The Stones & Dylan 1998 and a very enthusiastic crowd.
Band on the Wall, Manchester
I’ve reviewed Wire on here before. They’re always worth seeing, of all the Post-Punk bands of their era they’re probably the most vital and fresh sounding. They’ve made a virtue of not relying on past glories. They could have easily made a tidy living doing the ‘classic albums’ circuit playing their first eighventies 3 LPs for EMI/Harvest (Pink Flag, Chairs Missing and 154) in full and doing the punk festivals playing ‘I Am The Fly’ and ’12XU’. Instead, since their most recent reformation in 2000 they’ve stayed doggedly in the present releasing new LPs which have garnered critical plaudits, gained new fans and and playing live shows which largely see them playing new music with only the occasional dip into the back catalogue – as frontman Colin Newman admits Wire are ” their own worst tribute band”. Seasoned Wire fans therefore have pretty much grown accustomed to a live show that will consist of new album tracks, maybe a few select oldies but rarely the obvious ones. More often than not they will be trying out new tracks from a yet to be recorded new album.I’ve seen a lot of these, » Continue Reading.
Since relocating recently I’ve found I’m picking up that irritating mobile phone noise on my HiFi- that familiar tick-a-tick-a-tick-a-tick fzzzzzzzz every few minutes. Switched all phones off and it still occurs. I know there are various ways to guard against interference but what puzzles me is where is it coming from if our phones are switched off? Could it be the neighbours phone or some other device? Any mobile phone/tech experts out there can advise?
I know there are a few Pop Crazed Youngsters on here who follow the Chart Music Podcast (go here if you’re not already up to speed : https://chartmusiccouk.wordpress.com/) and one of the joys is hearing from the great Taylor Parkes, who for my money is the Peter Cook or Chris Morris of music criticism. He can shine a light on music he loves in glorious technicolor or as if describing an incredibly elaborate and delightful piece of machinery, but he’s also funny as f**k in an extraordinarily creative fashion when something doesn’t take his fancy. A few of my favourites:
Banksy: “Fatuous ruiner of Brick Walls”
Big Fun : “Human Sop…like someone has gone all out to find a group of lads as wetly Anglo Saxon and Custard-like as possible..plucked out of the ground in the dead centre of England, put into a cylinder and fired through the Barley… straight into a recording studio”
Laurie Lingo (aka Dave Lee Travis) “A goat’s arse that talks….I hope he jackknifes”
Shakin’ Stevens: “The perfectly spherical pebble at the centre of the universe, the rotation of which is used to set the intergalactic clocks. Say what you like about Shakin’ Stevens but » Continue Reading.
I’m all for experimental music and things that a lot of people will witheringly call ‘pretentious’. I own a 17 CD Henry Cow Box set. I listen to Autechre’s NTS Sessions a lot. I own a copy of STUMM433 (Google it). This, however is pure Nathan Barley. Released by Johnny Trunk, inspired by his neighbour who goes by the name of Futurecrime (of course). Apparently this is ASMR and people “get off on it”. I quote: “If one weren’t told otherwise, the recordings may well resemble close-miked documentation of insects, some esoteric ritual, or a game of backgammon sped up, but closer inspection reveals sequences of these flurries that are possibly identifiable as furious delete keying or hammering a return button. And this is where it gets interesting, as each recording reveals to the listener the idiosyncrasies of each keyboard and its custom parts which, like custom built cars, use a huge spectra of parts both vintage and bespoke to achieve the users’ dream build and preferred levels of tactility and clickiness.”
We’re up to 1988 on the TOTP re-runs. As ever you’re reminded that the biggest music of the era wasn’t Rave, Indie or Hip Hop it was Bros, T’Pau, and dreadful songs from Coke Adverts. However, we are starting to get underground club dance records getting into the charts, made in back bedrooms and designed for hardcore Rave action suddenly becoming freak novelty hits. Of course, TOTP wants to dutifully represent the music that’s in the Hit Parade, and the producers of dance records can’t resist the chance to tell their Mums they’re on TOTP so they’ve got to try and translate sequenced music into a TOTP performance. Most of these are pretty toe-curlingly awful, KLF and The Orb excluded. Here’s a very early Orbital, before they’d hit upon the light-up glasses and nailed a way to perform live basically showing off their synths and occasionally turning a knob – with a pal throwing some shapes in a futuristic jacket…
What does it sound like?:
This release compiles the first 4 Happy Mondays 12″s and much of the music here has never been reissued since the late 80s. Their first release, the Forty Five EP is pretty standard 1985 jangly Indie guitar fare which sounds not unlike their contemporaries James and The Bodines. It’s hard to hear what Tony Wilson heard in them and there are few clues to what was to come, apart from the Tom Jones quoting ‘Oasis’ which made it’s way (re-recorded) onto their debut album. They hit their stride with ‘Freaky Dancin’ which is here in two versions produced by Bernard Sumner (the band famously scoffed the remains of a Chinese Takeaway which he put in the bin during the session). It’s a ragged, messy attempt at 70s funk but you can audibly hear the band thrillingly falling into line and finding something resembling a groove albeit the groove that only a bunch of absolute weirdos and Postmen from a suburban Salford grotspot could create – there’s the Wah Wah guitar, the bongos and the ‘baggy’ sound and everything that the Stone Roses took all the credit for a few years later. B-Side ‘The Egg’ » Continue Reading.
@barry-blue raises an excellent point in his Furs review which I think deserves a thread of it’s own. Current bands have to live on their wits, keeping recording costs down, making ‘sync’ deals, playing Social Media chess, touring with fewer musicians than they’d like, shilling ‘merch’ after gigs and in many cases working part time to pay the bills. How do moderately successful heritage acts of the recent past make it pay? How does Transvision Vamp turn in a profit once the Vampblokes have been paid their Per Diems? Case in point – Modern English. Who They? They were a decent Post Punk band signed to 4AD, a more poptastic version of Wire. They had some Indie chart hits and then released this which became a huge US College radio hit. 34 Million YouTube hits and counting…read on in the comments….
What does it sound like?:
I don’t know if the average Afterword reader/contributor will dig this record, but if you think you’ve heard everything that a guitarist, bass player, drummer and singer can possibly do then give this, the second album from Dublin four piece Girl Band a spin.
This is an intense and violent record. That’ll put some of you off right away – and yet I bet you’ll happily watch an intense and violent film or Binge-Boxset right? I’ll do my best to sing about the architecture here. Singer Dara Kiely alternates between a creepily blank half-spoken vocal style and screaming to the limits of his lungs. Musically, there isn’t much in the way of recognisable chords and melody lines – but this isn’t some one-note Psych Rock drone – guitars burst, crackle and explode violently and the bass comes in swoops, rumbles and punches. Once you get used to what they do it starts to take on a musicality of sorts – like your car engine or a revving motorbike. What Girl Band lack in hum-able tunes they more than make up for in rhythm. The drummer is awesome and there are some colossal beats » Continue Reading.
It had to happen eventually. So the the most ubiquitous of all Charity Shop albums, the one you can find on Vinyl in pretty much every Chazzer, every Car Boot, every 2nd hand shop and pretty much anywhere now gets the Super Deluxe treatment. There must have been warehouses full of unsold copies released into the wild, maybe they breed in captivity, for some reason they are everywhere. Yep, No Parlez, on purple vinyl and signed by the man himself for 23 quid – for that you could probably get 50 copies of the original vinyl at current Charity Shop prices.
What does it sound like?:
Section 25 might be the best band you’ve heard of, but never heard. For a long time S25 were criminally ignored, or at best unfairly written off as a 4th Division Factory Act, forever to be lower down the bill to higher profile friends Joy Division, ACR and The Durutti Column. Lately they now seem to be getting a lot more recognition and have even been sampled by Kanye West.
This sumptuous 5LP box set from Factory Benelux at first glance appears to be a Super Deluxe edition of their debut ‘Always Now’ but in fact comprises a whole load more – also in the box are the follow-up album ‘The Key of Dreams’, a collection of contemporary singles and b-sides, a live album and the impossible to find 1982 cassette-only release ‘Illuminous Illuminae’. These are all on coloured vinyl (of course) and you get a nice booklet of images and quotes. The sleeve artwork is gorgeous – some of Peter Saville’s best work was with these and everything looks suitably arty and intriguing.
‘Always Now’ suffered at the time somewhat for the misfortune of being recorded and released pretty much at the » Continue Reading.
With the announcement of Abbey Road Superdeluxe there is much excitement about the issue of this on 5.1 Surround Sound and Dolby Atmos (no idea what the difference is, presumably it’s better done in dobly). I don’t have a surround sound setup and apart from XTC, the HJHs and King Crimson it’s unlikely any music I like will be issued in this format. However, I’m interested to know from people that indulge – (if Superdeluxeedition.com is anything to by there is a huge demand for it – whether it’s Beatles band or Thompson Twins) So how often do you listen to music in 5.1 – describe the scenario – do you invite people over or do you have a space where you just immerse yourself? – can you enjoy the 2d album once you’ve heard it in 5 dimensions?
Currently in the process of organising the den ahead of us (hopefully) relocating to a neat little Cottage. My new den/music room is a bit smaller, so I’m having to be a bit creative about storage and do a bit of soul-searching about what I really need to take with me. It’s long overdue a stock check and I’m enjoying going through what’s there, deciding what stays and releasing the rest back into the wild. I’m aiming to pare down to where I’ve got favourite music and books displayed and being enjoyed rather than boxes and boxes of stuff gathering dust. So, interested to know how Afterworders deal with all your ‘stuff’ and how you decide on your Vinyl/CD crop-rotation etc. The biggest task is dealing with the about 2,000+ CDs, most of which is on shelves and the rest in crates. Ignoring the fact of it’s plummeting resale value, I had a blast collecting it all and there is stuff in there that isn’t on Spotify etc so I’m keeping a lot of it. I’ll trim down to keep the best stuff shelved but the rest is getting taken out of Jewell cases and filed away in a big » Continue Reading.
Comic-Con is in Manchester which means there are lots of kids and fully grown adults dressed as Comic book and Movie characters descending on the city. It all looks abstract and unfamiliar to me as I’ve no idea about the cult movies and comics they’re supposed to represent. Years ago this was a very niche concern, it used to be reserved for hardcore Star Trek or Dr Who fans and maybe created a wry feature on local news or Nationwide. Now it’s a huge global concern. I’ve no issue with it, looks like fun. I don’t understand the culture but I guess it’s no more weird than me playing Vinyl records and going to gigs, or adults crying because of a Football match, or deciding on how to bring up your children or treat another person because of some archaic Religion. In the political climate I can see the appeal of retreating into a fantasy world and believing in fictional superheroes – although it strikes me maybe this is ultimately an expression of belief in corporate Movie franchises and other less benign concerns. What say The Afterword? Does anyone participate and dress up and do the » Continue Reading.
I love this band and although they have a firm fanbase I think they’re hugely underrated. They’ve been kicking around for 10 years, countless bands have come and gone in that time frame and having made two albums of joyously wonderful music they’ve been quiet since 2011 (apart from the brilliant cheeky Ghost Box side project The Pattern Forms). They merge wistful, immaculate pop songwriting firmly in the territory of Scritti Politti, Blue Nile and Prefab Sprout but with a massive dose of Rave and House music beats. They sound like someone created a band I would like in a lab so they can do no wrong in my eyes- but if you’ve written ’em off as Indie Landfill or whatever have a listen – they have a new album on the way – I’m predicting it will be a bit of a banger.
Just watching bits of Glastonbury footage and reading recommendations and reviews on the thread I’m left feeling really optimistic about the future of mainstream music. Lots of appreciation for the old guard – veterans like The Chemical Brothers and The Cure, the Poptastic likes of Kylie and Mylie and overwhelmingly positive reviews of the likes of Stormzy, Janelle, Christine and plenty of other weirder stuff like The Comet is Coming. Not that long ago the music industry were fretting over who would take the place of established (mostly white, indie or classic rock guitar bands) and fill stadiums in the future- I really don’t think they need to worry about that now since we have clearly have tons of artists playing Grime, Pop, R&B, Jazz, Indie, rock, folk etc who can clearly mak show and get kids jumping and singing every word. Personally I’ll carry own ploughing my own music furrow – but watching Glastonbury suggests the future is in good hands, the appetite for live music is huge and it’s diversified massively and I applaud Emily Eavis & co for trying to capture that in a weekend.
There is a Wire documentary in the works ‘People in a Film’. The promo clip looks promising and suggests the aim is to capture the delightfully unholy and absurdist collaboration of Post Punk, Fine Art, Agriculture and brutal noisemaking that is Wire. The filmmakers (Malcolm Doyle and Graham Duff) have the full cooperation of the band past and present including the mercurial former member Bruce Gilbert. Of course even BBC4 ain’t going to pay for this one so Wire fans will need to get their hands in their pockets and fork out for them to get the footage rights and get the thing finished. You know the drill by now – usual deal, you’re basically paying upfront for the DVD/Blu-Ray or if you’re really flushed you can make like George Harrison and pay the most expensive cinema ticket ever in return for your name on the credits and god knows what else. Anyway, this film must be made so lob some cash this way.
Complete Works: So who do you feel compelled to own absolutely everything by, even the mediocre stuff?
Imperial Phase: Who are you happy to to have the generally accepted classics or canon of, maybe the odd leftfield choice by but never felt the need to go beyond that?
The Best Of: Happy with one compilation and/or that one classic album.
Soup Kitchen, Manchester
This Swedish trio have been treading the boards for a while. Their new one ‘Are You A Dreamer’ is a cracker. Their influences are writ large – and admittedly somewhat well worn – 60s Soundtracks, psych, library music. The most obvious comparison is Stereolab in their more playful mode, or Broadcast before they went down the occult wormhole. However, they do it so very well and on this new record they really put their own stamp on it and have a melodic warmth and openness to their sound which is very appealing. On stage they have no rhythm section, relying on the beat and bass looping on a sampler which is somewhat of a hindrance but I guess born out of financial necessity for a touring band playing tiny venues. I find myself moving closer to the stage – everything else is played live so lovely twangy/vibrato guitar, the vocalist has a couple of synths and another keyboard player has a Moog connected to some analog FX and a Mellotron (well a digital version of same which does a very good impersonation of that classic Flute sound etc) with echoey vocals floating on » Continue Reading.
The Manchester branch had lain dormant since the HMV takeover in February. However the signage was left intact, and still seemed to have stock, fixtures and fittings inside so I did wonder whether negotiations were happening. Sure enough the store twitter feed suddenly sprang back to life a few days ago and Fopp has indeed reopened. It’s a lovely shop on two floors (previously occupied by Piccadilly Records) and had been my go-to place for a lunchtime browse for many years and so I’m mighty pleased it’s back and looking forward to handing my pocket money over the counter.
This is their first single for Rough Trade (they had some more low key releases and freebie singles which change hands for silly money already). I’m sure the last thing they need is a middle aged music bore playing ‘spot the reference’ but I’ll do it anyway – I hear a bit of Pere Ubu, This Heat, Josef K, Wire with maybe a bit of Cardiacs and those US rock bands from the 90s that got tagged as ‘Math Rock’. They’re young so maybe they haven’t heard any of that stuff but arrived at their own thing through other routes. Ultimately it’s a perfect balance of instantly catchy and really odd and I like it. Oh, and you should hear the B-Side….woh.
I’m talking about the great Tim Friese-Green of course. He was essentially the 4th member of Talk Talk and co-produced and co-wrote their classic albums Colour of Spring, Spirit of Eden and Laughing Stock. However, he was also the producer of Tight Fit’s rendition of the Lion Sleeps Tonight. So, can anyone top that as a move from the none-more Pontins, absolute end of the ‘Top of The Pops’ pier to the lofty heights of utterly sublime, immaculate and revered Art Rock?
What does it sound like?:
These New Puritans don’t really sound like anyone else around right now (don’t be fooled by the band name – they sound nowt like The Fall) – which is something of a rarity these days. This is their 4th one – and the follow up to the hugely acclaimed ‘Field of Reeds’, an extraordinary record which I played to death. There’s some trepidation when a band follows up a record you love, especially after a 6 year gap. Initial signs are promising – the artwork is lavish and quite preposterous depicting the band (essentially now the two brothers George and Jack Barnett) pulling a showroom dummy pose, the Vinyl is coloured to resemble the rusting hulk of a ship or maybe a stained copper pub table – and the inner sleeve depicts a tastefully nude figure with the words TRANSCENDENCE – BRUTALITY – BEAUTY – REALITY superimposed over her. Yeah OK that may put some of you off, but they’re deadly serious so let’s dive in, they’ve nailed their colours to the mast here – this ain’t Mumford & Sons. First off this isn’t as immediate a record as Field of Reeds which has » Continue Reading.
The Soup Kitchen, Manchester
Last time I saw Miki Berenyi fronting a band on stage it was in a draughty, half empty Manchester Academy, mopping up a rescheduled final gig for the short lived Lush reunion which appeared to have ended rather abruptly. Lush, hats off to them, honoured the booking and Mick Conroy of Modern English was drafted in as a last minute replacement for Phil King but…it had the vibe of a party where someone has started mopping up spilled drinks waiting for people to go home. The Merch stand were having a Fire Sale…you can guess the rest.
Happily – it seems working with Mick lit a new spark and 3 of this final line-up of Lush (Berenyi, Conroy and former Elastica Drummer Justin Welch) have re-emerged with a whole new band and they’re joined by former Moose guitarist KJ “Moose” McKillop. I’ll refrain from calling them a 90s Indie Supergroup because that would be terribly crass, not least because they’ve made some effort not to sound like their former bands and this is a fresh start.
The venue is yer typical indie grotspot the members of Piroshka will feel very » Continue Reading.
Crackerjack (CRACKERJACK!) always used to shoehorn a musical number into their finale, and I’m sure everyone knows the Peter Glaze/Jan Hunt take on Bowie’s Golden Years – I remember that pre-YouTube going around on a Quicktime video for “LOLs”. This take on XTC’s ‘Making Plans for Nigel’ has been around a while but it’s a new one on me…I particularly like ‘Burt Hayes & His Orchestra’ on this – Friday 5 to 5 so they’d be several pints in and the Bass Player is having a good stab at the Dubby bassline