When: 7.30pm on Thursday 27 November 2014
Where: The Ruby Lounge, 28-34 High Street, Manchester M4 1QB
We’re delighted to be welcoming back Beans on Toast.
Drunk folk singer, barefoot troubadour and cult legend Beans on Toast has been around the block more times than he cares to remember. Thankfully though, with his unique blend of simple songs and no holds barred quick wit, he is an act that is anything but tired.
With a fresh spring in his step after an incredible start to the year, which saw him conquer his first American headline tour, play a series of shows with Flogging Molly in the US and perform to over 100,000 people in just one week whilst opening Frank Turner’s UK stadium tour in February, Beans On Toast will be heading back onto the UK live circuit for 16 dates across the country ending with his biggest headline show to date at Electric Ballroom.
Marking the release of his sixth studio album with Xtra Mile Recordings, as is tradition on his 1 December birthday, The Next Album Tour 2014 will be an unforgettable experience as the singer, storyteller and guitar player’s self-deprecating nature goes a long way to break down the barriers between musician and audience, creating a real sense of equality.
With digital single Keep You added to the XFM Evening Playlist at the start of the year, a Best of Toast Pressed on Vinyl flying off the shelves for Independent Record Store Day and his busiest upcoming festival season yet, anything is now possible for this unmissable performer.
Tour support comes from Will Varley, whose new album As The Crow Flies is available now.
Opening the show is Manchester’s own Emma Hallows.
When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 2 December 2014
Where: The Eagle Inn, 19 Collier Street, Salford, M3 7DW
We’re delighted to be helping Elle Mary and her Bad Men launch their new video.
Drawn to the communicative and bonding qualities of ‘folk’ but explorative beyond its stylistic connotations; enough of a pack member to want a band yet also keen to imbue a sense of solitude through her music, Elle Mary is an artist who operates best when balancing conflicting instincts. It’s what lies beneath the subtle tension that slightly tugs at the heart of her and The Bad Men’s acoustically-webbed slowcore minimalism.
With a vocal perhaps reminiscent of Sharon Van Etten and backed with a prickling calm that sits in the same atmosphere as Low, Elle Mary has actually found her influences a lot closer to home. An initially shy singer, known to stare timidly at the floor during early performances, Elle Mary nevertheless cut her teeth in the contrastingly social Manchester folk scene, blossoming enough to ultimately host her own monthly night at hideaway Deansgate basement bar The Gaslamp.
However, through meeting guesting musicians from all backgrounds, Mary sought to broaden her limits to beyond just a voice and guitar. The Bad Men (bassist Michael Dubec and drummer Pete Sitch) came in to add dynamical dexterity to her wistful half-hidden lyrical recollections and cryptic narratives.
Elle Mary & The Bad Men released their first single Angels in early 2014 with Tru Luv, premiering on Gold Flake Paint.
Influenced by acts such as Little Wings, Bill Callahan, Tara Jane O’Neil and Angel Olsen, the band have opened up for Barbarossa, BC Camplight and Dan Michaelson, and performed at Carefully Planned Festival, Sofar Sounds and Beta’s All Dayer. In October 2014 Elle Mary embarked on a solo house concert to Stockholm, Gothenburg, Copenhagen, Hamburg and Berlin.
Elle Mary & The Bad Men are releasing their new video for Ocean in the week beginning 20 November, with Hey! Manchester promoting a headline show to celebrate on 2 December.
Manchester three-piece Rains will support, along with Sobbing Blonde – a solo repetitive trance-like experimental musician.
The Eagle Inn is an excellent traditional pub from the team behind the Castle Hotel, the Parlour and Gullivers. It’s just off Trinity Way, an eight-minute walk from Manchester Cathedral on Deansgate.
When: 8pm on Saturday 6 December 2014
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE
We’re excited to be working with Iceland’s Samaris for the first time.
Combining disparate elements of electronics (Þórður Kári Steinþórsson, aka ‘Doddi’), clarinet (Áslaug Rún Magnúsdóttir) and Jófríður Ákadóttir’s enchanting voice, Samaris mix glacial electronica and pulse-like beats with haunting chanted vocals – the lyrics culled from 19th Century Icelandic poems. ‘You could say the words have been delicately sewn together and in a way they already have their song, their own melody when you read them,’ suggests Áslaug. The overall effect is simultaneously ancient and modern – a sensual sound filled with dark spaces and alien atmosphere.
Within months of forming in Reykjavik in 2011, Samaris had won both the Icelandic Músíktilraunir and Kraumur Award, before the international release last summer of their two Icelandic EPs as the eponymous ‘Samaris’ further expanded horizons. ‘We want people to experience something they haven’t experienced before,’ they told a curious Dazed & Confused while glowing reviews of the album appeared everywhere from the NME to the FT.
A brand new full-length album followed in spring 2014 in the form of the haunting and ethereal Silkidrangar.
Very quickly the original aspiration of ‘just wearing funny costumes and thinking maybe we could get a gig in a bar in Reykjavik’ seemed distant as Samaris moved into the international scene, playing European festivals like Sonar, Roskilde, Green Man and All Tomorrow’s Parties Iceland, and touring with John Grant.
Now they return for their debut headline show in Manchester in support of Tíbrá, the third single from Silkidrangar.
‘Samaris specialise in gorgeous, haunting nocturnes’ – Drowned In Sound
‘An entirely other-worldly experience… quite possibly one of the strongest albums this year’ – So So Gay
Support comes from Acre Tarn: ”We are a sum of two halves, founded by chance and brought together to realise our musical craft. We’re not afraid of anything when we unleash our imagination, we love beauty and we want to create something beautiful. We’re explorers.’
This show is a co-promotion with Now Wave.
When: 7.30pm on Monday 8 December 2014
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
We’re delighted to be helping Gravenhurst celebrate 10 years since the release of Flashlight Seasons.
This year Gravenhurst celebrates a decade of work on Warp Records with the reissue of two classic albums, Flashlight Seasons and Black Holes In The Sand, and an additional new album: Offerings: Lost Songs 2000 – 2004, a compilation of unreleased material from that period.
The first release with Warp, 2004’s Flashlight Seasons quickly earned Gravenhurst a devoted fan base, consistently strong support from the music press, and cemented Nick Talbot’s reputation as a unique talent, and one of the most original British singer-songwriters and producers of his generation. Flashlight Seasons was quickly followed the same year by Black Holes In The Sand. A mini-album half an hour in length and comprised of six songs, Nick regarded it as a set of clues to the sound of future Gravenhurst records. A noisier and more overtly lo-fi record of dark pastoral psychedelia, Black Holes In The Sand firmly established an enduring Gravenhurst aesthetic: enigmatic lyrics, ghostly vocals and virtuoso finger-picked guitars against a backdrop of cinematic, shape-shifting, semi-conscious textures; subliminal transmissions from the surrounding landscape. For the last decade the title track has frequently featured as the show closer, with its sprawling second half ending the performance amidst a wall of quaking feedback, electronic pulsations and pounding ceremonial drums; a sonic evocation of the forces of nature.
These two records established Gravenhurst as a place; a place of revenants. Plotting a journey from the unquiet graves of the unjustly accused, through the dark temptations of the city to the ancient rituals of the forest, Gravenhurst is a musical treasure map of sigils and codes, where the earth itself has a message to convey.
The surprise new release, Offerings: Lost Songs 2000 – 2004, is a collection of previously unheard recordings which resulted from an archival search for extra material to accompany the reissues as digital downloads. The unexpected discoveries were however quickly deemed worthy of an exclusive release. Comprised of two early demos that differ from album versions in intriguing ways and eight previously unheard songs, the result is a carefully selected and coherent collection. ‘The Citizen’ contrasts a lyric of urban alienation with an early demonstration of Nick’s mastery of acoustic minimalism, while the strong narrative arc of the title track Offerings contains the earliest incarnation of a recurring Gravenhurst theme: the indifference of nature and the folly of the human urge to seek spiritual communion with its destructive power. One of four diverse instrumental tracks, Who Put Bella In The Wych Elm? provides a hypnotic soundtrack to one of England’s most unnerving unsolved crimes. Unable to recall recording some of these tracks, Nick describes the collection as a musical Mary Celeste; a vessel found captain-less and crew-less, with its cargo fully preserved after many years adrift.
The three albums will be pressed on vinyl accompanied with digital download codes, essays by Nick reflecting on this early material after a decade of progress, and a limited run of hand-made and signed lino-cut prints which will be made available to the first 200 customers who buy all three albums on vinyl through Bleep.com. A triple CD release will comprise all three albums.
The release will be supported by extensive touring of the UK and Europe, to be billed as ‘Gravenhurst Plays Flashlight Seasons – Ten Year Anniversary Tour’ where the Gravenhurst Ensemble (Nick Talbot, Claire Adams and Rachel Lancaster) will perform the album in its entirety followed by material picked from the other albums. Honing their sound over two years of touring and promoting The Ghost In Daylight, with their emphasis on three part vocal harmonies and subtle dynamics, the Gravenhurst Ensemble offer the opportunity to hear Flashlight Seasons for the first time performed in a manner truly befitting its unique production and haunting atmosphere.
Over the last decade Nick has released five Gravenhurst albums on Warp Records, each different to the last, and each met with huge critical acclaim. 2012’s The Ghost In Daylight was supported by over a year of touring the UK and Europe with festival appearances including a headline slot at End Of The Road. 2013 saw Nick collaborate with Mike Paradinas, providing lyrics and vocals for four songs on Love & Devotion, the debut album from the electronica producer’s new project Heterotic. Amidst continuing live performances and starting work on a new Gravenhurst album planned for release next year, 2013 also saw Nick begin regular journalistic contributions to the online music and arts site The Quietus, with highlights including exclusive interviews with the philosopher John Gray and the comic book legend Alan Moore.
Praise for original release of Flashlight Seasons:
‘An album of ghostly modern folk beauty’ – Mojo, 5*
‘Absolutely brilliant’ – NME, 9/10
Support comes from David O’Dowda. Formally the front man for alt-folk band Table, and keyboard player with indie band Sizer Barker, O’Dowda now spends much of his time writing songs for Los Angeles-based production music library Extreme Music.
When: 7.30pm on Thursday 11 December 2014
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
We’re excited to be promoting the Manchester leg of Sweet Baboo and The Pictish Trail’s joint headline tour.
Two sonic stallions from the Moshi Moshi stable canter around the counties, for a seasonal co-headline tour.
Something of a fixture within the burgeoning Welsh psyche-pop scene, you’ll recognise Black not only from his prolific solo output, but as a frequent musical cohort to Euros Childs, Cate Le Bon and Gruff Rhys among many, many others. Across four albums, and even more EPs, Sweet Baboo’s dry wit and melodic flair have seen him become a firm favourite with BBC’s Marc Riley (who has had him in session more than any other artist), and deservedly recognised as one of the country’s finest performers.
Meanwhile, from a static caravan up on the remote isle of Eigg, tucked away within the inner Hebrides of Scotland, Lynch runs DIY label and collective Lost Map (formerly Fence Records). As well as producing countless mini-albums, EPs and assorted LPs of self-professed ‘wonky-pop’ material under his Pictish Trail moniker, he’s collaborated with a plethora of the greatest songsmiths across these fair lands, including James Yorkston, Malcolm Middleton, King Creosote, KT Tunstall and Adem. With the latter, he formed electro-pop powerhouse Silver Columns, proving his chops both as a versatile song-writer and as a wet-spandex leotard model.
Lynch invited Black up to the island to help him record his latest Pictish opus, Secret Soundz Vol.2 – which was very recently given a full nationwide release, alongside Vol.1, by London taste-makers Moshi Moshi. For this special advent tour, the pair are reunited for a fortnight of song-swapping, thigh-slapping and local-ale gargling; expect folk-tinged winter hymns, lo-fi audio wizardry and sweet Eigg-nog kisses under the casio.
Local support comes from Mathew Gray, a songwriter from Burnley who is now based in Manchester. Influenced by the most lyrical of songwriters (Leonard Cohen, Tom Waits, Jake Thackray), he writes intelligent, comic and emotive songs. Now joined by The Awful Truth - featuring accomplished percussion, melodeon and double bass players – they create a traditional, yet distinct sound to deliver a wonderful show. Having released two EPs in 2013, which sold out and received good radio play, a debut album is due to follow.
When: 8pm on Thursday 18 December 2014
Where: Band on the Wall, 26 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JZ
We’re delighted to be presenting a special perform of Paul Smith and Peter Brewis’ Frozen By Sight collaboration.
Paul Smith (Maximo Park) and Peter Brewis (Field Music) have just announced three performances of their collaborative composition, Frozen By Sight.
Based around text from Paul Smith’s travel writing, and Peter Brewis’ chamber-band arrangements, Frozen By Sight evolved from a commission for the performance of a new musical work at the Festival Of The North East, at Sage Gateshead, in late 2013. These December shows will be the first performances since that inaugural show.
The nine-piece live band includes David Brewis (drums and vocals), John Pope (acoustic bass), Andrew Lowther (tuned percussion) and will feature a string quartet of Ed Cross (Violin), Josephine Montgomery (violin), Chrissie Slater (viola) and Ele Leckie (cello).
Tour support comes from Rozi Plain. Born Rosalind Leyden in the leafy-greens of Winchester, Rozi Plain moved to Bristol and then on to London, creating beautifully intricate music that still retains some of the natural world wonder of her origins. She’s toured with Devendra Banhart, James Yorkston and Viking Moses.
This show is a co-promotion with Now Wave.
Book tickets now. Tickets are also available from Band on the Wall’s box office, Common (both no booking fee), Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, Seetickets.com, Bandonthewall.org, Wegottickets.com Ticketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.
When: 7.30pm on Sunday 21 December 2014
Where: Band on the Wall, 26 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JZ
We’re delighted to be promoting another Christmas show for Cherry Ghost!
For the last couple of years, Simon Aldred has been in a state of wilful musical schizophrenia. Since 2007, Bolton-born Aldred has – to all intents – been Cherry Ghost, a band known for perfecting a kind of widescreen North Western country soul. Yet the third Cherry Ghost album arrives after an extensive period in which Aldred’s own music been pulled in multiple different directions.
Firstly – as a songwriter-for-hire – Aldred has helped to nurture the best of nascent British talent (including hugely tipped artists like Sam Smith and Rae Morris). Latterly – as singer and solo artist – he produced a set of critically lauded post-midnight electronic love songs under the Out Cold guise. Somewhere in the middle, there’s the small matter of the phoenix-like rebirth of Aldred’s Ivor Novello-winning 2007 single People Help The People as it went on to chart highly in 14 different countries in 2010 when it was covered by the teenage singer Birdy.
Far from muddying the musical waters, each of these diversions has only helped sharpen Aldred’s songwriting, providing a major spur for the finest Cherry Ghost album to date, Herd Runners.
Shifting from soaring, symphonic pop (Clear Skies Ever Closer) to melancholic lock-in blues (Drinking for Two) via an almost uncompromisingly hopeful rhythmic shuffle (The World Could Turn [In A Heartbeat]), Herd Runners is a sublime collection, a reminder of Aldred’s singular skill as a composer; a skill that can twist bitter loss into teary optimism (and back) in less time than it takes to toss a coin. Lyrically, the album paints Edward Hopper-esque observations of the lives of others. Where previous records would have focused on the gloomy edges of the picture, Herd Runners takes something of a longer view.
Unlike the last Cherry Ghost album (Beneath This Burning Shoreline, featured music co-written with his then-touring band), Herd Runners was written and readied for recording by Aldred alone. Much like Cherry Ghost’s debut Thirst For Romance, the record is ostensibly a solo endeavour demoed at home before being finally pieced together in the studio with the help of a few handpicked musicians. Rather than wait until the songs were completely watertight, Aldred booked the studio and engineer (Yellow Arch in Sheffield with long-term Richard Hawley collaborator Colin Elliot) for three months hence then set about fiercely working against the ticking clock he’d set for himself.
Herd Runners is Cherry Ghost’s finest record yet; ten perfectly crafted tales of heartbreak and hope. That musical schizophrenia is clearly working wonders for Simon Aldred.
This show follows the success of last December’s two sold-out nights at Hallé St Peter’s in Ancoats. Expect more treats from Cherry Ghost’s back catalogue, plus one or two festive musical treats.
This show is now completely sold out! To find out about future Cherry Ghost shows, join our mailing list using the form at the top of this page.
Photo by Hayley Taylor
When: 7.30pm on Monday 19 January 2015
Where: Band on the Wall, 26 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JZ
When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 3 February 2015
Where: The Brudenell Social Club, 33 Queen’s Road, Headingley, Leeds LS6 1NY
We’re delighted to be promoting two shows for Justin Townes Earle!
Once compared to a man who wears many suits, in 32 short years Justin Townes Earle has experienced more than most, both personally and professionally. Between releasing four full-length, critically acclaimed albums, constant touring, multiple stints in rehab, a new-found sobriety, being born Steve Earle’s son, amicable and not-so-amicable break-ups with record labels, and facing the trials and tribulations of everyday life, it’s safe to say JTE has quite the story to tell.
He returns to the UK armed with a host of songs from not one but two new records. Released last month, Single Mothers saw Earle team up with Vagrant Records for the first time. The album is comprised of 10 tracks that showcase exactly why Justin Townes Earle is considered a forefather of contemporary Americana. As a recently married, sober man, JTE writes from a point of maturity and content we’ve not seen before on past records. ‘One day I just realised it’s not cool to die young, and it’s even less cool to die after 30,’ Justin states as he reflects on a life past and his newly found clarity. What he’s created is an album that’s raw, honest and personal in a way he hasn’t touched upon since his debut EP, Yuma.
Co-produced along side longtime engineer Adam Bednarik, Single Mothers shines in a world of pop-culture driven Americana records. With his heart and soul still rooted in Nashville, Single Mothers shows Justin’s continued combination of catchy songs and authenticity.
The album was recorded live with his four-piece touring band with only days of rehearsal leading up to recording to keep the ideas fresh. No overdubs, no other singers, no additional players – just a real, heartfelt performance capturing the moment. In fact, his songs Picture in a Drawer and It’s Cold in This House are only Justin, his guitar and his pedal steel player Paul Niehaus.
‘As I’ve gotten older my anger comes from a very different place,’ JTE reflects. ‘It’s more rational and mature. I guess that comes along with clarity.’ Single Mothers finds Justin dealing with past struggles and anger with more ease than ever before. Creating a nostalgic feeling with the return to his signature sound, JTE takes listeners on a journey through some of his most personal stories yet on what can only be described as an authentic country record.
Companion piece Absent Fathers, will be released in January 2015. Comprised of 10 tracks, it was recorded alongside Single Mothers as a double album, but as Justin began to sequence it, he felt each half needed to make its own statement and they took on their own identities.
Tour support comes from Andrew Combs. Andrew Combs is a songwriter, guitarist and singer who lives in Nashville. His music is equal parts rough-and-tumble 1960s Chicago blues, Planet Waves-era Dylan and vintage Nashville folk. His band’s live show was once described as a cross between Merle Haggard’s stripped-down country rock and the tightly wound garage punk of Detroit’s MC5. They call it ‘country soul swag’ – and you should too.
These shows are co-promotions with Please Please You.
MANCHESTER: Book tickets now. Tickets are also available from Band on the Wall’s box office, Common (both no booking fee), Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, Seetickets.com, Bandonthewall.org, wegottickets.com Ticketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.
LEEDS: Tickets are available from Jumbo and Crash, Seetickets.com and on 0871 220 0260.
When: 7pm on Friday 23 January 2015
Where: Gorilla, 54-56 Whitworth Street West, Manchester M1 5WW
We’re excited to be helping BC Camplight launch his new album, How To Die In The North.
Bella Union is excited to announce the release of How To Die In The North, the new album from maverick songwriter BC Camplight, on 19 January.
Lost treasure needn’t be found in the distant past; the 21st Century hides many artists who disappeared into the great wide yonder. BC Camplight is one such example. The alter-ego of American songwriter Brian Christinzio released albums in 2005 and 2007, both gems of a certain psych-pop vintage, combining eloquent songwriting with a self-destructive bent. Christinzio certainly knew it – he’s described himself as, ‘the guy who blew it’.
But this sublime talent with the keening vocal and fearless approach to lyrical introspection has another chance. His new album, How To Die In The North, recorded in his newly adopted home of Manchester, England, is a fantastically rich, stylistically diverse trip. From dramatic, layered pop to a haunted take on Sixties sunshine-pop, from blue-eyed soul to speedy surf-pop, from sparser piano balladry to psychedelic showstoppers and a grand finale that’s part Nilsson and part Broadway showtune.
Originally from New Jersey, Christinzio started playing piano aged just four, inspired by his mum’s Jerry Lee Lewis and Nilsson records and his dad’s classical collection. Depression and crippling hypochondria clashed with captaining the football team and a penchant for boxing. Post-school, he fell in with people, ‘willing to go through shit to be a musician’, which saw him relocate to Philadelphia where he occasionally played live with Philly faves The War On Drugs and guested on Sharon Van Etten’s album Epic.
He’s already done two sessions for long-term fan Marc Riley at BBC 6 Music, which featured Christinzio’s band of Mancunians who he met at The Castle Hotel pub, a watering hole in the city centre particularly popular with musicians. Christinzio also heard John Grant’s album on the jukebox there, which encouraged him to approach Bella Union. Grant’s cocktail of depression and self-sabotage thwarted an outrageous talent, but he took his second chance. The same deserves to happen to Christinzio, a similarly outsize, sharp and funny personality with a non-conformist streak. Far from dying, BC Camplight has been reborn in the North!
Support comes from Faitala. Formed during the summer of 2012, Faitala bring together cute, quirky pop thrown in with a few 8-bit sounds from time to time. Their music has been likened to We Were Evergreen and Metronomy – but make up your own mind. They’ve had a very busy 2013 playing live at Dot to Dot, Tramlines and Carefully Planned festivals as well as shows with Sweet Baboo and Jesca Hoop. Recently the band also did a live session on Marc Riley’s BBC 6 Music show.
When: 7.30pm on Thursday 29 January 2015
Where: Takk Coffee House, 6 Tariff Street, Manchester, M1 2FF
We’re excited to be working with Sheffield’s Nat Johnson for the first time!
Accompanied by her band on flute, fiddle, harmonies, horn and lapsteel, acclaimed singer-songwriter Nat Johnson will be playing songs from her new album, Neighbour of the Year, along with songs from her former outfits, Monkey Swallows the Universe (‘Sheffield’s loveliest band’ – the Guardian) and Nat Johnson and the Figureheads (‘Like a cross-pollination of Yo La Tengo and the ‘nu-folk’ of Laura Marling’ – Subba Cultcha).
‘Witty, poignant, classy and heartfelt… an acoustic leading light’ – Our Favourite Places
‘Genuine and irresistible’ – Now Then Magazine
Takk is an excellent Icelandic-inspired coffee house on the edge of the Northern Quarter.
When: 7.30pm on Saturday 14 February 2015
Where: Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear Street, Manchester M1 1DF
We’re delighted to be helping Last Harbour launch their new album, Caul!
Based in the northern English city of Manchester, Last Harbour play honest, heartfelt music that has a dark, gothic heart yet a sound that is always beautiful and transcendent.
After working with producer Richard Formby (Wild Beasts, Spacemen 3, Ghostpoet) on two previous albums, the band took time out after touring to build their own studio in 2013. Caul, the band’s new album out on 9 February 2015 via a new home at Gizeh Records, was recorded in that self-created space over a year between 2013 and 2014, and bears testament to a patient and detailed recording process that allowed time for experimentation and careful arrangement.
The record contains all of the band’s trademark cinematic laments and doom-filled rock, but there is also an added layer of raw, bleak experimentation that marries ideally and simultaneously with brighter, almost joyous moments. The progression on Caul, from that of its predecessor Your Heart, It Carries the Sound, is clear. There is a new focus, a need to explore, a quest to push further into the void.
‘This album sounds magnificent. A collection of songs that should appeal to anyone enamoured of Tindersticks and Mark Lanegan’ – Sunday Times
‘Melancholic and cinematic, like Scott Walker re-ordering Bowie’s Heroes’ – Uncut
‘A spacious and hypnotic affair, reminiscent of Iggy Pop’s ‘Preliminaries’ with a nod to Timber Timbre’ – Artrocker
When: 8.30pm on Thursday 26 February 2015
Where: Royal Northern College of Music, 124 Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9RD
We’re delighted to be bringing Ólafur Arnalds back to Manchester.
Born in 1986, Icelandic composer/performer Ólafur Arnalds has always enjoyed pushing boundaries with both his studio work and live shows. Since the release of his debut album Eulogy for Evolution in 2007 he has built up a dedicated international following and is well established for his genre-crossing compositions blending classical, pop and ambient/electronica influences to a unique musical language.
Starting out as drummer for a metal band, Ólafur was asked to write instrumental intros and outros for German metal band Heaven Shall Burn. This led to more work in the field of neo-classical strings and piano based music, and ultimately to the release of Eulogy for Evolution.
In 2009 he started a week-long project of composing one track by day, making it immediately available online to his fans. The collection was later officially released under the title Found Songs. He repeated the same experiment in 2011 under the title Living Room Songs. Also in 2009 the ballet Dyad 1909 premiered with a score composed by Ólafur. In April 2010 Ólafur released his second full-length album entitled …And They Have Escaped The Weight Of Darkness, which was backed up with an extensive world tour.
His third album, For Now I Am Winter, is released in February 2013. Expanding on his previous work the new album features a full orchestra and – for the first time – introduce vocals to his soundworld. Icelandic singer Arnór Dan is heard on four tracks of the album.
More recently Ólafur has been venturing into the world of films, writing Hollywood film scores to Another Happy Day (starring Ellen Barkin, Demi Moore) and Gimme Shelter (starring Vanessa Hudgens and Brendan Fraser). He also had music in the hit films Hunger Games and 300 – Rise Of An Empire, and has been featured several times on popular american television show So You Think You Can Dance.
For 2013 his scores include the music to ITV thriller series Broadchurch, which won a few BAFTA awards, including a personal one for him for Best Music. In October 2014 he released the debut album of his critically acclaimed techno side project KIASMOS. Further on he has recorded a collaboration album with Japanese pianist Alice Sara Ott (to be released in May 2015). Currently he is finishing the score for Broadchurch, season two. It will be televised in January on ITV again and accompanied by soundtrack release on Mercury Classics, followed by a selected number of headline shows through out England, Scotland and Ireland.
This show, which is part of FutureEverything 2015, will take place in the RNCM’s newly refurbished Concert Hall.
When: 7pm on Wednesday 11 March 2015
Where: The Ritz, Whitworth Street West, Manchester M1 5NQ
We’re delighted to be welcoming back The Unthanks – their first Manchester show in three years.
Nominated for the Mercury Music Prize and the only British folk representation in the Guardian and Uncut’s best albums of last decade, The Unthanks have an army of notable fans – Martin Freeman, Elvis Costello, Colin Firth, Robert Wyatt, Ben Folds, Ryan Adams, Rosanne Cash, Dawn French, Paul Morley, Ewan McGregor and Nick Hornby, to name but a few.
The Unthanks is a family affair for Tyneside sisters Rachel and Becky Unthank, with Rachel married to pianist, producer, arranger and composer Adrian McNally. Using the traditional music of the North East of England as a starting point, the influence of Steve Reich, Miles Davis, Sufjan Stevens, Robert Wyatt, Antony & The Johnsons, King Crimson and Tom Waits can be heard in the band’s seven albums to date.
Since releasing three project albums in one year back in 2012, The Unthanks have been hiding away in Northumberland, quietly working away on an ambitious follow-up to 2011’s Last. Who knows how rich, imaginative and groundbreaking their new album will be, released to coincide with this tour, and to be brought to life on stage with a talented 10-piece band.
It’s anyone’s guess. Those project albums – the orchestral ambition of a brass band collaboration, a reimagining of the work of Robert Wyatt and Antony Hegarty, and a soundtrack to a film about the shipbuilding industry – give little clue, while work since then with Orbital, Sting, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Martin Green (Lau), Martin Hayes, The Voice Squad, Charles Hazlewood, The Moulettes and German composer Werner Cee is so disparate that making predictions is impossible.
Definable only by their restless, peerless eccentricity, The Unthanks see folk music less as a style of music and more as a oral history that offers perspective on our own time. Their unique approach to storytelling straddles the complex relationship between modernism and learning from the past. Staunch traditionalism and sonic adventure may seem like polar opposites, yet they are easy bedfellows in the gentle hands of The Unthanks.
‘The Unthanks seem to regard folk music the same way Miles Davis regarded jazz: as a launch pad for exploring the wider possibilities’ – Uncut
‘There really is no better folk band in the land’ – Q Magazine
When: 7.30pm on Saturday 21 March 2015
Where: The Martin Harris Centre, Bridgeford Street, off Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL
We’re delighted to be welcoming back the Handsome Family – for our first show at the Martin Harris Centre!
Wild animals, tall tales, and folk-lore from American history populate Wilderness – the ninth studio album from New Mexico’s Handsome Family. Recorded at home in Albuquerque and at the Wilco Loft in Chicago, it’s a record that finds husband-and-wife duo Brett and Rennie Sparks blending Appalachian holler, psych-rock and Tin Pan Alley-inspired melodies to conjure up a world where David Attenborough meets David Lynch in a Honky-Tonk bar at midnight.
The album explores the little-known enigmas of the natural world: immortal jellyfish, woodpecker tongues, dancing octopi, fly royalty, the secret language of crows and mysterious ant spirals. Elsewhere we discover why the Sparks never take seaside vacations and learn all about compulsive window-smasher Mary Sweeney. It’s classic Handsome Family territory – twisted tales of the unexpected that may raise a smile but will also, thanks to Rennie’s knack for spinning a good yarn, leave you ever so slightly unsettled. But it’s not only the narrative that draws you deep into this zoological wonderland. From the opening bars of Flies to the album’s closer Wildebeest – a parlour piano-led hymn that somehow successfully manages to bring together Stephen Foster, hungry crocodiles and the unity of the wildebeest herd, Brett lays bear a succession of deceptively simple melodies and dexterous instrumentation that combine with his wife’s lyrics to a startlingly haunting effect – and are delivered with a voice that glides between a Cash-like timbre and a southern high and lonesome plea.
And what songs they are. They have been feted by the likes of Ringo Starr and covered by artists such as Jeff Tweedy, Cerys Matthews, Christy Moore and Andrew Bird. In a career that spans twenty years, they’ve toured the world in their own charmingly DIY fashion – one car, one hotel room, one stage… night after night after night – and in that time they’ve performed as a duo, with a band and have had onstage collaborations with such folk-royalty as Eliza Carthy, country legend Charlie Louvin and indie kings like Nick Cave and Jarvis Cocker. In each and every instance they’ve more than held their own, thanks in the main to their songs – a series of unique and wondrous compositions that, as Jeff Tweedy once said, are the ‘product of two beautiful brains’.
‘Their new recording brought to mind a focus and refinement to the weirdness and the weirder they get the more I like ‘um.’- Kurt Wagner (Lambchop)
This show will take place in the Cosmo Rodewald Concert Hall at the Martin Harris Centre – just behind Manchester Museum on the University of Manchester’s Oxford Road campus.
When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 28 April 2015
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE
We’re delighted to be promoting Skinny Lister’s biggest Manchester show to date!
They’ve held gigs in Land Rovers. They’ve sung while wing-walking. They’ve toured in a narrow boat. They’ve stomped and jigged on restaurant tables, in hotel elevators and in record label car parks. And wherever they play their lusty shanties, punk-folk roar-alongs and crazed whirls of love, fighting and hardcore drinking – you’ll find them out dancing with the crowd, passing around their flagon of rum or crowd-surfing to the bar to neck shots mid-song. Make no bones – Skinny Lister are the wildest party band you’ll ever get drunk with. And you will get drunk with them.
From day one, Skinny Lister set out to cause chaos and make friends, travelling to the four corners of the globe plying their infectious and unique rum-soaked blend of English folk and punk rock anarchy. From Japan’s Fuji Rock festival to the desert stage of California’s prestigious Coachella, via the Avalon Stage at Glastonbury and many a festival across Europe and beyond, Skinny Lister are an experience never to be forgotten.
April 2015 sees them back with their second long-player entitled Down on Deptford Broadway. It will be released on the very cool Xtra Mile Recordings label, home to Frank Turner, Against Me, and many others. Talking about the new album, Max said: ‘We’re trying to push forward the sound we had on the first album (Forge & Flagon). We don’t want to be a static band, we want to move with whatever influences are going on around us all the time.’ The first single to feature from the album is Trouble on Oxford Street, which will be released in January 2015. Skinny Lister are THE must-see band of 2015.
When: 7pm on Wednesday 29 April 2015
Where: The Ritz, Whitworth Street West, Manchester M1 5NQ
We’re delighted to be welcoming back Public Service Broadcasting – this time, at the Ritz.
Following the release of a tantalising and atmospheric trailer earlier this month, which quoted John F Kennedy’s famous Rice Stadium address of 1962, Public Service Broadcasting are now excited to reveal full details of The Race For Space LP (out 23 February 2015 via Test Card Recordings) – as well as their biggest UK tour to date.
Tickets for the duo’s return at two unique album launch shows at The National Space Centre sold out in under 24 hours, and the band now have their sights set on their biggest tour yet as they jet around the UK and Ireland in April and May 2015. At Public Service Broadcasting’s uniquely spell-binding live AV ‘Transmissions’, the audience will witness the band weave samples from archive footage around live drums, guitar, banjo and electronics as they teach the lessons of the past through the music of the future – beaming our past back at us through vintage TV sets and state of the art modern video projection devices. Granted unique access to historically important films from the BFI, PSB will go back in time and explore the period when the USA and USSR fought to gain the upper hand in a new frontier – space.
Public Service Broadcasting have quickly developed a reputation as one of the most exciting live acts in the country, wowing audiences over the past two festival seasons with major appearances at Glastonbury, Bestival, Green Man and a whole host of others. Support slots with The Rolling Stones and Arcade Fire at Hyde Park plus touring with the Manic Street Preachers across Europe and an upcoming arena tour with the Kaiser Chiefs scheduled for early next year point to a band at the top of their game.
The Race For Space follows Inform – Educate – Entertain, Public Service Broadcasting’s debut album, which reached #21 in the UK album charts and was nominated for Best Independent Album at the AIM Awards 2013, as well as being the Guardian’s Album of the Week and one of BBC 6 Music’s Top 10 albums of 2013.