Digital Nortnerner: Version 1.0 (Download Album Review)

The Manchester based label Fat Northerner Records have compiled an album to show off the quality and range of their roster. Starting with the sample driven dance of Iron Weed’s ‘Down To My Grave’, which takes sounds from blues guitars and railroad ambience combines them with a patina of scratched vinyl effects and tops it off with a gravely vocal to great effect.

This leads into the first of the offerings from Earl. They are a band, so I have heard, that give great gig. ‘Regret’, a cover of the New Order track, stays faithful enough to be recognisable but has been reworked to give it more energy and spirit. Their own ‘Risky Disco’ is a driving indie dance number with pop catchiness and an underlying dirtiness of bass and guitars. The ‘Risky Remix’, courtesy of Blue Avenger, gives the original a vocal dance-pop taste enhancing the beats and playing with vocal effects. Blue Avenger also provide some of their own material in the shape of ‘Do The Right Thing’ which is a blur of bass effects, drums and lazily subdued singing lightened by tuneful scratching.

Fat Northerner do not restrict themselves to dance though as the leaden weight of Slims guitars launch fourth on ‘Get Up’. The vocals lean towards emo while the sparingly used drums and guitars allow for a massive ramp-up come the chorus. When you hear ‘Eyeball Man’ however, you realise that ‘Get Up’ must have been the ballad of their repertoire. The fuzzed up bass and slamming drums are egged on by screaming vocals and prime cock-rocking lead solos.

The industrial indie dance of Evenhand combines wailing vocals, keyboards and twisted space guitars on ‘My Wall’ impressively. As a contrast ‘Boost’ is more reminiscent of first album Stone Roses and early Charlatans with taking the melodic tone from the first and the easy going nature of the latter.

The album also features Rebecca’s ‘Fortune For The Flame’ which is a spirited emo number that instils an attention grabbing tension. The Chimes give us an indie dance that demands extra volume and dancing room. Their ‘Intercontinental Girl’ brings back memories of the lo-fi independent dance of the late eighties and nineties with its grungy guitar work and euphoric vocals.

Finally, The Argonauts mysteriously named ‘1/4.2.7’ is an excellent piece of funked up electronica with a rasping vocalist that, along with the slow and heavy bass, gives a human edge to the number.

‘Digital Northerner: Version 1.0’ is available from a variety of download sites, check for details of exactly where you can download the album. Plans are already made for a sequel (presumably ‘Digital Northerner: Version 2.0’) to contain tracks from twelve new Northern dance acts.

Label : Fat Northerner Records

Release Date : 07 March 2005

Website :

Tracklisting (Artist / Track)

  • Iron Weed / Down To My Grave
  • Earl / Regret
  • Slims / Get Up
  • Evenhand / My Wall
  • Blue Avenger / Do The Right Thing
  • Rebecca / Fortune For The Flame
  • The Argonauts / 1/4.2.7
  • Evenhand / Boost
  • Earl / Risky Disco
  • Slims / Eyeball Man
  • Chimes / Intercontinental Girl
  • Blue Avenger / Risky Remix

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