Twisted Nerve 25th birthday party


Pics and words from Alan Dearling

Twisted Nerve Records is a Manchester, England-based record label, founded by Damon Gough (AKA Badly Drawn Boy) with the main-man, Andy Votel, real name, Shallcross.

Andy is a musician, dj, record producer/mixer and graphic artist. He was the compere for the Twisted Nerve 25th birthday party. He introduced the artists and while introducing Rick Tomlinson he told the audience that his name is not Votel, that is actually an acronym for the name of his original band, Violators of the English language!  

He added that he had hoped that Twisted Nerve wouldn’t become home to any more ‘acronym’ acts, and then Rick Tomlinson came along performing as VOTSW, which stands for Voice of The Seven Woods.

However, in reality Andy Shallcross seems to be in thrall to pseudonyms, including Applehead and Slant Azymuth.

Twisted Nerve is probably best known for being the home of Badly Drawn Boy, Andy Votel and Alfie, especially between 1997 and 2012. They also worked on releases from the Doves, Jarvis Cocker and Elbow. Less active more recently.

Badly Drawn Boy

Melodic pop for the bed-sitting room, maybe? Some super classic songs, but an unusual musical ‘super-star’.

Chorlton 2022: mistakenly ‘identified’ when he was sitting in a car outside McDonald’s. Not ‘spotted’ as Damon Gough, AKA Badly Drawn Boy, but as a local drug dealer. Fans have re-dubbed him as ‘Dodgy Drawn Boy’! But, he will long be best remembered for his Mercury award winning, ‘The Hour of Bewilderbeast’ (2000) and the film sound-track music, ‘About a Boy’ (2002).

Have You Fed the Fish? (2002)

One Plus One Is One (2004)

Born in the U.K. (2006)

Is There Nothing We Could Do? (2009)

It’s What I’m Thinking Pt.1 – Photographing Snowflakes (2010)

Being Flynn (2012)

Banana Skin Shoes (2020)


Banana Skin Shoes (2020)
Is this a dream? Is the latest video from the 2020 album:

And, here’s my video of him at the live Twisted Nerve birthday gig in Todmorden:

Badly Drawn Boy: ‘Shake the Rollercoaster’ live at the Golden Lion. He is an understated, unassuming and loveable performer. All hail Damon Gough.


Voice Of The Seven Woods

Rick Tomlinson is an English, Bolton-based musician, best known for one of his projects, Voice of The Seven Woods, with Chris Walmsley and Pete Hedley. Folk freak, experimental psych-rock. Multi-instrumentalist. His live set reminded me a bit of Nick Drake, Pentangle, with hints of Davey Graham and John Fahey; gentle melancholia. ‘Voice of The Seven Woods’, a Finders Keepers’ album from 2007 on Twisted Nerve. Hauntingly beautiful…

‘Sand and Flames’:

‘Silver Morning Branches’:

Rick’s albums appear to include:

Voice of The Seven Woods – CD / LP (Twisted Nerve, 2007), Voice of The Seven Thunders – CD / LP (Tchantinler Recordings, 2010), Phases of Daylight – LP / MP3 (Voix Records, 2017), as Rick Tomlinson and En Dag – LP (Voix Records, 2018), as En Dag.



Visually exciting. A veritable wall of sound. One heck of a lot going on.

Here’s an old, but informative video from way back in 1999. Graham Massey’ co-ordinated collision of free jazz with dance and techno. Enjoy!

Here’s what it says on-line about Toolshed at one of the Graham Massey sites:  “Call it Kosmiche-freakout-spacerock, call it avant-freejazz-opera, call it what you want, but one thing that it most certainly is not: music to have on in the background.

Graham Massey’s Toolshed were formed as a houseband at Manchester’s seminal club night of the same name some 20 + years ago which hosted a wide variety of acts over its five year residency, including Autechre, Matthew Herbert, Add N (to X), Leila Arab, Kruder and Dorfmiester, Broadcast and Squarepusher.

Not merely content with having redefined dance music with 808 State in 1987, Graham Massey steers Toolshed into uncharted music territories. Comprising various members of Homelife along with a host of other musical mavericks, Toolshed grew into a psych-jazz-techno-orchestra, culminating at one point in a 28 piece big band performance commissioned for a three day workshop alongside Nitin Sawney at The Contact Theatre including a huge brass section culled from the Royal Northern College Of Music as well as a string quartet.”

Aidan Smith

Kind of discovered by Damon and Twisted Nerve Records in 2003. From Eccles, Manchester. Self-recorded over 70 tracks before getting support for his first commercial album. Aidan explained to the audience that he’s not a ‘professional’ musician, but was given his ‘break’ by Andy.

Sam Cooper (in an on-line review) wrote about Aidan’s album ‘At Home with… “Some songs are amusing as well as clever – (for example) ‘Song to Delia Smith’, ‘Some piece of drab’.”

Song to Delia Smith:

Sam McLoughlin and Otis Jordan with Dan on violin and bass

Not what I expected based on words on-line about ‘cut-and-paste’ environmental music and watching a video on-line, which is full of weirdness – found sounds.

‘Water for Fire’ experimental  video:

But, the reality was melodic explorations. Texturally interesting and full of imaginative interplay and a diverse range of ‘sounds’ produced on all manner of instruments. Dan told me afterwards that he’d had just one three hour rehearsal with Sam and Otis at their Robinwood Mill studio.

Here’s Sam’s on-line site:

Otis Jordan has released his 3rd album in 2022, ‘Dodger  Point’ on THEM THERE Records.

Otis’s musical adventures are seemingly located in the murky realms of lo-fi, DIY, found sounds, field recordings, drones and synth rabbit holes is a strong sense of rhythm and melody.

They say that, “SAMANDTHEPLANTS provide support, laying a fertile bed for a next generation. Connecting and channelling the transitory, ethereal and mystical through self-made instruments into the now!”

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