Monday, 13 November 2017

live review - Sounds Magazine

live review, thanks to Sounds Magazine:
One of the most exciting, long-lasting and innovative bands on the Manchester underground; The Speed of Sound open the night with a storming set. They begin with their signature tune “Shut All The Clubs”, lead single from their acclaimed 2016 album release “Everything Changes”, and a hit with listeners of Manchester and Salford’s numerous underground radio shows. With its lyrics’ biting attack on gentrification and the authorities’ shameless erosion of subcultural lifestyles, it is a real anthem for the culturally oppressed in this day and age. Lead singer and guitarist John Armstrong’s distinctive vocal delivery and guitar style get the music off to a swinging start, complimented by the infectious bass grooves of bassist Kevin Roache, percussion from co-vocalist Ann-Marie Crowley and drum rhythms from Anthony Edwards, standing in tonight for regular drummer Paul Worthington during his break from the band.
The band follow with a selection of tunes from the aforementioned album, Armstrong and Crowley swapping vocal duties between songs. Armstrong is a powerful frontman, his modest but lively showmanship and Bryan Ferry-esque vocal style guiding the band smoothly through a set that never becomes dull or repetitive. Their music shows distinctive traces of New York art rock and No Wave, often verging on the experimental and psychedelic while never losing its melody or infectious catchiness. Ann-Marie Crowley, herself an understated heroine of the Manchester underground with her previous role as lead singer of Poppycock, is an artist you just cannot help but respect, her vocals on songs such as “The Moment Is Now” at times evocative of Nico with traces of Chrissie Hynde, her stage presence modest and unassuming yet powerful in its very humbleness. This band is about great art and infectious avant-garde pop without the ego or posturing that often comes with bands obsessed with hitting the big time. The band’s sound is very strong on both new and old songs, as well as the two cover versions, of The Flirtations’ “Nothing But A Heartache” and their lively cover of The Primitives’ “Crash”. Their set is brought to a close by a striking performance of their 1989 song “Glide on By”. (full article link here)

Sunday, 15 October 2017

All-Nighter

Zombie Shack in Manchester hosted the first in an irregular series of all-nighter gigs, with The Chords UK providing the headline and The Speed Of Sound playing a 50 minute set before them, 9pm doors, 10pm live and a bar licence to 5am with DJ's through the night. It might have been October outside but it was hot and bouncing inside. It all added up to great sound, great atmosphere and great people. There will be more.
Chris Pope & The Chords UK (photo Alan May)
The Speed Of Sound set list:
Shut All the Clubs
The Moment Is Now
Seen It All Before
Nothing But A Heartache
Tomorrow's World
Opium Eyes
No Kicks
Day In Day Out
Crash
Only Everything
I'm Real
I Don't Want Your Attentions
Glide On By


Sunday, 17 September 2017

Song By Song - The Wargame


The darkness and silence of the ocean depths fill the Wargame with salt and stay; it dates from 1989. There was a series of trawlers being dragged and or sunk by submarines in the late 1980's the introduction of quick release mechanisms for nets has changed that but the the silent and invisible 'ungentlemanly weapon' still remains a menace to fishermen.
I had just read Edgar Allen Poe's short stories and their recurring themes of live burial and claustrophobia resonated with the disappearing trawlers and submarines in the news headlines.
Submarine exercise areas surround the British coast and there are also visiting (and not always invited) submarines present.
There are several recorded versions of The Wargame; the 2010 version on the 'At Tree Level' album, a live studio recording from late 2013, an 'unplugged' version from also from 2013 and the 'Everything Changes' album version of 2016.
Regularly in the live et, The Wargame has multiple different live recordings also existing from 1989 and 1990. The 2010 version has a video filmed in North Brewick, which has submarine exercise areas clearly marked just off shore on the standard ordnance survey map.




Monday, 4 September 2017

live at the market

Three songs played for the first time at the gig on 2nd September in the last of the summer sun, outdoor and live at the happening the is Levenshulme Market like playing in three bookshops at once with a vast selection of foods and interesting independent trader neatness, big thanks to Sean for the sound on the day and Christine for having us.
Set list:
Girl On The Roof
Tomorrow's World
Nowhere Man
Love
Femme Fatal
I Can't Say
The Wargame
Seen It All Before
Only Everything
Day In Day Out
Echo Beach
Opium Eyes
Brass In Pocket
Always Seems To Fall
Little Miss Restless
I'm Real
Glide On By


Thursday, 20 July 2017

Fringe

It was a splendid at Ruby Lounge on Saturday, thanks to Greater Manchester Fringe Festival and everyone that turned out to witness Stuart's first outing in our drum chair and Lucy playing three gigs in one night plus terrific sets from the lovely French Boutik and the superb Kite Collectors



Set list:
Girl On The Roof
I'm Real
The Moment Is Now
Seen It All Before
Tomorrow's World
Karin B
Crash
Little Miss Restless
Love
Shut All The Clubs
I Don't Want Your Attentions




 


Sunday, 9 July 2017

for those of you that like charts in a nice font

Paul is taking a break from drumming for a while, so its a good time to post this, and if you missed the email newsletter it's further down:


Saturday, 1 July 2017

acoustic single - instant download

Seen It All Before, the acoustic version.
The new digital single, plus three bonus tracks.

Languid and sultry, summer bleached and weather worn, let it wash over you; dive in here

Instant download of Seen It All Before and the other three tracks on release date.

Slower, longer and a different feel. Not just a remix with the guitar part changed this is a completely separate recording. Everything has changed...

Recorded during the Everything Changes sessions, this single augments the album and effectively turns it into the deluxe version. All four tracks for £1.

Wednesday, 28 June 2017

song by song: I See You Everywhere That I Go

Kevin is the only one of us whose voice isn't on the Everything Changes album; 'I See You Everywhere That I Go' feature's Paul's vocal contribution: 
"Ya right?" Just before counting us in. It seemed wrong to edit it out.
Written a week before the fall of the Berlin Wall in November 1989, 'I See You Everywhere That I Go' (or ICU as is was abbreviated on set lists in ’89-‘91) was a regular in the live list from immediately after writing, the format has changed little since then, it still opens with the single minor chord and hurls itself straight into a chorus before diving into the first instrumental passage which has shrunk considerably and is less John Coltrane/Eight Miles High/far-out than it used to be 28 years ago.The verses still all come together, a sideways shift and then its choruses all the way out. The live popularity is echoed by the number of recordings - live versions exist from ’89 and ’90 as well as the 'At Tree Level' and 'Everything Changes' album takes, plus an as yet unreleased remix from the EC recording. Currently - thanks to it briefly being on the NME website in 2011 - it is also our most watched video.
Although not deliberately obscure, it is open to interpretation in several different ways. The ever present security cameras of the 21st century were relatively uncommon in 1989, but in East Germany one in six people was a Stasi informant, at various times spying on each other often without ever knowing their target was also an informant and reporting back too. 
Lyrically there is a parallel element of paranoia and obsession - it could be a love song or even a stalker song. It''s unclear if the point of view is the watched, or the watcher, or both. This slightly dusty miniature of the paparazzi statue in Bratislava stands next to the CD player in the kitchen,. He Is a reminder that you are always being watched. You are always on camera. So best look sharp.

Sunday, 21 May 2017

Twin cities

The Eagle Inn Salford hosted TheJetBeats from Michigan on their UK tour taking in the Twin Cities here, with ourselves and Jack Woodward as special guests, excellent sound, excellent people and a damn fine night was had. 60'sBeat a go-go. Thanks for having us.
Set list:
Girl On The Roof
I'm Real
Brand New Cadillac
I Can't Say
Glide On By
Chalk Circle
The Moment Is Now
Karin B
Love
Shut All the Clubs
I Don't Want Your Attentions
Next up it's Manchester Fringe Festival with French Boutik and The Kite Collectors on 15July
(and... we're still on Radio On in Berlin everyday in May on their Attack Of The Moths show)

Sunday, 14 May 2017

song by song - Checkpoint Charlie

Imagined as the soundtrack of a dark and bleak unmade cold war spy film, Checkpoint Charlie crunched and kicked its way to be the opening track of the bonus CD of the Everything Changes LP. The Berlin Wall lurked in the background of my childhood, through the teenage years and half of my 20's. It was a stark symbol of the the ever present threat of nuclear winter and of course a physical
barrier and a significant cultural reference point, through the writing of Len Deighton (and the Michale Caine films) plus Quiller, John Le Carre and the binary appearance of 'western' freedom with David Bowie and Iggy Pop creating art and expression, while just over the border an average of one in any six people was a Stasi informant, while the cities of opposites competed with each other to be best; if one built a TV tower the other built a taller one with a restaurant in it; if one had a zoo the other had to have more spectacular animals in theirs.
An insular self-contained city deep inside a separate country, divided into four different administrative zones and split from itself by a wall would be the stuff off science fiction if it wasn't real.

The first EP was released in September 1989, and one of the first places it was broadcast was on Kentucky Fried Royalty alternative radio in Berlin, just before the wall came down on 9th November. The following month the Romanian regime collapsed and the Soviet Bloc was crumbling, and with it the cold war. There was a sense that the world had come to it's senses and nuclear war receded into the background... little did we know.
The former site of Checkpoint Charlie - the transit point between the US Zone and East Berlin - now has a recreation of the border crossing booth and a MacDonalds, it is a Grade One listed tourist trap. If you are ever in Berlin try Checkpoint Charlie in the late evening, when the tourists have all gone and the streets are deserted, there is at least a whiff
of the atmosphere of menace as you walk across the street that was an open tract of land between the East and West checkpoints of the wall.

The tune for Checkpoint Charlie was born on a visit to Berlin in 2012, I met up with Lord Litter (the DJ who had played us there 23 years earlier) did an extended interview for his show on Radio Marabu and left a guitar riff on his hard drive. We both recorded very different versions (you can hear them on Soundcloud), mine became the demo-version for the recording for Everything Changes. It evolved and the final LP version has Lord Litter provided the voice of an East German border guard on the introduction, speaking the phrases he had heard so many times before as a native Berlin resident, sometimes while he was smuggling
East German bands master-tapes into the west... I can't think of anyone better qualified to have on the recording.
The closing moments of the album version of Checkpoint Charlie are JFK addressing the people of Berlin and the world's media on 26 June '63, many thanks to the Miller Centre University Of Virginia for providing and allowing use of the audio. Ich bin ein Berliner.

Checkpoint Charlie also appears on this Detour Records compilation album 

If you want to know more about life in former East Berlin try Anna Funder's Stasiland


Wednesday, 3 May 2017

Radio On

Radio On broadcasting 24 hours a day from Underground Berlin, and worldwide
on the web at http://www.radio-on-berlin.com/

The May edition of Attack Of The Moths show features The Speed Of Sound, twice, 'Little Miss Restless' and 'The Changes' and it's repeated daily so thats a mere 62 plays in May. (Thanks!) Check the schedule for your local broadcast times (here
the Radio On website says of Attack Of The Moths: "the tracks he plays are made by people who operate far away from music industries always focussed on their own sound, their own expression. That is a way of resistance." It feels good to be counted in that number.

Saturday, 4 March 2017

back at the Thirsty Scholar

Currently adding the bass line to a demo of a new song and removing a guitar part, it has just made a vertical take off.
Our first gig of the year was a fab hour long set at the Thirsty Scholar, with a hoopy and frood crowd,  its good to be back, thanks to everyone for coming out on a Sunday night and to Martin for putting us on
Set list:
Checkered Land
Maid Of The Grey
Seen It All Before
Crash
Uhrwerk
I'm Real
Glide On By
The Moment Is Now
Chalk Circle
I Don't Want Your Attentions
Karin B
Always Seems To Fall
Love
Shut All The Clubs
There's No One There

Saturday, 25 February 2017

blink and you miss it

Time slips away alarmingly fast. It might have been a two month gap in posts but it has not been an empty chasm of nothingness; our Everything Changes album is now stocked in Clampdown Records and Vinyl Revival (filed under Manchester of course). We're working on some good looking gigs for later in the year and the next one is Sunday 26th February, an early evening hour long 7pm set, its free entry and followed by Ska Sunday, if you're in Manchester come down and say hello.