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Friday, 22 April 2011

Sounds Of The City: Sheffield

Overall it does seem as though Sheffield's been a bit quiet over the past couple of years. But as this week couldn't be headed by anyone other than the mighty Arctic Monkeys it seems right to cover some of the other underground rumblings that are afoot.

So today then we look to the first compilation in a series looking at British cities that has decided to focus on the Steel City that I've been calling home for the entirety of my adult life.

Firstly there's two things that you need to know about the Sounds Of The City compilation:

1) This is not a genre focused mix. There's every chance that you won't dig everything that's on offer, but also every chance that you might find something new that tickles yr pop-buds.
2) It's for a good cause. All of the proceeds are going to Cash For Kids, a charity helping disabled and disadvantaged children in South Yorkshire and North Midlands

Opening the 10 track CD/Download set is Wooderson whose indie rock takes a dollop of influcence from post-hardcore and features zipping and rattling guitars-aplenty. Although at times it can feel somewhat unrefined there's more than a hint of raw potential that signifies that better things aren't far off.

Already very much there however are Screaming Maldini, the name that piqued my interest in the compilation. Their epic jittery pop is essentially perfection and even if you pass on the Sounds Of The City you absolutely must listen to 'The First Raindrop'. If you do however chose to check out Maldini through this, you'll come across a variety of different acts that have as much chance of surprising you as they do being completely not yr thing.

Take Renegade Brass Band for instance. Socially conscious brass funk/hip hop collectives aren't something that crops up every day in our indiepop circles, and as much as in the back of yr mind you'll be aware that they're a little crusty, there's a tenacity and vigour that they pursue their vision with that's highyl admirable. 'Take No Chances, Make No Changes' says pretty much everything there is to know about the angle that they 're taking so make of it what you will.

Back on the pop front The Heebie Jeebies and Skeletons & The Empty Pockets go for a left of centre take on indie rock. The former go for an intricate and delicate jangle, whilst the latter bring a darkly creeping quality into their lo-fi track 'In The Woods'. Both are worth a listen and both could end up delighting.

Unlinke Pudge, whose contribution 'Fuckin Yes Mate' delivers on all that the godawful title promises. Like The Enemy doing pop-punk. But even worse. It's scrappy chav rock. The only positive is that it's short. Whilst sticking with what one might expect from the Sheffield music scene, Alverez Kings deliver 'Fractured Bones & Reputations'. Whilst it's memorable and will utterly delight those who miss Milburn etc it does nothing to entrance those who expect a little more from their guitar pop.

Not to put you off, there's another couple of treats that could mean that Sounds From the City is worth a purchase or at least a listen. Pirouettes' 'A Crass Minagerie' is a delightful combination of delicate flecks of Foals like guitars and build-up to shimmering climaxes that wouldn't have sounded out of place on Bloc Party's early material. Trophy Wives meanwhile kick some ass with 'Weez Breakin' Yo' Legs'. Their breakneck post-hardcore may at times sound like it was recorded in a tin can, but with the powerhouse drums and guitars fuzzed up nicely KPL is giving them a preliminary thumbs up.
So there you have it. A sampler of what's going down in Sheffield at the moment according to Sounds of the City. It's enough to convince that the Steel capital is far from musically bankrupt and accurate enough to remind that it's not all rosy. Still, it's for a good cause and there's some fine selections...

Sounds of the City: Sheffield is released on April 29th and will be available to buy from www.soundsofthecity.co.uk

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