manchesterr

As a city, Manchester’s musical heritage arguably far outweighs any other of its exports. Over the last 50 years, the city has given rise to an inordinate number of acts that have gone on to become household names; from the vocal harmonies of The Hollies and The Bee Gees, to the colloquial twang of The Brothers Gallagher; the dissonant poetry of John Cooper Clarke to the euphoric, almost angelic sounds of contemporary acts such as MONEY to the euphoric for very different reasons, funk of The Happy Mondays. The point I’m making is that every generation, every decade, has given us another musical legend and no matter how you personally feel about them as a band or solo artist, it can’t be argued differently.

Even now, with the buzz surrounding the reformation of the Inspiral Carpets, The Stone Roses – and the aforementioned Happy Mondays – finally dissipating, one can’t help but think that despite what some people say, Manchester’s music scene never really went away and such musical royalty reforming isn’t the pinnacle of our city’s scene. It’s far from it, and in fact it’s a result of it. There’s a slew of bands and artists coming up that keep the crowds flocking back to such eclectic venues as the Night & Day, The Deaf Institute, and The Ruby Lounge, supporting a scene that in itself seems completely oblivious to the pressures of the wider industry, ignorant of generic convention and seemingly living by the time-old axiom of “Fuck you, this is Manchester, we do what want”. And in a sense they do. While, yes, there are those bands that adhere to the cultural stereotyping of being bandLADS, there are far more acts doing something more than that, something on a more intellectual level than your average Fred Perry sporting philistine, recanting his amorous antics with all the colloquial verbosity of a Lancashire hotpot. From hardcore inspired garage rockers, to atmospheric and haunting producers and even reggae bands, there really is something for everybody in Manchester, no matter what your musical persuasion. Below is just a handful of acts that we think will be making waves in 2014 and beyond.

brown brogues
Brown Brogues
Though the band have been around for quite some time now, it seems that recently the hype machine behind Brown Brogues has been cranked to a near deafening level, something completely fitting since the band’s own personal blend of garage rock is soaked in enough caustic crackle to make your skin start to peel and blood seep from your ears. Championed by the likes of Mancunian legend John Robb, the band’s explosive riotous orgy of Cramps style aesthetic and snotty punk delivery has far more in common with bands from across the Atlantic than it does the bands they share a home town with. A two-piece they are, The Black Keys or The White Stripes they are not.
Check out: ‘Loving Mouthful of Choke’

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patterns
Patterns
A band who give themselves wholly to Manchester’s more melodic side, Patterns are “making shoegaze dreampop for tomorrow’s hungry pop-babies” and with their debut album just released on 6th January, now seems to be the time to get on board. Blending wistfully nostalgic drones with contemporary synth loops gives the band an almost timeless quality, helped in no small part by expertly executed falsetto moments of bassist Alex Hillhouse. One recent project the band have been working on, KOLLIDE, sees local artists collaborating with each other without the added pressures of record sales and release dates, something which only serves to perpetuate the current ethos of a lot of Manchester bands, in that everyone helps each other out.
Check out: ‘Blood’

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puppet rebellion
Puppet Rebellion
Despite having only formed at the start of 2013, Manchester-based quintet Puppet Rebellion have gone from strength to strength over the last 12 months. Not only has their single ‘Chemical Friends’ been played during the half-time show at Old Trafford, but they’ve gone on to support bands such as Catfish & the Bottlemen at some of the city’s most frequented dive bars. Their heady blend of no-nonsense indie pop and intelligent lyricism propels the band above and beyond the confines of their local scene and upholds a distinct universality to their music that belies the relatively short space of time the band have been together. Definitely an act to keep your eye on over the next 12 months.
Check out: ‘Chemical Friends’

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feed the kid

Feed The Kid
Having been a band for almost two years now, Feed The Kid, might not be the most recent band to make this list, but 2013 really saw the quartet come in to their own. There’s an underlying folk-element to the band’s music, that seems to build on similar foundations to the likes of Bear’s Den. However, where the latter revels in the minimalist traditionalism of their own respective project, Feed The Kid employ a much more majestic approach to their music in comparison; tracks such as ‘Fellaheen’ exhibit an almost Sigur Ros style of grandeur to their song-writing, though never does it  stray into the fully blown levels of encompassing atmospherics such as they. Instead the band keep their feet firmly planted on the ground, allowing their music to uphold an underlying grittiness that offsets the lighter elements of their music.
Check out: ‘Kerry’

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minx

The Minx
Finding themselves much more akin to the likes of Buzzcocks than Oasis or The Stone Roses, The Minx are channelling an often overlooked punk energy into their otherwise quintessentially Mancunian aesthetic. Whilst not quite sporting the leather, bristles studs and acne look of the 1970s, their refusal to bay to the more traditional aspects of Manchester’s indie scene is a punk act in itself, throw in some particularly snotty vocals and a penchant for organs within their songs, and it becomes clear that the band really do seem to be doing something different to everyone else.
Check out: ‘(Can You Find) My Head’

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letters-to-fiesta

Letters To Fiesta
Refusing to be bound by the cloying constraints of generic labelling, Letters to Fiesta are a two piece that bring new meaning to the word atmospheric. Though a band for a couple of years now, it wasn’t until early in 2013 that the mystery surrounding them began to fade and songs slowly began to appear online. Earning support from the likes of publications such as Line of Best Fit and This Is Fake DIY does nothing to hamper their reputation, whilst their debut ‘Aphorism’ suggests a musical spacial awareness to their song-writing. Letters to Fiesta are a band who’s ambitions are matched only by their ear for grandiose theatrics. They might have been one of Manchester’s best kept secrets once upon a time, but now they seem to be on the up, and they couldn’t be more deserving.
Check out: ‘Tears Apart’

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slow readers club

The Slow Readers Club
Drawing countless comparisons to the likes of Editors or Interpol, The Slow Readers Club are a band who have found themselves thrust into Manchester’s mainstream consciousness of late. Their tracks range from upbeat indie club floorfillers, to the downtrodden and introspective, affording the band’s live sets a varied feeling that relents in all the right places. The distinctly post-punk vibe offered up by the band is something seen often these days, however the optimistic, rousing synth and occasional string sections of tracks such as ‘Follow Me Down’ provide a more melodic, less oppressive edge to their repertoire.
Check out: ‘Days Like This Will Break Your Heart’

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purple heart parade

Purple Heart Parade
Purple Heart Parade are a band whose reputation precedes them. Though barely a year old, their atmospheric fusion of psychedelia and shoegaze has already earned them a headline slot at Glasgow’s first ever Psych Fest, as well as support slots for the likes of Exit Calm and Pureessence. Dream-pop vocals float effortlessly above rhythm sections that have been lovingly soaked in fuzzy feedback, it’s not a ground-breaking sound, but it doesn’t need to be, PHP have managed to contemporise two distinct genres of yesteryear and fuse them together into something new, something of the moment and something that’s ultimately getting them noticed by all the right people.
Check out: ‘Lies and Kites’

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king kartel

King Kartel
Bridging the gap between Manchester and Newry, King Kartel are a band all too familiar with the Manchester scene. Formed after the dissolution of a previous act, this indie three-piece are building on an already established foundation and have been making waves in the city’s unsigned scene for a year now. Falling somewhere in between The Libertines and The View, the band’s own brand of rough around the edges indie is as accessible as it is danceable and is the perfect soundtrack to any weekend misspent in one of Manchester’s many dive bars.
Check Out: ‘Not Done Fighting’

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naked on drugs

Naked (On Drugs)
Naked and on drugs are presumably not instructions for how one should go about listening to one of Manchester’s most offbeat and genuinely weird offerings. Should someone actually try listening to the band on drugs, we can almost promise you that it won’t be most enjoyable of chemical experiences, take that as you will. ‘Lee-Ann’s Skin’ is probably the most accessible of the band’s tracks, despite its psychedelic sound-scape and haunting violins. However, with a name like Naked (On Drugs) commercial appeal was never exactly high on their list of priorities, and it’s just as well, certainly not a band for someone looking for an easy listen, but with a penchant for experimentalism and strong jazz influences it’s definitely eye-opening.
Check out: ‘Death Dance’

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velocets

Velocets
Like so many bands before them, Stockport’s Velocets formed from the ashes of several ill-fated ventures, building on the experience garnered in their respective projects, fusing it together to create the angular atmospheric post-punk that the band offers today. A string of festival appearances this summer has allowed the band to gather a burgeoning number of fans and to hone their sound in to something that feels far more mature, far more realised than anything the lads have offered before. With only two new songs released in 2013, one can’t help but think that their focus on the live circuit might well take a back seat during the next 12 months, in favour of more studio time and a possible EP release.
Check out: ‘Naked’

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kult-country

Kult Country
Caught up in an influx of Manchester bands to rival that of the B-Town scene, Kult Country, (alongside labelmates MONEY and G R E A T W A V E S) are enjoying a resurgence in the city’s scene. Their music, a meeting of atmospheric drones and industrial-tinged techno, feels like a complete exercise in catharsis, particularly one half of AA single ‘Slowburn’, the emotion of which is almost tangible. Flipside ‘Amongst the Dead Forever’ however couldn’t be more different. A relentless bass drives the track forward whilst singer Yousif Al-Karaghouli sounds like a completely different person. It’s a testament to the band’s versatility and once more it’s a testament to the musical credibility of Manchester.
Check out: ‘Slowburn’

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moses gold

Moses Gold
Moses Gold is a man with a firm set of beliefs about his music. Former member of Manchester band Christian AIDS/Stay +, the name literally translates to Prophet of Greed, a nod to the music industry that “spat” his last band out. Now back as a solo artist, Moses Gold is putting his own spin on electronica, and it speaks volumes. Early releases more than nod to the likes of Joy Division and packs almost as much paranoid anxiety and emotional turmoil whereas later release ‘Sleeping With the Past’ offers up a more optimistic approach by comparison and features guest vocals from Daniel Land. Though inspired by several of the names on the list, Gold deserves to be on here himself for the sole reason of providing fans of electronica with something far more introspective than their usual fare.
Check out: ‘Great Depression’

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the gramotones

The Gramotones
Upholding somewhat more of a traditional pop aesthetic than previous acts mentioned in this list, The Gramotones defy the generation gap by merging together a slew of influences from across the decades from pop acts such as The Squeeze and The Hollies, to more contemporary acts such as Arctic Monkeys. Often such praises is heaped upon bands rather undeserving, but there really is something for everyone here. Perfect vocal harmonies are slotted in neatly beside an anarchic breakdown in ‘Horror Draped in Dry Ice’ whilst ‘M62’ sees ’60s pop inspired vocals against a modern indie rock backdrop. The tightness with which they play and their confidence in their own musical ability suggests a maturity in The Gramotones which reaches far beyond their relatively young years, and you can’t help but think it’s going to do them wonders over the next 12 months.
Check out: ‘Horror Draped In Dry Ice’

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lottery winners

The Lottery Winners
“Born in Salford, raised on romance” suggests the Facebook page of indie-pop quartet The Lottery Winners, a four-piece that eschews the gritty and guttural in favour of something far more optimistic and rosy-cheeked. With an almost Morrissey-esque meticulousness to his lyricism it’s clear that frontman Thomas Rylance is a lad with his heart on his sleeve, though perhaps one not quite as broken as his influence’s. Having been together a fairly long time already, the band are finally look set to expose themselves to the world, and after taking so long to hone their craft, you know it’s going to be worth the wait.
Check out: ‘Something to Leave the House For’

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jeramiah ferrari

Jeramiah Ferrari
Manchester’s answer to Sublime, with a taste for green as opposed to brown, Jeramiah Ferrari are injecting some much needed sunshine in to a city seemingly plagued by rain. Hailing from Leigh, this quartet are showing no signs of slowing their inevitable ascent to the top of their game. Their anarchic fusion of roots reggae with punk, ska, and calypso has garnered them support slots for acts such as The Skints and has seen the band play in front of 20,000 people after winning a local radio competition. With two prior EPs under their belt, 2013 proved to be a year of relentless gigging for the band, only pausing to release single ‘Jazz Cigarette’ back in July. With some luck, 2014 will see the band further their reputations and maybe even see the release of their first full-length, who’s to say?
Check out: ‘No Booty’

About The Author

Dave Beech

Having spent my formative years torn between crying in my bedroom to tedious early '00s emo records and playing in a couple of terrible punk bands, I decided I was far better suited to writing about music than playing it. Now, approaching my mid-twenties all of a sudden, armed with little more than an unhealthy penchant for sarcasm and an acquired taste for warm cider, I can mostly be found haunting the unsigned circuit of Manchester as often as I can the city's bigger venues, championing those bands who don't quite get the attention they deserve, as much as panning those who get too much. Twitter: @dave__beech