I want to be alive when I grow up……

Artist : Rapid Pig

Album : Wildlife

The modus operandi of Rapid Pig is fairly obvious from the opening track “The Happy Valley” the song moves from a down-town back-beat funky thing through into a mutant barn/celidh dance and then into progressive rock riffing in the spirit  of Hammill/ Banton/ Jackson/ Evans  within  it’s four or so minutes. What dominates on this track, and throughout the album, is the shamanic delivery of front man Eoin O’Connor. Here is a band which is not afraid to mix up the genres, even within one song  and then to top if off with the rich lyrical fervour of Mr O’Connor, whose sometimes breathless delivery emotes and evokes a wide range of visceral responses.

With John Paul Moran delivering a vast array of synthesis from his  keyboards, Phil Lewis demonstrating he probably can handle every guitar style in the known universe and Tim Lyons holding a firm line with the bass, and occasionally dropping some Miles like trumpet flurries, together with Simon Mawson’s impressive drums, O’Connor has a group of musicians behind him who can both support and enhance the word pictures he is painting.

There are five other excellent tracks on the album – “Brother John” starts with an insistent arpeggiator line which resolves quickly into motorik trance like rhythms as Lewis plays an effective spikey guitar line, and then it switches into para doom metal (lite) mode as Eoin howls incandescently at the moon, and then slips back into the autobahn rhythms, as the band free forms away in the background, and then into a slow proggy march towards the lengthy coda. The band has a delightful habit of using extremes of volume (light and shade if you will) to get the point across.

“Flight” starts with a Hanleyesque bass figure and chittering sounds from a heavily processed trumpet, echoes of mid-80s Fall come to mind (not that there was any trumpet in mid 80s Fall) , and then kicks into Can territory with an extremely danceable rhythm, as Moran sprays keyboard sounds across the ether in a nod towards Herbie Hancock via Irmin Schmidt. Predominantly instrumental this seven minute opus is the least multi-genre piece on the album as it moves into Gong territory (without the teapots or the pixies) with it’s psyche drive approach. After about four minutes a chord sequence is introduced and O’Connor laments on something or another, as Lewis and Moran trade licks. Things are slowed down for another extended coda – which appears to be a band trait.

“Stamp” is an organ rich slower tempo piece, at the start, with some excellent guitar playing which then speeds up into a different section which has an almost operatic feel.  This is the band reflecting on progressive rock at it’s most creative – however there is an interesting  juxtaposition with a vocal style which is best described as  post-punk. The arrangements here are sublime and most entertaining. A strummed guitar introduces a slower conclusion. Not the most obvious track on the album in terms of hooks but probably the most creative in writing terms.

“Super Jura” employs layers of guitar, trumpet and keyboard sound to introduce a both laconic and heartfelt intro from O’Connor which then quickly moves into another funky work-out which moves like James Brown after  a diet of New York  No-Wave guitar music, another slow part builds the tension, and then the band goes into a zone which is best described as “Pig”…….not sure anyone else is quite capable of delivering a sound quite like this ….. wholly unique and rather impressive. The tracks shifts through several different modes until it ends in a scream of feedback.

Finally “To the Mountain” is the “piece de resistance” on the album – just over five minutes of glorious “piggery” which when I saw them playing it live a couple of months back had the crowd bouncing around like demented griots at some sort of voodoo ritual. There are expanses of light and shade, tension and release, tempo shifts and layers of sound which are stunning. The middle section has an impressive ambient melange of trumpet and keyboards before it launches somewhat inexorably into a heroic closing section which will either have you pogoing or doing the mambo – or both possibly.

One of the most complete and compelling albums I have heard in a long while, beautifully played, packed with brilliant ideas and stuffed with the sort of lyrical content that sticks in your head for days.

Highly recommended.

Available from the band’s website

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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….

The Last New Music Show

I had the pleasure of standing in on the new music show on Salford City Radio for the last few weeks as I am leaving the station this week this is my last show……the music can be heard by following the links at Hour One and Hour Two below

The tunes played are

Hour One

  1. The Gin Circle – Just Watch Me (Reverbnation Artist Of The Week)
  2. Stalagmites – City Of Love (Local Artist Of The Week)
  3. Ninetails – Body Clock (Tip for the Top)
  4. Glass Heads – Derelict House
  5. This-Way Up – Disaster Street
  6. We Could Be Astronauts – Look Frank, It’s A Toaster!
  7. Electric Clowns – Yeah She Looks Alright
  8. Miss Lucid – Seduction of Solitude
  9. Dead Sea Souls – Trendsetter
  10. The  Gifted – Break
  11. Suzerain – Frenzy
  12. Limozine – Tokyo 1970
  13. Stalagmites – The Blue Rose
  1. Rapid Pig – To The Mountain
  2. This-Way Up – Animals
  3. Kotodama – Dichotomy
  4. We Could Be Astronauts – Astronaut Blue : Stop Including Me
  5. The Gin Circle  – Drink, Drugs & Prostitutes
  6. Ninetails – Rawdon Fever
  7. Maia – The Grandfather Plan
  8. Band of Skulls – You’re Not Pretty But You’ve Got It Going On……
  9. Mumiy Troll – Love Contraband
  10. Death to the Strange – Bandit
  11. Death to the Strange – Drink and the Devil
  12. The Outreach Project – Twisted Persona
  13. The Tapestry – Rode Your Luck
  14. Kill For Company – To Disappear
  15. Trojan Horse – When The Lights Go Down

Salford Music Scene – 9th October 2012

On this show……which you can stream here

1 Rapid Pig To The Mountain Pre-release
2 Midnight Mafia Love is Dead Single
3 WithiN All Inside Demo
4 Epic Noise Guy Automation Demo
5 Joe Thomas Falling from Grace Demo
6 Sunny Sunday From Down Here Demo
7 Tender Machine As We Promised Demo
8 Rapid Pig Super Dura Pre-release
9 Midnight Mafia Gorton Girls Single
10 Epic Noise Guy Alpen Demo
11 Sinister Chuckles Dalek Logic Demo
12 Cactus Knife Buze Demo
13 The Fall Sing! Harpy Extricate

Salford Music Scene – 2nd October 2012

On this week’s agenda promo’s for two great gigs coming up in Salford and Chorley – Salford Against The Cuts (Friday 5th) and Bongo’s Birthday Bash (Sunday 7th) plus lots of new music:

Stream from here

1 Salford Media City Long Deer is Awesome Single
2 Monster Island Ferris Wheel Single
3 Class Actions Hooligan Sound Keep Your Pride
4 Uncle Paul Disney Land W@nk the Cat, Feed The Dog
5 Flies On You Schmutziger Hund Nothing To Write Home About
6 Rapid Pig Little Clean Plane Demo
7 Trojan Horse And the Lights Went Down Trojan Horse
8 Semitt Falls Displacement Monkey See, Monkey Do Doo
9 Saturday Morning Cartoons In My Mind Demo
10 West Coast Sick Line Hanging at Picnic Rock Hope You All Have Nightmares Except Kirsty
11 Sinister Chuckles A Picture of Dorian Gray Blitzkreig Mop
12 Kill Pretty Brown Eyes In 80 Days
13 Da Mutts Dee Dee Jung Demo
14 The Fall Glam Racket The Infotainment Scan

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.