Firstly, some Magic Roundabout. No, not Dougal, Florence, Zebedee and the gang but a Manchester based independent band who I first discovered earlier this year. Listening to the track Sneaky Feelin’ on BBC 6 Music and hearing that this, their first ever single, was about to be released, I initially concluded they must be a contemporary combo pointlessly pastiching the sound of the kind of English indie band who in the 1980s would record a Peel session, put out a single on their own label and then likely disappear into oblivion.

Wrong. Wrong. Wrong.

Magic Roundabout were very much an English indie band of the 1980s, but one that never even reached the point of releasing any single or recording a Peel session. They did, though, support The Blue Aeroplanes, Inspiral Carpets, My Bloody Valentine, and The Pastels among others and attracted a number of fans.

The most significant of these proved to be Pale Saint Ian Masters.

Thirty odd years after they’d split, he unearthed an old tape of some of their demos and liked what he heard. This set in motion a chain of events that would end in a remastered compilation of their music called Up coming out on Jack White’s Third Man Records in September.

From it, this is She’s a Waterfall:

It was through Magic Roundabout’s Facebook page that I found out that Charley Keigher, the singer and lyricist of King of the Slums had died.

‘KOTS were dear to us all in Magic Roundabout. We first loved the Spider Psychiatry single back in 86, loved the attitude & we f**king loved Charlie’s dustbin drumming, KOTS just got better & better, a legendary band for sure.’

King of the Slums have been called Manchester’s most underrated group, but I reckon you that you could replace Manchester with Britain and you’d still be right. City Life contended that ‘the music they make is like Fairport Convention on an amphetamine binger’ while in NME, Stuart Maconie judged them to be ‘one of the most compelling bands on the planet.’

They emerged during a backlash against what was being increasingly perceived as lackadaisical and wimpish indie, but nobody was ever going to accuse Keigher of being twee.

He was more likely to snarl out a line about a late-night knee trembler than sing about holding hands and splashing puddles. Like Morrissey, his background was Irish, and both attended St Mary’s Secondary Modern in Stretford. Belligerent ghouls might have run Manchester schools, but they couldn’t crush the talents of these two. In the late 1980s/early 90s, they arguably vied with each another for the title of the country’s finest lyricist.

Scabrous, sarcastic and sometimes funny, Keigher specialised in exploring the dark underbelly of urban Britain in the late stages of Thatcherism, a world of unfit mothers and leery bleeders. The menace and not so quiet desperation of Charley Keigher’s words were matched magnificently by Sarah Curtis’s electric and electrifying violin that sometimes threatened to grate but which added a further layer of grit to the band’s uncompromising brand of uneasy listening.

Onstage, they never shambled either. Filmed live at the Boardwalk in Manchester for BBC Two’s alternative music show Snub TV, this is Fanciable Headcase:

For more on Magic Roundabout click here and for more on King of the Slums, here you go.