Reader's Panel #1

You, my readers have made this whole Music Manual experience much more rewarding, just hearing one person say they have become a fan of an artist all because they read about them on here never gets taken for granted. I really owe it to you, the amazing audience, to make this experience the best you have ever encountered from a little old blog with several long-winded articles. I decided to attempt a Reader's Panel were reader's of The Music Manual had a say about which artist really caught their attention this month. Now, these are all their opinions and I have NO influence whatsoever upon them, all musicians featured on this blog are of top quality so do not feel down-hearted if you're reading this and your name hasn't been mentioned. It's all about the music and that is what is important. Here are this month's Reader's pick;

Emily Chalk on Cold Committee

Currently the 'Cold Committee' segment featured in 'The Music Manual' has to be my recent favourite. I have seen a fair few people rave about them over twitter and I'd heard that they had recently performed in Liam Gallagher's Pretty Green store and supported Miles Kane for a one off show however, i'd never really taken the time to see what the fuss was about. Luckily, that all changed and gave me a good and proper kick up the backside once I saw a recent review of their works on 'The music Manual'. Needless to say I am now hooked. Their breath-of-fresh-air distinctive sound and raw energy infused into a modern 60's vibe is definitely a winner in my book. I'm extremely excited about what Cold Committee will have to offer in the near future and I know this is only an exciting beginning for the Welsh group.

Margaux Galizzi on The History Of Apple Pie

Wow it was really hard for me to pick my favourite band of the month because they were all so cool ! But I finally made up my mind and the winner is.... The History Of Apple PieI'm not really good at defining music genres but I guess it's safe to say it is sort of psychedelic rock/pop? And this is exactly what I am digging at the moment! I can't explain why I just know that my brain really appreciates this kind of sound at the moment! As you said in your fab article, their songs remind you of summer and make you feel good ...who doesn't want that? I've listened to the whole album on Spotify and there is not a single song that I dislike! But I think my favourite one is probably."I want more"... which perfectly sums up how I feel about their music I can't really explain (once again) why I like this song more than an other but I just do… It is not a matter of lyrics (because oops I don't really understand them....I'm French forgive me) but um I don't know I'd say the general atmosphere and all the things it conveys. The distorted guitars of the background and the repetitive drum sound contrasting the feminine voice make the result amazing and stuck in your head.
In a nutshell: their name is very yummy and so is their music!

Hannah Welsh on The Spitfires

It was a pleasure to be on the readers panel for The Music Manual, it was such a fun experience and I really enjoyed reading about and listening to these fantastic artists. After listening to all of these talented artists it is evident that there are so many amazing, young, passionate musicians out there, such as Cold Committee and The Vibe.  However, a band called The Spitfires were the ones who stood out to me straight away, so much so that I went on iTunes and bought their single Spark To Start / Sirens.

These songs, to me, seemed to have more meaning to them, compared to the other bands which I had listened to.  I believe that it is important for a band to express themselves politically through their songs; something which bands like The Clash and the Sex Pistols did so well. 
The Spitfires have been one of the only bands to take the 2011 riots as an opportunity to write a song and through this express a political view.  You can tell the passion in the band through the powerful vocals and boisterous guitars.

The Spitfires are a breath of fresh air and, just like The Clash and The Jam, will inspire future generations, not just musically, but also politically.  We need more music like this today, and I'm so glad The Music Manual introduced me to such a great band!

Melissa-Kate Newitt on The Vibe

The Vibe are a great band that come across as brit-pop with a chilled aspect to them. I really like them as their music is the type of music you can listen to during any situation and any mood, which is a hard trait for a band to successfully achieve. I have knew about them for a while but The Music Manual keeps me updated with how they're getting on. 

My favourite track by The Vibe is a new song they released earlier on this month, The Smoker featuring George Mills. As soon as I heard this song I couldn't stop listening to it. It's a really good feel-good song where you just want to sit back relax and listen to it all day. The Smoker has had many good reviews, one being The Music Manual, it was this of which informed me about the bands new single.

All in all, The Vibe are a fantastic band, especially one to look out for, definitely worth a listen. This is why they are my ones to watch this month.

Anthony Hayes on Cold Committee
Cold Committee are sharp dressers with songs to suit, the eerie 'Iceman' begins with a stirring intro and showcases guitarist James Cairn's harmony with lead vocalist. 

Anthemic is the longest on the EP  but the clever guitar work and lip-curling vocals ensure it doesn't drag. My personal highlight is 'Love Can Be Easy' an Alex Turner-esque song gives an ode to the times when love seemed simple. 

Cold Committee have been attracting admirers from no less than heroes: Liam Gallagher and Miles Kane and having already supported Miles Kane in Wrexham and playing at Pretty Green stores around the country. Cold Committee find themselves not only opening for Beady Eye in Italy but having rumours of interest from Sony and Mercury Records... the future looks bright for Cold Committee.

Steve Banks on The History Of Apple Pie ... with a bit of The Pine Hollows

Choosing a favourite artist that featured on the Music Manual this month was trickier than I thought. The first band that popped to mind were The Pine Hollows, one of the few bands who claim to be influenced by the Beatles that actually sound like them (Oasis had always donned that crown but actually sounded more like big hair rockers Enuff Znuff than the fab four). Their tunes are instantly catchy, simple and sweet, melodic and neat – with clothes to match. I love the video for “How Can You Tell Her”, with its split screen dance moves and polar neck sweaters, it’s totally feel good fun.

That said, the reason I’ve not picked them is because they’re not a band I’d listen to when I have one of those moments of wanting to escape into oblivion (quite often), for that purpose they’re just too sugary sweet. Here comes a job for The History of Apple Pie – my true favourite Music Manual band of the month. I was so glad when they popped onto the blog, because I’d never heard of them and because I fell in love. These dudes (and dudettes) are a perfect mix of innocence and cool. Their music is far out enough to melt you into a psychedelic day dream, but not so far that the songs lose direction as with many bands that dabble in this genre. I think the key is the surprising simplicity of the songs. “Glitch” – definitely my favourite, is just three chords repeated. Not that this is obvious. It churns and burns into an addictive groove that moves between highs and lows whilst the dreamy female vocals hook you in further. I can’t understand what they’re saying, nor do I care, I’m just in bliss. The bass line thunders on, a fat gallop that’s almost the core of the tune. When it drops out for the breaks its absence takes the song to a new and distant level and
when it reappears, stomping its way back into the beat, I realise how much I missed it. The backwards guitar that flows in and out helps separate the song from reality for its duration, perfect stuff for daydream believers like me. Then there’s the way the band looks. The over-the-eyes fringes of the male members of the band remind me of blur around the time of their first album “Leisure”. Or of Ted from “Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure”. Either way, total nostalgia. The girls are hair twins, no straighteners involved – which just further brings back memories of the indie girls of the early 90’s. Atari T shirts and baggy jumpers hang from the band’s super cool shoulders, refreshing change to the shirts-with top-buttons-done-up that we've recently become accustomed to.

For me, it’s easy to love The History of Apple Pie. And I do. Thanks Music Manual!

I'd like to thank each member of the Reader's panel for this fantastic insight to which artists covered on The Music Manual are attracting more followers and which have struck a special chord with the reader's ears... Looking forward to next months instalment! - Lauren x

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