The Playlist – Huddersfield

by FCK LDN

Every now and then we plan to put on our hard hats and go data mining through Soundcloud, uncovering music from towns and cities all over the UK. Some of the tunes will be brand stonking new, some of the tracks will be the best of that area’s “must hear” bands. For our first playlist we chose Huddersfield, a city that thinks it’s a town, halfway between Leeds and Manchester.

Huddersfield’s biggest cheese is The Scaramanga Six, journeymen alt-rockers with a gaggle of independently released LPs to their name. Imagine Queens of the Stone Age covering The Divine Comedy, then forget that and just listen to I Am the Rain on a loop instead. Spotify is full of Scaramanga, by the way – so begin your journey here then go there. If you have a pulse and a brain cell you will love them.

Also, “big in Huddersfield”, Kava Kava are on this playlist too. Less active in recent years these Huddersfidlian stalwarts held such sway over the local music scene that – at one time – they seemed able to decide whether or not you were allowed to gig in the town centre. At least, it felt that way if you were a scratchy little punk band trying to get on at local festivals. Kava Kava are still around and still generate funky, spacey-beats. And if you want to see them live, you’ll probably find them at a rock festival somewhere in Eastern Europe.

Huddersfield’s musical heritage is forever connected to punk. The Sex Pistols played their last UK gig in the town (before their reformation in 2002), a fireman’s benefit at Ivanhoe’s nightclub on Christmas Day 1977. And so, for years this grungy Northern town became a place of pilgrimage for wandering punks and crusties, the town centre swarming with mohawk Marks and skinhead Sharons well into the 90s.

But Huddersfield was also stuck between two pillars of post-punk – Joy Division in Manchester and The Sisters of Mercy in Leeds. The goth influence runs deep (spilling into violence at many 80s live gigs, as gothic kids studiously mourning into their snakebite and black would suddenly find themselves set upon by skins and punks ten and fifteen years their senior).

The influences can still be heard decades later. We can hear them in Hudds scene veterans Shambolic, the Sisters indebted Rhombus, shouty doomsayers Relics and Mr. Shiraz – pop punkers of distinction.

But time hasn’t stood still in t’Huddy. Savvy proves that, with a hip-hop track here that mashes up contributions from some bloke from Athlete and some bloke from Bloc Party. The video is a slice of prime Huddersfidlian lunacy. And the future’s also getting a rep from pretentious post-rockers Black Waves and weird sci-fi folk folks Maia.

There’s much more to tangle your brain up in here, so please do. And if you think there’s someone missing from the list, let us know in the comments.

Want to create a playlist for your own city? Let us know.