Girl Ray North London indie trio Girl Ray are still in the early stages of their career and in fact they were all just 19 when they recorded their debut album, ‘Earl Grey’. Amazingly for such a young band Girl Ray have already developed their own distinctive sound, distilled from a melting pot of very diverse influences and they’ve gained a lot of attention and radio play for their well-crafted songs and sincere live performances.


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Angel Olsen After the release of her second full-length album Burn Your Fire For No Witness in 2014 I was hooked by Angel Olsen enchanting vocals and grunge-folk sound. Yet, until hearing Olsen live at Club Academy in Manchester, I hadn’t picked up on the resounding country-folk palette of her voice. Her music, especially the 2016 album MY WOMAN encompasses a wide range of genres, of grunge-rock to folk, with electronic reverb. It is an album which cannot and perhaps should not be pinned down. It reminds audiences not to constrain an artist to a certain genre whilst lyrically reminding us not to constrain a woman to certain social expectations.


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Low Tonight Low are live at Leeds and the Brudenell Social Club is sold-out. This hardworking band always seem to be on the road and they are currently playing a few UK dates, after gigs in Australia, New Zealand and continental Europe.


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The Lovely Eggs Despite continually writing brilliant garage-pop songs, working with luminaries like Gruff Rhys and John Shuttleworth and getting plaudits from critics and supportive radio DJs, Lancaster’s The Lovely Eggs remain a bit of a cult underground band. Tonight I catch them at Hebden Bridge’s Trades Club, where they are playing a one-off gig, warming up for Summer Festivals.


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Tindersticks Visual albums are, apparently, all the rage now. Yet if you were slightly bemused a couple of weeks ago when someone asked if you'd "watched the new Beyonce album yet?', let me explain. A visual album is simply a record where each track is accompanied by its own tailor-made video. The Waiting Room, the eleventh album from Nottingham's Tindersticks, was released back in January, and some editions of the record were packaged with the 'visual album' version.


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Steve Mason It’s a cold and damp Sunday evening in Manchester and the largely deserted Oxford Road around The Academy is festooned with fenced-off road works. Not an appealing start to the evening, but fortunately we are about to come in from the cold and witness a spirited solo performance from former Beta Band man Steve Mason.


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Animal Collective The fact that weird electro-pop-experimenters Animal Collective have sold out Manchester’s Ritz tonight suggests they have become relatively mainstream. Much of their mass appeal is down to 2009’s highly successful crossover album, ‘Merriweather Post Pavilion’ and now they are touring to promote their latest album, ‘Painting With’.


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Black Mountain As a fan of their previous three albums. I’ve really been looking forward to this gig and, fortunately, it turns out to be a fabulous evening. Canada’s Black Mountain are in Leeds for a rare UK appearance to promote their new, fourth, long-player.


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Fat White Family

Every now and again there is an iconic gig that stays forever in the memory. So it is with Fat White Family at Preston tonight. FWF have a bit of a reputation for incendiary gigs, so the expectation is there from the outset. As it turns out, tension is there from the very start, with the venue doors finally opening well over an hour after schedule, due to late and extended sound checks. There are anxious faces all round among venue and band staff, as the doors stay shut and the length of the queue outside grows.



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Uncle Acid and the deadbeats

Some of the mystery surrounding cult psychedelic-doom-rockers Uncle Acid and the deadbeats is beginning to lift, as publicity photographs of the band finally emerge. But after tonight’s Manchester Gorilla gig, where the band members are shrouded in hair, smoke and shadow, you still wouldn’t recognise them in the street. But the heavy vibes stay memorable and many ear drums will be ringing well through the night.



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Songhoy Blues Since the launch of their debut album and an appearance on ‘Later with Jools Holland’ earlier this year, Songhoy Blues seem to be taking the UK by storm and most of their current tour gigs are sold-out, including tonight’s show at the Brudenell Social Club in Leeds.


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Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick Martin Carthy and Dave Swarbrick are 'folk royalty', both widely acclaimed for their impressive contributions to folk music. Swarbrick has been described as "the most influential [British] fiddle player bar none" by Ashley Hutchings, one of his former colleagues in seminal folk-rock band Fairport Convention. Carthy was a key player in the British folk revival of the 1960s and is renowned for his individual treatment of traditional songs, often featuring his unconventional guitar tuning and percussive picking style. Like Swarbrick he has collaborated widely and has been in numerous bands, notably Steeleye Span, The Watersons, Brass Monkey and, most recently, The Imagined Village. What is especially exciting about tonight is that Carthy and Swarbrick are touring as a duo again: they have played together on many albums from the 1960s to the present, beginning with Carthy's debut album way back in 1965.


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Deerhoof Deerhoof have forged a reputation for experimentation and style changes over their twenty year and 13 album career. On record they can come over as quite a ‘technical’ band, but I really wasn’t prepared for the manic, noisy, avante-garde, fun garage rock on display at Manchester’s Gorilla tonight.


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Sharon Van Etten Love hurts. Love scars. And there's nobody who quite knows how to document the more painful side of love than Sharon Van Etten. Ever since she first appeared in 2009 with an album inspired by a former partner who smashed up her guitar and told her that her music was pointless (note to that man - you are very wrong), she's specialised in writing love songs that are painful and startling in their honesty.


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