Wu Lyf (Finally) and The Great BBC 6Music Sham

I knew something didn’t add up. The BBC 6Music kerfuffle drags on and on – with more and more music fans, politicians and BBC bigwigs all competing to see who can yelp their opinions the loudest.

And yet, all along, something just didn’t seem right. How could the BBC continue to make slack-jawed idiot-vision programmes like I Believe In Ghosts: Joe Swash and Hotter Than My Daughter, whilst cutting 6Music because of budgetary constraints?

The truth is now pretty much out: the BBC has been toying with 6Music’s fate as part of some tedious, wider, political machination. Now, bear with me here – we’re not in tin-foil-hat-donning Conspiracy Theory territory yet – but think: is the following scenario that implausible?

  1. BBC are pressured by politicians and papers alike for spending license-payer money poorly on ‘underused services’;
  2. Under the auspices of cost-cutting, the BBC axes services with ‘low’ audiences (but high listener devotion);
  3. Audiences froth in concerned frenzy, papers and politicians champion spontaneous public protest;
  4. BBC points out to critics that the ‘wasted’ money is actually providing a much-desired service;
  5. 6Music reinstated, criticism silenced until after forthcoming general election;
  6. BBC directors smoke fatCuban cigars on yacht full of Page 3 girls in Mediterranean.

Well, I think it’s possible. We shall see.

Meanwhile, while vague theories abound, how about Wu Lyf? Now here’s a Mancunian band who have released so little information about who they are and what they do that I’m not honestly sure if the image and mp3 attached to this article is anything to do with them or not.

Wu Lyf // Heavy Pop

There are many theories floating around Manchester about Wu Lyf: that each time they play their gigs, they change their name to put people off the scent; that one day they will burst forth and reveal themselves with a #1 album; that they’re an extravagant scam; that they’re the future of music itself.

I ought to have written about Wu Lyf about 6 months ago when I first fell over them, and have been holding off to try and catch them live. I have repeatedly failed at this.

However, in the rarefied environs of the music blogging world, where blogs identify themselves by madly scrambling to be the first to feature new band X, an exeption can be made for Wu Lyf.

No-one knows much about them, so I feel justified in being so far behind the curve. Notice that this ‘review’ contains no actual review of Wu Lyf. I think they’d like it that way.

Manchester 2010: The Scene That Ate Itself

Is Manchester a city that is so proud of its musical past it still trades heavily on it, or one that has just given up trying to surpass what was produced before? That revolutionary 80’s period is still leant upon, and how: The Hacienda, now a swanky apartment block; “And on the 6th day, God created Manchester” T-shirts are still available in your size; and Peter Hook, having spent decades learning how not to run a nightclub, proves he has a sense of humour by opening a new, Factory-themed one.

Love And Disaster 1

This isn’t as bad a situation as some people would have you believe: celebrating past glories is one of life’s most rewarding pastimes. It’s just that this particular fertile period – and remember, it was one that spawned Joy Division, The Smiths, The Happy Mondays, New Order, The Stone Roses and all those other bands that are, if anything, lauded even closer to the heavens today – has overshadowed everything Manchester has ever done since.

A city that was so fully, overwhelmingly, endearingly, defined by a specific scene has struggled to shake off its shackles. Good bands have come and gone – but what of the scene? The vibe? The feel? Has enough time passed for a new group of bands to define their locale?

If a new EP, released this week, is to be believed, a new and very distinct Mancunian musical picture is emerging. One where the bands clutch to each other as firmly as they push away – bands that feed off each other, spur each other on, compete, and then go home and listen to each other’s records. The EP is called, aptly, Love And Disaster.

Featuring the toppers of various ‘Big In 2010’ lists, Delphic, as well as Airship, Dutch Uncles, and Jo Rose, it’s a disc that doesn’t just celebrate new Manchester bands: it digs deep into the creative psyche of them, reveals the complex interchange of ideas between them and mines fissures of hot rivalry – all of which powers what may be a nascent, genuinely new Manchester ‘scene’.

I spoke to Dan Parrott – once musical director of local TV station Channel M, and now the determined soul who put Love And Disaster together.

Did you just want to showcase your favourite new bands in Manchester? Or was there something else that drove the creation of the EP?

“Well – yes and no – they’re bands I really really love and so quite unashamedly are bands I want to push. They’re also bands I got to know from Channel M Music – bands I enjoyed showcasing, got on with and asked back for more. I wondered if this was too shallow a reasoning to justify the EP, but quickly realised that the that reason I kept getting them them back on the TV was a good enough reason for putting a record together”.

Why did you want to be so involved with a particular group of bands?

“Because, simply, they are bands I like. I showcased Delphic when they were very, very new – I caught them when they were young and I wanted to be part of the arc of their career, simply because they were great. They didn’t even have any tracks on their Myspace page when we had them on the TV show – they’d just play gigs at Night and Day in Manchester. But you could hear that they were so good and had spent a whole year just writing songs, and not gigging.”

So is it a vanity project?

“No – this EP is similar to what I did at Channel M anyway: I played what I liked then, and this is what I like now. The record was cathartic. Hopefully if they go onto big things, these bands will look back and see this as the start of their careers – and the bands can treat this as a full stop and, hopefully, a starting point. The remit of the record is to tie up and represent not only the sound of Manchester, but the new sound in the UK as well”

And what of this new Manchester scene? What makes it new? What makes it at all?

“It’s an undefined scene if you like. There’s a softly, softly approach – there are these bands together in Manchester but they’re not all the same. They’re helping each other out. They’re all working for each other. That’s perhaps what ties them all together – not their sound but the fact that they all genuinely like each other’s bands.”


So it seems like the Factory-era togetherness is still there, if not a unifying sound…

“Maybe. The bands are all mates, but it’s still disparate, not very organised. There are bands feeding off each other, but producing different sounds. It’s healthy competition. They appreciate what each other does – they go home and put each other’s music on the stereo. These are bands that will stick at it, and they have albums in them.”

What do people think of this new bunch of bands? They’re not what the public consider to be ‘Manchester bands’.

The reception has been really good – It was difficult getting all the contracts signed, but labels have actually been positive to get them grouping together. They know money isn’t necessarily the priority with a physical release now – but the bands’ stature is still important.”

“Take Dutch Uncles – they are way ahead of their time in many ways: incredibly talented musicians who use technology and creative invention to make their own new sound. I was annoyed that the NME didn’t pick them up previously, but perhaps it was for the best. They’re exposed now, and it’s the right time.”

“And of course Delphic are now being hyped, and are set to be big. Delphic meet all sorts of [industry] people now because they’re getting stellar. And they always push Manchester bands to these people because they love the idea of Manchester and Factory; not in a stereotypical way, but in the idea of a bunch of unusual, good bands that are unified.”

So maybe a new perception of Manchester’s music might emerge?

“Yeah – the whole point of the group photo (above) is to physically unify them together, to define them as a group. Hopefully it’ll be a really important photo in 5 years time – it uses a typical Mancunian warehouse setting but then that’s the point: it is still Manchester.”

Love And Disaster 1: New Tracks From New Manchester Artists is available now.

>No Flash, and Liam Gallagher’s Flowery Shirt Conundrum

You too can meet Oasis’ Liam Gallagher! But only if you buy something from his new clothing range – then you can meet the surly, set-jawed man himself, in Manchester, next week. Parka-wearing gents, form a disorderly queue.

Now, I like Liam Gallagher. He’s one of the last proper rock stars – not despicably pious like Bono, not a bit wet like Chris Martin. He was a rock star who drank, swore, hit people – often his own brother – and sneered at all before him (ie us, who paid money to watch exactly this).

But there’s a logical problem here. On one hand, I would like to meet Liam, but then this anti-rock ‘n’ roll meet-your-hero promo makes me not want to meet him in any way. What is one to do when faced with a conundrum like this?

In the end, my concerns were decided for me, fiscally. “I’m not in it for the money,” Liam said of his fashion line – and I, for one, believe him. The £675 that some of his coats cost is just to cover the overheads, right?

No Flash are a Manchester band, just like Liam’s was. They sing rock ‘n’ roll, like Liam did. In songs like Officer, they sing of their misdemeanours. Perhaps they have a lot in common. If they do, then in Officer they’ve gone to lengths to disguise it – this song has the urgency, vim and youth that Liam hasn’t displayed for a decade.


Magic In The Moonlight, despite having a Toploader-scented title, has howling guitars, a near-charming melody, and ambition to spare.

No Flash are the kind of band you hope will succeed because they connect directly to a section of the public that want the visceral thrills of primal rock ‘n’ roll. And as far as I’m aware, have no clothing range lined up for the immediate future. Phew.

>Today’s New Band – Yes Please!, Miserablism and Grey Skies

>Winter has well and truly arrived here in Manchester. Initially, it came in fits and starts, drunkenly staggering frostily here and there, but now it’s running its icy fingers up and down all our spines, and my extremities are in a constant state of chilly anxiety.

Manchester is renowned for its dreadful weather. Pewter-grey skies are the norm, usually accompanied by a constant fine drizzle which, helpfully, saps one’s will to live within days. Look at this webcam, and I’m willing to gamble the image you’ll see will be 50% fuzzy grey. Living in Manchester is like living inside Tupperware. It’s no wonder Mancunian bands like The Smiths, Joy Division and The Fall are so relentlessly downbeat.

Today’s New Band, Yes Please! hail from the outrageously named places of Espoo, Olari, Uusimaa in Finland. If that isn’t making you splutter into your mug of coffee, then you, sir/madam, are not human.

At ANBAD, we have a soft spot for bands from the north of Europe, due to their almost unwavering lust for jangly pop songs. Yes Please! proudly exhibit this love too. Imaginary Success is about as growlingly hostile as Finnish guitar pop gets, a big heaving song that runs and runs and runs and then collapses. Enjoy and Laugh also flits between their twin ideals of brassy pop and earnestness.

Yes Please! was the name of the Happy Monday’s last, dreadful album. They were from Manchester too, but their music was stupendously, well, happy – though this may have had something to do with the industrial quantities of drugs they consumed. Yes Please! the band are nothing like the Happy Mondays, but their music is just as joyfully enthusiastic. Listen here!