Monday 30 December 2019

20 FOR 2020 - EVEN THE STARS TIPS - Part Two

Every year we give our predictions as to bands that will make their mark in the following year. Sometimes we're way off the mark, sometimes we're spot on and other times we're a year or even two or three ahead of a band breaking. What really matters though is we think these twenty artists are great - and think you should check them out.

20 FOR 2020 - EVEN THE STARS TIPS - Part One

Every year we give our predictions as to bands that will make their mark in the following year. Sometimes we're way off the mark, sometimes we're spot on and other times we're a year or even two or three ahead of a band breaking. What really matters though is we think these twenty artists are great - and think you should check them out.

Sunday 29 December 2019

Gardenback / The Be Positives / Octopus - Manchester Gullivers - 28th December 2019

Gardenback closed off 2019 with their "office party" as they gave the gig-starved of Manchester a Christmas show to send us off into the new decade. Showcasing new songs as well as old favourites, they were joined by The Be Positives and Octopus.

Thursday 26 December 2019

Jake Fletcher - Manchester Night People - 23rd December 2019

Jake Fletcher launched his self-titled debut album on Monday with a show at Manchester's Night People. Playing most of the album and new material he's already written for its follow-up accompanied by Adrian on keyboards / organ and Ben on drums, he delighted a passionate hometown crowd with a set that demonstrated his many talents.

Monday 23 December 2019

Dirty Laces / The Slumdogs / Becki Fishwick - Manchester Deaf Institute - 22nd December 2019

Dirty Laces brought a successful year to an end for them with an intimate Sunday night show at The Deaf Institute in Manchester with a selection of old favourites, new material and a couple of surprise covers. They were supported by the return of The Slumdogs after a ten month absence and a short covers set from Becki Fishwick.

Jake Fletcher - Jake Fletcher

Jake Fletcher might not yet be a household name, however his name is known to many across the country. Not just a solo artist, Jake has fronted the bands Gramotones and Cupids, has played guitar for The Specials, has recently had one of his own songs Daltry Street featured on P P Arnold’s most recent album, as well as being employed performing covers and hosting open mic nights across Manchester, Saddleworth and Cheshire. Jake has gained recognition, respect and admiration from some of the most famous and successful musicians in the world, and although many people come and see him play in local pubs each week, his own material as a solo artist has been largely kept hidden away. Until now.

Sunday 22 December 2019

The Slow Readers Club / Jordan Allen - Glasgow The Garage - 21st December 2019

The Slow Readers Club completed their UK tour and first full year as a full-time band with a packed out Saturday night show at The Garage in Glasgow in front of a raucous crowd ready for a celebration. Support came from Bolton's Jordan Allen.

Saturday 21 December 2019

Loose Articles - Orchid Lounge EP

Loose Articles have arrived out of nowhere with intimate exhilarating live shows of three minute songs that have ripped up the traditional rules of songwriting. Their debut EP Orchid Lounge features four songs that’ll be familar to anyone who’s witnessed those sets - but can they recapture that in the studio?

The Slow Readers Club - Manchester Ritz - 20th December 2019

The Slow Readers Club played their second sell out show at the wonderful Ritz. Stuart Ralston returns to his favourite venue and loved every minute of it.

Friday 20 December 2019


Today we reveal our four favourite albums of 2019.

The Slow Readers Club / Jordan Allen - Manchester Ritz - 19th December 2019

The first of The Slow Readers Club's two night homecoming at Manchester's Ritz, the scene of one of their many breakthrough performances over the past few years, felt very much like an intimate show, a band stepping down from their natural habitat and delivering a show of passion and intensity that was arena-sized but still connected to their fervent fan base. Support came from Jordan Allen.

Thursday 19 December 2019


Today we reveal more of our favourite albums of 2019 - from eight to five.

TRACK OF THE DAY : Shadow Show - Shadow Box

Shadow Box is the lead single from Shadow Show's debut album Silhouettes due for release on Valentine's Day next year. The Detroit three-piece describe themselves as "a power trio of a mysterious hue" and combine familiar sounds from underground garage scenes with something that sounds modern and of these difficult times.

Wednesday 18 December 2019

Black Limousine / The Ombudsmen / Inflated Tear - Manchester Peer Hat - 18th December 2019

Wednesday night saw a very different trio of bands take over the Peer Hat basement - a rock and roll band, an instrumental trio and a one-off improvised performance by members of several underground bands coming together for one night only.


Today we reveal more of our favourite albums of 2019 - from twelve to nine.

TRACK OF THE DAY : Purple Heart Parade - Petrichor

Purple Heart Parade have revealed Petrichor, the lead track from their Desolation Angel EP that comes out on split purple and orange vinyl in early January. The song both remains true to their past sound, but also shows them broadening their horizons, expanding their minds and those of the listeners with a sound that's more detailed and adventurous than we've heard from them before.

Tuesday 17 December 2019

EVEN THE STARS ALBUMS OF 2019 - 16 to 13

Today we reveal more of our favourite albums of 2019 - from sixteen to thirteen.

TRACK OF THE DAY : Little Sparrow - Sit Down

Little Sparrow's version of James' classic track Sit Down has been recorded with Robin Dewhurst (Josh from Blossoms' father) on piano and long-term musical partner Sarah Dale on cello - and takes the Manchester standard and slows it right down and allows Little Sparrow to showcase her stunning vocals and extract maximum emotional effect from the lyrics.

Monday 16 December 2019

EVEN THE STARS ALBUMS OF 2019 - 20 to 17

Today we reveal the first set of our favourite albums of 2019 - from twenty to seventeen

TRACK OF THE DAY : Loose Articles - Money For Booze

Money For Booze is Loose Articles' debut single taken from their Orchid Lounge EP that they launched at Aatma in Manchester on Saturday night. An ode to going out for a drink to relieve the boredom and stress of the day to day grind and struggling to find the money to do so, the four-piece capture perfectly in three minutes the life choices you make when you're living on a budget in a world where austerity is king and Boris is the leader.

Sunday 15 December 2019

Courteeners - Manchester Arena - 14th December 2019

Courteeners rounded off 2019 at Manchester Arena on Saturday night with a career-spanning set that also revealed new songs from their More Again Forever album due out next month and a cover of one of Manchester's best loved songs.

Saturday 14 December 2019

John Bramwell - Manchester The Lions Den - 13th December 2019

John Bramwell took to The Lions Den stage on Friday night for an intimate solo performance to raise funds for Musicians Against Homelessness delighting the crowd with favourites from across his career with I Am Kloot and one brand new song.

Friday 13 December 2019

Lauren Ruth Ward / Emily Lockett / Emma Cole - Manchester Rose And Monkey - 12th December 2019

Lauren Ruth Ward made her Manchester debut on Thursday night in front of a packed Rose And Monkey crowd that hung on her every word and threatened to drown her out at times by singing along to a set of songs that have made a connection with her audience. Support came from local Emily Lockett and Emma Cole who also was part of Lauren's live band.

TRACK OF THE DAY : VLURE - Desire (Live At Axiom Art)

VLURE might only have been in existence a few months, but their Glasgow shows have built a word of mouth buzz about them that's threatening to become loud enough that you can't ignore them. They've chosen to reveal their first publicly available song and laser focused, it's an impressively bold statement of intent from a band set to take off in 2020 in the way their friends The Murder Capital, who they supported in Glasgow in May, have done this year.

Thursday 12 December 2019

TRACK OF THE DAY : Okandi - Devil I Know

You might recognise Okandi's voice and so you should. Tobias O'Kandi was front man of O. Children who produced two stunning albums - O. Children and Apnea - in the first three years of the decade we're about to leave. Then things went quiet, rumours abounded about where he'd got to including that he'd gone to prison. He's back with the story behind his disappearance from the public eye and a first track Devil I Know that anyone who loved O. Children will fall for and which should have the same impact on newcomers.

Wednesday 11 December 2019

TRACK OF THE DAY : talker - Learning The Feeling

talker's latest single Learning The Feeling is a song about opening yourself up, standing up for yourself and not being afraid of who you are, what you represent and what you feel. It's the follow-up, both chronologically and lyrically, from her previous single Keep Me Safe - and a song that Celeste (talker) describes as "I've never felt so sure about a song."

Tuesday 10 December 2019

Inhaler - Manchester Gorilla - 9th December 2019

Dublin's Inhaler continued their upward trajectory by playing their biggest ever Manchester show on Monday night at a sold out Gorilla. They didn't disappoint as they wowed the audience with a pulsating eleven song set that left the crowd, old and young, breathless yet calling for more.

Sunday 8 December 2019

Post Punk Strikes Back Again 3 (Bragolin / Okandi / Nerves / Ist Ist / Hotel Lux) - Porto Hard Club - 7th December 2019

The third edition of At The Rollercoaster's Post Punk Strikes Back Festival took place in Sala 2 of Porto's impressive Hard Club venue, sat close to the old town of the beautiful Portuguese city. We caught a flight over and got a hotel for less than a return train ticket to Edinburgh cost us the weekend before and spent less than twenty-four hours watching five of the six bands and soaking in as much of the culture as we could.

Thursday 5 December 2019

TRACK OF THE DAY : Smoke Fairies - Elevator

Elevator is the lead track from Smoke Fairies' forthcoming album Darkness Brings The Wonders Home, the duo's first full studio album since 2014's self-titled record.

Wednesday 4 December 2019

Amy Studt / Natalie McCool / Audrey's Dance - Manchester Castle Hotel - 3rd December 2019

Amy Studt recently released Happiest Girl In The World, her first album for eleven years, an album that diarised the last decade of her life with explicit clarity around her bipolar condition, broken relationships, near-death experiences and losing and finding love. She's brought the record out on tour and called in at Manchester's Castle Hotel for an intimate and revelatory performance supported by Natalie McCool and Audrey's Dance.

Monday 2 December 2019

SOCIALIST SUNDAY : The Blinders / Cabbage / Scuttlers / The Rhythm Method / Space Monkeys / The Pagans S.O.H. / Cold Water Swimmers - Manchester Ritz - 1st December 2019

Socialist Sunday was dreamt up, planned and delivered within just three weeks as a means of trying to encourage young people to get engaged in the political debate ahead of the December 12th election and specifically to champion the Labour Party. Headlined by The Blinders, as part of their For The Many tour with the same purpose, Manchester's Ritz played host to a thousand or so people to listen to nine hours of bands and speeches on Sunday.

Sunday 1 December 2019

The Twilight Sad - Edinburgh Usher Hall - 30th November 2019

The Twilight Sad completed their UK and European tour with their biggest ever headline show to date at Edinburgh's Usher Hall on Saturday night. a triumphant end to a year when their album It Won/t Be Like This All The Time opened new doors for them and saw them belatedly get the recognition and success that they've long deserved.