Back for its 14th edition in 2018, Sounds from the Other City (SFTOC) continues to champion the very best and most exciting in new music and performance, teaming up with a stellar selection of the North West’s finest independent promotors, club nights and platforms to serve up a snapshot of the 2018 scene. The festival once again takes over Salford’s historic Chapel Street area on May Day Bank Holiday Sunday, 6 May; expect the now customary blend of good music, good times and good intentions.
The full 2018 festival line-up includes a triumphant return of Rough Trade’s white-hot hopes, Goat Girl, Warp Records’ trance-inducing ‘rave voyeur’ Lorenzo Senni, BAFTA-winning actor and hip hop stalwart, Burgundy Blood, multi-instrumentalist Anni Rossi, former Spacemen 3 founder Pete Kember AKA Spectrum, local boys and Marc-Riley-favourites DUDS and MistaJam’s current hot ticket, the impressionistic soul artist, XamVolo, as well as the grime and hip-hop flecked sounds of Manchester trailblazer, Sleazy F, performing a very rare outing of his full live show DRIPSET.
Cardiff’s Boy Azooga (“a bit like Foals doing a conga." –Q), and a full live band show from Tru Thoughts’ Werkha, nestle beside box-fresh new sounds from the chilled out guitar-fuzz of 20-year-old Amsterdamer Pip Blom and the must-see pop of Bolton biro basher, and Radio 1 favourite, Chrystal, while the heavier end of the noise spectrum is represented by psychedelic supergroup, Luminous Bodies, and dancing wall of sound, Cattle.
This year’s festival also features a specially-commissioned world premiere of a brand new audio-visual collaboration between contemporary composer Laura Bowler and visual artist Rachel Goodyear, performed with a chamber ensemble of musicians from the BBC Philharmonic at the majestic Salford Cathedral.
With over 100 acts on the bill, audiences are sure to find a new favourite at this established proving ground for new artists.
Alumni of the festival include current Mercury Music prize-winner Sampha and BBC Sound of 2018 shortlist artist IAMDDB. This is as a result of the festival’ unique promotor led format, which takes in selections from tastemakers such as Now Wave, Hey! Manchester, Heavenly Recordings, each of whom curate a stage at one of the festival’s distinctive locations. New names hosting stages this year include iconic Manchester venue, Band on the Wall and Liverpool’s inimitable collective Invisible Wind Factory.
Spaces and places are a massive part of the SFTOC experience, which includes local icons such as Salford Cathedral, artist studios like Islington Mill, forward thinking community centres like The Angel Centre, atmospheric pubs such as The King’s Arms and new additions in the form of print studio Hotbed Press print studio and Five Four photography studio.
There will be after-parties hosted by Thirsty Girls Collective, who bring their Simpsons-themed Homerpolooza night to The Salford Arms, High Hoops will be tucking into the afters at Five Four Studios, Manchester disco wrecking crew Night Fantasy return to shake The Pint Pot once again, this time aided by Peckham pickers FYI Chris, whilst Invisible Wind Factory promise a “gleeful pummelling” of the Islington Mill's ground floor.
SFTOC 2018’s visual directors have been announced as artist and Illustrator duo Stina Puotinen and David Bailey. Their concept for this year’s festival is ‘SOUNDSTOWN’ - an imaginary community layered over the very real and thriving community of Chapel Street. Watch this space for more info.
Goat Girl – Rough Trade’s vision of independent rock
Possibly the most hyped band on this year’s roster, Goat Girl are whip-smart, politicised young Londoners breaking into the big time. They’ve supported the likes of the Fall and Marika Hackman– and their debut album is due out on Rough Trade in April 2018. Performing on the Now Wave stage at Unit 5 Regent Trading Estate
Anna Burch – ‘tightly structured, invigorating pop’ says Pitchfork
Gorgeously dreamy indie pop, 1960s girl-group references and a healthy dose of deadpan irony. Expect a warm, friendly set of deceptively complex pop. Performing on the Heavenly Recordings stage at Unit 2 Regent Trading Estate
Hatchie - Hatchie is Harriette Pilbeam, a newcomer from Brisbane, Australia, who has already attracted plaudits at home, prior to inevitably picking up wider acclaim. Having played with various friends and bands in Brisbane, Hatchie is her first foray into solo territory. Her world is a dreamy landscape inhabited by cascading synths, jangling guitars and undeniable, irresistible pop melodies..
Lorenzo Senni – Presto?! Label founder and score maverick
Dance music producer and head of respected experimental label Presto!?, Lorenzo Senni signed to Warp in 2016. His deconstructions of the sounds of the 1990s rave scene, takes the “build-up” as a starting point for something altogether more introspective. Via Presto!? Records, he has released albums by DJ Stingray, Florian Hecker and Evol and has collaborated on scores with the Royal National Ballet dancers and with film director Yuri Ancarani. Performing on the Grey Lantern at Hotbed Press basement
XamVolo - “HE’S THE FUTURE” – MISTAJAM
Liverpool newcomer (and architect), XamVolo, creates impressionistic reimaginings of neo-soul, jazz and pop. In the last 12 months, the 23-year-old artist has gained comparisons to D’Angelo and Anderson Paak, played a sold-out London show and secured a slot at Glastonbury. He’s on the cusp of releasing his debut album (on Decca Records) and supports Paloma Faith on her UK stadium tour in March 2018. Performing on the Band on the Wall stage at Five Four Studio 1
Laura Bowler x Rachel Goodyear x BBC Philharmonic
“Composer, performer and provocatrice” Laura Bowler teams up with acclaimed Mancunian visual artist Rachel Goodyear, to create a brand new audio-visual collaboration that takes its starting point from the women’s suffrage movement and the centenary of some women’s right to vote in the UK. Developed over a three-month period, with support from Salford’s iconic Working Class Movement Library, the piece, performed with a chamber ensemble of musicians from BBC Philharmonic, will debut at Salford Cathedral. Performing at Salford Cathedral
Werkha – wide-eyed composition from the Mancunian –Glaswegian
Glasgow-based Mancunian Werkha (Tom A. Leah) has a singular portfolio which includes live instrumentation, band arrangement, electronic production, DJ and remix work. Characterised by an infectious energy and curiosity, his music draws on classic jazz and soul, West African percussion, Chinese guzhengs as well as the sounds of the two cities he calls home. He’ll perform a full live band set. Performing on the Band on the Wall stage at Five Four Studio 1
Spectrum – Spacemen 3’s Pete Kember’s electronic odyssey
Spacemen 3 founder, Pete Kember AKA Sonic Boom plays as Spectrum at St Philip’s Church following collaborations with iconic artists such as MGMT, Panda Bear, Stereolab, Yo La Tengo and My Bloody Valentine. Expect a career-spanning set. Performing for Hey! Manchester at St Philips Church
SLEAZY F – leading light in Manchester’s burgeoning hip-hop scene
Rusholme’s Sleazy F’s early adoption of the trap sound cemented him as the pioneer of Manchester’s new aesthetic. Choice moments include 2017 single, Let it Go and the recent Drip, featuring one of last year’s SFTOC highlights, IAMDDB. Returning to SFTOC for a 2nd year in a row, he’ll perform only his 2nd ever outing of DRIPSET, with live drums, keys and electronics. Performing on the Tru Luv at Five Four Studio 2
Chrystal –Bolton law student turned R1 playlister
‘I’M FROM B-O-L-T-O-N, I WRITE A MILLION LINES AND GO THROUGH BARE BIRO PENS.’
Bolton-born singer Chrystal quit a career in law to pursue music following the runaway success of her debut drop Waves. Packed with spiky observations that draw immediate comparisons to Lily Allen and Katy B. Performing on the Tru Luv stage at Five Four Studio 2
Anni Rossi – Steve Albini-produced, multi instrumentalist alternative icon
Anni Rossi is a multi-instrumentalist, songwriter and producer based in Brooklyn. Her repertoire includes strumming her one-of-a-kind electric viola-guitar (crafted out of a treebranch by Thor Harris of Swans), composing music for Berlin Sun Theater at The Whitney Museum, euphonious pop harmonizing, dirty Aaliyah-inspired RnB jams and working with producer Steve Albini. Performing for Comfortable on a Tightrope at Five Four Loft Space
Pip Blom – Eurovision Song Contest’s loss is indie pop’s gain
When childhood dreams of competing in the Eurovision Song Contest never quite came to fruition, Pip Blom nurtured a lifelong love of Blur and The Breeders leading to her honing a sweetly scuzzy indie-pop sound. Recent months has seen her gain fans in the form of BBC Radio 1’s Huw Stephens and BBC 6Music’s Steve Lamacq. Performing for Strange Days upstairs at The Old Pint Pot
Burgundy Blood – Mcr hip hop royalty (and BAFTA winner)
Established Manchester rapper Burgundy Blood (Matt Raikes) released his 3rd album (and film) Suede Comet in 2015. It featured a cult gathering of American and British hip hop producers including Kool Keith and lead to a Wu-Tang support slot. Raikes also stars in Cowboy Dave which won the BAFTA 2018 award for best short film. Performing for Tru Luv at Five Four Studio 2
Boy Azooga – ‘like Foals doing a conga’ - Q
Cardiff-based Boy Azooga described their debut single as an homage to William Oneyeabor. Q magazine says they sound “like Foals doing a conga." Two of our favourite things and certainly not ones not to miss. Performing for Heavenly Recordings at Unit 2 Regent Trading Estate
DUDS – Marc Riley’s favourite new Mcr band
This Manchester-grown seven piece showcase a deceptively minimalist sound, but DUDS are the apex where competing sonic influences converge with a nervous creative energy to form something really quite special. Performing for Bound x Sounds upstairs at Hotbed Press