Saturday 31 December 2016

Puppet Rebellion - The Pact EP

Rounding a successful year off with their most radio friendly EP yet, Puppet Rebellion demonstrate again that they deserve their place in the “next big thing” category.

Wednesday 28 December 2016


As the year draws to an end, we reveal our top tips for 2017. Not necessarily bands that will make it to the top of the charts, but the bands that excite us for what they could achieve in the year.

Tuesday 27 December 2016

The Tapestry - Ashton-Under-Lyne Witchwood - 26th December 2016

The final moments of The Tapestry's existence as a band are chaotic, shambolic, drunken and magnificent, with a full on stage invasion, equipment being knocked over and out and everyone singing along to Rode Your Luck, one of their finest tracks and a fitting epitaph to a foursome that were at their best in their riotous live shows that should have catapulted them to bigger and better things.

Monday 26 December 2016

Jordan Allen / Stillia / Oddity Road / M60 - Manchester Ruby Lounge - 23rd December 2016

At the end of a successful year that leaves him on the brink of a breakthrough, Jordan Allen and his band came back to The Ruby Lounge for their Christmas party. Backed by a strong line-up of local bands queuing up behind them on the road to success, a riotous evening ensued. Alongside Jordan we also caught Stillia, Sheffield's Oddity Road and the very Mancunian M60.

Friday 23 December 2016

Lanterns On The Lake - Interview

Live With Royal Northern Sinfonia is the winner of our Album Of 2016 listings. To celebrate we had a chat with Hazel from the band about how they came to record the album and their plans for the future.


The final five of our top twenty albums of 2016 have all been number one in the various versions of the list that have been written, crumpled up and thrown away, such is the closeness of the five. But here we present our final decision.

Thursday 22 December 2016

Wednesday 21 December 2016


We continue our countdown of our twenty favourite albums of the year with those we've placed in fifteenth to eleventh place.

Tuesday 20 December 2016


Our end of year album poll starts with a look at the records we placed at twenty to sixteen in the list. We'll continue our countdown five albums a day until Friday when we reveal our top five.

David Ford - London Bush Hall (Milk And Cookies) - 18th December 2016

Every year David Ford puts on a special event called Milk And Cookies in December to raise money for charity. It's no ordinary gig though, as the title suggests people bring milk and cookies to sell for donations, there's auctions, an interval and a selection of his own songs, some covers he's selected and others that are randomly picked from a book by members of the audience. It all sounds like it could go terribly wrong, but it never does thanks to Ford's ability to fashion covers of classic songs, guilty pleasures and some of his own favourites from his home-made looping machines and the most basic of kit.

Friday 16 December 2016

Track Of The Day : One Way Song - Dr Spraza Lies

Back in August, we introduced One-Way Song and they're back with a new song called Dr Spraza Lies which represents a new direction for the project that morphed from a theatre project into a band. Scrapping their early work, including an almost-finished debut album, was a brave move, but if Dr Spraza Lies is anything to go by, their new approach is set to pay dividends.

Thursday 15 December 2016

Track Of The Day : The Slowdown Family - Pomona

Pomona is the first fruits of the sessions that Liam Frost embarked on with The Slowdown Family once they got together earlier this year to perform their debut album Show Me How The Spectres Dance at Manchester's Deaf Institute earlier this year.

Track Of The Day : The Sundowners - Great Beauty

Great Beauty is the first single to be released from The Sundowners' forthcoming as-yet-untitled second album. The follow up to 2015's self-titled has been eagerly anticipated for some time now as they've been slowly revealing tracks at their live shows throughout 2016.

Tuesday 13 December 2016

Festival Preview - When In Manchester

We don't do previews as a rule, but we'll make an exception for When In Manchester. It's a festival that was the brain child of four young women (Abi, Miriam, Ellen and Nicole) that ran their first successful event at Gullivers and The Castle back in April. Their second festival takes place at The Ruby Lounge on Saturday and promises ten up-and-coming acts across two stages, some of whose profile has already sky-rocketed since they were booked. It could be the last chance to catch some of them in such intimate surroundings and an excellent opportunity to show your support to young promoters taking on the big boys.

Sunday 11 December 2016

James / The Charlatans / The Slow Readers Club - Liverpool Echo Arena - 10th December 2016

Perhaps the finest triple bill in recent history saw James, The Charlatans and The Slow Readers Club sell out Liverpool's Echo Arena on Saturday night. The evening saw collaborations during both sets with Tim and Andy of James helping The Charlatans cover Echo And The Bunnymen's Rescue and Tim and Mark of The Charlatans joining James on Laid. The Slow Readers Club had earlier played to a couple of thousand people on the foyer upstairs.

Saturday 10 December 2016

James / The Slow Readers Club - Sheffield O2 Academy - 9th December 2016

The third night of James's short December tour rolled into Sheffield on Friday night and continued in the same vein as the previous two, with a set that varied considerably from the previous ones, resurrection of old favourites from the depths of their back catalogue and some of their biggest songs in one triumphant event. Support came from Manchester's The Slow Readers Club who look and sound completely at home on these bigger stages.

Thursday 8 December 2016

James / The Slow Readers Club - Wolverhampton Civic - 7th December 2016

Day two of James' UK mini tour saw them return to Wolverhampton for the first time in nineteen years to the Civic. A set full of surprises and seven setlist changes from the previous night and a band at the peak of their powers in one of the best venues of this size in the country delighted a packed Black Country crowd. Support came from The Slow Readers Club.

Wednesday 7 December 2016

Rocketship Forest - Fingerthief EP

The brief accompanying Rocketship Forest’s new EP Fingerthief states that the songs “wrestle with the themes of charlatan clairvoyants, alien abduction, riot mentality and pyromania” which was reason enough to have a listen to it and we weren’t disappointed.

James / The Slow Readers Club - Nottingham Royal Centre - 6th December 2016

James returned to Nottingham Royal Centre to fulfil the gig they had to cancel at the end of their May tour due to Tim Booth's illness to deliver a set full of songs from their number 2 album Girl At The End Of The World as well as highlights from their pre- and post-reformation. Support came from an impressive set from Manchester's The Slow Readers Club who now feel very much at home in these big venues.

Monday 5 December 2016

Pixies / Fews - Manchester Apollo - 4th December 2016

Pixies' latest tour in support of their second post-comeback album Head Carrier hit Manchester Apollo on Sunday night. A thirty-four song set covered all bases in their career from Surfer Rosa through to their latest album and left us with one of the most spectacular encores we've witnessed. Support came from the excellent Fews.

The Slowdown Family / Baby Brave - Manchester Gorilla - 2nd December 2016


Back in September, Liam Frost reunited The Slowdown Family for the tenth anniversary of their debut album Show Me How The Spectres Dance. At the end of the shows he revealed that they were writing new music for a record that they hope to release in 2017. This first show since then revealed a couple of new songs, revisited some old favourites and a little Christmas spirit. Main support came from Baby Brave.

The Vacant Lots - Berlin EP

American psych duo The Vacant Lots return with a sparkling four track EP. Stuart Ralston reviews.

The Maitlands - Manchester Aatma - 2nd December 2016

The Maitlands might never worry the scorers in the pop charts, but we suspect they care about that even less than we do. Outsiders on the vibrant live scene in Manchester, they probably also care little about that fact too, happy to play their own merry way around the venues of the city. We caught up with them in the cosy surroundings of Aatma as they headlined the first Atomic Catfight club night.

Track Of The Day : Keep Dancing Inc - Alright

Alright is the new single from Parisian trio Keep Dancing Inc ahead of their debut UK tour which calls in at Manchester's Soup Kitchen on Tuesday night (December 6).

Sunday 4 December 2016

Blossoms / Inheaven - Manchester Albert Hall - 3rd December 2016

2016 has undoubtedly been Blossoms' year. Tipped as the next big thing by pretty much everyone (except us, as they topped our 2015 list), they delivered a number one album which managed the rare feat for a debut of holding on to the spot for a second week as well as constant touring around the UK and further afield. As they top of the year with another sold out UK tour we caught up with their second night at Manchester's Albert Hall for a triumphant homecoming (of sorts, Stopfordians) supported by Inheaven.

Saturday 3 December 2016

Cabbage - Salford White Hotel - 2nd December 2016

Deep in darkest Salford is The White Hotel, formerly known as The Bunker, an old garage where the pit acts as a bar and acts perform in a cage whilst the audience are in the adjoining one. It's an unusual place to catch a band that's everywhere at the moment - BBC Sound Of 2017, Blossoms and Courteeners supports to name just two, but Cabbage are no ordinary band as they proved with a chaotic performance in the smallest place you're likely to see them for a long time.

Friday 2 December 2016

Heidrik - Funeral

Funeral is the second album by Faroese artist Heidrik. It's a magnificent piece of art, delicate in its construction but opulent in its furnishings, easy to immerse yourself in but with depths that reveal themselves with each listen. It's given us food for thought in our already shifting album of the year poll.

Track Of The Day : New Luna - Noise

Noise is the lead track from Manchester four-piece New Luna's debut EP due out next week. The four-piece have spent their summer honing their craft at festivals across the country in anticipation of their first proper release.

Wednesday 30 November 2016

The Cure / The Twilight Sad - Manchester Arena - 29th November 2016

It's twenty years since The Cure last played Manchester Arena and as they returned to the UK at the end of a year-long world tour expectations were high amongst the 16,000 sold out crowd. The career- spanning set was cut short by Robert Smith's vocal issues but they still delighted with a two hour mix from most of their albums leaving their biggest songs to the end. Support came from Glaswegian heroes The Twilight Sad.

Monday 28 November 2016

Lanterns On The Lake - Live With Royal Northern Sinfonia

Back in February, Lanterns On The Lake collaborated with the Royal Northern Sinfonia for a one-off show at The Sage in Gateshead. Bella Union have just released a digital version of ten of the songs from one of our favourite shows of the year and it's every little bit as special as we remembered.

LIINES - Manchester Aatma - 26th November 2016

Aatma played host to LIINES' hometown launch show for their first physical release, the double A-side single Be Here / Disappear, on Saturday night. A packed crowd was delighted by a forty minute set that left both band and audience gasping for breath.

Track Of The Day : Lucia Fontaine - When I Think Of You

When I Think Of You is the third track to be revealed by Glasgow's Lucia Fontaine from her forthcoming Best Boy EP which will also include her previous tracks Best Boy and Lose My Mind,

Saturday 26 November 2016

Trampolene - Divided Kingdom (Pocket Album Five)

Divided Kingdom is the fifth in the series of Pocket Albums that Trampolene have released over the past couple of years. As with previous releases there's a huge variety on show from full-on everything turned up rock songs to delicate heartwrenching acoustic tracks and poetry from one of Britain's most underrated bands.

Cabbage - Terrorist Synthesizer EP

Terrorist Synthesizer is the final in a trilogy of Cabbage EPs, released one a month over the past three, that will make up their Young, Dumb And Full Of... record that's coming out in January.

Friday 25 November 2016

October Drift / Larkins / Plastic House / Sly Antics - Manchester Dive NQ - 24th November 2016

Four bands playing for free on a Thursday night? When it's the calibre of established acts such as October Drift and Larkins playing a venue much smaller than their previous Manchester headline shows, then it's too good to turn down especially when highly tipped local acts Plastic House and Sly Antics are also on the bill.