The loud churn of the blogosphere can be a difficult one for new bands to break away from – though Splashh seemed to do it with ease during 2012. Having won over the most discerning of tastemakers, their psyched-out grunge was soon hyped by the likes of NME (who called them “one of the most promising bands in the country”), The Guardian (“They’re the biggest rock band of the summer”) and The Fly (“There’s no nerves, no fuck ups; just flawlessly constructed fun”). Signed to the increasingly influential LuvLuvLuv records, the band follow up a series of sought after 7″ singles by releasing their debut album, Comfort, on 2 September.
Splashh – Vacation on Youtube
Charlie Boyer claims that he and The Voyeurs set out to make “primitive, sexy, glamorous rock’n’roll” – a staggeringly accurate appraisal of a band with an ethos from a different generation but who always seem to be in the just the right place at just the right time. Having recorded their debut 7″, Boyer booked two shows to promote it – the second supporting his friends, TOY. Within a week, the two bands were labelmates, with Heavenly Records getting a march on the rest of the industry by signing them up. Their debut album, Clarietta, was released to acclaim earlier this year, with NME (8/10), Mojo (8/10), The Fly (4/5), Uncut (7/10) and Best Fit (7/10) all falling for the record’s creeping charm.
Charlie Boyer and The Voyeurs – Things We Be on YouTube
Tickets are £9 and available through www.skiddle.com
The beauty of Veronica Falls songs is in the way that they play with the ideas of light and dark – something which has earned them somewhat of a cult following. Having bonded over the sinister side of 60’s pop songs and a shared love for bands like Beat Happening, Galaxie 500 and Felt, the band demoed their first songs in 2009 and were famously snapped up for their first release by hallowed indie Captured Tracks around 10 minutes after uploading them to MySpace. Record deals with Bella Union and Slumberland followed, along with widespread fawning for their gothic-tinged pop.
Veronica Falls – Waiting For Something To Happen on YouTube
Having released their much loved debut, Veronica Falls, in 2011, the quartet followed it up with their impressive sophomore effort, Waiting for Something to Happen, earlier this year. The Guardian gave it a perfect score, commenting that “it’s a struggle to come up with an album of indiepop anywhere near as good as the second from Veronica Falls”, with the New York Times agreeing, calling the record “a suddenly shared, irresistible impulse”.
Bleached – Next Stop on YouTube
Support comes from Los Angeles’ Bleached. Made up of sisters Jennifer and Jessica Clavin – with Jonathan Safley and Micayla Grace fleshing out the sound for live performances – the duo blend the fuzz and energy of punk with psyche’s depth and intelligence. Their debut album, Ride Your Heart Out, was released earlier this year, with NME giving it 8/10, saying “Bleached manage to transcend the dated California girl stereotype while knowingly plugging into what still makes the myth so appealing”
Tickets are £11 and are available from www.seetickets.com
Founded in London back in 2005, it’s easy to argue that Portico Quartet are peerless -for the uninitiated, listening to them can feel like a journey into the unknown. Certainly, it’s difficult to think of anyone who sounds quite like them, though you’re just as likely to hear the influence of Burial and Mount Kimbie in their music as you are to find traces of Bon Iver and Steve Reich. The band’s debut record, Knee-Deep in the North Sea, was nominated for the prestigious Mercury Music Prize in 2008, and the foursome have ventured further on their voyage of sonic discovery since.
Portico Quartet – Ruins on YouTube
Much vaunted for their innovative use of percussion instrument Hang – which is part of the reason for their unusual sound – the band have been consistently lauded by the music press, with The Guardian (“they make a soundworld that is original and inviting, played with flair and commitment”), Clash (“Portico Quartet is a band striding out from the underground on their terms, and the admiration awaiting them is there for all to see”) and Crack (“one of the defining acts of this generation”) some of the most vocal. Having released three acclaimed studio albums already, Portico Quartet unveiled Live / Remix earlier this year – a double album featuring a unique insight into the band’s sound, as well as remixes by friends SBTRKT, Luke Abbott and Will Ward, among others
Tickets are £15 advance and available through www,billetto.co.uk/
Pound for pound, there are few countries that better or more effectively create music than Iceland. Múm have been a core part of this steady cultural export of brilliance since their formation in 1997, with their work often inhabiting the same emotional soundscape as their friends and fellow countrymen Sigur Rós – though with an end product that is wildly and wonderful different. Often using unconventional instrumentation and song structure, the band blend the cold hiss and glitches of electronic music with an inimitable warmth and texture.
múm – Toothwheels on YouTube
Smilewound, released 6 September, will be the band’s sixth full length album, expanding on the otherworldly, experimental sound múm have become renowned for. Their debut, Yesterday Was Dramatic – Today Is Okay, became one of the first sleeper hits of the new millennium, earning a 9.1 review from Pitchfork and wider international acclaim. Follow-up LPs Finally We Are No-One, Summer Make Good, Go Go Smear the Poison & Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know further enhanced their reputation, with Bjork reportedly a long-time admirer. This is their first Manchester show in 4 years.
Tickets are £15 advance and available through www.seetickets.com
There are few bands that embody the creativity and courage emanating from Manchester at the moment better than MONEY. The band released their debut single, Who’s Going To Love You Now?, through the infamous Salford label SWAYS Records last year, and quickly followed it up with SOLONG (GODISDEAD) on Almost Musique – with both quickly selling out. Having signed to hallowed indie label Bella Union, MONEY have since recorded their debut album, The Shadow of Heaven, and performed it in full for Manchester International Festival.
MONEY – Hold Me Forever on YouTube
Led by Jamie Lee, they have been described as: “[making] you want to cry, but it makes you feel alive” (The Guardian); “so powerful even the coldest heart will fall in love with them… [MONEY have] brought us to tears more than once” (Disco Naivete); “[MONEY] segue poetic misery into songwriting, somehow emerging with something hopelessly uplifting” (DIY Magazine). Having long been a secret of Mancunians and internet tastemakers alike, their long awaited LP is finally released on 26 August.
MONEY – Bluebell Fields on YouTube
The Dancehouse sits opposite the site of the old BBC building on Oxford Road. Decorated in Art Deco style, the building originally acted as a meeting hall, before being converted into a cinema in the 1960’s, and later falling derelict in the 1980s. In the early 1990s, the Northern Ballet School took over the lease with its sister company, The Dancehouse theatre. Since re-opening in 1994, the venue has regularly hosted drama, dance, film and comedy events.
Tickets are £11.50 and available through www.seetickets.com