All posts tagged indie

Songs For Walter – Useless

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Over the years, Laurie Hulme has graced many a Manchester band with his irrefutable talent. From the Felt influenced indie-pop of Golden Glow, to the raucously fun post-punk of Beat The Radar. He’s one of those musicians that has quietly gone about his business with an undeniably modest and warm approach to life. Now, after 5 years in the making, his touchingly personal project Songs For Walter deserves all the plaudits it has already been receiving. A masterpiece in storytelling; he’s worked hard to create a collection of songs that pay fitting tribute to his grandfather and their relationship. A beautifully relatable piece of work – I couldn’t help but think about my own grandfather Idwal; a slightly eccentric Welshman whose wonder and magic has remained firm in my memory long after his death. Laurie has been kind enough to talk us through the album, delving deep into Walter’s life, and giving us some fantastic insight’s into Walter’s life:

Useless

Useless is about my Grandfather’s dabbling with communism in the 1930’s. He worked at the same biscuit factory as his father, Walter senior. Word got out that young Walter had been attending communist meetings and my great grandfather was told that the both of them would be sacked if this continued. The whole lyrics are from the perspective of Walter senior, rollocking his son!

Dunkirk

My Grandfather would often tell us stories form WW2. One of his most repeated stories was of the evacuation of Dunkirk. He described it as a very well organised affair with sergeants separating people into strong, weak and non swimmers. He always claimed he’d smuggled a bottle of whisky into his uniform which he and his comrades enjoyed as they sailed back to England, escaping with their lives. This is one of oldest songs to appear on the album, dating back to 2011.

Meet Me At The Empire

This song is about my grandparents’ first date. After winning a 3 legged race (more about that later) at their work’s sports day they were awarded a prize of two tickets to the Empire theatre in Liverpool that evening. My grandmother wasn’t sure if her very strict family would allow it and so Walter agreed to wait at the Empire that evening to see if his date would arrive. She did and they were a couple for the following 74 years!

The Joint World Record Holders

My Grandparents literally went for a day out, every day for the best part of fourty years! This song tells a true story about them unexpectedly driving form their house in the suburbs of Liverpool to the north of Scotland. It was released on an early EP and I always felt it was missing something – turns out the shuffley drum beat was what it needed. In the back ground is a recording of my old car’s engine, I remember getting odd looks off the neighbours as I held a mic over the bonnet. At the start is a recording (done on my mobile) of Walter telling me, as he drove about putting some “juice” into a car battery! I’d planned to put more of such recordings into the album but sadly lost them all when a computer unexpectedly died.

Purple Blue

There’s a great story behind this song …My Grandparents got married during WW2 and unfortunately Grandad’s regiment had been infected with a rare case of scabies. The choice was to either call off the wedding or be painted from head to toe in a purple iodine solution! You can guess what happened. This was first song that started off the SFW project, written on a really old three stringed guitar that lived at my partner’s parents house!

Moon/Two Out Of Ten

Walter hated space travel! He thought it was a waste of money when the world is in such a state. He had a subscription to National Geographic magazine and would give scores to all the articles. Any article concerning things beyond the Earth’s atmosphere would never get more than two out of ten.

The Three Legged Race

My Grandparent’s met at a Sports day put on by their employers (Crawford’s biscuits.) The pair chose each other to run together in the three legged race and they won! This was the very start of their 74 year relationship! It was the same day that the Mersey tunnels opened. This is a really old tune dating back till about 2009. Originally, I was hell bent on starting the record but it’s just not a suitable opener! The electric guitars were recorded at a ridiculously high volume.

Flowers On The Windowsill

Another early song that details the eccentricities of Walter Hulme, written shortly after he died. Whenever I went to visit a great deal of time would be spent re-arranging floral displays on the windowsill of his living room.

Watch The Dogs

I wrote this one in 2011 right in the midst of my total obsession with Smog/Bill Callahan I was influenced by how abstract BC’s lyrics are and yet how they are often tied to a theme. I guess some of the lines are about the influence of Walter on me but people can interpret this one however they like!

Competition, Diffidence and Glory

I was very close to my Grandfather but we fell out for a brief spell after I became very involved with politics. I went to protests and switched my university course to politics from geography. Walter was not impressed. I was labelled an anarchist and accused of damaging the fabric of society. The second verse “…you give that shit up…” is a direct quote! He also was a firm believer in revenge hence the “eye for an eye line,” something I don’t necessarily agree with. The title is a famous quote from Thomas Hobbes’s Leviathan, a book I studied at Uni. It was written on the guitar and then covered on to Banjo later!

Final Project

This song concerns the last year or so of my Grandparent’s lives. My Grandmother’s health declined rapidly in the last few years and Walter took on the roll as full time carer (and he wouldn’t have had it any other way!) I’d often ring him and he’d say he’d been up in the night eight, nine times putting her on the toilet etc. It must have been an exhausting time for him. He didn’t really ever complain about it, it was just something that he had to do. When he died my Uncle and Dad wrote a brilliant eulogy that really influenced the lyrics and titles of this album the title of this was lifted from there.

‘Songs For Walter’ debut album is available to buy on vinyl, CD and DL here:
http://songsforwalter.bandcamp.com/album/songs-for-walter

Holy Esque – Sovereign

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Just over a year ago, I promoted Glasgow’s Holy Esque to a packed Manchester audience… their performance was impassioned, raw and with just enough vulnerability contained in Pat Hyne’s vocal to bring you close to understanding why Holy Esque might just be the real deal. Afterwards my memory is a little scant but a few badly taken photo’s did at least give me some insight into the fun we had. Honestly, never drink with Glaswegians on tour… you WILL end up passed out.

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Sovereign marks the beginning of an exciting new direction for Holy Esque, moving from a guitar led sound to a more electronic one. What is exciting is they’ve managed to retain the dark elements from their original material, adding a certain seductive quality within the dense textures. Hyne’s voice is again the focal point, his delivery a masterclass in holding your attention… leading you towards that climatic and devastating conclusion.

Holy Esque return to Manchester on Thursday 21st August at Night & Day
Buy Tickets here: http://www.seetickets.com/Event/holy-esque-voy-eur/night-day/798975

https://www.facebook.com/HolyEsque

Phill Young

Young Myths – Not Waiting

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Young Myths are a new Manchester outfit with a beautifully direct sound, one that clearly bares resemblance to the shadowy, orchestral rock of Doves. It feels pretty refreshing actually to hear something that sounds so relentless, sparkling with motion/emotion.

Quite where they might fit into the current scene is interesting… I’m certainly not buying into the whole WU LYF mystery thing that John Robb tried to reference in this article. Debut track Not Waiting does hold a few answers though, found buried in the pounding drums and spectral landscapes is a noise reminiscent of Young British Artists (a band that never quite got the attention they deserved). With YBAs making their return imminently, it feels like the right time to be discovering a new guitar band with the same sense of ambition, romance and energy.


http://www.youngmyths.com/

Phill Young

Caveman – Where’s The Time

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Lovable New York indie quintet Caveman mix melodic, reverb drenched atmospherics with loose, tribal rhythms and starry eyed harmonies. Imagine Other Lives in a wrestling match with Elbow and Grizzly Bear and somewhere in the thick of it all you’ll find Caveman. They ooze maturity without lacking edge and despite the moniker there’s nothing primitive about their sound. Interestingly the band play guitars crafted by their own axe man Jimmy Carbonetti – yours to own if you’ve got a few grand to spare.

Where’s The Time, a cross between a hymn and a rousing shanty, builds gradually and patiently, sweeping you up in its grace. Front man Matthew Iwanusa’s hook-laden vocals sound almost angelic. A warm, big-hearted performer in the mould of Guy Garvey, when he’s not singing and strumming away on a guitar, he’s making mincemeat out of a floor tom. Awash with keys and guitars, this music comes straight from the heart and sticks in your head.

http://www.facebook.com/CavemanBand

Paul Baird

Isaiah The Mosaic – The Obvious/Systems Distraught

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Texas 5-piece Isaiah The Mosiac make understated dreamy pop music with a psychedelic twist, and while I try not to permit myself to have favourites it would require formidable willpower not to be entirely charmed by their cosmic grasp.

Lead track on their new “Systems” EP, (released via River Jones Music) “The Obvious” has an amazing dynamic whereby rather than denoting changes by sounds audibly entering and leaving the frame, they appear to multiply and divide at opportune moments, like sweeping gestures of planetary alignment not immediately identifiable to the human eye.

In closer “Systems Distraught”, while warm swathes of reverberant wash still colourfully guide us through their delicately constructed world, their often playful rhythms have been discarded for a more downtempo arrangement. I can’t hear it without at least making a minor double-take for the first Engineers album, which considering my lasting adoration of that particular record, is praise indeed.

https://www.facebook.com/isaiahthemosaicband

Mike Phillips