Kazu Makino announces new album

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Album release: Out now
More info: Kazu’s Facebook page

KAZU, Blonde Redhead vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Kazu Makino, has shared a single from her first solo LP Adult Baby, which will be released on her new imprint of the same name later this year and distributed by !K7. “Salty” pulses with intricate textured synth and is layered with dynamic vocal and percussive production, demonstrating and further reinforcing the artist’s status as an iconic innovator of dream-pop and avant-pop. What’s more, the single as well as the video are evidence of KAZU’s gratifying experimentation--by no means straightforward, but both boundary-pushing and pleasurable to experience. “Salty” and all of Adult Baby are teeming with contributions from significant musical pioneers such as Ryuichi Sakamoto, Mauro Refosco (Atoms for Peace, David Byrne) and Ian Chang (Son Lux, Landlady).

KAZU splits her time between New York City and Italy’s Elba Island where the Paride Ambrogi-directed video for “Salty” was filmed. Carefully framed shots display the elysian landscapes of the island as KAZU interacts with the varied topography of the Tuscan shoreline--her residence for the last few months, a location that helped coax Adult Baby into existence by offering respite from New York. More information about the influence Elba Island had on Adult Baby is available here.

Watch the “Salty” Video Now

Adult Baby, the imprint, is Kazu Makino’s new venture which she will use to share work from both emerging and established like-minded artists who are driven by experimentation and freedom of expression. Distribution will be through !K7.

Kazu’s story begins in Kyoto, Japan, where she was born to a young unwed couple, neither of whom can recall the hospital, date, or any specific circumstances of her birth. As a youngster, Kazu had an acute sense of focus which required monitoring at all times. In one instance, while babysitting her infant cousin, she become so engrossed in a copy of Homer’s Odyssey that she failed to notice the child scald herself with a pot of boiling water. An adult rushed in and shoved Kazu back into coherence, and she was finally aware of the child’s high-pitched shrieks. Desperately searching for an object of her focus, Kazu’s parents turned her towards musical instruments. Kazu flourished in music. It opened a new mysterious world to her. At her first piano recital, she made a wrong turn in her piece and couldn’t recall the end, but Instead of stopping, she began to repeat the piece over and over again, dozens of times, increasing the tempo as she played. She continued at this shredding speed until her teacher, drenched in nervous sweat, sat next to her and brought the music to its conclusion. Kazu received her first of many standing ovations that evening.

As the years stretched her limbs and her mind, Kazu traded her pastoral childhood for the bustle and electricity of Tokyo. It was there, down a neon lit alley that she serendipitously bumped into a tall, dark and curiously handsome American stranger with a saxophone slung 'round his chest. “Live with me in New York and be my best friend.” She didn’t understand his words, but she understood his eyes, and so she followed him eleven thousand miles. That man was none other than musician, painter and actor John Lurie. Under his wing, Kazu quietly observed the world of fame, money, fashion, art and the underground. Soon, she wouldn’t be so quiet; she learned English and started to make the noises that we’ve come to know her for. Blonde Redhead was the sonic intersection of those pastoral beginnings and the electric chaos of the metropolis.

Decades felt like mere moments and Kazu’s singular obsessiveness slowly turned inwards and away from collaboration, as she began to forge a project that was solely of her own making. Adult Baby is an introspection, an unmonitored and free exploration of uncharted waters, and a massive accomplishment of melodic cacophonous architecture.

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DOWNLOAD HI-RES
(“Salty” Single Art)
Photo credit: Eva Michon
Design and typography credit: Gelman


On naming the album and imprint, KAZU explains, "The title came to me when an old friend told me about the existence of so-called 'adult baby club,' frequented by powerful men who go there to be treated like small children." She continues, "This discovery struck me, perhaps because I am convinced that in a way, we are all adult babies, that many people feel that way inside and that they identify with this expression. Each in his own way: Adult Baby is a title that can be taken in many ways; some will think it curious, others erotic, others still strange or tender: it all depends on how you see it."

Read a full-length and in-depth bio HERE.

KAZU Online: FACEBOOK | INSTAGRAM

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Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage share video for new single 'Hidden Things'

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Single release: Out Now
More info: Artist website

Praise for Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage

“Flawless” The Guardian

“Dreamy reveries, softly warm vocals, stirring guitar arrangements - Sanders & Savage wield an elusive sort of magic.” - Mojo

“A thing of beauty” - fRoots

“I’ve loved Hannah Sanders’ voice since the first listen and Ben Savage is a master musician." -  Mike Harding, BBC Radio 2 Folk Show

“When their voices blend there are echoes of Anne Briggs and Bert Jansch, Shirley Collins and Davy Graham and Gillian Welch and David Rawlings” Max Reinhardt, BBC Radio 3, Late Junction

****

Hidden Things is the first in a trilogy of singles by Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage. Here, in a new video for the song - premiered by Folk Radio, and shot by Rob Bridge from Redwood Music Photography - the duo highlight the beauty in the tiny details of landscapes, whether urban or rural. 

Watch the video below. 

After widely touring for the past few years 2019’s singles reflect the duo’s relationship to the spirit of place; all three songs were written and arranged in different counties whilst they were touring their critically acclaimed album Awake in 2018.

The first in this trilogy, Hidden Things, takes its inspiration from a time spent in northern Sweden. Hannah says “I was reading my friend Francesco Dimitri’s novel “Book of Hidden Things”. I was sitting on the coast of Stockholme’s Archipelago reading a novel set in Southern Italy and I was moved by the idea that landscapes hold dreams - love, mystery, loss… Dimitri’s book is about how stories become part of our connection to landscape. Like stories, songs can be a way of bringing the land’s dreams to life…” 

The duo tour their intimate single-microphone show throughout the UK in April. Full dates below:

4th Apr SHEFFIELD The Greystones TICKETS HERE        
5th Apr SALTAIRE The Live Room TICKETS HERE           
6th Apr RUNCORN The Brindley TICKETS HERE 
7th Apr CUMBRIA Sticklebarn Sessions TICKETS HERE
9th Apr NEWTON ABBOTT Kingskerswell Church TICKETS HERE
13th Apr FINCHINGFIELD Church, Essex TICKETS HERE
17th Apr ALDERSHOT West End Centre TICKETS HERE
18th Apr SHOREHAM-by-SEA Ropetackle Arts Centre TICKETS HERE 
19th Apr OXFORD Holywell Music TICKETS HERE

Huddled round a single microphone, singing intimate duets with just mountain dulcimer, dobro and guitar, Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage are an acoustic duo that look & sound classically timeless, yet their music is unique.

Fleetingly, they may evoke a memory of Gram & Emmylou, Shirley & Davey, or Gillian & Dave but their distilling of musical influences from both sides of the Atlantic produces a refined sound that is decidedly their own.

Their unique unplugged presentation creates a widescreen, cinematic soundscape with open spaces and atmosphere, giving their beautifully pure vocals room to share the songs’ emotion and narrative.

The material is as joyful and fun as it is intense, but the common factor is the duo’s warmth and confidence in each other; their natural ease and connection is clearly evident on the recorded music, and a genuine pleasure to witness on stage.

Hannah Sanders & Ben Savage: Website | Facebook | Twitter | Spotify

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Louien shares new single 'Be Forgiven'

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Single release: Out Now
Label: Jansen Records
More info: Louien’s Facebook page

Louien – AKA Live Miranda Solberg – returns today with new music in the form of latest single Be Forgiven. Taken from an album set to emerge later this year on revered Norwegian label Jansen Records, Be Forgiven forms part of a new works that explores how the process of mourning and grief can change a person’s outlook. It focuses not only death, but isolation and separation in general. Live’s ability to marry these themes with delicate and intricate melodies make Be Forgiven an immediately rewarding listen.

Live comments on the single; “This is a song that was easy to write, but so hard to revisit. It's about this beautiful moment that never got to grow into something more, and we never got to realise this new turn in our relationship. It’s a song about reconciling with a loved one you’ve been estranged from for a long time. The situation has gotten so complicated that you’ve lost sight of what is really wrong. But then that moment arises when you both realise how much you’ve missed each other, and how much you both have grieved because of it. You let go of the bad things in the past to give way for the love you have for each other.”

About the album, she continues, “Grief allows for beautiful things as well - love and hope, for instance - and you really get in touch with your own feelings. But this album is probably more about the first phase of a grieving process – hopelessness, isolation, anxiety and depression."

Listen to Be Forgiven here.

Louien has appeared at some of Norway’s biggest festivals, including Oya and by:Larm. The album was recorded with Øyvind Røsrud Gundersen at Brageveien Studio in Oslo. Among the guests are Kaja Fjellberg Pettersen, Henrik Lødøen, Øystein Braut, Kristine Marie Aasvang, Signe Marie Rustad and Einar Kaupang.

The album None of My Words will be released on Jansen Records September 13th 2019.

Jansen Records | Louien on Facebook | Spotify

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Jamie Freeman new album out 17 May 2019

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Album release: 'Dreams About Falling' by Jamie Freeman
Release date: 17 May 2019
Label: Union Music
More info: Artist website

“‘Dreams About Falling’ alludes to the fine line between flying and falling, succeeding or failing. Some of the songs are about childhood or upbringing, how that shapes an adult and how they remember and deal with those memories. That feeling of doing something exciting and scary, or waking from a dream just before you hit the ground.”

- Jamie Freeman, 2019

Jamie Freeman returns with perhaps his most startlingly honest and remarkably vulnerable album yet, with the release of ‘Dreams About Falling’, in May 2019 via Union Music Label. Freeman skillfully tackles subjects such as parental expectations, childhood potential, and facing up to the possibility of falling short of those aspirations. These themes may be further understood when the context of Freeman’s talented family is brought into the picture. With a BAFTA and Emmy award-winning brother, Martin, and Frazier Chorus indie-dance musician (signed to 4AD, Virgin) brother, Tim, one can imagine that the family outlook has always been to ‘aim high’.

Jamie Freeman has found his own path, however, and become a respected figure within the Americana music scene after releasing his debut record ‘Just You’ in 2011, follow-up ‘100 Miles From Town’ in 2013 (under the name The Jamie Freeman Agreement) and EP ‘Hasia Dreams’ in 2017, all to critical acclaim from the likes of Americana UK, RnR, Maverick, FATEA, and more. A testament to the reputation Freeman has built is the impressive roster of collaborators and producers that have lent themselves to his projects; most recently Jamie has worked with the likes of Angaleena Presley, Mark Chadwick, Larkin Poe, Wild Ponies, Ben Glover, and Michael Logen.

Freeman's list of co-writers and contributors on ‘Dreams About Falling’ reads like a who's who of Nashville's finest. One particular highlight is ‘Down Range’, a heartbreaking tale of a Gulf War veteran returning to his wife that the Pistol Annies singer and solo artist Angaleena Presley duetted with Freeman on especially for this album. Presley actually co-wrote one of the final tracks on the record ‘I Miss Those Bars’, which Freeman explains is, “about the fear of having to fend for oneself, even if that freedom is what we desire. If we attain that freedom how will we cope? She has written and talked about hardships in her family to do with the opioid epidemic leading to addiction and prison. I had my own second-hand experience with alcohol.”

‘Down Range’ is swiftly followed by the equally poignant track ‘The Fire’, a song co-written by Ben Glover whose latest release ‘Shorebound’ won UK Album of the Year at the UK Americana Awards 2019. The track itself was written after the Grenfell Tower fire disaster in 2017 and uses powerful imagery to invoke moving scenes of spirits, smoke, and betrayal. On its creation, Freeman has said, “I didn’t want to write a political song, and I didn’t feel I had the authority to write *specifically* about Grenfell, but I wanted to honour the event and the people, so we wrote about the physical being of the fire itself; an unfeeling force that simply does what it does.”

Jamie’s commitment to music doesn’t end with his own releases. Freeman produced the critically-acclaimed 'Not Waving But Drowning' and 'Dead Stars' by The Self Help Group along with many other projects including the Noble Jacks debut 'What The Hammer' as well as taking on the role of drummer for Sam Outlaw and MD for Angaleena Presley's UK touring band. He's also a member of the Americana Music Association UK - working as their designer and volunteer, something that takes up a lot of his time and energy, but that Freeman is extremely dedicated to. “I like to take a 'high tide floats all boats' attitude to helping fellow musicians”, he explains.

“The last line in the closing song (Match Among The Ashes) says, ‘You’d believe that you can fly, because she told you, so you try.’ This is a direct reference to my own upbringing and the faith and belief that my mother instilled in me. The title is perhaps a reference to that, coupled with the fear of not living up to it.”

Stream/share new single 'All In The Name' here.

Read feature at The Boot.

On tour in the UK throughout Spring 2019 - date and tickets here.

"With its upbeat melody and universally applicable lyrics, the song is a solid reminder to stick it out with the person you love, even when things get a little tough." - The Boot

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H.C Slim debut album out 31 May 2019

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Album release: 'Sings' by H.C. Slim
Release date: 31 May 2019
Label: Svart Records

H.C Slim had amassed quite a catalogue of original songs he’s demoed on a tape recorder, deep in the Eastern Finnish countryside. Over the years cassettes and CDRs began to circulate with original copies selling for high prices, before Svart Records drove out to his remote cabin to offer Slim a deal for his debut album.

Evangelical visionary, and wayward preacher, H.C Slim calls forth revelations of pastoral love and rustic abandoned buildings. His song is that of the wandering missionary that brings to mind the Holy Joe pastor of John Huston’s Wise Blood, wandering from town to town to find the cracks of light that spill out from heaven, amongst the decline of the backwoods. A man that spent his formative years smoking cigarettes and playing his guitar, between distilling moonshine in an old empty factory, his songs are both apocalyptic and illuminating, swelling between religious fervour and starless prophecies of biblical destruction. Songs like ‘Wheels Of Judgement’, ‘Sweet Virgin Mary’ and ‘I Obeyd A Heavenly Vision’ throw up Dylanesque lines with the mastery of the old greats, such as Ramblin’ Jack Elliot or Woodie Guthrie. However Slim’s astute and contemporary flair for song-craft wouldn’t be out of place on a bill with artists like Laura Marling, First Aid Kit or The Tallest Man On Earth, if his Finnish maverick and lone wolf pilgrimage lead him out of wilderness.

Like fellow Finns Mirel Wagner and Paavoharju, his sounds are from the melancholic and mythical heart of the forest towns they sprang from. Saw blades and rusty hollow body guitar strings conjure bands playing the lonely bars of deserted factory towns and have the voice of the forgotten countryside about them.

Slim famously said to a local country newspaper, “Dark songs are cleansing, I go through the rocky roads for my listeners,” but he adds, “I don’t feel like I am singing about dark things, when the songs are dark, some sort of light starts to shine from strange places.” Like a strange light, Slims songs will shine down that lonesome road so you too might find your way between life’s hard rocks.

Hear/share the new single 'The City Is Burning’ here.

Pre-order new album here.

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Marvin Gaye new album out 29 March 2019

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Album release: ‘You’re the Man’ by Marvin Gaye
Release date: 29 March 2019
Label: Motown/UMe

In celebration of Marvin Gaye’s 80th birthday on April 2, Motown/UMe will release his never-issued 1972 Tamla/Motown album, ‘You’re The Man’, in 2LP gatefold vinyl and digital editions on March 29. ‘You’re The Man’ features all of Gaye’s solo and non-soundtrack recordings from 1972, with most of the album’s tracks making their vinyl release debuts. SaLaAM ReMi’s new mix of the album track ‘My Last Chance’ is available now for streaming and for immediate download with album pre-order.

Pre-order ‘You’re The Man’ here.

Listen to ‘My Last Chance’ here. (SaLaAM ReMi remix)

In 1972, Marvin Gaye was on top: or so it seemed. ‘What’s Going On’, ‘Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)’, and ‘Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler”)’, the three singles from his universally acclaimed album What’s Going On, had each hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles chart (since renamed Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs) and Top 10 Pop the year before. His new single, ‘You’re The Man’ – a percolating, sarcastic riff on political non-action issued as the U.S. presidential campaign was kicking off – reached No. 7 on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles chart. He saw Motown schedule a You’re The Man album (catalogue number Tamla 316). But when the lead single didn’t cross over Pop, stalling at No. 50, Marvin retreated. Ambivalent about recording, stubborn about moving to Los Angeles with Berry Gordy and Motown, Marvin by his actions proclaimed no more new Marvin Gaye music.

Or so it seemed.

In this singular and transitional year for the late music legend, Gaye recorded more than an album’s worth of music in Detroit and L.A. He produced himself, creating a suite of aching ballads; he worked with songwriters-becoming-producers Willie Hutch, then known mainly for the Jackson 5 smash ‘I’ll Be There’, but soon to be lauded for his film scores to The Mack and Foxy Brown; and with Pam Sawyer and Gloria Jones, whose ‘Piece of Clay’ for Marvin decades later became a smash in the 1995 film Phenomenon. He cut two sought-after tracks with Freddie Perren and Fonce Mizell, half of the hit-making machine behind the Jackson 5; he got together with Hal Davis, who was preparing a Marvin Gaye-Diana Ross album, to cut another topical gem, ‘The World Is Rated X’. And Marvin funnelled his anger over the Vietnam War, and his brother’s experiences there, into a sequel of sorts to ‘What’s Going On’, the poetic holiday ballad, ‘I Want To Come Home For Christmas’. He even re-cut ‘You’re The Man’ as an eerie funk jam, perhaps for the LP as a bookend to the single.

None of these tracks or any other on the LP, except the single, were issued at the time.

Three tracks from the album are newly mixed by SaLaAM ReMi, the songwriter and producer long associated with Nas, the Fugees, and Amy Winehouse: “My Last Chance,” “Symphony,” and “I’d Give My Life For You.” Also included is the rare, long LP version of Gaye’s cancelled 1972 Christmas single, plus an unreleased vault mix of its instrumental B-side. Over the years, songs from You’re The Man have been included on several CD releases but 15 of the album’s 17 tracks have not been released on vinyl until now.

You’re The Man’s 2LP vinyl edition includes new liner notes by Marvin Gaye biographer David Ritz. In his essay, Ritz delves into Gaye’s deeply personal internal conflict as a source of creative vigor and emotional burden as he experienced What’s Going On’s massive success and all that came with it. “Now I could do what I wanted,” Gaye told Ritz in an interview that first appeared in Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye. “For most people that would be a blessing. But for me the thought was heavy. They said I’d reached the top, and that scared me because Mother used to say, ‘First ripe, first rotten.’ When you’re at the top there’s nowhere to go but down. No, I needed to keep going up – raising my consciousness – or I’d fall back on my behind. When would the war stop? That’s what I wanted to know – the war inside my soul.”

Despite his inner turmoil, that same year Gaye recorded a duets album with Diana Ross, and he accepted an offer to write what became his landmark Trouble Man film score. A year later, he released Let’s Get It On, the biggest hit of his career.

In addition to You’re The Man, Motown/UMe will release a new expanded edition of Marvin Gaye’s 1965 album, A Tribute To The Great Nat King Cole, digitally on March 15. Honoring what would have been Cole’s 100th birthday, the album’s original mono mix makes its digital debut with the new edition, which also adds more than a dozen bonus tracks, including six alternate takes from the studio sessions.

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Plague Vendor new album out 7 June 2019

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Album release: ‘By Night’ by Plague Vendor
Release date: 7 June 2019
Label: Epitaph Records
More info: Band website

Today, Plague Vendor have announced their new album By Night, produced by John Congleton (St Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Chelsea Wolfe) and recorded at legendary EastWest Studios (Brian Wilson, Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop). The follow up to their 2016 debut full-length BLOODSWEAT and their widely-acclaimed debut EP Free to Eat is set for release on June 7 via Epitaph Records. The 10-song set kicks off with the raw, vital track and first single ‘New Comedown’. Hear the song and watch the Dan Monick-directed video here.

"When we were writing 'New Comedown,' there were a lot of colours and themes that were coming through, so we thought it best to finalize the verses once we were in the recording studio,” notes the band’s frontman Brandon Blaine. “The energy, urgency, and excitement there was unmatched. We caught lightning in the booth and trapped it in the recording."

Plague Vendor is Blaine (vocals), Michael Perez (bass), Luke Perine (drums and percussion) and Jay Rogers (guitar). A fearless our-way-is-the-hard-way work ethic and famously physical live shows won the Southern California-based band a ferocious fan base and place of pride on the Epitaph Records roster. They are currently on the road taking their live show to venues around the US - supporting All Them Witches now, with select headline shows set for this spring. See tour dates below.

By Night sees Plague Vendor stretch and warp their songs, discovering a merciless sense of tension and apprehension that set every moment on edge. It captures the feeling of ruin and regeneration, of charisma and catastrophe and of slashing at the night with nothing but pure electricity. And, with Congleton’s precision production, they found their own way between the powerful-but-too-polished sound of right now and the engaging-but-aging reinterpretations of classic punk/rock albums of the 60s and 70s. Congleton’s limitless encouragement also led Plague Vendor to do things they never did before: chorused bass in endless waves, lightning-strike flashes of synth, motorik man-machine drums that sound inhuman and human at once and even a string section that’ll be a surprise if they ever do it live.

On ‘By Night’, Plague Vendor broke out new vocal ideas, new vocal styles, new depths of imagery and intensity that feel like flashbacks instead of pop songs. If BLOODSWEAT was a primal scream, By Night would be a precision attack.

Album pre-save / pre-order here.

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Dreyfus 'Jazz Reference' out 10 May 2019

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Album release: Dreyfus 'Jazz Reference'
Release date: 10 May 2019
Label: Sony BMG

Dreyfus Jazz/BMG announce a further 14 new reissues from the 'Jazz Reference' collection - available for the first time on vinyl (and CD) with brand new artwork by Seb Jarnot.

Featuring Chet Baker, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra, Lester Young, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davies, Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan, Sidney Bechet, Stan Getz and Thelonious Monk.

The 'Jazz Reference' series was originally created by Francis Dreyfus at the very start of the 21st century. This incredible catalogue regrouped the biggest names in Jazz at a groundbreaking sound quality.

Almost twenty years later it is still perceived as one of the best ever created. To help a new generation rediscover this amazing collection, BMG is reissuing a carefully curated selection of these releases. This series will available for the first time on vinyl, and all formats display a brand new artwork from Seb Jarnot, exclusively created for this special reissue.

Having released the first selection of 14 titles in 2018 with praise from Jazzwise, MOJO, Record Collector, the Guardian, The Financial Times, The Daily Express, BBC Music Magazine and more, the series now continues with a further 14 new reissues from the collection including inimitable legends such as Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and more.

Speaking about the collection on it's original release, the late Francis Dreyfus, said:

"Since my early childhood, I’ve been crazy about Jazz. This childhood fascination is what inspired me to create Dreyfus Jazz.

I am releasing these masterpieces in order to discover, through another perspective, a collection of the most beautiful tracks ever recorded before 1960 by the biggest and most renowned creators of the lively and flawless language of jazz.

Who is this anthology for?

It’s for those who already love Jazz, and for those who will find great pleasure in re-discovering it, thanks to the sound quality that is unexpected and unequaled. It’s also for the younger generation who don’t yet realize that they are going to love this music that burnt down from its creative violence and its jubilant swing throughout the entire twentieth century.

First, I had to achieve the near impossible: “Break the wall of sound” in order to enhance the already sublime tracks of yesterday… to make them sound as though they’d been recorded yesterday. Thanks to technological information storage and the resolute research of exceptional sound engineer René Ameline (with never ending passion and patience) it was possible to give a “new youth” to the voice of Ella and Billie, and to offer an unheard freshness to formidable improvisations by Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins. We have included the best sources, the best songs, the best documents and there were no “second takes” or “false starts”.

I wanted to start from the original signals inscribed deeply in the wax, to enlarge and enrich the entire sound spectrum until it was inaudible and mute. It was necessary to carefully clean each chosen song, meaning that every useless scratch and annoying click had to be wiped, whilst avoiding stripping away the original grainy sound. With this we were able to achieve a more spacious sound, offering more depth and fullness compared to the original 78 record collection. The result is spectacular!

This collection is truly unique. From the will of a passionate perfectionist who manifested its conception like bearing a child, it was championed by a team of specialists who are lovers of jazz in all its dimensions: Claude Carrière, Noël Hervé and Daniel Nevers.

To really define the spirit of this adventure, which has lasted almost two years, I cannot think of a better way to conclude but to quote Claude Debussy: “Finally, a savage music with modern comfort”!"

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Wasuremono new album out 14 June 2019

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Album release: 'Are You OK?' by Wasuremono
Release date: 14 June 2019
More info: Band website

Wasuremono have announced their new album 'Are You OK?' will be released on June 14th. Today, they have also shared the title track from the album after teasing the news with previous single 'Lonely Type'.

Listen/watch new single 'Are You OK?' YouTube.

Listen/watch previous single 'Lonely Type' via YouTube.

Pre-order album 'Are You OK?' here.

In 2018, Wasuremono made quite the impression; with the release of their self-titled debut album, Steve Lamacq’s invite to record a live session for BBC 6 Music at the legendary Maida Vale Studios, Lauren Laverne describing them as a “favourite”, supporting both the The Flaming Lips and Phosphorescent on tour, and playing at iconic venues such as Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

New album, ‘Are You OK?’ was written and recorded by multi-instrumentalist William Southward in his shed. On the newly released title track, Southward has said that the song, "seemed to turn into a pep talk to myself, with themes and sounds of the seaside and clearing the mind asking yourself or someone else ‘Are you ok?’. It’s got a really 80’s vibe to this song with the help from the Linn Drum Computer pounding through the song backed up with synth sounds played on an old Yamaha Dx7."

With the enlistment of friends Madelaine Ryan, Isaac Phillips, and Phoebe Phillips, Southward’s songs come to life. Wasuremono will be performing across the UK this summer in support of 'Are You OK?', with stops at festivals including Live at Leeds, The Great Escape, Bluedot, and Dot To Dot, as well as a headline show at the Sebright Arms in London on June 19th. Full details here.

The Japanese word ‘wasuremono’ or, ‘忘れ物’ in kanji characters, roughly translates to “something forgotten or left behind.” Within the first few bars of Wasuremono’s new album ‘Are You OK?’, feelings of isolation, fear, defensiveness, and inherited reservations, are forgotten or left behind. It may sound like a tall task, but somehow, they nail it. “We will find you, we will, we will work it out!”, the climactic track ‘Self-Help’ reassures.

2018 was quite a year for Wasuremono; with the release of their self-titled debut album, Steve Lamacq’s invite to record a live session for BBC 6 Music at the legendary Maida Vale Studios, Lauren Laverne describing them as a “favourite”, supporting both the The Flaming Lips and Phosphorescent on tour and playing at iconic venues such as Shepherd’s Bush Empire – no mean feat considering the debut album was conceived and recorded in a garden shed.

‘Are You OK?’ was also written and recorded by multi-instrumentalist William Southward in his shed. “It’s a tiny space at the bottom of the garden, crammed with old instruments I have been collecting over the years and the sounds of birds occasionally spilling into the recordings”, explains Southward. With the enlistment of friends Madelaine Ryan, Isaac Phillips, and Phoebe Phillips, Southward’s songs come to life. ‘Are You OK?’ is an immersive kaleidoscopic collection that plunges the listener deep into an invigorating world of sanguine synths, radiant harmonies and salient percussion that is repeatedly sublime. Although the atmosphere of the album is mostly one of hope and assurance, it stylistically travels through baggy electronica, mesmeric psychedelia, wonderfully futuristic (or is it wonderfully retro?) pop, to off-kilter almost surf-rock on tracks like ‘A Lesson To Learn’.

The enveloping percussion on the release was central to its creation, explains Southward, “Most of this album was written around an old Linn Drum Computer that I managed to get my hands on last year. I had always really liked the distinct 80’s sound of the Linn Drum, made famous by the likes of Prince, Gary Numan, and Peter Gabriel, and it was a fun and unique process writing songs around the beats I programmed in.” Southward puts the fizz and pop of the record down to “all the songs on the album being the original demos; There always seems to be a magic in the original take of a song, that’s impossible to put your finger on and equally hard to replicate when you then try to re-record it.”

Despite the palpable emotion and fragility in the vocals, the layered production and distinctive melodies work to shift the focus from the intensity of the lyrical content, something Southward has recognised, “Unconsciously a lot of the songs I have written over the last year seem to explore mental health at some level, so ‘Are You OK? seemed a fitting title. I liked the idea of sugar coating the ‘Are You OK?’ slogan, which is something we can all be guilty of doing when portraying our lives, whether that’s online or to each other in person. Underneath all this though, is the more serious question that I think we should be asking each other and ourselves; Are You OK? Let’s talk…”

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Drahla debut album out 3 May 2019

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Album release: 'Useless Coordinates' by Drahla
Release date: 3 May 2019
Label: Captured Tracks
More info: Band website

Today, the Leeds-formed three-piece Drahla have announced their highly-anticipated debut album 'Useless Coordinates' will be released via Captured Tracks on May 3rd 2019.

The band have premiered the arresting first single 'Stimulus for Living' as a taster of the album along with a video for it via The FADER where it was described as "tightly bound and inventive...a frantic and densely packed song full of ideas and angst."

Drahla describe the video as: “a visual composition that reflects the lyric content of the track. Based upon abstracted ideas and thought, challenging standardised format and perception.”

Listen/watch to 'Stimulus For Living' here.

‘Stimulus For Living’ is the second track taken from ‘Useless Coordinates’ following the release of ‘Twelves Divisions Of The Day’ last summer. The album was recorded in Yorkshire in the second half of 2018, and sees the band’s sound continue to evolve with the addition of saxophonist Chris Duffin across the record. Since finishing ‘Useless Coordinates’ the band have spent their time touring the US and Europe, including stops at Eurosonic and La Route Du Rock this winter.

Blending wiry, dark post-punk with unpredictable art-rock, Drahla have established themselves as a formidable and distinctive band across their three sold out 7” singles and 2017's Third Article EP. Formed in late 2015, Drahla quickly found their identity in Yorkshire’s fertile music scene with their minimal yet robust bass-heavy sound. Their reputation as a fervent live act is ever-growing, with the band being asked to share stages with the likes of Parquet Courts, METZ, Ought, Buzzcocks, The Cribs and multiple festival appearances - including Meltdown at the request of The Cure’s Robert Smith.

Drahla will accompany the release with a run of tour dates. Tickets can be found here.

Pre-order 'Useless Coordinates' here.

“Go inwards and be bold.” This was Harmony Korine’s advice to aspiring creatives, during a Q&A at the British Film Institute back in early 2016. For the recently-formed Drahla, his words served as something of a directive, encouraging the trio to trust their own instincts, however far removed they might be from those of their peers. Three years on, the Leeds-formed band have defined their own vital subset of art-rock with Useless Coordinates, a debut album that’s as fearless as it is enthralling.

Speaking from her current base in south-east London with bassist Rob Riggs, singer/guitarist Luciel Brown recounts the record’s somewhat chaotic gestation. “Most of last year was spent touring, so we were squeezing writing and recording in from the beginning of 2018 until end of August.” In-between a headline tour, support slots with Ought and METZ, and multiple festival appearances - including at Meltdown at the request of The Cure’s Robert Smith - Brown, Riggs and Wakefield-based drummer Mike Ainsley managed 10 days in the studio in total.

It was the unsettled nature of the period that part-inspired the album’s title. “[Useless Coordinates] summarised all of our situations,” Brown explains. “We had all these shows coming up and we knew we needed to leave our jobs and change our living situations to make all this stuff happen. So we had all these fixed points and timelines, but at the same time we felt quite lost within all of that.”

Though they felt adrift in their personal lives, artistically Drahla thrived amongst confusion. Experimentation was integral to the creative process, with Brown and Riggs continuing to swap instruments as per their live shows, while collectively they were open to relinquishing traditional song structures in favour of adopting a more instinctive approach. Another integral development proved to be the involvement Chris Duffin of XAM Duo, who played saxophone on large swathes of the record and whose esoteric musical tastes were influential.

Via Duffin, they discovered the work of Japanese synth pioneers Mariah and saxophonist Yasuaki Shimizu. These cult figures figure amongst an eclectic array of musical touch points, from Glenn Miller and Swell Maps, to L.A.-band Behavior. As per their earliest releases, No Wave and post-punk remain integral to Drahla’s musical universe, evident in Brown’s brilliantly deadpan drawl, in the Gang Of Four-esque guitars on Gilded Cloud, and in Duffin’s skronking saxophone on React/Revolt, which draws parallels with the work of James Chance and the Contortions.

The set’s sharp angles, stark tones and claustrophobic textures are reflected in the album’s artwork. Designed by Brown and Riggs - as per all previous record sleeves and promotional videos - the minimalist, mixed media creation takes inspiration from Talking Heads and Gang Of Four album art, the work of American artist Cy Twombly, and the economical, regimented aesthetic of the Bauhaus movement. “Drahla came about off the back of needing an outlet for creative expression,” Brown explains. “So the whole aesthetic is hugely important. As important as the music.”

Whatever the medium, Brown’s interests lie in looking beyond the immediate to the abstract and indefinable. Her lyrics are developed from observations, notes and poems, and the fragmented imagery is spliced together to disorientating effect. On Gilded Cloud elegant snapshots from the golden age of Hollywood are juxtaposed with abrasive guitar textures, Pyramid Estate draws parallels between Ancient Egypt and the present day, and Serenity evokes the violent energy of a Francis Bacon painting. Beneath the abstraction are a diverse array of themes, including gender fluidity (Invisible Sex), city living (Primitive Rhythm) and artistic expression (Unwound).

The result is an uncompromising but deeply rewarding debut where the internal and external, cerebral and visceral coalesce to quite startling effect.

"(Drahla) make the kind of literate punk to kickstart a revolution in your mind" - The FADER

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The Modern Times new single out now

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Single release: ‘Am I Losing Touch’ by The Modern Times
Release date: Out now
Label: Black Pop Records
More info: Band Facebook

Norwegian punks The Modern Times are today sharing their new single ‘Am I Losing Touch’. Coming on with the propulsive energy of Parquet Courts, the sharp-as-a-tack nous of Gang of Four, and the effervescent spirit of The Hives, ‘Am I Losing Touch’ is a hybrid of jangly and jagged post punk, snotty punk rock and garage-infused power pop.

Listen to ‘Am I Losing Touch’ here.

It's often said that there's a fine line between the stupid and the clever, and that line is definitely blurred in the case of The Modern Times. Their songs flirt with adolescent ignorance and poignant satire, held together by singer Magnus Vold Jensen’s unique and incisive delivery.

For the band's forthcoming sophomore album, Algorhythmic Dance Music, The Modern Times have signed with Black Pop Records and upped their game to boot. Their busy touring schedule and notoriously rowdy live shows have built them a die-hard following in Norway, that they will shortly be bringing to the rest of the world.

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EuroNoize announced for May 2019

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Event announcement: EuroNoize
Event date: 23 May 2019
More info: Scala website

EU funded "avant-garde Eurovision" event EuroNoize announced for May 2019. Featuring performances from artists such as Winnie Puhh, Asian Women on the Telephone, Mauraudeur, Felix Cubin, Sissy + more

On May 23rd, an “avant-garde Eurovision” called EuroNoize will be taking place at London’s Scala. A celebration of the obscure, the niche and the uncategorizable, music that runs deeper than national borders, EuroNoize was born from Pil and Galia Kollectiv’s grotesque fascination with the Eurovision Song Contest to represent the secret international fellowship of “punx and weirdos” stretching everywhere from Russia to Ireland… The event will feature 11 bands from around the world, who will perform one new song in front of a live audience. The event will also be streamed live online so people can cast their vote from afar for their favourite performance of the evening.

The event will bring an array of artists from across Europe such as Estonia’s cult internet sensation Winny Puhh, Russia’s Asian Women On The Telephone and Ireland’s hard-hitting feminists Sissy to represent their countries. Also, contentiously, despite being set in London and as a testament to the great talent pervading throughout the world and proudly representing a unity currently not felt throughout the country, the UK will not be represented at the event following Brexit. The event will also be hosted by Ruby Waters, drag alter-ego of Andrew Milk from the band Shopping and Kay Isgay of the band Homosexual Death Drive.

The promoters, Galia and Pil Kollectiv, who have previously curated events for Thurston Moore, Simon Reynolds and more have now been settled in London for several years but are originally from Israel – co-incidentally also the host nation of this year’s Eurovision. Please see a full quote from the organisers below as well as full line-up details here.

"The concept for EuroNoize was born of a grotesque fascination. Growing up in Israel, watching the Eurovision Song Contest was an exciting family event. Through a strange set of circumstances, Israel was included in Europe for one night, and a parade of bizarre performances in foreign languages invaded all living rooms around us. The music has always been mostly appalling, but occasionally, a subversive spectacle would penetrate the predictable blandness: a Finnish monster metal band, an Armenian serenading a giant apricot seed or a bunch of out of tune Israeli artists waving a Syrian flag. More than anything, these displays sat uncomfortably with the requirements on the one hand to represent an increasingly meaningless idea of national identity and on the other hand some kind of recognisably Anglo-American popular music. There was also something utterly fascinating about the spectacle of European bureaucracy that occupied almost half the night. Telephone lines, broadcasting authority committees and a complex system of awarded points demonstrated what the enlightened administration of international cooperation is all about. For us, amidst the sectarian violence and chaos of our home town of Jerusalem, it was as exotic as full orchestral arrangements and sequin dresses.

It might have been this early interest in music as a visual spectacle that drove our interest in the idea of the art band. Coming from a background in music journalism, we have always worked with musicians and incorporated music in our artwork. But in 2010, these fields began to merge in our band WE. Initially a performance piece, this project involved four masked musicians intoning the lyrics to famous songs in the plural, retaining little from the originals but the lyrics. It was through curating a series of art and music events spinning off of the band that we began considering the possibility of pursuing our interest in Eurovision further. As fans of the obscure, we had a good collection of barely popular music in diverse languages. What sort of Eurovision could accommodate the type of our weird music we were listening to and making? What would it mean to ask of this kind of group to represent its country of origin? It was also somehow obvious to us, without any real proof, that a network of likeminded individuals existed across the world, that a small group of aficionados in places as far away as Russia, Iceland or Malta might also share our unconventional taste. We became interested in understanding how this global subculture revolving mostly around Anglo-American music intersected with local identities on the periphery of the culture industry.

We set about planning an event where a selection of bands from the continent would be asked to perform one original song in front of a live and broadcasting audience who could vote for the winner. When the opportunity arose to apply for EU funding for the project, the Brexit referendum had yet to take place. However, by the time the project was confirmed, with a book, record, exhibition and conference to accompany a night of live performances, it had gained a new relevance. One decision that followed was to exclude Britain from the competition. It was also important, since we couldn’t afford to include every country in Europe, to try and represent its different regions. Working in partnership with The University of Reading, Kunsthall Oslo and ARE Prague, we set about selecting a line-up of exciting noise and outlandish presentations from a host of loud and unlikely nominees.

Our line-up reflects an attempt to present a broad, although by no means comprehensive European spectrum representing the east, west, north and south of the continent. One of the first bands we approached was Estonian cult outfit Winny Puhh. In 2013 Winny Puhh became an internet sensation for their performance at the Estonian pre-Eurovision televised competition. They performed a weirdo-punk number wearing wrestling gear and Chewbacca masks, singing in a crockery breaking falsetto and playing an electric banjo. Oh, and they had two drummers suspended from the ceiling upside down. Because Winny Puhh never made it to the Eurovision final, we felt we needed to correct a historical mistake by including them in EuroNoize. Also playing are experimental Russian trio Asian Women on the Telephone, who cross dada cult costumes with philosophical musings laid over heavily distorted beat. Our final representatives from the eastern European block are E.P.P.! from Serbia whose songs form short advertising jingles for non-existing products.

Although Germany’s Felix Kubin recorded his first master piece at the age of 12, he has continually challenged musical norms for nearly forty years with his high concept digital hardcore, retaining an uncompromising DiY aesthetic. By contrast, doom-noise metal outfit Golden Core from Norway was only formed in 2014, when its two members were 9 and 11. Representing France is Hassan K, who mixes Persian music and surf guitar. Italian garage-punk veteran Tab Ularasa is an illustrious shapeshifter who probably has more aliases and former bands than all the participants of EuroNoize put together. Hailing from the French side of Switzerland, Mauraudeur’s post-punk is the anti-thesis of the actual Eurovision sound, with its cool, detached vocals and spikey guitars. Ireland’s Sissy are possibly the most melodic entrants, but the hard-hitting feminist politics of songs like their pro-choice nod to Enya, “Sail and Rail”, belie tuneful appeal of their lo-fi power-pop. Finally, completing the line-up are Greek brothers Lakis & Aris Ionas who form the core of art-rockers and Lee Ranaldo collaborators The Callas.

Britain, following Brexit, is not participating.

EuroNoize will be hosted by Ruby Waters, drag alter-ego of Andrew Milk from the band Shopping and Kay Isgay of the band Homosexual Death Drive." - Pil and Galia Kollectiv

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Abdullah Ibrahim new album due Summer 2019

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Album release: Abdullah Ibrahim
Release date: Summer 2019
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Artist website

Legendary South African pianist and composer Abdullah Ibrahim signs to Gearbox Records for first album in 4 years, due Summer 2019.

Having released some of the most exciting jazz releases in recent years (Theon Cross, Binker and Moses, Thelonious Monk, Sarathy Korwar + more) Gearbox Records have now announced that they have signed a deal with legendary South African pianist and composer, Abdullah Ibrahhim.

His first new album in 4 years, Ibrahim recently recorded some previously-unreleased music with his long-time band, Ekaya. The session took place over the course of a day in London at the great RAK Studios, last November. They recorded some full band arrangements and Ibrahim also recorded a couple of solo, improvised piano pieces. The instrumentation is broad, and includes harmonica, cello, and piccolo. In his own words, "With Ekaya, I am blessed in that I have all these textural opportunities."

Speaking about the new album, the recording process and the recording process, Ibrahim says "We push ourselves out of our comfort zones. So that we can present to the listener our striving for excellence. So that we can engage with our listeners without any barriers of our ego. It’s not jazz. For us, it’s a process of transcending barriers. Technically it’s very, very skilled, but there’s simplicity in the complexity so that people can relate to it. It’s a natural rhythm of the universe. We’ve been looking at recording for some time. But we were looking for the correct vehicle. Someone who understands what we’re doing. "

Speaking about the signing label founder Darrel Sheinman, said "I was obviously honoured. He was coming to headline the London Jazz Festival, it was an opportunity to record him, so we did RAK Studios. There was a mixture of some older pieces and some new pieces. The other beauty is that he's happy to be released as Abdullah Ibrahim aka Dollar Brand, which is quite interesting because he hasn't done that since the '60s. And I've always been a fan of him, in particular his contribution to the whole township jazz sound."

The new album will be coming out through Gearbox Records in Summer 2019 - More details TBA

About Gearbox Records

Founded in 2009, Gearbox Records is a vinyl led label specialising in previously unreleased heritage jazz cuts, as well as contemporary artists from the jazz, folk and electronica genres. Their early archive jazz releases include artists such as Tubby Hayes, Yusef Lateef, and Thelonious Monk. Recent output includes award-winning London jazz duo Binker and Moses, inimitable tubist Theon Cross, Indian percussionist and tabla-player Sarathy Korwar, and American jazz and funk five-piece Butcher Brown.

Recent praise for Gearbox Records releases

"We’ve been looking at recording for some time. But we were looking for the correct vehicle. Someone who understands what we’re doing." - Theon Cross "Fyah" - Pitchfork (7.5)

No. 1 Urban Album of the Year 2017 / No. 2 Jazz Album of the year 2018. Binker & Moses "Journey To The Mountain Of Forever" / "Alive In The East?" - MOJO

"It’s a bold assertion that many of Monk’s disciples might disagree with. What’s undeniable is that with the release of Mønk, the star’s indomitable legacy has been reinforced . . . the record has been literally saved from the trash is a twist of fortune to be treasured forever." - Thelonious Monk "Mønk" - Bandcamp

"Making you reconsider totemic moments in jazz, this feels like an important record, one that opens up a conversation that has largely been excluded from the mainstream for much too long." - Sarathy Korwar & Upaj Collective "My East Is Your West" - Clash

Find more info on Gearbox Record's releases here.

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Pile new album out 3 May 2019

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Album release: 'Green and Gray' by Pile
Release date: 3 May 2019
Label: Exploding In Sound Records
More info: Band website

From their earliest days as the solo project of frontman Rick Maguire, Pile have followed an unusual path through a decade in which rock bands have generally receded from the cultural spotlight. Starting out in 2007, in the then thriving Boston DIY scene, the band rapidly became heroes and standard-bearers for their hometown’s music community, garnering a cultish-adoration that has only intensified as that cult has grown, expanding by word of mouth along the Eastern seaboard and across the country over 10 years that have seen 6 full length albums and 100s of shows in basements, bars, punk houses and clubs.

With their last full length, 2017’s ‘A Hairshirt of Purpose’, Pile found their widest audience to date. Hailed as a release that communicated the inimitable quality of the live shows that have made the band near-legendary in certain circles, the album received praise from all quarters, earning them a critical-acclaim commensurate with the adoration, heaped on them by their contemporaries, that has long granted them “your favourite band’s favourite band” status.

Today, Pile are announcing their 7th album, ‘Green and Gray’, which will be out on May 3rd via Exploding In Sound, and sharing the album's first single ‘Bruxist Grin’. Packed with the kind of hairpin dynamic shifts that have become Pile's hallmark, the track, with the aid of the album's engineer Kevin S. McMahon (Titus Andronicus, Frightened Rabbit, The Walkmen, Swans), opens up the space between the two poles of the Pile's sound. Showcasing Maguire's powerful voice, the track pulls from a seemingly bottomless bag of sonic tricks, shifting seamlessly from delicate acoustic guitar figures to pummeling full band rhythmic turns, relating the experience of Maguire's first panic attack with an almost psychedelic flair.

"I wrote "Bruxist Grin" when I was getting ready to move," Maguire explains. "I'd been showing people my place to take my apartment, and getting my life together to go make this record to then move two days after the session. It was a super tight timeline and I went to bed and had a panic attack. I hadn’t had one before, and I thought it came on kind of like a psychedelic experience, like when the acid starts to kick in and it’s like 'oh, here we go.' My heart was pounding and I didn’t know what was happening but I knew that there was a lot about my current way of living that was about to change and I assume it was just my body reacting to all of it. It was pitch black, and I perceived looking at myself and my position to the rest of the world, physically, psychologically and spiritually, and feeling this overwhelming anxiety, and that’s what the song’s about."

In support of the album the band will be heading out on an extensive North American tour. Full details can be found below.

'Green and Gray' will be released via Exploding In Sound on 3rd May. It is available for pre-order here.

Previous praise for Pile

"In certain parts of Boston, Pile are beheld with the kind of reverence traditionally reserved for local sporting heroes and/or minor deities...their music crackles and explodes alongside frontman Rick Maguire's over-firing neurons." - Pitchfork

"Pile is well-known as idols for their peers...The band balances the acrobatic and the annihilating as it shifts between gnarled melodies and heavy thrashing." - NPR

"Messy, loud, and rhythmically intense…the tension between softer, sadder moments and the abrasive ones feels vital." - FADER

"[Pile] have achieved the kind of mythical status typically ascribed to long-since-passed rock legends." - Stereogum

"A guitar band that doesn’t sound like a guitar band; there’s something intense and brave about them, but it feels feminine, not macho, not over the top." - Consequence Of Sound

"[Pile have] a nimble sense of timing more often associated with jazz or classical musicians, and a compositional ambition exceeding that of nearly all of their peers." - Spin

"Vivid and refined…[Pile have a] delirious energy that's inspired a decade's worth of devoted followers." - MTV

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The Get Up Kids new album out 10 May 2019

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Album release: ‘Problems’ by The Get Up Kids
Release date: 10 May 2019
Label: Big Scary Monsters
More info: Band website

The Get Up Kids today announced their first full-length album in eight years, ‘Problems’ - produced by Grammy Award-winner Peter Katis (Kurt Vile, The National) - will be released May 10th on Big Scary Monsters.

The video for first single ‘Satellite’ is out today; watch it now here and stream the track at all DSPs here. ‘Problems’ is now available for pre-order here. The band today also announced two shows at this year’s SXSW:

The Get Up Kids at SXSW:

3/13 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk - Polyvinyl Record Co. / Double Double Whammy / Big Scary Monsters + Friends Showcase (11:45 PM). Event info here.

3/14 - Austin, TX - Scoot Inn - Brooklyn Bowl Family Reunion (11:00 PM). Event info here.

‘Satellite’ opens on a stark arrangement of acoustic guitar and stripped-bare vocals, then bursts into brightly crashing rhythms and lyrics revealing the time-bending quality of The Get Up Kids’ songwriting. “I started writing ‘Satellite’ about my son who’s 14 and a total introvert - not antisocial, he just genuinely likes to keep to himself,” says guitarist/vocalist Matt Pryor. “But then somewhere down the line I started singing about myself - about how even when you’re playing a show to a room full of people, I can still feel anxious and isolated.” Director Kerstin Ebert explains, “The feeling of being isolated in a big city can be depressing. But instead of making this a sad story, I added a cardboard man named Hank to the storyline -- a guy who lives like a normal human being amongst 8 million other people in New York City. Even though Hank's adventurous ambitions as well as his facial expressions are very limited, he is the heart of the story and the biggest dreamer of all.”

‘Problems’ examines everything from life-changing loss to loneliness to the inevitable anxiety of existing in 2019. But by sustaining the essence of their sound - anthemic choruses with sing-along-ready melodies -The Get Up Kids highlight those troubles as a shared experience, giving way to an unbreakable solidarity. And at the heart of Problems is an invaluable element the band’s embodied since their 1997 debut Four Minute Mile: a penetrating lyricism that’s both acutely introspective and indelibly resonant.

The follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed EP, Kicker, Problems came to life in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with the band - Matt Pryor, Jim Suptic (guitars/vocals), Rob Pope (bass), Ryan Pope (drums), and James Dewees (keys) - holing up together for a three-week span. Working with Katis, The Get Up Kids took a characteristically riff-driven yet decidedly pop-minded approach to song structure, while also allowing themselves a new sense of creative freedom.

Through the years, The Get Up Kids have purposely pushed themselves toward previously unexplored songwriting material. “I’m 41 now, I could never write a song like when I was 19 - all those ‘I miss my girlfriend’ kind of songs” Suptic says. “It’s always important to us to write about wherever we are right now.” As shown on Problems, the resulting output both preserves the beloved spirit of The Get Up Kids and creates an entirely new context for their music. “A big part of the reason why we started writing new songs in the first place is that we have things we want to say about this moment in time,” says Pryor. “We’re still so connected to our past and where this all came from - it’s definitely a celebration of the fact that we still get to do this.”

The Get Up Kids play Slam Dunk North on 25th May and Slam Dunk South on 26th May

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Dwight Trible new album out 12 April 2019

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Album release: 'Mothership' by Dwight Trible
Release date: 12 April 2019
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Artist website

Dwight Trible has forged an impressive career as an inimitable jazz vocalist, activist and as the godfather of the LA jazz scene. He is the vocalist for the Pharoah Sanders Quartet and has collaborated with a huge variety of artists such as Kamasi Washington (singing on ‘The Epic’ and ‘Heaven and Earth’), J Dilla, Life Force Trio, Carlos Nino, John Beasley, Bobby Hutcherson, Charles Lloyd, and is also the vocal director for the Horace Tapscott Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra - a Los Angeles institution with a history stretching back forty years and an active engagement in the city's Black community since the Watts Uprising.

Trible has also been on the forefront of the US jazz resurgence, working as executive director of the hugely crucial arts space The World Stage - a vital component to Leimert Park, which has been the epicentre of African-American art and culture in Los Angeles since the late 1960s. Artists such as Kamasi Washington and Terrace Martin have credited the venue as having helped to shape their sounds and the sense of community surrounding the scene, whilst also being an essential influence to the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Biz Markey, as well as number of artists from LA tastemaker label Brainfeeder and more.

In amongst all this noise, Trible is also a solo musician. Having released music on Ninja Tune as well as a collaborative record with Matthew Halsall on Gondwana Records, he is now set to release his new album ‘Mothership’ via London jazz aficionados and analog specialists, Gearbox Records (Binker and Moses, Sarathy Korwar, Theon Cross, Thelonious Monk).

Featuring appearances from legendary musicians such as Kamasi Washington, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Thundercat, Dr. Dre, Flying Lotus) and more, the new album is packed with back-to-back cosmic trances, deep spiritual jazz cuts and messianic soul. But what takes centre stage here is Trible’s epiphanic vocals. Having been compared to the likes of Leon Thomas, he sings with a passion and range which is near unrivalled by living compeers, singing about love and empowerment, struggle and oppression and his personal, deep connection with spiritualism. Hear the new single 'It's All About Love'.

So, the question is why now, when in his late-50s, are many people only just hearing about Dwight Trible? It is entirely possible it’s because he hasn’t really wanted us to. An avid and passionate activist, an enabler of the local scene and a figurehead in the LA jazz community, Trible’s focus is rarely self-seeking, always facing outward his focus is largely centred on giving, inclusion and teaching, whilst also inspiring others and expressing himself both on-stage on-record behind the scenes.

A key figurehead in the LA jazz scene, Dwight Trible is a legend in waiting. With an incredible career spanning decades, he has played a pivotal role in creating as much jazz history through his work and inspiration in the new wave of US jazz, as he should be noted for in his undoubtable vocal and songwriting talent. ‘Mothership’ sees Trible make a giant leap into the foreground, and it won’t be long before everyone is wondering why they haven’t heard of him already.

"It was such an honour to play on Dwight Trible's album. His singing has inspired me since I was 15 years old. He has a way of bringing such a unique life and feel to every song that he sings. His voice has power, soul, and beauty, qualities that all us horn players strive for. Thank you, Dwight, for having me on this masterful piece of art." - Kamasi Washington.

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Big Scary Monsters new compilation out now

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Album release: 'Let's Just Do It And Be Legends' by Big Scary Monsters
More info: Label website

Today, Big Scary Monsters announce and celebrate their 250th release with their new compilation 'Let's Just Do It And Be Legends'.

Featuring new album tracks from American Football, Martha, Delta Sleep, Pedro The Lion and more, alongside vinyl exclusives from Cursive, Kevin Devine, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Jamie Lenman, the 12" picture disc is available now, for whatever price you'd like to pay. There's no minimum.

Commemorating years of critically acclaimed releases, the exclusive tracks on the record include Kevin Devine's 'Outstretched & Never Ending', which is taken from his digital only split with Worriers earlier this year; Jamie Lenman's cover of 'Good Riddance' by Green Day, which was on a Kerrang covermount several years ago; A new exclusive taken from We Were Promised Jetpack's recent album recording sessions, and an outtake from Cursive's new 'Vitriola', which was previously only available via a flexi disc which came free with New Noise magazine in the US. Additionally, the Martha and American Football tracks are both new singles, which are included in the compilation ahead of their respective album's that will come out in March.

Speaking about the release, Kevin Douch (label founder) says, "We think our roster is the best in the world and, as such, it deserves shouting about, SO WE MADE A LOVELY COMPILATION FOR YOU ALL.

We're immensely proud of the extremely talented artists' we're lucky enough to work with and only wish we could've squeezed more of them onto this record. It's release marks the beginning of a very busy period for BSM, with loads of brilliant new releases, showcases at SXSW, The Great Escape and Truck festivals, in addition to the return of our own multi-venue East London event, Big Day Out, on 28th September. Running a record label is never straight-forward and nor should it be (the fact that this release's catalogue number is accidentally BSM250 says it all) but we absolutely love what we do and hope this pay what you want LP helps introduce lots of people to their new favourite band."

'Let's Just Do This And Be Legends' is available, alongside hundreds of other records and merch items, via the labels new website.

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Club Kuru new single out now

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Single release: 'Cherry Bloom' by Club Kuru
Release date: Out now
More info: Band website

Today, Club Kuru have returned with their new single ‘Cherry Bloom’. The single follows on from the band’s 2018 debut LP ‘Giving In’, which featured their critically acclaimed, BBC 6 Music B-listed single, ‘Memory Junkie’.

Taken from their forthcoming second record which is due out in spring 2019 (further details TBA), the duo’s new material sees them further explore their multifarious and eclectic sound, developing new textures and further pushing the boundaries of their meticulous and far-reaching brand of psych-pop.

Hear / share the new single here.

Speaking about the single, Erskine says:

"I was imagining a man in purgatory; he can see the events in the mortal world unfold, but can no longer effect them. His wife has a new man - a taller and more handsome version of himself. He sees his lost love living the life they’d always dreamed of. Now he is frozen in time; he lies deep beneath the soil, watching. Cherry blossom from a beautiful Japanese, tree falls over him."

As well as sharing their new single, Club Kuru have also announced that they will be supporting Jungle on a short run of shows in France this February. They will play the following dates:

  • 23rd Feb - L'Aéronef - Lille, France

  • 24th Feb - L'Olympia - Paris, France

  • 26th Feb - Stéréolux - Nantes, France

If the classic stereotype of psych is one rooted in stoned jam sessions and 40-minute noodling guitar solos, then this decade's most respected and forward-thinking proponents of the genre are ones coming from an altogether different angle. From Unknown Mortal Orchestra to Tame Impala, Connan Mockasin and beyond, many of modern psych's most exciting figures are ones ploughing a far more technical, intricate path.

Into this lane come London duo Club Kuru. Drawing simultaneously from the emotionally visceral '60s and '70s influences that they were raised on, as well as more formal classical training and self-taught production skills, it's this combination of drama and detail that sits at the heart of their heady, densely idea-packed output.

Last year, the band – Laurie Erskine on vocals and completed by guitarist Laurence Hammerton – released debut LP 'Giving In' – a two-and-a-half years in the making, entirely self-recorded and produced record of warm, enveloping psych rock that exemplifies all these ideas. After gaining 6 music play listing, a sync on HBO’s High Maintenance and having played a UK tour with a sold out show at London's Moth Club, they're now building on those foundations and have finished Album Two. As with most things, it took a series of refinements to get to this point.

Formed originally as a solo project several years back when Laurie decided he wanted to move away from the then-dormant London jazz scene that his music school education had naturally placed him in, it was only when Laurence came on board that Club Kuru began to fully cement itself in the sonic world it sits now. “Everyone teased me when you came to that audition that I'd fallen in love,” jokes the singer to his bandmate of their immediate connection. Over the course of a few years, Erskine then built and ran a studio in Manor House. Though the building was eventually knocked down (a classic London tale), his tenure there gave him the opportunity to master things on the other side of the mixing desk. “In the year or two we had the space, I learnt a lot about production and songwriting, and that enabled us to make the album entirely ourselves,” he nods. Then, when they moved out of that space at the end of 2017, the pair decided to move in together in South London – turning their living room into a home studio and throwing everything into a living-working, all-in commitment. “It was then things started to happen much more quickly and with a clearer direction” recalls Hammerton.

The space itself – an “old granny's bungalow” situated down a quiet street amidst a row of pensioners – is a fittingly quiet and closed-off place for the pair to make their hub. “No one knows what we're doing down there; it's just this odd little place but it's perfect for us. And as soon as we got there, everything started to work better,” Erskine continues. And with their roots bedded down and everything in place, Club Kuru started to refine what they'd began with their debut and hone their sound even further.

Rooted in the classic songwriting of decades before them, but the modern production of the current crop, it’s a sound that embraces ideas from a wide pool. They make a point of recording the majority of their work to tape using analogue equipment from a bi-gone era. Citing Neil Young and Shuggie Otis, Iggy and the Stooges and Hammerton’s father’s band Sands all as influences, the result, says the guitarist, “tries to find the inner point of the three circles of psych, soul and jazz.” Lyrically, meanwhile, Erskine is now turning the lens outwards. Channelling ideas of outsiderdom and overblown romance, his are often oblique tales rooted in the hazy shadow regions of the human psyche. "I've been reading a lot of John Fante's Bandini books,” he chuckles. "I just related to this really naughty boy who was really lost and thinks he's a brilliant artist but doesn't get any recognition. That really struck a chord with me…”

If the tortured artist path has somewhat rung true previously, however, now Club Kuru are treading stable and productive ground. With European headline shows set for 2019, tour support around France with the formidable band; Jungle and LP2 set for release this spring, they’re building on the foundations of something special. Just two men, in an old lady’s bungalow, create their own sonic world...

Praise for Club Kuru

"...both live and on record, one to treasure." - DIY

"Merging the old with the new, it’s romantic, swooning and dreamy all at once." - Crack

"This is great." - The Line Of Best Fit

"Somewhere between the torn 'n' tattered Mac DeMarco style and Tame Impala's focussed pop elements ... Something to cherish." - Clash

"...brings together influences from hip hop, and sugary electronica to create a kind of ultraviolet synth-pop." - Dummy

"...exciting, genre-bending sounds." - Hillydilly

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Sistertalk debut single out now

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Single release: 'Vitriol' by Sistertalk
Release date: Out now
Label: Family Portrait
More info: Band Facebook

Today, elusive North London art rock quintet Sistertalk have announced their highly-anticipated debut single, 'Vitriol'.

Formed by brothers Gabriel and Daniel Levy in 2017, the past 18 months have seen the band holed up producing and honing their recorded material. Despite having no music online, Sistertalk have quickly become one of the most talked-about new bands in London due to their incendiary live performances. Having sold-out multiple headline shows and played alongside the likes of Shame, Yowl, Kagoule, Crows, Metz, Whenyoung and Goat Girl, the band have earned plaudits from the likes of DIY, So Young, Dork, Fred Perry Subculture, Clash and more.

Variously described as something that "smashes early 80s electronica with powerful punk" (Dork) and as "taking cues from the psychedelic, post-punk and the experimental" (Clash), theirs is a sound that is hard to pin down. Entirely unique, expect howling brass, pulsating synths, and angular guitars - all fused together with a laser-like precision as sharp as their suits.

Hear/share ‘Vitriol’ via Soundcloud | YouTube.

Speaking about the single, frontman Gabriel Levy says, "Before we started this band, I wanted to write something from the perspective of the jaded

performer – someone who’s tired of folded arms, half-empty rooms and mid-set walks to the bar. What that says about my relationship with music prior to this project is uncertain, but it ended up imagined as someone’s very public onstage tirade against an industry which isn’t even present to hear him babble. I didn’t anticipate that it would be the catalyst I needed to form Sistertalk."

Their debut single, 'Vitriol', was written, recorded and produced by the band themselves. Rather than follow the conventional path of releasing through a label, the band chose to continue this trend of self-sufficiency and release it themselves. Full of thwarted ambition and unconcealed contempt, it is an impassioned cry for all those who have played the game but couldn’t win.

'Vitriol' is due out 8th February 2019 via Family Portrait.

The band will also play a headline show at The Windmill, London on 13th March 2019 - Tickets available here.

“With one of the most immediately engaging live shows we’ve seen from a new band all year, they’ve planted themselves firmly in our sights” - DIY

“Electrifying performances have seen the band being tipped as one of the leaders of the next wave of exciting emerging bands” - So Young

“With no music out, but an endless list of unbelievable live sets…this is a reveal you need to see” - Dork

"Take neoclassical soundscapes and hammer them into a dark and angular portrait. Imagine a bitter artist, after a sleepless three-day bender, finally putting pen to paper." - Fred Perry Subculture

"Genre bending at its most excellent" - Clash

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Fontaines D.C. debut album out 12 April 2019

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Album release: 'Dogrel' by Fontaines D.C.
Release date: 12 April 2019
Label: Partisan Records
More info: Band website

Over the last year, Fontaines D.C. have released four critically acclaimed AA side singles, all of which garnered considerable support both from radio, with the band A-listed at BBC Radio 6 Music for their last single ‘Too Real’, and from a vast range of international press, with the band featuring in a number of end of year lists and receiving high praise from the likes of: NPR, Rolling Stone, Q, NME, The FADER, Time Out, DIY, The Line of Best Fit, Dork, Clash, Gigwise, So Young, Stereogum, Paste and more.

Now, ahead of their sold-out UK headline tour in April, Dublin's Fontaines D.C. have announced their highly-anticipated debut album, 'Dogrel', which is slated for release on 12th April 2019 via Partisan Records. Alongside the announcement of their new album, the band have also shared a new video (directed by Molly Keane) for the album opener, 'Big'. Hear/share ‘Big’ here.

Speaking about the video, the band said, "we felt that great ambition was a sickness, and we got Grian's 11 year next-door neighbour to say it to you all because he's got the presence of a hundred frontmen."

Alongside the new album and single, the band have also announced a new EU/UK headline tour starting on 19th November 2019.

Fontaines D.C. have toured extensively over the last year supporting Shame on their UK tour and selling out every date their own UK headline tours in December 2018 and April 2019. Similarly, the band have just completed a 20+ run of sell out dates across Europe and Scandinavia, will support label mates IDLES on their US tour in April 2019 and are also set to appear at various festivals across 2019 including End Of The Road, Truck Festival, Y Not Festival, SXSW and more. Full list of tour dates here.

'Dogrel' is due out 12th April 2019 via Partisan Records and is available to pre-order here. The album will be released on limited edition transparent yellow vinyl, CD as well as all digital platforms.

About Fontaines D.C.

“Is it too real for ya?”

“We were encouraging each other to be who we believed ourselves to be all the time” - Grian Chatten, lead vocals, Fontaines D.C.

With the best bands, it seems to happen fast. The trajectory is steep, the progression seemingly preordained, inexorable. Assembling whilst still at college in Dublin a mere three years ago, from the ruins of early nowhere bands, and having discovered a shared love of poetry and a common zeal for authentic self-expression, the evolution of Fontaines D.C. has been swift, sure and seemingly effortless. Three self-released seven-inch singles (the first of which, “Liberty Belle,” emerged in May 2017) each a confident step onward from its predecessor, and a relentless schedule of live shows have seen them progress at a prodigious, yet wholly logical pace. Through around 200 dates in the UK, Europe, and the US, one word has kept resurfacing in their characteristically eloquent yet direct interviews: authenticity. “I think there's an authenticity to what we do, and people have been starved of authenticity for too long,” Chatten said in one early Irish radio encounter. Not youthful bravado, but a truthful reflection of the shared code that has guided these five young best friends thus far, with what has occasionally seemed a preternatural combination of insouciance and self-belief. This commitment to the authentic, in their music and in each other, is key to understanding the Fontaines D.C. aesthetic. In the course of “going round bars, drinking and writing poetry and romanticizing it to bits,” according to bassist Conor Deegan, the band pushed each other to create, always keeping a collective eye on keeping it real. “We’d call each other out” Chatten has explained, adding, “through each other, we found ourselves a lot quicker.”

Alongside this commitment to each other and the shared goal, another overarching formative dynamic was at work: Dublin City itself; more specifically, the disappearing Dublin embodied most readily in their immediate surroundings, the old working class neighborhood known as The Liberties. As with so many of our cities, the modern malaise of gentrification is steadily claiming vast swathes of the Irish capital. Sure, that's progress, but the underlying cultural cost of this air-brushing of an environment is something that has preoccupied Chatten, feeding into much of the Fontaines’ lyrical content, and indeed the early singles' artwork which featured long-gone, semi-mythical figures like Bang Bang and Forty Coats, real-life quasi-Dickensian characters, legendary in their own time but now becoming lost in the city's fading folklore. Chatten speaks of writing about “the dying romance of the city...the reason we love the Liberties is that seems to be where a lot of that action is happening,” It would be a mistake to view this as some sighing nostalgia, however. Rather, it speaks to the place of Fontaines D.C. in a broader Irish cultural lineage: the bloodline that is more Behan than Bono, evoking poets such as Kavanagh and Lynott, Chevron and MacGowan and yes, even Joyce in the expression of the universal and profoundly human experience through the prism of the local, the familiar, the real. As Lou Reed did with New York, or Ray Davies with London, or indeed The Smiths with Manchester. Write what you know, as the old advice goes. Or, in the words of guitarist Conor Curley: “From talking to these guys about literature, I saw Irishness as being easily romantic about what you see.”

It's a through-line that can be discovered in all the best of Irish art, whichever the medium, and the band's intent is drolly embodied in the album's knowing title: ‘Dogrel.’ To give it its dictionary definition (or close enough for now): crude verse of little artistic worth. The ribald rhymes of the docks, the factories and the early houses. The authentic poetry of the people, which any smart Irish poet knows it is foolish to think oneself above. For in it all is an ineffable beauty, something these young men understand very well.

Not that ‘Dogrel’ isn't rock and roll; it most assuredly is, the best example of the form that you are likely to hear this or any other year. It spits, it snarls, it snaps with the very best of them. But also it yearns, like the greatest Irish music must do. In songs like the almost unbearably sad “Dublin City Sky” there is a marriage of the lyrical to the poetic tradition that bears comparison not just with MacGowan's (the Pogues) best work, but echoes the exquisite heartbreak of Luke Kelly's timeless reading of Kavanagh's “On Raglan Road.” This is an example of one of the great strengths of ‘Dogrel’; its diversity makes it feel less like a debut and more like the work of a band who have long since proven their point, as I suspect Fontaines D.C. may well feel that they have; to the very people who matter above all: each other.

From the short, sharp opener “Big” (surely rivalling “I Wanna Be Adored” as an irresistible opening statement of self-confident intent) the album delightfully surprises at every turn. The singles sit fully at ease along much more complex, emotionally loaded pieces such as “Roy's Tune” and “The Lotts,” both examples of a bruised but unbowed melancholia which is the record's true genome. “Television Screen,” shares its title with the first ever Irish punk single (by The Radiators From Space featuring future Pogue and another of the great chroniclers of old Dublin Town, the late Philip Chevron) and it is a different beast again: melodic and stately, it's a perfect example of the untimely, almost unnatural maturity that this band has already attained. “Boys in The Better Land,” in another twist, perfectly captures the spirit of the album's title. Among a blizzard of evocative couplets, “He spits out 'Brits Out" and only smokes Carroll's,” stands out as as great a pencil portrait as you'll find anywhere. That Lou Reed thing again.

As a band, Fontaines D.C. are on fire throughout: witness the brief, urgent mechanical grind of “Chequeless Reckless,” which perhaps comes closest to a Fontaines D.C. manifesto: "A sellout is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money. An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of their thinking. A phony is someone who demands respect for the principles they affect. A dilettante is someone who can't tell the difference between fashion and style. Charisma is exquisite manipulation. And money... is the sandpit of the soul.” Spat out by Chatten with palpable contempt, they are words that could come back to haunt him, but he's smarter than that, and anyway, somewhere Mister Wilde is wryly smiling.

‘Dogrel’ is a debut which is best enjoyed as a whole; it is very much in the grand tradition of the album as art form, just as this is a band very much in the classic band mold: great singles, an indefatigable work ethic and an utter aversion to standing still.

Reluctant to be viewed as part of any wider movement (“I get a bit uncomfortable with some of the comparisons that have been made,” says Chatten, as he must, though they inevitably shall be) Fontaines D.C. have delivered on their tremendous promise in a way that few bands have. It is to their credit and it augurs well that their collective eye is already on the next phase as they prepare for now to merely take on the world for real. To real.

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