One of the best things to happen during the early 10’s was the resurgence of AM radio styled pop music. For decades, bands like Electric Light Orchestra and Supertramp were considered hideously unfashionable, but in the ultimate example of “what comes around goes around” or perhaps “everything old is new again”, ELO somehow – and against the odds – became everyone’s favourite band. Pinpointing the instigator for this resurgeance in popularity for 70s pop is difficult, but it’s fair to say the very retro soundtrack for Guardians of The Galaxy may have been largely responsible. By 2019, the 70s pop wagon was rolling at full speed once more. No longer were The Feeling and a couple of bands on the Lojinx record label swimming against the tide.
A self-proclaimed feel-good indie rock band from Manchester, Digging For Apples will release a new single on 5th March. The new track, ‘Oblivious’, finds the band applying their guitar driven sound to an arrangement with a very retro and almost soulful edge.
The track’s melodic guitar parts bring to mind elements of the ‘Southern Harmony’ era Black Crowes, but once the track hits its stride, there’s no mistaking the band’s origins as the song also draws a few parallels with the late sixties grooves that filled The Charlatans’ self titled album from 1995.
Mask of Bees are an experimental band from Manchester, proudly crossing musical boundaries and caring not for any kind of genre tagging. Their overall sound blends art rock with a metallic crunch and then gives that a massive send off with huge swathes of jazz fusion. Hearing them is an intense experience, almost as if bits of The Jesus Lizard got spliced with bits of TesseracT, Soft Machine and an old John Coltrane record.
For most people, Paul Hanley will be best known as the drummer with The Fall during their “two drummers period” between 1980 and 1985. He is currently a member of Brix and The Extricated, a band comprising several ex-Fall members. In the last quarter of 2017, Paul’s book ‘Leave The Capital’, in which he looks at the history of various recordings made in Manchester, was published by Route Publishing. In March 2018, Paul met with Lee from Real Gone to discuss ‘Leave The Capital’ and more besides.
In the summer of 2015, singer-songwriter Jot Green (aka Rum Thief) released ‘Reach For The Weather Man‘, an EP of hard jangling tunes coupled with social commentary and an unavoidable sense of Englishness. Like a northern Frank Turner, an underground Alex Turner or perhaps a Mike Skinner with actual tunes and talent, he showed a strong ability to couple grass roots messages with a gruff but fairly timeless indie-rock backdrop. A fair while passed and nothing more was heard. Had the Rum Thief been swallowed up by his day job, or even run out of things to tell the world? It would seem so.