The first Manchester band I'm going to big up is The Switch. They've graced these pages before, when I reviewed their Dum Dum Girls support slot and gave them a hearty thumbs-up. Since then, I've located their Myspace page, found out a little about them and discovered that they've posted some new music in the past week.
The band are four: programmer and bassist Tom Harris, Colin Dunkerley on synths and programming, guitarist Anthony Grantham and singer Caroline Sterling. Their origins are a little hazy, but they have been playing gigs since the start of the year at least.
The Switch live is a wall of dirty synth and guitar noise, but The Switch on record (or MP3, rather), is somewhat more of a polished proposition. At first glance, their sound does not deviate hugely from the synth+guitar+laptop shoegaze-revival style, but underpinning their waves of ethereal noise are some really quite clubby beats, more in line with classic-period Underworld or Prodigy. This sets them apart from other female-fronted dream-pop acts. Live especially, it also helps that Caroline commands the stage and can pout and pose with the best.
Their latest offering, Stowaway, is one of the most dance-oriented of their tracks, featuring fractured vocals and an electro-esque bassline. Also standing out on their Myspace is Ser Etico, a very early song, which is hazy and atmospheric, and Heartbreaker, which has a killer pop chorus.