Bearded’s Guide To… Liverpool

A digest of musical goings on in Merseyside, Game Theory, the GIT Awards and Death at Sea feature. By Richard Lewis

Posted on May 3rd, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Richard Lewis
Bearded’s Guide To… Liverpool As International Record Store Day celebrated its biggest year yet, Liverpool marked the occasion in considerable style. In addition to the city centre’s three record shops having queues stretching out of the door, The Wolstenholme Creative Space held a record and ‘zine fair which showcased the city’s extensive network of independent record labels and burgeoning art scene.

As the WCS catered for vinyl hungry customers during the day, come nightfall attention switched to the other side of Wolstenholme Square to Mello Mello. The venue was packed to the rafters as venerable music publication Bido Lito! and Liverpool indie label Payper Tiger joined forces.

A 15 track limited edition compilation of local acts entitled Game Theory to mark the occasion available on cassette only (it contains a download code, thankfully) was issued to celebrate RSD 2012

Wrapped in tasteful/garish pink artwork echoing the magazine’s pages, the tape provides a snapshot of the city’s music scene much in the same way Probe Records’ samplers did in the eighties. The remarkably varied compilation assembles Merseyside’s present big-hitters and those on the way up with a commendably eclectic mixture of tracks.

Boasting superior cuts from Kankouran, Outfit, Forest Swords, Bill Ryder-Jones and Mugstar the release also features a preview of the upcoming Stealing Sheep debut LP, a Clinic rarity and rising folk trio All We Are.

The troika of acts playing at the launch all appeared on the release, with Leonard Cohen inspired indie from headliners Owls* superlative psych/garage from The Wild Eyes and Death at Sea (more of whom later) also on the bill.

Two streets away and several days later, what is likely to become a mainstay in the Merseyside music calander got underway. The GIT Awards (see last month’s Guide) held at the Leaf Café, saw folktronica act Loved Ones scoop the coveted prize.

Ten of the 12 shortlisted nominees played live on the night, running the gamut of hip-hop, prog-rock, math-pop, avant-garde and all points in between.

The Kazimier, the city’s matchless gig space won the Inspiration Award for their huge role in the revitalization of the city’s music scene in the four years since they opened their doors.

Stunning visuals created by Milk: Presents, including short films of each nominee, complemented the live action with Liverpool music journalist Paul Du Noyer handing over the gong.

An overwhelmingly positive reception, a huge turn-out for the result and the interest of the national press all point to the prize being extremely likely to be making a return this time next year.

And now for a band…

Logging their first live booking at the Game Theory launch party, Death at Sea (pictured) encountered the venue somehow becoming even busier when they took to the stage. The fuss the group have generated in the past few months is due to the clutch of tracks on their Soundcloud page and positive press locally.

Mining a golden age of US college rock, the brief interlude between grunge and things souring in the mid-nineties, the quintet combine fuzzy lo-fi guitar riffs and weapons-grade vocal hooks to devastating effect.

‘Drag’ revolving around its two line chorus ‘When he’s with her/She bleeds glitter’ places the hook at the very front of the track, a device that proves ruthlessly effective as before the song is even finished you find yourself chorusing it.

Elsewhere ‘Selfless’ striding along on trebly guitar riffs swerves into a Pavement-esque declamation of ‘You’re fucking bringing me down’ whereupon things become brilliantly ramshackle as the guitars stagger about and the band’s harmony vocals come into play. Similarly ‘Sea Foam Green’, meanwhile marries chugging guitars akin to Sugar and a soaring chorus that has the listener hooked on the first play.

With BBC Radio One and that famous music publication with the initials in the title already paying attention, their forthcoming Liverpool Sound City show is
likely to ramp up interest even further.

Check them out here