Saturday, 10 December 2016

James / The Slow Readers Club - Sheffield O2 Academy - 9th December 2016

The third night of James's short December tour rolled into Sheffield on Friday night and continued in the same vein as the previous two, with a set that varied considerably from the previous ones, resurrection of old favourites from the depths of their back catalogue and some of their biggest songs in one triumphant event. Support came from Manchester's The Slow Readers Club who look and sound completely at home on these bigger stages.

Thursday, 8 December 2016

James / The Slow Readers Club - Wolverhampton Civic - 7th December 2016

Day two of James' UK mini tour saw them return to Wolverhampton for the first time in nineteen years to the Civic. A set full of surprises and seven setlist changes from the previous night and a band at the peak of their powers in one of the best venues of this size in the country delighted a packed Black Country crowd. Support came from The Slow Readers Club.

Wednesday, 7 December 2016

Rocketship Forest - Fingerthief EP

The brief accompanying Rocketship Forest’s new EP Fingerthief states that the songs “wrestle with the themes of charlatan clairvoyants, alien abduction, riot mentality and pyromania” which was reason enough to have a listen to it and we weren’t disappointed.

James / The Slow Readers Club - Nottingham Royal Centre - 6th December 2016

James returned to Nottingham Royal Centre to fulfil the gig they had to cancel at the end of their May tour due to Tim Booth's illness to deliver a set full of songs from their number 2 album Girl At The End Of The World as well as highlights from their pre- and post-reformation. Support came from an impressive set from Manchester's The Slow Readers Club who now feel very much at home in these big venues.

Monday, 5 December 2016

Pixies / Fews - Manchester Apollo - 4th December 2016

Pixies' latest tour in support of their second post-comeback album Head Carrier hit Manchester Apollo on Sunday night. A thirty-four song set covered all bases in their career from Surfer Rosa through to their latest album and left us with one of the most spectacular encores we've witnessed. Support came from the excellent Fews.

The Slowdown Family / Baby Brave - Manchester Gorilla - 2nd December 2016


Back in September, Liam Frost reunited The Slowdown Family for the tenth anniversary of their debut album Show Me How The Spectres Dance. At the end of the shows he revealed that they were writing new music for a record that they hope to release in 2017. This first show since then revealed a couple of new songs, revisited some old favourites and a little Christmas spirit. Main support came from Baby Brave.

The Vacant Lots - Berlin EP

American psych duo The Vacant Lots return with a sparkling four track EP. Stuart Ralston reviews.

The Maitlands - Manchester Aatma - 2nd December 2016

The Maitlands might never worry the scorers in the pop charts, but we suspect they care about that even less than we do. Outsiders on the vibrant live scene in Manchester, they probably also care little about that fact too, happy to play their own merry way around the venues of the city. We caught up with them in the cosy surroundings of Aatma as they headlined the first Atomic Catfight club night.

Track Of The Day : Keep Dancing Inc - Alright

Alright is the new single from Parisian trio Keep Dancing Inc ahead of their debut UK tour which calls in at Manchester's Soup Kitchen on Tuesday night (December 6).

Sunday, 4 December 2016

Blossoms / Inheaven - Manchester Albert Hall - 3rd December 2016

2016 has undoubtedly been Blossoms' year. Tipped as the next big thing by pretty much everyone (except us, as they topped our 2015 list), they delivered a number one album which managed the rare feat for a debut of holding on to the spot for a second week as well as constant touring around the UK and further afield. As they top of the year with another sold out UK tour we caught up with their second night at Manchester's Albert Hall for a triumphant homecoming (of sorts, Stopfordians) supported by Inheaven.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Cabbage - Salford White Hotel - 2nd December 2016

Deep in darkest Salford is The White Hotel, formerly known as The Bunker, an old garage where the pit acts as a bar and acts perform in a cage whilst the audience are in the adjoining one. It's an unusual place to catch a band that's everywhere at the moment - BBC Sound Of 2017, Blossoms and Courteeners supports to name just two, but Cabbage are no ordinary band as they proved with a chaotic performance in the smallest place you're likely to see them for a long time.

Friday, 2 December 2016

Heidrik - Funeral

Funeral is the second album by Faroese artist Heidrik. It's a magnificent piece of art, delicate in its construction but opulent in its furnishings, easy to immerse yourself in but with depths that reveal themselves with each listen. It's given us food for thought in our already shifting album of the year poll.

Track Of The Day : New Luna - Noise

Noise is the lead track from Manchester four-piece New Luna's debut EP due out next week. The four-piece have spent their summer honing their craft at festivals across the country in anticipation of their first proper release.

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

The Cure / The Twilight Sad - Manchester Arena - 29th November 2016

It's twenty years since The Cure last played Manchester Arena and as they returned to the UK at the end of a year-long world tour expectations were high amongst the 16,000 sold out crowd. The career- spanning set was cut short by Robert Smith's vocal issues but they still delighted with a two hour mix from most of their albums leaving their biggest songs to the end. Support came from Glaswegian heroes The Twilight Sad.

Monday, 28 November 2016

Lanterns On The Lake - Live With Royal Northern Sinfonia

Back in February, Lanterns On The Lake collaborated with the Royal Northern Sinfonia for a one-off show at The Sage in Gateshead. Bella Union have just released a digital version of ten of the songs from one of our favourite shows of the year and it's every little bit as special as we remembered.

LIINES - Manchester Aatma - 26th November 2016

Aatma played host to LIINES' hometown launch show for their first physical release, the double A-side single Be Here / Disappear, on Saturday night. A packed crowd was delighted by a forty minute set that left both band and audience gasping for breath.

Track Of The Day : Lucia Fontaine - When I Think Of You

When I Think Of You is the third track to be revealed by Glasgow's Lucia Fontaine from her forthcoming Best Boy EP which will also include her previous tracks Best Boy and Lose My Mind,

Saturday, 26 November 2016

Trampolene - Divided Kingdom (Pocket Album Five)

Divided Kingdom is the fifth in the series of Pocket Albums that Trampolene have released over the past couple of years. As with previous releases there's a huge variety on show from full-on everything turned up rock songs to delicate heartwrenching acoustic tracks and poetry from one of Britain's most underrated bands.

Cabbage - Terrorist Synthesizer EP

Terrorist Synthesizer is the final in a trilogy of Cabbage EPs, released one a month over the past three, that will make up their Young, Dumb And Full Of... record that's coming out in January.

Friday, 25 November 2016

October Drift / Larkins / Plastic House / Sly Antics - Manchester Dive NQ - 24th November 2016

Four bands playing for free on a Thursday night? When it's the calibre of established acts such as October Drift and Larkins playing a venue much smaller than their previous Manchester headline shows, then it's too good to turn down especially when highly tipped local acts Plastic House and Sly Antics are also on the bill.

Thursday, 24 November 2016

Weyes Blood - Manchester Castle Hotel - 23rd November 2016

With the critical success of recent album Front Row Seat To Earth still ringing in her ears, Natalie Mering brought Weyes Blood to a packed out sweltering Castle music room in Manchester for a ten song set that focused heavily on that record but also gave a glimpse of her previous work.

Tuesday, 22 November 2016

Craig Douglas Gill - A Tribute

Craig Douglas Gill was drummer in Inspiral Carpets, but he was much more than that. He was a father and husband first, a friend second and a musician and music lover third. His death on Sunday at the age of 44 leaves a massive hole in the lives of all three of those worlds. In the absence of being able to do anything else meaningful, we'd like to pay tribute to an incredible drummer, a dry witted, intelligent and humorous man that we feel privileged to have been able to call a friend.

Track Of The Day : High Hazels - Joined At The Lip

Joined At The Lip is the first product of High Hazels' recording sessions for their second album which will be preceded by a new EP next year, their first material in eighteen months since their Valencia single was taken from their self-titled debut. It's unmistakably them from the very first second, but it feels like a massive progression in both sound and ambition.

Spaceheads - Laughing Water

Spaceheads have augmented themselves to a trio for their new album Laughing Water, inviting Vincent Bertholet on double bass to join their trumpet and drums duo to record an album that's been eleven years in the making. It bears all the hallmarks of Spaceheads previous albums but the addition of Bertholet brings different nuances to the record which at points feels like they're making a commercial grab whilst at others sees them retreat further into delicate jazz-tinged improvisations that were captured at the moment of creation never to be repeated in that way.

Monday, 21 November 2016

Fairchild / Young Monarch / Carnival Club - Manchester Soup Kitchen - 19th November 2016

This is Fairchild's last gig for a while in their adopted hometown of Manchester as they move onto pastures new. Soup Kitchen is packed to the point it's almost impossible to move, but two hundred or so answer the call of dance that Fairchild's big 80s tinged rock sends so clearly from the stage. Support came from two of the most impressive bands on the local scene at the moment - Young Monarch and Carnival Club.

Track Of The Day : John Bramwell - Leave Alone The Empty Spaces

Leave Alone The Empty Spaces is the title track from John Bramwell's forthcoming debut solo album. He's released a video of the song being performed recently at Manchester's Royal Northern College Of Music.

Sunday, 20 November 2016

Lunar - Manchester Night And Day Cafe - 19th November 2016

One of Manchester's fastest rising bands Lunar headlined the latest This Feeling club night at the Night And Day Cafe on Saturday night to a packed crowd of their ever-expanding fan base and those curious to see what all the fuss is about. A seven-song set crammed full of singles present and future kept the hot and sweaty room dancing and wanting more.

Saturday, 19 November 2016

The Slow Readers Club / Puppet Rebellion / Larkins - Manchester Ritz - 18th November 2016

Selling out the Ritz two months in advance is no mean feat for an established touring band with major label support. The list of well-known artists that have experienced chart success without a Sold Out next to their name on the Ritz's posters is testament to what The Slow Readers Club achieved in doing just that. Fifteen hundred people crammed into the hallowed space to witness an unsigned band powered by their own pockets and their own hard work and masses of love alone deliver a night that people will talk about for years to come. Support came from Puppet Rebellion and Larkins.

Friday, 18 November 2016

Reverend And The Makers - Manchester Gorilla - 17th November 2016

Across the road from Gorilla, Reverend And The Makers have a habit of making the legendary bouncy dancefloor resemble a trampoline from start to finish of their customary tour stop off. Tonight is a different beast altogether though as they embark on an acoustic tour that strips back some of their best known songs as well as some of their favourites to their bare bones. It doesn't stop Gorilla heaving, sweating and at times drowning them out in a room full of love and adoration.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Track Of The Day : Dutch Uncles - Big Balloon

One of the country's most under-rated bands Dutch Uncles have announced details of their fifth album Big Balloon to be released via Memphis Industries on February 17th. They've also revealed the rather striking title track which heralds a return to the more guitar based sounds of their earlier records.