Bradford – Thirty Years Of Shouting Quietly

Bradford - Thirty Years Of Shouting QuietlyBradfordShouting Quietly – a lost indie pop classic gets remastered, extended & re-released.

Thirty years ago a young northern skinhead band named Bradford were very publically handed the baton by Morrissey to blaze a trail in English Indie music after the demise of The Smiths. Well renowned British producer Stephen Street immediately signed the band to his new label and the scene was set for the band, who in the words of Sounds music magazine in May 1988 were:

“Five guys with strict haircuts, their image conjures up short, sharp, shocks but their music tells a different story, creating intelligent and distinctive, finely crafted Pop songs. There are no jangly jaunts through well trodden paths of predictability, the image, the name, the songs, the intelligence and the voice see to that”

Alas, two things destroyed their chances: The collapse of Rough Trade, sending Stephen Street’s new label into ruin and the massive all covering avalanche in music that became known as ‘Madchester’. Bradford’s brand of sharp English Indie Pop was suddenly completely out of step with the times.

Thirty years later and the thawed avalanche reveals a distinctly northern row of chimney stacks belonging to the album ‘Shouting Quietly’ and it’s time for a reappraisal. Here it is in its original form containing 3 top twenty Indie singles, one being the renowned  classic ‘Skin Storm’ which Morrissey also recorded and released in 1991.

This newly remastered re-release also contains ‘In Liverpool’, (Record Mirror’s ‘Single of the Week’) their first single for Stephen Street’s Foundation label, B sides, the eponymous ‘French’ mini album and some never before released material. Totalling 30 tracks on gatefold double CD containing extensive liner notes by Fergal Kinney (Louder Than War), lyrics and photos.

Stephen Street labelled the album a “lost classic” when approached about it in 2017 and it is with the greatest pleasure that A Turnatable Friend Records bring to you this gem of an album once more.

Thirty Years Of Shouting Quietly‘ by Bradford will be released on February 9th via A Turntable Friend Records.

Ratboys – GN is post-country, indie pop-tastic

Ratboys - GNRatboys is the vehicle for singer/guitarist Julia Steiner and guitarist Dave Sagan. The band hail from Chicago and began life in 2009. In 2011 they released the Ratboy EP, and in June 2015, they released their debut studio album, AOID.  Their new album, GN (an abbreviation of ‘goodnight’) is released on 30th June on Topshelf Records.

Ratboys’ music is charming, instantly familiar, indie folk, alt pop, post-country songs that err towards a down-to-earth, uncomplicated simplicity.  Just what is needed in these times of austerity, gloom and chaos.

Julia Steiner - Ratboys

On GN, I’m hearing echoes of Kim Deal, The Breeders, and the country-edged Sheryl Crow. Ratboys manage to effortless capture a little piece of a hazy summer daze in their understated, feel good guitar-led pop songs.

The songs on GN  “largely detail experiences of saying goodbye, finding your way home, and then figuring out what the hell to do once you’re back,” says Steiner.

The album’s lead single, “Control” sounds instantly familiar, like I loved this band for years.  I find myself humming along, foot-tapping, head-bobbing to an infectious tune.

GN offers a box of tales, laments and triumphs, which recount near-tragedies by the train tracks, crippling episodes of loneliness, remembrances of a deceased family pet with freezer burn, and on and on. The songs shift and breathe as worlds all their own, tied together by the group’s self-proclaimed ‘post-country’ sound, which combines moments of distortion and a DIY aesthetic with a devotion to simple songwriting and ties to the Americana sounds of years past.

The songs chosen to close both sides of the record – the slow-burning “Crying About the Planets’” and quizzical “Peter the Wild Boy” – unpack the respective journeys of two real people who were quite literally lost and found. “”Crying” tells the survival story of Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson from a first-person perspective, and “Peter” reflects on the life of a feral child in Germany who was eventually adopted by the King of England,” according to Steiner.

Ratboys guitarist Dave Sagan

Certain personal stories – the tour adventures recapped in “GM,” the struggle to learn to show affection as divulged in “Molly” – find Ratboys just as eagerly exploring subject matter that comes from within, and then illustrating the highs and lows with soaring hooks and plaintive ones. Even in the moments that lie somewhere between bliss and misery, a tension persists between Steiner’s sweet vocal delivery and Sagan’s physical, almost-off-the-hinges guitar playing that lends each song a deeper sense of colour and movement.

Come December, I will confidently predict that GN will appear on every well respected ‘best albums of 2017’ list.

Ratboys –  GN  Track List:

Molly
Elvis is in the Freezer
Westside
Control
Crying About the Planets
Dangerous Visions
Wandered
GM
The Record
Peter the Wild Boy

 Ratboys new album, GN is released on 30th June via Topshelf Records on vinyl, CD, cassette and digital download.

Trust Fund, Swearwolves – Chatham Riverside – 28th August 2016

I’m pretty sure this is the closest gig to home that I’ve paid to get into. It’s certainly my first one at the Riverside One Studios next to Chatham bus station. Chuck in a top-notch band, and a mere fiver to get in, and we were definitely onto a winner.

I do find it reassuring when, during a pre-match pint, the main band wander in to the same pub. It confirms that I’m in the right area, I’ve managed to get there on the right day and that the gig will more than likely be going ahead. Not all of these have happened on previous days.

The privilege of being the first band to play a Community Centre Presents gig here were Swearwolves, consisting of one person singing and playing bass: not something I’ve seen before.

Probably fair to say the songs weren’t overwhelmingly upbeat but, as much of life isn’t, this seemed fair enough. As a Dad of a couple of young people, who seem to be under much more pressure than I was at that age, I can empathise with the angst being displayed. Also, I always admire solo artists – there’s nowhere to hide if things go askew. It’s just you and whatever you can think of to defuse the situation and move on.

The night’s main attraction though were Bristol’s Trust Fund and I couldn’t help but wonder what had persuaded them to troop down to Medway on a Sunday evening. (I found out later that they like playing towns and venues they haven’t been to before, which is an admirable line to follow).

Trust Fund @ Riverside One (28.8.16)

A man lighter than their recent Indietracks appearance, during which Ellis appeared strangely distracted, they were on top form, although the fairly intimate setting did lend it rather more of an air of rehearsal room than  seething mosh-pit. Well, it was Sunday evening.

Dan is always worth keeping an eye on, unlike many drummers. He wandered off during a song where he wasn’t needed very much, disappearing through a door at the side, returning in time to join in when required. He also played while flat on the floor for one song.

I love the approach to their songs which aren’t your usual verse/chorus standards and some of the newer songs are more of bursts of ideas, than fully-formed 3-minute stories but it all sounded wonderful. Shades of early Supergrass and bags of energy and enthusiasm, coupled with a tight performance gave Community Centre Presents a night they should be proud of. And well done to those people who turned out to see it.

rust Fund @ Riverside One (28.8.16)

A really successful opening night and I really hope they do many more like this. People were invited to write down who else they’d like to see play in Medway and it’ll be very interesting to see who they get along next time from the mixture of suggestions. Hint: Peaness or Young Romance would be just dandy, if you want my view, folks. Not too many people in either band (it’s a small venue) and both are at about the right stage of their careers where they might consider it. Oh, and both are excellent, of course!

Dodgy release new album ‘What Are We Fighting For’ on Cherry Red

On 2 September 2016 Dodgy are to release their new album ‘What Are We Fighting For’ on Cherry Red.

Get free version of radio edit of ‘You give Drugs A Bad Name‘ via mailing list at http://www.dodgyolgy.com

Dodgy UK Tour
In support of the album, Dodgy will embark on a full UK 2016. The following dates are confirmed so far, with more to be added:

Sat 6 August
Sheffield, Dronfest
Sat 13 August
Loughborough, Hathernfest
Wed 17 August
Aubeterre Sur Dronne, France, Pop sur Dronne

Sat 3rd September
Summers End,Lincolnshire Playground with Ocean Colour Scene & Shed Seven
Fri 9th September
Chinnerys, Southend
Sat 10th September
Hunter Club, Bury St Edmunds
Fri 16th September
Warehouse 23,Wakefield
Fri 23rd September
The Fruit, Hull
Sat 24th September
Brit Project, Manchester with Primal Scream, Black Grape

Sat 1st October
West End Centre, Aldershot
Fri 14th October
Soundhouse, Leicester
Fri 21st October
Stables, Milton Keynes

Fri 4th November
The Square,Harlow
Sun 13th November
Shiiine Weekender, Minehead with Cast, Ash, Black Grape
Sat 26th November
Talking Heads, Southampton
Wed 30th November
The Scala, London with Ultrasound

Sat 3rd December
New Crown Inn, Methyr Tyfil

All tickets ON SALE NOW via www.dodgyology.com with more dates including Scotland coming soon.

Pop South Festival, Glasgow – Sunday 14th February 2016

After a stomp up to the hill in Queen’s Park in the morning to look out across the city to the snow-covered hills to wake up, back to the Glad Café we went to spend more time shut in a dark room.

Catenary Wires - (c) Robin Halls
Catenary Wires - (c) Robin Halls

Bill Botting (aka Two Drink Minimum) and his sister Hannah were on first with a bunch of gentle acoustic songs including his Christmas song, perfect with snow in the air. They were reinforced halfway through by bass and second guitar, to flesh out the sound. As guitar was from Paul Rains, they were close to sounding like Allo Darlin, especially with Hannah singing solo. Which was nice.

Paul made his escape in good time to hot foot it back over to Edinburgh, where Tigercats and Chorusgirl were continuing their tour that evening.

More laid back songs came from Two White Cranes, whose Radisson Blue album, I’ve been listening to for a while. Not all of this lights my wick but certainly enough of it to enjoy Roxy’s set a lot. Her powerful and clear voice is simply lovely to listen to and the guitar sound she gets is wonderful.

Catenary Wires continued the laid back feel to the day and Rob pulling up a chair so he could play guitar just seemed somehow appropriate. I’ve always adored Amelia’s voice and they played all the songs from their debut CD, as well as one or two new ones, which are reassuringly in the same relaxed and unremittingly downbeat vein. Upbeat and optimistic these songs are not and more power to them for being so.

Duglas T. Stewart - (c) Robin Halls
Duglas T. Stewart - (c) Robin Halls

I didn’t recognise Gordon MacIntyre under his beard but as soon as he started to sing, any doubts of it being an imposter disappeared. Although seemingly pestered by the ghost of Darren Hayman, resulting in a couple of false starts, he gave us a great set, with a few ballboy songs for good measure.

I don’t get the chance to see him perform anywhere near often enough so this was a welcome opportunity for which I was appropriately grateful.

Douglas T. Stewart from BMX Bandits did a ‘solo’ spot, accompanied by a few friends. Not knowing anything about him, I had no idea what to expect. Having seen him I’m still not totally sure how to describe it or what I thought!

Coming across as more than a bit Radio 2, with close harmony singing from his chums, they took a turn for the more surreal by covering an Ivor Cutler song. Not something I’ve experienced before but a whole-hearted thumbs up from me all round.

I’d not really clicked with Pete Astor before but his set was really good. About halfway through, it just sort of fell into place for me. Maybe it was the beer kicking in, maybe it was knowing we were reluctantly running out of time, or maybe it’s just because Pete writes good songs and performs them really well. Probably a combination of all of these.

Regardless, it was a great way to end a fabulous weekend. Thanks to Pop South for putting this on and thanks to Glad Café for hosting us all. A perfect remedy for the mid-winter blues.

Pete Astor - (c) Robin Halls
Pete Astor - (c) Robin Halls