Tuesday, 16 July 2019

The San Pedro Collective: The Demon Sessions - EP Review

Photo Credit - Paul Husband

The San Pedro Collective
Demon Sessions EP
Blindside Records
DL all available platforms
Out now
What would happen if you woke up tomorrow morning, The Hacienda was open as usual, Sankeys Soap was still thriving, and the sweat was still pouring down the walls at The Thunderdome? What if a load of experienced musicians and characters got together to make a KLF like collaboration with no knowledge of where this will take them? Well Manchester and the rest of the world, enter the realms of Rikki Turner and co. It’s gonna blow your mind…
San Pedro is a new project of Rikki Turner, the mastermind behind several Manchester electronic outfits such as The Paris AngelsThe New Southern Elektrik and The Hurt. A large collective named after the Californian town where Turner’s favourite writer, Charles Bukowski lived out his final days, San Pedro consists of musicians, DJ’s, writers, poets, artists and singers based in the UK, mainland Europe and America.  So far we know about singer/songwriter Millie MacBean known for her ethereal vocals, Suddi Raval (ex member of rave duo Together, best known for their hit “Hardcore Uproar” that went to the top of the national charts in 1990), Simon Wolstencroft (The Fall, Ian Brown, The Stone Roses, Johnny Marr and Freak Party), Keith Higgins (former member of The Hunt), Justin Leonard, Martin McClaren, poet Karl Hildebrandt and Antnee Egerton of The Winachi Tribe.
The lead track The Things You See kicks it all off in proper rave style, camera shot clicking sound effects, with Millie’s vocals bossing it over a storming electro house soundtrack. It’s from the same school as Sneaker Pimps or maybe Moloko, the difference being is that the sound is fuckin massive. This track should surely be a floor filler in clubs around the planet.
Next up is a Winachi Tribe remix of the same track, proper pumped up high to fuck you up even more. It’s a massive tune sprinkled with disco biscuits by Antnee Egerton from The Tribe who know a thing or two about the funk business. Theme from San Pedro is a techno classic that 808 State or A Guy Called Gerald would be proud of. The 303’s are squelching all over the place, I’m throwing some shapes just thinking about it. Just pure acid house vibes that bring that those heady days of the Manc Summer Of Love. Fuckin tune!
Last but not least is the amazing The View From The Drowning Pool which introduces professional Manc gobshite Karl Hildebrandt on vocals. His dark poetry is becoming a hit on the streets at the moment and this is where he excels himself, spoken word from the bowels of his heart over a top as fuck in your face trance hitter. Again the sound is massive. There’s not enough stuff around like this anymore. Could it be the start of a new rave culture? Who knows? If there’s a collective to light that touch paper going into 2020 this is it. The time of the house / electro anthem looks to be back.
Check out the amazing video directed by Kate M Bennett co owner of Blindside Records. Massive.

Listen on Spotify

Thursday, 27 June 2019

The Pagans S.O.H: Pagan Pilgrimage - New Video and Single!!

Watch This! The Pagans S.O.H. release new video and single!
The Next Wave marches on and The Pagans S.O.H. are back with a cracking new video to their second single Pagan Pilgrimage which features Shaun Ryder, Peter Turner from Elbow and loads of familiar faces from the music scene around Manchester. All this was directed by Paul Husband in his own unique gothic style, mostly on location at The Kings Arms, Salford. Unlike their debut single Banananah which was a manic funked up beast, this is more of a spliffed out laid back yet heavy groove with Marcus’s unique rapping style bringing out funked up beats as usual. It’s a great move which shows they have the material to chop and change, rather than sticking to one style. Anyone who’s seen them live can testify to that. Again it was all recorded with Gavin Monaghan at Magic Garden Studios in Wolverhampton. I’d say it’s great to have them back. They’ve never really been away! The single is available from 4th July on all platforms.

Tour dates:
July 12th - Actress & Bishop, Birmingham.
July 13th - One Love, One Day Festival, Yerrrr Bar, MCR.
July 13th - The Snug, Atherton.
July 16th – Manchester International Festival.
July 20th – Macclesfield Festival.
July 21st - Tramlines Festival, Crystal Bar, Sheffield.
September 6th – Jimmy’s – Manchester.

Wednesday, 26 June 2019

Cold Water Swimmers / C33s - Live at The Peer Hat, Manchester - Friday 21st June

An 'I was there' moment for all you gig goers out there!

                                                       Trust A Fox Photography

Cold Water Swimmers

The C33s

The Peer Hat, Manchester

Friday 21st June 2019

Last Friday saw a monumental gig featuring two bands that have been part of my Next Wave movement in Louder Than War. The scene at the moment is healthy as fuck. Take The Pagans S.O.H. doing a video with fuckin Shaun Ryder on their second release, Tinfoils, Callow Youth, Dirty Laces, The Empty Page, Witch Fever, Dermo's Time For Action, Narcissus, Def Robot, Adventures Of Salvador, even the soon to be revealed Stepford Wives. Shit a brick, the list goes on and apologies for any bands I've missed out here. Cold Water Swimmers and The C33s are smashing down the wall at the moment and breaking through. Friday proved this as I'm about to reveal......

                                                       Trust A Fox Photography

I arrive at the venue quite early and it's already buzzing with activity. Tucked into a side street just behind Stevenson Square The Peer Hat is becoming a popular venue for up and coming groups to air their noise. I see a few familiar faces around (no fuckin' namedropping on here) and I can't believe the amount of good photographers in the house. Definitely something in the air here. The C33s arrive on stage and kick off their Tarantino surf punk rock with style and are truly honing their live act with every performance. Cav Green slices his guitar like a grunge master, whilst Judy commands those drums like a banshee. Most noted for me tonight with these firebrands is the confidence of Ste Philips on bass. It grows with each gig and he can fuckin' play! There's a mosh pit going on that looks like it could explode onto the stage at any time. There's a couple of over enthusiastic moshers going a bit overboard and at one point are warned to calm down a bit. That's the power emanating from this incendiary threesome. They do a fuckin' slammin Manic Depression that rides out with squalls of feedback after a pummeling rock out session. They air two new tunes tonight that fuckin kick you in the face with their punk ferocity, especially the aptly named Harpurhey Hostility with chugs along frenetically with a blast, and the Motorhead like Big Winner which ends the set with proper punk fireworks. This lot are not going away anytime time soon with performances like that.

Next up are the ultra cool Cold Water Swimmers. Another band making a massive splash (fuck me...) on the scene in a totally different style from The C33s. They have a similar backbone to provide Chris Bridgett with his perfect band yet their material has style that oozes the experience of the musicianship. She's Falling Apart opens the set with that familiar guitar chug us Swimmers fans are getting used to, and Carrie and Selina keep to their punk ethics with a rhythm section to kill for. Stark post punk garage is the best way I can describe as they sound out on their own. The textures of the songs are hypnotic as are Bridgetts vocals, such as I'll Be Your Witness and the brilliant new Burn Your Idols which has a proper psychedelic sixties pop vibe to it but is smattered with the post punk minds of the band to give it a modern feel. Sounds fuckin great live. What is criminal though? Next track Summer Breeze (which Chris dedicates to my late mate Noel Hurley) is a stunner. It should be plastered all over the radio. It's a wonder live, and the trio fuckin nail it live. It's got one of those choruses that you can hear ringing out at festivals, catchy as fuck! A masterclass in songwriting which should be an example to any up and coming songwriter. They are that good tonight the crowd want an encore of course. What a fuckin' pleasant surprise n all. A barking mad cover version of The Cure's The Forest which is proper punked up and has Chris cranking up that axe of his with some wonderful noise resonating the area. Should be massive. If the night can't get any better what happens next makes it a night to remember for music heads. Ex Fall drummer (Fall Heads Roll) Spencer Birtwistle literally fell onto the stage and did an impromptu drumming session with a six foot plus Peer Hat regular (I forget your name sorry) on bass.

A weird ending to a gig I'll remember for years to come. Definitely one of the best this year for the intimate nature of it, as I'm sure both bands will be moving up to much larger venues very shortly if they can perform like tonight. A belter.

All photos kindly provided by Steve Hampson, Neil Winward and Trust A Fox Photography. Use of any of these images is illegal without permission.

Tuesday, 25 June 2019

Adventures Of Salvador: Welcome To Our Village - Album Review

Adventures Of SalvadorAOS
Welcome To Our Village
CD/Vinyl/DL all formats
Release Date: 21st June, but available to pre-order now,
Bury’s finest proponents of Urban Surf Punk Rock are back with their second full length “Welcome To Our Village” which is a great leap forward from their debut album Drugs & Chocolate late 2016. Most people call it ‘the difficult second album.’ This myth is blown out of the water from the start says Wayne Carey.
After releasing their debut on their own label a few years back, playing loads of live gigs including Strummer Camp and making a name on the live scene, they are now signed to Manchester label German Shepherd who are releasing some interesting stuff recently. This must be a sign as this album stands out from the rest with it’s simple but strange rumbles of noise that makes you want more. Produced and recorded at Big City Jacks Recording Studio in Bury, Greater Manchester by Tony Long, the band have hit a new creative peak with their intense and hypnotic sounds. This is enhanced with stunning artwork from Jack Jerz. And to top it the vinyl was cut at Abbey Road by Sean Magee who has remastered stuff for The Ramones, Sex Pistols and Bowie to name a few!
Girl With The Broken Face kicks off with a flying start introducing old static footage from something or other, then the riffs kick in with full punk effect layered over with Loop-aznavour’s sneering vocals. Think Lydon’s snarl with the rolling R, the drawl of Mark E Smith and you’re getting their. He’s got that kind of voice, menacing yet funny as fuck as well. he even gets a theremin out for added effect. Nice start.
Uncle Walt is a track they’ve been playing live for a while now and had to be put down on record. Taking a cynical dig at the Disney empire, “Hey Kiddies, hand me down my gun, You see I’m the son a bitch that shot Bambi’s mum” Best line to the start of a song I’ve heard for ages, rumbling bass line catchy as hell and a great shout along “Bring me the head of Uncle Walt” It’s got that proper surf sound going on with a great production that enhances the whole sound. The keyboard from Loop also give you a 60’s feel, yet The Cramps run right through it in spirit.

Retroman is the first single to be lifted and is already being talked about in various music circles. a dirty swamp punk thang with attitude, dirty bass, dark keyboards and that snarl, it bounces and swirls along and gets into your head.

The album centrepiece is the memorable Welcome To My Village, a song with echoes of Royston Vasey and The Wicker Man, it is the tale of a hedonistic village elder who has his own population drive in full effect. The bass line is fuckin’ belting and it’s speeds along into a psychedelic maelstrom of guitars and swirling keyboards. It’s punk as fuck even 6 minutes in! Best thing I’ve heard yet this year.
Prettier Than You just rocks the fuck out in two and a half minutes of punk attitude with Loop snarling like a deranged Mark E “I’m pa pa pa pa prettier than you”. Nothing technical just a proper stomper of a single.
King Kong slows the pace down a touch (and I mean a touch), kicking off with some old Kong film footage. It swamp rock at its best, the theremin gets in there again the bass sound is slung low, the guitars grind and the lyrics take you on a journey from the perspective of that big gorilla fucker we all loved as kids.
Moody Blues goes into proper surf punk territory kicking off with that dirty bass again and speeding up with that Dick Dale type guitar sound, mental keyboards and an hilarious line about sitting in his easy chair, kicking off his shoes and listening to The Moody Blues, which of course in true Salvador style, they are taking the piss again. “I wanna kill The Moody Blues” shouts Loop (many would agree…).
Now Look What You’ve Made me Do ends the album in style. The whole thing with this album is the distortion sound on that bass has been produced to sound dirty as fuck, reminds me of the Membranes bass sound a little. “I’m a handsome man with impeccable taste, I’m a bonafide credit to the human race” states Loop-azvanour. He’s a cocksure bastard and sounds very convincing. Again The Cramps get a mention in sound and presence, and there’s even some late Fall going on here until that fuckin’ theremin kicks in again. It’s not exactly the Beach Boys this stuff.
If you like a bit of punk, dirty bass sound, upbeat psychedelia, then this is your bag. The verdict is my opinion, but if you want something fresh and out of the normal that makes you want to listen over and over again then get this album. It’s one of my favourite albums this year that should surely be in the end of year polls. Difficult second album?? They’ve fuckin’ pissed it!!
Adventures of Salvador are:
Nigel Beck – booming bass/vox
Mark Berry – Genie of the Gretsch
Dave aka Loop-aznavour – vox/keyboard/theremin
Mike “Complicated” Smith – DRUMS!
Buy the album from here
Live Dates:
June 28th – The Castle Hotel, Oldham Street, Manchester with Electric Cheese and Umbrella Assassins.
July 19th – Blue Moon, Cambridge with The Scissors.     Tickets from here
The band are kindly giving away a signed copy of the album on vinyl for one lucky winner below! 

Monday, 3 June 2019

Dermo: Road To Know Where - Album Review

Road To Know Where
Eromeda / Eye And Eye Records
Available now DL all available streams.
Vinyl / CD later this year.
Being no stranger to the Manc music scene via Northside, and his most recent punk fuelled offering with new band Time For Action, Dermo releases his first solo album and tells me how it’s all been put together.
“The picture cover of the album is from a photo I took a couple of years ago near the East Village in New York. I’ve travelled up and down every one of those roads and now I’m finally at the road to Know Where. It’s about personal discovery.”
“The album is songs I’ve written (some with local musicians) over the last few years, that I wanted to put out one day. My friend Andy Barclay put me on to a mate of his who remixed the original songs for me. It was all done on a laptop and I’d speak to him (we never met in person) over the phone, guiding him on what I was after. I’d like to have done more in the studio with the instrumentation of the music before I released the album, but I didn’t have the separate stems as they were lost, which is a shame. I recorded the guide vocals with Robert Corless (Gabrielles Wish) in Butterfly Records on Oldham St and then completed them with Steve Poppleton in Hope Mill Studios in Ancoats In April.”
“I like collaborating with different musicians as long as we get on. I’m into all kinds of music and love swapping ideas to create something new.”
It’s a different bag of an album with lots of influences from his travels and a massive Manc feel to the whole thing. There are tinges of Ian Brown on tracks like It’s Easy Now and A Few Of My Favourite Things, lots of strings, trumpets and harmonies going on but with that old Dermo style. You get funk flecked North Manc attitude on In My Bed, haunting drawls on Charming Murder and the dark Dark Soldier.
Out Of Touch has a proper Hacienda vibe to it with it’s stomping house beat and cheeky ironic lyrics, whereas What Happened To You? pays homage to nights out with an old friend in The Cyprus Tavern back in the day, a nostalgic funk track to dance the night away.
Mourning after is a mellow love song either about his mum or another loved one, you make your mind up here. There’s Room For Everyone has the classic Northside guitar sounds happening with lyrics that take a dig about people trying to take glory without sharing the love with others. Funky drumming, trademark Manc vocals, proper 90’s indie.
Ups And Downs brings me back to Ian Brown and tells the tale of someone who fabricates their life to try to be cool. “You’ve got a working class accent, your family are Tory blue” Says it all in true working class indie style. Top tune. Closing track You’re Gonna Miss Me (When I’m Gone) is funky as fuck, loads of wah wah guitars, whoops and a proper catchy chorus and a proper dub ending.
Dermo has done alright with his first own financed release and it’s a mixed bag of tunes dwelling on the sounds of Northside with a hint of his love for dance and funk thrown in. A far cry from his other project Time For Action this one is for the old 90’s indie kids who were enjoying the crossover that was happening back then. Promising.

Sunday, 26 May 2019

Membranes: What Nature Gives... Nature Takes Away: Album review.


What Nature Gives... Nature Takes Away.

Cherry Red.



Release Date: 7th June.

Membranes finally follow up their critically acclaimed universe-explaining 2015 album ‘Dark Matter/Dark Energy,’ which received rave reviews and radio play on BBC 6 Music and became the bestselling album in the band’s history.
The new album, ‘What Nature Gives…Nature Takes Away’ is a double album, using the band’s own 20-piece choir to juxtapose their dark drones and melancholic epic power across sixteen songs about the beauty and violence of nature. The album features guest appearances from the likes of Chris Packham, Shirley Collins, Jordan and Kirk Brandon, all dealing with various themes of nature and the cycle of death and life. Ding Archer is behind the wheel on production duties having produced the last nine albums by The Fall which is fucking highly commended at the least!

After getting back together on the request of Kevin Shields (My Bloody Valentine) The Membranes came back with a stunning album, a conception dealing with all things space and time which sounded like nothing they'd done in the past. All the trademark bass rumblings and primeval drumming were there but on a grander scale. Just when you think they couldn't get any more grandiose with their sound what do they do? Bring in the BIMM Choir to add to the already big soundscapes.

Lead track A Strange Perfume start the whole affair with John's whispering vocals backed by that angelic sound from the choir. Then the guitars come crashing in and it rocks. What Nature Gives... Nature Takes Away floats in with an infectious bass line that stays in your head and the choir just uplift the whole song making it a wonder. A Murder Of Crows goes all punk on our arses and gives a hint of John's love for all things Birthday Party with his maniac like vocals, screaming "Caw Caw Caw" over rumbling distorted bass and crunched guitars.
The City Is An Animal paints a picture of city life and the pockets of nature cropping up in small areas of town. Think of all the new apartments cropping up with their artificial gardens. It's dark and brooding, but manages to shine. The 21st Century Is Killing Me is like a follow up to 21st Century Man off the last album, yet totally different in sound. It's like Spiritualized in many ways with the hypnotic guitar sound, and the choir go gospel!! Brilliant.

Deep In The Forest Where The Memories Linger has a Joy Division mixed with early Floyd feel. A slow builder with a proper psych feel. The guitars crash in the drums are primal as fuck, and John drawls out the lyrics with an enticing snarl backed by that choir. It proper rocks out like fuck with a sprawling guitar attack at the end. Epic stuff. Black Is The Colour ticks all the boxes for me. A bassline to kill for that rumbles in with psych effects. Repetitive at it's best. And those guitars.... Fuckin' ell! This should be a single. Totally separates the men from the boys in songwriting skills. 84 year old folk singer Shirley Collins makes the first guest appearance on A Murmuration Of Starlings On Blackpool Pier which has some cracking visual lyrics referencing the annual Tory Party conference, discarded knickers on the beach, the beauty of starling formations. It's a dark song with smatters of beauty and very gothic. The Magical And Mysterious Properties Of Flowers features powerful vocals by Kirk Brandon and goes proper tribal psychedelic. Rob Haynes has such a distinctive drum sound he can call his own. Powerful stuff.

Mother Ocean / Father Time kicks in with the dirtiest bassline going and John's vocals are menacing as fuck backed by the ethereal guitars and more click drumming. Love the bass change in the middle. Snow Monkey is old skool Membranes at it's best. Straight out punk rock here. A short stomper, dirty as fuck with that drawling snarl all over it. Stand out track for me is Demon Seed / Demon Flower featuring his old mate Jordan. Another fuck off earworm bassline, disjointed smattering sound effects that fuck you up, and a great guitar refrain that goes west. Very clever. I wouldn't like to hear this on acid! Fuckin' tune. The Ghosts Of Winter Stalk This Land slows the pace right down with it's mellow dark beauty. Proper dub stuff going down here. Pass me the spliff. Clever as fuck, whispering vocals, Ding's production excels on this one. Haunting stuff. Chris Packham the nature TV presenter guests on the tribal sounding Winter ( The Beauty Of Violence And Nature). It's like something you'd hear on your headset in a museum. Death is compared as life's loving partner and the music is hypnotic to say the least. Nocturnal ups the tempo again with another one of those fuckin' basslines that get into my head. The squalling guitars and trance like lyrics are great. A close cousin to Joy Division's Transmission with more bollocks. Last track Pandora's Box is a haunting closer featuring the choir at it's best and is trademark Membranes tune, brooding, menacing, gothic. It's got the lot.

What a comeback. When you think their last album was that good it had to be remixed by a plethora of artists? This is a massive leap forward and should see The Membranes getting the recognition they deserve. A sprawling ambitious album with a lot of thought put into it. Definitely a contender for one of the albums of the year!

June 8   Manchester - O2 Ritz Manchester
June 22 Bedford - Esquires
June 23 Brighton - The Prince Albert
July 5    Blackpool - The Waterloo
July 7    Birmingham - O2 Academy Birmingham
July 19  Stoke-On-Trent - The Sugarmill
July 20  Liverpool - Phase One
Aug 2   Rebellion Festival
Oct 11  Glasgow - King Tuts Wah Wah Hut
Oct 12  Aberdeen - Krakatoa
Nov 2   Corby - The White Hart

Keep up with The Membranes
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Monday, 20 May 2019

Slowthai: Nothing Great About Britain - Album Review

Nothing Great About Britain
Available now
There are quite a few new artists these days delivering the goods with their debut albums. Can Northampton hip hop grime artist Tyron Frampton join the ranks with his? He’s already making waves with his live shows. Wayne Carey gives it a spin.
Slowthai knew the title of his album long before he wrote a single bar of it. He knew he wanted the record to speak candidly about his upbringing on the council estates of Northampton, and for it to advocate for community in a country increasingly mired by fear and insularity.
Title track, Nothing Great About Britain, dives straight into the subject of the state of Britain today, as the beat kicks in and he spits out about the EDL, real English boys, St Georges flag, Doc Marten boys. He paints a vivid picture of today’s state to a banging beat and this reminds me of the first time I heard the opening track on Original Pirate Material (The Streets). And he calls the Queen a cunt. Straight for the jugular.
Doorman is an angry track with a kind of hardcore feel to it, a crossover if I’ve ever heard one. Imagine how many people he converted when supporting Slaves! It’s rock rap at a high standard and tells the tales of mad nights out, trying to pull girls and egging on bouncers. Love the glue sniffing news report outro!
Dead Leaves is hip hop grime at its best, and it hits on bad relationships being brushed aside to get a better life, whereas Gorgeous mellows out a bit in soundscapes and has loads of good synth effects flying around, while he shows his love for his home town, Northampton. It then cranks up again with the dirty sounds of Crank, the flows being upped by his unique voice. You know he’s making an impression when he can pull in heavyweights like Jaykae for Grow Up, and early grime star Skepta, for the Tarantino inspired Inglorious which has the two swapping beats and rhymes and announcing, “Come up against us and you’ll fail”.
Toaster slows the pace down again with a more dubstep style going on, more intelligent words, and a style of his own. Peace Of Mind is one of the highlights, a short and sweet banger with the Resident Evil warning siren floating in and out, and even giving a shout out to Sid Vicious. Missing just flows and you get the feeling that this guy isn’t going to stick to that grime tinged sound for long. As I said before the crossover potential is huge. He has the rage in his rap style that would sound great with a guitar band. Last number, Northampton’s Child, is a cracking closer, an autobiography of growing up being looked after by his single mum, losing his brother, the tough times of council estate life, and the touching line of “No way I can pay you back / I just hope I can make you proud”. An emotional end to an album that has similar feeling to The Streets debut, except more angry and vital, painting a picture of modern life for today’s youth. A unique take on modern hip hop and grime that takes it to the next level.

Live Dates:
25/05 – Love Saves The Day – Bristol
31/05 – Bad Bonn Kilbi – Dudingen, Switzerland
01/06 – Primavera – Barcelona, Spaom
08/06 – Parklife Festival – Manchester
19/06 – The Echo – Los Angeles, CA
21/06 –  Elsewhere (Zone 1) – Brooklyn, NY
29/06 – Glastonbury Festival – Somerset
06/07 – Down The Rabbit Hole Festival – Ewijk, Netherlands
07/07 – Longitude – Dublin, Ireland
12/07 – Lovebox Festival – London
20/07 – Melt Festival – Ferropolis, Germany
27/07 – Kendal Calling – Lake District
02/08 – Off Festival – Katowice, Poland
09/08 – Flow Festival – Helsinki, Finland
10/08 – Oya Festival – Oslo, Norway
11/08 – Boomtown Fair – Winchester
16/08 – Pukkelpop Festival – Hasselt, Belgium
24/08 – Reading Festival – Reading
25/08 – Lost Village Festival – Lincoln
25/08 – Leeds Festival – Leeds
14/09 – Nova Batida – Lisbon
Slowthai: Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify