Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Manchester's Channel M cuts the City Social and all music coverage

Earlier this week, a friend in Manchester dropped some bad news on me, that local station Channel M was dropping its excellent "City Social" program and all of its music coverage. This was a particularly good spot for Britain's (and the rest of the world's) upcoming indie elite to get their foot in the door in England. At least 20 of the bands we've covered here were featured on "City Social" in the past year.

To mourn the loss of this great program, here are some of our favorite performances on this Manchester staple.

(The Joy Formidable starts 1:48 into the program)

(The Kabeedies)

(The Answering Machine)

(Bombay Bicycle Club)


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Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Dutch Uncles "Face In"

Myspace // "Takeover" [Audio]

Manchester's Dutch Uncles are a tough lot to pin down. On one hand it seems as though they are playing the herky jerky math-pop that is all the rage these days, but there is enough quirky pop thrown in the mix to make the band unique in its own right. The band's eponymous debut album is out now on Tapete Records. Their next gig is 22 May in Manchester with LoveLikeFire and the Pains of Being Pure at Heart.

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Monday, April 27, 2009

The Romance of Ballooning

Myspace // "Aerobatics" [Audio]

Norwich has been rolling out a host of great bands as of late, including one of our recent favorites, the Kabeedies, who we've posted about a number of times. Next up is an outfit that recalls the Thamesbeat mini-scene from a few years back, the Romance of Ballloning. Just recently signed to new local label Milkbar, the band is drawing comparisons to Foals and Mystery Jets. It appears that the band's next gig is 29 July in Norwich, but word is that they are putting together a country wide tour, but it's anyone's guess as to when that will happen.

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

The Premarital Sect

"Snuff Scene" [Audio]

On what felt like the verge of mainstream acceptance, Elle Milano broke up. At the time, it was heart-breaking for one of my favorite bands to split, especially after a handful of brilliant singles and an absolutely amazing debut album, but since there was nothing I could do about it, I tried to think about the positives. I did get to see the band play twice, both at last year's Great Escape. And when considering their output, they pretty much went out on top, with not one blemish to their name. Looking back, it was all perfection, albeit a small sample size.

Who really knew why the band split or where they were headed, although some of those questions would eventually be answered. Adam Crisp's side project, Entrepreneurs, seemed to become his full time gig, while I quickly became enamoured with their friends, fellow spike-poppers Arthur. There was also the on-again, off-again search for the lost Elle Milano track "Catch the Magic," which I am happy to say ended recently because of this fine blog.

Although Enterpreneurs is good and all, it just wasn't the same, but with the recent emergence of the Premarital Sect, it seems that Mr. Crisp is not finished perfecting his Fall-isms and taking down the indie scene from the inside. The fact that he is fed up with almost everything around him isn't important, what is though is that he no longer cares. This new outfit, rounded out by schoolbuddies Philth Black and The Walternator on bass and drums, is all about playing for just themselves, so wherever the sound leads them, that's where they go.

From their Last FM:
First demo tape recorded in March 2009 and uploaded in April. A Myspace? Are you having a laugh? But for now, you can find this demo at

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Monday, April 20, 2009

The Cheek

"Slow Kids"

Myspace // "Slow Kids" (The Shoes remix) [Audio]

The weekend is over and I am exhausted. I drove up to San Francisco on Friday, over to Sacramento on Saturday, and then back to LA today. I didn't even consider putting together a blog post until five minutes ago -- I am just that tired. First on my list to blog about was the new Bombay Bicycle Club video, but after seeing that Universal disabled embedding on it, I decided that if the label didn't care about promoting the band, then neither did I. Too bad, I like the song a lot.

The Cheek are definitely not a new band -- you may know them by their former name, Cheeky Cheeky & the Nosebleeds. Although I can't get a good read on why they changed their name, apparently the old moniker was a bit of a mouthful. The band released a mini-album earlier this year in Japan, they played SXSW, and plans for a proper full-length are slated for sometime later this year. RCRD LBL posted one of the band's newer songs last month -- it's more of the same quirky pop we've come to expect from this Suffolk outfit.

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Thursday, April 16, 2009

Flashback Thursday: Mansun "Negative"

"Negative" was the third single off of Mansun's second album, Six, released in 1998. While the band had just one minor hit here in the States (with "Wide Open Space"), this record solidified the band's standing as one of the biggest bands of the time in their homeland. Two different versions of this record were released, with the US and UK getting drastically different artwork, mixes, and sequencing, but "Negative" was one of the pieces that remained the same on both versions.

After this record, the band released one more album before disbanding in 2003. A fourth record was nearly completed, and it was included in the three disc Kleptomania collection, which the band put out in '06. Lead singer Paul Draper has recently performed solo and is working on a debut album.

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Tuesday, April 14, 2009

The Kabeedies "Little Brains"

Myspace // "Lovers Ought To" [Audio]

They call themselves "pop music, but shit," but I really have to disagree with that statement. This Norwich four-piece has a sound that is uniquely British, and at times even reminds me of Jamie T, as they expertly mix pop and skiffle. The band's latest single, "Little Brains," was released yesterday on NRONE Records on vinyl 7" and CD, as well as iTunes.

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Monday, April 13, 2009

The Answering Machine "Obviously Cold"

Myspace // "Another City, Another Sorry" [Audio]

If you're the observant type, you'll note that there are palm trees in this video, something you will not find in Manchester. This video, the second off of Another City, Another Sorry, was shot while the band were in Los Angeles earlier this month. Apparently curling and sun do mix. "Obviously Cold" is out on 18 May (my birthday) through Heist or Hit Records.

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Friday, April 10, 2009

The Joy Formidable "Whirring"


This London by way of Wales outfit's next single, "Whirring," will be out on 25 May in the UK. You can pre-order the single and get extra stuff including a chance to win free entry to every The Joy Formidable headlining concert for the rest of your life. Find out more info here. Their mini LP A Balloon Called Moaning is available now via CD.

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Tuesday, April 07, 2009

New Black Light Machine

Myspace // "Light Burns Black" [Audio]

London group New Black Light Machine has done their studying, falling in line nicely with contemporaries like These New Puritans. They're just as good, but not as pretentious -- always a good thing. Young bands tend to show their influences a bit too much, and this outfit is no different, but the best thing about them is that they look forward as much as they do to those that laid the groundwork for them. With one promising demo collection under their belts, the band should continue marrying the early sounds of Idlewild with dark romanticism for years to come.

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Monday, April 06, 2009

Shapes "Trampled By a Horse"


New Shapes EP this May on Big Scary Monsters, which I've heard (because I am special) and it is quite good. For a little preview, check out this intense video. The Brimingham band starts a tour in May with the JCQ, including a stop at the beautiful seaside town of Brighton for the Great Escape for a gig with Blakfish and This Town Needs Guns.

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