Drowned in Manchester Discover Download #1
Cyril Snear – ‘Confabulation’
In what will hopefully become a regular installment within the non-too hallowed or indeed real towers of Drowned In Manchester, I have here an exclusive free download for you all to get thine ears around. Cyril Snear have been a lurking presence in and around Manchester for almost four years now since a move from their native North Wales. Debut album Fluent In Seven Types Of Monotone, released in 2009 picked up criminally few listeners, but those who did heard a work crafted on a fine line of tense disquiet, erupting sporadically into moments of twisted psych, math and space rock, moving with apt fluidity in its morphing structures. Two years on and the group are preparing to return with new album The Riot Of Colour – it is with excitement that I can present to you the first track to be heard from what’s promising to be a tremendous follow up.
Cyril Snear play the following dates this summer, with more to be announced:
Thursday June 16th Soundcontrol, Manchester (supporting Amplifier) Friday June 17th M.Lounge, Wrexham (supporting Gallops!) Saturday July 9th Water Rats, London Saturday July 16th Ruby Lounge, Manchester (supporting Trojan Horse)
May Festival Round-Up
May has been stupid. Fun, but really stupid. A huge deal of respect to those who managed to go to all of: Sounds From The Other City, Future Everything, Friends Of Mine Festival, Eurocultured and Dot To Dot Festival, not to mention the sheer volume of touring international and national artists, smaller all dayers and DIY gigs being put on by all and sundry.
For the best of the festivals – and indeed a showcase in the very best that the city has to offer in terms of promoters, acts and atmosphere – one needs to go back to the beginning of the month where Sounds From The Other City once again rose imperious on Chapel Street’s long stretch of pubs and venues. Now Wave were there with a lower than usual key line-up of D/R/U/G/S, Anchorsong and Sampha – amongst others – and this actually made for a more exciting showcase at the underrated Islington Mill, their stage harking back to their early days of finding and breaking cutting edge electronica and leftfield into the city. MIE Music meanwhile, now sadly packing up their bags and returning to London, brought a stellar array of talent to the gorgeous Sacred Trinity Church, Barn Owl and Richard Youngs playing alongside the locally-based talents of Part Wild Horses Mane On Both Sides. While wotgodforgot and Postcards From Manchester took an expectedly large slice of the crowd – the latter in particular featuring a generous scattering of the city’s current indie-pop flavours of the year so far – it was also pleasing to see the likes of Comfortable On A Tightrope, Bad Uncle and Fat Out Till You Pass Out put on line-ups that both intrigued and indeed lured respectable audiences. With a good day’s weather and a crowd eager to satiate their more experimental desires, Sounds From The Other City once again provided indisputable evidence that Manchester as a creative hub is still unrivalled by almost any other city in the country; its various captains just need to keep a steadier hand on the wheel to ensure that the interest in it remains.
In which two column favourites return, to be joined by a new upstart… Gnod – INGNODWETRUST (Rocket Recordings)
I read a recent Stool Pigeon interview with London’s Trogons recently where they ummed and arred for some time deliberating whether they were a psychedelic band or not. They could learn a thing or two from Gnod. INGNODWETRUST – the official follow up to last year’s DiS Manchester Album Of The Year Gnod Drop Out With The While Hills II – doesn’t ponder or query about the focus of its third eye; no, like much of Gnod’s output it simply appears, giving the effect that this is just one of many snapshots of a never ending jam, just a part of these tightly-woven souls eternal sonic journey. There’s just two tracks and certainly a stripping back of ideas compared to last years collaborative effort, with the group content to let the most basic, primal percussive roots drive each side to its conclusion. Yet in the titles, and more importantly in the sound, INGNODWETRUST feels a wholly more reverential, grandiose affair – there’s the chorale calls that permeate the beginning of ‘Tony’s First Communion,’ the sun-blinking squeals of guitar noise that arc out of the dark pit of its foundations. ‘Vatican’ is more industrial, harsh abrasion zigzagging across its ruthless climbs, but amidst the cold fury and kraut-dissonance again seeks something transcendental before the whole thing comes crashing down and we leave them behind. Until dropping in again the next time that is.
Riverrun – La Mer (Saint Cecilia) It’s strange to think that as Engineers were sound tracking sometime successful HBO drama series Big Love, their bassist Daniel Land was seeking remote seclusion, hidden away in rural Devon concocting this enveloping wash of sound. An initial patchwork of recorded coastal and countryside sounds - as well as some taken from his Cheshire residence - these have then been lithely worked in amongst more conventional drones and sustains. The bigger picture is perhaps clearer than predecessor Pentimento, with guitars chiming in sporadically, their sounds as though isolated figures, humbled in the margins of a vast landscape, but that doesn’t detract from the considered understatement that underpins the beauty of this album.
Swansong – A Beautiful Coincidence EP (self-released) Though still clearly raw, there’s nevertheless much promise on the latest EP by Ben Pearson a.k.a Swansong - one of a number of local bedroom artists who would sit happily either on a more electro-orientated Now Wave bill or on one of the more bass heavy club nights that continue to take the city by storm. What Pearson has in his arsenal beyond his peers though, aside from a restless attitude towards his dissonant bass lines and abrasively cutting synthesized glimmers, is a vocal that teems with a real urgency, giving the four tracks here a darker and deeper hue beyond simple floor filler. ‘Ebb And Flow’ and ‘Pieces’ in particular positively gurn with an almost Numan-esque 80s paranoia ; expect much more to come.
Fuzzy Lights @ Sacred Trinity Church, Salford; Thursday June 16th
Five-piece Fuzzy Lights stepped up another level with last year’s second album Twin Feathers; a swirling soundscape of harrowing strings and guitar dissonance, it’s darkness submerged a group once known more for their more traditional folk leanings.
Boris + Russian Circles @ Islington Mill, Salford; Monday June 20th
Fat Out Till You Pass Out present this awesome double header that sees Japanese experimentalists go toe to toe with Chicago post-rockers Russian Circles in what promises to be a thunderous battle of noise.
Crystal Stilts @ Soundcontrol, Manchester; Friday June 24th
Blog and press darlings back in 2009, second album In Love With Oblivion hasn’t quite been met with the same fervour as Crystal Stilts’ predecessor Alight Of Night; live they remain a beguiling proposition though, the shackles coming off their psychedelic sprawls of sound.
Manchester International Festival @ Various, Manchester; June 30th-July 17th
A festival that has to be included given its sheer size and scope; away from the likes of Bjork, Damon Albarn and Snoop Dogg though lies a veritable array of local talent including producer XXXY on July 5th, a relatively rare performance from Warp’s Lonelady, with Air Cav supporting, on July 6th and the fluid club electronica of D/R/U/G/S on July 12th. Those intrigued by the smoke and mirrors allure of Wu Lyf meanwhile can see the cloak fall away, the group playing their biggest show to date on July 16th.
S.C.U.M @ The Ruby Lounge, Manchester; Monday July 4th
The post-punk-cum-industrial squall of S.C.U.M is a most formidable one indeed, and the London five-piece should feel right at home in Manchester, their righteously gothic brew not too dissimilar from those great signposting aids of music journalists everywhere, Joy Division.
That’s it from me anything I’ve missed, been wrong about or generally fucked up please don’t hesitate to DiScuss it below; if you want to shout at me on Twitter for being a grumpy bugger, I’m @essjaycats. I’ll cheer up in time for August. Promise.