Kiran Leonard on the wonders of Manchester music...
Kiran Leonard

HOW HAPPY I WAS TO BE ASKED, Andy Burnham MP, to fumble together some kind of a response to your remarks in the MEN concerning the music scene in Manchester. Fair play to you for pointing out that as a city it’s mired in a toxic nostalgia for bands that were a lot more average than people like to remember. And if you’re pushing for extra funding for arts programmes, subsidised practise spaces, music venues, I’m 110% behind you, bud!

But I’m telling ya: You’re not looking hard enough for the good shit. I don’t even live in Manchester proper and I still know that you’re talking bollocks. In fact, as far as I’m concerned, the place is producing better music than it ever has. And that’s not to say that I’m criticising you for this grave oversight! It just goes to show that even aficionados of the town where this amazing, amazing stuff is being made are overlooking it. TRY THE CAREFULLY PLANNED FESTIVAL? It takes over a few venues in the Northern Quarter for a weekend and puts on the best of the best, most of the bands homegrown, just like ya want em. Last year it was 150 bands over two days for £17.50! All of them fucking sick! Last year Hot Shorts played a great set. You’d like Hot Shorts, Andy Burnham MP. Sort of like if Weezer were all web designers, and even more uncomfortable in their own skin. Well better than the Courteneers, mate. And Cult Party played (first time I’ve seen a musical saw player! He nailed it!). If his album Eternal Love and the Death of Everything doesn’t get you stirring, Andy Burnham MP, then what will?

Groves, kings of earth-shattering, gristly loudness and of soft fabric, sacrificed a man on an office chair! Desmadrados Soldados de Ventura stripped paint off the walls of the Mint Lounge with an unbroken 30 minute rush of improvised fury! There’s about twenty good bands across the various members of DSDV alone, mate. Complacent? Step your game up, Andy Burnham MP. But I know you don’t mean it, man. I love you man. Come on, now.

Alternatively, you could definitely look to some of the labels in Manchester. Hot Shorts are on Super Smash Hits , definitely a premium source for the good shit! Playacting, his songs are all heart-stealers in 13/8, I tell ya. And they just put out a Patty Hearst cassette that’s heavy and super scrappy and fucking great! AY DE MI!

Very Bon, ran by my boy Edwin Stevens, is putting swell mixes cassettes out at the moment, as well (Jon Collin, Yerba Mansa, Dylan Serventi… and more here!). Irma Vep? Some people say he’s a pervert disguised as a sweetheart, but really he’s a sweetheart disguised as a pervert. Nobody does that sensual, strange middle ground between pleasure, horror and complete physical submission as sublimely. Not even the Marquis de Sade. Not even Morrissey. He put his last LP out with Golden Lab, run by Nick Mitchell. That man can wail, Andy Burnham MP. Holy cow. And they’re also pressing the new LP by Tom Settle, Manchester’s own! Why listen to anything south of Didsbury??

Thread Recordings puts out stuff by dbh: Manchester’s resident anthropomorphic oak tree, maestro of all instruments, jammed with the best of em. He’s in NADSAQ? Dead Peasants one of the best albums of all time? Give it a listen, Andy Burnham MP. You’ll be in flavourtown! I saw them play at Fuel Bar a couple months ago with DUDS. Melted my face clean off I tells ya !!!!

Akoustik Anarkhy work with my boys Plank. You’d like Plank, Andy Burnham MP. “La Luna” could fill a dancefloor in a mortuary!!! & my pal Songs for Walter, too; he put out his first album early this year and it’s a beaut. Songs about family, about love and commitment, about livin’, man!

And I missed so many. God forgive me! Complacent? We’re here 4 u, bud. A universe awaits !!!!!

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Photo Credit: Sebastian Matthes

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