Bearded’s Guide To… Liverpool

A summary of new music developments in Liverpool. Richard Lewis is our guide. The GIT Awards, Wet Mouth and Faded Gold all feature.

Posted on Mar 28th, 2012 in Features and Interviews / By Richard Lewis
Bearded’s Guide To… Liverpool The month of March brought an avalanche of musical activity in Merseyside, the most notable event aside from a deluge of gigs being the announcement of the shortlist for the inaugural Getintothis Award.

Dubbed ‘Liverpool’s answer to the Mercury Prize’ by the NME, The GIT Award received almost 400 hundred entries, a staggering number for the gong’s debut year which aims to find the best record made by Merseyside-based musicians over the past 12 months. Open to any genre or style, the only stipulations for entry were acts had to have a clear connection to Liverpool and artists submitted four tracks for consideration.

Named after the blog that established the award, ran by Liverpool music journalist Peter Guy, the 380 entries were hammered into a shortlist of 12 by a nine member judging panel comprised of cornerstones of the city’s music landscape, and those with a connection to the city. These include figures from Vice, The Quietus, The Guardian, NME, Bido Lito! Waxxx, plus judges from Liverpool Football Club’s website, the Getintothis blog and club night EVOL.

The quality of the shortlist and the staggering number of CDs and mp3s that were sent in speaks volumes about the rude health Liverpool’s musical scene is in at present.

Names on the shortlist include some well-known, several on the up and up and an additional number who have just emerged from their musical chrysalis. The best known acts, The Coral’s former guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones, prog-rock doyens Mugstar, psych-folk trio Stealing Sheep, the much-tipped Outfit and sound texturalist Forest Swords represent artists who already have national recognition.

Acts well known in the city and others decisively on the way up include folktronic quartet Loved Ones, Balearic dance-rock merchants The Tea Street Band, female MC Miss Stylie, soul singer Esco Williams, Big Dada signing MC Bang On, avant-ambient duo Ex-Easter Head and math-pop quartet Ninetails (see last guide).

A wildly eclectic list, the winners will receive free studio recording time, shows at Liverpool Music Week and Liverpool Sound City and a gig at the uber-hip Old Blue Last down in The Smoke.

The recipient will be plucked from the essential dozen and announced at a ceremony at the Leaf Café on the 27th April where all of those shortlisted will perform live and music writer/Goldblade vocalist John Robb will oversee proceedings.

And if all that wasn’t enough, here are two new acts for your perusal also…

The two girls-two lads alt rock formation Wet Mouth (pictured) have set tongues wagging over the past six months with their inspired re-imagining of early 1990s US indie. The female fronted quartet are a pan-global venture, with members drawn from Norway, Canada, the States and the UK.

The four piece source the likes of The Breeders, PJ Harvey, the unfairly forgotten Throwing Muses and Sonic Youth’s Kim Gordon lead-sung material to give the best bits of early nineties US alt rock a fresh spin.

‘Red Hot Euphoria’, the sound of Gilda-era Rita Hayworth fronting a sleazy cocktail bar band with a riff that unspools like a slinky going down a flight of stairs with a brushed snare providing the foundation is one of several early landmarks.

‘White Light’ is the sound of PJ Harvey duetting with Kim Gordon on a lost gem from Sonic Youth’s Sister while ‘Choristers’ superbly deadpan girl vox and writhing guitars is underpinned by a thudding Kim Deal bassline, a hallmark of their sound.

Presently in the studio, their debut recording is eagerly awaited following the anticipation generated by their gigs, which have come in for serious praise.

Changing tack somewhat, the ambient glide of Faded Gold has built up a considerable buzz in the live arena over the past two months. First heard on last November’s self-titled EP, the quintet of tracks alerted the world to Stephanie Chew’s project, the short instrumental pieces evoking peak-period Boards of Canada with a smidgen of Explosions in the Sky in their wispy, elegiac beauty.

The music box melody of ‘Reflections’ and the dancing figures of ‘Distance’ recall Vespertine era period Bjork in their intimate, cocoon-like warmth, with a hint of M83’s shoegazing textures.

Recent double A-side ‘Last Night I Dreamt Alone’/‘Mont-Royal’ furthered the fleeting beauty of the EP. The former would soundtrack a scene of emotional desolation in David Lynch’s next cinematic opus perfectly, while the latter hones in on a classic vintage Korg synth sound and oscillating melody line.

Performing solo, live the ambient vistas are suitably backed by grainy public domain films, the visual equivalent of ‘found sounds’ setting off the distant dreaminess of the music perfectly.

Last Night I Dreamt Alone / Mont-Royal is out now.