Friday, 30 July 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY - Hates Talking - Keep Me Going (All Night)

Keep Me Going (All Night) is the debut single from Manchester four-piece Hates Talking. Fronted by Sam Carson, formerly of Lunar, the band have spent lockdown honing their sound for an assault on the Manchester scene and further afield and announce their presence with this earworm of a first public reveal.

Sunday, 25 July 2021

Stephen Fretwell - Manchester Night And Day Cafe - 24th July 2021

To many people the Night And Day Cafe is a second home. For Stephen Fretwell. For us at Even The Stars. It's fitting that this is the place for his Manchester album launch for his first album in fourteen years, the top 40 Busy Guy, and for our first restriction-free show for sixteen months. Performing a sizeable chunk of Busy Guy and a few old favourites to a dedicated crowd of Mancunians and those who'd travelled from further afield, for forty-five minutes we lost ourselves in music.

Monday, 19 July 2021

Granfalloon / James Holt / Clouds And Errors / Pageant Mum - Bolton Right To Roam Festival - 17th July 2021

Day two of Bolton's new Right To Roam festival saw an outdoor stage in the town centre as well as at the Octagon, Alma and Vaults. We caught the last two local bands outside - Pageant Mum and Clouds And Errors - before heading to the Octagon for local boy James Holt and Granfalloon revealing tracks from his forthcoming Positive Songs album.

Saturday, 17 July 2021

Ist Ist / Gravediggers Union / Clouds And Errors - Bolton Right To Roam Festival - 16th July 2021

Right To Roam is a new two-day festival around a number of venues in Bolton town centre, part of an ambition plan of local music lovers and venues to inject some life into scene that gets dwarfed by the bright lights of Manchester down the road. We visited the main stage in the town's newly refurbished and impressive Octagon Theatre to catch Ist Ist, Gravediggers Union and locals Clouds And Errors.

Friday, 16 July 2021

John Bramwell / HJM Bradshaw - Hebden Bridge Trades Club - 15th July 2021

John Bramwell concluded his Hebden Bridge Trades Club residency with the third sold-out night of the run of socially-distanced shows accompanied and supported by Harriet Bradshaw on cello. He delighted a rapt audience with a set of I Am Kloot classics stripped down and reinvented as well as tracks from his forthcoming Full Harmonic Band record The Light Fantastic.

Wednesday, 14 July 2021

Julia Bardo - Manchester International Festival - 14th July 2021

A sunny Manchester mid-afternoon felt like a perfect introduction to Julia Bardo's forthcoming Bauhaus L'Appartamento album as she played a seven-song set of tracks taken from the album with her five-piece band on the main stage in Manchester International Festival's Cathedral Square hub.

Blanketman / The Lounge Society - Manchester International Festival - 12th July 2021

One of the highlights of the Manchester International Festival for us is the free series of live performances that take place across the city. Moved across from the Town Hall due to the ongoing works there, Cathedral Square is home to this year's hub and on a wet Monday night, Dave Haslam has curated two of the North West's most talked-about young bands in The Lounge Society and Blanketman.

Tuesday, 13 July 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : Odd Morris - The Once Was Enough

It’s easy to lose yourself in the songs of Dublin four piece Odd Morris. New track The Once Was Enough, a taster from their forthcoming EP Cityscape The Ballet due later this year, follows in the same vein. It’s dreamy and haunting with brooding sonic landscapes full of intent and sentiment that tug at the heartstrings.

Monday, 12 July 2021

Mark Morriss / Nigel Clark / Chris Helme / Neeve Zahra - Altrincham The Bowdon Rooms - 8th July 2021

The Seahorses, Dodgy and The Bluetones were three of the more recognisable names in the mid 1990s Britpop explosion and these days their front men are out on the solo tour circuit, delivering a dose of old favourites whilst writing new materials. Having struck up friendships, this socially distanced show not only has all three of them performing on their own but one of their first ever live performances of their new MCH (Morriss, Clark, Helme) super-group in the picturesque Bowdon Rooms in Altrincham.

Friday, 9 July 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : Little Sparrow - Alone

Little Sparrow's new single Alone, taken from her forthcoming second album Feather Moon, continues the more dramatic path her music has taken since the release of her debut Wishing Tree - but with her unmistakable vocals very much taking centre stage.

Friday, 2 July 2021

After All Festival - SKIES / The Elephant Trees / INEGO / The Last Clouds / Jay Page / Billy Morrissey / Leon The Pig Farmer - Manchester Tribeca - 1st July 2021

Whilst festivals are being cancelled around our ears, Manchester's After All Festival continued in a socially distanced format on Thursday night - a sold-out event at Manchester's Tribeca combining a range of different styles of music and urban poetry to an appreciative crowd that had been starved of live music for sixteen months.

Sunday, 27 June 2021

Jake Hardman - Describe Yourself In 50 Words

Manchester-based musician and songwriter Jake Hardman's debut album is the joyous sound of an open-minded individual who appears to have absorbed the very best of British music from the last forty years and channelled it all into thirteen excellent predominantly upbeat compositions that radiate freshness, talent, intelligence and humour. Andy Sweeney was suitably impressed by Jake's debut - read on to discover why.

Saturday, 26 June 2021

Stephen Fretwell - Salford Eagle Inn - 25th June 2021

"Where's Fretwell?" has been a catchphrase in the corners of the internet that remembered the unique charms of the Manchester-via-Scunthorpe songwriter Stephen Fretwell from the middle of the 2000s when he released two much-loved but commercially-ignored albums Magpie and Man On The Roof. After twelve years in the wilderness, he's about to return with a new album Busy Guy - and we were fortunate enough to be in the twenty-five strong socially distanced crowd at Salford Eagle's Inn for just his second comeback show.

Friday, 25 June 2021

The Blinders - Manchester Rose And Monkey - 24th June 2021

With their forthcoming July dates falling victim to the latest extension of UK restrictions that seem to apply to music and other arts venues and not a great deal else, The Blinders decided to sate their desire to play live with two last-minute intimate shows at their favourite local boozer The Rose And Monkey in Manchester's Northern Quarter. An hour-long set captured highlights of their two albums to date in the stripped down Lounge Lizard format, which they plan to give a formal release in a few weeks.

Tuesday, 22 June 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : SKIES - It's Not The End Of The World

SKIES return with It's Not The End Of The World, the first product of a series of songs they recorded when they shut themselves away in a cottage during the Winter months to record new material and broadcast their weekday daily live streams at the height of lockdown.

Monday, 21 June 2021

John Bramwell / HJM Bradshaw - Manchester Rose And Monkey - 20th June 2021

 John Bramwell brought his socially-distanced tour to the familiar surroundings of the Rose And Monkey's beer garden on Sunday afternoon with a mix of old I Am Kloot favourites and tracks taken from his new Full Harmonic Convergence project. Accompanied by HJM (Harriet) Bradshaw on cello and supported by her own six-song set, John delighted an audience full of familiar faces.

Sunday, 20 June 2021

VLURE / Document - Manchester Yes - 19th June 2021

VLURE completed their short tour of England with another sold-out socially-distanced gig in the Pink Room of Yes in Manchester. Once again they delivered a set that blew away those who had an inkling of what to expect as well as those catching them for the first time. Support came from an intense performance by Manchester's own Document, playing their first show for sixteen months.

Friday, 18 June 2021

The Red Stains / Sick Ducks - Manchester Aatma - 17th June 2021

The Red Stains made their much-anticipated return to the live stage with their first show in eighteen months at a socially-distanced sold-out show at Aatma on Thursday night supported by Sick Ducks. As unpredictable as ever, they demonstrated that absence had definitely made the audience's hearts grow fonder.

Wednesday, 16 June 2021

VLURE / Zee Davine - Birkenhead Future Yard - 15th June 2021

Birkenhead witnessed VLURE's first live show since last spring; a euphoric emotional return to the stage - a band emerging from the cocoon of lockdown and spreading their wings like the most beautiful of creatures.

Sunday, 6 June 2021

Shame - Birkenhead Future Yard - 1st June 2021 (2nd show)

Thank you Shame! Tonight we were made to feel alive again. Bringing a mate to his first gig in fifteen months was always going to be emotional but tonight’s show by the raucous outfit Shame at the wonderful, and brand new, three hundred and fifty capacity space Future Yard in Birkenhead confirmed what we already knew - music is good for the soul and live music even more so.

Wednesday, 2 June 2021

James - All The Colours Of You

As they approach forty years as a band James are still going strong, selling more gig tickets than at any time in their history and continuing to challenge both themselves and their audience by developing and stretching their sound with each album. Their sixteenth studio album All The Colours Of You asks questions of the world around them, in their line of sight the mutation of the extraordinary times of their last album into social revolution, pandemic and personal loss, unafraid to challenge whilst pushing their playful side to the fore. Weird, but accessible, it's possibly the most accurate snapshot of the real essence of James that they've ever released.

Friday, 28 May 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : Some Remain - Walk Away

Sligo-based Some Remain are the latest outfit creating waves across the Irish Sea. The alternative four piece mix rawness and high energy creating a post-punk feel that immediately grabs your attention and we’re predicting bigger and better things for them in the not to distant future.

Saturday, 22 May 2021

Ist Ist / Gravediggers Union - Manchester Academy 1 - 22nd May 2021

Live music. The buzz, the thud of the bass drum that mirrors your heartbeat, faster and faster as the energy in the room rises and the adrenaline starts to pump. It's a feeling that you don't get elsewhere, your aural senses triggering a reaction that enables to lose yourself in the creativity of others. Fuck, we've missed it for the past fifteen months. Ist Ist and Gravediggers Union provide us with a first trip down the road to what music lovers among us love the most.

Friday, 21 May 2021

LIVESTREAM : The Slow Readers Club - SoundON Session Bury Met - 21st May 2021

The Slow Readers Club's SoundON session was a homecoming of sorts, returning to the Derby Hall in Bury Met, which also hosts the Edwin Street studios where they recorded their albums Cavalcade, Build A Tower and 91 Days In Isolation. Featuring seven songs that felt like a mini Greatest Hits set and showcasing a harder edge to their sound without losing their uplifting melodies, they whet the appetite for their long-delayed return to the live arena.

Tuesday, 11 May 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : Martyn Walsh And Simon Lyon - Afterglow

Not content with his roles as a living legend, a figurehead of Manchester's music scene and the creative industries guru in residence for British Libraries, Inspiral Carpets bassist Martyn Walsh has been busy over the past year creating new music. The Afterglow EP is his collaboration with Simon Lyon and his second new release, following on from his ¡La Ruta! project at the end of last year.

Monday, 10 May 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : The Lovegods - Stand

The Lovegods were back between 2003 and 2006 one of the most exciting new bands in the country, building a strong dedicated following until it all fell apart when Australian lead singer Deah was refused entry back into the UK and had to move to France. Fifteen years on, they've revealed a video to accompany the release of a lost Peel Session of an unreleased track called Stand, a reminder of what a great band they were and how the UK immigration service robbed them and us of what they might have achieved.

Wednesday, 5 May 2021

Blossoms / The Lathums / Zuzu - Liverpool Sefton Park - 2nd May 2021

Live music returned at the weekend with Blossoms headlining a 5,000 capacity tent in Sefton Park in Liverpool alongside local heroine Zuzu and Wigan's up-and-coming The Lathums. Our friends Maarit and Harriet from the At Most One Tour Twitter account were among them and give a fan's eye perspective on the most important live show of the year.

TRACK OF THE DAY : James - Recover

James today release Recover, the third single to be taken from their forthcoming album All The Colours Of You, a deeply personal track that seeks to find optimism out of the most horrible of personal experiences - the death of a loved one.

Friday, 30 April 2021

LIVESTREAM : Rosellas - Manchester Spirit Studios - 29th April 2021

Rosellas celebrated the midnight release of their latest single Common Ground with a live stream set from Manchester's Spirit Studios. Showing a love of their many influences yet merging them into their own unique sound that sounds both modern yet timeless, the eleven-song set demonstrates they're a band to be reckoned with.

Thursday, 29 April 2021

The Lucid Dream - The Deep End

Rewind to last year and a packed Golden Lion in Todmorden. An ecstatic audience witnessed Carlisle's The Lucid Dream deliver a one off performance and a stunning set, during which they showcased some of their new album. The album was put on hold due to the pandemic. However the album has certainly been worth the wait. 

Tuesday, 20 April 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : James - Beautiful Beaches

Beautiful Beaches is the lead single and second track to be revealed from James' forthcoming album All The Colours Of You, due for release on June 4th.  Lyrically it references front man Tim Booth's decision to move away from his home in Topanga Canyon outside Los Angeles to avoid the growing risk of losing everything to wild fires that have increasingly swept California in recent years.

Wednesday, 14 April 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : Stephen Fretwell - Embankment

Stephen Fretwell continues his long-awaited return with the second track Embankment and the announcement of his first album in thirteen years, Busy Guy, which is released in July. 

Monday, 12 April 2021

LIVESTREAM : The Slow Readers Club - Manchester Scruff Of The Neck Offices - 12th April 2021

 "Manchester Royalty" was how presenter Abi McCarthy described The Slow Readers Club ahead of the interview that preceded this livestream. Across a twelve-song greatest hits set, that really lived up to that billing, The Readers demonstrated exactly why they're being talked about in such terms after having been underdogs on the scene for so long.

Tuesday, 6 April 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : Minerva Daisy - Substitute

Substitute is Manchester singer / songwriter's Minerva Daisy's first single of 2021, a reflective look back on lessons learnt from a all-consuming failed relationship set to an upbeat piano arrangement and layered vocals that build as the song progresses. It provides an intriguing contrast to the darker subject matter of the lyrics. 

Monday, 29 March 2021

Gold Baby - Interview

Last Friday Gold Baby released their debut EP Rabbits after a series of nine singles that preceded it. We caught up with Siân, Sara and Scott for a chat about how the band came together, their ways of working, the four tracks from the EP and their hopes to be able to get out on the road once we come out of lockdown.

TRACK OF THE DAY : Natasha Nicole - Alright In The End

Alright In The End is the debut single from Wolverhampton singer-songwriter Natasha Nicole. A song that helped her to fight her own anxiety meltdowns and panic attacks is turned into comforting advice for anyone else in the same situation.

Sunday, 28 March 2021

The Charlatans / Ist Ist / LIINES - Manchester Gorilla (The North Will Rise Again) - 28th March 2021

It's very strange to see the familiar stage at Gorilla, the illuminated bar and toilet signs stage left, and not be in the middle of it, crammed tightly together, sweat dripping down from the brow in this converted railway arch that has for the last decade made itself such a fixture in the Manchester music scene. But the fact we've got three bands in here, streaming into our homes, gives us hope that normality is not too far away.

Friday, 26 March 2021

For Those I Love - For Those I Love

“How else do you honour and thank an artist?

But with the art itself.”

That’s a bold statement from David Balfe aka For Those I Love that accompanies the self titled debut album from the Irish wordsmith. It goes without saying Balfe’s proclamation is backed up with this deeply personal record of pure beauty.

Gold Baby - Rabbits EP

Nine singles into their existence, Gold Baby have taken the plunge with their debut EP Rabbits. Across four tracks they demonstrate a knack of combining instant hooks, changes of pace and lyrics that will fascinate, confuse and make you smile often within the same line. 

Thursday, 11 March 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : Slyrydes - Boy In The Debs Suit

Hailing from Galway the Irish quartet Slyrydes are back with a bang with new single Boy In The Debs Suit, a year after releasing five enthralling singles in the space of the previous twelve months.

Wednesday, 10 March 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : VLURE - Shattered Faith

Without having released a single in the traditional sense VLURE had already made their presence felt with a live performance video of Desire at the tail end of 2019 and a series of support slots where they threatened to upstage the headliners. 2021 sees them belatedly, for reasons we all know, enter the fray with Shattered Faith - more an unequivocal statement of intent than a debut single.

Monday, 1 March 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY 2 : James - All The Colours Of You

James return with the title track of their forthcoming studio album All The Colours Of You - a topical view of the world written in times of COVID and the white supremacist final days of the Trump administration. 

TRACK OF THE DAY : Stephen Fretwell - Oval

#WheresFretwell became an internet question that noone could answer for a decade as Stephen Fretwell disappeared completely from the music scene after his 2007 album Man On The Roof and his last tour in December 2011. His movements became the stuff of internet conjecture with rumours of forthcoming new music raising hopes that then became nothing. But now, ten years on, he is back, with an album in the pipeline if the latest rumours are to believed, and a beautiful first track called Oval.

Friday, 26 February 2021

LIVESTREAM : Proletariat - Live At The Festival Theatre

Proletariat's comeback last year came as a bit of a surprise after they bowed out after a series of sold-out Manchester shows you could count on both hands a couple of years ago, burning out before it seemed they'd achieved much of what was expected of them. Having released a trio of singles since they announced they return and unable to return to the gig circuit because of the restrictions, they set up a live stream show from Hyde's Festival Theatre on Friday night.

Wednesday, 24 February 2021

Bradford - Bright Hours

There's two kinds of reformation - the big cash-in on the legacy and nostalgia culture that seems to be polluting the pool for new artists being able to make their mark and those that aim to conclude unfinished business that come about as a result of old friends getting back together to rekindle the magic of their formative days and the excitement of being in a band. The latter tend to be more rewarding and Bradford's thirty-one years later follow up to their Shouting Quietly debut sits alongside Thousand Yard Stare's Panglossian Momentum as a shining example of a record that's been made for the sake of making it.

Monday, 22 February 2021

LIVESTREAM : The Blinders - Manchester Scruff Of The Neck Offices - 22nd February 2021

Live music. Remember that? The thrill and excitement and adrenaline as the drums kick in, guitars roar and the bassline rumbles seductively and then the vocals come in, delivering words of wisdom, experience, loss, love or any combination of them?  Close to a year after the gig scene came to a grinding halt and on the day we finally (hopefully) got a date for it to start again, The Blinders reminded us what we've been missing with a scintillating live show mixing tracks from last year's Fantasies Of A Stay At Home Psychopath and their debut Columbia on a Twitch live stream from Scruff Of The Neck's Manchester offices.

Dulcimer Melody - Interview

Dulcimer Melody's debut album Dark Alchemy was one of our favourite random finds of 2020, following an effusive championing of the album in Facebook group to find a record we described as "a meticulously constructed set of ten songs, taut with tension, rippled through with dramatic moments and with a voice that soars, drifts and takes the listener off on a journey through its creator's detailed mind maps." With a new single Absent Friend, we got in touch with her to ask a few questions and she recorded her answers for a video interview.

TRACK OF THE DAY : Matter Of Mind - As Far As I Can Tell

Matter Of Mind's first single of 2021 demonstrates a harder edge and a vitriolic biting response to an ex who's done them wrong as the Stockport band deliver their most ambitious single to date.

Thursday, 18 February 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : Ryley Walker - Rang Dizzy

Rang Dizzy is the first track to be revealed from Ryley Walker's forthcoming album Course In Fable, his first studio album of original material under his own name alone since 2018's Deafman Glance.

Wednesday, 17 February 2021

Rare Monk - Never Really Over

Sometimes the only PR that can sell you an album is the music itself. We were listening to something sent to us in one of the hundred or so emails we get every day when, away from the computer, You Tube threw a song we'd never heard before by a band we'd never heard of at us. And then when you delve more you find and album and a back catalogue.