Wednesday, 15 October 2008

Local Radio

Being the first 'unsung' since I've moved away from my home county, I thought the opportunity was present to look at some new talent from Lancashire thanks to BBC Introducing.

Somewhat surprisingly, the bands featuring on the website are not Houghton Weavers wannabes, as you'd expect on Radio Lancashire. Here are some of my favourites:

The Ragamuffins are definitely a local band for me, and their "kitchen-sink-drama jangly indie-pop songs" really appeal to me. Together with their addiction for cups of tea, close to my heart. It's different enough to fit into the generically popular 'indie' category that's overwhelmed nowadays, but reasurringly similar. Fingernails and Fairytales has hints of Guillemots (the title too I suppose), where perhaps Halfway Between Prada and Primark is more mainstream (Kooks maybe?). It's very difficult to even try and pigeon hole the band. Yes, songs have familiar tones, but overall, they're very much on their own. Which is brilliant.

In fact, reading what they list of their influences, I shouldn't be surprised that I've immediately warmed to their charms:

Musically we take inspiration from jangly pop of groups like The Beach
Boys, The Byrds, The Beatles, The La's, but also the Northern Soul rhythms and
energy that Lancashire made famous in the 60's and 70's. Lyrically we like
witty, dark, poetry the likes of which groups like The Smiths, Belle &
Sebastian, The Kinks and others use to paint pictures about characters they've
seen in their day to day lives.

-BBC Lancashire

I don't often say this, quite possibly because it's often not possible. But, when I'm home in Blackburn, it shouldn't take a huge effort to see this band of ragamuffins perform. So, I will make that effort to see if our dates meet-up.

Triphazard may unfortunately fall into the description of "generic indie rock". But, as I've often said, providing it's done well, that's not necessarily a bad thing. Based near the Merseyside border, they've got the Liverpool music scene to encourage their activites, and they've not made a bad job of it at all.
Sadly, the only two songs I could listen to in full were and Smothered and Fake Up from their Introducing page, but they were definitely the sort of music I like listening to. Maybe not "rush out and buy album" greatness, but enjoyable all the same.

We are most likely to be classed as Indie-Rock but we are unique and don't really have a direct blueprint. Our influences include The Stone Roses, The Doors, The Who, The Charlatans, Radiohead, The Cure, New Order, Joy Division, etc.
It's a bit of a cliché, but for The Substance I'd probably say it's not far off being true. They're definitely not pure indie, maybe more raw indie. It's guitar led, but with different styles of song featuring on their myspace. If I had to say anything, I'd link back to the some of the 90s Brit Pop, but with Oasis having a revival too, it's coming back. A hint of Radiohead too perhaps - listen to Tormented Mind and you'll see what I mean.

It's great to see that there's some good musical talent not far from when I grew up. You'd never consider it a musical hotbed, and it's been a very long time since a 'big' talent came from East Lancashire in particular. But, the talent is there. Just needs a bit of discovery...

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