Saturday 31 October 2015

Cavan Moran - Manchester Royal Exchange - 30th October 2015

Cavan Moran played an intimate set as part of the SFX series of events in the Grand Hall of Manchester's Royal Exchange theatre to preview tracks from his forthcoming debut album Forever On The Road (Forever At Home) which is being released in France in December and then in the UK early next year. Backed with a four piece band, including Emma Whitworth on piano and vocals, he revealed a diverse range of tracks that form that record.

Liam Frost - Manchester Ruby Lounge - 30th October 2015

Liam Frost is one of Manchester's most underrated musical geniuses. His two albums to date, 2005's Show Me How The Spectres Dance and 2009's We Ain't Got No Money, Honey, But We Got Rain, are regarded as secret classics by those fortunate enough to have crossed their path. His recent The Wild Places EP showed that the fire and creativity is still burning in his belly, but this show, and his recent London one, are touted as the last he will do for a while as if we're reached a fork in the road. But this full band show, a rarity in recent years, serves as a reminder of one of the city's most articulate and engaging songwriters and one that's not afraid to have a bit of fun doing it.

Friday 30 October 2015

Stella Martyr - Neon Traces EP

Neon Traces is Exeter Stella Martyr's debut EP, five songs that combine a love of 1980s Factory electronics with a more modern feel and approach and guitars.

Track Of The Day : Straw Bear - All You Need Is An Electric Guitar

All You Need Is An Electric Guitar is the first single to be drawn from Straw Bear's forthcoming second album Fiction. The track is released on December 4th, but we're pleased to say we've been given a sneak preview and it's an impressive, if understated, return from a couple of years in the wilderness since their debut album Black Book in 2013.

Thursday 29 October 2015

Annabel Allum - Absent EP

Absent is Annabel Allum's latest EP, a raw but exceptionally promising release that thrills with the intensity of both the words and performance across four songs. We stumbled across her at Carefully Planned Festival in the basement of Cord where she stunned a packed room into silence at her first Manchester show and picked up this EP straight away. It's been a long time since we were taken so aback by our first exposure to a new artist.

Broken Hands / Get Inuit - Manchester Soup Kitchen - 28th October 2015

There's a Kent double act as Broken Hands and Get Inuit start their UK tour at Manchester's Soup Kitchen. Broken Hands are bringing their take on what could be described as psychedelic metal to Manchester in support of their recent album Turbulence.

Track Of The Day : Fronteers - It's Up To Me Now

It's Up To Me Now is the second single from Hull's Fronteers, the follow-up to July's debut Youth. Having already made a very positive impression supporting the likes of Blossoms and Pretty Vicious as well as getting airplay from both 6 Music and X Radio, It's Up To Me Now seems certain to win over a whole new bunch of admirers with its straight-talking lyrics and refreshingly uncluttered melodies.

Wednesday 28 October 2015

My Igloo - Manchester Bierkeller - 25th October 2015

Manchester's My Igloo produce dirty soul music. The six-piece's songs are like journeys, magical mystery tours that take you down so many paths, with guitar, keyboards and trumpets leading you pied piper style to their denouement.

Track Of The Day 2 : Money - You Look Like A Sad Painting On Both Sides Of The Sky

Money are back after what seems like an eternity since their debut album The Shadow Of Heaven. The preposterously fabulously titled You Look Like A Sad Painting On Both Sides Of The Sky is the first studio track to be revealed from their new album Suicide Songs which comes out on January 29th 2016.

Track Of The Day 1 : She Drew The Gun - Where I End And You Begin

Where I End And You Begin is the third single from She Drew The Gun and her most accomplished so far. A beautiful electronic shuffling beat competes with a hauntingly emotional dismissal of an ex-lover for centre stage. It has us eagerly awaiting a debut album at some point in 2016.

Tuesday 27 October 2015

Neon Waltz / Friend Of A Friend / Woodwife - Perth Green Rooms - 24th October 2015

Our first visit to Perth’s premier music venue sees a wide range of talent on display from throughout Scotland. Stuart Ralston enjoys a short commute for once and is suitably impressed.

Track Of The Day : Black Casino And The Ghost - Veggie Tarantula

Veggie Tarantula is the lead track on Black Casino And The Ghost's long-awaited second album Until The Waters Run Clear which is finally due for release on November 16.

Monday 26 October 2015

The Tapestry / I Set The Sea On Fire - Sheffield Rocking Chair - 24th October 2015

It feels like The Tapestry have been around forever. One of our favourite Manchester bands, they've remained in the shadows as other bands have passed them by on the route to the nation's bigger stages, but they're still one of the most exciting live bands in the city armed with a series of great songs that deserve a much wider audience. We made the short trip over to Sheffield to catch their Gig Buzz / Oxjam headline set and were also impressed by I Set The Sea On Fire.

Track Of The Day : Larkins - Sapphire

Sapphire is the new single from Larkins and is a real statement of intent. Epic, without sounding overblown, it's a band that's making good of the stated desire to break out of the indie guitar mould that so many bands are set in.

Saturday 24 October 2015

Introducing - Slowcoach

Slowcoach is the name of Melbourne Australia Dean Valentino's latest project. We've tipped his song In Limbo this week on Shell Zenner's show on Amazing Radio. We discovered it randomly on Soundcloud, but were immediately hooked and wanted to find out more. We had a chat with Dean to discover a little more about Slowcoach and his plans.

Blossoms / Cupids - Manchester Ritz - 23rd October 2015

"It's big isn't it?" Tom exclaims as the lights are put up midway through the show. Blossoms are going to have to get used to this. The sold out Ritz show that concludes this triumphant set of gigs around the release of Charlemagne might be their biggest headline set so far, but it feels like a stopping point on a journey. It's been a meteoric rise for them in 2015, but on tonight's evidence 2016, with the release of their debut album, is going to be the year everyone knows their name.

Friday 23 October 2015

The Vryll Society - Pangea EP

It's with some excitement that we approach The Vryll Society's debut EP Pangea. Coming on the back of their two taster tracks Deep Blue Skies and Beautiful Faces and some psychedelic out there shows that left band and audience in a trance, the EP is the sound of The Vryll Society laying down their marker for 2016.

Blossoms - Charlemagne EP

Charlemagne is the first single Blossoms have released since signing a permanent deal with Virgin Records after the success of their previous single Blown Rose. The lead track is possibly their most infectious yet and is already winning them over a new legion of admirers, but the three remaining tracks on the EP show a very different side to them and one that confirms them as more than just the latest flavour of the month.

Paul Heaton and Jacqui Abbott - Wisdom, Laughter And Lines

Wisdom, Laughter And Lines is the second album since Paul Heaton reunited with his old sparring partner Jacqui Abbott from their days in The Beautiful South. After the slightly unexpected success of What Have We Become, Wisdom, Laughter And Lines is everything you'd expect from a Heaton-composed album, intelligent articulate and observational lyrics on a range of subject matters close to his heart combined with an unerring knack of delivering a tune that's both simple in execution but also an impossible to shift ear worm. It's a perfect title for the album too as the songs tell stories about life and love and politics, all shaded by Heaton's dark battered and bruised take on the world.

Track Of The Day 2 : The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Laid

We're not usually fans of cover versions and Palma Violets' recent attempt at this song almost incited us to violence, but The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart have created this wonderful take on the title track from James' 1993 Laid album featuring Jen Goma of A Sunny Day In Glasgow on lead vocals.

Track Of The Day 1 : The Lottery Winners - Pillows

You wait ages for a new Lottery Winners single and then two come along at once. This one is a little special though. Pillows is one of live favourites of theirs and it's long overdue a proper release, but it's the video for the single that's bound to grab all the attention as it includes a very special guest appearance by Ed Sheeran (sort of) and a few other well-known cameos.

Wednesday 21 October 2015

Spaceheads - A Short Ride On The Arrow Of Time

A Short Ride On The Arrow Of Time is Spaceheads' first album for nearly a decade. The project consisting of James’ trumpeter Andy Diagram and long-time collaborator Richard Harrison have worked together on and off for the best part of twenty years and this album is the cumulation of live jam sessions.

Track Of The Day : LIINES - Never There

Never There is LIINES' debut single and is released on November 23 after their headlining set at Night And Day on November 21. Following an EP of demos sold at shows, this is their first proper release and it captures the scale of their live sound perfectly.

Tuesday 20 October 2015

A Carefully Planned Festival - Day 2 - TVAM / Annabel Allum / The Sisters / A Sudden Burst Of Colour / The Hipshakes / Blooms / LIINES / The Orielles

Day 2 of A Carefully Planned Festival and we're heading around Manchester's Northern Quarter without much of a plan (we lost our guide sheet twice and hadn't done our research) but the beauty of such a diverse, well thought out festival is that you'll always find something you weren't expecting to blow you away. We caught eight very different bands across five venues.

Pete Greenwood - Interview

Pete Greenwood released his second album Beauceron last week, seven years after his debut Sirens. We caught up with Pete to find a little more about what he's been up to and about some of the songs on the album and his plans for the future.

Monday 19 October 2015

John Bramwell / Dave Fidler - Hebden Bridge Trades Club - 16th October 2015

This is John's seventh appearance at the Trades Club in two years and it's where he recorded his live solo album Live At The Trades, but it's clear from the welcome he gets as he comes onto stage that the love is mutual. He cracks a quip that all his jokes will be old to everyone, although he laughs to himself at one point he's trying out new material as it's the first night of the tour, but misses the point as to why people keep coming back to these shows. Beautifully intimate, no two Bramwell shows approach being the same. He doesn't have a setlist, just a list of songs and takes suggestions from the audience and allows himself to be distracted by whatever comes into his head between songs. Support came from Dave Fidler.

She Drew The Gun - Manchester Academy 2 - 17th October 2015

Since we first featured She Drew The Gun's debut single If You Could See back in January, things have started to happen for Louisa and her band. Second single Since You Were Not Mine won her a whole legion of new fans and with Steve Lamacq debuting new song Where I End And You Begin and them securing a huge support slot on Fink's European tour, the future looks promising. We caught their opening set at Manchester Academy 2 on Saturday night.

A Carefully Planned Festival Day 1 - Manchester - 17th October - Jess Bryant / Emma Kupa / Mammoth Penguins / Embers / Mayors Of Miyazaki / The Spook School

A Carefully Planned Festival takes over most of the Northern Quarter's venues for a weekend every October with an eclectic mix of emerging bands from all over the country, many of which we've never heard of let alone heard. We caught six acts on day one, ranging from the solo Jess Bryant playing her first Manchester show for several years, through Emma Kupa playing two sets as herself and leading Mammoth Penguins, Manchester favourites Embers to the full on rock of the magnificently titled Mayors Of Miyazaki and The Spook School.

Friday 16 October 2015

Ride - Liverpool O2 Academy - 15th October 2015

After a series of jubilant triumphant shows in early summer, Ride announced an October tour and speculation was rife whether they would use the tour to revisit their debut album Nowhere, celebrating twenty five years to the day since its release in full. Very late in the day, they announced the shows would feature two sets, the first a mix of songs from across their career and the second the album in full. As there was no Manchester show, us and half the audience got the train over to relive one of the defining indie albums of the early 1990s.

Pete Greenwood - Beauceron

It's been seven years since Pete Greenwood's debut album Sirens was released on Heavenly Records and you'd be forgiven for thinking he'd given up the music business. However he's back with a self-released album Beauceron and it's a record of simple understated beauty.

Wednesday 14 October 2015

David Ford / Jess Morgan - Salford Kings Arms - 12th October 2015

Everyone's doing the classic album thing these days. It's almost a cast iron guarantee of trebling your audience at the drop of a hat. But as ever David Ford doesn't play by the rules. He's won a dedicated band of followers over the last ten years and him deciding to play his debut album I Sincerely Apologise For All The Trouble I've Caused isn't a commercial act designed to make him rich for twelve months, but a celebration of a very special album that defined a time and place for a small group of people, himself included.