Fascinating Things : Issue 36

Lest you should think I am being tardy, or indeed god forbid, indolent, dear reader, my excuse for lack of ramblings of late is down to the paucity of new material worth writing about. Such is the nature of the music business, there are floods of amazing things , followed by periods where sometimes the will to live (or at least listen) is stretched to the limits of elasticity. My mood is not assisted by some frankly inept writing by so-called “industry experts” viz the latest in a long line of “The Best Bands In Manchester” and so……

Radio X have just published an on-line list of the best 15 bands from   Manchester “and the surrounding areas”. It doesn’t include The Fall. I could stop there and you would see my point entirely but I would add to my rising frustration by noting  that a few of those listed were not from Greater Mancunia at all but were students in Manchester or Salford University. In addition it is worth reflecting with the exception of a couple of the others none of the rest are actually from the City Of Manchester geographically speaking. The glaring omissions from the list go way back to the 60s and up to the present day, how you can have a list of best bands from Manchester without 10CC is beyond comprehension. And for the record Buzzcocks were nurtured in Salford, not Bolton, in the basement flat of 380 Lower Broughton Road. I know because I could hear Pete and Howard practising through the floorboards. Anyhow there is a lengthy discussion on Facebook by myself and some like minded individuals on this should you care to read it.

Enough of the negative ranting, what can I tell you about that’s worth a listen? Well I’ve had a pile of newish things pointed in my direction by my erstwhile chum Mr Gibbins of sunny Northampton so i’ll wend my way through those for a while:

  • Toronto’s Dilly Dally are exceptional. Katie Monks has echoes of Kat Bjelland and vocally is everything Mrs Cobain tried to be but failed to achieve. There’s also that loose familiarity that Courtney Barnett that has in her voice.  Their new album “Sore” (out in October but I’ve only just got around to it) kicks off at full tilt, goes for the jugular and continues to a climax shaking up a currently tired music scene. Perhaps it gets a bit too “grunge” in places but I’l forgive them that given it’s so full of energy and purpose

  • “Bonnie’s State Of Mind” by Freak Heat Waves is an interesting one. It was released in February and is available via Bandcamp. They are from Victoria, British Columbia and deal in a mixture of spacey ambient meanderings and moody percussive electronica with a large smidgeon of post-punk moodiness, and some no-wave guitar angular Gang of Four funkiness (think Depeche Mode meets Talking Heads via Slint but darker and more menacing)  which hit all the right spots to my ears. You will be aware of the sub-genre but they modernise it and make it current. The nearest current comparison is Ought I guess.

Bonnie's State of Mind cover art

  • I am very impressed by the latest release from James X. Boyd “You Taste Like The Real Thing”. It’s the fourth in a series of releases on Bandcamp. The first three were OK in their own way but this latest release (23rd November) is a tour de force melding spoken word with loose improvisations/guitar meanderings. There’s a touch of Jim Morrison in the delivery (albeit an Antipodean lizard king). There’s very much a home-made feel about it with volume drops, retro drum machines and amp buzz which adds to it’s lo-fi charm. Very enjoyable indeed.


  • If you want something to jive to I recommend the new one from Phylums which is called “Phylum Phyloid” and you can nab from Bandcamp at a reasonable price. It is described as “stripped-down, primitive rock n’ roll……  members of Wisconsin acts Goodnight Loving, Head On Electric, and Holy Shit! started banging out three-chord homages to the Sonics, Creedence, the Monks…any band with a simple message and no-frills attack.” That’s a good summation of a recognisable garage sound, well delivered and recorded.

Phylums - Phylum Phyloid cover art

You can hear these and much more on next weeks Aural Delights Podcast (10th December).




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