Monday, 30 November 2015
2015 has unquestionably been The Slow Readers Club's year. Finishing off in their home town in style with a show at Gorilla that sold out weeks in advance, their second album Cavalcade finally being released to universal acclaim, the likes of Steve Lamacq and XFM picking them up and an ever-growing live following has meant they're no longer of one the city's best kept secrets but a player with the world laid out in front of them for 2016. Completing one of the best line-ups in town this year were Delamere, Barron and Etches.
To celebrate the fifth anniversary of her debut LP Disarm, She Makes War, aka Laura Kidd, has revisited five of the songs for an EP release to coincide with a short UK tour. We had a listen to see how Laura had reinterpreted songs five years and over four hundred shows on.
Us And Them is the second single from Brighton's Thyla, At a time when there's a revival of shoegaze and bands cashing in on their back catalogue, it's refreshing to hear a band that's influenced by them, but which are putting their own modern and fresh spin on it and bringing it right up to date. Us And Them feels like an effortlessly beautiful song, spinning guitars that whirl the listener round and airy drifting vocals that wash over and around us.
Hey Bulldog are creating quite a stir around Manchester at the moment. Even The Stars' latest recruit Liam Hart caught them at the Night And Day Cafe as part of This Feeling's monthly club night and they left a lasting impression on him.
Saturday, 28 November 2015
Freakout Honey have made a massive impression in Manchester in the six short months since their debut gig opened up Manchester's Psych Fest. Their live shows have brought them a burgeoning audience, drawn in with the mesmerising collision of seven musical minds in a melting pot, a volatile fusion of noise as well as moments of transcendental calm beauty and sonic exploration.
Under My Spell is the new single by Hey Bulldog and their first release of the year. They've been building themselves a fine reputation as one of the most enthralling and exciting live acts in the city and with this single they've captured the ecstatic feel of their shows.
Friday, 27 November 2015
It's one of Manchester's biggest mysteries why The Tapestry haven't been signed and headlining some of the venues they've been playing support to touring bands in like their recent show with The Enemy at The Ritz. Undeterred, they're back with a fantastic new single, the live favourite We Talk, a great video which captures the essence of the band and a new website where the single is available as a free download.
To coincide with the vinyl release of Vindication Blues we spoke to Ivy Rossiter, aka Luckless, from her ongoing European tour about life on the road for a New Zealand based artist, the art of selecting an album tracklisting and her plans for a UK December tour.
Bind Me To You is the debut single from Manchester-based duo Runah, a mysterious duo who proclaim that "This obsession is a work of art..." and have created a poetic foreword to expand on the story of the track.
Thursday, 26 November 2015
The Bitten Tongue is Embers' first new material released for over two years. Previewed at some of their recent rare live outings, it's immediately recognisible with Embers' DNA - an irresistible wave of soaring power that you know is coming, can feel building, but you're powerless to stop. Not that you'd want to as they uplift you and envelop you in beautiful warm sonic waves. The song is available as a free download on their Soundcloud page.
Breathless is the title track from Fairchild's next EP due early in 2016. The Australian six-piece relocated to Manchester from their native Gold Coast but returned there to record the EP. Already gaining a reputation for the most high-energy fun shows in town, Breathless takes a slightly more restrained tack.
Wednesday, 25 November 2015
After the return of James this week, another one of the UK's biggest bands of the 1990s Travis return after a two year break since their last record Where We Stand with a new single Everything At Once and a frankly bizarre video that depicts front man Fran Healy coming a cropper on a trip to an outdoor activity centre.
Vindication Blues is Luckless's second album. Originally released back in July 2014, it's now being issued on vinyl in the UK for the first time by London label Beautiful Strange and as it's only a recent discovery for us the reissue is a good excuse to review an album that would have topped my chart of albums of 2015 had it been released this year.
Tuesday, 24 November 2015
To My Surprise is the first single to be taken from James' 2016 album Girl At The End Of The World. Premiered on 6 Music this morning, albeit in edited form due to the "were you born an arsehole?" chorus, the song, like many of James' best songs, is a grower and reveals more with each listen.
Monday, 23 November 2015
The Night And Day is rammed. Right to the back. And the atmosphere is feverish and expectant. It's time for LIINES to deliver on the buzz that's grown steadily into a hum and unleashed itself as a full-blown roar as the likes of John Kennedy of Radio X and Louder Than War have fallen under their ferocious spell.
Saturday, 21 November 2015
Mayflower are one of a group of new bands in Manchester that excite us greatly. Still early in their life, having only revealed four demos to us, there's something about them that hasn't fully revealed itself just yet that suggests they're set for bigger things. We caught up with them playing at the Ruby Lounge and left convinced that our gut instinct will be proved right.
We'd heard a lot of great things about Fairchild so were intrigued to see what the Australian six-piece could deliver live at The Castle and we witnessed that tiny room dancing and bouncing like never before as they compelled us all to have as a good a time as they were. We were also mightily impressed by Moral Panics who preceded them.
Friday, 20 November 2015
The Slow Readers Club are releasing a new single Plant The Seed from their 2015 album Cavalcade. Tucked away on the digital b-side is a rather cracking remix of previous single Don't Mind by the fabulous Lake Komo taking time out from building themselves a reputation as a band to keep a watchful eye on in 2016.
The cold nights are drawing in up north and the Manchester music scene seems to be a distinctly winteresque feel to it. Mainstream hitmakers have aged, the last crop of nearly-made-its have gone and the most austerity-hit Mancunia can look forward to is a tired string of comebacks from bands that have nothing new to say. And, yep, its raining. But despair not, My Igloo are determined to bring a freshness lacking on the scene and are making a stir wherever they play. On this Saturday in November as storm Abigail raged outside, the band, now an impressive seven-piece, played their first headline gig at Night and Day. Our guest reviewer Louie tells us more.
The Forgotten History Of The Wall Market Racketeers is the debut album from one of the most intriguing bands on the Manchester scene at present. It mixes reworked versions of tracks from their previous EPs and singles as well as new songs.
Yak may only be two EPs into their career, but they've already built up a reputation as a stunning live band and are amassing a growing following. Our South Coast reporter Starter went along to their Brighton show at The Prince Albert and came away confirming that the rumours were true
Love You Cause You're There is Hidden Charms' second single in a few months and one that's sure backed with their electric live shows to win them a whole new raft of followers.
Thursday, 19 November 2015
The Lottery Winners have been around for a few years now and we have a soft spot for them at Even The Stars. Always entertaining live and with an ability to forge killer hook after killer hook fused with intelligent and often humorous lyrics they've slowly but surely built themselves a growing fan base. As they plan to release their debut EP via Pledge Music we spoke to drummer Joe who was pretending to be singer Thom.
Wednesday, 18 November 2015
We seem to be blessed with a number of great triple-header bills at the moment and this Monday night combination of Hidden Charms, Viola Beach and Lake Komo is another great example. Three contrasting bands in style and approach they fit together well and all three would appear set for bigger stages than this in 2016.
A jokey cry of "Judas" goes out as Jo Rose makes his way to the stage with his band. A regular and much-loved member of the Manchester acoustic scene is finally going big with a band and Gullivers is packed to witness him transform songs that we've become accustomed to in fragile delicate form transformed by a six-piece band.
Tuesday, 17 November 2015
Purple Heart Parade are on a mission. To pummel you to into submission with the sheer volume and depth to their sound. Armed with both old songs and new, we caught them at Salford's Eagle Inn on Sunday night.
From a little hidden corner of Edinburgh, Stuart Ralston witnessed Mammoth Penguins, Violet Woods and Plastic Animals deliver a night of quality music to a packed and appreciative audience.
Monday, 16 November 2015
James have announced that their 14th album Girl At The End Of The World will be released on March 18, 2016 and be followed by an extensive UK tour in May.
Jemima Surrender's debut album is a furiously infectious piece of work from the Bristol three-piece. Rammed to the brim with hooks that it's impossible not to be bowled over by the immediacy and directness of their sound and find yourself fascinated by and immersed in an album that doesn't quite play by the conventional rules.
The latest in the series of free entry SFX gigs at Manchester's Royal Exchange Theatre saw a double-header of James Holt and Josephine charm the audience with solo sets.
Sunday, 15 November 2015
Saturday, 14 November 2015
This week's tip on Shell Zenner's show is the fantastic LIINES, a band that we've been championing for most of 2015 since we caught them last December at Gullivers. Chosen by John Kennedy as his Hot One on Tuesday after he read a review we wrote for Louder Than WarAhead of their support slot for Ex Hex at the Ruby Lounge, we caught up with Zoe, Leila and Steph to talk about the release of their new single Never There, how they got together and their plans for 2016.
Fifteen hundred people in a room, joined together in one gigantic bouncing frenzy, witnessed Reverend And The Makers triumphant return to Manchester mixing tracks from their career-defining new album Mirrors with songs from their previous four. Support came from Sheffield's very much up and coming The Sherlocks.
Friday, 13 November 2015
Lunar are another promising young band on the Manchester scene that are making their mark by standing out from the crowd. They headlined an SSR curated evening at the Night And Day and we went along to check them out. Support came from Mexicola.
Our Girl are a Brighton-based three piece about to release their debut single Sleeper (backed with an equally excellent b-side Level) on December 18th. It's an excellent way to introduce themselves with a big calling card guitar intro, beautiful vocal harmonies and an extended and slightly disconcerting outro.
Thursday, 12 November 2015
Control Of The Going are one of our most exciting discoveries of 2015. At the start of the year they were a studio project, it wasn't until July that they played their first gig, but now they're regulars on the Manchester gig scene, drawing a full room to open up Astral Elevator's latest night at the cosy Eagle Inn in Salford as they tour the city's venues revealing new songs and new sides to them with every show.
Wednesday, 11 November 2015
How To Recognise A Work Of Art is the new single by Meilyr Jones, former front man of Race Horses. The track is the latest to be drawn from his album 2013 which is due out in 2016. The song takes a cynical view at the world of art collectors, but it's couched in uplifting brass and a melodic and insistent riff that's infectious and will draw you into the song.
Tuesday, 10 November 2015
Ex Hex returned to Manchester for the second time this year to the Ruby Lounge and thrilled us with tracks from last year's Rips and a set full of hooks, riffs and more power than you could imagine from a three-piece.
Sheffield three-piece I Kept The Wolves Away might only have released two songs so far, but on the basis of them we think we'll be hearing a lot more of them. We've chosen Take A Little as our Track Of The Day.