As the year draws to a close we’re looking back over the music releases which have made our hearts beat faster and the spark of pride in Derby and Derbyshire glow a little brighter.
Despite the persisting idea that nothing ever happens here we struggled to get our end of year list down to just ten. Across the last 12 months we’ve heard great releases across many genres showing that the music scene in Derby is alive and well and getting on with doing its thing despite detractors.
To make it easier for you to get into some of these tracks – and ones from other Derby/shire bands past and present – editor Sarah Lay is curating a playlist on Spotify – give the cheekily titled Nothing Ever Happens Here a follow and if you’ve a suggestion for a track to add or band to feature get in touch at email@example.com.
Great releases from 2017
Pet Crow – A Simple Guide To Small And Medium Pond Life (Reckless Yes)
Derby four-piece Pet Crow have had a great year – starting with the release of their debut album on locally-based label Reckless Yes, touring with the likes of Menace Beach, a shortlisting in the Loud Women Her’cury, a trip to number 58 in the UK Official Singles Chart and even fitting in a 7″ for Too Pure Singles Club and performances at Dot To Dot Nottingham and Hockley Hustle. They’re about to head out on tour again to get their 2018 underway so if you haven’t caught their nu-wave garage pop vibe already now is you chance.
Emma Buckley – Don’t Tell EP – EP (self released)
The debut EP from Emma Buckley had us all captivated when it landed this year with Pete Darrington summing it up in his review as, “Don’t Tell Me is an all round stunning debut from a woman who, while at the start of her professional music career, is already at the top of her game”. With a solid musical background and exceptional song craft we’re excited to hear what comes next.
Biscuit Mouth – Hot Change (self-released)
Released digitally at the start of 2017 their second album Hot Change gets another blast in 2018 as it gets a vinyl release via French label A Tant Rêver Du Roi. The duo have been making experimental noise for the last few years around Derby but are building a solid following outside of the city too – this album isn’t for the faint-hearted but it’s definitely one which pushes boundaries while remaining a fun listen.
Alice Short -aN EP iN a dAY – EP (self released)
More usually found performing spoken word Long Eaton poet and rapper Alice Short challenged herself to record an EP in a day and came up with a brilliant slice of old skool hip hop set to beats by Leicester MC Sik Sense. Across the four tracks she tackles identity, gender, personal potential, and the juxtaposition of wild creativity and the ennui of every day life.
Unqualified Nurse Band – Trashland (Reckless Yes / Medicine Music)
The second album from Derby trio Unqualified Nurse Band in as many years but their prolificacy hasn’t detracted from their creativity and this offering effortlessly builds on their first (2016’s Debasement Tapes). At a time when albums make little sense as a format this band are bringing a coherent concept and evolving their sound. If the first album blew apart 60 years of rock n roll this one sees them distill different sounds and finesse their offering.
Japanese String Movement – Japanese String Movement (self-released)
We’ve been really impressed with Dactylion this year – more on that in a minute – but even more so when guitarist Liam McLoughlin released this side-project album seemingly out of nowhere. Recorded and released within a three-week period this is an album of impressive Prog-leaning shoegaze.
The Hudson Super 6 – Ride The Tiger EP (Ingue Records)
This EP – the Derby supergroup’s first in a number of years – also turned out to be their last as they announced their split later in 2017. It featured their trademark dirty blues-rock sound and while it’s been sad to say goodbye to them as a band after a decade rocking the local scene we’re excited to see what the members – including former members of Cable, Iris, and Scribble – will get up to musically next.
Dactylion – Come Inside EP (Reckless Yes)
Within a year of forming the four-piece nu-gaze band have put out this promising debut EP that draws on the influence of bands from the ’90s alt-rock scene but manages to make it very much their own. With a buzz growing in the DIY music press and plenty of gigs under their belt to hone their sound 2017 has seen a strong start for a band with big potential.
Read our review here and find Dactylion on Bandcamp, Facebook and Twitter.
Sunflower Thieves – Hold The Storm EP (self released)
The Belper duo released this beautiful EP early in 2017 and then followed up by representing Derby in our twin city of Osnabruck, along with performances at festivals including 2Q. Of this release we said, “There’s more than a little of The Staves in the vocal, an innocent coming-of-age to the lyrics, and a beautiful pastoral naivety to these shy but confessional songs that lands them somewhere between Kathryn Williams and Kate Nash.”
Skies In Motion – Life Lessons (self released)
The debut album from hardcore band Skies In Motion may have been a long-time in the making but it was certainly worth the wait. We said, “Skies In Motion are an intriguing prospect and they offer more here than some bands can conjure across a career. The band has every reason to be rightly proud of the twelve tracks on offer, none of which are remotely close to being labelled filler which is an achievement in itself. While some of their influences are at times a little obvious, the song-writing and musical ability of this unit shines through and makes for a record which is truly engaging and draws the listener into their world.”
Derby bands past and present
Editor Sarah Lay is curating a playlist on Spotify – the cheekily titled Nothing Ever Happens Here – of Derby bands past and present. Give it a follow and if you’ve a suggestion for a track to add or band to feature get in touch at firstname.lastname@example.org.