Bearded’s Guide To… Liverpool

The next installment of our guide to what's going on in a town near you. This week Richard Lewis tells us what's going down in Liverpool.

Posted on Jan 26th, 2011 in Features and Interviews, Miles Kane / By Richard Lewis
Miles Kane Things may have been quiet on the music front in Liverpool over the past few years, but something is definitely beginning to stir in the Mersey Delta. Whilst fellow Northerners Leeds have triumphed with Brew Records boasting an excellent roster and the Brudenell Social Club becoming one of the coolest venues in the country along the way, Liverpool had rather fallen by the wayside. Things had been pretty quiet all round in the city since The Coral and The Zutons were in their pomp in the early Noughties.

Something definitely seems to be afoot now however, with the opening of two excellent new independent venues, The Kazimier (around the corner from the now defunct Cream), The Static Gallery and The Shipping Forecast spearheading a renaissance in the city’s live music circuit. The newly minted PayPer Tiger record label have revived the ancient art of the self-produced compilation, manufacturing and folding the sleeves at home, no less. In stylistic terms too new things appear to be happening as Liverpool musicians have seemingly discovered of late they can cover almost any genre they want.

Eschewing much of what you might expect from the city, including acts ‘heavily influenced’ shall we say by The La’s and Echo and the Bunnymen, this new brace of musicians have drawn inspiration from elsewhere. Heart-on-sleeve rockers Sound of Guns have been taken to Radio One’s heart (and crucially, playlist) over the past twelve months and seem highly likely to break into the publics’ conscious in a big way over the festival season. Acoustic diviners of sound The Sand Band meanwhile have been showered with plaudits from the national press for their recently released debut album, All Through the Night. Off-kilter nu-folk trio Stealing Sheep have been praised and performed sessions for Lauren Laverne and Marc Riley on BBC 6Music, as well as no less a figure than Sir Paul McCartney declaring himself a fan. With these three groups poles apart sonically, the difference in their respective sounds testifies to the breadth of talent in the city at the present time. Whilst the aforementioned have already attracted the attention of the media, here are some groups still hovering under the radar. Two to start with to whet your appetite, both very different and both of whom you’ll surely be hearing more of over the next twelve months.

In just about everybody’s 2011 predictions list, Wirral born and bred Miles Kane has been a fixture on the Liverpool music scene for the past half-decade or so with The Little Flames (more of whom in a later installment) and nearly-men The Rascals. He is best known however for his hugely successful collaboration with Arctic Monkeys’ frontman Alex Turner in The Last Shadow Puppets.

Debut solo 45 ‘Inhaler’ avoids the baroque Scott Walker infused indie of the ‘Puppets in favour of a stomping garage rock update. Follow-up single ‘Come Closer’ featuring Daisy Lowe in the video is due to be released on February 21st and already has a colossal buzz around it. With Noel Gallagher guesting on his imminent debut album (Miles returned the favour on his solo album) and support from just about everyone, 2011 will surely be the year Kane broaches the charts in a big way.

Retro-futurists The Wild Eyes’ psych-pop is beginning to build up a sizable buzz around the city. With psychedelia an element that has been unfortunately overlooked in rock music of late, the trio’s re-appropriation of the form for the twenty-first century is to be applauded. Inspired by the legendary Nuggets compilation of underground US bands, The Who’s aggressive surrealism and Revolver period Beatles, early nineties sonic adventurers My Bloody Valentine and The Verve are also sourced.

Able to handle lengthy blissed out explorations in sound, the trio are equally capable of reigning things in to deliver spiky pop songs that clock in around the three minute mark. Wringing the maximum amount possible out of simple riffs and chord progressions the massive-yet-minimal approach is imbued with new life in the hands of the three-piece. Unsigned at the present time, an ever-expanding live following and positive press locally will surely rectify the situation and launch them onto bigger stages soon.

The Sound of Guns’ debut album What Came From Fire is out now, they are currently touring.

The Sand Band’s debut album All Through the Night is out now.

Stealing Sheep tour from 30th Jan, new single ‘Mountain Dogs’ is released on February 14th

Miles Kane’s new single ‘Come Closer’ is out on Feb 21st Miles is currently on tour, the as-yet-untitled debut album is due in March.

The Wild Eyes tracks are available to stream from MySpace now.