Tuesday, 20 July 2010


I first heard of Mancunian Julie Campbell, aka LoneLady, after her first single, Early The Haste Comes, dropped onto my doormat from the Too Pure Records Singles Club a couple of years ago. Her debut album finally came out in the UK in February of this year and I finally got my hands on a copy this week!

After the sad demise of Too Pure, one of my favourite labels, LoneLady was snapped up by indie stalwarts Warp which seems something of an appropriate trajectory for this kind of angular female post-punk. For those of you who don't know Too Pure was the label responsible for first introducing the public to PJ Harvey and Scout Niblett as well as the bands Electrelane, The Rogers Sisters and Laika (whose very own Guy Fixsen produced LoneLady's debut effort). Warp has, in recent years been expanding its early repertoire of IDM and electronica to include recent post-punk and indie releases from the likes of !!!, Gang Gang Dance and Grizzly Bear.

LoneLady's northern post-punk roots are obvious from the first listen, without the need for quotes like this which describe the recording process in Manchester:

The aesthetics of this ex-mill were a pure joy for LoneLady and invoked the ghosts of bands she loves ... (Joy Division, ESG, Wire, Grace Jones, The Fall, Suicide, PiL) …”grainy black and white images depicting the kind of spaces that have barely changed over the past 30 years."

There has, in recent times, been something of a backlash against the kind of musical nostalgia that Manchester has been cashing in on for the past 15 year (the blog Fuc51 being one of the more amusing and accurate examples) but whilst there has always been one dimension to the city that is forever trying to stay in 1988 and is constantly recreating the Ha├žienda there has been the other, more hidden, side which has embraced the history, the influences, the aesthetics and, more basically, the logistics of a vibrant music scene (the studios, rehearsal spaces and gig venues) to produce something new.

Nerve Up, is a spiky album where each track feels some how uneasy and claustrophobic (perhaps agoraphobic is more accurate) despite the sparseness of the sound, often just bass, electric beats and a staccato keyboard and rarely together. This all goes to make a refreshing change from the majority of music around at the moment where we seem to be drowning under waves of airy dreampop and shoegaze. This could actually be the most refreshing thing this summer.

LoneLady - Nerve Up

LoneLady - Intuition (LA Session)

LoneLady - If Not Now

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