Album Of The Year?

Yes it’s that time again……and with it being a very busy year I thought i’d better prepare the long-list early on… in no particular order the candidates for this years “Best Of…..” not jazz albums… I’ll whittle it down to a top ten in due course, and I may well include some other ones I have missed and some things in the pipeline which look like they make the list.

There are a couple of very strong front-runners at the moment and after that it all gets a bit difficult…………

  • The Seven Twenty – The Seven Twenty
  • Niche – Heading East
  • Heroin In Tahiti – Sun and Violence
  • Dilly Dally – Sore
  • The Holy Soul – Fortean Times
  • Mammoth Penguins – Hide and Seek
  • The Lancashire Hustlers – What Made Him Run
  • Moff Skellington – Scribnalls
  • Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Just Sit And Think And Sometimes I Just Think
  • Robert Forster – Songs To Play
  • Bouquet of Dead Crows – Of The Night
  • Dave Graney – Once I Loved The Oceans Roar
  • Monkeys In Love – Take The Biscuit
  • Corrections House – Know How To Carry A Wip
  • Esmerine – Lost Voices
  • Dead Sea Apes – Spectral Domain
  • Moff Skellington – The Corkscrew Tongue
  • Liberez – All Tense Now Lax
  • Vienna Ditto – Circle
  • JD Meatyard – Taking The Asylum
  • Ken Mode – Success
  • Dead to Dying World – Litany
  • Myrkur – M
  • The Creeping Ivies – Your New Favourite Garage Band
  • Ought – Sun Coming Down
  • Big Brave – Au De La
  • The Happy Fallen – Lost and Found
  • Cryin’ Queerwolf – Diva
  • Alif – Aynama -Rtama
  • Dave Graney ‘n’ The Coral Snakes – Night of the Wolverine  (Expanded)
  • ZX+ Don’t Drink The Water
  • Author & Punisher -Melk En Honing
  • Dave Graney & the mistLY – Play mistLY for me – live recordings vol 1
  • Flies On You – Etcetera
  • Brothers of the Sonic Cloth – Brothers of the Sonic Cloth
  • The Go-Betweens – G stands for Go-Betweens : Volume One 1978-1984 (yes I know it’s a box set but it’s too good to ignore)
  • Moff Skellington – The Corduroy Bridge
  • The Fall – Sub Lingual Tablet
  • Minimi Deutsch – Minimi Deutsch
  • Anna Von Hauswolff – The Miraculous

Cathedral Juice, Slug Dempsey and other matters of note

Ten years since Mr Peel left us and at the same time a raft of albums have been released that I have no doubt he would be featuring were he still broadcasting.

And what better place to start…….

It should be of no surprise to anyone who is an avid collector of the work of The Fall that the latest release, gnomically titled “Live Uurop VIII-XII places in sun & winter, son”, is a mixed bag of live recordings of varying quality. It is not the first example of a release, from the most prolific of groups, which tests the fans patience with their massive output. Pieced together from various dates the material stretches way back, in terms of genesis, to 1982/3 with a reading of “Wings” complete with, for reasons which are inexplicable, some church bells ringing at the beginning, through to more recent stuff including the, as yet unreleased, “Auto (2014) Chip Replace”. There have of course, along with the addition of extra percussionist, Daren Garrett (ex Nightingales etc), been a host of new songs aired publicly since this lot was recorded so one can expect a new Fall album at some point. Having caught them recently at the Lower Kersal Social Club I get a sense that some of the new material is an improvement on recent releases, which is consistent with the sine curve of quality that goes alongside studio albums. Having recently re-read Brian Edge’s Paintwork book, and Steve Hanley’s book “The Big Midweek” it becomes increasingly clear that the group are an obsession which both gives joy and confounds in equal measure. Is it any good? Probably not, but it gets filed on the shelves with the other 100 or so CDs and will be a reference point for  work on a comprehensive Fall gigography which is currently underway and will hopefully be completed by next Spring, i’m up to 1981 and it is proving exceedingly slow progress.


Thurston Moore’s new album “The Best Day” is good in that it refers back in terms of overall sound and to some degree structure to the excellent “Murray Street” by Sonic Youth.  He has gathered a newish band around him, Steve Shelley returns on drums, and Moore seems somewhat revitalised by his new band members. On balance I think I prefer last years “Chelsea Light Moving” wherein Moore adopted a more louche Lou Reed-ish demeanour and a slighly more raw sound. However when you get down to it there is not a great deal he can do in terms of surprises, it’s all very much mapped out from probably “Sister” onwards, with the exception of his more “free jazz” experiments with the likes of Nels Cline and Walter Prati. Better I think to try and grab a copy of his work with John Moloney in Europe in 2012  (Fundamental Sunshine) which starts to explore some other avenues is a little less rock specific. On a similar line of thought I’ve been listening back to some early Glenn Branca recently, to which Moore and Lee Ranaldo were key collaborators and that sounds far more interesting, at least people were taking risks back then, aah, the folly of youth.


I wonder what Mr Peel would have made of Staggs? I hope he would appreciated their quirky charm and obtuse approach. Their latest single “When Eartha Kitt Met Pete Tong” is their best yet mixing a left field approach to electronica with Michael T.Scott’s scabrous vocalese. The A side is the marvellous Earth Kitt which mashes up references to Michael Jackson, Elvis Presley and Jagger & Richard whilst, subliminally at least, referencing the long lost Fall track “Tempo House”, The other A-side “It All Went Pete Tong” is a delightful chill wave piece with a John Barry elements which seems to cover a wide range of subjects including a failed love affair between a vegetarian and a butcher. Ridley and Scott are able to create something new and vital  with their work and I recommend them strongly to you. Their work to date can be accessed via Bandcamp and the new single will be available from German Shepherd Records as a digital download from 31st October.

EK image

The new Half Man Half Biscuit album “Urge for Offal” is great in a familiar way. We have got used, by now, to certain Blackwell formulas in albums and there are one or two of the characteristic performances therein, “The Unfortunate Gwatkin” being a classic “Nigel narrative” that then bursts into a song, this time with the memorable and utterly catchy line “Cresta, what the fuck were we drinking?”. There’s a punkier pop feel than of late with faster tempos and slightly harsher guitar sound on a number of songs, but there are the usual forays into mutant folk/country with a dollop of Wirralese, No stone is left unturned as Nigel mercilessly lampoons any number of current trends and tropes – Midge Ure gets a bit of a battering .  His ability to distill the state of the nation in a few pithy lines is legendary and he has lost none of his biting wit and utter daftness at times – I mean who else could rhyme beige with Standard Liege and mention Gerry Gow in the same song?  And here’s a thing, there’s a point in “Baguette Dilemma for the Booker Prize Guy” where Mr Blackwell sounds uncannily like Peter Hammill, a person he has, in the past, extracted from the micturant from with some venom. I often feel that the words are generally more important than the music with HMHB albums – when they get it spot on they can marry a great tunes with great words (i’m thinking “Gubba Lookalikes” for example) and there are a couple of gems on here but mostly it’s about standard “Merseybeat” chord sequences being used to deliver Blackwell’s words. There are a couple of interesting bits including the jaunty instrumental “Theme For Something Or Other”.  Having said all that it is by far the best release for October and the album I am likely to play more than once over the coming weeks.  Always the sign of a good album I feel is not particularly warming to it on the first listening but repeated plays leads to more appreciation of the detail.


Festival Fever Five

It is September and around here that can only mean one thing for discerning music lovers – the Salford Music Festival.

Now in its’ fifth year the organisers have once again served up an amazing cocktail of venues and acts over the four nights.  As is customary here is my day to day guide of events with some tips on who to check out. As usual I recommend you check the Salford Music Festival Website on the day as events, locations and line-ups can change. No doubt also this blog post will change over the next week so keep checking back. My recommended gig of the day is highlighted in BOLD

All gigs are free except where marked.


THURSDAY  25th September

Highlight of the opening night is the debut gig  of electro wizard The Junta at Wangies. The alter ego of Salford City Radio DJ and Kit B bassist John “Monty” Montague serves up a heady brew of Kraftwerk inspired motorik beats mashed up with a variety of electronica influenced via Depeche Mode, OMD and New Order.

  • Ashley Brook, Langworthy – The Jane and Mike Band , Boz Hayward, Y Key Operators
  • Eagle Inn, Blackfriars – Mr Heart As Able As Kane
  • The Blind Pig, Monton – Martin Plock, Kate Ashton-Butler
  • The Blue Bell, Monton – Beth Hewitt, The Atmospherics
  • The Crescent, Chapel Street – BeatsAllDay, My Igloo, morning pilgrims, Urban Empire
  • The Hope, Claremont – Samantha Seth, Northern Sugar, Explicit
  • The Park, Monton – Ged Wilson, Old House Playground, Dead Dianas
  • The Salford Arms, Chapel Street –  Seeking Sighs, Matt Hartless & The Matchstick Ghosts
  • The Wellington, Irlam o’th Height  – Avishek Choudhury,  Jay Deane, Jules Benji
  • Waggon and Horses, Irlam o’th Height – Sayed, Johnny Travis AKA Scuttler, Liam McClair
  • Wangies, Eccles – Mutha Luvin Chimps, The Junta, Ronin


FRIDAY 26th September

The return of Carl Lingard’s Pearl Divers is well worth checking out at the Ashley Brook but the must see combination of the night is the heady brew of Chorley’s Taser Puppets, Salford’s dark wave pioneers Factory Acts, the neo-psych of Weirds and post-punk agit-prop from The Giro-Babies. Also recommended is the very strong line-up at Wangies with Danielle Carter’s Blue Zen kicking things off.

  • Ashley Brook, Langworthy – Carl Lingard
  • Duke of York, Eccles – Arcane Flx, Rum Thief
  • Eagle Inn, Blackfriars – Gorilla Riot
  • Playfoots, Monton – Rum Thief, DJ Meza, DJ Mky Mk
  • The Blind Pig, Monton – Roz Francis, Sayed, Palumbo and Volpe
  • The Blue Bell , Monton –  The Chief of Seattle
  • The Crescent, Chapel Street – Taser Puppets, Factory Acts, Weirds, Giro Babies
  • The Dockyard, Salford Quays – Palumbo and Volpe, Jess Roberts, Lisbon, LVLS, Priestley
  • The Hope, Claremont – Maisetto
  • The Park, Monton – Scott Lloyd, Dave’s Rockin Train, James Holt
  • The Roadhouse, Manchester – Thunderous Jones, The Rubys
  • The Salford Arms, Chapel Street – Alfie Eastwick, April Keen & Band, Inego
  • The Weaste, Weaste – Johnny Travis AKA Scuttler
  • The Wellington,Irlam o’th Height  – Karl Walsh
  • Waggon and Horses,  Irlam o’th Height- Sam Moran, Gaz Bailey, Jake Heard
  • Wangies, Eccles – Blue Zen, Franks Wild Years, Deaf FM, Sky Valley Mistress


SATURDAY 27th September

Gig of the day is The Fall , back in the irwell valley at the Lower Kersal Social Club. Mark E Smith and co are supported by exceptional prog-nouveau from Eccles’ own Trojan Horse and power-punk from Benefit State

  • Ashley Brook – Matt Friars, Duke and the Darlings, The People
  • Duke of York, Eccles – Little Rach, Sound Marshalls, Jess Kemp, Dirty No 5
  • Lower Kersal Social Club, Lower Kersal – Benefit State, Trojan Horse, The Fall (ticketed)
  • Pacifica Cantonese, Eccles – VIP Dance Party – Exclusive DJ sets from Tony Ross (Kaos leeds warehouse, Glastonbury, festival No6), Marc Heath -(Education, Zoo, Wobble), DJ Meza -( Decadence – Gatecrasher) Robin Smith (Caramello) (ticketed)
  • Playfoots, Monton – WellNorthofWatford,  Caoilfhionn Rose, Jamie Bosanko, DJYan
  • The Blind Pig, Monton – Lee Parry, Caoilfhionn Rose,
  • The Blue Bell, Monton – We Signal Fire, Paul Hegley Band, Kassoma
  • The Crescent, Chapel Street – Czech, The Backhanders, Death to the Strange, Creek
  • The Dockyard, Salford Quays – Shauna Mackin, Gallery Circus, King Kartel
  • The Hope, Claremont – Belvadere, Rime Suspex, Tigerside, Kazo ( Formerly The Ordinary)
  • The Park, Monton – Red Light Effect, Smashing Lads, The Calamities
  • The Salford Arms, Chapel Street – Bella Loka, Lil Sharls, Paul Hegley Band
  • The Weaste, Weaste – Sam Westhead and Band
  • The Wellington,  Irlam o’th Height- James Holt, The Stirs, Fishing For Compliments
  • Waggon and Horses,  Irlam o’th Height- Afrotree, Eleanor Nelly
  • Wangies, Eccles – Ed Stones & The BD3, Red Eyed Jedi, Faster Than Bulls

SUNDAY 28th September

Gig of the day again is The Fall with an all dayer at Lower Kersal Social Club from 3:30pm and the headliners on at 8pm. Guests at this one are still to be announced.

  • Duke of York, Eccles – Skyeladder, Empire Signals, Rising Tides
  • Lower Kersal Social Club, Lower Kersal – All Dayer from 3:30pm – The Fall and Guests (ticketed)
  • Playfoots, Monton – Benjamin Birkinshaw
  • The Blind Pig, Monton – Troubadour
  • The Crescent, Chapel Street – Government Death Epidemic, Friend Of A Friend, Coach Jeets, Jordan Allen, Busik Mase
  • The Park, Monton – Acoustic John, Venture, Troubadour
  • The Salford Arms, Chapel Street – Fishing For Compliments, R.Y.A.N
  • The Wellington, Irlam o’th Height –  XMenBTeam, The Folkestra
  • Waggon and Horses, Irlam o’th Height – As You Like It, Mark Daynes
  • Wangies, Eccles – Pelico, Nathan Barratt & His Mates, Lauren Housley



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… 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 – 23rd October 2012

Listen here

Tunes played were:

Salford Music Scene – 16th October 2012

Stream the show from here

….and this is what I played

1 The Blimp Art Job
2 Factory Acts Senseless (Radio Edit)
3 Skeleton Suite  Sloth
4 Kit B Capo D Monty
5 The Happy Fallen Ground Zero
6 Uncle Paul Anne Sellors Last Chance
7 Dan Solan Hands On Another
8 Naked (On Drugs) Death Dance
9 Kit B Blood In Blood Out
10 Ste McCabe Did You Really
11 Positronik When The Bitch Knows Your Name
12 Streetswimmers Falling
13 Dan Solan We Didn’t Kill Anyone
14 The Fall Idiot Joy Showland

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