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LIVE: TVAM @ Soup Kitchen

WORDS BY NATHAN BAILEY

Wigan’s prodigal son TVAM, or Joe Oxley to his friends, sold out Soup Kitchen, gazed at his shoes, and with one swift movement sent the place skywards. Touring off the back of his really rather fantastic debut album ‘Psychic Data’ the bedroom produced maestro came down to everyone’s favourite Northern Quarter basement.

So much BBC Radio 6 play can garner one a rather sophisticated audience and TVAM is no exception, with large sections appearing clad in great winter coats, armed with great music taste and in some cases you would wager a few tales from the evergreen land of ‘Back in The Day’. In fitting fashion, before Soup Kitchen was treated to a set by a peerless TradTronica potion master Dennis Jones. Jones has been based in Manchester for some time now, but for those not in the know, his sound is a rather unique concoction of analogue atmospheric loops and noise boxes, with acoustic guitar and vocals. The outcome of this is really one of those ‘that shouldn’t work but it does’ innovations and Dennis’ ambient free-noise threnodies are a wonderful experience. This night was no exception and he is very well received by the growing numbers in Soup Kitchen.

The place is completely shoulder to shoulder by the time the TVAM set gets underway. Centre stage is a grand old cathode-ray tube telly atop a trolley stand like your teacher used to wheel out to hysterical anticipation back in those school days. No dodgy documentary film for this night though as TVAM’s box telly is an image within an image, a jewel in the visual crown. For your viewing pleasure, a postmodern high-speed montage of broken images. Old Granada television news footage, B movies, landscape shots. Even RoboCop makes a fleeting cameo. This is all interspersed with a helpful display of lyrical content, kind of like a karaoke machine designed by the MK Ultra Project. A rather captivating display, allowing Oxley to focus on the tunes with just a bit of metronomic swaying to the music.

 

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TVAM played all the full songs from Psychic Data’ on the night, and it’s a wonderful album. Tracks like the anti placid ‘Narcissus’ are absolute giants reminiscent of The Horror’s best work to date ‘Skying’ (yes that is the best Horrors album please @ me). The album was mixed in part by David Honer of Eccentronic Research Council and the Moonlandingz fame and glory. You can certainly see a bit of the research council in tracks like ‘Porsche Majeure’. Where I think Oxley is carving out his own thing is in times like these are not your memories that whilst cacophonous at first, slides through the euphoric mist and lands somewhere of the coast of California.

Towards the end of the set two songs at a different pace. ‘Gas and Air’ is probably the closest thing to an orthodox rock song and gets soup kitchen moving. The set really reaches its pinnacle with the ridiculously excellent ‘Total Immersion’. This tune does what it says on the tin, and could slip onto the far side of Autobahn or Trans-Europe Express without breaking stride. TVAM whipped up a cracking evening in Soup Kitchen, and if you haven’t already listened to the album then you should do so immediately. ‘Psychic Data’ is one of the years best debuts of our dear and aging 2018.

Read more about the latest music news and reviews over on our blog 👀

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LIVE: King Tuff @ Night People – 13.08.18

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER         IMAGES BY JESSICA GWYNETH

Having been continuously touring since 2012, Kyle Thomas AKA King Tuff finally made it to Manchester, for an evening at Night People. Taking to the stage clad in a striped suit, complete with a Bolo tie and Ushanka hat (adorned with a variety of pins) it was clear we were in for a treat.

Ahead of the main event hit the stage, support came in the form of LA native and self-proclaimed ‘synth Queen’ Sasami Ashworth and Manchester based garage rock trio Hey Bulldog. Both beckoned a crowd in a different manner – Hey Bulldog present a compelling opening act with their intense blues/rock set that sliced through the air with the vigour of a band made for a larger stage. Contrast that with the easy-going yet blissfully appealing Sasami. Setting out with her long-anticipated solo album after a heavy couple of years amongst Cherry Glazerr‘s lineup, the red jumpsuit laden songstress swallowed the audience whole.

What quickly followed was a force to be reckoned with. King Tuff, having just put out an album in April pleased an eager audience that flocked to the front of the stage for the live set. Sasami Ashworth returned to the keyboard for the headline act – completing a welcome 3/5 female lineup for a male-fronted band. Proving their worth and cementing their clear closeness from a 2-month strong set of touring dates, they were nothing short of astounding, expertly playing an array of King Tuff tracks both old and new.

If we were to put it in Thomas’ terms, King Tuff put on a frickin’ wonderful show. There seemed to be a waft of exhaustion across the players all night, and happiness that they can return home soon, but the most potent feeling was overwhelming camaraderie between everyone in the venue. We were all united by the music, and for those few hours, we didn’t want the experience to be fleeting.

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UPCOMING: Manchester Psych Festival

Words by Hannah Tinker

With a fleet of acclaimed bands from across the UK surfacing next month for Manchester Psych Festival, the kaleidoscope twists for the sixth installment of this inaugural, enticing event. Originally set at Night & Day Cafe in 2014, consecutive versions of the festival expanded to Aatma, Soup Kitchen and Band On The Wall with an almost sold out event last year. With their growth, the reach of Manchester Psych Festival has spread too and this edition of the visual feast takes over Night & Day Cafe, Soup Kitchen, Band On The Wall and one of the city’s newest venues: Peer Hat. Set to add a hive of activity to the already bustling Northern Quarter scene, Saturday 1st September sees The Wytches, Mold, Meatraffle and many more acts who come with a unanimous penchant for presenting a spectacle and leaving an audience with a dilated perspective.

pink kink at Manchester Psych Festival 2017

The lineup for 2018 captures all different levels of artistic success and celebrates what should be the norm – as festival organisers recently agreed to contain a lineup that showcases and engages the female audience on an equal platform to that of their male counterparts. To meet this, this years Manchester Psych Festival lineup contains the likes of Glaswegian garage-rock duo and all-female Honeyblood, 3/4 female punk-pop matadors She Drew The Gun, low-fi, female-fronted punksters The Cosmics and other lucrative female-led acts. As well as the musical lineup, Manchester Psych Fest is known for tempting the eye and manifesting the work of local talented artists for the visibly psychedelic event; this year having visual aspects from the minds of artists Louise Rivett, Natalie Wardle and Jane Bowyer.

Using their previous lineups as any guide to go by, Manchester Psych Festival is sure to be anything but ordinary – with the only downside being you’re unable to be in four venues at once – previous acts have included Telegram, Crocodiles, Flamingods, The Lucid Dream, Deja Vega, Menace Beach and many more equally feted acts. Ones to watch this year are the headlining slot – Honeyblood, who are the engaging rockers from across the Scottish border, lauded as the pair set to spearhead the rock genre forward, catching the attention of a new generation with their recently released second album Babes Never Die.

Alongside the arts, there will be a selection of food stalls sourced from local traders so you’re just a pair of wellies and bucket hat away from your classic festival field. The day of praise for the Arts doesn’t die down when it hits dusk, with DJs including The Beat Chics and Panda Palm of Me Gusta taking Manchester Psych Festival deep into the early hours of Sunday 2nd September. The sixth installment of our city’s psych celebration sees a collaboration between the vibrant art world and eclectic music scene.

Caught your attention and want to know more? Read about the success of Manchester Psych Festival 2017 and what caught our attention last year 👀

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Ariel Pink - Dedicated to Bobby Jameson Album Review - Manchester Music - MCR Live Blog

Album Review: Ariel Pink – Dedicated to Bobby Jameson

If someone who knows their music recommends an album to you, always take up the recommendation. If it’s someone who knows you and you like that album… they know you better than you think. I’m reading Vinyl Adventures from Istanbul to San Fransisco by Tim Burgess at the minute; that rule is generally paraphrased from there and when I was reading it I totally agreed. I read through twitter that Tim Burgess (author of this rule) paid homage to the Ariel Pink front cover getting a flag made in Piccadilly Records. Then Tomonomous of RootSound and my partner in vinyl on Plastic Fantastic also recommended it. I diverted from Ancoats after my show with no hesitation with a trip to Piccadilly Records before getting the train home.

I’m a sucker for limited edition versions and I love that bands and artists experiment with the formats available. There’s a standard black wax version, blue vinyl (Indies only) version and deluxe edition. As I was buying a few other bits I went for the Blue version to leave my my record tokens for other bits. Tom has recommended it, Tim has shouted about great it is and what Tim and Tom don’t know about music between them isn’t worth knowing.

Starting with a very Joy Division sounding drum beat (tips cap to Stephen Morris) and a powerful sound to this, Ariel Marcus Rosenburg has been writing songs since he was about 10 years old. It’s a diverse album and the first track, ‘Time to meet your God’ has a quirkiness that is pretty endearing. The second track differentiates rather a lot as a melancholic cheery number, (think Smiths, beats and echoey guitars complimenting melody). Feels Like Heaven is a top stand out track. Half way through listening I’m wondering if he’s popping over to the UK? No signs of that yet but I’ll keep you posted.

‘Santa’s in the Closet’ has another quirkiness about it and the vocals sound a little bit Monster Mash, you’ll know what I mean when you listen to it. It’s also got some significant Krautrock electronic influences in there (I’ve got a compilation called Deutsche Elektonishe Musik and this one wouldn’t be out of place). The title track of Dedicated to Bobby Jameson brings in some keys and bass roll that would put Ariel Pink comfortably along side The Doors and being from LA, I’m sure influence their sound heavily especially when the guitar solo kicks in – think Soul Kitchen and Light my Fire and you’re with me straight away.

My favourite track from the album is the chanty, bass centred, mantra of ‘Time to Live’. It builds into a fantastic tune and has similar Joy Division type drums, with nice rolls helping it to build. Then the Synth kicks in. You can get lost in this one and all of a sudden it goes all ‘Video Killed a Radio Star’, (I read that on the review from the Piccadilly Records display case, and agree). ‘Another Weekend’ is a beauty of a song and is perfectly placed for a beautifully painted Californian sunset – the type we get once every two years in the UK. The psychedelia in the album has a journey which has songs within songs which I love and ‘Another Weekend does exactly that.

“I wanna be young’ pushes Ariel Pink in the direction of Toro Y Moi that night he bumped into Unknown Mortal Orchestra, that was a big party. ‘Bubblegum Dreams’ with it’s Beach Boys bouncy-clappy-ness would be a brilliant partnership with Panda Bear (animal collective) and would be excellent right next to ‘candlestick maker’, after all Ariel Pink started his journey with them on ‘Paw Tracks’.

If there’s one experimental album to buy this year it’s this one, get it on your favourites and it’ll grow on you just like it has with me. Thanks Tom. Thanks Tim.

Go and buy it.

 

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