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FOUR PLAY: TWANG DJ’S MONTHLY ALBUM REVIEW

Every month Twang go through the best new releases and – as ever – this month there have been a bunch of records to get lost in. To make it a bit easier for everyone involved, they do the hard work and pick out the top four albums at the moment – to create: Four Play! In no particular order…

ROLLING BLACKOUTS Coastal Fever – ‘Hope Downs’

The debut album from Australian quintet Rolling Blackouts Coastal Fever is thirty-five minutes of upbeat contemporary indie. With the three lead singles making up the front end of the album, the first track, ‘An Air Conditioned Man’ continues their speedy, unique riff laden music. Followed by ‘Talking Straight’ & ‘Mainland’ the album sucks you straight in.

After releasing two six track EP’s since formation, in a relatively short space of time, surely the songs that would typically make up that debut album had already been used. Don’t be daft. With three singer-songwriters in the bands, it becomes clear that the creativity in the band is coming from many different avenues. Despite this though, the themes in the songs seem intertwined, and displays how tight the members are.

It is some feat in this era of music to make a record that has this much power, with such a simple formula at its core. It is incredibly hard to pick stand out songs from this album, it’s a modern day masterpiece that deserves all the recognition it is getting. Proving that despite what the pop charts might be championing, guitar music that is this good is never really going to go away. – Andy

RBCF return to the UK this autumn at Manchester Academy 2 on Friday 19th October

Aydio – ‘Inversion’

The best electronic music evokes deep emotion in you, even though there is no lyrics to orchestrate and pull on your heart strings. Aydio manages to capture your attention on almost every track of ‘Inversion’, this is not to say it’s a melancholic piece, not in one bit.

The opening track ‘Surface of Revolution’ starts smartly enough but breaks and cascades into soaring beaut. About 2 minutes in, you know you are dealing with an elite level album. There is no, what you would class as discernible beat on there. ‘Taurus’, lets strings dive and echo throughout the song, but then on ‘Sonrisa’ (the next track), he compensates with a heavy 4×4 beat interplayed with filtered flamenco-guitar sounding riffs.

Reading an interview with him, the man behind Aydio – Adam Harper – doesn’t have a set way to build music and draws his influence from all types of world music. This shines through loud and clear in his music. You feel a suggestion of an instrument in every track and you could maybe identify a country, but which country that may be, you can never quite pin it down. I compare this to Caribou, not because it sounds the same (because it doesn’t), but because it’s electronic music that you can daydream to, get surges of positivity to or completely break your heart to. But you’re not exactly sure why. – Mal

Miles Kane – ‘Coup De Grace’

Is it too early to start calling Miles Kane a legend of Brit Rock & Roll? Maybe so, but he is certainly on his way. His third solo album ‘Coup de Grace’ is a fierce tirade of his trademark tunes; interspersed with glam rock offerings. His last musical release was on behalf of The Last Shadow Puppets and this time round he has teamed up with pal Jamie T and Lana Del Rey for his solo release. With those names at the helm, how could it possibly go wrong?

Where his TLSP bandmate, Alex Turner, took the Arctic Monkeys down a more crooner and lounge-esque path, ‘Coup De Grace’ plays right into the hands of those that love a chorus to sing-a-long to and to lose themselves at sweat drenched gigs.

His formula hasn’t changed particularly, with the guitar riffs and melodies flowing like they have on his other records. This is classic Miles Kane, but the key album moments come on the slower, moodier, glam tracks. Lead single ‘Loaded’, was where Miles worked with Lana Del Rey and it produces a euphoric chorus, depicting the trials and tribulations of an ending relationship.

‘Coup de Grace’ is the albums highlight, a rolling bass walks through the tracks intro, before the echoing lyrics explode into the chorus and funky guitar come to the fore. ‘Cry On My Guitar’ has Bolan written all over it, a real true pounding drum beat hammers home throughout the whole track.

This will be a certified instant hit with the core Miles Kane supporters. His love for his craft is what makes it spectacular. Trialling the songs in small venues and intimate gigs all around the UK shows how much passion he has for just playing his music to the fans. He states on Twitter ‘Keep it simple and real and you can’t go wrong’. Never a truer word spoken.

Clearance – ‘At Your Leisure’

We have always been admirers of smart snappy roilling guitar music. Underlining that very fact is our review of Rolling Blackout Coastal Fever’s album this month. Well please allow me to wade in with another.

I happened across another review of this album and it centred on what the reviewer perceived as blandness, which I feel completely misses the point. Sure the tone of this album remains the same as the previous one, the effects of the guitar and the pitch of Mark Bellis’s vocals remains the same as it always has. And it’s also true when a band takes this approach, you definitely don’t get the soaring peaks and troughs you get with other albums. But when an album in its entirety is this good, then the gamble has paid off handsomely.

The album cracks along, the opener ‘Chances are’ immediately drags you in with bright jangly guitar and warm understated vocals. The tone is set. I interpret this album entirely as consistently, subtlety brilliant. If you are a fan of bands such as Quilt or Ultimate Painting, then you will appreciate this album. I haven’t stopped listening to the album and it really does gets better with each listen. Trust me. It’s a great little album to have in your collection to turn to when you need a smile putting on your face. At your leisure indeed. – Mal

Catch Twang live in the Ancoats General Store Studio monthly on MCR Live 🎵
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UPCOMING: Glitterbox – 25.08.18

PHOTOGRAPHY BY JACK KIRWIN

Flamboyant, extravagant and one hundred percent down-for-a-good-time, Glitterbox is making an appearance at Albert Hall this Saturday. The wonderfully hedonistic party will bring with it a gang of world-renowned DJs as it steps up to the proud position of Manchester Pride’s official after party.

The likes of Roger Sanchez, Simon Dunmore and Hifi Sean will be joined by dancefloor diva and superstar singer Julie McKnight, most famously known for her hands-in-the-air, loved up vocals on Kings of Tomorrow’s 2001 deep house underground crossover hit Finally. 

The Albert Hall has seen numerous special guest singers grace the stage at disco events in recent years, most notably with the La Discotheque series, which featured Jocelyn Brown, Candi Staton & Evelyn ‘Champagne’ king. Glitterbox, no stranger to putting on a large-scale get-down in their spectacular and notorious residency at Hï Ibiza, will have no problem stepping up to put their mark on the venue, centre stage.

But the glory’s not all for McKnight, let’s take a closer look at those DJs. Roger Sanchez is a man who needs no introduction, bursting onto the scene in 1990 with his club hit Luv Dancin’ under the moniker Underground Solution, Sanchez has remained active for almost three decades since then. In between remixing Michael Jackson, Daft Punk and Madonna, Sanchez won the top rank in the 2015 Official Global DJ Rankings in the category of Top Global House. All the while he’s been consistently making dancefloors around the world sweat, groove and rejoice into the wee small hours. 

Simon Dunmore, a Glitterbox favourite and managing director of Defected Records, has also been spreading the word of house and disco to the hungry masses for over 25 years. Simon, along with Defected co-founder Janet Bell, was responsible for importing and releasing the top ten garage house anthem Can’t Get Enough by Soulsearchers from Miami – not bad for a label’s first release.

Bringing Crystal Waters into 2017 with her hit Testify, dance music veteran, producer and DJ, Hifi Sean will also take the controls this weekend at Albert Hall. Rewind 25 years or so, and Sean Dickson was making baggy dance-rock as the lead singer for John Peel favourites The Soup Dragons. Since then, he’s carved out a career as a respected DJ who has recently made his return to clubland.

Arguably the main act of Glitterbox this weekend is going to be the people coming together to celebrate Manchester Pride. Now able to call itself one of the UK’s leading LGBT+ charities, Manchester Pride and Glitterbox will join forces in the ultimate party that stands up to discrimination on and beyond the dancefloor. As Shalamar put it so plainly back in ’82, it’s going to be a ‘night to remember’.

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EP: The Yossarians – ‘Ambition Will Eat Itself’

WORDS BY HENRY COLQUHOUN

Mancunian legends with a range of different band members over the years, The Yossarians are now back and fully formed, complete with a new EP release: ‘Ambition Will Eat Itself’. You might even happen to know a member of the band, working idly alongside you. I was recently chatting with a friend about the many bands he’d been in when he started mentioning tours around Europe and the like. Naturally, I stopped him to enquire with whom this touring may have taken place. Theoss Airienne. “What?”. The Yess Aliens. “Sorry, what?”. The Yossarians.

Although I’d heard of the book, I was unfamiliar with its main protagonist Captain Yossarian and struggled to grasp the pronunciation of his surname. But on the flip-side, it would seem to be a memorable band name since here I sit.

From the little I’ve heard or read about them, I know that they’ve been compared to Bad Seeds, The Birthday Party (anything Nick Cave related really) and Swans. Not a bad comparison in sight. The first track – ‘Caramelised’ starts off like some dark gruesome song you’d find one of the above artists playing: staccato riffs and jarring guitars coming into the fray during the chorus. As singer and guitarist Tim Schiazza lingers on some “ing” endings as the manic rhythm and feel continues to pound, you’re reminded of The Veils at their punkiest.

“LET THE DEAD SING
PENDULUM SWING”

With my latest comparison in mind, second track ‘World’, a much calmer and relaxing number, albeit with eeriness intact, complete with a simultaneously rousing and drifting off ending, complete with soft arpeggios and violin. In fact, ‘Ambition Will Eat Itself’ is a most appropriate apocalyptic record.

#yossarians #CDF #celebrationdaysfestival @celebrationdaysrecords

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The sound is amped up again for third track ‘Friends We Are’ and the driving pounding rhythm on the album opener returns, notably with the recurring “friends of friends of friends of friends” lyricsAnd before you know it, the song has raced to its ending. By now, I’m wishing the album didn’t flow so quickly and smoothly. At a mere 17 minutes, it flies by and leaves one desperate for more. Another comparison comes to my fore on standout track ‘Ambition Will Eat Itself’ as the guitar sound and opening lines remind me of none other than Alex Turner and the Arctic Monkeys on their darker material (Josh Homme-era). A familiarity I also felt on the closing chords to second song ‘World’. Schiazza snarls like Nick Cave at points, the violin drones on like Warren Ellis and the title track thumps repeatedly like the Bad Seeds. But as the piano softly fades into nothingness, this is no meager amalgamation of bands I’ve compared them to, after all, they have been going for long enough to have forged their own particular sound and style which begs to be delved into and I personally can’t wait to dive into their back catalogue.

They end the EP as many EPs should, with a wonderfully weird instrumental track: ‘As In Life As In Chess, As In Chess, As In Sex’, that starts off with a Twin Peaks-like synth drone, before guitar comes galloping in and piano echoes incessantly in the background before a single deep drum kick signals the end. The Yossarians are back and here’s to hoping that they stay with us.

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IN CONVERSATION WITH: Through The Eyes Of Ruby

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER        IMAGES BY THROUGH THE EYES OF RUBY

They’re the maverick photographers often seen at the front of a hectic gig, analogue camera in hand, bottle of wine in the other. Through The Eyes Of Ruby are Ste Fletcher and Owen Godbert, making a name for themselves with their unconventional methods of photographing artists (on and off stage) that lands them with distinctive shots. Amidst a brief break in their schedule, we caught up with the pair to learn more about why/how they do what they do best.

Pussy Riot at Summer Hall, Edinburgh

The pair met almost twenty years ago during their teenage skateboarding years. From there, Owen took up film photography as a hobby whilst Ste became involved in music and wound up in “a few dead-end bands” until he craved a new side project back in 2016. “I started with Digital (photography) but I soon got bored of that, all the images look the same.” As regular gig-attendees already and Ste making the switch from digital to film photography, it was a natural decision for them to join forces and shoot together at gigs and music venues. With Owen based in Glasgow and Ste in Manchester, theirs is a working relationship that works, with both being able to travel to either or different cities.

Over the years, one band have seemingly brought them both together. In 2015, a combination of Eccentronic Research Council and Fat White Family members, merged together to create the outlandish rock act that is: The Moonlandingz. A defining moment for both Ste and Owen was when they both, separately saw the band for the first time. Ste at The White Hotel equipped with one of his early digital cameras and Owen at Stereo in Glasgow, both shows ignited their passion for live act photography. “I didn’t know what to expect, it was completely insane” mentions Owen whilst thinking back to the gig that landed him with the below shot of the band.

The Moonlandingz at Stereo, Glasgow

With an organic ethos to not take things too seriously, the pair shoot acts that they admire and would enjoy seeing if they were a regular punter. Most memorably, at the start of the year they shot The Starlight Magic Hour for So Young Magazine at The Five Bells in London. “The most memorable gig, which ended up pretty mental with copious amounts of wine” brought with it a missing camera, a broken lense and a missing passport. “Start as you mean to go on” they joke but even still, some candid, expertly snapped shots survived from the half roll of film that made it out of the weekend. They have a charm and ease that fortunately gets them out of trouble and some how always lands them with stand-out images.

Speaking of their style, the duo commend their ethos as well as a pre-gig pint for their confident nature. “When it’s a band that you like and they’re going for it – your confidence just skyrockets and all boundaries go out of the window” both nod, clearly inspired by the bands that they’re fortunate enough to work with. Difficulties do come into play though when shooting a live performance, with a mention of another time they shot The Moonlandingz at Gorilla. “It was just like a mosh pit, it was too manic – one minute you’re getting pushed, the next you’ve got a pint of Guiness poured on your head.” A frenzy of activity can leave any photographer struggling to work in an environment but also add to that, bad lighting at a venue and it becomes ever harder to get the right shot.

Mold at Gullivers

Over their time together they’ve learnt that the smaller venues are their friends and are part of the method that suits their madness. Going forward, there’s no sign of Through The Eyes Of Ruby slowing down: “the goal for us is to keep going, do more exhibitions and go on tour with bands.” The same as with anyone involved in the creative industry, money in the Arts is an issue which they try to ignore. “Sometimes I do think maybe I shouldn’t have spent ten pounds on some film but what’s the point” is their monetary management programme – one that suits their homespun aesthetic. Coming up they have Psych Festival in Manchester, Strange Waves IV featuring Brian Jonestown Massacre and calendar that seems non-stop when they start to reel off what’s coming up. As we part, they’re off to shoot The Jesus and Mary Chain in at the O2 ABC in Glasgow (after the pre-gig pint of course).

Think they’re easy on the eye? Discover Through The Eyes of Ruby on Facebook and Instagram 📸
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TRACK: Giant Boys – Clap Your Hands

WORDS BY HANNAH TINKER

Fast-moving and true to their form, Giant Boys introduce their new EP: ‘Clap Your Hands’. Since forming in 2017, the Salford-based duo stormed into the studio; equipped with their fresh, organic ethos that the first take of their recordings is the published sound. In Manchester alone, the pair have seen success that’s thrust them forward into the limelight, including a debut a gig supporting for Hyena Kill‘s EP launch back in April this year. Since then Giant Boys have amassed a UK-wide following, with feature performances at London’s ‘Old Blue Last’, Tramlines Festival and Band On The Wall’s FREE VIBES.

Post-punk gets a callow, minimalist refresh from the band, with a sound that entwines a Slaves-like level of recognisable Brit punk with something fresh and DIY, comparable to The Foetals. A sound like theirs feels pivotal in the shift of a music genre like post-punk that’s begun to become such a prominent style in the music world.

For their debut EP, the namesake title track of ‘Clap Your Hands’ is a hardcore ode to the darker side of post-punk. It’s set with a pacing drum beat that sets the tone and gets the basis for an anthem going, backed with echoing vocals by both members. The feel is one of a main character falling into madness with a calm, soothing voice narrating his descent – but is it too late? Other tracks on Giant Boys debut EP are ‘Product Recall’ and ‘Down To The Quick’ with the latter igniting reference to The Prodigy’s ‘Firestarter’ opening with a similarly invigorating sound that gets the pulse racing.

With an organic attitude, Giant Boys present their hedonistic post-punk sound in it’s rawest form and after listening to the EP, the instant thought is “when’s their next live gig”. With upcoming dates such as Stay Fresh Fest and an evening at Salford’s Eagle Inn: we’ll meet you at the front.

Set to be released for streaming on 7th September this year, with a tangible format on cassette for this years official Cassette Store Day. Like Giant Boys on Facebook to keep up to date 👀

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UPCOMING: Manchester Psych Festival

Words by Hannah Tinker

With a fleet of acclaimed bands from across the UK surfacing next month for Manchester Psych Festival, the kaleidoscope twists for the sixth installment of this inaugural, enticing event. Originally set at Night & Day Cafe in 2014, consecutive versions of the festival expanded to Aatma, Soup Kitchen and Band On The Wall with an almost sold out event last year. With their growth, the reach of Manchester Psych Festival has spread too and this edition of the visual feast takes over Night & Day Cafe, Soup Kitchen, Band On The Wall and one of the city’s newest venues: Peer Hat. Set to add a hive of activity to the already bustling Northern Quarter scene, Saturday 1st September sees The Wytches, Mold, Meatraffle and many more acts who come with a unanimous penchant for presenting a spectacle and leaving an audience with a dilated perspective.

pink kink at Manchester Psych Festival 2017

The lineup for 2018 captures all different levels of artistic success and celebrates what should be the norm – as festival organisers recently agreed to contain a lineup that showcases and engages the female audience on an equal platform to that of their male counterparts. To meet this, this years Manchester Psych Festival lineup contains the likes of Glaswegian garage-rock duo and all-female Honeyblood, 3/4 female punk-pop matadors She Drew The Gun, low-fi, female-fronted punksters The Cosmics and other lucrative female-led acts. As well as the musical lineup, Manchester Psych Fest is known for tempting the eye and manifesting the work of local talented artists for the visibly psychedelic event; this year having visual aspects from the minds of artists Louise Rivett, Natalie Wardle and Jane Bowyer.

Using their previous lineups as any guide to go by, Manchester Psych Festival is sure to be anything but ordinary – with the only downside being you’re unable to be in four venues at once – previous acts have included Telegram, Crocodiles, Flamingods, The Lucid Dream, Deja Vega, Menace Beach and many more equally feted acts. Ones to watch this year are the headlining slot – Honeyblood, who are the engaging rockers from across the Scottish border, lauded as the pair set to spearhead the rock genre forward, catching the attention of a new generation with their recently released second album Babes Never Die.

Alongside the arts, there will be a selection of food stalls sourced from local traders so you’re just a pair of wellies and bucket hat away from your classic festival field. The day of praise for the Arts doesn’t die down when it hits dusk, with DJs including The Beat Chics and Panda Palm of Me Gusta taking Manchester Psych Festival deep into the early hours of Sunday 2nd September. The sixth installment of our city’s psych celebration sees a collaboration between the vibrant art world and eclectic music scene.

Caught your attention and want to know more? Read about the success of Manchester Psych Festival 2017 and what caught our attention last year 👀

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Arctic Lake

IN CONVERSATION WITH: Arctic Lake

With a new album out it is no surprise to anyone that the indie genre continues to saturate music in 2018, especially in the UK, with new wannabe Arctic Monkeys popping up left right and centre. However, delve a bit deeper and 2018 poses as an incredibly exciting time for music – with the recent soaring rise of modern-punk, jazz-hip-hop sampling a la Tom Misch there are plenty of fresh new micro-genres surfacing through the music scene. Amongst this, Arctic Lake are the alt-pop newcomers building on the hefty foundations laid by the likes of Bat for Lashes and London Grammar. The London-based, Lancaster-bred, three-piece broke through the BBC Radio 1 playlist-barrier back in 2015 with their down-tempo indie track Limits and have shown no sign of stopping there. Graceful vocals overlay echoes of dreamy synths and delicate percussion to establish an illustration of pure serenity.

But don’t be fooled – Arctic Lake don’t want to be flat-packed into a box and shipped off on the genre-obsessed music chain, they’re keen to stand by themselves and not mould to conformity. Lead singer Emma Foster explained to us that “people then expect a certain sound from you and you end up taming your creativity by adhering to rules that you’ve subconsciously created.”

The trio – completed by Paul Holliman and Andy Richmond – met at University in Lancaster where they were all studying Music, and (after sporadic periods of playing in different bands), joined together to create their lovechild Arctic Lake “after a period of playing really bad rock music that we won’t mention.” Their sound has certainly changed since those early days of ‘dodgy rock’, with the group now finding inspiration through their common ground of music, films and experiences: “We started by having lots of different influences, from Emma’s taste in Jazz records, [Andy’s] love of books and Paul’s interest in film scores. But after working together over the past few years, we’re finding common inspirations and a shared appreciation for things.”

Now, their sound is icy and emphatic – it’s a quintessential sound, and one which will ultimately become synonymous with the band as their career progresses forward, with the likes of milestones such as their recent UK tour which saw the band play their first headline set in Manchester. The night in question was at Gullivers NQ and ended up as a hive of activity, equipped with fans who’d only ever seen the group in support slots with hopes of seeing them take the coveted lead. At last, this happened.

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In terms of inspiration; modern-day pop artists that are currently stealing the scene are aspirational and favourable components of  Arctic Lake’s daily encouragement. Musicians like Sigrid and SG Lewis plus – of course – the current “Queen of pop”, Florence Welch’s (Florence + The Machine) latest astounding album which has been on loop on through the bands collective airwaves. It comes as no surprise as, similar to Florence’s hedonistic anecdotes about the trials and tribulations of life, Arctic Lake centre their music on a theme based on human experiences, utilising them to portray and reflect such a mixed bag of emotions.

Arctic Lake have an immense about of gratitude for those who have brought the band to the place they currently find themselves, finding themelves extremely in touch with their supportive fanbase, mentioning that “talking to people after shows, and reading their messages is something that’s really special for us”. With more than 10,000 likes on Facebook whilst quickly gaining followers on both Twitter and Instagram and beautiful music videos to-boot, Arctic Lake are more than just a whisper on the grapevine.

 

Next up for the group are a number of festivals throughout the summer months, but the main focus comes beaming on Arctic Lake’s upcoming EP of which they’re so effervescently proud to be sharing in the upcoming months. In sooner news though, their new single Sight Of You – which has just been released – promises of “a lot of energy” and has proven to be the bands “favourite to play live” during this UK tour.

There is anything but dullness to the trio and, notably, nothing that can particularly halt them – just take one listen to their tempting, empathetic, lyrics.

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foetals

Photograph by Walk>Talk Productions

IN CONVERSATION WITH: The Foetals

Notorious for their limited run of live gigs yet adored by those who’ve stumbled across them, The Foetals present an alternative approach to achieving status. There’s already a debut album – Meet The Foetals – for you to purchase but, having only played a handful of gigs, how would you stumble across them?

It’s in part due to having members that already have their own individual fan-bases – from past and present circulation around the tight-knit Manchester music scene – and, of course, complimented by the sound that the three-piece offer with Americana vocals, fast-paced, eloquent drums and an entanglement of bass and guitar that combines for their opulent take on alt-indie with a 60s edge. Speaking of having band members that are successful musicians in their own right, at Sounds From The Other City they’re joined by the synonymous Aldous RH on bass. The Foetals live performance line-up often sees Tom McClung – who was at a wedding on the weekend of SFTOC18 – merging with Aldous RH on strings. Andy mentioned the one affliction of the Manchester music scene: “It’s nice that everyone in Manchester plays in each other’s bands but it means you’ve got to coordinate and time things right.” Foetals’ lead singer and ringleader Jolan Lewis – formerly of Temple Songs – and Andy Richardson, who have both worked with Aldous on his solo work, alongside other starring roles with the likes of Drugdealer, Francis Lung and Sean Nicholas Savage, make up the band. With each of their solo projects taking up most of their time, now there is finally room for the PNK SLM-signed Foetals: “I’ve been busy with Aldous, and Andy’s been busy with other things, and now Aldous has gone to do some recording so we’ve come back together.”

Image may contain: one or more people, people playing musical instruments, night and indoor

Photograph by Teletarts

The Foetals commendation amongst the Manchester music scene means they’re often requested ahead of bands that play more frequently than not. Before SFTOC18, the last gig they played was at Common for the nationally celebrated Record Store Day – but before that, it was way back in January 2017 that their last live performance came to light. Having met at college over a mutual appreciation of punk music (& Andy spotting Jolan’s ‘Dead Kennedys’ t-shirt whilst Jolan reluctantly admitted it was his brothers and “the only clean top available”) – the two have known and worked with each other ever since. Perhaps building up their rapport with the industry led to audiences being all too ready for what the musicians would bring together collaboratively? In terms of the inspiration behind The Foetals, the likes of Nick Lowe, Ray Davies, Andy Partridge and “of course Lennon & McCartney” are who turn the cogs for head honcho Jolan: “there’s a kind of British song-writing where it’s portrayed, you learn it and you sit down and you’re like ‘I’m going to write five songs today’ and that’s that. Pop songs essentially.” An appreciation for the underbelly of British music can be seen in the works of Foetals , as well as a dedication to their craft. The Foetals started out as a solo project began by Lewis in 2015 when the musician released the self-recorded, performed and mastered album ‘Meet The Foetals’ under the label PNK SLM, with all proceeds going to Cancer Research UK having been diagnosed with the disease just after the release of the album.

Recording album #2 📷 @coralie.monnet

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The decision to go with PNK SLM was a rather spontaneous move, as having recorded the album, Jolan sent it to notorious indie label Burger Records & the aforementioned PNK SLM – “they got back to me in 10 minutes after I’d sent the email and have been great ever since – we weren’t able to tour the record (due to Lewis’ recovery) and they’ve been really great with all that.” Now with Jolan on the road to full recovery, The Foetals are half-way through the creation of their second album and intriguing things to come “I’m happy with it, it’s going really well. It makes the first record feel like practice” comments Jolan. Whether it’s with PNK SLM or not is yet to be announced, but the musicians have nothing but positive feedback for the record label. With more shows promised, Manchester’s under-the-radar super collective The Foetals are coming out of the woodwork and are no longer common folklore – keep your eyes peeled.

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DMa's

TOP TRACKS WITH: DMA’s

Having just landed their second studio album ‘For Now’, the DMA’s are surfing the wave with accolades pouring in from any source that hears the soulful Brit-pop enrapture of the Australian trio. The first gig the band played in Manchester was whilst the band were still relatively unknown – “there were about ten people at Night & Day Cafe” which then built up into performances at The Ruby Lounge, followed by The Ritz –  an architectural upgrade alongside their tangible one. With the second night of their 2018 headline UK tour being at Manchester Academy – the biggest capacity venue DMA’s have yet played – we caught up with band member Jonny Took for the inspiration behind the DMA’s and the top tracks that inspire what they do.

What music do you listen to that’s influenced the new album?

JT: I’ve been listening to a lot of Air. I was listening to a lot of them whilst we were making the record so there’s the influence of a lot of their synth sounds on there. Always listening to The Jesus and Mary Chain. Actually the Cocteau Twins and Lush. A lot of music from that era. We’re very 90’s, but with more of a synth-heavy sound because I’ve just recently changed that DAW that we use, we’re now using Ableton which is a lot more prone to dance music – and a lot more fun.

What are your top tracks and why have they inspired you all?

JT: Tommy’s is definitely Bob Dylan – ‘Isis’. One thing Tommy always says – that I agree with – is that everyone always talks about the lyrics of Bob Dylan but he always had these really unique melodies. People don’t talk about that often. Mine is ‘#9 Dream’ by John Lennon – which is undeniable. For Mason it’s ‘The Clock’ by The Go-Betweens. It’s on the album The Friends of Rachel Worth – definitely a good one.

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Is there any other direction that your music is going in as a reflection of what you’re listening to?

JT: Recently we’ve been listening to a lot more punky-er tracks. Instead of just throwing a load of guitars on, some of the new songs have that kind of punk vibe. I feel like the next record could either go really electronic and dancey or the opposite way and go really punk and raw. One or the other. But either way it’s not going to mellow.

Upcoming tour dates:

May 21st – O2 Academy, Bristol
May 25th – O2 Institute, Birmingham
May 26th – The Plug, Sheffield
May 27th – Neighbourhood Weekender
24th – 26th August – Reading and Leeds Festival
25th August – Glasgow Summer Sessions with Catfish and The Bottlemen

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LAUV manchester

IN CONVERSATION WITH: Lauv

Lauv A.K.A Ari Staprans Leff is your latest installment in luscious LA pop with a gooey, heartfelt centre. We caught the twenty-three-year-old ahead of his sold-out set at Manchester’s Deaf Institute, on his first ever visit to Manchester – in amongst his sold-out UK tour. A rising star if ever we’ve seen one, Lauv has already toured with the likes of Ed Sheeran and Louis The Child and although he’s aspiring to even higher ranks, is still humbled by the chances he’s been given.

Speaking of the moment that Ed got in touch, Ari is instantly excited mentioning that @teddysphotos got in touch via Instagram after spotting him on the social media app. Teams got in touch, the two singer-songwriters met and the next thing he knew, Leff was supporting the megastar on the Asian leg of 2017’s huge ‘Divide’ tour.  A self-made man, Ari flips between New York and LA nowadays having grown up in a similar fusion of states. At the age of eighteen, Ari moved to the Big Apple to study Music Technology at New York University after a youth combined in the Californian sun of San Francisco and Pennsylvania (the state just below NYC). “I’m the singer-songwriter turned producer nerd” comments Leff of his decision to study a course a small world away from his talent as a songwriter. The course and Ari’s natural skills have led the musician on to producing songs, including smash-hits for superstars including Demi Lovato with Cheat Codes ‘No Promises’ and Charli XCX’s eponymous 2017 hit, ‘Boys’. Now on his own path, this Summer sees the stars align for the American-with-maternal-Latvian-heritage, as Ari (meaning Lion in Hebrew) closes Postivius festival (in Latvia) under his stage name Lauv (meaning Lion in Latvian) alongside countless other European festival appearances. (Dare I mention that he’s also a Leo?)

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“A Young Chris Martin”

Somewhat surprisingly when compared to his solo music, from the days as a fleeting teenager in the state of Georgia, Ari found a love for music listening to “a lot of emo tracks” from the likes of heavyweights Green Day and My Chemical Romance. He felt the lyrics resonated with him, kickstarting a desire for creating music – and also probably matched his angsty teenage hormonal mood (as I know they did for me!). Currently, the likes of Mura Masa, Phoebe Bridgers and Cashmere Cat are favourites for the youthful LA native but in a lifelong manner, Leff states Coldplay’s Chris Martin as a constant inspiration – what a compliment it must be that Australian tabloids have titled him ‘a young Chris Martin’! Listening to Lauv singles alongside those by his favoured artists, you can hear a clear correlation between both, showing the influence Ari takes from the modern musicians – the likes of hit singles Paris In The Rain and Chasing Fire are clear examples of his earnest lyricism twinned with accelerating, upbeat pop instrumentals that sound like you’ve thrown them all in a blender. Outcome? A fresh, intelligent, feel-good, bubblegum-pop taste. When asked to describe his sound though, Ari wasn’t sure how to answer. So many of his records are crafted similarly, but with a different undertone. But in tangible form, it was agreed that his music is watermelon-like – connected to the brightly coloured, carefree LA pop sound but with a heavy, weighted depth in theme and practice.

During any free time that he has, Ari is Ari and enjoys life between LA and NYC (though predominantly the former) for all it’s worth “with a margarita in hand…” There’s a stark contrast between the two states that the young artist has noticed and describes as both a blessing and a curse: “in LA you’re surrounded by actors, models, directors whereas in New York everyone looks out for themselves.” This variance in culture brings with it a thriving energy-boost as far as the Californian city is concerned, with inspirational people strolling on every sidewalk. However, with this also comes the overwhelming ‘if-I-meet-another-creative-I-will-throw-their-script-at-them’ feeling, in which case Leff escapes to New York where the dog-eat-dog nature of the city allows anyone to simply thrive on their own merit and “do their own thing”, but this soon is met with an ‘I need some inspiration’ feeling and LA calls, again.

We’re big fan’s of Lauv at MCR Live, and you can normally catch him on the station. To follow our Playlists and find out what we’re listening to at the moment, head here!

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