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10 Up-and-Coming Music Artists from Manchester, UK

Picture of Emma Lavelle
Updated: 26 May 2017
Manchester has always been a hot-bed for music, although many of the current up-and-coming musicians and bands based in and around the city would rather that you didn’t mention the ubiquitous score of Hacienda-era bands. The city is thriving with new music, particularly from the DIY scene, and you’re sure to discover the next big thing simply by popping into one of the smaller music venues on a random week night. Keep your eyes peeled on local festivals such as SFTOC or Carefully Planned for local line-ups, or delve deep into the Soundcloud’s and videos of the bands and artists listed below.


Ignore any connotations with their name – Duds are anything but washouts. Hot off the back of a performance at this year’s Six Music festival, the Withington-based band are scoring ace reviews from the likes of the Wire based on their latest EP, Wet Reduction. Expect a cacophony of sparring dissonant guitar lines and an intricate rhythm section.

Kiran Leonard

Due to perform a brand new piece of music at this year’s Manchester International Festival, Kiran Leonard is currently taking a short break from touring with his band after spending the past few years on-and-off the road. His noisy chords, solo guitar improvisation and self-titled “sound collages” have certainly caught the attention of Six Music.


Pipped for success by legendary Manchester music venue Night & Day Café, Tremors are a five-piece band inspired by a laid-back American rock sound. Looking to classic rock such as Bob Dylan and the Eagles for influence, they could easily come across as band hailing from the other side of the Atlantic, with no evidence of their Manchester roots coming across in their music.

Hot Shorts

Following the release of their debut album at the end of last year on local label Super Smash Hit Records, Hot Shorts are now not only legends of the local DIY scene but are playing gigs up and down the country. Catchy tunes with fun titles such as ‘Just Trollin’’ and ‘I Don’t Want to do my Job Anymore’ perfectly combine laugh-out-loud lyrics with memories of 90’s college rock.

Songs for Walter

If you’re into dreamy lo-fi tunes with a hint of nostalgia, you can’t go wrong with Songs for Walter. Praised by the likes of Tom Ravenscroft and Lauren Laverne, South Manchester musician Laurie Hulme has evolved from his original songs inspired by his grandfather’s stories to a wider catalogue of catchy and poignant songs based on his own views of the world.

Cult Party

The long-running musical project of Leo Robinson, a visual artist and singer of folk songs residing in Manchester, Cult Party showcases a collection of catchy lo-fi songs that mesmerize listeners. Leo is heavily inspired by the transcendental and vast body of folk music, although he adds his own ethereal touch. His live shows often involve a large gaggle of supporting musicians even including an enthralling saw player.

Pale Waves

Following on from the success of PINS, Pale Waves are hot on their heels as the next hip female-fronted band from Manchester. Heather, Ciara, Hugo and Charlie put on mesmorising performances harking back to upbeat 80s pop with an alternative edge. They played a host of festivals last year and are currently touring America.

The Bear Around Your Neck

Hypnotic live performances are a trademark of The Bear Around Your Neck, a Manchester based songwriter who champions a unique, lyrically potent sound. Influenced by a diverse range of music spanning grunge, psychedelic, art rock and country, Nathaniel writes melodic songs that fuse hypnotic droning sounds with fuzzy finger plucking.

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Inspired by 90s alternative grunge, False Advertising are attracting huge crowds thanks in part to their raw and energetic live performances. Their fuzzy guitar riffs caught the attention of NME who heralded them as one of the UK’s leading unsigned acts, before they were catapulted to SXSW’s British Music Embassy’s showcase. Catch them on the festival circuit this summer so you can say you saw them before they were huge.


Getting past the excellent pun that is their name, this trio of women are currently receiving a whole host of well-deserved hype. Technically, they’re from Chester, but they’re extremely well received on the Manchester gig circuit and have played many gigs in the city, notably for Carefully Planned Festival. Recently signed to independent label ALCOPOP! RECORDS, their DIY indie pop has been well received on both Six Music and Radio One and they’ve secured spots on the bill of some of the UK’s most lauded small festivals this summer.