Bearded’s Guide To… Liverpool

The GIT Awards 2013, The Rialto Burns, Witchfinder Records all feature.

Posted on Nov 8th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Richard Lewis
Bearded’s Guide To… Liverpool With the end of the year clearly in sight, any thoughts of drawing a line under 2012 and compiling the end of year lists early was firmly put paid to as a frenetic period of activity, encompassing EP and albums releases, gigs, venue openings, awards and assorted activity took place on Merseyside.

One of a clutch of acts to announce their return this autumn, diviners of introspective post-punk The Rialto Burns reappeared armed with excellent double A-side ‘Hibernation’ / ‘City Halls’.

The first new material since last year’s acclaimed debut LP Learning to Fight, the two slabs of downbeat indie-electronica and accompanying return to the live stage shows their time away has only served to sharpen their skills.

Both cuts come replete with videos, with lead track ‘Hibernation’ backed by a superb monochrome narrative shot in Blackpool. Check it out here.

Elsewhere, bricks and mortar developments saw two new music/art spaces open in the heart of the city centre. Drop the Dumbbells minus its original Don’t prefix, (the project was originally housed in a disused gym) made a welcome reappearance, the venue/art gallery pitching up in new premises on Slater St.

Extremely nearby meanwhile a returning venture in an existing venue opened its doors as the upstairs of The Shipping Forecast was pressed into service as the new base for Percy Gulliver's Printshop and Social.

A hook-up with Screenadelica whose acclaimed gig poster exhibitions have become a fixture of Liverpool Sound City, sees the space host art prints and screen printed posters from local and international artists including works by acclaimed local designer Horse Graphic Design.

On the city’s waterfront at the Arena meanwhile, Esco Williams (more of whom later) triumphed at the MOBO Awards last week, scooping the UnSung Award.

Staying with releases, Wirral psych/dub exponents Loved Ones, winners of the GIT Award made their first foray onto vinyl with the issue of new single ‘Weekends Are Ours’.

The first release by the band since securing the silverware back in April (more of which to follow), the 45 flags up the release of their debut album expected early next year.

With the launch gig held at the Leaf Cafe, scene of their victory, the 45 also marks the debut release from new label Witchfinder Records.

Dedicated to releasing singles on vinyl only, an enticing raft of releases has been announced with missives in jukebox-ready format from Emily & the Faves, Owls*, The Wild Eyes and Lovecraft already confirmed.

Looking ahead to the next few weeks on the releases front November 12th sees the simultaneous appearance of the superlative eponymous debut LP from By the Sea along with Free Reign, the seventh opus by veteran garage/psych outfit Clinic

Also on the same day Pop Levi, once of this parish makes a much anticipated return to the fray with his third album Medicine.

Recorded in Greece and Los Angeles, the set is backed with Levi’s first gig on these shores in almost 18 months at London’s The Lexington on November 17th.

A few weeks later on the 29th alternative pop/math rock quartet Ninetails (pictured) resurface with their second EP Slept and Did Not Sleep, which hits the shelves just prior to their first show down in The Smoke. Stream the collection here.

Big upcoming live events in the city include North by Northwest, held at storied Kensington venue The Olympia which sees the venerable Kensington theatre hosting an XL bill of music on the 10th.

Headlined by Balearic dancefloor doyens The Tea Street Band a group whose live reputation has rapidly become one of the city’s best, By the Sea, The Loud, The Hummingbirds, Cold Shoulder and many others besides also feature.

On the subject of The GIT Awards, after the huge impact the prize made in its debut year, the Liverpudlian equivalent of the Mercury Prize has recently announced its return for 2013.

An offshoot of the GetIntoThis blog originated by Liverpool music journalist Peter Guy, the prize’s mission to recognise the best music being created on Merseyside over the past 12 months received a colossal 380 entries being submitted.

Paring the 300 plus figure down to 12, the shortlist provided a microcosm of how rich and varied the city’s music scene is at present, running the gamut from minimalist avant garde, hip-hop, psych folk, prog rock and pretty much everything else besides.

Capturing the attention of the national media, 2012s essential dozen included the well-established likes of Stealing Sheep, Bill Ryder-Jones, Mugstar and Forest Swords alongside nascent talents Ninetails, The Tea Street Band and Bang On.

The city’s unequalled venue The Kazimier was garlanded with the Inspiration Award for the pivotal role it has played in the city’s live music scene since it opened in 2008.

Open to artists across the board from bedroom musicians, veterans of the gig circuit up to and including bands signed to independent labels, all genres of music are welcomed, the only two entry stipulations are a minimum of four tracks submitted on CD or mp3 and acts need to have a clear connection to Merseyside.

The launch for the 2013 prize is a formidable one-two punch as the opening date for submissions is celebrated alongside the launch of GIT Awards 2012 nominee and MOBO prize winner Esco Williams’ single ‘The New Challenger’.

The closing date for entries for the prize will be Spring 2013 with the overall winner of the GIT Award and Inspiration Award to be announced next April.


Musicians, bands and creative types who would like to enter for this year’s prize are asked to send four tracks to .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)

Alternatively post to Peter Guy, The GIT Award, Liverpool Daily Post & ECHO, PO Box 48, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L69 3EB.

The GIT Award 2013 launch party featuring Esco Williams is held on November 16th at Leaf Cafe’s Grey Space, Water St.