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Best of Manchester New Indie Bands

Ben Robinson lists some of Manchester’s best new bands.

Published on July 11th 2012.

Best of Manchester New Indie Bands

Ben Robinson looks to the future with a round up of new bands emanating from Manchester and creating fresh sounds in the city. We'll have more 'Best ofs' soon featuring other up-coming acts from other musical genres.

Follow Ben on Twitter @BenPRobinson.

MONEY are up there with the spate of bands in recent times who are virtually un-Googleable. This approach seems to suit the cerebral and semi-mysterious band. Shying away from early flirtations with a major label they instead opted to release their first singles through Salford based Sways and French imprint Almost Musique. Front man Jamie Lee acts as the mouthpiece for the ideological band who constantly evolve through a dissatisfaction with everything they do. Despite their apparent unhappiness their music is an echo-laden thing of slow-building beauty. Lee’s confidence in his desperate wailing as he sings, ‘Ain’t it a shame God is dead’ on second single, ‘So Long (GODISDEAD) will stick with you for some time after your first listen. See the video for ‘So Long (GODISDEAD)’ here.


Patterns are the blissed-out four-piece forging ahead on the road out of Manchester showing the rest of the country that there’s more to this city than the ‘lad-rock’ of old. With new single ‘Blood’ made in a Manchester bedroom and released on local label Melodic recently being added to the BBC 6 Music playlist, the young enigmatic band’s star is certainly on the rise. In April they aired their celestial electronics and shoegazey guitar sounds at the Grade I listed John Rylands library complete with a live video-feedback experiment to create visuals for the impressive space. Listen here.


In the short time they’ve been playing live, G R E A T W A V E S have managed to create an atmosphere at their gigs more akin to a mass meditation. The duo deal in punctuating airy synths with slow stabs of guitar and an almost non-existent drum beat always seemingly on the edge of a crescendo which never materialises. But it doesn’t need to. The fuzzy vocals alone are more than enough to draw you in, imploring you to ‘throw your heart on the table’ on early song ‘Are Calling’. Debut single ‘The Shore’ is released on 23 July on Sways Records, along with a video which gives you a taster of the impressive visuals that accompany the band live. Listen here.


Only Savages have managed to spark a label bidding war more fierce than that surrounding PINS this year. Having played only a handful of shows the crowd at their Salford show in May was dotted with label execs and A&R men to try to coax the band to their corner of the industry. PINS had other ideas though. They released their energetic garage punk debut ‘Eleventh Hour’, themselves on a handmade gold cassette limited to 100 copies and are in the process of starting their own label ‘Haus of Pins’. The DIY ethic of PINS runs through their C86 inspired music which earned them a slot supporting Best Coast at The Ritz last month. Listen and watch 'Eleventh Hour' here.


Don’t take the Plank! punctuation the wrong way, it’s not an order to repose horizontally in the manner of 2011’s planking craze. It’s more of a nod to German Krautrock heroes Neu! This trio began life as a North-Western Krautrock love affair with their self-titled debut EP earning them support slots with the likes of Fujiya and Miyagi and the Phantom Band. Their imminent first album ‘Animalism’ however has added echoing sci-fi like layers to the experimental bass driven song structures in the vein of Faust and Can. Their subtleties of association to the German aural experimentalists leaves little to the imagination, their name may also be a nod to celebrated avant-garde producer Conny Plank. When the Plank! take on nu-krautrock kicks in though, it’s easy to get lost in. Listen here.


Brown Brogues
Raucous. Savage. Loud. Fun. This two-piece originally from Wigan certainly knows how to wake up a crowd. Consisting of Mark Vernon’s cracked vocals and obscenely high slung guitar thrashing and Ben Mather’s efforts to violently pierce his drum skin, Brown Brogues make more noise than two people have any real right to. Managing to make their gritty garage-fused songs sound aggressive and poppy at the same time makes for a unique sound. They aren’t a pair who take themselves too seriously either with the video for ‘Treet You Beta’ documenting the bands rum-fuelled rampage on a night out in a Wigan working man’s club. While not the most original live set-up Brown Brogues have captured an explosive spirit which never gets old. It even earned them a slot at the Texas mega-festival SXSW and a tour of the States earlier this year. Listen here.

Brown BroguesBrown Brogues

Milk Maid
Currently touring in support of their second album in as many years the prolific Milk Maid will find fans in anyone who claims to have any Pavement or Guided By Voices records in their collection. In fact to cement the point further Milk Maid are supporting former Pavement frontman Stephen Malkmus and his band The Jicks at The Deaf Institute in August. Led by ex-Nine Black Alps bassist, Milk Maid’s second album ‘Mostly No’ was once again recorded entirely in a Manchester flat and has come out sounding like a celebration of 90’s American lo-fi. It’s hard not to talk about Milk Maid without citing their blatant influences but let that take nothing away from a band who will find adoration from even casual fans of 90’s Americana noise pop. Listen here.

Milk MaidMilk Maid

The Slow Show
With their gentle Americana folk-rock sound intertwined between what they describe as 'northern colliery brass touches', The Slow Show are ironically fast musical movers. Having recently released their second EP 'Brothers' this band of Manchester music scene old timers is making some serious waves. Stated as the 'must-see' act at this year's Camp Bestival, the band's diverse range of musical inspiration (jazz, americana and rock and roll) echoes throughout their music to Manchester and beyond. And it's not just us who've noticed. Last year The Slow Show were invited by the BBC to perform at their Radio 2 In Session show supporting Elbow at Manchester Cathedral. Listen to their latest EP here.

The Slow ShowThe Slow Show

Kult Country
Still in their early days Kult Country have played just a handful of gigs and released their free to download EP 'Reunion'. Broody, foreboding and hypnotic the EP is definitely one made for late night headphones listening sessions. Their softly softly approach and indeterminable vocals that seem to reach across some astral void evoke thoughts of waking dreams that are too easy to get lost in. Four tracks just aren't enough to satisy a thoroughly whetted appetite. Listen and download 'Reunion for free here.

Kult CountryKult Country
Young British Artists
Known for frantically short live sets Young British Artists have carefully avoided associations with Manchester's musical ghosts. “There are bands influenced by Manchester bands but they aren't part of our group. The only thing about Manchester that has influenced us is the city itself.” said frontman Leo Scott. Their sound is a combination of blustery garage-rock with the atmospherics of a confident shoe-gaze outfit. A combination which has seen Steve Lamacq championing the band. Their forthcoming as yet unnamed debut album is set to be released later this year. Listen here.

Young British ArtistsYoung British Artists

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10 comments so far, continue the conversation, write a comment.

paulsouthernJuly 12th 2012.

Now I couldn't miss the opportunity of plugging my lads band could I! The Rocket ...

EditorialJuly 12th 2012.

Beyond Oasis: Good stuff here from The Beyond Series. http://www.beyondseries.co.uk/manchester

DavidJuly 12th 2012.

Manchester is a very multicultural, muliracial city.Not an impression you would get from this list of bands.

EditorialJuly 12th 2012.

David, bear with us, we will have 'best ofs' from a whole range of genres and acts.

Lynda MoyoJuly 13th 2012.

David, what bands were you thinking of then that have been missed? Not groups, crews or solo singers. This is specifically about new indie bands in Manchester.

2 Responses: Reply To This...
DavidJuly 13th 2012.

The article refers to best new bands,creating fresh new sounds.It does not say that it is a list of new indie bands.
I just think this reinforces the myth that Manchester music=indie music.But if you are going to feature a best of list for other types of music in the future,then that would be great.

Lynda MoyoJuly 16th 2012.

Point taken. We'll make sure we're more specific with out titles in future as you're right, it wasn't clear with this one. I've now amended it. Our aim is to cover all types of music as there would be too many acts to include in one listing otherwise. Definitely lots more to Manchester music than just indie bands, it was just a starting point.

Swiss JamesJuly 17th 2012.

Is anyone going to tell WU LYF that Milk Maids have nicked their singer?

Simon TurnerJuly 18th 2012.

Saw some of these bands this time last year at Manchester International Festival (in the gigs Dave Haslam / Everything Everything put on in the tent on Albert Square) - Plank were so unManchester, it was great. Brogues have been around for two years or more. Patterns are a bit dull. The Jessie Rose Trip are worth a mention.

Ghostly TomJuly 20th 2012.

Not quite Manchester but check out The Animus from Warrington. My mate, Andy, is the drummer so I might be biased but check them out on YouTube. They are good!

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