Patterns, ghosts and crystals

It seems like almost a lifetime since i was up to date with my blog, so you’ll have to accept my apologies for how behind I seem sometimes, following me on twitter (@shellzenner) will probably keep you more up to date!

Although I have invested in new technology and therefore may be a bit more with it in future!

The first gig I have to write about seems like it was aeons ago, It was a PYT affair, If you haven’t heard of PYT (Pull Yourself Together) they are a fantastic duo that put on great indie-pop nights at Common in Manchester.  They have also recently  diversified into being a label to release Patterns debut EP and also put on the odd night.  This was one of those nights, headlined by the bouncy Napolean IIIrd and backed by the aforementioned Patterns, who in my view are one of the most exciting Manchester bands at the present time.

Fortunately I got to the first play of their debut EP (I even beat Jon Kennedy and Steve Lamacq to it!). They’ve recently signed to Melodic Records so no doubt a blinding release will be on the shelves soon.. enjoy a taster here:


My next outing was an eclectic one. I’ve always been a huge Charlatans fan, i grew up with the band and it’s always exciting to see how they evolve and move forward.  They have just released a new EP named ‘Warm Sounds’ which is basically a collection of 6 songs from their past re-recorded in a totally different form.

This acoustic tour was in support of that release and showcased the alternative approach to tracks like ‘Smash the system’, ‘the only one i know’ and more. It was an absolute treat for the old schoolers like me, who managed to get up close and personal with the band. Its well worth the purchase in my view..

I’m currently sat on a train back from Brighton realising that one of the bands I saw yesterday (who incidentally i thought were rubbish) were confused with another band that I rate, just cos they both have ‘Arrows’ in the title, leading my mates and I to have yet another discussion about bands with ‘Ghost’, ‘Crystal’ and other common phrases in their title..

Crystal Fighters are definitely not a band to get confused with Crystal Castles and Crystal Stilts.  They play a marriage of english and spanish music and released their debut album ‘Star of Love’ last year.  I was anticipating a party atmosphere at the gig, but it exceeded expectations in all ways.. I think the crowd were more up for it than the band, and thats saying something!

This is a particular favourite of mine:


Manchester Scenewipe  are synonomous with quality sessions with great bands from manchester and beyond, but whilst I adore viewing their sessions immensely, It’s a very rare occasion when you get to actually take part…

So we rode the bus. We embarked at Withington with Mike and Jack from ‘Ghost Outfit’, an up and coming indie-punk two piece that are now being raved about by all the buzz blogs since this video was taken. They settled themselves at the rear of the upper deck and we all gathered round and sat in neighbouring seats for what could only be described as the most raw and edgy session.  They played for pretty much the whole route from Withington to Manchester City Centre with more and more bus passengers joining in along the route.. check out the video, to see just what the fuss is about..

I also managed to catch Ghost Outfit headlining the BBC Manchester Introducing gig a week or so later at the Ruby Lounge, I’ve also since seen them play a Scenewipe night in Withington.  They really do live up to any hype there may be surrounding them, can’t wait to see what they and Sways Records have up their sleeves next..

The next gig really does demonstrate how behind I am with this blog, The Answering Machine played a couple of gigs in London and Manchester to celebrate the release of second album ‘Lifeline’.  I was in attendance at the Manchester gig to see the band tear the place apart and to be supported by a couple of bright new talents, Kill Van Kulls and Let’s Buy Happiness..

I could say tons about both bands, but i’m a bit pushed for time, so i’d just suggest that you check them both out in these vids:

Kill Van Kulls:

Let’s Buy Happiness:


I’ve long been a fan of Sheffield inhabitants The Crookes, and they are apparently Steve Lamacqs favourite band, who knew?! They joined me for a session to be Aprils session band the week of release of their debut album ‘Chasing After Ghosts’, it was a pleasure to get to spend some time with the guys, as always consumerate professionals and the three tracks they did for us ( Just Like Dreamers,  Bright Young Things and Chorus Of Fools’ showcased their sound perfectly.

If you want to hear the session in full, have a listen here:

03/04/11 With The Crookes In Session by Shellzenner on Mixcloud


The session kicked off a mini crookes-athon where I took a trip over to Blackburn to see them in a pretty small pub before heading over to Sheffield to see them play with The Heartbreaks after a very long recordstore day (more on recordstore day later).

Both The Crookes and The Heartbreaks played blinding sets and the legend Steve Lamacq was there to DJ too, I even got a photo with him, but Lisa won’t let me post it unless i learn how to photoshop her eyes from demonic to natural, haha!

I’m in love with the Heartbreaks new single ‘ Jealous, Don’t You Know’ it was produced by Edwyn Collins.  What I love about it is when lstening back to the demo vs the new version its pretty much exactly the same, excepting a higher fidelity recording and more production. Surely the sign of an exceptionally naturally talented band.  Check it out and make your mind up:


There is many a night when I have to split my time between gigs and this next night out was one of those.  Pigeon Detectives, Deerhunter and Noah &  The Whale all playing on the same day. Usually these things are pretty hard to decide on.. but not tonight.

Whilst I nipped in early doors to grab an interview with Pigeon Detectives and scooted over to Deaf Institute for a chat with Benjamin Francis Leftwich, my decision was always going to be Deerhunter. I adore latest album Halcyon Digest and also have a thing for Bradfords solo outfit ‘Atlas Sound’. I even paid for the pleasure of seeing them after Marc Riley managed to snaffle a session and leave me interview-less.


Mindblowing.. who knew fruit could be incorporated so seamlessly into a set and Bradfords cries for ‘Magic’ were repaid with a bright red light which projected his shadow onto the wall.  Only now with the departure of one of Lower Dens am i gutted I wasn’t there earlier to see their support slot.


There is such a wealth of great new music coming out of Greater Manchester at the moment that its really hard to reel them off on demand.. The Louche FC are a band that I definitely have gone out of my way to see, skulking down to the fantastic $2 dollar show at Trof in Fallowfield midweek to see them on this occasion.  Whats not to like, 50s style indie pop overlaid by the most gorgeous shoegaze backdrop.  If you haven’t heard their latest single, you should..


The headliner for the night, Dune, were a band that i’ve aired on the show previously (single Golden Snake more specifically).  I’d never seen them live and tonight was the night.  They offered an uplifting eclectic set that topped the night off perfectly in my view.

It was a short sharp visit to the roadhouse to see another of Northumberlands finest.. Vinyl Jacket, they are a joyfully racous bunch that play bouncy indie.  Their latest single ‘Painting Stations’ has been played all over and the video is just to die for. Make a note, as when festival time is upon us and you get the chance to see these guys, you won’t go far wrong..


Unbelievably it takes me years to catch up with some bands.  I don’t know whether this is due to schedules, locations or just downright bad luck. But this particular night in question I finally got to meet the fabulous Hackney four piece Foreign Office who were touring in support of Ex-libertine Carl Barat.. They played an energetic and fun set with a stand out track being former single ‘On Repeat’ yielding an exceptional response.  Don’t take my word for it though..


Sometimes, its just nice to do something that Isn’t about music right? well no.. even my cinema trips turn into something related to music, you could say i’m married to the music?! An outing to see the Foo Fighters new documentary was a welcome change of scenery, however and gave me an insight into Dave Grohl that I wouldn’t have had otherwise. I  can’t even begin to imagine what it was like being questioned about Kurt endlessly after his death, even when you were in a new band with a new record to promote. The cutest moment was Dave’s daughter tugging on his sleeve as he was recording in his studio at home and saying ‘Daddy you said we could go swimming’? So cute..

I’m going to leave you on a high this time, with tw0 of my favourite bands at the moment, the first is Cloud Control and they beat Tame Impala to the Australian music prize recently with their debut album ‘Bliss Release’ its summery, its alternative and its everything I love about music.  I also managed to catch up with the band to hear about some of the Australian bands they are digging right now, and am pleased to report Deep Sea Arcade (one of my fave new bands at the current second and who smashed Great Escape In Brighton) are one of them.. Australia ROCKS yeah?

Cloud Control:


Deep Sea Arcade:

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s