Monday, 4 May 2009

Homeward Bound - Part II

Returning from the Scottish Highlands, the journey south is straight down the M6 until you hit something major......I'm not counting Carlisle......perhaps my adopted home town of Lancaster? Perhaps not, however, as despite the sterling efforts of the Yorkshire House, we have a lot of not very much happening musically in this otherwise lovely little city.

Better, then, to keep heading down the motorway and find the double whammy of Manchester, then Liverpool via the M62. To prevent this becoming essentially an AA guide, I'll skip right to the point that I can't pick between my two favourite UK music cities, so I'm going smack bang in the middle to Warrington. Hah, didn't see that coming eh? It probably wouldn't have, either, were it not for the excellent Exile Parade being residents of this small UK commuter/rugby town.

Formerly known as bangkok - presumably changed because major world cities take precedence over unknown UK rock acts in the naming rights game - this band has been rocking my socks since 2006 when I first stumbled upon them. Since then, they've doing it the old fashioned way, building a solid local fan base based on a reputation for a cracking live performance and increasingly quality songs. With a mesmerising high energy front man in Lomax, added to the adrenaline of the songs, their live set is well worth a look.

Exile Parade takes elements of swaggering NW rock acts like Oasis and The Stone Roses, mix them up with a US alternative take on the wall-of-noise guitars, and fuse everything into an output that confidently straddles the line between hard rocking and memorable pop. With current single Heart Into Suicide continuing this fierce trend, it's hopefully only a matter of time before a full album is in the works. They've certainly honed their chops enough in the last few years to have enough worthwhile songs. On UK tour now....catch them in these wee venues whilst you can.


MP3: Exile Parade - Bicycle Thieves

MP3: Exile Parade - Fire Walk With Me

Buy new single Heart Into Suicide here (US) or here (UK). Anywhere else? I love you, but you'll need to use your nous and type it into iTunes your good self.

"Don't learn to live, live & learn"

Having found the middle ground at home in England, it's onto the completely unfamiliar territory of Northern Ireland. Being the one of the four areas to which I haven't paid a visit, recommending a band from this region might reasonably be expected to be quite a challenge. Not so, however, having birthed such giants as U2 and Snow Patrol, as well as alternative heroes Therapy?, the land is certainly fertile regardless of one's opinion of those artists.

So my random internet travels (I journey in cyberspace much farther than in real life.....although I did get on a 7 train through Queens the other day, which was quite 'exotic') dropped me off in Bangor, a city presumably named by Carry On film script writers and, more crucially, home to The Stetz.

These lads play a fine line in synth-fuelled rock with pop sensibilities, touching on bands like Motion City Soundtrack (Alibi) through to The Killers (Masses). Formerly known as Superfreakz - great decision on the name change fellas - they have a tight sound and have been recording recently, leading to catchy recent single Alibi. A few tour dates are scheduled and hopefully these pad out to a full UK tour......a North West date around late September wouldn't hurt, if requests are being taken. Until then, the breezy summery tunes will help to carry away the dull gray days that hang around our isles for much of the year.


MP3: The Stetz - Alibi

Thus ends our whistle stop tour of the four British regions. Let me leave you with a feisty little performance of 'Screamager' from the previously discussed NI rockers Therapy? . Live from Belfast, of course.

MP3: Therapy? - Screamager (Live at Mandela Hall, Belfast)

"I've got nothing to do,
but hang around and get screwed up on you"

Now playing: Wolves In The Throne Room - Wanderer Above The Sea Of Fog
via FoxyTunes

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