April 2020

Yakima - Go Virtually EP (Self Released)

Glasgow quartet's debut EP featuring 6 melodic guitar tracks in the vein of West Coast 60s psychedelia. You can almost smell the Rickenbackers. Opening with their first single It Helped, we are straight into Byrds/Teenage Fanclub territory with a hint of bubblegum Beach Boys. Judy's Lament, a song about Judy Garland's insomnia, slows things down, taking a left turn into Flaming Lips/Beatles Road with J Mascis as your Uber driver. Blissful and soothing, one suspects Ms Garland would have had no trouble knocking out the zzzzzzzs to this. Thanks is another timeless soundscape, a little country guitar and piano flavoured, "everybody wants their own disease". The pace picks up with I'm Happy (In No Way) with more Dinosaur Jr guitar riffage before disintegrating to a halt. The opening riff of Real Time is straight out of Thurston Moore's back pocket (Sugar Kane) leading into more Byrds/TFC comparisons but rockier. Final track Sleepy Boy, Cry Man is about Japanese Cry Rooms, where people can go to channel their emotions when things get on top of them. If the parks weren't already closed, they'd be knocking the ball out of them as our American cousins say.

Richard Carlson Band - You Can't Stop It (I Can Feel It)

Richard Carlson was an American author and motivational speaker, famous for such works as "Don't Sweat The Small Stuff" and "Stop Thinking, Start Living". The Richard Carlson Band, on the other hand, are a Manchester trio, dark and brooding, a touch of Alabama 3 and BRMC, with deep  gravelly vocals. Together for less than a year, this is their debut release. It drops straight into a choppy fuzz-bass groove, which bubbles along under the spoken verses, sucking you in and twisting your melon with violently absurd lyrics. It has a film soundtrack quality to it. You can easily picture it being used in an episode of Peaky Blinders as the Shelbys run riot through the Black Country cobbles!

Out now on Blank Expression and all digital platforms. There are also 25 lathe cut vinyl 7" singles with covers hand made by the band available too. A true limited edition.

 

As the original Carlson dude said, don't sweat the small stuff because You Can't Stop It.

Tinfoils -  Spitting (Foilwrapped Records)

 

In years to come we'll all be able to remember the key event of the great lockdown of 2020. It'll sit proudly alongside JFK's assassination, Mandela's Walk To Freedom, The Fall Of The Berlin Wall and the death of Lady Di in Paris, as one of those "I remember what I was doing" moments, when you first heard "Spitting" by Tinfoils, 167 seconds of pure Northern angst and humour. 

Like Peter Kay with Tourettes auditioning for The Fall, the boys are back with a vengeance. In these days of #stayhome, searching for hitherto untapped highs, this is a glorious singalong paean to the vagaries of Manchester weather. Angular, aggressive yet uplifting instrumentally, with George being that bloke in the pub who needs no excuse to stay for another drink, rather than venture home. The song is also a metaphor for life George explains: “No matter what position you’re in, it seems like there's always a bigger guy who wants to piss all over you and ruin your life. But sometimes rain is just rain, and you've got to learn to dance in it.” Exactly, time for another pint, have you seen it outside? Biblical mate, biblical.

The Red Stains - Mannequin (Self Released)

Finally, one of the most talked about bands on the Manchester scene in the last 6 months, release their debut track. Their shows are Buckfast fuelled, no holds barred affairs, leaving singer Natalie junked high on adrenaline, like an Indie Elaine C Smith. Look her in the eye and she'll turn you to stone, before unfreezing you with a smile as wide as the Clyde. Live, you are left in no doubt about her Scottish-ness, Irn-Bru runs through her veins. Here she is a little more demure, starting softly as Sterling's bass loops and thumps with Ben's stickwork keeping the groove, before exploding. Ella's understated keyboard plinks and plonks, seemingly sampled from 70's arcade games, will be fizzing around your brain, long after the first listen.

 

This is a song about sexual objectification, "I'm a mannequin, just a body, blow job lips and a poison tongue" but deals with it paradoxically, "you make me feel like the last kid on the bench, at the school disco." The Red Stains - nobody's dummies! Oh Bondage! reboot for 2020.

The Sewer Cats - Zelda EP (Hell Hath No Fury Records)

Manchester 2-piece guitar and drums combo release their debut EP. 7 blistering tracks of fuzzy punk, in less than 15 minutes. Fool comes on like Royal Blood/Dasiy Chainsaw with Cass's vocals remininiscent of George singer from 80s punkers Action Pact. 2nd track Rich Cheaters, is a viscious attack on the coke sniffing Cheshire Wives and ruling elite,"fox hunters, toff lovers, tax dodgers, dirty liars". It's like Crass for a new generation. Build the barricades now!

 

It's almost impossible to choose a favourite track but Greta is pretty damn near. Written about Ms Thunberg, everyone's favourite teen environmental activist (unless of course you're a white, rich, middle-aged male). Mr Tump et al "never underestimate the power of a girl". It captures the threat that has "The Man" rattled succintly in just over 2 minutes. Laurie, Raw (Nirvana-esque) and Create & Rebel continue the furious assault before 41 secs about the saviours of the internet in Cat GIFs, brings about what is a most satisfying climax. If this was their live set, I'd go home very happy. Less is more and Zelda is loads!

Camens - Leave Me In Pieces 

Hailing from Stoke-on-Trent, Camens have been building quite a following over the last couple of years with their honest melodic guitar indie-rock. Previously known as LazyEye (they changed their name to avoid confusion with the US band of the same name) the four piece are back. Leave Me In Pieces is a break up song, something most people can relate to, but it's uplifting and anthemic rather than being cold and morbid. Something to be said for living your best life. For fans of The Wombats, The Jacques and The K's.