Aural Delights Radio Show – 28th December 2011 – Albums of the Year Part 4 and other whitterings

And so here we are with the top 14 albums of the year as selected by some SCR DJs, some Fall Frenz, and myself.

The big  pressure vote from a lot of folks was for Fucked Up’s “David Comes To Life” to win but the local vote swung it toward the eventual champion, which is both adjacent to Salford and excellent.

The final top 14  is heavily biased towards the North West of England and specifically the Greater Manchester conurbation mainly due to the fact that the music is current to these parts, and that’s what our community radio station is all about. Also notable that two of the american participants in this final list played in the city this year (albeit Ripley was in his Moon Duo guise when he did it).

The year has been dominated by the neu Prog and the neu Psyche – a lot of this featured in the preceding three shows to this one – but also the main emphasis has been those musicians who can craft albums at home and produce masterpieces – whether it be time served guys who have been around as long as I have, or the new breed.  Tony Thornborough coined an appropriate phrase at the Factory Star/Blimp gig at FAC251 earlier in the year viz “Old is the new Young”  spot on – and I have to say in all honesty the most aural pleasure this year has been derived from watching musicians who have spent many years crafting their art and have reached a new creative peak.  I just enjoy seeing these guys perform great material which is considerably superior to the Elbow/Coldplay clones attempting to forge a career in the biz. I think I am going to be a little harsher in my responses to bands submitting material next year – my first response will be to direct them to the artists featured on this show…….don’t copy Garvey and Martin look around a little wider.

Wooden Shjips –  Black Smoke Rise – West (September) – the first Shjips album to get proper studio treatment and their best yet.  Everything from pyschedelia, via psychobilly through to motorik rhythms – marvellous and mesmerising music.

Vinny Peculiar –  Artrockers – Other People Like Me  (October) – In which local residents Mr Wilkes demonstrates his flair for lyricism and great tunes. Some pure pieces of poetry on this album which reflects back to an older less complicated world.

The Fall – Cosmos 7 – Ersatz GB (November) – the 29th Studio album from the bard of Prestwich and his band of travelling troubadours. This one divided opinion quite markedly and led to wailing and gnashing of teeth in some quarters contrasted with unapologetic worship in others. Would have been higher but for a seriously loud no vote from the Clifton area.

Shoshin – Here Comes My Favourite – City of  Patience (July) – I guess the rest of them will catch up on this one eventually as I appear to be the only one who likes this – but I like it lots – I think I have played every track from it. Grab it – you don’t know what you are missing! Also if you can get the link between the preceding album and this one you win a patronising pat on the back.

Moff Skellington – In the Helter Skelter  Suburb – Embers of the Rapid Eye (?) – not released as yet I don’t think  but definitely Moff’s album of 2011. The usual mix of other worldliness and DIY musical ethic which makes this artist utterly unique and rather marvellous. Many of the tracks appeared on a session on the old Reformation show.  It just makes me smile to listen to this music and wordplay within it.

Fall Fan Dave and the Lap Top Dancers – Juggernaut – Yelling Boil (March) – Dave and Ian’s second outing and rather groovy it is too. Another productive year for the duo with a new album planned for 2012. A variety of selections on this one but this track is one Dave prepared for a Reformation session.

Danny Short – Your Kingdom – You Must Not Play (November) – the second of two albums released this year by the very productive Mr Short. His best yet I think as it captures both his punk-prog-pop side as well as his more experimental leanings.

Crystal Stilts – Sycamore Tree – In Love With Oblivion (April) – a stunning second album with some stand out tracks. Described as noise pop meets ’60s psych somewhere – I think they go beyond that and have created a signature sound which is centred around Hargett’s laconic vocal delivery.

Kin – Chemistry Set – Flickering (December) – actually out in physical form in rather groovy packaging earlier in the year but just made available on Bandcamp. This was all it promised to be in the “Dot Dot Dot” ep on Invisible Girl but took the form and schema to a new place entirely. New stuff on the way from the amazing talent that is Kin. I also get a mention on the album sleeve notes along with a few others….

The Wild Swans – English Electric Lightning – The Coldest Winter In A Hundred Years (August)  Claiming to have “unfinished business,” former Teardrop Explodes keyboardist Paul Simpson returned with  Wild Swans’ first album since 1990’s Space Flower and a new super-group line-up which included the Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Ricky Maymi, Echo & the Bunnymen’s Will Sergeant and Les Pattinson, and Spiritualized’s Mike Mooney, just to name a few. The chosen track is just pure magic – wonderful lyrics. The first of two Occultation releases in the top 15.

Monster Island – Pilot Whales – Cathedral Steps (November) Stephen, Lewis and Wesley are back with their third album which further develops their unique approach to music and their lyrical genius in respect of the world that surrounds us and them. Utterly wonderful. Get it from Bandcamp. Note to self – make sure we get them at a gig in Salford next year.

Half Man Half Biscuit – Somethings Rotten in the back of Iceland – 90 Bisodol (Crimond) (September) – the 12th album in the canon and they show no signs of running out of ideas – the usual Blackwell obsessions remain – footie, indie bands and obscure soap stars. There are three constants in my life – the wife, The Fall and Half Man Half Biscuit (oh and Joseph Holts Bitter – so that’s four).

Fucked Up – Queen of Hearts – David Comes To Life (June) – a “Tommy” for the I-Pad generation? Possibly – but then again so much more than that. Immense vocals, searing guitars and exceptional tunes. As mentioned above many had this as number one for the year but the jury over turned that verdict and came up with the one below.

Factory Star – Stone Tumbling Stream – Enter Castle Perilous (April) – we said this immediately it came out – Album of the Year – a bit of a bold statement given we were only four months into the year. Having seen the new line-up do the whole album in order at FAC 251 and having been somewhat blown away it was good to get hold of it and revel in its quality. Some of Martin Bramahs’ most exquisite lyrics appear on this release revealing him as a poet of some distinction, and the tunes are just as memorable. The album was recorded “live” and this works on so many levels as it captures the intensity of the experience of catching this band in the flesh.  My review of the album is still the most read blog on this site. Occultation records again demonstrating exceptional taste.

So in conclusion:

ALBUM OF THE YEAR : Factory Star – Enter Castle Perilous ; Runner-Up – Fucked Up – David Comes to Life

RECORD LABLE OF THE YEAR : Occultation ; Runner-up – Bandcamp

To listen to this show click the link

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Aural Delights Radio Show – 21st September 2011

A mixed bag of tunes on this show – pretty eclectic actually – here we go again:

  • Steamkings – L1 125 – Sleepy Music Compilation – impressive band from the excellent Sleepy Music label from Brighton
  • Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes – Hearts of Stone -Hearts of Stone – whilst there are no horns (which has horns) on this the preceding track made me think of Southside and drag out this track from the archives.
  • Richie Barron – Tahoe Boogie – Rather Have The Green Than The Blues – otherwise known as Dr Tequila,  from one of Richie’s earlier albums which he kindly shipped over some copies of from the States last week. This definately has horns!!
  • Thin White Rope – Disney Girl – Exploring the Axis – an excellent track from the first album from this great band which split in 1992. Like Steely Dan they take their name from a Bill Burroughs literary reference.
  • Blue Orchids – Disney Boys – The Flood Single – seemed somewhat sensible to follow the preceding tune with this one….
  • Half Man Half Biscuit – Arthurs Farm – ACD – having just ordered the new album, which is out on 26th September (90 Bisodol(Crimond)) , I had a compulsion to listen to this one. It’s Tommy Walsh’s Eco House by the way not Tommy Boyd as I say on the show, that’s a totally different cultural reference.
  • Sugar – If I can’t change your mind – Besides – “Copper Blue” remains to this day  one of my favourite albums – this acoustic version of a tune from the album featured on a CD Single and then turned up on the Besides compilation album.
  • Wild Swans – Chloroform – The Coldest Winter for A Hundred Years – another glorious track from one the albums of the year for me.
  • Neil Young & Crazy Horse – Cinnamon Girl – Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere – a classic album, a classic band and a classic tune. Nuff said.
  • Late Night Shopping – Late Night Shopping – Sleepy Music Compilation – have been playing this band for the last few weeks – very impressed with their off kilter look at the universe.
  • Heinous Tarts – Real Life Failer – Compilation CD provided by Chris Goodhead – a five piece from York who are reforming for a one off gig at Fibbers on 30th September – all for charity – sign up with them on Facebook for lots more information.
  • Ana Ege – Driving with no hands – Bad Blood – from the stunning new Steve Earle produced album – if you have not heard Ana before do yourself a favour and grab this album.
  • The Explorers Collective – Please Please Yourself – Single – As it says on the press release “Incendiary debut single “The Factory” gained great radio support including:The British Breakfast in Richmond Virginia USA, Spark FM 6-6 playlist & interview, Salford City Radio (that would be me!) BBC Introducing Three Counties play and Interview,  BBC Introducing Cambridge Interview and Live Session. Four permanent members The Explorer, Frazer Davidson, Mookherjee and Mr P. Paganotto + special guest poets, animators, rappers and musicians, make it their mission to combine killer hooks & wry observational wit with cutting-edge animation and leftfield imagination.” Marvellous stuff!
  • Acid Mothers Temple & The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. – Pink Lady Lemonade Part 04 – Pink Lady Lemonade You’re From Inner Space – i’ve been wanting to play something by these extremely hirsute purveyors of Japanese psychedelia for some time and what better way to start than their probably most recorded epic and this is from their most recent release as The Melting Paraiso U.F.O. – being the fourth part of a set of versions of the tune on the CD/Vinyl release.
To listen to the show, click on the link below

Aural Delights – 7th September 2011

Decided to go a bit Audio Visual this week……so here we go again….and these are tunes featured on this weeks show….follow the links for Facebook stuff and other info….

You can listen to the show here
Or you can watch these vidchips……not quite in the same order as they are on the show….

Aural Delights – 22nd June 2011

A variety of new sounds on this show a lot of them from the Greater Salford area…….or Manchester as it is more commonly referred to…..but many more from far flung places like Coventry, Falkirk and Huddersfield……

  • WU LYF – Dirt (Single) : the next big thing? I think it’s too early to tell but this single is definitely quality stuff. You will be able to see for yourself at Manchester International Festival in July.
  • White Swallow – Rain (Single) – consist of Bobby Mambo- Guitar + Vox and
    Sam Swallows- Drums and hail from Chorley (a fine place with some nice restaurants).More info the Brock and Roll site.
  • The Strive – Down in London (Demo) – interesting band from Stretford consisting Gurmakh Singh – Guitar/Vocals, Jake Ogden – Guitar/Vocals
    Thomas ‘Toast’ Barlow – Bass/Vocals, Mike Carolan – Drums.
  • Beirut – East Harlem (Single) – nice to see them back and with a great tune from Zac Condon.
  • The Suns – Sun Strut – Down and Out in Little Deva (Album) – the rather impressive and utterly groovy Suns who are playing at Helmets for Men in September…..and are well worth seeing.
  • Zap Zap Zap – Brick Window – apparently the NME think they are good which is usually the kiss of death for me but they are actually very impressive. It would appear that they “enjoy taking influence from the potent and enigmatic things of everyday life; amplifying them to great heights of their own musical art”. Not sure that adequately covers a very polished and unique sound that encourages further listening. Very melodic and well constructed tune this.
  • Bad Pollyanna – My Incubi (Single) – I like a touch of alternative rock sturm und drang once in a while and this one ticked my one working set of ossicles so I thought I would give it an airing.  The album is in gestation as I understand it. Based in Huddersfield the band consists of Olivia Hyde – Vocals, Nikki Kontinen – Bass, Sam Morrow – Drums,  and Peter Dawes – Guitar. Apparently the stage show is pretty impressive and looking at some of the vids on You Tube they do have an impressive look to them. Turns out Sam the drummer lives in Manchester also. If you want to contribute to the production of the album you can pay for the single otherwise its free to download. Good idea I think – something Kristin Hersh does with her Strange Angels thingy.
  • Audio Asylum – Pressure (Demo) – a very impressive band from Liverpool who I’ve played before. A taster from a forthcoming ep.
  • The Black Hands – 45 (Demo) – Five piece Blues Rock outfit The Black Hands are: Daniel Riley – Guitar & Vocals, Richard Moore – Guitar & Vocals, Andy Gannon – Vocals & Harmonica, Dan Bennet – Bass, Ben Atkins – Drums. Rather reminiscent of the music I was listening to when I was a young whippersnapper in loon pants and a tank top.
  • The Wild Swans – Falling to Bits – The Coldest Winter for a Hundred Years (Album) – if you want any further evidence of my advancing senility then you have it in me describing the rather marvellous Wild Swans as the “White” Swans – I put this down to an over-ingestion of Doctor Joey Holts bronchial medicine. Aside from my idiocy an excellent track from a brilliant album.
  • Pose Victorious – Off The Rails –  Beneath the Lighthouse (EP) – e a 5 piece indie rock band from Falkirk, Scotland. Having formed in mid 2009 they quickly released their self titled debut E.P. in March 2010. Since then the band have endeavoured to introduce their sound to new ears, playing a host of gigs and down the country, this is from their new EP.
  • V Thirteen – What Happened To You (Demo – Radio Edit)  – V Thirteen was formed in March 2011 by Dermo (from Northside) and Matt Rynn. Work is now underway on the writing of the self recorded debut album ‘The Rest Is History’ which will be engineered, produced and mixed by Dermo and Matt. This is the first demo.
  • Pint Shot Riot – Twisted Soul (Single) – from Coventry, the band were formed in 2004 under the name ‘Avenue’ – they changed their name to ‘Pint Shot Riot’ because when you enter the word ‘Pint’ into predictive text, the phone often mistakes it for ‘Shot’ or ‘Riot. The Band’s current lineup consists of two cousins Richard ‘Rocket’ Emerson (Guitar and Vocals) and Chris ‘Mini Rocket’ Connell (Drums and Backing Vocals) with Dave ‘Baby Dave’ Page (Bass) and Rob Clements (Lead Guitar & Backing Vocals).
  • Esmerine– A Dog River – La Lechuza (Album)an experimental instrumental group started by Bruce Cawdron and Beckie Foon, who have contributed to other Montreal-based bands as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Set Fire to Flames, and Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band. The music consists mainly of percussion, cello, and marimba sharing many characteristics with minimalist classical music and chamber music.
  • Electric Wood – A Tragic Satire (Demo) – very little info about these guys at this point in time but an impressive tune.
To listen click on the link below

Aural Delights – May 11th 2011

On tonight’s show:

1 The Wild Swans -Melting Blue Delicious – Magnitude : touring in June and a new album soon on Occultation.

2 Michael Mooney – Dog – The Machine Made Hand : an Australian living in Canada – sent me this EP via our unsigned page

3 Dave Stephens – Hanging On – Time Will Tell : A Canadian living in America

4 Across Tundras – In the name of River Grand – Sage : Blistering new album from this three piece on Neurot Records

5 Tom Verlaine – A Postcard from Waterloo – The Millers Tale : a 1996 double-CD compilation album. It chronicles his solo career and his career with Television on one CD (including several obscurities) and the other CD is an edited live performance from London in 1982.

6 David Lowery – The Palace Guards – The Palace Guards : the Camper Van Beethoven man’s first solo album.

7 Atlantis – Dream On – Demo : newish band from Liverpool who approached me via our unsigned page.

8 Joshua Ronnay Fisher – Tell Me Your Name – Demo : I know absolutely nothing about this lot other than they are from Wigan and they list Led Zeppelin and The Stooges as influences. Again they sent this in via our unsigned page.

9 And So I Watch You From – Afar Seven Million People All Alive At Once -Gangs : they were at the Deaf Institute last week – missed them unfortunately. Jury is out still for me on this album which needs a couple more listens. One of my preferred post-rock outfits mind you.

10 Atomiks – Triple Zero – Pontiac and Superhonky – The Atomiks preach tirelessly to the faithful time and time again against the evils of an incomprehensible military-industrial complex, while extolling salvation through baptism by bourbon. Marvellous stuff from Reno, Nevada!

11 Bert Jansch – Fresh as a sweet Sunday morning – LA Turnaround : he’s been touring with Neil Young and has a new album called The Black Swan – but this is from his classic album LA Turnaround. Probably one of my favourite albums.

12 Heidi Spencer and the Rare Birds – Carry Me Softly – Under Street Light Glow :  a travelling filmmaker and singer-songwriter from Milwaukee.

13 Monster Magnet – Freak Shop USA – Monster Magnet EP : Red Bank, New Jersey’s finest.

To listen to the show click on the link below