A few weeks ago, I was in the midst of enjoying my morning cycle to work, when I suddenly found myself flailing towards the cold concrete floor, hitting the deck with an almighty thud. The car driver, clearly at fault for the collision, heartlessly left me lying there like I didn’t exist. As a result, my arm is now cushioned in a sling, nursing a dislocated shoulder. This is the first time I’ve felt like writing since the accident, and although typing is a slow painful process, Manchester’s Church Party are certainly worth every word.
I’ve kept a close eye on this band now for the best part of a year, secretly hoping that they would become more than just a couple of promising demos, and it seems like my faith might be rewarded. Dancing confidently on the graveyard of WU LYF’s heavy pop, debut single ‘Isosceles‘ glistens in melodic guitar lines but remains defiantly raw, urgent… Tom Stewart’s yearning vocals disappearing into a state of wasted euphoria and pounding drums. I can already hear the climactic “take me home” echoing in my mind, never to be forgotten.
Swallow Me Whole then takes us into Nick Cave territory, beginning life as a shadowy baritone lullaby, which sways eerily in atmosphere, patiently marching towards something far bigger… it’s underlying menace growing more prominent, before finally unleashing it’s visceral conclusion; an explosion of scuzzy noise and the strained howls of regret and despair.
Tom Hickox is an important figure in my life, marking the start of 6 years as a DIY promoter in Manchester.
It was never the plan to put on gigs: I began by writing for the then influential fanzine High Voltage. In the process, I kept finding new artists I wanted to help out, and putting on gigs seemed like a pro-active and exciting way to do so. Its a risky (often financially ruining) way to live but these experiences have shaped me as a person, and given me beautiful memories and friendships.
Its been a slow ascent to recognition for Tom: his debut album, the self-released Fear In a Handful Of Dust is a beautiful and undiscovered masterpiece. Hopefully these tracks will be released again in some form. Its pretty easy to throw around references to his baritone voice and storytelling songcraft (Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen) but he’s a unique talent deserving of such comparisons.
I’m delighted he’s now signed to Fierce Panda and War, Peace and Diplomacy will be released in February.
After much anticipation, Naked (On Drugs) have today announced details of their debut 7″ Lee Ann’s Skin, to be released on cult Salford label SWAYS. The duo, comprising of lead-singer Sebastien Perrin and guitarist Luke Byron Scott, have found themselves captivating audiences locally, thanks in no small part to Perrin’s enigmatic, almost Lynchian live performances.
Having developed a unique sound that channels the dirty guitar music of The Bad Seeds whilst drawing upon Eastern European folk, Naked (On Drugs) are joining a long tradition of artists, like Scott Walker and the late great Lou Reed, who have found new ways to articulate and express misery. Believe me, it works – this beast is a weird and wonderful creation, deserving of your attention.