In search of visuals……?

Two recent album releases I have been associated with are grounded in the same aims and objectives in that they are both concerned with music that would be perfect for films.

Boz Hayward is a Manchester based musician who, with his unique bozchestra, creates stunning cinematic music and, as a singer-songwriter, catchy, quirky, acoustic pop. In a new partnership with German Shepherd Records the label will promote Boz’s work and he will release the music himself.


The latest collection of bozchestra music was released on September 9th and is entitled ‘Films in Music’. The album is a collection of soundtracks to films which exist only in the imagination of the listener,  a set of stand-alone pieces. In other words, listeners are invited to make up their own imagined films or dreamscapes to the music. The collection facilitates this by delivering a selection of atmospheric, cinematic, instrumental pieces replete with ideas and emotions. There’s a brooding intensity to a lot of the music. It evokes images of a post-war Berlin or Vienna with Harry Lime skulking in some back alleyway, or a spaghetti western with grizzled protagonists in a stand-off outside a cantina, but there’s also a pastoral feel to some of the tracks producing a gentler more introspective atmosphere. Reflecting a gentle Tex-Mex vibe, coupled with 70s spy dramas, and tasteful melodies, Hayward combines instruments in unique and pleasurable ways to deliver perfect vignettes. Bill Frisell, Ennio Morricone, John Barry and Anton Karas are all called to mind but Boz also adds a subtle flavour of Manc post-punk melancholia to the mix. There’s the occasional sonic surprise which keeps the music interesting and vital. This is quality music which is varied and bears repeated listening.

Scottish duo, Stereopod are a musical collaboration born out of a shared love of guitars and synths who blend elements of electronica, rock, metal and film soundtracks to create evocative soundscapes that take you on a journey, often to seldom travelled parts, sometimes returning, sometimes not..

The guys have been friends since school, and have collaborated informally on a number of occasions over the years but Stereopod is the first of these collaborations to be released into the wild. The band’s music distributed to date has been very well received and they hope that the album release via German Shepherd continues to impress to the same degree. Currently a predominately studio based project, Stereopod are hoping to pull together a workable live rig which will allow them to bring an exciting audio ( and visual?) experience to audiences in the future.

Stereopod are open to and encourage collaboration, and would be keen to work with video artists and filmmakers in particular. Access the album here.

50% of the proceeds from the sale of this album will go towards supporting the Mary’s Meals charity

Both albums demonstrate that it still possible to create evocative instrumental music of a high quality.

Howards Way

Three albums in and Harry Howard and the NDE have hit a creative peak.

The new one, entitled “Sleepless Girls”, is the best yet  from a band that has progressively improved since the debut eponymous release in 2012. With Dave Graney and Clare Moore as the tighter than tight rhythm section, and Edwina Preston’s signature keyboard, plus Harry’s crunching guitar and laconic garage rock snarl, you have the perfect post-punk sound .

Opening with the memorable “The Only One”, which hits you between the eyes like a particularly powerful musical cocktail, the stage is set for an eleven song collection full of hooks, riffs, and rhythms that should get you up and shimmying across the dance-floor with frug like intensity.

The pressure is relentless, the sound soars ,and the riffs roll across the soundscape.  The repetitious “Votes for Women”, for example, is an exercise in pure garage wall of sound. Preston’s clever use of tones is a perfect counterpoint to Howard’s bluesy riffs and expressive vocal style, a sort of yin and yang relationship, with the bitter sweet keyboard sounds marrying with the scabrous guitar attack. Harry’s wordplay has a mystical feel evoking dark corners and illicit memories and experiences.

The majestic “Sleepless Girls” allows a brief respite from the garage rock rollin’ and tumblin’,  however the peace is soon shattered by the glorious “Grim Disposition”, which emerges from a dirty riff, with such swagger that this listener was left breathless,  and the speedy “She Doesn’t Like It”,  which features a dual vocal attack from Edwina and Harry.


There’s usually a slow one on an NDE album, notably the exceptional “History Is Linear” on the debut album. This album’s offering is the stately “25 Cent Paperback” which ends an excellent release on a memorable high.

Harry Howard toured and wrote with the Birthday Party, Crime & the City Solution and These Immortal Souls,  he has hit a career high with the three NDE albums released to date.

Some bands try to do this type of thing and fail miserably, Harry Howard and the NDE have cracked the garage-punk code and moved it on to be  fresh and modern, and it can be argued they are one the best bands around delivering of this type of sound.

Salford Music Festival 2016

Dear reader it’s that time again, the last week in September, when I wax lyrical about the utterly wonderful Salford Music Festival. . Now in its’ seventh year this grass roots, no nonsense event, is part of the musical life blood of the city in which I live. Often overshadowed, in entertainment terms at least, by our noisy neighbours in Manchester, this Festival plays a big part in redressing that imbalance and puts Salford firmly on the map, where it deserves to be.

The difference between any other festival that you might care to join in on is that it is absolutely free for punters, no wristbands, no overpriced beer or food, and no tents. Ed Blaney’s desire for the events to be free is a key driver for the popularity and success of the three day celebration of music. And the added benefit is there isn’t a tribute band in sight.

The Festival has been stripped back to three days this year, Thursday 29th September to Saturday October 1st, and centres around the Chapel Street/Blackfriars area close to Manchester City Centre, and the peoples republic of Eccles and the delightful village of Monton, just five minutes up the road from where I happen to live. This more compact and focused approach makes this years Festival feel more important and vibrant than ever.

And of course I have a direct interest in that I am looking after two nights at the Eagle Inn – Friday and Saturday.

So what can you expect?  Well all the gigs are listed on the Salford Music Festival website so I encourage you to go there, but here are a few of my highlights from the three days……


The ultra talented Tamsin Middleton (Mr Heart) has a solo show at The Crescent at 8:30pm followed by ded.pixel and The Kingdom

The excellent Salford Arms has Duke and the Darlings, Wintergreen and Crimsons

Bobby Peru close the night at the always  excellent Wangies in Eccles with support from The Comics and Sioux.


The beautiful Sacred Trinity Church is the main stage for a headline concert featuring local big new things Cabbage, the excellent Blaney, Sound of Thieves and Jess Kemp

The Eagle Inn has the first of two German Shepherd Nights with The Junta, Bouquet of Dead Crows, The Scissors and Kit B.

Highly regard all female trio Liines play The Crescent.


The second German Shepherd stage at the Eagle features Taser Puppets, Poppcock, JD Meatyard and West Coast Sick Line.

Highly regarded Death to the Strange play The Crescent.

A packed day at the Salford Arms sees seven acts on between 5pm and closing time.

Milton Keys duo The Rusty G’s play Wangies.

Y Key Operators with guest bassist John “The Junta” Montague play the Blue Bell in Monton.

Here are some examples of what to expect over the weekend. I hope to see you at the Eagle for what promises to be an excellent weekend.


Fascinating Things : Issue 72

Right then dear reader this will have to be a big one, else I will never catch-up. Things have been zipping in from the ether at a rapid rate. So i’ll keep each portion shortish….

11 Paranoias release their fourth album “Reliquary For A Dreamed Of World” on 28th October 2016 on Ritual Productions. Adam Richardson, Mike Vest and Nathan Perrier’s heavy psychedelic rock pulls no punches as evidenced by this edit from album closer ‘Milk of Amnesia’.

“Agartha” is the fourth studio album by Finnish quintet Oddarrang and their second for UK label Edition Records. Taking its name from the legendary world that is said to reside in the Earth’s core, ‘Agartha’ , a title used by Miles Davis for one of his live albums many years back, this is much anticipated. The preview track ‘Mass I-III’ offers a glimpse of what to expect i.e. epic post-rock.

7th October sees the release of the “Arise” album  by synth-pop duo Perpacity who deliver moody, darkwave tunes via crisp and modern production. As featured on Autal Delights 194 and 198.

Hypnopazūzu sees Current 93 main man  David Tibet joining forces with Youth, famed not only for his work as bassist with Killing Joke but for production and collaborative work with an eclectic list of artists from Alien Sex Fiend to Paul McCartney. Together, they’ve created a singular  album  “Create Christ, Sailor Boy” which defies simplistic comparison.  As featured on Autal Delights 194.

Steve Hauschildt, kranky’s  electronic kosmische guru, and once a member of the seminal outfit Emeralds, follows up the release of 2015’s “Where All Is Fled”, with the announcement of a new LP, entitled “Strands”, due October 28th. Delicate high quality synthesis which sets the bar for the electronica genre.

Portland, Oregon hardcore punk legends Poison Idea have recently resurrected the American Leather Records imprint, the band’s own DIY label that initially released the hardcore punk essential “Feel The Darkness”, along with “Blank”, “Blackout”, “Vacant” and a series of singles throughout the late 80’s and early 90’s. The label presents the latest material from the band, following their full length comeback record, 2015’s “Confuse & Conquer” for Southern Lord. Business commences with a 5-song limited edition 12” EP of new material, which is available at the band’s official online merch store. They have also released this video for one of their brand new songs ‘Calling All Ghosts’.

While we are in hardcore punk territory check out the recent album from Lies – brutal, fast and unforgiving.

Southern Lord are shining the spotlight on Denmark again for their newest signing, in the form of Frederica’s Lifesick, a hard hitting act that take aggressive, mosh pit friendly hardcore and add it to morbid extreme metal. Their debut LP, “6 0 1” (recorded at Dead Rat Studio by Jacob Bredhal and mastered by Brad Boatright), will be released by the label on vinyl and digital formats in November, following on from the CD release by FWH Records.  Noisy.

Due to an unfortunate leaking of the eponymous debut Predatory Light full length, the band has elected to make this material available for digital streaming/purchase on Bandcamp. All purchases support the band directly. CD & CS editions will be available publicly in mid-September alongside exclusive merchandise. The LP edition will follow later this autumn via Invictus Productions and Psychic Violence Records. Epic metal is the best description.

14th October sees the release of the “Trio” EP by Boston’s Dyr Faser who take psych garage rock and elevate it another level with the use of beats and synths. Mesmerising, slightly Ktautrock and enough jangly guitars to shake a stick at. Dyr Faster is comprised of Eric Boomhower (vocals, guitar, synth, Casio), Thalia Zedek (guitar, slide, backing vocals) and Katherine ‘Kate’ Murray (synth). Most enjoyable.

And to conclude the first of many reminders about the Salford music festival which starts on 29th September and concludes on 1st October. It’s the seventh year of the  festival and the line-up is excellent and ALL the gigs are free. All the information on the festival can be found at the festival website.  If you are in these parts over that weekend you can get a superb range of excellent music, and i’m of course going to mention our two German Shepherd Records stages at the Eagle Inn on the Friday and Saturday night.

Friday 30th September 2016
7:30 PM – The Junta
8:15 PM – Bouquet Of Dead Crows
9:15 PM – The Scissors
10:15 PM – Kit B

Saturday 1st October 2016
7:05 PM – Rose & The Diamond Hand
7:55 PM -Taser Puppets
8:45 PM – Poppycock
9:35 PM – JD Meatyard
10:25 PM – West Coast Sick Line

Fascinating Things : Issue 71

Still catching up on about three weeks worth of submissions so some of the below might be slightly out of date…..

Hot off the press is news of the  much anticipated third album from Harry Howard and the NDE, which  is teased with a pay what you want track “The Only One”. The album is called “Sleepless Girls”. Marvellous!

Politburo, from the place on the other side of the Irwell, kindly donated a track to our “Salford Streets” charity album a few years back,  i’ll return the favour by bringing to your attention their album “Barrington Way” which is rather fine indeed.

The somewhat musically schizophrenic Sky Between Leaves journey between Krautrock, Dream Pop, Post-Punk and Space Rock in this four track EP  called “Klein Blues”. They are a trio from Brazil who reside in East London.

The utterly wonderful Opposite Sex , described as post-post-punk,  released their new one in August, just got around to listening to it.  Chaotic but charming lo-fi majesty….

David Pajo last released something as Papa M back in 2004, indeed we have to back as far as 2001 for an original release. That will be remedied on November 11th with a new album.  Here’s the single from it….

I’m very pleased to share the song “Odal” from Wardruna´s upcoming album “Runaljod – Ragnarok” set to be released 21 October through By Norse Music.
This release is the third instalment in a trilogy of albums that began with Runaljod – gap var Ginnunga (2009) and continued with Runaljod – Yggdrasil (2013). The song itself features special appearances from main man Einar Selvik’s own children. Wonderful percussive epic music.




Fascinating Things : Issue 70

A bit of a long gap between this blog and the last one – mostly due to being busy organising gigs and releases for German Shepherd . We are doing two stages at this years Salford Music Festival, on Friday 30th September and 1st October,  and there’s been a touch of fettling required due to various unforseens. It’s all settled now and we have four bands on the first night – The Junta, Bouquet of Dead Crows, The Scissors and Kit B, and five bands on the second – Rose & The Diamond Hand, Taser Puppets, Poppycock, JD Meatyard and West Coast Sick Line. The line-up is very attractive and it’s free so i’m hoping a few will turn up at the Eagle Inn in Sunny Salford. The major issue at the moment is the great amount going on in Greater Mancunia and the challenge is to get those hardy souls who like cutting edge music out into the night to watch the bands. There may be further antipodean adventures later in the year, but i’ll keep my powder dry on that one. Anyhow the cricket season is nearly over which means I should have some spare time. One more match to go………

So, as I have not done anything on the blog for a couple of weeks, things have mounted up. Of necessity therefore here are some brief notes to whet your musical whistle……

Et Tu Brucé return with a new video for “Laska”, which is on their eponymous album. A band which manages the clever balancing act between a recognisable sound and being innovative without resorting to genre cliches and industry cloning. A delightful tune well worthy of a listen.

Following the release of their self-titled debut album in 2011, and 2014’s Mutations, Obake are back. Their third LP, entitled “Draugr”, signals both a return to the origins of the band “and a purification of their sound” whatever that means. It is  released on October 28th via Rare Noise Records. No material as yet but I will share on receipt.

Cardiff’s Slowly Rolling Camera have announced the release of a new one called “All Things” on 4th November…….soulful vocally with some interesting stuff going on behind it by the sounds of it….one to watch out for I would venture.

Cinematic post-rock, a bit Sigur Ros but less ethereal, is the order of the day from Floating In Space. New album “The Edge of Light ” is out on October 14th, You get some glimpses of the  content here below. A rich confection of sounds…..

So the promo on this next one says “Honesty comes in many forms, with DUNT, it’s a clattering blow to the consciousness via an Edinburgh-based genre-melding punk/speed metal four-piece.” My immediate reaction revolved around what the hell the drummer was up to in the video…..i’m not sure on this one, i’ll leave you to make your own mind up, i’ve never been a big skate punk fan….but it will get some airplay on one of the podcasts.

Graney and Moore are back with a new one, as part of the “one release a month” project for 2016, and it’s a bit special. When DG goes for the jugular on “political” issues he does it with some style and class. The object of his ire on this one is fairly clear and more power to his elbow for that. Musically Dave and Clare never fail to disappoint and the variety of material in this run of singles has been pretty damn fine. I love the cover image ……..

Talking of matters Melbournian, a plea to the chaps at Witch Hats to release their latest album “Deliverance” in digital or indeed CD form so that those of us who don’t do vinyl can have a copy. Unless I am missing something I can’t find a non-vinyl version anywhere.If you aren’t blown away by the opening track “Weekend Holocauster” then I fear for your mortal soul.

And to conclude our diversions in Melbourne, shoe-gazers, Bloodhounds on My Trail, have a new single out called  ‘Over The Wall’ via Texas-based Moon Sounds Records. Reverb drenched stuff which has a timely autumnal feel. Vocally it touches on Barney Albrecht in my head for some reason. Real wall of sound stuff.

Back to the nothern hemisphere and northern britain and I am contractually obliged to advise you of the release of a new one by Moff Skellington, his 31st album. Moff’s been making Mark E. Smith look like a bit of a slacker of late, with his fourth album this year. Sublimely titled “The Gloating Mustards of Error” the bard of Abstercot is in fine fettle exploring, as he does, that strange place between dreams and reality embodied by Eddodi. I live in eternal hope that the rest of the known universe will eventually catch on to what this guy is up to, his unique use of language and musical instruments deserves recognition in an “entertainment” business stuffed with tribute bands and industry clones.

Sofia Härdig‘s new one appears to be about maps and car parks at least in video terms. Musically it sort of hovers between Banshees and PJH, the promo people aim to draw a Sonic Youth comparison which I don’t get, and a Pixies comparison, which I sort of get…..good stuff

The promo says “Newcastle based alternative five piece Bernaccia mix choral and tribal rhythms together with sweeping soundscapes and neo-psychedelic guitars. September 2016 sees the release of their next single “Angel””. I say,  the revolving door of post-punk, pre-goth, pre-shoegaze comes around again with a nod towards the noir cinemania of say Crime and the City Solution, and one or two other things of that ilk, it reminds me of a cold November night in a half empty Hacienda in 1983 , you know before youth culture finally cottoned on……said track is featured on the most recent Aural Delights Podcast – see how I slipped the shameless self promotion there whilst you were not looking…..?

To conclude, following on from the  recent “Bath White” EP by 50FOOTWAVE , a further release from indie music legend Kristin Hersh, renowned for her solo work and as frontwoman of  Throwing Muses. Called ‘Wyatt at the Coyote Palace’, the double CD and book combination releases in the UK on October 28, 2016 . Ms Hersh is on tour in UK and Eire during November landing at Gorilla,Manchester on November 13th for those of you who live around these parts. I’ve asked for a review copy of the new album for which I wait with baited breath….

Credit : Peter Mellekas

Fascinating Things : Issue 69

After a busy week curating our German Shepherd showcase at the The Eagle in Salford, more of that later,  I now have time to concentrate on reviewing new music that has come my way over the next few days.

First up, over to America for Troup, based in Los Angles, but with a UK connection as the lead singer is from Wales and the drummer is from near Liverpool. They recently released the title track from their forthcoming EP, “Mercury and Gold”, which, with it’s classic melodic rock vibe is well worth a listen. This is quality stuff and leader Alex Troup has a unique quality to his vocals which sets the band apart from others in the genre. One to watch I think.

There’s a lot of lo-fi dream pop coming out of Northern Ireland at the moment. Some of it good, some of it not so. This is one of the better examples from Beauty Sleep

The first year of House of Mythology label continues to be a busy one with the impending release of The Stargazer’s Assistant new four-track  full-length album, Remoteness of Light, set for release on 26th August. The latest album reveals an expanded line-up for the group, featuring David J. Knight (Shock Headed Peters, UnicaZürn) on treated guitars and FX, Michael J. York (Coil, Cyclobe) on pipes, FX and field recordings along with the originator of The Stargazer’s Assistant, David J. Smith (Guapo, Cyclobe) on percussion and sampled atmospheres. Sadly the tracks are far to long for podcast play but I may attempt a radio edit so I can share the music,  Here’s a trailer for the album

New Model Army have  unveiled their official video single for ‘Winter’ and deliver news of their forthcoming album release of the same name. Returning with their first full studio album since their acclaimed “Between Dog and Wolf” kick-started a creative renaissance in 2013. This album saw the band receive the best critical response of their career and top 30 chart positions in UK and Germany, their first in over 20 years, while Matt Reid’s 2014 documentary feature film “Between Dog and Wolf: The New Model Army Story” drew further interest to this most unique of groups. “Winter” will be released on August 26th on the band’s own Attack Attack label via Red Essential in the UK and via earMUSIC worldwide. Formats include special bookpack CD, double gatefold vinyl, download and streaming.

Last Friday saw the latest in a series of showcases for German Shepherd Records at The Eagle in Salford. The debut of the much anticipated new band lead by Ian Moss Four Candles , Cambridge rockers, stripped down to acoustic duo  for the night, Bouquet of Dead Crows, all the way from Modena Italy Saint Lawrence Verge, and to close the night the ever excellent Poppycock. Fortunately Rick Sarko was on hand to capture some of the night so I can share the vibe with you. The general feedback on the night was excellent with the Italians blowing people away with their ultra tight playing and epic performance. The showcase returns as part of Salford Music Festival on 30th September and 1st October again at The Eagle.