Sunday, May 11, 2014

Sounds from the Other City, Salford, 4th May 2014

Sounds from the Other City is the antithesis of Coachella: utter non-commercial, eclectic and focused on exposing new talent. Taking place in Salford, an independent city in walking distance of Manchester, it's particularly notable for the mix of unusual venues, including churches, pubs and the rather grand Peel Hall below which is part of the University. You can read about my experience last year here; inexpensive tickets are a sign of a commendable focus on giving access to new music.

1) PINS 9/10
Recently returned from SXSW, it seems that this young Manchester talent is gaining wider recognition they deserve. The female foursome's sound is C86 influenced, and incredibly tight: they're exciting to watch, and it's impossible not to be bowled over by its the sheer visceral impact.

2) Bernard + Edith 8/10
Signed to Manchester label SWAYS, this trip hop duo create a dark, moody sound which enveloped me in its atmosphere, and suited the period venue well. The tempo was slow, and the tone menacing.

3) Adult Jazz 8/10
This up and coming experimental group from Leeds have the British quirkiness of Alt-J, an unexpected mix of styles, instruments and rhythms proving inventive. I can't wait to see this band again at Green Man festival in August; they definitely deserve attention.

4) Broken Twin 8/10
Majke Voss Romme from Denmark, playing keyboard on the left of this photograph, was joined by two guitarists and a violin player. The music was serene, and contemplative; if the performance occasionally felt tentative, this was intentional. There is an austere beauty here, which has prompted me to explore their recent album May.

5) Face & Heel 8/10
A strikingly strong opening to the festival, the duo blends gentle piano and vocals with harsher electronic beats and synths, with an atmospheric restraint which comes from Sinead McMillan's background in classical composition.

6) Happyness 7/10
This 3 piece from London performed in the cramped confines of a railway arch; their lo-fi grunge enthused the audience as much as anyone I saw on this day. I found it ultimately lacking in depth, but the performance was spirited.

7) Neon Waltz 6/10
This six piece psychedelic rock band from Scotland was previously unknown to me, like most of the other performers here. If ultimately they weren't quite to my personal taste, others including NME have highlighted them as a buzz band.


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