Manic Street Preachers (formed in 1986) Manic Street Preachers are a Welsh rock band consisting of James Dean Bradfield, Nicky Wire and Sean Moore.
Formation: Manic Street Preachers formed at Oakdale Comprehensive School, Blackwood, South Wales. Bradfield started out writing lyrics but the role was later switched to Wire leaving Bradfield and Sean Moore to write the music. Their original bassist Flicker (Miles Woodward) left in 1988, the same year they recorded their first single, 'Suicide Alley'. Richey Edwards soon joined the band on guitar. In 1990, they signed with Damaged Goods Records for the 'New Art Riot' EP, before signing to indie label Heavenly Records.
Musical career: Manic Street Preachers' first single for Heavenly Records was 'Motown Junk'. In 1991, Richey Edwards carved '4 Real' into his arm with a razorblade after being questioned by an NME journalist about their punk roots following a gig in Norwich. He had to have 17 stitches. The band signed to Columbia Records to record their debut album 'Generation Terrorists' released in 1992. It reached number 13 in the UK chart. Their second album 'Gold Against the Soul' was a lot more grungey in its sound and reached number 8. Between 1994 and 1995, Edwards' mental health was suffering massively and he was admitted to private psychiatric hospital The Priory in 1994 for which the band paid for with funds from a few festivals they played without him. In 1995, he went missing from a hotel he was staying at and his car was discovered near the Severn Bridge looking lived in. He was not found and was officially presumed dead in 2008. The first album without Edwards was 'Everything Must Go' which became a huge hit. It was shortlisted for the 1996 Mercury Prize award and won two BRITs. Its first single 'A Design for Life' reached number 2 in the UK chart. Their next album, 1998's 'This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours', was their first and only number one album to date and gave them their first number one single with 'If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next'. In 1999, they played the first and biggest concert at the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff in front of 80,000 fans. Their next number one single was in 2000 with 'The Masses Against the Classes'. In 2001, they were the first major Western rock band to play in Cuba and met President Fidel Castro. Their first greatest hits collection was 'Forever Delayed' in 2002 and contained the new songs 'Door to the River' and 'There by the Grace of God'. In 2004, they released seventh album 'Lifeblood' which preceded a UK arena tour. In 2005, they announced their last tour for two years. During their shows, they gave out copies of their new EP 'God Save the Manics' to concert goers before releasing it on their website as a free download. Their eighth album 'Send Away the Tigers' came in the charts at number 2 in 2007. Later that year they released Christmas single 'The Ghosts of Christmas' as a free download. In 2008, they were awarded the God-Like Geniuses Award at the NME Awards ceremony. Their ninth album, 'Journal for Plague Lovers', was released in 2009 and even features some lyrics from long lost bandmate Edwards. In 2010, they released the pop album 'Postcards from a Young Man' with first single '(It's Not War) Just the End of Love' being given much radio airplay. Their subsequent tour was supported by the band British Sea Power and two other singles 'Some Kind of Nothingness' and the title track were later released. The next compilation, 'National Treasures - The Complete Singles', came out in 2011 and was followed by a European tour. In 2012, an interview documentary film about their debut album was screened at the Chapter Arts Centre in Wales with the profits going to Young Promoters Network.
The 20th anniversary of 'presumed dead' guitarist brings back personal agony.
Twenty years on since the unexplained disappearance of Manic Street Preachers guitarist Richey Edwards, his sister talks of the pain she and her family have gone through over the years, especially on the part of their late father Graham.
Manic Street Preachers are still releasing music
Sunday, February 1st 2015 was the 20th anniversary of Edwards' disappearance, though it's now more than six years since he was officially 'presumed dead' in 2008. The star went missing ahead of a scheduled US flight in 1995, that would mark the beginning of their overseas tour that year. While it seemed that he deliberately made himself scarce after it was discovered that money had been removed from his bank account and he had been seen in Newport at the passport office and bus station, as well as taking a long taxi journey to Severn View service station, it was never discovered what exactly happened to him. His car was found abandoned and in later years there would be claims of his spotting abroad, but the family was forced to have him declared legally dead by 2008.
Dom Gourlay's Top Albums of 2014
10) Soft Walls - No Time
Multi-talented musician-cum-producer Dan Reeves divides his time playing in several bands with running a record label. This effort, his second as Soft Walls ranks as his finest collection to date. Although heralded as one of new psychedelia's finest releases, 'No Time' owes as much to Phil Spector and Suicide as it does anything else, and sounds all the more accomplished for it.
9) Temples - Sun Structures
Having spent the best part of two years touring the songs that would eventually go onto become 'Sun Structures', it was perhaps somewhat inevitable that the album would be every bit as good as we'd hoped. What happens next will be key to Temples long-term future, but for now 'Sun Structures' is a fitting document of the band's inaugural stages.
8) Cheatahs - Cheatahs
This cosmopolitan four-piece might display their influences quite brazenly. However, this debut bears all the hallmarks of a classic. Referencing the likes of My Bloody Valentine, Swervedriver and Teenage Fanclub at regular intervals yet retaining a distinctive edge all the same, 'Cheatahs' is the sound of a band discovering an identity and using it to their advantage.
Continue reading: Dom Gourlay's Top Albums of 2014
Ben Walton's Top Albums of 2014
10) Grant Nicholas - Yorktown Heights
Feeder's Grant Nicholas went down the familiar lead-singer-does-a-solo-album route this year, and the results weren't too bad in the end. Yorktown Heights is a more sombre and acoustic take on the recognisable sounds of his regular band but there is still plenty of bite and energy on tracks like 'Joan of Arc' and 'Time Stood Still'. On Yorktown Heights, Nicholas proved he could pen a tune with more emotional depth than anything about a CD player player player player player.
9) CJ Wildheart - Mable
Not exactly a surprise that a member of The Wildhearts did a solo album this year, but CJs first solo work in seven years is an absolute mother of a sonic gut punch. The power pop blitzkrieg comes thick and fast with songs like 'Better Late Than Never', 'Devil' and the album highlight 'Vitriol'. CJ took the opportunity of his second solo outing to prove that The Wildhearts was never a one man show.
8) Beck - Morning Phase
2014 saw the welcome return of the musical equivalent of Willy Wonka, Beck. Morning Phase revisited the acoustic sounds of his seminal 2003 album Sea Change, with an added dash of optimism. The four years Beck took out between this and his last studio album obviously did him some good as Morning Phase features some of his best songs, such as 'Blue Moon', 'Waking Light' and the gorgeous 'Heart Is A Drum'.
Continue reading: Ben Walton's Top Albums of 2014
The band used an impressive 2,056 words in their first three albums.
A tasty chunk of news for the music nerds: Manic Street Preachers have been found to be the most lyrically diverse act in a study of Welsh artists. Wales Online conducted the study to celebrate the release of the rock act's latest album, Futurology, and found that 2,056 unique words were used in only the Manics' first three albums.
The band emerged as top of the study, beating fellow Welsh superstars Stereophonics and Tom Jones. As the news site so appropriately points out, "For a band who sang "libraries gave us power," it's no shock that their use of language and words to get their message across."
For comparison, Cynon Valley group Stereophonics also scored highly with 1,453 different words used in their early back-catalogue, but Tom Jones' early work in the '60s saw just 867 words used over the his three first albums, with his third most-used word being "pussycat."
The Manics closed last weekend's Welsh festival.
Manic Street Preachers brought this year's Festival No 6 to a highly anticipated and triumphant close: a true reward for all those who'd braced the lashing rain and blasting gales throughout Sunday's stormy weather.
Nicky Wire Has Spoken Of The Honour Of Playing At Portmeirion.
Portmeirion's festival weekend saw a mixed cornucopia of acts including Chic and Nile Rodgers, Daughter, My Bloody Valentine, Brythoniaid Welsh Male Voice Choir, John Cooper-Clarke and Johnny Marr perfor,m whilst The Staves, Islet and Sam Airey's shows had to be called off due to the torrential downpour and accompanying relentless wind that started at 7am and refused to let up.
A week in music videos... We caught up with Brooklyn band DIIV last week as they are currently enjoying the 2013 festival season. Talking to lead member Cole, he explained just how different it was playing festivals compared to club gigs, that it was more about coming into the world of the fans rather than bringing them into your own. He was also not shy about admitting that the pressure of working on a second album has lifted. 'People are gonna be way more patient and wanna hear what you come up with', he says. 'The first record you have to have a clear statement of purpose like a sound and catchy pop songs.' As well as taking the time to chat to us, we were treated with an uplifting live rendition of their song 'Human'. Watch the full interview here and watch the live video for Human.
With the release of their highly-anticipated sixth album 'Mechanical Bull' imminent, Kings Of Leon follow up the audio release of its first single 'Supersoaker' with a grainy, retro-style, artistically produced video. Just as we expected, 'Supersoaker' is made of the anthemic, driving and infectious stuff that previous international hits 'Use Somebody' and 'Sex On Fire' are made of and we certainly can't wait for what looks to be another well-loved record that will see us through the autumn. Watch the video for Supersoaker here.
A week in music videos... Manic Street Preachers teamed up with Richard Hawley for the nostalgic title track from their upcoming new album 'Rewind The Film'. It has that classic Preachers mix of anthemic melodies and melancholic undertones that have kept them high in the UK album charts since their debut in 1992. Looking at their latest track, this new offering is going to be just as impossible to categorise musically as usual - but we like it that way! Watch the video for 'Rewind The Film' here.
If a perfect summer 2013 song exists, it's Dan Croll's 'In/Out'. It doesn't feature on his debut EP 'From Nowhere' which we're hoping means there's going to be some talk of a debut album soon. We defy you not to move to this calypso inspired dance track, the video for which features karaoke style lyrics - if you don't find this infectiously upbeat tune catchy enough. Watch the video for In/Out here.