Northwest Music News – 11 Dec: Mark Vernon, Deadbear + more

Our last missive of the year from the Northwest including our favourite tracks plus new work from Deadbear, Rongorongo and more...

Feature by Simon Jay Catling | 11 Dec 2015

The Skinny Northwest's top track of the year!

List season is upon us and here in the Northwest is no different as a few writers from our music team was coerced into picking some of their favourite tracks to come from the region over the previous 12 months, in addition to some reflections from Outfit's Andrew Hunt, Manchester punks Ill and Liverpool brood Bad Meds. Who made the cut? Head on here to find out...

Deadbear new video

In what's been a busy year for Deadbear, with the producer very recently swapping Manchester for Berlin as well as remixing art-pop four-piece Dutch Uncles' leftfield banger Upsilon and releasing a single Tongues – featuring Sapporo based artist Qrion – through cult electronic pop label CSCN. Described in August as playing "to Deadbear's usual strengths, affecting a cut-and-paste, cluttered array of samples and beats that paradoxically create the sense of a gracefully linear journey", the producer has now dropped a video for the track, made from the building blocks of much-loved 90s SNES adventure classic Zelda: A Link To The Past and containing all original, all new footage using the game's engine and aesthetics to portray two protagonists journey as they seek to make it to play a show under constant threat from Ganon. Take a look.

Peace and Love Barbershop Muhammad Ali release new video

Wigan-born but marauding the Manchester independent scene for a number of years now under different guises, Mark Vernon looks to have got together his most complete-sounding collective yet, with the deliciously named Peace and Love Barbershop Muhammad Ali ploughing an enjoyably scuzzy furrow through a rockabilly and protopunk-inspired wasteland on their new track Mean Like A Snake (below). Others have drawn comparisons to the Fat White Family, but there's more of a knowing restraint, here at least, giving things a sinister bent amid the tension that things could erupt at any moment. The group are launching their split EP with French band Druggy Pizza at Soup Kitchen in Manchester next Thursday 17 Dec.

Kaleidoscopic new pop from Liverpool's Rongorongo

The sort of sighing, simmering synth-led new wave-inspired pop music that bands from Liverpool seem to do so well, Automatic Hypnotist by Rongorongo is a rich listen. The six-piece – who've gained a steady following locally for a couple of years now – create plush atmospherics and hazy mirages without losing sight of good melody, Driven perhaps the strongest example of the group's ability to simultaneously disappear down the rabbit hole while holding ear-nagging form. 

Digital Crate Digging

Breaking Colts – Sinner

A relative oldie but worth re-visiting having clapped eyes on the drums and bass drone duo for the first time supporting Sex Swing recently, Breaking Colts were once described by Elisa Ambrogio of the Magik Markers as "the female Om" having shared a stage with them. The pair deal in a glorious psychedelia of crushing riffery, pared down and drawn out to leave the senses in shreds, vocals occasionally added to their cyclical low-end tremors.  

Elsewhere on The

–  The Skinny's top 50 albums of the year, as voted for by our writers – but who came top of the pile?
–  Warpaint's jennylee played Band on the Wall this week, and ahead of her show, she chatted to Katie Hawthorne about going it alone.