Sound City, in conjunction with The Label Recordings, recently held a band showcase at Edge Hill University. The evening featured three acts scheduled to play at Sound City’s Emerging Talent Stage on Saturday 26th May: Oranj Son, Ali Horn and Shrinking Minds.

Kicking off the evening were the cheeky purveyors of pop, Youth Hostel. They bounced through a lively set of infectious tunes which masked the grittiest of lyrics referencing failed underage tobacco sales, drug induced paranoia and random acts of violence. Catchy, punchy “crackers of songs” delivered by a most engaging and energetic front man made for a very entertaining start to the proceedings.

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A poetic interlude followed with local poet Paul Birtill whose irreverent, self-depreciating and downright hilarious deadpan observations of life focussed on diverse and morbid topics such as the wisdom of smoking in bed, shoplifting and death.

Ali Horn, in his second appearance in his new group borne from a previous incarnation, The Strange Collective, was a psychedelic delight to the senses from start to finish. The musical performance was further enhanced by powerful and mind blowing animations projected onto the stage backdrop throughout the course of the evening. The audience were entranced and the reaction of the MC, Label Recordings Chief, Carl Hunter was “f*** me that was good!” Their sound is best described as unique, although I would say there is an early Ian Brown vibe about his forthcoming single “Days like these” out 7th April.

Next to step up was Oranj Son, a band whose blend of strong bass-lines and early 80s dark synth melodies were a firm nod to Joy Division and early New Order. Atmospheric, melancholic, haunting vocals one minute, and then huge soaring synth lines the next, it was a perfect blend of the past meeting the present. It was so hard to have to resist the urge to dance, which sadly was not practical at this time in a seated venue. This year marks the second outing at Sound City for them and they are well worth a watch if you weren’t around in the 80s or equally if you were and yearn for a bit of synth.

The evening was rounded off by a powerful set by Shrinking Minds, whose second single; “Something Better” had been released the day previously. The garage punk trio certainly cranked up the amps to deliver a fuzzy, distorted punch to the ear drums. Once again the animations on the back drop were expertly matched to the music. We witnessed weird and wonderful footage from Japan of people in pink animal suits brawling, interspersed with clips from episodes of the television show Catchphrase

There is no defining house style at The Label Recordings. It is a hot-house of talent from wildly different musical genres, which makes them so refreshingly unique. If you are at Sound City, be sure to drop by and see these local bands.

Oranj Son, Ali Horn and Shrinking Minds will appear at Liverpool Sound City on the Emerging Talent Stage on Saturday 27th May 2017.

Liverpool Sound City

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