Posts Tagged ‘Manchester’

Available for 72 hours only! Help raise money for struggling venues, musicians and other live music professionals who are unable to work (100% of proceeds will be donated to Stagehand UK and Save Our Venues charities).

When coronavirus hit, we suddenly stopped being able to play live together, bringing an abrupt end to all of our live dates and rehearsals. In an effort to stay sane and keep in touch while figuring out what we were going to do with ourselves, we remotely recorded a bunch of DIY covers that we put out on a few Sundays last year, an event that we named ‘Ice Cream Sundays’.

After lots of people asked whether these covers would ever be available for download, we’ve decided to release them for a short time in a way that can hopefully do some good for some very worthy causes. You can download them here from Friday 5th March (0:00 GMT) through to Sunday 7th March (11:59 GMT). 100% of the money that we receive from Bandcamp for downloads will be split between the charities Stagehand UK and Save Our Venues 


Buy our digital EP “Ice Cream Sundays” this weekend, 100% of profits are going to Stagehand UK and #Saveourvenues to help struggling venues / people in the music industry.

Heavy Salad work in the space between perceived reality and the abyss of your mind. Melt yourself! , A trio formed in 2018 in one of the most fertile rock cities in the world Manchester, that works in the space between perceived reality and the abyss of your mind. Bonding over a joint interest in psych-horror films, they loved the idea of being in a band like a psychedelic cult, albeit a cult with no rules. Sounds pretty cool, right? Absolutely, as the now this 7-piece gang knocked heavily on the door last year with “Cult Casual”. Without a shadow of a doubt one of the best debut LPs of last year that got missed. So, you really need to learn more about this Lucy in the Sky with diamonds collective.

Delirious you’re not alone trip by these starry-eyed Manchester newcomers. Heavy Salad released their debut slice of psychedelia in the form of new album “Cult Casual”. A loose concept-album-of-sorts, “Cult Casual” explores the idea of finding your own reality in the modern world. Beginning with ‘Death’, the album takes the listener backwards through the very experiences of existence. A prospect that seems like a kind of special challenge at the moment.

“Heavy Salad was just a phrase that Lee liked and thought he’d just made up, then we found out it’s a – lesser known – Scouse saying that means ‘something stressful or demanding’ which seemed to be a nice juxtaposition to the sound of the band.


Heavy Salad was started by Rob Glennie, Allan Hutchison and Lee Mann and slowly grew into a seven-piece (when we’re all free) with The Priestesses: Ally Boo, Esther Maylor and Lucy Hope and Oscar on rhythm guitar /backing vocals. The whole group contributed to the album too.” “The title of the LP was an off cuff remark by Allan on WhatsApp that stuck. I guess it means we like to think of ourselves as a cult but we don’t expect you to drink the poisoned Kool Aid to transcend, you are free to transcend at your own free will! It was originally going to be called ‘Sun Warm’.”

Allan Hutchison – Drums and Percussion Rob Glennie – Guitars Lee Mann – Bass Guitar and Vocals, Keyboards by Matt Hutchinson aka ortoPilot aka Our Kid, Horn Section: Andrew Morel (Saxophones), Jack Tinker (Trumpet) and Chris Bridges (Trombone), Backing Vocals: Ally Boo, Lucy Elizabeth Hope, Esther Maylor and Jardine Emmanuel Sage.

Heavy Salad – out now on Mal Loco Records.
Released September 25th, 2020

When Manchester, England-based band Pins’ original rhythm section decided to move on it left founding members Faith Vern and Lois MacDonald (plus Kyoko Swan) with a conundrum in terms of how to move things forwards. “We had to figure out a different way of making music without a traditional drummer,” explain Vern. “Lois was really getting into all the drum machines and synthesizers, so it was getting a little more electronic at that point anyway.” 

The trio decided that rather than recruit new permanent members they’d work with a rotating cast of collaborators. It was a bold move but it certainly paid off as their third album Hot Slick is arguably their most cohesive work to date. The band sound bigger and brighter than ever and they have crafted an album that still maintains all the edginess that made PINS such an interesting proposition in the first place, but they’ve also expanded their sonic palette and taken it onto a sticky neon-lit dance floor. 

“We wanted this album to be a bit more electronic but keep that dark energy in there,” explains Vern. “I think it’s certainly the first album we’ve done which you can dance to. The beauty of the set up now is it’s just the three of us at the core and we can bring in anyone else who wants to collaborate and people can come and go as they please. In that way, there’s a lot less pressure. And when we were writing the album our roles were flexible and interchangeable. So for example, Lois played the guitar on some tracks, I played on some, and Kyoko did. It was like if you’ve got a bass guitar next to you just pick it up. It was a lot looser in that we didn’t have assigned roles which made us much freer.”

After releasing their second album, Wild Nights, via Bella Union, Vern explains why the band decided to self-release again via their own Haus of Pins label. “When we were with Bella Union, creatively it was great, but financially it was a bit of a struggle,” she says. “That’s simply due to the nature of record contracts. Abbey and Simon [Raymonde], who run the label, were always hugely supportive. At the time we felt like we needed some additional support from the wider team there. Eventually, we felt perhaps we weren’t getting what we wanted out of things.” 

After looking around to see what other deals might be on offer, the band weren’t overly impressed. Vern explains that most labels “were all about taking more off us than we were willing to give and we certainly didn’t want to give up creative control.” 

PINS tested the waters by releasing their 2017 EP, Bad Thing, and 2017 single, “Serve the Rich,” on Haus of Pins. “We worked with Cargo records who took on aspects we didn’t know much about such as getting records pressed, storing them, and the distribution to record stores which hugely takes the pressure off,” Vern says. 

And besides releasing their own music, when the band began the label back in 2012 they supported other emerging artists, releasing early recordings by the likes of Dream Wife, September Girls, Abjects, and Cheri Cheri Jaguar. Vern admits they wouldn’t be averse to exploring that aspect of the label again. “It would be nice to release more vinyl in the future and start releasing other artists. But let’s see how the land lies after all this corona shit is over!” she laughs. “I mean the music business was a struggle before this, but being a self-releasing band at least we can actually put our album out! I know other artists have been advised by their labels not to put anything out yet, but who knows what will happen?”

Hot Slick released on 29.05.2020

Pale Waves‘ next album ‘Who Am I?’ singer/guitarist Heather Baron-Gracie has revealed is out now. Baron-Gracie confirmed the news when she responded to a fan on Twitter who posited the idea that the Manchester band’s follow-up “is just chilling on a hard drive somewhere” 

Pale Waves’ debut album, ‘My Mind Makes Noises’, was released in 2018. In a four-star review, “Pale Waves’ debut album packs a whole lotta love. ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ is an album that obsesses over break-ups and make-ups, as well as dizzy affairs and their bitter fallouts – purposefully telling the story from all different angles. It’s the perfect record to summarise the band’s rise from Manchester’s little secret to one of the most adored new bands in the country.”

“This is the perfect title: ‘Who Am I?’“, says Pale Waves’ lead vocalist Heather Baron-Gracie of the band’s stellar second album. “It’s simple. It’s easy to understand. It represents where I was in my life, ready to embark on that journey to become the better version of myself.”

With its release date pushed back by not only a near-fatal bus crash but a world-shaking pandemic, too, the arrival of the follow-up to 2018’s Top 10 LP ‘My Mind Makes Noises’ feels like a hard-won triumph. Informed by the Manchester group’s collective struggles with fame and its spoils, it’s a bracingly candid effort that explores the physical and mental constraints of growing up in the spotlight. “I feel like as an artist you feel vulnerable all the time,” Baron-Gracie continues on the real meaning behind the album’s title. “Putting yourself on show to the world is intimidating, and I do have mini freakouts quite often about it.

“I tend to feel vulnerable a lot of the time, but it really helps people. The music that I write is there for them, and creates a safe space. So all that vulnerability, all those feelings of me freaking out are worth it.”

‘Who Am I?’ is open, authentic and honest – a record which Baron-Grace explains was heavily inspired by the unflinching strength of legendary alt-rock artists Courtney Love, Alanis Morissette and Liz Phair. Making the album also gave the frontwoman the space and confidence to explore her sexuality openly through the band’s lyrics, a personal subject that was left untouched when recording Pale Waves’ debut three years ago.

“This is the first time where I’ve been so open about my sexuality,” she says. “I needed to represent the LGBTQ+ community in a healthy and positive manner. I didn’t want to jump into it too soon… I needed time to figure myself out even more. Our fans, some who are gay themselves, finally feel represented in a healthy way – and they feel understood. I’m really glad that we can do that for them.”

Fourth album from UK trio finds them pivoting again, this time into Big ’80s R&Bish synthpop, trio Virginia Wing made 2018’s fantastic Ecstatic Arrow under idyllic conditions — in Switzerland at the family home of a good friend, surrounded by the country’s alpine beauty. This one was made stuck at home in Manchester, England in their “jogging bottoms.” There’s no doubt this is the same group, but “Private Life feels forcibly contained while anxious to break free.

All the sounds on “Private Life are big,  the drum sounds, the thick synthy basslines, the blasts of keyboards — not unlike those early Art of Noise records, hitting like punches in a Shaw Brothers martial arts fantasy or a buzzsaw to the hood of a car. But then they fill the stereo field with wondrous, beautiful organic sounds, from delicate strings, to lilting saxophones and flutes, tinkly windchimes, jazzy piano loops, “nature,” and warm harmonies. It all sort of floats, at times almost anchorless, through the mix. These sounds have also been run through severe digital processing, chopped up, degraded, and warped, giving songs a slightly unmoored feel that, like Merida Richards‘ icy vocals, is distinctly Virginia Wing.


Virginia Wing continue to toy with pop and dance music, but largely keep things at arms length. “I’m Holding Out for Something” flirts with a decidedly R&B beat and synth strings that suggest Prince, while pitched up vocal samples may make some think of Kate Bush. But Richards’ declaring “There will come a time when you have to satisfy the ache face to face” yanks the song in an entirely different direction. (Laurie Anderson may be a more apt ’80s comparison.) Likewise, part of “Moon Turns Tides” wants to be an electro funk jam that will tear the roof off, but before that can happen Richards dryly notes, “Whilst you’re here, it’s important that you don’t touch anything / it’s all very, very expensive.” There’s a distinct look-but-don’t-touch sense of detachment — the kind where you end up having more conversations with yourself than other people — that’s a relatable feeling these days when our lives may be too private. If that’s you, welcome to the party.

Virginia Wing are a Manchester based group.

Released February 12th, 2021

Blanketman? They’re the Manchester four-piece turning heads and stoking up a feverish excitement in the indie scene. They only have three singles under their belts, too. The edgy debut Taking You With Me is reminiscent of early blur while instantly catchy follow-up Beach Body cranks the urgency up a notch. Latest track Harold is another banger; one that grows into a explosive closer.

Manchester’s Blanketman are leading some form of cultural renaissance up in that neck of the woods, and you’d be a fool to ignore it. For a city with such a rich tradition of producing era-defining bands, recent years have been comparatively thin on great bands coming out of the city and onto the national stage – so it feels the time is ripe for an explosion. Enter, then, Blanketman, the fresh-faced quartet that have set tongues wagging in recent months.

Signed to [PIAS] early on, they serve up a particularly sanguine form of post-punk that upon tasting, is both sharp yet sweet on the old audio palate. Fantastic debut ‘Taking You With Me’, an ode to the existential fear of ageing we can all fall prey to, mixes the somehow-optimistic guitar lines of The Smiths with the vitriolic vocal sneers of an early Mark E Smith, and still manages a nod to the angularism of the Talking Heads in one fell swoop. It’s a wicked debut, and one that set the scene perfectly for what was to come.

I hear there are big things ahead, They’ve already had support from the likes of Annie Mac, Steve Lamacq and Mark Riley, and their Luke Smith-produced EP National Trust, out in March 2021 via PIAS Recordings, is likely to propel them even further. Recent single ‘Harold’ sees the band finding their feet properly, adding an infectious pop edge to the track that leaves the feet tapping as it keeps your mouth “aaaah-ahhhhhh”-ing to the point of sickness. Some super clean drumming and constant guitars keep the whole operation tight and to the point, but glimpses of unabashed joy creep through, nonetheless. Should live music ever happen again, expect to hear this track as you drink cheap cider, with the sun going down over a large field.

Ahead of their phenomenal ‘National Trust’ EP penned for release next year, Blanketman have that sunshine-optimistic feeling about them that the best is yet to come, and with endorsements from the likes of Steve Hanley (who’s joined them on stage several times), it’s obvious that a lot of people also feel that way. As mentioned above, Manchester has been due for an seismic musical eruption for a while now, and with bands like this leading the way, we’re definitely on the cusp.

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Pale Waves have just dropped ‘She’s My Religion’, another track to be released from their upcoming album “Who Am I?”.

A track following the story of a cynical girl and the speaker’s love for her, it fights against the usual stigma that darker characters are unlovable and Hollywood’s preference for positive love interests. This normalisation of unhappy characters still being necessary to our lives can be heard in the lyrics, “She helped me find a different kind of love, made me feel like I was finally enough / She’s cold, she’s dark, she’s cynical, she’s forever angry at the world / She’s no angel but she’s my religion”.

Opening with a soft solo guitar, Heather’s vocals join in a whispery tone and set the scene for the love story. Suddenly, the chorus of the song brings the power that we’re used to from Pale Waves. With blasted vocals that’ll be screamed by everyone who can relate, the verses go back to a slow paced track creating a nice balance between passion and sincerity. 

In an age where hetrosexual couples are still the focus of popular media unless being the feature of a dramatic and often overwhelming and exaggerated hollywood film, it’s refreshing to see Pale Waves talking about homosexuality in such a casual and accessible way. It allows young people to find themselves without being scared to ask questions or feeling isolated from a community because they haven’t felt the struggles of past generations. This accessibility along with the erasure of the usual clichés of over-sexualisation or experimentation is exactly why Pale Waves made the cover of Gay Times this year.

‘Who Am I?’ is the second album from indie-pop icons Pale Waves, due for release on February 12th 2021.

Recorded in Los Angeles over early 2020 with Rich Costey (muse, biffy clyro, sigur ros), and led by the unabashedly huge lead single ‘Change’, it finds the Manchester band stepping up once more, fulfilling the promise of that widely-lauded debut album and striding towards pop megastardom. 

From the new album ‘Who Am I?’, out February 12th – Dirty Hit Records.

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The Demo have perfectly captured the sunshine of Britpop, multi-part harmonies and all, in new single ‘Apart’. They pile on the summertime vibes elsewhere in their discography, drawing from the most melodic guitar licks of the 00s garage revival to create an altogether good vibe. ‘’Apart’ is arguably the band’s strongest release to date. Four minutes of soaring, shimmering guitars and suitably optimistic vocals, it’s a far cry from the grit and swagger of ‘How’ve We Ended Up (Here Again)’, and feels like The Demo taking a step in a more mature direction.’

It’s become increasingly clearer that Manchester needs a new breed of bands to look to. Thankfully, it being the city it is, there’s a plethora of acts vying for attention, and with acts like The Lathums shining a light onto Manchester’s grassroots, showing younger bands that is possible to make it, there couldn’t be a better time to be part of the city’s ever-burgeoning scene.

That’s where The Demo come in. A five-piece hailing from Middleton, The Demo peddle in an upbeat and ramshackle brand of indie-pop that feels equally as timely as it does timeless. Interestingly enough however, latest single ‘Apart’ is something of a departure from the rough and ready delivery of their earlier cuts, eschewing the colloquial indie-pop in favour of something that feels grander, more polished, and more transatlantic.

Indeed, sharing more in common with bands like REM than The Courteeners or The Pigeon Detectives, ‘Apart’ is arguably the band’s strongest release to date. More mature it may be, but ‘Apart’ still manages to harbour the youthful energy and exuberance that made their early recordings so appealing. And though it’s still early days for the five-piece, ‘Apart’ is very much another step closer to cracking it. A band you need to keep an eye on.


Upcoming single, ‘Apart’ out on Friday 27th November 2020.

Manchester’s teenage pals of the Goa Express have recently been swept up by Rough Trade for their fresh psych-infused garage rock. Although influences varying from 60s psychedelia to post-punk are obvious, their sound is distinct and compelling, with a sound that perfectly complements their fun-loving attitude and charm of the city of Manchester.

Hailing from Manchester, the group have been pals since they were teenagers, steadily making their name around the scene with their garage-rock sizzlers. Ludicrously-catchy garage rock from these NME 100 graduates. 

On recently released track ‘Be My Friend’, the group describe it as being about “taking a step away from those who’re always trying to get close to you and as both a shout out to individuality and an acceptance of rejection. It’s a dismissal of the modern world’s hyper-connectivity and a return to privacy, rather than the involvement of everyone knowing everyone’s business all of the time.”

With tons more exciting things on the horizon, based out of Todmorden/Burnley, UK, if you like : Spacemen 3, Ty Segall, Ending the who-knows-how-long Yorkshire vs. Lancashire feud with short and snappy Ramones-style hits. While their early influences ranged from Spacemen 3 to Brain Jonestown Massacre, James tells us the band now tries to “find influences in everything we see and in everywhere we go”. You’re going to love them: A precedent was set by The Goa Express when they formed in the wake of a wild, substance-heavy night seeing The Brian Jonestown Massacre – one that left them newly single and sleeping rough outside a Tesco. All about having a good time, the lads have already caught the eye of producer Ross Orton (Arctic Monkeys, Amyl & The Sniffers) and Fat White Family’s Nathan Saoudi (a fellow lover of chaos) with their jangly, loud-mouthed garage-psych.

The Goa Express are a band you need on your radar. Enjoying life under the wings of Rough Trade Management (Shame, black midi), the Manchester-based five-piece have wowed with singles The Day and Be My Friend. Their first single proper, The Day, saw them enlist the talents of Fat White Family’s Nathan Sauodi for production duties at their own Champ Zone studio in Sheffield, culminating in a 2-minute explosion of guitars, synths, and youthful energy.

The band’s tight-knit camaraderie – formed during their teenage years at school and playing intimate live shows above vintage shops – is captured in their self-produced video for Be My Friend; a lockdown-created clip pieced together using footage taken on nights out and day-to-day laughs filmed on a phone with no intention they’d ever be used in a music promo.

BBC 6 Music legend Steve Lamacq is an early champion, having invited the quintet to play their first radio session at London’s iconic Abbey Road Studios.

The Goa Express are riding the tracks to the top and rightfully find their place among the exciting charge of UK and Irish outfits tearing up the rule book.  The Goa Express are very, very good. They’re five mates from the north who are more of a brotherhood than a band. Their effortless gung-ho garage rock is causing a buzz, with singles The Day and Be My Friend prime examples of a band ready to smash down barriers and shake up the establishment.

The Goa Express are James Douglas Clarke, Joey Stein, Naham Muzaffar, Joe Clarke and Sam Launder

The release of Amanita Pantherina feels like a pivotal moment in the career of post-punk outfit, Cabbage. After the success of Young, Dumb and Full Of… and Nihilistic Glamour Shots, Only emerging once previously in 2020 to fuel second album rumours with the release of Coronation Street-inspired single, You’ve Made An Artform (From Falling To Pieces), just as the UK’s COVID-19 lockdown took effect, Cabbage now officially set the reels running on a technicolour sequel to the cracked-screen noir of their debut album which hit the UK Top 30 in 2018.

Appearing to fade out their first, epic chapter in brooding black and white, the five-piece finally turn the page with Amanita Pantherina, released in September 2020, finding themselves a cartoonish state of heightened, neon-hued consciousness, facing down the darkness of modern Britain with renewed, energetic abandon. Get Outta My Brain chases the shadows of Shaun Ryder and the fast burning focus of his late-90s Black Grape-era, cutting gonzo punk fuzz with sharp-focus lyrical intent to affect an intravenous dose of similarly streetwise intellectualism.

Older and wiser, yet unchanged in their mission, Cabbage – made up of Broadbent (vocals), Joe Martin (vocals/guitar), Eoghan Clifford (guitar), Paddy Neville (bass) and Asa Morley (drums) – bound from the studio having maintained the fizzing electricity of a band supercharged by the injustices they see in the world around them.

“Amarantha Pantherina” will be the first album entirely produced and recorded by Cabbage themselves, in their own Brassica Studios, whilst bringing on board long-term collaborator, Chris Stockton to assist with technical levers. Having deftly documented the turbulent times of modern Britain since 2017, machine-gunning wry takes on the banal, absurd and cruel – from the Brexit non-anthem of Raus! to the prescient, pharmaceutically-orientated, Medicine – the band aims to remain a vital voice of the times in which we live.

Amarantha Pantherina promises, according to the band, to “continue the ‘time capsule’ ideal of keeping albums current to reflect their philosophy at the time of recording.” Amarantha Pantherina is out now on Brassica Records. Including the singles ‘You’ve Made An Artform (From Falling To Pieces)’ and ‘Get Outta My Brain’.