Martin Simpson new album out 1 September 2017

Album release: ‘Trails & Tribulations’ by Martin Simpson
Release date: 1 September 2017
Label: Topic Records
More info: Artist website

World renowned guitarist, singer and songwriter Martin Simpson releases his 20th solo album in 40 years ‘Trails & Tribulations’ on September 1st 2017 via Topic Records. The brand-new studio album, his first new solo work since 2013’s widely praised ‘Vagrant Stanzas’, will be available in standard and deluxe CD, digital download and standard vinyl (the latter through Vinyl 180). 

"'Trails & Tribulations’ is a collection of songs about nature, about travels and about real life stories. There are traditional songs, poems and contemporary songs by great writers, and songs that I had to write because nobody else knew what I wanted to say. I travel, I learn songs, I write and try to get better at the skills required for me to do my job. I look at the world as I pass by, on the road, out of the train window, or as I stop and pay close attention to the square foot under my nose. There is so much to see and to hear and to inspire and to try and understand. I had a huge amount of fun playing and recording these songs, using different instruments, different noises, old friends and new ones, all of whom brought so much to the mix. " Martin Simpson, April 2017. 

Produced and engineered by Andy Bell, ‘Trails & Tribulations’ features some of Martin’s most inventive playing yet, showcasing his virtuosity on a variety of instruments including acoustic guitars, resonator guitars, Weissenbown lap steel guitar, electric guitars, 5 string banjo, ukulele – and voice.

Guest musicians on the new album are: Ben Nicholls (string bass and electric bass guitars), Toby Kearney (drums and percussion), Nancy Kerr (fiddle and viola), Andy Cutting (diatonic accordion and melodeon), John Smith (electric guitar and backing vocals), Helen Bell (strings), Amy Newhouse-Smith (backing vocals) and his daughter Molly Simpson on vocals. 

Martin will tour extensively this year, including a headline set at Cambridge Folk Festival in the summer and London’s Kings Place in autumn, following the release of ‘Trails & Tribulations’. 
Hand in hand with his long and storied solo career, Martin has been central to seminal collaborations like The Full English, The Elizabethan Sessions and Simpson Cutting Kerr. He has worked with a dazzling array of artists from across the musical spectrum: Jackson Browne, Martin Taylor, June Tabor, Richard Hawley, Bonnie Raitt, Danny Thompson, David Hidalgo, Danú, Richard Thompson and Dom Flemons, to mention a few. He is consistently named as one of the very finest acoustic, fingerstyle and slide guitar players in the world and is the most nominated musician in the history of the BBC Folk Awards, with a remarkable 31 nods. A true master of his art.

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Duncan Lloyd new album due 26 May 2017

Album release: 'I O U O M E' by Duncan Lloyd
Release date: 26 May 2017
Label: Afternoon In Bed Records
More info: Artist Soundcloud
 
Duncan Lloyd is probably best known as the guitarist and musical driving force behind Mercury Music Prize nominated band, Maximo Park, but Lloyd’s frenetic outpouring has also seen him busy with various projects including Decade In Exile, Nano Kino, experimentalists Res Band, and solo work under his own name. It is his solo work which now calls for our attention, with the release of new album, ‘I O U O M E’, and it’s first single “Heads of The Bastille.” Listen to 'Heads Of The Bastille' here.

On an album about surviving change, detailing the effort to escape self-destructiveness, division and the inevitable breakdown of certain relationships, 'Heads of The Bastille' marks itself out as a starkly personal track, in which Lloyd ponders his “mistakes are carved in rock, through the Appalachians of your heart” and his “memory turns against me”. It’s a tale of fading love, lyrically at odds with its defiantly buoyant melodies. 

It’s a quality that seeps through the foundations of 'I O U O M E'; Lloyd's voice has a tactile warmth, weaving around deftly self-produced music, as if through his own nocturnal metropolis. The melodies keep you afloat but between the layers there’s an emotional intimacy borne of experienced song-writing, both nimble and volatile. Talking about the record, Lloyd comments; 

“From 'Heads Of The Bastille' onwards, these songs come from a more personal perspective and it’s fair to say there is a lot of longing in them. They were mostly written in motion, travelling on long journeys, often late at night when ideas tend to mutate & evolve in a way which is less black & white, where finer subtleties appear.” 

Ultimately 'I O U O M E'  is an absorbing album, rich with melody, melancholy and wit. With the addition of Tom English (Maximo Park) on drums, and additional vocals from Eternal Summers’ Nicole Yun, the album powers into sonorous focus, never lapsing, it is a full-blown journey that is saying something worth hearing and for Lloyd, the end result this time, is his alone.

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Ratboys album due 30 June 2017

Album release: 'GN' by Ratboys
Release date: 30 June 2017
Label: Topshelf Records
More info: Band website

Chicago's Ratboys, led by singer/guitarist Julia Steiner and guitarist Dave Sagan, will release its sophomore album entitled GN on June 30th (Topshelf Records). Drawing influence from the down-to-earth sincerity of late-90s Sheryl Crow and the confessional confidence of Kim Deal and Jenny Lewis, the songs on GN (aka ‘goodnight’) “largely detail experiences of saying goodbye, finding your way home, and then figuring out what the hell to do once you’re back,” says Steiner. The Fader, who premiered the album's first single, 'Control' says "the song is a perfect example of the special, personal nature of their music." Listen to 'Control' here

GN offers a bevy of tales, laments and triumphs, which recount near-tragedies by the train tracks, crippling episodes of loneliness, remembrances of a deceased family pet with freezer burn, and on and on. The songs shift and breathe as worlds all their own, tied together by the group’s self-proclaimed ‘post-country’ sound, which combines moments of distortion and a DIY aesthetic with a devotion to simple songwriting and ties to the Americana sounds of years past. 

The songs chosen to close both sides of the record – the slow-burning "Crying About the Planets’" and quizzical "Peter the Wild Boy" - unpack the respective journeys of two real people who were quite literally lost and found. ""Crying" tells the survival story of Antarctic explorer Douglas Mawson from a first-person perspective, and "Peter" reflects on the life of a feral child in Germany who was eventually adopted by the King of England," according to Steiner. 

Certain personal stories - the tour adventures recapped in "GM," the struggle to learn to show affection as divulged in "Molly" - find Ratboys just as eagerly exploring subject matter that comes from within, and then illustrating the highs and lows with soaring hooks and plaintive ones. Even in the moments that lie somewhere between bliss and misery, a tension persists between Steiner’s sweet vocal delivery and Sagan’s physical, almost-off-the-hinges guitar playing that lends each song a deeper sense of colour and movement. 
 

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Indigo Girls to tour the UK July 2017

Tour announcement: Indigo Girls to tour the UK
Tour dates: July 2017
More info / tickets: Band website

Twenty years after they began releasing records as the Indigo Girls, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers have politely declined the opportunity to slow down with age. With a legacy of releases and countless U.S. and international tours behind them, the Indigo Girls have forged their own way in the music business. Selling over 14 million records, they are still going strong. Amy & Emily are the only duo with top 40 titles on the Billboard 200 in the '80s, '90s, '00s and '10s. They are now proud to announce they will be touring the UK this July including dates in Manchester, Bristol, and London as well as a main stage slot at the prestigious Cambridge Folk Festival on the 28th of July. 

After signing to Epic Records in 1988, the Indigo Girls released their critically acclaimed eponymous album to thunderous praise; it remained on the Billboard Hot 100 Chart for 35 weeks, earned double platinum status, received a Grammy nomination for “Best New Artist” and won “Best Contemporary Folk Recording.”  They were overnight folk icons who continued to live up to the high standards they’d set for themselves: they’ve since released 14 albums (3 platinum and 3 gold), received six Grammy nominations and have won one. Indigo Girls have toured with innumerable star acts including Neil Young, Emmylou Harris, Joan Baez, R.E.M., Sarah MacLachlan, Natalie Merchant, Jewel and Mary Chapin Carpenter. 

The duo has balanced their long, successful musical career by supporting numerous social causes – the Indigo Girls don’t just talk the talk; they walk the walk.  Having established an intensely dedicated fan base, the duo continues to remain relevant and attract new fans. With their latest release, 'Beauty Queen Sister', released on IG Recordings distributed by Vanguard Records, Emily Saliers and Amy Ray have secured their spot as one of the most legendary musical acts of this generation. 

In 2015 Indigo Girls released their 14th studio album, 'One Lost Day', produced by Jordan Brooke Hamlin and mixed by Brian Joseph. 

Press reaction to date

“The Indigo Girls operate as powerfully as at any time in their career, on a set of uncommonly strong songs performed with the kind of typically understated Nashville polish that affords their signature harmonies the full spotlight.” – The Independent (UK) 

“Along with Simon & Garfunkel and The Everly Brothers, Amy Ray and Emily Saliers rank at the very top of all-time great duos.” – The Boston Herald

‘Their voices soar and swoop as one, alternately raucous and soothing. When they sing together, they radiate a sense of shared purpose that adds muscle to their lanky, deeply felt songs.' - Rolling Stone
 

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Daudi Matsiko double EP due 26 May 2017

EP release: 'An Introduction To Failure' by Daudi Matsiko
Release date: 26th May 2017
Label: Naim Records
More info: Artist website

The confessional, folk sound of guitarist Daudi Matsiko is much in demand, after his collaborations with electronic acts Booka Shade and Kyodai, an appearance at Red Bull Music Academy, and tours with Keaton Henson, GoGo Penguin and Portico Quartet. 

The mellow fingerpicking guitar of Daudi Matsiko really gets to you. Listen to one of his disarming songs from his double EP for Naim Records, and it’s like a personal performance; as if he’s stood in front of a microphone on the other side of the room, his melancholy melodies ringing out with absolute accuracy. Hear his song ‘Take Me Old’, and enter a hushed gig venue, all ears and eyes entranced by the music unfolding before them. Daudi’s music hypnotises with an economy of elements. It’s with just guitar, autobiographical lyrics, hints of saxophone and synth that he weaves a magic spell. 

This artist’s songs are taking him places. Daudi recently travelled to Montreal to take part in prestigious music making workshop Red Bull Music Academy, while two of the most renowned acts in underground dance music, Booka Shade and Kyodai, have come calling for collaborations. 

Daudi’s first two, self-released EPs, ‘the Lingering Effects of Disconnection’ and ‘A Brief Introduction to Failure’ have been collected on his eight-track long-player debut for Naim. The words of these songs, startling in their tales of personal experience, intensify his warm tones. Highlight ‘You Can Do Better Than Me, But I Hope You Don’t’ details with heart-breaking directness the decline of a relationship. Each of his songs has a therapeutic purpose. “My songs all have a cathartic intention in some way,” Daudi has said. 

Daudi was born in the UK to Ugandan parents, and became hooked on guitar at a young age. Encouraged by a great music teacher and friends he’d later form a band with. He grew up with eclectic influences, from Radiohead to the jazz of John Coltrane and Miles Davis, post-rock bands Mogwai and Slint, and trip-hop fusioneers Cinematic Orchestra. While he was attracted to heavy sounds as a teenager, he came to favour sparse, quiet arrangements instead. The direct simplicity of guitar and voice became his medium of expression. 

Daudi’s music rings out with a dazzling brightness that will delight lovers of quality sound. That’s partly thanks to the mixing of Wah Wah 45s recording artist Adam Scrimshire, who tunes his acute ears to Daudi’s songs and brings their intimacy to the fore, capturing the living ambience that makes Daudi’s music such a pleasure to listen to. “He’s really good at bringing out the warmth I’m looking for and general size,” Daudi has commented. 

It’s playing live that Daudi feels most at home, and his recordings admirably evoke this elusive, vivid quality. “Once you’re sat in front of those people you can’t leg it, you’ve got to go for it,” Daudi said. “That adrenaline is nice to have.” 

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Emelie Hollow single 'Like I Love You' out now

Single release: ‘Like I Love You’ by Emelie Hollow
Release date: Out now
Label: Universal
More info: Artist Facebook 
 
Hailing from Norway, Emelie Hollow is already displaying a sharp musicality and songwriting talent that transcends her 18 years. She has written music with several Scandinavian producers and songwriters already, including Dhani Lennevald (Lykke Li) and Carl Falk (Demi Lovato, Nicki Minaj, One Direction, Ariana Grande) and her brand-new track, the smart pop and R&B flavour of 'Like I Love You' premiered on The Line Of Best Fit last week. 

Emelie Hollow was born in Norway to a Norwegian mother and a father from New Zealand. From an early age, she was making and listening to music; learning to play piano, guitar and cello, all the while growing into a great vocalist and in turn, a capriciously talented songwriter. She credits an eclectic range of musicians as having an influence on her sound, from NAO to Carole King to The Weekend. 

On the track itself she says: 

“For me, 'Like I Love You' is the beginning of a new chapter in my life, where I can explore and work with my music on other new levels. While I wrote the song in Stockholm, I lost my phone in a glass of water but I didn’t have time to be concerned about it because I was digging it too much – the phone survived! Even though it´s scary to release something completely different from what people have heard from me before, I’m really looking forward to presenting 'Like I Love You'. I hope people like it.” 

'Like I Love You' is written by Emelie Hollow and written/produced by Dhani Lennevald (Lykke Li) and Carl Falk (Demi Lovato, One Direction, Nicki Minaj, Ariana Grande).  

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Happyness new album 'Write In' due 7 April 2017

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Album release: 'Write In' by Happyness
Release date: 7 April 2017
Label: Moshi Moshi
More info: Band website

When Happyness first burst into the public conscience with debut single 'It’s On You', their spirited take on US college rock was as big a surprise as it was an instant hit. The resulting full length, 'Weird Little Birthday', went on to feature in many End of Year album lists. Worldwide tours, an NME Award, a re-issue on the much-loved labels Moshi Moshi Recordings (Bar/None in US), and millions of Spotify plays later, it is now just a few short weeks until their long-awaited follow-up “Write In” is released. As of today, anyone pre-ordering the album will receive new track “Bigger Glass Half Full” as a free download. Pre-order the album here

Part-recorded at the band’s own Jelly Boy Studios, then finished with Adam Lasus in LA, Happyness shared some thoughts on Bigger Glass Half Full: "Bigger Glass started with an oblique strategy that we learnt from Terry Gilliam: apparently he made 'Brazil' without ever reading 1984. We were trying to sound like a Pierre Cavalli song we'd heard once a very long time ago. It couldn't sound less similar if we'd tried... We added the acoustics when we were in LA mixing with Adam Lasus - as of now the only thing we've ever recorded outside the UK." 

Once the band return from this year’s SXSW, they’ll head straight out on a headline UK tour (including their biggest London show to date for April 28th), followed by European dates in May. Benji comments; “This tour is our first headline tour for a while now, and for the first time we'll have two albums to play from, so we're looking forward to it a lot. We've got a lot of expensive ideas for stage props that we probably won't be able to realise by April.”

Happyness share new track 'Bigger Glass Half Full' here

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Hunter & The Bear album 'Paper Heart' out 12 May 2017

Album release: 'Paper Heart' by Hunter & The Bear
Release date: 12 May 2017
More info: Band website

Hailed as ‘the heroes British rock needs right now’ by the Huffington Post, the mighty Hunter & The Bear's raw, infectious and downright thunderous output has seen them garner extensive plays on BBC Radio 6 and 2 already, as well as spots on large stages at Reading & Leeds, T in the Park and Hard Rock Calling festivals. A sold-out UK tour already under their belts, the band have also acquired prolific support slots, having toured with the likes of Eric Clapton, Van Morrison and Simple Minds respectively. 

Brought up on a heavy diet of rock bands like Led Zeppelin, Black Sabbath and Pink Floyd, Hunter & The Bear are equally inspired by modern bands like Biffy Clyro, War On Drugs and Royal Blood and their debut album offers more than a glimpse of these formidable influences, as well as an insight into what you can expect from their raucous live shows. 

‘Paper Heart’ is a collection of songs about people. Whether it’s those they’ve met on the road, their friends/family or even themselves, it’s an album of songs about the desires, dreams and shortcomings that reside within us all. Expansive and anthemic, the title track feature soaring, layered vocals addressing the fragile need in all of us to be loved; managing to be both melancholy, expansive and uplifting all at the same time. Elsewhere, the high-energy, powerhouse riffs of D.R.K offer more than enough to keep rock purists satisfied. 

Slower tracks on the album, ‘I Am What I Am’ and ‘Won’t You Ever Come Home’ combine subtler atmospherics with delicate guitars and showcase the band’s softer side, dealing with the band’s increasingly more abstract concept of home. With their live shows being key, the guys are always travelling, meaning many of their songs explore the difficulties of maintaining relationships on the road and the problematic or interesting individuals they meet along the way. As a result, inspiration is just as likely to come from arguments overheard at petrol stations as it is difficult characters endured in dressing rooms… 

On ‘Paper Heart’, all songs are written and performed by this group of close friends, making H&TB a real, organic project – one that’s built on pure passion, drive and belief in each other as musicians. With an expansive UK headline tour throughout May and June, as well as a string of festival appearances yet to be announced, why not check out the album and see why Hunter & The Bear are already being pitched as the UK’s most promising rock export… 

Press reaction to date

"The heroes British rock needs right now" - The Huffington Post
"Hunter & The Bear have the formula down for a rather modern rock equation” - Impose

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The Black Angels new album 'Death Song' 21 April 2017

The Black Angels: 'Death Song' by The Black Angels
Release date: 21 April 2017
Label: Partisan Records
More info: Band website

The Black Angels have shared the second track from their upcoming album ‘Death Song’, out April 21st on Partisan Records. Called ‘I’d Kill For Her’, the new track just premiered via Dangerous Minds, who called the band “psychedelia’s premier standard bearers”. They also chatted with the band’s Alex Maas about the new project, read/listen here.

Produced by Phil Ek (Father John Misty, Fleet Foxes, The Shins), ‘Death Song’ features some of the heaviest music these psych rockers have ever put to wax – slow-burning, menacing fuzz earworms meditating on the realities of society and devotion. The album’s opening track, 'Currency', has already earned raves everywhere from the New York Times to NPR Music, who say “heavy psych rarely feels as fresh as it does with The Black Angels”.  Listen to 'Currency' here

On April 22nd, a special limited edition release of ‘Death Song’ will be made available in honor of Record Store Day, including the new album on two glow-in-the-dark vinyl LPs and packaging printed entirely in blacklight-reactive ink. Sneak peek here.

The Black Angels performed at SXSW last week, and kick off an extensive tour next month including a headline set at one of the first-ever shows at new NYC venue Brooklyn Steel. The band will be supported by A Place to Bury Strangers.

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Mount Song new album 5 May 2017  

Album release: Mount Song
Release date: 5 May 2017
Label: Suncave Recordings
More info: Band Soundcloud
 
Back in 2014, singer-songwriter Jacob Johansson released his critically acclaimed debut album under the moniker Det Stora Monstret (The Big Monster). In their review of the album, GAFFA (Sweden's biggest music magazine) named the album “Swedish debut of the year, nominated for both the Swedish GAFFA-award and the Manifest-prize with that last release, Jacob is now back with a brand-new venture to sit alongside it: Mount Song.  

Together with his band (Karl Vento, Knut Källgren, Lovisa Samuelsson) and co-producer Filip Leyman (Anna Von Hausswolff, Albert af Ekenstam, Det Stora Monstret), Jacob performs songs that describe and question the world we live in with an intensity, sincerity and an urgency so strong, they force you to stop and listen. His songs are poetic, political and have been described by some as relevant on a global, as well as common, existential plane.  

Brought up on grunge, Jacob's influences range from the psychedelia of The Flaming Lips and MGMT to the more sombre likes of Jose Gonzalez, Bonnie 'Prince' Billy' and Jeff Buckley, whose rich influences this debut offers more than a glimpse into. Life, love, death and fear also seep into the subj. matter and make for an emotional listen at times, however always giving way to an ultimate message of hope.  

On the album's subject matter, Jacob says: “I write about that which feels urgent to me, the things that knock me out; my encounters with life's monsters. That which feels most urgent for me in the moment becomes the content of the songs.” 

Intimate, heavy and explosive; tracks like 'Wake Up' and 'Guitar On Fire' offer up a hazy, heated tangle of soaring falsetto vocals before descending into a heady, intoxicating mix of shimmering, jangling loose guitars. Elsewhere, ‘Halo’ is a dark, thought-provoking track that explore the sadness that accompanies dealing with life's demons.  

While incorporating an absorbing mix of traditional folk-indie tropes with tentative descents into psychedelia and more prog-inspired sounds, Jacob and his band have created an elusive, cinematic and pleasingly philosophical album that is bound to stay with you longer after you finish listening.

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Hannah Aldridge album 'Gold Rush' due 16 June 2017

Album release: 'Gold Rush' by Hannah Aldridge
Release date: 16 June 2017
Label: Rootsy Music
More info: Artist website

In literature and in songwriting, the American South is where writers go to face their fears. Hannah Aldridge doesn’t just dip her pen into the well of the South, the Muscle Shoals native embodies it. With every song, she’s facing down demons of a life once lived from substance abuse to failed relationships and scars from the lashes of the bible belt.  

'Gold Rush' is Hannah Aldridge’s second album, a follow up to her 2014 debut 'Razor Wire'. While that album launched her career, drew the attention of music writers and sent her touring across the world, 'Gold Rush' shows a more mature and introspective artist with more life experience - and music experience - under her belt.  

The honesty Hannah Aldridge crafts into each track is off-set by her stubborn, maybe defiant, nature, which gives her music a hopeful silver lining.  

“I start writing with ‘this is how I’m feeling and I need to talk about it.’ Doing that helps me sort out my own thoughts on it. My music is an introspective look at the things that happened in my life. It’s me trying to sort through and put feelings into words,” she said. 

Hannah Aldridge is the daughter of Muscle Shoals legend Walt Aldridge. An Alabama Music Hall of Famer, Walt Aldridge is a prolific and decorated songwriter of countless Number One and Top Ten hits recorded by the likes of Lou Reed, Reba McEntire, Travis Tritt, Earl Thomas Conley, Ricky Van Shelton, Ronnie Milsap, and Conway Twitty.  

Mixing her personal life and the sounds of her hometown, Hannah Aldridge’s new album also draws in influences from across the rock genre. Working with people with one foot in country music and one foot in rock, Hannah Aldridge makes a fresh kind of Southern Rock styled by Southern Gothic storytelling. You can hear it in 'Gold Rush'’s ode to burning out, or in the yearning of 'Burning Down Birmingham', and anthem-for-the-lonely 'No Heart Left Behind' – a track that is shot-through with wild riffs.  

Recorded at Creative Workshop in Nashville, Hannah Aldridge worked with Muscle Shoals writers such as Mark Naramore, Tosha Hill, Matt Johnson and Brad Crisler and artists such as Andrew Combs, Ashley McBryde, Don Gallardo, Ryan Beaver, and Sadler Vaden on “Gold Rush.” She teamed up with Jordan Dean and M. Allen Parker, who were instrumental in working on her new album, and finally finishing by calling on her Dad, Walt Aldridge, to master the record. In total, Hannah Aldridge compiled a team of distinct talents to work with her. With their help, Hannah Aldridge has put together a progressive, creative and memorable body of work. 

“It’s about being self-destructive,” Aldridge said of her new album. “That is the underlying tone. The album goes back to when I was younger, and after touching on that, to now. In ‘Aftermath,’ the very first line is: ‘I was born in a crossfire.’ It starts from day one.”  

Hannah Aldridge will tour the UK in summer 2017 – details announcing soon.

Press reaction to date

“Listening to Aldridge’s music is a sonic treat” – Billboard  
“Aldridge’s songs are deep, intelligent, and very powerful” – No Depression
“In the running for best Americana debut this year” – American Songwriter  
“An important album” – Americana UK  

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Craig Finn new album 'We All Want The Same Things' due 24 March 2017 

Album release: 'We All Want The Same Things' by Craig Finn
Release date: 24 March 2017
Label: Partisan Records
More info: Artist website

Nowness shares a strikingly beautiful music video for Craig Finn’s 'God In Chicago,' the next single off his forthcoming solo album 'We All Want The Same Things' out March 24 on Partisan Records. Directed by Kris Merc, the video follows the fleeting journey of two young lovers finding beauty in the unremarkable. It’s relatable, poignant and raw. 

“I was already in love with the song and I was mostly struck by the words and their pacing,” says Merc. “The spoken word quality of the narrative had a sombre, melancholic tone that left me feeling a bit reflective about the fleeting moments we all face in life. We decided the video should tell a story about the meandering nature of youth. From there, we created a narrative that follows the fleeting journey of two young characters who find beauty in their bleak circumstances, carving out hope in their own way while knowing their time together is limited. It's a meditation on the idea of memories, nostalgia, and the feeling of being caught up in a raw moment. All this happens in a landscape reflecting contemporary America. In this search for meaning, you can feel the raw emotion of something lost and something gained. There is a lot of tension, but I think the problems we all face are the same. ‘We all want the same things’ — the camera is constantly seeking solace; It is seeking out a truth not easily found.” 

About the song, Finn says: “I've done a lot of songs that have been called ‘talky,’ but this is the furthest I've gone towards spoken word. It's a story about a guy and a girl pushed together to try to fix a problem. In doing so, they push into unchartered territory for both of them. Going to a bigger city without supervision for the first time is a huge moment, no matter how you get there. I was trying to capture that.  Also, I wanted to show how easily it is sometimes to take a break, if briefly, from our regular lives. Annie Nero has a lot of vocals I love on this record but this one might be my favourite.” Watch 'God In Chicago' via Nowness

Finn's "We All Want The Same Things" is his eagerly awaited third album and arrives via Partisan on Friday, March 24. It’s available for pre-order now at all leading DSPs. All pre-orders receive an instant download of the album's first single, "Preludes," that premiered exclusively via NPR Music. The album is also available via Pledge Music with exclusive merch. Anyone who pre-orders through Pledge will receive an exclusive four-digital track EP. 

Finn and his band The Uptown Controllers are currently on a North America tour supporting Japandroids. He will then play a series of house shows in the UK through April, culminating in a headline London show. See complete details and regularly updated tour information.

'We All Want The Same Things' sees Finn exploring themes of love and partnership in the modern world, as ever expressed via finely etched character studies, black humour, and smartly arranged rock 'n' roll. Largely recorded last spring at The Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, NY with frequent collaborator Josh Kaufman producing and Dan Goodwin engineering and mixing, the album features musical contributions from drummer Joe Russo, keyboardist Sam Kassirer, Rainer Maria vocalist Caithlin De Marrais, singer/songwriter Annie Nero, horn master Stuart Bogie, Jon Shaw, Jordan McLean, Matt Barrick and Finn's longtime partner in The Hold Steady, guitarist Tad Kubler. 

"We named this collection 'We All Want The Same Thing's after a line in 'God in Chicago', Finn says. "It seems like a bit of dark humour in these turbulent political times, but it also rings true: no matter our differences we all have some very basic wants and needs that line up with each other. The characters in these songs are normal people trying to help themselves, trying to move forward, and in some cases trying just to survive. All the while they are negotiating what space the others in their lives can occupy." 

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Yazz Ahmed album 'La Saboteuse' due 12 May 2017

Album release: ‘La Saboteuse’ by Yazz Ahmed
Release date: 12 May 2017
Label: Naim Records
More info: Artist website

Bahraini-British performer, Yazz Ahmed, is transforming what jazz means in 2017. This trumpet and flugelhorn-playing artist has worked with Radiohead, These New Puritans and Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, experiments with electronic effects, and combines sounds from her shared heritage to author a new narrative for the genre.  

Part of the new wave of artists credited with stirring up the sound, including Kamasi Washington, Yussef Kamaal, Sons of Kemet and The Comet is Coming, Yazz Ahmed is thrilled by the possibilities of making something new. “I feel like I’m a part of modernising jazz and connecting it with audiences today,” Yazz says. “It’s exciting.” 

Her new album ‘La Saboteuse’ is a deep exploration of both her British and Bahraini roots. Ably assisted by musicians including Lewis Wright on vibraphone, MOBO-winning new jazz kingpin Shabaka Hutchings on bass clarinet and Naadia Sherriff on Fender Rhodes keyboard, it’s composed of undulating rhythms, Middle Eastern melody and Yazz’s sonorous trumpet lines. The record sounds like the passage of a desert caravan, bathed in moonlight.  

The theme of ‘La Saboteuse’ is the sense of self-doubt that Yazz feels when she is creating, personified in a female saboteur, an anti-muse that spurs her into action. “Giving ‘her’ a name has really helped me to identify those negative voices we all get,” she says. “I know what it is and I know how to combat it.” 

‘La Saboteuse’ will be released in four chapters incrementally, unravelling the story, before the full version is available. Each chapter has its own cover, with beautiful illustrations by Bristol artist Sophie Bass. “I feel really touched, nobody’s created art from my music before, it’s really special,” Yazz says. 

Yazz spent her early childhood in Bahrain, her paternal homeland, before moving to London with her English mother at the age of nine. There, she became fascinated by her grandfather’s trumpet playing, and vowed to learn the instrument herself. “My grandfather, my mum’s dad, was a trumpet player, and I was quite taken by him, inspired. I wanted to learn the trumpet at school.” Jazz became her chosen form of expression, because “I loved the spirit of the music, the freedom. There’s a lot of joy, mystery. I connected with it”. 

Yazz’s sound is unique. Her take on jazz weaves in Arabic melodies to evocative, cinematic effect. “I love the sounds of Arabic music. The traditional folk singing is so heartfelt, elemental and passionate. I absorbed it as a child, but only in the past few years has it come to the surface in my playing and writing. I want to embrace my culture and my British jazz heritage, the music my grandfather played to me.” 

Jazz has traditionally been a male-dominated sphere, though Yazz is challenging that notion. To start with she found it a hindrance, but has been empowered by a new wave of women musicians. “There are more female jazz musicians and attitudes are changing,” she says. “People see that women can play just as well as the men. But there are still areas that haven’t caught up with the rest of society. It’s getting better, but we can do more.” 

Future-facing and fascinating, Yazz Ahmed is part of a glimmering new constellation in the jazz firmament. And her next project is destined to take her further into the stars. “I’m planning to write a piece inspired by the ever-changing structures of the universe,” she concludes. 

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The Molochs new EP due 3 March 2017 and tour dates

EP Release: “AVG Sessions” by The Molochs
Release date: 3 March 2017 3rd
Label: Innovative Leisure
More info: Band website

After the release of their new album 'America’s Velvet Glory' on Jan 13th, LA band The Molochs return with a new EP for Innovative Leisure, titled 'AVG Sessions', a track from which can be heard today at Loud & Quiet

The band’s Lucas Fitzsimons comments; "Hidden Spoon is about revolutionaries imprisoning and executing their King in Paris in 1793. it's just a good story and can apply to any period of time. The song is a vivid ballad.. something that can bring the story to life in someone's head." 

The band also today announce a big run of UK and EU tour dates, as well as SXSW appearances. 

The Molochs – Live 2017

March

15 Barracuda Backyard, SXSW, USA

May

14 Broadcast, Glasgow, UK
15 The Cluny, Newcastle, UK
16 Brudenell, Leeds, UK
20 Q Factory, Amsterdam, NL
22 Shacklewell Arms, London, UK
23 Montague Arms, London, UK
24 La Mecanique Ondulatoire, Paris, FR
25 Nuits Sonores Festival, Lyon, FR
26 La Parenthese, Nyon, CH
27 Spazio Morel, Lugano, CH
29 Passport, Athens, GR
30 Fuzz'Yon, La Roche Sur Yon, FR
31 La Nef, Angouleme, FR

June

1   Primavera Sounds festival, Barcelona, SP
6   Doornroosje, Nijmegen, NL
7   Bassy Club, Berlin, DE
9   Molotow Club, Hamburg, DE
10 Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, DK

Press reaction to date

"The perfect soundtrack to pulling on your Chelsea boots and black crew-neck sweater" - The Guardian 

"One of the year’s best. Which year? Any year" - MOJO 

"Anxious indie-rockers playing up like a reborn Modern Lovers" - Uncut 

"steeped in jangly Eighties rock, with flecks of psychedelic folk and surfer nonchalance" - DiS 

"the album feels like you’re travelling through the US in a beat-up old car, and casually tuning in and out of a dozen different radio stations... a barnstorming record." - NME 

“The Molochs’ latest track is hazy folk with a revolutionary message …The ghosts of Lou Reed and Syd Barrett don’t so much as linger but crawl all over the sound.” – Loud & Quiet

"You & Me evokes a kind of hair-raising nostalgia and perfectly complements the 60s jangle-pop vibes" - Noisey 

"These latest Stateside sounds will put you in a spin" - Shindig! 

"Garage-rock revived with conviction" - Classic Rock 

"Full of rock n roll swagger and referential aplomb" - The Mirror 

"Fitzsimons channels the ramshackle spirit of The Modern Lovers brilliantly" - Sunday Express 

"The Molochs can lay claim to one of 2016’s strongest singles" - The 405

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Loom debut album due 19 May 2017

Album release: Loom
Release date: 19 May 2017
Label: Silent Cult Records
More info: Band Soundcloud

Loom formed through a shared distaste, boredom, and frustration with new music. They recorded and released two cassettes within their first year, the latter being a showcase of their most prominent initial influences – a six-track covers ep of The Jesus Lizard, Bad Brains, Pixies, GG Allin, Misfits, and Warsaw. They felt that it was a necessity to broadcast their intent as a band as aggressively and directly as possible. 

Off the back of those first releases the band earned plaudits from the likes of Zane Lowe and Daniel P Carter at BBC Radio 1, supported The Rolling Stones at Hyde Park and over the past few years toured across the UK and Germany with artists including Frank Carter & The Rattlesnakes, Queen Kwong, and Turbowolf, along with a number of headline tours. 

Loom took a step back from the initial ‘hype’, with frontman Tarik Badwan saying “Labels and journalists were quick to assume we had a certain sound and wanted to have an influence on that.” The band didn’t want to make someone else’s idea of a debut album. 

The songs Loom have written needed to be presented exactly how they want them to be. They didn’t want to be accused of contrived revivalism or as part of a particular scene. They needed to find the right producers and the right label to understand where they were coming from. The band recorded half of their debut album themselves and the other half with John Coxon at the legendary Ray Davies’ Konk studios.  

The result is a collection of songs that are made cohesive by the aggression that runs throughout them. It very much spans the spectrum of sub-genres that all essentially come from that same place – tracks such as ‘Lice’, ‘Bleed On Me’ and ‘Hate’ all merge that 70’s Stooges punk thrust and a 90’s grunge infused sound, meanwhile ‘Barbed Wire’ exhibits a more classic US hardcore punk drive, whilst ‘Seasick’ calls to mind the sounds of The Melvins. Later tracks such as ‘Nailbender’ even leans towards a more Metal-influenced Misfits-esque goth-punk sound. 

The debut album is the biggest statement a band makes and Loom have spent the best part of four years preparing theirs. Having perfected the ten tracks that make up their self-titled album and with a vast range of critical acclaim, renowned live shows and a series of sold out releases in their arsenal, it’s obvious Loom now have everything they need to show everyone what they’re capable of on their own terms.

Press reaction to date

“As confrontational as Danny Dyer on a Friday night Wetherspoons bender” - NME (Radar - Band Of The Week) 

“…emanating charisma with every snarl” – The Line Of Best Fit

“…bracing, thrilling and ultimately inspiring.” – CLASH  

Also featured with BBC Radio 1, Drowned in Sound, DIY & more… 

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Blood Command album 'Cult Drugs' out 28 April 2017

Album release: 'Cult Drugs' by Blood Command
Release date: 28 April 2017
Label: Fysisk Format
More info: Band website

After two albums, numerous EPs and four radio hits, Blood Command are hungrier for success than ever. The sound still has the distinct fingerprint of producer and songwriter Yngve Andersen: Sharp and challenging, but still so universal and seductive that you will throw your hands in the air and run into the crowd before the first chorus ends. Since the last album, Andersen has received wide recognition in Norway as a successful producer and is responsible for several local hits. But Blood Command remains his favourite pet and Cult Drugs might be the point where all of his talents finally hit their zenith. 

The band's previous album, ‘Funeral Beach’ (2012) received a 5/5 in Kerrang (who also placed them at no. 8 in their end of year list), 9/10 in Rock Sound, 5/6 in most Norwegian broadsheets. Metal Hammer UK awarded the album a 9/10, saying that Blood Command is one of the best they have heard in recent years. In 2010, Blood Command was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy for their debut album ‘Ghostclocks’. 

Blood Command have played numerous festivals such as Roskilde, Nova Rock in Austria (where they shared the stage with, among others, Iron Maiden) and The Great Escape in Brighton, where they won the "Best Concert of the Year" in Artrocker Magazine. 

The band have regularly played across Europe and have undertaken support tours with Biffy Clyro and Protest the Hero among others. 

Blood Command's reappearance shows a band that has never sounded as good as now. Singer Karina Ljone is angrier and more accurate than ever, the complexing-riffing is smoother and drummer Sigurd Haakaas sets new standards in action-drumming. The album is mixed and mastered by Blood Command’s long-time collaborator Dagger, who together with producer Yngve Andersen has made sure that the album comes together as a relentless sting of murderous hooks. 

Musically, the band reference Refused and Boney M as the main inspiration, alongside acts like The Clash, “We’re making a sonic revolution you can dance to!” boasts Andersen.  

In recent years, the band has binged on rave culture and charismatic cults like Heaven's Gate. Inspired by this and the increasing political manipulation taking place in both Europe and the US, the lyrics and the themes of Cult Drugs took form. Blood Command-main man Yngve Andersen, who himself was part of a Christian charismatic group in his youth, generally holds a positive view on non-mainstream religious groupings: “If it makes you happy and you don’t hurt anyone else, you can worship your cat as far as I’m concerned.” 

Andersen elaborates: “The title Cult Drugs comes from the realization that we're all in some ways part of a cult that informs our way of being and our ways of thinking. We’re programmed to perceive ourselves as the good guys, no matter what side we're on. Most people live with a self-manipulation so extensive that it can compare to drug addiction. It is easy to put a stigma on religious outcasts, but it’s time to admit that every human, to some extent, live in denial.” 

So, the difference between “cult people” and “normal people” could be smaller than you think. Particularly when you’re exposed to the seducing power of music. What could appear as a perfectly ordinary rock album, might prove to be a gateway to powers beyond your control.

Press reaction to date

“Funeral Beach is the sort of album you hear and think ‘Holy Scheisse’, Blood Command, where have you been all my life?” – Kerrang (KKKKK) 

 "Blood Command have combined driving anthemia, lacerating stabs of guitar-hammering ferocity, thunderous percussive workouts and a vocalist capable of carrying both a pristine melodic hook and a glass-shattering scream, to produce a body of work which simply screams ‘rock stars’ – Rock Sound

“Blood Command have the uncanny ability to sound startlingly fresh and new, while never jumping too far to land on that dreaded island of ‘quirky’. Funeral Beach is a fiercely unique, invigorating slab of catchy punk’n’roll, and it demands your full, ongoing attention.” – Metal Hammer (9/10) 

“In reality, where only good jams matter, Blood Command is fucking awesome!” – Metalsucks

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Loved Ones single 'Harness' due 5 May 2017

Album release: 'Harness' by Loved Ones
Release date: 5 May 2017
Label: Blood Records
More info: Band Facebook

It is said that a change is as good as a rest, so when it comes to Liverpool quartet Loved One’s re-emergence, coupled with their shift in musical direction, things can only bode well for the swell of new material they are set to release in 2017. 
 
Releasing themselves from the lo-fi and ambient rock of their debut album 'The Merry Monarch' – having spent much of their recent time involved in soundtrack work - the forthcoming full length 'Harness' sets its stall out as a move into an eclectic, but no less focussed, sphere of operation.

The album’s first single 'End Of An Error' today premieres at Wonderland and offers a first look into what they’ve been working on. Listen to 'End Of An Error. With this track we get a sense of the record’s more anxious moments and themes of escapism, which conspire here to erupt into a dilating and expansive chorus.

Lead singer Nik Glover comments; “We tried to turn our traditional song structure on its head in 'End of an Error', piling all the melodies into the verse and letting the chorus speed past with hardly any vocals. It's a song about naive teenage love and regret, and why sometimes ripping up all your memories of a relationship is better than trying to hold on to it.” 

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Mt. Wolf single 'The Electric' out 17 February 2017

Single release: 'The Electric' by Mt. Wolf
Release date: 17 February
Label: CRC Music
More info: Band website

London’s Mt. Wolf ended last year teasing the world with the smart-pop stylings of 'Golden', which saw significant pick-up internationally from the likes of The Independent, Indie Shuffle and others but was moreover a distraction of sorts, to maintain momentum whilst the band continued working away in the studio on a debut album and the huge sound they have always threatened. With the 6 minute + 'The Electric', the first material from their as yet untitled debut LP, this sound is very much realised. This year marks a fresh start for a band whose promise is set to be fulfilled.  

The road up to now has been nothing if not eventful – including a line-up change, sell-out shows across Europe and the US, a brief hiatus last year that only invigorated the band and significant, ongoing critical support. Getting to this point hasn’t been easy but the feeling is that the real rewards, for the band and for us the listeners, are now just around the corner.

Punctuated by apocalyptic visions, the accompanying lyric video ebbs and flows as the song swells, and shows the strength – and importance – of lyrics in the band’s ever-growing sonic palette.  

Since last year’s comeback EP and single the band have kept busy writing and recording with Ken Thomas (Sigur Ros, M83, Daughter). Early listens confirm this as their boldest, most ambitious output yet; expect the full album to land, and awe, shortly before the summer. 

Press reaction to date

“Subtle soundscapes, haunting vocals and broody bass” – Clash Magazine

“Enough hypnotic electronica to keep bassheads interested, while their folky roots and classical string instruments add depth to satisfy any weary soul” – MTV

“The band’s dreamy electronic-folk sound is surely destined for great things.” – London Evening Standard

"Self-starters to the fullest extent... selling out shows at London Heaven and across the country, standing out as one of the most promising new acts in the UK." – DIY

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Be Like Pablo new single 'There She Is' out 17 March 2017

Single release: 'There She Is' by Be Like Pablo
Release date: 17 March 2017
More info: Band website 

“There She Is is the best Be Like Pablo song to date.” says lead songwriter, Ewen Watson, of the mischievous Scottish band. A bold statement to make for a band with a consistent record of quality music behind them, but not an exaggerated one in this case. With influences like The Rentals, and The Cars, the band’s interest in retro imagery and sounds are prominent in the track, yet their trademark Moog synths, and fuzzy power chords help to underline the narrative that runs throughout ‘There She Is’. 

The sleek sweet video, produced by the award-winning company, Freakworks, and starring Jerry-Jane Pears (The Royals, Survivor), depicts a Notting Hill-like tale of celebrity vs ‘normality’ and how images in the media blitz society. Watson explains this further,“There She Is tells the story of a high-school crush who left home and grew up to be the most famous person on earth. When writing the song, I could see a music video in my head from the outset: billboards and magazines spectacularly coming to life with their star – a glamourous model - breaking from her still-image form and reaching out to the real world.”

Press reaction to date

“Riotously enjoyable, noisy power pop.” - The 405

“Scottish indie pop of the most traditional and twee sort. Neither of which are an insult…charming.” - Drowned In Sound

“I cannot stress enough how good this band are…Be Like Pablo have music to suit every mood and their twee tinged hits will put a smile on anyone’s face.” – Glasswerk  

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Yazz Ahmed new album 'La Saboteuse' due 12 May 2017

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Album release: 'La Saboteuse' by Yazz Ahmed
Release date: 12 May 2017
Label: Naim Records
More info: Artist website
 
Yazz Ahmed has been making serious waves in the Jazz world after storming onto the scene with a commanding performance at Ronnie Scott’s with her quintet in 2010. With her next release ‘La Saboteuse’ Yazz looks set to join an pioneering group of artists such as The Comet is Coming (Leaf Label), Kamasi Washington (BRAINFEEDER), Yussef Kamaal (Brownswood) and Naim Records’ Sons Of Kemet who are flipping the jazz world on its head and breaking through to the forefront of the UK music scene with a vibrant and exciting approach to their art. 

Yazz has performed with creative goliaths including Lee "Scratch" Perry and Max Romeo as well as touring worldwide with These New Puritans and laying down the Flugelhorn on Radiohead’s ground-breaking ‘King of Limbs’. Her second full length release ‘La Saboteuse’ explores the creative process and the demons that can exist within. Yazz’s transformation of this into a unique blend of psychedelic Arabic jazz is intoxicating, compelling and sonically outstanding. 

Naim Records have teamed up with emerging Bristol illustrator Sophie Bass Illustration to craft a stunning visual aesthetic for ‘La Saboteuse’. Sophie’s work explores human nature and our sensual relationship with the world we occupy. Through an exploration of her Trinidad heritage Sophie developed an appetite for native art and the mythology and symbolism encompassed within, these themes are beautifully displayed in Sophie’s unique, culturally rich and symbolic style.  

With 'La Saboteuse' Naim Records will break away from the traditional model of release with the album being dropped as four chapters across streaming services in early 2017. Each chapter will have an individual cover crafted by Sophie which when combined will form the gatefold cover housing the heavyweight double LP. The vinyl and CD will be released concurrently with Chapter Four and the digital release of the full album, all landing in May 2017. 

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