Just in case you were unaware due to having lived you life under a very large sound proof rock, or worse, you live in Milton Keynes and therefore have an excuse for lacking in any musical knowledge or taste, October sees the return of the original Manchester Music festival and accompanied convention which is famed for shinning the spotlight away for the big southern smoke that tends to eat up the majority of the musical industries moguls time.

In The City not only fills Piccadilly and the Northern Quarter with some of the most creative, refreshing and innovative bands (plus far too many obnoxious A&R guys with matching ID’s and lanyards), but hosts seminars and panels. Which are diligently attended by industry types to network, booze, pat each other on the back and debate issues effecting the British music industry and hopefully provide an answer of how live music with intelligence can overcome the X-factor filled pop pulp that dominates the charts.

While one small, heal wearing blond, armed with a Nikon, umbrella and various glasses of white wine that’s as rough as a badgers arse can’t bring all of the bands featured, as that’s too many bands, too many words and way too much wine, here’s my guide to five bands you need to be listening to over the next year.

Firstly we have D/R/U/G/S and despite possessing a somewhat obviously dodgy name, this electronic Manchester/London duo were surrounded by industry buzz attracting packed crowds of delegates and in the know fans at the both their Ruby Lounge and Band on the Wall appearances. While linked to the Chillwave summer, D/R/U/G/S have survived the end of summer and come out the other side with their hunched up postures concentrating on their extensive collection of musical geek boxes to bring you an eclectic mix of pop, synth and drum machines.

Next up we have Kisses, all the way from sunny LA, where according to the singer the people are too cool to dance. Clearly us Manc’s aren’t as the crowd packed into the Castle were ready to move their feet to combination of sweet heart rendering instrumentals with floor calling base lines and dance beats all topped off with lazy accents straight out of the Hills.

Another band to watch is Catfish & the Bottlemen hailing from well known epi- centre of break through bands… Landudno. CTBM have been quietly making a name for themselves within Manchester Music circles with storming live appearances at Hungry Pigeon and MAPS festival and releases from indie label Size. With epic vocals raising above a melodic wall of sound, CTBM never fail to elevate the crowd on a cold and rainy night.

Chad Valley, despite being named after a camp toy manufacturer, have already received glowing reviews from The Guardian, Vice and Pitchfork with Hugo Manuel’s lo-fi stoned take on call to the floor electronica. Bring on the reverb and start to shuffle. With a string of high profile support dates booked around the country, you will struggle not to catch Chad Valley at a venue near you.

Finally we have Plank, their fascinating experimental instrument led wall of sound that held the attention of an audience crammed into the backroom of the Castle. The band have recently released their debut EP on indie Mancunian label Akoustic Anarky which will ensure that gigs in the city will keep coming.

And just in case your gig diary is still looking a little empty… be sure to investigate the manic antics of Pulled Apart by Horses, crack chic Manc teenagers Egyption Hip Hop, folk friendly Ellen & the Escapades and dreadlocked resident Manc Pierre Halls project the genre bending Golden Glow.

Words / Photos: Jo Lowes -

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All Interviews by Alex McCann unless otherwise stated
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