Sunday, June 27, 2010


For several years now The Hold Steady have been consistently (persistently?) recommended to me, citing the musical influences of band leader Craig Finn as reason to like them. But my passing acquaintance with the occasional songs has not brought to mind The Replacements, The Grifters or Husker Du but instead unremarkable Springsteen bombast.

However some of those odd songs heard from around the time “Stay Positive” was released in 2008 and onwards, have slowly started to penetrate my shield of negativity. Then there are the tales of the sweat-drenched, life-affirming live shows. So the chance to see them play the relatively small Academy 2 as a Glastonbury warm-up was the perfect opportunity to finally see if The Hold Steady live lived up to these reports.

The opening three songs, mixing old and new, was a potent statement of intent: The Hold Steady are here to play loud and to rock. ‘Stuck Between Stations’, ‘Hurricane J’ and ‘Sequestered In Memphis’ are all trademark riff-laden, urgent call-to-arms anthems that had the crowd hoisting, spilling and ultimately throwing beer. And lead singer Craig Finn seemed to be inviting those beer-throwers to take pot-shots at him. Finn is not a grizzled, hard-as-nails rocker: he looks and dances like the accountant at the office Xmas party who only gets out once a year. But throughout he grins maniacally as though even after five albums and all these years of touring he still cannot believe he is actually in a band. So his was not such confrontational baiting of the crowd and more an invitation to share his good fortune.

My lack of familiarity with some sections of The Hold Steady back catalogue meant that parts of the set blurred into each other. But this was not just the fault of that unfamiliarity but a bass-heavy sound that often swamped the vocals when all three guitars kicked in together. Too often the sound became an unsubtle and relentless thud. The mosh-pit couldn’t care less though – every song old and new was greeted uproariously and sung along to loudly. ‘Chips Ahoy’ was the one that truly sent the crowd wild (I can still taste the beer on my skin and in my hair – even after showering).

The main set finished with ‘Slapped Actress’. Now this is one of the songs I am more familiar with - and hearing it I realised what was lost. The song’s dynamic tension, a slow build and fall punctuated with quiet or massed whoo-hoos was replaced with that dull thud. The encores seemed to rectify this: for ‘First Night’ electric guitars were replaced for acoustics – and hey I could hear the keyboards! Final encore ‘Killer Parties’ was the one were they nailed the quiet/loud dynamic perfectly and Finn became more theatrical than simply the clowning singer; and it was so much better for it. Now if the whole gig had been like this I might have walked away a convert.

It was still a good night but I think I will stick to listening to The Hold Steady in small doses and build up from there by degrees. And maybe then I’ll stop the petty carping and join the word-perfect singalong faithful in the mosh-pit. For most of these people, tonight was Christmas and the Second Coming rolled into one and toasted royally with Budweiser and Red Stripe. Sound mix problems? What problems??

The Hold Steady
Heaven Is Whenever [BUY]

Saturday, June 26, 2010


The release of Avi Buffalo’s debut album in April followed last year’s blogosphere adoration of single “What’s In It For”. The self-titled album’s summery guitar-pop drew comparisons to the quirky naivety of The Shins in some quarters. For me another reference point (and I think I am maybe totally alone on this one) was Galaxie 500. Some songs share the quiet intensity of the Boston trio’s dreamy slow-motion guitar shimmer and lean, spacious drumming. But whereas Galaxie 500 have a restrained East Coast froideur and eeriness, Avi Buffalo are filled with a West Coast sunshine glow and youthful playfulness. Press attention and the label’s bio seem to focus heavily on their tender ages (forming in high school and signing to Sub Pop when three of the band including songwriter Avigdor Zahner-Isenberg were just 18/19). Setting up on stage prior to their debut Manchester gig, the casually dressed four-piece do look like slouchy US college kids getting ready for band practise but they never appear awkward or immature.

When Avi speaks, especially sporting beard, he comes across far more mature than his age suggests. He mixes wide-eyed appreciation for the audience’s welcoming applause and casual between-song banter with a curious intensity when playing. But even this ‘lost-in-the-moment’ seriousness never sets in for long - pulling faces at his own playing or joking with the band easily brings things back to a light-hearted informality. Ultimately their age is a red herring – yes they have a dressed-down, laidback demeanour but Avi Buffalo are also savvy musicians and Avi himself an engaging frontman.

The set opened with that single ‘What’s In It For’ (with additional guitarist brought on just for this song). It’s still such an impressively strong calling-card but I wish it had come later when the band were fully into their stride. The next two songs remained a bit tentative but thereafter the band slipped into a casual groove and a solidly faithful delivery of the songs from the album. What surprised me hearing them live was the jazzy feel to their playing particularly in the spacious drum rolls and fills plus that fluid quick-fingered guitar work.

The set was sequenced so the last third became louder and more intense particularly during the lengthy final song ‘Remember Last Time’ with Avi even slapping the neck of his guitar in one impassioned moment. The first encore was the catchy tweeness of ‘Summer Cum’ but towards the end the loose swing of the drumming changed to Mo Tucker-like primal pounding with noisy guitar and keys over the top. If the band had pushed this direction a bit further the song could easily have mutated into ‘Foggy Notion’ or something darker and more clamorous. There weren’t many other surprises to those familiar with the record which they played in its entirety except ‘One Last’ (“we left the acoustic guitar at home”) but one eyebrow-raising moment early in the set was ‘McDonalds Funk’. This was an instrumental, part-improvised funk work-out culminating in massed screaming. Another surprise post-gig was reading that the teenage object of Avi’s affections, unrequited, was the keyboard player Rebecca. Acutely ironic giving the way their vocals interweave or complement each other at key moments but impressive to have managed the switch from intense crush to singing partner successfully.

Avi Buffalo appear to have negotiated several tricky transitions such as this: from high school friends to band-mates in young adulthood, from being unsigned to Sub Pop darlings, and now to an international touring band, all in a short period of time and managing to keep their heads screwed on. Despite the wave of acclaim they are riding (and with summer festival appearances still to come), there will still be plenty for Avi Buffalo to negotiate in the future. Is it too early and unseemly to ponder the potential hurdle of the difficult second album? But on tonight’s showing the band have demonstrated plentiful nous and musical chops not only to survive these hurdles but to take Avi Buffalo in an intriguing number of future directions.

The Set List:

What’s In It For
Truth Sets In
Five Little Sluts
McDonalds Funk
Where’s Your Dirty Mind
Can’t I Know
Remember Last Time
Summer Cum
“No-one knows how long it takes”

Support from Brown Brogues is thoroughly deserving of mention. Reports from The Pigeon Post about their scuzzy lo-fi garage-blues and then the songs on their MySpace page had me suitably excited and intrigued. And the live experience did not disappoint. If anything it surpassed the recordings because it was so thrilling to watch. The duo played on opposite sides of the stage – one half of the duo with battered electric guitar and then the drummer with only two drums placed either side of him with one cymbal and no kick drum. It was astonishing the variety of rhythms and jarring sounds Brown Brogues delivered from such a simple set-up. The musical template may have been identical with just the tempo changing from song to song but I could have listened to another 30 minutes and still been left wanting more. Brown Brogues are becoming the support band of choice for US alt-rockers visiting Manchester – make sure you arrive early and catch their primitive-modern garage-stomp soon.

WHAT'S IN IT FOR (free download via
Avi Buffalo
Avi Buffalo [BUY]

Friday, June 25, 2010


Even after the briefest of time spent listening to debut UK release by The Middle East, I am quite smitten. The EP "The Recordings of the Middle East" (on Chess Club Records) is a shortened version of their 2008 debut album that the band felt needed ‘focusing’ and was abridged and re-released in 2009. Unlikely as it sounds when you realise the band is a (upto) seven-piece collective from Townsville, Australia, the main musical reference point when listening to opening song ‘The Darkest Side’ is Bon Iver. Quiet plucked guitars, hushed introspection, frail interweaving male/female voices. Townsville is clearly closer to Wisconsin than sunny Bondi Beach.

Most other songs on the EP are similar in tone, long songs (the first three are all five and a half minutes plus) delivered with quiet restraint but some go elsewhere. Both ‘Lonely’ and ‘Blood’ build to semi-orchestral finales that reminds me of Woodpigeon or even Efterklang. ‘Blood’ is one of the prettiest songs I’ve heard this year – again those fragile voices plus tinkling glockenspiel in the first half build to a sumptuous choir and trumpet crescendo.

Whereas Justin Vernon trades on heart-break, The Middle East are looking at even bleaker themes – death and even suicide seem to crop up in each song. Alongside the gentle folk and orch-pop trimmings, there are touches of post-rock and ambience but the noir-rock of the fifth song 'Beleriand' goes in another direction again. Makes me wonder what they took out of the LP?
All this promises great things for tonight’s (debut?) Manchester show at The Deaf Institute. This is part of the briefest of UK tours for the band – other stops are Brighton and London plus Glastonbury and Latitude. Given the distances involved for The Middle East to travel this could be you last time to catch them live for some time.

Advance tickets are only £7.50 or pay more on the door. Support from Delta Maid.

The Middle East
Recordings of the Middle East [BUY or BUY]

Tuesday, June 22, 2010


Mountain Man, newly signed to Bella Union, play the Deaf Institute tonight as part of a short UK tour – and it promises to be a special evening. The Vermont trio of Molly Erin Sarle, Alexandra Sauser-Monnig, and Amelia Randall Meath are attracting some great praise for their antique lullabies and (largely) acappella folk: "They sound as old as the hills and as current as some micro-genre that doesn't have a stupid name yet. With woodsy acoustic guitars and lilting, reverbed harmonies, [Mountain Man] set up camp between the old-timey lilt of Alela Diane or Fleet Foxes and the laid-back lo-fi vibes of pals like Real Estate" (Pitchfork).

Bella Union are on a roll this year (see cracking albums from John Grant and The Acorn for starters) and the Mountain Man album "Made The Harbor" seems to join this bandwagon:

"If Mountain Man were to pack any more nature into the half-hour of music on their rather beautiful debut album, they'd need a cannery. Buffalo, herons, moths, dogs and honeybees are just a fraction of the dramatis personae. The setting is, in part, Vermont, where the three members of the band – all female, contrary to the name – met at college. Appalachian folk informs the sparse instrumentation (usually a lone, slow-plucked acoustic guitar), the complex harmonies and the lyrics, which also invoke black hills and Mississippi swells. The sound is austere but there are riches here, yielded over time". (The Observer)

Support comes from Kait Devoy (ex-John-Peel-favourites Ella Guru). Advance tickets are just £6

Mountain Man - Soft Skin by Bella Union

Mountain Man - Animal Tracks by Bella Union

Mountain Man
Made The Harbor [BUY]

Thursday, June 17, 2010

CLOGS "The Creatures In The Garden of Lady Walton"

Anyone seeking out “The Creatures In The Garden of Lady Walton” as a ‘side project’ of The National will find themselves checking that are not listening to a mis-labelled CD or wrongly tagged digital file. The four-piece Clogs does indeed feature The National’s guitarist Bryce Dessner alongside Rachael Elliot (bassoon), Thomas Kozumplik (percussion) and Padma Newsome (viola). However that instrumentation, the presence of Australian contemporary classical composer Newsome in the line-up plus song titles like ‘Adages of Cleansing’ should be sending some clear signals that this record is not daughter of “High Violet”. Or even cousin twice-removed.

The opening trio of songs make this abundantly clear. “Cocodrillo” is a formal singing round, with interwoven highly mannered voices and chants - more Tallis Scholars than ‘Terrible Love’. The choppy rhythms and tense interplay of acoustic guitars, woodwind and percussion on the instrumental ‘I Used To’ comes across as over-caffeinated Penguin Café Orchestra. Then for ‘On the Edge’, harp strings and bassoon are paired with the operatic, floating vocals from Shara Worden (of My Brightest Diamond). When Worden sings “at the edge of the world / I will imitate a lyre bird” I cannot think a better description of her voice – extravagant plumage, ornate detail and utterly other-worldy. The startling variety in these three songs alone makes you feel as though you have travelled centuries and continents in just under ten minutes.

The album continues to weave a curious path, treading a line between contemporary classical composition, medieval madrigal and faerie-folk. Calming and graceful there is also a sense of questing, of seeking out something higher, something elusive and transcendental. Most songs were written during a residency by Newsome at the garden of the title, a rich botanical paradise on the island of Ischia in the Bay of Naples created by the widow of composer William Walton. Listening feels like being carried on a magical journey through that midnight garden: peaceful contemplation, wide-eyed awe at the wonders of nature but also occasionally feeling disoriented or unsettled in this mysterious, now-unfamiliar world.

'The Owl of Love' is one of those curious, unsettling moments. When Worden sings in the character of the nocturnal bird of the title (“at night I suck it in / I suck it in”) it is unexpected, peculiar and intensely spooky. It remains one of the most curious songs I’ve heard all year but also one I’m magnetically drawn to. When the album reaches ‘Last Song’ with vocals from The National's Matt Berninger it’s a different kind of shock: his world-weary baritone is so familiar, so here-and-now, it feels earth-bound and leaden compared to the rest of the album. Not a mis-fire but another unforeseen turn in the crooked path.

This is a complex record but never challenging or purely cerebral. For many listeners it will be entering strange, uncharted territories but there are rich rewards in its mysterious depths. It doesn’t feel disjointed (despite a four year period to write, record and mix with band members living on two continents) but it is constantly shifting, elusive and at times disconcerting. Without doubt an odd record it is also a deeply seductive one. Chamber music purists and blinkered fans of The National may dislike its border incursions across genres and forms but others should be charmed by its timeless, sublime music and its indefinable mysteries.

The Creatures In The Garden of Lady Walton [BUY or BUY]

Wednesday, June 16, 2010


Released in April this year on Matador Records, “Hippies” the second album from Austin, Texas trio Harlem is the follow-up to their self-released debut “Free Drugs” (can you see a theme there?). The song-writing and vocal duties on “Hippies” are evenly shared by Michael Coomer and Curtis O'Mara switching between guitar, vocals and drums on stage (and off) alongside recently-added bassist Jose Boyer.

There’s a loose kinship with label-mates Times New Viking but if the Ohio trio favour the noisy lofi end of the garage-rock spectrum, Harlem dwell at the pure pop end. The sixteen short ramshackle tunes on “Hippies” are infectiously joyous listening. By all accounts (well their record label’s at least) Harlem have a reputation of “making club gigs seem like living room shows” so it will be interesting to see how they fare with Fallowfield bar-the-size-of-a-living-room The Corner tonight.

With excellent support from Books, Hyacinth Girl and Brown Brogues. Advance tickets just £6 - don't rely on there being tickets on the door.

Hippies [BUY]

Thursday, June 10, 2010


“Outlaster” is Nina Nastasia’s fifth album in her own name and her first release since her 2007 collaboration with Dirty Three drummer Jim White. This new record is a tour-de-force, simultaneously adding a new dimension to her sound and upping her (already high) game yet sounding reassuringly familiar and uniquely like no-one else.

“Outlaster” replays Nastasia’s trademark sparse spectral-folk sound, again with the pin-drop precision recording of Steve Albini, but adds in vigorous orchestral accompaniment. Now most ‘sympathetic’ orchestration often means subtle, low-key strings pushed to the background. Here the versatile arrangements scored by Paul Bryan and performed by string and woodwind quartets alongside guitar and drums mean something else entirely. Strings and woodwind are not simply foregrounded effectively but are utterly integral to the delivery and emotional impact of the songs as they swoop, twist and turn as forcefully as Nastasia’s voice.

Sometimes the vigorous horns and strings conjure places and atmospheres: the hint of dusty and mysterious North African bazaar in ‘You’re A Holy Man’ or the tough dockside rough-and-tumble tango of ‘This Familiar Way’. Other times they echo or mimic the bare sensations and tensions in the songs. Single and opening track ‘Cry, Cry, Baby’ opens with just acoustic guitar and voice but within seconds deep, resonant strings as mournful and graceful as the flinty caress of Nastasia’s vocals come in. As the song changes key and the voices rises so do the strings as though reacting to the shifting emotions in the same way as the singer. In ‘What’s Out There’ the orchestration loses some of its cool restraint and is as wild as the overgrown garden sung about, as whirling as its cascading passions with the hint of sudden violence never far from the surface (“Oh window, window / Smash it out”).

And you realise how effective the music is at conveying the emotional life of each protagonist when you realise how few words there across these ten songs. The pared down lyrics of ‘Cry, Cry, Baby’ suggest a woman considering the break-up of her relationship – or is she simply resigned to enduring a loveless marriage? This ambiguity and hints of a deeper back-story have the power of a Raymond Carver story in miniature. ‘One Way Out’ takes this even further. It is not a long song - a shade under three minutes - but it is a shock to see the lyrics written out and realise it only has 27 words in its entirety with no repetition. This is a song that moves from hope (“if we can tend / the fire could burn forever”) to suicidal bleakness (“for me there is one way and no denying / one way out”) in two lines but it feels like an unfolding three-act drama.

The calming ‘You Can Take Your Time’ almost stands alone with its upbeat feel – vocals with a soft Southern twang (at times like Lucinda Williams) and a generous mood in offering space and a lack of judgement to a presumably erring lover. In the main however songs focus on break-up, pain and death (‘Wakes’ starts watching a funeral) although they are never as grotesque or horrific as the hellish ghostly album cover could suggest. Final song ‘Outlaster’ brings together these dark themes and musical and lyrical traits into an elegiac closing sea-ballad, as shimmering and epic as the swell of the ocean, as chilling and final as death itself. The closing image of sailing away into an unknown future is as timeless and powerful as Greek myth.

In ‘This Familiar Way’ the central character’s dilemma is summed up thus: “Would I still keep you / could I suffer you to stay?” The opposing force of these polar opposites is indicative of the tensions and contradictions found throughout the record. For all the dark ambiguity and gothic shadows of death and separation, this is not a harrowing record: there is exquisite beauty in its bleakness. For such a quiet record with moments of tender intimacy, at times it blazes, roars and sounds epic enough to fill a cavernous concert hall. And for all its morbid intensity, “Outlaster” demands frequent and repeated listening.

A record of peerless and sombre majesty that is (another) high-water mark in Nastasia’s career and one that I will be listening to for the rest of this year and beyond.

Nina Nastasia - You Can Take Your Time by FatCat Records

Nina Nastasia
Outlaster [BUY]

Wednesday, June 09, 2010

DANIEL J NIXON 'Turn This Stone' EP

Influences for Daniel J Nixon? "Bon Iver, Nick Drake, Neil Young, Elliot Smith, Iron & Wine, Jeff Tweedy, Stephen Fretwell and other miserable men with guitars..." Sounding good so far? Let's continue with this from last month's Chimp Magazine:

My name is Daniel J Nixon and I am a folk singer from the middle of nowhere”. Without seeing a photograph, you know as well as that all-important middle initial, Daniel J Nixon has a beard too. As demonstrated on his self-released ‘Turn This Stone’ EP, his brand of acoustic folk is the eerie, quiet kind; akin to Nick Drake or Elliot Smith. This ain’t music to get a party started; tender occasionally frail voice over sparse, strummed guitar is used to create songs of an almost painful intimacy. Themes of paralysis, emotional dependency and fear of loneliness may sound terminally depressing but there’s something faintly joyous at work too: a streak of hope, a glimpse of light, amongst the brooding quiet. Listening to the lean, lingering songs on this EP, sometimes I long to hear a few touches of gentle sympathetic orchestration (some flute, cello or glockenspiel). But other times I think this might just break the sombre spell cast by their unerring simplicity.

Recent gigs from Daniel include the High Voltage 7th Birthday Party and Hungry Pigeon Festival. No new live dates imminently but check regularly for updates.

Here is the title track to the five-song EP 'Turn This Stone' to listen/download; and if you like what you hear you can download the whole EP via Bandcamp.

<a href="">Turn This Stone by Daniel J Nixon</a>

Sunday, June 06, 2010


Plank! were first introduced to me as ‘kraut-mathrock’. And that’s a pretty good summation for the dark rhythmic instrumentals produced by this Manchester-based three-piece. The band comprises of Dave Rowe (Guitar/Keyboard) , Ed Troup (Bass), Jonny Winbolt-Lewis (Drums) and their eponymous and debut EP has just been released on Akoustik Anarkhy. Now I’ve a huge soft-spot for the Manchester club night-cum-label but at first glance Plank! seem out of step with their label mates. Rather than appealing but shambolic lo-fi, Plank! deliver glistening, well-drilled motorik rhythms. The Guardian Guide – not usually the most reliable reviewer of singles – described lead track 'La Luna' as “think Fugazi crossed with Slint crossed with Stereolab crossed with awesome”. And boy they are not wrong.

Not all tracks on this EP have the same surging euphoria as ‘La Luna’ but there’s still plenty to admire: the tense, pulsing guitars on '1001 Nacht' or the sinister, prowling swing and wheezing melodica of 'Arse Nick'. Final track 'Phlaa' dispenses with the motorik rhythms to set up a North African vibe through soft wordless wailing behind shimmering cymbals and rippling guitars. Somehow intense and languid, it’s the perfect soundtrack for a flickering desert heat-haze.

On record Plank! pitch their hypnotic instrumentals somewhere between drifting post-rock and full-on sonic assault – instead they are more about control and tension. And those compelling rhythms. Having missed some of their recent support slots (Fujiya & Miyagi, The Phantom Band, Crystal Antlers and Oneida), I'm looking forward to seeing how this translates live. Their next confirmed shows are Green Man Festival in August and Fell Foot Sound in Cumbria in September.

Plank! EP [BUY]

Thursday, June 03, 2010


Disappointingly the 'P' stands for Paul. With a voice as dusty and epic as his home state of Texas and with pained songs of love, loss and regret, you'd expect something a bit more biblical from Micah P Hinson. However with a fundamentalist Christian upbring, chequered adolescence and then three full-length studio albums of bleak beauty, his middle name is the only prosaic thing about Hinson.

I've only had a couple of quick listens to new fourth album "Micah P Hinson and The Pioneer Saboteurs" but so far it lives up to the promise of being "drenched in strings and isolation". And if 'Take Off That Dress For Me' sounds similar to earlier records, then '2s and 3s' is a pointer to the direction where he is now pushing his cracked alt-country chamber-pop.

MICAH P HINSON - Take Off That Dress For Me by Pias France

Micah P. Hinson - 2's & 3's by fulltimehobby

Micah P Hinson is in the UK for three shows only (London last night, Glasgow tomorrow before heading to Spain and Italy). Tonight's Manchester show is at The Ruby Lounge with support from Lost Brothers ("a cosmic Everly Brothers") and advance tickets still available. Unlike his middle name, there will be nothing disappointing or prosaic tonight.

Micah P. Hinson - A Take Away Show from La Blogotheque on Vimeo.

Wednesday, June 02, 2010


I first came across Turner Cody via a couple of his tracks on the Boy Scout Recordings compilation "Thrifty, Brave and Clean" that was given out at End of the Road in 2007. I should have followed up on that initial intrigue there and then – it would have saved me having to play catch-up three years on. This year’s album “Gangbusters!” is his tenth release (although trying to find a definitive list of those ten, especially with several being self-released, proves to be quite elusive).

The tags on Cody’s page describe him as ‘anti-folk’. And there’s a degree of truth in that label but “Gangbusters!” has far too much variety and sophistication to warrant narrow pigeon-holing. This is the third album he has recorded with Herman Dune as his backing band and this is a good pointer of what to expect. Cody is anti-folk in the same way as the Franco-Swiss indie-folkers and on ‘The Only One I Had Is Gone’ sounds most similar: amiable, shuffling rhythms, flat, nasal vocals, lovelorn quasi-poetic repeated phrases and occasional touches of horn. And like Herman Dune, Cody can switch from wistfully romantic to maudlin at the drop of a neatly-brimmed trilby.

But across these twelve songs, Cody also toys with other musical styles and brings subtle but distinctive arrangements to each song (on record he is not the simple wandering acoustic busker he appears to be in videos like the one below). ‘Au Revoir’ is Francophile chanson, a wry kiss-off with tuba and trumpet accompaniment. ‘Forever Hold’ is genteel barbershop crooning. The rhetorical question of ‘Mon Amour’ (“Can you see me mon amour?”) reminds me of the curious (and equally rhetorical) folk-pop 70s balladry of Peter Sarstedt’s 'Where Do You Go To (My Lovely)?'. But for all the strangeness of that record, Sarstedt never sang of “howling at a lonely moon” (I think). And ‘Jackson Heights’ and ‘When We Go’ have a outlaw country feel to their rambling narratives and neat wordplay. For a singer born in 1980 and a record released in 2010 that’s a lot of 60s and 70s references - but the record never feels dated or stale.

Part of what keeps it fresh is the subtle orchestration. Horn arrangements come courtesy of Jon Natchez and Kelly Pratt (of Beirut) plus there are occasional touches like the graceful strings on ‘Lost As Lost Can Be’ adding a melancholic chamber-pop feel. Towards the end of the record there are a couple of songs were the quaintness gets a touch too overpowering but with no song longer than three minutes the easy-going bonhomie is never too far away.

Cody is originally from Boston and now living in New York. However he sounds less like a resident of that city and more the globe-trotting, dapper gentleman-bohemian (cities and places mentioned include Cleveland, New Orleans, Santa Fe, Toledo, Baltimore, Paris, Dover, Stockholm, Monte Carlo and the Amazon river). ‘Lost as Lost Can Be’ he sings but actually he sounds like a man very sure of who he is and where he is.

Back In The Land Of The Living by turner cody

The UK release of "Gangbusters!" has been put back to later this month but you pre-order now. Cody is also giving away "Nashville Hits" a five track EP of country songs on his website. And finally for trivia fans: Cody plays Will Oldham in this video from Jeffrey Lewis.

Tuesday, June 01, 2010


Well after the excesses of May and its festivals, things quieten down on the gig front in Manchester in June. Sort of.

To help you make your gig choices this month, a mixtape of bands playing Manchester this June [61mins / 70MB]. Download link in post below.

Manchester Gigs in Music: June 2010

Harlem Gay Human Bones [3.27] (16 June Corner BUY TICKETS)
Avi Buffalo Truth Sets In [6.42] (24 June Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Blind Atlas Take A While [10.09] (19 June Night & Day BUY TICKETS)
Phosphorescent It's Hard To Be Humble (When You're From Alabama) [14.26] (3 June Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Smith Westerns Boys Are Fine [16.54] (5 June Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Forest Fire Slow Motion [21.16] (3 June Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Mi Ami Latin Lover [27.29] (6 June Ruby Lounge BUY TICKETS)
Thee Oh Sees Ghost in The Trees [29.41] (1 June Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Mountain Man Honeybee [31.02] (22 June Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
The Miserable Rich Bye Bye Kitty [34.46] (8 June Band on the Wall BUY TICKETS)
Dawn Landes Bodyguard [38.33] (1 June Night & Day BUY TICKETS)
Micah P Hinson Take That Dress Off For Me [40.30] (4 June Ruby Lounge BUY TICKETS)
The School Valentine [42.43] (4 June Café Saki BUY TICKETS)
The 10p Mixes The Dogs In France [45.12] (9 June Tiger Lounge BUY TICKETS)
Hexicon Something Strange Beneath The Stars [48.45] (4 June Café Saki BUY TICKETS)
Broken Social Scene Fire Eye'd Boy [52.39] (28 June Club Academy BUY TICKETS)
The Morning Benders Promises [55.42] (28 June Night & Day BUY TICKETS)
The Hold Steady Killer Parties [61.24] (26 June Academy 2 BUY TICKETS)

And not forgetting:
2 June Scout Niblett Ruby Lounge / 2 June Ben Frost Sacred Trinity / 2 June David Thomas Broughton Retro Bar / 3 June Working For A Nuclear Free City MoHo Live / 5 June Kreg Viesselman Contact Theatre / 6 June The Swiss Corner / 8 June Band of Horses Ritz / 8 June Hot Club de Paris MoHo Live / 10 June Male Bonding Sound Control / 10 June Dave Arcari The Ruby Lounge / 14 June Pulled Apart By Horses Deaf Institute / 15 June The Strange Death of Liberal England Cafe Saki / 15 The Victorian English Gentlemen's Club Sound Control / 16 June I Am Kloot Academy 3 / 17 June Ed Harcourt Deaf Institute / 17 June Lissie + Alan Pownall Night & Day / 25 June The Middle East Deaf Institute / 25 June Hockey FAC 251 / 26 June The ABC Club Retro Bar / 26 June Jeff Klein Roadhouse / 29 June Johnny Flynn Academy 3


Mixtape: June 2010 [61 mins/70 MB] - download here.