Watched this a couple of nights ago and it’s still resonating with me. Regardless on where you stand on the Sleaford Mods (Me? Love some of it and the rest I can leave) this is ESSENTIAL VIEWING for any band wanting to get anywhere in the music game. It’s one of the greatest music documentaries ever made. Not for the rock n roll tales of excess (there’s not much in that dept), but for the gritty reality of what it takes to make your mark in this game.

The music world is full of hard luck tales and nearly bands who would have got there if it hadn’t been for someone else, some band member, manager, label etc. It takes a hell of a lot of hard work, resilience and self ownership to get anywhere in this game and even then you need all your stars to align, that bit of luck on your side, be in the right place, the right time etc.

Sleaford Mods

After several years, The Sleaford Mods got their chance for their 15 mins. It could have been over as soon as it had began but they jumped on it and took their ride for all it was worth and they’re still riding it, because love them or loathe them they have what it takes to stay in the game.

In a band you need a solid unit where everyone knows their role within the band. Sure, you need an ego to work in this game, however when there’s a job that needs to be done, egos have to be left firmly at the door in order for the greater good. You also need everyone on board promoting the hell out of it.

In my 10 years of Northern Star I worked with many fantastic bands, but I only ever worked with one band with the focus, commitment and work ethic that it takes to get there. They weren’t the best band I’d worked with but they were certainly contenders, until one person’s ego believing it’s own press, brought the whole thing crashing down.

A lot of bands either don’t know what it takes or are not willing to put the effort in. They waste their time getting jealous of others, moan about everything and make fuck all effort, then expect to reap the rewards when there’s some minor glory to be had. Every band I’ve ever been in has suffered this fate which is why I now choose to go it alone and work with who I choose.

I miss the label and putting on gigs so much, but nothing could ever get me back into it unless I could work with a band (or bands) that had the attributes needed to make an impact, with their eyes firmly focused on the prize.


The Reverend


A lovely write up of a fabulous single from Bury Choirs.

Jason's Jukebox

Over the last 6 years or so – ever since I started this site – I’ve made many friends in Manchester, England. Some are connected with bands you’ve heard of and some are indie musicians – on the fringe of accessibility. So it comes as no surprise that my heart was broken when I read about the attack on Manchester Arena on May 22, 2017. As it turns out, someone connected to someone I know was hurt in the blast – just a girl on a night out to enjoy music with her family. If there is one thing I know in this life it is that music has the power to unite people. So when a friend told me about this charity single featuring a mash-up of some of Manchester’s famous songs it was a no brainer – I told him I’d give it a listen and post a…

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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