Mike Barnes

Mike Barnes  |  Nov 29, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Unthank : Osees, Deeper, Explosions In The Sky and Hiss Golden Messenger.
Mike Barnes  |  Oct 30, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Big Big Train, Soft Machine, Fassine and Rain Parade.
Mike Barnes  |  Oct 03, 2023  |  0 comments
Led by singer-songwriter Mike Scott, The Waterboys honed their 'big music' sound on this 1985 album where rock guitars were joined by saxophone, piano and celeste to create an expansive work that was epic yet spiritual, and at times even political...

On the song 'The Big Music', from The Waterboys 1984 album A Pagan Place, Mike Scott sang 'I have heard the big music/And I'll never be the same' – and he wasn't kidding. Nowadays, the 1980s might be more readily associated with glossy, primary coloured pop but it also opened the doors to something quite different – an earnest, yearning, expansive rock music drawn with broad brush strokes, but with enough space for some fine detail. The Waterboys exemplified the desire to make this 'big music', as did contemporaries such as Echo & The Bunnymen, U2, Big Country and Simple Minds.

Mike Barnes  |  Sep 29, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Do Nothing, The Church, Rival Sons and Dexys.
Mike Barnes  |  Aug 31, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: The National, Yes, Baxter Dury and They Watch Us From The Moon.
Mike Barnes  |  Aug 09, 2023  |  0 comments
Powered by twin guitars, pop-style melodies, hyperactive drumming and unusual song structures, this debut album from the youthful Manchester punks – now signed to a major record label – showed they were a force to be reckoned with...

When punk broke in the UK in 1976, much was made in the media of the confrontational 'us and them' relationship between this New Wave and the old wave of progressive rock and big stadium acts. But more importantly, it prompted the rapid growth of independent record labels, with some groups even financing and making their own records. And with the establishment of a closer relationship between bands and their audience, local scenes began to blossom, with the spotlight turning away from London. Manchester band Buzzcocks played an important role in both respects.

Mike Barnes  |  Jul 27, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Temples, Heather Woods Broderick, Karl Culley and JAAW.
Mike Barnes  |  Jul 25, 2023  |  0 comments
Once described as 'spineless' and 'emotionless', this almost entirely instrumental 1974 album from the German electronica pioneers is now heralded as a classic, and one whose influence can be heard on music stretching from David Bowie to Daft Punk

Kraftwerk's fourth album, Autobahn, was released at the end of 1974. By March the following year it had reached a surprising No 5 in the US Billboard 200, and had climbed to No 4 in the UK album charts by May. An edit of the title track even found its way into the UK single charts. But its success was more than just commercial, leading the group – whose use of electronics and technology split opinion – to be more widely accepted in the years that followed. That said, no-one could have guessed how influential and culturally important Autobahn would eventually become.

Mike Barnes  |  Jun 29, 2023  |  0 comments
This month we review: Sleaford Mods, Emma Tricca, Kele and Alasdair Roberts.
Mike Barnes  |  Jun 02, 2023  |  0 comments
The Liverpudlian post-punk quartet, led by enigmatic front man Ian McCulloch, were told they needed to write some 'killer tunes' after the lukewarm reception to their 1983 album Porcupine. They returned a year later having done exactly that...

The promotional posters for Echo & The Bunnymen's fourth album Ocean Rain proclaimed it 'The Greatest Album Ever Made', a typically provocative quote from the group's singer Ian McCulloch. There were so many bands emerging in post-punk UK that if you wanted to get noticed you had to talk a good game, and with its historical cultural associations, Liverpool was particularly competitive.