Jason's Jukebox

It is a classic case of “what could have been”. Local Manchester, England band gets some buzz, records an EP, quickly gets signed to a label and the EP never comes out. But what if the EP had pointed to an alternate future? A future not dictated by the whims of record label executives following trends? Dog Toffee fit that scenario perfectly. Led by Gav Rourke & Sean Lyons and backed by a string of drummers (finally solidified w/ long time drummer Phil Nelson), the band tapped into punk, grunge, girl group sounds, and white noise inspired by The Fall. The band would go on to support legends in concert (Dwarves, Misfits, and Dee Dee Ramone to name just a few), headline shows, and record with Seattle legend Jack Endino. But until now, their debut recordings have never been released. 20 years later is as good as time as any.

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Blackthorn Festival returns again for 2017 with another blistering line up. Cool festival based in Compstall in the the Stockport area of the North West. This years headliners include Lightning Seeds, Reef, Space & Sex Pissed Dolls.

The festival offers a great mix of familiar established acts alongside new emerging talent & also an evening dedicated to tribute bands so a bit of something for everyone. The site is very beautiful & going off the last couple of years the vibe is always friendly with several stages so there’s always something happening. Last year there was an excellent choice on food stalls & properly staffed bars. Always a relief not to have to queue excessively for some well earned lubrication.

Blackthorn 2017

The main stage area has the added advantage of being in a largely covered area compete with hay bails, it is a country park after all, & the bar right where you need it. No need to miss any tunes!

On top of the music you’ve got art installations & the opportunity to experience some serious glamping!

See you down the front.


Weekend tickets are £55, see website for day rate.

Postcode – SK6 5HZ

Line Up



So when you read a bio / one sheet press release from a band  you mostly get the ‘formed at such & such, from here & there, influences so & so, style – whatever’ & they are mostly pretty standard things. Every so often something drops in that bucks the trend & Dead Captain’s offering certainly does that.

Dead Captain

Apparently this Tameside (Eastern-ish side of Manchester), nice that they didn’t do a Verve or a Charalatans & become a Manchester band & instead have embraced their actual roots. The duo found a shoe box outside a pub in Ashton-Under-Lyne filled with scribbled notes, drawings and grainy recordings on some old VHS tapes (for younger viewers VHS are old fashioned DVD’s but made of tape instead of discs). The origins are still being debated but it had a note taped to it saying “do something with this”.  Dead Captain have done that with some outstanding results.

For most reviews we have the task of lazily labeling the genre, making references to other artists so that you, the reader, can have an idea of what they sound like. I’ll take shot at it then.  There’s elements of Americana / College Rock about it but it also sounds a little prog in places, prog country? maybe, maybe not.  Track 1 – ‘This Old Village’, Pink Floyd does country? Possibly! lyrically it makes me think of Roy Harper in his most English & reflective of moments. It certainly paints a picture of an idyll that no longer exists, if it ever did outside of television. Track 2 – ‘Looming Moon’ is altogether darker both lyrically & musically, brooding vocal & starkly haunting stripped down guitar, great contrast to track 1. Track 3, ‘Who knows?’ hints at the guitar style of Neil Young but that’s where the comparison end, I don’t think Young ever entertained a beat like that & vocally it’s in a different stratosphere. I’m happy to report I can’t draw a reference to the vocalist, Dunstan Carter, not often we have the pleasure of introducing someone who sounds totally unique. Track 4 – ‘Toddler Democracy’, interestingly the song that the band has chosen to make a video for, is introduced by the resurrection of Mrs Thatchers old pal Ronald Regan & his speech about wealth distribution. A speech which sadly, given subsequent history was just blather! Musically it has a touch of the Joe Meek about it. Lyrically it observes the rather sad state of the politics we are subjected to on a daily basis & the consequences. Dead Captain get my vote.

What they do have a solid, darkly infectious &  memorable tunes with some wonderful off-kilter lyrics. A little political & social commentary here & there which is all good as far as I’m concerned. Not enough music around that actually has an opinion these days. Vocally the Americana references go out of the wind as Mr Carter’s vocals keep the Dead Captain sound firmly fixed on the English shoreline! A great debut EP all in a genre of it’s own.


Out on July 17 2017


Twitter: @deadcaptain2

Facebook: /deadcaptainsongs

Stereokill Recordings

Jason's Jukebox

The morning of May 18th, 2017 is not one that I’ll forget in my lifetime. I woke up to a message from a close friend indicating that Chris Cornell had passed away at some point early in the morning. Puzzled, it took me a few times to understand what had happened. Out of the blue news about a musician who had long seemed to settle into his lifestyle, it shook me to the core. News and articles seemed light on details at first – at first I thought it had been a hoax – but reality soon sank in. Chris Cornell – Seattle’s son – had passed away at the age of 52 by his own hand.

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I’ve been aware of Northern Embezzler for some time but somehow missed them. Tonight has proven this to be my loss. The venue, Hoof & Rooster, on arrival seems to be a little unlikely for a rock show, a restaurant / barbeque joint, tables full of people gnawing down on various animal parts washed down with beer.

Northern Embezzler - Clitheroe

The band are setting up so I sit down with my family- Clitheroe Festival shows are all family friendly which is a massive bonus! Beer & nachos, that’s a new experience for me at a show. Not the beer, the nachos!  The band take to the stage, four 40 – something geezers that look like they know what they’re doing.  Well that impression isn’t deceiving, they immediately launch into a set of strong punchy mixture of punk, new wave & dub influenced  tunes.  There’s some solid points of reference for this kind of stuff, Clash the Ruts, Joe Jackson, Graham Parker to name a few  but saying that the band never actually sound like those bands, they have a solid vibe all of their own.

The audience are  on side within the first couple of tunes & stay there  for an 11 song set. Well that’s an albums worth right there. Arguably for a first hearing  the set was quite long but they still left me wanting to hear more which is testament to the quality of the tunes & how good the band are.

Cool band, great songs, rock solid performance, where can I buy the album?

Check the tunes here – Reverb Nation

Catch the band live at

Artisan Rawtenstall Lancashire – May 5 – Free Entry

Strummercamp Festival – May 27 – Manchester Rugby Club


Northern Embezzler set List

Future Has been Cover 2

In the midst of the Manchester Oasis and dance craze Manchester produced a 3 piece band that really didn’t fit into the city’s formula.  Mixing up classic punk rock with some good old rock ‘n’ roll. This adrenaline fueled combo were  more than happy to sit outside the city stereotype &  take the hard road.

The band played the Mancunian circuit, Boardwalk, Star & Garter, PJ Bells & Hacienda. As a result of their incendiary live shows the band were spotted by a local management team who put them in the studio. The recording sessions took place between Christmas & New Year 1996 / 97 under the guidance of producer / engineer John Pennington. The songs the band recorded were going to be their first release, the EP ‘The Future Has Been’.  This release has never seen the light of day until now because the band were very quickly signed by Muff Winwood to Sony S2.  This was an ill-fated venture as Sony had ideas about re-inventing the band & turning them into a latter day Stooges with a brand new frontman. The band declined & left the label.

The following years are stuff of punk rock legend, cramped vans, weeks on the road, trying to reach every small venue in the country & across into mainland Europe. They were the support band of choice for the likes of the Damned, Therapy? The Wildhearts, Dwarves, New Bomb Turks, Turbonegro, Misfits & Dee Dee Ramone to name a few. They graced the pages of all the rock monthlies, John Peel got behind them & they did deals with several labels. RCA / Victor ( Japan) Junk records (USA), Radioblast (Germany), State of Decay / Subversive (UK) & signed a publishing deal with George Martin Music.


The band released 3 albums in the period 1996 – 2006 ‘The Future of Rock ‘n’ Roll is in Your Hand’, ‘Sacred Heart’ with legendary grunge producer Jack Endino (Nirvana, Mudhoney, Soundgarden, Supersuckers).  ‘One More Sinner’ with producer / engineer Pete ‘PeeWee’ Coleman. (James, AC/DC, Wildhearts, Paradise Lost, Christians). They also did various EP’s working with ‘Roger Tebbutt (Silver Ginger 5, Demented are Go, Jason Ringenberg). The band received great critical reviews for both their recorded & live work.

During the bands career they worked with three different drummers. First drummer was Ged Roache, they then worked with Memby Jago (Ghost of a Thousand / Macabees / Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes) & finally long serving drummer Phil Nelson who still holds the drum stool today.

Just over 20 years on from the original recording sessions the band feel the time is right to release their debut EP ‘The Future Has Been’ to the World. This will be available on Stereokill Recordings through most digital outlets from April 24 2017. This is the first release of the majority of the bands back catalogue.

The EP features 5 tracks of stripped down, take no prisoners rock ‘n’ roll. Unashamedly drawing on 1950’s rock ‘n’ roll but with a sharp injection of adrenaline. Taught rapid-fire drumming, buzz saw guitars, pounding bass & spitfire vocals … punk as f@&~. The band probably missed a trick not releasing this back in 1997 but 1997’s loss is 2017’s gain.  Hit replay & let’s go kick in some bus shelters!

The EP is released by Stereokill Recordings on Monday May 24 2017.

The band are back in rehearsal with some live dates expected later this year.



Buy on i.tunes

Buy on Amazon




Strummercamp Poster 2017

2016 was lacking something & that something was Strummercamp. I’m happy to report that after a year off Los Amigos  are back with Strummercamp X1, another 3 days of Joe Strummer / Clash influenced music.

This is a not for profit festival, no corporate entities milking you hard earned cash, nobody on the make.  When you’re there you feel like you’re part of some best kept secret & amongst friends.

It’s on a fabulous site at Manchester Rugby Club Cheadle, decent priced beer, decent priced food, free camping if you want it within the secure boundaries of the ground so great for families too.

Check the poster for the line-up & any updates on the festival website.


Tickets online from www.strummercampfestival.com

Or in person from Rockers on Oldham Street Manchester