The Fall Of Troy new album released and tour dates announced

Album release: 'OK' by The Fall Of Troy
Release date: 20 April 2016 download, 15 July 2016 vinyl
Label: Big Scary Monsters
More info: Band website

After two years of teasers, today (4/20), The Fall Of Troy have surprise released ‘OK’, their fifth studio release and their first album in seven years. For their loyal fan base that have stuck by them through four albums, a hiatus in 2010 and the following sporadic reformation in 2013, TFOT have decided to release the album to their fans as a pay-what-you-want download. The band will also later release a vinyl version of the album via Big Scary Monsters (their first release with the label).

In a statement made by the band, they say “This album represents hope; that things can be different, that the past doesn't have to always weigh on the present. We give this album to you now for free, because we know that you deserve it. Rather than try to squeeze every penny from people who have given us opportunities beyond our wildest dreams, we wanted to give you a gift, for all the gifts you've given us over the years.”

Known for their technical and unique guitar style, idiosyncratic song structures and frenetic and often surreal vocal work, ‘OK’ is an album that will appeal to veteran fans and newcomers alike. As an entire body of work the album exhibits the best of Thomas Eckharts infectious hook-laden guitar work that revisits the ‘Doppelgänger’-era, whilst merging the melodic complexities found on ‘Manipulator’ and later albums.

‘OK’ is a return to form for The Fall of Troy, it’s clear that the bands reunion for time apart and work in other projects Chiodos and Just Like Vinyl has invigorated and inspired the band to come back with the bands most original and accomplishedalbum to date. TFOT have taken the best of their previous work and amalgamated it in a work of intense focus and deliberate and resolute determination and power.

Acclaimed for their energetic live shows and their relentless thirst for touring, TFOT have previously toured with the likes of Deftones, Coheed and Cambria, The Dear Hunter, And So I Watch You From Afar and Foxy Shazam. Today the band also simultaneously announced that they will be going out on a colossal 63 date tour, starting in May and ending in September, the tour will cover Australia, USA, UK, EU and Russia. The tour will see them supported by the likes of Closure in Moscow, Meniscus, Osaka Punch, ’68, Illustrations and Tiny Moving Parts.

The band describe ‘OK’ as a “gift” to their fans and that’s what ‘OK’ is, whether you are a ‘Doppelgänger’ fan, a ‘Phantom on the Horizon’ fan or a dedicated fan of all of their material so far, every track on this album has convergent moments that explore the creative expression found across all of their previous work. This is one for the fans, and that is not because it’s free.

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Perhaps Contraption new album 'Mud Belief' due 3 June

Album release: 'Mud Belief' by Perhaps Contraption
Release date: 3 June 2016
Label: Grabby Claw
More info: Band website

Perhaps Contraption are a twisted 9 piece art rock brass band from London. Part chamber orchestra, part choir, part experimental marching band; their sound is something like Steve Reich meeting Frank Zappa and Sufjan Stevens in some sort of punk-jazz collision, staggering through a fairground. The troupe’s intense pop up performances have created a cult-like festival following, and won them the Haizetara International Street Music competition (Spain) in 2014 and 2015, the judge's prize at Cirque et Fanfare Festival (France) and Help Musicians Emerging Excellence Award in 2013.

Full of complex, yet curiously accessible songs, Perhaps Contraption’s new album ‘Mud Belief’ draws upon post-minimalism, jazz, contemporary classical, and blistering avant-rock, all condensed to form detailed, iconoclastic art pop.Recorded at London’s Premises Studios and mastered by Mandy Parnell (Bjork, Dirty Projectors) the album touches upon the joyous and irreverent, the dark and the savage, the oom-pah and the sublime.

Anywhere and everywhere this troupe have bellowed their massive choral harmonies and jubilant, soaring horns. They have led processions upon boats, beaches and mountains, and during the next few months will be completing a London street tour. Spontaneous performances will occur in unusual public spaces around the city (beaches and bandstands included...).

The troupe’s idiosyncratic blend of classical instrumentation with progressive rock and punk ideology has sent them to a diverse range of events including Glastonbury Festival, The London Jazz Festival, Aldeburgh Festival, Bestival, Sudtirol Jazz Festival (Italy), The Royal Academy of Arts, Wilderness, CrossLinx (The Netherlands) Latitude, Artisti in Piazza (Italy), Buskers Bern (Switzerland), numerous Honk! Festivals (USA) and touring in Europe with Amanda Palmer.

Whether leading exultant parades, amplified stage shows, or fleeting street performances, Perhaps Contraption create an unforgettable sonic spectacle. Fierce, desperate, yet brimming with hope, ‘Mud Belief’ captures this sensation perfectly and in doing so the band have created their most accomplished and urgent recording to date.

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D Generation announce first album in 17 years

Album release: 'Nothing Is Anywhere' by D Generation
Release date: 29 July 2014
Label: Bastard Basement
More info: Band website

D Generation - Jesse Malin, Danny Sage, Howie Pyro, Richard Bacchus and Michael Wildwood – is widely regarded as one of the most important and unsung rock 'n' roll bands of the past 25 years.  On 29th July these five childhood friends will release 'Nothing Is Anywhere' (Bastard Basement Records), their first album in 17 years. The band will return to Irving Plaza in NYC on July 30 (tickets are on sale now and can be purchased here), for a hometown record release show, with additional tour dates to follow.

Produced by guitarist Danny Sage, 'Nothing Is Anywhere'; is a first-or-second-take album, recorded in basements under Avenue A and the Magic Shop in NYC. “We’ve finally made a record that represents us,” says Sage. “We make a really good noise on stage, and this album is a little more snotty, nasty.  The needles are in the red a bit more.

”In the bombed-out warehouses of early-90s Brooklyn, D Generation formed as a reaction to the culture. “We decided to do another record because we still have a fire under us,” says Jesse. “The world is even more full of shit than it was when we were in our 20s. One digitally connected highway of invasion and disposableness, burning through the planet and time.” 'Nothing Is Anywhere' became an escape, both a continuation of their lives and a way to remember where they came from.

On the autobiographical 'Apocalypse Kids,' D Generation might have summed up their story in four lines: "slip through the cracks like a criminal / lost in a packet full of chemicals / from 7th Street to The New York Times."

“We grew up together as misfits who always turned towards music as an escape and a way out,” says Jesse. “We always had each other”.

“Bands should be a gang, a brotherhood,” adds Malin, who began playing music with Danny in Queens at age of 13. “We’ve all known each other forever,” says Sage. “We’re like a weird family that you can never leave, but somehow it all makes sense.”

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Bad Breeding release new single ‘Remembering’

Single release: 'Remembering' by Bad Breeding
Release date: Out now
More info: Band website

Today, Stevenage based punks Bad Breeding have premiered their new single 'Remembering' with NME. Speaking about the single, NME said: "...they’re a barrage of pent-up frustration, often spilling off the stage and into the audience"

Frontman Christopher Dodd describes the concept behind the new single, saying: "We watched Amy Berg’s documentary Deliver Us from Evil a while back and I’d also been moved by this investigative piece called Crime and Punishment by Zhao Liang. It got us thinking about the manipulation and misuse of institutional power, but also about the endurance of humanity that often shines through when people are damaged by the rapacity of those in positions of supposed authority.

In some ways it's an examination of impropriety from religious, financial and political cliques, as well as some of our own personal struggles, which we wanted to offset against a defiant thud. It was definitely a bleak thing to write, although there's plenty of fortitude in the song too."

The new single comes ahead of the bands forthcoming UK tour dates (below), which are taking place from the end of April throughout May. It also follows on from the recent release of the bands 'Corrupting Fist' video, which was premiered with CRACK Magazine last week.

Press reaction to date

"But the interesting thing about Bad Breeding is that, while you’re listening to them, they dissolve all notions of now and then and make you feel as though you’re hearing this noise for the first time."- the Guardian (New Band of the Week #59)

"...the Stevenage noisemongers have begun to cement themselves as one of the most exhilarating live bands in the country."- the Quietus

"...here to shake things up in a burst of volatile fury."– NME

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Robin Adams & various artists album 'Refugee' due 5 July 2016

Album release: 'Refugee' by Robin Adams & Various Artists
Release date: 5 July 2016
Label: Brainfog Records
 
‘Refugee’ is a highly significant collaborative recording project which reflects, through song, the issue of the refugee crisis in its many forms, from Syria and beyond.  All proceeds go to MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station) 
 
The concept came about from singer-songwriter Robin Adams who took on the challenging role of curator for this beautiful collection of music. Featuring the likes of folk familiars Linda Thompson, Bonnie Prince Billy, Rachel Sermanni, BMX Bandits, Richard Dawson and many more, each song stands with individual character, yet the delicate ties of each subject make this a well-formed and consistent body of work. As Adams says about the collection – “What amazes me is that every song works. Every song seems to fit the sentiment of the record effortlessly even though the songs vary largely in subject and spirit.” 
 
A poignant and moving assembly of songs, the album contains perspectives from different visions in the crisis. Focusing in on the issues addressed, the subject matter leans toward one particular area of the refugee’s journey – the daring move to cross the oceans. From the warm home recording of ‘Scarce of Fishing’ by Alasdair Roberts, to Richard Dawson’s chanting ‘To The Sea’, and to Adam’s own beautiful contribution ‘The Devil’s War and God’s Blue Sea’ (the single which spawned the initial concept), the topic keeps surfacing as a reminder of the overall cause – to raise money for MOAS, whose rescue missions operate in the Aegean, Andaman and Mediterranean Sea. 
 
“The first and foremost priority should be getting these people safely to dry ground and so MOAS was always the obvious choice. Their work has already saved around 12,000 lives in the first two years. All of the money made from this album will go straight to MOAS to aid them in saving more lives… Although the motivation for the record was primarily sparked by the Syrian crisis, there are so many other Countries enduring humanitarian crises, so the record is really dedicated to all refugees.” 
 
Here’s some further details on the project from the curator of the project and contributor, Robin Adams - 
 
“Around the beginning of last year I found myself increasingly disturbed by a growing number of reports from many reputable independent media outlets, not only describing the horror of the Syrian crisis itself but also a shocking lack of coverage in the mainstream media. What little coverage there was I found to be deeply troubling given the insensitive nature of the reporting.  
All of this moved me to write a song that directly addressed the problem. The obvious thing to do was to release it digitally via Bandcamp as a charity single to raise money for MOAS At the time [of the single], the severity of the crisis hadn't quite resonated with the general public, because it simply wasn't being reported frequently or clearly enough in the mainstream media. Months later there was a shift in awareness after [the media] published heartbreaking photographs in September 2015 of Syrian toddler Aylan Kurdi washed ashore on a Turkish beach. That moment seemed to turn public perception on the crisis around very quickly. 
It occurred to me that organising a charity album might be the best way I could help. I got in touch with anyone I could think of whose music I admired and asked if they'd be interested in contributing. I just asked if they'd like to write a song or contribute something new which they felt might be fitting. The response was wonderful and it just grew from there.” 

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Aukai self titled album due 3 June 2016

Album release: Aukai
Release date: 3 June 2016
More info: Artist website

Aukai is a Hawaiian word meaning seafarer or traveller. It’s also used as a proper name, and people who are called 'Aukai' tend to have a mystical, philosophical, introspective nature. All of which makes 'Aukai' the perfect name for the new album and project by multi-instrumentalist and composer Markus Sieber. It’s a collection of ambient acoustic soundscapes that take the listener on an inward journey to a place of stillness and tranquil beauty. His debut self-titled album is set for a June 3rd release.

Sieber’s own journey has been an eventful one. Born in Germany, he played in bands as a part of East Germany’s vibrant ‘90s rock scene before shifting his focus to work as an actor in Berlin and St. Petersburg. A life-changing move to Mexico put him in touch with more indigenous-leaning music, awakening a new musical mission that led him to circle the globe many times. 
“This album and project has a lot to do with memories from travel,” says Sieber, “but also memories from childhood and nature. How did the river smell in summer? I wanted to create a sonic space where music guides the listener into some imaginative inner world.” 

'Aukai' was born of his desire to create a new kind of music that could work in tandem with film, video, theater and the visual arts. The compositions on the album also grew out of Sieber’s love affair with the ronrocco, a plucked string instrument from Argentina that Sieber first discovered through the music of film composer Gustavo Santaolalla (Babel, Brokeback Mountain). He began sketching out compositions while traveling the world as a touring musician. But 'Aukai' really came together in the quiet solitude of a winter spent in an isolated mountain cabin in La Plata Canyon, Colorado. 

From there, the project shifted to Berlin, where Sieber recorded the basic tracks for Aukai at Martyn Heyne’s recording studio with a variety of analog gear, pairing the ronrocco’s sonorous tone with his evocative guitar, piano and harmonium playing. “The vintage equipment gives the music a real physical quality,” Sieber explains. “You feel like you could almost touch it.” 

He then called upon an international cadre of musicians to add their own tonal colors. Berliner Anne Muller (Agnes Obel Band, Nils Frahm), played cello. Bogdan Djukic from Belgrade played violin. Sieber’s wife, Angelika Baumbach added piano to several tracks, and his brother Alexander Nickmann contributed electronic keyboards and sound design. Another key player was Sieber’s longtime musical collaborator Jamshied Sharifi, the New York musician and composer noted for his work with Laurie Anderson, Sting, Dream Theater and the Montreal Symphony, among others. Aukai was mixed in Berlin by Martyn Heyne (who engineered Nils Frahm’s Spaces album) and mastered in London by award-winning engineer Mandy Parnell who has also mastered discs by Brian Eno, Bjork, Max Richter and many others. 

'Aukai' may draw initial comparisons to the work of ambient instrumental artists such as Eno, Ryuichi Sakamoto, Goldmund and Nils Frahm, but ultimately it is an album that belongs in a category all its own—a beguiling collection of autumnal acoustic soundscapes dappled with subtle electronic touches. 

“It’s kind of an unfinished sound,” says Sieber. “Not too processed. It invites you in. This is what I think is important—the listener has a chance to go inside the music.” 

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Robert Coyne & Jaki Liebezeit new album due 3 June 2016

Album release: 'I Still Have This Dream' by Robert Coyne & Jaki Liebezeit
Release date: 3 June 2016
Label: Meyer Records

British alternative-folk musician, guitarist, multi-instrumentalist and songwriter Robert Coyne returns this June with a new album, his third now with long-time collaborator (and pioneering drummer of the avant-garde Krautrock band Can) Jaki Liebezeit. The follow-up to the pair’s 2013 album 'The Obscure Department' and 2015’s 'Golden Arc', 'I Still Have This Dream' finds the pair in contemplative moods.   
 
Adopting a similar approach to their work as on previous releases together, and masterfully executed, Coyne meditates on the themes of self-delusion, miscommunication, isolation, and misunderstanding, saying that some of the time it’s “just me talking to myself”. All the while Liebezeit’s famous metronomic drumming style instils a sense of calm into this quiet storm. 'I Still Have This Dream' is the product of two stand-alone artists who have come to know each other’s strengths by heart, and developed the ability to complement these in the most exhilaratingly quiet, and stirring, way. Coyne describes their partnership as “especially dream-like.” 
 
In the same way that ideas and lyrics gently and naturally surface from Coyne, 'I Still Have This Dream' sets its stall out as an album that rewards investigation. It is intimate, introverted almost, in its experimentation but with a maturity and lyrical confidence that conspire to create atmospheres of melancholia and suspense. Liebezeit’s style ensures that he only plays what needs to be there, providing the perfect pacing for Coyne’s meditative couplets. Speaking of this contradiction, Coyne has previously said; “I think the music is quite peaceful, and meditative, but there's tension in it, too, and in the lyrics, which are generally quite dark ... I think that conflict represents my feelings and personality quite well, and may not be a conflict at all, in fact ...” 
 
About Robert Coyne:  
 
Robert Coyne is the son of the late 2004 musician, painter and author Kevin Coyne . He initially worked as a musician, among other things with his father Kevin Coyne, with Eric Burdon , The Barracudas, The Scientists , Amy Rigby, Spooky Tooth , Sky Saxon and Chris Wilson of the Flamin 'Groovies , just to name a few.  
 
About Jaki Liebezeit:  

Liebezeit is best known for his exceptional 'metronome' style of playing; other members of Can have suggested that he sounds as though he is 'half-man, half machine' Liebezeit provided drums, in his patented 'Motorik beat', for Michael Rother's late-1970s solo albums. In 1980, he became a member of Phantomband. Later he recorded with numerous musicians, such as Jah Wobble and Philip Jeck, with whom he produced an album for Jah Wobble's 30 Hertz Records, and has contributed drums and percussion to many albums as a guest throughout the years, such as the Depeche Mode album Ultra and Brian Eno's album Before and After Science. Recently, he has worked with Burnt Friedman on the Secret Rhythms albums.  

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Moulettes - new album 'Preternatural' due 27 May 2016

Album release: 'Preternatural' by Moulettes
Release date: 27 May 2016
More info: Band website

On May 27th Brighton based collective Moulettes, continue their journey into the alt.pop/rock/folk universe with the release of their most accomplished album to date - 'Preternatural'. 

It was in early 2015 when reading an article in the New Scientist that lead singer Hannah Miller first starting thinking about a concept for the new album. “I’ve always been fascinated by the natural world” says Hannah. “But this article compelled me to look deeper and start exploring all the surreal and beautiful diversity that exists. There’s so many phenomenal creatures out there we thought they deserved their own album.”

Fast forward to 2016 and the result is 'Preternatural' - an eclectic but cohesive 11 track collection, which marries the thought provoking concept with elements of prog, pop, alt-folk and rock. It’s a beautifully orchestrated piece of work, experimental in parts but still accessible, fusing rich vocal harmonies, persuasive melodies, and elaborate compositions to make a genre defying album that explores the moving gaps of electronic and acoustic; DIY and big production. 

Highlights include the epic opener ‘Behemooth’, a heavy, drum-driven progressive anthem inspired by a loud and unidentified sound recorded in the pacific, and electro-rock lead single ‘Underwater Painter’, which explores the way Octopus-chameleons of the sea can switch between camouflage and a psychedelic electric light show. “The solo was recorded in one take” recalls Hannah, “and was definitely a homage to Prince!” 

One of the album’s finest moments, the sublime ‘Pufferfish Love’, drew on recent ground-breaking Attenborough footage of the Japanese mandala-making Pufferfish, whilst the groove-based Art Pop of ‘Coral’ describes the crises facing coral reefs, - “A beautiful illustration of symbiosis between animals, minerals and plants” says Ollie.  Other standouts include the addictive ‘Patterns,’ the ethereal vocals of ‘Medusa’ and the album closer, ‘Silk’ about spiders who pluck harmonics on the strands of their webs to tune them…

“There are so many things to write about,” says Hannah, “Lost love is sad, but a lost species is a tragedy for us all.”  “Presenting your own sort of eclecticism is the aim,” says Ollie. “Zappa, Gentle Giant to current bands like Field Music, John Grant, Snarky Puppy, My Brightest Diamond, Tuneyards, Tortoise etc would all agree. These were all references for the record.”

Moulettes are a Brighton based British band of multi instrumentalists that weave in and out of several genres with 3 part harmony female vocals, amplified Cello, distorted Bassoon, Auto-Harp, Guitar, Drums, Bass and Synths into an incomparable alt.pop/rock/folk universe.  Singles from their eponymous release in 2010 (****Mojo), their follow up 'The Bear's Revenge' in 2012 (**** The Guardian) and third studio album 'Constellations' (No.7 Indie Charts, Best Album: Spiral Earth Awards) have been played across BBC6 and BBC2 with support from Cerys Mathews, Mark Radcliffe, Mary Anne Hobbs, Bob Harris, Tom Robinson and Lauren Laverne.

Since playing together at school in Glastonbury to residencies on Tin Pan Alley, to a multitude of festivals including Glastonbury, Bestival, Cropredy, Cambridge Folk, End Of The Road and Green Man along with relentless world touring, the band have become renowned for their breath taking live shows. On the way the band have shared both the stage and studio with many well-known artists in Folk, Prog, Pop and Rock, including Mick Jagger, Nick Cave, Seasick Steve, Bonobo, Gentle Giant, Mumford and Sons (Ted Dwane was a founding Moulette), Dave Gilmour (Pink Floyd), Bellowhead, and The Levellers.

Moulettes are: Hannah Miller (Cello, vocals, guitar) Ollie Austin (Drums, guitar, piano, vocals) Ruth Skipper (Bassoon, vocals, autoharp, synths) Jim Mortimore (Double bass, Guitar, vocals) Raevennan Husbandes (Electric Guitar, Vocals, Percussion).

Press reaction to date

“Tireless live grafters. Different & full of enchantment.” 8/10 - UNCUT
“Unique. Delicious music” **** - MOJO
"A compelling and original band" **** - The Guardian
“Divine harmonies" ***** - Time Out
“A cross between Pentangle, Kate Bush & early Pink Floyd” - Reuters
“Floyd meets Pentangle. Huge, complex and compelling” - Prog Magazine

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Sandy Denny album 'I’ve Always Kept A Unicorn' due 22 April

Album release: 'I’ve Always Kept A Unicorn' by Sandy Denny
Release date: 22 April 2016
Label: Island Records
More info: Artist website

I’ve Always Kept A Unicorn is the best album that the late Sandy Denny never made. This 40-track/2CD set, comprised of demos, live, radio and TV recordings, captures the sublimely gifted British singer-songwriter at her most intimate as she runs through stripped down arrangements of songs she performed with the Strawbs, Fairport Convention, Fotheringay and The Bunch, along with material from her four solo albums.

Exclusive to this masterful set are three demos recorded at Richard Branson’s Manor Studios in December 1971 for the 1972 rock and roll covers album, The Bunch Rock On; alongside Love Made A Fool Of You and Learning The Game by one of her teenage heroes, Buddy Holly, she sings a charming duet with Linda Thompson on Phil Everly’s When Will I Be Loved.

The set comes complete with sleeve notes by Mick Houghton, the author of the critically lauded 2015 Sandy Denny biography, 'I’ve Always Kept A Unicorn'.

All those who knew Sandy Denny well, and who worked closely with her, recall how brilliant she was as a solo acoustic performer and many welcome this compilation as fitting homage to her unique and true talent.

“Sandy was, as are our most brilliant performers, much better solo; I so wish she had recorded a solo album, and told her so.”  (Linda Thompson)

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Jolly Mare debut album 'Mechanics' due 8 April 2016

Album release: 'Mechanics' by Jolly Mare
Release date: 8 April 2016
Label: Bastard Jazz Recordings
More info: Artist Soundcloud

Fabrizio Martina, the man behind Jolly Mare, is a multi-instrumentalist and champion turntablist, with a master degree in Mechanical Engineering and a PhD in Vibration Dynamics under his belt. Nicknamed ‘the new face of Italian disco’, he’s currently a full time producer and DJ, taking part in festivals across Europe from Sonar to Harvey’s Discotheque Stage at Bestival. A graduate of Red Bull Music Academy in New York, he has opened acts from Masters at Work to Roy Ayers, worked with the likes of Soul Clap and Thundercat, and has already been featured in the likes of Pitchfork, Mixmag and Okayplayer with his dream-like brand of electro-funk, disco and house. 

Jolly Mare’s debut album 'Mechanics' was conceived as a conceptual journey through the mechanics of groove and the dynamics of love. Featuring dew-eyed disco jams, Jolly Mare takes you on aural journey through a blackhole of futuristic funk and fresh, twinkling midnight beats -complete with crunchy, choppy bass riffs and plenty of jazzy synth action that’s bound to have you up and dancing. Nowhere is this more evident in album opener ‘Hun’ with its breezy, rolling pulse and ‘Hungry Angry’ with its slow laser descent into an earthy, gritty guitar groove.

Here’s what Jolly Mare has to say about the mechanical concept behind the album:

“Digital years come with misconceptions about rhythm and groove. A ball bouncing on the floor without gravity and friction could go on endlessly. A drum pattern looped into a DAW can be infinitely repeated…forever…generating nothing but alienation to the listener. But once hidden driving forces begin to act, the game comes to life. The ball starts jumping less on every repetition, and drums played by a real drummer transmits something entirely different on every bar and rhythm becomes groove. Same with the relationship between a man and a woman: without romantic entanglements, this can be a sterile, impersonal interaction. It’s love that gives anything meaning.”

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Circle Of Reason new album 'Faith Or Theory' due 27 May 2016

Album release: 'Faith Or Theory' by Circle Of Reason
Release date: 27 May 2016
Label: Freefall Records
More info: Band website

For Southampton quartet Circle Of Reason, the path that led to the creation of their new album 'Faith Or Theory' is one that ultimately saw them start to assess their own relationships, and try to get a handle on their place in the world. Having taken a well-earned break after the release of their 2013 record 'These Hands And This Mind' – which also saw them share stages with the likes of Feed The Rhino, Marmozets, Neck Deep, Mallory Knox, Creeper, Allusondrugs and Fearless Vampire Killers, as well as be featured on Kerrang! TV and Scuzz - the band’s 2015 became all about putting pen to paper and getting in front of crowds, starting with a slot at Takedown Festival. A small line-up change later, and the resultant tracks are short stories that convey with great emotion just how much Circle Of Reason means to its members. 

Drawing upon a wide range of influences from the likes of Deftones, Funeral For A Friend, Biffy Clyro and Mastodon, Circle Of Reason trade in the kind of rock that can’t help but resonate on a personal level. Intricately arranging muscular riffs, and setting them alongside great versatility, songcraft, soaring choruses and musicianship, Circle Of Reason are a band that specialise in the heart-felt, bringing the listener with them as they play their guts out on a swathe of beautifully melancholic, metallic, and emotive rock. 

Album opener 'Never Enough' sets the pace of things to come with a theme of always feeling as though you’re not quite what someone wants. “You always said I could be so much better”, goes vocalist Simon Osman’s refrain, set as it is to the meaty riffing of guitarist Gary Slade. In turn, 'Questions' develops the theme further, later arriving at the realisation that in the long run you are better off being yourself and doing things your own way, rather than trying to please people. In fact, there’s positivity abound on 'Faith Or Theory', particularly in the buoyant melody of 'My Emergency', and the pulverising 'Clarity', with its message of never judging a book by its cover. It’s about being more than what people see on the surface, and a sentiment that can be echoed by the fact that the record also reveals itself further and further on repeated listening. Elsewhere, In Other Words sees the band take their foot off the gas in order to set the record straight and move on to greener pastures, before reaching the album’s explosive resolution in the form of 'Colours', which reverberates long after the final bars. 

For Circle Of Reason, their music is about an experience, shared. One that’s honest, no matter how hard the truth, and one that brings people together, Join them. UK live dates will be announced shortly.

Press reaction to date

“This is truly hard hitting material for a debut EP” - Big Cheese Magazine

“5 assured and sincere tracks, Loud and forceful with fearless intervals of beauty, it's an organic collection of alternative, prog-infused tracks that seem like a rare jewel in today's rock crown” - Powerplay Magazine 

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Iska Dhaaf album 'The Wanting Creature' due 27 May 2016

Album release: 'The Wanting Creature' by Iska Dhaaf
Release date: 27 May 2016
Label: Brick Lane Records
More info: Band website

Iska Dhaaf (taken from Somali, translated roughly to 'let it go')

In 2011 Nathan Quiroga (Mad Rad, Buffalo Madonna) and Benjamin Verdoes (Mt. St. Helens Vietnam Band) left their respective Seattle-based projects behind and began collaboration on Iska Dhaaf. The band was quickly embraced for their engaging live shows, and for creating the sound of a full band by way of two people. Together as songwriters they have steadily explored production, instrumentation, and an ever-expanding narrative voice.

After the release of their debut, 'Even the Sun Will Burn', they toured across North America, Western Europe, relocated to New York, and most recently wrote and performed in Paris and Berlin. Their upcoming album, The Wanting Creature, sees the duo emerging as producers, experimenters and genre-bending artists. The new songs show an ongoing devotion to lyrical depth and composition, and the album more fully utilizes their diverse musical backgrounds. Nearly five years in, they will surprise with their innovations-taking risks one would hope to see in a sophomore album.

The Wanting Creature, the second offering from Brooklyn-via Seattle band Iska Dhaaf, is best described as profoundly vulnerable. It takes the complications of loss, depression, and instability from Quiroga’s and Verdoes’ personal lives and turns them into something beautiful. The band explains the album as an intuition or series of transmissions that surfaced slowly over the 3 years the record took to complete. It is an intricate conversation they built, deconstructed and built again. The Wanting Creature revolves around the theme of desire and how it manifests in each area of our lives, even our biology.

True to the form of their first album, the poetry and wordplay of the lyrics on The Wanting Creature is rich, nuanced and layered. Every word is carefully chosen and there is a precise subtlety that allows the lines to continually unfold new meaning and imagery. Likewise, the sounds are refreshing and distinct. The band took their early methods of composition and pushed them into a new realm of production. This was due to the band’s desire to move forward but also the spatial constraints of New York City. The arrangements are bathed in digital textures and explore entirely new sonic territory. Much like Phantogram, Liars, and other contemporary innovators, Iska Dhaaf have pushed themselves to a wider spectrum of possibilities and experimentation.

Inspired by Sufi poetry, limitation, and an obsessive preoccupation with writing, Quiroga and Verdoes have fused their seemingly disparate musical and personal backgrounds into something searching and honest. Their songs, with heavy rhythms and cutting melodic hooks, are at once infectious and sweetly disarming. Take the time immerse yourself in The Wanting Creature… 'Let it go'. You won’t regret it.

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Prism Tats album due 15 April 2016

Album release: Prism Tats
Release date: 15 April 2016
Label: Anti Records
More info: Band website

Growing up in his native Durban, South Africa, Prism Tats’ Garett van der Spek knew from an early age that rock and roll was not only his calling but additionally his window—and rocket ship—to the outside world. He grew up listening to his father’s collection of rock records from the U.K. and U.S.: Beatles, Bowie, Hendrix, Kinks, Sabbath, but the unique influence of his homeland burns deeply, too. 

“My earliest memory of being affected by music was when I was six years old, seeing a man busking by the side of the road,” van der Spek recalls. “His name was Elvis, a self-styled African ‘rock star’ who played a hybrid brand of rock and roll on a homemade guitar. I was hooked.”

“But it’s not strictly musical – there’s a strong element of invention and resourcefulness that permeates all aspects of life in South Africa—almost a punk ethic, a will to do it your own way, and if there isn't a way, invent one. Separate from the music that influenced me growing up, I think I’ve consciously and subconsciously absorbed those qualities and applied them to the way I make my music.”  

Van der Spek formed his first band in his suburban Durban high school, and it was clear that he was initially interested in the raw expressive power of rock and roll even more than writing songs or mastering his instrument. At a school talent show, he wore a dress as he jumped and thrashed onstage with his guitar, which he calls more of an artistic statement than an act of rebellion, and he refused to study music formally. “I avoided it,” he says. “I didn’t want to steal the mystery of how music works in my mind.”
 
In the late 2000’s, he moved to Seattle in a university exchange program, where he promptly fell in love and was married within a year to a Seattle native, whose own interest in art pushed him to continue pursuing what had started as a standard childhood fantasy. A constant tinkerer and whose growth as a songwriter continued to develop as he matured, van der Spek learned to produce his own songs on Garage Band, a program he admires and holds dear for its simplicity and availability.  After immigrating, van der Spek worked days at a construction job but embraced the opportunity to see live music any night of the week. He also performed with his own band, a garage-rock trio who stopped playing together just as they were starting to build a local following. Soon afterwards he accepted an invitation that led him on a retreat to Los Angeles, where he found new musical inspiration in the Southern California sunshine, returning to Seattle with recordings of three new songs.  Invigorated, he continued writing, naming his new solo project Prism Tats. Van der Spek found the Seattle scene receptive to his new well-crafted tunes and frenetic one-man shows, usually featuring just him on guitar playing along to a vintage drum machine with a manic energy.
 
“Everything that came out of that drum machine sounded like the beginning of a Prince song,” he laughs. “I’d have to turn it on and off with my face as I played guitar. They were wild, noisy shows, and very liberating, fun experiences.”
 
In 2014, van der Spek returned to Southern California when his wife, Laura got into grad school at UCLA, bringing with him the beginnings of what would become an album’s worth of self-recorded Prism Tats songs. He would eventually send those tracks to producer, Chris Woodhouse (Ty Segall, Wild Flag, !!!), to whom he was introduced through a mutual friend, who put an extra touch of magic into the mix, resulting in the ten tight, torqueing songs that make up Prism Tats’ surprisingly full-fledged vision of a debut album. Exclusively featuring van der Spek’s extraordinary vocals, drum machine, guitar, and programmed bass synth, the album is a true one-man rock-and-roll machine. It revs its motor on the squealing rubber of that elated sense of discovery all those years ago in stacks of his father’s vinyl, finds its heartbeat in the inward reflections of its maker’s mind, and distinguishes itself from the rest of the rock bands out there via his rare and self-taught sense of structural melodic sophistication.
 
“The album is about the experiences I’ve had since I moved to America, that total departure from what was,” he says. “I’d taken on this completely new life, in a country which in some ways was familiar, but in others was completely foreign. So these songs are all about that experience of evolving.”
 
Prism Tats is the culmination of a creative life spent on the grind, honing instincts and eventually going all-in on a singular dream. A riveting performer who gets the same feeling of elation and release from writing and playing as he did from demolishing rooms of drywall with a sledgehammer back at construction sites in Seattle, van der Spek’s tunes bristle and hum with electric energy while carving out unique emotional territory all at once. 'Never Been Shy', 'Weird Guilt', and 'Excess' speed along with steam and heat, while the comparatively-meditative 'Make the Most of the Weekend' and drum-machine-driven chime of 'Midnight Mountain' slow the pace just a step. 

The album is bookended by the reverb-laden 'Pacifist Masochist' at the start and the back-to-back tag-team of 'Haunt Me' and 'Know It All' at the finish. This trio recalls the ghostly throwback groove-stomp and fuzzy warmth of bands like The Jesus & Mary Chain and The Raveonettes, with van der Spek flexing his vocal chops in different registers. These were the original three songs written on that inspirational trip to Los Angeles, and set the tone for the album’s coming and going with vigorous aplomb.
 
But just as van der Spek’s music isn’t all just hammering guitar-bass-drums rock, his lyrical and visual sensibilities don’t take themselves too seriously, and he’s often interested in injecting lightness and irony into his DIY rock and roll postures, citing his love of the tongue-in-cheek wryness of artists like Damon Albarn and Ray Davies. Especially living in LA [where van der Spek found Art Department work on advertising and fashion shoots], one is easily made aware of how obsessed and self-absorbed you have to be to pursue this career and others like it, and how ridiculous that is. And he isn’t afraid to make fun of himself, as in 'Pacifist Masochist' or another album high-point 'Death or Fame' (‘whichever comes first / I don’t mind / as long as it hurts’).
 
For an emblem of the congenial and self-effacing personality of Prism Tats, look no further than the album’s cover art. A stark black-and-white portrait of van der Spek, eyes shut but lids emblazoned with his stage name and a tiny teardrop in ink, it is a subtle, visual play on the band’s eponymous aesthetic. At first striking and even dramatic, it’s only after closer inspection that the levity is revealed. 
 
The journey of Prism Tats has travelled from one side of the world to the other, and still the artist continues to learn, grow, and evolve with an uncompromised work ethic and optimistic attitude. And now, having accomplished his rocket ship dream of releasing his own brand of rock and roll music, van der Spek will be heading out with a band to bring the songs to life.

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Blaak Heat album 'Shifting Mirrors' due 13 May 2016

Album release: 'Shifting Mirrors' by Blaak Heat
Release date: 13 May 2016
Label: Svart Records
More info: Band website

Like an Anatolian fever dream, Blaak Heat engulfs your mind in images of mystic castle mirages, slamming body and soul into an ocean of reverb fuzz. Blaak Heat’s 'Mojave soundtracks' rest upon a rich history of musical tradition, drawing from the Middle East as naturally as from California’s deserts and beaches, with one foot still firmly rooted in the streets of Paris. The end-result is a timeless, vivid blend of thundering psychedelic rock and Arabian tonalities, an altar to heavy riffage, mind expansion, and social insurgencies. 
 
Blaak Heat are an avant-garde Parisian-American psych/stoner rock trio, now signed to esteemed and unorthodox leftfield label Svart Records (Oranssi Pazuzu, Beastmilk, Opium Warlords). Formed in Paris by guitarist/singer Thomas Bellier (ex-Spindrift) in 2008, Blaak Heat relocated to Los Angeles in 2012 with drummer Mike Amster and bassist Henry Evans (formerly of Spindrift, also). Dropping the former name of Blaak Heat Shujaa, they became more primal, more indigenous and expanded the Eastern influence by incoorperating more traditional instruments and using percussionist Nelson Bragg (The Brian Wilson Group) to embellish the developing sound. 
 
‘Shifting Mirrors' is an album that is as intriguing as it is perilously unrelenting. By exploring a range of tonalities, tempos, and traditional soundscapes, Blaak Heat are able to traverse a number of musical territories. The lead track from the album ‘Sword of Hakim’ demonstrates the best of the bands unruly, bludgeoning guitar tone, whilst also creating a technically composite and solid rhythmic approach, which brutally rolls out, leaving the listener feeling transcended.  
 
‘Shifting Mirrors’ calls to mind the sounds of bands such as Sleep, but it is conversely evident that the influences don’t end here as Bellier clearly takes inspiration from the likes of Amon Duul II, Magma, John Zorn, Turkish pop and surf rock by crafting structures that tend to lean more into the pysch realm, which still holds its metal influences proudly on its sleeve. Also buried into this, but not deep enough to be fully submerged, is the under rooted eastern influence of arrangements; track ‘Mola Mamad Djan’ is itself a traditional Afghan folk song, reworked into something altogether more sinister. 
 
The band enlisted the help of Grammy Award-winning Matt Hyde (Deftones, Slayer) to produce the material that makes up this perilous and fervent third album, whilst Bellier himself co-produced. An established producer in his own right, he used his knowledge from various degrees of involvement on records by Deftones, Soulfly, Danzig, Behemoth and more to formulate an ambitious and innovative record with Hyde at the helm.  
 
Discussing the nature of the album’s sound Bellier said: “We took our favorite Middle Eastern sounds, and reinterpreted them through the prism of our cultural baggage – weird European psychedelia, a healthy dose of vintage hard rock, experimental jazz... With Matt [Hyde], we were able to mix loud fuzz guitar tones along with traditional acoustic instruments, such as the oud and the kanun.” 
 
Blending components of progressive rock, psych, metal, and elements of traditional Arabic instrumentation, ‘Shifting Mirrors’ is the album to transcend Blaak Heat into a further field of avant garde metal/psych rock - continuing to prove their escalation with a further comprehension and awareness of their surroundings. Succumb to the mystic castle mirages; fall into the relentlessly merciless sound of Blaak Heat. 

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Fassine debut album 'Dialectik' released 2 May 2016

Album release: 'Dialectik' by Fassine
Release date: 2 May 2016
Label: Default Collective Records
More info: Band website

Fassine are set to release their debut album, 'Dialectik' on May 2nd. Ploughing a furrow that is as mysterious and brooding as it is enlivening and joyous, the London trio’s lyrically dark and musically complex operation possesses all the hallmarks of a typically British affair; cold and austere soundscapes being paired with the uplifting, in a fine execution of the juxtapositional. There are hints of Trent Reznor’s influence, along with a smart ear for the cinematic – something that has not gone un-noticed, earning their track 'Bring The Weight Down' a slot in Sky Atlantic’s hit US show The Following. Fassine’s sound is one of striking imagery that dares the listener to enter the group’s own stark world.  
 
Fassine’s recent single releases have painted the picture of a musically dextrous band that thrive among the old adage of Less Is More. Taking inspiration from old TV shows from the 70s and 80s – the sorts of shows like Tinker, Tailor, Soldier Spy and Edge Of Darkness, that the band say “were built in these vast settings with great distance. Connecting the dots however, were all these tiny conversations.'  
 
As a band, they don’t feel the need to say 10 words, when three will do, which is something that immediately came across in former single Sunshine, all bustling percussion and punctuating, slicing synths. Their music evokes such a mood, that it says as much as the lyrics themselves. Elsewhere the album’s title track perfectly exemplifies the troupe’s keen ear for production, and a wild percussive experience, and there’s something particularly cleansing in the upwardly fizzing swathes of synths that permeate album opener Headlong’s robust refrain.  
 As a body of work, 'Dialectik' is, in the band’s own words “about isolation, those treacherous thoughts that wedge themselves in the door - a journey from logic to absurdity and back again.” On 'Dialectik', dark meets like and cold flirts with warmth, creating claustrophobic atmospheres that reflect their subject matter perfectly.  
 
In the media, Fassine have had support from Spin, Q Magazine, The 405, The Guardian and more in the run up to their debut album. In addition to Sunshine it features the single Kelby. The band recently featured on artist Robot Koch’s haunting new track, Spine - released on Monkeytown Records.  
 
Fassine are: Sarah Palmer, Laurie Langan, James Hayward

Press reaction to date

“Sunshine is an eerie and ominous introduction to the intriguing Fassine… The vocals are translucent against the dramatic atmosphere of cryptic synths and severe bass…” – SPIN
 
“Ones to watch” – The Guardian
 
“Producers, performers, purveyors and preachers…” – Q

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Gioele Valenti - JuJu - album due 6 May 2016

Album release: Gioele Valenti - JuJu
Release date: 6 May 2016
Label: Sunrise Ocean Bender
More info: Artist soundcloud

JuJu is the latest ritualistic incarnation of Sicily-based Gioele Valenti (Lay Llamas, Herself). Through the music, JuJu tells the legend of a continuing exodus from Africa that more often than not ends in ignored tragedies at sea, ‘a total defeat for humanity’, in a hybrid of modern influences rooted into a dark, enchanted form of primal music. 
 
JuJu’s forthcoming self-titled debut doesn’t just suggest but screams spiritual moorings; the album itself is a ritual and is ignited by Afro groove rhythms, Kraut repetition, drone-fuzz coated psych riffs, Manchester scene shoegaze synth, prog-infused astral folk vocals and organs and almost tribal rock atmospherics. All the while with this is underlined with an ever apparent mythical, Mediterranean neo-paganism. Citing influence from African Earth magic, soil secrets and the inevitable ceremonial superstition associated with the band name, Valenti is channelling his personal apprehension and traumatic fervour of the current crisis through the warped sound of JuJu.  
 
Over the course of 41 minutes, tracks such ‘Samael’ and ‘Sunrise Ocean’ nod heavily to the ritualistic sound of bands such as GOAT or White Hills and at times even Hookworms or Sonic Jesus. Whereas the more folk infused atmospheric areas of the album such as ‘Stars and Sea’ or ‘Dance with Fish’ can call to mind the ambient yet tension filled driving power of Heroin in Tahiti (think ‘Sun And Violence’). Elsewhere little nods to the likes of Wild Nothing or the War on Drugs can be heard in tracks such as ‘We Spit on Yer Grave’, whilst ‘Bring ’em War’ even flirts with the psychedelic revival sound associated with 80’s acid house. There’s a lot going on here, but the album never feels disjointed and it never feels as though it’s trying too hard. It’s still holds an entity of well-crafted songs, despite them appearing very contrasting in style. 
 
After supporting GOAT on tour, he took the time out from Lay Llamas to produce this primitive and otherworldly documentation of songs. Speaking about the album, Valenti said:  
 
'I wanted to develop some themes [from] the previous experience with Llamas… the link with Mother Earth, the theme of lysergic trip, symbols of Black Magic and a strange ancient grammelot that I call Ramanna. JuJu, besides being my personal point of view on the current Mediterranean exodus tragedy, of people and culture lost at sea, is even more of a solid tribute to the music I’ve always loved… Joy Division, Can, Neu!, Mercury Rev and many others.'
 
The proficiency of both the instrumentation and Gioele Valenti’s lyrical rendering that make up this self-titled debut demonstrate that JuJu are more than the animalistic, tribal cousins of associated acts Lay Llamas and Herself – they are capable of proving themselves as a band in their own right, and not another incarnation of Valenti’s. Albeit that they seem to encompass that ceremonious and spiritual sub-current, something new and intriguing. 
 
Take an amulet – join the cult. 

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Bellowhead – Final tour dates and CD/DVD release

Album release: 'Live - The Final Tour' by Bellowhead
Release date: 8 April 2016
Label: Navigator Records
More info: Band website

Bellowhead’s final set of live dates will be accompanied by the release of a CD / DVD release, ‘Bellowhead Live : The Farewell Tour’ on 8th April 2016 (Navigator Records). This deluxe 2 cd+DVD compilation features 52 tracks recorded during the band’s November 2015 tour, along with a 24 page booklet. 
 
Most dates on this last tour - which being on 13th April and finish on 1st May  2016 - were sold out soon after being announced last year, but a few extras are being released along the way and if you’re quick, there is still a chance to see one of the great live bands of the past decade. And you don’t have to take our word for it... 

Press reaction to date

"The greatest live act in Britain" - Simon Mayo / BBC Radio 2
"One of the best live bands in UK today, or anywhere" - Jeremy Vine / BBC Radio 2
“The biggest, rowdiest and quite possibly, best thing to have happened to English folk..” - Q
“Best live band we have. No contest” – fRoots
 

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Throws - debut single 'The Harbour' out now

Single release: 'The Harbour' by Throws
Release date: Out now
Label: Full Time Hobby
More info: Fader website

Brand new Full Time Hobby signings Throws are premiering their debut single 'The Harbour' over at The Fader. Recorded, aptly, at their Reykjavik studio in the town’s industrial old fishing harbour, it was an experience the pair say left them feeling 'refreshed and powerful'.

Through the studio’s big windows over-looking the sea, synths and a trove of old guitars came to make up a track that somehow manages to be ghostly and galloping in equal measure. As for the memorable video itself, the band explains;  
 
'The Harbour is an Ode to being true to yourself and if people can't deal with the true you, then they're not the people for you. Hold on to the strange and wondrous wonky parts of your personality, and treasure those parts of your loved ones...... Head Stand Skiing man is doing exactly that and we treasure those strong arms, balancing legs... tough neck and badass Jumpsuit ... we want you just as you are, the one and only innovative, stylish head stand Skier!!'
 
Watch the video here. Expect more news from Throws very soon.  

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Acts announced for Shiiine On Weekender 2016

Festival announcement: Shiiine
Festival dates: 11 – 14 November 2016
More info/tickets: Bigweekends website

Shiiine On Weekender is proud to announce its latest line-up additions to the 2016 edition of the hugely popular festival. Following the sell-out success of the 2015 Shiiine On Weekender, the festival which showcases the best of indie and dance music, alongside some of the best up and coming new bands, has added further quality to its already packed line-up…    
 
The Farm, The Electric Soft Parade, The High (Andy Couzens) and James Atkin (front man of EMF who scored a #1 hit with the single ‘Unbelievable’) join an impressive billing that includes Echo & The Bunnymen, Shed Seven, Cast, Black Grape, House Of Love, Echobelly, The Wonder Stuff, The Bluetones and Paul Hartnoll (Orbital).  
 
A host of the UK’s best indie and dance club nights are also set to bring the house down each night. The likes of Feeling Gloomy, Burn Down The Disco, Keep it Social, Little Indie Night, Cool Britannia, A deeper Groove and Madchester will each be keeping the party going long after the bands have retired for the night. If that wasn’t enough, after the success of Bez’s Pool Party event last year, this time the reins are passed to Welsh comedy hip-hop troupe Goldie Lookin Chain, who’ll no doubt inject their own inimitable, bizarre, take on proceedings. 

Watch the 2015 highlights here  
 
“Shiiine On as a festival didn’t just try to meet expectations but went above and beyond to deliver in all categories: from the artists booked, the great sound and stage systems to the restaurants, site and security staff. Each and every one of you is a rock star and we thank you all. Glastonbury pfft you can keep it.”  - Louder Than War

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First names revealed for Cambridge Folk Festival on 28 - 31 July 2016

Festival announcement: Cambridge Folk Festival
Festival dates: 28 - 31 July 2016
More info: 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. Tickets are on sale.

An eclectic range of performances will include: iconic Irish folk singer Christy Moore in an exclusive English Festival appearance, performing with Declan Sinnott and Jim Higgins; high energy Gypsy folk-punk band Gogol Bordello, acclaimed for their live shows; rockabilly singer-songwriter Imelda May, a powerful live performer with “a whipcracker of a voice”; Academy Award-winning star of the film Once, Irish singer-songwriter Glen Hansard in an exclusive English festival appearance; American singer-songwriter and multi Grammy Award-winner Mary Chapin Carpenter; global beat pioneers Afro Celt Sound System who are celebrating their 20th anniversary with a new album; the “screaming eagle of soul” Charles Bradley & His Extraordinaires; the ever-popular Barnsley Nightingale Kate Rusby; Eliza Carthy & The Wayward Band, featuring the English folk figurehead nominated for Folk Singer of the Year in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards and her all-star band; a standout performer of his generation, the Bellowhead lead singer and main arranger, Jon Boden, in one of his first solo appearances since their final gig in May; Songs of Separation, a special collaboration between ten leading Scottish and English female folk musicians on the issue of ‘separation’ including Eliza Carthy and Karine Polwart; song collector and nominee for Folk Singer of the Year in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards, Sam Lee & Friends; leading folk multi-instrumentalists the Michael McGoldrick Band, featuring the trailblazing player and composer; prolific and multi-award winning Scottish fiddle band Blazin’ Fiddles; one of the world’s most exciting Celtic bands, Solas; Edward II, who uniquely blend the rhythms of the Caribbean with traditional songs from the British Isles; dynamic Quebecois folk band Le Vent du Nord; acclaimed Scottish fiddle player and composer Duncan Chisholm; relentlessly energetic groovers Kíla, who interject Gaelic rap and world influences into traditional folk; multi-award winning Scottish firebrands Breabach who have just released their fifth album entitled Astar; New Orleans jazz, hip-hop, funk sensations Hot 8 Brass Band; one of the best U.S. blues bands, Cash Box Kings, playing their old time Chicago blues in an exclusive UK performance; the beloved musical project of Kate Staples, alternative folk band This Is The Kit, championed by 6Music; fRoots magazine Album of the Year 2015 winners Stick In The Wheel, nominated for Best Group in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; up-and-coming North East duo and Radio 1 favourites Seafret; The Mike + Ruthy Band, who produced one of the standout Americana albums of 2015; one of Time Out's rising stars of 2015, rambling folk singer Will Varley, who previously toured with Frank Turner; the refreshingly witty Irish singer-songwriter Lisa O’Neill; multi-instrumentalist Brian McNeill, leading the Festival session; barnstorming live performers and nominee for the Horizon Award in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards Sam Kelly & The Lost Boys; five-piece Ímar, which features some of today’s most exciting young traditional musicians including current and former members of Mànran, RURA, Talisk and Barrule; Glorystrokes, possibly the world’s only traditional English metalcore ceilidh band; a fun-packed family ceilidh with the ever-popular Steamchicken; The Dovetail Trio, with their bold new approach to traditional songs, featuring Rosie Hood, nominated for a Horizon Award in the BBC Radio 2 Folk Awards; Flats & Sharps, blurring the lines between bluegrass, folk and country; an exciting sing-along experience for children from Funbox, formerly The Singing Kettle; a Silent Ceilidh with caller Cate Bannister; and children’s entertainers The BarrowBand celebrating healthy eating through song. More major names to be announced.

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

Popular for its unique parkland setting and great facilities, the Festival offers something for everyone. There are four covered stages, music workshops and sessions, raucous ceilidhs, open stages, street theatre, real ale bars, Wi-Fi, various camping options including glamping, a youth area, kids’ ceilidh, storytelling, free crèche, paddling pool and a playground. Music playing and participation are welcomed, both of which are engrained in the culture of the Festival.

Press reaction to date

“For sheer class and integrity, it can’t be beaten.” - The Independent

“An event with everything anyone could ask for.”  - Sunday Express

“One of Europe’s biggest folk fests, CFF is bursting with established and traditional talent alongside younger acts.”  - Time Out

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