Posts Tagged ‘Manchester’

Front & Follow – 25th November 2022

Christopher Nosnibor

Longtime Aural Aggro faves Front & Follow have delivered the third in their series of truly immense Rental Yields compilations, with another twenty-five tracks of remixed works which showcase the community spirit they espouse as a label and among those in its orbit.

They describe it as ‘a multi-release collaboration project raising money to tackle homelessness in Manchester… Inspired (if that’s the right word – perhaps ‘motivated’…) by our current housing system, the project encourages artists to steal (or borrow, nicely) from another artist to create their own new track – in the process producing HIGH RENTAL YIELDS. Over 100 artists are now involved (the spreadsheet is fun), each one tasked with creating a new track from the sounds created by someone else – we are then collating the tracks and releasing them over the course of the next year.’

Some would describe the project as ambitious, others as simply crackers, and it’s likely both in equal measure, but this is why we love F&F. That, and the fact that they seem of have a knack for attracting and releasing interesting artists who exist far beyond the peripheries of any kid of commercial radar (or even most alternative radars).

This compilation really does make the most of the medium: unrestrained by the limits of vinyl, cassette or CD, and has a playing time of about a week. Yes, I exaggerate, but the point is, each contribution is the length it needs to be, or the artist feels it ought to be, rather than cut or constrained, meaning that while a fair few pieces sit around the five minute mark, the Decommissioned Forests vs Pulselovers rendition of ‘Rental Yields’ runs for nine minutes and forty-four seconds, ahead of the ten-minute workout that is IVY NOSTRUM vs The Snaps Jar’s ‘AND MONEY LESS’ and a few other six- and seven-minute monsters.

But what is time, anyway, and what’s it for? As much as it’s a measure of time, it’s a tool by which lives are ordered, limited, constrained, controlled. The vast majority are paid work by the hour, not by output, and time on the clock is not your time, but your employer’s. You don’t own your time, and you don’t own your space, and you give your time to some company who profit from your time and output in order to pay for a roof over your head, a space to eat and sleep, for the profit of a landlord or a bank you owe tens, even hundreds of thousands.

How often do you hear people shrug about their shit jobs saying ‘well, it pays the rent’. Imagine lying on your deathbed, reflecting on a lifetime of drudgery to say ‘I paid the rent’, while your landlord’s spent their life living it up in restaurants and on overseas holidays and celebrating their success because you’ve paid their rent too.

Audio Obscura VS Secret Nuclear’s ‘Vacant Period’ opens the album with an apposite sample from a TV show discussing gross and net yield before embarking on a glitchy, flickering journey of droning industrial Krautrock, and paves the way for an extensive and magnificent-curated collection of variant forms of ambience. Pettaluck Vs Giant Head’s ‘Dot to Dot’ is disorientation yet soothing and hypnotic – and fucking strange. But we like strange, and Front & Follow provide plenty.

If it’s a long, long listening journey of crackling stating, looming darkness, bleeps, bloops, and extraneous noise intercut with snippets of radio, film, and TV, and ultimately forges an immense intertext of sources.

Sometimes it’s swampy, eerie, tense, others it’s quite mellow and finds a subtle groove, but Rental Yields is unyieldingly brilliant, both in terms of range and quality. And you really can’t go wrong for a fiver – the worthy cause is simply a bonus.

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Delivering a resolute punch with an acerbic sting in its tale, new single ‘Stamp You Out’ sees the Manchester band return to the spotlight with commanding form and typically uncompromising style.

From its blistering post/punk guitar lines to its punishing percussives, ‘Stamp You Out’ creates an impending atmosphere of anxiety throughout. With Adam Houghton’s trademark baritone vocal booming with all the force of an omnipotent autocrat at the lectern of a police state; it makes for a powerful statement of intent that instantly envelops listeners back into the shadow-strewn world of IST IST.
Speaking about ‘Stamp You Out’, Houghton says:

“[Stamp You Out] tips its hat to the previous IST IST where the modus operandi was to try and make an impact in the most forceful way; pounding drums and bass and repetitive lyrics. I remember watching a news report where a politician, whose name I forget, just kept saying: ‘we need to stamp this out’. I was thinking ‘we need to stamp you out’, so I wrote an aggressive fight song and a call to arms about it.”

The single is accompanied by an official video that sees the band deliver a voltaic performance of the track against a flurry of incandescent lights. Watch it here:

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Of the video Keating adds: “We felt like the track is a straightforward rock song which required a straightforward video and we didn’t want to over-embellish the visual aspect. For existing IST IST fans, it re-affirms what we’re all about, and for anyone new it tells you everything you need to know.”

The new single is also accompanied by the announcement of IST IST’s third studio album Protagonists, out 31 March 2022 via Kind Violence Records. After securing their status as one of Manchester’s most exciting acts with their 2020 debut Architecture, and then consolidating the title with its 2021 follow-up The Art of Lying; new album Protagonists arrives as something of a new dawn for the four-piece. As Andy Keating says:

“This was our first straightforward album, which sounds strange given it’s the third one. Our first album was a little bit of a back catalogue, and the rest was written in the same vein to have a coherent record. The second album was a stab in the dark and written and recorded during lockdown restrictions, but it broke us into the top 100. ‘Protagonists’ feels like the first album where there’s no pressure.”

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An album all about new beginnings, with a nod to the trials and tribulations of love, tricky family relationships and the feeling of being trapped by the past, ‘Protagonists’ arrives as an attestation to a band sure of their own identity. With the time and space to experiment in order to solidify their own sound, Keating adds:

“We originally started just exploring sounds and textures which appealed to us, and it evolved into fully-fledged songwriting. There are some elements which hark back to our ballsy days of a heavy sound, but we feel like this is a band expressing themselves how they want to.”

Owing its title to songwriter Adam Houghton’s magpie-like method of writing, Protagonists finds the frontman taking prominent characters that have caught his imagination, whether fictional or non-fictional, and transplanting them into dystopian worlds with new and uncertain outcomes. As Hougton explains:
“My process has always been taking inspiration from everything around me including but not limited to TV, Books, Movies, Newspaper, Articles on Wikipedia, Crime Documentaries etc. I then use these sources to craft fictitious stories around an imagined persona. The title ‘Protagonists” seemed to work with this method.”

Blurring the lines between fact and fiction and traversing a broad spectrum of genres, tracks like “Nothing More Nothing Less” — a  “simple love song written from a woman’s perspective” — take on a gauzy and ethereal pop-tinted quality, while slightly more menacing moments like “Fool’s Paradise” and “Trapdoors” find closer alignment with the band’s brooding, brazen rock roots.

From future favourites like “Something Has To Give”, a jittering guitar track about “a stick or twist situation”, to fully fitted-out classics like the anthemic “Emily” (a live fixture from the band’s earliest days, which has finally found its place on this record), ‘Protagonists’ will provide plenty to pore over for fans new and old.

Recorded and mixed by Michael Whalley and IST IST at Milkshed Studios, the album was mastered by the legendary  Greg Calbi and Steve Fallone at Sterling Sound (The National, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Interpol).
A compulsive, character-driven record from a band hitting their creative zenith, IST IST will release ‘Protagonists’ in Spring of 2023.

To mark the release, IST IST will be playing a special hometown launch show for the new record at the Manchester Ritz in March next year – details below. There will also be a small preview tour before the end of 2022, with dates in London, Birmingham and Hebden Bridge. Standby for further UK live dates soon.

IST IST UK LIVE SHOWS

NOVEMBER 2022

3/11 O2 Academy 2, Islington,
4/11 The Rainbow, Birmingham,
25/11 Trades Club, Hebden Bridge (Sold out)

MARCH 2023

31 – Manchester Ritz

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Manchester-based art-rock five-piece Sylvette have shared a spine-tingling cover of Nine Inch Nails classic, ‘Right Where It Belongs’, which appeared on 2005’s With Teeth.

The new track arrives as the band confirm a release date for their third album: ‘Single Thread’ – which will arrive on 25th November 2022.

A sprawling rendition that sees Sylvette pay homage to the Nine Inch Nails original just as easily as they do douse the track with their own allure, the band initially released an early version of “Right Where It Belongs” on YouTube back in 2020. Having amassed almost 20,000 views since, the cover gained traction with Nine Inch Nails fans who flooded the video’s comment section “proclaiming they connected to it just as much if not more than the original.”

Quietly contemplative cover that’s laced with a heart-rending sense of feeling, vocalist Charlie Sinclair explains how it finds its place on their upcoming album:

“”Right Where It Belongs” is the first cover we’ve ever played together that really felt like we made it our own. The song is about questioning your reality and how going through change and trauma can distort the way you perceive yourself. It really felt appropriate for the theme of our upcoming album ‘Single Thread’, so we made it the closing track on the record.”

Staking their place as one of the most prolific and intriguing bands on the Manchester underground scene, ‘Single Thread’ will emerge on 18 November and promises to show a completely new side to the group.

Born out of Charlie’s personal struggles whilst caring for his disabled and terminally ill father, and the subsequent loss he experienced during lockdown, the album sees Sylvette shed their fantastical and dramatic sound to make way for a deeply personal, more honest and intimate kind of songwriting.

Capturing the sound of a band becoming more emotionally in-sync than ever before, the album was recorded in guitarist Jack March’s rented shipping container-turned-studio. Working on the project only between the hours of midnight and 3am, to avoid noise spill disturbing neighbours in the unit, ‘Single Thread’ is the band’s first completely self-made record, with Jack on mixing and producing duties.

With shades of John Martyn or Nick Drake appearing in some of the album’s instrumental moments, Charlie’s haunting falsetto will evoke the spectre of Jeff Buckley. Tracks like “Borrowed Time” and “Marble Stone” have a bitter-sweetness comparable to the likes of Cocteau Twins, whereas tracks like ‘Safety in Solitude’ are gently reminiscent of the darker, stripped-down side of Nine Inch Nails.

Listen to their version of ‘Right Where It Belongs’ here:

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SYLVETTE LIVE DATES 2022

27 September – Manchester, Carlton Club

24 November – Manchester – Album Listening Event, Details TBC

15 December – London, Off The Cuff

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Sylvette

Shit happens: some good, some bad. Feather Trade, who grabbed our attention when supporting Benefits in York back in February, were scheduled to support The Mission on May 26th. As fate would have it, the night’s scheduling with an early curfew meant they got dropped from the lineup, although their regular drummer is now occupying the stool for Hussey and co. How does stuff like that even happen? But when life gives you lemons, Feather Trade book a run of shows instead.

If you’re in the vicinity of any of these places, we’d very much recommend going.

FRIDAY MAY 27 – MANCHESTER – AATMA

w / Cold Water Swimmers

Inca Babies

Jim’s Rolling Beat

SATURDAY MAY 28 – MACCLESFIELD – MASH GURU

w/ Urban Theory

SUNDAY MAY 29 – HAILFAX – THE TURKS HEAD

w/ Triptych (from Glasgow)

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Front & Follow and the Gated Canal Community – 25th June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Independent cassette label Front & Follow disbanded a bit back, some time before the pandemic hit. Said pandemic changed a lot of things for a lot of people, and certainly not just those immediately affected by the virus itself, through either contracting it themselves or friends or family. This is, after all the first time in history where governments have quarantined the healthy, and even during the world wars, while artistic activity was curtailed, society did not completely grind to a halt for any sustained period of time.

Having un-mothballed the label in order to release a series of compilations under the title Isolation & Rejection, which gathered tracks submitted and rejected for compilations on other labels, showcasing not only a wealth of amazing material over the course of five releases, but also creating a sense of community a month the rejected during the isolation of lockdown (a simple but effective premise that was a different kind of novel from the one everyone was talking about on the news).

Then, the label fell dormant again – for a few months, before this, pitched as ‘One final final FINAL project from F&F’. It may be a statement akin to Kiss announcing another farewell tour, but I know I’m by no means the only one who’s happy about the arrival of another release on the label, whose exceptional knack for curation has been a distinguishing feature of a thoroughly outstanding catalogue, and this, their sixty-firth release is no exception.

As label founder writes, ‘Another not planned but a nice thing happened so we went for it’. You Can Never Leave offers ‘alternative soundtracks to a luxury apartments advert’ taking its cue from an ad for Deansgate Square, Manchester, ‘comprising elegant spacious apartments across four carefully designed towers’ which ‘delivers a new level of city centre living’. With its slick visuals and sterile technoambient soundtrack, it’s a contemporary image of hell, JG Ballard’s High Rise for the 2020s. I’ve suggested previously that postmodernism is dead, and theorised that the post-postmodern age is marked by the end of irony. The fact this video exists, unironically, is surely proof of my hypothesis.

For their sign-off, F&F have assembled an immense thirty-one artists, many of who have featured on previous releases, including Field Lines Cartographer, Kieper Widow, and Polypores.

So, all of the tracks are around the 2:15-2:20 mark, and are intended to be played simultaneously with the video, and it’s perhaps unsurprising that each presents a different perspective on dystopian horror, from the sterile dark ambience of Bone Music’s ‘Reality Will No Longer Burden You’ with it’s clipped, android voiceover, via the tense trance-inducing electronica of Field Lines Cartographer’s ‘Consume and Prosper’, which is an outstanding piece of marketing sloganeering that we can imagine being a part of the UK government’s post-lockdown reinvigoration promo push (it’s snappier than ‘Eat out to help out’, and is a succinct summary of the late capitalist agenda they’ve espoused over the last decade), and the eerie waves of aural otherness that drift through courtesy of Von Heuser who give us ‘Pass Through The Tear’.

F-Lithium’s take is a cold Kraftwekian analogue rumble that ripples and churns around the solar plexus, while Guerrilla Biscuits’ ‘Manchester, So Much to Answer For’ dismantles the city’s musical and architectural heritage in one fell swoop with its space-age bleepery. WELTALTER bring some pulverising black metal to the party, and its bleak, dingy gloom that pounds insistently paves the way for more gnarly darkness in the form of the industrial ambience of ‘The Assimilation’ by The Metamorphe. Acid Wilhelm’s ‘The Changing’ is particularly unsettling, as rolling piano gradually evolves into a dense rumble of thunder, with ghostly voices muttering, while the cut-up / found-sound collage of Her Majesty’s Coroner for Wirral’ also pursues a haunting vibe, with ‘Contemporary City Living’ sounding like ‘Carmina Burana’ performed by a spectral clamour wailing to break through from the other side. With ‘Find Your Epic’, Friends, Business Colleagues or Family present the most torturous two and a bit minutes going, a howling shriek of purgatorial pain during which every demon rises from the flames to wreak havoc for all eternity on the living.

As is typical for a F&F compilation, You Can Never Leave is eclectic and yet for all its stylistic divergencies, fits together very nicely indeed, and collectively create a document which presents a multifaceted aural interpretation of the next level of gentrified hell, spanning epic prog and industrial. Oftentimes, it’s spooky, unsettling, and the album presents a powerful and ultimately terrifying vision. But is it any more terrifying than the original promo clip? Probably not, no.

Here’s the video that inspired all of this….

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As an aside, for the record, the project is not affiliated with Deansgate Square in any way – the video was our inspiration for this project, and for each artist’s soundtrack.

All sales from this release will go to Coffee4Craig, which provides vital support for Manchester’s homeless and people in crisis. Find out more here – coffee4craig.com.

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F&F065 - YOU CAN NEVER LEAVE - cover

Big Stir Records – 4th June 2021

Christopher Nosnibor

Well here’s a wakeup: The Speed Of Sound are into their fourth decade, yet are so underground they’ve bypassed me all this time. I feel a certain sense of both guilt and shame for this. Obviously, no reviewer can know everything about every band going, but sometimes, a band will slip under the radar and leave you kicking yourself. The Speed Of Sound is one such band.

The fact they’re releasing a double A-side says something about their vintage. 7” singles may still be a thing, but they’re a niche, collector thing rather than the thing you’d experience as a youth. I was in my early teens – perhaps younger – when I’d go into town and visit WHS or Boots or perhaps Woolworths and pick up a 7” single for 99p, and the B-side would often be as integral a part of the experience as the A-side, while a AA said sometimes meant the second A-side – the one less likely to be played on the radio – was the better one. Hearing it would be a revelation after you slipped it over the spindle and onto the turntable. It was a magical experience that words struggle to convey.

The two tracks on this release are thematically-linked in that they’re all about the band’s love for sci-fi soaked in reverb and with some hints of dappled sunlight mellowness.

The inspiration behind ‘Replicant’ probably requires little explanation as it draws the comparisons to the world of Bladerunner and the contemporary corporate world. The Hearing Ann-Marie Crowley enunciate ‘Replicant’ calls to mind Johnny Rotten emphasis on ‘Pretty vacant’, but more than anything, the uptempo acoustic guitar that leads the track has a distinctly 90s indie flavour to it, and it jangles along nicely.

‘Melancholy Rose’ is a spacey indie-psychedelic folk effort with the jangle of the early 90s and some mellow shoegaze meanderings, sort of like The Fall covering The Charlatans. There are hints of sleepy, summery funk to the track, too.

Together, it makes for a nice single that does very much evoke the experience of yesteryear’s 7” purchase.

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The Speed Of Sound Artwork

With their recent single ‘Going Nowhere’ taking a lunge into darker, surfy/gothy territory (while retaining the garage/grunge style of their debut album and the ‘In The Mouring’ EP), Weekend Recovery are a band who clearly aren’t content to stay in one place for too long – musically or geographically.

With their second album, False Company, just around the corner – and the indications are it’ll be a belter – the recently streamlined power-trio are hitting the road later this month with a handful of shows to showcase some new material. No doubt there’ll be a few older rabble-rousing favourites, too.

Since the release of their debut album, Get What You Came For in 2018, they’ve garnered radio play, played at Camden Rocks, and expanded a committed fanbase through some hard gigging. We’ve covered them enough times here at Aural Aggro to give a two-thumbs-up recommendation to get down and see them.

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Dates are as follows:

20 March – Blackpool, Bootleg Social (supporting Cut Glass Kings)

21 March – Leeds, Headrow House (w/support from Carry the Crown)

28 March – Manchester, Retro (main support to Joan the Wad)

Event details and tickets are on Weekend Recovery’s Facebook page.

GIZEHFEST 2019 will have two very special editions, taking place in Eeklo, Belgium and Manchester, UK.

The inaugural Gizehfest launched in February 2018 as a special event in celebration of the labels diverse roster, bringing together a selection of artists involved with the label over the years. We are delighted to be able to push forward with this idea and take it to a new country and a wider audience. Gizeh is now well known for not being attracted to any one genre of music and we are proud to be able to bring together an assorted collection of the current roster for what promises to be a stunning evening of boundary-pushing sonic pleasure featuring one-off collaborations and exclusive performances.

ABOUT THE ARTISTS IN MANCHESTER

A-SUN AMISSA
A-Sun Amissa is a music collective founded and led by Richard Knox (The Eternal Return Arkestra, The Rustle of the Stars, Shield Patterns, Glissando) that has featured an array of members and collaborators since it’s formation in 2011. Their sound touches on elements of post-rock, doom, dark-jazz and drone. Recorded output has been released on Richard’s own Gizeh label as well as Belgium’s Consouling Sounds. A new album Ceremony in the Stillness was released in September – the projects most focused and structured output yet.
Dense and heavy atmospheres provide the backdrop to the sound. Layers of mournful, melancholic and ethereal melodies weave amongst the thundering beats and intense, heaving guitars.
The band has toured Europe several times and performed with the likes of Amenra, Nadja, Helen Money, Jozef Van Wissem, Jucifer and Telepathy.
Members and collaborators in the project include; Richard Knox (The Eternal Return Arkestra, Shield Patterns, The Rustle of the Stars, Glissando), Angela Chan (Tomorrow We Sail, Lanterns On The Lake, The Rustle of the Stars), Owen Pegg (Hundred Year Old Man), Claire Brentnall (Shield Patterns), David McLean (Gnod, Tombed Vision Records), Aidan Baker (Nadja), Colin H. van Eeckhout (Amenra), Gareth Davis (Merzbow, Oiseaux-Tempete), Frédéric D. Oberland (Oiseaux-Tempete, The Rustle of the Stars, FareWell Poetry, FOUDRE!), Aaron Martin, Christine Ott and Jo Quail. www.slowsecret.com


HUNDRED YEAR OLD MAN
A ferocious and immersive listening experience, delivering an epic, monolithic voyage through masses of atmosphere. Full of texture, depth, aggression and emotion, HYOM deliver a sound that is unique, crushing and mind-altering. Having gradually crept into the collective consciousness of the European post-metal scene, this Leeds-based collective is on an ascent that has gained an almost unstoppable momentum. Debut album Breaching was released in April and relentless touring in 2018 ensued including festival appearances at Bloodstock and Damnation.
https://hundredyearoldman.bandcamp.com

A.R.C. SOUNDTRACKS
A.R.C. Soundtracks is an audio/visual duo based in Manchester, UK. Marrying bleak drones, doomy beats and FX-heavy spoken-word to ritualistic visuals, they are an unsettling encounter. They have released via LCR and Sacred Tapes and a new album recorded at Islington Mill (home to GNOD etc) in Salford is out now via Gizeh Records‘ Dark Peak series (also home to Christine Ott, Aidan Baker & Claire Brentnall and A-Sun Amissa). Their current live show was premiered at London’s Cafe Oto in 2016 and works as a soundtrack to prepared visuals.
www.arcsoundtracks.bandcamp.com

AGING
Aging are a gloom heavy jazz band whose music unfurls as slowly as cigarette smoke. Directly inspired by Film Noir, Hardboiled Detective Fiction and the weepiest of Torch Songs, their sole purpose for making music is to make you cry into your drink and look stylish whilst doing it.
https://tombedvisionsrecords.bandcamp.com/album/suitable-for-night

Tickets are on sale, available here.

Gizehfest-2019-Web-Manchester

Gizeh Records – GZH67 – 1st April 2016

Christopher Nosnibor

Last Harbour aren’t exactly renowned for their prolific output. They may have released six albums, but it’s taken the best part of 17 years, and the gap between the last two albums was a full four years. So, for Paler Cities to follow less than a year after their last long player, the immense Caul, feels like a real step-up in terms of momentum. The 7” single is accompanied by a brace of digital-only tracks, and the quality of the material is both consistent and superlative.

They’ve struck a rich seam of gloomy post-punk folk music, and ‘Paler Cities’ indicates a further evolution, showcasing a new-found stripped back approach to the compositions. A tense, chorus-heavy guitar provides a suitably stark backdrop to K Craig’s intonations of mournful longing delivered in his signature cavernous baritone.

Flipside ‘The Curved Road’ is a brooding, introspective effort which goes deep inside while evoking dark late-night imagery and conjuring psychological drama. The stealthy, almost subterranean, wandering bassline really makes it.

The digital tracks are of an equal calibre: ‘A Better Man’ is beautifully lugubrious and understated, dripping with minor-key violin, and with its chiming guitars and sad-sounding string arrangements, the darkly dreamy ‘Witness’, with its sweeping vistas, displays post-rock tendencies (or, more specifically, it echoes I Like Trains at their most melancholy).

There’s an overarching theatricality to the four tracks on offer here, and while they’re downtempo and downbeat, the aching beauty that lies in their shadowy depths is utterly compelling.

 

Last Harbour - Paler

https://w.soundcloud.com/player/?url=https%3A//api.soundcloud.com/tracks/244857832&auto_play=false&hide_related=false&show_comments=true&show_user=true&show_reposts=false&visual=true

Last Harbour Online