Now Wave can proudly announce our finalised listings for the rest of 2011. With close to 50 headline bands playing at venues around Manchester and Salford – including The Deaf Institute, Islington Mill, Sound Control and the Warehouse Project – it stands to be one of the most exciting periods for us and our punters. Tickets are available at ticketline.co.uk and seetickets.com as well as in person, at Piccadilly Records.
Mike Sniper, aka Blank Dogs, may have started Captured Tracks in 2008 simply to release his first CDR, but over 100 releases later his rough-and-ready lo-fi mentality has expanded into a mini-genre of its own. Now home to Wild Nothing, Craft Spells and Widowspeak, and having released Now Wave favourites Spectrals and Ganglians, the Brooklyn label stands out as one of the most exciting in new music. In only releasing what Sniper describes as “good music”, at the expense of a trademark label ‘sound’, Captured Tracks has provided some stunning surprises. Take, for example, this year’s Soft Metals LP, a shimmering amalgamation of 808 drum machines and glittering synths that brings to mind a mixture of Cold Cave and Chris and Cosey.
Autumn sees Now Wave bring a number of Captured Tracks bands to Manchester, with Craft Spells and Widowspeak playing their debut shows in the city. They promise to be stunning affairs, and with both having released debut albums in 2011, there’s much new material to be excited about. Indeed, Pitchfork celebrated Widowspeak’s album as ‘reminiscent of Ennio Morricone’s spaghetti western soundtracks’ and awarded it a 7.5 rating, while applauding the ‘distinguishing perspective and personality’ of Craft Spells’ debut ‘Idle Labor’. Widowspeak play The Castle on Sunday 27th November, while Craft Spells headline Islington Mill on Friday 14th October.
Domino Records, and its many smaller imprints, seem to have a knack for discovering the next big thing – recent years have seen the Franz Ferdinand, Arctic Monkeys and Animal Collective sign for the label, before translating their potential into huge success. The latest raft of Domino acts look set to achieve similar greatness, with Austra and Anna Calvi fast developing impressive reputations. Calvi’s debut album received a Mercury Prize nomination this summer, while Austra wrapped up a UK tour this month with performances in London and for Now Wave in Manchester.
Despite the time of year, the next few months see Now Wave bring Domino’s most summery acts to Manchester. September sees The Ritz reopen under new management, and with it Now Wave will stage some of their most exciting gigs to date. In November, Stephen Malkmus – ex-lead singer of Pavement and Domino Records mainstay – headlines an all-night line-up at the refurbished venue, alongside San Francisco’s Girls and many more. Having sold out The Deaf Institute last year, Malkmus and his band The Jicks return to Manchester on the 10th November with their new, Beck-produced LP ‘Mirror Traffic’, a 15 track collection of upbeat and sunny pop-rock.
Meanwhile, another Domino signing – New Jersey’s Real Estate – continue their tradition of Salford gigs with a Now Wave date at Islington Mill on Monday 24th October. Having impressed with 2009’s self-titled debut effort, the band return on October 17th with ‘Days’, a further development on their sunkissed beach soundtracks and a reminder of their status as what their label describes as ‘a new, genuine and enduring group of voices in American independent music’. We’d describe it as warm, loose and downright lush, and proof of why they’re one of our favourite bands.