Leed s and W e st Yor k shir r e N ovember 2013 Music Mag azi ne F r ee 1
Fight of the Decade
The Skirmish Before Christmas 2013
10 Years On, 10 Years Gone
The Wedding Present
One for the road
E d i to r
D es i gn
Founde d and Publish e d by
Rob Wright firstname.lastname@example.org Ben McKean & Niall Hargrave email@example.com P i c t ure Edi to r
Tom Martin firstname.lastname@example.org
Tony Wilby email@example.com Tony Wilby firstname.lastname@example.org Jack Simpson email@example.com
Tim Hearson firstname.lastname@example.org W eb Edi to r
Cove r P hotograph
Steve Walsh email@example.com L i ve Edi to r
Ellie Treagust firstname.lastname@example.org
Advertisers - 2000 magazines seen by music lovers across Leeds. Contact email@example.com Writers, Photographers, Artists and Sub editors - Come be a part of it, contact firstname.lastname@example.org S e nd d e m o s in to :
Tom Martin, Pete Ward, Neil Dawson, Rob Wright, Rob Paul Chapman, Tim Hearson, Steve Walsh, Yvonne Carmichael, Colin Drury, Ellie Treagust, Jonny Strangeways, Danny Payne, Mike Price, Mat Forrest, Emma Quinlan, Tom Bench, Oscar Gregg, Sam Coe, Rochelle Massey, Steve Jarvis
R ev i ews Edi to r
V ib r at io ns is lo o k ing f o r
by Tom Martin
Steve Walsh Vibrations Magazine Eiger Studios New Craven Gate Industrial Estate Leeds LS11 5NF Links/streams to: email@example.com
Editorials In case you hadn’t heard, Vibrations has been around for ten years - the same number of years as That Fucking Tank and I Like Trains - so things are going to be a bit different in this issue, starting with the editorial. Editorials. One is from yours truly, the other three are from Rob Paul Chapman, Tom Martin and Colin Drury, all former editors of this here mag. In fact, Tom Martin is currently our caretaker photo editor. We were all given the remit of ‘legacy’ and told we could do what we wanted. Anyway, I don’t want to say too much about them as I assume that if you’ve got this far you can read them yourselves. Happy birthday to us!
curre nt Editor
Welcome, one and all, to the auspicious and not altogether expected tenth anniversary issue of Vibrations magazine! I guess you’re still reeling from our star studded cover. To think that ten years ago, this highly celebrated organ (okay, we’ve never actually received any awards or anything but...) was but a twinkle in the collective eyes of Jack Simpson and Tony Wilby and I, your humble editor, was but an émigré from sunny Bristol, returning to Leeds having found that Bristol was... well, to be honest, pretty boring. Somehow I got involved in this whole writing about music lark and have met some wonderful people, heard some amazing tunes and seen some incredible bands come... and go. I used to joke about how the bands I interviewed used to split up shortly after I’d talked to them – This Et Al, Grammatics,Vatican Jet, Red Stars Parade... hell, for a while I was considering asking if Chris Martin fancied doing an interview, so convinced was I of my Jonah effect. Nonsense of course, but seeing these bands that you had invested so much interest, devotion and... why not, love, split up was comparable to a stake through the heart. Over dramatic? Me? So for my two penneth this issue with a whole legacy theme thang, I wanna advise you, dear reader, to not take your favourite bands for granted. In the space of a month I will have witnessed the demise of Humanfly and Wet Nuns, two quite spectacular bands who will be sorely missed.You see that band come up on a poster or a flyer and you think ‘maybe next time around’? Maybe there won’t be a next time around. I’m not being doomy or anything, I’m just saying the best time to show your love for a band is now... the best place to see them is here... To misquote Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure. Anyway, I guess you all have that gig that you missed and always regret – mine is My Chemical Romance – so you’ll know what it feels like. So for my sake, for your sake, go see that band when you get the chance – it’s better to regret something you have done than something you haven’t done... and if you see your mum, be sure and tell her... PS Big shout out to The Halstead Clan, who are doing a rather marvellous Christmas thing to make things better, notably for a young boy in Dave Z’s school who has terminal cancer – check it on http://www.thehalsteadclan.com – because seeing is nothing without doing...
Rob Paul Chapman
f o r m e r E d ito r
I often get asked what it was like editing Vibrations. I’m not entirely sure how long ago it was that I stepped down as editor. And, while I think about it, I can’t really recall when exactly it was that I started my tenure either. And it’s exactly this sort of factual fuzziness, informed inaccuracy and incomplete information that falls at the feet of the editor of Vibrations to check, alter, correct and submit. Along with (on average) over 100 grammatical, typo and punctuation errors. And that’s at final proofing level. If you factor in pre-proofing that would be way over 400. All tend to be errors submitted by talented writers who should no better, but for some reason they seem oblivious, almost as if they’re doing it on purpose… much like the one I’ve deliberately included in this editorial. However that pales into insignificance compared with the ultimate infuriation: chasing late copy. Such as – for example – the pithy musings of a past Vibrations editor being hastily cobbled together a day after the magazine was due to go to press. But despite that, and the soul-crushing 60 hour pre-deadline proofing sessions that always seemed to fall on the sunniest weekends of the year, being part of Vibrations was a genuine pleasure and privilege. The heavy lifting was done by my predecessor Colin Drury who turned a well-intentioned pamphlet into a magazine of heft, credibility and standing, and my successor Rob Wright who kicked it onto the next level. Overseen by the maverick enthusiasm of Jack Simpson, and the shadow-dwelling unsung hero of Vibrations Tony Wilby who is responsible for all the things you don’t notice but without them we’d be nothing. The fact that you’re still here reading this probably means that you have as much affection for the rag as I do. We are blessed to live in a fabulous region that loves its music, and responds in kind by creating some of the best of the stuff you can imagine. By the way, the second most common question that I get asked is ‘who was the worst band you ever had to review?’ Well…. ….sorry, what’s that Bert…? Oh yeah, one of the other most annoying things about being editor: writers who go over their bastard word limits…?
form e r picture Editor
I remember sitting outside The Faversham back in June 2007 with fellow Leeds ‘music’ photographer Daniel North. He ordered the cheeseburger, I went chicken burger and we had some onion rings to share, but I don’t think that has much to do with the story or anything really… Anyway, I remember Danny coming back from the bar with a copy of Vibrations, Dead Disco smirking back at us from the cover, Danny saying, “this looks good, you should get in touch and see if you can do some photos for them.” I’d only met Danny a few months prior to this and had been working as his assistant to gain some valuable insight into the world which I wanted to work in. Sooooo, I took his advice and within a week of that conversation I was sat in The Mixing Tin as it was then called having a beer (or 10) with Tony Vibrations and that was the start. I ended up taking lots of photos for Vibrations and working as the much-needed Photo Editor for the mag. I cringe now when I look back at some of my early photos, others I love dearly. Working for the mag gave me a platform for my work, taught me lots about running a magazine, dealing with PRs and the music industry in general. I guess most importantly it taught me how to work with other people and gave me the chance to meet great bands and commission great photographers. From shooting the Napoleon iiird cover against a living room wall to shooting the Little Boots cover in the studio, freezing in the snow with a half naked Middleman to RPC and I being regaled with rock’n’roll stories by Melvin Benn in his London office, there was plenty of adventures to be had. It wasn’t always easy; I know better than anyone how it felt to be caught between the good, the bad and the Wilby on deadline day, but it always seemed worth it in the end. Vibrations’ legacy to me is my career. Tony and Jack’s kindness and support meant that I was eventually able to continue on to become a full time freelance working in the music industry. 10 years is a huge achievement for something that is free and exists as a catalyst to bring the musical community of Leeds together. Cheers,Vibes.
f o r m e r E d ito r
HAVE you ever seen Almost Famous? My time as Vibrations editor was a little like that - only with more sex, more drugs and more iLiKETRAINS. No international travel but certainly the odd train to Bradford. It was wild, man. Heady days. There seemed to be a musical genius round every corner. Bright lights and high times. That was Leeds 2007. Or...actually, come to think of it...perhaps that’s just what I tell people. What’s it actually like to edit a music mag? A major fucking ball ache if you want the truth. Lots of rewriting barely literate copy; lots of photographers moaning you didn’t use their pictures big enough; lots of bands telling you they’re going to be bigger than The Beatles. And that’s before we even get to the distributing. Oh man, the distributing. If you’ve never dragged boxes of magazines across a city to drop a handful at a time in shops and venues you don’t even begin to know what spirit-sapping is. Especially when some cunt in Sandinista tells you: “put them anywhere man, - no-one ever reads them anyway”. Fuming. So why do it? For the free gigs and CDs, obviously. That and because, short of actually being in a band it’s some of the most fun you can have. You meet incredible, talented people - the bands for sure, but also the writers, the photographers, the designers and the promoters. Personally, receiving a good piece of copy made everything worthwhile. So did getting a great CD in the post. I still listen to Buen Chico, This Et Al and Vatican Jet on an almost monthly basis. Vibrations was never about criticising. That was a big deal for founders Jack Simpson and Tony Wilby; and though we disagreed about it at the time, of course, they were right. This was - is - a mag to support local talent. It was a platform and a place to encourage creativity and community. It was an entity which, above all else, I think, said: stop watching TV and do something. That the mag has reached 10 is a credit to Jack and Tony. While other publications have come, caused offence and disappeared,Vibrations has kept getting steadily better. They have achieved that by being determined, talented, willing to get a round in and above all else able to put up with twats like me calling them at 11pm and demanding: sell more adverts. Someone someday should make a film about them. It might not quite be Almost Famous but it would be a terrific watch.
Fight of the Decade A De cade ’s Worth of Ce le bratory Fist icu ff s
Prelude So… as we may have mentioned before, it’s our birthday. No, really, you shouldn’t have… And you don’t get nowhere in the dog-eat-bat’s-head world of music publishing without being a shameless self-publicist, so we thought we’d mark the occasion with something a little bit special. Regular readers of this here tome may be aware that every year, around this time, we put together a feature called The Fight Before Christmas: a top 20 run down of our favourite albums of the year. Well, in the words of Chris Tarrant, we don’t want to give you that. So we phoned a friend, asked the audience and then went 50-50 (to make a 100) and this is what we ended up with. Over 100 of Yorkshire music’s great and good were invited to respond with their own Fight Before Christmas lists charting their favourite West Yorkshire albums of the past ten years that this lil’ ol’ mag has been on the planet. And this is the magnificent top 100 compiled from the results. The unenviable task of compiling the data fell to professional statistician Pete Ward whom we roped in to assist us on this epic undertaking, and he gone done us right proud. Sir, we and the gods of regional rock ‘n’ roll salute you. None of the centurions were allowed to vote for any record they’d been part of in any way, it had to have been released between spring 2003 – spring 2013, and it had to have been made by artists qualifying as local at the time. Apart from that, and a pretty loose long list of over 200 possibilities to spark the imagination, the voting was entirely personal and confidential. We were amazed, delighted, inspired, intrigued and occasionally appalled by the selections, but whichever way you cut the (birthday) cake this is a pretty impressive list. So kick back, pour yourself a drink, and enjoy digesting it. (RPC) R e v i ews by Ro b Paul Chapm an, Rob W right, Stev e Wa ls h a n d Ti m He arson All photo gra phy by Tom Martin
Nominations Hope and Social - April.................................................................. 91 The Old Romantic Killer Band - Lovers Pass........................... 92 David Thomas Broughton - Outbreeding.................................. 93 Vessels - White Fields and Open Devices................................. 94 Worriedaboutsatan - Arrivals....................................................... 95 Stateless – Matilda.......................................................................... 96 Black Moth - The Killing Jar.......................................................... 97 Stuffy/The Fuses - Join Me Or Die!............................................. 98 The Music - Welcome to the North........................................... 99 Polaris - Polaris.............................................................................. 100 Bl ack M ot h - T h e K ill ing Jar [ 97] - rising like a dark phoenix from the ashes of The Bacchae, Black Moth’s debut album was produced by percussion legend Jim Scavlunos. I Know. Ho p e & S o cial – Apr il [ 91] – a #1 placing in Vibrations’ ‘Fight Before Christmas 2010’ not enough to boost this fine album further up the chart. 3 years is a long time in pop music etc.
Vessels - Helioscope....................................................................... 81 Club Smith - Appetite for Chivalry............................................. 82 Micky P Kerr - Home Brew.......................................................... 83 Submotion Orchestra – Fragments............................................ 84 Jon Gomm - hypertension............................................................ 85 Black Wire - Black wire................................................................. 86 Yes Boss - Look Busy..................................................................... 87 Heads We Dance - Love Technology.......................................... 88 Chickenhawk - Chickenhawk....................................................... 89 Kleine Schweine - The Party......................................................... 90 Kl e ine S ch w e ine – Ep o ny m o u s [ 90]
Produced using the Pledge System, The Party features the vocal talents of 6music’s Tom Robinson on ‘Boom! Shake the Romania!’ He ad s We Dance - Lov e T e ch no lo gy [ 88]
Formed from the ruins of Yellow Stripe Nine, Heads We Dance featured Vibrations’ very own contributor and legal seagull Peter Bott.
Fight of the de cad e
This Many Boyfriends - This Many Boyfriends.......................... 71 I Like Trains - He Who Saw The Deep........................................ 72 Quack Quack - S/T......................................................................... 73 Humanfly - Awesome Science...................................................... 74 Galitza - Doyousee? Doyou?........................................................ 75 Hood - Outside Closer : 2005 : 4................................................ 76 Red Stars Parade - Disko.............................................................. 77 Shatner - Energise........................................................................... 78 Ellen and the Escapades - All the Crooked Scene................... 79 Little Boots - Hands....................................................................... 80
David Thomas Broughton - The Complete Guide To Insufficiency.51 Lone Wolf - The Lovers................................................................. 52 Being 747 - Amoeba to Zebra...................................................... 53 Dinosaur Pile Up - Growing Pains.............................................. 54 That Fucking Tank - TFT................................................................. 55 The Scaramanga Six - Cursed...................................................... 56 I Like Trains - The Shallows........................................................... 57 Blue Roses - Blue Roses................................................................ 58 Galaxians - Galaxians..................................................................... 59 Quack Quack - Slow as an Eyeball.............................................. 60
L i tt le Bo ots – Ha n ds  – 2x Vibrations cover star,
Blu e Ro se s - Blu e Ro se s [ 58] Blue Roses is Laura Groves, who also features on the eponymous top 40 album, Grammatics.
1x BBC Sound of 2009 poll-topper and former Dead Disco-ite makes rather fine pop record. H uma n fly - Aw es o me Scie nce  – The band’s swansong, this also turned out to be the last release from Leeds’ maverick record label Brew. Both will be sorely missed.
Th e S car am ang a S ix – C u rse d [ 56]
That Fucking Tank - Tanknology................................................... 61 Shatner - Thirteen O’Clock.......................................................... 62 Humanfly – II.................................................................................... 63 Stateless - Stateless......................................................................... 64 Being 747 - Fun & Games.............................................................. 65 I Concur - Able Archer.................................................................. 66 Plastic Fuzz - Dots.......................................................................... 67 Being 747 - Health & Safety.......................................................... 68 Corrine Bailey Rae - Corrine Bailey Rae................................... 69 The Scaramanga Six - Songs Of Prey.......................................... 70
Downdime - Knowing Too Much................................................. 41 Stalking Horse - Specters.............................................................. 42 Cowtown - Dudes Vs Bad Dudes................................................ 43 Bilge Pump - Rupert The Sky........................................................ 44 Piskie Sits - The Secret Sickliness................................................ 45 10000 Things - 10000 Things........................................................ 46 Hawk Eyes - Modern Bodies........................................................ 47 O Fracas - Fits & Starts................................................................. 48 Kaiser Chiefs - Yours Truly, Angry Mob...................................... 49 Wild Beasts - Smother................................................................... 50
P l ast i c F uz z – Dots  The first FBC poll topper, and
10,0 00 T h ing s – 10, 000 T h ing s [ 46]
the highest placed entry on this list for the fewest number of nominations. … if only more people had heard it perhaps?
Much loved and hotly tipped bar room barkers sadly fail to knock it out of the park with this sole effort, but it has its moments, and did give the world film star Sam Riley.
S hat n er – Thi rt een o’clock  Middle-aged bloke crafts beautifully observed paean to the passing of time. Had voting closed half way through this would have been top 20. Are Shatner fans the most efficient in Leeds?
The fabled ‘lost’ album. The near-finished recording was lost in its entirety when producer Tim Smith (Cardiacs) was struck down by a tragic heart attack and double stroke. The whole thing was painstakingly rerecorded and reconstructed from scratch with Sheffield’s Alan Smyth.
Bilg e Pu m p – Ru p e rt T h e S ky [ 44]
The quintessential enduring underground act, whose popularity and admiration remains undimmed despite selling about as many records across their career as they received votes here. A fine and pleasingly abrasive record.
Fight of the de cad e
It’s the final countdown….
The Pi geo n De te ctive s – Wait for me
Pulled Apa rt by Horse s Pulled Apa rt by Horse s
Blac k li st ers – BLCK LSTRS
“Goin’ out with! Goin’ out with!” The Pigeon Detectives first outing is an arm-around-yer-mates, all out pub crawl of an album. Unpretentious, loud and perfection in its day. (TH)
It’s big. It’s dumb. And it’s tremendous fun. Huge riffs, shouty vocals, and with song titles like ‘Back To The F**k Yeah’ and ‘I Punched A Lion In The Throat’ the band were writing cheques that their guitars could definitely cash. (RPC) For lovers of all things, horrible and heavy, BLCKLSTRS was like a breath of fetid air from the bowels of hell. Tasty. The words ‘Jesus’ and ‘Lizard’ have been mentioned, but it does not detract from the vulgarity of this display of power. (RW)
No rma l Ma n - That Joyle ss Vibe
J o n Go mm - Don’t Panic
The most misanthropic lyrics saddled to the filthiest, low down fuzzed up riffs you can imagine. Singer Noah Brown’s mind must be a dark place to live. Scary, but at the same time hilarious (see also The Birthday Party). (SW) Gomm’s touring schedule has increased dramatically since the release of this album, but Don’t Panic contains some tremendous songwriting, intelligent harmony and of course, Gomm’s signature virtuosity. The real joy comes from realising the man can put it together on his own, live. (TH)
Paul Ma rs ha ll - Vulture s
Sky L a rki n - Kale ide
The Trumpets of De ath Teet h + Teet h = Te e ths
M i ddl e man
Brooding, Nick Drake-esque songs that wear their influences on their sleeves. Marshall’s songwriting shines and the album benefits from relatively simple arrangements. A stunning vehicle for his soft, heartfelt lilt. (TH)
Sky Larkin’s second album was very much a continuation of the themes and style of ‘Golden Spike’, but if it’s not broke... Still very pop, still lively, still with Katie’s bewitching alto and Nestor’s powerful pop percussion... and Anjelica Huston. (RW)
From the safety of ‘John Barleycorn’ style folk to this nightmarish blend of jazz, noise and prog is an unprecedented stylistic leap, but Benjamin Weatherill is on a strange musical journey. A brilliantly realised experiment. (SW)
H an n ah Tr i g w e l l
Fight of the decad e
Cow tow n E xce ll e nt D o m e st ic S h o rt h air
An exhilarating thrill-ride of lean, mean pop gems, brimming with wide-eyed wonder. It will have you waving your Wii Arms in the air like you just don’t care. And in ‘Perfect Sound Forever’ they completed Level: Make Flawless Floorfiller... (RPC)
T h e C r ib s - T h e N e w Fe ll as
The follow-up to their eponymous debut is more of the same. Still rough, still loud and still capturing that lazy punk spirit. An ear for carefully pitched imperfection, The Cribs thrive on live energy and hooks that bring a smile to your cheeks. (TH)
N ap o l e o n IIIr d – C h r ist iania
T h e C r ib s M e n’ s N e e d s, Wo m e n’ s N e e d s, Wh at e v e r
B e nj am in We t h e r ill - L au r a
E u r e k a M ach ine s - D o o r D ie
A superb drift through idiosyncratic, synths and riffs. One of the most unique records on this list, Christiania takes lazy synths, ragged beats and his own baritone voice and mashes them together into one thoroughly compelling listen. (TH)
The third album from Wakefield’s coolest musical export represented a triumphant combination of the band’s abrasive punk beginnings, a mature song writing style and commercial nous. Lee Ranaldo contributed to the album and Johnny Marr was just around the corner…. (SW)
M i c k y P Ker r
Before Benjamin went all Folkwerk, he used to hang out with Fran Rodgers and David Broad as the Folk Theatre Partisans. His magnificent octopus was Laura, a brooding, haunted piece that will shred your soul with slivers of ice. Happy Christmas. (RW) Eureka Machines’ debut was and is an explosive, incandescent piece of rock pop comparable to ‘Earth vs The Wildhearts’ – believe me, that’s a big deal. Effortless harmonic brilliance that punches above its weight and signs off with a resounding knee in the balls. Class. (RW)
T h e Wind - u p B ir d s - T h e L and
Cyanid e Pill s – Cyanid e Pill s
After years of flea pit gigs and muddy self-made demo’s, The Wind-Up Birds produce a debut that reveals Paul Ackroyd as a lyrical genius. The punk punch of the music perfectly complements Ackroyd’s hilarious and harrowing street level observations. (SW) A record that has proven consistently divisive at Vibrations Towers. To its fans it’s foot-to-the-floor punk rock delirium that leaves you grinning from ear to ear. To its detractors it’s reductive, silly and ultimately pointless. To its fans it’s also reductive, silly and ultimately pointless, but that’s half the fun (RPC)
P u l l ed Ap a r t By Hor ses
Fight of the de cad e
The So mat i c s – Dynam o Me rcurial
Alt-J - An Aw esome Wave
Lo n e Wo lf - The De vil And I
Richard Green may well have sold plenty more records before and since, but this will remain his masterpiece. A truly astonishing vision of scale and ambition that startles with its psychedelic freakery, but resonates long after its departure through its melodic virtuosity. (RPC) One of the fruits of Leeds’ diverse student population, Alt-J’s popularity comes from their idiosyncratic combination of two zeitgeisty idioms, folk and electronica, ultimately earning them a Mercury prize nod. It’s heady, intelligent stuff. (TH)
Paul Marshall’s first full length LP under the Lone Wolf moniker is a dark and twisted turn through dramatic metaphor and almost murder balladry. This is a rich, sophisticated music from one of Leeds’ best loved songsmiths. (TH)
The Cri bs - The Cribs
The opening opus of a band who’ve proved their worth. This album is patently rough edged and all the more joyful because of it. It’s scathing, hardened indie with touches of punk in places and it’s fair to say it’s shaped the Wakefield scene ever since. (TH)
E ure k a M ach i n e s
¡F o rwa rd Russia! - Life Proce sse s
Developing 2006’s Give Me A Wall, Life Processes is a blend of melodramatic vocals, chirpy guitar riffs and semiquaver hi-hat. This is genre-smashing indie with an emotional edge. (TH)
The Sun s hi n e Unde rground Ra i s e t he Al a rm
Duels - The Br ight Lights & W hat I Sho uld Hav e Le arne d
The Sc a ra ma n ga Six – Cabin Fe ve r
Even before this album came out, it was obvious TSU would be one of the bands to ‘break out’ of Leeds. Their pumped up, bass heavy rock-funk is insanely commercial and equally at home on rock stages and club dance floors. (SW)
Opulent, theatrical indie-rock borrowing heavily from the Britpop canon, Duels have created a masterpiece of postnineties grit. Touches of Bowie are unmistakeable as Jon Foulger pouts out his vocals over decadent synthwork and snarling guitars. (TH)
From the timpani roll and chiming guitar introduction it’s clear this is something special, and as ‘Soul Destroyer’ kicks into gear the pace and sheer intensity is relentless thereafter. The album that announced them as serious players and still sounds peerless ten years on. (RPC)
Cowtown - Pine Cone Expre ss
Despite the DIY fidelity, absence of lyrics and brevity of the songs, this debut brilliantly encapsulates the verve, ragged panache and wild musicality at the heart of Cowtown. A soundtrack to the coolest, most bonkers cartoon series yet to be made. (SW)
T h e R e se arch - B r e ak ing Up
T h e S car am ang a S ix t h e Dance o f D e at h
S ky L ar k in - T h e G o l d e n Spik e
T h is E t Al - B aby M ach ine
Wakefield’s finest adhoc trio broke out this little beauty in 2006, a gem full of charm, wit, lyrical inventiveness and... break up songs. Shy and a little bit twee (just a little), every song around three minutes – near pop perfection. (RW)
If Cabin Fever was the band’s dark heart, then this is their populist soul. Albeit that’s still pretty darn dark. The flow is almost symphonic. From the Pitney-meets-Motown croon of ‘The Collector’ to the sub 2-minute power-hosing of ‘Lifeblood Running Dry’ it doesn’t miss a beat. Breath-taking. (RPC)
Few debuts can have presented a mature but utterly idiosyncratic musical style as emphatically as this one. Katie Harkin’s wildly inventive lyrics and melodies are carried perfectly by the brilliantly wayward but cohesive music. (SW)
A difficult birth, for sure, and occasionally accused of over-production (mostly by the personae dramatis), Baby Machine is still one of those ‘all killer, no filler’ moments, and considering this and the ‘Walking in a Figure Eight’... what if...? (RW)
Fight of the d e cad e
M id d l e m an – Spinning Pl at e s
That rarest of beasts: a hip-hop album that’s not only relatable, but rich in pathos and stout of heart and soul. Oscillating deliriously between the bleak, the exhilarating and the joyous, the full-band wall-of-noise soundscape provide the perfect backdrop for Andy Craven-Griffith’s lyrical dexterity. (RPC)
G r am m at ics - G r am m at ics
The eponymous debut stands as a high water mark of Leeds’ truly eclectic scene. Cello played as lead, vintage synth heavy, rippling with emotional brawn and boasting one of Leeds’ most beautiful vocal talents - Owen Brinley - this album is as varied and surprising a piece as you could want. And Laura Groves is on it too. (RW)
Wil d B e asts - Two Dance rs
K aise r C h ie f s – E m ploy m e nt
D u e l s – T h e B ar b ar ians M ov e I n
T h e Lo d g e r - G row n- Ups
Wil d B e asts – L im b o Panto
Hayden Thorpe’s distinctive falsetto. Tempered by Tom Fleming’s crooning baritone (and occasional falsetto – quite a surprise) added a leery sinister touch to Hayden’s sexual ambivalence. ‘All the King’s Men’ oozes stalker menace; ‘Hooting and Howling’ is full of carnal yearning. They got even sexier on Smother, but this is the moment that they realised their inner randy Pan. (RW) Fashion does not shine forever on the purveyors of bouncy indie-pop. But mastery of the mainstream (however finite) without compromising the craft is to be admired. It’s almost certainly on your shelf somewhere. And that is the demonstrable significance. It’s really quite good. (RPC)
T h e Sp ir it Of J oh n
After a career that seemed destined to go stratospheric only to end up falling short it was not until this second album that the band finally seemed settled on a creative formula that did their potential justice. Like Radiohead before them, this shakes off the indie band shackles and delivers something that exceeds genre pigeonholing. (RPC)
Leeds is littered with great but neglected songwriters, and Ben Siddall is probably the best of them. The song-craft is superb, its nuance and subtlety complimented by the withering irony of the lyrics and the amphetamine punch in the music. (SW) Just when you think that pop music has finally run out of ideas and scurried back up its own reductive backside, along comes something that sounds like nothing you’ve heard before, and are unlikely to again. And Wild Beasts delivered in spades with their debut. Tom Fleming does the heavy lifting, his grounded baritone doing the less glamorous melodic work, with Hayden Thorpe’s frankly astounding John Jacob Niles-like growled falsetto there to break out the vocal pyrotechnics. But fundamentally this is a band and a record that delivers so much more than the sum of these parts. It manages to be unique and yet entirely accessible. Pop perfection. (RPC)
Fight of the de cad e
H o o k wo r m s - Pe ar l Myst ic
How can an album released a mere 9 months ago be at number 4 in a list like this?! Although lumped in with the modish world of psych rock (whatever that is), Hookworms stand both apart from, and head and shoulders above the rest. The songs are split between massive mantras of pure sonic joy and liberation, and gorgeous interludes that seem to suspend time and also provide a breather before the next hefty journey to inner/outer space. And live, the likes of ‘AwayTowards’, ‘Form and Function’ and the mighty ‘Preservation’ are stretched out, injected with a ragged fever and cavernous depth to achieve almost unbearable levels of tension, Matt Johnson’s reverbed voice evangelising some wild ecstatic truth about something. (SW)
I L i ke Tr a in s
iL iKETRA iNS - Ele g ie s to L e sso ns L e ar nt
Few bands would even consider releasing a concept album these days; iliketrains do it as a debut. A catalogue of horrible histories and heroic failures, narrated by Dave Martin’s mausoleum tones, accompanied by shimmering post rock tunage from the sombre rhythms of Simon Fogal and Alistair Bowis and the glacial melody of Guy Bannister. Fraudulent solo yachtsmen, British assassins, valiant plagueridden villages and witch hunters jostle for pole position on this maudlin masterpiece before being presented with the nihilistic punchline ‘death is the end’. For iliketrains, it was only the beginning. (RW)
N ap o l e o n IIIr d – I n D e b t To
A safari suited man from Holmfirth with Art Garfunkel hair, a series of analogue tape loops and a very odd guitar may not be the likeliest candidate to have crafted the region’s second favourite album of the last ten years, but James Mabbett’s debut is a frankly extraordinary record. Whilst it may not flow quite as seamlessly as its successor Christiania, its high points are so exceptionally high that seems not to matter, and after a while you start to appreciate that its occasionally clunky gear shifts are actually part of the charm. This is the sound of a crazy traction-engined invention being kick-started manually from a side handle. Sometimes it splutters a bit, and other times it runs like a dream, particularly on the spectacular high point ‘Hit Schmooze For Me’. If it were a car it would be Chitty Chitty Bang Bang. (RPC)
¡Forward Russia! - Give Me A Wall
¡Forward, Russia! are/were crucial to the burgeoning music scene in Leeds 10 years ago, and their debut album is a genuine game changer. This album is a rolling eruption of sonic invention. Each song seems to erupt into life and have the potential to wildly plunge off in any direction. It was music that perfectly encapsulated the genre and convention smashing tide of musical creativity that seemed to be engulfing the city in dozens of bars and clubs every night of the week. The four musicians involved brought their own fierce individuality to the band but managed to contain and combine the juddering, slashing, thunderous, speaking-in-tongues roar of their individual voices into what are essentially still POP SONGS. Genius. (SW) Thanks to all the Leeds music notaries who answered the call to vote for their fave cuts. The names have been changed to protect the very, very guilty...
The Skirmish Before Christmas 2013 Anyway, seeing as the main show is taking up several pages, the best album of 2013 was going to be decided by a scaled down ‘Skirmish Before Christmas’. As usual, the Skirmish itself will be taking place at a secret location, possibly as you are actually reading this, but in a break with tradition the results will be announced on our website in mid-December (look out for Twitter and Facebook announcements). Right, here’s the list of the 27 (uh?) albums we’ll be considering, in no particular order:
T he Sev en In c hes T he Sev en In c hes Get Disorie ntate d
It may have been ten years in the making but its packed full of fresh as a daisy pop perfection. H o o kwo rms – Pea rl Mystic
Is it ‘psych-rock’? Hookworms have simply produced a magnificent album that stands both above and apart from all the rest.
Th e se M o nst e rs – H e ro ic D o se
The three years since their debut have been well spent cutting out the fat and honing this blistering fusillade of ROCK. handmadehands – either and or Second album of intelligent, well-crafted songs from this ultra-low profile band of brothers matches the high bar set by their first. Sky L ar k in – M ot to
Triumphant return of Katie Harkin and her perky, angular pop songs, now with added weight from extra guitars.
H uma n fly – Aw es o me Scie nce
After almost 15 years Humanfly produce their masterpiece, which this album undoubtedly is, and promptly split up. Where’s the justice?
Sun wø lf – M id nig h t M o o n
Masterful amalgamation of crushing guitars and ambient soundscapes. Second album in twelve months, it’s slowcore from a fast moving band.
K ni ghts – Fa bles
Young (literally) York hardcore/metal outfit produce fine debut of surprisingly mature subtlety, variety and dymanic power. With tunes!
Cut Yo u rse lf I n H alf – M e k k anizm
R et urn To Alj ust rel – T ell t he peo pl e I’m not coming down
Th at Fu ck ing Tank – Do cu m e nt o f t h e L ast S e t
It may be Prog, but its bloody good Prog. Late 60’s, folk tinged epicness is the stringboard, rather than the 70’s widdly-shite version.
A fine ‘live’ recording of one of the best live bands in the country, but we do not like that word ‘last’ at all….
Punkoid metal that starts with a bang and doesn’t let up for thirty seven exhausting, exhilarating, tinnitus inducing minutes.
Sp e ct r al s – S o b Sto ry Cowtown – Dudes Vs Bad Dude s
Punk jazz art rock thrash metal pop at its very best, Cowtown’s third album is mature but still goofy.
The songs may sound like 60’s bubbly pop but Louis Jones’s lyrics are brilliant ruminations on modern life and love. Mik A rt ist ik’ s E g o T r ip – S u p r e m e
E ureka Mac hi n es – Re m ain In Hope
Third album of unapologetically straight up, anthemic rock-punk songs that you would happily man the barricades to. T he Sc a ra ma n ga Si x – P hantom He ad
They’ve been perfecting their schtick for so long it’s easy to forget how good this band is. This is a kick in the pants reminder. D i n o saur Pi le-Up – Nature Nurture
On this album Matt Biglund takes a huge step forward in perfecting the art of combining pop hooks with scorching guitars.
Novelty artist no longer, this is a superb collection of wellcrafted songs that are by turns funny, surreal and tragic. A- S u n A m issa – Yo u Sto o d Up Fo r V icto ry, W e sto o d Up Fo r L e ss
A masterfully executed and composed piece of ambient/drone chamber music that effortlessly holds the attention across its two extended parts.
the skirm ish be fore ch r ist m as 2013
B e i n g 747 - The Clo ckwork Unive rse
Lone Wo lf – T h e Lov e rs
The second ‘edupop’ project release from this most unlikely trio of ‘teachers’ is a triumph of wit, pop and maths.
This elegant, sumptuous and powerful second album from Paul Marshall builds magnificently on debut The Devil and I.
R i c ha rd Pa rker – Ri chard Parke r
Last N ig h t ’ s TV - T h e E nd o f t h e M e asu r e d Mil e
The best kind of post-rock is the kind that favours subtlety over grandeur and Richard Parker certainly do just that.
This superb album marks the welcome return of the understated but finely crafted songsmithery of Spencer Bayles.
A stra l So c i a l Club – El e ctric Ye p
The latest from Leeds’s resident noise/drone legend Neil Campbell is a gloriously accessible slice of throbbing, pulsing joy.
Joh n Par k e s - Ble e d ing e d g e / d istant past…
S hat n er’s Ba s s o o n - Aquatic Ap e P rivile ge
Midd l e m an - Co u nt e rst e p
Jazz with its pants down, lobbing a spanner in the works and generally shoving a cucumber up the nose of convention.
Fabulously energised and inventive pop hip-hop funk metal hybrid songs but dealing with utter despair and desolation. Heartbreak on the dancefloor.
Parkes may be ‘getting on a bit’ but he’s still got an acutely tuned sense of misanthropic irony and sarcasm.
IKESTRA – IKESTRA
Heady brew of jazz, funk, electronica and soul impeccably played and designed to move your feet, hips, butt and spirit. J i m my Is li p & The Ghosts - The W ild W e st R i di n g
Well, would you have expected That Fucking Tank’s drummer to have a bloody good country and western album in him? We didn’t.
Bo dywo r k s – T h e G r ind
A new outfit sees the Wetherils reincarnated as synth-loving, electro weirdos - the only thing you might recognise is Benjamin’s voice. It’s very different. But it’s very good. If you think we’ve got it spot on, or hopelessly wrong, let us know at @VibrationsLeeds (#VibsSkirmish) on Twitter and we’ll try to get an entirely unseasonal argument going. You’ll be wrong though….
Modo Stare SONG OF PRAISE AND LOST DAYS
The very bedrock of Modo Stare’s existence is one universal and all-important question; a question that defines them, both as individuals and as a creative collective; a question to which only one man on earth has ever claimed to really know the answer, while others must trust faith alone: ‘Where’s Jon?’
“Jon turned up to rehearsal one day and his hair was all crazy,” says Chelsea. “We said ‘Jon, what have you been doing?’ And he’d just gone on this walk. How far was it?” “It was 110 miles, for about a week, I just fancied it,” replies Jon, deadpan. “I just thought ‘I want to get out for a bit’. I took my backpack, a sleeping bag, and a map. Slept in a forest. “Have you seen that film, Into The Wild? It’s a true story. He dies in it, but I forgot about that part.” When band founder Jon Headley disappears for days or weeks on end, the rest of Modo Stare have learned not to worry. He always returns in time for practise, and he usually brings back presents. “When we’re singing some of the lyrics I think ‘hey, this is about that walk’,” beams Chelsea. Jon elaborates with a rare burst of excitement: “One of the songs is called Hayburn Wyke, which is about the place I slept on the last night, it was just amazing, all the stars and then the sun in the morning was rising across the sea just in front of me...” The first time Jon disappeared, Modo Stare were little more than a twinkle in his eye: “I had a few months where everything seemed to be going wrong. I wasn’t sleeping, I’d lost work. My phone got stolen, my laptop broke, there was some family stuff. I thought I’d go back to Wales for a while. I had a couple of ideas for songs I wanted to do, so I just spent 9-5 for a few weeks just writing and recording. I didn’t tell anyone I’d left. I just kind of disappeared.” When he returned to Bradford, it was with an album full of songs which he presented to his brother and fellow Welshman Chris, and to his friends: Aussie couple Chelsea and Ryan, Dutchman Semm, and English contingent Ben and Callum. They were all gobsmacked, and Modo Stare was born. Just in time, as it turns out, to enter the Futuresound competition, where the judges were also sufficiently gobsmacked by the band’s first ever gig to give them their second ever gig at Reading Festival, and their third at Leeds Festival. Handy facts that hopefully save us a few paragraphs banging on about how wonderful this band are live. Chelsea and Jon are showing Vibrations around the rehearsal space they’ve bagged for tonight’s practise. It’s impressive; a spacious stage in a large auditorium, with rows of seats laid out and a balcony all the way around the room. It looks like a wellequipped students’ union. Chelsea pulls out her phone to show me a photo of their usual rehearsal set-up: six people and as many keyboards stuffed into a bedroom, which she took from her spot bouncing on the bed. Analogue Chelsea is the only one of the seven who can do that, because she’s the only one who doesn’t have a self-contained rig with a spaghetti of wires: “I’ve got a drum, a tambourine and an egg.”
Tonight, though, their needs are greater, because of the latest episode in what they rightly call ‘a ridiculous run’. “I got an email saying ‘got some good news for you, we’d love you to play with Jamie Cullum in Sheffield’,” says Jon, with a tiny smile. “So that’s alright.” That’ll be gig number five, in case you were wondering. Arguably, none of this would have happened were it not for the building we’re in right now. They lead the way upstairs, where Chelsea points out a few other features of the facility. Here’s the in-house Starbucks, and over there is the place where the van lives, which delivers hot drinks and condoms to the local working girls. Chelsea says she is excited about Christmas, which is a really big deal here.You’d expect that bit at least, with it being a church. Membership at the Life Church might not be something that Modo Stare have talked about much - and in fact their suggestion for the interview was to meet in a pub before circumstances intervened - but to examine their success it’s necessary to examine this absolutely fundamental part of it. Not least because Modo Stare aren’t the only wildcards that this place has produced. Two years ago, the winners of the Futuresound competition to play at Leeds and Reading Festival were a band called The Coopers, who had little or no profile within the Leeds music scene, and seemingly came out of nowhere to steal the much-coveted prize. Three members of that four-piece are also in Modo Stare. Throw in Gareth Gates if you must, and it seems there’s something in the water here. Chelsea understands any cynicism: “I think there’s a lot of stigma attached to big churches. Even for us when we first came here, we might have been like ‘hmm, big church’, but you can’t argue with changed lives. I can’t argue with seeing Jon completely different.” She goes on to describe Jon when he first arrived as being too shy to sing, and almost to speak: “I nearly cried when I finally saw him singing because I knew he’d come from being so painfully shy to just being able to get out there and do his thing. I’m so proud of him.” Understated as ever, Jon offers the information that “I probably wouldn’t have done this stuff back in Wales.” So this is some kind of spiritual drama school? “It’s more like it’s super empowering,” says Chelsea, “so music’s a big aspect of it but everyone’s encouraged to work with their strengths, whether that’s starting a business or fashion or community stuff. It’s a big world out there.” There’s a particularly young and international congregation here, and some impressive facilities for musicians. Photos and videos from some of their events could easily have been shot at the O2 Academy or similar. By the time a gifted performer has experienced a set-up and a reception like that on a regular basis, it’s easy to see how they’d pop out confident and ready to hit the circuit running. Modo Stare don’t sound like they formed in a church nothing twee or cheesy here. They’re huge, seductive, dreamlike and otherwordly. Their supremely confident live performance receives their enthusiastic and impassioned all - for their own reasons - but that’s only to the benefit of the show.
Modo Star e
Check out the Modo Stare sound at http:// modostare.com/. You will be pleased...
Each member of Modo Stare gravitated to this particular church individually, and of their own accord. Many of them came to take courses, but Chelsea is open about the fact that she first came over to meet ‘international men’: “The main pastor of this church, she’s a pretty renowned speaker, and I heard her speak in Australia. I thought ‘I’d like to go to England’. I think I thought that English boys were really hot, even though I’m with an Australian now. I just said ‘does your church do internships, can I come to England?’ and I just left. Now that I look back it seems crazy.” Jon: “Same for me really.” Chelsea: “Yeah Jon came to find an English man too.” (From the look on his face, probably not so much). Even before finding out that they’re members here, it was obvious that there was something a little off about Modo Stare. They’re so fucking happy, for a start, and modest, and grateful, and just so horrendously pleasant to everyone. How they’ve
managed to get anywhere with attitudes like that is shocking. To balance it out, Semm often gets overwhelmed mid-set and throws a chair across the room. As these warm, funny and talented musicians continue to experience a great deal of success, it’s inevitable that they’ll attract some curiosity for displaying an open belief in something. It would be wrong - if the band credit so much of their success to one huge and evidently beneficial part of their lives - if they were ever made to feel that they should fall in line, conceal it and take the credit for themselves instead. When there are plenty of slaps on the back to be had for the antics of fragile egos in music, let there be just as many for a band who already know that they can’t walk on water.
Words by ste ve wal sh
Hello, I’m Jonny Strangeways, previously known as gojonnygogogogo and now more commonly associated with working the door at the Brudenell Social Club. I have seen hundreds of great bands in Leeds during the time that Vibrations has been running, and I have selected my 10 favourite ones to tell you about. In numerical order….
The Rea l Lo s ers , The Cribs, Zom bina & The Sk eleto n es & The Ricke ts, Packhorse 21 Ma rc h 2003
The Real Losers, from Leeds, play nutzoid garage power pop, and hits include ‘Jet Sonic Cheesecake Shake’ and ‘Teen Degenerate’. Their gigs were wild; shit would get broke, and me and the gang would be having a dumb time. This gig was chaotic, ridiculous and total funishment. Oh and The Cribs supported.
Blac k L ac e, Brude ne ll , 13 August2010
This was my treat for Nathan (Brudenell) for his 30th birthday, a gig he really didn’t want to happen. Nathan was sure no one would come. I sold 350 tickets in advance, brought loads of inflatables including parrots and a 12 foot palm tree, and the whole of the Brudenell was bouncing to ‘Gang Bang’, ‘Conga’ and ‘Agadoo’. More fun than I have ever had in my life.
Gravy Tra i n !!! 17th Brude ne ll , March 2005
I didn’t know much about Gravy Train before this gig. An electro clash band from Oakland. Hits include ‘Nervous’ and ‘Titties Bounce’, and the crowd were dancing the whole set and the band were totally outrageous. The highlight of the set was when Hunx (vocals) stripped off completely and local heckler Keri Morgan shouts ‘not bad’ to which Hunx replied ‘guys pay $150 an hour to see this dick!’. Yeah, I’m sure I really sold that one to you.
Qui n t ro n a n d Miss Pussycat, Brude ne ll 14 Dec ember 2005
This gig was bonkers. Miss Pussycat supported with her incredible puppet show about termites going to a rave to take drugs. As far as I remember. The Quintron and Miss Pussycat live show is electronic mayhem, “Swamp-Tech” dance beats, puppet stories and a stage set up including a drummer /vocalist playing behind the front of the front bumper of a 1960s Chevrolet. The album ‘Quintron and Miss Pussycat: Swamp Tech’ is highly recommended and included a bonus dvd of the termites rave.
The Fa ll, Brudene ll , 30 Nove m be r 2012
The Fall-one of my top 3 bands ever whom I have seen over 30 times-play my favourite venue in Leeds 6. MES was having the time of his life, they played a 30 minute encore and I got to shout ‘last orders at the bar’ during the obligatory passing round of the mic at the end. I was speechless afterwards.
CSS, Co ck p it, 6 S e p t e m b e r 2006
Ok so CSS went on to write some right shit, but their debut album was a stunner. They were a party band, with plenty of hits and this gig was awesome. ‘Alala’, ‘Let’s Make Love’, ‘Off The Hook’…just at the time when their debut album was just out and the band were full of fresh faced energy and excitement.
Dat Po l it ics, Co m m o n Pl ace 23 M arch 2007
I g gy Po p, H ar e wo o d H o u se 31 Au g u st 2007
Dat Politics (French) play extremely energetic electro pop that just will not allow you to stand still. The whole venue was going for it, and the place exploded when ‘Turn My Brain Off’ was played. Seeing this kind of performance in a small packed venue when everyone is having an ace time really is something special.
This was a one day festival with 8 bands on the bill. The organisers had sold so few tickets that they were going for half price on the day. When Iggy played, the busiest it ever got was 3 deep at the front. The Stooges are always incredible live, and this was no exception, and when the crowd were invited on stage there was literally me and a dozen others watching whilst everyone else got on stage. Awesome.
Black L ace , B ru d e ne ll , 25 N ov e m b e r 2011
The second outing for Black Lace was another sell out gig. This time Keri Morgan and I rein acted TV show Bullseye on stage. We are big Bullseye fans, and we tried to remain loyal to the format. I played Jim with my hand in a sling, and the prize was £50 in cash. The guest dart players were Dean and Ian from Black lace, but after 2 bottles of vodka Dean was slightly exciteable. When it came to their set after a few songs I thought he was having a heart attack and he had to be carried off the stage, and I supported Ian through ‘Gang Bang’. A ridiculous night.
L e s G e o rg e s, C ar d ig an A r m s 20 O cto b e r 2004
I brought the Rough Trade Post Punk volume 1 double CD (which is amazing) and one of my favourite tunes was by this band who I had previously never heard of. The band are from Montreal and play music which is abrasive, unpredictable and intense, described by some as off kilter dance punk. The band came on wearing white masks and had painted their bodies with marker pens, which made it feel like tribal ritual where the music and performance took over your body and dragged you dancing into their fucked up musical paradise.
Andy Abbott Last issue saw the first half of our comprehensive interview end on a rather political note and a general rejection of party politics. Interestingly enough, Russell Brand has been making similar noises, and for a considerably public figure to make such comments, things might get... interesting. But Vibrations and Andy were there first, OK? OK. Steve Walsh concludes...
So, in the last decade Abbott has increasingly employed and relied upon the principles of DIY culture, the spirit of ‘let’s just make it happen’, to move away from the idea of ‘work’ to one of seeking satisfaction and reward in the activities that make life enjoyable. This may seem a bit idealistic and impractical when applied on a wider social and economic level. But, typically Abbott is less concerned about that and more concerned with getting something done. In this spirit, an art project led Abbott to learn how to use Linux, the open source computer operating system, which in turn gave Abbott the skills and confidence to build websites for his bands and label. Abbott’s website now includes a section explaining how to build a website and actively encourages people to do likewise. Similarly, Abbott solved the need to make and release records by setting up his own label, Obscene Baby Auction (OBA), rather than seeking a label to sign to, the experience adding to his belief in the power of DIY. Now it’s done its job, Abbott uses the ‘brand’ more as a label to promote gigs. “Baby Auction’s there if and when it’s useful, but out of all the things my name is attached to that’s flogging a bit of a dead horse really. And sometimes I just think ‘Yeah, that’s finished’ and it’s not useful anymore.” So what of the future? Although heavily involved in building the DIY culture in Leeds in the early 2000’s, Abbott grew disillusioned with the way it developed, seeing its potential as a missed opportunity to provide a platform for a true DIY culture to develop, and he saw more traditional notions of the commodification of cultural activity taking over. Abbott moved to Bradford, or more precisely Saltaire, in 2006 and identified in the place a fertile seedbed for his ideas about DIY culture to take root. “Saltaire is kinda like ‘in-between’ – you can live in Saltaire and have nothing to do with Bradford, or you can live in Saltaire and decide to get involved, and we (Abbott and partner Yvonne Carmichael, also a member of Black Dogs) decided to get involved, because I felt like a lot of the stuff that was happening in Bradford had the kind of energy that things in Leeds had 10 years ago. I’m a big fan of Bradford stuff at the moment. If you do a band, put on a night, are an artist and put on an exhibition, are involved in theatre, whatever…if you do something in Bradford, nine times out of ten the people who are doing it do it because they really love the thing, and there’s an engagement with the city that’s much more genuine than in Leeds. In Bradford there’s a bit more of a connection and that makes it more interdisciplinary and more interesting to me. There is a connection between the South Asian music scene, and the DIY punk scene at the 1 in 12 Club, and the theatre scene, street food, this pub (The Sparrow). It’s maybe a bit
small but all those people are doing stuff together and I think there’s the potential for Bradford to be a really interesting city again. And that’s not just because of what’s happening now. Historically Bradford is one of the birthplaces of industrial capitalism, all the workers resistance and all workers movements – it is a radical city. And in my more Utopian moments I think ‘Yeah, Bradford’s the city of the future’.” And Abbott’s on-going persistence with an academic career has recently brought about significant changes in his ability to effect the changes that he believes in. Abbott completed a practice-led PhD in Fine Art (title ‘Radical Resonances: Art, Self-organised Cultural Activity and the Production of Post capitalist Subjectivity’) last June, making him a bona fide Doctor (“I only use the Dr thing for application forms….. and getting good seats in curry houses”). And last year also saw Abbott apply for and got the post of Fellow of Music at Bradford University. Abbott’s application majored on his ideas about the social and cultural benefits of art and music delivered through DIY principles, specifically in relation to Bradford, a pitch which clearly impressed the University. Abbott has set about using the influence and leverage the post offers by capitalising on existing infrastructure (the University, Delius Arts Centre, New Bradford Playhouse, 1 in 12 Club and various other performance spaces) and organisers (No Hands) to quickly set up a dynamic programme of events that draw on local artists and musicians as well as national and international ones. Last year saw the inaugural Threadfest, a weekend long city wide music, art and culture festival designed to showcase Bradford as a vibrant, cosmopolitan culture. Threadfest returned in 2013, establishing itself on the festival calendar and amazingly it remains entirely FREE to get in and free of corporate sponsorship or branding. Even more ambitiously, Abbott organised the first Recon Festival which took place in September this year, an event designed partly to provide a cultural reconnection between Bradford and Leeds with gigs, events and exhibitions taking place at multiple venues across both cities, culminating in a week of events from 22 to 29 September. “I was very lucky to get that job, but it’s also very challenging. I’ve set my sights quite high for that….not personally, but I want to make a difference to the city.” And I’m sure he will. But don’t expect Abbott to be hogging the limelight – especially when there are more interesting and rewarding things to be done.
Andy Abbot t
P o sts c ri pt
We couldn’t discuss every aspect of Abbott’s interests and activities in the time we had, so I emailed a few of the unraised questions to him afterwards. One centred around a quote I’d found in one of Abbott’s essays, probably unfairly taken out of context, in which he wrote ‘Music amounts to little more than a diversion’. I wanted to take Abbott to task on this, because surely music is a much more important social, cultural and political activity than that? It’s worth quoting his response in full: “Ha, yeah, you got me on that one! I can’t remember the context in which I wrote that but I’m pretty sure that what I meant by it was that music shouldn’t be seen as an end in itself; it’s important to pay attention to the political and economic ramifications that music as a collective and social activity holds. So maybe ‘diversion’ is a bit harsh and ‘entrance point’ would be better. Obviously I love music and think it’s a very significant pursuit. It reflects a human condition and is an alternative form of expression and communication above and beyond language and, I think, especially when experienced live, has individually - and by extension - socially transformative effects. But at the same time it’s good to recognise the limits of art and cultural activity and be wary of living in a safe little bubble where they
become a diversion from facing up to the harsh and increasingly urgent challenges posed by a world in need of a fundamental rethink. Social change is everyone’s responsibility. Conveniently for me I see DIY art and music as a kind of laboratory for ways of going about things and interacting with each other that challenges the capitalist norm. So in my mind music and ‘politics’ aren’t mutually exclusive and I can convince myself I’m doing something ‘worthy’ even when I’m bashing out riffs to a load of sweaty topless lads in a light industrial unit in Sheffield.” For all the stuff missed out, Andy Abbott’s own website is a good place to catch up www.andyabbott.co.uk. You can read about what you missed at Threadfest and Recon Fest 2013 here: http://bradfordthreadfest.com/ and here: http://reconfest.co.uk/
10 Years on 10 Years Gone If, like me, you have a problem remembering what you were doing half an hour ago, the prospect of remembering what you were doing ten years ago will probably bring on the mother of all panic attacks. Despite this, Greg Elliott managed to track down a whole host of Leeds notaries for their unreliable memories and spurious predictions. Bless ‘em… A n dy Abbot t ( TF T)
“In 2003 I was living in a shared house in Hyde Park with James Islip and Graham Pilling from which we ran Obscene Baby Auction. James and I were playing in our band Kill Yourself but our front man Giles had moved to Glasgow, so we started playing as a two-piece under the name That Fucking Tank. In 2023 I imagine James and I will still be playing music together. We’ll think it sounds like Neil Young but it’ll probably sound like Eric Clapton’s MTV Unplugged. We’ll be too old to know the difference - that’s every musician’s tragedy.” C hri s Cata lyst ( Eure ka Machine s)
“Ten years ago I was working at Joseph’s Well (RIP), freelancing at a radio station and wondering how I could ever make music work as anything other than an expensive hobby. In ten years I expect to be independently putting out an album a year (yes, albums will still mean something) in various guises. I also expect to be quite fat.”
Jon N ash (Cow tow n)
“The year is 2003. Myself and a bunch of new friends are staging DIY events for strange misfit bands. It is acceptable to rehearse at full gig volume in your kitchen at any time of the day. Cheap booze is an important social lubricant. Post-rock is beginning to loosen its grip. The Brudenell is just finding its feet. Everyone likes Bilge Pump. Heckling is standard. The year is 2023. I’m sitting in a comfy chair in my ecodome eating pizza. I’m listening to Laraaji, completely at peace.” Mic ky P K e r r
10 years ago - I was a student, getting drunk and playing the odd gig and enjoying myself loads. In ten years I hope to be doing the same as I was 10 years ago, except I will hopefully have a family and be some kind of ‘overlord’... Juffag e
“Dear Vibrations, who are you to ask me what I think I’ll be doing in ten years - my dad?! Quite frankly I don’t know. Hopefully not carrying beer up and down stairs, or slamming my testicles on a coffee table with a rubber mallet. Ten years ago I played the first Juffage gig in Bowling Green, Ohio. I have since traveled the world confusing and infuriating both audiences and myself.” Hannah T r igw e ll
J ames Brown ( Pulled Apart By Horse s)
“Ten years ago I was working in a petrol station in the village I grew up in and applying for Art courses. I was also trying to make a band work with a good friend from college who had moved to Leeds to study, which eventually made me move here as well. Ten years from now I hope to have a couple of amazing kids who will gladly play video games with me all day and still be working in music or the arts in some way. Oh, and to own a jacuzzi, a large dog and a wine cellar.”
“Ten years ago I was a teenager, just 13 and in the second year of high school! Back then I didn’t play guitar, and I was too embarrassed to sing in front of anyone but I was learning the flute... so the type of music I play now is worlds apart from what I imagined. In ten years from now I would ideally be working on my 4th album and rehearsing for another (!) world tour... we shall see what happens though haha!” Le e J. M alco l m (V e sse l s)
“Ten years ago I met [Vessels drummer] Tim Mitchell. This led to a series of events that created what can only be described as an incredibly expensive full time hobby. Having sat in Tim’s room for hours, listening to music, chatting about music, we decided we should stop talking and start making. As for where I see myself in ten years, probably still asking my long suffering partner what I’m supposed to be doing this week…”
10 ye ars on, 10 ye a rs g o ne
T h e Sp ir it Of J oh n
K ate Ha rk i n ( Sky L a r kin)
Ow e n B r inl e y (D e part m e nt M )
“Ten years ago I was 17 and in my final year of high school. I saw the first local band that really blew me away and made me feel like making music with real power wasn’t just something for untouchable idols - This Et Al. Ten years ago my life was just about to change...”
“Ten years ago I had just dropped out of Leeds College of Music after signing a record deal with my first proper band, a woefully inconsistent alt-rock disaster called Colour Of Fire. We toured Europe, played to huge audiences supporting Placebo and even made it to Japan to open for Korn. Young and dumb, we lapped it all right up and totally burned out after one pretty bad and expensively over-produced album. In ten years I imagine I’ll still be involved with music to some extent as I know little else.”
Lo ne Wo lf
“In 2003 I was a Fugazi-obsessed Guy Picciotto wannabe. I was in a band called Rays Of Helios and we made what we thought was post-hardcore. I met Sofi, who was to become my beloved wife, and was blissfully unaware that I was just a few years away from embarking on a bizarre rollercoaster of a solo career. I’d like to think that the next decade will see Lone Wolf or Paul Marshall or whoever I am make a record that finally allows me to get this show on the road properly. I want to be a cool older guy with a guitar.”
Th e Spir it Of Jo h n
“Ten year ago...returning from a week of larking about in Amsterdam like daft young lads do. In ten years’ time... hopefully sat in our time-share in the Costa Del Sol having sacked off music altogether.”
N a po leo n III rd
Andy C r av e n G r iff it h s (M id d l e m an)
“In 2003 I lived in Wakefield and played in a band called Little Japanese Toy - we were going to be massive. In 2023 I expect to see little change from now. I will have less hair. I will still be writing music from my home. I will still be trying to figure out how to pay the next electricity bill. Or maybe I will have died. Happy birthday Vibrations.”
10 years ago I’d just gotten back from travelling around Europe for 6 months and moved to Leeds to start an English and Philosophy degree. I’d not long started writing and performing spoken word and was yet to do anything with music. 10 years from now I don’t know what I’ll be doing, but imagine there’ll be a lot of books and writing and hopefully some sunshine.
We’d like to thank all the bands and artists who’ve made this article possible and, by extension, all the bands and artists that have made this magazine possible. We wouldn’t have been around for ten years if it wasn’t for Leeds’ totally fricking awesome music scene and the peeps that make it happen, and that includes you dear reader – keep going to gigs, keep kicking against the pricks and KEEP READING. Elephant shoe…
The Wedding Present THE GI FT OF GEDGE
In the decade that Vibrations has promoted music in West Yorkshire, a conveyor belt of local bands have been, hung around or gone, but few have lasted as long as The Wedding Present, active (on and off ) for almost three times as long as this humble publication. Mike Price gets to spend some quality time with post punk patriarch, David Gedge.
More than ever it seems bands who broke up in the dim and distant past, some on good terms, many not so good, are burying their hatchets somewhere other than in each other, reforming and hitting the road or recording once more. The reasons are diverse; financial, the chance to relive past glories, unfinished business or material requiring closure, or promoting the repackaged back catalogue by playing favourite long players live in their entirety. Whatever the motive, it gives the chance for fans, not to mention a whole new audience, to discover more music. The Wedding Present, not the most commercial band from the region, are nevertheless one of Leeds’ most revered musical forces since their inception in 1984. Comparisons with The Fall are often cited as both are essentially Northern post punk outfits who’ve undergone numerous line-up changes resulting in the front men remaining the only constant, not to mention each enjoying the reverence of Mr Peel. Indeed they fill the first two places in terms of Peel Sessions recorded and appearances in The Festive Fifty. Fitting then that TWP are currently where you’d expect to find them, namely on the road. The band in all its guises, currently Mr Gedge with Charles Layton (drums) Patrick Alexander (lead guitar) and Katherine Wallinger (bass/backing vocals, recently recruited from The Candys) always seemed to rack up more than their fair share of gigs with 2013 being no exception, touring Mainland Europe for the past month. Before that it was the United States and next they return to the UK for an eleven date tour promoting the 21st Anniversary of their ‘Hit Parade’ releases. Back in 1992, the band pulled off the audacious stunt of releasing a limited edition 7’ single every month for the entire year, (collectively known as ‘Hit Parade’) equalling a then 35-year-old record set by Elvis Presley for the most UK top thirty singles posted in a calendar year. Each of the dozen releases featured an original A-Side and a cover on the B-Side. Naturally the download era has seen the chart record surpassed but it demonstrated the band’s appetite for innovation when it came to releasing their music. Indeed completists can enjoy, as well as the eight proper TWP studio releases, a string of compilations and alternate takes from Peel Sessions and Evening Sessions. There are also French language recordings of existing tracks (Record Store Day EP) and the band even performed big band versions of their work, following an invite from the organisers of the Fuse Festival back in 2009, showcasing the versatility of their songs and demonstrating a never ending appetite to try different things. There’s also David’s other band, the more lush sounding Cinerama, forays
into Ukrainian folk music, plus his ‘At The Edge of the Sea’ mini-festival which he curates and plays at (with both bands) every August in Brighton, proving that the Loiner lives and breathes music 24/7. A live album from the original Hit Parade tour has also just hit the shelves and further deluxe reissues of the splendid back catalogue are set to appear next spring. The current tour included dates in Leeds and culminated at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire on All Saints’ Day. Mr Gedge kindly proffered a few wise words before the recent UK tour when probed on the following subjects: UK vs. E u ro p e an g ig au d ie nce s;
“It’s hard to generalise really, it’s different everywhere we go. It’s always quite remarkable that the size of the audience varies quite a lot. We get a lot of UK fans flying out to see us on the continent and they’re amazed when they arrive at somewhere like Lausanne, that the venue is only about 100 capacity where they might be used to seeing us in 2000 capacity venues in London. Obviously the band is at a different level in each country we play in. In France, for instance, we didn’t do anything for years; [it was] only when the Hit Parade tour started in the early 1990s we got quite successful there; indeed, we even did French only tours for a while. So the size and make up of our audience changes all the time, which keeps it interesting.” ‘Two B r id g e s’ ne w sing l e ;
“Our most recent album came out last year and we’ve been writing on and off since then. The last 12 months have been busy; we’ve done quite a lot of touring, so there are only a handful of new songs that are finished. We hadn’t released anything new for a while (apart from the aforementioned Record Store Day EP), so during the rehearsals for this tour we popped into a neighbouring recording studio, spent a day in there and banged out this new song. What with the technology these days being so much quicker it was recorded that day, mixed, sent to the mastering engineer who cut it as a seven inch single with a download code and by the time I get back to the UK next week, we’ll have a thousand of them to sell on the tour.” Ne w T e ch no lo gy ;
“You can make music more quickly and cheaply and there’s no need to visit a big recording studio as often these days, [which is] the reason why a lot are closing down, which is a bit of a shame. We only tend to use them for the big loud stuff like bass and drums with the rest such as vocals, keyboards and overdubs done at home on a laptop, but still professional quality. On the last album I was recording the vocals in Los Angeles, sending the files to Brighton where my backing vocalist was adding her vocals then sending them straight back. There’s no way you could have done that even twenty years ago. The downside is that it’s more difficult to make any money from recording, even though as a more established band with a more mature audience who are still of the culture where
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they want to buy a new LP or CD. It’s harder for new bands, particularly those who haven’t got enough of a following to play live, making it more of a rich kids’ thing again. There’s a whole generation of young people to whom the purchase of music is kind of an alien subject......as far as they’re concerned, it’s free on the internet via Spotify or YouTube and there’s no revenue being generated for the artist. Part of the [music buying] experience was going in the [record] shop, flicking through the racks, talking to other people [in the shop], hearing it on the shop stereo, that was all part of the excitement of enjoying new music and it’s kind of gone now.” R et urn i n g to L eeds;
“It’s always nice [to play there] although it’s kind of weird to go back now [having not lived there for about ten years] and stay in a hotel. The Wedding Present were always a Leeds band but gradually people left, replaced by others from different places,
leaving me as the last one there... then I left and went to live in the United States for a couple of years, so now it’s like a homecoming without coming home. Having grown up in Manchester I wanted to go to University in a town where there was a good scene and at the time Leeds had bands like Gang of Four, The Mekons, The Three Johns and The Sisters of Mercy, so it seemed to be really thriving place for music and I went there and I found that it was. As far as gigging, it’s more a question of where I haven’t played....we used to play at the Royal Park Hotel, Haddon Hall, The Adelphi and as we got a bit bigger, we moved to the University Refectory and the old Poly (now Leeds Metropolitan University) is the venue I’ve probably played more than any other in Leeds but in recent years we’ve been playing at the Academy, which is a great venue.”
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P o st Peel;
Art ist ic Fr e e d o m ;
“Obviously I loved that programme and listened to every one of them, and if I wasn’t able to make it I got people to tape it for me. It’s a tricky question to answer (on Peel’s influence) as on one hand he was of paramount importance in helping getting new music to people but almost to the point where he was too powerful in a way because every band who started had to get a record played on Peel as it was the only national outlet. If Peel played your record, it really boosted the band’s profile but conversely, if he didn’t like your stuff, it was kind of harder for you. He played our single (‘Go Out and Get ‘Em Boy’) about ten times and because of that people were coming to us and we were getting reviewed in the NME. I’ve spoken to other bands that didn’t get played and couldn’t get anywhere. These days with Facebook and Twitter it’s easier to get your music out there and you’re not as beholden to a central point, which is quite healthy. People can say ‘Have you heard this new band?’ and you can go on the internet and hear them a few seconds later.”
“To me it was always the plan as an artist to have the freedom to do what you want to do creatively. The last thing I’d want would be to sit in a room with business people who say ‘No, you can’t do that,’ it just doesn’t work for me. I think a lot of artists start out that way but then they’re offered great deals of money to do certain things and change their mind. We’ve always stood by our own set of rules and ideals and never compromised, helping us to create a solid heritage which is quite diverse. Even the Hit Parade itself, a set of singles instead of the [more conventional] album was quite a challenge to convince RCA to do at the time.”
R ei s s ued bac k c ata logue ;
“I was approached by specialists Edsel Records asking me if I would be interested in letting them put together deluxe reissues and I said yes. It’s really for fans, all the tracks, all the videos, all the lyrics, sleeve notes, interviews, that kind of stuff. It’s quite a substantial catalogue and they were hoping to release it this year but they’re still working on some of the licensing issues, what with all the different labels.....having to tie it all together so now they’re looking at April next year. I’m really looking forward to it since we did the Complete Peel Sessions box set with Sanctuary Records back in 2006 and it looked so great when finished.”
Th e se cr e t o f su cce ss;
“Ultimately you’ve got to be a good band.You might have a good press officer, a good manager, and have your record played on the radio but you’ve got to have good songs, a good sound and be interesting. Also it’s good to grab people’s attention when you’re starting out. Our first single was purposely made as extreme as possible because I wanted a record where it was going to leap out of the radio, grab your attention so you’d say ‘What the hell is this?’. Once you’ve done that you can then say, ‘here are all these great songs we’ve written’.” The Wedding Present will indeed be playing at the Brudenell Social Club on 1st December – you can find out more on http://www.scopitones.co.uk/...
Recorded Reviews Albums B ei n g 747 – The Clo ckwork Unive rse (E d upo p Pro duc t i o ns)
Being 747’s first foray into ‘Edupop’ was Amoeba to Zebra, an exploration of natural history which they toured around schools and science fairs delighting children and adults alike. Their follow-up, The Clockwork Universe, attempts to explain the evolution of our understanding of the Universe. For Radio 4 listeners out there, it’s a sort of musical ‘In Our Time’ without the boring religious bits. It must have been difficult to know where to pitch the album. Too many jokes and it becomes a novelty album, too much explanation and, well, you might as well read a text book. Being 747 had a solution to this problem. Cram it with hooks and melodies and don’t worry too much about it. The album begins with vocalist Dave Cooke’s rich and comfortable narration introducing us to the subject, before the album opener ‘Mankind and The Universe’ slowly surges in with a wave of 60’s sci-fi Theremin and keys. It’s a pleasingly epic start but they resist the urge up the ante and follow it with a slice of pure pop in ‘Do the Maths’. The rest of the album is a relentless cascade of joy, wonder and fun. And it’s not just catchy tunes which lift the science out of the textbook. The lyrics revel in the inherent musicality of scientific language so that the concepts are very much the origin of the music. This is the sound of a group having a great idea and having the talent and skill to realise it. It’s a huge amount of fun mainly because Being 747 seem to be having fun. I loved it and I might actually have learned a few things too (and not a D:Ream keyboard player in sight). Mat Forrest J o hn Pa rkes – Bleeding e dge /distant past… ( AAZ Reco rds )
John Parkes has been a feature of the Leeds music scene for many years, stretching back to The Sinister Cleaners in the 1980’s, but more recently he’s released blasts of vituperative, misanthropic bile in the form of rock songs via Whole Sky Monitor. This album is Parkes’s third full solo album, and although trailed as an ‘acoustic’ outing the songs are far from gentle ruminations. Having said that, the album does begin with a lullaby, ‘Brand New Day’, unapologetically sweet and gentle and devoid of irony or cynicism. It’s an interesting choice of opener because it sets up a mood that the classically arranged and played ‘acoustic’ song approach supports but which Parkes’s lyrics gradually shred and pull apart. The songs in fact depict the worldview of a middle aged man (probably with kids) finding that age offers no protection against disappointment and confusion. And Parkes is able to cast a witheringly honest eye on his subject matter. Recent single ‘Don’t Be Seventeen’ ruefully dissects an imperfect relationship held together more by the looming spectre of mortality than anything else; the jolly romp of ‘Sleep With Me’, a sad litany of the stark truth of
male sexuality (‘Please sleep with me while I’m on my best behaviour/One of the things I can’t keep up for too long’); and ‘My Hit Song’, a Dylanesque muse on vapid commerciality in music (‘My hit song/For fantasists and losers’). It’s a bit unfair to quote bits of Parkes’s songs because they work much better as a whole. The cohesion and thematic depth across the whole album is impressive and despite the unremittingly bleak view of humanity, the songs are, variously, stirring, uplifting and even beautiful. Which brings us back that lullaby, in which Parkes tells the fretting child ‘this love will never die’, perhaps the one truth worth hanging on to. It’s a great album, but sorry kids, it’s for grown-ups only. Steve Walsh Sky L ar k in – M ot to (Wich ita)
Their third full length studio album now sees them come with added Sam Pryor of These Monsters fame, filling the shoes of Doug Adams. Expect added hardness and bad behaviour. Actually, there is a bit more hardness in evidence, but the behaviour is cheeky as ever. Motto opens with... ‘Motto’, all hard menacing bravado, powered by Nestor’s deceptively complex drumming with Katie singing in her childlike alto ‘I saw a bird in flight/I blew his feathers off’. A bit psychotic, but charming and sweet, with Sam’s bass lumbering beside Nestor’s almost delicate drums.Very American underground, but retaining pop sensibilities and hooky riffs. ‘Newsworthy’ rushes in, chattering in telegraphic staccato, Katie singing ‘the cacophony’s coming for me’, a mouthful of stops and starts, then ‘Loyal Beat’ rings in like a peal of bells, sweetly barbed, dropping and kicking like a fly half. There’s something about it that I can’t put my finger on until ‘Loom’... it’s like the Breeders – a combination of hard riffs, harmonic melody and kick arse beats, spiky and punchy. I think I’ve got it nailed but they throw me with ‘Carve It Out’, sprinkling a bit of Kaiser Chiefs and Franz Ferdinand into the mix.Very cheeky indeed. In fact, ‘Tarn’ switches it again, making a fist of indie and folk, and ‘Frozen Summer’ pairs up Death in Vegas with Natasha Khan before completely yoinking the riff from Mansun’s ‘Wide Open Space’. ‘Bravo Dodo’ is classic Sky Larkin via MBV, ‘Overgrown’ does poignant tragedy via Gossip and by the time ‘Que Linda’ finishes in fine shoegaze style you are reassured that this is Sky Larkin’s most varied, ambitious and sincere album. There are moments of intimacy, poignancy and silliness – there’s nothing wrong with silliness– but it is still distinctly Sky Larkin, still indie pop, still more complex than first appears. It is not perfect and perhaps the influences are a little too apparent but some of these songs get very close. And it’s a lot of fun too. Rob Wright Th at Fu ck ing Tank - A D o cu m e nt o f t h e L ast Se t (G r ing o R e co r d s)
That Fucking Tank (TFT) has been around for a whole decade now and in that time they have proved over and over again why music doesn’t always need those pesky vocals. Formed in 2004, the duo’s long-standing life span has continued thanks to their energetic live shows and their ability to capture this vitality on record. A Document Of The Last Set apart
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Midd l e m an – Co u nt e rst e p (S e lf r e l e ase )
from being a clever-some play on word of their first live EP, Document of the First Set, sees the duo on stage paying homage to their back catalogue. Blistering through a set filled with some old (‘Making a Meal for Beethoven,’ ‘The Rain Comes All The Way From Siberia’), some not so old (‘Keanu Reef,’ ‘Dave Grolsch’) and some relatively new (‘Acid Jam,’ ‘NWONWOBHM’), the dynamic duo don’t offer anything new here but they do remind you just why you love them so much in the first place. Filled with passionate stripped down rock, TFT showcase their undeniable talents on this album, one of which includes sounding so much bigger than their two-man standing suggests. Depending on your level of fandom, you may already have favourites here but the opening sequence of ‘Mr Blood’ takes the crumpet for yours truly, as the guitar strums rise majestically to pave the way for more noise rock goodness. Essentially a greatest hits album, ‘A Document…’ is a perfect example of why TFT have survived in an industry where so many others have fallen. Emma Quinlan A stral S ocial C lub E l ec tric Yep (Trensm et Records)
Side One of Electric Yep is generally a warm and comfortable place to be: plenty of energy (especially in ‘Glitterstompf’), but all taking place in the familiarly blissful space of the Astral Social Club. On Side Two however, Neil Campbell takes another look at the joyous alternate-universe rave sound that Happy Horse perfected a few years ago. That record was noisy dance bliss, but Electric Yep twiddles the ratios a little. Now it is later, and the party is moving on to a stranger, less comfortable place. All the elements that fitted so perfectly in place before are now clashing together and knocking you off balance. ‘24 Times Yes’ is filled with queasy tones rising and falling at odds with the rest of the track. The beats are pounding, but you may find yourself too disoriented to dance properly. ‘Valley Of The Left-Handed Depilator’ is as though the previous track has been swathed with waves of static noise: it sounds like a noise set has started right in front of the dance act you were previously watching, and their handclap-machine has gone into overdrive trying to be heard. In certain quarters this music has been criticised for sounding like it was made in two separate halves and then shoved together, but I liked the disjointedness. The Astral Social Club is a rough and messy place tonight: come on down! Tom Bench
After a series of experiences with the blunt end of the music business that would have killed off a lesser band we should be thankful that Middleman are still around at all, let alone delivering a killer second album like Counterstep. But it’s an odd experience listening to this follow up to 2011’s Spinning Plates for two reasons: one, although the spring and bounce that seems to be a natural part of Middleman’s music is still there, they’re beginning to push at the sonic boundaries of what they do to a surprising degree; and two, the matching lyrical bounce and optimism has almost totally been replaced by a bleak, world weary and negative vibe. What’s going on? Well, we should bear in mind that Spinning Plates was full of songs written before the band experienced the bitter taste of the music business, and the songs on Counterstep could be seen as a vent for all the bile that that generated. Certainly the songs are littered with a despair and desolation at odds with the bands reputation as an upbeat good time. The target of juddering, banging opener ‘Helpless’ (‘You will never be one of us/You will always be soulless’) seems obvious; ‘Blind Spot’ turns the despair inward (‘I can feel the ghosts breathing down my neck/Am I already dead am I already dead?’); ‘Copy and Paste’ is a withering diatribe against manufactured pop culture hooked up to a fantastic hammering rhythm; and that’s just the first three tracks. Elsewhere, ‘Tunnel Vision’ is like a ferocious statement of defiance (‘There’s nothing wrong with me I’m fearless now!’) wrapped in an explosive musical package that the band are confident enough to let go where it will, but elegiac closer ‘Deny It All’ seems to be making a case for supressing rather than expunging hate and despair. Musically this album is dynamite, and although lyrically it’s a hard listen, the combination of the two demonstrate new found depths in Middleman’s emotional and artistic capacities. Superb. Steve Walsh Last N ig h t ’ s TV – T h e E nd o f t h e M e asu r e d Mil e (D e m o n S u itcase R e co r d s)
If you like your music full of bluster, noise and bravado you will hate this album. If, on the other hand, you appreciate expertly written songs full of wit, insight and performed in a quietly confident manner, then this is an album you’re guaranteed to get a great deal out of. Spencer Bayles seemed to have knocked Last Night’s TV on the head back in 2010 after that year’s exceptional Everyone Here Was A Stranger album, and although he’s been far from idle in the interim (producing no less than four albums as part of The Housekeeping Society), it’s good to have him and them back. The whole thing kicks off rather appropriately with a trombone duo fanfare at the start of ’12th June’ which sets the loose theme of time passing that permeates the whole album. The sparse acoustic guitar and hushed vocals of that song sets the general tone of unhurried contemplation that is (was) a feature of LNTV albums. Also present and correct is that indefinable thing that attracts you back to Bayles’s seemingly insubstantial and ephemeral songs only to discover after another three or four plays that what you have is another
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collection of superb songs. In particular; ‘Someone Else Can Tend the Weeds’ has an agreeably boisterous rolling rhythm, and a chorus that ends with a line seemingly suspended in mid-air; the same attention to detail is in the skilled orchestrations that lift ‘Somewhere Else Not Here’; and, best of all, the interaction of the melody and music on ‘Syllables’ is just gorgeous. Quietly brilliant. Steve Walsh
Singles & EP’s
The B ar m ine s Ther e ’ s N e v e r A ny Ro m ance (S e lf r e l e ase )
There’s more than a hint of glam about The Barmines opening track ‘Feel Good’. It’s fairly evident that the influence has come refracted through the 90s prism of Oasis rather than as direct beam of light from the 70s but it is glam and that’s fun. The rest of the EP tends more towards the usual indie rock influences but there are plenty of riffs in there and lots of energetic drumming. If you are going to do indie rock, you should know your craft and The Barmines do. Mat Forrest Japane se Fig h t ing Fish Great e st E xcu se (Vandal )
V es s els – Elli pt i c EP
Vessels absence from the whole recording thing has not been so much a hiatus as a pupation. Birth, marriages and other real life stuff have curtailed them just a wee bit, but it just makes their appearances and work even more precious, and this five tracker is a bit of gem. In case you hadn’t heard,Vessels have cut back on the guitars, but this has not greatly affected their musical character. Opener ‘Eliptic’ is not so mathy, the emphasis is uplift, upbeat and ambient four by four keyboard riffs that bridge the gap between trance and post rock, unafraid to drop giant techno beats or just chill. It’s like Kraftwerk on MDMA. The bongo solo is a bit indulgent, so I’d say the radio edit actually surpasses the full version in this instance being more precise. ‘Blue Cloud’s is a crunchier version of the Modeselektor classic – fidgety but very faithful – but the dark, shoegazy, psychedelic, third eye twerking ‘Myopic Biopic’ outshines/eclipses their tribute and leaves you wide open for the closer ‘Come Out of the Sky and Fight This’, a sixteen bit digital Godspeed! tour de force that smashes the beat through the floor. Totally apocalyptic. This is really strong stuff. I can’t wait for a full dose. Rob Wright T en – Tri a n gle o f Hope EP (Se lf re le ase )
If you’ve ever wondered what the future may sound like, give this EP a listen. Ten’s new EP Triangle of Hope is an ambient and atmospheric collection of down tempo pieces that would be perfectly at home on the soundtrack to any good futuristic thriller. A mixture of the beautiful and the disturbing, the EP’s six tracks demonstrate Ten’s ability to evoke mood and tension in a variety of ways, all of which make it gripping stuff to listen to if experimental soundscapes are your thing. Fans of Boards of Canada, Emeralds, and John Carpenter take note. Oscar Gregg Allus o n drugs – My Cat/Fruit (Clue Re cords)
Leeds’s most hard working live band at the moment are from Castleford and appropriately sound like they’re bursting to get out of somewhere. Their heavily fuzzed up and overdriven guitar mayhem sounds like it was too much for the feeble recording studio to deal with. The riffs are gritty and low down in an early Sabbath type way but with way weirder lyrics (‘My cat swallows all of the pressure/My cat spits rice through her teeth/My cat give me all your affection/My cat you’re a special breed’ – ‘My Cat’, obviously) and ‘Fruit’ is a mad attempt to graft Syd Barrett psychedelic whimsy onto Pixies quiet loud dynamics. Bonkers and brilliant. Steve Walsh
A seductive groove with a demonic guitar line and malevolent vocals combine Franz Ferdinand and Mark Lanegan to great effect. Climbing out of an addictive gloom with anthemic design, the choruses are powerful although the melodies seem unfinished. Throughout ‘Greatest Excuse’ JFF catapult towards chaos; guitars scream on top of the lyric ‘You know how I can get sometimes’ and a broken groove with aggressive chants echo behind the lyric ‘World’s lost its mind’ teasing towards something potentially incredible live. Reeling back from destruction the anthemic chorus ends the song merging into a sharp outro possibly found in Josh Homme’s kitchen. George Paris Be ar f o ot B e war e Bru ise s and B u sine ss (M o u ntains o f R e co r d s)
Bearfoot Beware’s third EP is a slightly heavier affair than their first two releases. Although the stuttering math rock rhythms are still there, there are fewer quiet moments and the vocals feel less subtle and more belligerent. It ends up giving more of a generic hardcore feel to the EP. Having said that, the final track ‘My Love Is A Seagull’ is genuinely inventive and interesting and hints there may still be exciting things to come. Mat Forrest Ha ppy Dag g e rs Ge t Yo u rse lf To g e t h e r (S e lf r e l e ase )
The title of Happy Daggers new single, ‘Get Yourself Together,’ is one that may speak volumes to you, but it is certainly not reflective of the band that have made it. Doused in funky beats with a side of soul, the Leeds foursome’s latest track shows that these lads do in fact have everything together and all in one neat alt-pop package. Infectiously feel-good music, Happy Daggers new single is the sound of a growing band progressively working their way to the big-time and with music like this, it’s a wonder they haven’t been flung there already. Emma Quinlan
Paul Tho ma s Saun de rs/The Trave ll ing Band/ L aura Grov es /J a ke Morle y @ Ho ly Tri n i t y Church, Le e ds
Jake Morley stares out with the beatific smile of a street preacher for one of the more cheerful religious cults. His lyrics, while a little clunky, are actually more rooted in real life than you might expect. Musically, it’s fluttering guitar, picked, tapped and generally abused, with the occasional piano interlude. The highlight, an inventive duet with a recorded version of himself. A classic song is like a great invention, once you first come across it, you can’t believe it hasn’t always existed. Laura Groves writes classic songs. Melodies and lines resonate inside you. Apparently lightweight verses swell with repetition to reveal much more. But she understands good songs are not enough. Her arrangements are inventive and exciting and she holds the attention from the first song to the last. I can’t really say the same about The Travelling Band. Their allegedly alternative folk rather drifts past me. The sound is pleasing but hardly innovative and none of the songs stick. At a festival in the sun, they may be a lot of fun, but in a church in Leeds, I’m left wanting more. There’s something incongruous about Paul Thomas Saunders at the head of this bill. He takes us from our comfortable living rooms to somewhere darker and lonelier. Despite that, he’s a likeable character on-stage, engrossed in his music but not to the exclusion of the audience. The music is a bold, atmospheric blend of echoing guitar, sparse electronic beats and Saunders’ delicately mournful vocals. In some places the music chooses the mood over the song but he earns those moments with some songs of unalloyed brilliance. In the bleakly magnificent ‘Appointment in Samarra’, he is as captivating as any artist I’ve seen. It’s a short set and leaves us wanting more, but that’s as it should be. Mat Forrest
Th e Co o p e rs/ B ru no M e r z/ H ar ry G e o rg e Jo h ns/ Jas m ine K e nne dy @ All H allows, L e e d s
Yet another live music venue in Leeds chalked off, the All Hallows Church boasts a surprisingly good space to watch live music, complete with honesty bar comprising local hand pulled draught ales...I shit you not. Tonight’s line up is courtesy of Love Music Leeds, (a subset of the Love Arts Leeds Festival), concerned with promoting the musical benefits relating to general wellbeing and mental health in particular. Nine local bands have recorded a track (all covers, nominated by those closely involved with Love Music Leeds) for the Love Music Leeds #13 album and tonight is the launch gig with four of the participants lining up to play. First up is local singer songwriter Jasmine Kennedy (who covered Deacon Blue’s ‘Dignity’ on the compilation album) backed by a small group of friends to give her husky vocal and acoustic guitar a well deserved bit of oomph, to the delight of the appreciative audience. Harry George Johns continues to bear his soul with his stripped down numbers from his Post Break-up Blues EP plus a rendition of his recorded contribution, the Rival Schools track ‘Good Things’. Next up is the slightly unfortunately named piano/vocalist Bruno Merz with a very short set comprising only three numbers, finishing with a Biffy Clyro’s ‘Machines’. Finally The Coopers take to the stage for the anchor leg and give us half a dozen of their punchy pop snippets, a stripped down acoustic interpretation of ‘Get What You Give’ plus their more upbeat favourites including ‘Summer’s Child’ and ‘Ripples’. www.lovemusicleeds.org.uk/ Mike Price
Live re vie ws C a rn a bells /J ac k s aTT ic/The Spare s/The Firing L i ne @ The L i bra ry, Le e ds
Carnabells have certainly built some buzz around their new EP. Sold out before even opening and packed out from early doors onwards, it promised to be a cracking night at 360 Club. Openers The Firing Line kicked things off with some classically riff-centric call-and-response rock. Their songs are well put together and very enjoyable, but unfortunately their lack of stage confidence detracted from this. It’s still early days for these guys; with the confidence that more performances bring they will only get better. By contrast, The Spares had a surplus of confidence. With their Violent Femmes-like acoustic guitar and vocals off-played by rising distorted electric guitar and groove-laden bass lines, the audience responded with great enthusiasm. Even the occasional acknowledged slip up couldn’t take away from how good these guys were. When Jack’s aTTic exploded onto the stage, no one must have known quite what hit them. Some high profile support slots have given these riff-heavy but more indie rock-inclined chaps all the vigour they need to put on a stellar performance. Playing like headliners throughout, the frontman could not be contained, erupting off the stage whenever he could. As if roused by the two prior bands trying to steal their night, the hip young dudes of Carnabells blasted at lightning pace through their set of old skool rock’n’roll tunes. They save themselves from being just another throwback by strutting that well-worn musical path with utter conviction. Initially sounding like mere imitators, their final songs are very much their own unique take on the 50s jangly-guitarred chirpy-organed sound. Bringing proceedings to a rousing close, Carnabells owned the night. Sam Coe C hi n a Rats / Dri v e by Night/ Happy Dagge rs @ The Bruden ell Social Club, Le e ds
It is a busy night in the old Brudenell this evening with both of the rooms hosting some top-notch music. Tonight we are in the games room for the brilliant China Rats for the launch of their E.P. First up we have Happy Daggers. Here is a band that is driven by a big rhythm section, soulful vocals and disco inspired beats. At points throughout certain songs the vocals do sound a little like Luke Jenner from the Rapture, certainly not a bad thing; it only makes me want to listen and dance more. Drive by Night are up next and the first time I hear this band, and I feel like kicking myself that I did not hear or see them sooner. ‘Play Fake’ has an anthemic chorus that will stay with you for the rest of your life. These are the perfect support for the China Rats. It is now time for the headlining act, China Rats. Here is a band that never fails to deliver when they take to the stage. Tracks from their new EP, Don’t Play With Fire, are going down a storm with the crowd. The highlight is definitely the ever-so-catchy ‘N.O.M.O.N.E.Y’ - just two minutes of fast, raw and passionate pop punk. It is safe to say that the Rats have a powerful vocal ability and to match that with catchy songs is something of a rarity these days. If you haven’t already seen them live then do so, and certainly pick up the new E.P – out now! Rochelle Massey
The We d d ing Pr e se nt @ O 2 Acad e m y, L e e d s
The Leeds Academy is reasonably full but by no means packed as the quartet take to the stage for their hometown gig. The crowd is mainly their hardcore following, with a smattering of younger ones, most probably the offspring of the parents, most likely raised on a diet of Present, Fall and other Northern Indie. Supporting the band on this tour are Japanese interlopers Taffy, a real throwback to 90’s Britpop. The Wedding Present set kicks off to warm applause, getting the crowd going with favourites ‘Brassneck’, ‘Niagara’ and ‘Spider-man On Hollywood’, as well as more recent stuff including the brand new single, the gloriously fuzzy ‘Two Bridges’, recorded whilst rehearsing for this tour and available as a download but also sold as a seven inch single at the merchandise stall. The main core of songs tonight comprises the dozen A-Sides from the Hit Parade releases, played in chronological order from ‘Blue Eyes’ (January) to the bleak loud-quiet alternation of ‘No Christmas’ (December). The set concludes after ninety thrilling minutes with the classic ‘My Favourite Dress’ and ‘Hit Parade’ B-side, the cover of The Monkees ‘Pleasant Valley Sunday’. Despite having seen the band live on two occasions now, (separated by almost a quarter century), I’d certainly never have considered myself an aficionado. So, it’s been fascinating to rediscover this fine local band and appreciate their music with older and wiser ears. However, if you don’t want to take my word for it, go see them on 1st December at Brudenell where they’ll be playing as part of the venue’s 100th Birthday Gig Series. Mike Price Wond e r f u l S o u nd o f t h e C ine m a O rg an/ B and of H o p e U nio n @ Fu ll C ircl e , L e e d s
Tucked away on Kirkstall Road, among the sparse industrial complexes, A/V studios and underused offices, is Full Circle, a café-style arts space which boasts projectors, memorabilia cabinets and the welcome facility to obtain a hearty lunch. The prize for most hippy sounding band name goes to Band of Hope Union who kick things off with some not-particularlyhippyesque post-rock. Menacing swirls of sound with all the atmospheric build needed to develop their heady blend of guitars, bass, drums and vibraphone and it blends perfectly with the dingy surroundings. The tunes themselves consist of chords or riffs to be developed as the songs progress. Some slightly trigger-happy drumming threatens to overcomplicate things but also helps the group retain some life. The vibraphone, too, is a great touch and focuses the band’s sound to give them something a little more than your identikit instrumental rock band. The Wonderful Sound of the Cinema Organ are a thrilling prospect combining jazz-tinged cerebral pop, orchestral colours and a penchant for a good groove to make perfectly balanced, danceable tunes. Cinema Organ also place a heavy emphasis on visuals with carefully crafted old style film reels projected onto the walls. I find it hard to locate negatives with this band – everything’s balanced and tasteful and for all their emphasis on artistic presentation, the majority of people shouldn’t find it inaccessible. It’s just lush, well-constructed music with all the substance of the home-cooked meal currently digesting in my stomach. Tim Hearson
Live re vie ws
H ope & So c i a l/The Coope rs @ The Bruden ell Social Club, Le e ds
Following an admirable support slot from The Coopers (these guys will think I’m stalking them) I’m heartened by the admission charge of just a tenner to see these two bands, representing outstanding value for money in these hard pressed times. Add to that the price of a pint (starting at under £2) and you’ve had a decent night out for less than a score. Anyway it looks like I’m not alone in this opinion as the room is nicely full as front man Simon Wainwright and his seven partners in crime squeeze onto the stage all wearing their H&S Bluecoats. Launching into ‘One Way Home’, it soon becomes clear that Hope & Social gigs are a two way event with the crowd always playing their part. Indeed there are a smattering of females wearing red t-shirts dotted about inside, members of the Northern Songbird Choir, here to add their voices to the song ‘Dust’ as they congregate in front of the stage, creating a truly electrifying moment, almost surpassed straight away as the exquisite ‘Looking For Answers’ is sung next, without aid of a microphone. After that, we’re back to the up-tempo songs with a vengeance as the band make everyone run on the spot during ‘Pitching Far Too High’ including a smattering of ‘500 miles’ as the place suddenly resembles one big shit Riverdance. ‘All My Dancing Days’ sees the band donning DayGlo headbands, Simon at this point bearing an uncanny resemblance to Money for Nothing-era Mark Knopfler and a blinding evening is brought to a close with ‘Blue Sky Green Fields’ including a bit of ‘You can call me Al’ courtesy of drummer Gary Stewart’s Simon-esque vocal. As hometown hoedowns go, this was one of the best ever, brilliant. Mike Price E s per Sco ut /Two Trick Horse /ill @ W harf C ha mbers , L eeds
The night opened with well organised noise courtesy of ill. A blend of surreal synth, dirty guitars and an abused cymbal combined with an in-your-face attitude and chaotic performance, ill define the term alternative with a niche sound that will get your head and your feet moving. The straight laced music lover maybe put off by the Manchester posse, but something tells me they don’t care. The Leeds-based trio Two Trick Horse followed with a set played at levels that can only be described as ‘ear bleeding’. With a heavy hardcore-like sound mixed with abrupt pauses, tempo changes and amp busting bass, TTH may not be the most talkative bunch but when you’re listening to adrenaline pumping noise from a great live band with lots of energy; verbal interaction can be a distraction. And the bassist made up for it by spending as much time playing in the crowd as he did on stage Even with a mic stand malfunction part way through, Esper Scout’s lead vocalist remained unfazed as they took the stage to launch their self-made mini album, Poet Curses, with a solid performance full of melodic guitars, strong rhythm and
harmonised vocals. Bringing a good crowd along ensured a great atmosphere and with a dynamic and mesmerising set list and just a little humour, the Leeds quartet showed why they have a loyal following of ‘scouts’ and capped off a great night of music. Steve Jarvis Gal ax ians/ G am e Pro g r am @ B e lg r av e M u sic H all , L e e d s
The ubiquitous Jon Nash, who could probably be described as Leeds’ version of Jack White, sat hunched over a mess of wires and twiddly things as the lights blinded us and the music deafened us. But those last parts were more Belgrave’s fault, not Game Program’s. And the music was good too; not only is Jon Nash everywhere (there were members of Cowtown, Nope and Hookworms in the crowd), he is also ridiculously versatile, and it made me very happy to have an evening of music that wasn’t just straight up “rock with guitars”. There were beats, layering, visuals, different dynamics and groovesome tunes – the only criticism (and I use that term loosely) is that one does wonder whether one should feel cheated by Tablecore, if the music itself isn’t actually live? But that’s another debate for another article. Next up were Galaxians, who I think I keep plugging too much, but then it all seems worth it whenever I see them. There was a much bigger crowd for the funk-tastic duo, although I would argue that the Belgrave crowd might be a little too hipster and “cool” for Galaxians, and I’ve seen them when they properly get the party started when placing themselves literally in the middle of the crowd, but this dynamic doesn’t work at the Music Hall, so it felt a little cut off. It took some bright spark to move the crowd forward (finally), and later on another confident patron to start a dance-off to fill up the last few feet between band and crowd (which was so enjoyable). The band had an animated German silent film for their visuals, which rather drew attention away from the performers (this worked for Game Program as he didn’t do anything, but Galaxians are a little more active), which I struggled to find the meaning of, but either way I was genuinely disappointed when their set ended. This doesn’t happen with me for many bands. Ellie Treagust
Tony and Jack One for the Road So here we are, at the end of our tenth anniversary edition, so I feel it only right that the last word (apart from the back page ad) should go to our founders, Jack Simpson and Tony Wilby. It’s been one hell of a ride so far and I daresay will continue to be such... who knows where we’ll be in another ten years? So, any pearls of wisdom, apart from DON’T?
KEEP YOUR OWN COUNSEL...
1 0 % INSPIRATION , 90% P ERSP IRATION... 0% SPECIFIC KNOWL EDGE ...
Jack – I don’t think we did any research or asked anyone’s opinion, perhaps we didn’t do any of the things you should do when doing something that’s going to take up most of your life.
Tony – I used to be in a band with Jon Gomm and I went to see him at one of his own gigs and I saw a flyer for a Chris Helme gig at Joseph’s Well. Jack was supporting Chris. I signed up for his mailing list and two days later got a hand written letter and two tickets for his next gig, which was at the Primrose, and basically felt that as he’d gone to the much effort I had no choice but to go. So I went, got talking to Jack, we got on, he realised I could use a computer and got me making tickets for his gigs and...Vibrations was born out of that. Jack – Part of it comes out of our relationship with each other – after a couple of weeks we could have a really good conversation and still to this day we can just talk... but I was doing some work for Joseph’s Well and I thought it could do with a listings mag but also around that time there was a developing reason for doing Vibrations – around that time there was Sandman in Leeds, which felt very much about what was going on in LS6. Even though I was living in Leeds six at the time, something felt wrong about the way the rest of the city had become detached from the student area. It was to create a resource where separate things, mainstream and student, could appear as one. Tony – When I met Jack, I knew nothing about Leeds Music.You could say I still don’t. EVERYTHING IS EASY IF YOU JUST FOLLOW THE INSTRUCTIONS. OR MAKE IT UP AS YOU GO ALONG
Tony – I didn’t find anything too hard really. It’s a lot more straight-forward when you don’t know what you’re supposed to be doing in the first place. We made it up as we went along. Jack – I don’t think I found anything that hard – I had quite an irrational faith in what we were doing. Jack – It looked terrible. We were shonky... but it was all we had. In a good month, we were shonky. I think you can be bereft of all kinds of skills, but if you have a certain devotion to problem solving, you can learn nigh on anything, and I think that’s what we’ve had – everyone who’s come in to work on the magazine has had the will to overcome that difficulty.
Jack – People were absolutely non-plussed by it – I don’t think anybody thought much because it didn’t look like we were doing anything remotely worthwhile. Someone in Leeds did a similar thing at the time and thought what we were doing was simple self-aggrandising.
Tony – Sam Saunders was a beast on the Leeds Music Forum when Jon put our original website link up... he was really critical – he said we sounded really corporate (he was right) but... we were just trying to do something... we just didn’t know what it was! Sam ended up contributing a lot to the magazine. THE LONG VIEW IS NOT THE BIG PICTURE – LIVE IN THE NOW!
Tony – I saw what we were doing as something to fill my time at first – I’ve always needed something to do. People will look at what I do and ask why I still do it for no money; I’ve always had a ‘normal’ job so the money wasn’t a factor. At first it was a fun hobby, then it became something I really thought added to the music community in Leeds. Jack – I guess I’m interested in things that can create social change... it seemed to me that the scene was really disparate, but it’s changed – a load of people have come together in the last ten years and it feels now that something exists that didn’t exist ten years ago. I think what keeps development going is community... ten years ago, there wasn’t the same kind of scene to join. Now there is. Hopefully Vibrations helped contribute to that. CHANGE IS INEVITABLE... AND USUALLY PAINFUL...
Jack – I think a lot of my ideas from the early days had to go out the window. But I think we always put the magazine and the music scene first. I think what has always worked is that we’ve put the ideals of the magazine before anything else – the magazine can exist without us. Tony – In terms of change, it’s been really, really hard. It got to a point around 2007 when we were doing more than I could handle and Jack wanted to move on and we got to a critical mass where Jack was doing his stuff at the Mixing Tin and we had to separate. I think we both thought we were holding each other back at that time...
One for the road
Jack – Me not being deeply involved in the magazine for three or four years was probably the best thing for it... EVERYTHING TAKES LONGER THAN YOU EXPECT IT TO... IF YOU CARE ABOUT IT.
Tony – If someone had said at the time that I would be doing this for the next ten years plus, I think I would have been probably stupid enough to say ‘yeah, fair enough’. Would I have said yes now, knowing what it would have involved? Hmmm… it’s been a lot of fun but it’s been a massive pain in the arse at times too. Jack – It links to things that other people care about – people care about music, people care about the idea of caring about things – it hopefully helps people to tap into something that lets them do what they care about – a vessel, a resource that aids people to do what they do well.
OUT WITH THE OLD?
Jack – I think it’s ridiculous that no eighteen year olds have come along and gone ‘these lot are old, let’s do something’! Build some websites and challenge what we’re doing! That would be our end point if the city was swarming with all these other resources. Tony – Yeah, I wonder where these people are. We’ve gone from knowing virtually nothing to being the established old guard... if we could do it so can anyone. Get on with it! Jack and Tony continue to be the powerhouse(s) behind Vibrations, despite being old and knackered, so next time you see them... buy them a beer or something, and ask them what animal Sam Riley said he would be...
Published on Feb 1, 2014
Bi-monthly print music magazine covering bands in Leeds, and West Yorkshire (UK) - tenth birthday special.