Hey! Manchester promotes gigs by folk, Americana and experimental bands from around the world in Manchester, England. Read more here, see below for our latest shows, check out our previous shows, contact us, or join our mailing list, above.

Upcoming shows: Weyes Blood... C Duncan... Jo Rose... Otoboke Beaver... The Coathangers... BC Camplight... Simone Felice... Rozi Plain... Lowly... Josh Rouse + Grant-Lee Phillips... The Unthanks... Kiran Leonard... The Essex Green... Jerron ‘Blind Boy’ Paxton... James Yorkston... The Beths... Hayes Carll... Robert Forster & Band... Siobhan Wilson... Jason Lytle... Spencer Krug... Solo Collective... Jesse Malin... The Sheepdogs... Jeffrey Lewis... Lawrence Arabia... Gratis #1: Gaygirl... Justin Townes Earle... The Burning Hell... The Stroppies... The Catenary Wires... Deerhoof... Mark Mulcahy... The Album Leaf... Jesca Hoop... Robyn Hitchcock... Samana... The Delines... BC Camplight...

When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 24 April 2019
Where: YES (The Pink Room), 38 Charles Street, Manchester M1 7DB

PLEASE NOTE: This show has sold out. Watch this space for details of future Weyes Blood shows.

We’re delighted to be working with Weyes Blood again – this time, at YES.

Weyes Blood (pronounced wizebluhd) will release Titanic Rising, her fourth album and Sub Pop records debut, worldwide on CD/LP/DL/CS on 5 April 2019. The album features the lead single Everyday, and the previously released Andromeda, along with highlights Movies, Wild Time and Something to Believe. The cover for Titanic Rising was shot in a bedroom submerged fully underwater (zero CGI).

The new single, Everyday, chronicles the chaos of modern love and dating – short attention spans, restlessness, and the continuous crusade (and carnage) to find some kind of all-encompassing soul mate. Watch official video, in all its bloody terror, directed by Weyes Blood.

Titanic Rising, written and recorded during the first half of 2018, is the culmination of three albums and many years of touring: stronger chops and ballsier decisions. It’s an achievement in transcendent vocals and levitating arrangements, conversational lyrics and thoughtful commentary on the modern condition of our souls. Like the Kinks meet WWII (or is it Bob Seger meets Enya?), Titanic Rising manages to ride that line between classic songwriting and post-apocalyptic futurism.

Weyes Blood and her band have also scheduled an intergalactic headlining tour for the spring of 2019 in support of Titanic Rising, including this Manchester date at YES.

Tour support comes from Lonesome Leash. Lonesome Leash is the solo moniker of Los Angeles-based songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Walt McClements. Known for previous involvement in Dark Dark Dark, Hurray for the Riff Raff and Why Are We Building Such A Big Ship?, McClements, as Lonesome Leash, channels all of his musical experiences into a lean and gorgeously messy solo affair.

The show is a co-promotion with Now Wave.

PLEASE NOTE: This show has sold out. Watch this space for details of future Weyes Blood shows.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7pm on Friday 26 April 2019
Where: Band on the Wall, 26 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JZ

We’re delighted to be working with C Duncan again – this time, at Band on the Wall!

Set for release via FatCat Records on 29 March, C Duncan’s highly anticipated third album sees the Scottish multi-instrumentalist ditch his bedroom studio and work with other producers, engineers and musicians for the first time. ‘This was the biggest shift in dynamic for me,’ he explains, ‘having always worked alone, it was a daunting prospect but one I knew I had to explore.’ Navigating themes of love, anxiety and sexuality, Health – produced by Elbow’s Craig Potter – is a deeply personal record that delves into a world Duncan had previously felt uneasy exploring. ‘Writing it was a very cathartic process. It helped me through a lot of tough times and also to celebrate the good,’ he continues. Warm and harmonically rich, Duncan delightfully juxtaposes the vibrant and wholesome aesthetic of the album with an often-darker lyrical undertone, pushing himself to refine and explore new ways of writing. As the sole protagonist of his self-carved niche, Health sees Duncan evolve and expand its parameters in mesmerising fashion.

Out on 18 January, the album’s first single Impossible documents the highs and lows of a long-distance relationship with an ex-boyfriend. ‘At one point he was working night shifts, so it was very hard to communicate with each other because our schedules were completely out of sync. I wanted to see him all of the time, but it was impossible to do at that point in time,’ Duncan explains. Strings and oddball psychedelic sounds combine with equal vigour, its jarring rhythmic art-funk of offering an accurate portrayal based on personal experience.

Following the Mercury nominated debut Architect (2015) and impressive follow up The Midnight Sun (2016), Health’s soaring tapestries achieve what Duncan set out to. ‘With album three I wanted to take a more direct approach, adding even more layers but thematically and lyrically laid bare. Having someone else to bounce production ideas off was really eye-opening for me. In the past I had been very controlling about how everything would sound but Health really showed me the benefit of working with others and made the whole process much less isolating,’ he explains. Packed with fresh ideas and buzzing with invention, Health combines syncopated art-pop piano rhythms with breezy, undulating heartbreak ballads executed with acute precision. As always Duncan has contributed all the artwork surrounding the release, and the colourful and natural aesthetic is reflected in the instrumentation and lyrics.

Tour support comes from Sheffield’s Before Breakfast. Gina, Debra, Annie and Lucy weave strong melodies with piano, cello and vocal harmonies to create an authentic and accomplished sound that is drawn from a wealth of musical experience, from classical to folk, and are inspired by artists including Bjork and Marika Hackman. Before Breakfast have a strong sense of meaning, telling intimate stories about being a woman that resonate with people of all stages of life. The band recently supported Tokio Myers at Shepherd’s Bush Empire, The Sage and Albert Hall, Manchester on his UK tour and have worked with Reverend And The Makers, Jon Boden, The Dunwells and Renegade Brass Band.

This is a 10+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Band on the Wall’s box office (no booking fee), Vinyl Exchange, Ticketline.co.ukWegottickets.com and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7pm on Friday 26 April 2019
Where: YES (Basement), 38 Charles Street, Manchester M1 7DB

We’re honoured to be presenting Jo Rose‘s final show.

Jo says of this show:

I have tried a number of times to write a bio for this particular show in third person, which is something I’ve always struggled to do, even when a lack of publicist has demanded I do so. Something I have wanted to avoid is to make this gig seem too dramatic or, conversely, self-aggrandising, like that well-known pathos-heavy trope of fantasising attending your own funeral. I’d rather say in my own terms what this show is ‘about’.

I have been playing with own name as a moniker for a decade now, ever since I left the band I worked with since age thirteen, Fear of Music. It was a chance to explore new things, to put the love and influence of artists such as Elliott Smith, Townes Van Zandt, Sparklehorse, Cat Power, Bill Callahan et al., and countless others to good use. I’ve written songs I’m proud of, songs that evoke a particular place and time so far back I feel as if I’m ‘playing a part’ when I perform them, but still nonetheless love. I’ve toured Europe and Scandinavia with the generous support and faith of my friends in First Aid Kit, developed as an artist under the guidance and tutelage of Gabriel Minnikin, supported one of my all time heroes Simon Joyner in a Whalley Range back garden, shared a stage with Aldous Harding… the list of things I’ve been honoured to experience are practically innumerable so I’ll stop here, reluctantly.

I’ve made an LP (Spurs) alongside too many very talented artists to properly credit here with my friends Colin and (the sadly missed) Norman McLeod. Later on I produced an EP (the Mustanging EP) with the aid of yet more, including Cherry Ghost’s Jim Rhodes (perhaps the finest guitarist in Manchester), The Travelling Band’s Jo Dudderidge (who has had my back since day one), and Oh Man the Mountain’s Aidan Donovan, as well as Chris Hillman and Pete Marshall; all this engineered and produced by my childhood friend and all-too-hidden production wiz kid Liam Markham with little else in the way of resources but our pooled gear, my grandmother’s living room and Jim’s study.

Under this moniker (also, awkwardly, my namesake) has been the epicentre of my creative and social life for the entirety of my twenties, and the support from collaborators, friends, family, and listeners from around the world has made it all the more enjoyable and vital.

To be entirely transparent, however, I haven’t been writing much at all to add to it for a few years, in part because of circumstance, but mostly because I’m keen to step out of what my own expectations (and those of others) are when I write a “Jo Rose” song. This is neither me ditching music or disregarding the joys I’ve experienced along the way. It’s an opportunity to put these songs aside to leave room for something new, under a new moniker (think Bill Callahan, Jason Molina, etc., and their many aliases), and enjoy playing them as I have been one more time.

I want to give these songs and this style of performance, which I’ve fine-tuned to the best of my ability and will doubtless inform whatever comes next, a fond farewell and I’d love for you to join in this fine new space in Manchester at this show promoted by another long-time supporter Chris Horkan of Hey! Manchester.

For support, I’ve invited my friend Joe Edwards, who I’ve met whilst hosting open mic nights over the past few years and, lamentably, has done no shows yet. His sound betrays his strong influences Pile and Elliott Smith in their combination of structural complexity and raw, vulnerably intimate and minimal, borderline-punk aesthetic.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Vinyl Exchange, WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Monday 29 April 2019
Where: The Deaf Institute, 135 Grosvenor Street, Manchester M1 7HE

We’re delighted to be working with Otoboke Beaver for the first time – plus special guests Say Sue Me and Drinking Boys And Girls Choir!

Otoboke Beaver are a punk-rock-garage quartet from Kyoto, Japan. The band’s name is taken from a local ‘Love Hotel’ and they describe themselves as: ‘Japanese girls “knock out or pound cake” band’. Formed in 2009’s summer at Kyoto University’s music club, the band consists of Accorinrin (lead vocal and guitar), Yoyoyoshie (guitar and vocals), Hiro-chan (bass and vocals) and Pop (drums and vocals).

2017 was a breakthrough year for the band with features in Pitchfork, NPR, i-D and The Fader, acclaimed SXSW & Fuji Rock Festival debuts, a sold-out 100 Club show, and their Love Is Short seven-inch sat in the UK charts for four weeks. 2018 saw them travel over 24,000 miles in a week on their ATTYUUMA tour, which included three UK dates bookmarked by Coachella slots where they and X Japan were the only Japanese acts on the bill. The Cribs describe them as ‘punk-as-fuck’ and many view the band as one of the great live acts.

‘Sheer calamity and deliriously fun ? supercharged, sugar-rush hardcore with breathless vocals, pogo-ing rhythms, and torrential DayGlo riffs… the fire of Love Is Short recalls a lineage of patriarchy-scorching girl-gang shrieks, from the Slits’ Shoplifting to Bikini Kill’s Liar and beyond” – Pitchfork

‘Takes in the history of Japanese punk and runs with scissors in hand towards the bonkers-noise of early Boredoms, Afrirampo’s uninhibited avant-punk, and the revved-up garage-rock of Shonen Knife… Punk is rarely this charmingly vicious’ – NPR Music

Say Sue Me‘s Jaeyoung Ha (bass) and Byungkyu Kim (guitar) have been friends since fifth grade. They met drummer Semin Kang and played in bands together since winter of 2012. On meeting Sumi Choi, they immediately offered her a spot as the vocalist in a new band that would become Say Sue Me. Sumi turned out to be a natural at song writing. Semin sadly suffered trauma from a fall during the making of their second album. New drummer Changwon Kim stands in while they await Semin’s recovery.

Following anticipated showcases at SXSW in 2018, they released sophomore album Where We Were Together and a Record Store Day special covers EP It’s Just A Short Walk!, plus the Just Joking Around single and Christmas EP with two European tours. Their blend of indie rock, dream pop and surf has been widely met with critical acclaim from the likes of Pitchfork, The Fader, Stereogum, NPR, Lauren Laverne, Gideon Coe and Tom Ravenscroft on BBC 6 Music, KEXP, i-D, Dazed, ELLE and many more.

‘Jangly indie-pop, handclap-rich girl-group classics and the lightly rumbling sounds of early surf-rock. At once stylish and timeless’ – NPR Music

‘Evokes late-album indie-rock epics such as Yo La Tengo’s We’re An American Band or Pavement’s Fillmore Jive‘ – Stereogum

Drinking Boys and Girls Choir are a skate-punk trio from Daegu City, Korea, formed in 2013 when two drummers, MJ and Meena, shared a rehearsal space, and decided to form a band. Meena switched to bass and guitarist Bondu (who had just finished his military service) answered their ad. They bonded over a shared love of drinking, skating and punk.

Inspired by Sum41, NOFX and Daegu’s 1990s to 2000s hardcore punk/indie-rock scene before it moved to Seoul, the band are very passionate about not moving to the capital and nurturing a sustainable local scene. Each member writes and sings so there is a lot going on, stylistically it jumps from pop-punk, to melodic hardcore, to more drawn out indie-rock. DBGC release their 18 track debut album Keep Drinking!! in January on Damnably and Electric Muse, and have been announced for SXSW 2019.

This is a 14+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult. This is a co-promotion with Please Please You and the Brudenell.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Vinyl Exchange, WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7pm on Monday 29 April 2019
Where: Soup Kitchen, 31-33 Spear Street, Manchester M1 1DF

We’re delighted to be working with The Coathangers for the first time!

It’s a tale told so many times we might be numb to its magic, but when The Coathangers played their first show back in 2006 at a small house party in Atlanta, the band’s aspirations were little more than a one-off excuse for a few friends to hang out and make some noise. Yet the clamorous racket of that first show was addictive, both for the newly recruited musicians navigating unfamiliar instruments and for the local punks who witnessed the band’s divine birth. Other parties were quickly put on the calendar. Then a few club shows. Then came the records.

The Coathangers’ eponymous 2007 album was a rowdy, ramshackle, and infectious debut. The album’s intoxicating revelry gained traction outside of Georgia, eventually leading to a record deal with Seattle’s Suicide Squeeze Records and the band’s first forays into national touring. Subsequent studio albums Scramble (2009), Larceny & Old Lace (2011), Suck My Shirt (2014) and Nosebleed Weekend (2016) found the band expanding their sound to include elements of golden oldies rock n’ roll, Americana, and Joan Jett badassery, while their relentless touring schedule made their already jubilant live shows transcend into a sweaty, ecstatic, and damn near spiritual events. Over the course of thirteen years, the band hit many milestones – touring in Europe, Japan, Australia, and Mexico, sharing the stage with artists like Minus the Bear, Refused, Janelle Monae and The Black Lips, appearing multiple times on Last Call with Carson Daly, receiving accolades from luminaries like Kim Gordon, and landing a spot on the Billboard charts with Nosebleed Weekend.

Few bands make it out of the basement and even fewer survive more than a couple of years. The ability of The Coathangers to thrive in their thirteenth year of operation with original members Julia Kugel (guitar/vocals), Meredith Franco (bass/vocals), and Stephanie Luke (drums/vocals) is a testament to both their music and the genuine spirit of camaraderie that drives it. ‘Our combined strength is much more powerful than our individual powers, which is true of us as a band and further to us as a community and society,’ Kugel says. ‘We’re choosing to be positive, proactive, and vocal about our stories and life experiences, giving up the devil we know. We’re going to uncharted places – looking for truthful existence, one not based on fear of the unknown but one that occurs when you have an open heart to was is real.’ It took an extended break in 2018 for the trio to reflect on their accomplishments and regroup with a fresh perspective. This newly restored unity is immediately evident on their latest album The Devil You Know. As a statement on moving forward and abandoning the baggage of the past, The Devil You Know succeeds in capturing the arduous road to maturity while striking a perfect balance between the fiery spirit of their youth and the psychic creative interplay of a musical bond that has held The Coathangers together for over a decade.

Local support comes from MOLD. MOLD is an absurdist reaction to the world we live in. In nature, in your kitchen, in politics, in guitar music, MOLD only grows when things are stale and start to rot.

‘MOLD are creating a post-chaotic mayhem on the fringes of Manchester’s burgeoning music scene with their unique style of stop-start, quick-slow, random-rock meets art-rock panic. There is nothing like them right now’ – Louder Than War

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from the bar (no booking fee), Vinyl Exchange, WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 30 April 2019
Where: Band on the Wall, 26 Swan Street, Manchester M4 5JZ

We’re delighted to be working with BC Camplight again – this time, performing solo and in conversation!

“You shouldn’t have a tough time finding the angle to Deportation Blues,” claims Brian ‘BC Camplight’ Christinzio. “The past few years have been a fucking nightmare.”

But what a fucking great record he’s made off the back of his nightmare. His second album for Bella Union, Deportation Blues is an exhilarating, dynamic document of calamity and stress, relayed through richly melodic and bold arrangements spanning singer-songwriter classicism, gnarly synth-pop, ‘50s rock’n’roll and various junctures between, mirroring their maverick creator’s jarred emotions and fractured mindset.

For the full story, you have to head back to before Christinzio’s Bella Union debut, 2015’s How To Die In The North. Born in New Jersey, but living in Philadelphia, Christinzio had released two albums while battling addiction and mental illness. Both albums won rave reviews and earned Christinzio a reputation as one of independent music’s most forward-thinking artists. Soon after, however, as illness rendered him unable to function as a working songwriter, Christinzio retreated to a life squatting in an abandoned church. Despite some notable appearances as a session pianist (Sharon Van Etten) and occasional live work for Philly faves The War On Drugs (Robbie Bennett and David Hartley were in the original BC live band) he knew a sea change was needed in order to regain his career and sanity.

Feeling he’d be “dead or in jail if I stayed,” he acted on a friend’s suggestion to cross the ocean to Manchester. There, Christinzio found new inspiration, new friends, a girlfriend, a dog, and finally a new album (his first in eight years).

So, imagine his mood when he fell foul of UK immigration. “I’d had such high hopes for How To Die In The North, and I was told I was being deported two days after it came out, and banned from the UK. The next thing I know, I’m playing Pac Man in my parents’ basement, thinking, this is my life now.”

Occasional gigs in Europe, where his Manchester-based band could meet him, and extended sojourns in Dublin and Paris, broke up the monotony, but it was still “living in a constant panic attack.”

But then the cavalry arrived! Courtesy of his grandparents, Christinzio secured Italian citizenship. It cost time, money and a portion of his sanity, “but after a year and a half I could finally shove my Italian papers in their faces at the airport and return to sunny Manchester. The thing is, despite being American, I feel Mancunian, and I couldn’t think about making another record, until I got back.”

To add insult to injury, “Brexit happened, like a day after I got back. Can I get a fucking break here, please?”

Once the dust had settled, Christinzio realised, “I didn’t feel any better, I had so much anger, I felt destroyed. The demons were back and had lost me friends, I’d drunk too much, and I felt nothing but dread and disease. I thought, I can’t wait to hear what this next album is going to sound like.”

Recording in Liverpool’s Whitewood studios, Christinzio locked himself in the windowless studio and recorded almost exclusively in the dark. “The thoughts and sounds that began to flow out of me were pretty scary. I’m pretty sure the engineer started carrying a shiv in his pocket after about the 2nd day. Nothing playful sounding came out. If the last album had elements of whimsy, the thought of any on this album made me want to vomit.”

“A couple of months later we had finished Deportation Blues and emerged from the studio like mole-people”. Christinzio recorded the album mostly on his own, plus drummer Adam Dawson, occasional guitar by Robbie Rush, and a couple of session horn players. The lead track is ‘I’m Desperate’, “an ominous synth burner,” says Christinzio, with a Suicide-style throb and a haunting female vocal counterpoint that underlines the album’s manic, careering edge, fantastic hooks and instrumental verve.

It’s an uncompromising way to introduce Deportation Blues, likewise the album’s title-track opener. Bookended by metallic power chords, cascading synths and a gorgeous downbeat mood lead into slower doo-wop complete with howling falsetto. “It’s instantly a different, darker record than How To Die In The North,” Christinzio notes.

Deportation Blues is also noticeably more electronic than its predecessor. “I was feeling cold so every time something sounded pretty, I replaced it with something that sounded like an ice pick. The apocalyptic nuclear feel really appealed.”

Throughout, Christinzio sounds as if he’s walking a knife-edge. Take second track ‘I’m In A Weird Place Now’, a heady conflagration of Spector and Springsteen, with Christinzio confessing “And there’s something about Manchester town / And the silly little things she makes me do.” “I like the oppressiveness of the weather in Manchester, it brings everyone down to my level” he explains.

The fried mood continues on ‘Hell Or Pennsylvania’, splicing woozy noir jazz lounge-drunk cabaret by way of ‘50s legend Jerry Lee Lewis – Christinzio’s entry point to music through his mother’s record collection. “It’s the first time I’ve reflected that on a record,” he says. “Jerry Lee was this guy bashing at a piano who didn’t give a shit, and I didn’t give a shit.” The lyrical reference to “lemon twirls” meanwhile, represents Brian’s struggle with substance abuse: “The big choruses are a celebration of cocaine whilst the jazz sections represent the lament, the familiar loathsome aftermath.”

The sudden changes of mood and style are also metaphorical. For example, ‘Am I Dead’ embraces cinematic horns, broody pop and synth-bass afro-funk. “I go through highs and lows and have trouble staying entertained,” he admits. “A musical part can state its purpose in fifteen seconds, sometimes it doesn’t need repeating. The trick is tying everything together without it sounding confusing.”

‘Am I Dead’ is segued between ‘When I Think Of My Dog’ and ‘Midnight Ease’, two plush, heart-aching piano ballads with rippling saxophone. After ‘Fire In England’, a greasy, nervy rocker, is a bitter ode to British PM – and former immigration controller (as Home Secretary) Theresa May (“dresses like a bus seat, doesn’t she?”). It’s a complex, bleak record I guess” Christinzio concludes. “As dramatic as it may sound, this album was made by a dude who wasn’t sure he’d be alive the next day. Nothing is there for any other reason than it’s the truth. It’s not trying to sound cool or get on the radio.”

Though Christinzio points out “this is no redemption I-saw-the-light story,” he is allowing himself a little bit of hope for once: “I’ve never been as pleased with where I am artistically as I am right now.”

On top, his new band, “is phenomenal.” Alongside trusted drummer Dawson is Luke Barton (guitars, synths), guitarist Tom Rothery and multi-instrumentalist/ backing singer Ali Bell. Leading them is a man that a bartender in Manchester recently described as, “like Mozart and Tony Soprano had a kid.” Brian Christinzio, and BC Camplight, genius and pain, may be here to stay at last.

Ahead of his solo performance, BC Camplight will chat with Shell Zenner about his journey musical journey – including his experience as a session musician, his relocation to Manchester and the writing of his fourth and most critically acclaimed album ‘Deportation Blues’. This is a rare opportunity to enjoy an intimate seated show with one of Manchester’s finest musicians.

This show is a co-promotion with Show-Stream.tv.

This is a 10+ show. Under 16s must be accompanied by an adult.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Band on the Wall’s box office (no booking fee), Ticketline.co.uk, and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Tuesday 30 April 2019
Where: Leaf on Portland Street, 113–115 Portland St, Manchester M1 6DW

We’re delighted to present a solo show with Simone Felice!

Simone Felice is a founding member of internationally acclaimed Catskill Mountain-based artists The Felice Brothers, whose seminal albums remain some of the most influential works of this century’s folk-rock revival.

Simone has been hailed as one of the great songwriter-poets of his generation, bringing these gifts and history to his work as a prolific record producer.

Recent projects include The Lumineers’ #1 worldwide hit Cleopatra, Bat For Lashes’ stunning Mercury Prize-shortlisted concept album The Bride, and new releases by Phoebe Bridgers, Conor Oberst, Ian Felice, Vance Joy, Peace and Jade Bird.

Simone’s powerful new single, Puppet, is out now.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Vinyl Exchange,  WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.
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When: 7.30pm on Thursday 2 May 2019
Where: YES (Basement), 38 Charles Street, Manchester M1 7DB

PLEASE NOTE: This show has sold out. Watch this space for details of future Rozi Plain shows.

We’re delighted to be welcoming Rozi Plain back to Manchester!

The music of Rozi Plain has always felt like a freeze-frame. A colourful and graceful snapshot of the world, paused, suspended in time, and then gently toyed with, like stepping out of the linear world as we know it. Wide awake in dreaming. There have been three records over the past decade, each one just like this, alluring and beguiling in the delicate nature through which they exist, as if one wrong move could lead the whole thing to collapse in on itself, sending you tumbling back to the real world at any given moment.

Her brand new album, What A Boost, carries the same sense of exquisite elegance but is an altogether different, and distinctive, journey. One, in fact, that was inspired and informed by just that: of travel and passage, of the unique inspiration found in different and differing people and places. Of movement and motion. Of journeying.

Tweaked and refined during a year spent touring the world playing bass in This Is The Kit, What A Boost nurtures its homely roots and then blooms into a record that isn’t strictly about life on road but is undoubtedly, and beautifully, shaped by it. Textural, repetitive, propulsive, the whole piece plays out like a soundtrack to the world flying past the window; all of the shapes, colours, sights and sounds, flickering fast as we try to take as much of it in as we can.

What A Boost is also the product of the singular spaces within which it was created. First there was the Old Dentist’s Studio around the corner from Rozi’s home in Clapton, where many of the initial ideas were first conjured. Then there was an RAF base in Suffolk where some of the songs began to come to life. A day off on tour in LA enabled a fruitful days recording three songs (Swing Shut, Conditions and Trouble) with Chris Cohen (Deerhoof, Cass McCombs, Weyes Blood). Then back to London, where the album really came together at The Total Refreshment Centre, a somewhat legendary fixture in the flourishing London jazz scene. Rozi’s previous album, Friend, was the first to be recorded there. ‘Since then the TRC became part of my life. A great community of artists and musicians getting stuff done, making proactive moves,’ enthuses Plain. Naturally she returned there again for What A Boost, shortly before its closure as a live venue in 2018 due to intervention from Hackney council.

Suitably then, the record is imbued throughout with a sense of freeform adventuring, small seeds that grow into something far greater thanks to repetitive jazz-like patterns of the guitars, and gently shifting tempos that rise and fall and rise again, crafting a record that is both colourful and complex. Lead track Conditions sets a perfect tone, the song as magnetic as Rozi has ever sounded, blending shuffling, skittish percussion with sparkling guitar lines that drive the whole thing forward. Swing Shut is a gleaming concoction of heady groove and jubilant colour, while stand-out Dark Park offers something even more hypnotic, a shifting, fascinating ode to the ‘wafts of change that can suddenly hit you,’ as Rozi herself explains it: ‘Like when the seasons change and you suddenly remember your whole life at that time of year.’ The record culminates with a studio recording of When There Is No Sun, Rozi’s much-loved Sun Ra cover; a staple of her live set for the past couple of years and a big influence on her more recent workings

Another key facet of What A Boost is collaboration. Inspired by her invitation to participate at 2018’s PEOPLE festival, a week of one-off collaborative performances devised by Bon Iver’s Justin Vernon and Aaron Dessner of The National, Rozi opened up her new record to a number of different minds, each of them imbuing the work with little touches of their own magic.

‘It’s so great to work with other people that you like and trust, and allow yourself to let things be taken to places you wouldn’t have been able to,’ Rozi says of this process. ‘I think there’s probably a lot of learning and trust you have to do with yourself before you can trust other people. Learning to be brave and not being too attached to certain things is all part of the collaboration curve.’

Co-produced by regular drummer Jamie Whitby Coles, the record also features fellow live-band members Neil Smith, Amaury Ranger and Gerard Black. Elsewhere, Rozi opened up her new work to a host of friendly and familiar faces, with What A Boost boasting informed playing from the likes of Sam Amidon, Rachel Horwood (Bas Jan, Trash Kit), Joel Wästberg a.k.a. Sir Was, Raphael Desmarets, Yoshino Shigihara (Zun Zun Egui, Yama Warashi) and Dan Leavers from The Comet Is Coming who recorded and played on experimental highlight The Gap. The album was subsequently mixed by Ash Workman (Metronomy, Christine and the Queens) at his Electric Beach studio.

Intricate and meandering, enigmatic and ambiguous, What A Boost neatly sits alongside Rozi Plain’s past work, while opening up a whole new world to discover. One that sparkles and pricks at the senses. One that gently reveals more about itself with each passing play, rolling on and on through new vistas and pathways, through places to inhabit and leave behind; a succession of sequences that remind you to recall where you’ve been, where you are, and where you mean to go next. ‘Maybe this is a product of being away so much,’ Rozi questions. ‘I feel like you do a lot of looking back, looking forward, looking at your life, and looking out of the window.’

‘Seductively off-kilter pop… lovely stuff’ – Uncut

‘Exquisitely blissed-out’ – MOJO

Special guest is Benedict Benjamin. Benedict Benjamin is Ben Rubinstein, formerly of The Mariner’s Children and Peggy Sue (Wichita). After writing and recording his debut, Ben turned to a more full band sound for his second album Truant, which was written just before and after becoming a father and is about the panic and pragmatism of expecting and then becoming a parent. The early sixties influence of The Everly Brothers is still present in the melodies, but now there is an urgency and grit to the instrumentation that sits somewhere between The Velvet Underground and Tom Petty, or more recent forbears such as Kevin Morby and Angel Olsen. Both Night Songs and Truant were produced by Dan Blackett (Landshapes, Bella Union). Truant will be released on 3 May 2019.

PLEASE NOTE: This show has sold out. Watch this space for details of future Rozi Plain shows.

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When: 7.30pm on Friday 3 May 2019
Where: Gullivers, 109 Oldham Street, Manchester, M4 1LW

We’re delighted to be welcoming Lowly back to Manchester!

‘If you stick to what you know, your music, your art or whatever your situation is becomes stagnant,’ say Denmark’s Lowly. ‘And we wouldn’t like to miss out on anything, just because we felt too comfortable.’

A band unafraid to reach beyond their comfort zone, Lowly thrive on the embrace of doubt and curiosity. An inquisitive spirit drives the quintet’s second album, which evolved from an open-ended process in large spaces, from lost factory halls to water towers. Released through Bella Union on 12 April, Hifalutin brims with suggestive discoveries from its title onwards. Dictionary definitions include ‘pompous’ and ‘larger than life’; the word is also antonymic with the word Lowly. However you take it, the result is the work of five people expressing themselves freely as a tight collective: focused, yet fertile with possibility.

Warmly received in Pitchfork, Uncut and elsewhere, Lowly’s debut album, Heba, was a feast of dramatic dream-pop. Yet Hifalutin is more ambitious still. The album was primarily recorded in a 150m2 warehouse, just outside the city of Aarhus. Band-members recorded their parts as individuals and as a group; meanwhile, the producer, Anders Boll, placed microphones in nooks and crannies of the enormous space, all the better to highlight the dynamics between the band-members.

‘We dared to be even more curious,’ explains guitarist and singer Nanna Schannong, ‘and start recording without knowing where we would end up. This curiosity released a huge amount of trust and confidence between us: we became much more tolerant of each other’s diversity, and dared to give each other space. It also meant that some sketches suddenly became two pieces… or, that eight to nine different pieces suddenly found themselves in one song.’

A willingness to turn their backs on accepted frames of practise, for both recordings and performances, has characterised Lowly since their formation in 2014 at the music academy in Aarhus, Denmark, where they studied different subjects but forged a unique chemistry out of contrast. Last autumn, they played a concert in Brønshøj Water Tower, in the suburbs of Copenhagen, where the reverb was long and pronounced. The band had to carefully reconsider which notes and chords they could play; too many tones would muddy the sound. Pieces from this concert would find their way to Hifalutin.

As synthesiser player Kasper Staub reflects, ‘We want to give doubt, and curiosity, a voice. It is needed in a world characterised by obsession and goal-orientated living. You don’t need to know the answer in advance, to express yourself. If we don’t allow ourselves to forget the goal, we risk missing all that we did not already know.’

Fittingly, Hifalutin is an album of many entrance points. After the glistening come-hither to wandering minds of Go for a Walk, Stephen reflects on death, inspired by the loss of Professor Stephen Hawking. The warm trip-hop currents of Baglaens (or ‘backward’) contrast sharply with the buoyant beats clusters of Staples. i resembles a hymnal Stina Nordenstam, constantly seeking new ways into a song, while the alt-R&B-ish In the Hearts offers an unguarded, Poliça-esque paean to connectivity: as Lowly put it, ‘It’s about the magnificent power of love that transcends everything and connects us all.’

With each band-member’s input emphatically felt, Out Beyond locates a sweet spot between the synthetic and the organic in its interplay between trance-y synths and Spanish guitars. The momentous crescendo of Children and the strange pulses of ii showcase Lowly’s powerful, experimental range; meanwhile, the echoing piano of the Radiohead-ish Delicate Delegates finds them at their most beautiful. Selver offers space to breathe and 12.36 revisits the dream-dotted paths of Heba, before the sublime synths of Wonder bring the album to an immersive, expansive climax.

These diverse songs find hidden connections to each other through the chemistry between the sounds and Boll’s productions. And, of course, through the literate, abstract lyrics, which include references to works by experimental poet Inger Christensen and Persian poet Jalal ad-Din Rumi. ‘Our lyrics consist of images and scenes that briefly glide into one’s field of view, and then disappear again,’ co-singer Soffie Viemose explains. ‘We’d rather show something than say something quite literally.’ An invitation sent from and to curious minds, Hifalutin is luminous modern pop at its most delicate and robust, assertive and open-ended. You wouldn’t want to miss out.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from the bar (no booking fee), Vinyl Exchange, WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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When: 7.30pm on Friday 3 May 2019
Where: St Philip’s Church, Encombe Place, Salford, M3 6FJ

We’re delighted to be promoting a rare co-headline show for Josh Rouse and Grant-Lee Phillips.

Josh Rouse was born in Nebraska, and following an itinerant upbringing he eventually landed in Nashville where he recorded his debut Dressed Like Nebraska (1998). The album’s acclaim led to tours with Aimee Mann, Mark Etzel and the late Vic Chestnut. The follow-up – Home (2000) – yielded the song Directions, which Cameron Crowe used in his film Vanilla Sky.

For his breakthrough album, 1972 (2003), which happens to be the year he was born, Rouse decided to cheer up a bit. Noting that he’d earned a reputation for melancholy, he says, with a laugh, ‘I figured this is my career, I might as well try to enjoy it’. The follow-up, Nashville (2005), continued the hot streak and expanded his audience further.

After relocating to  Valencia, Spain with his wife Paz, Rouse has released a steady stream of high quality songs and albums. Subtitulo (2006) contained the international indie folk hit Quiet Town. On El Turista (2010) he even experimented with writing and singing some  songs in Spanish. In 2014, he won a Goya Award (the Spanish equivalent of an Oscar) for best song for Do You Really Want To Be In Love, from the film La Gran Familia Española.

His most recent release, The Embers of Time, was one of his strongest — self-described as “my surreal, ex-pat, therapy record.” Charles Pitter astutely noted in Pop Matters: ‘The critics may long for drama and scandal, but The Embers of Time often demonstrates that a simple life could be for the best.’

‘A talent to outrank Ryan Adams or Conor Oberst’ – Uncut

‘I’m drawing on the urgency of the moment,’ reflects Grant-Lee Phillips. ‘The things that eat away in the late hours.’

That urgency inspired the headlong rush of Widdershins – available now via Yep Roc – in which Grant-Lee Phillips invests the insight, nuance, and wit that has distinguished his songcraft over the past three decades in a riveting dissection of today’s fraught social landscape. Beneath the moment’s tumultuous veneer, Phillips uncovers resonances spanning centuries – patterns echoing from the present day to the distant past. Its twelve tracks were cut largely live in the studio with the sharp trio of Phillips (guitar, vocals, keyboards), Jerry Roe (drums) and Lex Price (bass) serving as messengers. Says Phillips, ‘This moment is explosive, volatile, and heightened. It’s important to me that the music reflect that.’

By turns sardonic, provocative, and illuminating, Widdershins (produced by Phillips and mixed by Tucker Martine) delivers its poetic truths through Phillips’s peerless melodic sensibilities, carefully balancing intensity and vulnerability. A now seasoned songwriter and performer, with more than two decades’ experience first as frontman of the acclaimed Grant Lee Buffalo then as an accomplished solo artist, Phillips awakens comfort and hope by shining light into darker corners. ‘I hope to express my faith in people, my faith in the good ideas we’re capable of, and that regardless of what opposition we face, the fact that we can surmount these things,’ he concludes. ‘We can stare them down, laugh at them, belittle them, and drive the darkness back into a hole.’

We’re excited to be returning to a very special venue for this show: St Philip’s Church. The building is one of Greater Manchester’s finest Georgian buildings, dating back to 1825, and its Greek style is unique in Salford.

Buy tickets now. Tickets are available from Vinyl Exchange, WeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

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