Aural Delights Radio Show – 28th December 2011 – Albums of the Year Part 4 and other whitterings

And so here we are with the top 14 albums of the year as selected by some SCR DJs, some Fall Frenz, and myself.

The big  pressure vote from a lot of folks was for Fucked Up’s “David Comes To Life” to win but the local vote swung it toward the eventual champion, which is both adjacent to Salford and excellent.

The final top 14  is heavily biased towards the North West of England and specifically the Greater Manchester conurbation mainly due to the fact that the music is current to these parts, and that’s what our community radio station is all about. Also notable that two of the american participants in this final list played in the city this year (albeit Ripley was in his Moon Duo guise when he did it).

The year has been dominated by the neu Prog and the neu Psyche – a lot of this featured in the preceding three shows to this one – but also the main emphasis has been those musicians who can craft albums at home and produce masterpieces – whether it be time served guys who have been around as long as I have, or the new breed.  Tony Thornborough coined an appropriate phrase at the Factory Star/Blimp gig at FAC251 earlier in the year viz “Old is the new Young”  spot on – and I have to say in all honesty the most aural pleasure this year has been derived from watching musicians who have spent many years crafting their art and have reached a new creative peak.  I just enjoy seeing these guys perform great material which is considerably superior to the Elbow/Coldplay clones attempting to forge a career in the biz. I think I am going to be a little harsher in my responses to bands submitting material next year – my first response will be to direct them to the artists featured on this show…….don’t copy Garvey and Martin look around a little wider.

Wooden Shjips –  Black Smoke Rise – West (September) – the first Shjips album to get proper studio treatment and their best yet.  Everything from pyschedelia, via psychobilly through to motorik rhythms – marvellous and mesmerising music.

Vinny Peculiar –  Artrockers – Other People Like Me  (October) – In which local residents Mr Wilkes demonstrates his flair for lyricism and great tunes. Some pure pieces of poetry on this album which reflects back to an older less complicated world.

The Fall – Cosmos 7 – Ersatz GB (November) – the 29th Studio album from the bard of Prestwich and his band of travelling troubadours. This one divided opinion quite markedly and led to wailing and gnashing of teeth in some quarters contrasted with unapologetic worship in others. Would have been higher but for a seriously loud no vote from the Clifton area.

Shoshin – Here Comes My Favourite – City of  Patience (July) – I guess the rest of them will catch up on this one eventually as I appear to be the only one who likes this – but I like it lots – I think I have played every track from it. Grab it – you don’t know what you are missing! Also if you can get the link between the preceding album and this one you win a patronising pat on the back.

Moff Skellington – In the Helter Skelter  Suburb – Embers of the Rapid Eye (?) – not released as yet I don’t think  but definitely Moff’s album of 2011. The usual mix of other worldliness and DIY musical ethic which makes this artist utterly unique and rather marvellous. Many of the tracks appeared on a session on the old Reformation show.  It just makes me smile to listen to this music and wordplay within it.

Fall Fan Dave and the Lap Top Dancers – Juggernaut – Yelling Boil (March) – Dave and Ian’s second outing and rather groovy it is too. Another productive year for the duo with a new album planned for 2012. A variety of selections on this one but this track is one Dave prepared for a Reformation session.

Danny Short – Your Kingdom – You Must Not Play (November) – the second of two albums released this year by the very productive Mr Short. His best yet I think as it captures both his punk-prog-pop side as well as his more experimental leanings.

Crystal Stilts – Sycamore Tree – In Love With Oblivion (April) – a stunning second album with some stand out tracks. Described as noise pop meets ’60s psych somewhere – I think they go beyond that and have created a signature sound which is centred around Hargett’s laconic vocal delivery.

Kin – Chemistry Set – Flickering (December) – actually out in physical form in rather groovy packaging earlier in the year but just made available on Bandcamp. This was all it promised to be in the “Dot Dot Dot” ep on Invisible Girl but took the form and schema to a new place entirely. New stuff on the way from the amazing talent that is Kin. I also get a mention on the album sleeve notes along with a few others….

The Wild Swans – English Electric Lightning – The Coldest Winter In A Hundred Years (August)  Claiming to have “unfinished business,” former Teardrop Explodes keyboardist Paul Simpson returned with  Wild Swans’ first album since 1990’s Space Flower and a new super-group line-up which included the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Ricky Maymi, Echo & the Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant and Les Pattinson, and Spiritualized’s Mike Mooney, just to name a few. The chosen track is just pure magic – wonderful lyrics. The first of two Occultation releases in the top 15.

Monster Island – Pilot Whales – Cathedral Steps (November) Stephen, Lewis and Wesley are back with their third album which further develops their unique approach to music and their lyrical genius in respect of the world that surrounds us and them. Utterly wonderful. Get it from Bandcamp. Note to self – make sure we get them at a gig in Salford next year.

Half Man Half Biscuit – Somethings Rotten in the back of Iceland – 90 Bisodol (Crimond) (September) – the 12th album in the canon and they show no signs of running out of ideas – the usual Blackwell obsessions remain – footie, indie bands and obscure soap stars. There are three constants in my life – the wife, The Fall and Half Man Half Biscuit (oh and Joseph Holts Bitter – so that’s four).

Fucked Up – Queen of Hearts – David Comes To Life (June) – a “Tommy” for the I-Pad generation? Possibly – but then again so much more than that. Immense vocals, searing guitars and exceptional tunes. As mentioned above many had this as number one for the year but the jury over turned that verdict and came up with the one below.

Factory Star – Stone Tumbling Stream – Enter Castle Perilous (April) – we said this immediately it came out – Album of the Year – a bit of a bold statement given we were only four months into the year. Having seen the new line-up do the whole album in order at FAC 251 and having been somewhat blown away it was good to get hold of it and revel in its quality. Some of Martin Bramahs’ most exquisite lyrics appear on this release revealing him as a poet of some distinction, and the tunes are just as memorable. The album was recorded “live” and this works on so many levels as it captures the intensity of the experience of catching this band in the flesh.  My review of the album is still the most read blog on this site. Occultation records again demonstrating exceptional taste.

So in conclusion:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR : Factory Star – Enter Castle Perilous ; Runner-Up – Fucked Up – David Comes to Life

RECORD LABLE OF THE YEAR : Occultation ; Runner-up – Bandcamp

To listen to this show click the link

Aural Delights Radio Show – 23rd November 2011

On this show – too busy for links this week – just search for them on Facebook or Google…….

  • Andre Williams and the Goldstars – Nightclub
  • Can – Mushroom
  • Whipcord – Dread Stop Bop
  • Gnod – Tron
  • The Granite Shore – When Sleep Won’t Come
  • The Jar Family – In for a penny
  • Hedvig Mollestad Trio – Gun and the E-Kid – Shoot!
  • Pete and the Pirates – Ill  Love – Little Death
  • West Coast Sick Line – No Wife No Kids
  • Otalgia – Demi Stars
  • Crystal Stilts – Still As The Night
  • This City of Takers – This City Is A Pipe Bomb
  • Half Man Half Biscuit – All I Want for Christmas Is A Dukla Prague Away Kit
  • Half Man Half Biscuit – The Trumpton Riots

To listen click the link below

Salford Music Scene – 22nd November 2011

On this show

  • 7 Day Weekend – Seasons Like These – All aged 18 or below, 7 Day Weekend are a pop punk/ alternative band from Warrington. They say “With catchy guitar riffs, and strong emotionally driven lyrics. Theyʼve drawn comparisons to You Me At Six and Young Guns. Clayton Leah (Rhythm Guitar), John Handy (Drums), Calan Nickle (Vocals), Dan Hancox (Bass) & Tom Hancox (Lead Guitar) started off just over a year ago, to aim as high as possible… And the ball hasn’t stopped rolling for us as theyʼve gone from Calan’s old garage to Manchester Academy 3 in just over a year, playing along side huge talents such as Destine, Above The Underground, That Sunday Feeling and Attack! Attack! The band has looked to play shows regularly including local Day Festivals to increase their fan base in area.”
  • Air Cav– A Call to Arms –  Air Cav can finally announce the release of their long-awaited debut album Don’t Look Indoors, on Crystalline Recordings on December 5. The release marks the culmination of time spent in the shadows, working on something that they could irrevocably call theirs, something that bled their own character and that wasn’t a half-formed facsimile of different artists. The album will be preceded by the download-only single ‘A Call To Arms,’ also out on Crystalline on November 7.
  • Crystal Stilts – Low Profile – Radiant Door EP – the band that stunned us earlier in the year with a great album have a new EP out which includes a cover of this Blue Orchids classic which gave me an idea based on fellow DJ Stephen Doyle’s “Different Song, Same Title” feature – I flipped it and called it “Same Song, Different Band”…. and so
  • Blue Orchids – Low Profile – Serene to Severe – a classic from one of the great post-punk bands – the main man of the band – Martin Bramah –  is still working hard today to create great music…..
  • Martin Bramah – I Super Real – an acoustic session track Martin did for me last year……
  • Factory Star – Lucybel – the Christmas single out on Occultation soon…as played previously and likely to play again in the run up to the festivities…..
  • John Hamlin – The Chimes of Christmas – and in the same vein a song from John which celebrates the season – infinitely better than those tired old replays of Slade, Wham et al.
  • Monster Island – Kitchen Witch/MMS Battenburg (Flyover) – the album is now available on Bandcamp – grab it and make the lads happy – it’s free!!!!
  • English Mutts – Mancouva Kiss – a duo from Moston and Blackley who sent me some songs.
  • The Mang Mang Mangs – That Would Be The Normal Reaction – playing the Roadhouse on November  30th
  • Air Cav – Here Be Dragons
  • The Fall – Nate Will Not Return – another one from the new album

To listen to show click on the link below

Aural Delights Radio Show – 8th June 2011 – Mostly New Stuff

This show features artists that have been zapped my way by promo people and tunes direct from the bands themselves – links to web pages or Facebook are provided where they are available…..I would write some words about each of the artists but I’m a tad busy what with lots of new CDs having landed recently……. you should be able to find info about all of them courtesy of the magic of Google…..I would particularly point out both Stylusboy and Will Maitland who I am very impressed by. Will is a member of Audio Asylum who I played on the show a couple of weeks ago and is involved in the excellent Rebel Soul Collective from Liverpool.

Listen by clicking the link below

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….