29 Sep 2003
Alongside Space Monkeys, Hopper and The Durutti Column, The Sixths were in the first (only?) roster of Factory Too bands.

Essentially a one-man-band - Stephin Merritt - they are certainly intriguing. Their first album Wasps' Nests (1995) which was released on Factory Too is still available in the USA on Polygram. The second album, Hyacinths and Thistles (2000), is also still in print and, like the first one, is highly rated.

Merritt has brought in a plethora of guest singers to sing his material including artists as diverse as Gary Numan, Anna Domino, Bob Mould, Clare Grogan and Marc Almond to mention but a few. As well as The Sixths, the prolific Merritt also founded and has recorded with Future Bible Heroes and Magnetic Fields.

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Biting Tongues

In the grey days of late 1970s post-punk Manchester, youth culture was a serious affair: every musical performance was measured mostly by the conviction of its delivery. The term 'New Wave' opened up free vistas where acquired skills could once again be exercised after punk's monochrome blur. It could be applied to anything from a James 'Blood' Ulmer record to the latest Throbbing Gristle release, Magazine to Swell Maps. Move outside that terrain into Sun Ra, Parliament, Frank Sinatra and Martin Denny, and your options were suddenly without limit...

Then came Tony Wilson's Factory Club (at the Russell Club in Hulme) offering an open invitation to experiment that was taken up when Ken Hollings, Howard Walmsley, Eddie Sherwood and a few others decided to make some noise to accompany their 16mm silent epic Biting Tongues. A further performance followed a few weeks later, when Colin Seddon and Graham Massey disbanded their Post Natals project and joined up. The film itself, a flashing series of negative images, became a memory; the name remained.

- extract from the LTM Biting Tongues biography

Factory Records

The Durutti Column