Posts Tagged ‘Sheffield’

A belated return to the world of blog posting here at Riot on the Radio is sparked by the much-discussed acceptance speech made by Alex Turner at last week’s Brits ceremony for British Album of the Year.

With accusations flying round of Turner being “pretentious” and a “pompous tool” I would like take this opportunity to defend the enigmatic Arctic Monkeys‘ frontman.

First and foremost, Alex Turner hails from High Green, Sheffield. Since when has anyone from Yorkshire ever been accused of being pretentious? Belligerent, stubborn and opinionated maybe but pretentious… Lest we forget this is a breed of human that refers to what a southern softy may label a “roll” as a “breadcake”, the second syllable of which is drawn out longer than a five-day match of test cricket.

Secondly, so what if Turner didn’t conform to stereotype and deliver the inevitably dull, automated thank you message that characterised most of the night’s winning acts. Was it not refreshing to hear an unrehearsed lyric-worthy reel hailing the resilience of rock music? More to the point, Turner comically alluded to what most will interpret as any non-rock ‘n’ roll genre as “sludge”. For that he deserves a slap on the back not round the face! Let’s face it – those most critical of Turner are most likely to be the sort who listen/acclaim to the kind of Black Treacle tosh that typifies 21st century chart music. 

Thirdly and finally, so maybe he did go on about 20 seconds too long but Turner isn’t a stand-up comedian with a born sense of timing. Such a mishap is inevitable for an off-the-cuff speech. Leeway has to be granted to the boy, whom with humour and humility, famously accepted the 2006 Mercury Prize with the opening line, “Someone call 999, Richard Hawley’s been robbed!”

No. Alex Turner deserves praise not persecution. In Turner’s embodiment we have arguably this generation’s only true musical genius. With David Bowie collecting the Best Male Solo on the night, I would expect nothing less than Turner to one day go on to receive the lifetime achievement award; following in the footsteps of Weller and co.

Rock ‘n’ roll is in rude health ladies and gentleman with Alex Turner at the helm. As Alex points out, Britain’s best-loved genre is once again primed to “smash through the glass ceiling looking better than ever. Yeah that rock ‘n’ roll. It seems like it’s fading away sometimes but it will never die.”

Amen.

Screaming Maldini is one hell of a name. Having mooched unwittingly in on their hedonistic 2010 Tramlines set at the Frog and Parrot, I’ve had big expectations for this particular band. Despite this they had fallen off my radar somewhat until their self-titled debut arrived this February, providing a timely punctuation to the monotonous mainstream tosh that continues to excrete itself in my ears.

The multi-instrumental Sheffield sextet have a bustling Harley crowd in full voice on Saturday, who are gathered to celebrate the album launch. The video for Summer Somewhere [below] combines a spine-tinglingly beautiful anthem in the picturesque backdrop of the Peak DistrictGina Walters delivers the powerful Adele-like vocals in her charming Adele-like body form. 

 

“Everyone has to have a favourite scientist” Nick Fox, Maldini’s co-lead vocalist, tells the Harley crowd. “Ours is Carl Sagan”. Mine is Charles Darwin Nick, and your band are a fitting example of indie’s descent with modification in recent years.

Mixing vocal harmonies and with flits of trumpet, Maldini boast a style of indie pop perhaps matched only by Los Campesinos! Decide for yourself.

Also listen to Life in Glorious Stereo and their self-titled debut here on Bandcamp:

Read Screaming Maldini’s feature on The Guardian’s Northerner Blog here.

Bromheads Jacket are another raw Sheffield [-adopted] indie band formed in 2005, closely associated with acts like Arctic Monkeys and Milburn.

Frontman Tim Hampton has ties with the outspoken Jon McClure of Reverend & The Makers. He featured on their groovy first album track Bandits whilst also composing the album’s title song The State of Things.

The Bromheads clockwise: Dan (drums), Tim (vocals, guitar) & Jono (bass). Photo: Andy Brown

Slated by Guardian reviewer Leonie Cooper, Bromheads Jacket’s 2006 debut Dits From The Commuter Belt proved popular in other [non arty-farty] circles. Alex Turner, for example, professed his approval of the record. What contrasting fortunes the two songwriters and bands have had.

Tim can be spotted at underground venue hangouts like The Harley in Sheffield. Meanwhile Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders reportedly owns The Bowery on Devonshire Green just down the road.

Below are a selection of the best tunes taken from Dits…

One Nautical Mile – bass line hook, heavy riff, clashing cymbals, cracking lyrics – “like a Christmas tree lit up through the air … I’ve heard the poppadoms are moist … let’s do one next time and get a kebab”

 

Poppy Bird – an emotive ballad about a Walthamstow gem whom rides the London underground.

 

What If’s And Maybe’s – a 100mph crash, bang, wallop of a song.

 

Now a garage two-piece, Bromheads can be found on Myspace here

“Ever the dreamer, ever the believer” according to his Myspace bio, Calder McLaughlin can now add fatherhood to his growing list of credentials. It is a theme that inspires much of Chapters & Phases: a twelve-song acoustic album that chronicles his emotional ascent from boy to man.

What Calder lacks in poetic invention, he more than compensates for with his unleashed, heart-warming vocals: best described as a vibrant concoction of Kelly Jones’ gravel and James Skelly’s passion.

On the title track Calder describes fatherhood as “the greatest gift of all”, accompanied by a heart-felt chorus of “this star will always guide you home”. Rarely, in fact, do his melancholic guitar lines and lyrics fail to strike a chord.

The floodgates truly open on Breathe Out and Lights Across The Liffey: a beautiful song inspired by a jaunt to Dublin during a pivotal time in the boy’s life. Passion gushes from every pore as he confronts and accepts his overwhelming emotions, “yeah I’m in love”. It’s not hard to picture Calder featuring in a Gene Kelly-style video; kneeling on a cobbled street, pouring his heart out amidst torrential rain.

Parallels are perhaps better drawn with Chris Martin or Travis on See Saw, a roller-coaster ride of emotive peaks and lulls. And on the anthemic Conflict of Emotions, Calder’s almost a certain Mr Keating back in his Notting Hill days.

“I’ve always kinda looked at the world from a sideways point of view” expresses Calder, a converted drummer. Becoming a parent has clearly elucidated his perspective on life, but in the not-so-distant past he was a young pretender.

These Streets sees Calder revisit his first footsteps in Leicester: soul-searching while lost on a late night out in the city. Back In The Day meanwhile is a nostalgic glance back at “the glory days” – a reference to his participation in Sheffield’s late 90’s drum ‘n’ bass scene. Angelina is a strummed sweetie to end the affair.

Sat, guitar in hand, in what looks like a graffitied skate park corner, sporting heavy stubble and dark-wash jeans, Calder gives the impression of a rough-slept busker. Based on the evidence of Chapters & Phases, one senses he is destined for greater things. Not even the venues on Pocklington’s Walk could house him.

Visit Calder’s website: http://www.caldermclaughlin.com/

Published by The Monograph.

Formerly Milburn and The Book Club, Dead Sons are Joe Carnall’s newest outfit. Dead good.