New Noise, a brand new featured section on Far Out, will see a renewed focus on the realm of new music as we look at some of the emerging artists you need to start adding to your playlist. These are the artists looking to make 2021 the year in which they step out of their shadows, armed with an arsenal of material ready to get the recognition that they duly deserve.
With Spring soon approaching and everything starting to look bright for the first time in a while, the good times are just around the corner. If you need a band to soundtrack the sunny days that will be fast approaching, then the upcoming Manchester band Blanketman are a perfect addition to your playlist for the cider-swilling sun-soaked days that lay ahead in the not so distant future.
Their debut EP arrives on March 19th and is a blissful but profound seven-track journey full of snapshot lyrics put through a quintessentially humorous northern lens, one that celebrates the mundane and delves into the abstract. There’s no shortage of delectable riffs that roam wild in your head all day long after listening. Blanketman also isn’t afraid to deal with topics such as loneliness and mental health woes on ‘Leave The South’ and ‘Blue Funk’. Still, there is a glass-half-full approach that remains. The EP never ventures too far into dreariness thanks to the infectious upbeat sonic juxtaposition that keeps the listeners’ mood levitated throughout.
National Trust also has a running time of just over 20-minutes, which keeps things moving at a pace throughout and leaves you pining to press play again once the journey ends. The band have been active since 2017 but have been carefully honing their craft, and that work pays off on National Trust, which is the sound of a band that shows no signs of an identity crisis.
Frontman Adam Hopper revealed to Far Out that the origins of Blanketman came after “all four original members Dan, Jeremy, Ellie, and I moved to Manchester from elsewhere for various reasons. I posted an ad on Join My Band and all three of them got back to me surprisingly. They probably regret it now,” he joked.
Manchester has been fertile ground for artistry in all forms over the last half a century, with all four members of the band moving to the city in a bid to get amongst its rich cultural history and perhaps even indent themselves into its future. “The Manchester scene has been vital to the development of the band,” Hopper explains. “We were given gigs quite early on at places like The Peer Hat and Night and Day.
“We’ve hardly actually played outside of Manchester yet. 2020 and 2021 were supposed to be the years that we got out playing in new places. It’s been very sad to see the effect that the pandemic has had on our small independent venues. We’re just very hopeful that they make it out of the other side,” the singer adds.
Blanketman received their first taste of airplay on Radio 1 in 2019 in unexpected circumstances when Blossoms frontman Tom Ogden selected their song as one of his choices on Huw Stephens’ show. In fact, he even likened Hopper to Ian Curtis and revealed that he stumbled upon a video of them performing at Kendal Calling, which caught his attention. The singer then used his platform to give some love to a new band, which helped Blanketman at such an early stage in their career.
“I’d say it was quite surreal,” Hopper said. “It was good of them to do that, especially at that point in our development. Its always nice when a band or person with a bigger (huge in Blossoms’ case) platform, shouts about a smaller band. It can really make a difference and did for us. It was our first Radio 1 play and our very first BBC Radio play ever, I think. It also put us on the radar of Huw Stephens who subsequently played all our releases fairly frequently on his Introducing show on Radio 1 from that point onwards.”
Being an emerging band in the current climate is devastating, and Hopper has felt it over the last twelve months from a creative standpoint: “It’s come in peaks and troughs really, sometimes we can have a really creative couple of weeks but sometimes its like getting blood from a stone. I think the main thing, though, is understanding that that’s ok and is very normal under these circumstances. Overall though, I’m pretty proud of how the band have responded to the situation, we’ve written and recorded an EP and are well on our way towards whatever comes next.”
The EP saw Blanketman team up with acclaimed producer Luke Smith, the mastermind behind Foals’ Mercury-nominated Total Life Forever in 2009, and National Trust is a source of pride for the band, as it should be. “The EP is one of our saving graces,” Hopper notes. “It provided something to work and focus on during the first couple of phases of lockdown, it gave us something to look forward to and keep us busy. It was interesting to work in a different way.
“Initially, most of the writing was done remotely, which does have its difficulties, especially for Ellie not having an available drum kit to practice on. But as lockdown restrictions were eased, we were able to get together to finish writing and then record it. The EP itself is a step up from what we have done before,” the singer adds.
Blanketman’s sound is enthralling. Having more time to focus on honing the overall sound of their debut EP has led to an impressively tantalising first release. With the news about festivals returning this summer, it would be criminal to miss Blanketman’s raucous takeover of whatever tent or stage they are on, which their arsenal of songs fill with ease. The four-piece is not just yet another post-punk band. They have this extra sense of dynamism to their work, which percolates from every track on National Trust and makes them an act that you shouldn’t underestimate.