Sonny & The Sunsets: Talent Night At The Ashram

Talent Night at the Ashra

Album release: "Talent Night At The Ashram" by Sonny & The Sunsets
Release date: 23 March 2015 (UK / EU)
Label: Polyvinyl Records
Listen / more information: on Sonny & The Sunsets website

Bizarre? Scrappy? Deranged? Sonny & the Sunsets’ latest record sees them in perhaps their strangest and most lyrically explorative phase yet.

A big soup of sonic ideas that wouldn’t normally be glued together, the songs on Talent Night at the Ashram make a large collage that mixes cinematic stories of fringe characters.

Initially envisioned as a film project, each song was originally a short film that, when strung together, formed a feature-length movie.

As Sonny Smith was writing the scripts and hiring the actors (even shooting a few of the clips), the scripts began to morph into songs.

Equal parts Fellini and Os Mutantes, Talent Night at the Ashram is cinematic in its storytelling and kaleidoscopic in its mixing and merging of musical genres.

On album opener “The Application,” Smith applies to be a human being to the tune of Beach Boys harmonies, ragtag beats and ‘80s synths.

“Happy Carrot Health Food Store” tells an epic saga of grocery store employees set to a soundtrack that takes listeners on a psychedelic odyssey with elements of jazz and a hallucinogenic sequence including a conversation with a girlfriend swimming in his beer glass, or is that a dog?

‘60s folk, electric sitars, flutes, and myriad other sounds help accentuate tales of professional bowlers in desperate need of a strike (“Icelene’s Loss”), a mansion that houses every woman Smith has ever known (“The Secluded Estate”), and Occupy meetings ending in bad love (“Secret Plot to Destroy the Underground”).

Recording was a communal effort mostly done at Smith’s home on this tape machine with musicians such as Shayde Sartin (The Fresh & Onlys), Garret Goddard (King Tuff), Kelley Stoltz, Rusty Miller, Ian McBrayer, and more.

Pairing uniquely off-the-wall stories with an ambitious musical scope, Talent Night at the Ashram finds Smith once again securing his status as one of today’s most arrestingly inventive songwriters.

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The Acorn reveal first new track in nearly five years

The Acorn

Track release: "Influence" by The Acorn
Release date: available now
Listen / more information: The Acorn website

"Off The Acorn's upcoming album Vieux Loup, "Influence" opens with an infectious acoustic guitar riff and hollowed synths that float in tandem with Klausener’s barely audible vocals, creating a sound that is entirely minimalist in its execution." – Noisey

Experimental indie-electro band The Acorn have revealed their first new music in nearly five years. The recording project of Ottawa-based musician Rolf Klausener, The Acorn will release their new studio album Vieux Loup this spring on Paper Bag Records. 

"What started as a character study on privilege, became more of a treatise on effortless confidence: like Don Cheadle strutting down the street high-fiving his worst enemies," says the band's Rolf Klausener about 'Influence'. "It was written around this lilting vocal improvisation that had no discernible verse or chorus; I wanted the melody to float from bedroom to bar, happily lost, immune to stink eyes."

Speaking to Noisey, Klausener says "I never stopped writing, but in practical terms, I didn't want a rebound," says Klausener. "The period around our last record No Ghost contained some significant break-ups, both professionally and personally. I wasn't ready to commit to anything, musically or otherwise. I'd lost perspective of the project's place in my life, and felt saddled to a horse I didn't recognize, or even know how to ride. By 2014, all distractions were exhausted, and so was I. So, I walked my ass to a cottage to root through four years worth of unfinished demos and make a lot of congee. I came home feeling like I was ready to reclaim my pony, even if she was called The Acorn." 

The Acorn will be performing as part of the Paper Bag Records SXSW Showcase at The Parish Underground (214 East 6th) on Friday, March 20th.  The Acorn will be joined by Grey Lands, Elliott BROOD, Frog Eyes, PS I Love You, and Princess Century.

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New single from Du Blonde

Du Blonde

Single release: "Black Flag" by Du Blonde
Release date: Available now as free download
Label: Mute Records
Listen: on Soundcloud

After revealing her reincarnation as DU BLONDE last week, Beth Jeans Houghton now presents the first taster of her new direction and upcoming album on Mute with 'Black Flag'. 
You can listen at http://po.st/DuBlondeBlackFlag and the track is also available as a free download from the Du Blonde website: http://po.st/DuBlondeOnline

As a statement of intent, there can be no better introduction to Du Blonde's sound than this. 'Black Flag' has thunderous drums, rumbling bass, heavy guitars and a vocal that burns with visceral rage. "You slay me with what you say and what you do / Don't try me, ‘cos I'm not in the mood," she snarls.

Anyone who knows Houghton as purveyor of offbeat baroque pop is in for a shock. "I feel no need to ease people in" explains Du Blonde. "Black Flag is a good representation of the direction of the album. There are a few quieter, thoughtful tracks but the general mood is one of finally cracking. The record is a powerful release for me. It's the result of finally sitting down and taking a look at my life, what I was angry about, what I needed to change."

'Black Flag', like much of the forthcoming album, was produced by Bad Seed and Grinderman member Jim Sclavunos, whose previous production credits include The Jim Jones Revue and The Horrors – more details to follow soon on its release on Mute this Spring.

In the meantime DU BLONDE will step out with her band for the first live performances this weekend, playing the Roundhouse Rising Festival at the Roundhouse, London and a hometown show in Newcastle at the 6Music Festival. 

Live dates / album trailer

20 February - Roundhouse Rising Festival, Roundhouse Studios, London - http://po.st/dublonderoundhouserising

22 February - 6Music Festival 2015, Newcastle upon Tyne - http://po.st/dublonde6musicfestival

Album trailer: http://po.st/DuBlondeTrailer

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Debut EP from Art Nikels

EP release: "Primitives" by Art Nikels
Release date: 30 March 2015
Label: Peach Fuzz Recordings
More information: on Art Nikels website

Art Nikels is a brewing presence in the East Bay and greater San Francisco music scene. They present a freeform blend of electronically fused psych-rock, citing influences ranging from hip-rock to kraut-höp. Unpredictable performers, their shows have reportedly oozed Flying Lotus medleys, Black Sabbath covers, and contemporary pantomime. 

Their early years in a cavernous laboratory were soon forgotten. But it was there, aside their mysterious founder and beneficiary, Arthur Nikels, (and many other established lepidopterists in the field) that they truly began to formulate the axioms of their fuzz-folk morphology. 

The Summer of 2014 saw Art Nikels’ first sunburn and a west-coast tour. They are currently set to release 'Primitives EP' on 30 March.

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New album from Jacco Gardner announced

Jacco Gardner album

Album release: "Hypnophobia" by Jacco Gardner
Release date: 4 May 2015
Label: Full Time Hobby
More information / listen: on Jacco Gardner website

"Despite drawing on influences that are 45 years old, Jacco Gardner's music feels original. For one thing it's somewhat dreamier and more layered than the music from the '60s." - NPR Music

 "His songs show so much observation and rehearsal - onstage, the vocal harmonies of his band members were impeccable..." - The New York Times

To call Jacco Gardner a daydreamer may not be as farfetched as he’d have you believe. Its meaning may refer to a fear of sleep, but with Hypnophobia (out May 4th on Full Time Hobby), the brand new album from the baroque pop prince and Dutch producer/multi-instrumentalist, Gardner’s all set to cast a majestic and vibrant psychedelic spell that will hypnotize listeners at the point dreams and reality meet. Since unveiling his Cabinet of Curiosities in 2013 (released on the Trouble In Mind label), tastemakers and fans alike have been drawn deeper into Jacco Gardner’s fantastical fairytale kingdom.

Hypnophobia captures a true sense of exploration, combining Gardner’s newfound love of travel with his continued passion for collecting and playing vintage instruments. The album features a Wurlitzer electric piano, waltzing alongside mellotrons, harpsichords, an Optigan, and an antique Steinway upright piano. It’s a stunning exhibit of lush instrumental tracks as well as songs that boast lyrics worthy of any great pop number. Fusing fantasy with sublime twisted reality, Hypnophobia was recorded in its entirety at Gardner’s Shadow Studio oddly juxtaposed in the heart of an industrial estate located midst the village of Zwaag, 30 miles north of Amsterdam.

For most tradition enthusiasts, it’d be all too easy to rehash the past. But that’s where Jacco Gardner’s differences lie. Playing all instruments except for drums, Hypnophobia brilliantly captures a unique artist and future-vintage aficionado operating at a far higher state of consciousness. Nowhere is this more apparent than on the excellent lead single, “Find Yourself,” which is streaming below and will be released by Full Time Hobby as a 7” single later this month.

Jacco Gardner tour dates

Gardner will tour the states with his bandmates, Jos Van Tol and Nic Niggebrugge, next month with stops at SXSW, Burgerama IV and Denton Music Festival, and be joined by Ultimate Painting for several dates. A full list of shows is available on the Jacco Gardner website.

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Cambridge Folk Festival: first artists revealed

Cambridge Folk Festival

Festival announcement: Cambridge Folk Festival
Dates: 30 July - 2 August 2015
More information: on Cambridge Folk Festival website

The first names have been revealed for this year’s Cambridge Folk Festival, one of the longest established and most prestigious folk festivals in the world.

An eclectic range of performances will include: legendary folk singer and activist Joan Baez, in her only UK appearance for 2015; international chart-topper Passenger, progressing from his 2011 debut on emerging talent stage The Den in its inaugural year to headlining Stage 1; a special solo appearance from hugely popular folk/punk singer songwriter Frank Turner, to coincide with the release of his book; the incomparable Joan Armatrading, accompanying herself on guitar and piano as part of her first ever worldwide solo tour; a welcome return for acclaimed Australian roots band John Butler Trio; Mercury Prize nominated Nick Mulvey, originally from Cambridge, garnering rave reviews and sell-out audiences worldwide for his fresh, hypnotic take on the acoustic singer-songwriter genre; a return to the city that gave him life-saving treatment for renowned rock and R&B guitarist Wilko Johnson, with crack touring band of Blockheads’ bassist Norman Watt-Roy and drummer Dylan Howe; irresistible entertainment juggernaut The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, celebrating 30 plucking years; Northumberland’s The Unthanks, breaking new ground with their complex combination of traditional stories and modern sonic arrangements; leading lights of the folk scene for over two decades, Show of Hands, featuring Miranda Sykes; Norwegian alt-folk-country-rock mavericks Katzenjammer, famed for their genre-mixing, riotous shows; venerable Irish traditional band Altan, re-energised by their new Appalachian-influenced CD; thrilling folk big band Treacherous Orchestra, with a rousing blend of rock and traditional Celtic sounds; one of Ireland’s leading traditional bands Danú, celebrating their 20th anniversary; Scots acid croft pioneers Shooglenifty, fusing exquisite traditional sounding tunes to devilishly dirty rhythms in their silver anniversary year; three of Britain’s finest folk musicians and interpreters, each vituosos in their own right, Martin Simpson, Andy Cutting & Nancy Kerr; doyenne of American folk Peggy Seeger, who played first ever Festival; BBC Folk Singer of the Year 2014 Bella Hardy, showcasing an innovative new sound from her ‘With The Dawn’ album; seven-piece Amsterdam Klezmer Band, mixing klezmer, balkan, ska, jazz, gypsy and hiphop; fast-rising US alt-country band with a dazzling live reputation The Lone Bellow; highly respected American folk/blues singer songwriter and guitarist Chris Smither; Kentucky’s Angaleena Presley (also a member of Pistol Annies), impressing with her modern and powerful country songs about contemporary American rural life; BBC Folk Award nominees Josienne Clarke & Ben Walker, ingeniously combining original and traditional songs with stunning musicality and skill; back by popular demand Jim Moray’s Silent Ceilidh; joyous five-piece Keston Cobblers Club with their foot-stamping mod-folk music; sensational close harmony American folk and bluegrass trio The Stray Birds; one of the hottest young bands on the Scottish traditional music scene Rura; contagiously energetic Irish quintet Goitse, winners of Live Ireland’s Trad Group of the Year 2015 Award; French Canadian trio De Temps Antan, multi-instrumentalists exploring the magnificent traditional music of Quebec; Dublin four-piece Lynched, with their anarchic, punk-influenced take on traditional Irish ballads. More names to be announced.

Having started life in 1965, the 14,000 capacity Festival draws acclaim for its combination of internationally renowned headline artists and support for up and coming young performers and continues to enjoy sell-out crowds year on year.

Popular for its unique parkland setting, great facilities and family friendliness, the Festival offers something for everyone with four covered stages, street theatre, music workshops and sessions, raucous ceilidhs, open stages, a youth area, internet café, kids’ ceilidh, storytelling, free creche, paddling pool and playground, real ale bars.

In 2014 Cambridge Folk Festival won the highest possible environmental honour at the Greener Festival Awards, becoming one of only nine festivals worldwide and one of only two in the UK to achieve the Outstanding category.

Tickets: Full Festival £150; Thursday £25.50; Friday £55.50; Saturday £65.50; Sunday £65.50. Camping: (Full Festival tickets only, per 2-3 berth tent) Cherry Hinton £61.50, Coldham’s Common (second site) £42.50.  All ticket prices include booking fees.  

Box Office 01223 357851 or www.cambridgefolkfestival.co.uk

Cambridge Folk Festival is promoted by Cambridge Live with support from Cambridge City Council.

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Andrea Balency releases 2nd EP, 'Volcano'

Volcano

EP release: 'Volcano' by Andrea Balency (features new single, 'Waterfalls')
Release date: 16 March
Label: Bataille Music
Listen / more artist information: Andrea Balency

Franco-Mexican artist, singer, instrumentalist and producer Andrea Balency follows her breakthrough 2014 with a brand new EP entitled Volcano, demonstrating a growth in style, experience and quality beyond that which she has already earned. Having moved from Paris where she originally settled to write her debut EP Walls (released summer 2014 via Bataille); she now resides in London for an expanded approach to her classically trained electronic compositions.

Balency treats her new forays into sound and melody as research - that is, she experiments and builds a mesh of unfound soundscapes from scratch to achieve a rare sui generis. Each track on this new EP expresses a high resolution of sounds entwining as if it were easy, even on the at times seemingly sparse arrangements. With such a detailed level of consideration, in an avant-garde genre no less, her inherent talent is undeniable, and puts her in the same musical league as Cocteau Twins, Bjork and Jessy Lanza.  

Take for example her unrecognizable cover of John Martyn’s already inimitable ‘Please Fall In Love With Me’. The extra sentiment Balency is able to pack into the classic is a true feat. Elsewhere, the progression from her debut EP is perhaps most obvious in her vocal work. Having stood out for, and built her persona in, the ‘cutely-breathy-females scene’ (The Guardian), Volcano demonstrates a much more rich, more mature, more strong, vocal ability. Her voice has always been a key strength in her arsenal, yet she has discovered a new way to utilise it, finding a beautiful relationship between voice and drums, as if the voice is the thumping heart of a big storm.

RBMA certified, Balency has been charming the music industry ever since her musical presence was spotted in the Mexican art-rock scene. She has since been singled out for tour support by James Blake, Au Revoir Simone, Inc. and Mount Kimbie to name a few, and was even hand-selected by The Cure for the closing gig of their worldwide tour at the Mexico DF stadium, for 50,000 people.

She’s seen many collaborations with a number of producers, of which particular highlights are vocal features on the FKA Twigs / We Are Shining track ‘Breaks’ and on Airhead’s lauded album “For Years”. In fact, the 1-800 Dinosaur co-founder (aka Rob McAndrews) frequently joins Balency on production duties, as he did for her successful debut recording ‘Walls’ (feat single ‘You’ve Never Been Alone’). Festival slots at Calvi On The Rocks, SXSW and Sonar; recent tours with Banks, Metronomy and London Grammar and continual approval from esteemed press are further testaments to Balency’s outstanding talent.

This new EP marks not only a continuation of her achievements so far, but a build towards even more refined material. You can expect another single collaboration with Airhead in the summer; her debut album very soon after, and a more abundant and emphatic live presence than ever.

Andrea Balency plays the following shows in March and April 2015:
March : w/ Sallie Ford, Findlay, C.A.R., etc. @ Festival Les Femmes S'en Mêlent

  • 06.03: La Luciole, Alençon @ Festival Les Femmes S'en Mêlent
  • 21.03: Chapelle Saint-Jacques, Vendôme
  • 22.03: Le Ciel, Grenoble
  • 29.03: Gare de Coustellet
  • 09.04.15: Co-headline show w/ Koudlam & Superpoze @ Festival des Artefacts, Strasbourg
  • 15.05.15: The Great Escape Festival, Brighton

Press for 2014 debut EP ‘Walls’

  • ‘Everything is immediately appealing, easy on the ear, but will satisfy fans of the avant-garde, reminding you that sometimes, flukes – out-there experiments such as O Superman – can suddenly find their way into millions of homes.’ - The Guardian
  • ‘A truly cosmopolitan mix.. with urban synth lines resembling ‘CMYK’-era Blake to a T. Her vocals place her firmly in a class of her own though.’ - NME
  • ‘A spectacular piece of work.’ - Stereogum 
  • ‘It’s easy to see why she’s in great demand: Cocteau Twins-meets-SBTRKT waves of avant-garde gorgeousness’’ - Q Magazine
  • ‘The sound of something beautifully fragile shattering into a pearlescent emulsion. Pulls you in at first listen but reveals murkier undertones as you jam the repeat button. We like it a lot.’ – Noisey
  • ‘Rather than adding to what has become the echo chamber of EDM, Balency’s ethereal voice and soft structures instead aim to mimic the movements of contemporary dance.’ – The New York Times
  • Radio support from Gilles Peterson, BBC 6Music

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Robin Adams to release VanGogh-inspired album

Robin Adams

Album release: 'The Garden' by Robin Adams
Release date: 13 April 2015
Label: Backshop records
Listen / more artist information: on Facebook

‘The Garden’, the fourth studio album from Glaswegian acoustic performer Robin Adams, most certainly has a 19th century aesthetic throughout. Much of the album's content stems from a huge influence from the life and death of Vincent VanGogh, Adams’ lyrics really channelling his profound appreciation for the man and his seemingly unflinching dedication to his work, and the sacrifices he made for art's sake. He notes how VanGogh’s relationship with both the darkness and the light of existence were so inherently tied to his unique expressive art form, and in order for him to capture these wild energies in his work, he had to first invite them and become them, often to his physical and mental detriment, going on to say; “He was willing to put himself through that turmoil without question, regardless of a distinct lack of success. That is something that as an individual scares me and as a songwriter and artist I am in awe of. I soon realised that his influence on me was far too substantial to be worked into one song. His effect on me was more deserving of a full body of work and so it unravelled from me very naturally and quickly. Most of creativity is stumbling on the muse and then everything else tends to fall into place.”

Drawing on influences like Bert Jansch, Nick Drake, John Fahey, Vincent VanGogh, Neutral Milk Hotel and Arthur Rimbaud, the record has a predominant theme throughout. Although two of the ten songs are themed on the tragedy of war and one poem in particular by Arthur Rimbaud, 'Sleeper in the Valley', the rest of the songs are based around the character of the archetypal struggling artist; struggling being a state that Adams knows all too well. For in spite of his numerous awards (The Burns Song Award, The Billy Kelly Songwriting Award, Emerging Excellence Award) a chronic illness has held him back from realising any kind of touring schedule. His previous record ‘Wilt’ documented these darker times, selling out its limited run, finding popularity thanks to its claustrophobic and gloomy qualities.

Even the recording process was deeply personal. The entire album was recorded by Adams on his own, in a bedroom over looking a garden. “I approached every song as I imagined VanGogh might have went at a painting. There had to be the capturing of a moment, there had to be a rawness and a truth in every performance. If I didn't transcend in some respect during the song, I knew it wasn't acceptable.”

The Garden is released on April 13th through Backshop Records.  

Reaction

  • **** - Q Magazine
  • "Strummed ruminations worthy of John Martyn" - The Skinny ****

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Award-winning festival Bearded Theory announces strongest line-up yet

Bearded Theory

Festival announcement: Bearded Theory
Dates: 21-24 May 2015
Location: Catton Hall, South Derbyshire
More information / tickets: on Bearded Theory site

The unique, family friendly festival Bearded Theory are thrilled to announce what is their strongest line-up yet in 2015, their 8th year. Multi-million selling indie legends JAMES will now bring the festival to an emphatic close when they headline the festival on Sunday night. Fresh from a sold out UK tour, their 13th studio album La Petite Mort was released earlier this year to critical acclaim and hailed as one of the “Best Albums of 2014” by The Guardian featuring the singles ‘Moving On’, ’Frozen Britain’ ‘Curse Curse’ and 'All I'm Saying', all mainstays on BBC6 Music.

Jim Glennie from James said: “It's a real pleasure to be asked to play at Bearded Theory 2015. I've heard great things about the festival and I appreciate the ethics and principles behind it. I'm thoroughly looking forward to it and I hope we can end the weekend with a bang”.

Steve Blount from Bearded Theory says “We are delighted to have secured arguably our biggest booking to date while freezing adult ticket prices and having reduced or frozen child ticket prices. 2015 is on course to be our quickest sell out in our history after 25% of our capacity sold on the first day tickets went on sale and with early bird tickets selling out in less than 4 minutes”.

Bearded Theory is a creative and performing arts family festival hosted in the heart of England at the picturesque Catton Park on the West Midlands and Staffordshire border. Hosted over 4 days, with a line up unrivalled against the ticket price and still allowing your own drinks into the arena, Bearded Theory remains the best value independent festival in the country. Bearded Theory remains independent and the organisers remain unsalaried and work fulltime. This means they can deliver the best festival experience possible against the ticket price.

The festival has set up home at Catton Park where the festival showcases 5 stages including a Woodland Stage celebrating the National Forest location, a dance arena, huge outdoor Main Stage and all with cutting edge production. The festival is hosted over Spring Bank Holiday 21st – 24th May 2015.

See more at: www.beardedtheory.co.uk/line-up

An iconic year in the making...

2015 is set to be an iconic year for Bearded Theory. As well as the eclectic range of music on show there is, amongst other things; a teen area run by the Drop Inn, the amazing Children’s Village, more site art by the wonderful Labyrinth Arts and finally Groovie Movie Solar Cinema will be making an appearance. These changes along with bringing back the old favourites such as the real ale bars operated by award winning brewery Thornbridge, allowing own drinks into the arena, the magical Woodland Stage, Disco Shed, Open Mic Tea Tent, Magical Sounds, Victorian Circus, Healing & Earth Area, wandering weirdness all mean 2015 is on course to be our best festival yet.

 

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Rare and unreleased material from Bob Marley coming in February

Bob Marley

CD / DVD / Blu-ray release: "Easy Shanking in Boston '78" by Bob Marley and The Wailers
Release date: 17 February 2015
Label: Universal

Bob Marley’s 70th birthday year (2015) will include a variety of releases and events to commemorate the legend, his work and iconic impact.  Over the course of the year, his legacy will be remembered by new releases of rare and unreleased material as well as fan favorite deluxe editions of his most memorable work.  The first release will be available on February 17.   BOB MARLEY & THE WAILERS – EASY SKANKING IN BOSTON ’78, features two historic live shows from Boston’s Music Hall, June 8, 1978.  This new and unreleased performance  is from the Marley family giving unprecedented access for the first time to their  personal material from their private collections and their vaults. The album will be available on blu-ray/cd combo pack as well as dvd/cd and standalone cd versions.  Additional newly created animated material will also be a part of this release, marking the first time the family has incorporated this technology into any official Marley releases.  

The video footage was shot with a hand-held camera by a fan that Marley allowed to sit right in front of the stage. The result is remarkable imagery that captures Marley from just a few feet away, allowing one to experience the intimacy of his set.  While the cinematographer was shooting with film and forced to change rolls of tape, the gaps in the live footage have been augmented with specially created animation over the existing audio. The animation video elements were produced and created by the animation team of S77 whose credits include recent projects for Bruno Mars, Pearl Jam, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Disney, ESPN and many others. The 46-minute video includes seven of the 13 songs in the full set.

Highlights of the performance include a lively “Jammin’” and “The Heathen,” a song Marley and the band didn’t perform during the second set. The show features them at their most comfortable, truly enjoying themselves in the spotlight, basking in the appreciation of the audience.

Marley, a Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee, is notable not only as the man who put reggae on the global map, but, as a statesman in his native Jamaica, he famously brought together the country’s warring factions — symbolized by rival politicians Michael Manley and Edward Siega joining hands on-stage -- during his legendary “One Love Peace Concert” in Kingston, which took place on April 22, 1978, less than six weeks before this Music Hall performance in Boston. It was five years since Marley and the band arrived from Jamaica, with the 1977 release of EXODUS, recorded in London just after an assassination attempt on his life, turned into not just a socio-political statement, but one which included such hits as the title track, “Waiting In Vain” and “One Love,” paving the way for their next release Kaya and a world tour in ’78.  Together with his music’s theme of liberation, Marley’s own rags-to-riches story brought inspiration to subjugated people around the world, where he was revered as a larger-than-life leader. 

Today, Bob Marley remains one of the 20th century’s most important and influential entertainment icons. Marley’s lifestyle and music continue to inspire new generations as his legacy lives on through his music. In the digital era, he has the second-highest social media following of any posthumous celebrity, with the official Bob Marley Facebook page drawing more than 74 million fans, ranking it among the Top 20 of all Facebook pages and Top 10 among celebrity pages. Marley’s music catalog has sold millions of albums worldwide

Thirty years after its original release, Bob Marley & The Wailers’, LEGEND, shared the top of the charts, holding the No. 5 spot on Billboard’s 200 Album Chart among Maroon 5 (#1), Jeezy (#2), Guardians of the Galaxy Soundtrack (#3), and Ariana Grande (#4). LEGEND also holds the distinction of being the longest-charting album in the history of Billboard magazine’s Catalog Albums chart and remains the world’s best-selling reggae album. Marley’s accolades include inductions into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame (1994) and ASCAP Songwriters Hall of Fame (2010), a GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award (2001), multiple entries in the GRAMMY® Hall Of Fame, and a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame (2001).  For more information visit: bobmarley.com and facebook.com/bobmarley. 

The set listing for the BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS – EASY SKANKING IN BOSTON ’78 CD:

  • Slave Driver
  • Burnin' and Lootin
  • Them Belly Full
  • The Heathen
  • Rebel Music
  • I Shot the Sheriff
  • Easy Skanking
  • No Woman, No Cry
  • Lively Up Yourself
  • Jammin'
  • War/No More Trouble
  • Get Up Stand Up
  • Exodus

The set listing for the BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS – EASY SKANKING IN BOSTON ’78 Blu-Ray/DVD:

  • Rebel Music
  • I Shot the Sheriff
  • No Woman, No Cry
  • Lively Up Yourself
  • Jamming
  • War/No More Trouble
  • Exodus

The complete list of the performers on BOB MARLEY AND THE WAILERS – EASY SKANKING IN BOSTON ‘78 :

  • Bob Marley - vocals, guitar
  • Carlton Barrett – drums
  • Aston Barrett – bass
  • Marcia Griffiths - backup vocals
  • Rita Marley - backup vocals
  • Judy Mowatt - backup vocals
  • Tyrone Downie – keyboards
  • Alvin Patterson – percussion
  • Julian Marvin - lead guitar

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Inti Rowland's debut LP ‘17th Century Japanese Aviary’ out on 13 April 2015

Inti Rowland

Album release: '17 Century Japanese Aviary' by Inti Rowland
Release date: 13 April 2015
Pre-orders: via Bandcamp
Listen on: Inti Rowland website

‘Inti’s voice has a kind of choir-boy purity to it, yet isn’t lacking in emotional texture, his guitar-playing is bright and subtle, and his song writing is sophisticated, particularly in terms of structure’ – The Blue Walrus

‘When FFS first heard Inti’s delicate voice, we knew instantly he had captured something unusual and very compelling. His lofty voice floats above gentle melodies … it really is splendid stuff.’ – For Folk’s Sake

Recorded in six days in a converted chapel in the Scottish highlands, '17th Century Japanese Aviary' is the first full length release from London-based singer-songwriter Inti Rowland. Rowland’s fingerpicked guitar sits in the fore but the album soars way beyond the foundations of traditional singer songwriters with brass, a string quartet and light percussion adding to the mix.

Born in Chile in the early 90’s to a travelling art student mother and a garlic selling, alcoholic father, Inti Rowland’s upbringing was certainly interesting. Having lived in a garden shed in his childhood, Rowland was keen to escape from the spider refuge and let free his musical musings. London shows and independently released EP’s in the following years were no doubt paramount in shaping Rowland as an artist and debut album ‘17th Century Japanese Aviary’ has a lot to owe to his early endeavours.

The album was recorded in a secluded and peaceful setting just thirty miles from the heritage-rich Perth, Scotland. The bare surroundings and expansive country side are enough to inspire the least creative of minds and thus Rowland, of course, was able to flourish in the environment. The album was recorded in the summer and Rowland poetically recreates the motivating effect the surroundings had on the recording sessions: ‘The Scottish summer had a hint of warmth and the days were long and bright. Light would stream into our recording studio through the long church windows and daylight would persist until gone eleven at night, helping with the long hours.

Rowland’s thought provoking and inspiring attitude to his writing allows the listener to engage with the music more so than usual. The emerging artist encourages interpretation and notes the universal nature of the human existence. ‘the way I like to approach song writing is to acknowledge that most human experiences and emotions are universal… songs are loose things, and while for the artist they might come from a place of hurt or wonderment, primarily a song is one persons take on an experience and if done well, then they can mean anything to anyone.’

Track 4, the record’s title track, is certainly a highlight of the album. The exposed and bare exhibition of Rowland’s soft vocals and nylon string guitar needs no instrumental backing. The notes from the opening jazz-inspired chords resonate and high notes stand out for effect offering a melodic quality to the introduction. The track has gifted its subject matter from a book. It is based around the idea of an ancient Japanese courting tradition where when a man loves a women he would give her an aviary full of tropical birds as gesture of his affection. When something amazing happens in their lives, they'd then open the gates to the aviary and watch all the birds fly away. Rowland notes in his lyrics the beautiful trust and hope laced within this gift of love.

A diverse album, ‘17th Century Japanese Aviary’ is at times reminiscent of a 70’s  Nick Drake record. A string quartet adds to this and the addition of brass hints at a John Martyn hayday. The church setting gives Rowland’s soft vocals reverberation that gives way to a Benjamin Francis Leftwich-style track. In fact, the intimate yet full bodied experimentation is on par with other modern folk greats such as Laura Marling, Ben Howard, Grizzly Bear or The Low Anthem. For a debut album there really is not much else you can ask of this emerging singer and songwriting talent.

Inti will be announcing a number of tour dates soon including a special album launch showcase in London. For the mean time, experience his live opulence by watching his St Mary’s & St Pancras Old Church sessions at www.youtube.com/intirowland

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New EP coming from ticktock

Ticktock

EP release: 'TCOLT EP' by ticktock
Relase date: 16 March 2015
Label: The Big Oil Recording Company
Listen / more information: on Facebook / label website

Part-Danish, and nominal part-English citizen, Sebastian Zieler (ticktock) is ready to release his latest EP. Cryptically entitled ‘TCOLT EP’, this is the product of long sessions spent drawing sound with MS Paint-looking audio-imaging software, live recording and technical playfulness. The result is immediate, but otherworldly - like pop conceived of elsewhere.

Eager listening, from obscure DIY-punk to minimal techno to Destiny's Child (just listen to ‘Would You Look At God Go!’) the influences are many and varied, but no matter the technical approach, and no matter what genres and specific artists may be referenced sonically, the red thread in ticktock's music is an interest in the world: a profoundly enamoured and confused longing that permeates the EP from start to finish.

As an example, standout track ‘A- A- A’ started off as what Zieler describes as a “botched attempt at making two-step” and immediately morphed into some sort of very slow, fragmented and morose afro-beat, with the syncopated beats and languid basslines serving as a skeleton for an intensely direct and beautiful song, far from the dark, skittish ambience of its original point of reference.

‘TCOLT EP’ is strewn with charming synth based melodies drenched in melancholy, and compelling vocals which are both exciting and enthralling. From the lethargic and dreamy ‘A-A-A’, to the minimal yet prominent synth driven self-built canticle ‘I W R D T S Y O’, both the EP and Zieler experiment with a number of different soundscapes each more captivating than the last. Zieler says that, “The EP is about endings and what comes after - both privately, about love, and a more general sense; an apocalyptic idea, but not in a particularly dark way. More in a liberating sense.”

Zieler took up the moniker ‘ticktock’ because of a “life-long fascination and frustration with time”, and with the ‘TCOLT EP’ clocking in at just over 14 minutes you’ll find yourself frustrated that it was all over so soon, and wondering what’s coming next.

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"Wissenschaftslehre IV or Opinion Crisis" by Sharks' Teeth out in March

Sharks' Teeth album artwork

Album release: "Wissenschaftslehre IV or Opinion Crisis" by Sharks' Teeth
Release date: 17 March 2015
Label: Paco Tapes
Listen on: Sharks' Teeth website

Sharks’ Teeth began in 2009 as an outlet for the solo recordings of Tyler Scurlock, songwriter and guitarist of New Orleans indie band, Sun Hotel. Six years and six synthesizers later, and Sharks’ Teeth are ready to release their 17th album ‘Wissenschaftslehre IV or Opinion Crisis’. The new album will be the fourth instalment in a sequence of ambient collections known as ‘Wissenschaftslehres’.

Borrowing its name from the German Philosopher, Johann Fichte, who used the term to mean something along the lines of “this is the way I think”, ‘Opinion Crisis’ comes to us in 22 tracks of pleasing yet dark, and dejected synth waves, maintaining a sense of otherworldly beauty across the board, with gorgeous pads and arpeggiators making their way across the stereo field in a hazy, oxymoronically lo-fi, cassette-recorded fashion.

True to its heritage ‘Opinion Crisis’ is philosophical in its execution. There is something almost cinematic in its design. Scurlock says “I think about how when the score enters a film, it can make a scene of an everyday task such as grocery shopping, folding your laundry, or just staring out the window appear to be an emotional and deeply meaningful experience, depending on the musical tones”.

Lead track, ‘Jade Oscilloscope Screen’ exemplifies this perfectly by blending dark, melancholic and swelling drones, with beguiling piano and subtle sweeps, which seduces the listener into forgoing any distractions and gives them a bespoke feeling of significance. It’s soothing, accommodating, and at times it is evocative of an outer body experience allowing the listener to inspect every element of their own mise en scène. This is more than just an album of pleasing synth driven tracks, it’s a collection of emotions and moods bestowed on to the listener for his/her own subjective delineation.

‘Wissenschaftslehre IV or ‘Opinion Crisis’ will also be the first release to feature the use of Scurlock’s very own design for a light operated delay device, the ‘Alter-Echo’. This unit, designed and distributed by Scurlock’s small time circuit bending operation kindinstruments.com, gives the tracks on ‘Opinion Crisis’ a new quality, made possible through a new way of controlling the expression of tone. These unfamiliar textures reveal themselves in the warped strings of opening track ‘Reader’s Digest Go Unread’ and in the bending and bouncing melody of ‘Gray Court’.

‘Opinion Crisis’ is a lush experience, with flittering electronic haze and minimal vocal work, seeming to allude to leisure and faith. It’s when explicit structure reveals itself from this record’s reverb-y fog that makes this the kind of record worth paying attention to the little sonic details.

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Dan Walsh to release "Incidents and Accidents" on March 16

Dan Walsh: Incidents & Accidents

Album release: "Incidents and Accidents" by Dan Walsh
Release date: 16 March 2015
Label: Rooksmere Records
Listen: on Dan Walsh website

'The real deal, a demon picker' - Uncut
'Incredibly gifted, you must see him' - BBC Radio 2
'Eclectically inspired and consistently brilliant' – fRoots

INCIDENTS & ACCIDENTS is the highly anticipated follow up to Dan Walsh’s critically acclaimed SAME BUT DIFFERENT album release. On the new album we get to hear Dan in a more stripped back format with just a few guest appearances from Patsy Reid (fiddle), Nic Zuppardi (mandolin), Mark Hutchinson (percussion/vocals) and Canadian singer Meaghan Blanchard. The album was also produced by Mark Hutchinson at his Rooksmere Studios, known for producing albums by Blair Dunlop, Fabian Holland and of course Walsh & Pound. There are seven songs and four instrumentals. The song lyrics are a major focus on this album but there is still plenty of Dan’s signature fast and furious banjo playing to keep the fans happy. Of the livelier songs Time To Stay tells of Dan’s mixed emotions of moving back to his home town of Stafford after six years living in Newcastle upon Tyne along with the bluegrass inspired Lost Rambler, showing his love of the mountain music minor tunings. Of the slower songs, the contemplative Dancing In The Wind and The Song Always Stays are perfect examples, the former telling of a moving moment on a family holiday in Ireland and the latter relates to Dan and Nic Zuppardi’s experience of playing a gig to Scottish singer Glen Mason in a Surrey care home and rekindling his love of singing and performing in his twilight years. Dan originally started playing banjo due to his love of Scottish and Irish jigs and reels and the aptly named The Tune Set contains four tunes from a slow air building right up to a fast and furious reel with names inspired from touring from the Isle of Barra to New Zealand. To complete the musical world tour, Whiplash Reel displays Dan’s new found passion for Indian classical music.

Touted as one of the finest banjo players in the UK as well as being a superb singer, songwriter and guitarist, Dan Walsh is described as 'The real deal' in UNCUT magazine. To date he has released two critically acclaimed solo albums and has toured the world including visits to Canada, Norway, Germany, India and New Zealand and of course has played solo at venues and festivals across the UK. Having made his name with the duo Walsh and Pound and now a member of the award winning Urban Folk Quartet, as well as guest appearances on stage and on record with the Levellers and Seth Lakeman, this unique and eclectic musician continues to stun audiences across the world.

His eclectic and innovative approach has led to many exciting collaborations alongside his solo work and the UFQ, including tours with Northeast concertina legend Alistair Anderson and with sensational Indian sarangi player Suhail Yusuf Khan as well as Canadian country singer Meaghan Blanchard.

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More acts, including Iggy Pop, added to ATP Iceland line-up

atp.jpg

All Tomorrow's Parties are thrilled to announce the new line-up additions for the third edition of ATP Iceland festival in 2015, held at the former US Air Force base Ásbrú in Keflavík near the nation's capital.

Joining confirmed acts like Run The Jewels, Deafheaven, Vision Fortune, headliners Belle & Sebastian as well as Godspeed You! Black Emperor, who play Iceland for the first time since 2002, are Iggy Pop, Drive Like Jehu, The Bug, Ought and Clipping.

The inimitable Iggy Pop will play his first solo shows in a decade, performing classic hits from Lust for Life and The Idiot. Drive Like Jehu, who last year played their first show in almost 20 years, can claim to be one of the most seminal and influential artists of recent time and of course famously feature members of Rocket From The Crypt, Hot Snakes and Obits. Their ATP Iceland 2015 appearance will be the only place you can see them live at a European festival this summer. Elsewhere, Ólafur Arnalds’ much lauded home grown techno project Kiasmos will grace the main stage.

ATP Iceland 2015 line-up (so far)

Iggy Pop, Drive Like Jehu, Belle and Sebastian, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Run The Jewels, Mudhoney, Deafheaven, Iceage, Loop, Chelsea Wolfe, The Field, White Hills, Ghostigital, Vision Fortune, Younghusband, Tall Firs, Kiasmos, Ham, Clipping, Ought, Xylouris White, The Bug, Grimm Grimm. Further announcements to be made early 2015 

ATP founder Barry Hogan: ''The legendary Iggy Pop, coupled with the return of ATP favourites Drive Like Jehu and all the amazing stuff already announced surely makes the pilgrimage to Iceland a no brainer.''  

ATP Iceland will be held at Ásbrú, the former NATO base in Keflavík, Iceland. The former NATO base dates back to 1941 and the last US military personnel left in 2006. The site is located only 5 minutes away from Iceland's main international airport, 15 minutes from the famous Blue Lagoon and 30 minutes from Reykjavík. The festival site will host two indoor stages and a cinema with films picked by ATP and the bands, as well as the usual ATP extracurricular activities like DJs, Pop Quiz and much more.

Details of the curator(s) of the ever-popular cinema schedule will be announced soon, as well as info of the food and drink element of the festival that brings so much happiness to attendees each year, as they devour some Icelandic food between bands.

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Wolf Colony: Debut Album 'Unmasked'

Wolf Colony

Album release: "Unmasked" by Wolf Colony
Release date: 03/03/15
Listen on: Wolf Colony website

“It’s always been a special treat when an act whom we had been previously unaware of completely sweeps us off of our feet.” - The Music Ninja 

“Wolf Colony is the kind of music for dancing alone. Maybe with a lover. Maybe with the fresh laundry you need to fold. Maybe just a little car dancing. It’s dark but far from depressing.” - The Burning Ear 

“Gosh, “Youth is another jam. It is the perfect example of music and lyrics complementing each other so well.” - Sunset in the Rearview 

“Percussive pop and sultry electronics forge a sound and a song in “Beauty” that is so enticing, it is impossible to not be charmed.” - Mostly Junkfood 

Based out of New York City, Wolf Colony is an anonymous singer-songwriter who began collaborating with music producer Neal Sarin in 2012 with no initial intention of pursuing a career as a recording artist.

Wolf Colony delivers a new blend of electronic-pop, drawing influences from 80s synth-pop to indie rock, while slipping in subtle stylistic nuances inspired by various contemporary electronic artists. Rather than indulging in over-production, Wolf Colony adorns his songs with relatively bare arrangements, leaving ample room for his unique vocal presence and deeply personal lyricism.  

Since the release of his debut EP, Welcome to the Wild Side, Wolf Colony has organically grown a global following and has performed at various music venues including Bowery Ballroom, House of Blues and Brooklyn Bowl.

In 2015, Wolf Colony plans to debut his full-length album entitled, “Unmasked”, which is exclusively produced by Sarin. The LP will feature previously released favorites, “Beauty”, “Youth” and “Holy” in addition to an array of unreleased material.

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The Lucid Dream release their self-titled sophomore album on 30 March

Album release: "The Lucid Dream" (self-titled)
Release date: 30 March 2015
Label: Holy are You? Recordings (CD/digital) and The Great Pop Supplement (coloured vinyl)
Listen: on Bandcamp

The Lucid Dream’s 2nd album follows on from 2 hugely successful singles taken from the long player, ‘Moonstruck’ and ‘Unchained’, both released in 2014. Between them the singles gained support from BBC Radio 1, 2 plus major support from BBC 6 Music (Lauren Laverne, Marc Riley (including 2 sessions), Steve Lamacq, 6 Music Recommends, Tom Robinson and Gideon Coe). ‘Moonstruck’ earned the accolade of the fastest sell-out in Too Pure Singles Club history, selling out a month in advance of release, with both singles coinciding with sold-out UK dates.

Formed in Carlisle, Cumbria, in 2008, throughout 2010-2013 followed a string of sold-out 7”s, an EP and the debut album, ‘Songs Of Lies and Deceit’. These releases coincided with support slots/tours with Death In Vegas, Clinic, Spectrum, A Place To Bury Strangers, The Magic Band, The Aliens and Dead Skeletons, to name a few. Always a band with the ability to combine melody with experimentation and noise, it came as no surprise that earlier releases gained plaudits across the board.

From a live perspective, The Lucid Dream have completed 4 European tours, and appeared at festivals such as The Big Chill, Kendal Calling, and notably being the only act to be asked to perform at all 3 events held for the Liverpool International Festival Of Psychedelia. They were also asked to perform at Jodrell Bank Live, to an audience of 5,000.

The debut long player ‘Songs Of Lies and Deceit’ was released in August 2013 to critical acclaim from Uncut, Clash, Q, Rocksound, Classic Rock Magazine, and leading French print mag Les Inrocks. Reviews heaped praise on the bands ability to make a sonically challenging album, whilst maintaining an ear for a tune throughout.

New album ‘The Lucid Dream’ demonstrates the band covering new areas, as always is the ethos of band. ‘Mona Lisa’ and ‘Cold Killer’ channel the influence of German geniuses Can and Neu!, through to the free-form jazz/noise freak-out that is ‘Darkest Day’/’Head Musik’. The success of ‘Moonstruck’ and ‘Unchained’ has already shown the ability to have appeal across the board, whilst ‘Unchained Dub’ (already a live favourite) expresses the love of King Tubby/Lee ‘Scratch’ Perry, already noted by fans and critics alike that The Lucid Dream are the only band of their ilk touching across so many areas. ‘Morning Breeze’, throughout its 7 minutes displays feedback experiments in the vein of Sonic Youth, through to the spaced-out bliss demonstrated by Verve. The album closes with ‘You + I’, a nod to early 60s pop, meets Mazzy Star, meets Spiritualized circa ‘Ladies and Gentlemen’.

Reaction

  • ‘A tremolo powered, Sonic Youth submarine voyage to Joe Meeks fabulous undersea kingdom’ - The Quietus
  • 'Stirring, epic material designed to expand minds and shatter the consciousness' - Clash
  • 'One beautiful, half-remembered hallucination' - Q
  • ‘A sea of Mary Chain distortion’ - Uncut 
  • “They revel in extracting every last tone from their combined wall of sound” - Classic Rock
  • “Tinnitus-tempting jangling guitars smothered in delicious reverb… it’s amongst the best psychedelic rock trips of 2013.” - The Line of Best Fit
  • “Skittish drums and gently psychedelic keys” - Rock Sound
  • “The guitars buzz, swirl and shimmer amidst expansive soundscapes” - Shindig!
  • Radio support from Huw Stephens, Lauren Laverne, Marc Riley, Steve Lamacq, Gideon Coe and more

Tour dates

To coincide with the album release The Lucid Dream will play the following UK headline shows, followed immediately by a European headline tour:

  • Saturday 7th February: Wrexham Un Deg Un
  • Thursday 12th February: Bristol The Mothers Ruin
  • Friday 13th February: Liverpool The Magnet
  • Saturday 14th February: Manchester The Roadhouse
  • Friday 20th February: Newcastle The Cluny 2
  • Saturday 21st February: Carlisle The Brickyard
  • Tuesday 24th February: London Birthdays

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Bella Hardy to release 'With The Dawn' on 30 March

Bella Hardy

Album: "With The Dawn" by Bella Hardy
Release date: 30 March 2015
Label: Noe Records
Listen / more information: on Bella Hardy website

Bella Hardy’s seventh solo album With The Dawn – her first since being named BBC Radio 2 Folk Singer Of The Year in 2014– isn’t just the latest collection of songs from this prolific and ingenious artist. The album is an account of one year of her life. Where previously Bella has adapted and explored traditional ballads and fables to tell her contemporary folk tales, the stories that inspired these songs are her own experiences: good and bad, happy or sad.

With The Dawn is a more intimate and reflective album than before. Working with producer Ben Seal, the arrangements are more instinctive, more reactive, as befits the mind-set that informed the lyrics. Vivid brass gives way to lonesome piano; choral voices peal; banjos emerge out of beats and blips. Elements of the initial demos, sometimes recorded into a phone as the thoughts occurred, have been kept. Whatever instrument was nearest to hand was grabbed and deployed whenever and wherever (even on one occasion in the bath) giving With The Dawn its striking immediacy.

These are songs written on the road, full of that sense of displacement, longing and contemplation that all itinerant musicians know. This was a time for a turning-30 Bella where nothing was stable. Documenting that flux as an album was a way to make sense of it all. On With The Dawn, Bella’s soaring kite-like voice is married to lyrics that poetically question everything she’s seen and done up till now; letting go of expectations, both other people’s and her own. But with closing lullaby And We Begin there’s a light at the end... or rather the beginning.

Only one song didn’t spring directly from Bella’s year of touring and tumult. Jolly Good Luck To The Girl That Loves A Soldier was commissioned by Songs For The Voiceless, a project which gathered the country’s best folk artists to sing some of the lesser known stories of World War I. The resulting album was one of many bold paths Bella Hardy’s career has taken in recent years. From collaborating with Martin Simpson, John Smith and others on the hugely acclaimed Elizabethan Sessions, to a joint tour with Edinburgh miserablist Blue Rose Code, and an international songwriter exchange with Canada’s Cara Luft who also guests on this album.

Bella grew up in Edale in the Peak District but now lives in Edinburgh. Although the Hardy family sang in the local choir, it was a combination of her childhood love for ballad books and visits to local folk festivals that decided her future. At 13 she began performing at Cambridge and Sidmouth festivals and in 2004 reached the final of the BBC Young Folk Award, having taught herself to fiddle sing. Following a BA in English Literature and a Masters degree in Music, Bella released her debut album Night Visiting in 2007. One of its songs, Three Black Feathers was nominated for a BBC Folk Award. It was her first original composition.

Since then Bella has continued to record and perform at a tremendous rate; appearing on numerous BBC radio and TV programmes, singing solo in a sold-out Albert Hall at the Proms, composing the music for a Radio 4 documentary on the Post Office, writing with former Beautiful South founder David Rotheray, forming an all-female fiddle group with folk royalty Eliza Carthy, and winning yet another Radio 2 Folk Award for her original song The Herring Girl. Her 2013 album battleplan, a collection of reimagined traditional songs, received the best reviews of her career, with multiple stars showered on it from the broadsheets and folk press alike.

Reaction

  • “Rare class and exceptional emotional depth” - Mojo
  • “An aura of sophistication that will win over listeners who never set foot in a folk club” - The Sunday Times
  • “A fine, no-nonsense interpreter of traditional music and an excellent songwriter” - The Guardian
  • “One of the best songwriters of her generation” - fRoots
  • “A natural ability to fashion catchy pop hooks in the forge of big, doom-laden folk songs” - Songlines

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New album from of Montreal out on 2 March

of Montreal - Aureate Gloom art

Album release: "Aureate Gloom" by of Montreal
Release date: 2 March 2015
Label: Polylvinyl
Listen: on official of Montreal website

"A golden despondency" is how Kevin Barnes translates the meaning behind Aureate Gloom, the title he gave of Montreal's thirteenth full-length album. 

The oxymoron is one Barnes says best describes the overall state of his life and mental outlook while working on the record: first on a writing retreat in New York City, then while demoing tracks in Athens, before finally recording at Sonic Ranch, just across the border from Juarez, Mexico in the Texan desert.

If you're wondering what exactly would lead Barnes to use this epithet to describe his reality at the time, look no further than the songs themselves.

While many bands rely on vague platitudes as an attempt to make their songs universally applicable, Barnes chooses to take the opposite tact - penning lyrics so personal they sound like entries ripped from a journal that should be permanently kept under lock and key.

"I was going through a very stormy period in my life and felt like I was just completely trashed," reveals Barnes. "I might be guilty of sharing or exposing too much of my private life, but to me the best albums are those that help people connect with an artist on a deep, human level and that do so without too much artifice or evasiveness."

For inspiration - and to put a bit of distance between himself and the events and people he writes so unequivocally about - Barnes spent two weeks in New York City this past spring. While there, he wandered around Chelsea, Greenwich Village, SoHo, and Chinatown, imagining what it was like 40 years ago, picturing himself as Tom Verlaine or Patti Smith, or James Chance. 

Lead single "Bassem Sabry" (named for the Egyptian journalist who tragically died in the spring of 2014), is perhaps of Montreal's most political song to date, with Barnes proclaiming "Every leader is a cellophane punk," while handclaps and danceable drums incite the listener to follow his command: "If you hear me, say 'Yeah!' 'Yeah!' 'Yeah!'" 

The energy remains high for "Last Rites At The Jane Hotel," which channels Barnes innermost T. Rex while staying true to of Montreal's signature kaleidoscopic song structure.

"Empyrean Abattoir" begins dark and brooding before unfurling into a revved up Television-inspired outro, as all the while Barnes lays bare his most gut-wrenching lyrics.

Closing track "Like Ashoka's Inferno Of Memory" ends the record on an appropriately epic note, reveling in its seemingly effortless shifting of tempos and tones - a microcosm, really, of the overall album's auditory audaciousness. 

Like 2013's Lousy with Sylvianbriar, Aureate Gloom was recorded directly to tape with musicians Kevin Barnes (guitar, vocals), Clayton Rychlik (drums), Bob Parins (bass), Bennett Lewis (guitar), and JoJo Glidewell (keys), plus the help of engineer Drew Vandenberg.

Having already spent many of the previous months touring together, the strength of the members' musical rapport was instantly apparent. The group completed nearly a song a day during their stay in the desert and even wrote a brand new track on the spot, "Apollyon Of Blue Room," whose title references a supposedly haunted bedroom in a hacienda on the studio grounds. 

Working at such a breakneck pace, there was no time to nitpick, to dissect, to overanalyze. Only later, upon arriving back home, was Barnes able to take a step back and fully appreciate what he and his band had accomplished. 

With Aureate Gloom, of Montreal have created one of the most unflinching, confessional and starkly emotional albums in their oeuvre. 

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Universal announce Lynyrd Skynyrd vinyl box set

Lynyrd Skynyrd box set

Box set: Lynyrd Skynyrd's studio and live LPs (vinyl)
Release date: January 26 2015
Label: Universal


Universal are proud to present Lynyrd Skynyrd’s incredible studio and live LPs originally released between 1973 and 1977 brought together in a beautiful box set for the very first time. Each LP will have exact reproductions of original artwork to retain authenticity, and will be pressed to 180 gram heavyweight audiophile vinyl and contained in a rigid slipcase box.

The box set contains

  • Second Helping (1974)
  • Nuthin' Fancy (1975)
  • Gimme Back My Bullets (1976)
  • One More From The Road (1976)
  • Street Survivors (1977) 

Lynyrd Skynyrd is best known for popularizing the southern hard-rock genre during the 1970s. The band rose to worldwide recognition on the basis of its driving live performances and signature tunes Sweet Home Alabama and Free Bird. At the peak of their success, three members died in an airplane crash in 1977, putting an abrupt end to the band's most popular incarnation.

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