Slow Knife - Too Late For The Past
'Too Late For The Past" is the debut album from Manchester's weirdest band Slow Knife. Dark, satyrical, experimental, avant garde and horror inducing are just some of the words that could describe this release.
After 3 years of writing and playing this album the group have gained a following of the odd kilter music lovers and can be seen playing throughout this year notably at Fair Play Festival. With production from Lydia Lunch you can see how their reach and got bigger and bigger as the years have gone on.
The album feels like a cryptically inaccessible experimental album with the wailing vocals of Mark E. Smith orchestrating The Magic Band rather than Don Van Vliet aka Captain Beefheart. The opening track 'Mundane Lane (Zappa Mix)' is the stand out track for with a thumping bass line riddled with screeching sax, maybe the rest of the 'experimental' stuff isn't necessary or just something that Martin Hannett can do to full effect.
The 4 tracks after the opener provide a slice of downtime to the listener with more 'industrial lift music' besides the strikes of lightning at the opening of 'Year Zero' and the cry of "Capitalism". "Post Auflärung (triptych)" feels like a raw DIY sound much more akin to their live sound that rips your face off and begging for more. However production and song length of the last two tracks leaves me with questions.
Their live set is fantastic, spell binding and awe inspiring and I feel that this album may not live up to the highest standard their prowess has set for them, the atmosphere and negative space their live show gives us is somewhat missing or has been overdubbed with a variety of other elements within the production process. I still look forward to seeing the band live in the future.
Gurnal Gadafi - S/T
After some time Gurnal Gadafi understand exactly what they are, who they are and what they do Gurnal Gadafi have now released what will be their most memorable release to date.
The band immediately take us back to Manchester's metal hay day of 2011 where the bands would rip themselves a new hole every weekend in the Star and Garter featuring hardcore bands like Gallows and further afield Enter Shikari or Converge and Slimelord. The only band to continue this hardcore punk style was Denim and Leather and their appearances are few and far between these days with Grief School now in Sheffield and the drummer touring the world with Crywank or smashing stuff in Prangers.
But now Gurnal Gadai are right back to bring the two step fighting or the Bay Horse basement back to our lives. From start to finish the self titled album makes me want to lose my shit, dance like a maniac and jump off some wall rafters. The lyrics of "Pilly Willy" or taking "pills on the 143" might make me cringe inside as you could write something better but I have been there, many times.
I look forward to seeing Gurnal Gadafi live in the future to see if they can do all this live and to see if I love this album just for nostalgic reasons of feeling like an angsty 14 year old again.
Nikki and the Waves - Online Chess
"Online Chess" is the latest release from dream pop multi instrumental band Nikki and the Waves and its a stomper, get your arms in the air and shake your hips to some wah wah basslines.
The release brings together all the elements the band has so far produced, well dressed, gender fluid multi instrumentalists bringing together funk soul, brass, keytars and everything else you need from a bedroom pop dreamscape. This certainly feels like turning a corner for the band away from the guitar based tracks of previously to a new mature sound looking out at the community surrounding them rather than being insular.
Their single launch at 99 Reasons highlighted the massive fan base that the group has gained over their short time living in Manchester and I look forward to hearing a full album release from this newly grown up Nikki and the Waves.
Elizabeth Crompton - Same Thing Still
Crompton's latest release is a plateau of excellence. Highlighting the seemingly easy genre of ambient is truly a difficult thing that has only properly been done by a handful of musicians throughout time and there certainly doesn't seem to be mass of them in Manchester right now.
The two track EP is a blissfully pure release showcasing the stylised use of piano, vocals and modulated synths. The repetitive, hypnotic piano work is wonderfully reflective and makes you feel as if you are floating away into another universe.
This release requires a film to be made so this can act as the backing track. The sense of space, emotion and height are so fraught as the backdrop of the shimmering vocals by Crompton.
I look forward to hearing so much from this artists in the very near future.
Loose Articles - Chaos
Back from supporting Foo Fighters we have Manchester's very own Stella clad all girl punk band with a release that has seemingly gone under the radar, whether it was just forgotten by the 'bigger' news or it's not what their fans are after then I'm not sure?
The way I see it is that this track is the bands best to date. A Much more mature offering with audible reference to so many that have gone before them like The B-52's, Shop Assistants, Blondie and Kleenex, this is the sort of release I want from a local punk band!
After the first verse the tempo jumps up and thats when the dancing kicks off or I'll start "kicking like a girl". Screeching and chopped up riffs make "Chaos" this bands best release so far and what else does that mean for them going forward? Maybe more solo's?
All Girls Arson Club - love you miss you bye bye
From Sheffield via Manchester and through Delicious Clam comes this latest release from All Girls Arson Club, "love you miss you bye bye".
Akin to the beautifully tonal voice of Kimya Dawson, the joyous riffs and breakdown of the third wall like The Mouldy Peaches make this release feel like an anti-folk nod to singer songwriter culture in 2022, there isn't much of it is there? You're either a producer\DJ or you're in a 7 piece band and that's why I love the stripped back simplified beauty of AGAC.
The two piece have brought us a 5 track EP with my personal favourite track from the band's back catalogue "Supermarket Song" which just makes you happy, you can't deny it.
Each and every song on the release is a wonderous glimpse into the inner workings of the band whether that is ironically singing about "Ant and Dec" or covering Ween's track "Don't Laugh (I Love You), which is a cracker, maybe better by AGAC? Either way, this release brings back a naive beauty Manchester's music scene, it's not trying too hard, not pushing everyone to listen to it and not over produced, raw talented music writing.
Inka X Sutty Ella - Never Know
New track From Inka continues on the same smooth path that the producer always has been, he creates beats for late night relaxed driving. Sutty Ella has been on quite the ride over the last year and her vocal cameo on this track makes it pop.
I feel the track could do with something else though, maybe a flute solo from Ella or some bars from Superlative or one of the O6W guys, something to really make all the other instrumentals stand out.
Either way we have a good summer playlist track ready for us from the latest collaboration.
Hazel Dormouse - Mr Pigeon's Kinks
Dormouse, Doormouse, Door Mouse, you must say it the same either way. Hazel Dormouse released their debut single Mrs Pigeon's Kinks, which is a big of a mouthful to what seemed to be a rapturous applause within the young student community in Manchester.
The track feels like it was plucked straight out of 2006 in the midst of the indie landfill era with its classic quad chord progression, squeaking vocals and lyrics about what pigeons do when nobody's looking? The best part of the track is the ripping solo that almost solidifies this as a chart topping track from NME's "Keep Your Eyes Peeled" section of the magazine.
Their fan base is growing with students in a genuine frenzy over live music and living rooms gigs alas I wait to pass judgement until I see the band however this debut single is a nod in the right direction.
Bleach Boy - Walk
Bleach Boy are bring out their latest single on April 1st, I hope it's not an April's fool...
Their post punk sound merges with heavy grunge style guitar thanks to the heavy use of Laney amps and dirty guitars. The band have been on a high since the release of their last single "Good Intentions" boosted them to a high level, even to getting their own headline show at Gullivers in April. However this latest track "Walk" feels like a step in the wrong direction and away from development in sound or visuals. Did the use all their ideas on the previous single and this one was left?
It is a sound that fits bang in with the current Manchester indie/grunge sound that is being pioneered by student rockers Pyncher but after being in the city music scene for so long it sadly feels like it is here to stay without much bolstering of reinvention. Get me some solo's, some screams, growls, cursing or just a bit of anger, bring what you all do in your live sets to get a crowd going and put it into your record!!!!
GOMID - BANG
A new, raw, grimacing track from alt rock duo GOMID once again throws us back into our seat wondering what the fuck did I just listen to?
The duo have logistically changed in the last few months with guitarist Sam moving to London and I was pleasantly surprised to see the group bring out their latest track BANG.
As always the backing is smooth and sultry yet chiselled and as DIY as possible with the noise of tapping pedals, guitar harmonics and dissonant chords really serving as a background to Iyun's destructive vocal display. Again and again it feels like Iyun uses his voice as a catalyst to emotional storytelling, to ideas not before perceived and horror inducing situations. "BANG, BANG, BANG", "FOR FIRE FOR FIRE FOR FIRE". His hypnotic vocals terrify me to my core and feel like a summoning of an inner demon to the surface.
"BANG" is scary and intense and there really isn't lot going on in the track, that's the beauty of this young duo, their force is strong and I hope to see a full EP real soon, make it so!
Other recent releases to check out:
Lovescene - S/T
An R'n'B album filled with angelic lyrics and jazz influences. A group of well trained and diverse musicians capable of transcending the presumed sound of Manchester and take this album to an international stage.
Nara - Up The Walls
A single two years in the making brings these students to the forefront of Manchester's burgeoning indie scene that has put a heavy rock/post-punk slant on the landfill of yesteryears. The single feels like it was pulled straight from 1984 and the band would be supporting The Chameleons and part of the dark and moody proto goth movement of that time.
An improvement on their debut single 'Fashion' and a new birth for the four piece, I look forward to witnessing their chaotic live show for myself.
DUVET - Clown Clown Clown
Next time Loose Articles play then they should look at DUVET to support them. A proper female front punk single that showcases the power of the heavy rock scene in Manchester.
The single 'Clown Clown Clown' give off X-Ray Spex 'Oh Bondage Up Yours!' with it's ripping chord progression, powerful female vocals and a clear capability to get a crowd going mental. Bring it on.
Manchester Punk Festival No.27
The infamous punk festival returns to Manchester across April 15/16/17 and they have created a 100 song album to support the artists, performers and organisers on their way to an excellent festival weekend. On it you can great local acts like Bruise Control and old favourites of mine Throwing Stuff.