Group Therapy - Vol.2
Group Therapy, based in London, bring us their second offering of a large scale, triple cassette compilation of fantastic music up and down the country and once again there is so much to offer from Manchester.
With the likes of Loose Articles, Sonny Bliss, Beau Mec, Gary, Indiana, Algernon Cornelius, YAANG and many more. You really get a taste of how big the Manchester music scene is getting with its diverse range of punk, dance, hip-hop and alternative music fusing together to create the new landscape of music up north.
With these artists featuring alongside bands like Warmduscher, Do Nothing and The Big Moon, these artists are thankfully being put on a pedestal for international listeners to engage with the underground music of the country. Alongside this, Group Therapy are also raising money for Black Lives Matter UK and Help Musicians through physical and digital sale of this compilation.
Sadly the cassettes have all sold out but you can go back and listen to the fantastic 54 track release right here.
CurrentMoodGirl X Yelena Lashimba - STEMS
The project is titled STEMS, a collaboration between up and coming R&B artist Yelena Lashimba and dark, experimental pop producer, CURRENTMOODGIRL. Each artist created an original track and then swapped their stems to be reworked by their partner. By doing this they have explored the space between their distinct sounds and found a common thread through expressions of feminism.
Set up by the amazing Rhythm Lab, this project shows the agency of independant working with neither of the artists actually working together. This gives each of them the ability to really get into their own groove with a basis provided by a like minded and talented artist.
The 4 track release opens with Yelena's track 'Toxic' a sultry, relaxed R&B groove akin to Gorillaz 'Plastic Beach' and then bam, their smooth downbeat vocals jump out at you. With a heavy feminist story spoken through their angelic vocals layered in sublime aplomb, it really tells the story of Yelena.
Greta (CURRENTMOODGIRL) turns it on its head with their inspiringly industrial take on all music. String instruments and sharp percussion are added over the auto tuned vocals to give this a track a real personal stamp. Sped up tripop with 100 Gecs squealing in the background don't do this remix justice.
Then CURRENTMOODGIRL's original track 'Step In The Dark' bring her Kate Bush style high vocals straight into this industrial world that Greta has created. A dark unreleased Lana Del Ray track or something that Crystal Castles said was too chill for them, you twist and turn through this track always sticking with the pop riddled vocals on a journey of anxiety.
Yelena responds in a wonderful brass format adding in saxaphone and a definitive jazz tone to this dark industrial track. Followed up with african style percussion this remix seems to keep us on a even keel and feels like it's been plucked straight out of London's current jazz scene akin to Emma-Jean Thackray and Nardeydey.
Keep your eyes out for what is coming from Rhythm Lab in the coming weeks and months from the likes of Sibz and Sindysman and many more.
The Early Mornings - Blank Sky
A new single from the upcoming debut EP 'Unnecessary Creation' out on June 18th, 'Blank Sky' takes you on the beautiful journey of mundane Manchester, "Write what you know, they said". Angular guitar titillates this track throughout reaching it's crescendo in a beautiful post punk solo at the end.
With definitive influences from early Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Shop Assistants the 3 piece layer simplified yet tonal and concise instruments over each other in this track which chugs along nicely to a video that made me smile. With images of gray and washed out shop fronts, Manchester sights that you never pay attention to and a variety of artistic mockings from MC Escher, Salvador Dali and René Magritte you get a sense of this cynical band and the love for art and music that is so essential to their presence in the underground scene.
The poetic lyrics from Annie were all cut up and put together in only a way that you can decide the context yourself, but alongside the art references and the somewhat surreal aspects of the video you are left with this beautiful art pop track that is just joyous to listen to.
Glue 70 - Days Go On
The year is 2070 and "All human contact is now forbidden". WHAT?
PLEASE WATCH THE VIDEO FOR THIS BEFORE READING.
Glue 70 is an electronic producer that you may know from their recreation of dubstep coined 'gluestep' or maybe other projects like Zula. Last month they released Days Go On which throws you into this post apocalyptic Manchester where human contact is forbidden. I want to start with the incredible graphics for this video (directed and edited by Dave Thacker) that makes town look like Bladerunner, with classics like The Beetham tower, the Irwell and City Tower morphed into dirty bigger scenes, like a Stalinist version of Independance Day. You are then invited into a renewed yet ancient looking Empire Exchange where the story begins with you falling for a Psychomania style character (Costume Designed by Emily Rose Spreadborough).
All the meanwhile you are being spiritually lifted by this dub influenced, deep electronic sound that is so typical of Glue 70 and it's the glitchy lo-fi quality to the background that sets this track apart for me. Their vocals then transport me to a Wayne Coyne style acid trip that I never want to get off.
Evabee - T&T
A bonafide summer anthem ready for you all to enjoy.
Evabee brings this collected version of their last 12 months of being told to retrain by the government, "See the tyrants and thieves, tryna take what they see" and comes out with a clear message of no, music and the arts are important. We can't agree more and this tune is what can bring all of us together under one message.
Her soulful tone truly lifts this message into a chant of the artistic culture, with a voice akin to Winehouse and instrumentals reminding me of Erykah Badu this is the music that Manchester should truly be proud of.
The single comes with a great Super 8 style video of chunky knitwear, sage and growth that supplant the message of an independant, individual style that cannot be ignored and like all Manchester acts, some good shots of them stomping around town too.
We are very excited to see Evabee live as soon as possible and especially to see the shift change in politics that a song like this can instill in the youth culture of today.
Ventrelles - Call Of The Morning
A band of Berghaus, casual cladded lads with an atypical indie pop vein running straight through their music wouldn't be out of place in Manchester now or in 1999.
Sun soaked guitar clatter on this track with a definite influence from Britain's high points of indie with reference to The Chameleons and Jesus and Mary Chain's later work.
The video takes you a memorable journey on the Mancunian way looking down on the city splintered with shots from the 90's, it's all very nostalgic. Check out them playing a live set at The Snug with their other newest tracks.
Korzi - Terra Preta
Left Right & Centre, the infamous party people of Manchester have come out with their first solo excapade with none other than Korzi, one of the two founders of the label. You'll know Korzi from all over town working with Limbo, Hidden, Steam Radio and TOAT just to name a few and here we have something different from him.
The musician and producer Korzi has brought this EP 'Terra Preta' to us with 3 very different sounding tracks. 'Terra Preta' opens us up with a thick heavy headed bassline that keeps you sweating for the whole 5 minutes. 'Simmer Down' does exactly what it says on the tin with deep sludgy docile tones of EDM. 'Basmati Bandit' finishes off the offering with a scratchy minimalist jungle style track that weaves in and out of consciousness.
Keep your eyes open for more great stuff coming out of LR&C with both members making waves throughout the city playing Hidden's opening party as one of your first proper opportunities.