Hey Bulldog – Al Lupo single review

I think I’m hyperventilating here; Hey Bulldog, Manchester’s most exciting band have just dropped the most exciting music video the world has seen since the Beastie Boys perfected the art form. Such an intense rush of sound, colour and movement. I’m going to watch it 20 times over and then be sick all over the living room floor.

‘Al Lupo’ raises it’s head to the sky as a short form blast of everything that is glorious about this band, acting as a superb jumping on point for everyone who loves heavy guitar rampage. And my friend does this rock ‘n’ roll animal deliver. Powered on a hacksaw guitar riff that scrapes each of your vertebrae, this combines the raw simplicity of The Buzzcocks ‘Boredom’ with the forward momentum and amyl nitrate rush of Roxy Music’s ‘Virginia Plain’ and the shrieking hysteria of Grinderman’s ‘Honey Bee’, all squeezed though Hey Bulldog’s aesthetic of groove heavy psych rock. To cap it all you get a RAT powered bass solo.

The vocals: frenzied, a man dangling on the cliffs edge. Rob M, with his purest, most well recorded vocals yet sings like a man dancing on the razors edge, strung out on adrenaline and terror. When he finally hits the desperate refrain of ‘Into the mouth of the wolf’ the song is hitting with a barrage of throwing stars.

Buy it!! FOR GOD SAKE BUY IT!!!

https://heybulldog.bandcamp.com

 

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Three Dimensional Tanx live 06.04.2018

Sunshine and showers…

I’m biased, I’ve seen Three Dimensional Tanx over ten times but they haven’t ventured down to Manchester in a while so it was a huge pleasure to see them supporting the best band of the now, The Lucid Dream. It was an even greater pleasure to see them playing to a big crowd, and the crowd lapping it up and falling in love with them just like I did.

My mate Jason summed them up best: “they play like their lives depended on it”*. This was a band knowing they had a golden opportunity, so they grabbed it and gave it everything they’ve got. This was a band having a whale of a time. From the moment they stepped on stages it was smiles all round and they whipped up the crowd til the smiles were beaming back at them.

Three Dimensional Tanx play fast and loose garage rock that’s part Inspiral Carpets swirl, part punk ramalama, part last chance saloon rock ‘n’ roll, part oddball Northern Soul. Richard on guitar plays wiry rhythms, leaving lots of space for the drums, bass and the keys. They whizzed through 11 songs in 30 minutes, never taking a breath. It started with the golden great ‘The Moon & The Wrecker’, an evergreen stomper and singalong. From there they clattered through the amphetamine rush of ‘I Am Go’ and the fairground side-show ‘Hotdog’, plus news songs from an album due later in the year. All delivered with childlike enthusiasm from shoeless frontman Spacey, who has the magnetic stage presence of a cartoon Jon Spencer. Come to think it, 3DTanx are a cartoon band; colourful, brimming with personality and lots and lots of fun.

Of course, what everyone walks away from 3DTanx talking about is the drummer Loz. Other drummers are functional, there to keep a beat, to keep the clock ticking. Loz? Loz drums like the star of the show, drums like a man born to entertain. He’s a drummer with ADHD, he couldn’t do motorik if he wanted, which he wouldn’t anyway. He breaks mid flow to do solos, breaks and reassembles at will, he wanders outside his kit to play the cymbals, he takes his dress off. They don’t make ‘em like Loz anymore. They never made ‘em like Loz.

Three Dimensional Tanx glorify daftness and exalt the art of entertainment. Their new fans have heard the calling…

*It’s easy reviewing – just write what your mates say.

Vids c/o the Great Sage

https://threedimensionaltanx.bandcamp.com

Hey Bulldog Interview – ‘Al Lupo’ single

By the night-time sounds of a wailing Stratocaster and the back street rumbling of a dirty bass line and the timeless clatter of a master sticksman, Hey Bulldog are all things for all men. They are psych-blues-rock dished out by masters of the arts. They are bringing the power trio back to glory. They are bringing mastery back to rock. They are the wolf and their new single, available from 20th April is called ‘Al Lupo’.

We were lucky enough to catch up with Rob M, a guitar slinger for the 21st century and put a few questions to him…

1 – Tell us about Hey Bulldog and the music you play…

We’re just three guys that enjoy playing music together, mainly guitar, bass and drums, but we’re definitely capable of branching out into other areas.

2 – Who are the members of the band?

Me (Rob Manton – Gtr & Vox), Matt Parry (Bass & Vox) and Ben Howarth-Lees (drums).

3 – You have a new single out called ‘Al Lupo’; when, where and why should people buy it?

When: 20th April 2018!

Where: From our bandcamp heybulldog.bandcamp.com, and all other major download sites like itunes, amazon etc.

Why: if you like decent garage rock music from a band with their own sound and with a nice catchy melody this is the one for you!

3a – Perche una canzone con un titolo Italiano? Da dove l’ispirazione? 

Sto imparando l’italiano. L’anno scorso abbiamo suonato ad un concerto in Sicilia,è il nostro sogno si e realizzato e un’esperienza straordinaria per tutti noi. Gli italiani ci dicevano “In bocca al lupo” e questa frase ci ha dato l’ispirazione giusta per scrivere la canzone.

4 – Do you have any plans to release new music?

We’d like to release another single this year, with either an EP or an album to follow on from that…

The response to ‘Al Lupo’ has been amazing so far, so an album is something we’ve been waiting a long time to make.

5 – You have a  new song called ‘No Future Part 2’ that is very different from your normal sound, tell us about it…

Well originally I had an idea for a Bladerunner soundtrack style spoken word synth thing called ‘No Future’ that I was showing to Ben and Matt at rehearsals, Ben starting playing this motorik Can style drumbeat which was not what I had in mind at all, but it sounded amazing, so all three of us spontaneously jammed around that and 90% of what ‘No future part ii’ is came from that 1st jam.

6 – … people have gone wild for it, do you think this marks a shift in the music?

It’s not a shift, we’re not that premeditated when it comes to the songs, we just go with whatever we feel sounds best at the time, it’s definitely something different for us though to do a mostly instrumental track without a proper verse or chorus, so it’s really opened up another avenue for us that we can go down, and also shows another side to the band that maybe people who see a lot of bands realise is something that not many bands are capable of.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=DjRIu4c5ZJc

7- What gigs do you have coming up?

This month we’re playing with The Lucid Dream and Purple Heart Parade at The Victoria Dalston in London and then to celebrate the release of ‘AL Lupo’ we’ve picked some great bands to play with us at Night People in Manchester on 13th April, we’re headlining the night playing a bit longer than usual and really looking forward to seeing Savannah, Freakout Honey and Deja Vega playing on the same bill.

We’ve got a couple of things to announce for the summer soon too.

8 – What Hey Bulldog record are your most proud of?

It’s hard to pick out one, if you’re not proudest of your latest song and don’t feel you are progressing or doing something different from your previous stuff then you probably shouldn’t release it.

We’re all really pleased with how ‘Al Lupo’ turned out, it’s probably the best vocals I’ve recorded and I’m really pleased with the way the melody and the lyrics work together, the production and mix came together really easily too and brought out the best in the song, there’s a lot of little details in there that people will start to pick up on after a few listens.

9 – What are you listening to at the moment and who do you recommend?

Recently I’ve been playing the latest Mogwai and LCD Soundsystem Records both are great, with a lot of different flavours to them.

Live vids c/o Dave Zoom @MistaMoZe and the great sage John Hall @Mancmusic1
(Thanks to Marta for helping us with our shaky Italian)
Tickets for Night People are available here:
Bandcamp page:
Coming On Stro-ong!

The Raft – Orion, Lullably & Blue and Blue (The Jellyfish EPs)

Hmmm… you know how Republic by New Order is bollocks? Why is that? Sure, it’s got ‘Regret’ but after that it slides off into what my mate Matt calls “Coldplay music for mums”. Well, after having been listening to The Raft aka Phil Wilson I think I know what happened. Clearly, the best explanation is some kind of time-shift music displacement. Maybe some Germanc souding robot as wide as a door from the future travelled back to the 1990s and changed the future. Maybe Republic was originally awesome, but it’s greatness lead to some epoch shattering disaster. Maybe the future wanted to make sure ‘What Do You Want From Me?’ became a thing. So, using some space-time technology lost to us, the music planned for Republic got lost in some neverplace void-ville until it eventually came to light under the auspices of Phil Wilson.

This makes a lot of sense. Phil’s music is lightly shoegaze but concentrates on breezy, summery pop music, what Republic was probably aiming for, but missed. Barney, off the back of Electronic, could easily have written these songs, on the back of his yacht. Steve Morris could easily have drummed on these songs, from behind a Panzer tank, or summink. Peter Hook could easily have grumbled his way through these songs (the Italian for grumble is “brontolare” btw).

Phil has a peculiar knack for writing evocative, melodic pop songs that glisten and glide and every so often ripple with warm nostalgic pulls from yesteryear.

Let’s have a look at his recent EPs.

https://philtheraft.bandcamp.com/album/coming-up-for-air-e-p

First up is Coming Up For Air. ‘So Glad I Know’ floats like a piece of Scottish post-punk, in a slightly fey Orange Juice / Altered Images manner. The middle is packed with an extended riptide of acoustic and electric guitars. ‘Coming Up For Air’ has a stately piano ambience which opens out into a distinctly epic number, worthy of what late era Roxy Music should have been.  ‘Anarchy In Our Guitars’ hits a sweetly nostalgic tang of the last episode of your favourite TV show’s montage showcasing the characters and best moments. ‘Regrets’ is simply lovely; resting on a chorus as joyous and heart-felt as a summer’s day on Albert Docks, eating an ice cream with your girl on your arm.

https://philtheraft.bandcamp.com/album/a-lullaby-e-p

More music from the real Republic surfaced on A Lullaby. ‘I’m So High’ church keys and softly rolling guitars gives an early morning vibe before a frisky drumbeat enters, like a dog at your heels. Then it really emerges in full Brit pop glory. There’s a keyboard line in the background which is just delightful. ‘O No She’s Alone’ continues with a tune perfect for a Lilt commercial; fresh-faced youths loitering on beaches. Again, there’s a dance orientated keyboard part which other bands would make the centre piece. What’s great about Phil is he comes up with wonderful parts, which are just that, parts of a song, he doesn’t feel the need to ram home his moments of glory cos he’s got a sackload of them. ‘O A Lullaby / Nobody’s Daughter’ ends like a dissipating memory, slipping away with its softly chiming keys and rippling guitar.

https://philtheraft.bandcamp.com/album/orion-e-p

‘Blue And Blue’ starts Orion like a Match Of The Day Goal Of The Month competition and has a striding guitar solo. ‘Orion’ has a chorus which could be the Bunnymen, supplemented by a moody drum section and Eastern guitar solo. ‘Into You’ is a bit more on The Beautiful South end of the spectrum, which probably comes from Claire O’Neill’s swoony breathy vocals – more please! ‘My Elusive Friend’ rounds us of like a Peter Beagrie goal, sweeping and glorious*.

This may be 3 EPs but they fit together like one album, like Republic by New Order. Which it could be, but it’s not, it’s The Raft. Buy all three for a fiver and you’ll think the 90s were better than they were probably were.

*I was going to change this as Phil is a Red… but always go with what you write first is my rule.

Control Of The Going – I Love You But It’s Going To Rain

Manchester needs bands that provide the music for its’ collection of rainy back streets and long coated poets. Now, before we get ahead of ourselves, we’re not saying that Control Of The Going are in the same league as The Smiths or Puressence, but they’re certainly cut from the same cloth where the lovelorn just want to sing a song.

After much ado and hype this young band have released their debut album, I Love You But It’s Going To Rain, let’s have a look!

Here at colourhorizon we first noticed way back with the single ‘She’ that Liam has a lyrical preoccupation with life cycles. Here he stretches it across the whole record, creating a lightly flavoured concept album about life and growth, and the importance of love within that cycle. The result is a surprisingly mature record by such a young band, and a record deeper than it’s psych trappings would have you think.

Take ‘Warcrime’ with it’s race car guitars, amidst which Liam sings “I was looking for a girl like you”; from the start he is playing the part of the lonely post punk raincoat wearer. It is only on subsequent listens that this line at the start of the album echoes through the rest of the songs as you realise that he constantly refers to the same girl. But for now, you’re happy with the rolling bass and crisp drums that glide over the middle distance. We’re off to a rollicking start!

The delicate intro to ‘Star’ may be the highlight of the album. Acoustic guitars and pleas made in quietude right up until “why don’t you be my star tonight…” at which point the songs kicks in full sensaround as the party gets started as love ignites life. ‘Be My Star’ may not be the most elaborate chorus you’ve ever heard but it’s punchy, you can sing it on the first time of hearing and it is an actual chorus, which puts it above the deluge of  cut-rate psych out there. Liam’s taken off the raincoat. He used to be believe everything he read, but now he’s stepping out. Life takes fresh turns.

‘Love Your More’ rides on a Chameleons groove and cut glass guitar. Once again, the chorus may be simple but it’s very effective and wraps itself award the riff to make a great sing along standard. Matt’s fizzing drums really add to the effervescence.

I was surprised to see ‘The Message’ not only resuscitated from earlier days but split into two parts at the heart of the album which, to be honest (we’re all friends, here) doesn’t help the pacing of the album, but it’s a great song nonetheless. Here it’s been shorn from the cowboy trappings of the earlier version and even more rendered more plaintiff and elegiac. It still has a silky smooth glide over a fibrous guitar traction. It winds down for an extended white out before flowering again for a new spring and the evergreen ‘The Message’ lives on.

From here we launch straight into the highly succesful single, ‘She’ that has bought them a new level of audience and fanbase, as well as getting them played by Clint Boon at his club night. It cuts a swathe through the album like a monorail cutting through an urban metropolis. Musically it’s unstoppable and has proved to be the same in life. That riff’ll be reverberating round the rainy streets for years.

The beefier ‘You’re Mine’ rests of the heavy repetition of the title to instil a rigorous, unnerving chorus. The riff pours from the speaker like neon lava.

It’s fitting that Clint Boon from Inspiral Carpets has fallen in love with Control Of The Going as ‘Save My Memories’ could easily fit onto the second half of The Beast Inside. It has that swirling, garbled snap — and then rides off into golden sunsets, the slightest hint of melancholy off setting the tranquility.

The rollicking, rabble rousing ‘Welcome To The Family’ kicks up dust with its ramshackle Happy Mondays all-in, pills ‘n’ thrills vibe. It’s just as exciting as being embraced by a family and made to feel welcome within it, as life reaches a new turn.

‘Fade Away’ ends the album; an exposed nerve and twice as painful. The cycle ends, as it must. It’s rather reminiscent of The Fall’s ‘Weather Report Part 2’, Mark E Smith’s last moment of genius. You don’t deserve rock ‘n’ roll.

There are some lessons to be learnt though: the production is guitar heavy to the point of squashing the bass and leaving the keys almost indiscernible. The vocals are and similarly hard to make out, making Liam’s plans at a concept album a bit thwarted by the mix. The best bits are those that show a greater degree of subtlety and more of these would have bought out all the shades in the music. The listener all to often has to squint to shape the detail through the buzz of guitars. This vid, with Mr Boon (play that tune) shows the delicacy of the songs, and the results are sensational…

But Echo & Bunnymen didn’t make Heaven Up Here at the first crack and, in fact, this is a good comparison, if we see Control Of The Going as Mac and his boys for the 21st century then this is certainly equates to Crocadiles.

Or whatever, this is a mighty fine debut album. Well done, boys!

http://shop.sister9.com/album/i-love-you-but-its-going-to-rain-2

https://www.facebook.com/COTG1/

Grotesque: Mark E Smith 1957-2018

A scraggy back street kid with a bad jumper. Teenage and fingers already yellowed from nicotine. A library dweller who reads Mailer, James, Dick and Lovecraft. An antagonist who wants to be a poet. An autodidactic storyteller. A man who gleefully puts his finger up Howard Devoto’s nose.

A cackling Alan Bennett for a world of Austin Maxi’s and terrace football. A surrealist story weaver telling spooky and bizarre tales of ham radio operators, container drivers, German athletes, time travellers, “self-satisfied, smug” (The Observer) writers, jawbones, suicidal bingo callers, the Northern Rising (not in 10,000 years), possessed rectors, a ghost in Bremen, a man followed around by a soap opera writer, a killer hiding out in a flat, the great god Pan, 63 Market Place, a death at Disneyland, fat Captain Beefheart imitators with zits, what flows from the mushy pen of a 3 legged black grey hog, hitmen in steak restaurants, the vet Cameron called out for birth of hideous replica, housewives on pills, elves and Cary Grant’s wedding.

A speed freak with a mouth and brain running too fast for his body. A man searching for the now, searching for the real thing, yeah. A correspondent from the rrrrrrrrrrriot torn streets of Manchesterrrrrr, England.

A paranoid man at the height of his powers. A man dissecting the media, package holidays, the nostalgia culture of the look back bores, bald-headed men, shift work, ‘Madchester’, business schools in Birmingham, handy men, Boston immigration, British people in hot weather and war in eastern Europe. He never did end up like U2 or Ian McShane. He never did find that song about speed he wrote conceptually, a la Bowie.

A man growing old disgracefully. Laughing through dentures at the notion of it being all over. Post reformation music better than ever. No time for reunion sell outs. No 80s reprobates. No Newsnight for you. More vital than ever when puncturing nostalgia displays for venues closing their doors. Then back to civilisation.

Barbiturates are kicking in. Fresh faced physician looks on. Whirlpools cascade. No grasp on monocard.

A gobshite without end.

A word-Smith without compare.

‘Rebellious Jukebox’

‘Flat Of Angles’

‘Impression Of J Temperance’

‘Jawbone And The Air-Rifle’

‘The Man Whose Head Expanded’

‘Tempo House’

‘US 80s-90s”

‘Free Range’

‘The League Of Bald-Headed Men’

‘A Past Gone Mad’

‘Reformation’

‘Blindness’

‘Weather Report 2’

‘Monocard’

And ‘Cary Grant’s Wedding’

Hey Bulldog and Sextile live at The Castle 24.01.2018

Three men fate has made indestructible, their name; Hey Bulldog. It’s hard to write about Manchester’s best band without repeating the same observations. Quite simply, this is a power trio with the best musicians in town. There is nowhere to hide and each one plays like a superstar. They have a maestro on the guitar who slices and shoots every kind of rock, blues and glam riff you could ever want. They have a groove machine on the bass, making you remember why the bass is the best instrument in music. They have an octopus on drums.

They are indecently magnificent. Not for them garage-y woolliness or genial enthusiasm of youth. These guys are sublime musicians and play long, forceful songs that explore the boundaries of that particular song. Their powerhouse setlist consisted of recent and upcoming singles and best of all is the elegant, elegiac ‘No Future Part 2” which treads its toes into New Order territory.

The uncompromising body politic of Sextile hits like a hammer blow. This is a band whose music rests on dissonant, atonal electro and strutting guitar sirens. Squelchy, undulating mutant disco; definitely slabs of Devo live, but definitely not Devo in the studio. Hot, sweaty dance music for a hot, sweaty room. Pure punk, aggressive yet euphoric. If any band could claim to be a Stooges for the hot, sweaty 21st century, this is it.

In fact, front man Brady looks like Iggy; gaunt with elbows poking and shining white denim. He yelps and barks, tripping into automatic language. His vocals dwell neatly within each song and while you can’t grasp everything he’s singing you know everything he sings serves the song. He’s a performer who literally performs the entire song on which the vocals sit.

The beats, from the standy-up drummer are occasionally stomping and glam. The music is sporadically 80s but this isn’t music made from nostalgia, this sounds bitingly relevant and contemporary. This is a band shooting fast and hard.

Each song feels not only like the finished article, but wholly intractable. This is a band that already feels like the finished article. A rough, damaged finished article maybe, but a band convinced of its own genius, which is the essential ingredient of every great band.

https://sextile.bandcamp.com

https://heybulldog.bandcamp.com