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Manchester

Meg Chandler finds herself on the visceral side of ethereal in her intimately nostalgic indie alt-pop single, Woodland

Meg Chandler

Given that it has been a fair while since we weren’t living through a historical event of some devastating global nature, it’s all too easy to crave the uncompromised simplicity of youthful nostalgia. Meg Chandler brought it by the smorgasbord in her single, Woodland, which precedes her debut EP, due for release in 2023.

The 21-year-old singer-songwriter divides her time between a remote village in Shropshire, where she finessed her authentically out-of-the-smoke alt-pop style that will be a hit with any fans of Daughter, Adrianne Lenker and Phoebe Bridgers, and in Manchester where she enlists the help of the production/writing duo SOAP.

Never a truer line has been delivered than “now everything just seems to hurt” in Woodland, which flicks through the sepia-tinged memories of a childhood “chasing shadows by the lake”. Projected through intimately vulnerable indie pop vocals that resound on the more visceral side of ethereal, Meg Chandler, with her proclivity to hold nothing back in her lyrics, is set to make major waves with the profound consolation in her music.

Woodland will officially release on November 18th. Stream it on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Empty Page affront the new normal with their 90s nostalgia-implanting electro-punk anthem, Dry Ice

Rather than releasing a sonic sign of the stagnant times, The Empty Page protested our drab and dog-eared-with-anxiety modernity by letting pulsating synths guide the way towards 90s nostalgia in their electro-punk hit, Dry Ice.

Lyrically, you’re reminded of how it felt to be stripped of inhibition, sharing the euphoria with strangers long before they could request you on Facebook and never speak to you again and even longer before the pandemic left its mark on our social appetites while the dizzying guitars drop off-kilter momentum around the gravelly pulls of the post-punk bass strings.

It’s a major shift from the Manchester-based outfit’s previous sound that has been lauded by just about everyone that matters. The duo has ventured into their The Julie Ruin era, and we couldn’t be here for it more. After all, synths were the true gateway to punk and DIY (FIGHT ME), and this new anxiously frenetic earworm that will pull Polaroids of strobe-lit hedonism towards your temporal lobe is the ultimate affront to the new normal.

Dry Ice will officially release on November 18th. Watch the official video on YouTube, add it to your Spotify playlists, or support the band by purchasing the single on Bandcamp. 

Follow the Empty Page on Facebook, Instagram & TikTok. 

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Waiting For Tomorrow: Paul Hand prays for that strength to block those lonely nights away on Mind Give Way

Finding that hard-to-find inner force to move on from the past and those torrid memories, Paul Hand joins paths with the good parts of his soul to see that bright light of progression make everything better again on Mind Give Way.

Paul Hand is a Manchester, UK-based indie singer-songwriter and music producer who performs with a timeless style and keeps it classy throughout.

Pulsating with a catchy energy and filled with so much promise, Paul Hand is in rarified air with a cloud-jumping single about finding that ideal zone to flourish like the birds in the sky. This is a quality listen and is drenched in rather pure vocals to get thrilled about.

Mind Give Way from Manchester, UK-based indie singer-songwriter and music producer Paul Hand is the call to soak into that happy path again and move from the rain-clouds within. Searing with a likeable sound and filled with introspective lyrics, this is a stylish release from a gritty artist who doesn’t know how to give up.

When you get your mind back to the proper place, you can move mountains.

Listen up to this new song on Spotify and see more via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

To The Devil: The Superphone shows love for that special soul on Guardian Angel

Sung with a supreme magnificence which shall take your mind away from the noisy pollution, The Superphone shows us deeply into a reborn state of mind on Guardian Angel.

The Superphone is a Manchester, UK-based 4-piece alternative band who are the type of outfit who shall set your heart alive because of their nostalgic nature.

We have an extensive gigography, supporting many acts across the country.” ~ The Superphone

Taking us on an electrifying ride through time which shall get all those senses ready for something different to the rest, The Superphone drops a fuse-filled explosion of a single to turn up to full volume.

Guardian Angel from Manchester, UK-based 4-piece alternative band The Superphone is a vibrant single that is laced in so much class that shall set your mind free from the temptations lurking. Lathered in so much exquisite vocal projection and with a sound that feels so precise, this is something rather fulfilling and shall change our perspective into one that is only looking forward.

Listen up to this new single on Spotify and see more via IG.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

Live Review: The Virginmarys mainlined blues through punk veins with rock & roll reverence on their tour of their EP, Devil Keeps Coming.

The UK live music scene may be on its knees. But on October 15th, a near-capacity crowd flocked to Gorilla in Manchester to kneel at the unholy alter of The Virginmarys as the Macclesfield-hailing band played the home leg on their tour of their critically acclaimed EP, Devil Keeps Coming.

With it being my first Virginmarys show amongst their devout fans, I was unsure of their ability to cut through the usual awkwardness of live music in the new normal. From the very first note of The Meds, any sense of cynicism slipped away. The crowd was instantaneously thrown into animation. Yet evidently, this was no average punk rock pit. Euphoria fuelled the momentum in place of the usual boozy weight-throwing aggravation. Something I’ve scarcely seen unless Riot Grrrl icons and their descendants are gracing the stage. As a testament to how much adoration The Virginmarys garner from their fans, one couple made the 3,000+ mile journey from Ohio to witness the deafening duo tearing up the turf in their hometown.

One thing I will never forget is how it wasn’t just the blues mainlined through punk veins with holy rock n roll reverence that gripped the crowd through the symbiotic dynamism between Ally’s guitars and Danny’s Bonham-Esque drum fills. In every direction, I saw how viscerally the lyricism resonated and psyched the crowd into a frenzy through the wit-deep lines that strip the alienation from political disillusion and mental precariousness.

The acoustic rendition of Sleep was also a tear-jerking memorable feat of the hit-after-hit setlist, which forwent the egocentric inclusion of an encore. I’m fairly convinced that in Ally’s past life, he was a tortured soul from Tennessee. His uninhibited songwriting skills are only matched by his ability to get to the crux of emotions that mostly go unspoken.

If you get a chance to catch them on the remaining legs of their UK tour, take it. You won’t regret it.

Artist Links: Facebook, Instagram, Spotify, Twitter.

Live Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Relays sentimentally stargaze in their synthy alt-indie debut LP, Under Different Stars

After recording their debut album and mislaying the only copy for ten years, The Relays are finally here with their arrestive synth-driven LP, Under Different Stars.

With their previous releases, the Wigan, UK-hailing 4-piece have featured on BBC and Radio X, along with being lauded by Steve Lamacq and Huw Stevens. The title single from their debut album is a spacey testament to their swoonsome radio readiness.

While Under Different Stars lyrically latches onto a sense of sentimentalism that pulls you into the interstellar centre of affectionate gravity, somewhere along the way, the shimmering synth chords become entwined with your rhythmic pulses as you follow the melodic progressions through their absorbingly artful distinction. There’s no understating the evocative power of Under Different Stars, which effortlessly reaches above the standard for up and coming artists. It’s an achingly sweet release that will undoubtedly see the luminaries go far in their candour-heady career. Forget Editors’ new album, delve into this.

The debut album launched on September 29th; check it out on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Buzzcocks made it a little less grim up north with their single, Manchester Rain

‘When it rains, it pours’ seems to be the perfect adage to capture the deluge of dissatisfaction drizzling over the entirety of the UK. But Buzzcocks siphoned euphonic punk rock dynamism from the dismal atmosphere in their single, Manchester Rain, taken from their upcoming studio album, Sonics in the Soul.

Inspired by the relentless motivation of grassroots artists to keep the scene thriving in Manchester, Manchester Rain is a smorgasbord of riotous optimism. One that will stir even the most ennui-soaked souls through the blasts galvanic garagey guitars and assertively upbeat vocals that create hooks sharp enough to hang your leather jacket on.

In the tragic wake of Pete Shelley, co-founder and co-singer-songwriter Steve Diggle has kept the buzz reverberating through their iconic-since-the-70s-sound. Shelley would undoubtedly be proud of Buzzcocks continuing to stand at the vanguard of punk-rock euphoria.

Sonics in the Soul will release on CD, Vinyl and across streaming platforms on September 23rd. Until then, weather the precipitation in Manchester Rain on YouTube.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Green Wire launched their latest indie-rock attack ‘Upside Down, Inside Out’

“Upside Down, Inside Out” is the latest feat of era-spanning indie pop rock from the Manchester raconteurs of raucous innovation, Green Wire.

With notes of garage rock, pop punk and 80s rock fusing to create their dynamic sonic signature, Green Wire are by far one of the most authentic Manchester up-and-coming powerhouses as of late – a fact I can fully attest to as a fellow Mancunian. This high-powered frenetic earworm is sure to see the cheeky fourpiece go far.

Upside Down, Inside Out will officially release on September 2nd. Check it out via Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

We Can Live Like Animals: sleeping together wants this love to last forever on Summer Girl

Produced by Tayte Nickols from Madfox Studio, sleeping together guides us through a gloriously innocent romance that ended rather hastily when it had the potential to blossom rather radiantly on Summer Girl.

sleeping together is a Bury, Manchester, Liverpool and Wrexham, UK-based indie alternative band who shows us that memorable music has the power to change your entire mood for the better.

Summer Girl was inspired by a short and sweet summer romance. At the end of summer, the couple agreed to go their separate ways. Like the romance, Summer Girl is short, bright and sweet, capturing the highs of a British summer in its emphatic chorus. However, much like the British summer, this romance was rained off too soon. These fleeting glimpses of a love, destined for rapidly approaching heartbreak, are conveyed perfectly through Summer Girl’s climbing vocals.” ~ sleeping together

Thrilling our sweaty bodies alive and tickling our glowing senses awake to what is possible if two souls can combine for a short time, sleeping together shall have us all smiling cheekily at each other. Bringing us all the way to the top of our emotions and then showing us the other side, this is a must-listen for anyone who still believes that true love is real.

Summer Girl from the UK-based indie alternative band sleeping together is a terrific song from a dynamic outfit who just knows how to make you groove rather sweetly. With a soundtrack to those long days that are filled with sunshine and never seem to end for a few months, you will find yourself clicking repeat on this fine song. Teaching us that all good things have to end eventually, this is a striking single that will make you stop and think about how love actually forms.

Love is so kind and so cruel sometimes.

Tune in on Spotify and see more via the IG page.

Reviewed by Llewelyn Screen

The Battery Farm – A Working Class Lad: Hell Hath No Fury Like a Modernity-Scorned Manchester Punk Powerhouse

‘A Working Class Lad’ is the first single to timely ooze from The Battery Farm’s forthcoming debut album FLIES. I say timely; it was the first song I listened to after hearing that Rishi Sunak had been sneaking money out of the budgets of deprived areas in the UK. We should all be PISSED. How pissed? Try matching the Manchester punk raconteurs of volition; there’s no one else on my radar that would make a better soundtrack for the overdue UK revolution.

Of all lyrical concepts, one that allows you to voyeur the conflict between identity, shame, confusion and class has to be one of the hardest to get right. There’s almost nothing more uncomfortable to me than the dissonance in celebrating the exploitation of our labour. Thankfully, The Battery Farm is about 100 IQ points above scribbling about working-class pride and becoming just another piece in the propagandist machine.

While the broiled and gnarled punk instrumentals and Ben Corry’s signature non-lexical rally cries bring the vexed energy, the simplicity of the lyrics triggers your oppressed contempt. I’m assuming everyone with a sense of sentience and a working-class status will have some; if not, I want the details of your lobotomist.

A Working Class Lad is out on all streaming platforms and a limited edition cassette on Rare Vitamin Records. The debut album FLIES is out on all platforms on Rare Vitamin Records on 18th November.

Review by Amelia Vandergast