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. His new album, All These Dreams, is out via Loose Music on 26 January.
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 Tuesday 27 January 2015
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
We’re delighted to be working with the Incredible String Band’s Mike Heron and Glasgow band Trembling Bells.
To coincide with Hux Records’ release of Incredible String Band’s Live at Fillmore East, 1968 album, original ISB band member Mike Heron is teaming up with Trembling Bells (Honest Jon’s) to perform classic String Band material from their hugely influential first four albums.
Few bands could be said to embody the spirit of the 1960s more comprehensively than the Incredible String Band. On albums such as The Hangman’s Beautiful Daughter or Wee Tam and the Big Huge – with their epic perspectives, pantheistic lyrics and visionary synthesis of musical forms – ISB gave the hippy generation some of their most emblematic anthems. The breadth of their appeal is beguiling, with admirers as diverse as Led Zepplin’s Robert Plant and Rowan Williams, the Archbishop of Canterbury, professing a long-term love affair with the band. In 2010, Fledg’ling reissued their first four albums to unanimous critical acclaim, ensuring their appeal to successive generations of fans. One of the new generations of bands indelibly influenced by ISB is the Glasgow-based four-piece Trembling Bells.
The Bells first joined forces with founder member Mike Heron in 2010 at A Very Cellular Song – the Joe Boyd-curated celebration of ISB material at the Barbican in London. Since then they have played at Stewart Lee’s Austerity Binge, Cecil Sharp House and recorded a 7-inch single of Heron’s Feast of Stephen, cementing their kinship.
This tour, entitled Mike Heron & Trembling Bells: The Circle Is Unbroken, promises to cover rare and popular material from the ISB song book and much more besides.
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 Friday 6 February 2015
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE
We’re excited to be helping Los Trasgos Muertos launch their self-titled EP.
From Manchester, Los Trasgos Muertos are Captain Reed (bass/vocals/organ), Von Beek (guitar/vocals) and El Fliesh (drums).
Prior to forming the band, all three members spent time honing their musicianship and songwriting skills with other bands on the vibrant Manchester music scene. As a result they have known each other for years, sharing similar passions and frustrations, influences and experiences. Writing came easily and before the trio knew it, they had an album’s worth of material ready to record at Eve Studios in Bredbury, one of Manchester’s best kept secrets.
Los Trasgos Muertos are influenced by a range of musicians from Billy Childish and Deep Purple to Ty Segall, The Beatles and Prince. This eclecticism inspired them to find their own sense of individuality; they strive to produce records with a strong melody and hook, substance over style, but it’s important to them that each track captures their sense of fun too.
Captain Reed (Bass/Vox/Organ) describes their sound as ‘loud music for bodies in small hot sweaty rooms – this is physical music’.
A limited number of early bird tickets are available – book now. Tickets are available from Common (no booking fee), Piccadilly Records, Vinyl Exchange, Seetickets.com, WeGotTickets.com, Ticketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.
When: 7.30pm on Friday 13 February 2015
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
We’re delighted to helping Jane Weaver celebrate topping Piccadilly Records’ albums of the year chart!
Working as an omnipresent pop figure in her genuinely independent micro-industry for over 20 years, Jane Weaver is a rare example of a passionate and resilient northern female artist who re-creates, re-invents and refreshes where many others come and go. Her synth-pop psych and conceptual pop LPs have earned her a faithful fan base which has extended to a long discography of collaborations often released through her own musical ‘Woman’s Institute’ imprint Bird Records, which she runs with Finders Keepers Records in Manchester.
Late 2014 saw the release of her new self-produced synth-driven LP The Silver Globe, made with a wide cast of global collaborators such as soundtrack composer David Holmes, Andy Votel with extra music from Australian prog legends Cybotron, Hawkwind and sound effects from electronic pioneer Suzanne Ciani. Wearing her penchants for French wave, cosmic Deutsch rock and European fantasy films on both of her sequinned sleeves, Jane’s sixth studio album follows the highest critical acclaim for her previous self-funded album, The Fallen By Watchbird, and a campaign that bought together the unlikely coupling of artists like Wendy & Bonnie, Demdike Stare and The Focus Group.
This year Jane’s new brand of motorik cold-funk and technicolor domestic synth flourishes unite 10 new conceptual pop songs about power-plant fun-fairs, sci-fi education centres and post-apocalyptic love affairs while her characteristic gossamer vocals cross octaves to theatrical deft effect.
The Silver Globe has been voted as Piccadilly Records’ number one album of 2014! To mark the occasion, you can save £2 off the ticket price for this show when you purchase the album at Piccadilly Records – just ask at the counter.
‘The Silver Globe is arguably her most sonically adventurous work to date’ – The Quietus
‘She is amongst todays most striking sonic auteurs’ – Mojo
‘Mesmerising and inspiring, Weaver is one of this country’s hidden treasures’ – Q
Support comes from Tender Prey. Laura Bryon is Tender Prey, a Cardiff-based musician who mixes garage rock, blues and ghostly girl group clangs to shake you, soothe you and see you through the night. Tender Prey has previously made music as Le B and in noisepop outfit King Alexander. Laura will be releasing her debut album on Bird Records – and performing here with her band.
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: 8pm on Thursday 19 February 2015
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
We’re excited to be working with Lydia Ainsworth for the first time.
Composer, producer and singer Lydia Ainsworth has been secretly writing and recording songs over the past three years from bedrooms and basements between Toronto and Brooklyn. What began as pass-time sketches between composing music for film and multimedia projects has over time revealed an enchanting collection of experimental pop songs with a life of their own.
Blurring the boundaries between indie music, filmic orchestration, and electronic music, Lydia’s debut Right From Real thrives on haunting melodies and draws inspiration from a wide range of musical sources – Verdi’s Requiem, Ace of Base, Bulgarian choirs, Bernard Herrmann, Tones on Tail, Art of Noise to name just a few. This sense of unexpected marriages of influence flows throughout much of Lydia’s previous work which features use of voice sampling and string arrangements woven into a unique minimalist fabric.
Lydia says: ‘As I listen to the finished album I am reminded of the immense comfort I felt in the obscurity of its destination. I became entranced by the evolving process that took shape within those invisible tactile walls of tradition. Whether I was sampling instruments, writing lyrics, incorporating lyrics by my pen pal Matthew, recording multiple arrangements for each song – stripping them down – building them back up – I was guided only by a relentless instinctive urge to express what I could not in waking life. The songs approach dreams, thoughts, and inspirations that demand a search for the unknown, a search for something beyond what the five senses can offer.’
‘Like a fever–dream of Julia Holter merging with Grimes, Ainsworth’s future visions weave neoclassical flourishes and enchanted melody-mangles into cool 80s sound–beds, and it sounds fantastic’ – Dazed
This show is a co-promotion with Now Wave.
When: 7.30pm on Friday 20 February 2015
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE
We’re delighted to be welcoming the Wave Pictures back to the Deaf Institute – this time with their new album!
Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon is the new album from English national treasures the Wave Pictures, due for release on Moshi Moshi in February 2015. The album was co-written and produced by one of their all-time heroes, Billy Childish, and every note tingles with excitement at the collaboration. Bursting with energy and ignited with a garage-rock spark, the album rings loud and bold, showcasing Dave Tattersall’s searing guitar solos and sharp lyrical wit. Tattersall describes the experience of working with Billy Childish like this:
‘We first met Billy in his painting studio in Chatham. It’s daunting to meet your heroes, but he was great – just chatting away in his overalls and beret. Everything from that point on seemed so easy and so exciting. Billy is inspired. He knows exactly what he’s doing.’
The Wave Pictures trio – Jonny Helm, Dave Tattersall and Franic Rozycki – love a good collaboration and over the years have worked as backing band to musicians such as Daniel Johnston, Stanley Brinks and Darren Hayman. Having formed when Dave and Franic were teenagers in 1998, they have always been incredibly prolific, with Dave writing so many songs that the band have made at least one album every year since they moved to London in 2006. Their varied discography captures a range of styles and influences, from garage rock to afro-pop to country punk, all recorded live with few overdubs. They never use keyboards or guitar effects pedals yet they have all they need to create the perfect rock and roll record.
Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon really lays its influences bare. Those who might not usually look past Tattersall’s distinctive vocal stylings might miss hearing touches of The Who in the title track or The Troggs in All The Birds Lined Up Dot Dot Dot. Tattersall swears that the song I Could Hear The Telephone (3 Floors Above Me) is ‘The Wave Pictures in a nutshell: The Modern Lovers with Rory Gallagher on lead guitar’. It was while recording the song Frogs Sing Loudly In The Ditches that Billy commented that the band sounded like ‘a weird Cream‘ and proceeded to put the heaviest, bassiest feedback under it. He also suggested doing two Creedence Clearwater Revival songs back-to-back, as Dave reminisces: ‘He said “that way people will know you’ve really got an issue!” and burst out laughing.’
Billy Childish helped to bring out a different side to The Wave Pictures and inject a renewed enthusiasm to the recording process. Tattersall said that he ‘was a joy to work with and we love the record. It was the most fun we’ve ever had making a record and to us it’s the most exciting sounding thing we’ve ever done.’
Support comes from False Nines. Formed over a mutual love of lo-fi yet ambitious indie-rock, Manchester’s own False Nines have already caught the ear of BBC 6 Music’s Marc Riley with their debut demo recordings. Recently playing their first gigs across Manchester, they are soon to head into the studio with the plan of releasing a single some time in 2015.
When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 24 February 2015
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW
We’re delighted to be working with H. Hawkline for the first time!
In The Pink Of Condition – H. Hawkline’s first record for the irrepressibly brilliant Heavenly Recordings – is a transportational record. Through twelve tracks, it folds the space between a pinched grey seaside town in North Wales and the bleached-out wide-open spaces of the City of Angels. In doing so, it creates a glorious hybrid environment – one where a rundown, rough and tumble branch of Pontins could occupy the space once reserved for the Disney castle and where ‘spooky dogs’ wait for you around corners, their ‘two eyes set in a lick of fog’.
Shot through with the blues, the reds and the golds, the greens and the wispy white clouds that hang lazy over the rolling Pacific, In The Pink Of Condition truly marks Huw Hawkline’s arrival. His first album proper for Heavenly Recordings, it blossoms with all the charm, beauty, wit and wonder that’s been hinted at over the last few years across the artist’s limited run releases, singles and EPs and adds a brilliantly clear-eyed focus.
A few words of background. Huw Hawkline was born in Cardiff and raised in sunny Prestatyn, a seaside town famous for the aforementioned Pontins holiday camp and the first ever branch of Kwik Save. Formerly co-presenter of S4C’s flagship music show Bandit (alongside BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens), 29-year-old Huw recorded three albums in his native country (2010’s A Cup Of Salt, 2011’s The Strange Uses Of Ox Gall and the 2014 collection Salt Gall Box Ghouls) before taking flight for a life in LA late in 2013. (Well, you would if you could, wouldn’t you?)
The effect of the relocation on Hawkline’s music is total. Recorded in Seahorse Sound Studios just off Skid Row and produced by long-time cohort, fellow Welsh émigré and musical maven/genius Cate le Bon, In The Pink Of Condition is ‘strange pop’ (words borrowed from Huw): a controlled explosion of lazer-guided guitar melody (think a careering Television set or the Pavement outside the original site of Spillers) and whip smart bi-lingual wordplay. From the scratchy proto-disco Everybody’s On The Line to the haunted saloon bar rattle of In Love and the demented strut of Moddion (Welsh for medicine), it’s a record that clearly feels the benefits of good weather.
That said, Wales is in there too – how could it not be? Viewed in backwards glances across countries, it’s there through weather smudged-windows of Rainy Summer (‘Head full of crashing waves on dog mouth dunes’) and Concrete Coloured Clothes (which paints a picture of a place ‘where slate grows slow’). If Wales is Hawkline’s brooding foundation stone; California is the optimistic extension constructed atop it.
Although reluctant to cite a shopping list’s worth of influences, Huw nods to two permanent inspirations – the maverick U.S. author Richard Brautigan (the Hawkline name appropriated from Brautigan’s 1974 ‘gothic western’ The Hawkline Monster) and a just-turned-solo Paul McCartney (Huw namechecks Ram, an album coincidentally recorded when the once-and-future Beatle was also 29 years old). From the former, a wistful ways with words – songs constructed as slices of life, surrealist observations on the everyday. From the latter – what else would one ask for other than a just smidgeon of Macca’s six sense for abundant, tumbling melody?
So, Brautigan, Macca and a union between one wild west coast and another; forks in the road on the journey of one of the most unique musical talents to emerge from Wales – or anywhere – in the last ten years. Worth sticking around to see where he’s heading next.
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 Thursday 19 March 2015
Where: The Roadhouse, 8 Newton Street, Manchester M1 2AN
We’re delighted to be working with Canada’s Abdominal & the Obliques for the first time.
Having made his debut on the UK music scene as the long time collaborative partner of DJ Format, quirky and lovable Canadian rapper Abdominal (aka Andy Bernstein) returns from across the Atlantic for a UK headline tour with his three-piece band in March.
Joined by his trusty live band, dubbed The Obliques, Abdominal’s music has been busy maturing from the seminal days of noughties hip hop that saw him and DJ Format criss-cross the UK, playing everywhere from dive raves in Exeter to sold out nights at Brixton Academy and multiple standout appearances at Glastonbury Festival.
Since his debut solo album Escape From the Pigeon Hole in 2007, Abdominal has been inevitably getting older and so his music has evolved to better reflect his advancing years and more wizened outlook on life. As well as adding The Obliques for 2012’s full-band album Sitting Music (Pinwheel Music), one notable change is the lyrical content, with less focus on the typical rap themes of braggadocio and material consumption, already done to death by many a younger MC. Instead, Abs chose to look inward, beginning to tackle themes of pain, vulnerability, courage and resilience.
Sitting Music was a critical and press success in the band’s home country of Canada, where numerous songs have been in high rotation on national radio and a successful East Coast tour and hometown shows in Toronto cemented Abdominal’s reputation one of Canada’s most unique live acts.
Through all of this much appreciated local love however, by far the majority of album sales have been to Brits! Mainly to loyal fans who have been with Abs since the DJ Format days. Given that fact (plus the constant ‘when will you next be hitting the UK?’ queries on his Facebook and Twitter walls), Abs realised a return to the UK, new band in tow, was long overdue!
‘Sitting Music is one of the most sparsely confessional and raw records of the year’ – CBS Music
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.
When: 7.30pm on Friday 15 May 2015
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE
We’re delighted to be welcoming back Nizlopi – this time to the Deaf Institute!
Nizlopi are John Parker (double bass/beat box) and Luke Concannon (vocals/guitar), a duo who sound like a four piece, folk hip-hop band. They are most widely known, for being the underground, independent act that topped the UK and Irish charts with The JCB song in 2005. They have a fierce reputation for inspiring, moving, live shows often taking the show into the heart of the audience.
Having been doing their own things for the past four years, they have come back together, performing new material, songs from their two previous albums and material for Luke’s new solo album Give It All. ‘We immediately started writing new material in the rehearsals,’ says Luke. ‘The fire is as hot as ever.’
John Martyn and Danny Thompson meets The Roots and Ani Di Franco, Nizlopi play joyful, honest, atavistic, heavenly folk stories. And when Nizlopi perform live, they are a positive force like no other.
‘Everything I know about live performance I learned from them’ – Ed Sheeran (ex-roadie to Nizlopi)