Manchester

Manchester

It sucks you in.

It makes you feel like you are the sole person walking the streets, as if this hub of creativity at your doorstep, oozing through your locked door is standing stark naked just for you. It infects your life and it becomes a part of your general makeup and you cannot fathom the idea of your body not residing within it.

It makes you love.  It makes you understand.  It makes you overwhelmed with opportunities which stretch to the horizon.  There is no going back once it has entered the back door of your heart.  It creates a storm of butterflies which flutter in your brain, causing havoc and making starry-eyed memories.

The rain quickly becomes your solace.  You feel it on your skin and you taste it through your ears.  You hear the thunder raging through the sky and it is a comfort in this city where dreams are made.  The rain is safe when you are inside.  The rain makes you comfortable.  The rain is Manchester through and through and it never really leaves you.  The sun might be shining over Piccadilly Gardens, but that only means that the rainstorm is coming to bring you back down to reality… And isn’t that a pleasant feeling?  No matter how high in the sky you travel, you will always be brought back down to earth with falling water.

You can’t help but feel connected.  Connected to every bar your lips touch a glass in. Connected to every laugh you have over a table piled with good food and good company and good laughs.  Connected to those faces you see every damn day.  Connected to those faces you see once in a blue moon – which make your own face beam a special smile that not many understand.  You are connected to the nightlife and you are connected to that morning-after-the-night-before brunch.  You can sense the pride of everybody you meet in this city – the pride that they met you in this city.  This city: not another city, but this one.

You are here for a reason.  Whether it to be to find the love of your life, mess up with the love of your life, grow old with the love of your life or end with the love of your life.  Manchester is it.

It is bloody special.  And I am very sad to leave.  Not forever, but for now.

You are not twenty forever Ella, pull yourself together.

We’ll be seeing you X

 

Music

Repetitive Rhythms: Songs of the week (3-9 July)

Mahalia – Sober

Has eighteen-year-old Mahalia perhaps just soundtracked the feeling of coming to terms with not being in love? In a whirlwind of hate-fuelled snapshots of women rising above toxic relationships and calling time on negativity, Mahalia is a breath of fresh air for those of us who just need to come to terms with a situation of change.

Honey-suckle vocals cocktail with a cool slice of 90’s R&B, bringing Mahalia into the foreground of 2017.  The retro track plays like a slightly warped record; the fuzziness combines with the crisp, harmonising vocal to make a seriously sweet, modern ode to a bittersweet epiphany. An updated break-up track everybody needs in their artillery, we are tipsy on Mahalia’s radiating tone of realisation.  We cannot help but aspire to deal with our troubles the way Mahalia does so passionately.

Maddy Storm – Tempest

Anybody who rises above the odds and expectations of BIMM (British Institute of Modern Music) is a golden ticket in my book.  However, ethereal songstress, Maddy Storm might just be the leader of the starry-eyed pack.  Her brand-new single, ‘Tempest’ is a nothing less than a power ballad, used to form the ideology that Storm’s voice reigns supreme, and is far beyond its years.  Guitar riffs with a gothic edge and the mysterious – what sounds like – synth creeping in the background pale next to Storm’s resounding vocal.  If you ever needed a voice, you have bloody got one now.

Storm’s ‘Tempest’ is released on July 14, with a special launch night planned at Jimmy’s MCR on the 15.

Liam Gallagher – Chinatown

If LG keeps releasing mega tunes at this rate, he is going to be featured on Repetitive Rhythms every week.  We at Cigarette Sounds are definitely not sorry. ‘Chinatown’ is the official second single to be taken from his imminent solo record As You Were.  Although the abstract lyrics are raising eyebrows (“Well the cops are taking over/while everyone’s in Yoga”) and the simplicity of the guitar lines can be brought to our attention; we can’t help to appreciate ‘Chinatown’ as one of LG’s softest, heartfelt tracks we have heard to date.  Can we believe that the voice is back?  No.  Will we ever stop banging on about it? Probably not.

The Roov – Dreams

There is no sweeter feeling than pride swelling in your chest from seeing that band you are head-over-heels in love with rising from rock bottom to the tip-top of any festival bill.  Believe in the unsigned, because ultimately they are the future of music.  An untainted four-piece with a twinge of DMA’s in their vocal chords, The Roov, have recently put out their debut single, ‘Dreams’.

Poking at the idea that they could perhaps be your unsigned claim-to-fame, ‘Dreams’ is the ultimate jangly ode to progressive rock.  Seriously 70’s-influenced percussion makes up the body of ‘Dreams’, perfectly paired with the 90’s style vocal of gruff frontman, Frankie Ralph.  A song dripping with era trends is an excellent showcase to what The Roov is about – now to square up and swim in their own current.  Cigarette Sounds will be keeping their eyes peeled.

Ella Scott
@ellalascott

 

 

Music

Repetitive Rhythms: Songs of the Week (26 June-2 July)

St. Vincent – New York

Have we ever heard St. Vincent in a more raw, revealing and vulnerable state? The first minute of ‘New York’ easily sees Annie Clark putting her sublime, electronically-tuned vocal to a simple keyboard melody.  “I have lost a hero/I have lost a friend/but for you darling/I’d do it all again” pipes St. Vincent in the most gloriously, teary way possible. An angel without wings, St. Vincent’s comeback track ‘New York’ is a simple art form.

Arcade Fire – Signs Of Life

The Arcade Fire disco odyssey continues with this smorgasbord of funky, slick sounds.  Its as if they have taken a spoonful of marmite and hurled it at their fans – do you still love them, or is the ABBA tribute outfit divided your opinion?

Tyler, The Creator – Who Dat Boy

“Who dat boy? Who him is?”.  All hail the return of the modern-day controversialist rapper,  Tyler, The Creator.  We missed you boy, and so has the whole of Manchester apparently, as every teenager who has a car seems to have their windows rolled down, with ‘Who Dat Boy’ blasting through the sunny streets.  Intensely deep and horrifyingly menacing, ‘Who Dat Boy’ is a pioneering step in a not-so-diverse direction for Tyler, The Creator.

The Killers – ‘The Man’

Strange Bones vs Avelino FT. Stormzy & Skepta – Energy

Desire – Under Your Spell

Yes, this is from the Drive soundtrack and yes, this is about five/six years old.  However, due to a recent incident, this has been the main soundtrack to my week.  What can I say, I am a sucker for a song that gets my feelings.

Lifestyle · Music

A Friendless Festival Season

Music festivals usually combine three main components: a copious amount of cheap beer at a ludicrous price, some of the top musical acts gracing the planet and, ultimately the most crucial element for most, spending time with your nearest and dearest mates in a muddy field.

However, what happens when Arcade Fire are headlining a festival 6 hours away and the realisation hits hard that you do not appear to have the third ingredient of friends to make your festival experience reach its peak?  The solution, go by yourself.

Daunting? A lil’ bit.  Sad?  Not at all.

As a T in the Park veteran, where I attended in its penultimate year with a group of fifteen guys and gals, I would never have thought in my wildest dreams that three years later, I would be waking up in a tent at 10 am, grabbing my first bevy and making my way down to the main arena to spend the day making friends, eating good festy food and seeing some serious killer bands, all by myself.

So, why has my friendless festival season been so positive?  Surely I got lonely?  Well, yeah.  It is all well and good lending a boy a lighter and then striking up a conversation about why you chose Trampolene as your headline act over David Guetta and Jonas Blue, but it isn’t the same as having a jolly brill dance off in a tiny tent with your best mate, is it?

The reason my friendless festival season has been such a success is ultimately that I went for music.  I went for the second of the three elements that make up a festival experience.  I went so that I could jump around at the back of the crowd to Catfish and the Bottlemen blasting ‘Soundcheck’, I went because I wanted a slice of Peaches’ ‘Vaginaplasty’ in my life and I went because I am bloody passionate about music.

If nobody wants to go see The Blinders with you, on a Saturday afternoon, then why should that stop you from going to see them, and doing what you want?

The moral of what I’ve learned, personally, from a friendless festival season is: that if you immerse yourself deeply in festival culture and relish in the idea that you are there totally and solely there because you just want to be, then you can survive.  And, to add – as long as you come to terms with the fact that you are there for you, then you can do it. Bloody hell, if I can manage to get two trams, four trains, two ferries, a taxi and a water boat to a festival by myself, then you can do any journey possible.

Basically, what I am trying to say is go to the music festival alone if nobody wants to come with you – don’t miss out on an opportunity of a lifetime to see your favourite band, just because you do not have somebody to stand next to and drink Jack Daniels with until 4 am.  Sleep is underrated at a festival, seriously.

Ella Scott
@ellalascott

Lifestyle · Manchester · Music

Finishing First Year of University 2.0

Okay so I might not have exactly passed yet – I received 34% on an exam I took before summer so that’s getting sorted in a couple months – but my first year of university is almost (not officially) over!

It has been a weird old year in Manchester and spellbindingly diverse in comparison to last year.  Innocent me taking on the world in the heart of Manchester with some acquaintances that would come to me when they fancied a night out (and vice versa) or wanted to lend some money (not so vice versa). Surprisingly, none of these people cast a shadow over my life anymore.

I also believed I was embarking on an odyssey where student life was concerned – safe to say I dropped out of my Music Journalism degree at the British and Irish Institute of Modern Music as soon as I realised this was a no-go area.  Best decision of my life to change courses to attend The University of Salford? I reckon so.

The 2016/17 academic year has firstly made me question the girl I was becoming.  I realised at The Warehouse Project in October 2016 that I needed to quit the life I had led for the past year.  Did I really want to go stand in a sweaty room of eighteen-year-olds, bouncing around to the ridiculously horrendous David Rodigan, pretending I was having a good time?  Did I really want to be downing double vodka oranges every other night in G-A-Y and stumbling home at 6 am? It just wasn’t me anymore and that was a really scary realisation.  I was the party girl and all of a sudden POOF.  Vanished. Weird, huh?

This idea that I was evolving was totally cemented in when I visited my best friend Kate Shepherd at York St. John’s University, and we attended at University of York student night at Fibbers… Never, ever again am I stepping foot in Fibbers. Give me a chilled night in Manchester’s Jimmy’s or Cane and Grain any day of the week. EVEN Soup Kitchen on a Saturday night!

I have sadly come to terms that I just do not like the partying student lifestyle anymore.  That might make me beige by your book but for me, it is probably my greatest epiphany of this academic year.

So once I stopped wishing DJ EZ was at South Nightclub every weekend I did not really replace this musical desire with anything.  The Libertines said “If  you’ve lost your faith in love and music oh the end won’t be long”.  And honestly music was lost on me.  I did not care.  I did not see a live band from November-May and I genuinely just was not interested.  I had given up hopes of writing about music and I was seriously at a loss.  What changed?  I decided I needed a hobby other than the gym, knew I was good at writing so started again.  Seriously as simple as that… I just did not want to run on a treadmill anymore.

In December I started writing for Gigslutz.co.uk again after taking a year hiatus to experiment with other things.  IE. Not do anything and was wasting away in my bedroom.  I gained the position of News Assistant and was then sent to Liverpool Sound City and Isle Of Wight Festival to become a roving festival reporter for the weekend.  As soon as I stepped through the gates of Sound City I knew this was what I was missing.  The hunger for live music, to discover the next-big-thing, to interview none other than Metronomy frontman, Joseph Mount – this is the gal I was.  I just lost her for a couple years.  Shout out to the Gigslutz team for allowing me back into your world so kindly – Mari Lane, Steve Aston, Becky Rogers and Melissa Svenson (who does a pretty cool podcast which can be listened to here https://soundcloud.com/modernstrife), you absolute angels.

So I rediscovered my passion in life, I ditched the nights out blah blah that is all well and dandy Ella but what did you achieve this year? Power over my own life.  I learnt to say “no” when I did not want a beer (I went to Funkademia at Mint Lounge and was buying rounds of lemonade and water for me and one of my favourite chefs at work AND was home by 2 am, sober.  It was a proud moment.)  I learnt to say “fuck it” when an opportunity I was desperate for popped up.   I learnt that my life was mine and the people that filled it was the people of my choice.  I learnt that I am twenty years old – I have plenty of time in my life to mess up one night and spend the next day lying in bed eating cold pizza from the night before, but right now, at twenty, all I want to do is make an impact in the music industry.

This year at university has taught me to be determined and I will get there, eventually.  I now know not to give up. Cliche? Cheesy?  Embarrassed?  All three, yes probably.

I have also managed to take my blog a hell of a lot more seriously this year.  I am not posting as much as I would like (hello life, nice to see you throwing things at me as always) but it has taken a serious turn in the upward direction. We celebrated our third Cigarette Sounds birthday in April of this year and we are definitely preparing for the milestone of the fourth.  There is no slowing down with this baby, we are speeding up in every single way possible.  Hopefully, soon I shall be able to settle down into a nice lil’ routine of blogging a few times a week, rather than a couple times a month… Here is to hoping. I do need  graphic designer to make Cigarette Sounds a bit more personal so if you are free, give me a holler.

Speaking of blogs, one of my gal pals from work, who also happens to be a sick manager too (Em definitely paid me to say that) Emily Brooks, started a blog this year after she was toying with the idea for so long.  It is a good little start-up, you should check it out at small-thoughts.com

Kate’s sister, Laura Shepherd, also started a blog earlier this year called My Northern Rose Blog which I heavily enjoy reading. It is extremely aesthetically pleasing and very satisfying, I lav it a lot, check it out here – www.mynorthernroseblog.com.

 

I do of course realise that I haven’t ACTUALLY talked about university throughout this entire piece and this is because honestly, this year is first year this year is the year you make mistakes and learn basics and NEXT year is the academic year which counts.  So eyes peeled for when I start to take education seriously… 

Shout out to all the girls in the industry who are killing it.  This time next year, I hope to be as close to my goals as you are.

ES X

Music

Repetitive Rhythms: Songs of the Week (19-25 June 2017)

Blackwaters – Down

The Luka State – 30 Minute Break
* This song is actually from 2014 (late to The Luka State-party) but since I discovered them at Isle Of Wight Festival 2017 this track has been on R E P E A T

The Horrors – Machine

Taylor Swift – Better Than Revenge

*Taylor Swift putting her entire discography back on Spotify is probably my worst/best nightmare, ever.  Now, go in the corner and think about what you did to me, Spotify.

Liam Gallagher – Wall of Glass

Touts – Political People

*Since I went to Liverpool Sound City I have been o-b-s-e-s-s-e-d with these three lads.  Phil Taggert’s one-to-watch, Touts have got it seriously going on.  If you’re Manchester-based, they’re performing at Gorilla with Proletariat on July 7. Get on this tickets now.

BETSY – Little White Lies

*A concoction of Clare Maguire and Cher hurt nobody, did it?  BETSY still remains one of my favourite rising females in the pop world, and ‘Little White Lies’ seriously does not disappoint.

The Pale White – Turn It Around
* Any band with a decent setup, raucous tunes AND from my hometown of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne gets a green tick against them where I’m concerned. I am utterly in awe of these lads, and you should be too.

Wolf Alice – Yuk Foo

RAY BLK – Doing Me
*Girl making me feel good for eating bagels in lounge pants and binge-watching past Smiths concerts instead of going out in the world and specialising in making friends… That is what I tell myself anyways

Manchester · Music

Live: Liam Gallagher @ The O2 Ritz, Manchester 2017

“This is another new one, sorry about that” Liam Gallagher, Ex-Beady Eye frontman and Ex-Oasis star sniggers to the crowd of the O2 Ritz in Manchester.  He shrugs his shoulders in his Pretty Green mac, wipes the sweat from his forehead and launches into a solo song of his.  The crowd do not appreciate Gallagher’s new music as much as the old, but if you bought a ticket to hear ‘Wonderwall’ and ‘Champagne Supernova’ then you should’ve done yourself a favour and quit while you were ahead.  He isn’t resurrecting Oasis; he’s paving the way on his own.

Gallagher’s first solo-outing showcased his voice in its prime.  Gone is the wheezing, the rasping and general flat tone.  Replacing poor is flawless.  Chugging water on stage, you can see the concentration spread across Gallagher’s face and hear the rejuvenated voice echoing from his lungs.  Heavy, rich and blossoming – this is the second coming, as The Stone Roses said.

Opening with Oasis classics ‘Rock N Roll Star’ followed by ‘Morning Glory’, Gallagher gently slides into his comfort zone, before blasting out his first ever solo single – ‘Wall Of Glass’. “I don’t mean to be unkind/but I’ll see what’s in your mind” Gallagher sings perfectly in tune.  With no fault, LG looks at ease on stage as he peers out into the crowd.

Whoops, and hollers followed by nodding heads and raised arms greet ‘Wall Of Glass’.  Ties are cut from both of Gallagher’s former bands as the song nears its death-defying end and we begin to doubt ourselves and our idea of Oasis.  Because really, hasn’t Liam Gallagher always been a solo artist in his own right?  He’s always been the star of the show; we just haven’t needed to notice until now.

His new songs pack punches and show that he’s working with a top production and songwriting teams.  It doesn’t matter that LG might not be writing the tunes, his direction, his voice and his stage presence is what matter.

Ending on a high, Gallagher brings out Bonehead from the guestlist balcony area to play the guitar for him like the old days.  The lights go dim and the crowd hound for more.  Gallagher knows how to play the crowd, feed them what they want and then leave them hanging on for more.  He swaggers back on stage with pure courage and commitment before launching into an acoustic version of ‘Live Forever’.  Acoustic because, apart from a shaker, the only sound resonating from the stage is Gallagher’s voice.  It is simply breathtaking: a moving spectacle.

Although a girl shouts “play ‘Wonderwall’”, but honestly, we don’t want him to.  As a collective crowd, we’ve realised that Liam Gallagher will always be Oasis and will always play Oasis – but he’s Liam Gallagher, solo artist.  Tonight has cemented the future.

Ella Scott
@ellalascott