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here's to another vintage year ahead! MANC MUSIC IS ALL SET FOR A STELLAR 12 MONTHS.

Byline: DAVID SUE DAVIDCITYLIFE1@gmail.com @DAVIDCITYLIFE

LAST year may have been a vintage year for Manchester music, but the city's creative talents clearly won't be resting on their laurels. From new bands to epic live events to mouth-watering new releases, 2018 looks set to easily topple the 12 months that preceded it. Strap yourselves in, it's going to be one hell of a ride...

THE NEW BANDS We've never been short on quantity or quality but, in recent years, the Manchester music scene has been hugely enriched with a big dose of variety. With the city's everdependable guitar contingent happily rubbing shoulders with a growing experimental scene, not to mention the fantastically thriving urban talent, Manc music has never been a more vibrant, eclectic place to be.

That rich diversity, we're pleased to report, is clearly writ large upon the next crop of new Manchester talent that will define the next 12 months. Proudly representing the city, three of the hottest new acts - Pale Waves, Tom Walker and IAMDDB - have also been selected for the influential BBC Sound Of long-list. And, most pleasingly, all three of those acts couldn't be less alike. Pale Waves produce sumptuous dream-pop; Tom Walker is an earnest acoustic troubadour in an Ed Sheeran mould; and - the one CityLife is seriously tipping for world domination - IAMDDB combines neo-soul, trip-hop, jazz and trap to mesmerising effect.

Elsewhere, there's plenty of other newbie talent which reflects the broad church of Manc music 2018. Keep your eyes peeled (and ears wide open) for genre-bending outfit Y.O.U.N.G whose debut single 'Exposure' resembles Royal Blood fronted by Lethal Bizzle; enchanting songstress Prima recalls the halcyon days of 90s RnB; enigmatic duo Trianglecuts produce haunting, atmospheric electronica; Nigerianborn, Manc-based Dami Sule trades in thoughtful, socially-conscious hip-hop and spoken word; previously known as Bernard + Edith, Mancunian duo Pearl City have been reborn as dreamy synth-pop exponents; while Rogue Emperor are a new electronic-dance project formed by ex-Elbow drummer Richard Jupp and Doves keyboardist Martin Rebelski.

THE LIVE SHOWS Cancel those plans to spend the whole of January staying indoors and binge-watching box-sets. Because Manchester's music scene, as ever, is hitting the ground running with no shortage of top-notch gigs and events to assuage your live music cravings.

Mindful of everyone's tightened purse-strings post-festive season, Band On The Wall have two excellent free entry showcases this coming week. Their monthly urban music night, Inner City Waves, has sets from Sangy, KSR and One-Da (Jan 11); while new music showcase Free Vibes boasts a stellar line-up featuring False Advertising, Ill, Bleached Bones and Freakout Honey (Jan 12).

If you can't wait until the summer to indulge your festival spirit, then Manchester has numerous minifestival/all-dayer events this coming month. The Peer Hat will play host to the inaugural Tilted Music Festival (Jan 27), showcasing an impressive array of experimental acts including Billionaire, Bingo Harry, Playacting, Nylund, Vieon and more. Venerable punk/hardcore promoters MBBP are taking over Gullivers for an epic all-day festival featuring Grand Collapse, Cress, Youth Avoiders, Brassick, Casual Nausea and The Migraines (Jan 20). And Jimmy's have invited a host of top-notch local indie talent - Dantevilles, Hello Operator, The Nix, Maddy Storm, The Goa Express - for their annual LuCoo Live All-Dayer (Jan 27).

Looking further ahead, 2018 is shaping up to be a vintage year for big gigs and festivals. Middleton indie titans The Courteeners celebrate the tenth anniversary of their debut LP St Jude with a massive hometown show at Manchester Arena (April 7); Salford's annual arty music spectacular Sounds From The Other City is back for its 14th instalment (May 6); and, last but certainly not least, Parklife Festival returns to Heaton Park for an epic weekend of live music, DJs and rampant hedonism (June 9-10).

THE BIG RELEASES Finally emerging from their studio hibernation, some of Manc music's most illustrious names will be sharing new material over the next 12 months. Having, as Guy Garvey recently stated, "closed one chapter" with their Best Of compilation, Manc veterans Elbow have been busy at work on their eighth studio LP - currently at the "halfway stage" reveals Garvey.

Elsewhere, much closer to completion is the third solo album from Smiths guitar god Johnny Marr, due for release in the spring and reportedly inspired by recent political events, from Trump to Brexit (we're guessing his views about the latter aren't the same as Morrissey's).

Meanwhile, globe-straddling neonpoppers The 1975 will release their much-anticipated third album, Music For Cars, in June - and, just as importantly, singer Matt Healy will be delighting everyone with his bonkers and entertaining interviews.

Although not quite the household names as the artists above, the return of The Maple State is still very much cause for celebration. One of Manc music's most highly-rated bands during the late-2000s, the Macclesfield alt-rockers - nine years since their last - will share a new album, The Things I Heard At The Party, in March.

Having blown us away with a new single, Serve The Rich, last September, CityLife faves PINS will begin work on their third LP this year; Stockport indie heroes Blossoms are following up their chart-topping debut with an album full of "classic pop and break-up songs"; whilst Ed Cottam, the baroque folk singer best known as the frontman of The Gildings, has a new solo album scheduled for autumn release.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Manchester Evening News (Manchester, United Kingdom)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Jan 5, 2018
Words:896
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