When I was in my very early teens in Ireland, I discovered the dubious joy of listening to radio programmes on Medium Wave that were broadcast from what then seemed like distant lands. Glasgow and London were as exotic to me as were places like Paris or Helsinki. Names on a map and not much more.
What I did get from those places and those shows was music. Sounds I’d never heard before or had even imagined existed. Bands from Leeds and West Yorkshire such as The Sisters of Mercy and Red Lorry Yellow Lorry featured highly on those shows, as it was a hotbed of what was called post-punk, goth and positive punk, though to most of my friends it was just called ‘indie’ or ‘trendy’.
The area still has a rich musical tradition, yet it’s very different from near neighbour Manchester. So many Leeds bands seem to make music for themselves, to appreciate their history rather than be weighed down by it.
Manchester often looks to the past and replicates it but in Leeds, you get bands like FEHM, Autopsy Boys, Vessels and Peakes – very different musically, all aware of their area’s role in creating what became goth, electronica, synthpop and more – yet putting their own spin on those genres. Must be that famed Yorkshire bloodymindedness! They make the various genres breathe again, living things with a beating heart– and it’s damn fine music too.