Salford Music Scene 10th July 2012 – AAAK Special

At the end of the 80’s the duo known as As Able As Kane(AAAK)  first stalked the streets of the NW, bullying audiences with their Buildingscape Beats – a mutant offspring of the Electronic Body Music scene.

They  took their name from a song by Scraping Foetus Off The Wheel and their influences from European acts like Laibach, The Young Gods and Front 242, as well as Essex’s Nitzer Ebb.

At the time, Manchester was in the midst of Stone Roses and Happy Monday madness (how history repeats itself)  and so the hard-edged industrial sound of AAAK appealed to only a handful [of special] people. The band signed 2 record deals and 2 albums were released back then.

Photograph by Chris Power from AAAKs most recent gig at the Kings Arms

John Peel liked them and so it seemed did the Europeans. The second album in the recently released John Peel on-line album collection happens to be a AAAK release…..

In 1992 the band split and it seemed like they were quickly forgotten. Ding, the music man in the outfit, continued a career in music, building up a recording studio and finding himself playing bass for the likes of The Fall , PJ Harvey and Frank Black over the years. More recently he played with Bobbie Peru and Kin.

Then, in 2009, Ding was approached by Electric Tremor records about having these earlier works re-released, an idea which quickly escalated into them being re-recorded and the band reforming after tracking down the band’s singer, Paul R.

A 2CD release entitled ‘The Collection’ was released in June 2010, with the band returning to the stage for the first time in nearly 20 years too. There were showcases in hometown Salford (at Sacred Trinity Church)  and over in Germany & Belgium .Performances were incredibly well received, with the band employing the use of video, lighting and circuit-bent technology to put the shows together. AAAK continue to go out of their way to be as awkward and ill-placed as they were 20 years ago by doing nothing like the norm.


Throughout 2011 they combined playing further live shows with the writing of a new LP. This is now out and entitled “Totalitarian Tip-Toe” – you can find my review here. Ding and Paul have expanded the line up of the band with guitarist Neil Rowbotham of The Words (“a much better guitarist than me” says Ding), and Tamsin A lead chanteuse and guitarist with Mr Heart. Special guests on the album were Kim F and Howard J from Kin. In the most recent live appearance the band was a five piece with Neil, Howard and Tamsin joining Paul and Ding on stage.

In April 2012 the band set up their own website where their early work is now available for free download. The website contains free downloads of the bands first two releases which Ding has remastered – plus other rare material.

www.aaak.co.uk

The show – which you can listen to here – contains the following tracks:

1 AAAK Sharpshooter The Collection
2 AAAK Outland Demo Version
3 AAAK Kingpin Totalitarian Tip-Toe
4 Toska Wilde and Luis Drayton I Am Kathy Kirby (AAAK Remix) I Am Kathy Kirby EP
5 AAAK Sleep Freeze The Collection
6 AAAK Get In The Real World Totalitarian Tip-Toe
7  AAAK Train to the West Big Fist
8 The Hired Help Perfect Society Exclusive Track
9 Kin Army of Ruined Buildings Flickering
10 AAAK We Fall Alone The Collection
11 The Fall Recovery Kit #2 We Wish You A Protein Xmas
12 AAAK Better Off Dead Totalitarian Tip-Toe
13 AAAK Sharpshooter (2012 – Shadow of Progress Remix) Exclusive Track
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Salford Music Scene Radio Show – 8th May 2012

On this weeks show you can hear :

1 The Reveres Kick Your Maker Kick Your Maker EP
2 Kit B Just A Kid Demo Track
3 The Ascension Precipice Blood Upon The Rose
4 Dead Sea Apes Still Lupus
5 Glory for an Idol Headstrong Prepare for the Fight
6 Head 13 Broken Man Demo Track
7 Ninetails Blue Bottle Flu Single
8 Blue Zen Drifting Demo Track
9 Kin Chemistry Set Live Acoustic Radio
10 Lipstick Traces She’s Alone Demo Track
11 The Ligaments In the Fallout Bandcamp
12 White Vinyl Shifting Sands Bandcamp
13 WithiN When They Call Your Name Demo Track
14 Dead Sea Apes Medicine Lodge Lupus
15 The Fall Taking Off Night of the Humerons

Notes in respect of the above:

1. Sharp, intelligent and attractive alternative rock from the Manchester area – currently recording new material so here is something to remind you pending the new stuff.

2.  Another glorious tune from the pen of Mr Danny Cusick – we await their first live appearance with some anticipation.

3. They launch this new EP on Wednesday 9th May at the Kings Arms. Also the debut gig for new drummer Aaron. Check our their previous work “Last Fall” and “Idealistic Future”. Recorded by the ever popular Mr Archer at 6dB studios. Vidchip below done by that highly talented Kin person (more of which later)……listen to the words, almost Orwellian!

4/14. Catch them at The Castle on Oldham Street, Manchester (highly recommended intimate venue with excellent beer) on May 14th.  Get their material from Bandcamp. Probably the leading instrumental experimental psych/drone band in the conurbation at the moment. This album was released in March. Hypnotic stuff.

5. I was brought up on metal at an early age (Zepp, The Sabs, Purple) so it I have always retained a love for the better ends of the genre. This lot describe themselves as post-hardcore/metalcore and they immediately struck me as refreshing and far better than some of the material that I get sent. Formed in 2011 they are still new to the scene and have just recorded this debut EP titled ‘Prepare For The Fight’. Set to be released mid 2012 it includes the tracks ‘Regrets’ (feat. Sam Graves of With One Last Breath) and this is the first single ‘Headstrong’ (now streaming on the music page). You can catch them live on 4th June – The Flying Horse, Rochdale, 28th June – The Star and Garter with POLAR and in between those dates they are  playing with You Cried Wolf in York on the 23rd if you fancy a trip over to that fine city.

6. More metal – this time from the other end of the M62(W) via Southport , Wales and the States – again a refreshing sound with an absence of the usual cliches. They used to be called “Trollbangers” – interesting!  Anyway, an impressive debut album which you can acquire here. More information on their website.

7. New single which was sent to me by the knowledgeable and reudite Mr Lynham of Superstar Destroyer. More Merseysiders,  this time with a fascinating guitar driven  sound – preorder the single here….released on May 21st. This lot blew me away with their Ghost Ride The Whip EP last October which is still available as a free download  it says there that the CD is sold out but Nick Duke from Trojan Horse has a couple of copies if you ask him nicely.

8. Solo project from Positronik’s MzDee – glorious stuff here from Danielle really demonstrating what an excellent voice she possesses. You will be able to catch her and the rest of Positronik at the Salford Music Festival in October – and hopefully sooner than that.

9. The aforementioned Kin with the new iteration of the Kin Band from a Dutch Radio Session – glorious version of the tune from Dot Dot Dot/Flickering.

10.  Another track from this new band from sunny Salford.

11. Formed in 2012 by guitarist/vocalist Jake Maxwell (drummer of the Drowning Sorrows and Former Pink Hearse guitarist). Look out for their live debut later in 2012 and  you can get this debut release free from Bandcamp….not that we are into nepotism or anything at SCR but he just happens to be the son of Shaun Maxwell of Taser Puppets and Sinister Chuckles.

12. They will be on at the aforementioned gig with Dead Sea Apes at the Castle on May 14th – check out their available recordings on Bandcamp – a gloriously noisy lot…most enjoyable.

13. Manchester band – lots more info on their website – not sure what the capital N at the end of the word is about…..

15. The B-Side of the latest single recorded in Brighton at the end of last year.

Music Diary #10 – (Salford) Music Scene 10th January 2012

A pop orientated influx of music today from Mausi, Thom Cross, Soulmagic and the oddly named Rainy Boy Sleep – all fine stuff but unlikely to be played on my shows as they just don’t fit – however I have shared them with colleagues at the station and hopefully they will pick up on them. Some interesting rock music from America’s “BrokenRail” (sic) which again doesn’t quite get on my playlist but might get picked up by others.

Pleased to see another release from “Danny Short” in his DDS guise – this is the more experimental side of his music which is closer to ambient and free improvisation – anyway you can get it here free.

Taking the opportunity for this show to play some four of the five demo tracks “Kill Pretty” laid down earlier in the month in Stockport. They have further recordings planned in February and March with Craig Scanlon and Larry Gott guesting which should be interesting.  As I’ve said elsewhere on this blog I’m somewhat excited with what Ian Moss and his band of merry funsters are cooking up.  In terms of gigs you can catch them- Thursday January 26th , with Sandells/Factory Star at Kings Arms , Salford; Saturday February 25th , with Taser Puppets at the Railway Chorley. Dates to be confirmed but also March gigs at the Verge, Hyde with Subway Sect , and Ashton under Lyne’s Guzzlin Goose with Taser puppets.

In their usual perverse way the Day for Airstrikes chaps released a three track EP on bandcamp on Christmas Eve  (fascinating marketing concept chaps!) – comprising of music from three of their component parts ( Adam Skerritt (aka Little Idiot), John Simpson (aka Mi Amo Simmy) and Ian Breen (aka Claw The Thin Ice))  – regardless of the Christmassy association this music is required listening. Fascinating also that those components separately sound nothing like the whole.

Featuring also – as I will be for the next few weeks – music from the excellent “Long Hat Pins” – who continues to amaze with the variety of music he produces. Also another track from recently featured “Hunting Bears” – and the new single from Turrentine Jones which is a remarkably good move on from their previous work.

Also very pleased to be featuring the new single from John Herring – which is a precursor to his second album which will be out in due course. You can catch him at the Deaf Institute on March 17th he has a hell of a good band behind him now and this latest song is damn fine indeed. Looking forward to hearing the album.

In tonights fun packed radio spectacular therefore the playlist is : (listen in here)

1 Turrentine Jones Candy Snake Single
2 John Herring It Starts Again Single
3 Kill Pretty Emperors New Clothes Demo
4 Claw The Thin Ice Lonely Animal EP – A Christmas Miracle
5 Kin No Outline Demo
6 Kill Pretty Stupid Club Demo
7 Long Hat Pins Men Marching, Men Running Demo
8 Hunting Bears My Own Child Demo
9 Mi Amo Simmy Yes Is The Answer to Everything EP – A Christmas Miracle
10 Turrentine Jones Slam the Door Single
11 Kill Pretty Brown Eyes Demo
12 Little Idiot It Aint Easy being Svarte Piet EP – A Christmas Miracle
13 Kill Pretty Black Dog City Blues Demo
14 The Fall Get A Hotel The Frenz Experiment

Music Diary and Salford Music Scene Radio Show – 3rd January 2012

Diary Day 3 and the first radio show of 2012.

Nothing much to report in terms of new music other than I spotted a various artists compilation called “The Great Australian Song Book” which perversely excludes The Go-Betweens, Dave Graney and The Triffids amongst others. Also got the new single in from The Silver Seas who appear to be able to write good, albeit derivative pop tunes (they used to be The Bees and had a lot of success last year which passed me by to some extent).

Also details of the new John Herring album and first gig of 2012 have emerged via the interweb viz (note the usual geographical attempt to annexe Salford into the place next door, it’s bad enough with the boundary commission doing daft stuff, we don’t need copywriters doing it as well)….

Singer-Songwriter John Herring is set to release the follow up album to, ‘Tales From a Northern City’ called ‘It Starts Again’ in 2012.

John has returned to Blueprint Studios (home of Elbow) to record the new material and is again working with engineer and co-producer, Gary Vaughan-Hadfield .

The new single, ‘It Starts Again’ is an interesting mix of soulful and driving song according to Herring. ‘It shows off my style of songwriting, and the talented line-up I am working with. Unlike the last album I now have a steady band of excellent musicians, so there is a real cohesiveness to the album.’

In addition to the four piece the album again sees Herring scoring strings, trumpets and choirs, and indeed a live choir features briefly on the new single – recorded at their last gig at Sacred Trinity Church in Salford. John’s first gig in his hometown (err no he is from Salford)  in 2012 at The Deaf Institute will be a gig to remember – with support from the excellent Phil Davies and the ninjasmokebombs.

No changes to the format of this show for 2012 – I’ll be featuring new, independent and unsigned music from Salford, Greater Manchester and the North-West, and featuring a track from the mighty Fall to conclude…..

So to kick off:

  • Handsome Shaun & The Swingers  – Break Out The Dansette – otherwise Shaun Maxwell of Taser Puppets with a little thing he knocked together at home. Caught the Puppet
  • Always Awake – Sparks – from the EP of the same name – which was released digitally on December12th – I will leave the words to my colleague Rebecca Marshall who says ““Always Awake are a perfect example of the fresh sounding talent Manchester has to offer today. A talented band and bunch of young singer songwriters with a really amazing sound which proves talent is not always found on a TV show.”
  • Kit B – Death of Clown – another tune from the remarkable work of Mr Danny Cusick. Still aiming to put a band together.
  • Kin – Awkward House – another of the new ones from the remarkable Kin.
  • Long Hat Pins – The Sound of Summer  In The Rain – another one from Tim, who will be a regular feature of the show in the next few weeks.
  • The Inflictors – Spits Fire – not seen this lot in a while, we keep missing each other, I aim to remedy that in 2012. Further evidence they still have their Mojo’s intact.
  • Younger Dryes – Implore – Stockport based band I have been featuring of late.
  • English Mutts – Ramdom Axe of Violence – woof! Ran into Stan from the band at the Crescent before Christmas
  • 7 Day Weekend – Seasons Like These – The PR says “All aged 18 or below, 7 Day Weekend are a pop punk/ alternative band from Warrington England. With catchy guitar riffs, and strong emotionally driven lyrics. Theyʼve drawn comparisons to You Me At Six and Young Guns (can’t say I have heard of either of those).
  • Kin – Make Way For The )Sad) Emperor  – another marvellous track from a real talent
  • Stupid Little Cars – Chico – before Taser Puppets Shaun Maxwell ran this rocking beat combo.
  • Younger Dryes – And We’re Still Here – another track from this great band
  • The Fall – Guest Informant – a marvelous example of riff-tastic magic from The Frenz Experiment – an album produced when the group were at the height of their chart success.

Anyway you can listen to it here….

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

Salford Music Scene – 20th December 2011 – Best of the Year Part One

Part One of two weeks worth of what I consider to be some of the best music to come out of Salford and Greater Manchester in the last year. So many good bands and singers had to be left out to fit everything in. Also new bands get an airing, a new track from Kin, and an exclusive radio mix of a track from the forthcoming AAAK with a special guest on vocals! But we start with some festive cheer from The Fall from 1978……

  • The Fall – No Xmas for John Key – from the first Peel Session, a seasonal ditty from the gruppe…..
  • Pacific – See What I See – from Northwich – out now on I-Tunes
  • Younger Dryes – All The Questions – from Stockport – more of these in the new year
  • Kin – Nervous Grins – new demos from the rather talented chanteuse
  • AAAK – Into Stranger Times – an exclusive track from Ding and Paul for me for Crimb0 – features Kin and Howard from the Kin Band….
  • Glassheads – Double Hard Bastard – from Wigan
  • The Loaded Dice – Maniac – From Manchester via Wales – great album this year
  • The Calimocho Club– Baby’s  Got A Switchblade – from Whoa Whoa Hey Hey
  • Rawcuss – John Travolta – one of the many singles this year
  • Doctrines – Anglophobia – another great release this year
  • Suzuki Method – Be Cruel Be Kind – the future is Suzuki Shaped
  • Zap Zap Zap– Brick Windows – great tune
  • Bare in the Woods – Bare Faced Liar – another one of those great tunes
  • Sandells – Alien Intelligence – the psychedelic warlords

To listen to the show click this link