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Conceived in the city of Manchester, MONEY became a vehicle of artistic expression and emotion led by Jamie Lee alongside his bandmates Charlie Cocksedge, Billy Byron, and Scott Beaman. Together they began creating their own brand of melodic, ethereal rock music in 2010 and cloaked themselves in mystery and intrigue from the outset, performing under a host of different names, including Youth, Books, and Méké Menéte, before they settled on MONEY. During 2011 a host of obscure videos set to their dreamy soundscapes appeared and disappeared from the internet, while extremely limited singles were released on Manchester indie labels Melodic and Sways. Their shrouded image was partnered with their enigmatic live shows -- which they described as multimedia exhibitions -- that took place in an assortment of abandoned buildings and churches with self-made videos projected into darkened rooms that complemented their reverb-washed, melancholic sound. The shows and online videos began to gain the outfit fans and plaudits, yet they still flew largely under the radar of record labels, despite their performance at Brighton's Great Escape festival and sold-out show at London's Union Chapel. Bella Union boss Simon Raymonde tracked them down in the "Bunker" -- a dilapidated Manchester building in ruin -- which the band repurposed for shows, and after being transfixed by their absorbing performance, he signed them. The video for single "Bluebell Fields" appeared in 2013 and the band began sessions for their epic and ethereal debut album, The Shadow of Heaven, which was eventually released in August. After a period of long-distance writing due to Lee's relocating to London, the band reunited in Manchester to work on their sophomore album with unproductive results (Lee later admitted to struggles with alcohol and mental health issues). Producer Charlie Andrew (Alt-J, We Were Evergreen) got the trio to regroup later in a studio in Brixton, South London, which proved fruitful. The resulting Suicide Songs took on somber themes with an expanded palette that included strings and brass. It was released in January 2016. ~ Scott Kerr

Salford, Manchester, England

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