Archive | May, 2015

The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: May 2015

31 May

It’s the final day of May and with this post I’ll have finally brought this blog up to date. Behold the May Spotlight blog full of amazing music from our Unsigned Guide members. A diverse mix of music including Influence, Winters Island, Delora, Schnarff Schnarff and Jamie Hamilton.

I suggest you find out more about each in the original blog here & press play below…

Sound Breakers: Forty Four Hours

31 May

(Published May 2015 in City Life Extra)

Forty four hoursIf a rip roaring trio fronted by red-headed twins isn’t enough to capture your attention, Forty Four Hours’ alternative pop rock music will definitely make you sit up and take notice. Powerful vocals, pounding drums and punchy guitars give their sound plenty of fiery zest, but it’s undoubtedly the catchy choruses are certain to implant their songs in your head for days to come.

Forming in 2014 and releasing their debut single ‘Earl Gray’ with Tom Peters (AMTP, Jeremiah Ferrari) and Chris Coulter (Arcane Roots, EMP!RE, Trails), Forty Four Hours have spent much time on the road touring the UK, even joining Funeral For A Friend on the Doc Marten’s #standforsomething tour.

At present the Hulme based band are busy working on their debut EP, ‘Only Just Holding On’, and their formidably spirited new single ‘Hold Out’ was unleashed on the world just last week. Picking up airplay from Real Radio XS and Sine FM, we’re sure it won’t be long before they’re ruling the airwaves.

Just finishing up another series of gigs around the UK, Forty Four Hours will be touring again in the coming months and hitting KRAAK Gallery on 27th July. A definite date for your diary.

Sound Breakers: Steve

31 May

(Published May 2015 in City Life Extra)

SteveShooting out of the starting blocks of trailblazing new 10” record label Snug Platters is Steve. Snug Platters may be familiar to some of you as the lovechild and latest venture of local-lad-done-good Guy Garvey and Fiction Record’s Jim Chancellor, and as can be anticipated, expectations are high for the musical fruit of their loins. Fear not, Steve does not disappoint.

Steve’s debut EP ‘Danger! High Failure Rate’ will be unleashed on 18th May and the first track from it, Emergency Art Rate, is a gratifying, dirty mash-up of distortion, bleeps, blips, grinds, gears and resonating vocals; a new electronic lexicon voiced by a new androgyny of unsure heritage. Q Magazine were quick to declare it their Track Of The Day and it will soon be adorning the BBC 6Music airwaves. Yes, you’re guaranteed to be hearing a lot more from Steve, aka Jane Parker.

With all Snug Platters releases limited to a run of just 1000 copies, you’ll need to act swiftly to get your hands on this one. Steve plays live at The Eagle Inn in Salford on Saturday 23rd May to launch the EP and you may even spy Guy Garvey on the decks later on in the evening.

Sound Breakers: No Hot Ashes

31 May

(Published May 2015 in City Life Extra)

No hot ashesThis week we bring you ball busting, toe-tapping indie rock served piping hot by Manchester 4 piece No Hot Ashes. Their debut single ‘Goose’ was released just last October and in the short life of theirband to date they’ve have enjoyed an enviable level of recognition, securing slots for the summer ahead at Kendal Calling, Tramlines, BL9 Weekender and Blackthorn Festival.

They’ve even been earmarked by Clint Boon in the shortlist for Manchester Pale Ale’s Refreshing Sounds competition and been tipped by Fred Perry Subculture with comparisons made to the funky guitar stylings of Johnny Marr and Nile Rodgers. You can’t really argue with that!

Working with producer Gavin Monaghan whose previous credits include Editors, The Twang and JAWS, they’ve coined a definitive sound that is clearly working well all round, and they are due to return to the studio with him again in early August to lay down their follow up single ‘Easy Peeler’.

Whilst we eagerly await their next release, the next few months will see them gigging incessantly around the UK with performances in Sheffield, Leeds, Bristol, Preston and London lined-up. No Hot Ashes are most definitely ones to keep a keen eye on.

The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: April 2015

26 May

Immerse yourself in some fantastic new & emerging music; our April Spotlight blog brought you Basheba, Monarks, Popobawa, Loud Mountains and Quentin.

Tune in & read more about each of our acts in the blog here.

Sound Breakers: Matt Hamer

26 May

(Published April 2015 in City Life Extra)

Matt Hamer publishedWith many strings to his bow; a career in modelling, a degree in film production and musical talent galore, it seems everything Matt Hamer puts his hand to turns to gold.

His latest musical achievement was being commissioned to write a piece of music for the television series ‘Cucumber’, recently aired on Channel 4 and written by the renowned Russell T. Davies. Matt’s finished track featured in the series finale.

However, it was at a recent Kraak Gallery gig that Matt’s distinctive performance style caught my attention and a Sound Breakers tip was simply inevitable. Accompanied only by his guitar, Matt uses it both instrumentally and percussively to enthralling effect. Combined with husky vocals, his stripped-back, acoustic folk vibe has a calming, intimate and mesmerising quality. Witnessing him play live is an absolute must, but until his next live date I highly recommend a quick visit to his YouTube channel to get a taster of what you can expect at his gigs.

Last summer Matt performed at many music festivals across England and Wales including Wakestock, Glass Butter Beach and Ramsbottom Music Festival and another busy festival season lies ahead for him again this year. Keep an eye out for a date near you.

Sound Breakers: Mother

26 May

(Published April 2015 in City Life Extra)

Mothers published 1Relatively new on the Manchester scene are Mother, a five piece that stir up a spectrum of emotions with their ethereal music. Haunting chimes and atmospheric soundscapes provide the perfect understated backdrop for luminous yet poignant vocals, transmitting uneasy yet soothing vibes all at once.

Track ‘My Lies’ was unveiled last weekend across their social media, however Mother are yet to release any material officially; this song acting as a tantalising teaser of what we can anticipate from them further down the line.

What the band lack in released material, they are more than making up for in live performance with some remarkable gigs already under their belt at local venues as diverse as The Roadhouse, Kraak Gallery and Manchester Art Gallery. The next few weeks see Mother flexing their live muscles even more with appearances at Soup Kitchen for Record Store Day on 18th April, the Sways stage at Sounds From The Other City on 3rd May, Video Jam at Islington Mill on 22nd May, and finally Slowdancers at Fuel Café on 29th May.

So, whilst we wait with baited breath and brimming with excitement for their inaugural single, there simply is no excuse not to catch their enchanting live set.

The Unsigned Guide Spotlight: March 2015

26 May

Another month, another Spotlight blog and another batch of mighty fine music for your aural delight. March 2015 saw us championing the talents of Dayas, Morain, Jungle Brown, Fur Cough and Alexandra Jayne.

Read the March Spotlight blog here.

Sound Breakers: Girl Friend

26 May

(Published March 2015 in City Life Extra)

Girl Friend publishedBestowed with the honour of Guardian New Band Of The Week and recipients of high praise and acclaim from the likes of Clashmusic, The 405, DIY Magazine, Earmilk and The Line Of Best Fit are glossy, sassy and infectious Manchester four-piece Girl Friend.

With latest EP ‘Arrive Alone, Leave Alone’ due for release through Tri-Tone on 27th April, it seems their unique take on classic and refined pop is striking a chord. Radiating subtle doses of the likes of Phoenix, Hot Chip and M83, it’s unsurprising that to date their music has had airplay on XFM, not to mention heavy rotation across Amazing Radio, and their live show has received rapturous response whilst opening for the Kooks on their recent European tour.

The band’s songs channel the muse of lead singer Amory, an individual painting himself in lyrics as a character in internal conflict; consumed by his own vanity and either maladjusted or hopelessly hedonistic. All these complex themes are delivered in palatable thrusts of pop decadence and light-hearted reflections.

Embarking on a tour of the UK, their pop decadence will touch down at Manchester’s Ruby Lounge on 11th April so prepare to be dazzled.

Sound Breakers: Alana Bondi

26 May

(Published March 2015 in City Life Extra)

Alana Bondi publishedSinger songwriter Alana Bondi creates spine tingling, dreamy and ethereal music. Stripped back accompaniment allows her beautiful, crystal clear vocals to shine. Both delicate and robust at the same time, and even deliciously smooth and soulful in parts, her voice echoes through and compliments the rawness of her sparse instrumentation.

Her most recent single ‘S.O.S’ was released by German Shepherd Records back in January, and at present Manchester dwelling Alana is working on an EP which will hopefully be with us sometime in May. An album is also due by the end of the year and we guarantee that after one listen, you’ll be eager to hear more unique material from this talented songstress.

A regular on the open mic circuit, seeing Alana Bondi live is to truly indulge yourself in her sound and artistry. Embracing the theatrical side of performance, and heavily influenced by the strong visual images of David Bowie and Natasha Khan, Alana places great importance on costume and make-up, delivering a memorable live experience for all the senses. She plays Gullivers on 26th March and Night & Day on 30th April; I thoroughly recommend you witness her captivating performance first-hand.

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