Hey, have you heard about…Holding Patterns

When I first moved to Manchester, I found myself suddenly thrust into this wonderful DIY music scene. I was going to awe inspiring gigs every week and discovering my new favourite bands in the process. I remember hearing the debut album from a Derby based emo crew called Crash Of Rhinos and being completely flawed by it. I saw them live shortly after discovering them and remember being even more blown away by their live show. Needless to say, they became everyone’s favourite band and ended up releasing two albums that are considered as UK emo classics.

A few years have passed since the band called it a day, shortly after touring their second LP, but to the joy of many, three fifths of the band have been quietly beavering away on a new project. It was late last year that Holding Patterns finally released their first recordings, after nearly two years of teasing studio sessions plus a smattering of live shows. ‘At Speed‘ was a brilliant introduction to the three piece and retained the same heart on sleeve majesty that made Crash Of Rhinos so special, but with a more melodic alt-rock twist. At this point, the anticipation was high to hear more and since then, we have been patiently awaiting more info on the album the band have been working on since their formation.

Finally, the band have just announced their debut LP ‘Endless‘, which is being put out through Vested Interest Records here in the UK on May 17th! To celebrate the announcement, the trio will head out on a small co-headline UK tour with excellent indie-rock outfit Modern Rituals this very month!

As if that wasn’t enough, we also have another taster of the new album in the form of the near 7 minute epic ‘Dust‘. This is another seriously strong cut, with each member playing a blinder. The melodic shifts on this track are sublime, blending fist pumping alt-rock with gorgeous emo tinged guitar work, whilst the rhythm section pound it out with a punk-rock attitude. It’s one thing to be good at playing your instrument but it’s another to take those skills and write mind blowing rock songs with it, which is something Holding Patterns do with absolute ease!

Endless is available to pre-order now through Vested Interest on double vinyl and CD. The band will play the following shows in a few weeks times alongside Modern Rituals.

20/2 Leeds – Brudenell Social Club
21/2 London – New River Studios
22/2 Liverpool – 81 Renshaw Street
23/2 Bristol – Mothers Ruin
24/2 Brighton – Green Door Store

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Live Review: Blood Red Shoes at Soup Kitchen in Manchester 30 January 2019

Blood Red Shoes have had it pretty tough these past few years. Dealing with personal mishaps as well as having a bucket load of industry bullshit thrown their way, the future wasn’t looking so bright for Laura-Mary and Steven. But by taking the band in a new direction and bringing a new attitude into proceedings, Blood Red Shoes have emerged victorious with their brilliant new LP ‘Get Tragic‘.

Tonight we’re in Soup Kitchen, a slightly smaller venue than the band are used too, but all part of a short UK club tour in support of the album. The sassy, electro tinged stylings of their latest effort definitely fit the dark yet neon lit basement of the Soup Kitchen and naturally, the show is sold out and the room is buzzing.

Joined by members of 2:54 and Tigercub, Blood Red Shoes stroll out as a four piece tonight and kick into massive, riff hungry monster ‘Elijah‘; the epic closer from their new record. Combining their rock routes with a sassy, electro pop sheen, this is a perfect opener and the band seem straight into the show as Laura-Mary falls straight to the floor for her guitar solo. Two more bangers from the new record follow in ‘Bangsar‘ and ‘Howl‘, thrown out and swallowed whole by the crowd, before the band halve into the original two piece and get straight into the hits.

I think we get an 11 track run of solid gold smashes from the bands consistently solid back catalogue. One thing that’s cool to hear is the subtle changes with each record. We have the scrappy indie punk of ‘I Wish I Was Someone Better‘ from their debut, the anthemic grunge pop of albums two and three with tracks like ‘Light It Up‘ and ‘Lost Kids‘ before the beefy riff-rock album of four with ‘An Animal‘. You forget how timeless these records are and some of the choruses barely fit in the room, as the whole of Soup Kitchen mosh and shout along.

With the band expanding once again, the last part of the set brings out the poppier moments from ‘Get Tragic‘, like the groove-pop swagger of ‘Mexican Dress‘. The new material is greeted with such love from the crowd tonight and whilst I know some fans haven’t quite gotten into it yet, it really does sound massive live, bound to change minds whilst out on the road. But generally speaking, there is something for everyone this evening and it’s great to see the band genuinely having fun on stage with songs new and old. The word triumphant has been used a lot to describe Blood Red Shoes’ comeback and I’m pleased to say that this is definitely the case with tonight’s set. Welcome home.

Read our review of ‘Get Tragic’ here!

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Album Release Rundown – A.A. Williams, Blood Red Shoes and The Yacht Club

It’s been an unbelievably strong start to 2019 on the new music front and the final week of January does not disappoint. Here is our rundown of the best records released this week – January 25th. These three picks are all released through amazing independent labels that you can find on the web and in selected stores. Please support your local record store or pick up a copy online!

Blood Red Shoes – ‘Get Tragic’ (Jazz Life)

Having spent well over a decade pushing the boundaries of a two-piece rock band, Blood Red Shoes needed a break. On their return, the Brighton formed duo decided to approach the band from a new angle. Their fifth album ‘Get Tragic‘ has all the blueprints that make BRS such a treasured rock act, but this time they’re covered it in an electro-pop sheen. Synth bass seductiveness and sassed out vocals lead the way as the duo bring the groove, ramp up the hooks and sound like they’re having the most fun doing it.

With massive pop bangers like ‘Mexican Dress‘ and ‘Howl‘ bringing a new sense of swagger into their step, glittery electro ballad ‘Find My Own Remorse‘ flips everything you know about this band upside down in a totally stunning way. Self reflection and doubt are weaved into the fabric of ‘Get Tragic‘ and understandably so as this is a story of discovery and reinvention. But ultimately, triumph and defiance win the battle to create a massive FUCK YEAH of a comeback!

The Yacht Club – ‘The Last Words That You Said To Me Have Kept Me Here and Safe’ (Beth Shalom Records)

Following a few well received EP releases, London based quartet The Yacht Club are ready to reveal their debut album. Although this band have always written very honestly and personally, this is an album that deals directly with grieving and dark mental health issues, but with it they inject a lot of fond reflection and hope. The vocal work is brimming with conviction, from finely tuned vocal leads, soaring three part harmonies and of course, the chest-swelling gang vocals that scream out the title of closing track ‘Be Happy and Love‘.

Musically it combines a shed load of twiddly guitars, math style time changes and super strength indie pop sensibilities. Although it reminds me a lot of the current American Emo and Indie Rock crop, there is something very British about The Yacht Club, which is why fans of bands like TTNG and itoldyouiwouldeatyou will be well into this. All in all, this is a well put together debut full of sharp musicianship and heart warming songs.

A.A. Williams – S/T EP (Holy Roar)

A.A. Williams is a brand new artist for 2019. Having released teaser tracks late last year, the London based singer/songwriter is here to unveil her debut release. Opening track ‘Cold‘ sets the tone for the EP, with a bewildering blend of folk and post-rock that sounds like Mogwai jamming to an early Cat Power record. The other tracks follow suit, with haunting yet warming vocal melodies and soaring guitar work that create an atmosphere that is both tense and beautiful.

Although there is a consistency throughout the EP, final track ‘Belong‘ really steals the show. Bringing a huge crescendo of crashing drums, massive guitar sounds soaked in reverb and of course these really affecting vocal harmonies, this is definitely the sound of an artist with a fully realised sound. This is an extremely accomplished debut and will act as the most perfect winter soundtrack.

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Live Review: Adrianne Lenker at YES in Manchester 17 January 2019

Adrianne Lenker is a relatively new name to me. It was the release of her latest solo record ‘Abysskiss‘ in October last year that completely stopped me in my tracks in all its beautifully understated glory. But for many, Adrianne is a New York based singer songwriter that has stolen their hearts for many years both as a solo artist and fronting lo-fi indie pop band Big Thief.

Needless to say tonight is a sell out, as I enter the doors of new Manchester venue YES for the first time. I’m upstairs in the vibrantly decorated ‘Pink Room‘, ripping off several layers as I go from the chilly city streets to a toasty little room full of excitable but calm Lenker fans.

As expected, the crowd tonight are super polite throughout the hour long set, with the only heckle of the evening being “You are brilliant, please don’t stop“. There’s another moment where Adrianne takes a little longer to tune her guitar into one of many different tunings, the crowd therefore beginning to chat, getting louder and louder. But as soon as she strikes the first chord, there is immediate silence and poise, which makes me realise that she has the room in the palm of her hands as they hang on every word and every note.

It’s not hard to see why though as the set tonight is full of incredibly well crafted songs, her voice full of grace and beauty, with her guitar playing wonderfully intricate and accomplished. It’s one thing being good at playing but it’s another backing that up with great songs and Adrianne has this in abundance, weaving between songs from her two solo records as well as treating us to some brand new songs. There is such a sense of focus as she plays, her head always nodding and her voice seemingly effortless but gracefully powerful.

Thank you for coming out tonight, it means a lot, it would suck if you weren’t here“; one of Adrianne’s charming in between quips we hear this evening, cementing tonight’s set as just a lovely, humbling swing into the head of a genuine songwriting talent. She is brilliant, I hope she doesn’t stop.

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Album Review: The Twilight Sad – IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME

The Twilight Sad have always worn their hearts on their sleeves, but it’s how this Scottish outfit take their influences and weave them into something unique that makes them such a treasured act. It was only a matter of time before things started ramping up, thanks to alt icons The Cure, Editors and Mogwai taking them out on the road to play the bigger rooms they so deserved to be heard in. Naturally, it’s this change in pace that informs the energy and vigour that cuts through ‘IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME‘. Don’t get it twisted, they’re still the kings of gloom and this fifth album is deliciously goth-y, it’s just been dialled up a few notches.

The singles that have been released in the run up to the albums release have all shown a sharper focus in the melody department and the rest of the record definitely follows by example. The goth pop anthems come out swinging here, shrouded in melancholia but matched with a strong feeling of euphoria. I could probably argue that every track fits this description, but ‘I/m Not Here‘, ‘Auge Maschine‘ and ‘Keep It All To Myself‘ are highlights, all different in tone but all hit that sweet indie rock rush.

Guitarist Andy MacFarlane has always acted as musical director for the band and here he wistfully combines ice cool 80’s synths and noisy 90’s guitars with a post-punk spirit and industrial intensity. This is something we’ve seen the band touch on in previous releases, but everything here is in bold with an apparent sense of urgency. ‘Shooting Dennis Hopper Shooting‘ and ‘Girl Chewing Gum‘ especially see the band pushing their sonic envelope whilst smashing out absolutely huge choruses. It feels like they’ve found out what works best for their sound and gone three sheets to the wind with it.

And of course we have to talk about the band’s fearless vocalist James Graham, who has always provided the cherry on top with his enigmatic and impassioned vocal style. But here, as is the theme of the record, it takes a step up as he gives some of his most affecting and gutsy performances yet; opening track ‘10 Good Reasons For Modern Drugs‘ displays his range in full force and sets the bar ridiculously high for the rest for the record. As you can imagine, he totally fucking delivers.

Ultimately, the songwriting is just incredible, melodically solid with some truly spellbinding performances. It holds the euphoric edginess of their last two records, but mixes the grand atmospherics that runs through their earlier material. It feels like The Twilight Sad have spent their career trying to find their definitive sound and they have totally nailed it on ‘IT WON/T BE LIKE THIS ALL THE TIME’.

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Album Review: You Tell Me – You Tell Me

Comprised of multi-instrumentalist’s Peter Brewis and Sarah Hayes, You Tell Me was a project formed from a chance meeting that acts as a musical dialogue between its two creators. As fans of both Peter and Sarah’s day jobs in excellent bands Field Music and Admiral Fallow, this is definitely a collaboration we are excited about.

What hits instantly is how you can hear both of Peter and Sarah’s distinct personalities weaving together in perfect harmony to create a new voice. Opening track ‘Enough To Notice‘ is the perfect marriage of Peter’s theatrical composing and Sarah’s timeless vocal style. Its pretty orchestral swirls sit perfectly underneath Sarah’s warm yet rich voice for a deeply comforting start.

Majestic indie pop songwriting is the route to these songs (recent single ‘Clarion Call‘ very much a stunning centrepiece), but with this being a meeting of minds, there’s a lot more to dig into. ‘Get Out Of The Room‘ is a tension builder, centred around plucky acoustic strums, organ drones and twangy electric leads while ‘Water Cooler‘ is a twitchy alt pop gem that Field Music fans will be sure to get their groove on to. You can very much tell that the relationship between the two musicians is formed upon a love of musical and mutual tastes, it sometimes feeling like we’re sat with them as they graciously swap ipods between them.

Peter has such a distinctive way of arranging and producing, always indulging in beautiful sonic flourishes and memorable hooks, which is clear to hear throughout You Tell Me. But what Sarah does is elevate these flourishes and hooks to the next level, with extensive vocal range and an arsenal of wonderfully conducted counter melodies. There are moments where the duo take us on a prog-pop journey, especially in its final three tracks, leading us through angelic crescendos of vocal harmonies and grand piano tinkerings, leading to a gorgeous conclusion as Sarah sweetly croons over a string quartet.

After a busy, glutinous festive season, You Tell Me are here to bring you into the new year with a charming and refreshing album. Full of fine detail but still oozing beauty, Peter Brewis and Sarah Hayes have proved themselves a songwriting match made in heaven.

Read our interview with You Tell Me here!

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Album Review: Wilderness Hymnal – Anthropocene

Review from Ben Forrester

Wilderness Hymnal is the brain child of Manchester based artist Javier Wallis. Emerging onto the scene in 2014 with the beautifully bewildering ‘Transmutation‘ EP, Javier has sculpted his own universe through stormy, piano driven passages peppered with post-rock atmospherics. Having spent the last few years holed up in studios in both Salford and Bristol, Wilderness Hymnal is ready to unleash its first full length.

As you may expect, ‘Anthropocene‘ is a complex and sprawling listening experience that sees Javier push his musical influences and boundaries further and deeper than before. ‘Verguenza‘ sets the tone perfectly, as organ drones pulsate and transcendent synth melodies float on by, poised and ready. Suddenly, these drones evaporate into fuzz and we are thrown into this murky drop of tribal drums and soaring vocal work. It’s an extremely thrilling intro and a glorious display of the enticing dramatics Javier injects into his compositions.

Abyssal‘ keeps us alert with an eerie melody overlapping dreamy, harmonised vocals that eventually builds into a cacophony of unsettling sounds. The second part of the track is driven by drums, pianos and Javier’s gorgeous yet haunting, harmonised vocals. The rest of the album continues this dark yet beautiful dance of nu-folk, doom and post-rock that is lead by theatrical, grand piano stabs and Javier’s hypnotising voice that really steals the show.

It’s how Wilderness Hymnal weave moments of dreaminess with moments of a pure nightmarish quality that really reels you in. Take ‘Bone Script‘ for example, musically a dark and dense affair, mainly focused on frantic piano work, but the vocals take you to another head space that you can’t help but be overcome by. It’s graceful but intense; a dynamic I’ve not come across much before, but it’s one that elevates this album into unique sonic realms.

There is a stunning amount of detail that has gone into the sculpting for Anthropocene and there is no faulting the majesty and drama of the production. It’s not an easy listen by any means, but there is such a sense of beauty and poise that you can’t help be attracted by when you listen in. It’s clear that Wilderness Hymnal has finely crafted every detail into this album, backing it up with enticing melodies and inventive, exciting songwriting. It has an atmosphere that you can’t help but be absorbed by and for that Wildness Hymnal has made a truly spellbinding experience.

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