Thursday 11 April 2024

James - Yummy

James release their 18th studio album on Friday. Graham McPhail, aka TimBoothLyrics on social media, takes a critical look at the twelve tracks that make up one of the strongest records of their career to date.

Thursday 4 April 2024

James - Pudding

James release their eighteenth studio album Yummy on April 12th. The deluxe edition features another twelve tracks, collectively known as Pudding, which feature outtakes and demos and jams from the sessions. Even in their mostly unfinished state they provide a fascinating insight into the band’s songwriting methods that’s often talked about but rarely made public.

Adrianne Lenker - Bright Future

At only thirty-two and with her main output heading up the prolific Big Thief, Adrianne Lenker has just released her fifth solo album Bright Future. Julia Grantham takes us with her on her own voyage of discovery.

Sunday 31 March 2024

Easter - Manchester Star And Garter - 29th March 2024

Easter launched their album Facsimile Of A Dream on Good Friday appropriately at The Star And Garter. Against a sombre backdrop of the venue's landlord passing away earlier in the day, they delivered a three quarters of an hour set of tracks from the album and their previous work.

Friday 29 March 2024

Greater Manchester Music Commission / The Mill / Night And Day

As a member of the Greater Manchester Music Commission, I've been made aware of an article circulating on The Mill behind a paywall that makes accusations and statements about the Commission and its activity, particularly around the Night And Day debacle. The article has a number of factual inaccuracies and deals with subjects that I feel strongly about to the extent that I feel compelled to give my own personal opinion on this.  These do not represent the views of the wider Commission, even though some members may agree with what I'm about to write

Monday 25 March 2024

Ist Ist / October Drift - Hilversum De Vorstin - 24th March 2024

Ist Ist continued their triumphant European tour, starting the homebound journey at De Vorstin, an impressive and imposing venue in the small sleepy town of Hilversum to a five hundred strong crowd on a Sunday night. Support came from the ever energetic October Drift.

Tuesday 19 March 2024

Inspiral Carpets - Stockport AMP - 18th March 2024

Inspiral Carpets played their smallest show in decades on Monday night with a packed out show at AMP in Stockport as part of its Town Of Culture celebrations. With a set full of most of their back catalogue of hits the intimate hot and sweaty gig was a real throwback to their roots as a garage band that grew up on stages of this size before fame came their way.

Friday 15 March 2024

Happy Mondays / Inspiral Carpets / Stereo MCs - Glasgow Barrowland - 14th March 2024

When Happy Mondays and Inspiral Carpets announced their tour last year, tickets for the shows were in high demand with some venues selling out instantly, resulting in no fewer than three Glasgow shows. Tonight was the first of those sell out shows. Stuart Ralston ventured home for the evening.

Friday 8 March 2024


IST IST return with a new single, Lost My Shadow, the first fruits of their recent recording sessions for their as-yet-unannounced fourth album.  Featuring many of their trademark characteristics, but with a crisper more direct sounding purpose to it, the song ushers in what promises to be their most successful year to date.

Wednesday 6 March 2024

Neon Waltz - Manchester Castle Hotel - 5th March 2024

Neon Waltz's postponed tour in support of their second album Honey Now finally rolled into Manchester on Tuesday night into a swelteringly hot and sold out Castle Hotel. A fourteen song set pulled from Honey Now as well as old favourites from their debut Strange Hymns and points in between the two records.

Tuesday 5 March 2024

The Last Dinner Party / Rachel Chinouriri - Hebden Bridge Trades Club - 4th March 2024

The Last Dinner Party are the name on everyone's lips right now, love or hate them. Fresh from topping the charts with their debut album Prelude To Ecstasy they played what promises to be their smallest full band show for a long time with a War Child gig at Hebden Bridge Trades Club on Monday night supported by Rachel Chinouriri.

The Murder Capital - London Moth Club - 28th February 2024

Make no mistake about it, The Murder Capital’s journey to the very top is getting closer and world domination may just be around the corner if their latest offerings are fully taken onboard by the potential new fan base they may capture when supporting Pearl Jam in the not so distant future.

Friday 1 March 2024

John Bramwell And The Full Harmonic Convergence / Harriet Bradshaw - Manchester Stoller Hall - 29th February 2024

John Bramwell And The Full Harmonic Convergence took to the resplendent stage of The Stoller Hall in Manchester on Thursday night to celebrate the release of John's second solo album The Light Fantastic. The five-piece performed the majority of the album alongside tracks from John's debut Leave Alone The Empty Spaces and a few selected nuggets from his I Am Kloot days to a respectful and engrossed audience. Support came from the Harmonic Convergence's own Harriet Bradshaw with tracks from her debut solo releases.

Wednesday 21 February 2024

Meryl Streek / Scattered Ashes / Marginal Gains - Newcastle Zerox - 19th February 2024

Since moving further up North it’s been noticeable that many bands bypass Newcastle as part of their U.K. tours yet the amazing Wandering Oak managed to pull off somewhat of a coup with a trio of talented artists - Meryl Streek, Scattered Ashes and Marginal Gains - at Newcastle Zerox.

John Bramwell - The Light Fantastic

The Light Fantastic, John Bramwell's second solo album, has been a long time coming. Recorded with his band, The Full Harmonic Convergence, the twelve-song collection is a rich and vibrant addition to John's catalogue of work that is in its fourth decade. Melodic and optimistic, but shot through the battered and bruised lyrical romanticism that has been his calling card, it's a career highpoint that sits alongside his most celebrated work.

Sunday 18 February 2024

The 1975 - Manchester Arena - 17th February 2024

Very few bands divide opinion as much as The 1975 these days. Persuaded to go along by two friends who are devotees to their headline show at the Arena in Manchester eleven years after being completely unimpressed by a nascent version of the band, we went with an open mind...

Saturday 17 February 2024

Smalltown Tigers / Chasing The Fall / The Homecoming - Stockport The Spinning Top - 16th February 2024

Italian trio Smalltown Tigers headed to The Spinning Top in Stockport as part of their UK tour to promote the release of their album Crush On You that came out last week. Blasting through sixteen songs from the album and its predecessor Five Things in less than forty five minutes they demonstrated that they're ready to step up to much bigger stages should the right doors open for them.

Wednesday 7 February 2024

The Last Dinner Party - Manchester HMV - 6th February 2024

The Last Dinner Party are the name on everyone's lips right now. As the five-piece sit atop the midweek charts with their debut album Prelude To Ecstasy, debate rumbles around them. Depleted in number as bassist Georgia is ill, four-fifths of The Last Dinner Party delighted an excited in-store crowd in Manchester Arndale's HMV store with a five-song stripped-back set.

Monday 5 February 2024

Ist Ist / Midnight Gallery - Huddersfield The Parish - 3rd February 2024

Ist Ist completed a triumphant four-date mini-tour for Independent Venue Week at a sold-out Parish in Huddersfield on Saturday night.  Performing tracks from across their three albums, their recent reissue of their debut EPs and showcasing a couple of brand new songs they delighted the growing band of Ist Ist faithful with a show that confirmed their seemingly unstoppable momentum as they enter what promises to be the biggest year for the band yet.

SKIES - Manchester Gullivers - 1st February 2024

SKIES concluded their tour in support of their debut album Is It All In Our Heads? with a show at Gullivers in Manchester on Thursday night performing eight of the eleven tracks from the album as well as a surprise Florence And The Machine cover.

Thursday 1 February 2024

The Miserable Rich - Overcome

It's twelve years since The Miserable Rich's last album Miss You In The Days and in an era where bands make comebacks theirs was one of the most unlikely. It took tragedy, in the shape of the death of front man James de Malplaquet and his wife Sarah's first child and the healing powers of friendship, pizza and beer to get them back together in a room, initially to play a charity fundraiser and then to play around with ideas for new music. Overcome is the product of how those meetings played out, the sound of a band reconnecting with each other, recalling everything special about the band in their first incarnation but now laced with the wisdom of age and experience, new musical discoveries and a sense of purpose that the record needed to be made.

Ist Ist / Midnight Gallery - Preston The Ferret - 31st January 2024

Ist Ist opened 2024 that promises to be their biggest and busiest year to date with a sold-out show at Preston's The Ferret as part of this year's Independent Venue Week celebrations. Mixing songs from across their three albums with tracks taken from their first two EPs that have just been reissued in one package as Everything Is Spinning Now as well as two tracks fresh from their recording sessions from album four. Support came from new Manchester-based band Midnight Gallery.

TRACK OF THE DAY : John Bramwell - A World Full Of Flowers

John Bramwell has released A World Full Of Flowers, the first track to be taken from his very long-awaited second solo album The Light Fantastic. 

Monday 29 January 2024

LIINES - Manchester New Century Hall - 26th January 2024

LIINES made their long-awaited and much-anticipated comeback on Friday night with a support slot with Ladytron at New Century Hall. Performing old favourites from their debut album Stop / Start as well as a bunch of new songs, they delighted those who'd scrambled for tickets after the recent announcement as well as winning over new fans from the Ladytron fan base.

Saturday 20 January 2024

The Lottery Winners / Reverend And The Makers / Dirty Blonde - Manchester Apollo - 19th January 2024

The Lottery Winners' unstoppable rise through the Manchester music venues continued on Friday night as they headlined a sold-out Apollo in front of an adoring audience who filled the room with love for a band of underdogs who've battled and earned their way to this bucket list venue for any aspiring band to come from the Manchester area. Support came from a surprise set from three of Reverend And The Makers and local newcomers Dirty Blonde.

Monday 15 January 2024

TRACK OF THE DAY : James - Is This Love

James return with Is This Love, the opening track from their 18th studio album Yummy that is set for release on April 12th. A string-laden track, it muses on all aspects of the universal search for love and peace of mind.

Tuesday 26 December 2023

Déjà Vega / Velkro - Manchester Yes - 23rd December 2023

Déjà Vega saw out their most successful year to date with a show in the Pink Room of Yes in Manchester on Saturday night, adding a festive twist to their set.

Monday 11 December 2023

Music Feeds Live - 27th February 2024

Music Feeds Live has been announced today to take place at Manchester Apollo on 27th February 2024. Featuring the likes of James, The Slow Readers Club, Lanterns On The Lake and Chicane accompanied by the Joe Duddell Orchestra, the concert aims to raise money to fight food poverty. It will be hosted by Gary Neville, Jamie Carragher and Chris Hawkins.

The Johnny Marr Orchestra - Manchester Aviva Studios - 7th December 2023

Johnny Marr has proved unstoppable this year - juggling multiple projects and leaving an indelible mark on the music scene. From joining The Pretenders at Glastonbury to releasing a photography book and a Greatest Hits album, his relentless creativity and dedication has made it a truly prolific and unforgettable 2023 for the legendary guitarist. To commemorate his tenth anniversary as a solo artist, Johnny has just performed two homecoming concerts at Manchester’s Factory International Aviva Studios, where him and his band were joined by a 30-piece orchestra. Led by conductor Fiona Brice, the orchestra was assembled by Johnny himself and composed of musicians from across the North.

Saturday 9 December 2023

The Slow Readers Club - Manchester New Century - 8th December 2023

The Slow Readers Club completed their Manchester mash-up with the biggest show of the three, a sold out show at the imposing New Century. A career spanning greatest hits set was accompanied by a brand new song in front of an adoring hometown crowd who sang, danced and lost themselves in music for an hour and a half.

Thursday 7 December 2023

Tom A Smith / Jack Valero / Tom Abisgold - Manchester Deaf Institute Lodge - 6th December 2023

Sold out months in advance Tom A Smith brought his tour to The Lodge of Deaf Institute in Manchester on Wednesday. Wielding an impressive set of songs and a razor sharp live performance he marked himself out as very much an artist to watch develop and grow in 2024. Support came from Jack Valero and Tom Abisgold.

Wednesday 6 December 2023

Lanterns On The Lake / Sophie Jamieson - Manchester Band On The Wall - 5th December 2023

Lanterns On The Lake brought their UK tour in support of this year's fifth studio album Versions Of Us to Manchester's Band On The Wall on Tuesday night. In front of an enthralled and attentive Manchester audience they played the album in full plus standout tracks from its Mercury Prize nominated predecessor Spook The Herd and a couple of old favourites. Support came from fellow Bella Union artist Sophie Jamieson.

Saturday 2 December 2023

The Slow Readers Club / Test Card Girl - Manchester Canvas - 1st December 2023

The Slow Readers Club played an extra-special show on Friday night at Canvas as the second part of their Manchester Mash-Up trio of shows. Accompanied by a wonderful seven-piece ensemble arranged by Joe Duddell, they performed a sixteen-song set of fan favourites and deep cuts that swerved many of their best-known songs yet held an audience captivated by the raw stripped down beauty of the music and Aaron Starkie's gorgeous voice. Support came from Test Card Girl.

Thursday 30 November 2023

Dirty Laces - Blink For Nothing

Eight years into their existence Dirty Laces have this week released their debut album Blink For Nothing, the culmination of a journey from a bunch of lads seemingly without focus and a plan to a band with a clear vision and ambition about exactly how they want to sound. It's an impressive first full length collection of songs and testament to their steadfast belief in their music.

Sunday 26 November 2023

Spaceheads / Paddy Steer - Manchester Carlton Club - 25th November 2023

Spaceheads, featuring Andy Diagram of James on trumpet and Richard Harrison on drums, played their first post-pandemic gig at a sold-out Carlton Club in Whalley Range on Saturday.

Saturday 25 November 2023

The Slow Readers Club / May Payne - Manchester Yes Basement - 24th November 2023

The Slow Readers Club opened up their three-show Manchester Mash Up with the most intimate hometown gig they've played in nearly a decade. Eighty or so lucky fans got the chance to watch them up and close and personal and pick the setlist for a show in the basement of Yes. With songs selected from all the way back to their self-titled debut through to this year's Knowledge Freedom Power and including a few real rare live gems, they delighted an ecstatic crowd. Support came from the very excellent emerging Manchester artist May Payne who performed a half hour solo set on keys and guitar.

Friday 24 November 2023

TRACK OF THE DAY : Rosellas - The Same Curse

Rosellas continue their impressive volume of output with a new single Same Curse and b-sides Feels Like Yesterday and Who Remembers Love? ahead of support slots with The Stanleys and Starsailor to top off an impressive year of growth in the size of their own shows both in Manchester and further afield.

Sunday 19 November 2023

Ist Ist - Manchester The Yard - 17th/18th November 2023

Classic albums gigs have become a thing in recent years, heritage bands recreating an early album that's still the fan favourite by which they're defined. A current band taking on all three of their albums to date in one night is unheard of - but that's the challenge Ist Ist placed upon themselves as they celebrated the end of their most successful year to date where they laid down concrete markers both here and abroad both in the charts and on the stage where they're at their best. The first night sold out straight away and a second night followed it at The Yard, one of the city's best yet under-utilised venues.

Sunday 12 November 2023

The Murder Capital / Teeth Machine - Liverpool Invisible Wind Factory - 11th November 2023

The Murder Capital continued their Clown's Reflection tour on Saturday night at the Invisible Wind Factory with a set taken heavily from their second album Gigi's Recovery as well as older favourites from their debut When I Have Fears supported by Teeth Machine.

Sunday 5 November 2023

Spangled / The Assist / Arkayla - Manchester Gorilla - 4th November 2023

Spangled headlined the reopening of Gorilla's gig space on Saturday night supported by Walsall's The Assist and Manchester's own Arkayla. A perfect choice for the first night back, a Manchester band filling a room that is a rite of passage on so many local band's journeys to bigger spaces, Spangled delighted a packed crowd with an hour of songs that demonstrated their readiness to take that step themselves.

Friday 3 November 2023

The 76 Club - Interview

The 76 Club release their new single Beside Myself today. We caught up with drummer Riley for a chat about the single, how their name pays tribute to an iconic venue in their home town of Burton-on-Trent and how they've built up a following further afield as well as their plans for the future.

Wednesday 1 November 2023

Rews / IDestroy - Manchester Deaf Institute - 31st October 2023

Rews continued their tour in support of their third album Meridians with a Tuesday night show at the Deaf Institute supported by Bristol's IDestroy. Two very different sets warmed up a crowd that drawn in by the sheer force of energy coming from the stage on a cold Autumn night.

Tuesday 31 October 2023

James / The Snuts - London Shepherd's Bush Empire - 30th October 2023

James concluded their 2023 live activity with their most intimate London show in years headlining Absolute Radio's 15th Birthday celebrations at Shepherd's Bush Empire. A hit-heavy set with a few curveballs for the hardcore fans saw them sign off the year in celebratory mood whilst still finding new ways to twist and turn old classics. Support came from The Snuts.

Sunday 29 October 2023

The Mission / Theatre Of Hate / Ist Ist - London Roundhouse - 28th October 2023

The Mission concluded their short UK tour with a triumphant first-ever performance at London's iconic Roundhouse venue playing a career-spanning set in front of a dedicated adoring audience. Support came from Theatre Of Hate and Manchester's Ist Ist.

Saturday 28 October 2023

Shed Seven / The Slow Readers Club - Glasgow Barrowland - 26th October 2023

As they approach their 30th anniversary, and a new album, Shed Seven hit the road, with this tour serving as both a preview of the new and a celebration of the old. They've asked The Slow Readers Club along as special guests.

Thursday 26 October 2023

James - Nottingham Royal Centre - 25th October 2023

 James concluded this year’s show with Orca 22 and the Manchester Inspirational Voices Gospel Choir with an exhilarating rearranged show at Nottingham’s Royal Centre. Switching the set around from the previous night in Bath, this collaboration felt at its most powerful yet and the love and connection between band, orchestra and choir fuelled them and the orchestra on as James took us on a journey through their forty-year career.

Wednesday 25 October 2023

James - Bath Forum - 24th October 2023

James returned to Bath for the first of two shows rescheduled from their May tour with Orca 22 conducted by Joe Duddell and The Manchester Inspirational Voices Gospel Choir. A two-set performance captured songs all the way from their beginnings in the 1980s through to their last album All The Colours Of You, stopping at most bases in between. With perfect sound allowing all the subtlety in the instrumentation and vocal interactions to be heard, they built slowly into a crescendo of some of their best loved songs at the end.

Tuesday 17 October 2023

TRACK OF THE DAY : Better Joy - Hard To Love

Hard To Love is the debut single from Manchester-based Better Joy.  Already having picked up airplay on 6 Music and performed at Beyond The Music festival, the band fronted by Bria Keely introduce themselves with a wonderfully rhythmic immediate earworm of a track about the joy of finding love and accepting yourself for who you are.

Sunday 15 October 2023

The Blinders / Yasmin Coe - Salford White Hotel - 13th October 2023

As they prepare to return with their third album, newly signed to a major label, The Blinders performed two low-key shows at the back end of last week. After a sold-out show in London on Thursday, they headed back to their adopted home for an intimate night amongst friends at The White Hotel in Salford, a venue that made it feel like they were returning to their roots. With five new songs in the set alongside old favourites they delighted an ecstatic crowd that welcomed them back like homecoming heroes. Support came from Yasmin Coe.