Ten NEW bands you should check out NOW…

Posted in Music, Pop Culture with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 22, 2018 by dc

Life takes it’s toll and whilst I’d love to be a prolific blogger like five or six years ago, it’s no longer possible. I do like to keep this little blog ticking over though, so every now and again I can highlight some new art, a cracking film or some great new music.

As I creep into middle age, like many folk, I have lots of conversations with people about how, “there’s no good music anymore”. I nearly always baulk at this suggestion, and whilst 2018 probably isn’t going to be remembered as a great year of new music like 1969, 1977 or even 1994 were, it’s certainly started off on the right note.

Just yesterday I was having a chat about new music with a friend and pretty quickly we were able to list about a dozen top new acts that had released debut EP’s, albums or just a song or two in the last few months. The music scene might be starved of money on the bottom few rungs of the ladder but the creativity’s still bubbling and thriving.

I’ve put together a list of ten acts who’ve released debut stuff this year (or for the pedants amongst you, late 2017 and this year), and who I’d encourage you to check out (especially if you think there’s no decent new music nowadays):

MIEN – Their site describes them as, “a Transatlantic four-way collision of considerable force”. Pitchfork have labelled them, “apocalyptic psych rock”. I’d call them, “kraut-psych noodlers with tunes”.

The Fernweh – A Northern three piece whose debut single, ‘The Liar‘ has a late 60’s psych-folk feel to it and loads of charm.

Olden Yolk – A New York four piece crafting catchy motorik influenced folk rock, with some lovely little electronic flourishes and prog rock moments scattered here and there.

Boy Azooga – A cracking new Welsh band who remind me of recent blues rockers like The Black Keys and Royal Blood, but there’s also a playfulness that touches on bands like Can, The Happy Mondays and the Super Furry Animals.

Sports Team – Peculiar UK six piece mixing up elements of slacker rock and 80’s post-punk to create some chest-thumping, wayward excellence.

Andre Bernier – Lovely, mellow folky shenanigans (from a man who needs to upload more stuff onto YouTube).

Cut Worms – This American singer-songwriter has been getting a fair bit of radio play recently. He has a really catchy late 50’s / early 60’s retro sound (think Harry Nilsson sings The Everly Brothers, or vice versa) that kids could probably listen to with their nan without it seeming too odd.

Creep Show – A new collaboration between John Grant and Stephen Mallinder (aka Wrangler) – think alternative 80’s electro-pop meets sinister oddness and dry mirth.

ARTHUR – Avant-garde oddball that hit my curiosity buttons perfectly – I know nothing about him, except for the fact he’s on a London based record label and has two tunes available that both barely scrape over the one minute mark.

Palace Winter – A Danish duo serving up gently dark scando-alt-pop that’s more palatable than that sounds. They’ve had plenty of 6 Music plays, which makes sense.

So, there you go, ten top new bands / actslooking for some love this year. Who have I missed out? Let’s share some new stuff…

Dunstan Doodles’ Manchester Icons slideshow

Posted in Art, illustration, manchester with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 20, 2018 by dc

A slideshow I’ve put together featuring my Manchester Icons portraits…

All available as A3 sized giclee prints over at Dunstan Doodles.

Slacker Shack’s Top Ten Albums of 2017

Posted in Lists, Music with tags , , , , , , , , , , on December 31, 2017 by dc


It seems a fair few years since people were muttering about the supposed death of the album. If streaming has changed anything it’s been an increase in the variety of music people consume nowadays and the choice available. If 2017 is anything to go by the album format is still very much the heartbeat of top quality music in my book.

Over the past couple of weeks as I’ve listened back to dozens of albums from the past year I’ve noticed how varied my favourite albums of the year seem to be. From the urban magpie brilliance of King Krule‘s ‘The OOZ‘ and the concrete post-punk commentary of Idles‘ ‘Brutalism‘, to the quirky folk songs of This Is The Kit‘s ‘Moonshine Freeze‘ and the fresh electronic sounds of Four Tet‘s ‘New Energy‘. It’s been a vast and kaleidoscopic year for music in all it’s forms.

Astonishingly, my current favourite band, King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard, ended up releasing five albums (FIVE??), and in doing so put the work rate of most bands to shame. I loved all five albums too (and all 5 would be in a top twenty). Their chokka-block year started with ‘Flying Microtonal Banana‘, followed by ‘Murder Of The Universe‘ and then, ‘Sketches of Brunswick East‘, a brilliant jazzy collaboration with The Mild High Club. Then as December progressed and it looked unlikely they’d follow through on their promise of five albums in a year, the brilliant ‘Polygondwanaland‘ popped up out of nowhere and just yesterday they capped things off with another absolute stunner in, ‘Gumboot Soup‘. I’m off to see them in May and it’s been years since I’ve been as excited about a gig.

So, enough gassing, what’s the Top Ten look like?

Like this…

Four Tet – New Energy
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Polygondwanaland
This Is The Kit – Moonshine Freeze
King Krule – The OOZ
Kendrick Lamar – Damn.
King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard – Gumboot Soup
Run The Jewels – Run The Jewels 3
Idles – Brutalism
Chad VanGaalen – Light Information
Spoon – Hot Thoughts

So, that’s mine, what’s yours?

Slacker Shack’s Top 20 Alt’ Tunes of 2017

Posted in Lists, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on December 25, 2017 by dc


The world may have seemingly teetered on the brink of apocalypse now and again during 2017 but it’s been a pretty good year for music nonetheless. They often say that in times of bleak politics and social division great artistry shines, and whilst it may have been a fairly dull year at the cinema, it was a blockbuster year for TV and maybe even more so for music – or at least I like to think it was as I reminisce over the year gone by.

I love compiling a Top 20 list of tunes each year. I’ve done it since 2008 and it’s started to feel like a nice little time capsule collection and something that helps my middle-aged brain look back and absorb the year.

The ‘Slacker Shack Top Ten Albums of the Year‘ list will appear in the next day or two but in the meantime I want to jot down a handful of my musical highlights from the year:

  • The mighty King Gizzard & The Lizard Wizard releasing four albums – and four great albums too – there are very few bands around at the moment who are trailing a blaze quite as fierce as these adventurous antipodeans
  • Another King – this time, Londoner, King Krule‘s album ‘The Ooze‘ – Gilles Peterson described it as the album that best sums up exactly where British music is at currently – it sucks in everything from classic London songwriters like Joe Strummer and Billy Bragg, to 90’s trip-hop, British soul and 2-tone – a real melting pot of brilliance
  • The return of Beck – whilst ‘Colors‘ is not as mindblowingly genre shaking as he’s been in the past, any Beck album beats 99.9% of the music it finds itself surrounded by and singles, Dear Life, Dreams and title track Colors were up there with him at his peak
  • The raw, fat-trimmed post-punk bellow of Bristol’s Idles and their cracking Brutalism album – there’s was something very 2017 about their sound and popularity
  • Four Tet’s ‘New Energy‘ album – it made me reminisce back to my days as a youth in the mid to late 90’s whilst simultaneously sounding like a modern blueprint for progressive electronica and IDM

There’s more of course – I could blather on for hours like a lonely Pitchfork writer with verbal diarrhoea. I could ponder why San Felu‘s ‘How To Build Windmills‘ EP didn’t get heard by as many folk as it’s excellence warranted. Or why I’ve not heard people waffle on about the brilliance of Wovoka Gentle, OCS, Landlady or Snail Mail as much as I should’ve. But I won’t 😉

So, without further-a-do here are Slacker Shack’s Top 20 Alt’ Tunes of 2017 – if you’re on Spotify, get streaming – if you’re not, sorry…

The Ultimate Slacker Rock Playlist

Posted in Lists, Music with tags , , , , , , , , on November 13, 2017 by dc


Way back in the summer of 2011 I compiled a list of the Top Ten Slacker Rock Acts of all Time. I was going through a lengthy phase of revisiting albums by the likes of Pavement, Guided by Voices, Grandaddy, Beck and Modest Mouse at the time and wanted to log something (I thought) was definitive. I made a couple of errors (leaving out The Breeders was a mistake) but visitors to the blog seemed to pretty much agree with my choices.

Just under four years later (this blog’s called ‘Slacker Shack‘ for a reason!) I followed that particular blog up with another detailing my choices for a Top Ten new ‘Slacker Rock’ acts. 2015 heralded a definite rise in bands and acts who cherished classic slacker rock albums like Pavement‘s ‘Slanted & Enchanted‘, GBV‘s ‘Bee Thousand‘ and ‘Alien Lanes‘ and Dinosaur Jnr’s ‘Where You Been‘. Acts like Yuck, Mac DeMarco and Courtney Barnett all conjured up echoes of those glorious 90’s acts, so the new list seemed to make sense.

In 2017 I’d argue the slacker rock genre is as healthy as it’s ever been. In just the last two or three years I’ve stumbled across acts like Kurt Vile, LVL UP, Carseat Headrest, Parquet Courts, Ought, Twin Peaks and Radstewart. All unique and different but all containing a whiff of that slack eyed, loose limbed obtuseness I’ve loved for nearly three decades now.

Anyway, I’ve decided to celebrate this reminiscence by sharing a Slacker Rock Spotify playlist I’ve compiled. It contains 50 top notch slacker rock tunes from over the years and if I do say so myself it’s an absolutely belting listen:

What’s on Lisa Simpson’s bookshelf?

Posted in Animation, Cartoon, Funny with tags , , , , , , , on November 12, 2017 by dc

The internet’s at it’s best when it’s daft and random and the following Instagram account has it’s feet firmly planted in both camps. It answers a question you may never have asked but may be glad you got an answer for anyway, namely – is there a place you can find a visual log of all the books Lisa Simpson has ever bought, read, carried, flicked through, handled or been vaguely associated with somehow on The Simpsons?

Well the answer is yes and the place to head is the Simpsons Library account on Instagram. Pitched simply it’s ‘Lisa’s Bookshelf’ and it’s very tittersome.

LS book

Dead Captain – The Fear – new video

Posted in Art, Music, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , , , , on October 31, 2017 by dc

Dead Captain - The Fear - shrunk1

Tameside duo, Dead Captain released a Halloween themed tune earlier on today.

The Fear‘ is a spooky bit of garage rock from the duo and can be downloaded or streamed for free here.

They’ve also released a new lo-fi video to go with it – check iot out below: