Fascinating Things : Issue 64

Straight into it this time around, there is just so much going on……………

Psychedelic dirt rock unit, Sonic Wolves,  which comprises current and past members of Ufomammut, The Hounds Of Hasselvander, Pentagram, and Rogue State,  release their debut full-length, “The End Comes”, on Taxi Driver Records in late July 2016. The eight-track offering follows the band’s first single, “He Said,” released as a limed edition seven-inch in conjunction with Record Store Day 2016.  Formed in Alessandria, Italy in 2012 by bassist Kayt Vigil (Rogue State, ex-The Hounds Of Hasselvander, ex-Pentagram) and drummer Vita (Ufomammut, Rogue State) initially under the name of “Tsutar”. In December 2014, the band recorded their first demo at Ampire Studio in Pistoia, Italy. At that time was Vigil on bass/vocals, Vita on drums and Stefano Tocci (Deaf Eyes, ex-Incoming Cerebral Overdrive) on guitars. By Spring of the following year, the eight-track “WolfWitch” was released and just a few months later, Paolo Melotto (ex-Psyconauts) joined  on lead guitar and vocals, followed by Diniz (Temple Of Dust, Mexican Chili Funeral Party) on rhythm guitar.

PROMO PHOTO 2

The sound of the band is a mix of heavy, gritty rock, with elements of metal and psychedelic influences. Here’s a taster of ‘He Said’ which was recorded and mixed by Stefano Tocci at Ampire Studio, Pistoia (Italy), and it’s a “radio edit” version. The extended track will be included in the upcoming full length. I’ll be featuring a track on the Sonic Attack  #168 on July 25th.

Boston-based thrashing hardcore punk band, Panzerbastard, release four new tracks on July 15th via their “MotörHeathen seven-inch”. Released by  PATAC Records, the new one follows a barrage of EP and split releases since their 2006 formation.

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“Here you go, motherfuckers,” says bassist/vocalist KPanzer of the seven-inch, “….the latest sonic assault on decency by the kings of motör-core. Forged in a dark, smelly, room in the deepest, darkest bowels of Boston, your intrepid, dirtbag heroes internalized three years of misfortune, betrayal, underachievement, and general disgust with the human race to puke forth the four slabs of sonic offal now known as MotörHeathen. We are the bastard sons of Motörhead, Discharge, Venom, and Cro-Mags, on a mission to ruin your life.” There you go….and very good it is too.  A couple of tracks will be on Sonic Attack #167 on July 18th. I’ve nothing to embed from the new one so here’s the most recent release prior to this new one.

Conceived as a three-piece jamming out simple stoner blues rock heavily rooted in metal, The Company Corvette deliver wall of sound hard rock.  They have recently completed their third full-length recording, “Never Enough”, which is released on August 5th  It’s heavy riff-laden, psychedelically inclined, occasionally laid back, mostly loud, stoner rock with above average use of fuzz and wah. The band likes to think of their two earlier releases as “glorified demos”  with the new album being a huge step forward for the trio in virtually every department. I agree.

the company corvette live

There will be a couple of tracks from this release on Sonic Attack #180 on August 8th – pending that here’s a taster.

Sanford Parker is the well regarded producer and electronicist behind some of metal’s most exploratory outfits, breaking new territory in his work as a fixture of Buried At Sea, Minsk, Corrections House and Mirrors For Psychic Warfare, and featuring on and producing numerous records from respected names . His trademark atmospherics shift between the nuanced to the crushingly direct, including elements of industrial, cold-wave and power electronics to give bleak, brutalist clout to his work. Now, Parker is striking out on his own with “Lash Back”, a full length record of mechanical, dystopic, beat-driven menace. Due out on the My Proud Mountain label on July 22nd, Lash Back is a marked departure from his metal legacy, retaining some of the hallmarks of his impressive work to date but moving towards bands Perc, Youth Code and Pharmakon. It’s a most enjoyable listen with a lot of sonic variety. Sadly I have nothing I can share at this stage so you will have to wait until Sonic Attack #168 on July 25th.

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Two years in the making, The Night Watch release their second album, “Boundaries”, a single thirty-six-minute piece on July 15th. The Canadian progressive instrumental quartet features guitarist Nathanael Larochette and violinist Evan Runge of Musk Ox. Sonically it’s a close relation to early God Speed and Silver Mount Zion but with a busier string sound which comes out of Vivaldi via Klezmer. You can pre-order here and I will podcast a portion of the piece on Aural Delights #190.

Cover (large)

And to conclude in a shameless act of self-promotion for our record label here’s a list of July gigs for the turns we look after…..

  • 1st July –  Taser Puppets with Joiner [Germany] Gareth Icke  at Dublin Castle Camden , London
  • 2nd July – The Scissors play  Bar Hill Festival, Bar Hill, Cambridgeshire
  • 9th July – The Electric Cheese, West Coast Sick Line and Pearl Divers play Dulcimer, Chorlton
  • 14th July – Poppycock and Rose & The Diamond Hand play The Thirsty Scholar. Manchester
  • 15th July – The Junta plays Night and Day Cafe. Oldham Street, Manchester
  • 15th July – West Coast Sick Line and Poppycock play Aatma, Manchester with Bobbie Peru
  • 17th July – Bouquet of Dead Crows play an acoustic set at Corner House, Cambridge
  • 28th July – Kit B play The House Party at Kendal Calling
  • 30th July – The Scissors play Portland Arms, Cambridge with The Machismo’s and Moonstrips

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100 not out

Various Artists

100

German Shepherd Records

30th October 2015

100

So let’s be clear from the outset, this is shameful nepotism of the highest order, but I can’t find anyone else willing to review it so I may as well take up the cudgels and have a go. Given I have a rather thorough inside perspective on this compilation, as I actually compiled it, I am in a position to be both honest and accurate, and perhaps somewhat effusive. If I am breaking some sort of record industry kayfabe by doing this so be it, but German Shepherd was set up to be doggedy (pun intended) independent, and to operate outside of the norms of the music biz, so in that spirit here goes.

Set up in February 2014 the label was originally intended as a vehicle for the work of co-owner Ian Moss, who had vast library of unreleased material he wanted to share with the world. Once word had got around about the endeavour other like minded souls expressed interest or were dragged into the inner circle of the label.

The manifesto is very simple, if the music that is offered to the label is sufficiently different and does not ape current trends and fads then it will probably find a home in the German Shepherd kennel.

21 months in and the chance to mark the milestone with some of the current and future artist on the label. Requests were sent out and a delightful pot-pourri of styles and genres emerged.

For German Shepherd virgins and, for those DJs who need accurate information(you know who you are), here’s a run down of all the tracks and the artists.

Loop-aznavour – theremin toting Loop, also a member of the remarkable Adventures of Salvador. offers a single from earlier in 2015, a remarkable distiller of styles and influences Loop is a captivating live performer and a consummate songwriter. From – Bury, Greater Manchester.

Pearl Divers ; the first band I ever “discovered” in radio land they have been through many line-up changes since 2009 but always centre around leader Carl Lingard. The tune on the album is a radical -reworking/second cousin to the bands “I Love The Music” – mixing Barryesque chords with a cold war soundscape one could, and should, argue that this would be a far better Bond theme than the odious one being used for the latest movie. The band are currently working on an album. From – Eccles/Irlam, Greater Manchester.

The Get – we love this band. They are great live, they write memorable songs, and they have a unique, sometimes unashamedly ramshackle sound. From – Bournemouth, Leigh on Sea etc, down south somewhere

Bouquet of Dead Crows – some folk will have been surprised about this band being on German Shepherd, one of aims is not to be complacent around what we are about,  dealing with any preconceptions of our mode of operation by throwing a curve ball in every now and then.  On first hearing, Bouquet of Dead Crows are conventional rockers, on deeper exploration the nuances emerge, from Toni Cooper’s excellent vocals, through the great rhythm section, to the multi-guitar talents of Neil Bruce. This is a band with a lot of depth. A single and cut from the new album “Of The Night” due out soon. From – Cambridge, east of Northampton.

Loop-azznavour
Loop-aznavour

Poppycock – working with Una Baines and her collective of musicians is always a pleasure and she offered up a live recording of the band from The Crescent in Salford. Recorded by Jim “Jedi” Watts, thus perpetuating the “every other musician you meet in Manc-land used to be in The Fall” myth this lovely tune first appeared on Una’s The Fates “Furia”  album. From: Manchester.

Franco Bandini – the buzz about Franco’s recent release of the label “2014 was a bad year” is increasing daily. Perhaps slightly less dark than the tracks on the EP this offering is from the same sessions and indicates his ability to create an epic sound. We predict great things. From –  Atherton/Manchester.

IKMRAO – the two label owners don’ t consider themselves to be musicians as such, they play with words and sounds and sometimes it comes out as music. Always making a point whenever they can this one has a much needed dig at the scenesters that hang around in clumps reeking of their own self-importance. From – Ashton Under Lyne/Eccles, Greater Manchester.

The Junta
The Junta

Captain Black – once a member of the aforementioned Pearl Divers and the main writer behind the much missed Positronik, Captain “Jeff” Black is adept at creating perfect pop tunes, and this is a sublime example. From : Swindon/Manchester

The Junta – it’s obligatory to say “aah yeah” or “shabba” at this point. Also once in Pearl Divers but now in Kit B, John “Monty” Montague brings an encyclopaedic knowledge of electronica  into play for  his tunes. Also a DJ on Salford City Radio Monty is a very busy chap. From : Salford, Greater Manchester.

Staggs – probably the most fascinating duo on the label in that they continually create tunes that both amaze and confound. Main vocal man Michael T Scott has a wonderfully acerbic outlook on the world at large. Music man Ridley is able re-invent well known sounds and turn them into something new. Staggs Disco is from one of their releases before they joined German Shepherd. Deserving of international acclaim I reckon. From –  Newcastle Upon Tyne,

Passage of Time – sounds influenced by 1969 Miles Davis together with more contemporary electronic textures. The closest thing to jazz on the label. From – Eccles, Salford. Greater Manchester.

Rose Niland and Mark Corrin
Rose Niland and Mark Corrin

Ion-Morph with three albums of the man’s spoken word releases on the label it would have been remiss to exclude a performance. The featured tune is a reworking of an old song and a hearful paean to Manc-land. From – Ashton-Under-Lyne

Moff Skellington – a genius, an iconoclast and a dealer in optical creosote. Moff creates music which defies description other than to say it hangs precariously between The Residents, Tom Waits, Pere Ubu, The Fall and Hank Marvin. His wordplay is completely unique, the aural equivalent of Salvador Dali.  As I may have said before, on many occasions, my crusade is to get him much more exposure and recognition. From – Abstercot

Rose Niland – we love Rose. She has a magical voice, she writes breathtaking tunes, and her words are memorable. Soulful, psychedelic and bluesy. From – Manchester

Monkeys In Love
Monkeys In Love

The Electric Cheese – captivating alternative rock with a unique sound. This trio is gaining a growing reputation as a must see live act. From their first EP with the label.  From – Chorley, Lancashire

West Coast Sick Line – Dusty Moonan, another genius, a man who can write memorable songs. The band has recently undergone a line-up change and the track on the compilation is an indication of things to come perhaps, a more powerful more rock oriented sound. New album “Europee” is imminent i.e. when they get out of the pub. From – Deganwy, North Wales

Monkeys In Love – a special band, they have been with the label from the start, helping and supporting. The track on the album is, dare I say it, one of their best yet. A remarkable live act and a lovely bunch of people. From – Manchester.

The track-listing

  1. Loop-aznavour – Ed’s Place
  2. Pearl Divers – Smoking Gun
  3. The Get – Say You Love Me
  4. Bouquet of Dead Crows – Just A Little More
  5. Poppycock – Ceaseless Effort
  6. Franco Bandini – Side B
  7. IKMRAO – Art
  8. Captain Black – Lost All Sense
  9. The Junta – Carnival 80
  10. Staggs – Staggs Disco
  11. Passage of Time – Round About Now
  12. Ion-Morph – Manchester (Slight Return)
  13. Moff Skellington – Potato Pickers
  14. Rose Niland – 5 Times
  15. The Electric Cheese – Gold Divers Under The Ice
  16. West Coast Sick Line – Best Lost In Translation
  17. Monkeys In Love – Installation Song #1

The album is a digital only release, is priced at £5, and all proceeds will go towards the Emmaus Homelessness Facility in Salford.

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Bouquet of Dead Crows

The return of Pearl Divers

Back in 2009 one of the first local bands I chanced upon in my early days as a DJ was Pearl Divers.  I found my way to them via Mike Leigh, the ex Fall drummer, who had chosen the group as his way back into the music business after a long absence.

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Pearl Divers Mark 1 – Lingard, Black and Montague

Pearl Divers are the brain child of writer, singer and guitarist Carl Lingard.  His initial work with the name  was the impressive EP “The Boy Who Won The World”.   Deciding to take his work live he   formed  a trio with Mike Leigh and John “Monty” Montague on bass, and following some early rehearsals the line-up was expanded with Tony Gilbody on keyboards and Jeff Black on guitar and MIDI instruments, HIgh profile gigs at Night and Day in Manchester and supporting Martin Bramah’s Factory Star, were followed by the addition of Ben “Spilla” Doherty on vocals/rap, and a more urban/soul direction away from the initial indie feel of the material. Several attempts to record an initial album , and the addition of other vocalists, including Danielle “MzDee” Carter, lead to the creative differences emerging between band members  over the change in musical direction. Leigh left and  went off to join The Blimp and Black. Montague and Carter formed Positronik. Lingard put Pearl Divers  on hold for a few years.

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The new Pearl Divers

Roll onto to 2014 and Lingard decided to try again with the Pearl Divers project.  He recruited Gareth Johnson on guitar and Paul Greenhow on drums and convinced Jeff Black to rejoin the band, this time on bass guitar. Lingard’s desire to work with a female vocalist was realised when Nathalie Hayley joined. Lingard has been hard at work on new material and the band has played live at Salford Crescent.

Carl has always aimed to marry the Manchester Indie sound with Urban Music – the key example being the evocative “White Lines” the original band performed. Examples of the new work he has produced, and has been performing with the band, have been sent my way.

The newer material aims to continue that  indie/urban approach but some extra twists and turns have been added to the mix. . First track “Beating Heart Of England” takes that shuffling baggie Madchester heritage and brings it up to date with jangly guitars and a catchy sing along feel. Carl delivers a laid-back rap and takes us on a trip to the dance floors of Manchester during a long hot summer.

“This Life” has a great 60s feel, I can imagine Nancy SInatra doing a cover of the song. Bacharach/David came to mind when listening to the changes and the glorious move from the verse into the chorus is stunning.  This clearly demonstrates Lingard’s strength as a writer.

Lingard likes to inject variety into his sets and “Coming Home” is one that sits well in Pearl Divers world, but is completely different from the more pop oriented songs. A bluesy ramble with slide guitars and busy bass runs mixes JJ Cale with english pop elements to create a unique sound.

“Kingdom Come” goes to another place entirely, sounding like an Gibb Brothers classic delivered in a chanson style that changes into an urban chant which then morphs into a John Barry TV theme.  Rich and mellow and utterly compelling.

“Something”, which appeared under a different guise in the first incarnation of the band, is a perfect piece of summer pop, merging blues guitar licks with a great Indie sound, Hayley’s pure vocal sound floats over a funky rhythm with a memorable hook making this a current ear-worm.

So Pearl Divers are back with great tunes and for my part I am very pleased. Lingard’s song-writing talent needs to be brought to a wider audience and he has now got a band to deliver his excellent songs.

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Rarified Mixtures and Sad Farewells

A few bits of news before I disappear for a week to watch England play India at Old Trafford – let’s hope the weather stays dry……anyhow…..

The ever prolific Melvins return with “Hold It In”, their first studio album as a quartet since 2010’s The Bride Screamed Murder. Joining Buzz Osborne and Dale Crover for the 12-song album are Butthole Surfers‘ guitar player Paul Leary and bass player JD Pinkus. The album was recorded in both Los Angeles and Austin earlier this year, and shall be released via Ipecac Recordings this October.

Melvins New Album

Bitchin Bajas‘ self-titled new album is according to the promo  “something delicate yet definite, gradually washing over your consciousness. Something pure and natural is happening-within the sound, within the song; in the album and in you. The shifts that come, make changes in your moods and your body temperature. On one hand, it is in many ways the ultimate album; and on the other, barely even an album at all. Where these ideas meet is immediately realised in the come-to-life video for the song, “Bueu””.

Using analog, modular video synthesizers, the video for “Bueu” was created by Nick Ciontea and is the first in a series of videos planned for each and every movement on the Bajas’ self-titled new album. The rest are set for a special, digital-only release of the album, available exclusively from Drag City. Tune in and drop out and watch 12 minutes of trippy visualisations.

Portland’s furious sci-fi punks, Big Black Cloud, are back from the lab with their latest dirty bomb, the cassette EP Lessons In Fuck You 2. Tripling down on their intoxicating rarefied mix of punk, noise, psych, surf, and rock, the agita trio takes a dark trip that drives and swerves like a B-movie soundtrack through threat-level guitar attacks, groovy alien eviscerations, and goddamn-us-all-to-hell preaching.

The band is from Portland, Oregon, and comprises guitarist/vocalist Nick Capello, bassist/vocalist Soo Koelbli, and drummer Travis Wainwright. Formed in 2005, They have released two 7-inches, a 10-inch, two 12-inch LPs (Dark Age and Black Friday), and the Shitty Vibrations cassette. They channels inspiration from sources as disparate as Brainbombs and the Beatles, Dolphy and Mingus, and Italian horror and creature features into unhinged rock ‘n’ roll that hits the high marks and innovation of noise-punk greats like Pere Ubu, Circus Lupus, Dead Kennedys, Cows, and Alice Donut.

Lessons In Fuck You 2 was borne of demo sessions recorded and mixed by Andrew Grosse of Caravan Recording (Drunk Dad, Tyrants, Tiny Knives) for the next  LP, the record capturing the band in its own anxiety-fueled element, a rollercoaster ride through a collapsing amusement park of overdriven shout-alongs and untethered instrumentals. The recordings, done on location with a mobile unit in the underground lair of the The Fancy Fox, gave the ever-prolific trio a chance to work through a host of new and old ideas. Whether due to the (dis)comfort of their own space, nothing-to-lose abandon, or present states-of-mind, Lessons In Fuck You 2 finds the band in top form: frantic, pissed-off, and sinister as they further explore their own dark territory with off-balance grooves, instrumental street-race sex jams, and wild freakouts, jagged guitar and cracking drums glued together with rubbery bass overlain with can-you-hear-me-now yells.

Big Black Cloud

Los Angeles sludgecore unit, Colombian Necktie  are about to release  their debut full-length, Twilight Upon Us. Named in honor of a song by Big Black but more commonly known as a method of murder where the victim’s throat is slashed and the tongue is pulled through the open wound, the album is  produced by Erol “Rollie” Ulug (Graf Orlock) at Bright Lights Studios, is the sonic equivalent of this violent and visceral act boasting thirteen maniacal tracks of dark, riff-heavy, emotionally stirring audio menace.

Since forming in the Los Angeles in the autumn of 2010, the band — vocalist Scott Werren, guitarists Juan Hernandez-Cruz and Ben Daniels, drummer Ben Brinckerhoff and bassist Alex DuPuis — has earned a reputation for their punishing riffs and maniacal DIY work ethic. Though clearly rooted in hardcore, tracks like the syncopated, sludgy death march of “Play The Game” and midtempo thrash of “Drought,” complete with squealing synths, add a welcome dose of variance to an album that’s uncompromising in its aggression. “We don’t feel like we fit in any one genre, we just kind of slam things against a wall and focus more on how it makes us feel than where it fits in,” Hernandez-Cruz admits. “Our influences range from Cave In and Snapcase to Orchid and Page 99 so we never try to limit ourselves when it comes to what we do stylistically.”

It hasn’t been a painless ride for the members of the band however and correspondingly, much of Twilight Upon Us is rooted in tragedy as evidenced in the ten-minute opus “Kevin’s Song.” “Kevin was a close friend of ours and former bandmate who actually brought the band together. When he passed away, something came over us and we started writing differently,” Hernandez-Cruz reflects. “The tragedy was really heavy because Kevin was just driving to a show in San Francisco and we knew it could have been any of us.” Instead of falling into depression, the band used their friend’s death as the catalyst to the manifestation of Twilight Upon Us.

“So much of the record is about loss and the struggle to try to cope in a city [Los Angeles] that isn’t always forgiving,” Hernandez-Cruz continues. “The silver lining is that this experience brought us closer as friends and musically in the sense that it made us all vulnerable and forced us to really listen to each other.”

Whether it’s the progressive bridge of “Weep For The Future” or ethereal intro to “Sleepwalking,” the bond the members developed over the past two years helped them dig deeper to incorporate elements that they never could have conceptualized in a perfect world. “This record has a lot of pain on it and a lot of unpredictable moments but it also feels good if that makes any sense,” Hernandez-Cruz summarizes, “and listening to this collection of songs, the listener gains the sense that not only are they not alone but that he or she can gain strength in the darkest of moments.”

Twilight Upon Us will be released independently on August 19th, 2014.

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And it is with great sadness I mark the passing of Positronik.  The band has been a key part of my life for the last four years or so and it is regretful that their excellent tunes didn’t get the audience they deserve. MzDee who left some time back continues to work with Blue Zen, and it is has been, I think, the failure to find a suitable replacement for Danielle that has led us to this situation. Monty continues to perform bass duties for Kit B, as well as his solo project The Junta (whose first gig will be at this years Salford Music Festival). Jeff Black is working again with Carl Lingard of Pearl Divers fame. All three of  the latter group of musicians can be heard on the Salford Streets Charity album.

 

 

 

 

Salford Music Scene – 15th March 2011

Almost the calm before the storm as we gather our strength for a busy period of gigging over the next few months. On tonights show:

  1. Neuron No – Saving the World – EP : The Planets recently split with Stephen Evans leaving to join Twisted Wheel. The core of the band relaunched themselves as eclectic trio “Neuron No” whose new EP is absolutely spiffing. They play our Mayfest show on May 21st, expect exemplary musicianship and great tunes from Chadwick, Bowes and Roscoe.
  2. God’s Gift – Anaesthetic – Pathology : the legendary God’s Gift were the other great band to come out of Prestwich in the 1970s and produced a stunning set of classic post punk tunes. From the marvellous retrospective on the Mezzthetics lable.
  3. Kin – Flickering – Flickering – a stunning album which deserves constant airplay – Kin has now started her new solo career in Holland – we wish her success!
  4. Pearl Divers – Afro Pop – Demo – they are back, after a short hiatus the master of funky indie are ready to perform live again with a new line-up and they will also be playing at the Mayfest event.
  5. Kit B – Everything Sounds Like Something Else – Demo – The Hidden Gem have split up but Paul and Danny from the band have started work on putting together a new line-up and Danny has been demoing a few songs which he has shared with me, and rather good they are to!
  6. Mandrake – If I Had All the Answers -Glory Days – a Manchester band but they record and rehearse at Blueprint so they are part of the local scene. Melodic rock with an indie edge…..the album is on its way to me.
  7. Ha Ha Said The Car – Storm Petal Suzie – Demo – another stunning track from the fertile imagination and talented fingers of Johann Kloos of the Sandells. Johann has sent me an album’s worth of material all of which is excellent and I shall be sharing that with you in future weeks.
  8. Kin – The Humming – Flickering – another track from the excellent album – have I mentioned it’s excellent yet?
  9. Neuron No – Spiders Last Moment – EP – as above
  10. Twinkle & Co – Meltdown – Demo – another couple of tunes from the pop-tastic duo …..
  11. Twinkle & Co – Temptation – Demo – as above
  12. Kit B – A Natural Ending – Demo – as above – the melodies on this are stunning!
  13. The Souls – Caught In A Whisper – an acoustic version recorded on Tony Thornborough’s show which i’ve done a bit of mixing on….Brad with an acoustic guitar….hopefully they are playing Mayfest as well if they can sort out a bass player.
  14. Pearl Divers – Super Heavy Black – the Divers at their funky best with Midi Maestro Cap’n Black operating several dozen devices at once……. and the new line up is Lingard, Montague, Black, Byrne and Carter…..
To listen to the show hit the link below – but do it gently………
 

Salford Music Scene – March 15th 2011 by Bobonscr on Mixcloud

keeping it local…..why the Salford Music Scene needed it’s own radio show, again….

The erstwhile raconteur, bon-viveur and all round good egg Mr Jon Coupe relinquished his radio show on Salford City Radio a while ago and we have collectively missed his contribution to the promotion and historical recording of the music scene in the city since then. He has been incredibly busy forging ahead with another career, and whilst he has, in some way, replaced his excellent show with the equally excellent Zeen (or is it zEEN?) with the exception of some sterling work by a number of DJs on the station to broadcast local bands there has not been a show, to my mind at any rate, which solely focused on the music scene in the city.

So what was the solution? Given the scene is pretty damn vibrant, and diverse, at the moment, and has been for a while now, it needed a broadcast outlet.  Attempts to develop some sort of presence for local bands on my Aural Delights show was always going to be difficult given the vast amount of non-Salford material that comes my way, and whilst my colleagues in the Nine O’Clock Alliance on the station have been able to assist, I felt, given the wide range of excellent material and bands in the Salford Music Scene we needed to find a slot for an hour dedicated to Salford bands.

An opportunity arose with one or two changes to the station’s schedule so we’ve neatly slotted a new show into the Alternative Tuesday Nights Schedule after two other  great shows – Roland Gent’s Punk Rock Extravaganza, and rather marvelous “Monty” Show. Both of whom are not averse to featuring local talent – so the programming seemed heaven sent.

The rules for getting an artists or band on the show are fairly straightforward – at least one of the people involved in making the music either lives in, or was born in Salford, or studies there. That gives us a bit of leeway for including a wide range of artists in the show and to delve back into the rich history of the scene in the city. And for those unsigned bands with no Salford connection fear not, as the Aural Delights Show and the Nine O’Clock Alliance, The Legges and a few more DJs on the station will be promoting unsigned bands from all over the place.

So how to start? – well I was still processing quite a few new bands when the opportunity arose and I had to put the show together rather quickly so I thought I would rely on a few favourites from last year to set the scene as it were, but also add a couple of newer tracks to indicate the type and range and music that will feature on the show in the future. On the first show you hear the following……..

  • The Souls
  • John Herring
  • Sandbox
  • Mr Heart
  • Vinny Peculiar
  • AAAK
  • Pearl Divers
  • The Black Knights
  • The Inflictors
  • The Happy Fallen
  • Precogs
  • Skankadelia

There is a real mix of different music in this first selection which effectively demonstrates the richness of the scene in the city, which gets us to the nub of why this show is so vital. We’ve always been a little in the shadow of our noisy neighbour on the other side of the River Irwell which can tend to drown out what we are up to. And there is always some sort of lazyitis in the inky press about describing any band from the Greater Mancunia area as being from “Manchester” which tends to annoy. The one thing about Salfordians is their fierce pride about the city and what it produces in terms of talent – I always recall Tony Wilson introducing Joy Division for the first time and saying “a Manchester band but one if them is from Salford – which is important” (or something like that anyway). So this show in some respect is an antidote to that generalisation of local talent as being from Manchester when in truth it is from Salford. Aside from the geo-political stuff you only have to catch Salford bands live at the moment to see what a great scene it is, so the show reflects that and celebrates our great bands and artists.

To listen to the show click on the link below…..

ep, single or demo of the year 2010

The Aural Delights Radio Show for December 8th 2010 included my top 15 artists of the year in respect of singles, ep’s or demo’s that had come my way. It’s unfortunate that I had to leave quite a lot out due to the wealth of good material and I should mention demos from Corinne Crabtree, and  Deadly Brotherhood of the Gun, plus The Black Knights – Parade of the Piranhas, the Kingfishers Catch Fire Demo, and Charlie Barnes brilliant “No Offenkk” EP’s  especially as I would have liked to included music from all of them. I might be able to remedy that omission in one of the future shows – but i’m not giving anything away.

So – who were the top fifteen? – first thing to say is that whilst these are ranked – with the exception of the number one spot which won by a country mile – the other fourteen are all equally as good as one another. Right then, enough waffling from me lets get on with it……

15. Borland – released three great EPs called “The Universe Trilogy” – I picked “Fox” from Supernova Lovers as its one of their shorter tracks and it meant I could get more into the show.

14. Danny Short – Dan has had a busy year and has released two great EPs – the first Collected Times 2 was released on Invisiblegirl, and I selected “Make Me Happy” from that. And given the man’s productivity I thought i’d include a track from his latest EP Celebrate the Day which you can get from Bandcamp, and from that I chose the infections Mr It which I think got its first ever radio play on this show.

13. The Hidden Gem – did two great sessions for me during the year and produced an excellent demo EP at Ding’s 6dB studio in Salford. The chosen track is the excellent “Flick of a Switch” a track is memorable live.

12. Pearl Divers – the Divers have had a busy year and took a sharp change of direction about half-way through with a number of line-up changes. The latest set of demos I got from the band will hopefully form their debut EP – Rebirth – I picked the great new track “You Gotta Do It”. They are currently recruiting a new drummer and it’s be hoped that they will be gigging again soon.

11. The Happen Fallen – until recently this new bands output has been created at home by the brains behind the outfit Neale James. Neale has recruited some other musicians and the group will be playing live on 21st December at Night and Day. I chose the excellent “Three Forty Seven” from the debut demo EP which you can get from Reverbnation/Facebook.

10. The Chanteuse and the Crippled Claw – I’ve waxed lyrical about the new single from Adrian Flanagan’s partnership with Candie Payne elsewhere on this blog. Let’s just say “Are You One” is a great piece of pop and deserves the widest possible listen.

9. The Hide EP from Mr Heart blew me away when I first heard it and my admiration for it has not diminished since – the launch party for the EP is at Gulliver’s  Manchester on 16th December. I picked “Boredom;s Device” as I am rather fond of Tamsin’s octave leap at the end.

8. The Dark Reverend Gary Hope of The Black Knights has a good ear for the type of music I like and he pointed me in the direction of Para Zali a week ago. I’m glad he did. Their second EP The Kindest of Thieves is fabulous. Pure sleazy erotic blues and free from Bandcamp. I picked the title track as I felt it was a good showcase from their talents.

7. AAAK have already done well in these shows and I’ve know doubt they will be featuring again. Ding has been sending me new tracks as they developed and this latest one “Everything’s Real” is a belter with more than a little Jamaican influence making it’s way into their Buildingscape Beats.

6. I’ve been an advocate for Darwen’s Monster Island for a lot of the year. I find them to be amazingly refreshing with a clear mission and mandate to play what the hell they like in the way they want to. Their latest ep The Green Room is simply marvellous and I’ve chosen the lyrically superb “Looking for a Leader”.

5. Facebook travellers will be aware of the very productive Periscope who has been sharing his work in progress with us all year. One of the latest demos “It’s just too high” is one of his best so far.

4. Macclesfield’s  The Ascension are a great band and it was a pleasure to receive their latest EP recently – reviewed elsewhere on this blog. “For the Guilty” is an excellent track. They support Mr Heart at the aforementioned gig.

3. Kin have been magnificent all year and the recent sampler for their debut album is stunning.  ”Reptile” finds the band at their inventive best marrying intelligent electronica with powerful post-punk-jazz sounds.

2. Well Wisher are developing a great reputation – their debut EP was packed with great tunes which appear to be able to match post-rock chops with wacky para-pop madness. The originally titled “How to grow a chin” now appears to be called “Tops Off”

and the EP of the year is…….

1. The Unobtainable by Fall Fan Dave and the Lap Top Dancers. A request by my chum Stephen Doyleto Dave Bromwich to cover a Freshies song resulted in this memorable four track release – you can getit from Bandcamp – which includes the exceptional “I can’t get the C Side so I’m going to the seaside”.

….next week “Gig of the Year”

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