They say, don’t they, that the political and social zeitgeist tends to be reflected in the extant music of an area, country, nation or whatever?
So I wonder if the current all encompassing sense of economic doom and austerity has lead to a resurgence of the blues in the scene round the metropolis of Greater Mancunia?
There are a handful of examples of bands pursuing a blues soaked trail through the pubs and clubs of the ten boroughs. Some have been around for a while – The Inflictors are a case in point (although despite a high profile gig supporting The Fall in London they have gone very quiet ) – Irlam’s own Calimocho Club are perhaps the vanguard of such a movement having set the bar high with their work as The Black Knights – however their are newer protagonists in the mix including the visceral and slightly off kilter Ruby Tuesday. At the other end of the genre Swinton based Paulo Fuschi is pursuing a more traditional route with his Fuschi4 band – an album of whose I have played a few tracks from late.
My thesis (which had been rumbling in the back of my head for a few weeks) was further solidified with the arrival of an album by Old House Playground this week called “God Damn That Gold”. Recorded last December at Lo Fi Studios in Bolton – the band is a two piece (like the aforementioned Tuesdays and Calimocho’s) comprising Andreas Venetantes on drums and percussion and Tryfon Lazos on guitars and vocals. They deliver a distinct blues sound, perhaps a tad more mainstream that some of the heavier protagonists I have mentioned before. Lazos has an impressive voice and his guitar work is fine, clean and very much of the idiom. Whilst not overtly polemical there are undercurrents of social commentary in some of the tracks but in the most parts the imagery steers towards Tom Waits territory in its use of language. The music is inherently sexy with a steamy southern states sound.
Stand out track for me was the klezmer sounding “Johnny’s Place (Rebetiko)” which manages to meld a blues feel with a folky european traditional sound. Generally the album has a great after hours feel with an almost hypnagogic/surreal sensibility.
Recommended listen of the week for me.
It was released on 11th June 2012 through The Evening Economies and Fat Bob Records.
They have a launch party for the album on 24th June at Kraak Gallery in the Northern Quarter of Manchester City Centre