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Thirty One – Manchester Charity Compilation to Benefit CALM

 
By on Tuesday, 14th February 2012 at 11:00 am
 

Last year I started writing for a magazine called CALMzine, the publication of CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably), a nonprofit charity that was founded with support from trustee (and of course, someone who looms very large in the story of Manchester’s musical heritage) Tony Wilson in 2006. CALM’s initial intention and continuing campaign has been to help fight the high suicide rate of men under the age of 35 in the UK.

While the campaign, Web site, magazine and online community targets men in this age group, the support system they have in place including a free, anonymous helpline is open to anyone who needs help. CALM began first with a helpline in the Northwest but in late November, they celebrated the launch of their London helpline at a special party at Topman Oxford Street on the 25th of November 2011, an event that I was glad to have the chance to take in firsthand.

Depression and stress are just two things that all of us have in our lives, yet they are main players in that final, desperate decision: when a person chooses to end his/her life. CALM had provided a safe haven for many of those on the brink, for people who are having difficulty coping with real issues in their lives and have nowhere to turn to.

Running these helplines cost money of course, and right now the helplines are open on Saturdays, Sundays, Mondays and Tuesdays from 5 PM to midnight. But here is where you can help: CALM’s goal is to have the helpline open every night of the week. Writer/DJ Dave Haslam has curated for the Factory Foundation a special collection of 31 songs, named aptly ‘Thirty One’. Being that it’s Factory related, you can probably guess where this is going…

Yes, ‘Thirty One’ is a compilation of tunes from some of ours here at TGTF and I’m sure some of your favourite Manchester-based artists. Elbow, busy now with work on making the London Olympics this summer sound good to the world, has provided a UK exclusive: a live version of ‘Lippy Kids’ from Pukkelpop. I Am Kloot, not a stranger to charity works as evidenced by their appearance at the Billie Butterfly Fund show I attended last year, have reworked their track ‘Bigger Wheels’ especially for this release. Everything Everything, who also performed at the Billie Butterfly show, offer up their cover of Gloworm’s ‘Carry Me Home’. (I’m quite interested to hear how that one turned out!) A remix of the Whip‘s ‘Secret Weapon’ is also in this collection; if you recall, their ‘Wired Together’ appeared at #5 on my Top Albums of 2011 list. Other bands we’ve banged on about, including Airship, Bad Lieutenant, Delphic, Dutch Uncles, Mr. Scruff and Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds all make appearances on this compilation, plus many more. If the music isn’t enough for you, the album also includes art direction from Peter Saville and special photography by Tom Cockram, who’s done some ace shots of Delphic and Egyptian Hip Hop in the past, so I’m expecting the images included on this to be truly lovely.

Support this very worthy cause by buying this collection here, with all the proceeds going directly to CALM. Varying prices allow for different levels of donation: £10, £20 or £31 (get it?), with your choice of 320kbps MP3, FLAC and Apple Lossless, in fully digital (with instant download) and physical digipaks (released the 12th of March) are available. Limited edition vinyl is on sale at Townsend Records.

More often than not, suicide happens because someone has decided his/her life is hopeless. CALM’s mission is to help people in crisis, and your donation by purchasing this album will help them continue this mission.

 

Roskilde Festival: Day 3 Roundup

 
By on Wednesday, 21st July 2010 at 2:00 pm
 

A helpful hint about music festivals: try as you may to see every single band you’ve ticked off the set schedule weeks before you’ve even set foot on the property, you’re going to miss some, because you’re either 1) hungry, 2) thirsty, 3) drunk or 4) just plain tired. While I admit to succumbing to #2 (it was hot, much hotter than it normally is in Denmark) and #4 (the only explanation for Day 2’s epic oversleep), all things considered I was in pretty good shape for Saturday, especially after getting to bed at a decent hour the night before.

I already knew Saturday at Roskilde was going to be a long day. So this time I checked, double-checked, and triple-checked that the alarm clock on my mobile was properly set before going to bed the night before. After filling up on a massive breakfast of several soft-boiled eggs, too many slices of cold cuts that tasted suspiciously (in a good way) of liverwurst and several cups of strong tea, I headed back to the festival. First up on the agenda was the Rumour Said Fire, a Copenhagen indie rock band officially ‘sanctioned’ by the festival organisers themselves by virtue of being the one band chosen to be official guest bloggers for the festival. Think Fleet Foxes and Mumford and Sons. Pretty good stuff.

They were followed by another local favourite duo, the Asteroids Galaxy Tour and their touring band. The only difference: the Asteroids Galaxy Tour are now world-famous and travel all over the globe. Even you, dear reader, are likely to have heard of them. The festival organisers are quick to point out that this is a band that started out on the emerging artists line-up of Pavilion Junior years ago and now are a global success. Blonde lead singer Mette Lindberg was radiant in hot pink and gold sequins, belting out the duo’s starry-eyed, soulful, psychedelic hits like ‘The Sun Ain’t Gonna Shine No More’ and ‘Around the Bend’. Amazing to see them to play to their home audience, Lindberg looking overwhelmed by the marvelous crowd response.

After the cut: this review of day 3 continued with more photos.

Continue reading Roskilde Festival: Day 3 Roundup

 

Roskilde Festival: Day 3 Review: Bad Lieutenant

 
By on Thursday, 15th July 2010 at 12:00 pm
 

Bernard Sumner. The mere mention of his name conjures up the dusty pages of rock’s past. But if the history books were for me to write, I’d be sure there was a large mention of Sumner’s latest project, Bad Lieutenant starring Sumner himself, fellow ex-New Order member Phil Cunningham and ex-Marion guitarist Jake Evans, who shares lead vocal duties in the band with Sumner. For someone who’s been in the music media on and off for more years than I have been alive on this planet, Sumner cuts an imposing figure. But I learned through an engaging set by him and his ‘new’ band that really, he’s just as nostalgic as the rest of us, and he’s a consummate performer eager to entertain.

On Saturday night, it was a hard sell trying to explain to the Danes I ran into who Bad Lieutenant was and what kind of show it was going to be. To be honest, even I didn’t know, because Bad Lieutenant has yet to do a proper tour of the States so I’d never seen them play. I had a feeling there would be at least one or two of the ‘favourites’ from Sumner’s old bands, but I was happily surprised by the tunes he wheeled out for their Roskilde set. The ‘new’ songs from Bad Lieutenant off the album they released last year, ‘Never Cry Another Tear’, are good examples of pop should be done, and they worked swimmingly alongside Joy Division and New Order classics.

At times, Sumner showed his age through his impatience and swearing, mostly when electronics of his band failed to get queued up for an appropriate fanfare to begin New Order’s ‘Bizarre Love Triangle’. Never for his athleticism: for this song, he was doing the Englishman’s answer to the Running Man (which was adorable in itself; can you imagine, watching a vanguard of rock music busting a move his way?) and then doing the appropriate kneeling poses during the lyrics that called for it. I surely wasn’t expecting it, he definitely went above and beyond the call of duty.

But other than these moments of flourish, what really counted was how tight the band sounded as a unit – no matter what era of song they were playing – and how great Sumner’s voice still is today. I wasn’t close enough to see but I have it in my mind that tears must have been welling up for him as he watched the reception for what wonderful music he was responsible for in the past right beside new songs destined to be just as timeless. What a great set.

After the cut: set list.

Continue reading Roskilde Festival: Day 3 Review: Bad Lieutenant

 

Preview: Electric Picnic 2010

 
By on Friday, 7th May 2010 at 4:00 pm
 

Electric Picnic has been regarded by some as Ireland’s answer to Glastonbury. Judging by the line-up released on Wednesday, I’d argue it might have a more interesting bill than Glasto this year. ’70s glam rockers Roxy Music will play their first Irish festival performance ever at Electric Picnic, after having reformed long after we diehards had assumed they’d never play together ever again. I think seeing Bryan Ferry croon his way through ‘Love is the Drug’ and ‘Avalon’ is worth the price of admission alone.

However, if Roxy isn’t your thing, there are plenty of other wonderful acts to ring your bell. London electronica act Leftfield have decided to come out of hibernation to play selected festivals this year, including a headlining set at Electric Picnic; Bristol’s Massive Attack (pictured above) will also headline. Expect an epic dance party with these two along with sets by Booka Shade, Hot Chip, the Bloody Beetroots, LCD Soundsystem, Liquid Liquid, Friendly Fires and the Big Pink. Indie rock will also be well represented by appearances by the Fall, the National, the Horrors, Eels and Modest Mouse.

This year’s festival will take place at Stradbally Hall, County Laois, Ireland, on 3-5 September 2010. Weekend camping tickets are €240 (approximately £206) per adult (up to two children under the age of 14 are allowed to attend per paying adult, and all children must be pre-registered through the festival Web site). Please note that except for children who are pre-registered this way, the festival is 18+ and photo ID may need to be presented on-site. Camper van tickets are €60 (approximately £52). Tickets for the festival can be purchased from Ticketmaster.


Catch the full lineup (so far as of Wednesday 05 May) after the cut…

Continue reading Preview: Electric Picnic 2010

 

Video of the Moment #143: Bad Lieutenant

 
By on Thursday, 24th September 2009 at 10:00 am
 

Bad Lieutenant is, essentially, New Order (Bernard Sumner and Phil Cunningham) minus Peter Hook plus ex-Marion guitarist Jake Evans. Alex James of Blur also contributed to their debut album, but I’m not sure what role he played in its recording. Simply based on the strength of the first single, ‘Sink or Swim’, I think I can safely say this is going to be an excellent autumn release.

I’ve tried in vain to find the video for the song through the ‘normal’ video channels but wasn’t successful, so instead I’m linking to the video’s page on Yahoo! Music, as the band themselves linked to that page when the video premiered there last week. It’s a very scaled back and simplistic approach, but I think you’ll agree the music speaks for itself. Hate to say it b/c it sounds cliched, but the guitars sound very Beatles and Britpop – and those are compliments!

Bad Lieutenant’s debut album ‘Never Cry Another Tear’ will be released on 12 October on Triple Echo Records in the UK.

 
 
 

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