Paul Draper’s first three solo shows, since the last Mansun show in 2002, at Leeds Brudenell Social Club, Manchester Gorilla and Glasgow King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut.
Recent interviewees for the Transmission section of United We Stand fanzine are detailed below. UWS is available on matchdays at Old Trafford, in Wh Smiths throughout the UK, or available on subscription in print or digital format via the website.
Issue 265 – November 2016 – Cabbage
I spoke to Lee and Eoghan about the band’s new EP, forthcoming album, musical protest, and MUFC. Website
Issue 266 – Gareth Butterworth, Night & Day
Home-and-away Red Gareth Butterworth discussed his role as promoter for Night & Day in Manchester. Venue Website
Issue 267 – January 2017 – Black Josh
Manchester hip-hop star and United fan Black Josh discussed his influences, Manchester hip-hop and his track Paul Scholes. Bandcamp
Issue 268 – February 2017 – Ist Ist / Jordan Allen
Issue 269 – March 2017 – Dutch Uncles
I spoke to Dutch Uncles about new album Big Balloon and the forthcoming tour. We also had a chat about football and MUFC. Website
Issue 270 – April 2017 – Barry Adamson
Barry Adamson discussed his new solo album, plus past work with Magazine, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, and as a film composer. He also gave his thoughts on Manchester and growing up a United fan in Moss Side. Website
Below is my annual recollection of some music highlights of the year, for the good guys and gals at [sic] Magazine who introduce me to so much of it.
Although the twelve months of 2016 are likely to be remembered as much for who left us, as for what was left for us, (not to mention leave-ing) there were as always some great records, including Savages, Kiran Leonard, Ed Harcourt and Radiohead. Bowie‘s Blackstar – with the mystique surrounding the timing of its release – was a great record to start a year, and set the tone for tragedy-turn-triumph; the late Viola Beach were immortalised at Glastonbury, and also by achieving a number one album of their own (crucially, not a cash-in job), and there were countless events such as the ‘Glabstonbury’ all-day event I attended, which saw a host of bands and musicians generously coming together for a worthy cause. Here follow my ten highlights of the year. Continue reading
Glorious. sold-out, hometown show at the fabulous Ritz venue, by Manchester’s The Slow Readers Club.
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.
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.
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.
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.~
Interviewing Austin Brown, guitarist and singer of the band Parquet Courts (who made my number 1 album of 2013), and Man United fan, for United We Stand, we had a good chat about becoming a fan, supporting United whilst on the road in the States, and the emergence of New York City in the MLS. The interview was printed in issue 261 of UWS. You can order print or digital issues here.
As well as talking about football, Brown also talked me through the new Parquet Courts record, Human Performance, the themes behind the songs, use of the mellotron instrument, and how they capture that Parquet Courts sound. The full interview is available on the (sic) Magazine website.
“There was this crossroads we came to where we wanted to spend more time making the record because we wanted to evolve our sound, and we wanted to take some time to get some perspective on our sound. Some perspective on our lives, and what’s going on, and ‘Who are we? What kind of music do we make? And what’s the next step for us?’”
Click here for the full interview.
I interviewed Mark Carlin, United fan and Director of the Salford festival. He told me the origins of the festival, how the line-ups are chosen, his favourite acts, and his pride at its place within the Salford social and musical calendar.
Elbow played an acoustic set at one of the legendary Roadhouse Xmas parties. I think this was in 2008 as I seem to remember them playing Grounds For Divorce. Might be wrong, tho. Great gig by a great band in a great venue.