History can be a tricky thing. It’s often referenced as “being written by the winners” but that ol’ bit of homespun knowledge overlooks how there’s always something more, a b-side to history’s greatest single. This is where the dark, American Gothic sounds of The Payroll Union come into play.
The band’s history is akin to a travelling troupe that changes members during the first years of the journey, until gelling into a somewhat solid (but not entirely cemented) monolith that moves as a landslide. Kinda like Dr. Who and his companions, but with less hanky panky and more sweet notes of Americana rock.
Their first EP, Underfed & Underpaid had songs about witch trials, family killings and the infamous Trail of Tears. 2011’s Your obedient servant was their second album, recorded at the great 2fly Studios, was both lyrically and musically stark, with nary an upbeat moment. Such is the dark side of history and the faster we are at peace with that, the better. Highlights from this second EP are ‘Jake the Pistol’, ‘1826’ and my personal favourite, ‘Julia died of cholera’. Again, all are short stories based on actual facts from American history.
Their first album was 2013’s The Mule & The Elephant, perhaps lighter in some parts (or is it?) but still chock-full of both obscure and popular facts from history. Particular highlights are the stark ‘South’, the wistful ‘Hard times’ and a re-telling of a duel called ‘Through the trees.’
Currently working with a second album in conjunction with the University of Sheffield’s History Department, The Payroll Union continues to strive into popularising a love for history whilst still keeping on sight that history is highly subjective and never objective.
If you are attending Tramlines 2014, do not miss The Payroll Union‘s gig. Main Stage, Sunday 27th, 2:30 Pm.
Want to contribute to their new album? Here’s a lil’ Pledgemusic campaign you might want to look at.
Previous coverage of The Payroll Union.
Words: Sam J. Valdés López.
Mike Watt and The Missingmen
The Harley, Sheffield
17 April 2014
What is the definitive measure of success in the music business? Fame? Fortune? Devoted fans? (more…)
I arrived to find Jim Ghedi re-stringing his beloved acoustic guitar. Talk Talk’s Spirit of Eden was spinning on the turntable in the corner.
“Tea, Bro?” he asks. (more…)
Well, it’s time to call it a day and get outta Dodgefield (Sheffield!) so here’s a mix of 31 songs that will remind me of the town while I’m out. There’s glaring omissions, there’s demos, there’s no clear genre preference (I think) and there’s a lot of cursing during the last ten minutes, where you can find out why I don’t really speak much during these podcasts any more.
Thanks to all bands for their music and hopefully you’ll find a new band (or bands) you like from this. Some are now sadly gone, some are just breaking out of the shell, some are simply great.
Enjoy and gracias. See you in the year 2050, when we all reincarnate as cats(for peru).
Smokers Die Younger
The Legend Of The Seven Black Tentacles
The Death Rays of Ardilla
Lenders In The Temple
The Payroll Union
The Unfortunate Incident
Nat Johnson And The Figureheads
Cats For Peru
The Hope Explosion
The Hot Soles
Mudcats Blues Trio
Let’s get this out the way nice and early. As an adolescent, b was a classical singer that the likes of Richard and Judy fawned over. She then became a pop starlet, and allegedly went off the rails (i.e. she liked to drink alcohol from time to time, unlike, well I don’t know, most late teens?). Now at the tender age of 28, she’s dropped off the radar – or at least the radar of those who aren’t willing to tune past Radio 1 or switch over from MTV. (more…)
Hullo, guvs and guvnettes, this is our always late EP round up, where we trawl through the titanic troves of tinnitus-inducing music and bring you the best of what’s around. Or at least what WE think it’s the best of what’s around.
Remember: don’t adjust your opinion.
In our usual analogy form, we will be comparing each of these EPs to something cool and entertaining. For this week’s edition, I’m comparing each EP to a character from David Mamet‘s Glengarry Glen Ross. Sounds good? Read on. Sounds bad? Uh, please read on. My ego needs to be read. (more…)
Statistically speaking, you’ve probably never been to a Friends of Batman gig. Maybe you’ve never even heard of them, given their habit of playing just one live show a year. But that one show a year – which these days is usually a Tramlines show – is a guaranteed barn-shaker… and it always includes something you’ve never seen before. (more…)
A couple of weeks ago, I descended into a pub called DAda in Sheffield and in that hazy, smokey place, I saw Vuvuvultures. Smoke machine on full, their triple inverted triangle logo, a very bright blue light and their shapes were the only clear things you could perceive visually. However, it was their sound what really captivated me, that slight clash between a light shade of industrial with the hook-heavy nature of pop. That you could perceive (and feel) clearly. (more…)
We know it’s a very busy weekend, this whole Tramlines thing, so we’ve done a lil’ list of bands we really suggest you check. Heck, some of these we placed in a neat lil’ podcast.
Like last year, we’ve compiled a nifty PDF file you can print with our recommendations. Print it double sided, fold it and Bob’s your uncle (we did the DNA test).
Don’t agree? The official Tramlines website has the whole guacamole-filled quesadilla and even better, you can buy a Tramlines guide (which wasn’t made in fugly Excel like mine) for 3 quid, available right now at The Harley and The Wick at Both Ends.
Without any further ado (the lest words I type, the less grammar mistakes I make) here’s a few venues we believe have a gorgeous line up… (more…)
Heeeeeeey, it’s me, your friendly neighbourhood listings editor, @Orestes_yipee. There was no preview on May because I was on strike. ATTICA! ATTICA!
However, this is June, the best month of the year. Here’s your June Preview. (more…)
“A record store, like Jesus and a puppy, are for life, not for a one day celebration.” So texted my associated editor, Orestes P. Xistos when I asked him if he’d join me in filming the people queuing outside Record Collector, a shop smack in the heart of the now dying Broomhill area of Sheffield, England. (more…)
Funny thing, album launches. Especially when Low Duo is involved. Merely a month ago, I saw them open the night for Screaming Maldini‘s album launch (a rather loud and splenderous affair) and now it was their turn to offer us a regal spectacle in the only place in Sheffield that does a decent Reuben sandwich, The Great Gatsby. (more…)
“Excuse me but what are you wearing?”
“It’s a zarape, great for cold weather!”
“Oh, I thought you were in fancy dress as a Mexican bandit from The Wild Bunch”
“Yeah, that too. A Sheffield porter, please. Pint.” (more…)
The Village Bike by Penelope Skinner tells the story of Becky, a married woman going through her first pregnancy. Her whole life is being transformed irreversibly in front of her very eyes and the desperation brought by fast change is creating a personality crisis in her. She lives in a quiet village away from the busy London life with her husband, the emotionally clumsy but well meaning John, who has a zealot like hatred of Tesco and a very low count of “empathy” in his blood. (more…)
Last week I went to see Alisdair Roberts and friends in the Backroom at the Greystones pub in Sheffield. A venue with an interesting past and a lively present. This week my son is off to the Green Man festival at Crickhowell in the Brecon Beacons. We have seen Alisdair there twice – once as a very traditional Scottish folk singer on one of the small stages, and again as a bit of a rock god on the main stage. He has such a distinctive voice, and he appears to be unafraid of experimenting as a performer. The Backroom is a small space, and he was appearing with a traditional Gaelic singer and a puppet show. I had no idea what to expect. In those circumstances I should remember to expect the unexpected. (more…)
Tramlines 2012: Sunday 22nd July
We asked people on Twitter and Facebook to send their reviews of Tramlines. About 3 people answered (ok, 4, but that was a spambot). Here’s another review by Simon Roberts. (more…)
Tramlines Festival, Neon Railroad, the Back Room, the Greystones Pub, Friday July 20th
Could this be a first? How often does a mother get to review the band her son plays in? (more…)
Tramlines 2012. It was a long experience as somehow I thought I could manage to get as many bands as I could if I did half-sets.
I probably shouldn’t plan gig attendances while surrounded by chemicals in the analytical lab.
In the spirit of inside jokes (I.e. the quest of the perfect name for a label), here’s my caffeine-fuelled review. (more…)