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…..

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Aural Delights – 16th February 2011

On this weeks show a preview of Helmets for Men 2011 Episode 1 and lots of new stuff, plus a couple of classics……..

Bâton Rouge – Fragments D’eux Mêmes – a french Emo band made up of most of the members of “Daitro” and one from”12xu”. Slightly less “Screamo” than what “Daitro” deliver and therefore a little more melodic.

Fall Fan Dave & The Lap Top Dancers – Yelling Boil – as yet unreleased promo version of said artefact came my way last week – see a review elsewhere on this blog.

Danny Short – Darkened Corridors of Winter – from a limited edition private only release cassette. Danny is in full experimental mode here, more akin to his DDS work than his more melodic tunes……lots of psychedelic references……

The Happy Fallen – EP  – the first of three tunes from bands playing the “Helmets for Men” gig at Islington Mill on the Friday of the week this show was broadcast. Neil James (aka Tickle) has out together a fine band to deliver his particular band of pysche-garage rock.

Warm Widow – Widower – amazing trio from Manchester who are second up at the Helmets Gig. Their particular amalgam of post-punk tropes evokes a mutant offspring of Thurston Moore, Mark Edward Smith, and, Nick Cave…….

The Black Knights – Sickle Sell Saturday Night – the band that do not need a bass player – so bass players get over it! Voodoo trash from the darkest heart of “margarine town” with more attitude than a crazed werewolf out on a bender with bigfoot. Vampiric intensity and soul they are the third act on at Helmets.

Kayo Dot – Blue Lambency Dot – a real treat for Mancunians is the appearance of New York’s post jazz masters of incomprehensible rhythms and maniacally complex arrangements at Islington Mill the night before the Helmets gig.

Bill Davro – as featured before on the show – another fresh new talent from Warrington that came to me through our unsigned page, as did Salford’s very own….

Skankadelia – infectious ska pop of the highest order……. as did

Andy Hay – great singer songwriter who does all his recording at home….

Corinna Jane – I have been waiting for a while to play the last of three songs this Bristol artist sent my way….a great writer and a fine voice…check her out on I Tunes….

David Bowie – Hunky Dory – a bit a guilty pleasure – a classic bit of riffing from the time when Bowie had a little more chutzpah in his mojo…..I was making venetian blinds in a factory in darkest Northamptonshire when this came out…..

Bare in the Woods – Manchester four piece with a good raw sound……they will be playing in Manchester on Friday 25th of February @ Gullivers, and, Saturday 12th of March @ Manchester Academy. Band members are: David Cross – Vox & Rhythm Guitar, Adam Logan – Lead Guitar, Griff Tilley – Bass, Adam King – Drums.

Blue Orchids – went to see Martin Bramah’s Factory Star a couple of weeks ago and they were marvellous – in anticipation of their new album i’ve delved right back to Martin’s first release with Blue Orchids  when they signed to Rough Trade Records, and in November 1980  released their debut single, a double A side, “The Flood / Disney Boys” the latter of which gets an airing.

and finally

The Christophers – another Manchester band with a new single which has a great psyche sound….highly recommended……

To listen to the show click below

january 2011 overview

The latter weeks of December 2010 and January 2011 have proved to be particularly busy in respect of new music and unsigned bands coming my way. I’m struggling to find space in the radio show to fit them all in and whilst my chums at the 9 O’clock Alliance at Salford City Radio are assisting by picking up on some of the tunes I am still wading my way through a pile of MP3s and albums that arrive on a daily basis. It’s difficult to see how I can fit them all in and I need to give some thought to how some of the better acts can get some exposure.

An opening observation after all this listening would be that “rock is not dead” – I read an article in some inky newspaper somewhere that “comedy” and “wintendo” (Sic) had replaced “rock” as the new “youth” obsessions. This type of narrow thinking tends to obscure the fact that a lot of people over 25 (say) still listen to music and have the disposable income (even in these times of belt tightening)  to spend on it and there are an awful lot of musicians out there keeping the rock sub-culture alive.

So here is a quick canter through the material that has come in the last eight weeks or so (and which has not got a “big” review on this blog) – of which, as I say, there has been a lot….i’ll pick up on the more recent stuff in the February overview.

Skankadelia – from Leicester and Salford play an up tempo pop ska which is immediate and catchy. All excellent musicians and with a front woman with a marvellous voice they have been away for a while but they are back with a plan for world domination and they have the songs to do it. Brimming with great melodies, choruses and hooks they are destined for something great if they get the breaks.

Bill Davro – are from Warrington and play sharp indie pop songs – they have a current sound but they don’t copy the London groups of the moment and have set themselves aside from others of that ilk. I don’t normally listen at length to music which follows current fashion as it all tends to get a bit samey but these guys have a certain something that requires listening.

John Snow Band – are from Norway and manage to meld a great guitar sound with pop idioms which transcends into indie rock. They have good control over light and shade in their songs which gives a great cinematic feel. They are recording an album at the moment which I certainly am looking forward to listening to.

GlassHeads – hail from Wigan and play driven dual guitar tunes – and are well worth a visit to their My Space page to listen to their current single “The Error of Your Ways”.

Andy Hay – sent me a couple of his songs.  He writes beautiful tunes and self produces his stuff at home on “£200 gear”  you wouldn’t know it given the quality of the recordnigs, and he has a great voice and plays well. I am anticipating a CD with some more music which should be good based on what he has sent me so far.

Glass Ankle – have been getting a lot of exposure lately- they were in the Metro paper the other day – not suprising really, marvellous tunes and a good acoustic/folkly/indie feel….

Robin James – has a unique voice and a style which manages to grab elements of early Nick Drake and push them into a dreamy psychedelic landscape…..

The guitar wizardry of Apparently We Fly is right up my street. Somehow they can grasp Marr like picking and put it in a math-rock agenda. Almost like the offspring of a coupling between something post-punk and post-rock with a bit of genetic tampering around the edges. I’m blissfully ignorant of what might have inspired this sound but regardless of that I love their brashness.

Secret Garden Gathering are a 5 piece band from Liverpool formed in 2010.   Their sound is somewhere between the realms of Indie, Folk and Psychedelia. Comparisons have been made to Jefferson Aeroplane, The XX, Fleetwood Mac and The National.

Danny Short has sent me a copy of his limited cassette only release “Darkened Corridors of Winter” which combines his more experimental sonic stuff  with his melodic pop side into something rather special indeed. I aim to play some of this during February.  His new album “Love has gone” is due soon.

Nick Warren sent me the latest single from Spencer Cloud and the Range Brothers an absolutely breathtaking piece of garage rock – with an amazing vocal from Mark Range. Hopefully 2011 will see this band get the exposure it deserves. It’s called “Hypnotise” by the way!

Guile are from Manchester and make a wonderful racket – their “Alone on the West” song is simply marvellous.

Albums which have tentative recommendations and  which I intend to play on the show eventually are listed below. They are in the pile to be listened to again which seems to be growing a little to quickly for my liking:

  • Baton Rouge – Fragments D’Eux Memes
  • Braids – Native Speaker
  • Covenant – Modern Ruin
  • Ducktails – Arcade Dynamics
  • Glassjaw – Our Colour Green
  • Iron and WIne – Kiss Each Other Clean
  • James Blake – Echoes
  • Mogwai – Hardcore Will Never Die
  • Sey Hollo – Growth
  • Social Distortion – Hard Times and Nursery Rhymes
  • Talib Kweli – Gutter Rainbows
  • The Decemberists – The King is Dead
  • Wire – Red Barked Tree

Hopefully I will get round to reviewing these in the next few weeks.

aural delights #21 – the return of farley

After a run of Christmas “chart” shows, some catching-up and last weeks Beefheart tribute, I realised that I had been neglecting the recommendations of my good friend Farley – erstwhile randonneur and campanologist – who forwards me regular recommendations from his record collection to play on the show. I’ve also been deluged with lots of new music during January from both unsigned and signed bands so i’ve been trying to pick out tracks that would fit well together aurally in the show. I have to thank Tony Thornborough, Stephen Doyle, Monty, Stu Currie, Eddy Mann and Ian Rothwell – fellow DJs at Salford City Radio fior playing the tunes I do not have time to play. Thanks also to Eddie and Gemma Legge for giving Tony the time to play unsigned acts on thier show on Friday afternoons.  As an instance I got a new single from Spencer Cloud and the Range Brothers the other week which for reasons which are to complicated to go into I could not fit into my show so the wonderful chaps at the Nine O’Clock Alliance at SCR have been playing it. And very good it is to! It’s called “Hypnotise” and shows a rawer side of the band’s work – pure rock and roll! I’ll be playing that in a couple of weeks.

Anyway I digress – lets talk about this weeks show. I kick off with a couple of local unsigned bands in Guile and Skankadelia. I’ve been blown away by the quality and variety of material that has been zapped into my in-box via the ethernet in the last four weeks and the two opening tracks exemplify that perfectly. On the show I mistakenly describe Guile as local. They are in fact from Cannock, which is some miles away from Greater Mancunia, but given they’ve played FAC251 in town then I guess we can display some degree of local affiliation. You can read more about them on thier My Space page.

However I can confirm that Skankadelia are “local” in that they all went to Salford University – although like Guile there is a Midlands link to Leicester. The band are getting a bit of a reputation around our radio station and our boss Roland Gent is aiming to get them in for an interview. I am rather fond of their wonderfully upbeat music. Again you can check them our on My Space.

I decided to fit four Farley fumbles into the show – both in order to catch up but also because I felt his next four selections in the pile fitted together well sonically. I’d played “How he wrote Elastica Man” before some time ago. It’s by Elastica featuring Mark E.Smith and friend of the show Julia Adamson, played a big part in the tunes construction. After that another ex-Fall man features in his band Marc Riley and the Creepers.

Next up is Rose Kemp from her new album “The Golden Shroud” which is reviewed elsewhere on this blog. Her marriage of folk and metal is pretty unique and deserves wider attention. The new album from Disappears got a bit of a grumpy review in a recent edition of the Wire but I think it’s rather good as exemplified by the title track. Another local artist is multi-instrumentalst James Hill who goes under the name of Bikini Test Failure. His second album “Fleecing the easily pleased” is reviewed elsewhere on this blog and opening track “Yes we are having a good time now” is a stunner.

Back to Farley for two more tracks – first up the brainchild of singer/guitarist Kevin Barnes, Of Montreal was one of the second wave of bands to emerge from the sprawling Elephant 6 collective. The band’s proclivity for lengthy track and album titles is clearly evidenced by this selection.  The final Farley for this show is the eclectic Penguin Cafe Orchestra from the “Year of the Dog” soundtrack.

At the request of Stephen Doyle my fellow DJ at Salford City Radio i’ve dipped into my extensive King Crimson collection and selected a classic piece of prog rock from the band’s first album. The impressive playing of this band and the stylistic changes from prog to rock to jazz is stunning.

A couple of unsigned bands forwarded tracks recently. Warrington’s Bill Davro have a fresh new sound and more details of the band can be checked out here.  And to prove Salford City Radio is getting an international reputation for playing new music Norwegians John Snow submitted some tracks recently – more details about them here.

To finish the show something via my chum The Great Gibbo who pointed out that the new Steve Wynn album was rather good. He has a new band called The Miracle 3 and the album “Northern Agression” is his best release in a while.

Listen to the show by clicking on the link below.

Aural Delights #19

Broadcast 12th January 2011

The Black Angels – Bad Vibrations – Phosphene Dream

A Great Gibbo recommendation I was blown away by the opening track from the album which is full of menace and has some great shimmering guitar.  There is a great change of pace half way through which morphs into an immense wall of sound.

Trojan Horse – Disciplining the Reserve Army – Trojan Horse

Salford band who make prog-rock music and don’t want to apologise for it! Another fantastic wall of sound affair with enough whimsy in between the serious bits to make it required listening. The rest of the album is just as good and you can get it from Bandcamp. Full review here . My Space link.

Limbs – Julia and Winston – Band Demo

The demise of The Planets has created two Michael Chadwick led outfits, both trios. This one is piano led and tends towards an eccentric type of music hall song-writing complete with Double Bass. Wacky, witty and engaging.

Moscow Radio – Makes No Difference –

Manchester band with a great raw sound. Thanks to Red-Zone music for the demo.

Sakert! – Dansa Fasten – Facit

Vehicle forAnnika Norlin, a songwriter and vocalist who first gained attention of audiophiles for her work in Hello Saferide. Haven’t got a clue what it’s about but it sounds great.

The Kindest of Thieves – Jenna Belle – Siren Songs

They used to be “Para Zali” – Warrington sleaze-blues trio with an immense sound. Webpage.

Corrina Jane – All in My Head – Demo

Bristol based Artist with a fantastic voice and some great tunes.

Pete Lawrie – Fell Into The River – Single

Released on 31st January from his new album “A Little Brighter” which is out in April. Nice country rock mixed with r’n’b.

Limbs – Gameshow Tycoon (What Biscuit) – Demo

Indria – Tum Si Lagi – Different Senses of Love

An interesting blend of traditional Indian Music with dance.

Party Photographers – 21 – Download

Nice garage tune with a full sound – you can download it here.

Skankadelia – E Minor – Demo

Salford band who have recently started rehearsing again after a couple of years off. They sent me their stuff via Salford City Radio’s Unsigned Page and I was rather smitten with their sound. More in future weeks!

Band line-up  – Vocals – Harriet Bryan, Keyboard – Kat Whitmore, Bass – John Aldridge, Guitar – Liam McGary, Guitar – Ross Asspden, Drums – Owen Schofield

Dungen – Vara Snabb – Skit I Alt

Not  mellowing in their old age,   “Skit I Alt” — roughly translates to something rather rude — finds the band relying less and less on the psych-rock fireworks more  a sophisticated, widescreen version of psychedelia, with folk and offbeat jazz playing as big a role as guitar heroics. Reminded me a little of Jaga Jazzist.

LISTEN TO THE SHOW HERE