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Trick Mist / Video Blue

Crumbs Abound / Disco Nap

Trick Mist and Video Blue are the solo projects of Gavin Murray & Jim O' Donoghue Martin respectively. Having spent a decade making music together, here they've decided to each fly their own solo flag, offering up two separate singles that, unusually. neither had any input into each other's completion. Video Blue's "Disco Nap" breezes in on some fun-loving arp twinkles before Jim's buttery, delicate and slightly melancholic vocal swoops in alongside lo-fi drum machine beats and beautifully picked guitar lines. The track's embellished with some lovely strings, overdriven chords and topped off with a damn fine arrangement to boot; capturing a late night, driving home through the rain kinda vibe that is both warm, captivating yet painfully introspective and impossible not to stir a wealth of emotions through its dynamic course. Really strong stuff. With a high bar set, Trick Mist gets on board the B-side, it's radiant guitar lines complimenting Gavin's deep, syrupy baritone perfectly. Expertly constructed; fragile woodwind notes, rich atmospheres and a truck load of emotion is fully unloaded onto the track as it grows in intensity throughout. Breathtakingly powerful whilst remaining oh-so-simple - the true magic of song writing that few can pull off with such aplomb. Highly recommended.

Some Kind Of Illness

Some Kind Of Illness

SKOI's friendship with The Durutti Column's guitar-wielding lynchpin Vini Reilly is noticeable from the gently eddying opening bars of The Test Of Time. While Reilly himself isn't present on these recordings, his spirit and influence certainly are - songsmith Paul Hinks casts a crepuscular aura around his songs, most of which are wide-eyed melancholia most befitting a day on a deserted north-western beach or a day in bed with the curtains drawn shut. Its all-too-short running time is blissful stuff. Stars and The Light are gloom-drenched ballads to rival earlier works by Elbow, I am Kloot, Doves et al, but it's the pretty musical interludes that really hit the sweet spot. After just one earful of Maple Leaf, you'll be stopping what you're doing, slumping back in your seat and pressing repeat.


Martin says: Apparently Vini Reilly and The Verve's Nick McCabe are big fans of this new local band. Worth a listen.

Mat Skinner singer/songwriter delivers a blend of Folk/Americana wrapped in a gentle Northern voice, armed with guitar & harmonica he plays an acoustic ode to friendship, life, death and love. With influences from the likes of Nick Drake, Leonard Cohen and Jackson C Frank, Mat’s music combined with his beautiful filmic and soulful voice proves he is clearly an accomplished writer.

If we had to pigeonhole this EP then it likely deserves a genre of its own. Welcome to the world of ‘Cinematic Northern Folk’. On ‘…with the Power of a Thousand Suns’ Mat has created a body of songs that people will be choosing as the soundtrack to their lives for many years to come.

“This music holds such beauty, Mat Skinner warms my northern heart.” - Guy Garvey - Elbow.

James Holt is a 21 year old singer/songwriter from Manchester. Music has been his life from a very early age. He is a classically trained pianist (since 6), guitarist (since 9) and cellist (since 12), and also has grade 8 theory. He achieved four grade 8s and then went onto graduate from the University of Salford with a First Class BA Honours Degree in Music, majoring in composition and arrangement. He is now studying for a MA in Music Composition at Salford University. He was also awarded the Derek Scott Composition Award at his graduation ceremony.

His song 'Whatever Happened to John?' was chosen by Brian Eno. Brian Eno, a world-renowned producer, said of the track: "Brisk, funny, exciting. Great drumming. This track feels fresh and exciting to listen to". James is particulary pleased because he recorded and produced the song himself. Brian Eno chose the song via the NOISE Festival 2014.

With his unique blend of folk and alternative rock, James performs regularly at venues and festivals in towns and cities accross the UK including Manchester, Liverpool, Leicestershire and Bolton.

He has a love of composing and arranging and a desire to write lyrical songs in many styles. He records, writes and produces all his own music and is inspired by The Beatles, Bob Dylan,Tame Impala, Radiohead, Miles Davies and Bill Evans. 

Matt Hartless is a British-Irish musician performing and recording mainly as a soloist and with his backing band, The Matchstick Ghosts. Writing music and having had lessons in Piano, Trumpet and Violin at an early age; Matt took to music more seriously when having drumming lessons and teaching himself to play the guitar at around fifteen/sixteen. As he went into his A-level years at school, Matt formed his first band, a covers band called 'The Swag' where he sang and played lead guitar with some childhood friends. They only had a few gigs then everyone went their separate ways to university.
Matt became a lot more interested in recording his music after starting a music degree at Salford and forming a few bands with fellow students. The most prominent of these was 'Freed By Mice.' After a few gigs in Salford, Manchester and Sheffield, Matt went home to finish writing and record his first full solo album, 'Our Last Days In The Sun' upon which Freed By Mice guitarist Joe Leonard contributed a solo.
Freed By Mice soon went on hiatus and Matt formed The Matchstick Ghosts to play songs from his album. As his second university year wore on, Matt started to write again, but with a much darker and more experimental sound. In April 2013 Matt released his first single, 'Friend Synthetic' adapted from the Freed By Mice days (but written long before) with a launch gig in Manchester.
Problems with finding a regular bassist meant that the band was often set back and making any progress was difficult, so during May and June, Matt focused again on his solo work and at Salford University's studios recorded the majority of 'Victory,' the second album. He employed a lot more of the university's facilities, especially effects programs and hardware to create an amalgam of man and machine before mixing the whole album with friend and Matchstick Ghosts drummer, Kit Warren.
During the next few months Matt played many small acoustic gigs in and around Manchester with his nylon string guitar and occasionally with piano when there was one to hand. After two gigs in Sheffield, The Matchstick Ghosts finally solved their bassist conundrum, at least for the near future, in Sheffield based Jacob Harrap.
Victory was released on the 4th of October on Matt's label, Weird Affection Records.


Radiohead, Sigur Ros, Elbow, The Specials, Streetlight Manifesto, Louis Barabbas, Frederic Chopin, Duke Ellington, Erik Satie, Porcupine Tree, Muse, Dry The River, Joy Division, Gogol Bordello, Hybrid, Jean Michel Jarre.

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