Friday, July 31, 2009


August may be quieter than other months for gigs but feel the quality. The month is book-ended by two recommended events: the one-day Hedgefest this weekend and then the two-day Rowf! Rowf! Rowf! noise-extravanganza from Golden Lab Records on the last weekend of the month. And below another music compilation of music from other gigs in Manchester in between.

Download link in post below [40 mins/46 MB].

Bill Callahan Eid Ma Clack Shaw (24 Aug Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Wooden Shjips Losin' Time (20 Aug Islington Mill BUY TICKETS)
Port O'Brien I Woke Up Today (17 Aug Night & Day BUY TICKETS)
William Fitzsimmons I Don't Feel It Anymore (19 Aug Night & Day BUY TICKETS)
The Strange Boys They're Building The Death Camps (15 Aug Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
DJ Food The Riff (6 Aug MoHo Live BUY TICKETS)
Crystal Stilts Love Is A Wave (17 Aug Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Papercuts Future Primitive (17 Aug Night & Day w/Port O'Brien BUY TICKETS)
Múm A River Don't Stop To Breathe (16 Aug Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Victorian English Gentleman's Club Periscope Envy (3 Aug Ruby Lounge BUY TICKETS)
Final Fantasy This Lamb Sells Condos (3 Aug RNCM BUY TICKETS)

If the above is all a bit too 'male' and 'arty', you could consider The Ramonas, the all-female tribute to CBGBs' finest.

Cloey, Rohnny, Pee Pee and Margy. Nice idea. But there's only one way to find out if they are stoopid like The Ramones or just...

And not forgetting:
1 Aug Hedgefest St Margaret's Church Whalley Range / 1 Aug Young British Artists Islington Mill / 6 Aug We Be The Echo Cafe Saki / 6 Aug Haunts Ruby Lounge / 8 Aug The Ramonas Ruby Lounge / 13 Aug Kalbakken Nexus Art Cafe / 16 Aug Oneida Islington Mill / 18 Aug Gang Gang Dance Deaf Institute / 29 Aug Magazine Bridgewater Hall / 29 -30 Aug Rowf! Rowf! Rowf! Islington Mill


Download here [40 mins/46MB]

Thursday, July 30, 2009


Remember how excited some people got when a C86-inspired, hotly tipped US band played Chorlton Irish Club recently? If not read what Indie Credential and Altsounds thought of The Pains of Being Pure At Heart at this address in May. Tonight San Diego’s Crocodiles play, promoting their debut album “Summer of Hate”. Crocodiles are inspired by Jesus and Mary Chain rather than the twee-pop end of the C86 spectrum; listening to a couple of songs from the album (including the one posted) I couldn’t work out if the Reid Brothers should be pleased with the flattery or considering legal action. But this is a good thing.

The Irish Club may not be appear very rock ‘n’ roll on the surface but several support bands, loads of DJs and an upcoming headliner should be able to overcome the deficiencies of the venue. Tonight is a Blowout promotion and tickets are only £5.

Summer of Hate [BUY]

Sunday, July 26, 2009

FROM THE INTRAY: Lacrosse, The Phenomenal Handclap Band & Southside Stalkers

A trio of recent intray/inbox arrivals here at Folly of Youth. The first is the second album from Stockholm's six-piece indie-popsters Lacrosse. "Bandages For The Heart" has exactly the right mixture of high-gloss production, catchy melodies and cute boy-girl vocals you would expect to be exported from Sweden these days.

I haven't got much further than the first two tracks in honesty. But that's because those two songs have done such a good job at lodging themselves in my head; particularly "We Are Kids" which mixes 80s New Order, stomping 60s Motown and any decade twee-pop to wonderful effect:

Bandages For The Heart [BUY]

I came across The Phenomenal Handclap Band through their cracking double-dutch-style song "15 to 20". This has become a firm summer favourite (despite the lack of a summer) and even Daughter 1.0 has been infected by its - er - infectiousness. Following swiftly on was the full (self-titled) album out in the UK on Tummy Touch. That track is not wholly representative but the album is still a great listen. The 12 tracks sound as though they were recorded in a New York studio between '69 and '73 and then sealed in a time capsule for posterity. It's a groovy melting pot of latin-funk, boogaloo, psyche-soul and sunshine pop. Very New York, very summery.

15 TO 20
The Phenomenal Handclap Band
Self-titled [BUY]

And finally I was emailed by Bluesong Records (me neither) the new single from Southside Stalkers: "It's now time for the Swedish indiedarlings to release their new single from their sophomore album. Not a day too soon you say? Well, so do we". Naturally my interest was piqued by the phrase 'Swedish indiedarlings' and discovering they are also from Stockholm. Alas the single does not deliver fully on the promise.

Lead off track "Bones" mixes lo-fi garage-rock and twee-pop to re-write "Dem Bones". It's a bit too comical - I think it wants to be The Raveonettes or The Cramps but it comes across like a pub cabaret comedy duo playing for cheap laughs. However second song "Robert Downey Jr" is much more interesting - a 1 minute and 47 second jangle-pop romp that disguises the lo-fi production with a singalong chorus and sleighbells. More of this please Southside Stalkers and less of the former.

Southside Stalkers
[BUY at Bluesong Records]

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

'Play Some Pool, Skip Some School, Act Real Cool'

Out now is 'Play Some Pool, Skip Some School, Act Real Cool', a 2 CD tribute to Bruce Springsteen on the Where It's At Is Where You Are label. Artists covering Bruce include Jeniferever, Help Stamp Out Loneliness, Gregory Webster, Doug Yule, Amelia Fletcher, Darren Hayman and The Wave Pictures. I came across the existence of this album via the Darren Hayman/Hefner website:

On the album Darren re-invents 'Rosilita (Come Out Tonight)' as pulsing, vocoded lullaby. He also plays bass and sings on 'Racing in the Streets' by the Wave Pictures even though the bastards didn't credit him. As well as this WIAWYA have released a split single by Darren and the Wave Pictures with two more Springsteen songs not on the album. Darren performs 'Girls in their Summer Clothes' and the Waves do 'If I Should Fall Behind'. If that wasn't enough copies of the seven inch come with a free album of the Wave Pictures doing a whole album of Bruce songs.

My copy of the vinyl single and the Wave Pictures covers CD arrived last week and ever since then I've been thinking about Bruce Springsteen. And the fact I can only claim to have heard about six of his songs. I've never listened to 'Nebraska' or to 'Born To Run', not heard a greatest hits compilation or the recent acclaimed Pete Seeger covers record or the many 'return-to-form' studio albums. I've never been to a gig, listened to a bootleg or watched a concert film.

I watched a couple of minutes of his 'triumphant' Glastonbury performance ("Bruce wins over another generation of fans..." etc etc) and thought it looked no different from any other snatches of footage from the last three decades. Despite the Glasto hoop-la, I still remain uninspired to listen to any of his music. But many, many bands I like not only cite him as a song-writer and musician they admire but also record his songs. And it is these covers, not Bruce's originals, that if anything would send me to listen to more of the Boss.

Listening to the five posted below the key to covering Bruce seems to be to slow-it-down and strip-it-back; the best example here being Ballboy's cover of "Born in the USA". I've struggled when people told me it was an anti-war song - given the clenched-fist-raised, stadium-rousing bombast the original is wrapped in. But get rid of the showmanship - and the chorus - and something else is revealed.

Bruce will be sixty later this year and no doubt he will keep churing out albums and tours. I may be missing out - but I think I'm going to keep listening to his music through other peoples' covers. And 'Play Some Pool, Skip Some School, Act Real Cool' looks an excellent place to keep doing just that.

The Sash My Father Wore & Other Stories [BUY]

Cowboy Junkies
Whites Off Earth Now [BUY]

Camera Obscura
Live on MBR (via the Music Slut) [BUY Camera Obscura]

Jim Eldon
More Great Moments in Vinyl History [BUY]

The Wave Pictures
Play Some Pool [BUY]

Monday, July 20, 2009


Unpredictable weather getting to you? Feeling damp just hearing the stories from a rained-upon Latitude? Why not listen to some music INDOORS? And how about in an impressive Georgian church in Salford - with a bar? Because tonight Mark Kozelek plays St Philip's Church.

This is a Hey Manchester promotion; here's what they say:

We’re delighted to welcome songwriting legend Mark Kozelek for what is only his second solo appearance in Manchester during an illustrious 20-years recording career. His debut here was a sold-out performance at the Dancehouse Theatre. Originally a lynchpin of the sadcore movement in alternative rock with Red House Painters, Kozelek’s harrowing autobiographical lyrics gave unflinchingly detailed accounts of pain, despair and loss while the lengthy accompanying music was slow, intense, dissonant and bleak. As time has passed, his music has become more acoustic and folk-inflected, while his lyrics now seem obsessed with memory, geography and those who died before their natural time.

Brilliant! Can you think of a finer way to spend a rainy Monday evening? Tickets from here and here.

Mark Kozelek
Lost Verses Live [BUY]

Sun Kil Moon
Tiny Cities [BUY]

Red House Painters
Red House Painters [BUY]

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Ecoutez et Repetez: Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid

MJ Hibbett has a formula. A formula to solve the world's problems through idiot-grin optimism and a can-do naivete. So on latest album "Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez", MJ and his Validators solve Anglo-Franco relations through dancing ("Do The Indie Kid"), propose an end to gender wars through finding the nice blokes at record fairs, comic conventions etc. ("All The Good Men"), tackle national obseisty through common-sense ("Do More, Eat Less" - yes, it's that simple) and on opening track give us a formula for national happiness: "Being Happy Doesn't Make You Stupid".

If you've heard an MJ Hibbett (with or without The Validators) album before you know what to expect: well-executed melodies, highly hummable tunes, clever - but never smart - lyrics and puns. It's care-free, old-fashioned indiepop without a pretentious bone in its body. Some may find it toe-curlingly twee but it doesn't give a hoot about that or about 'indie cred'. The apparent casual approach to life, politics, music and credibility hides some excellent and well-drilled playing throughout. And if it can get a little formulaic at times its good-natured optimism, memorable hooks and unrelentless enthusiasm win you over.

There aren't any songs (to my ears yet) that equal the mighty duo ("The Gay Train" and "The Lesson of the Smiths") from previous album "We Validate!" but there are half a dozen that stand out. But that unrelenting enthusiasm, plus a couple of other factors, mean you'd be churlish just to pick a few; so why not submit and buy the whole album? The first of those factors is: I have nothing but love and respect for anyone who records for a record label called Artists Against Success. The second is the Validators' secret weapon: the backing vocals of Emma Pattinson - exquisite, Kirsty MacColl-esque in sound, in quality and in their ability to lift melodies and songs to a higher level as evidenced here.

So all-in-all good fun rather than great art. But "Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez" is also a contender for the Mercury Music Prize. Read the full story and MJ Hibbett's Mercury Music Pledge. And whilst you are there don't forget to sign up for the monthly newsletters of FACT. Not one to rest, MJ Hibbett is now working on his next project "Dinosaur Planet" 'a one-man rock opera' coming to the Edinburgh Fringe this August.

MJ Hibbett & The Validators
Regardez, Ecoutez et Repetez [BUY]

Sunday, July 12, 2009

Ciao My Shining Star via Young@Heart

I saw Young@Heart perform "End of the Road" last night (as part the Manchester International Festival). But this is not a review of that show. The concept of the show is 70-and 80-year olds singing contemporary popular songs, giving added significance to tales about mortality, loss and loneliness through their age and fraility. It is a decent show but a bit too 'music-theatre' for my taste: why not just let the singers sing rather putting them in a bizzare set (a white plastic pyramid? a perspex cocktail bar?) and orchestrate how they move across stage so, well, 'stageily'?

Their voices, individually and as a chorus, the accompanying band and the lighting alone created enough of a 'performance' to deliver the songs. There were some 'obvious' songs ('Ain't No Stopping Us Now') amongst those of Neil Young, The Velvet Underground, Morrissey and - er - Bon Jovi. But the two moments I particularly liked were a faithful rendition of The Replacements' "Nightclub Jitters" as the cocktail bar was installed and then a group effort on The Buzzcocks' "What Do I Get?". For this the female singer spat out the lyrics contemptuously and the chorus stomped their feet as they marched to the front of the stage. Captured the nihilism and anger of punk pretty well I thought.

Anyway remember this is not a review. We are going elsewhere today. As I was sitting reading the programme notes before the show started (just like on records I have to read all those credits through. Every word). And who did I see was musical director for the show but Ken Maiuri?

Now you may not know Ken but, music trivia fans, he is a long time associate and band member for Mark Mulcahy, as well as other bands. I got to say 'hello' to Ken in 2005 when Mark Mulcahy played Manchester. Ken was on the merch stall (the glamorous life of a touring musician) before the gig and then played drums and keys throughout. Also in that band was Dave Trenholm on bass who was also performing in the Young@Heart musical ensemble also tonight (both are from Massachusetts home of Young@Heart - and of Mark Mulcahy). As well as music directing and playing keys, bass and autoharp in the five-piece band for End of the Road, Ken sang beautifully on a Neil Young cover.

OK so this doesn't mean much to most folk but Mark Mulcahy is much in my thoughts at the moment given the imminent release of "Ciao My Shining Star" - and the coincidence of hearing Ken and Dave play was the spur to post this announcement:

September 14th sees the release of "Ciao My Shining Star" by Various Artists on Mezzotint via Essential Music & Marketing. The album is a tribute to former Miracle Legion frontman Mark Mulcahy’s wife Melissa, who died suddenly last September, and features a collection of some of today’s greatest recording artists performing versions of Mulcahy’s songs. All proceeds from the sale of the album will go to Mark to help him continue his career while also raising his 3-year-old twin daughters. The album features 21 exclusive tracks from, among others, Thom Yorke, Michael Stipe, Dinosaur Jr, Mercury Rev, The National, Frank Black, Frank Turner, Vic Chesnutt and Josh Rouse. In addition, a further 20 tracks will be made available digitally to promote the album from artists including AC Newman, Buffalo Tom and Laura Veirs. Available on CD and as a digital download, the full track listing is as follows :
01 Thom Yorke "All for the Best"
02 The National "Ashamed of the Story I Told"
03 Michael Stipe "Everything’s Coming Undone"
04 David Berkeley "Love's the Only Thing That Shuts Me Up"
05 Dinosaur Jr. "The Backyard"
06 Chris Harford and The Band Of Changes "Micon the Icon"
07 Frank Black "Bill Jocko"
08 Vic Chesnutt "Little Man"
09 Unbelievable Truth "Ciao My Shining Star"
10 Butterflies of Love "I Have Patience"
11 Chris Collingwood of Fountains of Wayne "Cookie Jar"
12 Frank Turner "The Quiet One"
13 Rocket From the Tombs "In Pursuit of Your Happiness"
14 Ben Kweller "Wake Up Whispering"
15 Josh Rouse "I Woke Up in the Mayflower"
16 Autumn Defense "Paradise"
17 Hayden "Happy Birthday Yesterday"
18 Juliana Hatfield "We're Not in Charleston Anymore"
19 Mercury Rev "Sailors and Animals"
20 Elvis Perkins "She Watches Over Me"
21 Sean Watkins "A World Away From This One"

Mark Mulcahy was the front-man for Miracle Legion in the 1980s to mid 1990s. Shortly after their demise, Mark soon formed Polaris; a house band for the mid 1990s alternative television series The Adventures of Pete & Pete (1993-1996). They are perhaps best remembered for the song "Hey Sandy" as it was featured in the opening credits of each show. Mulcahy has opened up for many notable artists including Oasis and Jeff Buckley, and received homage from Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke, who dedicated a song to Mulcahy at a Boston show. An essay on Mulcahy's song "Hey Self-Defeater" (from the album "Fathering") was featured in Nick Hornby's book 31 Songs. Mark released his last album, In Pursuit Of Your Happiness, in 2005

Tragic circumstances but an important record to anticipate and to support. All Mark's solo albums are available to buy from the Mezzotint store and elsewhere but many Miracle Legion albums remain out of print. Thinking of Mulcahy songs covered, which one would (should) Young@Heart cover? I'd put forward these two Miracle Legion songs. Ken, can you make this happen?

Miracle Legion
Surprise Surprise Surprise [BUY]

Miracle Legion
Drenched [BUY]

The Replacments
Pleased To Meet Me [BUY]

Mark Mulcahy
Fathering [BUY or BUY]

Thursday, July 09, 2009


Well this was a gig that nearly didn't feel like a gig but all came good in the end. I'd heard stories of how good Amadou and Mariam were live and not having seen them before leapt at the chance to see them in an intimate setting. The Malian couple were playing with The Beating Wing Orchestra, a ten piece ensemble of musicians from asylum-seeker and migrant communities in Manchester. Uh-oh. Sounds a bit worthy, a bit 'social experiment'. But as one of the band said 'we all share the language of music' and boy was he right. So the Mali blues guitar sound was joined with Kurdish strings, Brazilian percussion, Bangladeshi rap, Bosnian fiddle, Chinese operatic bel canto etc. It could have been a mess but for the most part it worked beautifully.

The gig started with two songs performed just by Amadou & Mariam before they were joined by the other musicians. Most of the set was of songs from their 90s albums (pre-Manu Chao and Damon Albarn in the producer's chair) with a couple from new album "Welcome to Mali". At the end the orchestra got to play one of their own compositions which showcased the four different vocal styles they possessed to great effect - but left Amadou and Mariam out of the party. This finale (played twice) got a great reception but for me the times when the evening worked best was when the musicians were playing off or layering around the rhythms of Amadou's extraordinary electric guitar playing. It was primal, passionate and funky all at the same time -worth the entrance money alone to hear.
And why was this 'nearly not a gig'. Well arriving in the Pavillion (basically Wagamama benches dropped into a giant upside-down ice-cream cone) it was difficult to see where the band would play. The audience then queued (politely of course) to go into a side room which was in effect a marquee. The empty space at first felt like a flat wedding reception. The crowd was also heavily populated with suits (sponsors?) which caused some hilarity watching lots of photos being taken on Blackberrys held aloft. But once the music started and the rest of the crowd warmed up, the surroundings were irrelevant. Soon the crowd were dancing along to the music and the floor bounced along just like at the Ritz. For part of such a grand event as the Manchester International Festival and in such a seemingly anonymous space, the musicians were able to transform it into a sweaty club night, into a 'proper' gig. And for one night this part of Manchester felt like a funky outpost on the Mali river delta. Welcome to Mali, indeed.

Amadou and Mariam
Welcome to Mali [BUY]

Amadou and Mariam
Dimance a Bamako [BUY]

And for more Malian music see 14 Tracks excellent selection here.

Thursday, July 02, 2009

TONIGHT IN MANCHESTER: Meursault vs Kraftwerk!

I was going to write about the Manchester International Festival which starts today. But with the huge PR coverage they will get, they don’t need me right? And several events like tonight's opening concert - Kraftwerk and Steve Reich at Manchester Velodrome - are already sold out. Instead I think I should focus my attention elsewhere.

So yes in Manchester tonight (if you are lucky enough to have tickets) you could see the godfathers of electronic music, one of the most influential bands of all time, play a sports stadium. But wouldn't you rather be in a bar in Withington seeing hotly-tipped Edinburgh band Meursault with their "thunderclap drums, banjo snarls and general sense of the devil's own revelry" (so say Plan B)?

I think I know where I would rather be and that's not just because I was not quick enough to get a Kraftwerk ticket.

The Meursault album "Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing With Tongues" came out in December last year on Song by Toad Records and it's jaw-droppingly good. A lo-fi Arcade Fire nurtured by Fence Records would be my crass contribution to the list of musical comparisons hurled their way. This is (possibly) their third visit to Manchester and I've missed them all thus far. So I can't tell you with authority what they are like live but give the music a listen and play the video of the acoustic session. And then tell me which four piece you would rather see tonight.

Meursault are at Fuel with support from God's Little Eskimo and Butler-Williams. And if you needed any more persuading: it's free.

Meursault - The Furnace (Toad Session) from Song, by Toad on Vimeo.

Pissing on Bonfires/Kissing with Tongues [BUY]

Trans-Europe Express [BUY]

Coming next: Forget Elbow and the Halle Orchestra - go and see Jackie-O-Motherfucker.

Wednesday, July 01, 2009


Another music compilation for you to help select your gigs (or more gigs?) this July in Manchester. We start with two sets of exclamation marks and two songs under two minutes - but be warned later songs take a bit more time. But what's the rush? It is summer after all.

Download link in post below [51 mins/60 MB].

Marnie Stern Put All Your Eggs In One Basket and Then Watch That Basket!!! (24 July Islington Mill BUY TICKETS)
Let's Wrestle My Arms Don't Bend That Way Damn It! (13 July Star & Garter BUY TICKETS)
Yacht Psychic City (23 July Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Meursault The Furnace (2 July Fuel Withington BUY TICKETS)
Fever Ray Keep The Streets Empty For Me (14 July Academy 2 BUY TICKETS)
The Phenomenal Handclap Band 15 to 20 (9 July Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
The Lovely Eggs Sexual Cowboy (11 July Cafe Saki BUY TICKETS)
The Leisure Society A Matter of Time (21 July Academy 3 BUY TICKETS)
Arbouretum False Spring (31 July Night & Day BUY TICKETS)
Kong Leather Penny (16 July Ruby Lounge BUY TICKETS)
Jackie-O-Motherfucker Lost Jimmy Walen (9 July Islington Mill BUY TICKETS)
Mark Kozelek Carry Me Ohio (20 July St Philips Church BUY TICKETS)

And not forgetting:
2 July Nine Black Alps Deaf Institute / 2 July Silversun Pickups Academy 3 / 3 & 4 July Anthony & The Johnsons Opera House / 5 July Athlete Ruby Lounge / 7 July That Petrol Emotion Academy 3 / 9 July Everything Everything, Run Toto Run MIF Pavillion / 10 July Sleepy Sun Deaf Institute / 13 July Dutch Uncles, Sophie's Pigeons MIF Pavillion / 13 July St Vincent, Blue Roses Night & Day / 15 July Durutti Column MIF Pavillion / 16 & 17 July De La Soul The Ritz / 16 July The Warlocks Roadhouse / 16 July Deaf To Van Gogh's Ear Nexus Art Cafe / 17 July Mary Hampton Carlton Club / 18 July Laurie Anderson & Lou Reed Opera House / 18 July The Fall Academy 1 / 22 July Mary Gauthier Club Academy / 23 July Au Revoir Simone Night & Day / 23 July Flower-Corsano Duo Islington Mill / 27 July Cornershop MoHo Live / 29 July Earthless Retro Bar / 30 July Lucinda Williams Bridgewater Hall / 31 July Dinosaur Pile-Up Deaf Institute


Part Two:

Download link is here [51 mins/60MB]