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Upcoming shows: Matthew and the Atlas... Gratis: Makushin... Beans on Toast... Lightheaded + Mt. Misery... Jake Xerxes Fussell... Andrew Wasylyk & Tommy Perman... Cat Clyde... Charlie Parr... Mock Tudors... Dominie Hooper... Steve Wynn... Ryley Walker... Terry Reid... Chime School... The Courettes... Douglas Dare... Tusks... Rachael Lavelle... Roddy Woomble... Mikey Kenney... John Francis Flynn... Old Sea Brigade... Good News... Myriam Gendron... Rob Heron & The Tea Pad Orchestra... Tropical Fuck Storm... Kris Drever... Erland Cooper... Pokey LaFarge... Admiral Fallow... Skinny Lister... The Sheepdogs... The Unthanks in Winter... Emily Barker...

When: 7.30pm on Wednesday 21 March 2012
Where: The Castle Hotel, 66 Oldham Street, Manchester M4 1LE

We’re proud to present an intimate headline show for Shrag!

Shrag will be releasing their hotly anticipated third album Canines via WIAIWYA and Fortuna POP! in May. The British art-pop five-piece are visiting Manchester in March to record a session for Marc Riley’s 6Music show.

Recorded at Gargleblast Studios with producer Andy Miller (Life Without Buildings, Mogwai, Sons & Daughters), Canines is a visceral pop record bristling with urgency, melody, and danger, and is the sound of a band fully in their stride. Lead singer and wordsmith Helen King from the band described the new album:

‘We wrote Canines between January and August last year in a long series of slightly fevered evenings ensconced in the shed at the bottom of Bob’s garden. It’s a pop record about bones and skin and cities and compulsions and love and confusion. It’s a bit strange, but you can dance to some of it, and it makes a particular kind of sense to us, which feels very exciting.’

Canines follows up 2009’s self-titled debut album, and 2010’s Life! Death! Prizes!, both of which were mixed by legendary producer (and Morrissey drummer) Woodie Taylor, fresh from his success with Love Is All and Comet Gain. Shrag’s first album was met with critical acclaim from, among others, Uncut, Pitchfork, the Sunday Times and Artrocker. Life! Death! Prizes! was equally as acclaimed as its predecessor, garnering wide-spread praise from many including Pitchfork (again), Drowned in Sound,  The Quietus, and All Music Guide, who praised ‘the kind of songs you want to hear playing loud all day and then quietly at night, a thrillingly romantic, bleedingly emotional album for people who want some bite in their pop’.

Other highlights have included performing in New York at the CMJ Music Marathon, a scene-stealing performance at Indietracks Festival, three sessions for 6Music’s Marc Riley, and a Radio One session recorded at London’s prestigious Maida Vale Studios.

Renowned for the energy and vitality of their live shows, Shrag have supported The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, The Thermals and The Cribs in the UK. They will set out on a joint headline UK tour in February with Tunabunny who share their reputation for compelling live performances.  To commemorate this union and the unmissable series of shows, the bands will be releasing a limited edition split 7” on February 20th that will bear the first fruits of Canines.

Support comes from Hey! Manchester favourites Coves & Caves. Having spent their debut year building momentum with support slots from the likes of Other Lives, the Besnard Lakes and Papercuts – 2011 came to an abrupt end for Coves & Caves with the departure of their drummer. To maintain an international dimension to the Stockport-based band, said South African drummer has been replaced by a Japanese drum machine – and along with it, a new approach to making music. After a cold winter spent huddled around an electric heater in their studio above a barbershop, they’ve emerged with a new kind of sound – simultaneously big and stripped-back, acoustic and electronic, simple and intricate. What Coves & Caves lack in descriptive logic, they more than make up for in heart-warming, sparkly pop symphonies.

We’re excited to add Tigercats as opener for this show. Comprised of former members of Esiotrot and Hexicon, and with EP tracks entitled Konny Huck and Stevie Nicks, there’s no cloak and dagger going on here. They’re a studied version of indiepop; the product of 30 years of jangly guitars and heartfelt post-punk. Slices of Orange Juice, Hefner and Violent Femmes blend to make a sound that, despite the band’s infancy, is considered, confident and utterly infectious.

This show is a co-promotion with Underachievers.

Tickets are available from the bar, Common (both no booking fee), Piccadilly Records,Vinyl Exchange, Seetickets.comWeGotTickets.comTicketline.co.uk and on 0871 220 0260.

Attend on: Facebook | Last.fm

All shows are 18+ unless otherwise stated.