Los Campesinos! – Manchester (29/10/17)

When it’s only your second show in 6 months to a packed out Manchester Club Academy the pressures on, but 6 albums into an 11 year career that’s given you multiple line up changes, a performance on Letterman and shows all over the world Los Campesinos! should be used to the pressure by now, right?


Los Campesinos! have dodged Manchester on their last couple of tours and as a self-confessed LC! super fan, that has been incredibly frustrating. But they’re here now in the same building where I saw them for the first time 9 years ago, a gig which for me is still one of the best I’ve experienced. It was the 2008 ‘Shred Yr Face’ tour with support from Times New Viking and No Age, Los Camp hadn’t quite dropped second their record ‘We are Beautiful, We are Doomed’, but nevertheless, this was an awakening in lo-fi for my teenage self.

This time around the crowd has matured along with the music of the band and we settle in, overpriced pints in hand, for a night of songs that have been the soundtrack to our last 10 years. But first support from the fearsome Patty Hearst, post emo fused with the indie riffs that first gave LC! their name, like Tiny Moving Parts with a touch of 2008 indie pop. They’re energetic and bursting at the seams with freshness that comes from a fusion of sounds making them a perfect contribution to the currently thriving Manchester scene.


They’re on, and the unmistakeable ohhhh’s of Renato Dell’Ara echo through a crowd that are clearly here for a sing song, and it’s a good thing too as the band swing straight into massive singles Romance is Boring’ before By Your Hand,’ met and equalled by the chorus of the crowd. I’ve already half lost my voice, but they’re not letting up with ‘What Death Leaves Behind’, lead single from fifth album ‘No Blues’ straining me evermore before an energetic rendition of ‘Broke up in Amarante’ marks the start of the ‘Sick Scenes’ segment of the evening. After a couple more tracks off album number six, Los Campesinos! take us all the way back to the first album with ‘Knee Deep at the ATP’, I’ll admit I see a few younger audience members who this seems to be an education for, but for me I’m back upstairs in Academy 3 remembering why I feel in love with this band in the first place.


Cut back to 2017 and ‘Sad Suppers,’ a definite highlight of ‘Sick Scenes.’ As the drums hit the crowd jump, but one of the things that causes this infatuation Los Campesinos! fans have with the band is the lyrics, look around the room at any LC! show and you’d see a venue of all kinds of people in unison screaming every word back to lead singer Gareth. No more so than in tracks like Avocado, Baby, which also sparks a few interesting dance moves in the crowd, and the epic The Sea is a Good Place to Think of the Future’ a lyrical anthem that rallies everyone in there to scream with all they have; “But you could never kiss a Tory boy without wanting to cut off your tongue again”. Ending on Baby I Got the Death Rattle we go through every emotion like a final goodbye, but as they leave the stage we know there’s an encore in there and we’re not leaving ‘til we get it.

‘The Fall of Home,’ one of the band’s latest singles, fills the room as we welcome them back to the stage softly singing along, then the mood becomes tense as a familiar guitar tone rings out and the dynamic builds. After that riffs been strummed to death and the cymbals are nearly broken, a half pint of flat Budweiser is fittingly knocked out of my hand by a fan bouncing around to You! Me! Dancing!, the song I tell my friends they’ll know after they ask who the fuck Los Campesinos! are. It perfectly captures the mood of a night that feels like a celebration of a band and their fans, which ends with the group letting the audience choose their final song. Screaming along to one of my favourite songs from one of my favourite albums, I just sighed…finally finishes off my voice along with the gig. In a hit packed set from over ten years worth of material it’s amazing to see this band still resonate with people, the way the music has grown along with the band, and the fans that have grown with the true cult icons.



Meadowlark -Live Review (30/09/16)

Charlotte Smith headed down to Manchesters Fallow Cafe to experience the stunningly beautiful Meadowlark encapsulate an audience with their heavenly sound. With support from O>L>A. 


Photograph: George Heaton


Author: Charlotte Smith


Salford to Fallowfield – it’s not an easy journey to make on a Friday night at rush hour but alas I arrive at Fallow Café just in time to see the second support act take to the stage before headliners Meadowlark.

One Little Atlas, possibly better known as O>L>A are a band I’m familiar with already after seeing them support a local band sometime last year so I knew what to expect when they stepped into the taped off section of the room I’d then identified as the stage. The duo, who are based in Manchester, are comfortable on stage, they give off a vibe that makes you feel like you’re stood in one of their bedrooms watching them jam. They are typically northern and interact well with crowd firstly asking who’s here to see the main act. A few muted cheers creep out of the crowd to which O>L>A respond with an accusational “fucking hell come on you aren’t all here to see us!” The crowd livens up as they wade into both old and new material, which leave the growing audience transfixed by the uplifting experimental percussion and vocals worthy of a church procession. The band finish their support slot with a huge ballad which is received well by the dispersing crowd (probably rushing off to get to the bar or toilet first), it climaxes and a huge thankful sigh is expressed. A swig of cheap wine later, O>L>A leave the stage and enter a crowd of old fans and definitely a few new ones.


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Photograph: George Heaton

I manage to wiggle my way towards the back of the attic space at Fallow Café and into the smoking area to reconvene with the photographer for this piece and quickly find myself rushing back inside in order to get a good spot for the headliners. There’s a definite buzz in the air, one that I didn’t expect as I’ll be honest, I’d never heard of Meadowlark until a few weeks ago when I was assigned the gig. I googled their name and two top results appeared; the band (thank god) and the bird. I had it in my mind that Meadowlark were sweet and tranquil, much like the bird suggested. I listened to a few of their tracks and it certainly felt that way. Their live shows, on the other hand, are far from tranquil.

The band open with recent release ‘Headlights’ and the electronic drum kit claims the tiny space around it. Kate McGill’s vocals are beautiful. They are innocent but full of emotion. Daniel Broadley is the quite opposite, he is animated and full of energy and the contrast works so incredibly well that you could almost forget where you are through pure captivation of what is happening on stage.


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Photograph: George Heaton

The band don’t say much, not until after their third track when McGill asks how the crowd are doing after noting their quietness. The crowd recognise this quietness but each member of that audience knows that this is not through lack of enthusiasm, more like complete awe. The fifth track of the set invites Broadley to address the crowd. He tells the story of ‘Quicksand’ and how the song was inspired by a Humans of New York post he had seen on Facebook. The words of the track emanate the stranger’s story of working in the Pakistani brick kilns and you can see the passion Broadley feels for the track through his facial expressions during the performance.

The next 10 minutes are filled with more upbeat tracks with the band playing ‘Sunlight’ and ‘Satellite’, both of which receive a big “WOO” from an overly manly man somewhere behind me. An acoustic version of ‘Postcards’ follows of which McGill claims as her favourite track off the forthcoming album and as an ode to an ex-lover. The crowd are deathly silent during this performance and as interesting as Broadley is to watch, his talent for playing a range of instruments and dancing whilst doing so, it is extremely difficult to focus on anything else other than McGill. The audience is completely lost in her voice.

The roller coaster set is brought to a close with an acoustic version of ‘Fly’ much to the crowd’s approval. Everyone seems to know this one and the band invite them to sing along to the chorus. The room is filled with varying tones all singing the hook over and over again. Complete elation can be seen on both of McGill and Broadley’s faces as a number of balloons aptly appear over the crowd. It’s super cheesy and I can’t work out whether it was done by the band or a fan but either way, it’s just enough cheese to be acceptable. “One more time Manchester” remarks McGill as the song and evening draws to a close. The crowd lap this up and the last chorus is louder than before and a huge round of applause begins to precede over the singing. By the looks of the crowd, Meadowlark killed it tonight in this tiny venue in the depths of Manchester’s studentville. They finish with a thank you, an invitation to buy merch and promising “we’ll see you again very soon”.

5 Manchester Acts You Should Be Listening To In 2016

Author: Jake McGloin

Historically Manchester is one of the great music cities of the world, argue against that all you want but you’d be wrong. But there’s always more to this city than Oasis, The Smiths, Joy Division, Happy Mondays, The Stone Roses and The Buzzcocks to name but a few. We didn’t do bad last year predicting Prose and Blossoms would do well and we were early champions of Horsebach and False Advertising, so we know Manchester is still producing a whole host of amazing acts. So here’s our pick of the bunch for manchester best new artists.



Shoegaze newcomers Summerhouse released their debut five track EP this year that’s packed with fuzzy guitars and dreamy vibes. Grunge elements and slick beats make this Manchester based band an irresistible listen and an exciting prospect for the future. Embedded in this bands ethos is a pure wall of noise and catchy hooks through out every track, see them live at Fallow Cafe June 24th  and experience it for yourself  (tickets here).





It’s a saturated market for female singers in the modern ages, and it would be easier to compare Manchester born Lusaint to the likes of Lana Del Rey and Lorde due to the dark edge of her music, but her haunting vocal and eerie beats set her apart. It’s a sound that oozes cool from every note, her hypnotising voice drives straight though any distraction and plays beautifully to the elements of pop and rock that are littered thought out her, as it stands, small catalogue of music. She’s still in the formative stage of her career but imagining how great she can be is just damn exciting.





Blooms have been showing off their gorgeous surf pop sound around Manchester for a while, and it’s wavy vibes and dreamy riffs are making them one of the cities more exciting prospects. The trios perfect blend of surf riffs and pop melodies make them a heavily listen with Marr like guitars in parts and California feels through out, they’re definitely one to break out on a rainy Manchester summers evening.



The Hyena Kill

This Manchester two piece have been causing a storm throughout Manchester for some years, but this year they seem like a real force to be reckoned with. Their raw live shows and ability to create double barrel noise from seemingly nothing is just something that can’t be compared. The Hyena Kill are insanely explosive and not to be missed.




It’s roots are firmly planted in early folk but theres undoubtably elements that seep in to the music from the likes of The Gaslight Anthem, Arm&Hearts is like a Mancunian Bruce Springsteen, guitar in hand and gruff vocals at the ready. Steve Millars acoustic project is filled with heart and passion that’s seen a little to rarely and might seem more at home in the dark back room of an old Irish bar, but thank God he’s sharing it with us instead. Hard hitting and deeply melodic ‘The Jaded Captain’ EP is out now.





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5 Things To Do In Manchester This Weekend (02/06/16)




Equal parts primal, early rock’n’roll, deviant hill country blues & avant-garde art – TAV FALCO’s PANTHER BURNS are poised and ready to pounce with an all new tour supporting the release of their rip-roaring 10th outing, the ‘Command Performance’ LP.



The Teamsters & The Hipshakes- BIG HANDS – FRIDAY 3RD JUNE

Only Joking Records welcome London boys The Teamsters to Big Hands this Friday, with support from regulars The Hipshakes for a night jam packed with rock and/or roll, trash punk and a leaky roof. Great tunes and coldish beer for just £3 on the door? Spot on that!






Canadian electronic duo Vogue Dots hit Manchester city centre with their swooning melancholic style, in a tiny room that’ll be electrified with their melodies. Support comes from AMBIERE and Sarah De Warren for just £5 courtesy of Flat Plastic, tickets here.




Liverpool psychedelics,The Stairs,  bring their reunion tour to Manchester Gorilla on Friday. Only releasing one album and clutch of excellent singles before their split in 1994, during their short time together the cult band are now dubbed ‘Godfathers of the Cosmic Scouse Scene’ with their music inspiring the likes of The Coral, Noel Gallagher and The Zutons – with this show at Gorilla set to be one of their first shows in 20 years.



Manchesters coolest club night pays homage to arguable the greatest pop group, rock band and psychedelic collective of all time with an epic club night at Ruby Lounge. Expect Beatles tunes all night, fab four fancy dress along with art, cake and cocktails. So have your self a hard days night (Sorry!) for just £4 (Advance tickets here) and cheap drinks promos.



5 Acts To Check Out At Dot to Dot Manchester

Everyone’s favourite venue to venue festival comes back to Manchester this Friday (May 27th 2016), with a massive array of talent in some of Manchester’s best venues all day long it’s going to difficult to curate your Friday, but we’re hear to help. Here are our five favourite acts that you should be checking out at Dot to Dot Manchester.


Feed The Kid

Kick off your weekend with Manchester’s ‘Feed The Kid’, they’ve been relentless in bring their slick, glammed up sound to the venues of Manchester and beyond this year. If you’re dying for some exciting live music with rushing sounds and buckets of riffs head down to the former Kraak Gallery and check out an early evening riot of noise.

AATMA – 16:30 – 17:00




Shake things up with big sounds from local boys Turf. Expect filthy guitars and disturbing noise in the most heavenly way at Black Milk, from a band that provides riffs, beats and howls in equally excessive measures.


Black Milk – 19:15 – 19:45





The surf pop outfits beautiful blend of dreamy melody and surf guitars make them an act not to miss this weekend. A Manchester three piece that possess well crafted songs and day dream vibes, Blooms addictive sounds is as hypnotic as it is breath taking and well worth the half an hour of your festival schedule.

Texture – 21:15 – 21:45



Diet Cig

The only out of towners on the list, Diet Cig’s New York sound will be right at home in Manchester. The duos indie pop songs, with Hop Along vocals and laid back vibes are encapsulating, and quite frankly not to be missed.

Ruby Lounge – 23:14 – 23:45



False Advertising

Round things off with Shoplifters favourites False Ad, if you haven’t hear their fuzzed up, guitar heavy, crashing down brand of alt rock, where have you been!? There killer live shows bring an influx of deafening noise and electric energy that’ll sober you up before you really get the night started.

Whiskey Jar – 01:15 – 01:45





5 Things To Do In Manchester This Week (14/03/16)




Electronic artist Hayden James plays Soup Kitchen on Wednesday in an intimate show that can’t be missed. Before he heads down to XOYO in London. Big sounds and a big night.





Country duo American young hit Ruby Lounge this week with their folky tones and boy/girl duel vocals that have seen them gain popularity quickly state side and over here in the U.K. with support from AZ acoustic rockers Loveless Effect and country pop singer Sasha McVeigh.




A brand new night in Manchester filled with awesome live music from 3 piece funk instrumental Sugar Boots and Jazz Funk outfit Ink. Along with performances from four piece experimental hip-hop collective A Broken Camarilla and high energy hip-hop band The Shady 80’s. At AATMA (formerly Kraak) with DJ sets from Pesha and Flat Plastic DJs it’s set to be a killer night.



Brighton punk-rockers Birdskulls return to Manchester this Saturday on the back of last years debut album along with Cardiff rockers Pipedream set to release their debut ‘SECRET BEACH’ ON 12” vinyl via Dog Knight Productions on the 1st of April. Expect big riffs and heavenly melody in Fallowfield this weekend. Get your tickets here.




Vinyl Surf, Garage and Fuzz night at Manchester’s famous Big Hands, as Neck Bones & Hot Sauce is back with a surf-scuzz special featuring the authentic, instrumental, reverb drenched, Yorkshire surf sounds of CASCADES.





5 New York Bands You Need To Hear In 2016 (SU Stateside)

New York is the worlds capital of cool for so many reasons, from the breath taking skyline to the stylish bars, high fashion to art,  but above all NY has churned out some of the greatest bands the world has ever heard; The Strokes, KISS, The Velevet Underground, Talking Heads, Blondie, Interpol, Vampire Weekend, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, LCD Sound System, Television, The Ramones I really could go on for ever. But whats new in The Big Apple, that’s what we really wanted to know. So we asked our good friends over at Paper Cup Music and the bands there each gave us an act that are killing it in New York right now. So here it is, 5 New York bands you need to hear in 2016, courtesy of Paper Cup Music;



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Wavey rock trio BOYTOY talk us through New York punks METALLEG.


“Awesome power pop made up of 1/2 of Dirty Fences and one member of Nancy. Super poppy catchy punk songs with awesome Ramones-esque harmonies, Jay Reatard melodies and killer stage presence. Great as a 3 piece or a 2 piece. Keeping it real playing whatever, whenever and keeping the New York vibe alive.”






Surf Rock is Dead

Our favourite New York surf band Little Racer​ tell us why they’re excited about Surf Rock is Dead.
“There’s so much great music coming out of NYC right now – bands like Honduras, Public Access T.V, Sunflower Bean – but hands down we’re most excited about our pals Surf Rock is Dead. They’ve been building this buzz in the city over the past year and just dropped their first EP “SRiD”. Their only a three piece but make this enormous sound – killer guitar/bass interplay, plus those vocal harmonies are over the top. They’re our homies and we can’t wait to see what they do in 2016.”
The Mystery Lights
Queens gritty psych rockers Raccoon Fighter talk to us about The Mystery Lights garage sound.

High energy fueled garage rock at it’s finest,  inspired by hard hitting 60’s garage and late 70’s punk, blending bluesy psychedelic elements that is sure to melt your face. These NYC based California boys recently signed to Daptone Records rock imprint ‘WICK Records’ and you best bet, their next record will be fire!” 

Dead Stars
Heres what The Teen Age think of Calm Punk by the awesome Dead Stars
“Been listening to this one on repeat. The quiet/loud dynamic fits Jeff’s voice perfectly. We also shot a video for this song, featuring a very calm punk.”
Acid Dad
Head of Paper Cup Music Magnus on NY Psych Punks Acid Dad:
“This infectious Psych-rock quartet have a brash, energetic swagger, with the songs and melodies to back it up.”​

5 Irish Artists Ready To Break 2015

Author: Jake McGloin

With acts like Hozier and Soak making real ground over the past year and into 2015 already, it’s looking good for Irish acts. It’s a scene that’s blowing up right under our noses but it’s hardly surprising with the immense talent this great island has already produced. But, St.Patricks day’s already gone, you’ve had all your Irish classics from U2 to The Dubliners, so here’s 5 Irish Acts (Republic and Northern) that are going to Break 2015.

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Leaders of Men (Dublin)

The Post Punk vibes of ‘Leaders of Men’ make them one of the most interesting Alt rock bands in a while. A heart felt and emotional sound backed up by big noise. They’re a stadium ready band for fans of acts like The Walkmen and Interpol.

The Clameens (Derry)

Melodic, soulful and simply clever song writing, that’s what sets The Clameens apart. Catchy riffs that bring to mind BBBC, along with heart felt melodies and tight harmonies make for addictive Indie rock from a band that seem to be growing in stature by the day, with an ever expanding fan base on home turf.

Death In The Sickroom (Dublin)

This Dublin four piece released their debut single ‘Tonight’ last year and have been picking up speed since. Sounding like something straight out of Manchester in the 80’s, a real James vibe added in with Smiths style guitars are a recipe perfect Indie pop.

Ryan Vail (Derry)

This beautifully produced project from Derry based Ryan Vail crafts soft electronic with a shoegaze style highlighted throughout. This beautifully produced sound flows perfectly with hints of melancholy and hope all at the same time. A unique, dark blend of synth created by Vail and Katie Cosgrove, it’s a breath taking effort.

Spines (Dublin)

Dublin’s all girl rock band, Spines, export a sound that’s pure garage through and through. It’d be easy to draw comparisons to Dum Dum Girls or early Yeah Yeah Yeah’s, but there’s something a little more sincere in their sound, packed with punk and carefully planned riffs in every direction.

5 Texas Acts You Need To Hear Right Now

Author: Jake McGloin

SXSW has undoubtedly become THE event to take down in your musical calendar, it’s the largest music event of its kind in the world, with over 2200 artists across 100 stages, conferences and talks from music industry professionals and hell of a lot of people making their way to Austin TX from all over the world, all hoping to spot the next big thing (when all they need to do is read Shoplifters Union). So with the music world gathering in Texas to showcase itself this week, here are five bands ‘The Lone Star State’ has to offer the rest of the world.

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Cheap Haircuts:

Folk Punk four piece Cheap Haircuts hail from Plano and mix upbeat tunes and witty lyrics to great effect. Imagine The Front Bottoms packed with keys and good vibes and you’re halfway there. These kids are building an awesome sound that somewhat shadows what Modern Baseball have been up to but making it their own.


The musical-poetry Biographies are putting out is something else, as much heart in the words as the music, every layer of sound has its own story that weave through out one another. The six man musical coalition creates beautifully encapsulating sounds that can’t help but raising Goosebumps.

Shakey Graves:

Alejandro Rose-Garcia unleashes jaw dropping rocking blues fueled by a breath taking guitar technique. It’s dark and stormy with essence of folk that is difficult not to be lead away by. With two albums under his belt Shakey Graves is flying pretty high with a huge fan base, and no wonder his music is bursting at the seams with a heart felt, powerful sound.

Two Knights:

Denton rockers, Two Knights, enlist twanging guitars and big beats to create a distinctive sounds that holds roots in too many genres to list. The two piece emo band delight and destroy with their brutal lyrics floating on hard hitting riffs and even harder drums. DIY ethics and emotive tunes that have a feel of ‘TWIABP’ but still sounds gloriously like Two Knights.

Feral Future

Feminist Punks, Feral Future, hailing from Austin are a shining light in a time with such questionable female role models tackling hard hitting issues along to an even harder hitting sound track of noise. These songs hold an over bearing resemblance to the past, making them even more relevant. Cagey punk ethic with a modern twist makes for a brutally good listen.

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Five Acts Leading The Australian Invasion

Author: Jake McGloin

The Australian invasion is coming but stay calm! It’s an exciting time to be an artist down under with the like’s of Iggy Azalea and Gotye storming the charts in the U.K. and U.S. and bands like Tame Impala stamping their name on our indie and rock scene over the past year or so, we’re getting a taste for the Australian sound. But it’s just the start, these big guns are just testing the water for the Indie and Rap artists getting ready to make the big push. So there’s no doubt that it wont be long before the Aussies are all over our air waves, but in the meantime here are five acts proving Australian music isn’t just the didgeridoo, soap actors and bearded men with poor moral judgement.



Jangley Melbourne Indie outfit Twerps unveiled their second album Rage Anxiety this year. There’s melody driven pop in every breath of these songs, filled with beautiful guitars Twerps music sounds sun soaked, just what we need in miserable old Blighty.


It’d be easy to draw comparisons between Baro and American acts like Frank Oceans, if not only for the smooth electronic tracks he raps to. But one of Australia’s brightest Hip-Hop prospects, he’s still in his teens, has his own brand of hazed rap that dazzles and leaves you wondering just how much potential this kid could actually have. https://soundcloud.com/b-aro/cinemafeaturing-emerson-alexander

Sunbeam Sound Machine

Nick Sowersby’s project, Sunbeam Sound Machine, is a beautiful lo-fi, drone pop dream. Immersed it in noise and hiss only brings out the best in Sowerby’s song writing. His debut album is a pool of magnificent reverb that leaves you hooked on this bone-raw music.

Ecca Vandal

Her debut single ‘White Flag’ seems to demand your attention, and refuse to be forced into a genre. All arrows seem to point to this lady breaking musical boundary’s as long as she’s going. Ecca Vandal is as exciting as she is cool and things are just going to get cooler from here.

The Jungle Giants

Indie Pop at it’s finest, The Jungle Giants sound brings out fun beats and perfect melodies to create a sincere and fun sound unrivaled in the bands over here in the U.K. right now but feels like an expansion the Indie boom we had in the noughties to it’s full potential.

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