Music of the Mersey An introduction by Chris Gibson.
Liverpool music, as with the river Mersey, has shifted and evolved with the eb and flow of the tides of travelers who have been welcomed into the city over its heady 800 year history. The great influx of African, Chinese, Irish and other cultures related to sea trade have added their diversity, knowledge and spirit to a place famously quoted as being 'the "pool of life". Fantastic stories from far away voyages, new discoveries in distant lands, triumph and determination over adversity whilst battling against the elements of nature, love and evil, folk lore and Chinese whispers... this is STILL Liverpool, and its quoted in every verse, page and chapter of its still unfinished book. The beat, of a different drum. The beat of it's people, and of their hearts. This is the music of the Mersey. Welcome.
Bands from/created by Liverpool, the most successful musical city in history...
The Beatles - The Beatles formed in 1960. During their career, the group primarily consisted of John Lennon (rhythm guitar, vocals), Paul McCartney (bass guitar, vocals), George Harrison (lead guitar, vocals) and Ringo Starr (drums, vocals). Arguably the most influential musicians of all time. Although their initial musical style was rooted in 1950s rock and roll, skiffle with a hint of black American music, the group worked with different musical genres, ranging from Tin Pan Alley to psychedelic rock. Their clothes, style and statements made them trend-setters, while their growing social awareness saw their influence at the forefront of the social and cultural revolutions of the 1960s. The musical influences of the band was extensive with many leading artists openly stating the strong influence of the Beatles on their work. All four members embarked upon successful solo careers after disbandment in 1970. The band have sold more recordings world-wide than any other artists, still being big sellers today. An amazing achievement when they recorded together only for seven years with the last record produced over 40 years ago.
Click here for The Beatles video playlist on Youtube: The Beatles
Dogshow - Hailing from Oxford, Dogshow are a band made up of the oft' top-hatted brothers Laurie and Sam Crombie. As part of the Kazimier collective, (which takes its inspiration from Victorian sideshows, the Circus and Eastern European Gypsy folk), it all becomes evident in the translation to their music, whilst electro provides the backbone. Show stopping spectacular visual performances bring alive the true spirits of nature, magic and science to accompany their audible delights. People will, and do dance the night away in their presence. Best in show! Words: Chris Gibson.
Click here to see Dogshow perform at The Kazimier: Dogshow
Cast - The band released four albums between 1995 and 2001. Liam Gallagher of Oasis once described them as one of the few contemporary bands he actually liked. Though the group continued to release records after the fall of the Britpop movement at the end of the '90s their commercial success died with the movement and they are generally not regarded as Britpop "survivors".
Click here to see Cast videos: Cast
the/ glasgow/ coma/ scale.
the/ glasgow/ coma/ scale. - the/ glasgow/ coma/ scale. sprang from the mind of guitarist, vocalist and poet Chris Gibson as his sounds evolved into electronic indie-pop. Wave Kamikaze is the track that sparked the shift and his progress continues apace. Awesomely inventive and multifaceted, Chris wants to connect with people and create dialog which will become catalyst for positive change. Chris said "My ultimate goal is to show people beauty and make them cherish it, but that is up to them to decide. We can only hope it happens. I have hope. It is all you can have. People tend to look to films for inspiration, to get to the end and watch on as super heros save the earth. They don't realise they can do it themselves." the/ glasgow/ coma/ scale. is on:
Click to hear the Youtube playlist for the/glasgow/ coma/ scale. Go!
The Coral Famously, yet inadventently the inventers the music genre 'Cosmic Scouse'. The Coral, from Hightown on the Sefton coast, first entered the uk music charts in ** with ** at number **, with their highest yet, **, charting at **. Their 4 albums have met with mixed success.
Deaf School were a late 1970s English band from Liverpool. Their style was somewhere in between pub rock, punk, glam rock and art rock. They disbanded after their third album. The journalist, author and founder of 'Mojo' Paul Du Noyer described them thus: " In the whole history of Liverpool music two bands matter most, one is The Beatles and the other is Deaf School. If that seems like a sweeping statement then consider this: after the pop revolution of the 1960s led by The Beatles and other Merseyside groups, it looked as if the city's music scene had dried up forever. But in 1975 there came a motley band of Liverpool art students called Deaf School. And they were the catalyst for the most dramatic revival since Lazarus. Their impact on the city is with us to this day."
Their members carried on in music business; singer Bette Bright went solo, Clive Langer became one of the foremost producers of the '80s/'90s producing Madness, Morrissey, David Bowie, Dexies Midnight Runners and Bush amongst others. Steve Lindsey formed the hit band The Planets scoring a Top Of The Pops appearance with his song "Lines". Enrico Cadillac (real name: Steve Allen) joined Ian Broudie (former member of Big in Japan) to form the Original Mirrors who released two albums. Allen later formed The Perils Of Plastic with former Attraction's keyboard player Steve Nieve before going onto a successful pan-European solo career, later taking on the management of Espiritu as well as an A&R post helming WEA UK's dance-pop imprint Eternal Records from 1993 to 2004.
In 1988, almost all former Deaf School members reunited for a live date in Liverpool, the performance released as a live album, "2nd Coming", produced by Clive Langer and Julian Wheatley, featuring live versions of their best songs from the 70's albums with guests including Tin Machine's Reeves Gabrels, Nick Lowe and Lee Thompson from Madness. Legendary Beatles publicist and the man who signed Deaf School to Warner Bros Derek Taylor made the trip up to Liverpool.
In May 2006, Deaf School re-formed for a couple of live-gigs, culminating in an extremely oversubsribed concert at the The Picket venue in Liverpool for its grand re-opening in the newly formed Independent District on May 27th.
In September 2007 Deaf School reunited again and played several live shows including a warm up at The Dublin Castle pub in Camden Town, London followed by The Carling Academy Manchester, an intimate show for 80 people at a venue in Chester and The Carling Academy Liverpool. In December they played again at the Indigo2 venue at The O2 in London for Madness's aftershow party.
The band's new official website was launched in March 2009 at www.deafschoolmusic.com
In May 2009 The Garage in Highbury, London announced a forthcoming Deaf School show in September, tickets on sale.
Elle s'appelle are in the most conventional sense of the word, a band. More specifically, a three piece guitar band from Liverpool without guitars, but with a girl and a keyboard. Bass, Keys and drums. Courtesy of Andy (vocals/guitar), Lucy (vocals/keyboards) and Owen (vocals/drums).
Formed in 2007, Elle s'appelle played their very first gig together on June 1st of that year at their local Barfly (they had supported Operator Please, Hot Club de Paris, Shiny Toy Guns, Does It Offend You Yeah? And Johnny Foreigener), and were promptly featured as Steve Lamacq's 'unsigned band of the week' the following week. Their ridiculously good debut single 'Little Flame' was written and recorded in Andy's mum's house soon after, and the band were promptly approached by Moshi Moshi to release the track as a 7" on their Moshi Singles imprint. And so here we find ourselves..
Names originally suggested when the threesome first got together included 'The Next Most Obvious Things' (Andy's fault), 'Our Survey Says' (Lucy's fault) and 'Self Help Group' (Owen's fault).. Thankfully from nowhere in particular (Actually, Hot Club de Paris..) the idea of having a name using a foreign language appealed. The Spanish El, seemed to work with anything, although, anything that sounded good meant something dreadful or totally irrelevant, and anything which meant something fun or nice sounded dreadful.. Whilst trying to google their way to a solution, one name tried was El Sappell. Google promptly corrected the mistake and came up with Elle s'appelle, French for She is called. It looked beautiful when typed or written down, it sounded good to say and in some small way was relevant (Neither Andy or Owen had been in a band with a girl before / Lucy is a blatant Francophile).
A theme which is constant throughout Elle s'appelle's lyrics, is story telling. The literal telling of stories and tales. In putting the band together, Andy took on a lot of children's literature. Compulsory reading list: The Melancholy death of Oyster Boy – Tim Burton, Dirty Beasts and Rotten Rhymes – Roald Dahl, The Complete works Brothers Grimm and Hans Christian Andersen. Within the band, Children's literature is a genre or device, as opposed to writings specifically aimed at children. The short story 'The Little Flame' (in full below) is told from start to finish within their song 'Little Flame'. The story tells of a little boy who is fascinated with fire and who runs away from home to build a new one. The little flame comes to life and manipulates and follows the boy around so that it can feed on/burn whatever it pleases. It's choc full of fuzzy Mates of State/Yeah Yeah Yeah-esque promise.
Echo and the Bunnymen
Echo and the Bunnymen - Formed in 1978, with the original line-up of Ian McCulloch, Will Sergeant, Les Pattinson, and Pete de Freitas. The bunnymen's biggest success was the mega-hit 'The killing moon', which made the soundtrack highlight of cult movie Donnie Darko at the beginning of the 21st century, but had been released in the mid-80s, (and 20 years before the film). Pete, the band's drummer was involved in a moterbike accident in 1989 and tragicly lost his life. The band split. Now having reformed, and 20 years on, Echo and the Bunnymen performed at the Liverpool Echo Arena for the first time with a show entitled 'Ocean rain' on the 30th November 2008. Afterwards, a party was thrown at Korova in a nod to the record lable who signed the band in 1979. Words: Chris Gibson. News update: Tributes to Echo and the Bunnymen keyboard player Jake Brockman Sep 4 2009 By Gary Stewart, Liverpool Echo TRIBUTES were paid today to Echo and the Bunnymen keyboard player Jake Brockman who died in a motorcycle accident on the Isle of Man. Mr Brockman, 53, joined the cult Liverpool band as a full-time member in 1989 after touring with them during the 80s and playing on their 1987 Echo and the Bunnymen album. Known to fans as the "Fifth Bunnyman"’ he lived in Bristol and was married. Mr Brockman died on Tuesday evening while riding along the Kirk Michael to Ballaugh Road after apparently colliding with a converted ambulance.
The fall of kings
The fall of kings - 'The Fall Of Kings' were forged at the very end of 2007. They have tinkered around with their instruments and created some enjoyable sounds. They have this to say for themselves: "we tried creating something different, something better. Then we just gave up and started playing some F***ing good tunes" Band members: Dave Copley - Slaps & Vox, Joe Forrest - Keys & Vox, Dan Forrest - Vox & Strums, Nathan Sayer - Beats & Vox. Words: Chris Gibson.
Click here for the fall of kings myspace site: Go!
Frankie Goes To Hollywood
Frankie Goes To Hollywood - Frankie Goes to Hollywood were a dance-pop band that were extremely popular in the mid 1980s. The Liverpool group was fronted by Holly Johnson (vocals), supported by Paul Rutherford (vocals, keyboards), Peter Gill (drums, percussion), Mark O'Toole (bass guitar) and Brian Nash (guitar). The group's debut single "Relax" was famously banned by the BBC while at number six in the charts, and subsequently topped the UK singles chart for five consecutive weeks, going on to enjoy prolonged chart success throughout 1984 and ultimately becoming the seventh best-selling UK single of all time (as of May 2006). After the follow-up success of "Two Tribes" and "The Power of Love", FGTH became only the second act in the history of the UK charts to reach number one with their first three singles; the first being Gerry & The Pacemakers in 1964.
Click here to watch Frankie goes to Hollywood: Go!
Gerry and the pacemakers
Gomez Tijuana lady, a Mexican infused blues song: Its bruised lyrics, its aching vocals, its beautifuly simple melody in which the listener attempts to hide away in. This is the sound that brought Southport to the attention of Music's elite. Gliding into the shadows, a feint glow in silohette, glistening as a forgotten diamond in a long abandoned mine, Gomez continue to draw up their plan, calling into the wind and hoping it changes direction. Someday, it will. Words: Chris Gibson.
The La's Lee Mavers' The La's crafted a beautiful album once. Engraved on it's surface and on our minds, 'There she goes' sprung forthe as an eternal hit which to this day adornes everything. Jangly guitars infused with The Beatles' pop sensibilities gave birth to a true soundtrack-for-life moment, and one that surely will not be replicated again... but then again. Words: Chris Gibson.
The Lightning seeds
Married to the sea
Married to the Sea - Married to the sea formed in 2006 and are based in Liverpool. Having played together in various bands since the late 90's, the members set out to create rowdy pop that people could dance to. The band draw as much influence from the bittersweet sounds of Abba and Motown as they do from the off kilter dynamics of bands like the pixies, built to spill and grandaddy. http://www.myspace.com/marriedtothesealion
The Wombats The three band members met in 2003 at the Liverpool Institute for Arts, soon becoming friends and starting to jam together. In 2006, the band released their debut album "Girls, Boys, and Marsupials" which was only available in Japan. In January 2007, the band released a second limited edition vinyl called "Moving to New York". In May, the band released their third single called "Backfire at the Disco" leading the band to release their first full single "Kill the Director" in late July. The single reached #35 in the UK Singles Chart. Their last single "Let's Dance to Joy Division" was released in October 2007, to coincide with the release of their debut album, entitled The Wombats Proudly Present: A Guide to Love, Loss & Desperation which reached #11 in the UK Albums Chart. The release was being followed by a European tour ending with a thanksgiving party at The Liverpool Echo arena. It was a massive success.The band started 2008 as the opening act at the opening ceremony of Liverpool, European Capital of Culture 2008 at Liverpool Arena. "Moving to New York" was re-released on 14 January 2008 and reached #13 UK singles chart becoming their highest charting release to date. The band went on a full UK tour over April and May 2008, as well as playing dates in Europe and Japan. The band also played for Jo Whiley on BBC Radio 1 where they covered the Take That song "Patience", as well as Tord singing the Postman Pat theme tune in his native language, Norwegian. In the USA they are signed to Roadrunner Records. On 28 February 2008, the band won 'Best Dancefloor Filler' for their single "Lets Dance To Joy Division" at the NME Awards. April 2008 marked the band's first release in the U.S., The Wombats EP. In June 2008, the band performed live at the major event Glastonbury Festival. They also performed at T in the Park, of July 2008, opening the Radio 1 / NME Stage set on the Friday. They also played Reading and Leeds Festival on the Saturday and Friday respectively on the Radio 1/NME Stage supporting Babyshambles. The band also announced via their Myspace blog, that they would be releasing two new singles. A seasonal 'Anti-Christmas' themed "Is This Christmas?" on December 15, followed by "My Circuitboard City" on March 3. It was also recently revealed that former Beatles member Sir Paul McCartney is hoping to produce their next LP.
Wave machines The lineup: Tim Bruzon (vocals, guitar, keyboard, drum machine), Carl Brown (guitar, keyboard, percussion, vocals), James Walsh (bass, synth-bass, percussion, clarinet, ukulele, vocals), Vidar Norheim (drums, malletkat, vocals).
The background: Wave Machines, sometime members of the local Mersey art collective, are an art-pop or brainiac dance troupe whose simultaneously electronic and organic sound is less harsh and angular than the term "indie disco" implies. In fact, it's mainly soft and smooth, sugary and sweet white funk with pop bits: Hot Chip dipped in Hot Chocolate. It's polished - accomplished - budget disco, made out of Cash Converter keyboards and start-up drum kits. But necessity being the mother of invention and all that, their lack of resources hasn't meant any stinting on the melodic and rhythmic front: with its synth-bass, cowbell, choppy, Chic-y guitar, shimmery keyboards, flamenco and melodica breakdown and gloriously inane chorus, I Go I Go I Go is almost as startling a white funk debut single as Franz's Take Me Out - or, more appropriately given its playful nature, Favourite Shirts by Haircut 100. Bruzon appears to be singing through a 1920s microphone, and because of his delivery the chorus actually sounds like "Iko Iko Iko", with shades of that ghastly Belle Stars hit from 1982, but it keeps just the right side of novelty pop hell by dint of its melodic and rhythmic ingenuity, and the singer's clever sense of distance from the fun.
Besides, there's more to Wave Machines than meets the ear. For a start, they wear masks during their joyous live shows because they're conceptual pranksters, not because they're horribly disfigured, and play all manner of idiosyncratic instruments like zithers and malletkats. Just when you thought you'd got them sussed as quirky disco kids, they hit you with Punk Spirit, all tremulous guitar and echoey anthemics that have more in common with Glasvegas than Gloria Gaynor. The self-consciously dramatic and emotional lyric - "I broke the neck on my guitar/And told you how it's going to be/And after when you left the room, I whispered, 'You could fucking die' ... Where's my punk spirit when I need it?" - could have bled from the pen of James Allan. Elsewhere, there's the creamy The Greatest Escape We Ever Made, and rumour has it they've even got a seven-minute hands-in-the-air rave epic with a massive crescendo called Water Dries On Her Back in their repertoire. They've been called Liverpool's third best new band. We'd say second, at least.
The buzz: "Like a theme tune to a Michael Gondry animation, this is spiffing toy-shop pop from Liverpool's best-kept secret."
The truth: Their schizoid eclecticism could be their best feature, or it could prove to be their downfall.
Most likely to: Infect you with that germ called joy.
Least likely to: Be used as a cure for the common cold. Be sure to catch them at this year's Glastonbury or Bestival festivals or check their website for the entire list of upcoming shows.
The Zutons The Zutons formed in Liverpool in 2001, taking their name from The Magic Band guitarist Bill Harkleroad, better known as Zoot Horn (or "Zuton") Rollo. Dave McCabe had previously been in Tramp Attack, and Russ and Sean were in The Big Kids (with Sean's brother Howie Payne of The Stands). Originally a four-piece, Sean's girlfriend Abi Harding began joining The Zutons on stage for a couple of songs mid-set, playing simple saxophone lines. She was very popular with the crowd. The other band members liked the way her saxophone enhanced their sound. Abi became a full member, contributing vocals and sax.