Aural Delights Radio Show – 1st June 2011 – Bikini Test Failure In Session

My special guest in the studio is James Hill from Bikini Test Failure – a 21st century renaissance man who plays all the instruments and does all the singing on the two Bikini Test Failure albums to date. We talk about how he puts his albums together, songwriting, influences and lots of other stuff. The version of the show linked below is the unedited conversation that I could not fit into  the usual broadcast slot. Also to kick off the show another world exclusive new track from the very groovy Trevor Sensitive and the Locals.

  1. Trevor Sensitive and the Locals – Spring Morning – Exclusive to Salford City Radio – of which Trevor says “This has come out a little bit Field Mice, a little bit Eels, a little bit Mary Chain, a little bit Wedding Present…”
  2. Bikini Test Failure – Yes We Are Having A Good Time Now – Session Track
  3. Doves – There Goes The Fear – The Last Broadcast
  4. Bikini Test Failure – Not A People Person – Fleecing the Easily Pleased
  5. Morrissey – There is a Light that never goes out – Live at Earl’s Court
  6. Bikini Test Failure – Are we having a good time yet – Session Track
  7. Talk Talk – I believe in you – Spirit of Eden
  8. Bikini Test Failure – Smoke Yourself Thinner – Session Track
  9. Bikini Test Failure – Sarah Tonin – Fleecing The Easily Pleased

To listen click the link below

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Aural Delights Radio Show – 6th April 2011

  1. Factory Star – Angel Steps – Enter Castle Perilous – as reviewed elsewhere on this blog – an absolutely stunning album from Martin Bramah and his band of strolling minstrels. This is the opening track from the release – just listen to the poetry in the lyrics.
  2. Miacca – I’ve Got A Boyfriend Now – Demo – amazing stuff from Swansea’s high tempo ska specialists.
  3. The Jar Family – In for a penny – Livingston Session EP – another track from this fine EP from a North East collective now living down south Cambridge way.
  4. Bikini Test Failure – Sarah Tonin – Fleecing the Easily Pleased – another glorious track from James’ second album.
  5. My Pet Monster – Soundtrack – Demo – for some reason I am getting a lot of demos from South Wales – here is another band from the Cardiff area
  6. Vessels – Monoform – Helioscope – post rock chaps from Leeds ….. this is from the new album which was recorded in Dallas (that would be Texas)
  7. Moff Skellington – Following The Dead Men Home – Embers From The Rapid Eye – glorious new music from the as yet unreleased new album, which is brimming with marvellous new music, from Otley’s eccentric and amazing troubadour.
  8. Dubside – Child Don’t You Cry – Demo – a little bit of dub reggae from Manchester.
  9. Crystal Stilts – Sycamore Tree – In Love With The Oblivion – a phenomenal new album from New Yorks finest exponents of minimalist psychedelia – every track is a classic and none more so than the opener.
  10. The Suns – Surf’s Up Nightmare – EP – Chester’s finest proponents of garage, and surf. They play Sounds from the Other City on May 1st at the Crescent (with a C).
  11. Six Organs of Admittance – Brilliant Blue Sea Between Us – Asleep On The Floodplain – another album from the very productive Ben Chasny – around about number 16 (or possibly more) in the series of releases.
  12. Factory Star – Stone Tumbling Stream – Enter Castle Perilous – and they also play the Sounds from the other city gig on May 1st.
  13. Yes – Roundabout – Fragile – a guilty pleasure, I remember being gob-smacked by how different this was from the Yes Album when it came out.

You can listen to the show by following the link below….

aural delights #21 – the return of farley

After a run of Christmas “chart” shows, some catching-up and last weeks Beefheart tribute, I realised that I had been neglecting the recommendations of my good friend Farley – erstwhile randonneur and campanologist – who forwards me regular recommendations from his record collection to play on the show. I’ve also been deluged with lots of new music during January from both unsigned and signed bands so i’ve been trying to pick out tracks that would fit well together aurally in the show. I have to thank Tony Thornborough, Stephen Doyle, Monty, Stu Currie, Eddy Mann and Ian Rothwell – fellow DJs at Salford City Radio fior playing the tunes I do not have time to play. Thanks also to Eddie and Gemma Legge for giving Tony the time to play unsigned acts on thier show on Friday afternoons.  As an instance I got a new single from Spencer Cloud and the Range Brothers the other week which for reasons which are to complicated to go into I could not fit into my show so the wonderful chaps at the Nine O’Clock Alliance at SCR have been playing it. And very good it is to! It’s called “Hypnotise” and shows a rawer side of the band’s work – pure rock and roll! I’ll be playing that in a couple of weeks.

Anyway I digress – lets talk about this weeks show. I kick off with a couple of local unsigned bands in Guile and Skankadelia. I’ve been blown away by the quality and variety of material that has been zapped into my in-box via the ethernet in the last four weeks and the two opening tracks exemplify that perfectly. On the show I mistakenly describe Guile as local. They are in fact from Cannock, which is some miles away from Greater Mancunia, but given they’ve played FAC251 in town then I guess we can display some degree of local affiliation. You can read more about them on thier My Space page.

However I can confirm that Skankadelia are “local” in that they all went to Salford University – although like Guile there is a Midlands link to Leicester. The band are getting a bit of a reputation around our radio station and our boss Roland Gent is aiming to get them in for an interview. I am rather fond of their wonderfully upbeat music. Again you can check them our on My Space.

I decided to fit four Farley fumbles into the show – both in order to catch up but also because I felt his next four selections in the pile fitted together well sonically. I’d played “How he wrote Elastica Man” before some time ago. It’s by Elastica featuring Mark E.Smith and friend of the show Julia Adamson, played a big part in the tunes construction. After that another ex-Fall man features in his band Marc Riley and the Creepers.

Next up is Rose Kemp from her new album “The Golden Shroud” which is reviewed elsewhere on this blog. Her marriage of folk and metal is pretty unique and deserves wider attention. The new album from Disappears got a bit of a grumpy review in a recent edition of the Wire but I think it’s rather good as exemplified by the title track. Another local artist is multi-instrumentalst James Hill who goes under the name of Bikini Test Failure. His second album “Fleecing the easily pleased” is reviewed elsewhere on this blog and opening track “Yes we are having a good time now” is a stunner.

Back to Farley for two more tracks – first up the brainchild of singer/guitarist Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal was one of the second wave of bands to emerge from the sprawling Elephant 6 collective. The band’s proclivity for lengthy track and album titles is clearly evidenced by this selection.  The final Farley for this show is the eclectic Penguin Cafe Orchestra from the “Year of the Dog” soundtrack.

At the request of Stephen Doyle my fellow DJ at Salford City Radio i’ve dipped into my extensive King Crimson collection and selected a classic piece of prog rock from the band’s first album. The impressive playing of this band and the stylistic changes from prog to rock to jazz is stunning.

A couple of unsigned bands forwarded tracks recently. Warrington’s Bill Davro have a fresh new sound and more details of the band can be checked out here.  And to prove Salford City Radio is getting an international reputation for playing new music Norwegians John Snow submitted some tracks recently – more details about them here.

To finish the show something via my chum The Great Gibbo who pointed out that the new Steve Wynn album was rather good. He has a new band called The Miracle 3 and the album “Northern Agression” is his best release in a while.

Listen to the show by clicking on the link below.

pulling the wool…….

Bikini Test Failure – Fleecing the Easily Pleased   (Blague blaguecd09)

I’m not normally a fan of the sort of epic pop-rock stuff that occasionally slips into the charts (e.g. Clodplay (sic),  Doves,  Elbow etc) it’s all bit a too safe for me, and with the exception of early I Am Kloot‘s early stuff I wouldn’t normally take the time to listen but i’ve made an exception with this one.  Chap behind it all is one James Hill who is a multi-instrumentalist singer-songwriter from Manchester. He writes a damn good tune and plays it exceptionally well and he fettled my critical barometer with his direct and refreshing sound which wipes the floor with most of the contemporary “walls of guitars” bands out there.

It’s his second album and there has been a six year break between this and his debut “Another day, another fat pile of cash”. It was released in October last year. James produced the album as well as mixing it. A clever chap, he sings and plays guitar, bass, electric piano, pedal steel, hammond organ, mellotron, vibes drums and other percussion.

The stage is set with the opener “Yes, we are having a good time now” which is immediately inside your head with its melody and fantastic chorus.

The album continues at a relentless pace with a run of great tunes and fine lyrics which manage to capture an optimistic feel which transcends the current Zeitgeist. And after all if rock and roll can’t take us out of the dull inevitability of modern life then it’s lost it’s mojo has it not? I’ve no doubt some of my chums will listen to this album and think i’m going off on one again, all I’d say is this album cheered me up a great deal after listening to yet another Garvey/Mumford/Electro-pop clone CD. I’m not sure what this album reminds me of but I’m picking up a lot of influences which I can’t quite pin down – which is always a good thing.

One of the highlights for me is the excellent “Not a people person” and from this point in the album things take-off with a raft of great songs – there isn’t a great deal of stylistic variety here – James has found his schema and he sticks to it assiduously. Having said there is no repetition, more a re-affirmation of the particular strength of his style and structures. “What will I do without you” is simply superb, and the soulful “Easy” notches up the quality meter into the red. The opening line of “Sarah Tonin” (geddit?!) is a hoot and it’s effortless laid-back feel is superb. Comparison’s with Porcupine Tree’s Stephen Wilson could be made at this point, but James manages to deliver his songs without Wilson’s, sometimes overpowering, sturm and drang.

Trying to make sense of why I particularly like this this album over and above others of it’s ilk is a tad difficult – I think it’s maybe that he has extracted elements of some of the classic rock albums and delivered something modern – and maybe it’s timely for someone to produce a new “Dark Side of the Moon”, “Deadwing” or “Born to Run”?

So if you want to hear great melodies with soaring choruses delivered with panache and style then this is for you.

Website is here where you can purchase the album.

My Space