New album from The Unthanks, "Mount The Air", set for February release

The Unthanks

Album release: Mount The Air by The Unthanks
Release date: 9 February 2015 (pre-orders from 11 November 2014)
Label: Rabble Rouser Music / Cadiz
Listen / more information: on official The Unthanks website

The Unthanks invite you to Mount the Air. An invitation to be free, weightless, airborne, to transcend reality, to enter your imagination, to raise the possibilities above the ordinary, to become one with nature, to give yourself up to nature !and let the wind carry you to new places. To fly.

Or, perhaps you prefer a more objective, bullet-point summary!

  • "Mount The Air" is the first studio album by The Unthanks since Last was released four years ago.
  • "Mount The Air"has been two years in the making and the first to be made in their own makeshift studio in Northumberland, set up in an old granary building, 200 yards from where Rachel Unthank and Adrian McNally live with their 2 sons, 1 and 3 years old.
  • "Mount The Air" is released on their own label, RabbleRouser, despite offers of continuation with major labels.
  • It is the first Unthanks record to feature writing from all 5 core members, including debut contributions from both Rachel and Becky Unthank, as well as continued and more extensive writing from pianist and producer Adrian McNally, including the opening 10 minute title track.
  • Musically more ambitious than ever, the Mercury nominated Geordies are still a combination of grounded tradition and filmic orchestration, but with Mount The Air, they take on flavours from traditions as diverse as Spain, India, Blue Note and er, Trip Hop.
  • While "Mount The Air" has all the hallmarks of a band working in heightened isolation, since releasing Last in 2011, The Unthanks have collaborated with Orbital, Adrian Utley (Portishead), Martin Green (Lau), Martin Hayes, The Voice Squad, Sting, Charles Hazlewood, The Moulettes and German composer Werner Cee, while also producing a film soundtrack,a orchestral scale commission for a brass band collaboration with the National Champions of Great Britain, a WW1 project with Sam Lee, explorations of the work of both Robert Wyatt and Antony & The Johnsons, and a children’s song commission. And Rachel Unthank and Adrian McNally had two children and Becky Unthank got married!

When The Unthanks released Last in 2011, Uncut wrote that “The Unthanks seem to regard folk music the same way Miles Davis regarded jazz: as a launch pad for exploring the wider possibilities”. The Unthanks have taken that analogy a step further on Mount The Air, with a beautiful 10 minute opening title track that has echoes of Miles Davis and Gill Evans in their Sketches of Spain period. Written by Rachel Unthank’s husband and pianist/producer/arranger Adrian McNally (based on the themes of a one-verse traditional ditty from a book of Dorset songs in Cecil Sharp House by Becky Unthank), the piece features the trumpet playing of the world-class Tom Arthurs; a former BBC New Generation Artist and Elysian Quartet collaborator, now immersed in the Berlin improv scene.

With a classic transformation folk tale at it’s heart, "Mount The Air" introduces the album with one seductive layer of texture after another, giving way eventually to driving Blue Note stylings and finally a climax reminiscent of Arcade Fire’s euphoria or Elbow’s anthemic power, but here the power is spectacular, not created conventionally with guitars, but with breathtaking musical colour and beauty.

You can download a more extensive press release here, which features a track-by-track summary of the album.

Tour dates

The album will be accompanied by a UK and Ireland tour - full details are on the tour section of The Unthanks website.

 

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R.E.M. to release new vinyl 7-inch collection

REM

Box set release: '7IN – 83-88' by R.E.M.
Release date: 8 December 2014

Label: UMC / Capitol
More information: on R.E.M. website

REM 7IN-83-88

Eleven singles that R.E.M. released between 1983 and 1988 with I.R.S. Records have been gathered for 7IN – 83-88, a new boxed collection of vinyl seven-inch singles to be released December 8 by UMC/Capitol. The singles feature replicated original picture sleeve art and the set includes two U.K. releases making their U.S. vinyl seven-inch debuts: “Finest Worksong” / “Time After Time” (live) and the double-pack single for “Wendell Gee” with “Crazy,” “Ages of You,” and “Burning Down.” 

R.E.M.’s early storytelling was both epic and familiar, with themes of loss and alienation expressed in several songs, including “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry),” “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville,” and in their 1987 Top 10, “The One I Love.” This new, transformative music emitted from the sleepy/sharp college town of Athens, Georgia, where R.E.M. and other bands forged a scene, which spawned a movement and ultimately led to a cultural sea change in music. 

1987’s “Its The End Of the World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” was a tongue-twisting pop culture rally cry, beckoning to the tuned-out masses, listless casualties of 1980s economics, politics, and general ‘Me Generation’ malaise.  In December 1987, Rolling Stone’s year-end issue celebrated R.E.M. on its cover as "America's Best Rock & Roll Band." By the end of R.E.M.’s run with I.R.S. Records, the band’s success had paved the way for a new generation of alt-rock and grunge acts, as Athens’ finest continued to lead the charge.  

Popular music’s modern-day evolution can be traced in step with R.E.M.’s ascent and reign as one of music’s most creative and influential bands.  Explore the history that leads back to Athens.  These are the documents.

R.E.M. ‘7IN – 83-88’ 

  • “Radio Free Europe” / “There She Goes Again”
  • “So. Central Rain (I’m Sorry)” / “King of the Road”
  • “(Don’t Go Back To) Rockville” / “Catapult” (Live)
  • “Can’t Get There From Here” / “Bandwagon”
  • “Driver 8” / “Crazy”
  • “Wendell G” / “Crazy” + “Ages of You” / “Burning Down” [U.K. double-pack, previously unreleased in U.S.]
  • “Fall On Me” / “Rotary Ten”
  • “Superman” / “White Tornado”
  • “The One I Love” / “Maps and Legends” (Live)
  • “Its The End Of The World As We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” / “Last Date”
  • “Finest Worksong” / “Time After Time” (Live) (U.K. single, previously unreleased in U.S.)
REM singles

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Hall of Famer Gretchen Peters to release 'Blackbirds' on 9 February 2015

Gretchen Peters 'Blackbirds' cover

Album release: 'Blackbirds' by Gretchen Peters
Release date: 9 February 2015
Label: Proper
Listen / more information: on official website

Fresh off her induction into the prestigious Nashville Songwriters Hall of Fame, Gretchen Peters has confirmed the 9th February release of her new album 'Blackbirds.' Co-produced with Doug Lancio and Barry Walsh and recorded in Nashville, the album features a who's who of modern American roots music: Jerry Douglas, Jason Isbell, Jimmy LaFave, Will Kimbrough, Kim Richey, Suzy Bogguss and more. But it's not the guests that make 'Blackbirds' the most poignant and moving album of the GRAMMY-nominee's storied career; it’s the impeccable craftsmanship, her ability to capture the kind of complex, conflicting, and overwhelming emotional moments we might otherwise try to hide and instead shine a light of truth and understanding onto them.

The eleven tracks on 'Blackbirds' face down death with a dark grit and delicate beauty. "During the summer of 2013 when I began writing songs for 'Blackbirds,' there was one week when I went to three memorial services and a wedding," remembers Peters. "It dawned on me that this is the way it goes as you get older - the memorial services start coming with alarming frequency and the weddings are infrequent and thus somehow more moving."

She found herself drawn to artists courageous enough to face their own aging and mortality in their work (Leonard Cohen, Paul Simon, Bruce Springsteen, Nick Lowe), but noticed all the material was coming from a male perspective. "As brave an artistic risk as it may be for a man, it’s much riskier for a woman to speak about it," says Peters, whose incredible catalogue of songs—including "Independence Day" and "On A Bus To St. Cloud"—have been recorded by everyone from Martina McBride and Neil Diamond to Etta James and Trisha Yearwood. "Aging seems to be a taboo subject for female singer-songwriters, in part because our value has depended so much on our youth and sexuality. I want to write about that stuff because it’s real, it’s there, and so few women seem to be talking about it."

In an atypical and unexpectedly rewarding move, Peters teamed with frequent tour-mate Ben Glover to co-write several tunes on the new album, which evokes the kind of 1970's folk rock of Neil Young, David Crosby, and Joni Mitchell that Peters grew up on, albeit with a more haunted, country-noir vibe simmering just below the surface.

Geographically, the album leaps around the country, with particularly heartrending stops in southern Louisiana at the scene of a crime ("Blackbirds"), Pelham, New York, where Peters probes the hidden darkness of the leafy suburbia in which she grew up ("The House On Auburn Street"), and the waters of the Gulf of Mexico, where a fisherman lays his wife to rest after losing everything in the BP oil spill ("Black Ribbons"). "When All You Got Is A Hammer" is the story of a veteran struggling to adjust to life at home after fighting overseas, while "The Cure For The Pain" takes place in the waning days of illness in a hospital, and "Nashville" brings us back to Peters' adopted hometown.

Despite the varied locations, the songs on 'Blackbirds' are all inextricably tied together through their characters, whom Peters paints with extraordinary empathy and vivid detail.

'Blackbirds' follows Peters' 2012 album 'Hello Cruel World,' which NPR called "the album of her career" and Uncut said "establishes her as the natural successor to Lucinda Williams." If anything, though, 'Blackbirds' truly establishes Peters as a one-of-a-kind singer and songwriter, one in possession of a fearless and endlessly creative voice.

'Blackbirds' Tracklisting

1. Blackbirds
2. Pretty Things
3. When All You Got Is A Hammer
4. Everything Falls Away
5. The House on Auburn Street
6. When You Comin’ Home
7. Jubilee
8. Black Ribbons 
9. Nashville
10. The Cure For The Pain
11. Blackbirds (reprise)

Tour dates

For latest dates, please visit the Gretchen Peters website.

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American Football announce first UK dates

Tour announcement: American Football
Countries: UK
Dates: May 14-16 2015
Tickets from: American Football website


It’s finally happening…In May 2015, American Football are coming to the UK for the first time to play three dates in London, Leeds and Manchester. The dates follow on from American Football’s incredibly successful US reunion tour, and the reissue of their seminal self-titled album.

  • May 14th 2015 - London, UK @ Electric Ballroom
  • May 15th 2015 - Leeds, UK @ Brudenell Social Club 
  • May 16th 2015 - Manchester, UK @ Gorilla 

In the 15 years since its release, American Football's self-titled debut full-length has quietly become one of the most fiercely beloved titles in the US indie Polyvinyl catalogue. Though the trio - Mike Kinsella (Cap'n Jazz, Owen, Owls), Steve Lamos, and Steve Holmes - only played a few shows and released just one other record (a three-song EP that preceded this full-length), their influence and legacy has steadily continued to grow in the time after they disbanded.

From its now iconic artwork to the band's unique songwriting approach (highlighted by an emphasis on shifting time signatures and sincere lyrics), American Football proves a record doesn't become a true classic through flashiness or catering to trends, but rather the deep emotional connection it forges between the music and the listener.

A testament to the act's lasting influence, American Football maintains a loyal fanbase eager for material from the band. Due to an outpouring of request, in 2004 Polyvinyl reissued American Football on vinyl. Following up on past success and requests, in 2008 Polyvinyl issued a 1-sided 12" of the American Football EP with new photography by Chris Strong. Despite the small amount of recorded work and hardly any touring, American Football remains one of Polyvinyl Record's most loved bands to this day.

Previous praise for American Football

  • “…currently the most influential album in the genre” – Pitchfork (8.6)
  • “The album serves as what indie rock should be about, synthesizing the musical world around us, not dividing and separating.” – PASTE Magazine 
  • “…there’s no question that the music that American Football did produce is as close to timeless as modern indie gets” – The Line Of Best Fit
  • “… one of emo’s essential LPs” – CLASH

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Angels and Airwaves team up with VEVO for the premiere of "The Wolfpack"

Angels and Airwaves

Video release: "The Wolfpack" by Angels and Airwaves
Available: 14 November 2014
Watch: on Vevo

Angels & Airwaves have teamed with VEVO for the premiere of "The Wolfpack," the companion video to their new single.

Spotlighted by iTunes in their "What Rocks" feature, the track is now available as an instant download with every pre-order of the band's upcoming album, "The Dream Walker"

Directed by Mark Eaton, "The Wolfpack" video is the latest in a series of brand-new Angels & Airwaves releases, following the album’s preview track, “Paralyzed,” (which immediately rocketed into the Top 10 on the iTunes Alternative Chart), the trailer premiere for the animated short film "Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker", and Spinmedia's launch of "The Wolfpack" single.

Together with the album, the short film will be released on December 9th and is an official selection of the 2014 Toronto International Short Film Festival, taking place November 12-14th, 2014. 

The Dream Walker was written, recorded and produced by Angels & Airwaves’ frontman/guitarist Tom DeLonge and multi-instrumentalist Ilan Rubin, known for his work with Nine Inch Nails. The album was recorded at Jupiter Sound in San Diego, CA, and mixed by Aaron Rubin, Tom Lord Alge (Rolling Stones, Liz Phair, Peter Gabriel) and Alan Moulder (Foo Fighters, Nine Inch Nails, Arctic Monkeys). “Paralyzed” was mixed by Aaron Rubin, who worked with AVA on 2013’s Stomping The Phantom Brake Pedal.

"Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker" follows Poet, a Lucid Dreamer with the rare ability to be aware of his dreams while they’re happening.  As Poet journeys deeper into his vivid dream life, he meets his Dream Walker, a guardian angel of dreams who protects him from the torment of a vicious Night Terror monster.  But when his nightmares break through into his waking life, Poet must face his demons to fulfill his destiny. "Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker" is a story by Tom DeLonge and features music from "The Dream Walker".

"The Dream Walker"  follows the band's last two albums, Love (2010) and "Love: Part Two" (2011) and its companion film, "Love", which investigated the psychological effects of isolation when an astronaut stranded in space learns the importance of human connection and love. The critically acclaimed movie was screened at festivals around the world.

"Poet Anderson: The Dream Walker" will also feature a comic book series, novels and a live-action feature film launching in 2015.

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Owlle to release debut album, 'France' on November 17

owlle-590.jpg

Album release: ‘France’ by Owlle
Label: Aztec
Release date: 17 November 2014
Listen on: official Owlle website

“Her breakout single, the sparkly synth-laden “Ticky Ticky,” tiptoes across your eardrums and practically forces you out onto the dance floor.” – Nylon

“Darkly danceable electro-pop… all tinged with sadness. You can hear the subtle influences of Bronksi Beat Madonna and the subtle hints of Frank Ocean.”  – Notion

“French electro-pop chanteuse Owlle is set to take the world by storm with her unique fusing of 80s era melody, super danceable beats and a pop-art aesthetic.” – Amelia’s

For French 20-something, Owlle, music is a way to tell stories, a way to embrace freedom and other worlds, and very much expose two sides of the same coin. In Owlle’s world, the things that initially seem quite different from one another can often reveal themselves to be quite closely interlinked. As an arts graduate, on her debut album France, she continually demonstrates that visual art can be as much an influence over recorded output as other sounds themselves can. Having experienced her own light bulb moment at one of Brian Eno’s audio-visual installations, the effects were apparently long lasting; “I’m not sure if I’d ever have dared to start a musical career if it wasn’t for the rush I got when I discovered one of Eno’s audio-visual installations at an art fair. It was called Quiet Club and the way sound and visuals interacted truly fascinated me.”

An atmosphere of contradiction within music is never far from Owlle’s mindset either (“I like mixing different or even antagonistic atmospheres”) and it’s these more mercurial traits that have earned her comparisons to others such as, Chairlift, Lykki Li, Bat For Lashes and Grimes. The signposts can be followed on tracks like Ticky Ticky, with its toe-tapping melancholia and fizzing electronics. or on forthcoming single, and album opener Fog, which somehow manages to feel both claustrophobic and free at the same time. Of the record, Owlle has said that often “there’s the notion of someone running incessantly after something”, and it’s perhaps the pace of Fog that sets this tone for the rest of the album. Whatever her motives, Francebursts with ideas, leads the listener through darkened corridors, and manages to capture that most illusive of pop virtues; Style and Substance. Owlle has both to spare. 

Leading into the UK release of France, Owlle has bothered the top of Hype Machine with remixed versions of her own tracks (most notably cuts by St Pepsi and Maelstrom), while Owlle herself has remixed the likes of Sia and Depeche Mode.  Further tracks have featured on mixtapes for i-D, Under Your Sun was featured as one of Daytrotter’s Best Songs of 2013 and she has gone on to support artists like Sebastian Tellier and Phoenix on tour. 2013 saw her play at Lovebox and feature at various discovery festivals in Europe, including The Great Escape, Eurosonic, Reeperbahn and China’s own Strawberry Festival.

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Prawn to join Gnarwolves and Public Domain on winter EU/UK tour

image003.jpg

Tour announcement: Prawn

Countries: EU and UK

Dates: 30 November - 12 December 2014

More information and dates: on Topshelf website

Following on from the release of their acclaimed new album ‘Kingfisher’, Prawn are now set to storm the EU/UK, supporting Gnarwolves on their biggest tour to date! The winter tour is set to start on 10November 2014 in Belgium, with Prawn and Gnarwolves hitting the UK from 30 November – 12December 2014 (with Public Domain joining them from the London show onwards). 

Following on from their second full-length album ‘Kingfisher’ (released 12th August 2014 via Topshelf Records), this tour marks the New Jersey quintet’s highly anticipated third visit to the EU/UK. Prawn consistently make a huge impact on audiences wherever they play and are constantly gaining new fans by exhibiting their unique flavour of post-rock infused emo. This combined with the recent praise for ‘Kingfisher’ guarantees that this will be the bands most exiting overseas tour to date!

This tour will follow on from the forthcoming US Topshelf Records Tour (feat. A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Diamond Youth, Prawn & Field Mouse). The band have also recently finished touring the US this summer with Into It. Over It., the Hotelier, and Foxing.

Having recently opened the main stage at both Reading and Leeds, winter tour headliners Gnarwolves consistently impress crowds with their incendiary performances of their own raucous blend of punk-rock. This tour will be the longest set of dates that Gnarwolves have embarked on so far, and will follow on from their forthcoming self-titled debut, set for release on 15th September 2014 on Tangled Talk Records/Big Scary Monsters.

Austrian skater punks Public Domain will also be joining them on the tour, having recently impressed UK crowds with their explosive set at TDON Fest 2014.

This is a serious line-up consisting of bands that are currently impressing fans at every step of the way! Make sure you catch them at one of their dates - these are all available from the Topshelf website.

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Debut EP from The Gromble announced

TheGromble5HiResbySpencerOwens.jpg

EP release: The Gromble EP by The Gromble

Release date: 21 October 2014

Listen on: the Gromble website

“If you were looking for #1 on your summer playlist, this is it. Put on your sunglasses, roll down those windows, and let The Gromble help you create the memories that will last a lifetime.” - Indie Shuffle

“A dizzying meeting of vocal hooks and harmonies, where the sunny instrumentation drives the track forward through the approaching clouds to create something both endearingly frenetic and warmly delivered.” - Gold Flake Paint

“With summery tones driven some scorching early Pumpkins riffs and dreamy psychedelia, it makes for perfect summer listening - and one hell of an earworm.” - Gigwise

“Equal parts Weezer and Real Estate…irresistible from the start.” - Guitar World Acoustic Nation

“Cute Cali boys making dreamy beach music? I’m in! (The Gromble) offer up their third release, Creepy Jr, that floats heavy and golden like a setting summer sun.” - Crack in the Road

The Gromble (who take their name from a character in Nickelodeon’s “Aaahh!!! Real Monsters”), a five piece blend of orchestral alt-folk and indie rock, are set to release their debut EP on 21st October. Having played together from a young age as well as supporting acts such as The Lemonheads the group have built their own quirky niche, being compared to the likes of Grouplove, Vampire Weekend and Miniature Tigers.

Despite their mature and intelligent songcraft the band members retain a wide eyed, child like wonderment, with an unashamed love for 90’s pop culture and a twisted sense of humour that runs beneath the surface of their songs. The record was tracked almost entirely at the drummer’s Mum’s house, while the string and horn sections were recorded in the guitarist’s games room (specifically, the basketball court). All five members also perform as part of a 90’s cover band called SEGA Genocide every Friday night. Spencer Wiles (keyboard, saxophone and arrangements) teaches piano, saxophone and clarinet and Los Rios Rock School, a school not unlike Jack Black’s School Of Rock where they put kids into bands and peform gigs as ‘recitals’. Although they are essentially big kids they are certainly no neophytes when it comes to gear. They tend to run a complex midi setups through Ableton live, and use their ingenuity to come up with all sorts of alternatives to typical touring setups.

This is music for when you’re coming of age, music to soundtrack the best years of your life. The Gromble provide something different for everyone in their refreshing refusal to settle for the status quo and as such, they’ve already been championed by such reputable names as Crack In The Road, Gold Flake Paint, VICE and Indie Shuffle.

The Gromble are:

  • Spencer Askin (guitar + vocals)
  • Stefan Macarewich (drums + vocals)
  • Trevin Eck (bass)
  • Spencer Wiles (keyboards + saxophone + arrangements)
  • Steven Lindenfelser (guitar)

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Siouxsie and The Banshees: reissues of their final four studio albums announced

siouxsie_and_the_banshees_-_through_the_looking_glass_-_front.jpg

Album reissues: ‘Through The Looking Glass’, ‘Peepshow’, ‘Superstition’ and ‘The Rapture’ by Siouxsie and The Banshees

Release date: 13 October 2014

Label: Polydor / Universal

Siouxsie & The Banshees reissue their last 4 studio albums, all as remastered packages with bonus tracks. ‘Through The Looking Glass’, ‘Peepshow’, ‘Superstition’ and ‘The Rapture’ will be released on October 13on Polydor / Universal Music Catalogue. These releases cover a period which saw a period of bold experimentation and musical exploration coinciding with the Banshees getting the notice they truly deserved in the USA, whilst retaining the feverish devotion of their fans at home.

You can download full information and the track listing here.

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Debut album, 'Heal', from AxxoN N gets October release

AxxoN N
AxxoN N

Album release: “Heal” by AxxoN N

Release date: October 13 2014

Label: Domestic Records 

Listen on: Soundcloud

Little is known about AxxoN N apart from the fact that this debut recording has been constructed over the last 4 years in the UK, drawing on the surrounding popular culture that is the early 21st entury.

Sourced almost entirely from samples, it’s a enlightening work that is virtually impossible to categorise. Perhaps a distant bastard cousin of Autechre and the more fluid experiments of Kraftwerk around the time of Radio Activity, this music takes the listener on an unpredictable journey which appears to have no final destination. Like all great works, there are more questions than answers.

This work takes on conceptual form, each track addressing and coming to terms with states of deep depression and anxiety. 

AxxoN N music is painted out of a deep blue and grey canvas where darkness is omnipresent, but as the music unravels it becomes ever more unpredictable, bright flashes of melody jump out of the dense landscape.

Heal offers the listener a curious concoction of loops and beats which could have been dug up from a distant corner of a future David Lynch film set at a fucked up surrealist shopping channel somewhere high in the Hollywood hills.

If Heal was a planet it would be spinning on more than one axis, throwing its inhabitants out across the universe into a dark future…and is this the true music of the future? A monumental claim perhaps, but it comes very very close. 

Who needs mind altering drugs when there is “Heal” by AxxoN N?

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40th anniversary vinyl release of Frank Zappa's 'Apostrophe'

Frank Zappa Publicity Photo Apostrophe5x5-no text.jpg

Album reissue: ‘Apostrophe’ by Frank Zappa

Release date: 20 October 2014

Label: Universal

Listen on / more information at: official Frank Zappa website

The Zappa Family Trust presents more freshly remastered music with the 40th Anniversary Edition of Frank Zappa’s Apostrophe (’) on audiophile quality 180-gram vinyl.  Cut directly from the original quarter-inch stereo analogue master tapes, the special edition of the iconic 1974 album will be released on 20 October 2014.

Featuring definitive Zappa cuts “Don’t Eat The Yellow Snow” and “Cosmik Debris” among its original nine tracks, Apostrophe (’) was Zappa’s highest-charting album, peaking at No. 10 on the Billboard 200.  The Gold-certified album has been remastered for vinyl by Chris Bellman at Bernie Grundman Mastering and manufactured for the world at Pallas Group in Germany.

The 40th Anniversary Edition of Apostrophe (’) continues the Zappa Family Trust’s ongoing commitment to the restoration of Frank Zappa’s albums on audiophile quality vinyl.  Joe Travers, Vaultmaster, Zappa Archives, is working on the new LP releases with Bellman. 

In 2012, when the rights to the iconic composer’s masters reverted back to Zappa Records and the Zappa Family Trust – headed by Zappa’s widow Gail Zappa – the family made his entire recorded catalogue available on iTunes for the first time and began remastering the albums for reissue on vinyl. Presented with proper care and attention to detail, the releases honor the iconic legacy of the Composer, Guitarist, Bandleader, Filmmaker and Irrepressible Wit. 

Zappa was posthumously inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1995 and received the GRAMMY® Lifetime Achievement Award in 1997. The official biography: Frank Zappa, American composer, fl. 1940-1993.

For more information, go to www.zappa.com

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Wampire to release new album on 27 October

Wampire Bazaar cover
Wampire Bazaar cover

Album release: “Bazaar” by Wampire

Release date: 27 October

Label: Polyvinyl

Listen on: Wampire official site

Following the release of their debut album, “Curiosity”, in 2013, Wampire went from a duo most accustomed to playing house parties around their hometown of Portland to a five-piece band performing in venues all over the world with groups such as Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Foxygen, and Smith Westerns.

That 12-month span saw Wampire play more shows in more cities, countries, and continents than in all their previous years together combined - a nearly non-stop barrage of new and memorable experiences that, above all else, forced the band members to become more fully immersed in music than at any other time in their lives.

As a result, when founding members and primary songwriters Rocky Tinder and Eric Phipps returned home at the tail end of the year, they immediately dove into the process of working on a new album in order to capitalize on the creative energy that had been steadily amassing during their days, weeks, and months on the road.

Says Phipps of that moment in time, “I holed up in a tiny room within a friend’s warehouse and began knocking out as many different songs as I could. I tried not to look back, just wanting to explore everything I could possibly create. I started to feel like I was becoming a Kafka-esque insomniac musical novelist at one point.”

The reference to the German writer is an apt one for a band that has always imbued its disarmingly off-kilter pop with tinges of paranoia and surrealism (both lyrically and musically), but even more fitting is the title of Wampire’s new record: Bazaar.

Like the tantalizing blend of exotic treasures and captivating sensations its namesake suggests, Bazaar continually offers listeners a variety of unexpected and alluring sonic flavors over the course of its nine tracks - ranging from raucous riffs (“Bad Attitude”) to seductive sax (“Wizard Staff”) to charmingly catchy choruses (“The Amazing Heart Attack”).

As with their previous full-length “Curiosity”, Wampire recorded “Bazaar” with trusted producer Jacob Portrait (of Unknown Mortal Orchestra), though this time around the sessions took place at The Museum, a studio in Brooklyn’s Greenpoint neighborhood, and were done directly to tape.

Far from home once again, Tinder and Phipps used the city to their advantage — writing lyrics on the 40-minute bus ride to and from their temporary residence in Bed-Stuy and rushing to a shop down the street to buy a guitar - one that looked and felt like it had been buried in dust for decades and had just the right analog sound - as their allotted studio time was winding down.

Another important change was the addition of touring drummer Thomas Hoganson to the recording and songwriting process. Though Tinder and Phipps had previously sought to minimize distractions in the studio by just working with each other, Hoganson’s diverse musical abilities (in addition to drums, he also plays piano and saxophone on Bazaar) made him an ideal collaborator.

And so, after a year spent in vans and on planes, in European clubs, Australian beaches, and everywhere in between, Wampire emerged with more confidence, a stronger vision, and what is undeniably their best batch of songs to date.

For evidence of this, check out the album’s first single “Wizard Staff” above now and see below for all of the band’s upcoming tour dates, including a September run with Temples. Bazaar will be available on CD, LP (Polyvinyl e-store limited edition of 300 on 180-gram clear purple, black), cassette and digitally. 

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"Exploded view of Love" - debut album from S's

Exploded View of Love - cover.jpg

Album release: “Exploded view of Love” by S’s

Release date: 13 October 2014

Label: G@#9

Nearly 20 years into the 21st century humanity persists despite ‘reality’ programming, climate doom warnings and predictions of humanoid uprisings, not to mention corporatized war, gun control debates and general insanity as usual. But in the narcissistic age of the ‘selfie’ and social media detachment, empathy appears on the wane. Where does that leave love? Is it nearing extinction? Are we? What does the future hold for love, and for human beings?

Beyond the replicant sector of the dystopian music industry, Los Angeles-based S’s [alias JEF 700S] transcend the parameters of “Experimental Noise,” “Minimalism,” “Synth Punk,” etc. The result is the debut concept album, Exploded View of Love, an abstract soundtrack that fathoms a Post-Reality/Post-Empathy/Post-Human future. JEF 700S sings/screams while transmitting alien waveforms, broken robot percussion and ectoplasmic skronk from a device called the 3dK.

Drawing equal inspiration from primal experimental noise [The Haters alias GX Jupitter-Larsen] and synthetic new wave [The Normal alias Daniel Miller], the free vocals of Patty Waters and Black Francis, and the future noir of THX 1138, Eraserhead, and Blade Runner, S’s explore how love transforms expression and vice versa. Navigating the guise of a deconstructed ‘band’ identity, 700S calls into question assumptions about human nature. Like love itself, the experience is alternately harrowing and humorous, pretentious and profound; the result morphs black and white polarity, leaving a subliminal fluorescent gray.

S’s debut full-length contains 10 tracks that average two minutes. “Unhaunted,” the single, points its cyborg finger at hypocritical Disneyland mines lurking within its all-too-human narrator. “Sex Machines” transposes famed Kraftwerk and James Brown memes, leaving the former uncharacteristically screaming for more and the latter cold, hold the sweat. “Rip Out Wires” takes a hard future look at online sex’s last kink. “Weapons Grade Love” proffers anti-war sentiment laced with a portent of off-planet fate, while “Pome” may be the first noise torch song. “Love Life” riffs on the themes of the Beatles’ “All You Need Is Love” and “Tomorrow Never Knows,” building upon a single drum pad drone until it degrades into full-bore cacophony. Finally, the album’s title track abandons structural underpinnings prior to the three-minute mark then freefalls through deep space by way of a 20-minute Zen fade.

  • Recorded, mixed and mastered by Matt Lynch at Mysterious Mammal in Los Angeles; November 2013 - March 2014
  • Co-produced by S’s and Matt Lynch
  • All sounds/songs written/performed by JEF 700S
  • All noise/drum parts played by hand/not programmed

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Dearly Beloved announce more UK and European dates

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Tour announcement: Dearly Beloved, UK and Europe

Dates: Sept - Oct 2014

More information: on Dearly Beloved website

Dearly Beloved is a monster of a band. Echoing through the snowy valleys and the jagged edges of the Great White North come the rapid, urgent bass lines of Rob Higgins and the confrontational wails of co-vocalist Niva Chow. The pair drive their music forward like an apocalyptic oil tanker from some Mad Max-ian dystopic future. Bred for the road like a rabid beast, Dearly Beloved tours non-stop, opting for frequent jumps across the pond to the UK and Europe when their home base of Canada simply becomes too small for their ferocity.

Although fully-fledged progenitors of the stoner rock tradition, their influence has as much to do with Fear and Black Flag as it does Kyuss and Black Sabbath, mixing the speed and primal energy of hardcore punk with the brooding and psychedelic atmosphere of those in the stoner camp. All you need to know about Dearly Beloved is that they create a gigantic rumble, resonating somewhere deep within the earth below you: it shakes the foundations of your soul, and it might be one of the loudest sounds you’ve ever heard.

Their latest album Enduro, available on LP worldwide via Aporia Records, was recorded in ten maniacal days at Joshua Tree’s Rancho de la Luna, overseen by Dave Catching (Eagles of Death Metal, ex-Queens of the Stone Age) with Higgins himself at the controls. The band spent another ten at Phoebe St., their own studio in Toronto, to finish tracking before the album was given a pristine mix down in Seattle by Grammy Award-winning producer, Adam Kasper (Queens of the Stone Age, Foo Fighters, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam). Enlisting an A-grade line-up of contributors such as Chris Goss (Masters of Reality) for some trebly and frantic guitar duties and Los Angeles-area drum guru Dave Elitch (Killer Be Killed, Antemasque, ex-Mars Volta) as well as Canadian indie rock lone wolf, Eamon McGrath, the record is a document of the ballistic energy laid to wax when four Canadians leave their winter climate for a psychedelic and drug-fuelled experience deep within the heart of the High Desert.

Like the band itself, Enduro is road tested: Higgins broke the record in at full volume, blasting through the Mojave at top-speed to make sure the message was being accurately sent, right before returning home to Toronto to begin his rigid touring schedule. It’s a record built for breaking boundaries, both physical - volume, speed, strength - and musical, in the way it effortlessly mixes countless genres that all have one thing in common: that they’re as loud as fuck. 

Tour dates

Sept 12 - Hamilton, ON @ Supercrawl

Sept 16 - Berlin, DE @ CIMA Showcase

Sept 18 - Hamburg, DE @ Reeperbahn, Canadian Blast Showcase

Sept 19 - Dusseldorf, DE @ Zack  #

Sept 22 - Stuttgart, DE @Keller Club  #

Sept 23 - Munich, DE @ Atomic Cafe  #

Sept 26 - Alizejur, PT @ Atlantic Riders Surf Camp  *

Sept 27 - Lisbon, PT @ Fontoria Blues Cafe  *

Sept 28 - Madrid, SP @ Wurlitzer Ballroom  *

Sept 30 - Grenobles, FR @ L’Amperage  *

Oct 1 - Metz, FR @ La Chauoee  *

Oct 2 - Winsford- Cheshire, UK @ tbd  *

Oct 3 – London, UK @ The Queen’s Head

Oct 4 - Manchester, UK @ Dry Bar  *

Oct 5 - WTFest, Southampton, UK @ Unit

Oct 7 - Bristol, UK @ Stags and Hounds  *

Oct 8 - London, UK @ The Windmill  *

Oct 9 - Glasgow, UK @ Broadcast  ^

# - with Dark Horses

* - with Eamon McGrath

^ - with Fluorescent Hearts

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Work and Love: the new album from Elliott BROOD

Elliot Brood
Elliot Brood

Album release: “Work and Love” by Elliott BROOD

Release date: 21 October 2014

Label: Paper Bag Records

Listen on: official Elliott Brood website

Toronto trio Elliott BROOD are gearing up to release their highly anticipated new album, ‘Work and Love’ (Paper Bag Records). The album is the follow-up to ‘Days Into Years’, which won a Juno Award in 2013 for Roots & Traditional Album of the Year. For ‘Work and Love’, Elliott BROOD withdrew to a farmhouse in Bath, Ontario where they recorded nine songs in two weeks with producer Ian Blurton (The Weakerthans, Amy Millan) - their first time working with an outside producer. The result is their most personal and urgent album to date, with rock influences that nod as much to Neil Young & Crazy Horse, as much as Richard Buckner and Whiskeytown.

Seattle radio giant, KEXP recently premiered “Jigsaw Heart,” the first new song ‘Work and Love,’ calling it the bands “most adventurous album to date”

On ‘Work and Love,’ Elliott BROOD’s two songwriters Casey Laforet and Mark Sasso decided to mine the bare histories of their own lives: penning verses about the ends of relationships and the tests of adulthood, long drives, childhood retreating in a rear-view mirror. ‘Work and Love’ also serves as a eulogy for the moments on the doorstep of manhood: first loves, lost loves, and young men’s just desserts. 

Select tracks on the album feature Aaron Goldstein (City and Colour) on pedal steel and John Dinsmore (Kathleen Edwards, Sarah Harmer) on bass. ‘Work and Love’ is Elliott BROOD at their sheerest, facing forward and backward at the same time.

Elliott BROOD have confirmed pre-release shows at NYC’s Rockwood Music Hall on 9/17, D.C’s Black Cat Backstage on 9/18 and the Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion in Bristol, TN on 9/20-21 (full schedule below). More dates will soon be announced.

Elliott BROOD Tour Dates

08/23 – Elora, ON @ Riverfest Elora

08/23 – Dundas, ON @ The Greenbelt Harvest Picnic

08/30 – St. John’s, NL @ Harbourage Music Festival

08/31 – Sun Peaks, BC @ Sun Peaks Summer Concert Stage

09/17 – New York, NY @ Rockwood Music Hall

09/18 – Washington, DC @ Black Cat Backstage

09/20 – Bristol, VA @ Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion

09/21 – Bristol, VA @ Bristol Rhythm and Roots Reunion

10/25 – Bilbao (ESP) @ Sala Azkena

10/27 –  Madrid (ESP) @ Boite

10/28 –  Barcelona (ESP) @ Rocksound

10/29 –  Valencia (ESP) @ Loco Club

10/31 –  Jerez (ESP) @ Serie Z Festival

11/04 – Hamburg (DE) @ Astra Stube

11/07 – Suffolk (UK) @ The Bank Eye

11/12 – Deventer (NL) @ Burgerweeshuis

11/13 – Amsterdam (NL) @ Paradiso

11/14 – Borger (NL) @ VanSlag

11/15 – Ottersum (NL) @ Roepean

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Pablo Clements and James Griffith (UNKLE) release new mini album as Toydrum

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Mini-album release: Distant Focus Volume 1 by Toydrum

Release date: 29 September 2014 

Format: Digital / Limited edition 12” heavy weight vinyl

Label: Underscore

“A mad professor whose obsession with discovering obscure music from every corner of the world is a constant source of inspiration“. - James Lavelle 

“The TOY ROOMS is a great studio run by great people. Full of Pablo Clements’s endless collection of musical toys, the Toy Rooms has become our studio heartland.”  - Nick Cave

“Along with Weatherall  I think Pablo Clements is one of the most creative musical minds I’ve met from my generation. “ - David Holmes 

While James Lavelle has put UNKLE on hold, Pablo Clements and James Griffith, members of the seminal project since 2007, have forged a new musical partnership, TOYDRUM and are based in their own studio in Brighton, the TOY ROOMS. They produce and compose for an eclectic mix  of projects. They are releasing their first Mini Album on their own UNDERSCORE label on 29September.

Pablo Clements began his musical career with the PSYCHONAUTS while growing up in Yeovil Somerset, amidst a burgeoning breakbeat revival in nearby Bristol. Pablo and his musical partner Paul Mogg spun, scratched and mixed their way on to the decks of the local pirate radio station and were soon running their own club nights, recording music and compiling mix tapes.

Legend has it that one of these tapes was the only earthly possession that their Yeovil pal Tim Goldsworthy (original UNKLE member/co-founder of the MO’WAX record label) had left after he and his luggage had been separated in transit from London to Los Angeles. Attending a party thrown by the Beastie Boys, Goldsworthy played the PSYCHONAUTS tape. Almost instantly, their world went crazy. They were offered four major record deals before they had properly recorded a single piece of music.  Deciding to sign with MO’WAX, they took their time settling into their craft and playing spectacular DJ shows with four record decks and a sampler.  LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy, has cited debut PSYCHONAUTS album “Songs for Creatures” as a major influence on their own work.

Moving to London in 1996, Pablo Clements began to work regularly for MO’WAX as a mixer and multi-instrumentalist. He officially became a member of UNKLE in 2007, co-producing their “War Stories“ (July 2007) album. Alongside bassist and guitarist James Griffith (BIG IN JAPAN & LAKE TROUT) they toured the world, and over the next few years saw a number of UNKLE releases that they were creatively responsible for: ‘More Stories (January 2008),  ‘End Titles Stories For Film’ (July 2008),  ‘End Titles Redux’ (December 2008) ‘Where Did The Night Fall’ (May 2010) and ‘Where Did The Night Fall Another Night Out (April 2011) featuring collaborations with Ian Astbury, Queen Of The Stone Age, Nick Cave, The Black Angels, Mark Lanagan, Sleepy Sun and many more.  

Both Clements and Griffith have extensive musical histories spanning many collaborations and projects, and they continue as a prolific and productive force at the TOY ROOMS studio today. The upcoming mini-album is the first of a series of releases which comprehensively demonstrates their continued creativity and ability to deliver music that matters.

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The Scenes announce tour dates with the Specials

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Tour announcement: The Scenes

Dates: October / November 2014

More information: on official band website

Finland’s The Scenes are pleased to announce an exciting run of shows coming up - they will be supporting punk legends The Specials on their highly anticipated autumn UK tour, many dates of which are already sold out. 

The Scenes will play the following dates:

  • Oct 30th – Norwich, UEA w/ The Specials
  • Nov 3rd – Dublin, Olympia w/ The Specials
  • Nov 4th – Belfast, Ulster Hall w/ The Specials
  • Nov 5th – Newcastle, Think Tank
  • Nov 13th – London, Roundhouse w/ The Specials
  • Nov 14th – London, Roundhouse w/ The Specials
  • Nov 15th – London, Roundhouse w/ The Specials
  • Nov 17th – Brighton, The Dome w/ The Specials
  • Nov 18th – Bournemouth, Academy w/ The Specials
  • Nov 22nd – Nottingham, Rock City w/ The Specials
  • Nov 23rd – Southampton, Joiners
  • Nov 25th – Manchester, Gullivers
  • Nov 27th – Bristol, Start The Bus
  • Nov 28th – Liverpool, Studio 2

More dates will be announced soon - please check the band’s website for most up to date information.

An experimental band barely out of their teens, The Scenes are from Oulu, Northern Finland and are a band that represent something between art pop, hardcore punk and progressive rock. Although they themselves would describe their sound simply as ‘rock’, the oblique song structures, angular rhythms and contorted lyrics, combined with their powerful showmanship mastery makes for something altogether more special.

No strangers to the live circuit, in May 2014 The Scenes toured the UK earning a reputation for their lights-out mayhem live performances, playing festival slots at The Great Escape, Liverpool Sound City, Live At Leeds and Dot to Dot, as well as supporting Bo Ningen on their club tour. Their sets are characterised by neurotic bursts - serene then suddenly lively to the point where it’s almost certain that something will break - be it equipment or bones.

After their debut album “Images Of Animals Crying In Public” in 2013, second album ‘Beige’ will come out in October, on the Sound of Finland imprint. 

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New video and tour dates from Happyness

happyness-pic1.jpg

Video Release: “Anything I Do Is All Right”

Watch: on Youtube

Happyness have just unveiled their first ever music video, for “Anything I Do Is All Right”, the lead track from their forthcoming “Anything I Do Is All Right” EP. The EP, out September 1st, is a digital only release which arrives just as the band gear up for a headline run in October. Having spent May on the road with Ezra Furman, appeared at Liverpool Sound City and Live At Leeds, as well as booking in summer appearances at festivals like Reading, Leeds, Bestival, Secret Garden Party and Green Man, the band are set for what is sure to be their busiest tour yet.

The band comment: “One night in Bermondsey, we wanted to make a louder one.  It’s kind of about getting your personality off the internet or the television or pornography or whatever you’re hooked on. We’re going on tour again, it will be nice to get as close as possible to as many people as possible.”

View the video, directed by Adi Parige, here

Taking in a show at London’s Elektrowerkz on October 14th, the band will be translating their trademark brand of bracing, but literate, fuzzy alt rock to live audiences in the UK, before taking their first steps in the USA at this year’s CMJ.

The ‘Anything I Do Is All Right’ EP is released on 1st September and

can be pre-ordered here

. The album Weird Little Birthday is out now.

Press reaction

  • “There is absolutely no reason not to fall in love with this debut album, and if you come up with one, you’re wrong.” - Sunday Times
  • “It feels only a matter of time till this South London trio explode” - NME 8/10
  • “Happyness switch effortlessly between fuzzy pop and downcast, desolate, ballads… thrilling and charming” - The Guardian ****
  • “A special band”- DIY
  • “Weird Little Birthday oozes a woozy optimism that borders on the euphoric” - Loud & Quiet
  • “it’s difficult not to warm to any record that quotes Prefab Sprout’s Cars And Girls in one breath and uses the word ‘phlebotomist’ in the next” - Q ****
  • “Affectionate homage to the post-Grunge era” - Uncut 8/10
  • “One of the finest new bands on the face of this Earth” - Stereogum
  • “They’ve got big ideas and big talent… Happyness could be ruling many a roost.” - The Line of Best Fit

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New album from Adam Cohen: We Go Home

Adam Cohen's We Go Home - album cover
Adam Cohen's We Go Home - album cover

Album release: “We Go Home” by Adam Cohen

Release date: 15 September 2014

Label: Cooking Vinyl 

Listen on: Adam Cohen website

“I thought I’d learned my lesson on the last record. Apretty towering lesson.That what’s most important to me are my roots, my family, my home and ultimately ‘knowing thyself’.”

Three years ago and three albums into a career that began with his 1998 self-titled debut, Cohen decided that he and the music business should call it quits. Talked into giving it one last go, he released his best and biggest album to date. Like A Man (2011) was an elegant, intimate beauty. His songs, performed on a nylon-string guitar, both had a deep connection and engaged in deep personal conversation with one of his greatest musical influences, Leonard Cohen. Adam’s father. As MOJO said, this was an album in which Adam Cohen “set about a quiet rapprochement with his DNA.” It was also, as Leonard Cohen said, an album of “world-class love songs.” A critical and commercial success, it brought Adam a gold album, a long world tour and great anticipation for the follow-up.

In a break between concerts, he went into the studio and emerged with a new album, which he scrapped. It didn’t feel honest. “I realized that I needed desperate measures to keep me honest and also to relieve me of the anxiety of following up the only successful record I’ve ever made. However deliciously I had been in orbit, touring with that record, I needed to tap into something more terrestrial, more rooted and real.”

We Go Home, Cohen’s fifth album, is by all definitions homemade. He recorded his songs in rooms as familiar to him as his name. Since the band was playing in Europe, Adam decided to set up shop in the little white house on the Greek island of Hydra where he had spent much of his childhood. “Making an album in the comfort of home on makeshift equipment with this band of touring musicians who had become my family immediately offered a beacon of hope that no studio, or session players or priceless gear ever could.” They continued recording in Montreal, where Adam was born, in the house where he spent his earliest years. “I knew I was painting a target on my back, making my album in the so-called homes of Leonard Cohen, but they’re my homes too. These are the walls that saw me grow up the most and that I needed to come back to. My muse is my home”

Some of the themes on We Go Home continue the conversation that Like A Man began. “I want the songs to speak for themselves”, says Cohen, “but what I can say is that the songs on this record mostly chronicle conversations I’ve either had with my old man, or want to have with my boy”, Adam’s seven-year-old son Cassius, “and a few conversations I’m having with myself. And, of course, there are love songs.” What’s different is the tone—richer and fuller this time, more diverse, making the most of the three-piece band and three-piece string section from his tour. The nylon-string guitar is still there, but there are also piano songs - the title track’s tenderness and self-mocking humour recalling one of Cohen’s other great musical influences Randy Newman.

“My last album was about me finally claiming my belonging to a tradition and finding my voice within that tradition. My new album,” Adam Cohen states, “is about me raising my voice.”

We Go Home is released in September. Adam Cohen’s European tour, featuring the band and string section, begins in Denmark, culminating in a concert at London’s Bush Hall on 15th October.

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Westward Ho! - the new album from Police Dog Hogan

police-dog-hogan.jpg

Album release: “Westward Ho!” by Police Dog Hogan

Label: Union Music Store

Release date: 6 October 2014

Listen: on official Police Dog Hogan website

With 8 members in the full line-up and instruments including guitar, accordion, banjo, mandolin, fiddle and trumpet, Police Dog Hogan draw their influences from many different wells. You could call it Americana, country-folk, folk-pop or even urban bluegrass, but it’s difficult to do justice to the sheer range of styles this band can bend to its will.

Their exuberant  mix of country-fried heartbreakers, belting anthems, foot-stomping singlaongs and souvenir tea towels made them a firm favourite on the festival circuit since forming in 2009.  “They’re one of my bands to watch,” says Radio 2 DJ Johnnie Walker. “Great songs, great musicians, and their live shows are really, really good fun.”

Police Dog Hogan’s second album, From the Land of Miracles, attracted praise from many quarters. “No one in their right mind would imagine that the band that play on the opening track Better Go Now come from anywhere other than the heartland of America,” said Maverick magazine’s 5-star review. “But some of James Studholme’s intricate guitar playing comes straight out of the traditional English folk book and would make Richard Thompson proud.”

With an average age comfortably over 40 (23-year old trumpeter Emily Norris is something of an outlier), Police Dog Hogan offer more in the way of experience than innocence. While the members hold down a variety of what might be described as “day jobs” (their banjo player Tim Dowling is a writer and Guardian columnist; lead singer James Studholme runs an advertising production company), they take the music very seriously, and keep up a rigorous touring schedule, recently playing to sell-out crowds at Bush Hall, the Borderline and various venues across the UK, as well as festivals including Camp Bestival, Cornbury, Maverick and Kendal Calling.

This September the band are exporting their unique take on Americana to Nashville, playing two showcase gigs at the Americana Music Association awards. After that they return to the UK to play a string of dates in October, November and December.

Their third album Westward Ho! is due out on the influential Union Music Store label in the autumn. That title - part swashbuckling exhortation, part melancholy seaside postcard - goes some way toward encapsulating Police Dog Hogan’s sound: bold and infectious country-folk wedded to a wry, reflective and deeply English sensibility.

Westward Ho! is produced by the Oysterband’s Al Scott. “I loved Al’s production of the June Tabor & Oysterband’s Ragged Kingdom record, which I think is a classic,” says James Studholme. “He has a certain clarity and  attack, going right back to the Levellers. When I found out he was producing a new CD for our label mates Hatful of Rain (The Morning Key), working with him suddenly sounded like a possibility. He was busy touring with Oysterband, but we were prepared to wait.”

Among its songs of hard won experience, Westward Ho! includes the track Home, a collaboration between Police Dog Hogan and the Music in Prisons charity. This version of Home came about as the result of a joint live gig with Platform 7 - a band made up of ex-prisoners under the wing of Music in Prisons - and was recorded with the aid of several members of the group.

“We’d seen Platform 7 perform,” says Tim Dowling, “and had long talked of doing a show together, but I don’t think any of us were prepared for the impact this song had on the audience. When it came to recording it, we knew that was the version we wanted.”

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