Saturday, November 27, 2010


Earlier today it was reported that 2010 has been one of the mildest years on record. Entering the early nineteenth century splendour of St Philips Church for this sold out gig on the coldest day of the year so far, nothing felt mild. In fact many kept woolly hats, gloves and coats on while patiently sat on the wooden pews.

Support was Idiot Wind aka fellow Swede Amanda Bergman. She was a curious, elfin and quite shy figure when standing thanking the crowd at the end but behind the piano she was transformed. Pre-show music had included songs from Fleetwood Mac’s “Rumours” which felt appropriate since Idiot Wind reminded me of Christine McVie - or maybe Joan as Policewoman with the arty edges worn down. Her strong clear voice filled out the high ceilinged church, echoing over heavily reverbed electric piano. It was beautiful to hear on first listen but no particular song hypnotised in the way her voice promised it might. She finished with a slow, moody version of “I’ll Keep It With Mine”.

At Green Man, The Tallest Man On Earth reduced grown men to tears in a tent. What would happen in this more spiritual setting?

Well there were no tears tonight that I could see - but Kristian Matsson had pretty much the same mesmerising effect on everyone present. Live he manages to add an extra emotional depth to the songs, with a personal magnetism that draws people in. And literally so – people starting edging along the centre and side aisles or crowding around the seated front row on the balconies over the course of the first few songs. Tuning his guitar or garrulously offering thanks for everyone for coming he appears a gentle soul, self-deprecating and soft-voiced ("I thought Sweden was progressive but I've never been in a church that serves beer"). But when performing with deep growling voice and intricate guitar playing he magnifies the compassion and poignancy of his songs ten-fold.

He played songs from across his two albums and most of the new EP “Sometimes The Blues Is Just A Passing Bird”. For 'Like A Wheel’ and final song ‘Kids on the Run’ he performed seated at the piano but for most others he wandered the stage with guitar singing out to those seated on the pews below or up to the balconies. ‘King of Spain’ with the crowd hanging on every suspended note or pause was a highlight as was ‘The Gardener’ – watch how he responds to the audience singing along at the end of the song. 'Thrown Right At Me' on the new EP is quite a down-beat almost unmemorable song. Here sung as a duet with Idiot Wind it soared. With heads touching whilst their shared the microphone and some magnetism of their own going on, I suspect there is more to their relationship than touring buddies.

Videos or second-hand reports cannot convey what a special evening this was. The Tallest Man On Earth should never play venues larger than this – it would ruin the magic. And with tonight’s show selling out over three months in advance, next time he is playing anywhere near you, make sure you do not hesitate to grab tickets as soon as they go on sale. A very talented song-writer and very special performer.

The Set List:

A Field of Birds
I Won’t Be Found
Pistol Dreams
Love Is All
King of Spain
Thousand Ways
The Wild Hunt
Tangle In This Trampled Wheat
The Sparrow and the Medicine
Like The Wheel
The Gardener
Where Do My Bluebird Fly
Thrown Right At Me
The Dreamer
Kids On The Run

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Y NIWL "Y Niwl"

Welsh surf-rock. It sounds like a stray punchline to an unfunny joke. Or a creative caption dreamt up to grab press attention. It is in fact a refreshingly honest and accurate description of the music Y Niwl make. Across these ten instrumental tracks on their debut self-titled album the four-piece deliver a wonderful homage to a timeless and universal sound that is inextricably linked to late fifties and early sixties California. Even when played by a quartet of Welshmen from chilly Snowdonia: Alun Evans (guitar), Peter Richardson (drums), Sion Glyn (bass) and Gruff ab Arwel (organ and guitar).

The opening pair of songs ‘Undegpump’ and ‘Chwech’ are picture-perfect pieces of early 60s surf instrumentals as made famous by Dick Dale or The Ventures. The lead guitar on ‘Pedwar’ is a touch more raw, recalling Duane Eddy or even Link Wray; ‘Wyth’ sounds closer to the smooth tremelo guitar work of The Shadows but on these songs and throughout Y Niwl add a touch of garage-rock fuzz at the edges. ‘Deg’ and ‘Saith’ are propelled along by scuzzy Farfisa organ – very Question Mark and the Mysterians.

“Y Niwl” could easily be a one-trick pony. A nostalgic tribute delivering a dull re-tread of a familiar formula. Instead it is refreshing, inventive and repays repeated listens, especially at a lean 28 minutes in duration; like me you’ll probably just want to keep hitting ‘repeat’ at the end of the final track. Why does it work so well? The genre is a well-worn path but the neo-garage revival of the 80s and 90s tended to push surf music into blasts of loud, over-driven, primal punk (actually this started as early as 1963 with The Trashmen’s ‘Surfin’ Bird’).

Or worse it was treated with mockery and disdain. Y Niwl faithfully capture the innocence, vibrancy and fun of surf without ever being docile, retro or tame. And whether the beaches you are used to are in California or Conwy, this is music of escape and freedom, joyous and vital. The album also has freshness and immediacy being recorded live to tape with no overdubs. The Welsh language titles give an added aura of mystery and allure. Finding out that these titles are in fact the numbers one to ten in Welsh is the only disappointing aspect to this record.

“Y Niwl” comes out in the first week of December on Aderyn Papur. A winter release date for surf-rock? Why not – it sounds good in any season and listening to Y Niwl's spirited instrumental volleys might just make your year end with a swing and a splash.

Y Niwl play in support of the release of the album in Cardiff, Blaenau FFestiniog, Bristol and on 10 Dec at the Cloud Sounds and Red Deer Club Xmas Bash at Fuel Cafe in Manchester. Catch a wave.

Y Niwl by FollyOfYouth

Y Niwl [BUY or BUY]

Monday, November 22, 2010


Given its inextricable link to The Smiths, I’ve always associated Salford Lads Club with the bleak, monochrome 1980s. The iconic shots of the band recalling a crueller, harsher time of austerity before the regeneration of the 1990s touched the cities of Salford and Manchester. And some would say that regeneration still has to touch many parts of Salford. But once inside the 1903 building you realise how colourful it is. It may preserve an earlier probably equally austere time from the beginning of the last century but one full of rich reds, creamy beiges, pristine Edwardian brick and tile, lovingly waxed wooden floors and intricately detailed plaques and rolls of honour for former members and their athletic achievements. It’s a brilliant irony that the room dedicated to The Smiths is the old weight-lifting room.

Tonight’s Now Wave gig is in the high ceiled gym hall on the first hall, a thin rectangular room with badminton court markings and a raised stage set into an arched alcove. Brown Brogues are a late replacement for the advertised support band Mazes. As they take the stage they are the only ones taking their coats off. It feels colder inside than out in this unheated room as the surprisingly small audience stand shivering in small groups. Luckily the short primitive bursts of garage-punk-noise soon start to raise the temperature. If the special setting itself wasn’t enough, the duo perform on the stage as projections of ‘Citizen Kane’ fall across them and the walls – it is as arresting as their music. Sadly the unresponsive crowd declines requests either to move closer or sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to drummer Ben.

The five piece Titus Andronicus take the stage without ceremony and in relative gloom. I’m unsure at first whether they are actually going to start playing but unannounced kick off with ‘A More Perfect Union’ and then straight into a fast-and-furious ‘Richard II’. Frontman Patrick Stickles is as intense and shouty as on record but cordial and chatty between songs. Strangely the rest of the band seem solemnly quiet, even disinterested, with the exception of guitarist Amy Klein who never stops smiling, constantly bounces up and down and frequently punches the air.

The hardcore group moshing freely across the badminton court are forced to take a breather after the third song when a broken guitar string means there is a pause as Patrick swaps his guitar. Borrowing Mark Brogue’s guitar provides an unexpected comedy moment as Stickles has to adjust to playing a guitar with such a shortened strap it's bolted tight into his armpit. It doesn’t seem to interfere in anyway.

Live Titus Andronicus add a further level of ramshackle noisiness to their ragged glory songs of nihilism, anger and despair. It makes for great viewing though - even more so against the backdrop of either Orson Welles or Godzilla attacking Tokyo.

The crowd also are entertaining: as they get increasingly rowdy there’s the occasional good-natured stage invasion. Mainly however they join in with the many chants during the songs (“you’ll always be a loser”; “the enemy is everywhere”) with the kind of intense blinkered devotion that echoes that directed to the band celebrated in the weights room on the ground floor. Late in the set a Misfits cover is played and Stickles gets into the crowd to sing surrounded by the adoring mob. He escapes to finish back on stage with ‘My Time Outside The Womb’ and then ‘Four Score and Seven’. The whole evening was a blast in every sense.

Despite all my good intentions until tonight I never made that visit to Salford Lads Club. And despite two earlier attempts, I have failed to see Titus Andronicus live when they played Manchester. Both are mistakes I will not be making again.

The Set List:

A More Perfect Union
Richard II
Fear and Loathing in Mahwah, New Jersey
No Future Pt. III: No Escape From No Future
Titus Andronicus
The Battle of Hampton Roads
Misfits Cover
My Time Outside The Womb
Four Score and Seven

Sunday, November 21, 2010


The Scottish Enlightenment. Such a good band name it’s a surprise it hasn’t been claimed before. It poignantly captures that type of Scottish band who proudly celebrate their national identity and achievements but also undercuts it with a wry ironic suggestion of failed ambition, introspection and self-doubt. Best back away from the Scottish politics now.

The duality of the name is also found in the music – elegant, unhurried post-rock that possesses an anthemic swirl and grace but also a morbid Caledonian miserablism. Most songs fit the same template: 5 to 6 minutes of unfolding restraint gradually building in intensity. Opening instrumental ‘Gal Gal’ starts with water-dripping-from-stalactites chimes before opening out with slow, methodical drums and trembling guitars to build to a majestic glacial peak. ‘Little Sleep’ adds cosy/spooky Angelo Badalamenti atmospherics in the echoing and twanging guitar and bass to create the gentlest rallying call “to man the barricades” you’re likely to hear. Songs like ‘Necromancer’ or ‘The First Will Be Last’ create a brief sense of menace with their doom-laden guitars but deftly lighten it with softly sung melodies of that offer gentle reflection and reassurance despite the often gloomy and morbid content.

Songs are filled with references to churches, tombs, angels, the spirit. Faith or more importantly doubt (St Thomas being the first Doubting Thomas) is an important constant. Some songs like ‘List Right’ echo this morbidity closely in tone and theme; elsewhere the swelling poise and beauty of the six minute ‘The Soft Place’ complete with chiming glockenspiel and trumpet acts as a gorgeous if slow-moving balm to lighten the mood. The short-but-sweet ‘Pascal’ is the nearest the record comes to an upbeat pop tune. It of course contains the line “I’ve seen your tomb before”.

The four piece – David and Angus Moyes, David Morrison, Michael Alexander – have been releasing singles and EPs since 2006 – first on Dunfermline’s Moojuice now on Armellodie Records. “St Thomas” is their first full-length album. Its patient assurance speaks of a band who have spent the intervening years refining their songs and fashioning a clear identity rather than rushing to get a debut out. There may be some slight diminishing returns over 11 tracks but by the same token you do not often hear a band’s debut album where you can pick any song and instantly say “that’s a Scottish Enlightenment song”. Lively or frivolous “St Thomas” isn’t – it comes as no surprise to discover chief songwriter David Moyes spent six years at university studying philosophy. But allow yourself to be drawn in on repeated listens and there’s real comfort even beauty in misery. Isn’t this the lesson the saints teach us?

Thursday, November 18, 2010


I last saw The Phantom Band in May this year at Tan Hill Inn where they drank prodigiously and didn’t play a single new song. Impressive and disappointing respectively. Touring in support of new album ‘The Wants’ tonight, I knew new songs were unavoidable but was surprised to see singer Rick Anthony swigging a pint of water. Wait a minute – he was simply alternating this with single malt whisky (and the bottle would later get passed into the crowd. Aberlour if you’re interested).

However having a drink on or off stage is not what is remarkable about The Phantom Band. It is how six unlikely looking lads – here with new boy Ian on drums – create such powerful rhythmic music: layered and intense, idiosyncratic but undoubtedly ‘pop’. Ok and how they keep it so precise with a few drinks in the belly too.

After a cautious opening pair of songs, ‘Folk Song Oblivion’ from 2009’s Checkmate Savage was the moment when both band and audience hit their stride – “you’re buoyant tonight” said Rick praising the crowd. Nothing has changed in the band’s formula or approach but the new face on drums has brought a real – loud – insistent driving force behind the inventive rhythms. Very rock. New songs ‘Into The Corn’ and ‘A Glamour’ were highlights – not feeling ‘new’ or ‘finding their feet’ at all but just as precise and passionate as older tunes. These longer songs enable The Phantom Band to show their skills best over the gently progressive gear-changes. And this was really apparent on the eight-minute ‘The None of One’ (listed as ‘Man Cities’ on the set-list?) which moves from banjo and crooning meander in first half, to twitchy beats and abrasive guitars in the second half as Rick Anthony howls about burning. Astonishing stuff. As was the encore of math-pop instrumental 'Crocodile'.

I’m sure at one point singer Rick said “Nice one us” in response to a rowdy and rapturous reception to a song finishing. Nice One Them indeed. For a band recently back from a transatlantic tour and straight into the UK leg they looked and sounded fit, lean and eager. We could argue all night about whether ‘The Wants’ can match ‘Checkmate Savage’ – it certainly comes close - but at tonight’s packed Deaf Institute gig The Phantom Band live matched and exceeded all expectations. And I will raise a drink to that.

The Set List:
NB. 'Mr Natural' was not played and the encore - not listed - was 'Crocodile'

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

DREAMEND " So I Ate Myself, Bite By Bite"

Dreamend is the solo project of Ryan Graveface, bassist/guitarist with Pennsylvania’s electro-synth astronauts Black Moth Super Rainbow. The Pennsylvania five-piece increasingly appear to be a latter-day Animal Collective given the number of solo and spin-off projects using their adopted monikers - Tobacco, The Seven Fields Of Aphelion, Father Hummingbird and Iffernaut. Graveface has released all his Dreamend solo albums on his own Graveface Records and now his fifth “So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite” receives a UK release courtesy of Memphis Industries.

Here the laptops and sequencers of BMSR are dropped for antique banjo, piano and chimes. Listen to songs like ‘Where You Belong’ or ‘My Brittle Bones’ in isolation and you hear lo-fi dreamy psyche-folk, full of frail sing-song melodies. This banjo-driven backwoods music is shuffling, winsome and even jolly – ‘Magnesium Light’ sounds like a one-man band busker taking on the sunny optimism of The Polyphonic Spree, ‘Where You Belong’ features cheery whistling and the album kicks off with the floaty, meditative instrumental prelude ‘Pink Cloud In A Wood. But there’s something dark lurking in the woods.

The intense, echoing banjo of short instrumental ‘Interlude’ jars discordantly against the ears. It is followed by ‘Repent’ with slow, doom-laden sleigh bells and whispered, repeated pleas to “trust in me / that I will change” that become just plain spooky. This all leads to ‘Pieces’ and the dark heart of the album is revealed. In the most tuneful and cheery tones the song confesses: “I can’t believe it was just yesterday / I cleaned my hands and washed the blood away”. Yes “So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite” turns about to be a themed piece, a single narrative in the central character kills and dismembers their lover. In track seven.

In the same way the narrator is more surprised at the passing of the time than the murderous act itself, so the album continues with little sense of remorse, outrage or conclusion on the surface. ‘My Brittle Bones’ sings of being haunted by the lover’s ghost and the ten minute closer ‘An Admission’ finishes in instrumental maelstrom but overall the songs are not the outpourings of a tortured psyche, rather a jaunty and amoral stroll through the woods. Like a bucolic Elephant 6 collective take on murder ballads or “Deserter’s Songs”- era Mercury Rev relocating “American Psycho” to the rural retreats of upstate New York, this is a fine piece of astral Americana. Just one that occasionally looks into the dark at the bottom of the well.

I haven't seen the physical LP of "So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite" myself yet but it is "presented like a phenakistoscope, a classic Victorian animation machine... [featuring] William Schaff's painstaking, brilliantly delivered design. It's truly a remarkable accomplishment in the annals of the Album as Artform, which is a hallmark of Graveface Records". Who have of course made a video to show it off.

So I Ate Myself, Bite by Bite [BUY or BUY]

Monday, November 15, 2010

YUSUF AZAK "Turn On The Long Wire"

The fifth track of the debut full-length record from Glasgow’s Yusuf Azak is called ‘Thin Air’. Reverse the adjective and it’s a much more apt description. For Azak actually creates thick air: songs fashioned out of eerie and atmospheric layers of looped and digitised guitar, voice and violin. At the heart of most songs is fluent and folky guitar picking: Spanish sounding on ‘Rosalie’ maybe but elsewhere reminiscent of John Fahey. Azak’s voice is intriguing and captivating: a strained and hoarse whisper as if the singer is fighting for air whilst trying to make himself heard - something like Devendra Banhart pursuing the solitary oddness of his early records rather than the later hippy backwoods tweeness. But what really captivates is how well all the elements are combined and overlaid. Voices, sighs, hums, guitar and violin all float and echo in and out of hearing, sweep from left to right channel and back again. Each song becomes a miniature hall of mirrors reflecting sounds back in on themselves. And not all rely on the guitar either: ‘Time To Kill’ is built around overlapping and quivering strings; ‘The Key Underground’ creates a steady marching rhythm out of claps, dark piano notes and cymbal crashes.

Eerie yes but this is not the stuff of nightmares: when the acoustic guitar is foregrounded it is reassuring and crystal-clear; and some of subject matter is conventional and even comforting – see the love songs ‘Rosalie’ and ‘Eastern Sun’. Overall it tends to solemn rather than light-hearted and Azak sometimes doesn’t sound quite at ease with himself - wrestling with a tortured muse? - but even with overlaid effects for a solo performer he creates a mesmerising and immersive listen. A headphone album for today’s looped guitar freak-folk movement?

Fellow travellers in this field like David Thomas Broughton or Denis Jones can often be a very different proposition live than on record. On this video of a live version of first single ‘Eastern Sun’ from August, Azak plays it straight – just guitar and voice. You can see how he re-creates the album and his earlier EPs (due for 2011 re-release also on Song By Toad Records) on his short tour with Ethan Ash - who also has a release out today: the 4-track EP “No Early Nights” .

The tours calls into Manchester tonight at Fuel in Withington before another 7 dates across England and Scotland.
15 Nov Fuel Cafe, Manchester
16 Nov Hamptons Bar, Southampton
18 Nov The Astor Theatre, Deal
19 Nov CB2, Cambridge
21 Nov New Cross Inn, London
25 Nov Cellar 35, Aberdeen
26 Nov Gambetta, Glasgow
27 Nov Roxy Art House Theatre, Edinburgh

Yusuf Azak
Turn On The Long Wire [BUY]

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Tonight’s trip to Islington Mill was a spur-of-the-moment one. I might have missed out on enjoying the anticipation in the build-up to a Saturday night-out but instead it was refreshing to walk in to watch three bands and have no expectations.

The Louche FC have played a handful of gigs in Manchester over the past few months and have been warmly praised. And from tonight’s set I can see why. The four-piece wrap waves of noisy, shoegaze guitar over old-fashioned fifties innocence: songs about love, sweethearts and dreams – like Roy Orbison covered by Swervedriver or a noisier Mazzy Star. Some songs play out to 5 or 6 minutes in length but they avoid the pitfall of shoegaze – interminable drift – through propulsive drumming and great harmonic hooks. The band remain fairly immobile and expressionless throughout which is a shame. For the first song singer Kyoko Rathmell was without guitar and more animated. However better than this was in the final song, first when she took an unexpected step off the stage breaking up the static onstage line-up, and then as the song came to an end she angrily dropped her guitar to the floor and walked off stage. More of these edgy moments please.

Emperor Zero play an angry, taut post-punk, reminding me of both Gang of Four and The Fall but never feeling retro. Songs went from angry thrash to slower, industrial numbers with jagged guitar and punkish shouted or occasionally spoken vocals. Throughout singer Matt Boswell was an agitated presence, fidgeting and jerking his way across the stage, driven it seemed by rage and resentment rather than attention-seeking. It was a shame then that for most songs the lyrics were largely indecipherable (although I did catch a great line about “girls with books are more sexual”) so the cause of such anger remains unknown. The final two songs of their set were also their debut single: ‘Berlin’ and ‘Man With Red Eyes’. Vinyl copies were on sale at the gig and I’d recommend tracking it down but given it is a limited run of 19 copies (can this be right?) you better move quickly.

I knew nothing about The Vipers prior to tonight but I expected slinky and sexy garage-rock. Instead I was bludgeoned by a furiously fast punk-metal onslaught. Any subtlety was sacrificed for speed and volume it felt and as songs merged into each other the only thing that caught my curiosity was the fact they appeared to be performing with one guitarist and two bass players. The Vipers are tight and brutal – and possibly as announced from the stage this was their last gig – but they are not for me.

So two out of three bands worked for me. A good tally for an impromptu night out and even better value given admission on the door was only £3.

Sunday, November 07, 2010


We’d like to thank the Manic Street Preachers...oh sorry, force of habit”. Going on tour with the Manic Street Preachers is quite a conventional, even questionable, move for British Sea Power, a band who tend to follow their own idiosyncratic path. However a side benefit to such supporting duties is that on days off British Sea Power will add in their own low-key gigs in smaller venues.

Said tour support is the likely reason why the next album – already recorded, mixed and named – has been put back to January 2011 for release. When BSP return to Manchester in February in support of that album they will be playing The Ritz. So tonight’s sold out gig was a good chance to hear how some of the new songs are coming along in a more intimate setting. When I heard the new songs - some finding their way on to last month’s “Zeus” EP – in the woeful MoHo Live back in April they sounded distinctly odd. Tonight (plus a similar encounter with the band at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds two weeks ago) shows that oddness is partly due to the relative newness of being played live but mainly down to the atrocious sound at MoHo.

I’m still not 100% won over by ‘Zeus’ live but enjoyed the ramshackle rowdiness of ‘Can We Do It?’ and if the first quiet half of ‘Bear’ suffered due to inattentive and chatty elements of the crowd the second half came good. But the stand-out new songs from the forthcoming album, sitting nicely alongside older material, were the rousing agit-prop of set opener ‘Who’s In Control?’ (previously called 'Pyrex') and the short and spiky ‘Stunde Null’.

A band having a day off with a low-key gig? Not at all. Tonight might not have culminated in band members crowd-surfing to madcap on-stage antics (guitarist Noble wearing a fox mask for the last song was it) but this was a fiercely energetic - and loud – performance leaving a sweaty crowd very happy. Please tell me - why are they supporting the Manics?

The Set List:
Sadly final song 'Fear of Drowning' was not played and replaced with a brief 'Rock in C' style jam.

Friday, November 05, 2010

POLLY AND THE BILLETS DOUX "Fiction, Half-Truths and Downright Lies"

The debut album from Polly and the Billets Doux doesn’t stay in one spot too long. It flits between swinging honky-tonk, smoky after-hours jazz, the breezy innocence of the country farm hop and even a short detour to take in Forties palm court elegance. The four-piece from Winchester - Polly Perry on vocals and double bass, Andrew Steen on guitars and harmonica, Daniel Everett on bass and Ben Perry on drums - play retro-roots music that skips lightly between styles: bluegrass, swing, folk-blues, country-pop all get a look in.

The band sound naturally at ease with such versatility and Polly Perry’s vocals suit the journey without ever resorting to mimicry or feeling forced. Despite the album title, there is a homespun authenticity to this record that avoids the cosy and often clichéd stylings of glossier major label revivalist rivals. Opener ‘Follow My Feet’ is the undoubted highlight: a hymn to escape and independence delivered as taut and twangy call-and-response rockabilly. Also worthy of mention but more low-key are the rolling country-rock of ‘To Be A Fighter’, the gently bluesy strut ‘The Rounder’, the smouldering late-night come-on of ‘Charmed’ and the quiet country-soul tear-jerker ‘Lead Me On’.

“Fiction, Half-Truths and Downright Lies” is not a lesson in ground-breaking innovation. Its lesser moments don’t always manage to hold my attention and some may find it too cutsey and safe. But I’m drawn by its easy-going charm and the feistiness in Polly Perry’s vocals – at times she can sound like a young Lucinda Williams with a hint of kitten-purr Julie London.

I missed their recent visit to Manchester - they played Night & Day in October and also filmed a session for Manchester Scene Wipe - but I hear a UK tour in early 2011 should bring them back this way. And I suspect live is where to catch them at their swinging best.

Polly And The Billets Doux - To Be A Fighter by laurenrazavi
Fiction, Half-Truths and Downright Lies [BUY]

Monday, November 01, 2010


Well if you thought October was the busiest month in the gig calendar, November is out to prove you wrong. Good to see a strong line-up of Scottish bands visiting Manchester this month: Meursault, Edwyn Collins, Yusuf Azak, Alasdair Roberts, The Phantom Band, Broken Records, Frightened Rabbit. In a quieter month, this might lazily be hailed a festival or an 'invasion'. As it stands, it's just one selection of some of the many excellent bands visiting Manchester.

Despite such a busy month some gigs - Beach House, The National, Edwyn Collins, The Tallest Man On Earth - are already sold-out. Use the links below to make sure you don't miss out on any more. And to help you make your choices, a mixtape of some of the bands playing Manchester this November. Link for the mixtape [63 mins / 72 MB] is in the post following this one.

Manchester Gigs in Music Mixtape: November 2010

Meursault Crank Resolutions [4.38] (2 Nov Café Saki BUY TICKETS)
Veronica Falls Beachy Head [7.08] (9 Nov Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Cloud Nothings Can’t Stay Awake [9.00] (9 Nov Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Tellison Wasp’s Nest [11.55] (6 Nov Night & Day BUY TICKETS)
The Tallest Man On Earth The Gardner [15.48] (26 Nov St Phillips Church BUY TICKETS)
Yusuf Azak Eastern Sun [18.43] (15 Nov Fuel Café BUY TICKETS)
Kirsty McGee + The Hobopop Collective Stonefruit [22.26] (2 Nov Band on the Wall BUY TICKETS)
Alasdair Roberts Long Lankin [27.28] (16 Nov Sacred Trinity Church BUY TICKETS)
The Phantom Band A Glamour [33.51] (17 Nov Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Broken Records A Leaving Song [37.48] (2 Nov Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Spokes Scatter: I Miss You [40.27] (12 Nov Night & Day BUY TICKETS)
Esben and the Witch Warpath [44.06] (11 Nov Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Wild Nothing Summer Holiday [48.06] (8 Nov Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
The Acorn Restoration [51.26] (22 Nov Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)
Titus Andronicus Richard II [53.33] (21 Nov Salford Lads Club BUY TICKETS)
Willard Grant Conspiracy Dig A Hole [63.12] (7 Nov Deaf Institute BUY TICKETS)

Not forgetting:
1 Nov Zombie Zombie + Plank! Islington Mill / 2 Nov James Yuill + Silver Columns Ruby Lounge / 2 Nov Lonely Galaxy Sacred Trinity Church / 3 Nov Michelle Shocked Academy 3 / 3 Nov Fiction Night & Day / 4 Nov Grouper + Rafael Anton Irisarri Islington Mill / 4 Nov Tokyo Police Club Ruby Lounge / 4 Nov Sharon Jones + The Dap Kings The Ritz / 5 Nov British Sea Power Ruby Lounge / 5 Nov Casiotone For The Painfully Alone Deaf Institute / 5 Nov The Walkmen St Phillips Church / 5 Nov Blind Atlas Baker’s Vaults / 6 Nov Big Deal Night & Day / 7 Nov Dieter Moebius Islington Mill / 8 Nov God Is An Astronaut Ruby Lounge / 8 Nov Cowboy Junkies Gorton Monastery / 9 Nov Wavves + Spectrals + Brown Brogues Islington Mill / 10 Nov Edwyn Collins Deaf Institute / 10 Nov The Sound of Arrows Trof NQ / 10 Nov Walton Hesse The Horse & Jockey / 10 Nov Stornoway Club Academy / 11 Nov Howard Elliot Payne Soup Kitchen / 11 Nov Gideon Conn + Josephine Anthony Burgess Foundation / 12 Nov Abe Vigoda Islington Mill / 12 Nov Drive-by Truckers Academy 2 / 12 Nov Local Natives Club Academy / 13 Nov The Vipers Islington Mill / 14 Nov Vessels Deaf Institute / 15 Nov Dungen Roadhouse / 15 Nov Chilly Gonzales Solo Piano Talk St Phillips Church / 17 Nov Holy Fuck Academy 3 / 17 Nov Unbunny Night & Day / 18 Nov Jim Noir + The Loungs + Golden Glow Ruby Lounge / 18 Nov John & Jehn Deaf Institute / 18 Nov Quiet Loner Sacred Trinity Church / 19 Nov Baths Deaf Institute / 19 Nov Mary Gauthier Club Academy / 19 Nov Beach House Manchester Cathedral / 20 Nov Born Ruffians Ruby Lounge / 21 Nov Frightened Rabbit Academy 2 / 21 Nov Sun Araw, Zun Zun Egui + Gnod Islington Mill / 21 Nov The Mummers Ruby Lounge / 22 Nov Gruff Rhys + H Hawkline Whitworth Art Gallery / 22 Nov Gregory + The Hawk Night & Day / 23 Nov Blitzen Trapper Ruby Lounge / 23 Nov Haight-Ashbury Jabez Clegg / 23 Nov Good Shoes FAC251 / 23 Nov Marnie Stern Deaf Institute / 24 Nov The Greenhornes Ruby Lounge / 24 Nov Dylan Leblanc Deaf Institute / 25 Nov 65 Days Of Static Academy 2 / 26 Nov Salem Islington Mill / 27 Nov Ratatat Deaf Institute / 27 Nov Shrinebuilder Club Academy / 27 Nov The National Academy 1 / 29 Nov Hannah Peel Trof NQ / 29 Nov Villagers Academy 3 / 29 Nov Best Coast Ruby Lounge / 29 Nov Femi Kuti Band on the Wall / 30 Nov Sleepy Sun Band on the Wall


Mixtape: November 2010 [63 mins/72 MB] - download here.