Friday, 28 December 2018
Today we reveal Even The Stars' top ten albums of 2018. These are our favourite records of the year, the ones we returned to time after time in a year, the ones we loved rather than we were told to love.
Thursday, 27 December 2018
The list that no one was waiting for. Over the next two days we reveal our top twenty albums of the year. Regular readers of the blog won't be surprised by many of these choices of course, but as we keep telling people we do this to champion music we love not to be hipster or with it or even politically correct. We start today with numbers twenty to eleven.
Wednesday, 26 December 2018
John Bramwell brought his Full Harmonic Convergence project to the intimate surroundings of Gorilla for a sold-out show where he unveiled tracks from his forthcoming second solo album The Light Fantastic as well as from his debut Leave Alone The Empty Spaces and some I Am Kloot classics in a two-hour set that held an attentive audience rapt in both his music and his stories around them.
Saturday, 15 December 2018
The sold-out signs for The Slow Readers Club’s biggest headline show to date went up three months ago. Their journey has been one of the most heartwarming and well-deserved rises to the top, one that’s been achieved with a humility and a connection to their fanbase that’s rarely witnessed these days. Tonight was an indisputable triumph, three and a half thousand devotees joined in unison to hail the victory of the underdog and witness a performance that made even this hallowed hall feel like a stopping off point on a ride to somewhere even grander. With PINS and LIINES on the bill it felt like the underground scene in Manchester has risen again.
Thursday, 13 December 2018
Wednesday, 12 December 2018
Last night saw The Slow Readers Club back in the big smoke for the second time this year, and the fourth time since Clive Lambert has been following them and he reports back from their sold-out show at Scala. As Aaron Starkie the lead singer said on stage last night “This is the biggest crowd we’ve played in front of in London” to which I retorted “You always say that!”. That’s music to my ears as a fan of this great (but sadly underfollowed) band.
Monday, 10 December 2018
The first live outing since announcing their full time status and big UK tour sees The Slow Readers Club in fine form, as they storm through a massive twenty-song set to a jubilant, sell out, Glasgow crowd.
Sunday, 9 December 2018
James continued their tour with The Charlatans at a packed out Manchester Arena on Saturday night. A career-spanning set saw them deliver some of their biggest hits, but, in true James fashion, tracks from their most recent album Living In Extraordinary Times as well as a few surprises from their back catalogue.
Friday, 7 December 2018
Ethan And The Reformation return with a new single Wild-Minded Woman released today ahead of an intimate show at Jimmy's in Manchester on December 22. Julia Grantham takes a listen to what is a marked change in direction from the band as they make their return.
Thursday, 6 December 2018
James and The Charlatans opened up their four-date UK tour in the cavernous surroundings of the Hydro in Glasgow. Both bands delivered sets that gave much to both the casual fan with selections of their best known songs as well as material from their most recent exciting albums Living In Extraordinary Times and Different Days.
Monday, 26 November 2018
The Lucid Dream end the first leg of their Actualisation tour on a high. Stuart Ralston popped down to see a band continuing their ascendancy and, at the height of their powers, wowing their home town crowd.
The refined surroundings of the Bartorelli Room at the Bridgewater Hall were a fitting location for Little Sparrow's long-awaited return to the Manchester live scene. Armed with a set containing a number of new songs and performing three tracks with pianist Robin Dewhurst from her recent Just 3 collaboration, she received a well-deserved standing ovation at the end of the hour-long set.
"This is a better Monday than you thought you'd have" laughs Tom Ogden half way through Blossoms' intimate warm up show for their UK tour at Manchester's newest venue Yes to two hundred or so lucky people who'd either been in the proximity of the venue at 3pm when tickets went on sale or had pleaded their way on to the guestlist. Their most intimate show in Manchester since the days of Sound Control and Night And Day at the tail-end of 2014 saw them run through the set for their sold-out upcoming UK tour.
Sunday, 25 November 2018
Rory Wynne headlined the fourth Head In The Clouds event on Thursday night supported by Puppet Theory and Provocateurs. Three very different sets got a warm reception from the Jimmy's crowd.
Saturday, 24 November 2018
For someone who's spent the summer supporting The Killers in stadiums, the Eagle Inn in Salford is an intimate venue to witness Juanita Stein bring her second album Until The Lights Fade to a rapt audience.
Wednesday, 21 November 2018
Sick & Tired and Flip It Over is the new double A-side release from Blanketman following on from their debut release The Long Arm Of Entrapment earlier in the year. Two very contrasting songs show very different sides to their sound.
Monday, 19 November 2018
"We're so proud of this transnational feminist music collaboration. It really was a labour of love made possible by the generous & thoughtful vocal contributions of the talented women & trans folk making music & smashing gender stereotypes" tweeted Factory Acts about their new single Are You The Singer? It's a song with a message, an exploration of the way women performing in the industry are dismissed as the singer and only turning up to look pretty and have no input into the band's music as told through the experiences of the artists themselves.
One-Way Song release their Passionate Leave EP on November 27th. Ahead of that, they shared with us the story of the five songs that will make up the release, accompanying YouTube videos for some of the tracks and an exclusive demo of Dr Spraza Lies
Sunday, 18 November 2018
However cold it is outside, a sold out gig at the Night And Day in Manchester is always an intense sweltering affair and Pip Blom's triumphant return to a city that has taken the Dutch teenager to their heart was no exception. Before her twelve song set had the crowd bouncing, Chappaqua Wrestling impressed us on the first time we've seen them play.
Friday, 16 November 2018
No Future (Part II) is the new single from Manchester's Hey Bulldog. Clocking in at close to seven and a half minutes, it's the band's most ambitious release yet, a song that's become a live favourite for the way they stretch the boundaries of their sound and seek to take themselves and their audience down new paths and succeed
Exist is the lead track from Ist Ist's forthcoming second EP due early next year to coincide with their Everything Is Different Now tour that kicks off with a show at Hebden Bridge Trades Club for Independent Venue Week in January and sees them revisit the scene of their biggest headline show today at Gorilla in Manchester in March.
Thursday, 15 November 2018
Ahead of their sold out UK tour next month, The Slow Readers Club have released one of the stand out tracks from their top 20 album Build A Tower as a single. On The TV has quickly become a live favourite, audiences taking Kurtis Starkie's riff and singing it back to the band, both during and at the end of the song as well as in the encore break.
Sunday, 11 November 2018
Rews made a triumphant return to Manchester for a sold-out show at the intimate Castle Hotel on the opening night of their UK tour. With a set featuring tracks from last year's album Pyro as well as a number of new ones, they won the hearts and minds of the packed crowd in sauna-like conditions.
Thursday, 8 November 2018
Mandy is the latest single from Bury's Urban Theory. Already a live favourite, Mandy sees them take the foot off the accelerator from their previous singles, like the comedown from the excesses of the night before of Weekend Offender and Fishbowls And Headf**kers.
Wednesday, 7 November 2018
Kashmere's UK tour called in at Record Junkee in Sheffield on Friday night. Julia Grantham made the short trip down from Leeds to catch one of her favourite bands in action.
Sunday, 4 November 2018
Walking into The Cheshire Tap in Altrincham this Saturday just gone, I was filled with a nervous kind of anticipation and excitement. My good friends Lisa, Allan and I were walking into this venue, a semi regular of theirs and a permanent slot for one of our friends Jake Fletcher, of Darling Club, formerly of Cupids who started out as Gramotones. I was wearing a t-shirt of the latterly named band which another of our group, Rob, had given me just eighteen months' prior.
Saturday, 3 November 2018
Matter Of Mind’s first nationwide tour headed home on Friday night with a packed show for This Feeling at the Night And Day in Manchester. A seven-song set including new single Just A Stranger went down a storm in a hot and sweaty room.
The Blinders’ tour rolled into Preston on Thursday night with White Room and Sweet Deals In Surgery in tow. In possibly the most intimate venue they’ll play in for a long time, they took us on a journey through the dark demonic landscape of Columbia.
Thursday, 1 November 2018
Lust is the second single from Australian sister duo The Bambi Kills. The follow-up to their debut Headlights is a full-on affair with by a dark menacing self-produced video that's a perfect visual accompaniment to the track.
Matter Of Mind release a new single Just A Stranger to coincide with their first nationwide tour in conjunction with This Feeling including a Manchester show at Night And Day Cafe tomorrow night. The song is something of a departure for the band, showing a more mellow widescreen element to the work as opposed to their usual head rush.
Monday, 29 October 2018
Billy Fisher Fitzgerald is the lead track from One Way Song's forthcoming EP Passionate Leave which we're delighted to be asked to preview. We described their last release as "a potent mix of theatre and music" as the band's origins are in a theatre group and they've brought some of that into their musical project. This song features guest vocals from Jay Stansfield of All Hail Hyena.
Sunday, 28 October 2018
To celebrate the launch of his new single and title track from his forthcoming second album Then Lightning, Mano McLaughlin played an intimate eleven-song set in the Eagle Inn in Salford, a stone's throw from Blueprint Studios where the album was recorded.
Friday, 26 October 2018
Conversation is the new single from Manchester five-piece Kaze. Released recently to coincide with World Mental Health Day, the lyrics are an honest reflection on feelings that people often leave below the surface and don't discuss openly. Like their previous work, the RNCM-trained duo at the centre of Kaze, Amy and Graham, have crafted a song that grabs your attention throughout as it packs so many musical ideas into its three minutes.
Stranger Things is the second album from Gypsyfingers, the follow-up to their debut Circus Life. As they prepared for the release, Victoria and Luke took time out to walk us through each of the tracks on the record to provide us with some insight into how the song was written and what they're about.
Thursday, 25 October 2018
Alone Again is the new single from Bolton singer-songwriter James Holt. With a video shot in the basement club Night People in Manchester, the single confirms his place as one of the city's most promising singer-songwriters.
Then Lightning is the first track to be revealed from Mano McLaughlin's forthcoming album of the same name. Its release coincides with a launch gig at Salford's Eagle Inn from one of the North West's best kept secrets, a songwriter who should be lauded up there with the city's favourite sons.
Wednesday, 24 October 2018
James today released the latest in the series of acoustic versions of tracks taken from their top ten album Living In Extraordinary Times. Backwards Glances featured on the deluxe version of the album only, but has been rerecorded in even more stripped down format for this release.
With the release of their eighth studio album Islands, Ash are back on the road and we caught the penultimate show of their UK tour at The Ritz in Manchester as they delighted a crowd with a mix of their biggest hits and a healthy selection of songs from Islands that show that their spark still burns bright in the third decade of their existence as a band.
Bugeye return with a new single Disco Dancer out on December 7th. The London band have expanded to a four-piece and this is the first release with the new line up, recorded with celebrated producer Paul Tipler.
Sunday, 21 October 2018
Fresh from the various chart successes of her independently released fourth album Brace For Impact, She Makes War made her way to Manchester with her five-piece band to The Castle Hotel for a sold-out sweatbox of a show that focused heavily on the new album with a liberal sprinkling of tracks from her impressive back catalogue.
Saturday, 20 October 2018
OLA returned to Soup Kitchen on Friday night to launch their new single Orenda with an hour-long set of old and new material full of experimental sounds mixing electronic trickery and live vocals and instruments in an enthralling collection of songs.
Friday, 19 October 2018
LIINES opened Dave Haslam's WAM (Words And Music) Festival at the Night And Day in Manchester with a fourteen-song set featuring all ten tracks from their Stop - Start album and four new tracks.
Aorta Songs Part 1 is the first fruit of the Lights On Moscow collaboration between Hazel Wilde of Lanterns On The Lake and Justin Lockey of Editors. Dark, claustrophobic and haunting in the most part, it feels like a soundtrack from an imaginary black and white silent film.