The Changing Face of the Manchester Music Scene
Cheryl Hughes is one half of the team that gives Manchester radio listeners the ‘Ripman Show’, celebrating unsigned new music over the airwaves. In this feature she tells us why the current Manchester music scene is so exciting.
After years of replicating the greats however, Manchester music artists are now realising that it’s time to change their tactics and develop new and interesting sounds. So, in an attempt to excite your ear buds, I’ll supply you with what I think are some of the best new artists in town:
As a local radio presenter, the talent that I see in Manchester is immense. Every week I get emailed with exciting new tracks, sounds, and event ideas. One of my favourite bands in the city at the moment (who seem to constantly be upping their music game) is The Gramotones – not The Gramophones! They made that clear to me.
Obvious influences of The Gramotones are The Beatles, Squeeze and (my favourite band of all time) The Hollies. However, they’ve adapted the music of their heroes to fit in neatly with today’s musical society. It’s a sixties sound, placed firmly in the now.
Tracks such as “M62”, “Unrequited Love” and their latest single “Soldiers Kiss” resonate the elegant harmonies of The Hollies backed up by great riffs and an unforgettable sound. Lyrics play a big part in this band’s genius. They can be dark, sarcastic, funny or sad and each song has a complex story behind it, something I think a lot of contemporary song writing lacks.
The Gramotones are also all about a musical community. The general feeling around town is that there is no sense of support within the Manchester music scene anymore and this is unfortunately a growing complaint. The Gramotones are on a mission to change this, getting other artists involved along the way.
The Howling Rhythm, who manage The Gramotones, couldn’t have asked for a better band to promote. Not only are the guys cool and genuine but they care about their music, what it represents and really enjoy playing to fans.
Apart from their amazing music they also have unique live events. In the past they’ve hosted intimate gigs on a canal barge and soon they’re doing a secret concert for which the venue will only be announced to ticket holders on the day of the gig!
I really love The Gramotones and everything they stand for. They’re definitely one to check out and follow.
A few other bands follow the same direction as The Gramotones,such as The 99’s who are another great Manchester band to watch out for. A similar sixties sound but fuller with more life-related, working class lyrics.
Songs like “I’m Not Singing Anymore” and “Too Soon” are amazing songs with a happy melody that contrasts beautifully with the sadness of their words. You can also hear this in their new single “Think of Me”. It’s slow and moving but again has those great harmonies at a pace that increases throughout the song.
“Holding On For You” is one of my favourite songs from their “Run of The Mill” album. The chirpy melody and sentimental song writing sweetens the whole song. These are all great pieces of music from another great band.
Now, The Cornelius Crane have been on my radar for quite a while. I’ve even had the pleasure of watching them at a secret gig in Manchester’s Black Rooms. Not only are they some of the nicest guys, but their songs are deep and meaningful to all who listen.
Another example of a band that uses stories within their lyrics to great effect, these guys don’t follow trends. They make music that they want to make. Music that they’d want to listen to.
One of the most wonderful songs they have done is “Sail like they Never”. Like opening a tub of Pringles, this song is addictive, and once you pop your headphones in you just can’t stop. You can listen to their EP one song after the other and never be disappointed. Each one has an amazing guitar riff with inventive lyrics and makes you want to hear much, much more from them.
“River A” is another powerful song. My favourite line; “from your eyes, fell the stars of a million skies, I sold you down the river, you swam back to collect your soul, I let you go”, heard as they sing it is as equally haunting and epically amazing. Seeing this live for me was such a beautiful moment, there’s a great degree of raw emotion in what they sing about and you can really see the skill that has gone into each song.
Death to the Strange is a band name that is becoming more popular throughout the North West. They soulfully craft their songs to create deep, dark melodies that cement themselves in your memory.
“Sign On” sounds completely different in comparison to the newest track “Drink and The Devil”, yet they still both encompass the same original feel with a unique streak of random sounds the band create from scratch. The use of a hearty evil laugh and creative guitar riffs just add to the individuality of their style.
Fancy a bit of blues in Manchester? Well we have that too! Jim Adama is a name that you will soon be hearing everywhere in his attempt to make the Blues big news once again.
Clearly a fan of the sounds of Howlin’ Wolf and Son House, Mr Jim Adama has a voice many would associate with the sound of New Orleans, transporting you away for the duration of each track.
The music that he creates is exciting and new for a generation who will be relatively unfamiliar with the genre and there will no doubt soon be a Blues uprising, all starting with this guy. You can listen to him with a band or he can just clap his hands and sing to you with the same passion and energy every time. Awesome.
There are so many more bands that need mentioning including (but not limited to)The Fireflys, The Joint, The Slow Readers Club and the reinvented Syd Bozco, but I’m sure you’ll hear more about these guys very soon!
All of the above prove that the Manchester music scene is not just full of replicas trying to be the next Oasis. It’s a place full of developing talent that need the backing of everyone everywhere.
Go out and see them live or check out some of their latest uploads. Support your local music scene so that guys like these can continue to create great anthems for everyone to enjoy.
All words by Cheryl Hughes.