photograph courtesy of Julia

Until the previous night, Paul Thomas Saunders was unknown to us. SFTOC had only just published the running times for the day, and we were working our way through the list of bands on the SFTOC website, meticulously listening to all the bandcamp etc links, trying to plan the day ahead. It was a long evening. Most of the links got at most a cursory listen, until we got to PTS. In the end we had to tear ourselves away, and force ourselves to carry on working through the list.

In other words, this was a must-see.

By way of background, the St. Philips lineup was curated by our friends at Hey! Manchester, who by and large have impeccable taste in music. In the end, we arrived early, the entire festival was running a little behind schedule, and we ended up staying longer than initially planned. It was an evening of beautiful music, and to this writers ears, PTS was the absolute pinnacle.

The band came onstage, and at first it seemed shambolic; but soundchecking seamlessly segued into Santa Muerte’s lightning & flare, which brought to mind Submarine’s debut album albeit slightly less frenetic.The use of both regular and distorting microphones was a nice touch (a technique used effectively by Damien Rice amongst others).

Paul cut a slightly nervous figure, berating us for having cans of beer in church. His lyrics belie his youth – Appointment in Samarra detailing a breakup (“make no future plans / sever every bound that binds us”) and The trail remains unseen about exorcising the past (“as the fields turn to coast / let the water scare away all of your ghosts / of the girls you held at seventeen”).

We are pleased with this recording, and can’t wait til Paul is playing headline slots. We hope you agree.

Stream “The trail remains unseen”:

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Setlist:
Santa Muerte’s lightning & flare
Appointment in Samarra
Good times rags and requiems
Let the carousel display you & I
The trail remains unseen
A lunar veteran’s guide to re-entry
??

If you download and enjoy this music we would fully expect you to support the band by buying their records and attending their gigs. Paul’s official website is here and his music can be purchased here.

Liz Green at Deaf Institute 2012-04-05
photo courtesy of Hey! Manchester

A lot has been written about Liz Green; mostly focusing on her quirkiness, eccentricity even, and how she’s been slowly gaining traction in her home of Manchester.

The latter is certainly true – Liz has been on the collective manchestertaper radar for only a little while, and it was only by good fortune that we were here at tonight’s show.  The venue was absolutely packed, much to Liz’s genuine surprise (“wowsers!  I told them that this venue was far too big!”).

To some extent the former is also true – no-one could accuse Liz of being conventional, although from tonight’s set it is obvious she is not being deliberately obtuse, merely it’s just how she is.  Liz gave us an insight into her formative influences with her opening cover of Son House’s Grinnin’ In Your Face, working her way from blues through light jazz to folk.

It was a mesmerising evening, and we look forward to catching Liz again in the future.  Special thanks to Howard for helping facilitate this recording; we hope you enjoy it!

Stream “Midnight blues”:

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Setlist:
Grinnin’ in your face
Help the aged
Come into my arms
Midnight blues
Luis
Rybka
Hey Joe
Who killed cock robin?
[new song]
The quiet
Displacement song
Rag & bone
Bad medicine
French singer
Gallows

If you download and enjoy this music we would fully expect you to support the band by buying their records and attending their gigs. Liz’s official website is here and O, Devotion! can be purchased here.

Field Music at Deaf Institute 2012-02-19

photo courtesy of tarquinlive

‘Plumb’ is the fourth album from Sunderland’s Field Music (“are we allowed to say that?  only me and Peter are from Sunderland”). Despite the album being only very recently released, and the band not yet blessed with commercial success, the evening sold out weeks ago.

Support for the evening came from Stealing Sheep, whose frontlady Emily we caught up with last month playing under the moniker Emily And The Faves.  It’s not hard to see why they were chosen as support, as their angular playing neatly mirrors that of Field Music.  We at manchestertaper highly recommend seeing them in either incarnation!

Field Music played a substantial chunk of their new album (indeed, they opened with the first three tracks).  Musically, it is a natural evolution of their earlier material: if anything, even more angular and obtuse.  Not an easy first listen, but we are certain it will be a grower.  The set was interspersed with a good balance of more familiar songs (it would be hard to imagine a Field Music set without the Rockist > Shorter segue), so plenty to keep the diehard fans satisfied.  Our only real gripe is that, at a hair over 70 minutes, the set was woefully short for a band with such an extensive back catalogue.  See them in small venues while you can, these guys deserve more than critical acclaim.

Stream “Them That Do Nothing”:

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Setlist:
01  intro
02  Start the day right
03  It’s okay to change
04  Sorry again, mate
05  Rockist part 4
06  Shorter shorter
07  Is this the picture?
08  Choosing sides
09  Let’s write a book
10  A gap has appeared
11  If only the moon were up
12  Effortlessly
13  A new town
14  Them that do nothing
15  Who’ll pay the bills?
16  A house is not a home
17  Something familiar
18  Share the words
19  How many more times?
20  Just like everyone else
21  (I keep thinking about) a new thing
22  Tell me keep me

If you download and enjoy this music, we would fully expect you to support the artist by purchasing their music and attending their gigs. Plumb can be purchased here: http://www.field-music.co.uk

photo courtesy of markandlaura

From the moment the doors opened to the moment the band took to the stage, there was a palpable sense of excitement in the air, and rightly so.  ‘Diamond Mine’, the 2011 album from King Creosote, seems to have finally hit the public consciousness – tonight’s show had already been moved to the larger Central Methodist Hall, and still managed to sell out the venue.

Gone was the usual joking from frontman Kenny Anderson, and in its place was a fiercely introspective take on Diamond Mine: the band opened by playing the album in its entirety, pausing only briefly, frequently segueing between songs.  From the Eno-esque opening of First Watch, through to the closing lines of Your Young Voice (“it’s your young voice keeping me holding on to my dull life”), the audience hung onto every note.  “That was Diamond Mine by King Creosote and Jon Hopkins” shouted Anderson triumphantly.

Having got this, the serious part, out of the way, Anderson appeared to relax somewhat, and we were treated to the odd touch of humour. With hindsight, the rest of the set was always going to struggle to match the intensity of the first half, but nonetheless we were treated to a choice selection from the extensive King Creosote back catalogue, some new songs (one so new that Anderson had to refer to handwritten lyrics!), and a beautiful cover of Tim Buckley’s ‘Song To The Siren’.

We at manchestertaper are very pleased with how the recording came out, and we hope you agree.

Stream “Your Own Spell”:

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Setlist:
01  intro
02  First watch
03  John Taylor’s month away
04  Bats in the attic
05  Running on fumes
06  Bubble
07  Your own spell
08  Your young voice
09  Cockle shell
10  And the racket they made
11  Spystick
12  Small memory
13  Sitting on a fence
14  Feart to go outside
15  ??
16  The only living boy in new york
17  Aurora boring alias
18  Song to the siren

If you download and enjoy this music, we would fully expect you to support the artist by purchasing their music and attending their gigs. Diamond Mine can be purchased here: http://www.fencerecords.com/artists/king-creosote/

photo by Robin Hill

We at manchestertaper have been fans of Jane since Like an Aspen Leaf. Despite that being released almost 10 years ago, and Jane having released several more albums since, we’re almost ashamed to admit that we never got a chance to catch her live until last months’ acoustic set at the IABF (of course it didn’t help that she has never toured extensively).

From her alt-folk roots through to her more recent, darker, psych-folk offerings, there’s not a great deal we can add that’s not already been written: haunting melodies, sometimes quirky lyrics, and more recently experimental. Tonight we were treated to a relatively stripped back set (although not quite as stripped-back as the IABF gig), with projected visuals to The Fallen By Watch Bird. It was a slightly surreal experience, but it was a very well delivered and cohesive set. Our only complaint is that we would have like more older material to make up for the past 10 years we missed out on!

We are very pleased with how the recording sounds, and we hope you agree.

Stream “Silver chord”:

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Setlist:
01  intro
02  Europium alluminate
03  The fallen by watch bird
04  Majic milk
05  Turning in circles
06  Whispers of winter
07  My soul was lost, my soul was lost and no one saved me
08  Silver chord
09  Wonderous love
10  Like an aspen leaf
11  Milk money
12  Death

If you download and enjoy this music we would fully expect you to support the band by buying their records and attending their gigs. Jane’s official website is here and you can buy The Fallen By Watch Bird here.

In 2005, Doves went over to Austin, TX for the SxSW music festival. I believe they played a total of 3 gigs that week; this is their third and final performance at this festival, and took place in Waterloo Records. It was a short acoustic in-store set. This is Doves as their very finest, stripped back sounds, recorded from (more or less) right in front of the band. Enjoy!

Stream “Almost forgot myself”:

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Setlist:
01  intro
02  Snowden
03  One of these days
04  Caught by the river
05  Almost forgot myself
06  There goes the fear

photo courtesy of Simon Lee

Headlining the 17th birthday of the Night & Day café.

Stream “Emilie”:

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Setlist:
01  intro
02  William Shatner’s dog
03  Run
04  Coney
05  Do you want to come with?
06  Darling don’t
07  Funny hat
08  Lost without you
09  What’s that you say little girl?
10  Emilie
11  Jam
12  The ground beneath your feet
13  Play
14  New York
15  Sick note
16  Alabaster
17  Bumper cars

photo courtesy of hilaryg from the elbow forums

As part of Manchester International Festival, Elbow played two consecutive dates at the Bridgewater Hall with the Hallé Orchestra.

Stream “Friend of ours”:
Salford skyline blue, always you – rest in peace, Bryan

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Set 1:
01  intro
02  Station approach
03  Mirrorball
04  The stops
05  Grounds for divorce
06  Switching off
07  The loneliness of a tower crane driver
08  Some riot
09  Weather to fly

Set 2:
01  intro
02  Grace under pressure
03  Starlings
04  Red
05  Scattered black and whites
06  Newborn
07  Great expectations
08  Friend of ours
09  Powder blue
10  One day like this

Malcolm’s new project, Human Don’t Be Angry, opened. So in effect we were treated to a double dose of Malcolm this evening. The main set, presented here, is his more familiar singer-songwriter fare with a few new tracks thrown in for good measure. The audience interaction was fairly minimal – Malcolm appearing somewhat introspective tonight – until someone asked if he was taking requests, which lightened the mood. Mostly attentive audience, with the odd sing-along here and there (eg. Blue plastic bags).

Stream “King of bring”:

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Setlist:
01  intro
02  Four cigarettes
03  Devastation
04  Monday night nothing
05  Autumn
06  Week off
07  A brighter beat
08  We’re all going to die
09  Blue plastic bags
10  Gone, gone, gone
11  [Pants down]
12  Choir
13  Shadows
14  Moments
15  Love comes in waves
16  Burst noel
17  The whole world’s gone to fuck
18  Loneliest night of my life came calling
19  King of bring
20  Devil and the angel

bsb