It starts, as I imagine it, in a bar in the southern ‘States which is heady with the smell of Marlboro’s and spilled Michelob and ends in the outside toilet, foetid with the obtuse odour of last nights curry and the remains of a pint of Timothy Taylors Landlord, in the rear of the “Dog & Ball Bearing” in Heckmondwike.
It was loosely given the appellation “Country ‘n’ Northern” by someone back in 1980, and sort of owed its germination to the coupling of a “teddy boy drummer”, a gang of lads from Wythenshawe, and an ex-dock clerk from north Manchester a year earlier. Although no doubt some bright spark out there will tell me someone else started it much earlier, or later, or never at all. It is, indeed, the odd marriage of rockabilly, mutant blues and anglo-punk and post-punk, which has scuttled through my musical world over the years,
There are many examples of it over the last nearly 35 years – whether it be the tangled off-kilter rhythms of “Fiery Jack” or “How I Wrote Elastic Man”, the kitchen sink drama of Bogshed, the antipodean fervour of the ever excellent Moodists (sort of Country ‘n’ Southern Hemisphere maybe?), or more recently Kill Pretty , Bolton’s Total Victory or Liverpool’s Norweb.
One of the more recent proponents of note are Huddersfield’s Lost Cassettes who grabbed my attention in 2012 with their bandcamp release “What Are We Doing After?” and have a new one out via Soundcloud called “Blackpool”. It marries that distinctly “northern” punk sound which manages to flit back and forth across The Pennines, both brutal and joyous at the same time, with that “‘billy” sound which echoes back to Tav Falco’s Panther Burns and no doubt hundreds. if not thousands, of other bands from America.
I’ll never get tired of this sound, it remains one of the most singular and refreshing cultural amalgamations that music has delivered. The Lost Cassettes are on fine form with this latest set and I commend them to you.