Gig Scene’s top local music of 2011

Fringe Festival Harrogate'SIRA Studio
Fringe Festival Harrogate'SIRA Studio
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By Graham Chalmers

1. Karl Culley: The Owl (album)

What we said:

“What makes former Harrogate singer-songwriter Karl Culley different from a million other acoustic talents peddling the usual mix of folk and pop and blues, is that it often feels like his very soul is at stake in his music.”

2, Croak Ditch: Double Release (double album)

What we said:

“Crude, juvenile and puerile - and that’s only Croak Ditch’s good parts, such is the band’s obsession with bodily functions, transgressive sexual behaviour and religious beliefs, not to forget blasphemous combinations of all three.”

3. Oceans: All This Could Change (EP)

What we said:

“The overall feel from Biz, Adam and Joe (formerly Kasiuss) is slightly slicker and little less barnstorming, revealing Biz’s vocals to be even better at being tender than tough with some beautifully measured singing.”

4. The Conspirators: Album

What we said:

“The Conspirators are naturally gifted pop songwriters and arrangers, unusually blessed with two contrasting singers - girl and boy (hence those thoughts of the Beautiful South), lead singer Genevieve Parker and main songwriter and rhythm guitarist John Gillies.”

5. James Tait: Album

What we said:

“Boasting the relaxed storytelling style of Jake Thackray without the whimsy plus the romantic melancholy of Richard Hawley with more of a raw edge, Tait’s strongest suit is his honesty.”

6. Lobo: 4 track (EP)

What we said:

“I’m not saying that Harrogate rock band Lobo are completely ‘cool’ or ‘original’ but, woah, they do produce a mighty sound on this new EP recorded at Orb Community Enterprise’s studio in Knaresborough.”

7. Tim Hunter: The Pathway of Light (album)

What we said:

“What makes this such a great album is the sheer high quality of the songwriting and arrangements. Give the multi-talented Hunter any style of song to write, however, and, like a proper songwriter of old, he always comes up with something good.”

8. Soundstorm: Clockwork Realm EP

What we said:

“Sounding like a darker, tougher version of The Coral at times, Harrogate band SoundStorm are a great band in search of material worthy of themselves.”

9. Guy Hatton’s Pantechnicon (album)

What we said:

“Pantechnicon is an enjoyable musical journey into jazz impressively at odds with the likes of Buble or Callum. With a bit more boldness and a dollop of danger, it could have recaptured the pioneering spirit of old.”

10. Ghostown Soldier: Release the Demons (album)

What we said:

“All that ferocious energy is certainly there on the six self-written self-produced tracks he’s recorded at Dan Mizen’s Active Audio Studios but amid the constant sense of momentum his finer points also emerge more clearly.”

Gig Scene’s

favourite local track of 2011. . .

The Burn by Drowned in Flames from their The Ascension Chorus EP.

What we said:

“This energetically wayward metal outfit once sounded like four different bands fighting in a sack - great eruptions of thrash, doom, grunge and slick, melodic 70s rock. Now the battle is over and the band’s sound has never seemed so together.”