Posts filed under: Music

The Northern Quarter is one of the most interesting areas of Manchester, with many fun and quirky places for the traveller to explore.

Most visitors to Manchester are too busy viewing the popular tourist attractions to discover the Northern Quarter, a funky and alternative neighbourhood with a fun and lively character. Don’t make that same mistake, because this creative corner of the city is definitely worth checking out. It was actually voted the Best Neighbourhood in the UK, and is the ultimate hangout for the arty, the trendy, the creative, and those who enjoy thinking outside the box.

The Northern Quarter can be found just north of Manchester city centre. As soon as you walk into this part of town, you feel a different atmosphere in the air and the streets become filled with small, independent shops with cute and quirky treasures inside. If you are looking for a vintage record, a pair of punk-style leather boots, a cool place to get a tattoo, or some handmade jewellery, the Northern Quarter is the place. In this neighbourhood you will find designer shops, tons of vintage gear, and welcoming one of a kind coffee shops, restaurants and bars playing late night jazz music.

If you are heading out to explore the kitschy and fascinating wonderland that is Manchester’s Northern Quarter, here are a few tips:

•    Start the day off with breakfast at Koffee Pot. This kind of grungy, earthy coffee shop has a real down to earth feeling, and you will be fully satisfied by their delicious fried breakfasts. The Northern Quarter is filled with comfortable, friendly independent eateries with food that tastes just like your mother made it.

•    Do you feel more attracted to the styles of yesteryear? Do some serious vintage shopping on Oldham Street, which has some of the best vintage clothing stores in the city.

•    Mp3s? What are those? Everything sounds better on a record player and analogue speakers, so search for that elusive album to add to your vinyl collection at Piccadilly Records, Beatin’ Rhythm or the Vinyl Exchange.

•    The best place to shop in the Northern Quarter is Affleck’s Palace. This is a massive shopping arcade made from a five-story Victorian era building. It is an alternative marketplace, filled with over 50 unique stalls selling everything from bright pink leggings to studded bracelets to silk corsets. The styles cater to the Goth, punk and indie crowd, but no matter what your personal taste is you are sure to find something cool at Affleck’s Palace.

•    If it is a sunny day, grab a drink at KRO Piccadilly which is an upscale Danish bar right at the centre of the action in Piccadilly Gardens. The outdoor patio is a great place to sit and people watch.

•    Later in the evening when you want to catch some sweet live music, the place to go is the Night and Day Café. This tiny hole in the wall venue was where bands like Oasis and Badly Drawn Boy played before they made it big.

With major international airlines now offering flights to Manchester the world is set to take notice of this hot fashion city. Have fun exploring the alternative and quirky side of Manchester, in the super-cool Northern Quarter!

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The Ulster orchestra opened the Ulster Bank Festival at Queens with a collage of music from the Americas, featuring composers such as Bernstein, Copland and Gershwin.

The festival is on throughout October, with a variety of events to visit.

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Is this for real or a hoax. Worth a watch either way.

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Recently a few people have been getting fairly vocal or should I say simply been ‘tweeting’ about the Digital Economy Act which looks be little more than a slightly draconian approach to combating illegal music downloads. A large threat comes in how this law can mean your broadband connection can simply be disconnected if you are as brilliant blog Information is Beautiful suggests a ‘persistent pirate

Below is a fairly long and perhaps for some slightly non-understandable graphic to show how artists are being paid in this new coined ‘Digital Marketplace‘. What I can determine is that being a proper artist in this time means you almost need to go back to basics and make your own stuff and as long as possible continue to live to an almost “D-I-Y” style when it comes to recording and publishing your work.

I guess many artists are now seeing the potential rewards that a digital download campaign can bring in as an investment for the future of the band they are in. I say play the system for as long as you possible can.

This image is based on an excellent post at The Cynical Musician called The Paradise That Should Have Been about pitiful digital royalties. As ever, this was incredibly difficult to research. Industry figures are hard to get hold of. Some are even secret. Last.Fm’s royalty and payment system is beyond comprehension. (If you can explain it to me, please get in touch)
Note: these figures do not include publishing royalties (paid to composers of songs). The full spreadsheet of data does though. You can see all the numbers and sources here:

For more information visit the original post here

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Kong are a great band featuring members of the legendary Oceansize and I recently had the pleasure of watching them at my local venue. On first out of 3 bands hardly anyone was there and I could sense much to their frustration that more people should have been there, personally I didn’t mind too much as its great to see bands like this in such an intimate setting.

Kong – ‘Leather Penny’ from Brew Records on Vimeo.

If you are a fan of any kind of aggressive music – be that Shellac or even going to the more quiet aggression of Fugazi, you will like Kong…

As the NME puts it

“If you like Shellac and Fugazi, consider Kong the toxic shock syndrome version; they will more than likely please your ears but definitely give you a side of nausea. How do I know? Cos I’ve got a copy of their hideously good debut album ‘Snake Magnet’ playing right now. Check it out upon its release on July 13th or I’ll send a scary baboon round to your gaff to set your eyelids on fire. Just messing. I’ll send Kong”

Definitely one of my favourite shows this year – very loud, very heavy and those mask’s well there also pretty cool! There Myspace can be found here and if you like what you hear why not buy their latest release entitled ‘Snake Magnet‘ from here surely these chaps need to be bigger then they presently are…

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Firstly Ulterior from London

Meant to be very very loud live, sounds perfect! and in the words of a friend ‘Anyone who wears Guns And Roses esque gear and uses the Nirvana font are amazing…’

Their Myspace is here

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There are many benefits to using digital music as opposed to using CDs or even Vinyl. The process of downloading a digital music file  to your computer, apparently is (according to Katie Fehrenbacher over @ GIGAOM) eliminating the energy required to produce and ship a CD – this also includes you driving to the store and actually buying it, and then driving back!

The Music Flow...

The Music Flow...

Researchers at Stanford, Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and Carnegie Mellon University, including so called ‘IT energy’ guru Jonathan Koomey have found that despite the energy used from downloading music from the internet, digital downloads can reduce amount of energy consumed by the delivery of music, in terms of effecting the amount of energy used and carbon dioxide emissions by between 40-80% This in my mind sounds good, but of course there are things which would be effected.

For a more detailed look at the research please visit here

Poorer and Poorer by the day

Poorer and Poorer by the day

I, for one am a big fan of actually ‘owning’ an album or a single; nothing in my mind beats the feeling of holding a brand new, essentially piece of art, made by my favourite artist(s). This feeling was especially exaggerated when I was younger as it had generally taken me a few weeks of ardent saving.
Now whether or not the idea of actually owning the greatness that is an album in all of its atomic mass, will be one which is taken away from us by the fervent eco-warriors of our age remains to be an issue which will need to be worked out for the best. Hopefully the war against climate change will not ‘sacrifice another victim’ the beloved CD and the joys that owning a piece of art…

GANG GANG DANCE - Click for Play

GANG GANG DANCE - Click for Play

What next an end to live music…?

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The Big Pink are a great band – the kinda band who sounds as if its about to explode and become legendary, very quickly… Shoegazy,abrasive music – for fans of My Bloody Valentine… The Two Brits enigmatic sound adds to their label 4ADs classic roster of bands which includes Cocteau Twins, and the Pixies.

Managed to track down the free streaming copy of their album before it hits the shops soon!

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Wavves are a kind of Lo-Fi Punk/Noise band from San Diego, California. Who I especially like right now.

Here is a rough mix of there new track which according to their blog will be on their follow up to the great album by the same name . The new seems to take a much more cleaner guitar sound – perhaps more in the vein of almost hardcore punk or messy alt punk. I personally love the chorus – “Going insane, Going Insane: I cant take it” perhaps a reference to the singers almost public break down onstage at Primavera Festival which resulted in the drummer covering him in beer and being booed hugely by an angry Spanish crowed – It later turned out the Nathan was ‘high’ on a cocktail of Xanax, Ecstasy, and Valium.

Favourite tracks of mine include – So Bored, Gun In The Sun, and Beach Demon

Do check them out – you will enjoy

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