As the show started, and timid guitars gathered together to create a melancholic atmosphere, a fellow spectator echoed my thoughts and turned to ask: “Is this Wolf People?” Yet undeniably, it was. This minimal, almost shy entrance was immediately juxtaposed by the introduction of the anthemic ‘Silbury Sands’ and a raw, guitar-based aggression was installed. At times I found myself returning to the heavy rock heaven of the early ‘70s and, dare I say it, a slight tinge of Led Zeppelin was evident in certain moments, as towering guitar riffs and booming bass lines resonated throughout the jam-packed Deaf Institute.

It’s a wild life for us music journalists, constantly rubbing elbows with the stars. Nearly every week, we’re barraged with requests to meet the pinnacles of musical excellence. Imagine such treats as interviewing the occasional fill in keyboardist of a local rising band, or chatting on the phone with somebody you’ve been assured is next year’s big thing; we’re just too lucky. Occasionally however, outside of busy journalistic hours, your glowing aura of musical obsession helps you stumble upon an amazing chance meeting and it’s at these times you remind yourself why you bloody love music.

News of the eagerly anticipated final Streets album release has excited fans, hearing claims that Mike Skinner had returned to the high standards of ‘Original Pirate Material’ and ‘A Grand Don’t Come For Free.’ Once again Mike Skinner has produced a fresh and impressive album, reminiscent of the early work that made him the success he is. Many feel that it is definitely not his best album, perhaps third in line, and I would have to agree. Whilst this may seem harsh, this still gives Computer and Blues ample high praise.

Bugged Out! has been at the cutting edge of electro since its conception at Sankeys in 1994. However, the drought of bodies at the door suggested that the excitement surrounding electro-house at the end of the last decade had finally subsided. Luckily, the night left a convincing impression of where the future of this sub-genre may lie.

The Creole Choir of Cuba’s invocatory, cultural whirlwind of a performance at the RNCM left me both astounded and invigorated; grateful that at least in other parts of the world there are musicians who stick to their roots rather than becoming over-produced and losing that raw ‘spirit’ of music. The Creole Choir is not simply a group formed to showcase the outstanding natural talent of their individual voices, they fervently fight to depict the plight of their ancestors who were bought from Africa and forced to work in slave conditions in the sugar and coffee plantations of Cuba.

Youmeatsix were one of the highest rising bands of 2010, having played the British invasion of the US Warped Tour (which also included Enter Shikari and Bring Me the Horizon); the main stage at Reading and Leeds and finally ended the year supporting the album, Hold Me Down, released in January.

Before listening to this album, my only previous encounter with Iron & Wine was via the overly twee ballad ‘Such Great Heights’, courtesy of the Garden State soundtrack. Thus, I was pleasantly surprised by the overall content of Kiss Each Other Clean.

Preview: Stoner Rock

The greatest genre in the entire world is one which many have little experience with; Stoner rock. It’s a style of music which has very few definite articles; at one edge you have psychedelic, technical acts like Monster Magnet or my personal band of 2010 Sungrazer and on the other you have deep, sludgy behemoths such as Electric Wizard and legends of the genre Sleep. Even within stoner rock there are tonnes of sub-genre’s, fuzz, psychedelic, desert and sludge to name but a few, and as spring approaches, some of the finest examples of these bands are rolling through Manchester. So here’s a preview of the four gigs to look out for if the words stoner and rock sound good to you.

The second of four Easter weekend nights at the Warehouse Project sees the return of a series of bug names.
Skream is back after an appearance with Magnetic Man in October and with huge new releases under his belt including the recent collaboration with Example, ‘Shot Yourself In The Foot Again’, and his remix of Cassius’ ‘I Love You So’, be sure to expect a memorable set of chart-toppers, dubstep favourites and everything you need to party to.

2010 was the year of the auto-tune. With the increasingly popular Glee, the controversial use of the plug-in on X Factor and a Billboard number one album from Ke$ha- it’s everywhere. Yet, we forget that 15 years ago, international superstar Cher brought it to the forefront of musical technology, creating almost a revolutionary new sound with her hit ‘Believe’. Today it has created problems of “over produced” sounds, with untalented stars being given an easier pathway to success.

Not often does a night split itself into extremes as much as this. Opening act Hammers start the night painfully dull for such a crushingly heavy band and, whilst anything but dull, following act Iron Will’s haphazard set leaves you wondering if it is deliberate that they sound so incredibly out of time from one another. No surprise then that they announce to the waiting crowd that they are looking for a new drummer.

Let me first begin by stating that I like PJ Harvey. I like concept albums. I like history. And I like weird, plinky music. If these things are not true of you, you may not share my enthusiasm for Let England Shake.

As expected, The Warehouse Project returns this Easter, dragging us in our droves to get up to all kinds of mischief until the very early hours of the morning. Headliners include the French techno DJ Laurent Garnier, Steve Angello of the Swedish House Mafia, dubstep producer Skream, as well as further regulars to the Manchester scene Andy C and Shy FX.

Deerhoof have lingered in the left field of pop idiosyncrasy for more than a decade, loved by critics and existing as a name that is ever-present in the music blogosphere. While their influence is cited by many of the most innovative artists in the alternative world, they have yet to pierce the skin of the mainstream in the way bands such as Grizzly Bear have in the past couple of years. With Deerhoof vs. Evil, their critical adoration will continue, although whether they can gain the level of visibility that has so far eluded them remains to be seen.

Most grime novices will know the name Skepta as being that of the man partly to blame for an embarrassing dance craze, known as the ‘Rolex Sweep,’ (a kind of, ghetto Macarena). But he may also have reached your radar lately in the form of the recent chart tracks ‘Bad Boy’ and ‘Rescue Me,’ from his third studio album Doin’ it Again.

Music Editor Eoghan Bennett chats to front man Jonathan Higgs ahead of two very special gigs. There’s a rumour that you’re back in the studio? Yea we just got a load of new equipment that we’re trying out, so there’s a few new songs we’re working on. We haven’t got to the recording stage yet, […]

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