News – local and international

There has been a lot happening in the last seven days so here is a quick bullet point round-up of some of the news which has been brought to my attention:

  • Monster Island have a new album – their fifth – called “House of Lancaster”  out on Monday 25th August – which is excellent news for lovers of their particularly fascinating approach to music
  • Mr Heart have got a new bassist to replace Sophie Lord – she is Amy Spray – and they have a gig in Bolton on 30th August at the Blind Tiger with Coroner for the Police
  • German Shepherd records have a new EP out by a band called Scratchings, No Gravy – it’s called “Eccles Cross Breakdown” and you can get it here. The next releases on the label will be a new EP from Modal Roberts and the re-release of the excellent album from The Bacillus called “I Can’t Adapt To This Prison You Call Society”
  • In further German Shepherd news the label is co-curating a gig with Louder Than War signings Kill Pretty at Dulcimer, Chorlton, Manchester on 12th and 19th September. Kill Pretty headline both nights and have special guests – West Coast Sick Line, Indian Pale Male and Poppycock on the 12th, and 2 Koi Karp, Andy T plus As Able As Kane on the 19th. Advance tickets are available with a booking fee from here. All of those purchasing advance tickets will get a free set of Kill Pretty badges when they arrive at the gig!
  • Earth‘s brand new full-length studio LP, Primitive And Deadly, the album shall be released in less than two weeks through Southern Lord. With founding guitarist Dylan Carlson weaving his slow-motion, organic dirges throughout the amazingly restrained percussion of his longtime cohort Adrienne Davies, the duo are here joined by bassist Bill Herzog (Sunn O))), Joel RL Phelps, Jesse Sykes and the Sweet Hereafter) and additional guitarists Brett Netson (Built To Spill, Caustic Resin) and Jodie Cox (Narrows). Rabia Shaheen Qazi of Rose Windows lends her angelic voice to the album’s third composition, “From The Zodiacal Light,” as heard in recent weeks, while the fifth track, “Rooks Across The Gate” and second track, “There Is a Serpent Coming,” feature evocative vocal contributions from Mark Lanegan previously of Screaming Trees, Queens of the Stone Age, Mad Season and more. The lyrics for “Rooks…” were written by Dylan Carlson and the lyrics for “Serpent..” by Lanegan.
  • Avec le soleil sortant de sa bouche is a bit of a Montreal supergroup, its members having been active in this city’s experimental rock communities for well over a decade, including participation in Panopticon Eyelids, Pas Chic Chic, Red Mass, Set Fire to Flames, and, from the Constellation roster, Fly Pan Am. Avec le soleil has solidified over the past year into a tight four-piece unit, and moved towards mastery of a highly original, deeply satisfying, giddy and heady avant-funk. They have an album out on Constellation on 29th September. Looks interesting from the notes I have seen.
  • Last Ex is the new instrumental rock ensemble led by Simon Trottier and Olivier Fairfield, both longtime fixtures of experimental/punk scenes rooted in the cross-province hub of Hull/Ottawa (straddling the border of Quebec and Ontario, respectively). In addition to duties in various groups orbiting Fairfield’s E-Tron Records (including H. de Heutz, Ferriswheel and many others), the two are perhaps best known as core members of haunted blues-folk ensemble Timber Timbre, which spawned the Last Ex project. When Timber Timbre’s ambient music for a horror film went unused back in 2012, Trottier and Fairfield began revisiting the sound palette they had built up for the soundtrack at Fairfield’s studio in Hull, expanding on their techniques and textures, adding drums, bass and various other instruments. The duo found that they had dug into some very fertile territory, writing additional songs throughout 2013 and bringing their obsessions with sound collage, tape-based music concrète and the BBC Radiophonic Workshop to bear on the cinematic lyricism of the initial widescreen guitar- and string-based material. Derived from the title of the abandoned film, Simon and Olivier dubbed their new project Last Ex. It is released on Constellation on 13th October.
  • Montreal four-piece post-punk group Ought has been gathering momentum the old-fashioned way, with a humble and deceptively unassuming debut album that’s been worming its way into many many ears thanks to its combination of intelligence, authenticity, directness, simplicity and energy; and with live performances in which it is reported that  the band’s channeling of genuine passion, politics and charisma are consistently connecting with and exuberantly galvanizing audiences. While they continue their relentless touring across North America and Europe this Autumn, Constellation will be releasing a vinyl- and digital-only EP which corrals a couple of selections from the band’s older songbook, re-recorded this Spring at Hotel2Tango to reflect some of the ways they’ve grown and evolved over the past year or so.   Ought will be doing a full UK tour in November. The EP is called “Once More With Feeling” and is released on 27th October.

 

 

Mr Heart with their new line-up
Mr Heart with their new line-up
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Heart Stopping

Artist : Mr Heart

Album : The Unspeakable Mr Heart

Lable : Self – released

Release Date : 2nd November 2012

Get It from –http://www.mrheart.co.uk/#

After what feels like an age the debut album  from Mr Heart finally gets a release. Long standing fans will recognise that  six of the tracks on the album made a prior appearance on “The Hide” EP – but it should be noted from the outset that these are re-workings/re-recordings of those tracks and an absolutely vital part of the album.

Things have moved on a little since previous bassist Kin left – with Sophie Lord now holding the four string responsibilities there has been a shift in direction and overall feel. Whilst the core elements of the trio’s original schema are still there the intent and variety in the material is more substantial. Helen’s excellent drums propel the whole thing along with a mixture of deftness and pure power. Tamsin’s voice has never sounded better and the range of sounds she conjures from her guitar are impressive to say the least, and to complete the trio Sophie is an outstanding bass player.

I am aware that a great deal of work went into the recording and production of the album and this manifests itself in some remarkable performances and sonic wonderment throughout. There are some memorable moments across the piece and some surprises as well. The utterly beautiful “Amber” for example demonstrates a whole new side to Tamsin’s writing and the band’s delivery.

There are always comparisons made with other artists when people fulminate about this band which I tend not to agree with. I always like to listen to them on their own merits and regard them as unique in their approach to the music, and the lyrical content and breadth of sound which emerges from the interplay between the three band members. What i’m trying to say is they don’t sound like anyone else – they sound like Mr Heart.

There are moments on the album with a pure “wow” factor – the outstanding “Vacuum Head” is a tour de force, containing a beautifully restrained anger, which develops into a memorable sonic assault, a truly unique sound. The cynical polemic of “Riot Song” contains some of the most spot-on social commentary you are likely to hear on a rock record, and the vocal layering on the excellent “Dynamo” – which is actually delivered that way in a live setting – demonstrates the band are not afraid to play with new tech.

Add to that a fascinating remix of “The Hide” by Kin and the ambient reworkings of “Vacuum Head” by AAAK and you have an absolutely stunning album.

Highly recommended!

The Last Salford Music Scene – 30th October 2012

On 22nd February last year (2011) I inherited Jon Coupe’s mantle of producing a Salford Music themed radio show – seemed sensible to me to have a radio show about Salford music on a community radio station in Salford….bit of a no-brainer really.

There had been a lot of debate at the station amongst a few of us about wanting to feature more Salford music on the programmes. Tony Thornborough, Becs Marshall, Ian Rothwell, Eddie Mann, Eddie Legge, Zac and Paul, Monty and SD were all doing their part in promoting new music in the city but it seemed to me we could go a bit further and increase the percentage of airplay given to local bands. I mean does anyone really want to hear the Stone Roses and the Happy Mondays again and again when there are excellent bands like AAAK, Mr Heart, Suzuki Method, Lipsticks Traces, Positronik, Death to the Strange, Saturday Morning Cartoons et al who deserve airplay and more exposure?

So 88 episodes later it’s all coming to a close for a number of reasons far too complicated to waste your time on – all I will say is that one reason I am quitting  is I was becomingly increasingly frustrated at the inability to further increase the amount of music from local bands and singers on the station. So i’m off to do it somewhere else…..

So what am I going to be doing? Well this show and the Aural Delights show will be combined into a semi-regular podcast on Mixcloud. I have managed to keep a lot of my record company/promo company contacts despite me giving up broadcast radio…..and there will hopefully be more detail on this blog about the music than there has been hitherto. Also Jon, Tony and myself are bring back the Salford Music Website which you can now see here……

Thanks to all the bands that have contributed music over the last few years to make this show what is has been – extra special thanks to Ding, Tamsin, Toby Jughead, John Herring, The Inflictors (wherever you are!), Brad, Mr Moss, MJ Leigh, The Duttons, Dusty, Shaun, The General, Ken, Toska, Luis, Stephen, Martin B, Tim, Kin, the Borland boys and all the other bands Mr. Breen is in,  Hop Man Jr, Danny Short, Dave Bromwich, Andy & Michelle Quayle,  Mr Coupe  and the other three horsemen of radio apocalypse Tony, Monty and SD.

So for the final show…..new stuff and a bit of a self-indulgence with my favourite local bands – listen here……

  1. Sinister Chuckles – Bottle of Pop – another snippet of pop-punk loveliness from Sad Row studios and the legendary Shaun “Ali Bongo” Maxwell……in this outing he appears to have transmogrified into a thespian……
  2. Kill for Company – Mind Over Mouth – supporting both Twisted Wheel and Mr Heart in two seperate outings this coming Friday – a marvellous band which I am very pleased to have featured on the radio……
  3. Mr Heart – Stones …..from the exceptional new album “The Unspeakable Mr Heart” which is launched Friday Night at The Castle on Oldham Street……
  4. Kill Pretty – Mirror Factory ……. the best live band in the world…..from the new album “Dark Heart”” ……..catch them live you will not regret it
  5. Palomino – Price We Pay – a brand new band from Salford which is what this show is all about…….
  6. Rapid Pig – Flight – from the marvellous new album “Wildlife” …… another band which need to be seen
  7. The Blimp – Miniature – the other best live band in the world ….from the 3-4 EP which we released as a free download from SCR…….saw them last Friday and they were stunning….
  8. Alarms – Man With Gun – another new band – keeping in with the spirit of the show
  9. Journal Keepers – Clearest Day – one of the more recent discoveries and I have to say I’m glad they wrote in – bloomin’ brilliant….
  10. Kingdom Lost – Let’s Stay Together – from the new free EP “Naked from the Waist Down”
  11. West Coast Sick Line – This Ain’t London – not from Salford but we’ve adopted him – the mercurial songwriting talent of Dusty Moonan from his new album “I hope everybody gets nightmares except Kirsty”
  12. The Fall – Reformation – well I started with this back in 2009 so I may as well finish with it…….

So that’s your lot ……. thanks for listening….

Salford Music Scene – 25th September 2012

On this show you can hear (stream here)

1 Social Aneurysm State of Emergency Demo
2 Edits Black and White Black and White EP
3 Exchange Future Systems
4 Fall Fan Dave and the Laptop Dancers Be My Forty Thieves Beat on The Moans Pre-Release
5 Factory Acts Senseless (Radio Edit) Senseless
6 Mr Heart Sexy Husby The Unspeakable Mr Heart
7 Fall Fan Dave and the Laptop Dancers Meridian Fried Beat on The Moans Pre-Release
8 Fall Fan Dave and the Laptop Dancers One Man’s Super Hero Cape is Another Mans Crutch Beat on The Moans Pre-Release
9 Semitt Falls Late for Drum and Bass Reasons Monkey See, Monkey Do
10 The Mang Mang Mangs Twilight Waltz Pre-release
11 Lever Street Tangerine and Orange Peel Pre-release
12 Fall Fan Dave and the Laptop Dancers The Loudness of the Mobile Phone User Beat on The Moans Pre-Release
13 Fall Fan Dave and the Laptop Dancers Don’t Scribble Me In Beat on The Moans Pre-Release
14 The Madding Crowd Oh! Minister Pre-release
15 Hey Bulldog Tiny Timmy Rip It Up
16 Hey Bulldog Hey Mud Rip It Up
17 The Fall It’s The New Thing Live at the Witch Trials Expanded Edition

Salford Music Scene – 28th August 2012

On this show I start a four week series of previews of the forthcoming Salford Music Festival…….i’ve also got the new Mr Heart album to play as well! Listen here….

1 Dirty Money Start All Over Demo
2 Mr Heart Amber The Unspeakable Mr Heart
3 Veladrome Boys 33 Demo
4 Dislocation Dance I Stop Breathing The Ruins of Manchester
5 The Distractions 100 times The End of the Pier
6 The June Brides Cloud Single
7 Factory Star Olympian New Sacral
8 West Coast Sick Line Blank Holiday Demo
9 Whipcord Dread Stop Bop Whipcord
10 Veladrome Die Neue Demo
11 Mr Heart Devolution The Unspeakable Mr Heart
12 Toska Wilde and Luis Drayton feat Moet Lullabye Glamoflage
13 Moral Panic Rubiks Demo
14 The Fall Life Just Bounces White Lightning EP

(Salford) Music Scene – 22nd May 2012

On this weeks show….listen in here

1 Mr Heart Vacuum Head Pre-release
2 The Lazy Maybees Easee Babee Lining Up Spoons
3 Fuschi4 Can’t Hold Out Can’t Hold Out
4 Milk Maid Do Right Mostly No
5 Stella Marconi Cult of Celebrity Aeroplane Blonde
6 The Brakes It’s My City Demo
7 The Ascension Cityscape Blood Upon The Rose
8 Boo & the Crow Men OK In The Morning Demo
9 Danny Short Casinoland Remnants
10 Silence Rises Feeling Clever Single
11 The Mekkits! End of the World Blues Single
12 Clockwork Radio Feel It Up Single
13 English Mutts Albion Summer Demo
14 Wailer Pilot Study Drive Drive
15 Fall Fan Dave and the Laptop Dancers Timelord Waiting To Happen Beat on the Moans
16 The Fall Middlemass Slates

Notes in respect of the above:

  1. From the forthcoming album – they support Martin Rev at the Academy on Saturday 26th May.
  2. Manchester band who have a new album called “Lining Up Spoons”
  3. Salford based blues band – debut album ‘Can’t Hold Out’  available at shows for £10, and they are also selling a 10-track digital version for only £7 at www.fuschi4.bandcamp.com . The band will be playing a few festivals over the coming months, starting with Hebden Bridge Blues Festival,   Main Stage on Saturday 2nd June.  Maryport Blues Festival between 27th – 29th July, and  The Great British Rhythm and Blues Festival in Colne between 24th – 27th August.
  4. Last year, under the name Milk Maid, Martin Cohen released Yucca, a fuzzy, jangling record that switched genres with each track. On one song, the Manchester bedroom artist would paint himself as a 1990s indie rock devotee. On the next, he’d be fingerpicking a quiet, echoing folk song. With “Do Right”, the first track he’s letting go from Mostly No (June 26 in the US, July 9 in the UK via FatCat), the shapeshifting continues. Here, he takes the form of a screeching, reverb-drenched West Coast grunge fan. He sings about California, he bookends the song with feedback, and halfway in, he rips through a tossed off guitar solo. Given his history, it’s fair to wonder if the album will stray from this song’s faux-slacker punk aesthetic.
  5.  This summer, Stella Marconi are releasing their debut album ‘STOP: Await Instructions’ through IMR. They have previously released two EP’s to fantastic receptions, both of which can be found on their SoundCloud page. Playing previous high profile support slots with bands such as ‘The Indecent’ (Warner Bros USA), on their inaugural UK dates, and ‘To Kill A King’ (Virgin), the band are establishing themselves not only on the national, but global music stage.
  6. Manchester band – featured before on the show – this is from their first EP.
  7. As featured previously from the new EP
  8. Acoustic Trio from Hulme- this is their first release.
  9. From the new album – available from Bandcamp – this track shows the more experimental side of Danny’s work.
  10. From Huddersfield which is near enough to count of regionally local – Silence Rises formed in 2010 and set out to write a set of huge anthemic indie tunes.
    Drawing on a rich song writing talent present between all five members, the band continue to focus their style in to well crafted, hook filled, venue filling music with huge towering bursts which take the listener on a dynamic audio journey. Recent highlights include the band being selected by indie legends The Wedding Present to support them on two of their 2011 UK tour dates. The band were also selected by Tim Burgess and a panel of music representatives to play the 2011 Friends of Mine Festival. As a result of these fantastic opportunities and constant gigging around the North of England a real buzz is starting to form around them.
  11. They have been absent for the last couple of years working on their album – but they are back with a flourish. See notes elsewhere on this blog.
  12. Lead single from the new EP Ubuntu. Currently gigging in Denmark but will be back for dates in Manchester in early June.
  13. Another class piece of pop from the Moston pooches.
  14. Received an intriguing package from this Manchester based duo. The Wailer Pilot Study – Stephen (Vocals/Bass/Keys/Samples) and Kieran (Vocals/Guitar/Beats/) favour drum loops over a live drummer and huge, dirty guitars over jangly indie tones. The sound of the WAILER PILOT STUDY is an Electronic/Cinematic/Rock mix. All instruments are played live by the 2 members.
  15. Preview track from the forthcoming album “Beat on the Moans”.
  16. A classic track from a classic release.

Salford Music Scene Radio Show – May 1st 2012

On this weeks show a look at the artists appearing in gigs over the Bank Holiday weekend in Salford:

1 Trojan Horse Patricroft Way Trojan Horse
2 Rapid Pig Little Clean Plane Demo Track
3 Salford Media City Two Bob …@Futureworks
4 The Loaded Dice Camera Shy Hurricane Hindsight of a Brand New Soul : Halo of Fireflies
5 Kill Pretty  What About Me Demo Track
6 The Blimp Fake Tan 3
7 West Coast Sick Line Hanging at Picnic Rock Demo Track
8 Toska Wilde and Luis Drayton I Am Kathy Kirby (Outlaw Mix) I Am Kathy Kirby EP
9 Mr Heart Vacuum Head Exclusive Pre-release
10 Taser Puppets Dim Twisted Pop
11 The Words I’m Not Listening Single
12 Sinister Chuckles Tony Thornboroughs Sock Blitzkreig Mop
13 Salford Media City Doing Stuff is Fun ….@Futureworks
14 Trojan Horse Fire Fire
15 Mr Heart Lynchpin Exclusive pre-release
16 The Fall Victrola Time Night of the Humerons

Notes in respect of the above….

1/14. Prog-nouveau maestros launch their new EP “Fire” at the Band on the Wall on Thursday May 3rd. A track from their debut album and the lead track from the EP where Frank Zappa meets Black Flag in a microcosm the “Horse’s” work to date (i.e. it is less than two minutes long when there tracks tend generally to exceed six minutes)

2.  Psychedelia meets Kraut-Rock as the new edition of the “Pig” features legendary local musician Tim Lyons (Sandells, Harvey’s Rabbit, The Things) along with one of the hardest working players on the Manc scene the Hop Man Jr – John Paul Moran. Front man Eoin O’Connor has to be seen to be believed – a real force of nature.

3/13. And starting the night on Thursday the David Jackson lead collective who have just released their first EP.

4. On Friday, Saturday and Sunday Toska’s Salford Temptation comes to Crescent 20 and the Hope Pub. On Friday night amongst others James Stone from The Loaded Dice is  playing a solo set – I was not aware of that when I recorded the show, I thought the whole band was playing. These things happen in radio.

5. On Saturday you can see one of the finest live bands in existence – I’ve whittered on about this lot elsewhere – they are all chums and rather good at what they do…..this will be on a forthcoming series of EPs I think…..get the album  (the sleeve design is excellent 😉 )

6. The chap who drums for 5. also drums for the his lot – another of the finest live bands in existence – one performance is uniquely different from the next due to the stunning showmanship of the General but it is all held together solidly by Ken and Mike – Sunday at The Hope.

7. Also on Sunday at the Hope the indefatigable Dusty Moonan plays a solo set – not sure whether he will be featuring any “West Coast Sick Line” music

8. The organiser and his aide-de-camp performing a new mix of their most recent song – Toska and Luis will be around for all three nights but take the stage proper on Sunday. Flamboyant doesn’t even get close.

9/15. Exclusive new tracks from the excellent three piece are my highlight for this show – I think they have raised the bar somewhat – not sure whether this is from an EP or an album or both but regardless of that the tunes are excellent.

10. Chorley’s finest export of recent times and the lead track from the Twisted Pop EP – they play Saturday at the Crescent……

11. These are playing but I like the single so much I needed to play the B Side.

12.  Chap from 10. takes the lead vocals for this band as well – Sunday Night at the Hope – a tale of hosiery abuse and the affect of progressive rock on the psyche.

16. New single – music recorded in London – vocals and other shenanigans sorted in Salford.