Interviews: UWS 264 – The Strypes and Ghosts of Social Networks

Josh McClorey of The Strypes chatted about his band, their new album (due next year), the Irish national team and also United. Part 2 of the interview – where McClorey talks about Elton John (who signed them) and David Beckham, is in next month’s mag.

I also met new band Ghosts of Social Networks, based in Old Trafford and, at that time, yet to play a live show.

The Strypes – Website

GoSN – Website

Ghosts of Social Networks

Ghosts of Social Networks

The Strypes - March 2013

The Strypes – March 2013

Psychfest 2016

Some photos from the Liverpool International Festival of Psychedelia 2016, Camp and Furnace, Blade Factory and District.

Saw lots of great bands over the weekend, most of them very loud. Was also good to catch up with friends. Very friendly crowd, including people kindly giving us drinks tokens, and Faris badwan chatting to me after their set and discussing the line-up for the rest of the night.

Manchester United 2-0 Southampton – 19th August 2016 – Old Trafford

Home debuts for Bailly, Ibrahimovic, Mkhitarian and (maybe) Pogba.

Interview – UWS Issue 262 – Whyte Horses

For the Summer Special issue of United We Stand, I interviewed Dom Thomas of Manchester band Whyte Horses about United, record collecting, and the Whyte Horses debut album, Pop Or Not.

Shortly after going to press, Pop Or Not was named as the no1 album of 2016 so far by Piccadilly Records.

Whyte Horses


OFF Festival 2016 – Katowice, PL – 5th-7th August 2016

5th visit to Katowice for the OFF Festival, which was thankfully as welcoming, familiar and musically inspiring as always. Click the gallery below for some photos from the 3 Ponds Valley:

Some additions this year were the long-overdue beer-that-is-not-Grolsch (Kozel, which sold out on day 1, and Lech), and a smartphone app with line-ups, links to music, and latest news from the organisers (although the souvenir book is, sadly, no more). Both of these came in handy for having a drink whilst trying to follow late changes to the line-up.

Neither the Friday night rain nor the unprecedented flurry of headline acts cancelling at short notice – GZA, The Kills, Anhoni and Wiley (GZA’s replacement) – could dampen the festival. In fact, it meant Jambinai, who I had pencilled in for a 3am finish, were promoted to Saturday main stage headliner, a slot they filled amply and were my highlight of the weekend.

Other highlights were the orchestral productions of Brodka, Goat’s unorthodox take on guitar/drums (with frantic sticksman), the sheer force of Lightning Bolt, and Kiasmos’ house with cutting light show to finish my weekend.

Below is a link to a Soundcloud playlist of the 2016 OFF Festival:

Roll on OFF ’17…

The Stone Roses – Etihad Stadium – 17th & 18th June 2016

A short video and some photos from two of the Stone Roses’ 2016 Manchester shows. A fantastic couple of days, ending up at Star and Garter. What the world was waiting for.


Review: Hot Hot Heat – ‘Hot Hot Heat’

Review of the self-titled farewell album by Canadians Hot Hot Heat, written for (sic) Magazine.

“The final release from a band that has innovated the indie-rock scene since 2002 when they shook dancefloors with the release of their explosive debut album, Make Up The Breakdown, via legendary Seattle-based label Sub Pop Records,” reads the press release. The winning formula on Make Up The Breakdown for Vancouver’s Hot Hot Heat was to combine the North American punk-funk scene of that time with synth-driven, hook-filled pop music. Those dancefloors did indeed shake. Unfortunately for the band, standout track ‘Bandages’ was removed from BBC Radio 1′s UK playlist – apparently its title was too sensitive during the time of the allied forces invading Iraq – and with it the four-piece’s best chance of those dancefloors shaking in arenas as well as clubs.

The follow-up album, Elevator, was a long time in the making, which, coupled with sounding a watered-down version of its predecessor, meant that many had moved on and few took notice. Three further records on and still to reach the commercial or critical heights of Breakdown again, could the band’s epitaph be tinged with resignation and bitterness of what might have been, or is it determined to drag you in for some final shape-throwing before last orders?

It’s certainly reflective; ‘Some days were daydreams/Some days were sun beams… We were the sweet and the bitter’, sings vocalist and keyboard player Steve Bays on opening track ‘The Kid Who Stays In The Picture’. It won’t get you to your feet, although its mid-tempo stomp and signature melodies are pleasing enough. Such description could be applied throughout the album; there’s a shortage of spiky ‘No, Not Now’ rhythms to grab you but plenty of nice-enough pop hooks to pull you back in as you’re about to leave. ‘Modern Mind’ picks up the tempo, but its chorus is sadly forgotten by the time the lethargic ‘Pulling Levers’ rolls in, building to an equally weak vocal centrepiece. ‘Magnitude’ belies its title in length – at over five minutes an epic by Hot Hot Heat proportions – if not in musical adventure.

The second half of the album does mercifully burst into life with the jagged, punchy ‘Mayor of the City’ and the 129-second thrill of ‘Alaskan Midnight Sun’, the latter of which brings back memories of vintage Hot Hot Heat, complete with Bays’ unique syncopated, beating vocal delivery in amongst his instant melodies.

Prior to the album’s strange choice of a closing track – the unusually experimental ‘The Memory’s Here’, which moodily simmers with Maccabees-style sparseness – two more tracks keep the pace up, ‘Comeback of the Century’ and ‘Sad Sad Situation’. Neither of these song titles quite sum up this final Hot Hot Heat album; there is not enough here signifying a return to that early-noughties form, but for the band’s fans – to whom this album is dedicated – there are certainly reminders of what initially drew them to that dancefloor in the first place.


~Hot Hot Heat is released via Kaw-Liga Records on Friday, 24th June 2016.~