. From what I’ve heard I would call it a mix of folk, jazz, experimental and blues, but I would assume each listener has a different perspective.

FFS Interview: The Woe Betides

Our attempts to be in the same room at the same time as the Woe Betides failed pathetically, so this conversation went on over email. Learn all about this terrific twosome, who will be touring in August and September.

FFS Schmercury shortlist announced. Get voting!

It’s been a tough weekend here at FFS HQ, but through bitterly fought arguments, desperate whittling down and some pretty poor attempts at using maths to help us choose, the FFS Schmercury shortlist for 2009 is ready for your listening pleasure.

Alessi’s artwork on show in Hammersmith

As many of you will know, Alessi Laurent-Marke, able captain of Alessi’s Ark, does much more than writing scintillating, magical folk songs. She’s the worthy purveyor of a delectable variety of handmade and lovely things via her blog, and she’s rather keen on having a scribble with the ol’ felt tips.

Martha Wainwright teams up with Liam Frost – free mp3 download

Mancunian rocker Liam Frost has enlisted Martha Wainwright to enhance and adorn a track on his upcoming album, We Ain’t Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain (after legendary beat poet Charles Bucowski). The Duet, entitled ‘Your Hand in Mine’ is available as a free download here, and gives listeners a thrilling sneak preview of the album, which is due out on September 28th.

Album: Dear Reader – Replace Why With Funny

South Africa isn’t renowned for providing us with too much music. In fact I couldn’t name you two that have broke these shores. Not even Wikipedia could shed much light. One South African act I can name, though, is Dear Reader – and now so can you.

Dear Reader is actually the Jo’Burg four piece’s new name. Originally, they were called Harris Tweed until the Scottish cloth company of the same name complained despite agreeing two years previous. A stolen laptop and one letter later, Dear Reader finally emerged. Anyway, petty name issues aside, Replace Why With Funny is their debut album, and you will fall in love with it.

Interview: Pagan Wanderer Lu

In a new foray into the world of technology FFS interviewed Andy Regan, AKA Pagan Wanderer Lu, over MSN. PWL’s first general release album Fight My Battles For Me was released recently on Brainlove Records, but Andy has been writing, recording and playing under the moniker for nine years. He is also a regular blogger – and wrote a series of blogs for the Independent in the run up to his album release, which are well worth a read. We’ve tried to ask him the sort of questions that’d get him talking cos, as you’ll see, he has something interesting to say on pretty much every subject. Now you sit back and enjoy the interview while we reflect on our realisation that we’ve effectively got an artist to transcribe our interview for us…

Live: Alessi’s Ark, Left with Pictures and Tristram aboard The Tamesis

Moonshine Jambouree started out a little under a year ago with free shows in The Slaughtered Lamb in Clerkenwell. The gigs have come a long way since then and now promoter Antony Chalmers is part way through a run of shows on the Tamesis. A split level boat docked on the south bank of the Thames.

It is in this picturesque setting that FFS finds itself watching Tristram. We first saw him live eight months ago and his delicate vocals and quiet acoustic guitar have since been transformed into assured jangly pop by his backing band of a cellist, keyboard player and percussionist. Tristram’s vocals have a lovely timbre and the cheery glock and pretty harmonies contrast with a melancholy in his voice reminiscent of Nick Drake. Although he seems almost embarrassed to be watched and applauded, Tristram is a real storyteller who had the crowd hanging on his every word.