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One Album Wonders Northside's Chicken Rhythms

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 23, 2015 03:55pm | Post a Comment
NORTHSIDE - CHICKEN RHYTHMS (1991)


My introduction to the quartet named Northside came in my second year of college, I believe, a few years after the release of their only album, Chicken Rhythms. As a teenage fan of all things Madchester, I'd heard of them, of course, but it wasn't until Liz lent me a cassette that I was able to give it a listen. Although I was at first dismissive of what seemed to me to be by-the-numbers Baggy, over time the album unexpectedly grew on me.

Northside were formed in 1989 by Warren "Dermo" Dermody (vocals and United supporter) and Cliff Ogier (bass and City supporter). They were soon after joined by Michael "Upto" Upton (guitar) and Paul Walsh (drums). Upton was soon after replaced by Timmy WalshAll were residents of either Blackley or Moston, in Manchester's Northside. In August they recorded a demo at The Cutting Rooms, part of Abraham Moss College




Northside received some airplay byTony the Greek’s program on Piccadilly Radio and Craig Cash on KFM, Stockport. They capitalized on their growing local fame with their September live debut at Manchester’s Boardwalk which sold out. Not long after, Tony Wilson visited them at their rehearsal space and offered them a contract with Factory and they accepted. They closed out the year opening for Happy Mondays at Manchester’s Free Trade Hall in November and a performance (supported by Paris Angels) at the Haçienda's Christmas party. In early 1990, Northside were profiled on the Granada documentary, Madchester – The Sound of the North


In April Northside headed to the capital to record their debut single with producer Ian Broudie, "Shall We Take A Trip" b/w "Moody Places," released on Factory. It was very much of the time, with wah-wah guitar, funky drumming, and vocals sung in the style of The Stone Roses' Ian Brown or The Charlatans' Tim Burgess. A not at all veiled paean to LSD, it was predictably banned by the BBC and climbed to No. 50 on the singles chart.



Second single, "My Rising Star,” was both less derivative and less distinct but no less winning. It reached No. 32 in the charts and spent seven weeks on the charts. 

Northside Chicken Rhythms

Chicken Rhythms was released in 1991 (some re-issues also included "My Shining Star"). The album's cutesy artwork, designed by Manchester's Central Station Design, suggested strangely that Northside were some kind of twee boy band. Their third single, "Take 5," climbed to No. 40 in the UK (and No. 1 in Canada). It was 
released on 1 June, the same day they played Leeds’s Elland Road Stadium with Happy Mondays, The Farm, and The La’s.



Northside began working on demos for a follow-up but Factory went out of business in 1992 and the follow-up was never completed. Northside went their separate ways in 1996. In 2003, Dermo and Ogier formed Silent Partners, with Malc Law (drums) and Danny Yates (guitar). Ogier left and was replaced by Dom Morrison.

In 2006, following the reformation of Inspiral Carpets and Happy Mondays, Dermody, Morrison, Yates and new drummer Spencer Birtwistle (The Fall)
 played as Northside on a handful of dates. In 2014, the original line-up of the band re-formed but so far no new material has emerged.



*****


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One album wonders: World of Twist's Quality Street

Posted by Eric Brightwell, November 24, 2014 08:00am | Post a Comment
WORLD OF TWIST - QUALITY STREET (1991)

World of Twist
are one of the greatest one album wonders, on par with The La’s and The Sex Pistols — if unfortunately much more obscure than either. Although they’ve been broken up for more than twenty years, their cult still remains small although it seems inevitable that they will some day be granted the adoration which they so deserve. It seems only a matter of time before an excellent documentary on them screens at Don’t Knock the Rock or appears on video. 




As with many one album wonders, though not prolific as recording artists, the World of Twist’s members were involved in music for many years. From 1977-1979, Dave Conner (vocals), Gordon King (bass), James Fry (guitar), Julia Adamson (guitar), and Tony Ogden (drums) played in a punk band called The Blackout when all were art students in Art & Design at Stockport College in Greater Manchester.

Around 1982, King and Fry followed the latter’s older brother, Martin (of ABC) to Sheffield, then one of the most musically interesting cities in the UK (see Made in Sheffield). Over the next few years the line-up grew to included Ogden, Andy Robins (synthesizer), and Rory Connolly (saxophone). After Robins quit they were joined by Andrew Hobson (bass) and Nick Philips (organ) and by 1984/’85 they had a repertoire of about a dozen songs which they recorded as demos. Three songs from 1985 were released in 1992 after World of Twist had split up.

One Album Wonders: Candyflip's Madstock... The Continuing Adventures of Bubblecar Fish

Posted by Eric Brightwell, September 22, 2014 01:39pm | Post a Comment
Here is an additional edition of my series of great, mostly obscure, one album wonders. In the album era (roughly the mid-1960s until the mid-2000s), the album was the dominant format of recorded music expression and consumption. It seems that most musicians from that era, if able to scrape together the funds for the recording of one studio album, generally returned with at least one more.  Some, like Sun Ra, somehow released more albums than I've had hot dinners. Even most excellent bands, in my opinion, would have done well to find something other to do with their time rather than keep making records after their fifth album or twelfth year (although there is the Go-Betweens Exception). The following acts mostly date fromthe Golden Age of the LP -- and yet were unable or unwilling, in all cases, to record more than one. 
*****

Hippies and Hooligans -- Great Madchester covers of 60s tunes

Posted by Eric Brightwell, June 3, 2014 04:57pm | Post a Comment
 
Although our music and our drugs stayed the same, Although our music and our interests are the same

1988 -- the Second Summer of Love. 1989 -- the end of South African apartheid and the cold war. Love was all around and if it wasn't enough to make one euphoric there was ecstasy and Madchester to the rescue. What were baggies but hip-hop-and-house-hip hippies-cum-hooligans-cum-hippies again? In case we needed further proof, the baggies made the connection more obvious with their updated covers of psychedelic and Situationist era tunes which at their worst sounded like karaoke versions spruced up with the funky drummer beat but at occasionally exceeded the popularity of the originals.

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Stone Roses Profiled in New Doc

Posted by Billy Gil, October 23, 2013 06:24pm | Post a Comment

The Stone Roses were one of the best and most beloved Britpop bands of the early ’90s, helping the dance-influenced Madchester sound of the late ’80s and early ’90s take the British charts by storm with their classic self-titled debut album. In the U.S. their immediate impact was smaller, yet their influence stretched from predecessors like Oasis to more recent bands including Jagwar Ma and Diiv. Their sound, a blend of jangly guitars not unlike those employed by Johnny Marr in The Smiths with dancier beats and psychedelic effects, helped make them NME cover stars at the time, as did the presence of cocky, charismatic frontman Ian Brown, who once declared the band would become “the biggest band ever.” The band's second album failed to take off, and the band broke up in 1996. They reunited in 2012, after 16 years, to headline the Coachella Music and Arts Festival and have even garnered the Twitter ire of one Azealia Banks, as sure a sign as any that the band’s relevance continues today.

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