The germ of the idea behind Underachievers was born from house-parties and indie discos…The idea that one should be a bit more like the other, feeling like everything interesting they heard, they rarely heard out. The night should be fun, fresh, and mean something to someone more than drink offers. It’s alternative indie, but it’s not designed to soundtrack chin-stroking. From new wave to no wave, noise rock to indiepop, with Underachievers there’s always the basis of a pop song or a hook, however heavily it’s disguised.
Along the way they invited a few bands to play live and, is oft the way, things snowballed. Acts have included Chad VanGaalen, Allo Darlin’, Those Dancing Days, Comet Gain and Hooded Fang and their involvement at SFTOC in the last few years, both as Underacheivers and as part of the Postcards from Manchester crew, has never been less than memorable. And messy!
P A R E N T H E T I C A L G I R L S
Formed in 2003 by then-principle constant Zac Pennington, Portland, Oregon’s Parenthetical Girls have since evolved into a functioning ensemble, (the core of which includes multi-instrumentalists Zac Pennington, Jherek Bischoff, Amber W. Smith, Paul Alcott). They are regularly augmented by a fluid cast of additional collaborators. The group has released two full-length records on Pennington’s own Slender Means Society imprint. Their new and third album “entanglements” comes out in september 2008. (((GRRRLS))) have toured extensively in the U.S. and Europe, sharing stages with the likes of Deerhoof, Patrick Wolf, Xiu Xiu, The Microphones, and Casiotone For the Painfully Alone.
P O S T W A R G L A M O U R G I R L S
Within a year of playing their first gig at a house party in January 2011, The four glamour girls had released their debut single ‘Spitting Pearls’ on Leeds’ brightest independent label Sturdy Records, gaining press plaudits far and wide. Summer 2012 finds Post War Glamour Girls about to release their first EP ‘Tragic Loss; He Had Such a Lovely House’ – an ambitious 4-part song cycle that well and truly delivers on the promise shown by the morsels they’ve tossed our way so far. Self-recorded with borrowed gear in a freezing warehouse by the railway tracks in Leeds over several bleak December weeks, the record’s songwriting and sonic attributes are a true indicator of the band’s relentless work ethic and desire for complete creative control.
S E P T E M B E R G I R L S
A five piece girl group, September Girls play fuzzy pop with heaps of harmonies. Dublin based, those who attended will remember their last show in Manchester, supporting SFTOC alumni PINS at a sold-out Northern Quarter show in October. Having recently put out a 7″ through Soft Power and their debut US release through Matinee records, they’re coming back across the Irish sea to make their debut in the Other City, and win over a few more hearts with it.
H A I K U S A L U T
Based in Derbyshire, Haiku Salut are an instrumental trio that use accordions, ukeleles, glockenspiels, pianos and all sorts of other stuff to create something that their facebook claims is “Baroque-pop-folktronic-neo-classical-something-or-other” – whatever that means. All we know is that the Underachievers crew have been massively excited about these three for a while, and from what we’ve heard that’s more than justified, especially with their debut album Tricolore due out in March.
S W I M M I N G L E S S O N S
Swimming Lessons is Leeds based multi instrumentalist Ben Lewis taking influence from the likes of Arthur Russell, Animal Collective and Talking Heads. Live Swimming Lessons have played dates alongside TuneYards, of Montreal and Grimes as well as opening up Leeds’ highly acclaimed Constellations Festival alongside Ariel Pink, Kindness and Haim. Swimming Lessons have previously been featured in new band sections in the NME as well as on This Is Fake DIY and The 405. The EP was produced by MJ of Hookworms at his Suburban Home studio, all tracks, artwork and videos by Swimming Lessons.
S O N G S F O R W A L T E R
When it comes to family, many of us keep things close to our chests. But rather than keeping his kin hidden in a old dusty photo album, Songs For Walter’s Laurie Hulme is more likely to be found making a song about them. In particular his late grandfather Walter. One listen to the Songs For Walter EP and what you’ll hear is a stunning memoir of one extraordinary fellow and his strangely wonderful world.
L E T T E R S T O F I E S T A
“Any band with Anna Etherington on vocal duty has to make the most of it. Her voice – which we’re hearing for the first time in Letters to Fiesta - is constantly adaptable. It pitch-shifts and slots into just about any rhythm going. Jumping from bold declaratives to falsetto-ed cries in milliseconds… this Manchester band [is] finding their voice; one that speaks louder than those of its individual parts. They’re another group who’ve wiped the proverbial slate clean… if this is a new start, it’s the beginning of something special.” – Neu! Magazine