Saturday, 30 January 2010

The problem with Delphic is not Delphic

Whether FUC51 likes Delphic or not is a moot point.

Their music is of little consequence in the problem of Manchester. They're a group trying to get ahead in the pit-of-sharks that is The Music Industry. They've got noticed and good for them.

So where is the problem? Well, it's everyone that surrounds them, clearly. It's the hacks who write about them. Even Delphic themselves have acknowledged the problem they - and the whole of Manchester as a city - face.

In an interview with the BBC:

How much does Manchester influence your music?

"We're very proud of Manchester but we were inspired by what we didn't like in Manchester, and that was Manchester refusing to move on. We felt it was in danger of drowning under its heritage. We wanted to help it look forward and were sick of the Madchester stereotypes."

It seems that, really, Delphic are a bunch of kids wishing they were in Kraftwerk. Yet, they're faced with the unrelenting barrage of Madchesterisms. People with clipboards from focus groups and pointless hacks with digital dictaphones saying "Go on... say Joy Division! Say stuff about the Hacienda! Give us something we understand!"

You see, it just wouldn't do for a Mancunian band to be influenced by any band outside the Manc ring-road. If Delphic said 'we like Krautrock, Tropicalia and Andalusian folk music and nothing else', it wouldn't stop saps piling on the corpses of Madchester on their bony little shoulders.

Whilst it is understandable that the management and PRs of the band would want to use whatever underhand trick they have at their disposal to get their proteges noticed, you'd hope that they'd at least share their band's wish to avoid such monumental laziness and short-sightedness?

Friday, 29 January 2010

Madchester Pleasure Beach

Quoted, verbatim from this forum:

"...middle aged arseholes in the press managed to turn liverpool into a beatlesthemepark for the past 40 years, they're doing the same thing again to manchester. unless you're in your 40s and writing for q magazine you should be railing against all this shit, not shuffling your feet saying 'um its ok cos theres no good new bands, might as well just give up on the city and let the hookmobile raze it to the ground and rebuild it as madchester pleasure beach"

Theme Park

Visit Palmashofu

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Do Look Back In Anger

The Guardian, one of the biggest culprits in the continual shoving of Madchester in people's snouts, have been talking about Manchester's new music scenesters (here).

Every new band is immediately lumped in with those that surrounded Factory. Even in an article about the Chorlton beardfolkies, they couldn't resist the acid house angle (here).


And now, in this new piece, which can't help itself from mentioning New Order, Happy Mondays and Joy Division, we're met with Egyptian Hip Hop, who say:

"None of us like that old Manchester stuff... It's so overplayed, and it gets forced at you just because you're from Manchester. You're expected to like it, but people need to move on. I'm sick of people dwelling on the past. The new Manchester bands are sick of it, too, and want to change things."

Bravo! And a pat on the back for your appalling taste in clothes!

Thursday, 28 January 2010


FUC51 is now on Twitter.

To follow, hurl abuse or spout off about 'Technique' being the greatest LP ever made, regardless of the point trying to be made here, visit

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Ready Reckoner

Seeing as an association with Mancunian bands, not necessarily good, is de rigueur for many bands from within a certain ring-road always tends to gravitate to one small pocket of Wilson...

Don't worry. Help is at hand. If you're young, you've been hoodwinked into thinking that Manchester only spawned groups from the baggy period and Factory Records. Even Oasis had a songwriter who was a roadie for the Inspiral Carpets.

Here's a list of other Manc' bands you can use as throwaway influences:

The Hollies, The Bee Gees, Herman's Hermits, Wayne Fontana and The Mindbenders, Freddie and the Dreamers, Barclay James Harvest, 10cc, Cleopatra, Autechre, Lamb, Davy Jones, The Purple Gang, Jim Noir, Sad Cafe, Slaughter and the Dogs, Take That, the Hallé Orchestra, Victor Brox, Sirconical, Sam and the Plants...

...and there's a whole load more. Feel free to add your own. Unless you're a lazy twat, in which case, just say 'Stone Roses' or 'Joy Division'.

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

Pure Delphic gold

Picture a large-windowed meeting room in Hammersmith, late 2009. In its centre is a large, expensive-looking wooden table, and around it sit a gaggle of people with various roles that we'll come to in a minute. Why are we all here? Well, today we're going to talk about Manchester's brightest hopes Delphic.

Let's introduce everyone. Him in the horn-rimmed specs is label marketing guy, next to him there's the slightly less important label guy, to his left there's telly plugger bloke, woman on the Blackberry next to him is radio woman, those two over there are the digital agency, and then there's the people that buy the ads and whatshername from the offline PR company.

What follows is a kind of mutual glans-teasing - we go round the table, and everyone shares their initial thoughts on this Serious new band we've all got on our hands after last year's tenure with the Cool French Label. Radio woman mentions she schmoozed some fella from the Beeb recently and handed him a stack of CDs. He's been a fan for a while, 'bit New Order-y, really trades on the heritage. A/B list for sure. On the list for 2010, yeah?'.

Telly bloke's little slot is basically 'namedrop as much as fucking possible until you run out of feasible names'. It's all Wossy this and Jools that and oh fuck knows, has he stopped fucking talking yet? 'Ticks boxes. New Order, Manc attitude. Uncompromising. Fuck yeah. Fuck.'

Offline lass has been mailing out promos for the big 2010 push, along with a press release loosely thrown together with you-couldn't-make-it-up cliches such as 'Northern sulphuric spirit', and 'from the city that brought you....'. This is signed off by the label in hours as, despite occuring 20 years after them being relevant, the merest mention of New Order in association with a Manchester band equals 'they know what they're getting'.

This continues for another half hour or so - what is said is not important, it essentially involves reducing everything down to base level, stimulating to climax and dishing out a few more meaningless soundbites for everyone to take home and half-remember next time they're on the phone to some poor unfortunate who was only phoning the office to chase an invoice.

Craft an image all you like, write as many meaningless press releases as you want. A few throwaway phrases from this meeting have now become your calling card amongst people who matter. You're the 'Bloc Party with a keyboard', the 'Kitsune New Order'. And it doesn't help that you actually sound like a 3rd-rate New Order either.

Fast forward until the excreable 'ones to watch' lists for 2010 appear, and sure enough, we're on them. Time to really ramp up the meaningless, fawning hyperbole that only a New Manc Sensation can attract. Insist you're too young to have heard 'Blue Monday', profess you were raised on Nirvana, whatever. You've got a keyboard and we're going to wheel out the usual, sunshine. Let's not tax anyone with any names they don't recognise.

Of course, New Mancunia can only exist when coupled with a relevant partner from the past.

You like a bit of a widdle on the guitar?
Obviously you're 'Channelling Vini Reilly's Durutti Column at their creative peak'.

Drummer a bit busy?
'The bare soul of Donald from ACR shimmers at the side of the stage, nodding approvingly like a jazz-funkual Yoda'

Bought a keyboard?
'New Order's 'Technique' given an icy glance across the frozen wastes of time'

Let's sit back and digest some of this first-hand. Delphic are due to play at Manchester's Islington Mill sometime soon. You can read the listing here: Delphic Live! @ Islington Mill

Have a read of the blurb for Delphic, as written by the promoters. No-one's even fucking trying. It's from the same yellowing 'Manc 101' music Thesaurus Pete Robinson left in the shell of the Pleasure offices after he'd spunked the last of Rob Gretton's money 10 years ago.

Which is a shame, as there's always been decent bands from Manchester, indeed there are now, but this is just lazy 'good old days' reminiscence, nicely dovetailing with the wince-inducing appearance of the FAC251 club. It's the done thing. And it seems like it'll never go away.
"Delphic, a four-piece who rose about a year ago out of the ashes of briefly hyped Manc band Snowfight In The City Centre, are very much a celebration of 80s Manchester. And we definitely mean when New Order's futuristic disco pop ruled the waves and waived the rules - as opposed to 90s Manchester, when Oasis and the Roses made a virtue out of going back to chirpy harmonies and conservatively deployed guitar, bass and drums.

So Delphic are looking back to a period when white guitar bands refused to look back. But it's a welcome form of nostalgia, and one that's being given a contemporary kick because they emerge, coincidentally but fortuitously, just as New Order's back catalogue - that decade's most impressive body of work (the Smiths and Prince included) is being reissued and re-evaluated by the music monthlies. Their song titles - Doubt, Counterpoint - are very New Order while some sound so New Order-esque we're perilously close to Oasis-do-the-Beatles karaoke territory: one track, Submission (you can just see that word in some elegant Peter Saville font), has the plangent, trebly bass sound - that could also pass for a deep, mournful guitar sound - of New Order's Brotherhood album."


Thursday, 14 January 2010

New New Order... or Bad Lieutenant make an album

Here's a review from a while back...

Okay. What we have here is the new project from New Order's Bernard Sumner. This new grooop is called Bad Lieutenant and the album is called 'Never Cry Another Tear'. If my suspicions are right, this could be a very short review.

Right. First off, let's get the review out of the way for the New Order nuts out there who like everything they've done. Yes, this LP sounds pretty much like a New Order album. 'Sink or Swim', the first single sounds like it could have been on 'Republic'. Okay? Now go away. We've got a proper review to be getting on with.

"1993 was a special time for me..."

There's always been something kinda charming about Barney's rubbish lyrics. Famous New Order hits have pretty much been unified by his almost childlike approach to writing. Things haven't changed one bit... he sings, without any trace of irony "I'm gonna take you higher" and "I can't come back so hit the road, Jack". One of the most telling lines is the one in bold, above. I mean, c'mon.

Anyway, this LP ain't so much a new lease of life for Sumner... no no no... this is a proper new project. This isn't like those Electronic records he made with Johnny Marr whilst New Order members were all scowling at each other for the millionth time. This is a clean break, which effectively means writing songs that sound like New Order with some Doves thrown in for good measure.

If Sumner is covering the New Order angle (and let us be honest with each other here... Bernard is still the best New Order style vocalist on the planet) then new singer and writer, Jake Evans, who contributes to the LP in spades, is bringing the sound of Doves. Basically, he sounds just like Doves singer Jimi Goodwin.

Both of these ingredients will invariably thrill those Mancunians who are obsessive about the music made in the city by white men and their guitars. There's a grey cloud that hangs over Manchester in the form of Factory records and The Stone Roses. Sure, there's a whole host of great music that emanated from those two seismic points... but it's clear that there are many who refuse to let their icy grip go of those days, brought about by an intense, borrowed nostalgia that is believed so much that the lies have turned into truth.

This LP, while a perfectly reasonable listen, cements the view that Manchester is still stuck in the early '90s. Even Doves, who arrived long after that, had their feet firmly stuck in the comedown fug of the Roses at their gloomiest/ethereal [delete as applicable] and, let us not forget... they were making music as Sub Sub back then.

Fact is, this LP is a middle aged Madcunian's wet-dream. It ticks a revivalists boxes at every turn and sure, you can argue that segments sound a bit more modern and forward thinking... but the thought that those more progressive moments should be brought with a realisation that it is in fact, borrowing heavily from more recent Chemical Brothers LPs, who funnily enough, were in Manchester in the early '90s as students.

The sound of '90s Manchester is preprogrammed into the DNA of 90% of the music that emerges from the M60, which in the case of Bernard Sumner, you can't really expect anything else as he's a man who actually was in there, way back when, in a very entertaining and, at times, innovative band or two. However, if you're looking for something new and fresh, you won't find it here. By virtue of the fact that you're interested in a new Bernard Sumner LP it's more than likely that you're not looking for something new and exciting.

Fair enough... I just think Manchester has more to offer than this LP

Blueprint Monday

Of course, no Manchester blog would be complete without mentioning the song that started it all, the biggest 12" of all time, it's our 'Ferry Across the Mersey' - the moment you hear the bassline kick in, it's the unmistakable sound of er... Manchester's Gerry and the Holograms.

This came out in 1979, 4 years before Blue Monday.

Of course, that chord progression isn't copyrighted, and I'm sure it's easy enough to come up with if you give an infinite amount of monkeys an infinite amount of time, it's even possible New Order never even heard it. Extra points to Gerry and the Holograms for not dining out on this one for the following 35 years though.

From Manchester With Love...

Here is a new club idea. Peter Hook and pals get together to open a club called FAC251. As you can see from the above screengrab, there's a slight problem with this 'new project'... essentially, it's an idea that Peter Hook had years ago and wrote a book about called 'How Not To Run A Club'.

Even an idiot could tell you the whole tracklist for a Friday night in this staggering shit-hole.

Click here to visit the website

Delphic: New band, same old problem

Doing things differently tends to mean looking beyond your doorstep and not being yet another Manc grave robber.

FUC51: An introduction of sorts

Manchester will have you believe it is a forward thinking city. A Northern Republic standing up against the tide of Londoncentric nonsense. However, what Manchester fails to realise that it cannot ever move forward because it is so determined to rest on recent history.

While slating Liverpool for being a Beatle-museum, Mancs are still pretending it's 1988. Look around the city and you're given constant reminders of Factory Records, The Hacienda, The Stone Roses, The Smiths, Acid House, NewOrderJoyDivision and... you get the idea.

Our aim is to act as snipers to this relentless wave of borrowed nostalgia that continues to make stars of Madchester hangers-on and people steeped in yesteryear. We'll tear the memory to pieces, we'll show you where Manchester is getting it right, we'll harangue all that wallow in yellow and black hatchings and those that rifle the pockets of Wilson's corpse.

Manchester is a joke and has been irrelevant for too long. The rot stops now.