The Best of 2016 #3 – Singles and EPs

This one is going to be a little different due to the nature of releases this year. All will become apparent as I meander through things. The nature of what I do on an almost daily basis i.e. putting together radio shows/podcasts and running a record label means that a serious amount of individual tracks come in for potential airplay or indeed for release on the label. So trying to do a definitive list of the “best” is nigh on impossible – if they made it onto the podcast or got released by the record label they are, because they got through that gateway, “better than the rest” so i’ll generalise…..and this is in no sort of order of importance as I love them all with equal fervour……with the stuff at the bottom of the page being the “top of the pops” as it were

The Moss Brothers – various releases by Ian and Neil under various aliases – the work rate of Ian Moss is legendary, add his sibling into the mix and you have a an even faster production line of fascinating music – whether it be Ian & Neil, Sebastien the Tortoise, A Magpie and a Goldfish, or 2 Big Brothers it’s all great.

Taser Puppets : Fossil – their latest EP and first with German Shepherd proved to be their best yet. A health scare for front man Shaun put things on hold for a while but a barn storming set at the Salford Music Festival but them back on the North West musical map.

Alana Bondi : Alana Bondi EP – another artist who battled through health problems in 2015/6 to deliver a remarkable debut EP and stunning video to the opener “Four Walls” plus a run of shows including the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

The Sideshow : How It Goes – a remarkable single, pure pop for now people as Nick Lowe once said. Should have broken through this one and still a mystery as to why it didn’t.

The Screaming Love Collective : Three Singles – proof that repetition in music is still potent as a way of delivering ideas that are fresh.

The Mind Sweepers : The Mating Game – Vicky Middles asked if we could help out with this one and we were pleased to get involved. They call themselves genre defying and they certainly deliver on that score.

Bouquet of Dead Crows : Epicentre – a great collection of alternative versions, live cuts and a remix crowned a great year for the “Crows”  – a new album is in the pipeline and an album of radio sessions is promised for the new year.

The Madding Crowd – a good year, a great EP, an epic EP launch and a sense of renewed promise and hope for this north Manchester band.

Stalagmites : Between City and Cellar Door – back with a bang with a great EP, Brad Lynch is one of the best songwriters Salford has delivered with fantastic lyrics and epic tunes.

The Parish Church Fire : Locamente – another one where I sit here with a puzzled expression wondering why it wasn’t huge.

Staggs : Adult Loonies and A Rum Do – when I am fed up I turn to Staggs to cheer myself up – the diversity across these two releases is a testament to the skill and inventiveness of Ridley and Scott – punk, electronica and krautrock,  there’s something for everyone.

The Get : The Private Men EP – The Get are remarkable, their lo-fi approach to what they do, their relentless charm and enthusiasm is infectious. A great collection of songs.

Moff and Moss – aside from a remarkable debut album an epic single which dwelt on Mr Crowley and other strangeness. Expect new stuff in the New Year which is development at the moment – it will all become clear at the gig at the Castle in March!

Rose and the Diamond Hand : Universe Is Woman – should be huge, a remarkable voice, an amazing band, and a great live show, add a fantastic debut EP and you have a great year for Rose and co.

and the top three

3. KIT B – Weird Water – impressive song-writing from a great live band who broke into the festival circuit this year and garnered some impressive live reviews

2. m.t. scott – The Broken EP and 13 Queer Street – Michael left the wonderful world of Staggs for a while  to create two collections of aural wonderment. Cinematic in their scope and impressive in their musical depth he is clearly a creative force that requires/demands/deserves  a wider audience. I’ve been lucky enough to listen to these collections develop from ideas into fully formed pieces of aural magic.

1. The Graney and Moore Singles Releases – throughout the year Dave and Clare have released a digital single a month (more or less there will be one in January) in an effort, I believe, to escape the usual routines in the music industry. I can’t decide which is the best amongst any of them, so I’m bringing all ten into a collective number one, but if you were to push me the latest one “I Ain’t Hi Vis” is probably my favourite. The variety across this set of releases is impressive, the trademark Graney wit is in full effect, and musically, as is always the case, they are top notch. Notably there is more than a bit of a jazz tinge than is usual which of course ticks a lot of boxes for me. You can grab them all at the DG bandcamp page.  For the record the releases were:

I’m a Good Hater
This Is the Deadest Place I’ve Ever Died In
I Been Trendy
Drifting Donna Reed
Are You Out Of Your Mind? (Get Back In)
You Need a Kleek, Klook
Rupert’s Pet’s Grave
Matey, From On High
Let’s Kick this Mob Out
I Ain’t Hi Vis

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Fascinating Things : Issue 45

It seems inevitable that this will be the year of the Graney. he is over for a short UK (and then French) tour, including a little gig that Una Baines and I have put together at the Eagle in the heart of Salford in April. Dave’s been busy of late, including a new single (out today) recorded by himself and Clare at the Ponderosa. It’s Dave being witty, and ironic, and wonderfully laid back.  I’m still waiting for the second volume of Play Mistly For Me mind you.

Details of the aforementioned gig, which is limited to 75 tickets so if you want to catch Dave, Clare, Stu Thomas and former Josef K and Orange Juice guitarist Malcolm Ross i’d book early if I were you, are on the flier below. Get your tickets here

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While listening to Dave’s radio show I was, as mentioned before, impressed by Jess Ribeiro, i’ve since invested in one of her Bone Collectors releases, which is more alt.country, and I will be sharing that in future weeks, but here is the stand out track from the most recent album recorded by Mick Harvey.

Talking of Mick Harvey, Dave and Clare posted a series of pictures of Mick, David McClymont and themselves working on a single with Georgio ‘the Dove’ Valentino. Intrigued I investigated Mr Valentino and was impressed by his output. If you track him down on the tax averse search engine you can get his excellent “Mille Plateaux” double album for free and also this offering from 2011, which has recently been repackaged

Away from matters Dave for a bit, now then, I’m a sucker for girls with guitars and drums making a lot of noise, and this lot caught my eye in a recent mail-out.  Of course they have been around for ages and I am, as usual, playing catch-up, They  a sister duo from Oklahoma made up of Kelli Mayo and Peyton Bighorse, formed in 2009 after a jam session at the girls’ Halloween party. They describe themselves as “like Babes in Toyland, Bikini Kill, Beat Happening, Regina Spektor, Kimya Dawson and Nirvana”. Skating Polly make a good noise and are worthy of further investigation.

I’ve just received the final mixes for the new KIt B EP which is will be out towards the end of March, called “Weird Water” it’s a remarkably good trio of songs, with the title track being particularly fine. Also arrived is the new West Coast Sick Line album called “Europee” which will certainly surprise some people. I reckon it’s better than Billinge in terms of song writing strength/maturity and variety of content. At the same time I was sent the debut album by Saint Lawrence Verge, called “Ashram”. They are a quartet from Modena in Northern Italy who play an interesting amalgam of post punk and progressive rock with strong cinematic elements. Here’s a live version of one of the album tracks, it’s not the highest fidelity, but you can get a good feel for the music. I guess we will surprise a few people with this release but Ian and I both agree it’s special.

Bubbling away for release is the debut single from The Sideshow which I have posted before but I am minded to include again as it deserves a lot of attention.