Ultimate Painting, 30/09/2016, Deaf Institute

Full of 60s rhythmic tunes and glorious earworm riffs, this set both showcased new releases such as the catchy ‘Bills’ and ‘Monday Morning, Somewhere Central’ a wistful gentle music whirl of beautiful heartbreak; as well as delivering songs from their previous albums pleasing the crowd with California vibes. Being in this small atmospheric venue made the gig intimate and joyous.  It was the start of autumn, but, Ultimate Painting brought sunshine to Manchester.

Cate Le Bon, 23/05/16, Gorilla

A shy Cate really shone at Gorilla, her vocals lighting up the stage, my favourite song from 2013’s Mug Museum ‘Are You With Me Now?’ sounded even more beautiful and the haunting ‘Sisters’ as catchy and fun. During the gig, there was a mass whirl within the audience as everyone danced around together. Not only was Cate captivating, but the bands intricacy and faultless playing warrants abundant praise.

Then Thickens, 10/07/2016, Night & Day Café

Then Thickens never disappoint live, and in the North of England, playing to a home crowd, there was a really buzz at this gig. People were singing hits like ‘Tiny Legs’ and ‘My Sunday’ word for word. And new tracks like ‘Oh Evelyn’ got the audience cheering for more from the next record. Full of passion, warmth and soul, a band that always leave you wanting more.


Radiohead – A Moon Shaped Pool

With a career spanning two decades, Radiohead continue to impress and surprise. This album is not only depicting dark heartbreak, but also exploring their eerie, melancholy sound with more depth. The first and last tracks are songs that have been performed by the band for years, never making it to record until now, and ‘True Love Waits’ is the worth the wait, they’ve saved the best until very last.

Christine and the Queens – Chaleur Humaine

Chaleur Humaine has ended up being one of my most listened to albums of this year. It is just a great example of a perfect pop album, it’s creative, it’s both upbeat and moving, and most of all it’s catchy; you listen once and you just want to repeat it over and over. My favourite tracks are ‘Sainte Claude’ and ‘Jonathan’ featuring Perfume Genius, not forgetting the song that catapulted this album into the heart of UK – ‘Tilted’.

Whyte Horses – Pop or Not

The debut album from Manchester band Whyte Horses is an adventure of vast musical genres spanning not just decades and time, but different cultures and global influences. With a variety of guest vocalists and appearances from friends, the album is continuously exciting, highlights are ‘Peach Tree Street’ with its smooth bass line and hooking riffs, the gorgeous ‘The Snowfalls’, and the wondrous psychedelic ‘She Owns the World’.


Bon Iver – 00000 Million

The last song from his 2016 album release ’22, A Million’ and its signature Bon Iver, stunning voice, piano playing like angels’ tears and so much emotion you think you may implode while you listen.

The XX – On Hold

The XX can do nothing wrong, consistently the perfect mix of electro and haunting vocals, they manage to make you want to dance and cry at the same time. This is a great return after a four-year break for the band, this taster heightens the anticipation of the next album and their Manchester gig in March.

Whitney – No Woman

A down-beat American pop song, that has elements of The Byrds and a certain similarity to Unknown Mortal Orchestra, which is no surprise when part of Whitney is an ex band member.  It’s breezy, earthy, and honest. Be transported to a summers day in the 60s, daisy chains in your hair. Peace and love.

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Sarah Starkey

I am a Freelance Writer who is a bit music obsessive. Previously written for the likes of Music Vita and Planet Ivy. Life highlights include winning £2.50 on the Euro-millions.