Browsing Tag

Manchester Music

Lynden. – Change: A Melodic Indie Folk Pop Embrace of Vulnerability and Hope

Evoking resonance by versing on our tendency to chase distraction to outrun negative pervasive thoughts and feelings of loneliness, Lynden.’s latest single, Change, melodically thrives on an emotive confluence of indie, pop, and folk and renders your heartstrings raw through the candour.

The deep emotional themes which traverse the trappings of anxiety and depression go beyond touching on the darkness that finds a way of leaving a shadow over all of our lives. Lynden. used the opportunity to advocate for the vulnerability of honesty and to extend hope to people who need to hear that world views are malleable. In short, If this world is just illusion, choose one that fulfils you.

Starting with simple acoustic guitar chords and evolving into an intimately all-encompassing production which echoes the appeal of Violent Femmes and The Maccabees’ more melancholic work, the Burnley-based singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist orchestrated a soundscape which sonically visualises the tenderness of the lyrical narrative, while injecting enough rhythmic zeal to give Change an all-too efficacious uplifting energy.

After receiving critical acclaim and over 24k streams for his last single, You, Lynden. is leaving his affectingly intimate mark on the indie landscape; we can’t think of a more worthy breakthrough artist in 2024.

Change was officially released on March 15. Stream the single on all major platforms via this link.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Leyton Thomas treaded water in the pool of pathology with the indie dream-pop etherealism in his latest single, ‘Screwcap Diet’

Leyton Thomas, with his latest single ‘Screwcap Diet‘, transcended the typical boundaries of indie dream pop. The Manchester-based solo artist skilfully merged influences from Mazzy Star to Sigur Ros, Radiohead to the Verve around his own authentically cultivated sonic signature.

The journey through the complex interplay of health, mindfulness, and the human condition stands out for its hauntingly beautiful guitar work, which weaves an ethereally melancholic narrative. The soft falsetto vocals add a layer of intimacy, making the exploration of our often-neglected appreciation for health all the more poignant. This song wrestles with the shadows of sickness, yet it’s not just about the struggle; it’s a revelation of the enlightenment found in moments of vulnerability.

Thomas’ artistic journey is marked by a fearless blending of genres, a testament to his courage and distinction as an artist. His previous work, including the hip-hop instrumental ‘I Forgot You At The Bottom of the Fridge‘, has already showcased his ability to resonate with a wide audience, amassing significant streams on Spotify. ‘Screwcap Diet’ is a continuation of this sonic exploration.

Thomas’ musical evolution is a narrative of constant reinvention. From his early days in London to his current place in the Manchester scene, his exposure to a diverse range of music has profoundly influenced his sound.

Leyton Thomas Said

“This release is – after a period of digital experimentation – a return to the melodic guitar music that I grew up with. Lyrically, it reflects a feeling that arguably every single human being experiences – that when you are ill, be it seriously ill or plagued with a common cold, everything superficial seems insignificant, and all you wish for is your health. It poses the question, who are we when we are left with just our mind and tired body?”

After being recorded in Leyton Thomas’ home studio and mixed by Will Levison, Screwcap Diet hit all major streaming platforms on February 27th.

Stream Screwcap Diet on Spotify.

Follow Leyton Thomas on Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Get high on the dystopic delirium in Heavy Salad’s tropic psych rock cocktail, Weirdest of the Weird Shit

Even though you probably don’t need a track to affirm that we’re living in an era as twisted as Shaun Ryder’s melons, there’s no understating the vindicating catharsis in Heavy Salad’s tropic psych rock cocktail, Weirdest of the Weird Shit.

The track transcends sonics to deliver a mind-melting invitation to get high on the dystopic delirium as part of a collective experience and let the hallucinogenic waves within the ebbing and flowing guitars crash over you and brighten the psyche’s palette. The multi-layered harmonies play an even more crucial role in embodying and imparting vividly hazy hues as they alchemise with a synergy that Heavy Salad has meticulously honed since their 2019 debut release.

With mantras to live by flowing throughout lyrical surrealism in the beachy Lynchian fever dream, you’re free to explore brighter corridors of perception, safe in the knowledge that logic has become an extinction event and the only thing you can really change is the way you engage with our shared illusion.

Weirdest of the Weird Shit is now available to stream on all major platforms via this link.

Follow Heavy Salad on Facebook and Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Manchester-based producer Tao Mitsu liberated his listeners with his transcendent mix, Just Let Go.

With textures and melodic progressions that go beyond immersive to offer aural escapism, when you’re enmeshed with the pulsating rhythms in the latest instrumental mix, Just Let Go, from the Manchester-based producer Tao Mitsu, space and time may as well cease to exist.

By starting with emotional impulses and constructing musical landscapes around them, each creation of Tao Mitsu is an evocative trip tinged with the full spectrum of human emotion rather than just riding euphoric waves. The fragments of melancholy within the groove and bass-driven ambient techno beats in Just Let Go capture the bittersweetness of loneliness, encompassing the primal pain of heartbreak and the first teasings of hope that appear on the periphery.

Just Let Go may not carry the definitive Manchester sound, but with the cover art depicting one of the cosy corners of the iconic Night & Day Café, Tao Mitsu succeeded in paying homage to the vibrant and eclectic music scene via his nostalgia-driven, transcendently liberating leftfield electronica anthem.

Just Let Go reached the airwaves on August 13th; stream it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Au-Turn unveiled a hypnotic reflection on the naive faith of youth with ‘Water Boatman’

Water Boatman is the quintessentially quaint saturated in delay sophomore single from Dolan Hewison’s solo project, Au-Turn. After working fretboard magic in the legendary outfit, New Fast Automatic Daffodils, Hewison has turned his attention to writing, playing, and recording his first solo work in 25 years, inspired by the stagnation of lockdowns and the purchase of a loop pedal and piano.

With angularly clever lead guitar work that effervesces in the same vein as Slowdive, a touch of Half-Man Half-Biscuit playful lyrical obscurity, and an experimental production style that almost resonates as a lo-fi extension of the style popularised by The Flaming Lips, and some spoken word verses to boot, Water Boatman is a vessel you will want to pour yourself into time and time again.

We’re officially stoked for the forthcoming Au-Turn debut LP, No.1, which is set to be unveiled on the 2nd of June.

Water Boatman is now available to stream on Spotify.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Emissaries of Anxious Angst, The Empty Page, Have New Resonance in Their Arsenal with the Release of Big Nasty Palpitations

After hearing a preview of The Empty Page’s latest single, Big Nasty Palpitations, during their support slot for BERRIES at Gullivers in March and witnessing the visceral fire that has been lit under the Manchester-based emissaries of anxious angst, all it took was the impetus of the angular guitars and subversive anthemics to convince me that it would be the quintessential indie pop hit of the summer.

It may not be your archetypal boy meets girl before releasing a ‘better off without you’ single in the Autumn. The 80s industrial augmented hit is a testament to where society will stand this summer, with conflict scattering rubble like confetti and blowing equally sizeable holes in our assurance that the world is a safe place where your liberty can’t be stripped away at the whim of a sadistically malignant narcissist.

For the anxious, feel your palpitating heart catch in your tight throat under the duress of buzzsaw riffs that are now definitively back in trend. For anyone privileged enough to not know what it feels like to go under when it appears fabric of tangible reality has been pulled from beneath you, grab a snapshot of the dissent into consternation.

Kel said: “Everyone I know has paper-thin mental health at the moment. The world is run by terrifying people who have little regard for us powerless humans who are just trying to get on with our lives. I woke up one too many times with the fear and reached for a pen at 3am to get those grim feelings out of my system. We’ve always been a socially aware band, and the new album definitely has a glittery, dystopian thread running through it that I think is very apparent on this track.”

Big Nasty Palpitations, produced by Morton Kong at Eve Studios, Stockport, hit the airwaves on May 26 ahead of their sophomore LP, which is set to drop later this year.

Socials: Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | TikTok | Spotify

Review by Amelia Vandergast

Live Review: The Dirt Turned Poetry into Psychedelic Theatre in Their Launch of Agitator

Agitator by The Dirt

It takes some talent and ingenuity to bring poetry out of the insular arena and translate it into psychedelic theatre; that was exactly what the Dirt achieved during the live launch of their debut LP, Agitator. If the pen is mightier than the sword, the duo dropped an atom bomb onto the crowd who made the Dirt t-shirts in-vogue.

Following the moody post-punk sets from Bloodworm and Dim Imagery, Pray for Mojo devilled the capacity crowd with their ear-blistering staunchly 70s rock rancour; their White Walker cold guitar tones cut through the atmosphere of their massive sound that I didn’t think the Peer Hat PA was capable of.

The Dirt started their set with the palpitatingly exhilarant standout single, Ignorance is Bliss; beneath the psychonautic vortex of guitars lay a brashy caustic backbeat, visceral enough to reminiscence Nine Inch Nails, but even Trent Reznor himself couldn’t match the sharp convictive stage energy that Jack Horner arrested the room with.

Veering straight into the second single from the album, Power Junkie, the Dirt maddened the Madchester sound to the nth degree; Sachiko, armed with her Rickenbacker and a pedalboard that lights up like Blackpool illuminations, drove through her guitar lines through the narrated credence of how insurmountably trodden on the masses are. More than keeping their finger on the pulse of current political scandal and sleaze, The Dirt grips the liberties taken by our disaster capitalist leaders by the throat to squeeze out the odious juice.

Towards the end of the set, the experimentalism amplified around the demands to match the dissenting nature of the Dirt and get off the fences we have got cosy on in recent years. From Cyberman-ESQUE deliverances of vocal lines to wailing psychedelic static capable of tripping switches in your mind that have gathered dust through inexposure to aural innovation, it was an unforgettable performance that exceeded all expectation.

Listen to Agitator on Bandcamp, or grab a vinyl copy from the Golden Believers Records page.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Dirt originated allegorical psychedelia in their debut LP, Agitator.

Few Manchester music fans are strangers to the disquiet deliverances of The Dirt’s wordsmith, Jack Horner, who has been storming stages with his abrasively arresting recitations of the tolls of PTSD and orations of the graffiti on the toilet walls of iconic Manchester venues.

Standing alone, Horner’s words in his solo spoken word project, Leon the Pig Farmer, carry enough metaphoric weight to leave a bruising mark on the psyche. The curveballs in his conceits open a collective of wormholes for the mind to venture down before perceptions shift around his vindicating socialist manifestic narrations. As a part of the dualistic powerhouse, the juxtaposition between his no-prisoners poetry and effect-layered guitars is enough to tear the rug from beneath you and plateau you on a new kaleidoscopic tapestry.

The Dirt’s debut LP, Agitator, starts with a true-to-form snarled spoken word piece, which prises your eyes open in Clockwork Orange style to the systematic failures of our belligerently nefarious government. Right off the bat, the strength of the dystopic imagery sends you into a spin as the psychedelic guitars, courtesy of Sachiko Wakizaka, whirl around the repression rebellion.

From definitively Madchester instrumentals to desert rock droning originations, the soundscapes psychedelically curtail the spoken word conviction just enough to make each of the eleven tracks a palatable mind-altering cocktail. It’s hard to name a favourite, each single has its allegorical merit, but being driven to tears by the existentially delicate single, What’s the Story, had to be a personal highlight before the euphoria surges through Ignorance is Bliss, which transgresses entropy into rapture.

Grab a copy of Agitator via the Golden Believer Records Bandcamp page and watch the live launch on April 14 at the Peer Hat.

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Review by Amelia Vandergast

The Empty Page delivered us dejection-guilt with the art rock indolence in ‘Level Sedentary’

Sloth may be the seventh deadly sin in the eyes fixated on the demonisation of the human condition, but here to absolve us of our indolent transgressions is the ever-relatable Manchester outfit, The Empty Page, with their latest single, Level Sedentary. The second single from the forthcoming sophomore LP, released on March 3rd, is an art rock masterpiece for its mid-way descent into maniacal obscurity.

Breaking from the melodic destigmatisation of idle introversion, the ties that bind dejection to depression conceptually sprawl through the middle eight, pulling you into the murky depths of discord before your cognitions collide with the reminder that some of the greatest creative minds maintained a proclivity towards inertia.

The producer, Morton Kong, evidently knew just how to pull The Empty Page into their elevated experimental own with Level Sedentary. In a time when it is impossible to fully disconnect from the chaos of the external world, the ability to revel in it under the duress of a compassionately candid duo is worth more than words could ever convey.

Check out Level Sedentary on Spotify, Bandcamp & YouTube.

Follow The Empty Page on Facebook & Instagram.

Review by Amelia Vandergast

B!TEZ advocates uninhibited authenticity in her alt-pop hit, Be Like You

It’s time to let the dust settle on the archaic records from New Order and The Stone Roses and lock into the viscerally fresh talent from Manchester-based artist and poet B!TEZ, who has been taking the rainy city by storm.

For her latest single, Be Like You, B!TEZ (Princess Arinola Adegbite) reinvented the 80s pop wheel with her afro-futuristic edge that is sharper than any papercut. The infectiously melodic earworm is a stellar hit based on the instrumentals alone. When the socially conscious lyrics are thrown onto the stabbing synth lines, it is impossible not to get wrapped up in the vindicating euphoria.

“The first single on Vintage Destiny is ‘Be Like You’. A self-love disco pop anthem integrating rock, and funk elements encouraging listeners to be their authentic “exceptional” selves despite living in a comparison-driven world.”

After finding influence from a broad range of artists, including Nina Simone, Mazzy Star, FKA Twigs and Bjork, the songstress carved out her niche and thrived in every arena she threw her multi-faceted talent into.

The multi-award-winning poet, filmmaker and BBC Words First artist has won Manchester Young Creative of the Year and been commissioned by Selfridges, the BBC and the University of Cambridge. In addition to performing in  Manchester’s most iconic venues, including Blues Kitchen, Soup and Band on the Wall. She’s definitely one to watch.

Honestly, I’m inspired by her after just one hit on Be Like You. Eat your heart out John Cooper Clarke.

Be Like You will officially release on February 17th. Hear it on SoundCloud.

Review by Amelia Vandergast