Sunday, 29 December 2013

High Hazels / The Orielles - Sheffield Shakespeare - 28th December 2013

High Hazels / The Orielles

Sheffield Shakespeare

28th December 2013

It's been quite a year for new Sheffield band High Hazels, releasing their debut single, Hearts Are Breaking, getting some serious blog coverage and playing their first gigs in London.  To finish off the year before recording an EP early next year, they played their Christmas party at their local The Shakespeare with support from the unfeasibly young The Orielles.

Monday, 23 December 2013

The Slow Readers Club - Heaton Chapel Blue Cat Cafe - 22nd December 2013

The Slow Readers Club

Heaton Chapel Blue Cat Cafe

22nd December 2013

Sometimes there's a band that you look at and listen to and wonder why they haven't quite made the next step up.   The Slow Readers Club are one such band.  We went to catch them play a low-key pre-Christmas gig at the Blue Cat Cafe and try to explain the mystery.

Monday, 9 December 2013

Mark Morriss - Interview

Since the last hurrah of The Bluetones in September 2011, Mark Morriss has been ploughing a new career as a solo artist.  His second album, A Flash Of Darkness, was first released earlier this year exclusively on Pledge Music and will be getting a full release on Acid Jazz early next year.  Ahead of that, he releases a single This Is The Lie (And That’s The Truth) today.  We caught up with him before his recent show at Manchester’s Tiger Lounge to talk about life as a solo artist.

Friday, 25 October 2013

Candy Says / The Lottery Winners - Manchester Fallow Cafe - 24th October 2013

Candy Says / The Lottery Winners

Manchester Fallow Café

24th October 2013

Candy Says came to Manchester for the final night of their Space tour to support the release of their recent cassette and download only single Kiss Kill.  Support came from rising local favourites The Lottery Winners.

Friday, 4 October 2013

Etches - Manchester Gullivers - 3rd October 2013

Etches

Manchester Gullivers

3rd October 2013

It's no mean feat to get the first song you put out in the public domain played by XFM and BBC Introducing before you've even played a gig, but Etches have done just that.  We went along to their live debut at the recently revamped Gullivers in Manchester to see what the buzz is about and came away impressed.

Thursday, 12 September 2013

Black Casino And The Ghost - Some Dogs Think Their Name Is No - album review

Black Casino And The Ghost - Some Dogs Think Their Name Is No (Lucky Machete)

Download / CD

Out Now

Black Casino And The Ghost are a four-piece from London featuring Elisa Zoot (also of Candy Says), Ariel Lerner, Gary Kilminster and Paul Winter-Hart.  They formed in 2010 and released an EP called Falling Into Pieces as well as a fantastic cover of Summer In The City. This year they've released two great singles, Hoboland and I Like You Because You're Free, as a taster for Some Dogs Think Their Name Is No, their full-length debut.

Sunday, 8 September 2013

Badly Drawn Boy - Manchester Deaf Institute - 6th September 2013

Badly Drawn Boy

Manchester Deaf Institute

6th September 2013

This sold-out show at the Deaf Institute in Manchester is Badly Drawn Boy (aka Damon Gough)'s first headline show for a couple of years.  In that time he's gone through a series of personal crises that his music has got him through.  What we witnessed was an emotional and cathartic evening for one of Manchester's finest songwriters and personalities.

Friday, 6 September 2013

Littlemores - Home Sweet Home - EP review

Littlemores

Home Sweet Home EP

Self-released

Download / CD

It's been almost two years since Littlemores released their Idle Idols II EP.  Since then, they've consolidated into a four-piece, been building up a ferocious live reputation in Yorkshire and have finally completed their follow-up EP Home Sweet Home.

Sunday, 1 September 2013

Catfish And The Bottlemen / Puppet Rebellion / The Slow Readers Club - Manchester FAC251 - 31st August 2013

Catfish And The Bottlemen / Puppet Rebellion / The Slow Readers Club

Manchester FAC251 (This Feeling Club Night)

31st August 2013

Catfish And The Bottlemen are the latest indie buzz-band, championed by XFM and Radio 1 and getting serious airplay on both.  They're out on what seems like a never-ending tour of smaller venues to grow their already sizeable following.  We caught up with them at Manchester's FAC251 to see if all the hype is justified.

Sunday, 11 August 2013

The Lottery Winners - Manchester Academy 3 - 10th August 2013

The Lottery Winners

Manchester Academy 3

10th August 2013

The North West has a reputation for producing dark, dour, spiky music with attitude.  Leigh's The Lottery Winners are bucking that trend by producing nailed on singalong pop classics.  Their sold-out show at the Academy 3 proved that there's more than meets the eye with them.  We went along to see how they could just hit the jackpot.

Saturday, 3 August 2013

Ryan Jarvis - Manchester Castle - 2nd August 2013

Ryan Jarvis

Manchester The Castle

2nd August 2013

So many singer-songwriters get tagged with the next big thing albatross as record labels strive desperately to unearth the new Gallagher, Fray or Bugg. We went to see 19 year old Ryan Jarvis who might just add his surname to that hallowed list.

Tuesday, 23 July 2013

Nadine Shah / Retriever - London The Lexington - 22nd July 2013

Nadine Shah / Retriever

London The Lexington

22nd July 2013

Nadine Shah launched her incredible debut album Love Your Dum And Mad with a sold-out show at London’s Lexington venue.  We went along to watch her captivate and silence the crowd.

Thursday, 18 July 2013

Candy Says - New Single Release


Candy Says is a lo-fi chic pop DIY band from Oxford. They record their unique brand of home-made pop in a bungalow garage with a couple of microphones and an old MacBook.  As well as being one of the most exciting new bands in the country, they're putting the most interesting spin on retro we've seen with their cassette single releases and their new ZX Spectrum-inspired video. 

Sunday, 14 July 2013

James / Echo And The Bunnymen - Wakestock - 13th July 2013

James / Echo And The Bunnymen

Wakestock Festival

13th July 2013

A wakeboarding festival in the middle of Wales with a predominantly teenage audience isn't a natural fit for bands from the last century. However, James and Echo and the Bunnymen prove there's no substitute for great tunes.

Wednesday, 10 July 2013

Embers - London Sebright Arms - 9th July 2013


Embers 

London Sebright Arms 

9th July 2013 

Tonight is Embers' debut headline show and also their debut London show.  We went along to see Manchester's great new hopes for guitar music take on the notoriously difficult London crowd. 

Thursday, 4 July 2013

NO - London Sebright Arms - 3rd July 2013

NO

London Sebright Arms

3rd July 2013

NO are a six-piece band from Los Angeles. They concluded a short UK tour, including a PIL support and Hard Rock Calling, with a sold-out free show at London’s Sebright Arms.

Wednesday, 3 July 2013

Emily Barker And The Red Clay Halo - Dear River - album review

Emily Barker And The Red Clay Halo

Dear River

CD / 2CD / Download Linn Records

Out 8th July (vinyl version out October)

Dear River is Emily Barker’s fourth album and the third she’s released with her band The Red Clay Halo.  It’s the follow-up to 2011’s critically-acclaimed Almanac, which saw her rise to prominence on the alt-folk scene and sell out prestigious venues such as Islington’s Union Chapel and also go out on tour with Frank Turner with whom they performed at the Olympic Opening Ceremony. This album demonstrates a progression in the band’s sound.

Saturday, 29 June 2013

John Bramwell - Hebden Bridge Trades Club - 27th June 2013

John Bramwell

Hebden Bridge Trades Club

27th June 2013

John Bramwell played an intimate rare solo gig at Hebden Bridge Trades Club.  We went along to watch a series of classic I Am Kloot songs.

Wednesday, 19 June 2013

Patti Smith - London Shepherd's Bush Empire - 18th June 2013

Patti Smith

London Shepherd's Bush Empire

18th June 2013 

Patti Smith has returned to the UK for a short tour ahead of her music and poetry performance as part of Yoko Ono's Meltdown at the Royal Festival Hall on Friday.  We caught the first of two shows at London's Shepherd's Bush Empire.

Sunday, 16 June 2013

Section 25 / Pony And Trap - Leeds Cockpit 3 - 15th June 2013

Section 25 / Pony And Trap

Leeds Cockpit

15th June 2013

Live appearances by Section 25 seem to be getting less frequent.  We crossed The Pennines to catch their mix of tracks from their brilliant 2013 album Dark Light and classic tracks from their Factory days.

Sara Lowes: All For The Dream (With The Means Of A Well Planned Getaway) - EP review

Sara Lowes

All For The Dream (With The Means Of A Well Planned Getaway)

Red Deer Club

DL/CD

Out Now

It's felt like a lifetime since 2011's stunning Back To Creation album, but Sara Lowes' new EP All For The Dream (With The Means Of A Well Planned Getaway) is now with us with the promise of a new album and other projects in the pipeline.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

Money - Hebden Bridge Trades Club - 14th June 2013

MONEY

Hebden Bridge Trades Club

14th June 2013

There's been a big buzz about MONEY for a while.  They've recently signed to Bella Union for the release of their forthcoming debut album and they've been selected by the Manchester International Festival to play that album in full over two nights as part of the festival.  We went to see them perform a low-key show at the Trades Club in Hebden Bridge to see what the fuss is all about.


Friday, 14 June 2013

James / Frazer King - Thetford Forest High Lodge - 13th June 2013

James / Frazer King 

Thetford Forest High Lodge

13th June 2013

James opened up The Forestry Commission's 2013 series of events with a show in Thetford Forest. 


Thursday, 13 June 2013

Queens Of The Stone Age - London Rough Trade East - 11th June 2013

Queens Of The Stone Age

London Rough Trade East

11th June 2013

Considering Queens Of The Stone Age can fill venues twenty times the size of Rough Trade East's performance space with no problem at all, an in-store show is a very special environment to witness their first UK set in support of their new album Like Clockwork. We were lucky enough to get one of the elusive 200 wristbands.

Tuesday, 11 June 2013

Kiran Leonard - London The Lexington - 10th June 2013

Kiran Leonard
 
London The Lexington

10th June 2013

In the corridors of the internet where the wise sages of music chatter away there's been a growing buzz about Kiran Leonard, still a teenager from North East Manchester, who has released a couple of internet-only singles and had posted early mixes of his forthcoming album Bowler Hat Soup on his Bandcamp page.  Tonight was his debut London show, a support slot at The Lexington.  We went along to see what all the fuss is about.

Friday, 7 June 2013

PINS / Brown Brogues - London The Lexington - 6th June 2013

PINS / Brown Brogues

London The Lexington

6th June 2013

PINS defy the Manchester stereotype of boys with guitars and prove themselves as one of the most vital bands coming out of the city and more than a match for the more celebrated all girl bands from London and California.  We saw them play the Lexington in London ahead of the release of their third single Stay True.

Thursday, 6 June 2013

Miles Kane - London Rough Trade East - 5th June 2013

Miles Kane

London Rough Trade East

5th June 2013

Miles Kane's second solo album Don't Forget Who You Are is released this week and as well as a series of shows in intimate club venues ahead of The Stone Roses support slot on Saturday, he played an eight-song set in Rough Trade's East London store to a packed crowd.

Monday, 3 June 2013

Emily Barker And The Red Clay Halo - Interview

Emily Barker And The Red Clay Halo are about to release their fourth album Dear River on 8 July.  We met up with Emily before their recent show at Salford’s Sounds From The Other City Festival to find out more.

Sunday, 2 June 2013

The Minx - Manchester Soup Kitchen - 1st June 2013

The Minx

Manchester Soup Kitchen

June 1st 2013

The Minx came to my attention on their recent support slot with Inspiral Carpets in March, entertaining the crowd with their short sharp bursts of punk energy, intelligent lyrics and a frontman who grabs your attention and holds it in a vice-like clamp.  On the eve of the release of their second single, an EP entitled Hello Mr Warden, they played a sold-out show at The Soup Kitchen in Manchester.

Friday, 31 May 2013

Jess Harwood - I'll Find A Way - EP review

Jess Harwood

I'll Find A Way EP

DL / CD

Out Now

Self-released via Bandcamp

Jess Harwood is a twenty-year old singer-songwriter from Blackpool who's slowly but surely growing a burgeoning reputation on the live circuit in the North West.  She's recently released her debut EP I'll Find A Way via Bandcamp.

Monday, 27 May 2013

Gramotones - Manchester Pretty Green - 26th May 2013

The Gramotones

Manchester Pretty Green

26th May 2013

There's a growing buzz about The Gramotones, built upon a growing reputation as a live band with a fantastic knack for harmonies and great straight-forward intelligent tunes and lyrics, backed by a couple of self-released EPs.  They've caught the attention of Tim Burgess who has invited them to support on his autumn tour and Liam Gallagher, whose Pretty Green chain asked them to do this in-store and one in London a couple of days earlier.  We went along to see what the fuss was all about.

Sunday, 26 May 2013

Little Sparrow - Chorlton Nook And Cranny - 25th May 2013

Little Sparrow

Chorlton Nook And Cranny

May 25th 2013

Little Sparrow’s headline set as part of the Chorlton Arts Festival was scheduled for the Nook And Cranny, a tiny little bar / restaurant bar by Chorlton Metrolink station.  It’s a beautifully intimate setting for an evening of music with a respectful audience there to listen to the music rather than chattering away as we’d experienced at her set at Dot To Dot the previous night.


Friday, 24 May 2013

Dot To Dot - Manchester various venues - 23rd May 2013

Dot To Dot is a one-day festival across three UK cities on consecutive days. It's a multi-venue festival where one wristband gets you access to all bands in any of the venues. Fresh from three days of this experience at The Great Escape, we attended the first of the three at Dot to Dot Manchester and this is what we thought.


Thursday, 23 May 2013

The National - Trouble Will Find Me - album review

The National - Trouble Will Find Me (4AD

CD / LP / DL 

Out Now

9.5 / 10

You sense that Trouble Will Find Me is a direct reaction to the success of The National’s previous album High Violet, where Matt Berninger’s personal demons became a rallying point, and - whisper it quietly - a clarion call for the lonely, self-doubting, confused masses of the indie-rock crossover fanbase that the band had acquired over the course of their previous critically acclaimed albums.

Sunday, 19 May 2013

The Great Escape Day 3 - Brighton various venues - 18th May 2013

The Great Escape is a three-day festival spread across thirty of Brighton’s finest small and medium sized venues attracting hundreds of acts from across the world.  It’s now become the opening event of the UK festival season and attracts visitors from all over the country and further afield.  We trawled the streets armed with a map and a timetable and an iPhone for last minute schedule changes and Twitter recommendations.  Following on a band-packed Day 1and a more relaxed Day 2, this is who we saw on the third and final day.

She And Him: Volume 3 - album review

She And Him - Volume 3 (Domino Recordings)

CD / DL / LP

Out Now

7.5/10

Easily dismissed as the doe-eyed star of cheesy TV and chick-flick flims, Zooey Deschanel proves on her third She And Him album with M Ward that there’s more to her than meets the eye.

Saturday, 18 May 2013

The Great Escape Day 2 - Brighton various venue - 17th May 2013

The Great Escape is a three-day festival spread across thirty of Brighton’s finest small and medium sized venues attracting hundreds of acts from across the world.  It’s now become the opening event of the UK festival season and attracts visitors from all over the country and further afield.  David Brown from Louder Than War trawled the streets armed with a map and a timetable and an iPhone for last minute schedule changes and Twitter recommendations.  Following on a band-packed Day 1, this is who we saw on Day 2.

Friday, 17 May 2013

The Great Escape Day 1 - Brighton various venues - 16th May 2013

The Great Escape is a three-day festival spread across thirty of Brighton's finest small and medium sized venues attracting hundreds of acts from across the world.  It's now become the opening event of the UK festival season and attracts visitors from all over the country and further afield.  We trawled the streets armed with a map and a timetable and an iPhone for last minute schedule changes and Twitter recommendations and this is who he saw.

Sunday, 12 May 2013

Liam Frost / Hannah And Lois - Manchester Anthony Burgess International Foundation - 11th May 2013

Liam Frost / Hannah And Lois

Manchester International Anthony Burgess Foundation

Saturday May 11th 2013

It’s been two and a half years since Liam Frost’s last solo gig.  As he prepares songs for his third album, he ventured to the unique surroundings of The International Anthony Burgess Foundation to dust down some old favourites.

Saturday, 11 May 2013

The Tapestry / The Delaplains / The Watchmakers - Manchester Band On The Wall - 10th May 2013

The Tapestry / The Delaplains / The Watchmakers

Manchester Band On The Wall

10th May 2013

Three of the most exciting up-and-coming bands in town on one bill?  It’s difficult to turn this sort of evening down.   We went down to The Band On The Wall in Manchester to check out The Watchmakers, The Delaplains and headliners The Tapestry.

Saturday, 4 May 2013

The Rainkings - Interview with Stephen Holt and Dave Swift

The first release on the resurrected Playtime Records is Another Time 1989-1994, a compilation of singles, outtakes and unreleased tracks by The Rainkings, who featured Stephen Holt and Dave Swift after they left Inspiral Carpets in 1989.  Twenty-four years on, we met up with Stephen and Dave in a Manchester boozer to discuss the history of the band and the reasons for the compilation.

How did The Rainkings come about?

Steve : Obviously as you know, Dave and I decided to leave the Carpets.  We’d known each other for years and years, we went to the same school together.  We’d been in garage bands, literally in garages and been in school bands. Dave had always been writing songs and we’d been doing stuff together and I think Dave took a step out first.

Dave : I had to leave, because I was at Uni.  There was too much touring going on when I was studying.   I was in the second year at University and that’s generally the hardest year.  We had a massive tour lined up and I knew that I’d fail if I went on that tour, so there was just no chance of me continuing.  I would have done otherwise.  We’d toured with The Wedding Present in Scotland and I had to take my books with me.  It was pretty mad really.

There was one gig where you, Steve, and Martyn (Dave’s replacement) were in the band.

Steve : Yeah, at the Cricketers near the Oval in London.  I think it didn’t feel right for me at that time when Dave left, but we still wanted to do stuff, but obviously not at the same level because Dave was at Uni.   So we carried on writing and thought about other people we could bring in. John was from The Bodines and we had a link with them through a guy called Mike who used to drive us round in the Carpets.  Carl was a guy from a local band in Shaw called Turning Blue who we thought was a good bass player so we asked him if he was interested and that got things going.

You signed to Playtime for a couple of singles.  Was that a natural progression because the Inspirals had been there?

Steve : Well we never really signed.  But we knew Paula and we knew that the Carpets had got their own label and set up Cow.  We knew there was trouble with the distribution company Red Rhino.  But we knew her and we probably thought she was the only person who’d put our stuff out.  It was a matter of getting in touch and seeing if she was interested really.

Dave : She came to a few gigs to see us.

Was there a plan with The Rainkings to build slowly and eventually end up releasing an album?

Steve : For me the plan was writing, playing gigs and still enjoying doing it.

Dave : We had a lot of songs for an album.  We tended to do songs for a while and then move on and not do anything with them.    There were a hell of a lot of songs that never actually ended up anywhere.

That was similar with the Inspirals wasn’t it?  A lot of songs on Cow and Waiting For Ours demos that never went anywhere.

Dave : It’s a shame really, we should have done more with what we had at the time.

Steve : We did have the two singles.  We definitely rushed the first single but I’m not sure whether that’s because Paula wanted us to or we were rushing it.

Dave : We didn’t have proper guidance in the studio as we were doing things ourselves.

In those days with independent labels it was like that though, you’d give them something and they’d put it out.  The music industry was a lot more naïve then.

Steve : I think with Playtime things had gone well early on with the Inspirals and Mirrors Over Kiev. Plane Crash had been a massive success and Playtime was suddenly a bigger label with New FADS and Too Much Texas.

You did two EPs, Get Ready and Sunlight Fades…

Dave : Out of all of them, Sunlight Fades is my least favourite song. I’d delete it.

Steve : I think Sunlight Fades was one of the first songs we’d written as The Rainkings.  Dave is, or at least was, a human writing machine, he has books and books of songs and self-recordings that he’d done himself .  I bet if we had the time to do it full-time, we’d probably have had enough songs to release three albums at once.

Dave : More than a hundred songs.  I think I wrote three Inspirals songs myself – So Far, Out Of Time and Causeway.

Steve : There were loads of tunes. Dave would bring a tape in of songs and if we liked one, we’d pick it up and do something with it.

Dave : People would take the base idea and chop them up a bit in the studio as a band.

The thirteen songs on the CD are all very classic timeless guitar-based indie. At the time you started to put them out, Madchester had kicked off and that sort of song had gone out of fashion and wasn’t going to fit.

Steve : I think things had changed.  Our songs sounded more American.  We did try and write a few more dance-oriented songs called Going Up and Eighth Wonder, which aren’t on the album.  They weren’t bad songs, Going Up was a top tune.  I think you’re right.

Dave : I think we were more influenced by what we were listening to. I didn’t listen to a lot of dance music.  Pixies, things like that.

It was a time when The Roses and Mondays, Inspirals and James were starting to get big.  But when you listen to The Rainkings and Inspirals from that period, the biggest difference in Clint’s keyboards.

Steve  : I think you’re right. I think with the Madchester scene, the Inspirals never fitted in really except they were a band at the time and they were from near Manchester and a bit different. With The Rainkings I think the fact we never really pushed ourselves and that we got labeled as ex-Inspirals, ex-Bodines and were trying to move away from that and not sound like either band or play any of those songs probably didn’t do us any favours.  We were trying to move away from them.

Dave : It’s best to do your own thing, and if people don’t like it, then they don’t like it.

Steve : We saw ourselves a whole new band and it would have been disrespectful to go down that route of what we were.  We never wanted to do that and it wouldn’t have been right.

Dave : You shouldn’t trade on that.

So how did this compilation come about?

Steve : I suppose me coming back into the Carpets created a little bit of a buzz. People asked me what I’d been doing since I left.  But to be fair, Paula was trying to get Playtime going again and it’s a great opportunity to make the most of all that and get something out there.

Dave : Listening to some of the other songs on the compilation, I also think they’re stronger than some that we released.

Steve : There’s some top tunes that we had rough demos of.

Listening to it, the album fits together really well, it’s been ordered to work that way rather than as a chronological collection of songs.

Steve : We wanted to do that.  Get Ready is first because that’s one of our strongest songs.   I think it’s a bit more punchy the way we’ve got it now.

Dave : I definitely prefer the order Steve picked.

It peaks at the end as well.  Step By Step and Just An Idea for example. It feels like a band that’s found a sound.

Dave : I think Just An Idea is my favourite song from that first EP. Steve : We definitely found out feet with that and Get Ready.

That was something of the time though with indie bands.  They’d release a four-track EP and there wasn’ t a named lead track.

Dave : It was good to let the tracks stand on their own and to let people choose which one was their favourite.  And we weren’t the only band that did that at the time.

Steve : I definitely think we rushed that first EP as we were finding out feet.  There’s three top songs on there.

Dave : There was definitely weird things about both EPs.  The first one we were making things up as we went along and the second we were much tighter, but we missed quite a bit of stuff off it that could have gone on there.

Steve : It helped having Ian Broudie producing the second one.  I know Dave likes the  guitars on the songs on the Bolton tracks (a later demo session), but I think the Get Ready EP was where I wanted us to be.

You’ve talked about being in the studio preparing this compilation.  What have you done with the songs in there?

Steve : We didn’t do loads with them.

Dave : You told me to bring my guitar just in case.

What are the Bolton tracks?

Dave :  To The End

Steve : There’s the two EPs, Take which we did for the Home compilation, then the next songs are the Bolton tracks which are To The End, Gone and This Is The Time and they were tunes we did with a different bass player as we’d lost Carl at that point.  After that we did Step By Step and Way Down.  The Bolton session was quite a basic studio, but Dave really liked his guitar sound on that.

This is coming out at the end of April.  Are you going to play any gigs or release any more stuff?

Steve : We have actually talked about going into the studio.  The album’s only coming out digitally at the moment.  We have a song that’s one of our strongest songs that never got recorded called To The Sea and I’d love to put that down and get it recorded, because it’s a brilliant tune.  Dave’s also written a new tune that we were going to try when we got in the studio in Chorlton to do the remastering and mixing of the album, but we didn’t get time.  We’re going to try and do that and either add it on the end some way or put it out on its own.

You said you had a lot of songs.

Steve : Yes, we did.  Lots that people never heard.

Dave : The new one sounds good.  It’s quite quick, a bit different and sounds brilliant.

Live?  Or was this just the two of you coming together to put these songs out?

Steve : No, John was involved too in some ways.  We lost touch with Carl a long time ago and the rest of them.  We had Manny Lee from The Waltones at one point but he’s not interested in doing anything.   If we were going to do anything live, and I’d love to do a few gigs personally, we’d have to spend a lot of time rehearsing and getting a bass player.

Dave : If we went back to some tracks, I could probably play the bass.  I played guitar with The Rainkings.

The Rainkings : Another Time 1989-1994 is available digitally now via iTunes. The Rainkings are on Twitter.

Friday, 26 April 2013

James - Manchester Evening News Arena - 26th April 2013

James

Manchester Evening News Arena

26th April 2013

James completed a sold-out ten date tour of the UK with a show at Manchester’s MEN Arena last night. We were there to witness a triumphant homecoming of a band looking backwards to move on with old favourites and future classics. 

Thursday, 25 April 2013

Ryan Jarvis - Outside This Town - EP review

Ryan Jarvis’s debut EP Outside This Town demonstrates a song-writing ability beyond his eighteen years and the potential to follow in the long line of great Mancunian songwriters that tell of life and love in a Northern town.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

James - Stirling Tolbooth - 12th April 2013

James

Stirling Tolbooth

12th April 2013

James make a low-key but triumphant return to the live stage, debuting four new songs, throwing a few curveballs and finishing with some classics.

Saturday, 6 April 2013

The Minx - Interview

The Minx are an exciting new five-piece band from Manchester.  They released debut single No Friends in July last year and have just finished a tour with Inspiral Carpets. 

Keeping The Circle Around - The Return Of Playtime Records

There’s been a trend in recent years for bands from the 1980s and 1990s to reform, but Playtime Records are taking things a step further by becoming the first record label to reform to release some of their classic lost back catalogue.

Friday, 5 April 2013

Liam Frost / Tokolosh - Interview

Liam Frost burst onto the music scene with his debut album Show Me How The Spectres Dance in 2006 and followed it with We Ain’t Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain in 2009.  He’s been relatively quiet since then, but is now back with two projects - a new band called Tokolosh and plans for his third solo album.  David Brown from Louder Than War caught up him for a chat about his plans.

Andy Diagram (Spaceheads / James) - Interview

Spaceheads are a drum and trumpet duo featuring Richard Harrison and Andy Diagram and are releasing their new EP Sun Radar next week. David Brown from Louder Than War met Andy, better known as the trumpet player with James, in a London pub to talk about the EP, the band’s history and their plans for the future.

Wednesday, 3 April 2013

Emma Stevens - Dreaming Tree - EP review

Emma Stevens’ 2nd EP Dreaming Trees may just be the perfect antidote to our freezing weather, X Factor culture and the doom and gloom that seems to be enveloping everyone.

Monday, 1 April 2013

John Mackie - Manchester Black Dog Ballroom - 31st March 2013

John Mackie

Manchester Black Dog Ballroom

31st March 2013

John Mackie has been around the Manchester music scene for what seems like forever.  He's played a solo artist, he's sung with next-big-things-that-never-happened The Broadcast and The Vortex and he's been out on the road with Bonehead.  Yet you never shake the feeling with John that he's at his best when it's just him and his guitar.

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Rae Morris - London Village Underground - 27th March 2013

Rae Morris

London Village Underground

27th March 2013

Blackpool singer-songwriter Rae Morris is slowly but surely building a dedicated following and we went to see how her sound is developing at her sold-out show at the Village Underground in London.

Monday, 25 March 2013

The House Of Love: She Paints Words In Red - album review

The House Of Love - She Paints Words In Red

Cherry Red Records

Out Now

8.5/10

The House Of Love make a triumphant return as the legendary combination of Chadwick and Bickers prove time hasn't diminished their chemistry.


Saturday, 23 March 2013

Suede - London Rough Trade East - 22nd March 2013

Suede

London Rough Trade East

22nd March 2013

Suede continue their triumphant return with an intimate in-store performance in East London. We were there to see whether they've still got it

David Ford - Manchester Deaf Institute - 24th March 2013

David Ford / Emily Grove / Jarrod Dickenson

Manchester Deaf Institute

24th March 2013

For this tour supporting the release of his new album Charge, David Ford has come up with a novel idea of inviting Emily Grove and Jarrod Dickenson, two American singer-songwriters, to tour with him and for them to perform as each other’s backing band.   It’s a brave move given they only arrived the previous Monday and the tour opened on the Wednesday.


Monday, 18 March 2013

David Ford - Charge - album review

David Ford 

Charge CD / Vinyl (with CD) / Download 

Released March 18th 2013 

9.5/10 

Charge is David Ford’s fourth solo studio album.  Since leaving Easyworld in 2004, he’s remained defiantly under the mainstream radar, causing a stir with his debut single State Of The Union and its homemade video of a solo performance of the song in his home basement and having his potential breakthrough second album Songs For The Road lost commercially as label Independiente struggled to pay the bills.

Inspiral Carpets - Interview

Inspiral Carpets are currently on tour performing their debut album Life, with additional songs from their back catalogue and two new songs.  We caught up with Clint, Steve and Graham in Edinburgh on the second night of the tour for a chat about why they chose to tour Life and their plans for the future.

Saturday, 16 March 2013

James versus Syco: Real Music versus Manufactured Pop in the name of Charity

Comic Relief.  Mainstream TV to raise money for those causes that our government should be funding rather than tax cuts for their Millionaires friends.  Yet this year there’s an interesting sub-plot.  The official Comic Relief song is performed, if you can use the term, by One Direction and Syco have the exclusive rights to support a worthy cause.  Yet, there’s a band from Manchester and a comedian from Bolton who are providing an alternative story.


Inspiral Carpets / Danny Mahon - Glasgow King Tut's Wah Wah Hut - 15th March 2013

Inspiral Carpets / Danny Mahon

Glasgow King Tut's Wah Wah Hut

Friday March 15th 2013

Inspiral Carpets are back on the road celebrating the re-release of their debut album Life by playing an eleven-date UK tour performing the album in full and a set of classic tracks and new songs to follow.  We caught up with them at the first night of a sold out two day run at Glasgow’s legendary King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut.  


Friday, 15 March 2013

The Tapestry - Interview

"If there was ever a band to fall instantly in love with, it is Manchester quartet The Tapestry" was how John Robb described the four-piece band with two sold-out singles to their name. We met up with Liam, Katy, Dyna and Zara before their support slot with The Courteeners at Cambridge Junction to find out a little bit more about them.

Wednesday, 13 March 2013

David Ford - Interview

David Ford is a singer-songwriter from the South Coast, about to release his fourth solo studio album, Charge.  We met up with David on the steps of Islington Assembly Hall to find out more about the album, the financial difficulties of putting out your own records and his unique approaches to touring.

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club - Specter At The Feast - album review

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club

Specter At The Feast

CD / LP / Download

Abstract Dragon Records

7.5 / 10

Twelve years since their debut BRMC album marked them out as masters of  their own brand of feedback-laden bluesy guitar rock, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club return with their sixth album, Specter At The Feast, their first album since 2010’s Beat The Devil’s Tattoo.


Wendy And Lisa - Wendy And Lisa - album review

Wendy and Lisa – Wendy And Lisa 

Cherry Red Records

CD 

9/10

Released - 25th March 2013

Confession time, the teenager in me’s ears pricked up on seeing this album in the review list.  Released in 1987, Wendy and Lisa, along with Belinda Carlisle formed part of that less cool section of my music collection based on a mix of pop songs and good looks. 


Sunday, 10 March 2013

Delay Trees - Doze - album review

Delay Trees - Doze

CD / DL

Soliti  

Out Now

8.5/10

Delay Trees hail from Finland and have released Daze, their follow-up to their self-titled debut album and EPs “Soft Construction” and “Before I Go Go”, this week digitally worldwide.


Thursday, 7 March 2013

Caitlin Rose - Interview

Caitlin Rose is a 25 year old singer-songwriter from Nashville , Tennessee, via Dallas.  She’s just released her second album The Stand In and has completed a UK tour in support of the record.  We caught up with her before her show at The Ruby Lounge in Manchester.


Wednesday, 6 March 2013

The Courteeners / The Tapestry - Cambridge Junction - March 5th 2013

The Courteeners / The Tapestry

Cambridge Junction 5th March 2013

The Courteeners are a funny bunch. Very obviously Mancunian, they have a massive following in their hometown, to the extent that they can sell out the 15,000 Manchester Arena, but yet not the more modest Junction in Cambridge, even though it’s three years since they’ve been here. 


Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Jesca Hoop - Interview

Jesca Hoop is a Californian singer, currently based in Manchester, England.  Fresh from releasing The House That Jack Built in June 2012 and an acoustic version of her debut album Kismet in January 2013, she has recently supported I Am Kloot on their sold-out UK tour.   We caught up with her before her show at The Junction in Cambridge to find out a little bit more about her.

Saturday, 2 March 2013

Caitlin Rose - Manchester Ruby Lounge - 1st March 2013

Caitlin Rose

Manchester Ruby Lounge

Friday 1st March 2013

Caitlin Rose released her second album The Stand In last week.  We caught up with her sold-out show at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge to witness how Nashville’s finest recent export has beefed up her sound and charmed a boisterous Manchester crowd.

Thursday, 28 February 2013

Rae Morris - Interview

Rae Morris is a talented young singer-songwriter from Blackpool, who releases her third EP “From Above” on March 25th.  She took time out from her recent UK headline tour to talk to us.

Tuesday, 26 February 2013

New Band Feature - Literature Thieves

Literature Thieves are a three-piece band that recently released their debut EP “Moon Stories From The Glass Mountain” on Manchester’s innovative folk label Red Deer Club.


Sunday, 24 February 2013

Section 25 - Interview With Vinny Cassidy

David Brown interviews Vinny Cassidy - founder member of Section 25. He talks about the past and the future of the band and what making the new album, released on Record Store Day meant to him.

Friday, 22 February 2013

Section 25 - Dark Light - album review

Section 25 - Dark Light (Factory Benelux) 

CD/DL 

Released 25th February 2013

9/10

Anthony H Wilson 2007 - “Those clever bastards from Blackpool” Dark Light is the first Section 25 album of new material since the death of founder member Larry Cassidy.


Tuesday, 19 February 2013

Paperfangs - Interview

Paperfangs who've just released a new album, Past Perfect. We spoke to them to find out more about their background and inspirations. 

I Am Kloot / Jesca Hoop - London Barbican - 19th February 2013

I Am Kloot, Jesca Hoop 

Barbican, London 

19th Feb 2013

On the back of their first top-ten album “Let It All In”, I Am Kloot have embarked on a two-week long sold-out national tour. We cast aside his aversion to seated theatre halls to catch them at their sold out show at the Barbican in London. 


Sunday, 17 February 2013

Palma Violets - 180 - album review

Palma Violets '180' (Rough Trade)

LP/CD/DL

Released 25th February 2013 

It’s quite a heady accolade to be named Best Song of 2012 for any band, yet alone for a debut album for a band that’s only been in existence 16 months, yet that’s where we find Palma Violets, and now we have their debut album, 180, released on the back of no little hype of being the next saviours of indie music, and heirs to London’s alternative throne.  

Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Milo Greene - Interview

Milo Greene are a five-piece from California. They released their debut self-titled album on Fierce Panda in January.  We met Robbie, Marlana and Curtis before their show at Camden Barfly to find out a little bit more about them.

Monday, 11 February 2013

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds - London Her Majesty's Theatre - 10th February 2013

Nick Cave 

London Her Majesty's Theatre 

Feb 10th 2013 

This gig was the first in a whirlwind tour of unusual venues around the world that Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds are doing to promote their forthcoming album Push The Sky Away. 

Sunday, 10 February 2013

James - Interview with Larry Gott

Following the much-delayed release of their career spanning boxset The Gathering Sound, Larry Gott, guitarist with the band James, met us in a Manchester boozer to discuss the reasons for releasing the box set and the future of James and the music industry in general. 


Monday, 28 January 2013

The History Of Apple Pie - Out Of View - album review

The History of Apple Pie-Out of View (Marshall Teller Records

DL/CD/LP 

Out 28th Jan 2013

Four singles into their career, The History Of Apple Pie release their debut album 'Out Of View' and it's a great point at which to reflect on a band that's created a buzz with their first three sold out 7" singles.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Rebekka Karijord - London Borderline - 16th January 2013

Rebekka Karijord

The Borderline, London

January 16th, 2013

Rebekka Karijord takes a break from the Norwegian winter to play her first headline gig in London, and we were there.

Wednesday, 16 January 2013

I Am Kloot - Let It All In - album review

I Am Kloot - Let It All In (Shepherd Moon) 

DL/CD/LP 

Out 21st Jan 2013

Let's get this out of the way before we start. The cliches have already been rolled back out for I Am Kloot's sixth studio album, not helped by their insistence on using Guy and Craig from Elbow on production duties. Previous album Sky At Night was seen by the press as their attempt to 'do an Elbow', as if drowning the album in strings onto the album was a surefire way of following their contemporaries and friends career trajectory. There's so much more to Kloot than lazy comparisons, their back catalogue more than stands up on its own and with Let Them All In, they've produced an album that should, in a world with any justice, be recognised as their defining moment to date.