Wednesday, 29 December 2021


The folks at SoundOn have asked us to compile a playlist of our tips for 2022, so we've selected 22 of the artists and bands that we think will make their mark over the next twelve months and who we're looking forward to hearing what they do next. We've selected artists and bands that haven't yet released their debut album. We'd love to hear in the comments who you recommend and who you think we've missed.

Thursday, 23 December 2021


We've compiled a playlist of forty of our favourite songs of 2021, a mix of singles and album tracks from new and established bands.

Full list - VLURE, Ist Ist, James, Odd Morris, Julia Bardo, Marissa Nadler, Self Esteem, Wolf Alice, Dry Cleaning, Low Hummer, The Slow Readers Club, Stephen Fretwell, LIINES, Lime Garden, wych elm, Soot Sprite, FIKA, Egyptian Blue, Sprints, Proletariat, Blanketman, Rosellas, Pixie Cut Rhythm Orchestra, Meggie Lennon, talker, Wyldest, Hectorine, Solis, Lanterns On The Lake, Roxanne De Bastion, Blankenberge, English Teacher, Francis Of Delirium, Hates Talking, Grandmas House, James Holt, Thyla, Bleach Lab, The Clockworks and Bullet Girl

Wednesday, 22 December 2021


2021 has been a very strong year for albums. Our top three would have topped this list in most of the years that we've being doing this. Our top five features a band about to celebrate its fortieth anniversary with an album that stands up against anything they've ever released, a Manchester band's second album in two years who are hopefully on the brink of bigger things, a rich emotional debut from an Italian songwriter, a long-awaited return after over a decade away from a much-loved singer-songwriter and a ninth solo album from a singer entering her third decade in the business.

Tuesday, 21 December 2021


2021 has been a very strong year for albums. Our top three would have topped this list in most of the years that we've being doing this. Today we reveal albums ten to six in our favourite records of the year.

Monday, 20 December 2021

Solis - Interview

Solis is likely to be a name familiar to those with their ear to the ground in Manchester over the past few years as she's played a series of impressive support slots for the likes of Blossoms and Ist Ist as well as some showstopping performances at open mic nights around town. With her debut album scheduled in for 2022 and a recent single Sunday acting as a lead-in, we caught up with her for a chat about how she came to be in Manchester, her inspirations and plans.

Sunday, 19 December 2021

The Chameleons / Ist Ist / Salvation - Manchester Ritz - 18th December 2021

The Chameleons brought their traditional Christmas shows back to Manchester Ritz after last year's enforced absence with two nights entitled Home Is Where The Heart Is 2021 / Nostalgia 81:21 as a celebration of forty years of the band's existence. We caught the triumphant second night supported by Salvation and Ist Ist as they reminded us just why they're one of the most-loved if underacknowledged bands to come from the city.

Wednesday, 15 December 2021

Apta - Echoes

Echoes is the third album to be released this year by the prolific Apta - description "one man, many machines, some strings" - following in the footsteps of WF24 - Vignettes and Rainbow Islands. Across eleven tracks we're taken on an atmospheric trip through the thought processes of the creator.

Sunday, 12 December 2021

Ist Ist / Proletariat / Oceans On Mars - Manchester Academy 2 - 11th December 2021

Ist Ist’s much-delayed tour in support of last year’s debut album Architecture and subsequently this year’s follow-up The Art Of Lying concluded with their biggest headline show to date, a triumphant twenty one song homecoming at Manchester Academy 2 on Saturday night supported by Oceans On Mars and Proletariat.

Saturday, 11 December 2021

Lanterns On The Lake / Wyldest / Hector Gannet - Newcastle The Boiler Shop - 10th December 2021

Lanterns On The Lake played their first hometown headline show for four years on Friday night at The Boiler Shop supported by Wyldest and Hector Gannet. Originally intended as a celebration of the launch of their Spook The Herd album but delayed by eighteen months by the pandemic, with promoter changed in the interim, the night still felt like a triumphant return in front of a loyal attentive audience.

Friday, 10 December 2021

Lanterns On The Lake / Wyldest - Hebden Bridge Trades Club - 9th December 2021

Lanterns On The Lake resumed their much-postponed tour at Hebden Bridge Trades Club on Thursday night supported by Wyldest, finally able to tour their 2020 album Spook The Herd in the country's finest small venue.

TRACK OF THE DAY : James Holt - The Wedding

Even The Stars favourite James Holt seems to be churning out more songs than Santa’s elves are busily making toys it would appear, and what a gift for our eardrums his new single The Wedding is.

Thursday, 9 December 2021

Ist Ist / Paid By Cash - Leeds Hyde Park Book Club - 8th December 2021

Ist Ist continued their long-delayed tour in support of their debut album Architecture and its top 100 follow-up The Art Of Lying with a sold-out show in the intimate basement of Hyde Park Book Club in Leeds supported by Skipton's Paid By Cash with a seventeen song set that showcased both albums as well as selected tracks from their early EPs.

TRACK OF THE DAY : Sisterix - What Will I Wear To The Revolution?

Dublin sister duo Sisterix have released their latest single, What Will I Wear To The Revolution?, a song that captures the contradictions between fighting battles against the system and the expectations placed on people by society and social media to look good at all times.

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

The Libertines / Ed Cosens / Trampolene / Dead Freights - Manchester Academy - 6th December 2021

The Libertines' Giddy Up A Ding-Dong Tour rolled into a sold-out and packed to the rafters Manchester Academy on Monday night for an ecstatic celebration of the work of one of the country's most-loved bands playing to an audience of young and old. Support came from Dead Freights, Trampolene and Ed Cosens.

Sunday, 5 December 2021

James - London Wembley Arena - 4th December 2021

James concluded their UK tour at Wembley Arena on Saturday night. With a career-spanning set James once again defied those who wish them to be a greatest hits machine with something more cerebral that demands attention yet is ultimately far more rewarding.

Saturday, 4 December 2021

James / Happy Mondays - Manchester AO Arena - 3rd December 2021

James and Happy Mondays played triumphant sets at their homecoming show on Friday night at the cavernous AO Arena that both bands made feel intimate and celebratory in different ways. Happy Mondays delivered a set of their most well-known material whilst James played a stunning set that felt like a magical mystery tour through their extraordinary back catalogue.

Friday, 3 December 2021

The Red Stains / Pyncher / The Strangerz - Manchester Castle Hotel - 2nd December 2021

The Red Stains played their final show of 2021 at their Jump The Met night at a sold out Castle Hotel in Manchester on Thursday night supported by two other up-and-coming Manchester-based bands Pyncher and The Strangerz on the strongest small venue bill we've seen this year.

Thursday, 2 December 2021

Dry Cleaning / Garden Centre - Hebden Bridge Trades Club - 1st December 2021

Dry Cleaning continued their short run of intimate shows around the UK with a packed out night at Hebden Bridge Trades Club on Wednesday night featuring songs from their debut album Long Leg that's featured highly on most album of the year polls and from their Sweet Princess and Boundary Road Snacks And Drinks EPs. Support came from a solo slot from Garden Centre.

Wednesday, 1 December 2021

James / Happy Mondays - Glasgow Hydro - 30th November 2021

James’ tour in support of their All The Colours Of You album with Happy Mondays rolled into Glasgow on Tuesday night for a show at the Hydro that once again contained a real mix of the old and new with a finale that had the whole floor bouncing out of the cavernous hall.

Tuesday, 30 November 2021

VLURE / The Novus - Leeds Headrow House - 29th November 2021

VLURE completed their first UK tour with a show at Headrow House in Leeds. We diverted our travel plans as part of our mission to see them as much as we can at this important phase in their development as a band and were rewarded by another intense and unique performance from a band that excited us from the first note we heard from them and the love for who continues to grow.

Monday, 29 November 2021

James / Happy Mondays - Cardiff Motorpoint Arena - 28th November 2021

James and Happy Mondays' UK and Ireland tour rolled into Cardiff's Motorpoint Arena for James' first gig in the Welsh capital for ten years and their first in this venue since 1999. As in previous evening, James' set was a career-spanning one, but one that setlist watchers would have been thrown a few curveballs by as they introduced a few rarely-played tracks to the set without ruining the momentum and energy of the night.

TRACK OF THE DAY : Charm Of Finches - As A Child

As A Child is the latest single to be taken from Australian duo Charm Of Finches' new album Wonderful Oblivion - a beautiful song that takes a wistful look back at the carefree feeling of being a child, unaware of the world around you and unburdened by the pressures of adulthood accompanied by a video of childhood memories.

Sunday, 28 November 2021

The Charlatans / Martin Carr & What Future - Birmingham O2 Academy - 27th November 2021

Saturday night saw The Charlatans' month-long tour in support of their career-spanning boxset head to the O2 Academy in Birmingham for a sold-out show that took the crowd on a nostalgic journey through some of their biggest hits, but also reminded us with some of their more recent material that they're an active thriving band even after all their trials, tribulations and tragedies over the years. Support came from Martin Carr & What Future.

Saturday, 27 November 2021

James / Happy Mondays - Birmingham Utilita Arena - 26th November 2021

James' UK tour in support of their sixteenth studio album All The Colours Of You rolled into the cavernous surroundings of Birmingham's Utilita Arena on Friday night. A career-spanning set mixing chart-busting classic tracks, deeper cuts and fresh new songs had the crowd dancing from start to finish feeding off the energy emanating from the nine-headed beast of a band operating at full throttle. Support came from Happy Mondays.

Friday, 26 November 2021

James / Happy Mondays - Leeds First Direct Arena - 25th November 2021

James opened their UK and Ireland arena tour at Leeds First Direct Arena on Thursday night supported by Happy Mondays. Mixing classic crowd-pleasing singles with deeper cuts from across their career and a fair smattering of songs from this year's All The Colours Of You album, the newly-expanded nine-piece demonstrated that they're still a creative force to be reckoned with.

Thursday, 25 November 2021

Ist Ist - The Art Of Lying

The Art Of Lying is the follow-up to 2020's Even The Stars album of the year Architecture which saw Ist Ist hit an impressive number 3 in the indie album chart, number 4 in the vinyl chart and number 5 in the physical chart, some achievement for a band that self-released and self-funded their debut, reliant on word of mouth and a growing live reputation that began to precede them. They wrote The Art Of Lying remotely and then in the rehearsal room once lockdown was eased and then quietly went into the studio at the end of 2020 to record it, revealing tracks on live streams and then at their recent preview shows. 

Wednesday, 24 November 2021

James / Bryony Williams - Wolverhampton KK's Steel Mill - 23rd November 2021

James warmed up for their forthcoming Arena tour with a two-hour career-spanning set at Wolverhampton's KK's Steel Mill on Tuesday night. Covering ground from 1985's second single to this year's sixteenth album with curveballs aplenty from across their catalogue as well as many of their biggest hits, they delighted an attentive crowd desperate for the unique connection that live music provides.

Tuesday, 23 November 2021

Courteeners / Vistas - Blackburn King George's Hall - 22nd November 2021

Courteeners brought their White Of Their Eyes tour to a sold-out Blackburn King George's Hall on Monday night where an ecstatic crowd shook off the start of the week blues with a ninety-minute run through old and new favourites. Support came from the impressive Vistas from Edinburgh.

TRACK OF THE DAY : Molly Nilsson - Pompeii

Molly Nilsson has released Pompeii, the second single to be taken from her forthcoming album Extreme due in January. Accompanied by a video filmed at the Olympiastadion in Berlin, Pompeii is an unabashed brave declaration of love.

Monday, 22 November 2021

Freya Beer / Prints In The Snow - Manchester Night And Day Cafe - 21st November 2021

Freya Beer brought her Beast album to the Night And Day Cafe on Sunday night for an intimate show supported by Prints In The Snow. 

TRACK OF THE DAY : Solis - Sunday

Solis has today released her third single Sunday ahead of the release of her debut album. The single fleshes out Solis's enchanting vocal.with a melodic backing that accentuates the emotional depth of the lyrics that deal with the frustration of youth and living a life that isn't quite your own.

Sunday, 21 November 2021

VLURE / Shredd - Edinburgh Mash House - 20th November 2021

VLURE opened their UK tour on Saturday night at The Mash House in Edinburgh with a forty-minute genre-bending set of huge outsider anthems that set aching stories of loneliness, paranoia and mental health challenges to stomping dance beats that had the speakers on the verge of toppling and the floor creaking as the whole room lost themselves in an ecstatic experience.

Friday, 19 November 2021

Seb Lowe - Half-Decent EP

Social and political commentary set to music is nothing new. Doing it via the medium of Tik Tok is relatively and that's where Seb Lowe found his audience. The viral nature of the platform meant that word very quickly got around and the Half Decent EP is his first release on a more traditional format. Clocking in at thirteen minutes for the seven tracks, that we'd hesitate to call songs as they're more short pieces of urban poetry set to music, yet Half Decent places Seb at the forefront of those seeking to ask the difficult questions.

James - The Campfire EP

Back in June James released their sixteenth studio album All The Colours Of You. Prior to that the band reconvened for the first time in eighteen months at Broughton Hall in Skipton to rehearse and record radio sessions. From that retreat comes a four-track EP that strips down three tracks from All The Colours Of You and an old favourite Just Like Fred Astaire to show a very different side to a band about to embark on an arena tour.

Wednesday, 17 November 2021

The Jesus And Mary Chain - Glasgow Barrowland - 14th November 2021

Scotland's greatest ever band return home for three nights as they launch their long overdue European Darklands tour. Stuart Ralston caught their first Barrowland show.

Tuesday, 16 November 2021

TRACK OF THE DAY : VLURE - I Won't Run (From Love)

Ahead of their UK tour that starts this week, VLURE have released their new single I Won't Run (From Love), the second track to be taken from their Euphoria EP that's due for release in January.

NewDad / Crush - Manchester Yes Basement - 14th November 2021

NewDad are the latest of the new breed of bands to cross the Irish Sea to win the hearts of the UK's music lovers. Hailing from Galway and with an impressive selection of singles under their belt, they've sold out venues around the country on their first visit, including Manchester's Yes Basement on Sunday night where they mixed singles with tracks from their Waves EP and new songs that whet the appetite for what's to come.

Monday, 15 November 2021

Bullet Girl - Manchester Retro - 14th November 2021

Bullet Girl opened up their first UK tour with a basement show at Manchester's Retro on Sunday night as part of the closing night of R-Fest. A seven-song set full of post-punk energy delighted a small but enthusiastic crowd that will talk about being there for years to come should they follow in the well-trodden path of their contemporaries.

Sunday, 14 November 2021

Dan Selwood - Manchester Castle Hotel - 13th November 2021

Saturday night saw the first ever show by Dan Selwood and his band opening for Trunky Juno at The Castle Hotel in Manchester. The four-piece band put on an impressive debut showing that betrayed the fact they hadn't played together in front of an audience before and put Dan's songwriting very much on our radar.

Saturday, 13 November 2021

Working Men's Club - Manchester Ritz - 12th November 2021

Working Men's Club played their biggest headline show to date at a sold-out Manchester Ritz on Friday night. An eleven-song set ended with Syd riding on a sea of arms in the audience as they charged through a fifty-minute non-stop exploration of the boundaries where rock and electronic music merge into one intoxicating cocktail.

Fever - Manchester Deaf Institute - 12th November 2021

Fever opened up for Pacific at Manchester's Deaf Institute on Friday night . Over half an hour they delivered a nine-song set featuring recent singles My Imagination and Time Will Define as well as seven other tracks that could all stand up as singles in their own right.

Friday, 12 November 2021

Ist Ist / Solis - Manchester Deaf Institute - 11th November 2021

Ist Ist warmed up for their forthcoming tour and release of their second album The Art Of Lying on November 26th with their longest set to date, a twenty-one song marathon at the Deaf Institute in Manchester on Thursday night. Solis provided support with a solo set showcasing tracks from her forthcoming album.

Thursday, 11 November 2021

Suede / Nadine Shah - Manchester Victoria Warehouse - 10th November 2021

Suede rolled into Manchester for the penultimate night of their long-delayed anniversary tour for their 1996 album Coming Up performing the album in full in the first half of their set with a mix of singles and more recent tracks in the second half. Support came from Nadine Shah.

Wednesday, 10 November 2021

Willy Mason / Voka Gentle - Manchester Night And Day Cafe - 9th November 2021

Willy Mason's UK tour in support of his new album Already Dead rolled into Manchester for two nights this week. We caught up with the second of them, a sold out show at the Night And Day Cafe where a twenty-song set delighted an attentive crowd. Support came from Voka Gentle.

Tuesday, 9 November 2021

Stephen Fretwell / George O'Hanlon - Manchester Gorilla - 8th November 2021

Stephen Fretwell might not come from Manchester, but it's here where he had most of his musical grounding and spent the time he was signed to a major label in the mid-2000s and the city very much treats him like one of their own. Back after a couple of very intimate warm-ups at the Eagle Inn and the Night And Day around the launch of Busy Guy, his first album for fourteen years, this Gorilla show sold out almost immediately and unlike many shows we'd been to there was very little in the way of no-shows. Support came from London's George O'Hanlon.

Sunday, 7 November 2021

Jane Weaver - Manchester Gorilla - 6th November 2021

Jane Weaver brought her Flock tour to Manchester Gorilla for a sort-of-homecoming show on Saturday night. Mixing tracks from Flock with highlights from her growing back catalogue, she delighted a crowd that allowed itself to get lost for an hour and a quarter in intoxicating songs that seduce rather than overpower.

LIINES - Glasgow The Flying Duck - 5th November 2021

To coincide with COP26, The Vegan Society have teamed up with Blue Dot to host a short series of events, gigs and discussion panels to raise awareness of their Plate Up For The Planet campaign. Eating vegan is one of the best ways to reduce your environmental footprint. Blue Dot invited Manchester's LIINES along. The three-piece played a storming fourteen song set, featuring old favourites and a host of amazing new tunes. Stuart Ralston went home for the evening and reports back.

Saturday, 6 November 2021

A Certain Ratio - Manchester Gorilla - 5th November 2021

The phrase "snatching victory from the jaws of defeat" is one that's often thrown around and it'd be a perfect description of A Certain Ratio's homecoming show at Manchester Gorilla on Friday night. Technical problems nearly scuppered the whole show, but the band made the brave move of performing a curtailed hour-long set with half their kit not working to an appreciative crowd in what turned out to be a very special if unintentional evening.

Friday, 5 November 2021

Odd Morris / Yuka Tree - Manchester Gullivers - 4th November 2021

It's sixteen months since Odd Morris should have made their Manchester debut and the wait has been a very long and frustrating one since we saw them just before lockdown for the first time with The Murder Capital in London. Over a short nine-song set they charmed and disarmed a captivated Manchester audience. Support came from Yuka Tree.

TRACK OF THE DAY : James - Miss America (Library Session)

James have revealed an intimate stripped down version of Miss America from their recent All The Colours Of You album. The track was recorded during the band's first post-lockdown get together at Broughton Hall in Skipton in May and is one of four tracks featured on their forthcoming Campfire EP that precedes their UK tour with Happy Mondays that kicks off on November 25.