Los Lobos new album 'Gates Of Gold' released 25 Sept

Album release: 'Gates Of Gold' by Los Lobos
Release date: 25 September 2015
Label: Proper Records
More info: Band website

Los Lobos, the Grammy winning East L.A. legends comprised of David Hidalgo, Louie Perez, Cesar Rosas, Conrad Lozano and Steve Berlin, are back with an all new full length studio album, 'Gates of Gold,' which will be released September 25th on Proper Records. Their first collection of new songs since 2010, the album was produced by the band who continue to hone their multi-faceted sound and fresh storytelling.

The 11 tracks showcase a band that continues to keep it real. Their songs are snapshots of true life moments with themes ranging from the immigrant experience in America to melancholic ruminations on impending mortality. The music is as dynamic, eclectic yet distinctive as ever. Thoughtful, darkly romantic and spiritual lyrics are enhanced by slow burning blues rock, impressionistic soul, traditional Mexican folk music or straight ahead garage band jams. The band will embark on an extensive tour this year in support of the album (see confirmed dates below). In addition, a new biography of the band, 'Los Lobos— Dream in Blue' written by Chris Morris—will be released in September by the University of Texas Press.

Los Lobos are entering their fifth decade, as the humblest of musical icons, having racked up countless accolades for their uncompromising artistry. With four Grammys in hand and the respect and admiration of their musical peers, the band still hearken back to their beginnings as 'the soundtrack of the barrio' and remain a cultural touchstone for a community.

Their accomplishment is reflected in the effortlessly spontaneous approach to recording. Says Cesar Rosas: 'When I listen to our catalog, doing things more spontaneously in the studio has led to some of our best work.' Adds Louie Perez: 'Unlike many bands that write, gather and catalog material between studio releases, Los Lobos prefers to create their magic on the fly when they decide it’s time to record.'

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Bror Forsgren debut album ‘Narcissus’ released 25 September

Album release: ‘Narcissus’ by Bror Forsgren
Release date: 25 September 2015
Label: Jansen Plateproduksjon
More Info: Artist Facebook

When Bror Forsgren (The Lionheart Brothers, Jaga Jazzist, Silence The Foe) is making his solo debut at the age of 34, he doesn’t go easy on anything. As the title on the great art deco-inspired cover indicates at first sight, ‘Narcissus’ is a grandiose and uncompromising piece of pop music. 

The album’s theme is centered on the big questions. Lost love, innocence and faith in God are all important elements in the universe Bror Forsgren has created for ‘Narcissus’. The arrangements, which none other than TrondheimSolistene have orchestrated, are grandiose and intricate. Despite its 'wall of sound' approach and several prominent musical guests (Lars Horntveth, Mathias Eick, Marte Eberson and others), the album still comes across as an intensely personal affair. 

Bror Forsgren himself describes the album like this: 
'I’ve always dreamed of making an album with grand orchestration, whilst managing to keep the music timeless. I’m a big fan of Scott Walker and loves his ability to intertwine velvety pop music and modern composition. My vision for this album has been to create a work where my natural pop habitat melts together with the classical and the modern.'

Already on the opening track, ‘Waiting For That Holy Music’, it’s clear that this isn’t just any album. Its musical landscape evokes the previously mentioned Scott Walker and other artists like Jens Lekman, Brian Eno and Ennio Morricone. But ‘Narcissus’ is by no means an exercise in the name of pastiche art. The way Bror Forsgren takes elements from these influences and builds his own sonic cathedral, shows that he’s an impressively confident artist with a clear vision.

The album’s nine songs form a fascinating musical journey where we join Forsgren down to the deepest valleys. In some ways it’s been a long, difficult and, at times, dark process. But on the other hand, with ‘Narcissus’ in his back pocket, Bror Forsgren has landed on his own two feet. However, he gladly admits that his many supporters and musicians have been invaluable. 

'I’m very lucky to have been joined by so many competent people and I’m extremely grateful for this. Without all their help «Narcissus» wouldn’t have existed.' 

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Room Full Of Strangers new album ‘Bad Vacation’ released 30 Oct

Album release: ‘Bad Vacation’  by Room Full Of Strangers
Release date: 30 October 2015
Label: Godless America Records / True Trash
More info: Band website

For US whatever-punks Room Full Of Strangers, in 2015, it’s a Love / Hate situation. It would be easy for a band of working class guys, with roots in America’s Rust Belt, struggling to make ends meet, to embrace hate, lash out and become big drinking, fist-fighting, rock n roll clichés. In fact, for a period of time, that’s exactly what happened. The sons of immigrants and factory workers, Room Full Of Strangers haven’t always managed to plough the path of controlled chaos that they currently inhabit – for a while it was just chaos. It wasn’t so long ago that their shows were sparking mass brawls and, in one terrifying instance, witnessed the tragic overdose of a member on stage… 

Led by front man Mick Mcluan, it was time to embrace their struggle, and the difficulties of being in a penniless band, in a very different way. They looked to other Rust Belt bands like The Stooges, Dead Boys, DEVO, Pere Ubu and Lux Interior, and instead adopted a new outlook – one they’d need to stick to, if they were to come out of this alive and well. The band got pro-active. Their own self-promoted (huge) warehouse parties drew the attention of proper venues and producers. The offers were coming thick and fast, and they now boast a live show so renowned that they’re invited invited to play CMJ every year and fests such as SXSW, CBGB Fest and have shared stages with acts as varied as Joanna Gruesome, Fan Modine (members of Neutral Milk Hotel), Jacuzzi Boys, Capsula (Bilbao Spain), The Misfits and – GG Allin’s band - The Murder Junkies. 

Naturally it wasn’t long before acclaimed knob-twiddler and Godfather of the NYC underground art punk scene, Mark Kramer, known as Kramer (Jacuzzi Boys, Half Japanese, Sonic Youth, Daniel Johnston, Butthole Surfers) discovered the band and put them in the studio. The resulting sessions became new album ‘Bad Vacation’ – an album packed with collective experience, ferocity, punk spirit, all set to an us-against-the-world party soundtrack. This is a band who is influenced by its own collective personalities and life experience, and a band that ardently refuses to write music that is derivative of the sound du jour. 

'Bad Vacation is about real people, places and things, and reflects on our life story as band. It’s kind of like being the main character in the movie Shawshank Redemption. At first you’re screwed, then screwed a little less and ultimately, if you're patient and persistent, you get to crawl through a sewer pipe of crap to your freedom.' ~ Mick McIuan - Room Full of Strangers

Designed to carry you signed, sealed, delivered, in a sweaty heap on the floor, ‘Bad Vacation’ serves as a reminder that bad trips happen, but you can always come out the other side. 

Room Full Of Strangers will tour Europe in 2015 / 2016

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Grassfight ‘Please Don’t Tell’ EP released 9 October

EP release: ‘Please Don’t Tell’ by Grassfight
Release date: 9 October 2015
Label: Cold Records
More info: Band website

Sitting on their amps in a Christmas-lit storage unit in Denton back in 2010, Nathan Forster, Tamsi New, and Mark Demiglio felt eerily rooted in their slow-paced Texas environment and decided to move to New York City for a new start.

When they started the band, Nathan had never sung in front of anyone, Tamsi couldn’’t play bass and they both shared an irrational fear of people finding out they were a couple in a band. Undaunted, and heavily influenced by Radiohead, Spoon, BRMC, and LCD Soundsystem, they created a few fuzzy demos, found a drummer, and managed to put on their first ever show.

Mark joined Grassfight in 2010 and after some stormy studio walk outs involving broken bottles, smashed up amps and a few revolving fourth members, the trio to swear off adding anyone else to the mix.

However, after making a splash in the blogosphere with their first two EPs’, Nathan sent a long-time friend and musician some of the new tracks to get an opinion. Andrew Kerr responded to the new songs by booking a one way ticket to New York to join the band, where they set about creating their very own brooding, powerful brand of post-punk magic.
In February of 2014, Grassfight played their first show in a year and a half as a four-piece and began work on the beautifully gloomy, 'Please Don’t Tell'.

The band says: 'Please Don't Tell is the name of a speak-easy style bar in East Village. To get in, you walk into a hot dog shop and enter a phone booth. When you pick up the phone somebody answers and you say the name of your reservation. Then the side wall of the phone booth slides back and you walk into this 'secret' small bar that's decorated like it's the 1920's. There are taxidermy animals with hats and jewellery on, they play a lot of Fleetwood Mac, and the cocktails are awesome, with a Mezcal theme.'

All five of the songs were written on the streets of New York and recorded right before Tamsi and Nathan broke up - with the bass-laden title track telling the story of a miserable suburban couple that stay together to protect their image and the melancholy-laced 'Hallways' examining the dizzying and guilt-stricken thoughts you have when you start to fall out of love.

Press reaction to date

  • "These cardigan-clad boys (and girl) have cultivated a new brand of post-punk." - The Owl Mag
  • "Blogs quickly began comparing the band's sound to that of Interpol and Joy Division because of its heavy, driving basslines and urgent rhythms, but there's more to this group than just a series of brooding reference points. They've got the songs to justify the gloom." – CMJ
  • "Icon, EP2 is arguably the best EP released this year and veritable proof that New York City has a major contender on their hands." - Absolute Punk
  • "...delightfully terse, taut with tension, and displays a shimmering resentment - Grassfight has given us much to admire." - Mad Mackerel

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White Reaper to support Alvvays on UK tour

Tour announcement: White Reaper UK Tour
Tour dates: August / September 2015
More info: Band website

Louisville garage-punks White Reaper will later this month touch down for their first ever UK live dates, in support of label mates Alvvays. Touring in the wake of the release of their debut album for Polyvinyl Records - ‘White Reaper Does It Again’ - front man Tony Esposito brings his debauched quartet to our shores, to show us all just why their dizzying live performances are so lauded across the Atlantic.

A video for new track ‘Pills’ has just emerged too. One of the album’s centrepieces, it’s captured here by directors Cooper Burton & Eli Kleinsmith who explore, seemingly, Esposito’s more than obvious wild streak. It’s a track that’s just as eager to accommodate those with a beer in one hand and a limitless fount of energy to burn. The upcoming UK dates are not to be missed. Check out the video here

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

The band plays with enough ferocity that you can feel your heart rate elevating just listening to it.” - Stereogum

White Reaper was my first real “holy shit, who is this band?” moment of this SXSW.” - Paste

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

White Reaper insists on playing to classic rock 'n' roll ideals while simultaneously trying to dissolve them in acid” - NPR

 

 

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Young Galaxy new single 'Body' and new album 'Falsework'

Album release:  'Falsework'  by Young Galaxy
Release date: 30 October 2015
Label: Paper Bag Records
More info: Band website

Young Galaxy will release their new album 'Falsework' world-wide on Paper Bag Records on October 30th.  'Falsework' is the follow-up to the Polaris Music Prize short-listed 'Ultramarine' and their third album produced by Dan Lissvik (Studio, Atelje). Listen to new single 'Body' here

The winter of 2014/2015 took Young Galaxy from their studio in Montreal to Gothenburg and back.  The band’s brilliant new full length Falsework completes the sound they have been mining on their past two albums Shapeshifting (2011) andUltramarine (2013) with producer Dan Lissvik. The album is undeniably synth pop without the simplicity and was informed and inspired by 80’s electro, acid house and r&b, music that was well ahead of its time.  Falsework was made using machines from the past to sound like music from the future.
 
During the writing and recording of the Falsework. Young Galaxy and Paper Bag Records commissioned Scotiabank Giller Prize winning novelist/blogger/journalist Sean Michaels to write a story that would work as a campaign piece to the album. Read the story here.

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Valley Maker ‘When I Was A Child’ Out October 2015

Album release: 'When I Was A Child'  by Valley Maker
Release date: October 2015
Label: Brick Lane Records
More info: Band website

Life rarely provides obvious answers. But if you appreciate the beauty and wonder of exploring its complex mysteries, then Seattle's Valley Maker deserves your undivided attention. Recorded on opposite ends of the country, and composed during a nomadic period spanning two continents, 'When I Was A Child' features twelve originals that contemplate life, love, and death, faith and doubt, time and space.

'Songwriting is a way to approach unanswerable questions, these experiences that don't have easy conclusions,' says Austin Crane, the 27 year-old multi-instrumentalist and songwriter behind Valley Maker. 'It's a way to dwell on history and ask these big questions with other people.'

Distinctive finger-picking, unconventional tunings, and plaintive vocals anchor Crane's music. Throughout this record, long time collaborator Amy Godwin intertwines her voice intuitively with his; the end result sounds less like two individuals harmonizing than one who sings with astonishing depth and dimension. 

Crane grew up in Florence, South Carolina, where I-95 intersects I-20, an hour west of Myrtle Beach. The oldest of six children, he spent his childhood in a tight-knit evangelical community, with limited access to popular culture and urban diversity.  Music opened up the world to Austin as he approached adolescence. Initially fixated on keeping abreast of the newest indie music, his tastes settled and matured as the Internet directed him towards key influences like Bill Callahan (Smog), Will Oldham (Bonnie 'Prince' Billy), Chan Marshall (Cat Power) and Jason Molina (Songs: Ohia). 

The oldest song on When I Was A Child, 'Take My People Dancing,' grew out of feeling cut off from his home community during a stint living outside of Denver. 'Those years just out of college, you're figuring out who you want to be: what it means to have relationships with increasing distance, what it means to work a steady job,' he recalls. 'That song was me reckoning with moving into a new stage of life and the doubts that came from that.' 

For now, Crane is excited to invest more energy into sharing Valley Maker with the world. "My hope is that there are more Valley Maker records to come, and some of those may be stripped down and sparse, and others built-out and full. It's nice to be able to shape-shift a little." Because as When I Was A Child affirms, when the questions you ask – and the art they inspire – remain fluid, moments of great truth and beauty ensue. 

When I Was A Child will be released in the UK in October via Brick Lane Records. 
Digital copies available on request.

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Caspian premiere new song ‘Darkfield’ and announce EU/UK tour

Song premiere: ‘Darkfield’ by Caspian
Release date: 25 September 2015
Label: Big Scary Monsters
More info: Band website

Today Atmospheric rock band Caspian have premiered their brand new song ‘Darkfield’ from their forthcoming album ‘Dust and Disquiet’ which is due out on 25 September 2015 via Big Scary Monsters.

‘Darkfield’ is currently streaming exclusively with The Line of Best Fit. On the new song Best Fit say, “Sinister and seductive, 'Darkfield' spirals and builds, a raging instrumental hurtling towards a cataclysmic conclusion. Ominous drones pave the way for tribal percussion, the combination of electric intensity and natural drive entirely potent.”

Dust and Disquiet is the band’s fourth full-length album and the follow up to 2012’s stellar ‘Waking Season’. Recorded at Q Division Studios in Somerville, Massachusetts, Caspian once again tapped Matt Bayles (Isis, Cursive, Screaming Females, The Sword) to produce and mix.  

In addition, Caspian have also announced a string of EU/UK tour dates in support of the new album with support from Jo Quai and Tidal Sleep (select dates only). The tour spans 22 dates and see’s the band visit cities such as London, Glasgow and Sheffield for the first time since their last tour with Defeater at the start of 2014.

‘Darkfield’ follows on from the release of the band’s recent song ‘Sad Heart of Mine’ which was premiered over with Noisey. This was the first new song from the forthcoming album, receiving critical acclaim and upwards of 15K views upon release.

On ‘Dust and Disquiet’, Caspian again refuses to be confined by genre.  Listeners will find those familiar intricately textured soundscapes that the band has become known for on tracks like ‘Sad Heart of Mine’, ‘Arcs of Command’ and the title track, ‘Dust and Disquiet.’ 

In the center of the album, a track like ‘Run Dry’ will surprise listeners and stands alone in the band’s discography as a stark, acoustic ballad with vocals from guitarist Calvin Joss at the forefront. Elsewhere, Caspian forays into unexpected territory: ‘Ríoseco’ explores the wilder, steel-eyed side of country, and ‘Aeternum Vale’ ventures into the classical realm. 

Caspian released their last LP, Waking Season, in 2012 to critical acclaim, with Spin proclaiming it as the ‘Best Post Rock Album of 2012.’ The band followed with the release of ‘Hymn for the Greatest Generation’ in the fall of 2013, an EP that was to serve as Caspian’s epilogue to Waking Season. ‘Hymn for the Greatest Generation’ was also well received, finding praise everywhere from Pitchfork to Nylon to Alternative Press. After touring extensively in support of those releases (tallying hundreds of shows throughout 25 countries), Caspian returned to their hometown of Beverly to celebrate a decade of making music together at the historic Larcom Theatre last October. 

The band are excited to release new music and get back out on the road. ‘Dust and Disquiet’ is due out on 25th September 2015 via Big Scary Monsters and will be available for preorder on CD / 2xLP 

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Thee Oh Sees, Natalie Prass, OM and Jessica Pratt added the ATP 2.0 Nightmare Before Christmas

Festival announcement: ATP Pontins
Festival dates: 27 - 29 November 2015
More info: Festival website

ATP is pleased to announce the final round-up of artists set to play the festival at Pontins Holiday Camp in Prestatyn, North Wales, 'Nightmare Before Christmas'  27th - 29th November 2015.

The final line-up announcement sees Thee Oh Sees, Natalie Prass, Om, Jessica Pratt, Chelsea Wolfe, Pharmakon, Xylouris White, Russell Haswell, Empty Set, Extreme Precautions, Helm, Warm Soda, Avec La Soleil Sa Bouche, Föllakzoid, Warm Graves, Dead Rider, Dan Friel and Vatican Shadow added to the bill of exceptional artists already announced.

Curation this year comes from acclaimed, Turner Prize nominated visual artists The Chapman Brothers. Jake Chapman comments: “We are so honoured to have been asked to curate ATP again this November in Prestatyn. Ten years ago we curated the first Nightmare Before Xmas and
lost so many brain cells that it's taken a decade to replace them. It is extremely special for us be involved again."

ATP’s new site of Pontins in Prestatyn, North Wales – chosen for its easy reach for both international and UK customers – benefits from all the facilities associated with holiday camp vacations, including an indoor swimming pool, football pitch, basketball and tennis courts, a crazy golf course, go-kart track, air hockey, a large arcade games area and a beautiful sandy beachfront only a few hundred metres walk away.

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Reverend & The Makers - new album, film and tour

Album release: 'Mirrors' by Reverend & The Makers
Release date: 9 October 2015
Label: Cooking Vinyl
More info: Band website

Reverend & The Makers release their eagerly anticipated fifth album, 'Mirrors', through Cooking Vinyl, on Friday 9th October. 

'Mirrors' was recorded at 2 Fly Studios Sheffield and Geejam Studios in Jamaica and was produced by Dave Sanderson with additional production by Youth and Alan Smyth and mixed by Youth. It will be available on CD, Limited edition CD & DVD, 12” Vinyl and digital download. The album can be pre-ordered from the bands website and iTunes

The special CD & DVD version of Mirrors is available with a film by acclaimed director Roger Sargent, filmed in Jamaica to accompany each song on the album. All formats of the album also include an exclusive twenty-three minute dub version of 'Mirrors' (Overproof Dub by Youth) and bonus radio versions of three of the album tracks.

Reverend & The Makers have also announced a twelve-date UK tour for November and December. 

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Shadow Hunters to release new single

Single release: ‘Into Tomorrow's Yesterday' by Shadow Hunters
Release date: 27 August 2015
Label: Renegade Records
More info: Band Facebook

Shadow Hunters are a two piece brotherhood of rock hailing from West Norway. Formed in 2013 and having only released three self-produced singles to date, the band have now started working on their debut album and are gearing up to release their first new single ‘Into Tomorrow's Yesterday’.

Shadow Hunters describe themselves as “Modern Energetic Sci-Fi Rock”, and this isn’t a wholly inappropriate description. In the four minutes that make up ‘Into Tomorrow’s Yesterday’, Shadow Hunters merge captivating symphonic new-grave-meets goth rock instrumentation with powerful, anthemic vocals and visceral metal instilled guitar riffs; This combination of varying stylistic sonic elements has allowed Shadow Hunters to incarnate their music with transfiguring elevation and brooding dynamics. Even when the track slows down it is constantly threatening to explode again at any moment and in this way its enthralling blend of turbulence and tranquillity call to mind the sounds of bands such as 30STM, but given a raw, heavier edge.

Shadow Hunters have been biding their time holding back to craft every track with meticulous precision, and it shows. As an introduction to the band ‘Into Tomorrow’s Yesterday’ is as consummate as it is divergent, and is the perfect example of the bands passion and fervour. Shadow Hunters have created a single which is incredibly accomplished, and clearly demonstrates their eagerness to evolve and develop. As the band says, 'Into Tomorrow's Yesterday' is a result of inspirational combinations from atmospheric settings and moods, such as epic movies, games and music. The single is reflecting the future path of Shadow Hunters' music to come.”

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Halo Tora debut album due out 4th September 2015

Album release: ‘Omni\One’ by Halo Tora
Release date: 4 September 2015
More info: Band website

Halo Tora are a five piece union of progressive rock burgeoning from Glasgow, Scotland. A bond formed through years of writing and live shows supporting the likes of Jamie Lenman (Reuben) and My Vitriol as well as recently embarking on their own UK tour. The band repress nothing, by concentrating and coalescing their individual creative forces the band are able to subjugate generalised stylistic boundaries contrastively sitting somewhere between prog-rock, alt-rock and post rock. The result is a raw yet emotional album which is as dynamic as it is powerful.

Halo Tora have worked relentlessly and meticulously, carefully cultivating and refining the material which can be heard in their forthcoming debut album ‘Omni\One’. Throughout the album melodic dual vocals intertwine and coalesce with equally complimentary dark and atmospheric guitar exchanges, whilst chilling classical piano sections float underneath a frenetic back-bone of driving bass and thunderous beats, fills and crashing cymbals. 

A wide range of influences can be heard throughout the album from tracks such as ‘Age of Terror’ and ‘Bones That Rock The Cradle’ which call to mind the post-rock meets progressive instrumentation and soft yet visceral vocals of artists such as Karnivool and Dredg, whereas other tracks such as ‘Permanent Revolution’ and ‘Ruins’ which blend structured atmospherics and powerful vocals conjure up memories of Oceansize. However, these influences never instigate notions of plagiarism, Halo Tora are able to take these moments and mould them in their own vision, which makes these compositions all the more appealing.

‘Omni\One’ is as diverse as it is accomplished and there is an invigorating confidence and honesty to it which has come through there perseverance and patience in ensuring that everything is crafted to perfection, as guitarist and lead vocalist Chris Alexander says, “This record really is a coming together of all our experiences and personalities and with that a license to explore places musically that we had never been as individuals. It was great to be able to throw ourselves at it and watch it take shape.”

Press reaction to date

  • "Halo Tora will help lead the charge for Scottish alt-rock in 2015" 
  • - Huffington Post
  • "Gloriously atmospheric" - Jim Gellatly
  • "Soaring, cinematic alt-rock" - Ally McCrae (BBC Introducing)

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Vennart announces UK headline tour in November

Tour announcement: Vennart
Tour dates: November 2015
More info: Artist website

Ex-Oceansize frontman and current Biffy Clyro touring guitarist Mike Vennart released his debut solo album titled ‘The Demon Joke’ in June, receiving fantastic reviews along the way. Now following a run of dates earlier this year, Vennart is pleased to announce more headlining shows for this November.

Support on all dates comes from psychedelic rockers Knifeworld and noise-rock guitar/drum duo Cleft.

For the live shows, Mike is joined by ex-Oceansize cohorts Steve Durose & Richard ‘Gambler’ Ingram, as well as former Ginger Wildheart drummer Denzel. A live clip for the track ‘Retaliate’ was recently launched, filmed during the short UK headline tour in May, and you can check it out here.  

‘The Demon Joke’ will be familiar territory to fans of Mike’s old band, but this time with a maturity and optimism lacking in his previous work. The album is a rich, densely layered, emotional psychedelic fuzz-rock odyssey. 

Press reaction to date:

  • “The Demon Joke is an utter joy of a record” – Drowned In Sound
  • “A euphoric record that existing fans and newcomers alike will relish.” – Rocksound
  • “a unique exhibition of the inner recesses of Mike’s almost unparalleled musical mind.” 4K’s – Kerrang!
  • “The wait’s been worth it – it’s a pleasure to have him back.” – Classic Rock
  • “As ‘The Demon Joke’ thrives, Vennart stands tall wearing a grin.” – Upset Magazine

 

 

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Du Blonde reveals new video for Hunter

Video release and tour dates: Hunter by Du Blonde
Date: July to October 2015
More info: Artist website

Fresh from the glorious praise Du Blonde received for 'Welcome Back To Milk', comes a brand new video, three-date residency at the Shacklewell Arms in London and shows with Future Islands and Torres this September.

The new video, directed by Du Blonde, was entirely shot in LA: “The footage was shot on Super 8 by Kelsey McNamee. We wanted to try and get footage like the old home movies our families had when we were younger. So often footage like this is forsaken for videos shot on phones and the quality of those old memories is lost. We wanted to have something to show our kids.”. Watch the video here

Like her heroes of the late 60s at the Whiskey A Go Go on Sunset Strip, Du Blonde will play a three-night residency over the summer at the Shacklewell Arms. With handpicked DJs, supports and entertainment planned, the dates will be free to get in. Tickets can be reserved here  

As well as playing End Of The Road and other festival spots, Du Blonde will support Torres at the Scala and Future Islands this September, reuniting with singer Samuel T Herring who lends his vocals to 'Mind Is On My Mind' on the album. Listen to Mind Is On My Mind here

Press reaction to date:

  • "a musician of clear-eyed assurance and ferocious imagination" 8/10 UNCUT
  •  "a confident and brilliantly delivered collection of songs" 8/10 DROWNED IN SOUND
  • "Stones R&B rhythms, doomed Sabbath licks, blistering Cali-punk, and a primitive kind of glam" PITCHFORK
  • "an oddball punk-pop extravaganza." 9/10 Album of the Week, NME

 

 

 

 

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The Jam to release a live 6 CD deluxe box set ‘Fire & Skill'

Album release: 'Fire & Skill' by The Jam
Release date: 30 October 2015
Label: Universal / Polydor
More Info: Band website

 It’s 40 years since the classic The Jam line-up first started touring. The band had a phenomenal impact on pop music and wider youth culture. In their short career, they influenced a generation with their music, style, politics and inspiration.

With Somerset House’s current exhibition and Universal Music’s recent CD ‘About The Young Idea’ which both trace the band’s story in hits and images - Universal/Polydor now announce a live box set that follows the journey through incendiary concert recordings.

Named after the legend painted on Paul Weller’s amp, ‘Fire & Skill’ is a superb six disc box set – featuring six previously unreleased concerts, one from each year of their major-label career….

1. Starting with an early gig at London’s famous 100 Club from 1977, the show featured took place 10 months after they first played the venue in November 1976, and was recorded for broadcast on American radio ahead of the trio’s inaugural visit to US in October 1977 for a six-date tour.

2. A Music Machine show from 1978, featuring most of the 2nd album – ‘This Is The Modern World’. This was The Jam’s sixth live show of the year and one of four low-key shows in the capital to fanfare their new ‘News Of The World’ single under the banner ‘The London Blitz’.

3. Reading University – Feb 1979. Playing material from their breakthrough album ‘All Mod Cons’, this was The Jam’s first live appearance of 1979, and found the band in a radically different place to their showcase at the Music Machine 12 months before. In that time, their third album, ‘All Mod Cons’, had been released to critical acclaim, and their status as one of the New Wave’s most musically substantial and exciting bands had been secured. And Weller was still only 20 years old...

4. Newcastle City Hall – October 1980, previewing songs from forthcoming album ‘Sound Affects’. In the time between the show at Reading University (on Disc 3) and this appearance at Newcastle City Hall 20 months later, there had been more extraordinary developments in the group’s world. ‘Setting Sons’, their fourth album, had given them a Top 3 hit with ‘The Eton Rifles’, which was followed in February 1980 with the stirring Number 1 single, ‘Going Underground’. After three years on Polydor, The Jam had finally become the biggest group in the UK.

5. London’s legendary Hammersmith Palais – December 1981. Part of The Jam’s four consecutive nights, previewing material from the forthcoming final album ‘The Gift’. The shows took in the innovative form of a ‘60s soul revue, showcasing new acts including Bananarama, Department S and TV21.

6. One of the band’s final ever gigs at Wembley Arena – December 1982. Late in 1982 The Jam announced they were splitting up - there would, though, be a final chance for fans to experience The Jam’s astonishing live shows, with a 14-date ‘farewell’ tour announced. The centrepiece was a five-night stand at Wembley Arena, the 10,000-capacity shed next to the London football stadium (the recording here is from the second date), the biggest live venue in the capital.

  • Packaged in mini, lift-off lid box with 72-page, colour hard-back book.
  • Individual gatefold wallets for the discs, designed as facsimiles of the original tape boxes.
  • Includes new essay, period photos, rare memorabilia and set of five postcard prints.
  • Remastered at Abbey Road.
  • Featuring stunning live versions of all the band’s classic hits and favourites of which only 11 tracks previously released.  

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Japan's toe to release new album 'Hear You'

Album release: 'Hear You' by toe
Release date: 28 August 2015
Label: Topshelf Records
More info: Band website

Influential Japanese 4-piece toe have announced details for their long-awaited third studio full length album, 'Hear You', which will be released on August 28 via Topshelf Records.

The follow up to their 2012 EP, 'The Future Is Now,' this new album sees the band continue to grow and push their sound in exciting new directions.

Composed of Kashikura Takashi on drums, Mino Takaaki on guitar, Yamane Satoshi on bass guitar, and Yamazaki Hirokazu on guitar. toe has formally played with this line-up since the band’s inception in 2000.

The vast majority of their music is instrumental and features the swift and acute drumming of Takashi. The band is also known for its melodic, clean guitar settings. Additionally, the compositions have repetition from typical rock motifs, but use very subtle changes in beat and rhythm to form a unique sound. The band has changed their sound over their musical tenure by incorporating acoustic guitars, rhodes piano, and vibraphones in their most recent releases.

toe tours regularly in Japan, and can most notably be compared to acts such as Pele and The Album Leaf.

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Stick In The Wheel release debut album ‘From Here’

Album release: From Here by Stick In The Wheel
Release date: 25 September 2015
Label: From Here Records 
More info: Band website

Stick In The Wheel's debut album 'From Here' is a raw, fresh take on English Folk music. Their now-trademark abrasive delivery of both original and traditional tracks, is not bland retroism, or empty nostalgia, but a voice linking now to then. Addressing issues that still have relevance today, re-visiting traditions long-lost, as well as those disappearing right before us, in a way that has more in common with Sleaford Mods than with Bellowhead. A thousand miles away from waistcoats and wistful ladies, the songs are roughed up down dark alleys with lyrics that are direct, honest, and caustic, but also eloquently poetic. The band is spearheaded by Nicola Kearey's fierce uncompromising vocal delivery, accompanied by Fran Foote's harmony vocal and underpinned by sparse taut arrangements. 'From Here' follows a handful of acclaimed EPs and a recent 7” released through Static Caravan this spring.

Brought up in the thriving culture of working class London and cutting their teeth in its diverse musical landscape (Dobro player Ian also producing music for GhostPoet, Context and for labels such as XL, Brownswood and Cosmic Bridge), they now bring those influences and attitudes to their traditional music. Stripped back to their bare components, the songs speak for themselves without ornament. With plaudits pouring in for their early releases from (Tom Robinson, John Kennedy, Mark Radcliffe, Gideon Coe, Joe Boyd, Jack Sharp (Wolf People) and Om Unit), these are aggressive and intentionally raw recordings, cobbled together in warehouses, kitchens, and wherever they can, telling tales of everyday life: carboot-swindlers, lorry drivers and London rioters, sitting seamlessly against traditional songs of prisons, hammer-wielding blacksmiths and 18th century madhouses. Lead singer Nicola Kearey comments:

"We see this music as part of our culture, we’re not pretending to be chimney sweeps or 17th century dandies. A lot of people are really disconnected from their past, and this is part of what we're addressing - getting people to reconnect with it, and realise there are parallels to be drawn from life 100 or 200 years ago. We make this music because we have to.”

Whether these be tracks like the hard and rhythmical 'Common Ground', which addresses the continual erosion of people’s rights (recorded in a warehouse amongst pallets and boxes on a cold October night) or starkly beautiful Hasp and its use of a tethered horse as a metaphor for societal shackles and loss of liberty, an acerbic bite threads everything together. The album finishes with three ghostly, atmospheric tracks. By Of River is based on a chance meeting with Alan Moore and his book 'Voice of the Fire'. It starts a trio of songs about a procession of lost people, mysterious rituals, and the remains of a past culture, with 'Who Knows' and a soundscape reprise closing the album.

Stick In The Wheel are the most relevant and vital band in the UK right now. It’s not about genres or labels anymore, it’s about standing up and being counted. 'From Here' is an important cornerstone in England’s musical lineage, with a proud rallying cry that's impossible to ignore.

Press reaction to date

  • Four Loom Weaver’ featured in Uncut’s Wild Mercury Sound playlist
  • As authentic as it comes… brutally honest and grabbing” - FACT
  • A real discovery” – BBC 6 Music
  • They make Mumford & Sons sound like Roger Whittaker” – Record Collector
  • this is DIY music of the most visceral kind.” ­- fRoots Editor’s Choice Album of The Year for ‘Bones’ EP

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Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers new album - Loved Wild Lost

Album release: Loved Wild Lost by Nicki Bluhm & The Gamblers
Release date: 9 October 2015
Label: Republic of Music
More info: Band website

With 'Loved Wild Lost', Little Sur recording group Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers fully affirm a current place in the long winding continuum of the California Sound, born of folk, rock, country, psychedelia, blues, and pop, as ageless, adventurous, and ever-adaptive as the Golden State itself. The new record – which follows their much lauded self-titled 2013 debut – sees Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers teaming with producer Brian Deck (Iron & Wine, Josh Ritter), their first time working with an outside collaborator. The result is the critically acclaimed band’s most compelling collection thus far, its richly layered sound the ideal foundation for Bluhm’s remarkable voice and resonant lyrical gifts. Further colour comes from San Francisco’s Magik*Magik Orchestra (Death Cab for Cutie, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds)whose complex arrangements serve to amplify the indelibly universal themes of Simpler Times and the captivating single Waiting On Love.

With three years and hundreds of live shows behind them since the release of their debut, a period of creative growth and personal reflection was spurred, giving rise to songs like Love Your Loved Ones which explores life’s seismic shifts, in what Nicki describes as “the struggle to retain the energy and optimism of youth as life becomes more complex.” Together, Deck and the band made a conscious effort to hone The Gramblers’ sound, fusing a framework of archetypal musical idioms into something unique and universal, its individual elements complementing and counterpointing the songs’ deeper themes.

“On the last record there’s a little bit of soul, a little bit of country, a little bit of rock,” Nicki says. “This record, we were trying to make it much more cohesive.”

Also enlisted in songwriting duties is multi-instrumentalist, and Nicki’s husband, Tim Bluhm. The quintessential Golden State journeyman musician, known for two decades as singer/guitarist/primary songwriter in beloved SF rock ‘n’ rollers The Mother Hips, first assembled The Gramblers in 2008 to serve as Nicki’s road band in support of her two Tim-produced solo outings. The line-up soon gelled into its current state, comprising Nicki’s childhood friend, guitarist/songwriter Derek Ney, bassist Steve Adams, rhythm guitarist Dave Mulligan, and drummer Mike Curry. The Gramblers no longer being just a vehicle for Nicki’s songs, but a full-blown band experience. Nicki’s “favorite living songwriter,” Tim-penned songs like High Neck Lace allow his beloved to articulate herself on a vast array of subjects, spanning aging, personal politics, intense psychological observation, the search for meaning, and the very mysteries of life itself.

“Our music definitely hearkens another era,” says Nicki Bluhm, “but at the same time, we want it to be contemporary. Reflective of now even though it nods to other times. We want it to be vintage modern.”

Keep an eye out for Nicki Bluhm & The Gramblers to tour the UK in January 2016. 

Press reaction to date

  • “a modest, melodic gem [that] neatly combines the rustic vibe of The Band with the more polished approach of Buckingham/Nicks-era Fleetwood Mac.” – American Songwriter
  • a slow-burner, with keening steel guitar and eddies of strings surrounding Bluhm’s warm, inviting vocals,”The Wall Street Journal
  • Bluhm is sexy and soulful, showing a bit of Janis [Joplin], Etta [James} and Amy [Winehouse] in her vocals.”Boston Herald

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Glen Hansard new album Didn’t He Ramble to be released September 18

Album Release: Didn’t He Ramble by Glen Hansard
Release Date: 18 September 2015
Label: Anti-Records
More Info: Artist website

'Didn’t He Ramble', the second solo outing from acclaimed singer songwriter Glen Hansard, will be released September 18 via Anti- Records. After recent years have seen him perform on stage with the likes of Leonard Cohen and Bruce Springsteen and release a tribute to Jason Molina, the new album is his first in over three years and follows 2012’s solo debut 'Rhythm & Repose', which Billboard hailed as “Hansard at his most engaging”.

'Didn’t He Ramble' was produced by Thomas Bartlett (The National, Sufjan Stevens), a frequent collaborator of Hansard’s, and Grammy winner and former Frames band-mate David Odlum (Paloma Faith, Tinariwen). The album, which was recorded in New York, Dublin, Chicago and France, is Hansard’s most intimate and elegant record since his work in Once and features guest appearances by John Sheahan (Dubliners), Sam Beam (Iron and Wine) and Sam Amidon. 
 
While the journey to finishing the record was a long one, the reward of finally arriving at the end line was well worth it. Hansard explains, “I feel I’ve really dug deep for these songs, and I’ve been chasing specific ideas asking myself ‘what is it I’m trying to say with this line or idea?’ One would hope that through all of this that you find your voice. And, amazingly, you might find it in the smallest gesture of a song.”
 
Glen Hansard is the celebrated principal songwriter and vocalist/guitarist for the influential Irish group The Frames. Whether busking the streets of Dublin, where he got his start, or headlining a gig, Hansard has garnered a reputation as an unparalleled frontman.
 
Hansard is also one half of the acclaimed duo The Swell Season. In 2007, he and Czech songstress Markéta Irglová took home the Academy Award for Best Original Song for 'Falling Slowly' off the Once soundtrack. In 2013, the Broadway adaptation, Once, The Musical, won eight Tony Awards including the top musical prize itself.
 
As a solo artist he has sold-out shows worldwide and performed on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, The Tonight Show with Jay Leno, Late Show with David Letterman, Tavis Smiley, and has been featured on the Emmy Award-winning program CBS Sunday Morning. 

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Larkin Poe return to the UK this July for headline shows

Tour announcement: Larkin Poe UK shows
Tour dates: July 2015
More info: Band website

They say madness runs in the family. They say the same about creativity and passion. That's good news for Larkin Poe's sister duo Rebecca and Megan Lovell, the descendants of tortured artist and creative genius Edgar Allen Poe, who return to our shores for another headline run of live dates this July. The Atlanta-based sisters released their debut album ‘Kin’ last year, to a raft of press and radio attention, and have seen their UK following swell in the wake of a string of sold out live shows – shows that cementing their reputation for high-energy, joyous performances.

Hot on the heels of a tour in support of Elvis Costello, new single ‘Stubborn Love’ surfaces on 31 July too - a highlight from the debut album, and a song that really gets to the crux of Larkin Poe’s internal relationship, offering some insight into how they tick, both as people and artists. “Every time we fight in a hotel room / Stubborn love keeps pulling us on through.” they sing. It invites us to join them on their journey, be there for the good times and bad, and come out singing full volume at the end. The band comments;

“Having just wrapped up a 3-week tour with Elvis Costello in the UK, we are so excited to be launching straight into a Larkin Poe tour. We'll be hitting the road afresh and in support of our new single, "Stubborn Love"! All told, it'll be two months straight of touring... As sisters on the road, our bond is a strong as it's ever been and we feel that "Stubborn Love" is the perfect anthem for this tour!”

Press reaction to date

A sinewy blend of lap steel, electric guitar riffs, blunt rhythm and their tightly knit vocal harmonies…A fun energetic ride…”  - Uncut

Slick, bluesy rock, with a few real highlights”  - The Guardian

"Best Discovery at Glastonbury 2014" - The Observer

“…swings between swampy rock and moody pop, gilded with sororal harmonies” - Mail On Sunday ****

“…bristling with a Seventies classic pop rock sheen of sinuous riffs, snappy handclaps and cheeky call and response vocals… These are 12 perfectly honed tracks” - The Telegraph ****

Bluegrass rooted sisters Rebecca and Megan Lovell turn up the heat on this debut”  - Daily Mirror **** 

Sugar High has the echoes of Melissa Etheridge & Sheryl Crow at their very best but the guitar playing is pure Tom Petty meets Vince Gill.” - Maverick *****

Sweetness undercut with Spice” - Rock N Reel *****

Great harmonies and fine guitar… a thrilling duo in full flow” - Daily Express *****

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