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2015: Top ten albums

2015: Top ten albums

It’s been a quiet year for the freethinking movement; relocating from the US to the UK has knocked the arse out of any free time, and has put a serious dent in my ability to sit and write. It’s a shame, as 2015 has been jammed with outstanding music. This, the sixth compilation of my […]

Vote ACR for Brazil 2014!

Vote ACR for Brazil 2014!

In these days of global warming, political and economic turmoil, Orwellian government surveillance and the very real threat of a new Coldplay album, there’s one issue that has crept onto my radar today, and which stands head and shoulders above all else in terms of importance. Let me explain… The World Cup is drawing closer. […]

freethinking bklyn 130314

freethinking bklyn 130314

Picture the scene: I’ve only recently moved to a new neighbourhood. There’s been a huge change in my family life – all for the better. My knowledge of the area is really only that of an infrequent interloper, ‘trekking’ from Manhattan to a Brooklyn ‘hood. Discovering new places requires legwork – and I’m not shy […]

Being in the right place at the right time didn't help World of Twist

Being in the right place at the right time didn’t help World of Twist

My last post was about The Stone Roses: a Manchester band which left a mark so deep on our cultural landscape that you can probably see it from space. At the other end of the scale, a band which made barely a dent, but one from the same time and same place as The Stone […]

'To Each...', a Factory classic

‘To Each…’, a Factory classic

My daily commute takes me from Manhattan out to deepest, darkest New Jersey, taking in the industrial wasteland bordering Newark airport, before finally landing in the greenery of ‘The Garden State’. The journey takes me through East Orange. And so, as I sat in my car last week, surrounded by SUVs, pick-up trucks, and knackered […]

Jez Kerr: 'Numb Mouth Eat Waste'... first review!

Jez Kerr: ‘Numb Mouth Eat Waste’… first review!

So, come on then, time to own up. Raise your hand in the air if you’ve been checking out Jez Kerr’s solo material. No? Shame on you, if you haven’t. You’ve missed out on a couple of peaches – two singles to give a taster of what’s in store on Jez’s debut album. At the […]

The Brand New Heavies: an undercurrent of funk

The Brand New Heavies: an undercurrent of funk

The Brand New Heavies were bloody great, weren’t they? Seriously, before they essentially became purveyors of pop, they were a fine, fine funk outfit. ‘Midnight at the Oasis’, ‘Dream On Dreamer’ and ‘Brother Sister’ were all good tunes – but they targeted the masses. Roll it back a few years, and you’ve got an entirely […]

Fac 501: Tony Wilson

Fac 501: Tony Wilson

A post from earlier in the week, about DJing in Berlin, was ostensibly about the enduring love that people of a certain age, and born in a certain geographic location, have for the music of Manchester. Anyone who has been a semi-regular visitor to this site, or who has ever set foot near to one […]

There's more to northern soul...

There’s more to northern soul…

Terry Christian is an unlikely source for genuine insight. He’s more Manc than an Arndale Centre full of parka-wearing monkey boys. To be fair, he has pretty much crafted a career out of being a professional Mancunian. From fronting 90s Channel 4 pop-culture totem ‘The Word’, through to radio and journalism, Manchester is writ large […]

"Play Sumthing Fast"

“Play Sumthing Fast”

2010 has been quite the year for music. Everything Everything emerged from nowhere to knock out an album which more accomplished bands would struggle to match. Badly Drawn Boy returned, and produced his best work in a decade. Supergrass departed stage left, but left behind the unadulterated joy of The Hotrats. And, after a silence […]

Yes, we turned down Oasis

Yes, we turned down Oasis

Staggering onto the stage, in front of 1,000 other students experiencing the effects of advanced alcohol consumption, one of my mates came out with a cracking line. One of the best. He was introducing Mancunian dancefloor pioneers 808 State. For a period in the mid 90s, Lancaster University had an annual set of outdoor end […]

The non-Manc sound of Kalima

The non-Manc sound of Kalima

My love of Manchester is no secret. It’s a great city. Second only to New York in ‘places I want to live’. It’s a close second, at that. I totally acknowledge that I have the capacity to bore people with my paean towards the heart of the Industrial North. So, I won’t go down the […]