Top Ten Albums of 2017, so far

Seems like everyone else is doing half year lists so I may as well have a go… helps to remind me when I’m totting these things up at the end of the year as well….there’s no one in the list from our record label as it’s taken as read that they are top notch anyway and it would be a tad self indulgent to include them so I’ll deal with them at the end of the year…anyhow as for the rest here they are  in no particular order


Strictly speaking this came out in 2016 but it’s only made its way over here recently from Buenos Aires. A sublime mixture of rock in a shoegaze kitchen. Scuzzy guitars, howling and gurgling synths and bubbling drums however add a space rock vibe. It’s relentless and fun filled and I would imagine quite exciting live.


Delicious and lush music which hovers between country, blues, and rock. Snarski’s velvet voice is delightful,  the words observational and compelling. A band at their peak, delivering quality material.


A much anticipated  third album . They have a unique sound and they remain steadfast in their delivery of their music.  We were kept happy with an EP compilation last year but its been a long while since National Service. They are big in France but no so much in their own back yard which is bleedin’ typical of the scene in general around hereabouts. Dan Brookes vocals and words are as usual unique and outstanding and the band create mesmerising post-punk vistas.


This emerged as a series of singles over twelve months so it’s a bit hard to regard it as an album from 2017, but it is. A playful collection, a mixed bag of styles, with DG and CM exploring new angles and options. Dave’s observations on the music world and the wider world at large are always apposite and often give pause for thought.  They can do no wrong.


Seems odd that a band this talented only manages an album release once every seven years. Anything with Davey Henderson’s name associated with if is guaranteed to be good and this is no exception.  A rich sound which matches Henderson’s unique vocal delivery with superior guitar music.


Extremely difficult to keep up with these chaps who appear to be as prolific as Acid Mothers Temple with three albums so far this year, this being the first, and two more planned. The motorik repetition of Rattlesnake sets the tone and demonstrates a band that seem to be totally attuned and in sync. The important thing is that they continue to develop and explore.


Long delayed debut from the recently reformed trio. Self described as Kraut-Punk the sound is refreshingly unique driven by Brian Benson polyrhymic drums. Some of Tim Lyons best work lyrically and with the signature sound of Dr Johann Kloos’s hypnotic guitar this beats the so called psychedelic bands out there back into their Haight-Ashbury contrived miasma. Forwards is the correct title, it explores new territories and does not dwell in the past.


OK i’m pushing my luck here as it’s really an EP but it’s so damn good I’m including it. Susan and Charlie exceed at writing and delivering exceptional tunes with a literary angle. It blew me away when Charlie sent it my way and it still provides intense listening pleasure never losing its power to please.


He seems to be constantly busy with the Transmitters these days so It’s a wonder he has managed to find the time to record and release this album. A mix of powerful pop punkery interspersed with more languid pastoral pieces. Another Boltonian who deserves wider exposure of his considerable talent. Some fantastic tunes in this collection.


Impressive stuff. In which I learned the difference between Psych and Psyche. Vignettes of American life merging an abstracted country sound nestling in a mesh of guitars and vocal washes – the best music defies genre conventions and this does that very well.




Aural Delights Radio Show – 14th March 2012

On this show you will hear the bands listed below (listen via this link) – somehow I managed to fit 18  tracks in this week….mostly new bands with their latest material

1 ArtClassSink In My Room Demo Track
2 Miss Lucid This Life This Life EP
3 Gentlemen Duke Bad Man Mild Mannered Madmen
4 Bacchanal Party His Misunderstanding is Partially Your Fault You Can Be As Orange as you like but there’s nothing sweet about you
5 Alistair Banks No One Alistair The Optimist
6 Dave Graney King of the Dudes Single
7 The Atelier Gold Single
8 Taser Puppets Broken Dolls Twisted Pop
9 Kill Pretty Kill Pretty Studio Recordings
10 Blue Orchids Year With No Head Serene to Severe
12 The Sexual Objects Midnight Boycow Cucumber
13 Moff Skellington House of New Bricks Pukes of  A Hot Cloister
14 Marc Broude Vampire Salt EP
15 The Clean Thumbs Off Anthology
16 Cable35 Cowhed Louder
17 The Neon Mile Matchstick Man Demo Track
18 The Slow Show Brother Radio Edit

Music Diary #30 – 1st February & Aural Delights Radio Show

After the recent biblical amount of e-mails of late things have been relatively quiet today……so what have we got?

  • Recommendation of the day is the new Thee Silver Mt Zion release which hangs precariously between an EP and an album. It is called “The West Will Rise Again” (notebooks out Fall fans!!) and has all the usual TSMZ tropes i.e. Menucks angst ridden vocals, layers and layers of guitars and strings, and airy choral stuff in the background – very good indeed
  • The new Noel Gallagher single arrived – ho-hum…….
  • Lydia Loveless is an interesting americana punky country artiste with a good vocal style who nestles comfortably between Springsteen and Earle and has the right sort of attitude. Her “Indestructible Machine” album is worth a punt.
  • Alice Niamh has a new single out and it’s suitably non-Florence enough to get my interest. She is from Torquay, a place I visited many years ago.
  • Mightily impressed by a couple of older releases from Squadra Omega which have come my way. They mix kraut-rock, psyche and out-there jazz in a heady brew of mantra-rock which catches the old ossicles quite by surprise – there’s a touch of early Floyd/A Duul about them.
  • Tony T sent a couple of Leeds bands my way – Hookworks and Nope – both very good indeed, check them out on Bandcamp…….

And so to tonight’s radio offering…..listen in here…..

1 50 Foot Wave Radiant Addict With Love From The Men’s Room
2 The Sexual Objects Merrie England Cucumber
3 The King Blues Does Anyone Care About Us Single
4 The Coke Authority Act a Fool Demo
5 Disappears Fear of Darkness Pre Language
6 Moff Skellington The Perm Doctors Wife Pukes of  A Hot Cloister
7 The Hello Strangers Conococheague Introducing Max Schmidt
8 Hero and Leander One Mississippi Two Collider EP
9 The Go-Betweens Head Full of Steam Liberty Belle and the Black Diamond Express
10 The Umbilical Chords One Cool Panther Demo CD
11 The Sexual Objects Queen City of the 4th Dimension Cucumber
12 Moff Skellington Twixt the Leg Whispers Pukes of  A Hot Cloister
13 Crippled Black Phoenix Get Down And Live With It (Mankind) The Crafty Ape
14 The Tall Dwarfs Lowlands Let Them Eat Pavlova

Music Diary #25 – 25th January 2012 – Aural Delights Radio Show

To commence a Happy Birthday to Farley my ex-pat chum who resides in Christchurch, New Zealand and provides me with regular scoop fulls of interesting music from the other side of the planet.

Now then – yesterday proved to be very busy with a ton of new stuff coming in – so I will point out:

Stolen Mushrooms – who are from Luton and sound a little like the RHCPs but have their own style and stance, there’s also a slight smattering of Marr guitaring mixed in with a crisp afro-beat feel and the interplay is reminiscent of early Yes to some degree. If you are confused by that confusing description I suggest you give them a gander via Facebook and reach your own conclusions.

The Ascension – Macclesfields’ finest rocking beat combo are still looking for a drummer but have put together a new five track EP  “Blood Upon The Rose” which will be out shortly. Recorded in Salford and then mixed/produced by Mr Archer at 6dB studios I am advised. Doug (bass, vocals, keys) has sent me a couple of tracks over and they are rather marvellous.

– Kit B  – who don’t appear to have a Facebook page yet – have been joined by my chum Mr John Montague on the bass guitar – they are looking for a drummer as well (bit of a trend here) – and the fruits of their early collaboration have emerged with a new tune “Rock-Ola Rocket”. Both Mr Leigh and Mr Montague (ex of the very excellent Pearl Divers) are getting very close to the “three band” magnificence of Mr Dutton – one wonders if Mr Dutton will form another combo in order to maintain a reasonable gap?

– Joy Division – the 10CD/7 vinyl/download compilation “Plus Minus” appears to be excellent value for money as long as you don’t opt for the vinyl option. In terms of rescuing the planet from environmental meltdown I don’t quite see the logic of producing all the plastic and paper but I suppose it’s art. Whether you have all these already and want to splash out your cash is a moot point which I guess reflects the pricing structure. In any event the re-mastering does refresh the sound somewhat and it’s good to have all the stuff in one place on the hard drive I guess.

– Lambchop’s new album – out in three weeks – is dedicated to Vic Chesnutt. It’s called “Mr M” – i’ve always been a fan of Kurt Wagners pained lyricism and this album is packed with it – whether it is just a little bit too lacking in grit I suppose is the key issue. It’s late night music, relaxed, reflective and to some degree a little too laid back for me.

– In a similar vein – The Hello Strangers – play a laid back and utterly melodic form of bluesy Americana. The promo is pretty good on this one – “Texas country-folk, and roots rock, all tied together with lilting harmonies that only sisters can accomplish. Timeless imagery and fables accompany each song, from tales of a boggy creek bottom where a murdered man sleeps, to a Texas roadhouse with bawdy dancers and clinking beer bottles, to more poignant reflections on the loss of winter and a man gone wrong.” I was particularly struck by “Conococheague”  with it’s eerie guitar intro and insistent folky sound. I got six tracks from their “Introducing Max Schmidt” release from a couple of years back. Very impressed.

And on this evenings Aural Delights Radio show you will find the following dear listener:

The Nectarine No: 9 Holes of Corpus Christie D’un Echantillon De Marchandises EP
The Sexual Objects Here Come The Rubber Cops Cucumber
Kill Pretty Stress Demo
Hero and Leander Collider Collider EP
Ronin Benevento Fenice
The Umbilical Chords Evil Idle EP
Future Pilots Assange Future Pilots EP
Vic Godard End of the Surrey People D’un Echantillon De Marchandises EP
Kill Pretty Joey Stefano Demo
Factory Star When Sleep Won’t Come Enter Castle Perilous
50 Foot Wave Rushing With Love From The Men’s Room
The Sexual Objects Outta Place Again Cucumber
Moff Skellington Dashboard Photo Pukes of  A Hot Cloister
Kill Pretty Babes in the Wood Demo
Sandells Girl from Iphegenia Reformation Session (TFAB Remix)

You can listen to the show here

Music Diaries #13-16

A recurring viral attack (no it’s not man-flu!) has somewhat restricted activity so this is by way of a four day catch-up. Deep breath in and here we go again…..

THE SEXUAL OBJECTS – I have been meaning to get my act together and check out Davey Henderson’s post Nectarine No 9 activities for a while now. The announcement of a gig at Gullivers in March featuring said band and three of my current favourites (Factory Star, Kill Pretty and Taser Puppets) jolted me out of my post-viral fog. “Cucumber” is the name of the album and rather spiffing it is too. It’s not that significantly different from his work with the Nectarines other than it is a little less intense/a bit more pop. Another example of one of those great writers  hovering around the fringes of the music industry that never quite got the kudos he  deserves. Anyway I suggest you check them out either via this album or attending the Gullivers event. Four great bands for £7 has to be a bargain in anyones musical book.

HONG KONG IN THE 60s – I have to thank my chum Keith for pointing me in the direction of this band. So far I have only managed to track down their “Willow Pattern Songs” EP which is a gorgeous delight of a thing. I was immediately drawn in by the arpeggiating guitars, brittle synths and airy vocals of “Footsteps”. Their bio on the Soundcloud page says they are Mei Yau Kan – vocals, guitar, keyboards, Christopher Greenberg – keyboards, guitar, vocals, and Tim Scullion – guitar, keyboards, vocals. They say they are heavily influenced by early electronic pop, 1960s Chinese music and Italian film soundtracks. Using their collection of old Casio keyboards, the group combine bittersweet pop melodies and atmospheric electronics to create something pretty special.

THE PABLOS – another excellent find by Mr Tony Thornborough – he shared three of this bands tracks with me which stuffed with garage-ness, Doors-ness and Rolling Stones-ish. They are from Leeds and Lauren Laverne thinks they are groovy so there is no need for me to push them too much as they appear to be well on the way to stardom in the murky world of rock and roll. More info on Facebook in you want…… p.s.  the singist does sound like he is channeling Jim M at times…..

DEAN McPHEE – another Keith recommendation. A four track LP called “Son of the Black Peace” which is all ethereal guitars and ambient soundscapes. Not bad but I do wish people wouldn’t stick arbitrary lables like “future dub folk” on music like this. It ain’t new, there’s sod all dub in it, and it ain’t folk – well not as we know it, Jim.  This sort of thing has been around since the 60s, and came back in the 80s with V Reilly, and it’s not clever to try and pigeon hole it as something new, when it quite clearly isn’t. And talking of dub…..

CELT ISLAM – the new album “Baghdad” is very good indeed – the marriage of disparate cultural elements works very well indeed.

HERO AND LEANDER’s – front lady contacted me recently about some radio play and I’ve only just got round to listening to their music – and very impressive it is too. Their August EP “Collider” is well worth checking out.

THE UMBILICAL CHORDS – i’ve mentioned before that I have recently  taken delivery of a couple of copies of this duo’s demo CD – Paris based but featuring ex-pat Manc Scott Batty, they combine post-punk guitar riffing with half-spoken/half-sung poetry of a very high quality. Not easy listening in terms of the lyrical content with some fairly astute observations on the state of the human psyche and the world in general. “Sex Friend” in particular is full of vivid imagery. They will be in Manchester in March supporting Gabrielles Wish.

SIMON WALDRAM – sent me his “The Day The Signal Died” album a few weeks back. And to be fair to him I’ve only dipped into it occasionally but I sat down yesterday and gave it a good listen. Chap writes good songs and has a good voice as well. There is a nice acoustic ambient feel to the music, albeit it is a tad dark and introspective in places. He says of the album….”Signal was recorded between June 2008 and December 2010. It’s quite dark in places – and was influened by pysch-folk, slowcore, shoegaze etc. Although most of it was recorded at home on an 8-track, quite a lot of work was done on overdubs, mixing and production with Mark Elmore at the Crash Factory, Nottingham. Also Robert Scott added some keyboard arrangements to Falling Down and Another World For You – and Danny Short played some percussion on Another World as well. I think of the album as indie pop meets dark psychedelic folk to soundtrack moments of quiet desperation…or something.” Well he is not far wrong with that description, and indeed the linkage with Mr D Short of Horwich is quite relevant as there are elements of both men’s work which are comparable. Simon’s work is comparable with the more elegaic of Danny’s music and to be fair he delivers it with less of the type of “orchestral” layering that you get with Mr Short. If you like the sound of it then check it out at ……. and talking of Mr Short….

DDS – the wild and wacky world of Danny Short’s more experimental persona DDS has delivered a new EP called “Let the Year Pass By in Peace” in which he eschews formal song structures for three slices of distressed guitar sounds, laminal waves of synthesis, chittering, stuttering, muttering and fluttering. Unlike previous DDS incarnations there are actually vocals on this one, which work very well indeed. And to be fair the closing “Peace and Hope” is a rather lovely piece built around organ and electric piano sounds which then develops associated ambient element. I recommend you check this out on Bandcamp and avail yourself of his previous offerings in this area whilst you are there – the thirty minute piece “Wind Down Window” is a belter!

HANDWITHLEGS – just got round to listening to their “Electric Cave” (short) album from last year which reminds me a little bit of Suicide in places although with a modern rhythmic persona. Quite impressed with this – no doubt some numpty somewhere will describe it as a bit retro but I’m rather fond of their eclectic mix of styles and synthesis. There is enough variety on here to keep the jaded electronicaphile happy for twenty one minutes. A nice selection of sound vignettes.