Tuesday, 17 December 2013

Review // Sounds Of The Near Future @ WHP

Review // Sounds Of The Near Future @ WHP
Sounds Of The Near Future has had an enlightening, arousing roll-out as the latest collaboration between promotional messiahs Now Wave and the team behind the Warehouse Project, fetching crisp names in bass and house such as Henry Krinkle and Snakehips, to the city earlier this Summer. For their latest collaboration this season, Brainfeeder chief Flying Lotus made his welcome return to Old Trafford, bringing a significantly exciting chunk of his roster along for the ride with recurrent residents, making clear that the most puzzling dilemma of the night would appear in a puerile attempt to try and cram every desirable artist, into an achievable itinerary. With the double J’s of Jon K and Jonny Dub opening up Rooms one and two respectively, the latter jockey seemed the most logical point of call to cement ground, ahead of a prospective dense six hours. Walking into a consolidation of classic 90s Snoop mixed into Alicia Myers disco favourite ‘I Want To Thankyou’, a praise-worthy cocktail was granted to fortify the foundations ahead of Brainfeeder’s only UK signee, Lapalux, stepping up.
Stuart Howard’s live sets under his Lapa identity are always an experimentation to behold, adapting and evolving from performance to performance by incorporating a spectrum of R&B bootlegs and neoteric strategies, yet it was the technicalities on WHP’s part that were noticeably absent. Planting a strikingly impressive producer into a corner with minimal lighting and zero visual pieces, his performance already lost a spark at no fault of his own just a short while in- and where some of the most memorable parties may be discovered round the darkest corners, we must remember that this is Warehouse, where attendees want presence for their pounds and a full experience, with no corners cut. Despite the breach of optic stimuli present, Howard’s rousing extended introduction and a mind-bogglingly tremendous technique of infiltrating 2012’s ‘When You’re Gone’ with a hectic manipulation of Khia’s ‘My Neck, My Back’, not only raised the bar in an unconventional sense but also had a whole lot of eyebrows heading north, too. Bold, adventurous and downright brilliant, Lapalux managed to execute his spell with just the right amount of tongue-in-cheek satire and laudable commendation deserved.
Inbetween all the dancing and debauchery present, there is one obvious exclusion from the line-up that merch-clad hipsters in football jersey tees are close-to-weeping for; Zomby. He may be more well known for his obnoxious Twitter rants involving the lexicon of ‘Givenchy’ and ‘Cult music’, rather than his masterful earlier workings (‘With Love’ was a trap-heavy mess of fade-outs and uncalculated mechanisms), yet the fact that he was removed from the night’s bill without explanation or reason from the organisers, now appears to be another factor that comes part-and-parcel as each year rolls around, disappointingly through struggle.
 With Flying Lotus’s 2012 release ‘Until The Quiet Comes’ branching away from his hip-hop enticed work of the past, the secretive (at first) conception of all-rap alias Captain Murphy, formed within it’s trailing wake of intelligent psychadelia. As an exclusive debut European live show, little is known about the project apart from the occasional Earl Sweatshirt collaboration that fanatics that have been following across the blogsphere from day one, it could be described as a blessing in disguise that this venture has managed to remained enigmatic. Providing a punk-as-fuck aesthetic as one of the most forward-thinking hip-hop assemblages emerging in years, with an addition of bass-master Thundercat on band duties, Steven Ellison spits out dynamic bars with mean flow like we never envisioned, never mind the spoken word sections that collectively, are eagerly ready to hand 2013’s rap game a clear royal flush. Between hosting a terrifying finish of cackling after every turnout, Ellison shows us that he isn’t just an electronic-orientated multitude of excellence, his hip-hop roots stemming further, deeper and more superior than we ever observed before.
Inaugurating his revolutionary 3-D projection screen show on it’s sophomore trip to Manchester, the annexation of sprouting spider webs stretching forty-odd feet and musical manipulations of atmospheric, trippy proportions, further futuristic flair is propelled into his engineering soundscape. Taking a noble step forward to perform sectional vocals up-close-and-personal to his audience, tracks from past releases ‘Los Angeles’ and ‘Cosmogramma’ are mixed into ‘Another One Bites The Dust’, Drake’s ‘Started From The Bottom’ and various TNGHT snippets, moulded with mini-city metropolis illustrations, that add an essence of surprise improvisation. Mobilising a moshpit-inducing climax of his Odd Future acquaintances’ labour, FlyLo’s final run of this particular spectacle is a reflection of how tremendously esteemed for his production, knowledge and ear-to-the-ground philosophies’ he remains, leaving us swaggering out into the wee hours, quite literally, mindblown.

Words by Yours Truly // Images by WHP (via here) X

Monday, 2 December 2013

Review // Evian Christ's 'Trance Party' @ Corsica Studios

Last weekend I ventured off to London to catch Evian Christ tear up Corsica Studios for his introductory 'Trance Party'. It was sweaty, fun and there were new faces and old- my review is now live over here on Crack, or you can read the unedited version below...
Evian Christ's 'Trance Party' @ Corsica Studios
London, you never fail to stump me with the unexpected. As a Northern soul in the Big Smoke, I am often pooled in with the relentless incursion of tourists when asking for tube directions, not to mention encompassing a Scouse born-and-bread twang that makes any Cockney I come into contact with recoil in uncommunicative horror, just like I do when it comes to forking out a fiver a pint. Still, there is always a dusting of hidden beacons that summon us in exactly why we put up with the ridiculous congestion and annoyingly quaint wine bars on every corner, from time to time- and South East’s Corsica Studios is one of these glimmers of hope. Hot from lacing Mr. West’s ‘Yeezus’ with his ingenious expertise, Ellesmere-Port-boy-done-good Evian Christ enrolled in the likes of Jam City, Wanda Group and Arca to throw the first in his duo of ‘Trance Parties’, promising to detract away from the genre and coiling it all back to what ‘trance’ actually means.
After several hiccups involving group members falling off the wagon and step-in heroes missioning from the eternity-away zone four, no unforeseen obstacles could cast a cloud once inside the remarkably well-equipped venue.  With a roaring sound system that makes your bones shake as if you’re rolling down a hill implanted within the acoustics, the night’s curator bounced from his earlier status-cementing, hip-hop modified electronica, over to the snarling expletives of ‘I’m In It’ and teases of what we’re to expect for 2014. As hot-off-the-press ‘Salt Carousel’ was released into the web sphere only a day prior, it’s mind-boggling to contemplate the heights he actually has the ability to rocket to. The brutal bass, hyper-speed recitals and unforgiving rave synth slashes that echo as melodically accessible and ballsy, are not only insightful of where Christ is heading but also of the leap he’s made from indie-label bedroom experimentalist to, deservedly, globally-appreciated producer.
As the night plummeted further into the wee hours, developments from alternative guests only crept to more bizarre and delightful ranks. Take Brooklyn’s Alejandro Ghersi, or Arca as his haunting but crazily danceable mononym plays out, of as we enter through various curtains and almost sacrifice shoes to catch a glimpse of, thrives off the dance-floor frenzy he’s fashioned, spinning and gyrating behind the decks just as the hundreds of youngsters surveilling are. Then steps-up Night Slugs eccentric Jam City, following the fabulous care-free ethos that a guilty pleasure shouldn’t be guilty. Streamlining antagonistically throbbing techno with tropical edits of Drake’s ‘Started From The Bottom’ and Ne-Yo’s ‘Sexy Love’, the too-cool-for-school-boys find themselves slinking for the nearest lady that catches their eye and the gaggling drunk girls can’t help but swoon like it’s 2006 all over again. Oh, and any artist that manages to admirably insert ‘How Soon Is Now’ into what is dubbed a trance event causing admirable uproar, is an honourable revelation in our book.

Words by Yours Truly X

Monday, 4 November 2013

Review // Curated by Julio Bashmore @ WHP

Last weekend I had a Factory reunion of sorts when Artrocker sent me off to review Julio Bashmore's curated night at Warehouse. Cassius were ludicrously good, Tiraquon bought the 80s vibes and Bashmore, well, read it over here or below to see for yourselves...
Curated by Julio Bashmore @ WHP
As a reoccurring invitation to the individuals and groups that ignite movers and shakers, the coordinators behind Warehouse Project invite a range of music makers to take the reins in curating line-ups themselves, annually. Spanning rockers such as Bloc Party and The Kills, over to new generation blood such as Disclosure or Teed and- on this occasion- Broardwalk boss Julio Bashmore, WHP aren't afraid to shake it up, nor go with the flow when necessary. With a combination of internationally respected and cemented UK producers, along with a gargantuan headline set from Julio himself, these curated nights are undoubtedly where you’ll find the most diverse melting pots. 
One of our favourite galactic-funksters, Space Dimension Controller, was first on the horizon to fill up the dance floor in room two. Despite the fact that we couldn't help but constantly wonder why SDC had been booked to DJ rather than partake in a live set of his own intergalactic workings, he still managed to bring the care-free attitude and evocativeness of past decades to the ever-accumulating, if slightly bedazzled, ravers. Batting out 80s classics including Midnight Star’s ‘Midas Touch’ beside Colonel Abrams offbeat release ‘Trapped’, anthem after anthem whether instantly recognisable or not, ensured that everybody in sight fell victim to the groove… and it hadn't even struck ten o’clock yet. 
 As we weaved through each room eager to catch a deluge of sets, it was indisputable that each person booked behind the decks here tonight was restless in not just playing out what would simply be probable within a conventional club night, as experimentation is welcomed and applauded in a location that branches out from conformity. 
Take Motor City Drum Ensemble on initiating a wave of house for the night, thanks to Norma Jean Bell’s sassy ‘I’m The Baddest Bitch ’, whereas Breach dipped his toe into modern waters, manipulating Midland’s ‘Trace’ into a deep and stabbing vibration to fast forward the momentum. As our expectations were already now ever ascending thanks to a marvelous introduction, the crown and glory for the night unquestionably belonged to French originators Cassius. Blending in a fusion of their unconditional prototypes including the infectious ‘Feeling For You’, together with an amazing input of Green Velvet’s ‘Bigger Than Prince’, it is apparent that a superior act is that for a reason- it’s just a shame that what goes up must come down.
 In light of Bashmore’s earlier Boiler Room session remaining outrageously over-crowded throughout, we opted for the main man under the spotlight’s early morning set, to really see if there was more to the media than just a ‘Summer hit turned football chant’. As far as his personal productions go, the only noticeably enthusiastic reception was evident for- you guessed it- ‘Au Seve’ and it was easily blatant that, despite his observable production talents, as a live artist Julio is dissatisfying on a number of levels. Over-running tracks long after their surges peak and the audience has lost interest, as well as noticeably poor mixing, even Joy O’s ‘BRTHDTT’ panned across the room as if it fell on deaf ears and Lil Louis Chicago classic ‘I’m hot for you’, echoed overhead an array of confused faces. With all the factors for triumph at hand without prosperous execution, tonight Bashmore delivers to be tarred as incapable of executing his work, at a rank of which many of his peers surpass at leaving nothing but a bitter taste in our mouths…

Words by Yours Truly / Images by WHP (via here) X

Thursday, 31 October 2013

Feature // Skiddle November Electronic Listings

My listings for all things electronic in the North this month is now live over here for Skiddle! My pickings include the likes of Wet Play, Mount Kimbie & friends, Baths, Jam City, James Holden, Rene LaVice, Zed Bias and my golden ticket which goes to Evian Christ's trance party over at 2022NQ. Purchase yourselves some tickets and I'll see you on the dancefloor!
Words By Yours Truly X

Tuesday, 29 October 2013

Review // Arctic Monkeys @ Phones 4 U Arena

The lovely people at Domino sent me to watch Arctic Monkeys on their AM tour last week, I'm obviously biased and almost cried three times but in all seriousness, my boys have still got it. My review is now live on Artrocker here or you can cop a sense of the amazing show below!
Arctic Monkeys @ Phones 4 U Arena

The re-branding of Manchester arena’s usually canary-yellow exterior, transitioning over to project immense logos’ of a certain mobile phone company famous for it’s hand-signalling jingle, was always going to be a strange sight to get used to- yet, this is corporate branding and advertising at it’s peak and what else did you expect? Look around, simple cotton t-shirts hitting the twenty-five pounds mark (And that’s from just tonight’s opening act The Strypes…) and if you’re after a pint during one of the gig’s intervals, you better be prepared to que for half an hour, hand over that crisp fiver and not expect a shrapnel of change back. If only the old Sheffield boys could see themselves now…
Entering the venue though the city’s Victoria Railway station, as thousands upon thousands of individuals pool in and enlist themselves into the nearest snaking que, there isn’t just the usual sleek femme fatales and bowl-cut boys polishing off their mac coats for the occasion, as we spy. Amongst the plethoral swarm lies families with children in attendance that look as if they were actually born post- ‘Whatever People Say I Am…’, along with the expected congregation of leather-clad fashionistas and the odd Dad on hand to chaperone, hopefully leaving their unappreciated dancing at the door. Even before we’ve taken to our seats, there is no denying precisely how much Arctic Monkeys have blossomed and adapted, in a formative seven years since their debut release.
With three-quarters of the quartet gracing the stage suited and booted (It’s ok Matt, we imagine it’s quite the challenge drumming in a double-breasted number…), quad screen set-ups with individual portraits of each member horizontally span, accompanying a swaggering, brooding and bold introduction of ‘Do I Wanna Know?’. Before the astronomical audience, phones in the air bouncing to every beat get straight into ‘AM’ mode, renditions of ‘Brianstorm’ and ‘Dancing Shoes’ really do deliver as electric and strikingly rolling, as they did upon their first listens of yesteryear. ‘Don’t Sit Down Cos I’ve Moved Your Chair’ urges the audience to coo a range of ‘Oooh’s and ‘Yeah’s, whilst Alex Turner cheekily sculpts his greased-up quiff initiating the Macarena, whilst Helder’s lightening beats blister out from behind his 0114 duct-taped kick-drum. See that’s the thing about these ‘Monkeys’, they may have been arena-worthy for what feels like a lifetime now, yet they never have yet forgotten to bring their personality to the forefront, with Turner’s light cockiness sometimes being construed for arrogance, but does it really matter when they write, perform and interact better than ever before?
Latest single ‘One For The Road’ is elevated with a whole new stronghold of elegance and croon-ready slickness, even if that is a noticeable American twang we can hear sneaking on through- and as one spectator in front of us exclaimed “This is better than seeing John Lennon on ice!”, we really couldn’t agree any more. As ear-splitting encore roars present themselves, the bulb-dotted sky-scraper initials that tower over illuminate, to welcome in a shoo-wopping rendition of ‘Snap Out Of It’ and a semi-acoustic interpretation of ‘Cornerstone’, cheekily altered by ‘Don’t Look Back In Anger’ come its execution. As metallic ticker tape rains all over the mammoth venue, our favourite Yorkshire boys we realise, have really only just hit their peak. Listeners’ of the Arctic’s music cannot simply request their indie classics over and over again and by managing to expand, flourish and experiment whilst never straying too far from their formula that works, it is an exciting sight to behold as they strike record number five off their lists with pride.

Words by Yours Truly X

Monday, 28 October 2013

Feature // 55DSL - 'Once Upon A Time In Italy'

55DSL- 'Once Upon A Time In Italy'
One of the most prominent fashion visionaries in the world, Diesel, have recently released the third installment from their ‘Kids In Italia’ flagship series, in association with Vice and Forever Pictures. Directed by rising duo Charlie & Joe, who can also reel-off clients such as Toddla T, SBTRKT and Topshop, ‘Once Upon A Time In Italy’ tells the story of artistic adolescence alive at the heart of Italy but of individuals whom feel lost and almost defeated, when it comes to mapping out their futures. Amidst all their challenges, our Italiano's conjure up the character of Carlo as their projected anti-hero, finding success despite the obstacles that twenty-somethings’ face in a true ‘Eureka!’ moment, inspiring watchers to take control- both metaphorically through their created character and by the excitement amplified from casted roles.
 “55DSL's film series, 'Kids In Italia' has always been about giving brilliant, talented young creatives a global platform to share their vision.”, founder Andrea Rosse told us. “When I talk to young people who live in Italy, they are disillusioned about the lack of opportunities here, especially for creative types -and I felt the same way when I was their age. It is important to me to communicate that it is up to the next generation of creative talents to think outside the box and to establish their own opportunities here, instead of moving abroad” he continued on, passionate in promoting a brand that is urban and free-thinking, for the active DIY youth of today.
For more information and to watch the other previous installments in the series (and to get your hands on 55DSL's new A/W collection, of course), head over to their website here.

Words by Yours Truly / Image c/o 55DSL, Vice and Forever Pictures X

Friday, 25 October 2013

Review // Indy Man Beer Con @ Victoria Baths

On a very rainy sunday, Georgia and I headed down to the Independent Manchester Beer Convention over at the phenomenal Victoria Baths to sample some ales. My piece will be live soon on Quays News but until then, you can read it below! Special thankyou to the lovely Jamie Hargreaves for hooking a Sister up!
Independent Manchester Beer Convention @ Victoria Baths
As a first-time attendee of the Independent Manchester Beer Convention this year, one could be easily reprimanded for their naivety in assuming that these events were awash with stodgy ales, poor pub nibbles and a population of middle-aged males' nursing their beer guts. Yet here in Manchester, the teams behind Common, Port Street Beer House and The Beagle have joined forces to present a four-day extravaganza of unique high-quality beverages, live music and an apex of local street food traders, to help soak up all that liquid indulgence. Held in the striking setting of the grade II listed Victoria Baths, the IMBC team managed to bring an element of alternative class, turning the Edwardian-era converted swimming pool into a bustling maze of interest.
With periodic features flowing rife alongside flags and bunting streaming wall from wall, we were nothing short of being blown away by the kitsch presentation, excellent organisation and brilliant value for money offered. With over ten tastings of your choice available for a mere ten pounds, we joined in with the noticeably unconventional crowd of attendees’ for the Sunday leg of the occasion, after a run of preceding sold-out developments. Being welcomed inside with a ‘grab-a-glass-and-jump-right-in’ attitude, as a multitude of locally and nationally-praised breweries presented their goods, specialists’ were also on hand to offer tasting sessions and an ear of advice for those of us who were uneducated in knowing the difference between the Kvasss’ and Weisses’ on offer. 
With mouth-watering offerings permeating their way through room two, the likes of smoky barbeque brisket, creamy mac’n’cheese and venison parcels for those with taste buds tingling for a more upmarket culinary delight, showcased that this event ran deeper than most in order to support resident companies, within the business. Take for example the stalls from Manchester native award-winners’ such as North Tea Power (roasting the perfect coffee to shake off those hangovers on the event’s final day) and winners of ‘Second Best New Brewery In The World 2012’, Magic Rock Brewing, hosting within the treasure trove of Turkish Baths; the variety available was mind-bogglingly impressive- and the entertainment didn’t terminate there. One of the country’s most burgeoning free publications, The Skinny, curated the weekend’s music portion, over in room three.
With DJ’s such as Andy Carroll and Rob Bright spinning the likes of Nouvelle Vague, alongside other continental delights, in order to get feet shuffling way into the evening, students of the Royal Northern College of Music also staged impromptu performances, injecting a sense of anticipation into the affair.
 What the Independent Manchester Beer Convention managed to exceptionally pull-off, was the forward-thinking approach and demeanour of something much grander than being presented on this scale, whilst also remaining loyal to it’s niche and breaking down the commerce to customer barrier. Sourcing every minute detail down to a tee, whether the full-of-character merchandise from artist Steve Hockett over to the intricate programmes provided free of charge, IMBC effectively bestowed elements of this ever-growing industry in a fresh and approachable light, overflowing with charm.

Words and Images by Yours Truly X

Thursday, 24 October 2013

Review // Rudimental presents... @ WHP

I attended the Modeselektor / Rudimental double weekender at Warehouse recently and reviewed the latter for Artrocker! My flatmate also met Andy C and nearly cried with joy but that is for a whooole other time; it was fun, sweaty and warpy- you can read my words over here or scroll below!
Rudimental presents... @ WHP
2013 sees the now world-celebrated line-ups of Manchester’s Warehouse Project, still only in infancy at it’s Victoria Warehouse Old Trafford home, hit an all-time high- but it’s not as if we expected anything less than superiority. With note-worthy bills uniting music legends and fresh faces off the block, we here in the Artrocker camp headed off to our first official outing of the season where love-ins, Craig David and see-it-to-believe-it talent supervened…
Wriggling into the massive five-thousand strong capacity venue , security has always been a high priority on the agenda here and in light of recent headlines (That shouldn't be the be-all-and-end-all to tar seasons with, may I add.), I personally, can say I've never felt so safe nor welcomed in the past. With security staff tripled (and armed with hilarious conversation), sniffer dogs multiplied and free water for revellers, there is a cooperative sense of wholeness between everyone involved and whether it is your first or fiftieth visit, excitement and anticipation still runs rife. These nights are where stuff of legend materializes without warning or pre-conception.
Cryptic London duo Snakehips were first on our schedule in the ambitiously colossal main room with their balmy electronica, fusing remixes for next-up Bondax and late-nineties’ r&b classics (Kp & Envyi, anyone?), enrapturing 80’s Vice City-esque visuals of blunts and bling sculpted across a multitude of screens throughout, for a fully-immersive audio-visual experience. Yet Snakehips’s early releases are where their production flairs really shine through. ‘On & On’ accumulates with waves of plush, glossiness thanks to George Maple’s vocal callings, whilst chopped beats sound drenched as if they stem from a warmer climate than the duo’s native Camden. Then there is the hyperactive ‘Make It’ with super-speed impressions sampled from Mary J Blige’s ‘Just Fine’, wrestling with punchy bass-heavy beats to create rousing proficiency. They aren't exactly trying to innovate an already saturated genre of tinged “future bass”, yet adding their individual catchy imprint is undoubtedly party music to take notice of.
Adorning the stage with their ever-amplifying presence next up was the Lancaster coupling of Bondax. This particular ‘Rudimental Presents…’ evening revealed itself as one of the first across the calendar to sell out and the age old debate (Not to mention uncomfortability) of whether the in-house organisers’ had actually over-sold the event cropped up across many attendees’ we spoke to- and was an attribute of which was highly noticeable. As the one-way system became increasingly swelled a little after eleven and entry into the main room became something of an unbearable task, we managed to maneuver ourselves in just in time for these now-seasoned producers to blow us away.
 Playing out re-fits of close collaborators Aluna George’s ‘You Know You Like It’ construed out into an indescribable influx of marathon dimensions, an almost unrecognizable yet brilliant melancholic presentation of Brandy & Monica’s ‘The Boy Is Mine’ also spiralled off, as the fact that these boys perform way older than their years has been widely reported- and rightly so. Scoping our way through to catch DJ EZ’s set albeit at an early rate, we unexpectedly stumbled into Buraka Som Sistema’s DJ set, booming out of a vibrating room two. The usually African-influenced Portuguese group span an admirable wave of UK Garage including Artful Doger’s ‘Re-Rewind’, causing an upsurge of rapture unlike any other- yet- of the night.
Spot-on midnight garage aficionado DJ EZ took to the decks to completely smash the titanic crowd ensuing. Fusing the benchmark of Missy Elliot’s ‘Get Ur Freak On’ with current cheeky French Montana releases, as well as a whole load of cleverly spun indie anthems that exceeded at least 110bmp, EZ not only held his own among the evidently unfamiliar crowd, yet managed to completely blow the roof off and astound visitors to the site.
Here is the thing about us writers- opinion does form some critical reception, to suggest otherwise would be blatant fiction, no matter how much we try and deny it, it’s in our human nature. Yet one thing is for certain; I’m no drum and bass fan but there is no one as unrivalled, prestigious and technically talented in the genre than Andy C. The Ram Records head honcho bought GQ along to assist in keeping the on looking “warriors” parading the front row into a militant throng of pounding limbs and stamina. Caning drum-&-bass-meets-jungle Friction remixes of Jonny L’s ‘Back To Your Roots’, A quint of Chase and Status smash-hits and a whole host of Shy Fx and Wilkinson; this was literally a paradise of go-hard proportions. Enlisting renowned multiple deck strategies, lengthy sets and an appreciation for not only the tracks projecting out but also his fans, all collectively assist in confirming the attributes of which ensure that Andy C remains at the pinnacle of dexterity.

Words by Yours Truly / Images by WHP (via here) X

Wednesday, 9 October 2013

Feature // Skiddle October Electronic Listings

Hi! I'm now very pleased to say I'll be writing monthly columns for Skiddle on what (I believe) are the best electronic events going on here in the North-West, in the hope of tempting you all to buy tickets and come party. You can read my first installment for the month of October here featuring picks including Murlo, DJ Q, Floating Points and my golden ticket here in Manchester, from Clouds. Enjoy!
Words by Yours Truly X

Monday, 30 September 2013

Review // My Nu Leng @ Mint Lounge

My Nu Leng finally came to Manchester on Thursday and played a blinder of a set in conjunction with Sick Chirpse and Hit & Run- Pros: Dancing to Livin' Joy, Cons: Thinking it was an acceptable move attending in some form of bastardized ghetto headscarf and regretting it instantly in the heat. I attended with mediocre expectations and was completely proven wrong; hello blast-from-the-past track selections, on-point mixing and a whole plethora of shape cutting (Seriously, my neck hasn't been the same since- but that could just be down to also seeing Loefah and Funkineven in the space of twenty-four hours...). Click here to read or for an unedited version just scroll below!
My Nu Leng @ Mint Lounge

If you’re not based up here in the grey city, you’re an inauspicious creature for missing out on the countless nights of mischievism that the hilarious writers behind Sick Chirpse have been bringing to Manchester venues, intended for those with their ears to the ground. Pretty good for two guys who “…got really wasted and decided to start a blog”, isn’t it? For this month’s outing, those crazy cats joined forces with tattlers of bookings fresh, danceable and even legendary in the city, Hit & Run, to cinch a night of screwfacing and (in)appropriate grinding with Bristol begetters, My Nu Leng.
That’s the thing about these Manchunians, they like to keep it in the family, as noted by Jonny Dub gracing the decks from the moment we walk through the maze-like corridors of Mint Lounge. With his laudably skilled set- not only technically speaking- and the addition of an unbeatably eclectic yet engaging track list, reconfirm that this crate-digger isn’t just another opening DJ, with an unparalleled audience rapport. The boisterous arm jerking during Daphni’s ‘Ye Ye’, the eyes closed foot stomping in old school recognition of Wookie’s ‘Battle Garage’ and beefy Danny Brown cuts are hardly obscure choices, yet it is the tangle of bodies writhing down the front fused with the freedom and attitude of a true pro, that really makes this feel more like a party than a ticketed event. Besides, where else would you be able to shimmy to Tag Team’s ‘Whoomp! There it is’, before trying impress the nearest babe that you heard Blue Daisy’s ‘Used To Give A Fuck’ six months ago, as it blasts out overhead so early on a Thursday night?
 After a comedic performance from host Chimpo involving a confectionery necklace and some seriously poor aiming skills, proceedings only get even more peculiar when the monochrome uniformed Duo’s set - Tommy sported a Patta t-shirt, whilst Jammo represented Black Butter- was spun out of consummated mayhem. You can thank Daniel Bedingfield's 'Gotta Get Thru This' for assisting us in retracting our originally naive perceptions that this would be a firm set of chunky booming tech-house, as early noughties guilty pleasures are cited as nothing to be ashamed of. Shimmering edits of Modjo’s ‘Lady’ cause even the most stationary hips to swing in unison and speeding up Crystal Water’s ‘Gypsy Woman’ into a repetitive oblivion is nothing short of brilliance, in educating the night’s student clientele on classics’ that are older than most of the teeth in their head.
No mistake made, there are plenty of hefty 4/4’s thanks to Maya Jane Cole and Mosca releases that the audience go crazy for, as the familiar surfaces and merging some of the UK’s most loved classics from the likes of Dizzee Rascal and The Streets contribute in bringing back the rudeboys’ present to throw up the gun fingers with MC T-Man on stage. Bursting out with their influx of heavy duty bass and striking a chord that as a unit, these producers’ have an undeniable flair for their practice with daring selection, ensures that My Nu Leng were welcomed back with open arms to the city.

Words by Yours Truly X

Thursday, 26 September 2013

Review // Jon Hopkins @ Gorilla

I went and caught Jon Hopkins's 'Immunity' audiovisual show with Lone on a quiet and extremely sweaty Tuesday evening over at Gorilla, whilst avoiding all the Oxford Road influx of freshers'! My review is now live which you can read here or below!
Jon Hopkins @ Gorilla

After one of the most deserving Mercury Music Prize nominations in years – and his second in three after 2011’s Diamond Mine King Creosote collaboration – Jon Hopkins revved back into his forerunning role with Immunity, a true masterpiece and an impressive, cinematic statement of potency. The record manages to retain the essence of being reassuringly wonky, while Hopkins’s key training and lush production see him reiterate his skills as an electronic artist, like no other.
For tonight’s show, Manchester promoter marvels Now Wave are celebrating their fifth birthday, roping in Lone to play a punchy set of deep and exuberant techno – housed in a floating booth within the stage rigging, may we add – to open up the night’s proceedings. After an hour of hands-in-the-air grooving from front to back, Gorilla’s roof becomes a saturated sweat den as punters shuffle expectantly for tonight’s headliner, cramming into any discernible inch of floor space they can. From the instant Hopkins sets his Kaoss pad hubs alight, constructing his signature fuzz and loops of analogue hardware circulations, you can sense a warmth, a glowing energy being transitioned to a thrilled and valued audience.
As Open Eye Signal radiates forth over the throbbing system, Hopkins comes across as a tremendously modest and bashful individual, open and exposed to his audience rather than being shrouded away. When technical difficulties come into play and his system cuts out for a short amount of time, every hand in the room takes the opportunity to finally show their gratitude as rapturously as they can, Hopkins responding with a timid grin. He needn't be embarrassed: this crowd aren’t here off the back of a Coldplay affiliation or a Brian Eno collaboration. Make no mistake, they’re the vinyl purchasers and the connoisseurs who are aiding Hopkins in receiving the recognition and appreciation he deserves.
 Visuals are a prominent focal point, with enlisted artist Dan Tombs projecting viscous, lava-like, saffron liquids and rapidly multiplying bubble pools to inspire the mindset and conduction of Immunity; tones are harpooned by kaleidoscopic, vivid needles of colour, bleeding through the likes of Collider. While this attempt at cross-platform art isn’t fully integrated into the overall set-up, it provides an appropriate accompaniment, and when everyone is reading from the same askew page, it really doesn't matter. Here’s to Immunity and beyond.

Words by Yours Truly X

Tuesday, 24 September 2013

Noisey Freshers Tour // You Need To Hear This

In conjunction with Philips the crew over at Noisey are sending off Superfood, The Witches, Maxixe and a whole host of other acts and DJ's for a freshers tour! Fun, right? There will be free drinks, live music and a bunch of goodies for the early birds who turn up on the dot so come and join in the fun whilst I take some snaps of you all getting drunk and disorderly! You can register now at youneedtohearthis.com/freshers for any city, so, what are you waiting for? See y'all down the front!
Words by Yours Truly X

Thursday, 19 September 2013

Feature // GNOD

Evening! I went over to one of my favourite venues, Islington Mill, last month to chat to warped-experimentalists GNOD for Crack Mag about Pope John Paul, unearthing new labels and sticking heads in bass bins. You can go to one of the gazillion stockists all over the Country and grab a physical copy of Issue 34 for ~free~ to read my piece in print NOW! There is also some excellently composed features on Danny Brown and Banks along with all the usual album, live reviews and male models looking hot to trot on the fashion pages, capiche? 
Words by Yours Truly, Image c/o Crack Magazine X

Saturday, 31 August 2013

Review // King Krule- '6 Feet Beneath The Moon'

I've had the best August, Beacons was fabulous, hitting the big 2-1 in London was fun and reuniting with the Crisp Collab for bank holiday was also commendable. I'm surrounded by amazing people and have never felt so lucky in my life. Cringe, let's not get deep on a Saturday, now. Regardless, King Krule also turned nineteen last week when his debut '6 Feet Beneath The Moon' was released- shoutout to the Virgos'! It is beautiful and the first time I heard 'Neptune Estate' I burst out crying, just imagine someone writing that about you. IMAGINE. Regardless, make some brunch and put the needle on it as you read my review below.
King Krule- '6 Feet Beneath The Moon'
How does an apparent talent aged just sixteen, three years on from the tirade of acclaimed whispers, internet dissection, speculation and a handful of material that got the underbelly of the music industry tingling so rapidly, manage to not only regulate relevance but outspread its interested audience? Archy Mashall may now be older and wiser as ‘6 Feet Beneath The Moon’ is released on his nineteenth birthday and we know that façade was never going to be a factor within his work, what you see is what you get and his long-awaited debut release may be accurately what we estimated- ragged London drawl and all- yet what captures the listener that may not have been noted previously, is to what commendable level of conviction Marshall has held on to, sure to not compromise his ideas over to a reality. Stimulating art should make you feel something, whether you want to or not and Marshall’s fourteen-track journey doesn't just take you along for his expedition of turmoil and tension but instills his pain and sentiment into the listener, likewise.
‘Can’t you bear just one more night?’ Krule questions upon ‘Neptune Estate’, no-frills attached, as spits of ‘I wanna be with you/ I wanna be used’, present themselves as the desperate scraps of holding onto a relationship turned distinctively sour, yet he manages to execute this with a clerical element of elegance, as guitar lines boing underneath tender drum beats that would certainly sound something of an intergalactic nature, if it were not for the muffled distortions of his poignant requests. Oh, and the horns. The horns that you forget are even there until they creep into a brazen, sonic wave, making your guts twist with empathy and restlessness. ‘Neptune Estate’ puts you right in the shoes of its writer, exactly where most artists avoid; that bit in love once the rose-tinted glasses have come off with all cards on the table and no more bets, please, that despite its uncomfortability gives a sense of a soothing, almost soul-cleansing practice... and his best work to date hands-down.
From empathy and relation, the off-beat syncopation of ‘Has This Hit?’ takes his theme of loss to more abrasive levels, as corrugated cymbals and off-kilter vocal delivery snarl throughout to tell a tale of hurt at an explosive level. ‘Well my guts are on the floor/ For you to adore me’ reaffirm the sense of romanticism that underpins, as his beats get more melodic rather than sharpening throughout, however his problems, similarly, continue on. Take for example ‘Border Line’, with it’s faux-sunshine-feel of tip-toe’ing twangs and the harmonious croons of ‘Baby Blue’ (referenced numerous times across the record) that bring in the sentimentality factors, allowing you to get lost within an abyss of minimal keys and soothing vocals with a much larger sense of direction and certainty that we saw from this demo take, back in his Zoo Kid stage. A notion only echoed into the fact that ‘Out Getting Ribs’ doesn't sound dated and stale among this body of work- as one may expect, however, when a swathe of material is conducted with the same recipe, rarely adding something experimental in the mix, certain troughs are going to deflate noticeably and do so throughout, no matter how much the audience doesn't want to admit it.
Take for instance, the formulaic workings of ‘Ceiling’, a track which commends itself as unstructured, half-hearted and forgettable within its three minutes- yet ‘A Lizard State.aff’ brings you straight back to the here and now, seeming a million miles away from his younger efforts thanks to the muscle, depth and jazz statemented brass that is so assured of itself you could imagine Archy clicking away, stool-perched, cigarette in mouth over at the nearest shadowing speakeasy.
 ‘6 Feet Beneath The Moon’ is exactly what you would expect from Marshall, yet sets him apart from his Jamie T comparisons that many journalists have been prompt to tar him with- this is a release full of heartbreak disguised as something much more positive, being the record that would soundtrack a grey, rainy train journey back to reality the morning after the night before, rather than telling tales of underage scoundrels hanging around where they shouldn't on a Saturday evening.
Refreshing, beautiful and emotive- on tracks where he does strike gold- it may be, as well as a piece that presents itself well beyond its writers years, it is however distinctively unfortunate how his few breathtaking, timeless pieces are saturated in a cloud of repetitive bad habits and banal, unnecessary quantity-not-quality-tracks. Happy Birthday Archy, you've just broken my heart and it may not be in the most memorable sense...
Words by Yours Truly X

Tuesday, 6 August 2013

Interview // Speak!

I'm proud to say that I'll now be regularly blogging guest posts over on Lily Mercer's site! In case you didn't already know, Lily is the online editor-in-chief of SB TV and also hosts Rinse FM's only underground hip-hop show every Sunday, in between jet-setting all over the place to interview rappers and rebels. Pretty sweet, right? You should click on over to her site and get lost for hours like I did, thanks to mini video posts, in-depth article excerpts, style posts, upcoming events and everything inbetween. My first contribution to the site is an interview with my latest West Coast favourite Speak!, in which we discussed flipping burgers for a living, drugs and er, Kylie Minogue... check it out here!
Words by Yours Truly X

Monday, 5 August 2013

Review // Pond- 'Hobo Rocket'

It's Monday which means a whole new load of releases are unleashed for your ears out into the big wide world- one of these being Pond's 'Hobo Rocket', which I reviewed for Crack over here. You can also read the piece below- spoiler alert: It ain't 'Beard, Wives, Denim', that is for sure...
Pond- 'Hobo Rocket'
 Aussie psychedelic collective Pond have been at the height of their underground success for a number of years, yet they've never stood to the praise and recognition they deserved until last year’s 'Beard, Wives, Denim', a collection of flailing, warped garage offerings. However, the band have come close to mainstream recognition due to having common members with the widely loved neo-psych outfit Tame Impala. But as Pond/TI member Jay Watson once told us over a cigarette in Manchester: “Tame Impala is the pussy version of Pond. This is what we produce when we don’t have limits.” And judging by opener 'Whatever Happened to the Million Head Collide', with it’s almost-hypnotic vocals and clashing waves of unadulterated scuzz, it seems like this really is Pond’s big, bold statement… in the honeymoon stages, that is.
 Second track 'Xanman' projects Pond’s past country ideologies, woven with hazed-out guitar lines and scathingly coarse deliveries that burst out of your speakers until they almost reach distortional proportions themselves, atop a definitive explosion of raunched-out rockings that build tighter into an outbreak of corrugated unruliness. 'O Dharma' is about as poignant as this five-some will ever get, with tranquil instrumentals and achingly forlorn vocals of ‘when your love turns black and everything looks grey/ when your life comes back and you've got nothing left to say‘ that stretch out and tip-toe overhead, but rather than magnifying the potential beauty within, the song falls flat amongst it’s clichéd reveal. It’s a noticeable, reoccurring downfall that only continues on throughout the record’s thirty-two minute expedition.
 And that’ exactly the issue here, Hobo Rocket doesn't feel like a journey, progressive or not being out of the question, instead it gives the listener a sensation like a strenuous trek of epic proportions. Guest vocals from friend of the band and little-known character ‘Cowboy John’ on the title track are nothing more than uniform churns strewn out across their trademark pointers of rough and ready riffs, causing things to only decline more, thereon in, while 'Giant Tortoise' presents itself as anything but freshly produced, thronging them into feeling like one foot is remained firmly in the past. We get it, Pond are a kaleidoscopic bunch who like their workings drenched in fuzz, but they’re really not adding any edge to what we have actually grown to adore them for. For a release from such a highly energetic band who apparently don’t just pour, but rather unleash their inner craziness, Hobo Rocket is an unsatisfactory release that lacks excitement, originality and dynamism in equal measure.
Words by Yours Truly X

Friday, 2 August 2013

Hello Giggles // Underdogs' To Fall In Love With

Hey, Friday! Seeing as I have no life inbetween living for the weekend this Summer, I have found myself in a constant routine cycle of planning trips, writing articles and reliving excellent series of the past- sad it may be, but I thought hey, why not combine the latter two and share my underdogs' to fall in love with from some of the best programmes of yesteryear. Even more so, I had this piece published over on Hello Giggles- A female lifestyle website founded by Zooey Deschanel, Sophia Rossi and Molly McAleer; Sisters doing it for themselves! Obviously it's a step away from my musical-based pieces that you're all usually used to but a little change is good, especially when it involves a young Jason Segel and Twin Peaks, duh. You can read all about it over here!

Words by Yours Truly X

Friday, 12 July 2013

Review // Iggy Azalea @ Fabric

Gooood Morning- I recently witnessed Iggy Azalea's live show at Fabric in conjunction with HP for Crack over here! Truth be told, I've been an Iggy fan since her Ignorant Art EP but her live performance on this particular occasion? I'm a reformed fan after viewing first hand that use of a backing track and glorified gluteal thrustings into crowds are not the way to dazzle with one's talent when she does actually have some excellent spits under her belt :( You can also read an unedited piece below.
Iggy Azalea @ Fabric
The peroxide persona of Grand Hustle’s first lady Iggy Azalea  has succumbed to the radars of not only the hip-hop underground since the releases of her ‘Glory’ and ‘Trap Gold’ EPs’, but also found herself propelled onto radio station day time A-lists and red carpets the industry over, across a whirlwind twelve months. Pretty admirable for a girl with ‘No money/ No family/ Sixteen in the middle of Miami’, huh? Tonight’s special collaborative show in conjunction with media giants HP has a mood resembling something of an almost-residency, as Iggy has stayed loyal to our fine capital city throughout her rise, yet will her one-off appearance at the usually electronic-orientated Fabric see her project as fiery and fresh as we hoped, or will she bring a case of comfortability over quality?
West Coast certified and now staple opener across the plethora of Iggy’s recent live shows, DJ Whizz Kidd provides the incipient teasings and ignites commotion with vintage hip-hop treasures from Montell Jordan, admirably scratched into the likes of Ludacris, that effect the specially-picked and already hyperactive crowd to spring like children on a sugar trip, even more so than they were.
As illuminated circus-themed features sparkle across the miniature stage, Iggy animates out  right into the firing line with her opening spits on snare-laden “EDM instigator” hit ‘Beat Down’, demanding attention thanks to her lightening delivery and pristine clarity amongst the speed. There is however one obvious flaw hanging overhead; the crude and seemingly unnecessary employment of a full-blown backing track -vocals and all- which overshadows from the start, setting the tone that this show certainly isn’t set to be bromidic, yet is hardly something of a high-quality performance so far.
As a vivacious quartet of metallic hotpant-clad dancers twist and twerk around Iggy, an impressive acapella freestyle of ‘d.r.u.g.s.’ is distributed as mind-numbingly skillfull before her self-assured snarl comes into play for single ‘Murda Bizness’, helped along with just the right slice of attitude. Latest single ‘Bounce’ transcribes her as her most vibrant, feisty and determined with a pristinely executed dance off to match, before ‘Drop That’ sees Iggy take a seat centre stage for her troupe to be thrusted into the limelight.
As the performance progresses on however, it becomes obvious that her craft isn’t as tightly perfected as first thought, as ‘Backseat’ is half-heartedly paraded and Chevy Jones high-octave dispatch that is usually heard on the track seems to overpower her un-weighted delivery for a performer that  has come to blow up so much in the public domain- and it doesn’t end there. The craftily nabbed skewed down DJ Fresh sample upon ‘Golddust’ presents itself as disjointed and straight-up peculiar to those not in the know, whilst early release and the usually ferocious ‘Pu$$y’ spins speeches of “If you like pussy, you gotta like cheeks” followed by a brazen exhibit of gluteal slapping that seems inappropriately there more to provoke reaction than anything else.
With a top ten single and a proven talent when it comes to Iggy’s art in its basic form, it feels like here at Fabric presence and persona overpowers her live show, when it really can’t afford to at this point in her career. Sure, I’m all for women being able to flaunt their sexuality as and when they choose- only when it overpowers talent which she undeniably possesses, tonight’s show continues on to not settling comfortable, nor in a definitive direction for a fresh artist tipped so highly in such a fast-paced industry.
Words by Yours Truly X

Sunday, 23 June 2013

Review // Parklife Festival 2013

Hey Sunday, how you holdin' up? The super-talented James Balmont of Three Beams and I ventured off to Parklife over at Heaton Park and had fun in the sun as I mentioned in my last post- we collectively made our notes through the form of selfies next to stage signs and Snapchats, duh, PROFESSIONALS! Our review is now live here at Crack so get clicking on over- I've also included the original, un-edited and more lengthy version below, if you want all the no-holds-barred details...
Parklife Festival 2013 @ Heaton Park

Having made the noble transition from hosting previous years of Parklife over at student Summer hub Platt Fields Park, the ever-growing gratification for increasing renowned artists and DJ’s alike saw this year’s team behind Manchester’s Warehouse Project expand to mecca-site Heaton Park for a two day extravaganza, involving one of the Summer’s most sterling bills of the season. Did they manage to pull off the mega spectacle or was it simply a case of too much too soon, in upscaling?
Boasting an array of stages, tents and pop-up mini settings, there was certainly no shortage of acts to catch, as broad stances from drum & Bass veteran labels and promoters such as Hospitality and Metropolis, bought the hundred-and-one-miles-an-hour pace of unforgiving bone-pummelling sets, right over to Hot Creations infiltrating the air with swathes of funky house- all aiding in ushering in the Summer at an alarmingly exciting rate. The likes of icon in the game Andy C,  as well as fresher faces SPY and Friction, lay down their own personal live improvisations and a whole haul of edits ranging from TLC’s ‘No Scrubs’, over to an eye-brow raising yet admirable drop of Usher’s ‘Climax’ and classic floor-fillers such as Robin S’s ‘Show Me Love’. It seems that not every set was as rigidly set in stone as audiences may have envisioned…and a rife welcome addition across the turntables, at that.
Over at Now Wave’s hand-picked congregation, Four Tet’s re-invention as a modern dance musician might seem a shame to those who thrived on his past albums – once dubbed ‘folktronica’ by the press – but it would be a crime to criticise it as his supremacy is untouchable. With 2010’s anthem ‘Love Cry’ ending the set in euphoria it is easy to see why Kieran Hebden is invited back to the city and to play such heralded slots, so frequently. A similar story could be told about Dan Snaith’s Daphni alias also, as Jiaolong favourites ‘Yes, I know’ and ‘Ye Ye’ divulge the audience with disco-meets-industrial peaks and old school Altern 8 vocal samples bring it right back to the heart of the rave. 
Disclosure topped off the night with a headline performance in celebration of the most astounding of feats – the confirmation that their debut album had gone straight to number one in the UK album charts. And with performances like this they simply cannot be faulted. Boasting possibly the most precise and clear sound of the whole festival, they dominated their audience with a rich and plentiful set that featured collaborations from both Jessie Ware and Sam Smith, with the canvas-topped fun also rolling over into the festival’s second day. Hidden out over at one of the site’s far-flung corners was one of the loudest and messiest stages; both the Drop The Mustard tent and David Rodigan’s RamJam collectively over the two days, placed at the foot of a rolling hill that seemed to serve as a gigantic naughty-step for its tenacious audience. As one of the few scenic and spacious corners of the festival,  it seemed fitting to leave it to a living legend such as the reggae connoisseur by the end of the weekend, although we can’t help but feel that the less than effective ten-out-one-in system overshadowing Dusky’s swelteringly charged set, left many frazzled and faded after queuing just for entry the majority of the afternoon. Yet, it’s not all burnt shoulders when it comes to DTM’s primary local Manchunian pickings, as revellers searching for some of the true blossoming talents of the city couldn’t have done better than to stumble across Sian Bennett’s set inside the appropriately-titled Mirror Mirror tent. The tightly-packed dance space offered a sublime atmosphere in a relentless deep house set that dropped and dropped, ultimately providing itself as one of the festival’s greatest reflections of the city’s glorious nightlife- and Parklife certainly didn’t forget about other local ‘little men’ bookings alongside world-class acts…
One of our favourite LuckyMe Family, Hoya: Hoya residents and strictly all-vinyl femme fatale Éclair Fifi was handed the honourable opening slot over on Hudson Mohawke’s curated stage once the hangovers had crept across Heaton Park come Parklife’s second day- and for a petite blonde bombshell of a figure bopping across her colossal setting to an unfortunately miniature crowd, those wise enough to attend were alleviated with techno Kelly Rowland tracks and high-octane pure pop Cassie cuts, assisting in initialising some questionably feral (yet fabulous) dance moves for a Sunday lunchtime. And the Hoya love didn’t grind to a halt there, as Manchester’s very own dons’ Krystal Klear and Chunky bought the dynamism to stand-out stratums with sudden mixes embracing MK’s II dub remix of Storm Queen’s ‘Look Right Through’, glorifyingly streamlined into Chic’s ‘Everybody Dance’ that within five minutes of entering, have the tent immediately animated with hands-in-the-air classics and foot-stomping vigour, pouring right out onto the surrounding fields from every safety exit viewable.
Oh and those big guns we were referring to? As one of the most hyped acts of the weekend, Jurassic 5 were unsurprisingly triumphant on their first U.K. performance since splitting in 2007. The hip hop troupe paraded around in the most ecstatic of fashions, integrating a comically-oversized turntable prop as much as possible into a hit-laden set that featured the likes of ‘Concrete Schoolyard’, ‘What’s Golden’ and ‘Quality Control’. Also performing a special appearance over the weekend was the honestly candid Danny Brown, rolling out his twanging spits of ‘Blunt After Blunt’ and ‘Lie4’ that propelled him into being noticed as something of a new classic within modern rap- it was just a shame that timetabling errors (which were amended over the festival’s social networking sites yet minimal signal meant that many were left uninformed…) were not highlighted to attendees, with Brown being just one in a long list across the festival’s 48 hours that were switched and changed without reasoning or explanation.

It seemed a great shame that, for all the work put in to making the festival bigger and better, Parklife left behind a shedload of the character and personality that it had in previous years. No longer does it feel like there’s a stage round the corner waiting to be discovered – the mazes of greenery and open grass are abandoned here in favour of an open, singular space, with stages arranged in a less-than-exciting fashion. Despite the multiple problems faced with entrances, organisation and wrongly-advertised stage times that should, due to the festival’s up-scale, have been ironed out; make no mistake that the Parklife Weekender 2013 managed to still provide an excellent event full of rememberable performances and sun-soaked debauchery thanks to top-class bookings and individually-curated bills. This is the music-lovers inner-city festival of the North and not one live set nor performance we saw over the weekend disappointed in the slightest. Here’s to 2014 and hoping that the team will return greater and improvingly formulated run. 

Words by Yours Truly & James Balmont / Images all by Daniel Watson X

Friday, 14 June 2013

Interview // Bonobo

Remember when I said I had a super special interview in the pipeline? Well, I was lucky enough to interview a hero of mine Simon Green AKA Bonobo on his Spring North Borders tour in Manchester a few weeks ago. The interview is now live on Noisey over here, in conjunction with You Need To Hear This and Philips. He showed me around his crazy tour bus and sipped coffee whilst we talked about working with Grammy award-winners and why Disclosure may just be the next Gallagher Brothers'...
In my little world I am now officially packed up and back home for Summer out of the city, it is already wonderful, stressful and I feel like a lost little lamb; my escapades from my last weekend in the form of my Parklife review for Crack will be coming next week, too, so sit tight. I've also entered the twenty-first century and finally joined Instagram albeit nine million years later than everyone else in the history of the world. You can give me a follow by clicking that little icon to the right >, you know you want to...
Words by Yours Truly X

Friday, 7 June 2013

Fucked Up @ Sound Control

How are you all even surviving in this weather?! I'm paler than Casper the friendly Ghost and have spent waaay too long out BBQ'ing in Fallowfield and parading around Piccadilly, someone pass the factor fifty, sharpish! Last week, I took my little Beaky along to watch Titus Andronicus, Metz and Fucked Up all on the same bill for Noisey's Manchester stint. It was sweaty, painful and GREAT- I have some shots and accompanying words up on Noisey over here!
Words and Image by Yours Truly X

Wednesday, 5 June 2013

Review // Field Day London

Field Day was a BLAST! I had a prom and a half staying in the Big Smoke and finally catching up with Hannah, she was a dream host and the weather was heatwave ridiculous all weekend. My highlight review is now live involving a stunning sunset soundtracked by Four Tet, Karenn hiding away in a tent within a mini forest, finding old college friends during Daphni's amazing set and how the organisers' still managed to retain a boutique, intimate feel whilst putting on a brilliant line-up all day long. It was one of the best events of the Summer so far, so give it a read here! It is also my last week in the city before I move home for summer (Mood? ~emotional~) and I've been going out with a bang involving BBQ's in the sun, leaving drinks with the Factory Family and- oh yeah- I'll be covering one of the best line-ups of the Summer this weekend over at Parklife. Come give me a farewell to remember, Manchester!Words by Yours Truly X

Monday, 20 May 2013

Review // How To Dress Well @ Whitworth Art Gallery

Bonjour! I'm finally out of exam hell- GOODBYE SECOND YEAR- you were a blast! I celebrated by doing shots with Ryan Giggs in Liars Bar (Who do I think I am?!) and taking my lovely little BK to finally catch How To Dress Well live after I gave Total Loss a 9/10 last year, remember? It was mesmerising, breath-taking and I cried three times; talk about beautiful! I reviewed the gig over here for Crack Mag- give it a little read if you fancy! Also, I have a very ~special~ interview coming up this week and then I'm off to cover Field Day for the Artrocker camp, see you on the other side! May, you the best...
Words by Yours Truly X

Friday, 10 May 2013

Review // Liverpool Sound City

Afternoon! As I mentioned, I headed back home to cover Liverpool Sound City last weekend! Myself and the lovely Harriet were reunited over angrily visiting Manchester clubnights in the wrong city (I'm looking at you, Juicy...), Absinthe cocktails at a K-pop conference on the telly in heatwave weather and swooning over the likes of King Krule, Mount Kimbie and Melody's Echo Chamber. There is too many highs to mention that I didn't go into but that is for another inappropriate anecdotal time. I had fun. We all had fun. Read my review over here!
Image and Words by Yours Truly X

Wednesday, 1 May 2013

Feature // Manchester Reborn #8

Apologies for not posting in a while, y'all should know by now that this is out of character for a writer such as myself but as I'm sure you will all understand, exams and end-of-year deadlines are rife at the moment! Apart from visiting family away, ridiculously good send-offs, inappropriate interviews and- as per- partying too hard (Blame the Girl Unit set I shot, below...), my latest Manchester Reborn column revolves around Salford's very own Sounds From The Other City Festival that is upcoming for this bank holiday Sunday! The event looks fabulous with various promoters, local heroes and national favourites all along one street; Sunday Roast spots and Chat Roulette after-parties included! See you down the front, if I make it through covering Liverpool Sound City this weekend that is- come say Hi to the Artrocker team if you spy any of us around this weekend! See you on the other side...
Words and Image by Yours Truly x

Thursday, 28 March 2013

Feature // Manchester Reborn #6 & #7

Gooood Morning! This week's Artrocker column sees myself heading down to the fantastic Future Everything Festival events down at Islington Mill and covering the wonders of Brandt Brauer Frick, Om'Mas Keith, Lapalux, Space Dimension Controller and Jam City. You can read it here (and the preview was #6- here!)! The two events I attended were done in conjunction with Carharrt and Resident Advisor and was some of the best fun I've had so far this year.Tonight I'm off back home to catch Boddika, Loefah, Levon Vincent, Seb Wildblood and Tessela, phew!
Words and Image by Yours Truly X

Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Review // FaltyDL and Lone @ Sankeys

Afternoon! Last week I went and finally saw the marvelous FaltyDL (I'm so obsessed with Hardcourage and he was literally, such a gent after his set.) and Manchester's very own Lone smash the shit out of Sankeys effervescent basement, it was enthralling, engaging and magical- you can read about it over here on Crack Magazine. I've also been crazy busy covering Future Everything Festival this week, you'll read all about that soon enough! I hope you're all enjoying the sunshine now the snow has cleared! I'm going to spend my Tuesday evening at a screening for all twenty-two chapters of R Kelly's 'Trapped In The Closet'; this is not a drill...
Words by Yours Truly X

Monday, 18 March 2013

Review // Theme Park @ Ruby Lounge

Aloha! Last weekend I went and caught Theme Park on their debut UK headline tour over at Ruby Lounge. It's a critical one you can read over here at Crack Magazine. Also, I have no Artrocker Column this week- It's been pushed back in order to accommodate for upcoming festival antics- keep your eyes peeled!
Words by Yours Truly X

Friday, 15 March 2013

Review // Jacques Greene @ Mint Lounge

Good Afternoon! On Wednesday evening I ventured off into Northern Quarter to catch Jacques Greene's highly anticipated set in aid of promoter extraordinaires Chow Down's Second Birthday. There was familiar faces, gin, enthusiastic shape-pulling to this and a whole encyclopedia of tunes dropped- I reviewed it as my first piece for the fantastic Crack Magazine over here, it's good to be on board, guys!
Words by Yours Truly X

Monday, 11 March 2013

Review // Dauwd- 'Heat Division' EP

Dauwd- 'Heat Division' EP

US-born, Wales-raised come now South London-based producer Dauwd, is back with his first EP release since 2011’s ‘Acireams’ and ‘Whats There’ smashes from Pictures Music, that certainly caught the eyes and ears of a saturated post-dubstep scene, in bringing a much needed lease of life- albeit in a minor reference. This four-track ‘Heat Divison’ issue sees the collaboration of the aforementioned label of past releases, collaborate with Ghostly International making for two highly respected roads upon the electronic motorway, conducting the perfect relationship to release this less than twenty-five minute tease. The EP’s title track opener is automatically cited as one of the deeper, heavier tracks across the piece- what with simmering analogues that sound like something spliced straight off a Jiaolong release mixed with heavy breakdown beats and mesmerising synth exertions, that result in a tripping techno effort. Organic, glossy rhythms take to the forefront of this, constructed meticulously to make for an EP that cements itself as an intricately complex compilation of tracks, rather than focusing primarily on vocal attributes, as he did on his infant offers.
From the offset, ‘Heat Division’ omits a warming rather than heavily brash tone, as most contemporary producers shy away from- and hey, they say you should never judge a book by it’s cover but looking at the selected artwork and the connotating relations to a balmy yet marvellous thought-out pitch, we say dive right on in. ‘Aqueous’ bleeds through with wavering tribal-like blisters and harmonising elevations that take it to something of a drugged-out state, as slattering paces layer overhead moulding beautifully into a synth-led finisher upon ‘Silverse’. Closer ‘And’ rises with gloopy, high glitches, densely stretched drones and ethereal, remixed vocal samples- an addition of which is an obvious missing insertion everywhere else on the EP that we would have submerged ourselves into as a focal point, mercilessly, that we know and love from Dauwd's earlier chopped techniques .
Pensively atmospheric and stepping away from the safety blanket of his past, more dance floor friendly introductions, ‘Head Division’ finally sees Dauwd cementing his own personal talents alongside his peers who wouldn't dare shy away from their staple techniques with an influx of beautiful bends and stretched gurgles- but it seems like the man behind the guise is here to experiment for quite some time, yet.

Words by Yours Truly X

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Review // Lapalux- 'Nostalchic'

Stuart Howard- also known as Lapalux- finally releases his debut full-length this month and I reviewed it for the cool cats (Seriously, have you seen this event they are putting on? Scousers' know how to throw a party!) behind Waxxx Magazine, back home. I've been waiting for this record to drop ever since I saw the man himself splice together everything from Danny Brown spits, to pop bootlegs we thought we'd forgotten about and back again to his own sparkling recordings; it may only be March but 'Nostalchic' is definitely going to be holding its own come a lot of end of year lists, I can tell you that right now. You can pre-order it over here, too- Thankyou Based Brainfeeder!
Lapalux- 'Nostalchic'

Hailing from humble beginnings straight out of Essex and still only in his twenties, Stuart Howard- also known as Lapalux- is the only British signing to co-exist alongside the likes of heavyweights to the genre Martyn and Thundercat, upon the impressive roster of FlyLo’s Brainfeeder label. Having remixed Bonobo to melodic levels and turned Lianne La Havas’s ‘Lost & Found’ into a smooth, chopped ‘n’ screwed number whilst still retaining sentiment, Howard finally releases his debut full-length next month, a year after his acclaimed pair of debut EP’s for the label dropped to a rapturous reception; but will ‘Nostalchic’ be able to stay originally exciting across all twelve tracks?
Album opener, IMYSIS (Tape Intro), plays like an emotional, drawing piece thanks to high keys along with contagious, deep-rooted and ghostly introductional beats, showcasing his managbility and talent of successfully offering flair and notable, diverse points of interest that don’t just commence and halt at the starting block. ‘Guuurl’, first single to be previewed from the album, combines cleverly twisted vocals that soar over achingly submerged, investigational beats and cite nothing short of tremendous production values to make for an indubitably provocative single. As well as this, he manages to reflect how much more experimental and bold this collection of tracks pans out against his previous ‘When You’re Gone’ EP, mixing- as he does throughout the LP- guest vocals that don’t overshadow but complement his workings, exquisitely.
Releases such as the re-worked version of 2011’s ‘Kelly Brook’ that also features, cements Howard’s evident hip-hop influenced taste with deep vocal samples and what with the insertion of Quasimoto and Danny Brown tracks morphing their way into his recent live sets, it’s clear that this gent knows his shit- and well at that. The rippling undertones of ‘One Thing’ when combined with the bindings of static on ‘The Dead Sea’, makes it apparent that the obvious nostalgia/ chic combination is anything but dated and unfolds as a brilliantly pragmatic album that is sure to set the bar to new-fangled, fresh heights within UK electronica.
Words by Yours Truly X

Monday, 4 March 2013

Review // Disclosure @ Manchester Academy 2

It's been a while since I've posted a live review, hasn't it? Well, last Friday I went and caught Disclosure on the opening date of their sell-out, debut headline tour to review the show for Artrocker- of which I'll link to once it is live-  along with taking some shots which can be seen below with the whole article. As for this evening, I'm off to swoon over Cyril Hahn and Maribou State sharing a bill over at NQ Live, Monday has never looked so good! I'm keeping this one short and sweet, enjoy!
Disclosure / Shadow Child @ Manchester Academy 2
 2012 was the year of young, British electronic prodigies’ omitting their frustrations felt in droves throughout their home towns, sparking a movement of garage-infused nostalgia, laced with fresh experimentation that could only stem from a new generation of these mid-90s born beat-makers. Too young to travel far and wide to world-class mecca line-ups held in various cities across the country, the likes of Matlock’s Karma Kid (A chap just barley-legal to purchase a pint.),  now Leeds-based fifteen-year old house crafter Happa and the Lake District’s biggest musical export since- well, ever- Bondax are all note-worthy names to reference, however, where these gents follow, another surely leads…
After a string of underground support upon their earlier ‘Offline Dexterity’, ‘Tenderly/ Flow’ offerings and ‘Latch’ featuring that attention-grabbing Falsetto from Sam Smith, going into 2013, the Howard siblings of Disclosure have only continued to rise to the top. Securing a Number Two chart position with a little help from AlunaGeorge last month, the duo have managed to secure their first ever headline UK tour with a string of sell-out shows; but will the essence of their originality flounder after such a steep rise to popularity, this early on into their careers? We headed down to the first night of their tour at Manchester, to find out.
With the modest size Academy Two playing habitat to tonight’s hostings, supporting act Shadow Child (For a man that is more used to 2am rave sets to students and older techno-head crowds, rather than a 9pm stage time to younger onlookers...), splices together a combination of tracks that ran from Sub Focus’s crowd-surger ‘Tidal Wave’, over to the cinematic build-up and bassline house drops of his own release ‘String Thing’, wrapped with commanding slickness and ease. Despite the initial short-set offering being reduced in stage time from the man himself, as the surveilling packed-to-the-rafters throng displays a rapturous series of applause and appreciatory waves of dropping down low, a spectacle  of chrome and a trio of screens (Embossed with Disclosure’s now-trademark facial logo.) stand brazen upon the stage, as the duo of the moment take to their craft.
Opening their set with new track ‘Infected’ taken from their forthcoming debut Album set to drop this spring on PMR, the unexpected employment of Howard on vocal duties makes for body popping-inducing repetitions of “Because I played the fool before you”, standing supplied with huskingly soulful undertones, that windingly weave around low-tempo beats. Yes it certainly continues on the use of uprising keys and curling snaps that make it recognisable as theirs respectfully, yet the inductions of crooning lyrical delivery and infectious qualities (‘scuse the pun…) help to bring it back to sounding oh so renewed and inventive.
After the bellowings of “Wheelchair coming through!” behind me, boom straight from the lungs of a neon jacket-clad security guard, just as the launching into of old favourite ‘What’s In Your Head’, looking around the venue as something of an evening pre-outing show of a dance nature, it really is alarming to see teens dotted around all wide-eyed and clenched-jawed, resembling the behaviour of those way older than seen at a 14+ occasion. Sure, the crowd aren't the  be all and end all of any event, musical orientated or otherwise, yet this is a signifier of how Disclosure have played such a big part in infiltrating the mass dance market and the younger crowds they've bought in along the way.  The fantastic performances include tracks such as ‘Control’, simmering with its snaps of glittering electronic warps and Ria Ritchie’s soaring vocals; yet seeing a troupe of blazer-clad girls higher than the moon for the first time in their lives isn't exactly the breed of crowd I want to get excited about such a fantastic new pairing with…
Weaving in, at a healthy ratio, new as-yet untitled tracks in with their established and still-amazing offerings- take the foot-stomping, house-led vibes of ‘Tenderly’, over to the fantastic, entwining and dippy buzzes heard on ‘Flow’- the Lawrence boys seem to be achieving their success of heading up the umbrella of cross-generational genre resurrections’, scoping out old-school garage qualities sprinkled across their take of modern day dance music. Closing a triumphant set by anyone’s standards, the chance taken to part ways with the people of Manchester on their smash remix of label mate Jessie Ware’s ‘Running’, results in not one person seen failing to move on the dance floor and a whole host of abandoned shoes upon our departure. It certainly has been a whirlwind year for Disclosure, what with laying down tracks at Red Bull Music Academy’s eponymous studios in London, over to achieving Radio 1 A-list daytime status before they've even had their own tour or full-length out; I, for one, don’t see this success story slowing down any time soon.
Words and Images by Yours Truly X