Mancunian indie/hip-hop duo Proseand acclaimed chamber orchestra, Manchester Camerata have collaborated on a brand new 5-track EP titled ‘Empty Hands’
‘See Me Like This’ is the lead track and singer/rapper Mike Murray has revealed the heartbreaking story behind the lyrics ahead of their UK tour.
Mike – who formed Prose with Lee Royle (guitar, vocals) – penned the song about his late father after he sadly lost his battle with alcohol and drug addiction.
He explained: “I wrote this song as my dad was dying in the hospital, due to alcohol and drug abuse. I felt conflicted with my feelings because he hadn’t been there for me and I missed out on things that a normal kid should have had with their dad. But it’s also about how much I still loved him and the pain I was feeling at the thought of him dying.“
Prose have drawn a broad variety of comparisons in their early press coverage. They were described as a combination of down-to-earth U.K. hip-hop, similar to The Streets or Plan B, and a touch of melodic lad rock that took its cues from fellow Mancunians Oasis. Their lyrical approach was inspired by life experience, often covering very personal subjects.
The single is available on all platforms now. The full EP will be available in March 2019.
Friday 1 March: Bristol: Zed Alley: £8
Saturday 16 March: London: The Water Rats: £10
Saturday 23 March: Manchester: Academy 2 (with The Manchester Camerata) £15
“It’s probably the catchiest chorus I’ve written to date, and it’s become a crowd favourite at gigs,” says singer/songwriter James Holt of his new single ‘Come Out to Play’.
‘Come Out to Play’ bridges the gap between his previous two singles, combining the pad soundscape of ‘Whispers’ with the angular unpredictability of ‘Alone Again’ but with a far more upbeat musical and lyrical theme.
The song draws inspiration from the classic songwriters of the 60/70s and also nods to Crowded House, Aztec Camera and The Smiths. One review commented that it sounded like Johnny Marr had joined the Beatles and the Beach Boys in the studio for a day.
James said, “Lyrically, the song is a journey through the life of a shy, introverted person, and their struggle to socialise – though at its core it’s an uplifting story about overcoming anxieties. There’s never an explicit reason why, but there are hints that they’re hoping for something more. (‘But I just keep holding on, for a day to reminisce on…’).
“Each verse is a different stage of his life, represented with references to different seasons, but it’s in the last verse where our character sees himself in his son and tells him not to make the same mistakes he has made.“
James provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments apart from drums on ‘Come Out To Play’ and has – once again – brought in the production wizardry of Jim Spencer (Johnny Marr, The Charlatans). The release coincides with James’ headline show at Night People, Manchester on Saturday 1 March and then on Saturday 23 March at Academy 2, Manchester (supporting Prose and Manchester Camerata).
Quotes “Feels fresh and exciting to listen to.” – Brian Eno
“Love James’ voice on that new single. Sounding great”. John Kennedy Radio X
BBC Introducing Manchester have been huge supporters of James. Co-presenter/producer, and Michelle Hussey commented, “It’s beautiful with definite echoes of Cherry Ghost.“
Another radio champion, Jim Salveson from XS Manchestersaid, “It sounds very Beatles-esque and – here’s a massive compliment – vocally it sounds very John Lennon.”
“Very talented, very wonderful – absolutely love his voice.” NatalieBBC Introducing Manchester.
“With an arresting voice that is reminiscent of John Lennon or early Bob Dylan, wily lyrics and an upbeat weave of rock, prog and blues, it’s obvious to see why his remarkable music is turning heads.” Louise Dodgson, The Unsigned Guide.
“It is the very spirit of Manchester in music.” (Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester).
Prose and Manchester Survivors Choir have teamed up to raise money for the those affected by the Manchester Arena bomb. They have released a responsive piece of music entitled, A City United to mark one year since the terror attack.
A City United was recorded by Mike Murray and Lee Royle from Prose at their studio the day after the bomb. Elbow‘s Craig Potter has mixed it, it was mastered by Peter Hewitt Dutton at Metropolis, and the video was filmed by James Killeen – all in a matter of days! Mike explains how it all came about:
“Like everyone, we felt devastated after the Manchester bomb attack. The following day we were in our studio and there were still a lot of people searching for missing family members and we were talking about how awful it must be for the families of the victims. The whole city was in complete shock that something like this had happened here and at a music concert with so many innocent people just trying to have a good time. We both felt very emotional and just started expressing how we felt. Lee started playing the piano, I started singing and without realising it we had the basis of a song, but we didn’t know what to do with it!”
Prose played the tune to friends and family, who all loved it, so they decided to make a live video just for their fans on their Facebook page.
Months later Prose were playing at a homeless benefit event in Manchester city centre for the Skullfades Foundation. Mike had himself been homeless in the past, so it’s something he feels strongly about. It was at this event where the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham heard the song, as he recounts:
“I first heard Prose perform this song in Piccadilly Gardens last year. It cut straight through the noise of the city and stopped me in my tracks. It captures exactly how we all felt last year when we heard the terrible news, but also how the character of this place pulled us through. It is the very spirit of Manchester in music.”
Andy approached Prose to see if they would be up for releasing A City United with the proceeds going to Manchester Emergency Fund and Peace Foundation. Lee and Mike said they’d be honoured, but only if they could ensure that the families and people involved were happy with them doing this. In fact, all the families are behind the project and have endorsed it completely. Saffie Rousso was the youngest victim out of the 22 people killed that day. Her father, Andrew posted this message on Prose’s Facebook page: “Heartfelt song from a great city.”
After it was approved, Andy Burnham got the ball rolling and tweeted a link to Prose’s Facebook video and announced the plan to release it and they were inundated with support and positive messages. Then Prose received a tweet from Manchester Survivors Choir who asked if they’d be up for having some choral vocals on the song. Cath Hill from the choir explains:
“When we saw Andy Burnham’s tweet about the single, we knew we had to get in touch with Prose. We loved the song, the lyrics and everything it stood for and really hoped we could be part of it. They were singing about us, so it just felt right.
“It has been an amazing experience for the choir to collaborate with the lads from Prose. The young people in the choir were so excited to get the opportunity to go to a professional recording studio. It was wonderful to see them all smiling, laughing and having the confidence to sing and be recorded. It is a tough song for us to sing, the lyrics are so moving and take us back to that night. However, we are determined to show the world that with a bit of northern spirit and resilience we can create something that people can enjoy listening to and hopefully raise some money for the charities who helped us and others affected. It is a positive end to a very difficult year.”
Andy Burnham sums things up:
“I am so proud of the band and the respectful way they have dealt with everything and also their generous commitment to use the proceeds to support those most affected and I hope people will get behind this song.”
“Brisk, funny, exciting… this track feels fresh and exciting to listen to.” – Brian Eno
Manchester-born singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, James Holt has just released the impressive video for his new single ‘Whatever Happened to John?’
The 24-year-old – who was diagnosed with a bilateral hearing loss at the age of four – has overcome his disability to release a pulsating and raucous rock’n’roll track. Speaking candidly about the record’s inception, James explained:
“The inspiration came from a Sky Arts TV programme set in an alternate reality in which John Lennon walked out of the Beatles before their fame in the mid-60s. It’s a fusion of thoughts and ideas and also bears references to George Orwell‘s 1984. Some people say that it sounds very Dylan-esque in the verses (especially with the harmonica), but I think the Indian-fused Beatles’ Revolver creeps in the bridge.”
Music legend, Brian Eno – who has long championed James – invited the young luminary to meet him at his John Peel Lecture for BBC Radio 6 Music. The former Roxy Music keyboard player, record producer and revered ambient pioneer also chose James’s song to use as part of an arts festival last year.
James – who graduated with a BA Music 1st class honours and MA in Music Composition (distinction) provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments on the track, highlighting his immense talent as a musician and his resilience in the face of adversity.
‘Whatever Happened to John?’ follows several well-received releases from James, including his critically acclaimed second EP ‘Sanguine On the Rocks’, and ‘Butterfly’- a charity single for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, which has raised over £1100. James performed the single at the Royal Albert Hall for the Music for Youth Proms.
James continues to gain exposure, with a number of industry insiders tipping the young troubadour for great things. Watch this space.
Premiere on Louder Than War: http://louderthanwar.com/james-holt-whatever-happened-to-john-single-review-video-premiere/
“Very talented, very wonderful – absolutely love his voice.” – BBC Introducing Manchester
“Sounds so great on the radio.” – Chris Douridas KCRW
“With an arresting voice that is reminiscent of John Lennon or early Bob Dylan, wily lyrics and an upbeat weave of rock, prog and blues, it’s obvious to see why his remarkable music is turning heads.” – Manchester Evening News
Straw Bear: (L to R) Ian Ray (Vocals/Guitar), Catie Wicks (Bass), Tom Shipp (Guitar), Chris Gray (Guitar /Keys), Pas Stratos (Drums).
SINGLE – All You Need is an Electric Guitar
IMPACT DATE – 8 JANUARY 2016 (ISRC GB8S51500001)
Everyone has a record that’s rescued them: a song that’s swept you away and set you back down in a slightly better place.
BBC favourites Straw Bear are back with “All You Need Is An Electric Guitar” – a record that celebrates the irresistible power of a pop song to sink its hooks in and not let go.
They’ve cut their own slice of infectious psychedelic power-pop in the process too:
The London-based five piece’s 2013 album ‘Black Bank’ won gushing praise and regular national airplay from legendary DJ Bob Harris – as well as spins from Dermot O’Leary, Huw Stephens, Cerys Matthews and Tom Robinson, for whom they played a Radio 6 Music session. In 2013, BBC Introducing picked them from thousands of bands to be showcased at The Great Escape Europe’s leading emerging music festival, and highlights from their set were broadcast on Radio 1.
Praise for the band has always centred around their knack for writing pristine pop songs, and “All You Need Is An Electric Guitar” sounds as chiming as ever — but now enveloped in washes of blissed-out psyche guitar.
This is a song showing Straw Bear’s mastery of the pop song — with a truly addictive chorus: one that soars and returns exactly when you hope it will.
“All You Need Is An Electric Guitar”’s video is a story of grind, despair and redemption, and is directed by Jake Robertson. Watch this space!
“For anyone who cares about music, there will be a time when a song or a favourite album has got them out of a hole,” says Ian Ray. “So the song’s really all about how music can come to your rescue; it has an incredible capacity to soothe and elevate you out of the everyday grind.”
The song emerges after a turbulent couple of years, and their new forthcoming album, “Fiction,” is the result of a series of births, deaths and marriages. The band return emboldened by their experiences and are stronger than ever: tighter pop choruses, laser- focused verses and bolder lyrics.
They’ve also built their own studio in Essex, and new LP “Fiction”, set for release later in the year, was recorded there.
WATCH THE VIDEO FEATURING Steve Coogan, Iggy Pop, Christopher Eccleston, Bernard Sumner, Stephen Morris, Gillian Gilbert, Mike Garry, Joe Duddell, Rowetta, Terry Christian, Richard Madeley, Julie Hesmondhalgh, Shaun Ryder, Johnny Bramwell, Paul Morley, Mark Radcliffe, Vini Reilly, Andrew Weatherall, John Cooper Clarke, Peter Saville & Philip Glass…
The poem was written by Mancunian poet and lifelong Wilson fan Mike Garry who took it to music composer Joe Duddell (New Order, Elbow). On the first read, Duddell immediately heard elements of New Order’s ‘Your Silent Face’, completely unrealised by Garry, and decided to base the music on that song. ‘St. Anthony: An Ode To Anthony H Wilson’ was born.
‘When Anthony H Wilson died in August 2007, I knew the world would never be the same. Tony Wilson built the modern Manchester.’ – Mike Garry
Wilson launched Factory Records in 1978 and he went on to establish the label by signing the likes of Joy Division, New Order, and The Happy Mondays. He became known as Mr Manchester for his work throughout his career promoting the city. He was immortalised on film by Steve Coogan in 2003’s 24 Hour Party People and again in the Joy Division biopic Control, this time played by Craig Parkinson. After a long struggle with cancer, Tony Wilson died in 2007 in Manchester’s Christie Cancer Hospital. All profits from the single will go to The Christie Charitable Fund.
‘St. Anthony: An Ode To Anthony H. Wilson’ will be available to download and buy on CD and white vinyl 12”, all featuring the Weatherall remix, on Friday 14 August. Skinny Dog Records is a label formed by members ofI Am Kloot and Elbow.
To celebrate the release of St. Anthony, there will be a launch party at the old Granada Studios on 14 August. Mike Garry and Joe Duddell & ensemblewill be performing the single live, there will be some very special guest DJs alongside a screening of the video as well as previously unseen, exclusive interview footage from the shoot. For more information and to buy tickets please go to www.stanthony.tickets . All proceeds from the event will go to The Christie Charitable Fund.
The newly launch website designed by Retro Fuzz at saint-anthony.co.uk allows you to explore the places, people and stories which make up the lyrics — helping to see the full picture of Wilson’s impact. Playing on the poem’s repeated refrain of ‘Talk to me of…’ the website allows you to send messages from your mobile phone direct into the site to join the conversation.
Liverpool five-piece Cavalry have crafted a sound that confidently melds together a mixture of classic and contemporary musical influence, from Paul Simon to The National, Fleetwood Mac to Villagers, The Beatles to Bon Iver.
Since they formed, the band’s music has quickly caught the attention of established and influential musicians, seeing them take on live support slots for British Sea Power, The Antlers and Steve Malkmus.
BBC Merseyside’s Dave Monks and BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens featured the band as a discovery on ‘BBC Introducing’, with Tom Robinson of BBC 6 Music and Janice Long of Radio 2 both eagerly playing their early tracks.
It’s hard to believe Cavalry have achieved so much in so short a time, with just two online tracks and a handful of live shows under their belts, but their music strikes a deep chord on first listen.
‘Leaves’ has all the dreamy insistence of a long-lost Grant Lee Buffalo gem, while ‘Lament’ hints at the understated anthemic pull of Band Of Horses at their best.
With national radio eager to playlist the band, they will release their first official single, ‘An Understanding’, later this year. Fingers crossed for an appearance at Glastonbury Festival too – the band are currently longlisted for a slot.
Cavalry are Alan Croft on lead vocals, Austin Logan on guitar, Paul Jones on bass, Steven Taylor on guitar and Gareth Dawson on drums.
The event, held at Manchester’s Band On The Wall in conjunction with Brighter Sound and Wall of Sounds, will bring together some of the UK’s most exciting young female talent to collaborate with one of the country’s most respected songwriters.
“I am thrilled to be asked to support and take part in this exciting and important project. Getting the chance to mentor — or simply the opportunity to stand as witness to — the diverse, and possibly unheard, talents of artists from all across the UK fills me with curiosity and some apprehension!
“If I’m lucky I will get to share some of what has been passed along to me over the years. I am equally prepared to be humbled beyond recognition and cannot wait to be so!”
After noticing that the vast majority of previous applicants were male, Wall of Sounds created this residency especially for female artists in order to spark discussion around women in the music industry and to support emerging female professionals.
Bethan Morgan-Williams, previous residency participant, considers the programme to be an incredibly important opportunity:
“Wall of Sounds is the sort of opportunity that money can’t buy, that decides a career, turns on a light, ignites a creative candle – a candle that shines upon your face and lets the world know who you are. It’s the kind of opportunity that can give someone the boost they need for stepping on into the next generation of British music.”
Beth is perfect for this collaborative mentoring role, having worked with a host of notable musicians including William Orbit, The Chemical Brothers, Terry Callier, Dr. Robert and Ben Harper.