Steve Miller Band 'Ultimate Hits' collection out 15 September 2017

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Album release: 'Ultimate Hits' by Steve Miller Band
Release date: 15 September 2017
Label: Capitol/UMe
More info: Band website

Billboard streams 'Seasons', an unreleased Steve Miller Band rarity from the upcoming 'Ultimate Hits' collection.

Going through a warehouse crammed with 50 years of archival material yielded things Steve Miller had forgotten about, as well as things he didn't even know existed, as he prepared for his new catalog deal with Capitol/UMe and the upcoming Ultimate Hits set.

Among those was the previously unheard, lush but also austere version of 'Seasons', from sessions for 1969's Brave New World album. "I had stopped looking around for 'Seasons,'" Miller tells Billboard, "and we were going through mixes and cassettes and looking for thins and we found this version of it -- and I thought it was better than the original one. I didn't even know it existed. I don't even remember doing it. I have a really good memory; I usually remember almost everything I've done but I was just really surprised by that version of it. I think it's the best version, so I was happy to find it."

Ultimate Hits, due out Sept. 15 in single- and double-disc deluxe versions, feature three and eight unreleased tracks, respectively. The compilation, personally curated by Miller, is the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer's first gambit under his new deal, which puts his entire nearly 50-year output under the same roof.

"I had controlled different parts of (the catalog),and I had different companies around the world releasing it here and there," Miller says. "The 50th anniversary is coming up next year, so we decided it was time to just start looking at everything and put it all together, and create a situation where we can have one company represent it worldwide and coordinate all the reissues and everything. It's turned out to be a really good idea."

A vinyl box set, also with bonus tracks, is being prepared for 2018, along with more touring to commemorate the 50th anniversary of his first two Steve Miller Band albums, Children Of The Future and Sailor. And Miller confirms that his vaults -- which he considered simply throwing out until his wife and some archivists intervened -- are brimming with treasures. "There's a lot of things that Paul (McCartney) and I did, probably eight or nine things that we recorded that I never released," Miller says. "There's some really interesting pieces with Brian Wilson, and there's some great blues stuff that I did with Cannonball Adderly that's more of a blues-jazz project.

"There's a lot of live performances with lots of great artists that I toured with over the years," he continues. "There's some really good stuff with Paul Rodgers and Neal Schon...Oh gosh, there's just so much of it. There's lots and lots of live shows with different artists."

Miller, who also serves on the Board of Jazz at Lincoln Center and on the board of the Metropolitan Museum of Art's Musical Instrument Department -- won't only be putting out archival music, either. "I'm writing new material now," he says. "I'm still interested in making records and recording music. I think just taking all this time took at this huge archive and study it and pull things together, it makes you want to write some more things. The best part of it is I haven't lost my appetite for the work. And now we're planning next year's tour and I'm really excited about all that stuff."
 
 

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Hallatar debut album due 27 October 2017

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Album release: 'No Stars Upon the Bridge' by Hallatar
Release date: 27 October 2017
Label: Svart Records
More info: Band website

Recently signed to Svart Records (Oranssi Pazuzu, Blaak Heat, Kairon; IRSE, Trees of Eternity and more), Hallatar are now gearing up to release their debut album 'No Stars Upon the Bridge', which is based on the lyrics and poems of Aleah Starbridge. Hallatar premiere new single 'My Mistake' with Metal Injection.

Although a brand-new name, Hallatar features among its ranks Swallow the Sun and Trees of Eternity guitarist Juha Raivio, Amorphis vocalist Tomi Joutsen, and former HIM drummer Gas Lipstick. In fact, one could see Hallatar as an extension of Trees of Eternity, whose massively acclaimed debut for Svart, Trees of Eternity, served as the swansong of vocalist Aleah Starbridge.

Juha Raivio explains the genesis of Hallatar: "After the death of my beloved and my life partner Aleah Starbridge last April, I have been gathering writings, lyrics, and the poems of Aleah to keep them safe and close to my heart. About one month after the world came down on the blackest day of my life on April 18th, I knew I needed to pick up the guitar and try to create something or I would be truly destroyed. And something did arrive out of the darkness, and I wrote the music for the Hallatar album in a week's time. I don’t have much memory of this week, not a memory of a single day of writing the music. But all I remember when going into this abyss of the writing process was a promise to myself that whatever music would come out, I would not touch or change anything of it afterwards. What mattered was that the music would stay forever as an absolute truth of those moments as they came out. I asked my good friends - and amazing musicians - Tomi Joutsen and Gas Lipstick if they would want to record this music with me, and both of them said yes without even hearing a note of it. I am forever grateful to both of them for sharing this road with me; even the weight of the process has not been easy to carry, or will be."

Adds Gas Lipstick, "I am grateful and very honoured to be asked to join this band. Juha is a dear friend of mine since many years ago, and when he told me about his vision for Hallatar and asked me to join, I said yes instantly - I just had to be part of this amazing journey. I had never heard a single note of the music before I gave my 'yes' because I didn't need to. Juha has been one of my favourite songwriters already for years, and I knew that Hallatar will be a very deep, personal, and one-of-a-kind story which I wanted to help him to bring alive."

Continues Tomi Joutsen: "I have known Juha from the year 2007, when we worked together for the first time. A couple years ago, I had the privilege to meet Juha's life partner, Aleah Starbridge, who was such a beautiful person, inside and outside, and had an angelic voice out of this world. Aleah lent her voice on the latest Amorphis album, and we called her 'the whispering ghost.' When I heard about Aleah's passing last spring, it came as a total shock and Heartbreaking news out of the blue. When Juha asked me if I would want to be part of this album and carry Aleah's flame with him, I didn't have to think twice. When everything has been taken, all that is left is the music. The sorrow strips us naked and leave us humble - this is how it sounds like."

Concludes Raivio, "What we recorded was a raw moment in time honouring the memory, lyrics, and poems of Aleah Starbridge with all its pain, beauty and darkness. There are no stars left upon the bridge to light the way anymore, but the music will always be a dim light, even in the darkest of the night."
 
 

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Underwater Boys debut single out now

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Single release: 'Everyone You Know'  by Underwater Boys
Release date: Out now
Label: Cannibal Hymns
More info: Band website

Underwater Boys today stream their debut single - the hazy psych-pop rush of 'Everyone You Know'. The forthcoming debut 7" from the band also features an equally strong B-side in "Bye & Bye" and will be released via the influential imprint Cannibal Hymns, who have also put out recent releases by Our Girl, Dream Wife, Theo Verney, EAT FAST and more. Stream 'Everyone You Know' here.

Underwater Boys is the very fine work of Tom & Nick Klar - two brothers who make dreamy, fuzzy pop music in Brighton. Drawing influence from Cocteau Twins, Beach House, The Cure and Tame Impala, their sound is characterised by Tom's sweet, otherworldly falsetto, and multi-instrumentalist Nick's woozy, ethereal soundscapes.

While on the surface an Underwater Boys song might sound bright and blissed out, their music is also bubbling with anxiety and tension, with lyrical themes of mental illness, existential dread and malaise. This dichotomy is at the heart of what Underwater Boys do. It is joyful, celebratory music about battling with the darkest parts of yourself - being vulnerable, and trying to get better.

As well as releasing their debut single, the band have also announced a selection of early shows:

  • September 13th - The Lexington, London w/Our Girl
  • September 20th - Hope & Ruin, Brighton w/Estrons
  • September 30th - Heartbreakers, Southampton w/Palm Honey
  • October 11th - Sebright Arms, London, Headline (Tickets)

 
 

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White Reaper new album out now

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Album release: 'The World's Best American Band'  by White Reaper
Release date: out now
Label: Polyvinyl Records
More info: Band website

Following on from the April release of their new album 'The World's Best American Band' on Polyvinyl Records, Louisville indie/garage band White Reaper have announced a short run of EU/UK tour dates for this October.

A video for the latest track 'The World's Best American Band' has just emerged too. One of the album’s centrepieces, the Simon Young-animated video for the title track premiered recently with 'Funny or Die'. Watch the video at YouTube here.

Make sure to come out and see why people are singing the praises about this band, like when NPR caught them at this year's SXSW... "White Reaper's latest single is called 'The World's Best American Band,' which might seem a little hyperbolic until you've seen it live."

Press reaction to date

“…the feral snarl of MC5, the itchy, rhythmic spasms of post-punk, golden-era tunefulness.”  - Pitchfork

“Ramshackle riffing served with delightfully disorientating synth arrangements… Ramones-inspired chaos” - NME

“it’s all about speed, compression, fuzz and the melodic potential of the drone for these boys.” - The Guardian 

“this is debauched, delinquent punk delivered with a sneer on its chops.”
- Clash 

“a high-intensity mix of fuzz-slathered guitars, humping drums and sugary keyboards” - Q 

“unrelenting garage-punk outbursts” - The Line of Best Fit

“The fuzzy garage rock of White Reaper has an inspiring groove”
- The Independent

"PLAY IT LOUD.” - GQ

“Their tracks are loaded with hooks.” - London In Stereo

“crammed with short powerpop gems” - Uncut

“There’s very little here that won’t make you want to get up and dance.”
- Rock Sound

"If the title of their new album, 'The World's Best American Band,' is to be believed, yes. Yes they are." - Noisey

"White Reaper's latest single is called 'The World's Best American Band,' which might seem a little hyperbolic until you've seen it live." - NPR

White Reaper shred hard." - CLRVYNT

"It's [Judy French] a power-pop radio-blaster built from old Camaro parts, and you won't be surprised to learn that it's rad as hell." - Stereogum

"The garage punks made a good case for such a self-proclamation on previous single "'Judy French', but their new title track may have just 110% sealed the deal - it's time to hand out the trophies." - Consequence of Sound
 
 

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Autobahn new single and album due 3 November 2017

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Album release: 'The Moral crossing' by Autobahn
Release date: 3 November 2017
Label: Tough Love Records
More info: Band website

Leeds post-punk quintet AUTOBAHN today share their excellent new single 'Future', a standout from their upcoming second album 'The Moral Crossing'. Frontman Craig Johnson says of their latest cut:

"The song is about looking forward and supporting one another through darker times. It’s an attempt to be positive.

This is probably the closest we’ve got to a pop song, there’s definitely influence from the likes of Human League and Gary Numan in there. I remember trying to work out how to structure this type of song, so we leaned on the Wham! classic Club Tropicana for a leg up." Listen to 'Future' on Soundcloud or Youtube.

The album will be released by Tough Love Records on a selection of physical formats – including CD, a red vinyl pressing for indie stores, 100 red vinyl pressing with a poster available exclusively through Bandcamp / Tough Love Records and, finally, a 100 grey vinyl pressing only available for their hometown through Leeds record stores. Listen to 'The Moral Crossing' here. Pre-order here.

Following considerable attention around their debut album from the likes of The Guardian, Uncut, NME, Louder Than War and more, Autobahn’s second has seen lead singer and principal songwriter Craig Johnson, guitarists Michael Pedel and Gavin Cobb, bassist Daniel Sleight and drummer Liam Hilton deciding to giving up their practice room that doubled as a hardcore/punk venue (which influenced their original sound, as did a love of The Birthday Party) and build their own studio space – on their own terms, all on their own.

"The first album hinted at emotion and feeling, but this record encapsulates that from the offset. The melancholic aspect of our music is often offset by an aggressive dissonance, but to me there's also a romantic side to what we do, which isn't always clear because of the 100mph drive of the band. That's what we are exploring with this new album." - Craig Johnson

They found a former double-glazing firm, under a disused bridge, in Holbeck (Leeds’ red light district), and despite having no experience of such a job, they undertook this feat. It took a year from ripping out the existing contents to finishing the album – which was then mixed in New York by Ben Greenberg, known for his work with the Sacred Bones label.

On top, Johnson taught himself how to make a record after the studio was built. “I was down there nearly every night,” Johnson recalls. “It was pretty horrible at times, but worth the pain to have control over everything. We’ve had the chance to create the sound we want, at times it’s more melancholic, and romantic.”

Autobahn will follow the release of their album with a full UK tour. 

Press reaction to date

"A Leeds band in love with the postpunk sound of, well, Leeds at its most northern and industrial, gothic and gloomy" - The Guardian

"A fug of doom-loaded post punk that evokes the faded memory of post-industrial landscapes and the oppressive loneliness of youth, thus placing Autobahn on a similar plane to fellow Leeds-based contemporaries, Eagulls and Hookworms."- The Quietus

"Crossing The Horrors’ baritone gloom with the timeless post-punk feel of Joy Division at their angriest"- NME

"Autobahn have nailed the atmosphere and the slither-y darkness that permeated Joy Division or Tubeway Army releases, showing all of these half-assed post-punks exactly what for."- Noisey

10/10 - Louder Than War

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Pale Honey premiere video for new single and announce new album

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Video release: 'Get These Things Out Of My Head' by Pale Honey
Release date: Out now
More info: Band website

Pale Honey premiere video for new single "Get These Things Out Of My Head" and announce Old Blue Last show for 7 November 2017. Watch the video at Dork and listen to the single on SoundCloud.

“The single manifests our way of tackling hardships and troubling times; sometimes you write a song to deal with something rough and sometimes it’s a way of explaining something hard to talk about. It went under the working name of ‘Heavy’ – a good start to tackle what would become a song centred around OCD. We love the drive in the song that makes a perfect base for the desperate shrill of Tuva’s singing and hope that someone out there will enjoy it too and find comfort or support by it.” - Pale Honey

Two years have passed since Gothenburg-based band Pale Honey (Tuva Lodmark and Nelly Daltrey) released their critically acclaimed, self titled debut album. This year the band will release their second full length album 'Devotion', a record of real honest and maturity. 

It is no doubt that 'Devotion' was named thematically. Written and recorded together with producer Anders Lagerfors at the legendary Nacksving Studios in Gothenburg, the album offers a snapshot into the changing shape of Pale Honey. Though their sound may be maturing and growing more ambitious, for this album they returned to the process that served them so well as songwriters while they penned their debut. They say the number one motivation was to stay curious about music and try new things; “We didn’t record our debut album knowing what we were doing - we were new to our instruments at that time, and so writing for Devotion was a bit like that. We’ve recorded ideas on instruments we don’t usually play.”

The band have also sought to make 'Devotion' more of a curated experience to its predecessor; “Our debut album included songs that we wrote as teenagers and settled for anything that sounded good. For Devotion, we became extremely picky and left out a lot of songs that are good, but just didn’t fit in together or didn’t feel good enough. It has taken it’s time, two years of touring and writing but we’ve also had some time apart to be able to let ideas come in more environments than in the rehearsal room or studio. As we have pushed ourselves, we have become more confident in what we’re doing and what we like and don’t regarding our music.”

What shines through about 'Devotion', thematically, is its dealing with relationships on their many different levels, all the way down to the relationship with one’s self. In this way they’ve said the album has been quite therapeutic, and nowhere else on the album is this clearer than on the single track 'Get These Things Out of My Head'. Amongst a swath of distorted guitars and menacing synths are lyrics that deal with singer / guitarist Tuva Lodmark’s Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, something she has suffered with since her teenage years; “For me, this is very personal to talk about. I even wanted to change the lyrics for the song to be about something else before we recorded the vocals, I was so afraid of what other people would know about me. But after I gave it some thought, why would I censor myself that way? We make music because it’s true. We write to deal with ourselves and things that happen around us. This condition I’ve been in is a big part of me and I want to be true to myself and shed some light on the disease. It’s more common than people think.”

Over ten tracks, 'Devotion' proves itself to be a deeply personal album to really get lost in.

Press reaction to date

“Youth is a nervy bolt of Rock & Roll.” – Stereogum

“packed with refined, and barely controlled, fury.” - The Line of Best Fit

“Sparse yet emphatic, there are shades of early PJ Harvey or Sleater-Kinney in the directness of the songwriting. Capable of shifting intensity within a few seconds, Pale Honey have a remarkable sense of control for such a fresh group.” – Clash

“The Gothenburg duo of Tuva Lodmark and Nelly Daltrey make brutally minimal rock that’s prone to the odd fit of rage.” – DIY

“The LP effortlessly tosses out just the right amount of sonic twists and turns” – Consequence of Sound

“…resembling the kind of Brit-grunge that saw PJ Harvey change the mid-90s musical landscape.” - NME

“Gothenburg girls Pale Honey are here to make you head-bang." - Wonderland

“Pale Honey remain coolly poised throughout the three-minutes of their latest single, in which fans of PJ Harvey and Sleater-Kinney will find a lot to love.” – Q

"An intense three minutes riddled with angst and frustration" - Dork

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Death By Unga Bunga new single 'Into The Night' out now

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Single release: 'Into The Night' by Death By Unga Bunga
Release date: Out now
Label: Jansen Plateproduksjon
More info: Band website

Death by Unga Bunga are thrilled to announce their new single 'Into The Night', out now on 7-inch vinyl via Jansen. The track just premiered at UPROXX, who described it as "a track that features classic rock melodies akin to, say, Thin Lizzy, alongside fuzz overdrive that could be an early Cloud Nothings track". The Norwegian band have made international waves with their energetic rock/power pop in their short history, receiving praise from the likes of NPR Music for their “uncomplicated and infectious,” sound. Stream 'Into The Night' via UPROXX or Soundcloud.

In the band's own words, "We’ve been on a life-long quest to show people how NOT to suck, so listen up kids; you might just learn something. After extensive studying of the rock’n’roll cookbook, we found that guitar solos are still really, really cool. We did not hold back on this one."

They are also about to set off on US tour dates supporting the legendary Stiff Little Fingers.

Press reaction to date

"Death By Unga Bunga either make garage-rock with the melodic precision of power-pop or power-pop with the scrappy energy of garage-rock." - Stereogum

"...an infectious racket that recalls late ’60s Britpop and mid-’00s garage" - Brooklyn Vegan

"...tight slick powerpop/pop-punk" - Record Collector

"...like a time capsule to pure 1960s Britpop. Their sound is uncomplicated and infectious" - NPR Music

"...highly energetic, rough and rowdy rock ‘n’ roll." - Pop Matters
 

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The Ross McHenry Trio new album out 10 November 2017

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Album release: 'The Outsiders' by The Ross McHenry Trio
Release date: 10 November 2017
Label: First World Records
More info: Band website

‘The Outsiders’ is the new album from “absurdly prolific” (Scenstr Magazine) multi-award winning composer, producer and bass player Ross McHenry. Known for his work as bandleader of The Shaolin Afronauts, Ross has collaborated with the likes of Robert Glasper Trio, Fred Wesley, Roy Ayers, Eddie Bo, Marva Whitney, Marcus Strickland Mark de Clive Lowe, Myele Manzanza, Corey King, Duane Eubanks and Tivon Pennicott., and been heralded as “The Future of Australian Jazz” (PBS FM). 

This is his third album release for us at First Word (following ‘Child of Somebody’ in 2016 and ‘Distant Oceans’ in 2013), but his first trio album. Joining McHenry on this new venture are long time collaborators, NZ drumming powerhouse and First Word label mate Myele Manzanza and NY based multi-award winning Australian pianist Matthew Sheens. ‘The Outsiders’ is dynamic trio jazz from the perspective of three forward thinking musicians who although steeped in the jazz tradition are not bound by jazz influences alone. 

The album’s concept is centered around the sense of belonging in the modern era; the way we view the world in the age of globalisation. Particularly the unique identity of Antipodeans in the world of jazz music; rather than replicate American and British sounds, these compositions are derived from an exploration of geographical identity, embracing the uniqueness of their own cultural sonic qualities. 

In Ross’ words, “we are connected to and understand the international history of jazz music, but we are outsiders. We belong in the grand and important lineage of artists, but our perspective is unique, because of where we are from, and as people from small, isolated cities and countries, we are outsiders. Even within the context of our own countries, we do not live or come from the most populous capitals of culture, we are outsiders. This is something we can rebel against, or it is something we can choose to own. I choose to own it, this group chooses to own it, but, most importantly, I feel it in the music.” 

These compositions are the result of this ethos and mindset, created with exceptional grace, and showcasing the exquisitely talented trio of Ross, Myele and Matthew. A six-track vinyl album (with two additional tracks on the digital release), this also includes extensive sleeve-notes written by Ross himself. 

Multi-award-winning composer, producer and bass player, Ross McHenry delivers his newest body of work, The Outsiders; a carefully considered jazz journey set for release on November 10. 

Initially conceived in New York City mid-2015 and recorded across two years, The Outsiders is an eight-track exposé delving into Australia’s rich sense of borrowed cultural heritage, political misgivings, and innate persona.  Examining identity in our time of unprecedented connectivity, The Outsiders explores what it means to belong in the modern world.

Accompanied on The Outsiders by esteemed New Zealand drummer Myele Manzanza, and the Adelaide born, US based pianist and composer Matthew Sheens, the trio initially set the project in motion when they were fortuitously together as part of WOMADelaide 2015; where they descended upon Adelaide’s Chapel Lane Studios without pre-conceived limitations or a prerequisite to what was to be musically explored. What evolved was The Outsiders, a new sense of freedom and discovery for McHenry

“It was instantly fulfilling and I loved rediscovering the freedom of the trio format; it wasn’t a format I’d played in for years but I knew immediately that I needed to pursue it further.” Said McHenry

“This album is the first album where I have actively written with a sense of cultural identity in mind. I didn’t intend to create this trio with people who inherently understand the themes I was trying to achieve with this project, in fact the group came together almost by chance. Luckily for me it turned out that when we all got in a room together to record music, I found that Sheens and Manzanza understood and felt acutely what I was talking about.”

Recently awarded the Marten Bequest Scholarship, 2017 Art Music Awards finalist and shortlisted for the 2017 Freedman Jazz Award; Ross McHenry has become synonymous with the international creative improvised music movement. As a musician and composer McHenry has been leader for the genres Australian movement, as he develops its discourse, its history and its future.  

Known for his work in Australia as the leader of afro-jazz ensemble Shaolin Afronauts and as a solo artist Ross has performed extensively around Australia and travelled the world collaborating with many artists including Robert Glasper Trio, Fred Wesley, Roy Ayers, Eddie Bo, Marva Whitney, Marcus Strickland Mark de Clive Lowe, Myele Manzanza, Corey King, Duane Eubanks and Tivon Pennicott.

McHenry has performed at many of the world’s leading arts festivals including Glastonbury, The Sydney Festival, The Adelaide Festival, Womadelaide, Falls Festival, Wellington International Jazz Festival and the Melbourne International Jazz Festival.
 

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Richard Thompson new album due 6 October 2017

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Album release: 'Acoustic Rarities' by Richard Thompson
Release date: 6 October 2017
Label: Beeswing
More info: Artist website

Following the release of 'Acoustic Classics Vol. II' to great reviews in August, Richard Thompson will release 'Acoustic Rarities' (Beeswing via Proper Distribution) on October 6, just ahead of his UK tour that month. 'Acoustic Rarities' is new recordings of some of the more obscure songs in the Thompson catalogue, some previously existing only as cover versions.

In addition to releasing 'Acoustic Classics Vol. II' in August, Richard played a glorious Cropredy Festival, celebrating the 50th anniversary of ground-breaking group Fairport Convention, which he co-founded as a teenager in the ‘60s. A hugely popular live performer, Richard looks forward to hitting the road in October for his solo shows. 

Richard Thompson was recently named by Rolling Stone as one of the Top 20 Guitarists of All Time and is one of the world’s most critically acclaimed and prolific songwriters. He has received multiple awards, including Lifetime Achievement Awards at the BBC Folk Awards and the US and UK Americana Music Association Awards, as well as Mojo’s Les Paul Award and an Ivor Novello Award for song writing. Thompson was appointed OBE in the 2011 New Year Honours List. Robert Plant, REM, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt and many others have recorded his songs. 

Press reaction to date

“It is an unalloyed treat”  - Uncut  8/10

“When Richard Thompson sings, seas part and rocks crumble”  - The Guardian 4* 

“Classics from an enduring class act.”  - The Sun 4* and ‘The Big Album’ of the week

“…reiterating why Rolling Stone magazine once crowned him one of the greatest guitarists of all time.“  - Daily Mail

iNews 4*   

F.T. 4 * 

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John Lee Hooker 5 CD retrospective out 29 September 2017

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Album release: 'King Of The Boogie' by John Lee Hooker
Release date: 29 September 2017
Label: Concord Bicycle Music
More info: Artist website

Los Angeles, CA – Craft Recordings, the Catalogue division of Concord Bicycle Music, is proud to announce the release of 'King Of The Boogie', a career-spanning retrospective, honouring blues icon John Lee Hooker. Due out September 29th, the five-CD set delves deep into the catalogue of the influential artist, featuring not only his iconic hits, but also rarities, live recordings and several previously unreleased tracks. Housed in a 56-page book, the collection includes a wide selection of photos, taken throughout the musician’s life, plus new liner notes by writer and John Lee Hooker historian Jas Obrecht, as well as by the artist’s longtime manager and friend, Mike Kappus. 

John Lee Hooker (1917-2001) was born 100 years ago today, near Clarksdale, Mississippi to a sharecropping family. Throughout the years, there has been some academic debate about his original birth year. However, The Hooker family maintains 1917 as the de facto date. Says daughter Zakiya Hooker, “As we all know there was no great push for accuracy back then in that portion of the community. But we just stick to what my father told us, which was what he was told by his mother.” 

As a young man, Hooker worked his way up north to Detroit to pursue his passion of music. By 1948, the artist had a hit on his hands with one of his earliest recordings, 'Boogie Chillun’'. From there, Hooker would record over 100 albums throughout the course of his six-decade-long career, building a diverse collection of fans along the way: from folk musicians and beatniks, to the stars of the British Invasion. The Rolling Stones, Eric Clapton and Carlos Santana are among those who cite Hooker as a major influence. In his liner notes, Mike Kappus recalls that, “Everyone who knew John Lee Hooker loved him and felt privileged to be in his presence. While he influenced generations of musicians with his incomparable style, that impact on musicians stepped up to yet another level once they got to know and, universally, love him.” 

In his later years, as the bluesman found himself in one of the busiest, most productive eras of his career, Hooker was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, Blues Hall of Fame and Memphis Music Hall of Fame; was honoured with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and took home four GRAMMY® awards, plus a coveted Lifetime Achievement award in 2000. 

Tasked with narrowing down Hooker’s vast catalogue into five CDs, box set producer Mason Williams curated the collection to narrate the artist’s story. “Even at 100 songs, this set is just a snapshot of John Lee Hooker’s incredible and influential career,” says Williams, “but one that takes you on the long journey he took from his early days in Detroit, to his time in Chicago recording for Vee-Jay Records and up through his later collaborations with Van Morrison, Bonnie Raitt and Santana, among others.” 

King Of The Boogie will be released as part of a year-long, multi-partner centennial celebration, honouring the music and influence of John Lee Hooker, and will be a companion piece to an exhibit of the same name, which kicks off today at the GRAMMY Museum® Mississippi.  John Lee Hooker: King Of The Boogie includes Hooker’s performance outfits, guitars, photos, awards and, of course, his music. The exhibit will be on display through February 2018, before travelling west to the GRAMMY Museum® at L.A. LIVE. Additional centennial partners include The Blues Foundation, The Delta Blues Museum, Living Blues, Oxford American, the John Lee Hooker Estate, and Epiphone Guitars, who are currently planning the release of a limited-edition John Lee Hooker Zephyr Outfit sometime in early 2018. John Lee’s daughter, Zakiya, has worked closely with all partners on her father’s centennial events, and affirms, “Today, on what would have been my father’s 100th birthday, I am so thrilled to see him celebrated—both with the exhibit, as well as with the announcement of this special collection of music. I know that his fans will be excited to hear rare performances, and to read the touching words of his longtime manager, Mike Kappus, as well as those of the wonderful Jas Obrecht. It was a pleasure to watch this box set come together, and I can’t wait to see it shared with the world.”

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Mr Yolk debut album 'Self Portrait' out 27 October 2017

mr yolk.jpg

Album release: 'Self Portrait' by Mr Yolk
Release date: 27 October 2017
Label: Southend Records
More info: Artist website


Today, Mr Yolk, announces the debut album 'Self Portrait' with a premiere of the first single 'Baker Street' at Clash, where it was described as "a wonderfully concise piece of songwriting, with its gentle undulations swiftly taking you to a quite different place." Stream 'Baker Street' here.

Mr Yolk is the project of 22-year-old designer and songwriter Samuel Jones accompanied by band mates Enzo Lauvergne, Charlie Carmichael, Antoine Jauneau and Rich Chapman.

It is the solid foundation of previously being the songwriter of two well supported bands, that allows Jones to take this step up as Mr Yolk. His songwriting talents in Velvet Morning and Rocket Ship TV, have had significant attention from the likes of NME, DIY, Noisey and more, but Jones looks away from these with the intent of a more concise, focused set of songs for the upcoming album ‘Self-Portrait’.  In Samuel’s words, “when I started recording, I made the conscious decision to use fewer effects than I have done in other bands prior to this one. I wanted to make something that was a bit more concise in its rhythm and hiding behind less of those effects. When you have complete control during the construction of a song and your thoughts get re-affirmed through it, it is a really cool feeling.”

After fine tuning his skills in the world of psychedelia to a tee, he now looks to develop these ideas further, using more industrial sounds from influences such as Wire, The Fall, White Fence, The Make Up and Country Teasers. The resulting creation intertwines both fields to create a style not quite definable except that it contains Jones’ idiosyncratic songwriting flairs. “I recorded Self Portrait basically travelling up to Peckham and back constantly throughout the year on my own. A few members of my band would pop in occasionally but in a recording environment, I prefer to be alone. It is a personal thing for me ya know. My own sense of humour and views and in some cases vulnerability are on display. I don’t see how you can express those things in a completely diplomatic or democratic way you know?”.

Mr Yolk was born out of a frustrated maker and his intent to represent the importance of humour and art in music without restriction. Whether he is projecting dance, psychedelia, raw rock’n’roll or pure sexuality…he is happy to be the provocateur. In a partnership with their beloved label, Southend Records, Mr Yolk will release ‘Self-Portrait’ on the 27th of October 2017.

Press reaction to date

"It's a wonderfully concise piece of songwriting, with its gentle undulations swiftly taking you to a quite different place." - CLASH

“The Southenders deliver on all accounts” – NME

“Musical offerings that wouldn’t have sounded out of place in Andy Warhol’s Factory” – Noisey

“Nods to Manchester staples collide with a ‘60s- referencing waltz, all amounting to a song supreme with confidence, finitely aware of just how freaking cool it is.” – DIY

“Sounds like: Jesus & Mary Chain, My Bloody Valentine, Sonic Youth” – Indie Shuffle

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Canshaker Pi release new single ‘Indie Academy’

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Single release: ‘Indie Academy’ by Canshaker Pi
Release date: Out now
Label: Excelsior Recordings
More info: Band Facebook

An ill-fated leap. A glorious descent.

Indeed, a Canshaker Pi show can be described as one big kamikaze run. The Amsterdam-based quartet's inflammable brand of indie rock is a gleeful but high-stakes affair. The first thing you notice about Canshaker Pi is how they relish in puerile dicking about, albeit never for the sake of just 'dicking about'.

Beneath their fidgety, high-strung stage antics simmers a piercing intensity, one that perhaps comes with a creeping awareness that the days of being young, wild and free will eventually pass. With releasing their new single Indie Academy via Excelsior Recordings, Canshaker Pi frantically capitalize on their youthful zest with a relentless now-or-never stride.

Stream 'Indie Academy' via Soundcloud
Stream 'Indie Academy' via Spotify

Canshaker Pi's swoon-and-swagger racket was first introduced to us on their untitled debut album released late 2016. Not surprisingly, indie rock's chief slacker-savant, Pavement's Stephen Malkmus, took a shine on Canshaker Pi's noise pop haphazardry. Producer and pal Remko Schouten flew Malkmus over to The Netherlands to record with the band. The result of those sessions is captured on the debut, that led the band to play the infamous Le Guess Who? Festival and nearly every other relevant Dutch festival this year.

Truth be told, Canshaker Pi thrives on that constant tension created between catchy-as-sin hooks and torrents of noise. The band is not afraid for a gear slower without sacrificing the small but charming blemishes: the whirring amplifiers, itchy fingers and impromptu howls of joy.

Long story short, Canshaker Pi drives itself into a complete stupor in their rocketing career so far. They voluntarily allow the anxious friction of their music to boil over, until it irrevocably submits to the knee-jerk enthusiasm that makes this bunch tick.

Canshaker Pi is touring Europe this fall, alongside Spiral Stairs (of Pavement-member Scott Kannberg). They’re playing 27 shows in 15 countries and are visiting Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Leeds, Brighton and London on their tour through the UK.

Press reaction to date

“Powerfully crafted, highly intelligent indie rock...” – CLASH

“An infectious romp, weaving in and out of vintage rock, fuzz, and punk and easily ramping up and down at the perfect moments.” – Stereogum

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The Remedy Club debut album 8 October 2017

remedy-club.jpg

Album release: 'Lovers, Legends & Lost Causes' by The Remedy Club
Release date: 8 October 2017
Label: High Flying Disc Records
More info: Band website

The Remedy Club, the Irish husband-and-wife Americana/Roots duo comprising KJ McEvoy and Aileen Mythen, will release their debut album 'Lovers, Legends & Lost Causes' on October 8th via High Flying Disc Records.  

The duo are known for their tight vocal harmonies and intelligent songwriting while McEvoy has been singled out for praise as a guitar player of great expressiveness and technical aplomb and Mythen for her stunning vocal performances.  

'Lovers, Legends and Lost Causes' features the accomplished string playing of Kj’s sister Eleanor McEvoy who joined forces with a sterling troupe of Ireland’s hottest musicians.  The album was produced by The Remedy Club at Astakalapa Studios, Gorey, Co. Wexford, Ireland and mixed in Nashville by 5-time Grammy award winner Ray Kennedy (Steve Earle, Lucinda Williams, Willie Nelson) and Mark Petaccia (Jason Isbell, Lindi Ortega).  

According to Mythen, “We wanted to create an album of music that we would like to hear ourselves while also paying homage to such musical heroes as Tom Waits, Hank Williams and Django Reinhardt. The style of music fits really well with me personally at this point in my life. I think it’s important to have honesty in the music and singing these songs feels very truthful.” 

Nowhere is this sentiment more evident on the album than in its’ lead single 'Come On', with its’ starkly honest refrain and wonderful vocal performances, which highlights the chemistry between the two.   

McEvoy adds, “Although we’re influenced by different musical styles, including blues, folk and rock n’ roll, our country influences are very much to the fore on this album. There are three main themes running through the album, with songs about Love (‘Last Song’, ‘I Miss You’), Legends (‘When Tom Waits Up’, ‘Listening to Hank Williams’) and Lost Causes (‘Bottom of the Hill’, ‘Get Away With It').” 

The Remedy Club will tour through Autumn 2017. 

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Andrew Weatherall new album due 29 September 2017

Album release: 'Qualia' by Andrew Weatherall
Release date: 29 September 2017
Label: Hoga Nord Rekords
More info: Hoga Nord website

The aural collusions of Weatherall, Walsh and an old accomplice and sparring partner in Legrand (11/11/65 - 22/11/11), 'Qualia' is a quandary, a question mark and maybe, just maybe, his finest release in years. It's also a record best defined in the words of Mr Weatherall himself:

"Mr Brackstone, my psychic shepherd, when confronted by the facts would probably say it was cosmic synchronicity but then again he would because he's Jung at heart. Others may cite mere coincidence. These are the facts. I'll leave the metaphysical debate for another time...

It's all about the black notebooks as memorial device and 'The Black Notebook' and 'This Is Memorial Device'. At the same time as reading Mr Modiano and Mr Keenan I was ensconced in the Woodleigh Research Facility investigating a method of composition sparked by a random event too prosaic for the telling; unless of course we go back to 'The Red Book' and see the hand of Jah [the D.M.T molecule that steers human existence] at work. After all it was him/her/non-binary that sent me the "shave your beard off" message. And the "don't buy any more drugs" one. 

Whatever your leanings the music on 'Qualia' is the result of images, feelings
and thought processes stirred up by Monsieur Modiano and Mister Keenan channeled through the medium of a sonic noteboook - in itself the memoir of somebody else's life/fiction.

My own black notebooks, like Jean's [Modiano's protagonist] stir the silt of
memory and birth as many mysteries as memories. They also provided the track titles."

Andrew Weatherall. The Woodleigh Research Facility, July 2017.

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Diamond Thug new single ‘Cosmic Dreamer’ out now

Single release: 'Cosmic Dreamer' by Diamond Thug
Release date: 4 August 2017
More info: Band website

In 2016 the South African band, Diamond Thug, recorded their debut EP with the help of Dave Minehan (The Replacements) and released it to waves of support, Indie Shuffle calling it ‘…a joy to listen to’. After significant support at Spotify where they have now had several million plays on just one single, and in their home country, Diamond Thug have introduced their music internationally with their last single ‘Eclipsed’, that premiered at Wonderland who described the track by saying “As flawless vocals glide over soaring guitar riffs and electronic melodies, the track has clearly been created for lazy summer evenings and dancing under festival sunsets. An exciting look at what the South African quartet have in store, we look forward to hearing more.” And more comes in the form of their next single ‘Cosmic Dreamer’, and it doesn’t disappoint. The track is available from August 4th via Phonofile and you can listen/buy it here.

Since their formation, Diamond Thug have continually evolved, always striving to create a unique sound that’s stay true to their perspective. Their music glides through dream-pop, skittish, off-kilter electronica & psychedelic-rock, creating cosmic-influenced ethereal soundscapes, which swirl below Chantel’s haunting, yet beautiful melodies. The pursuit of an authentic & honest sound has earned the band various honours in international competitions such as Culture Collide’s pick to perform at SXSW 2017, as well as Converse’s Music Global Takeover and the attention of Grammy Award winner Darryl Torr, who had this to say about the band:  "When listening to Diamond Thug, you are taken on a journey.  It’s the effortless vocals, supported by a solid band, that tips you over the edge & pulls you through into their world.  It’s rare to find a voice that can execute such interesting melodies so effortlessly as well as a band that leaves space for the vocals to shine, yet are able to maintain musical integrity."

Press reaction to date

“Their music can move you, excite you and perhaps even - dare I say it - inspire you.” - The Huffington Post

“Diamond Thug’s come-hither voice dances through salty beach air” – Billboard

“They mix danceable electronic melodies with swooning guitar melodies that sometimes morph into scuzzy riffs into a delicious melting pot. This isn’t a diamond in the rough; it’s a proper gem.” – DIY Mag

“Diamond Thug are establishing themselves as one of the most exciting bands around at the moment” - Wonderland

“Chantel Van T’s vocals are like smooth honey to your ear drums…a joy to listen to” – Indie Shuffle

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Wild Ones new album due 6 October 2017

Album release: 'Mirror Touch' by Wild Ones
Release date: 6 October 2017
Label: Topshelf Records
More info: Band website

Today, Portland, OR band Wild Ones has announced their new album, 'Mirror Touch', out October 6th, 2017 via Topshelf Records. Nylon premiered the first single 'Paresthesia' calling it "a catchy indie gem with a deeper meaning". Vocalist Danielle Sullivan says of the track, "Paresthesia refers to a time in my life when anxiety was ruling my mind. I was withdrawing from friends, wasn't leaving my house, and had stopped engaging with the world outside. The song explores strained love in the context of manifested fear." Listen to 'Paresthesia' here

Wild Ones delve into the bliss and burden that musicians are tasked with today: create work that captures your spirit, but do it without selling your soul. Self-produced and recorded, they walk the line of DIY oddity and polished pop sheen. Hailing from Portland, Oregon, the band combines the talents of lead vocalist Danielle Sullivan, keyboardist Thomas Himes, drummer Seve Sheldon, guitarist Nick Vicario and bassist Max Stein. Growing up on Cocteau Twins and En Vogue, their sound is a mash of R&B synths, muted guitar, and somber vocal melodies. After 7 years together, they've hit their stride in creating work that poses questions about art and authenticity.

'Mirror Touch' explores spaces of isolation, loneliness and how it feels when the line between self and other becomes blurred. The record title refers to the condition 'Mirror Touch Synesthesia' and the physiological experience of empathy. How can you know yourself, when in public you become everyone else? The songs explore the quest to maintain artistic self-integrity in an industry that seeks to homogenize. Solitary in their process of collaboration, Himes and Vicario produce the music, while Sullivan crafts lyrics and melodies, their attempt at self-preservation against the ever-changing expectations of what music should or should not be. Combining their style of upbeat melodies with a backdrop of darker lyrical themes, an inquiry into their artistic process ultimately reflects a balance between earnest head nods to their favourite sounds with a fierce loyalty to their own sense of self.

Press  reaction to date

"Filled with impeccable arrangements and a mature pop sensibility that hits you from the first note." – TIME 

“A soothing and comforting blend of dazzling piano and dream pop rhythms. Sullivan’s voice washes over the lush instrumentation, adding a sense of clarity to the tracks.” – Consequence Of Sound 

“Full of glimmering synths and keyboard, and singer Danielle Sullivan's vocals fill the track with a cinematic quality” – The Fader 

“A synth-pulsed, slow groove that'll slot nicely between Chvrches, Ladytron, and Purity Ring in your record collection.” – Noisey 

“Goes down as nicely as an ice-cold pint on a warm summer day with its shuffling percussion and angelic vocal melodies.” – The 405

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Son Little album 'New Magic' out 15 September 2017

Album release: 'New Magic' by Son Little
Release date: 15 September 2017
Label: 15 September 2017
More info: Artist website

NPR’s All Songs Considered are premiering the powerful new track 'Demon To The Dark' from modern soul innovator Son Little today. Check it out here.

GQ once described Son Little as “soul music for the hip-hop generation" and never has that description seemed more prescient than on the new track 'Demon To The Dark' a simultaneously beautiful and heartbreaking soul ballad. The song is from Son Little’s forthcoming album New Magic which arrives 15 September on ANTI-.

The song begins with the confessional proclamation, “I’m gonna beg for your forgiveness. I’m gonna do that from the start. Gonna need you as a witness, though you may have a hardened heart. Have I always been a sinner or did the world pick me apart.”

Son Little says of the track: “Sometimes when things get hectic or I'm feeling low I listen to Washington Phillips, an old gospel/blues musician who played an autoharp-like instrument he made called a ‘Manzarene’. I tried to emulate the sound of the Manzarene with an omnichord and ended up with 'Demon to The Dark' which is basically an imagined conversation with Mr. Phillips, a very devout religious man, who no doubt wouldn’t approve of a lot of the things going on around here these days (sex, drugs, rock and roll.) Still his music gives hope because it sounds like love and forgiveness.”

Each of the songs on 'New Magic' draw from the diaspora of American blues and soul that includes not only modern R&B, but also rock & roll and hip-hop. He transforms them into a singular sound, propelled by mesmerising, soulful vocals and production that artfully balances between rustic immediacy and hip hop cut-and-paste. 

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Diet Cig add The Spook School to UK tour and add extra London date

Tour announcement: Diet Cig with The Spook School
Tour dates: October 2017
More info: Band website

NY's Diet Cig today added Scottish indie-poppers The Spook School to their upcoming UK dates and also add a second London date at The Moth Club after the first sold out.

The band also recently shared the video for 'Barf Day',' a highlight of their much-loved debut album Swear I'm Good At This. Watch 'Barf Day' here.

'Swear I'm Good At This' was released this Spring via Frenchkiss Records to world-wide critical acclaim. It is the follow up to the infectious, 2015 Over Easy EP that introduced the world to the band's consistent sing-a-long lyrics with thrashing drums and strums that never held back. Swear I'm Good At This accumulates Diet Cig's tenacity for crafting life-affirming, relatable tales with a gutsy heart at their core. Luciano has the ability to write lyrics that are both vulnerable and direct, perfecting a storm of emotive reflection that creates a vision of a sweaty, pumped-up room screaming these lines in unison.

Diet Cig make it okay to be the hot mess that you are. The LP was produced, engineered and mixed by Christopher Daly at Salvation Recording Co. in New Paltz, NY with additional recording at Atomic Sound in New York City. 

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Cassels album 'Epiphet' due 6 October 2017

Album release:  'Epiphet' by Cassels
Release date: 6 October 2017
Label: Big Scary Monsters
More info: Band website

The precociously young and talented art-punk two-piece Cassels today announce their debut album proper, 'Epiphet' for October 6th on Big Scary Monsters. Poetic and agitated, you can stream the opening salvo of tracks, 'Coup', and 'Let', now. They will also play two launch shows for the record:

  • October 6th - Birthdays, London
  • October 7th - The Cellar, Oxford

For Cassels, music is about authenticity. Together they embody the spirit of punk, even if their sound stretches the boundaries of any genre. It is rare to find a band who sound only like themselves, especially one with just two instruments, but Cassels are just that. The work of two brothers, Loz and Jim Beck, they have been playing music together since long before their voices broke and all that practise has paid off – direct and considered lyrically, musically challenging and in possession of an originality you could never force.

“I’m hoping cynicism will pass as lyricism,” Jim Beck, the driving force behind the sibling duo spits on previous single ‘The Weight’, featured by NME, Dork, DIY, Upset, Gold Flake Paint and a highlight of a “pre-album” that got 5 K’s in Kerrang!.

“I guess it stems from a few places,” he says of the origin for this attitude, “people letting me down, not having a particularly sociable childhood, and our dad’s a pretty cynical guy.”

But in his mind, cynicism is realism. It underpins what Cassels stand for. Their noisy, edgy and sometimes deliberately jarring sound is built around a reluctance to idly stand by as our political climate clouds our futures. It balances apathy with anger, and through it channels a generational voice. A generation who are incorrectly dismissed as being inactive, but who are finding new ways to attack the establishment.

The message lies unfiltered over a unique sound only the UK DIY scene could cultivate. There’s no metaphor to hide behind. Cassels are antagonistic and brash, but more importantly, they challenge the norm, both musically and lyrically. 

The lyrics are like contemporary poetry driven by the frustration of socio-political injustices, and fed by the ennui of growing up in a one-horse town. “There’s the old cliché that good lyrics stand up on a page without music, but in reality I don’t think many read well at all,” Jim says scathingly of mainstream music. “At some point I made the conscious decision to try and write words which could be read in isolation without them being obviously identifiable as being from a song.”

‘Epiphet’ features the production work of Rocky Reilly (And So I Watch You From Afar, Adebisi Shank) who captures all the intricacies of the two piece in their biggest sound yet. From the opening salvo of singles “Coup” and “Let”, to the bitter tribute to the town they grew up in – “shitty Chipping Norton” – on “Where Baseball Invented”, onto the call and response hooks of “You Turn On Utopia” and the melodic suss of closer “Chewed Up Cheeks”, the album rarely lets up pace. Disparate, desperate wording set to music that moves from cacophony to melody seamlessly, ‘Epiphet’ further cements their youthful tenacity, and continues to paint them as one of the most unique, and most important, bands of our time.

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Prism Tats new song 'Brainwaves' out now.

Song release: 'Brainwaves' by Prism Tats
Release date: Out now
More info: Artist website  

As previously announced, Los Angeles based Prism Tats shared two new songs, 'The Liar' (including a video directed by Dan Monick) and 'Apples' earlier last month. Today, Prism Tats reveals 'Brainwaves', a song that reflects on the detachment born from increasing dependence on technology.  Listen to 'Brainwaves' here  

Prism Tats is the project of South African transplant Garett van der Spek. Growing up in Durban, South Africa, van der Spek first began dreaming of making music at an exceptionally young age. When he was just three, he met a musician named Elvis on a roadside in the province of Mpumalanga, and instantly knew that he wanted to play guitar too. By age 12 he’d formed his first band, mining inspiration from his dad’s Beatles, Bowie, and Kinks records.

After years of playing in local bands and working on solo projects, van der Spek moved to Seattle and later relocated to L.A. In 2014 he founded Prism Tats. In 2016 Prism Tats released a self-titled debut album on Anti- Records.  

Prism Tats is working on more new music to be released later this year. 

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