Manchester Orchestra’s beginnings lie in the suburbs of Atlanta, Georgia, where songwriter Andy Hull decided to home school himself at age 16 and put all of his focus into writing and recording. Heartened by all the positive feedback, Hull took the advice and spent his senior year in the studio. Freed from traditional school, Hull delved deep into creating the characters and stories that were to make up the ambitious concept album that was to be Manchester Orchestra’s debut.
As time passed and the band’s evolving line-up began to solidify, the feel of Hull’s songwriting began to change. Emboldened by longtime friend, and band-mate Jonathan Corley (bass) and the addition of Jeremiah Edmond (drums) into the group, Manchester Orchestra’s musicianship began to take new flight. It soon became clear that this was the sound of a different band. Not content with forsaking all of their hard work, the revitalized group decided to pare the album down to an EP (the tellingly titled You Brainstorm, I Brainstorm, But Brilliance Needs A Good Editor) which they would release on their own label, Favorite Gentlemen, and get out on the road. According to Hull the decision to champion chemistry over concept was easily made.
After Brainstorm’s release, the band focused on touring the southeast. During this period, another one of Hull’s close friends, keyboardist Chris Freeman, entered the fold. Manchester Orchestra’s musical direction was now solidified and the band began writing songs for their full-length, follow-up.
These new songs, which would become I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child, a statement cinematic in scope – a series of emotional vignettes that delicately unravel over the course of an elegantly conceived musical arc. Driven by intimately insightful lyrics, I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child is a litany of intimate details presented in widescreen. Just as the pointillist paintings of Georges Pierre Seurat or the films of Robert Altman lead our attention to the fine details, Manchester Orchestra also find inspiration in the intimate; but it is when we are able to gain some distance we begin to see the bigger picture and wonder where our experience fits in.
The band spent the next tour years touring relentlessly, clocking close to 300 gigs a year. They toured along side such names as Brand New, Say Anything, mewithoutYou, and many others.
In 2009, the band released their second full length, Mean Everything To Nothing. Inspired by the pounding, primal assault of Weezer’s Pinkerton , Nirvana’s In Utero , and Foo Fighters’ The Colour and the Shape , this young band has created its own version of what a classic rock album should sound like, complete with fiercely beautiful melodies, shifting guitar and keyboard textures, loud/soft dynamics, and an urgency in each band member’s performance, especially Hull’s cathartic vocals.
A fully realized album, Mean Everything To Nothing is the sound of a band coming into its own after spending 300 days on the road in support of their debut album, 2007’s I’m Like A Virgin Losing A Child — a coming-of-age chronicle that expressed the then 19-year-old Hull’s hopes and aspirations as he sought spiritual knowledge. Virgin was an attention-getting shot across the bow that Rolling Stone praised as “expansive in scope and rich in texture, even while remaining lyrically focused on small moments of revelation” and the New York Times called “music to swoon to.” But whereas the songs on the debut were voiced by a fictional cast of characters that Hull created to obscure his own emotions, the intensely personal songs on Mean Everything To Nothing are all him. “I was able to be more honest when singing as someone else,” admits Hull, who is now 22. “Now I’ve realized, although it’s incredibly difficult, it’s more powerful to just say it myself.”
Listen to Manchester Orchestra Here
|5 Stories EP||2004||Independent|
|You Brainstorm, I Brainstorm, but Brilliance Needs a Good Editor||2005||Favorite Gentlemen Recordings|
|I'm Like a Virgin Losing a Child||2006||Favorite Gentlemen Recordings|
|Let My Pride Be What's Left Behind EP||2008||Favorite Gentlemen Recordings|
|Fourteen Years of Excellence EP||2009||Favorite Gentlemen Recordings|
|Mean Everything To Nothing||2009||Favorite Gentlemen Recordings|
|I Could Be The Only One Split EP||2010||Favorite Gentlemen Recordings|
|Simple Math||2011||Favorite Gentleman Recordings|
|Manchester Orchestra/O'Brother/Thrice Split EP||1981||Independent|