Ruston Kelly debut album out 7 September 2018

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Album release: 'Dying Star' by Ruston Kelly
Release date: 7 September 2018
Label: Rounder Records
More info: Artist website

The official music video for Ruston Kelly’s new single, 'Mockingbird', is premiering across Viacom platforms in an unprecedented partnership between CMT Music, MTVU and MTV Live. Watch/share here.

Of the song and video, Kelly shares, “I wrote ‘Mockingbird’ in a Dominican hotel, on the edge of a bed, at like six in the morning. I needed a release from a cyclical pattern of a doomed relationship. The kind that leaves you with less than what you went in with. But, what directors Stephen Kinigopoulos and Alexa King reminded me with their proposed story about a single mother, is even though I write about my own personal situations, it’s also everyone’s story: the human condition, our connected plight in a mad world. Regardless of how it’s expressed, we all struggle through something with hope on the other side. That’s this song and that’s this video. That’s also why I fell in love working with them immediately.”

'Mockingbird' is from Kelly’s highly anticipated full-length debut album, 'Dying Star', which will be released September 7 on Rounder Records and is now available for pre-order here.

Already receiving widespread acclaim. the album’s first track, 'Jericho', recently premiered to critical praise. Stereogum calls it, “… a warmly melancholy acoustic ballad in the vein of A.A. Bondy, Justin Townes Earle, or early Ryan Adams. It’s about learning to stand up for what you believe in, which seems as relevant now as ever. Kelly manages the feat of keeping his rich arrangement relatively minimal, so that when background vocals or harmonica rise up in the mix they really stand out.” Additionally, Rolling Stone declares, “‘Jericho’ finds Kelly channelling the dark minimalism of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska with a stark guitar-and-a-harmonica aesthetic,” while EARMILK states, “His unique voice contains this gentle raspiness that makes the vocal delivery of each track both haunting and comforting, while his complex guitar work adds to the overall catchy melodies.”

Dying Star was co-produced by Kelly and Jarrad K (Kate Nash, Weezer) and recorded at Sonic Ranch in El Paso, TX. It includes 14 songs written/co-written by Kelly and features Kelly (lead vocals, acoustic guitar, xylophone, harmonica), Jarrad K (12-string guitar, background vocals, electric guitar, Rhodes), Tim Kelly (pedal steel), Ian Fitchuk (piano, organ, drums, percussion), Eli Beaird (bass) and Kyle Ryan (banjo) as well as background vocals from Jon Green, Natalie Hemby, Kacey Musgraves, Kate York, Abby Sevigny and Joy Williams.

Of the album, Kelly comments, “A lot of my music is focused on suffering, or trying to understand the human condition through the lens of suffering…which probably sounds totally depressing, but it’s actually the flipside of that. Sometimes you’ve gotta go into that darkness—you need to get lost and then figure out for yourself how to find your way back. That’s the only way we can find pure joy, and really be thankful for the life we’ve been given.”

The release of Dying Star follows a breakout year for the Nashville-based artist, whose debut EP, Halloween, was released last April to widespread acclaim.

Born in South Carolina, Kelly started playing guitar under the guidance of his dad, Tim “TK” Kelly, a pedal steel guitarist who now performs in his band. Since his father worked for a paper mill and often changed job locations, Kelly grew up frequently moving, living everywhere from Alabama to Belgium, including time in Michigan—where the young one-time figure skater went to train with an Olympic coach in the hope of furthering his career, and where he first began writing songs. At 17, he moved to Nashville to live with his sister and went on to land a publishing deal with BMG Nashville, placing songs with several high-profile artists.

Praise for Ruston Kelly's recent single 'Jericho'

"a warmly melancholy acoustic ballad in the vein of A.A. Bondy, Justin Townes Earle, or early Ryan Adams." – Stereogum

‘Jericho’ finds Kelly channelling the dark minimalism of Bruce Springsteen's Nebraska with a stark guitar-and-a-harmonica aesthetic.” – Rolling Stone

“His unique voice contains this gentle raspiness that makes the vocal delivery of each track both haunting and comforting.” – EARMILK
 

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Gregory Alan Isakov new album out 5 October 2018

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Album release: 'Evening Machines' by Gregory Alan Isakov
Release date: 5 October 2018
Label: Dualtone Records
More info: Artist website

Gregory Alan Isakov’s highly anticipated new album, 'Evening Machines', will be released October 5 and is now available for pre-order here. In advance of the release—his first in partnership with Dualtone Records—the album’s first single, 'Chemicals', is premiering today. Listen / share here.

Recorded at a converted barn studio located on Isakov’s three-acre farm in Boulder County, CO, the thirteen-track album was self-produced and mixed by Tucker Martine (Neko Case, The Decemberists) and Andrew Berlin (Descendents, Rise Against). 

Of the record—his fourth full-length studio album and first in five years—Isakov comments, “I’d work really hard into the night. A lot of times I would find myself in the light of all these VU meters and the tape machine glow, so that’s where the title came from. I recorded mostly at night, when I wasn’t working in the gardens. It doesn't matter if it’s summer or winter, morning or afternoon, this music always feels like evening to me.”

In celebration of the album, Isakov will embark on an extensive worldwide tour this autumn - including a sold out return headline show at Colorado’s famed Red Rocks Amphitheatre on September 30 with special guest Patty Griffin - and UK / Ireland shows that include a headline at London’s 02 Shepherds Bush Empire. 

The new album follows Isakov’s acclaimed collaboration with the Colorado Symphony, 2016’s Gregory Alan Isakov with the Colorado Symphony, which featured orchestral versions of twelve of Isakov’s beloved songs. Released to widespread acclaim, NPR Music premiered the official music video for the song, 'Liars', praising, “Stunning imagery…an emotionally charged and poignant musical statement.” The Independent, CLASH and Huck magazine were also quick to praise his work with the orchestra. Previous to the symphonic album, Isakov released 2013’s The Weatherman, which debuted at #1 on iTunes’ Singer/Songwriter chart and received widespread acclaim including critical notice at NPR’s Weekend Edition, NPR Music, Esquire, Rolling Stone, The Boston Globe, etc. Of the music, Denver Westword proclaimed, “Bob Dylan once sang, ‘You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows,’ and you don't need to be a singer-songwriter to realise that Isakov has created something truly stunning here.”

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, and now calling Colorado home, Isakov is a lifelong traveller. Since his debut in 2003, Isakov has self-released three full-length studio albums on his independent label Suitcase Town Music with over 370,000 in sales and has toured extensively building a devoted worldwide audience. He’s also toured extensively with artists including Iron & Wine, Ani DiFranco, Blind Pilot, Passenger, Josh Ritter, Brandi Carlile, and Nathaniel Rateliff and, since his debut with the Colorado Symphony Orchestra in November 2013, has performed with symphonies across the county including: the Seattle Symphony, the Oregon Symphony Orchestra, the National Symphony Orchestra, the Atlanta Symphony, and the Vermont Symphony Orchestra, among others.

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Gunship new album out 5 October 2018

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Album release: ‘Dark All Day’ by Gunship
Release date: 5 October 2018
More info: Band website

Today, synthwave pioneers Gunship return with the announcement of a brand new 13-track album titled ‘Dark All Day’ and unveil an epic new anime/live-action video for the title track. The new record is now available for pre-order and will be released on 5th October 2018.

In true Gunship fashion, the band have dusted off the VHS - both video and track are a tribute to the cult 1987 film ‘The Lost Boys’ and feature one of the film's stars Mr. Timmy Cappello - the sexy sax man himself.  Timmy provides a blistering performance on the track and also appears in the video, which sees him reprise his original role from ‘The Lost Boys’ some 30 years later.

Tim Cappello: "Gunship's track 'Dark All Day' is one of the funkiest tracks I've ever played on. The groove is brooding and dark but there's so much passion & power to it, it moves so well, I couldn't stop dancing while I was playing on it. And going doubletime during the choruses, pure genius. The guest singer, Indiana, has so much personality, her voice is so perfect for this, I think she's AMAZING! It was so much fun to reprise my role in The Lost Boys, 30 years later, I kinda felt like a kid again, the hips are holding up :D."

The video and track also features UK singer/songwriter Indiana on vocals, best known for her chart topping song ‘Solo Dancing’ and album ‘No Romeo’.

Watch the video for 'Dark All Day' here

Conceptually, the new video sees Gunship return to The Lost Boys’ fictional town of ‘Santa Carla’ in order to play a show. Unfortunately the years have not been kind to Santa Carla and the town’s infamous vampire infestation has worsened considerably. It's all going to OK though - GUNSHIP have brought the world's most notorious vampire slayers along for the ride as their personal bodyguards…

The new video pays homage to numerous well known vampire slayer characters, including Buffy The Vampire Slayer, Blade, Seth Gecko from ‘Dusk til Dawn’, and the Frog brothers from the original film. The video culminates in the ‘death’ of Gunship, and their undead resurrection.

The album artwork also suggests a progression. The new cover art shows the previous album’s sun-design now ominously eclipsed. This signifies the beginning of the ‘Dark All Day’ era, a musical expansion of the band’s sound which sees them exploring darker and more cinematic material in tandem with a renewed focus on the killer hooks and pop sensibility Gunship are known for. Countless horror classics were unleashed on the world during the 1980s; this is Gunship’s love letter to that incredibly creative and artistically rich period.

The video is created in Japanese anime style by ‘Angry Metal Studios’ but, significantly, it switches to live action for the finale - this is the first time that Gunship have revealed themselves, having never appeared in any of their previous videos.

Gunship are well-known for their impressive collaborations with previous material featuring the likes of John Carpenter (director/composer), Lee Hardcastle (The ABC’s of Death, [Adult Swim], 20th Century Fox), Charlie Simpson, Lou Hayter (New Young Pony Club), Martin Grech, Stella Le Page, Miami Nights 1984, Make Up And Vanity Set, Carpenter Brut and more.

The new album 'Dark All Day' sees the band expand on this by collaborating with the likes of tattoo artist, model, musician, author, entrepreneur, and television personality Kat Von D, who provides a seething and haunting vocal collaboration on track 'Black Blood Red Kiss'. Elsewhere on the album, 'When You Grow Up Your Heart Dies' features an innovative segment in which fans submitted recordings of themselves giving uplifting statements, led by self-proclaimed ‘King of the Nerds’ Wil Wheaton (The Big Bang Theory, Star Trek, Stand By Me…).

Similarly, the band channel their love for all things cyberpunk on the track ‘Woken Furies’ which is a tribute to and features voice-over from renowned science fiction author Richard K. Morgan (Altered Carbon). In addition, 'Art3mis & Parzival’ is written in tribute to the book 'Ready Player One', which was recently brought to the screen by Steven Spielberg. The genuine 8-bit pixel art video for ‘Art3mis & Parzival’ was released in April, garnering effusive praise from no less than the author of ‘Ready Player One’ himself Ernest Cline, who described it as “Badass”.

Popular UK artist Una Healy (The Saturdays) also contributes vocals on the album.

'Dark All Day' is availble for pre-order now. The album contains 13 tracks and is available in a deluxe limited edition 180g double-gatefold 45 rpm vinyl set with special lenticular cover, as well as in a brand new Special Edition ‘16-Bit Box Set’ which includes signed CD and a plethora of new GUNSHIP goodies.

Upon pre-ordering the album listeners will receive two instant downloads ‘Dark All Day’, and ‘Art3mis & Parzival’.

GUNSHIP is Dan Haigh, Alex Westaway and Alex Gingell. Gunship’s sound is created with vintage analogue synthesizers and other retro electronic gear from the 1980s. Driven and inspired by nostalgia for a bygone era, Gunship harness this retro approach to birth something fresh and new. Their sound is sonically diverse - blending sweeping fluorescent synth lines with fever pitched and adrenalizing electric bass arpeggios.

Dan Haigh from Gunship describes their sound as “a neon soaked, late night, sonic getaway drive, dripping with luscious analogue synthesizers, cinematic vocals and cyberpunk values, exploding from the front cover of a dusty plastic VHS case which has lain forgotten since 1984.”

Previous praise for Gunship

“… the perfect coalescence of everything I and the rest of our editorial team love: retrofuturism, ’80s references, synthy jams, and way more.” – Nerdist

“…a gleaming synth behemoth that wouldn’t sound out of place soundtracking a medley of all your favourite Eighties sci-fi films.” –  Evening Standard

“Gunship Release One Of The Coolest Music Videos Ever” –  Bloody Disgusting

“British band GUNSHIP have made the most innovative, awesome music video ever” – Zoo Magazine

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Lucero new album out 3 August 2018

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Album release: 'Among The Ghosts' by Lucero
Release date: 3 August 2018
Label: Liberty & Lament / Thirty Tigers
More info: Band website

Nashville, TN – Memphis rock/alt country quintet Lucero has announced 2018 fall tour dates in support of their upcoming album 'Among The Ghosts', which releases on August 3rd via Liberty & Lament/Thirty Tigers. The anticipated new album has already received positive responses, including early coverage from Billboard, Garden & Gun, Rolling Stone Country and Brooklyn Vegan, with more to come. American Songwriter posted an exclusive premiere of Lucero’s new track 'Cover Me'. Click here to listen.

Celebrating 20 years together, Lucero returns to their early rock n’ roll days for the band’s ninth studio album as they pull back on the big arrangements and Memphis-styled horns of their recent work. With lead singer/songwriter Ben Nichols taking a more observational approach, 'Among The Ghosts' showcases his penchant for creating hauntingly vivid imagery with literary-inspired storytelling steeped in Southern Gothic vignettes. The result is an album that is more core Lucero and yet not quite like anything the band has done in recent years. Among The Ghosts is the sound of a band going back to their roots to discover a fresh perspective and cement their legacy for years to come. In recognition of their 20 year anniversary, Lucero just released a home movie-style video featuring entertaining personal footage captured during their earlier days set to the track 'For The Lonely Ones'. View it here.

Lucero has remained firmly rooted in their blue-collar ethos for two decades, building a loyal legion of fans along the way with their gritty, high-powered live performances and communal atmosphere. Keeping one foot firmly planted in a foundation of Memphis rock and soul, the band consistently brings it night after night, playing over 100 shows a year and continuing to pack houses all over. Lucero’s longevity and ability to evolve while engaging fans both new and old, proves that even after all this time they remain a relevant, dynamic force with staying power.

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Satellite Stories final album out 7 September 2018

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Album release: ‘Cut Out The Lights’ by Satellite Stories
Release date: 7 September 2018
Label: Playground Music Scandinavia
More info: Band website

The fifth and final Satellite Stories album Cut Out The Lights arrives on the 7th September 2018. As fans around the world digested the news, the blow was considerably softened when they heard the first taste from Cut Out The Lights, ‘Coupons’ – with Clash Magazine proclaiming the track “A fizzing, cracking, explosive return.” Today we share with you a new single from the album, ‘Carried Away’. The band's singer Esa Mankinen tells us "Carried away is a song about losing track with reality, but also realizing that's part of life". Listen to 'Carried Away' here

In September Satellite Stories start their The Final Story – Farewell Tour, playing shows in Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, France, Netherlands, England and Spain.  

Satellite Stories are Finland's biggest and most successful indie act ever, with over 60 million streams worldwide, having appeared at over 300 headline shows, in no less than 17 countries spanning 3 continents. ‘Cut Out The Lights’ is an album where the band have taken the decision to self produce, to maintain complete creative control and make certain the ideas come across fully in the manner they wish. “It is all on us again now, which is a position we love, the challenge is immense, we have put everything into this record, a full year in the making,” says lead guitarist Marko Heikkinen.

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Bob Marley 'Kaya' anniversary edition out 24 August 2018

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Album reissue: 'Kaya' by Bob Marley
Release date: 24 August 2018
Label: The Marley Family/Island Records/UMC
More info: Band website

On the 24th of August, The Marley Family, Island Records, and UMC will collectively proclaim the sun is shining in celebration of 40 years of Kaya, Bob Marley & The Wailers’ historic March 1978 release. The album's themes of love and peace have resonated across the world and the record reached the top 5 in the UK albums chart upon original release.

This most special anniversary edition will feature Stephen “Ragga” Marley’s exciting and vibrant new 'Kaya 40' mixes of all ten tracks from the original album alongside its original mixes in 2CD and 180-gram 2LP configurations. (The digital version will be a standalone release of Stephen’s mixes only.) The album will also be available as a limited edition 180-gram 2LP green vinyl version exclusively here.

Listen to the new mix of 'Is This Love' here.

Recorded in London concurrently with the material that ultimately comprised 1977’s Exodus — a record proclaimed by Time Magazine in 1999 to be the Best Album of the 20th Century — Kaya is the perfect sonic-sibling bookend that shares all the joy, spirit, and literal DNA of some of Marley’s most ground-breaking material. Kaya contains a number of the most enduring, heartfelt songs in the entire Marley canon, including 'Is This Love', 'Easy Skanking', and 'Sun Is Shining'.

'Kaya' was initially released just one month ahead of Bob Marley & The Wailers headlining the legendary One Love Peace Concert at The National Stadium in Kingston, Jamaica on 22nd April 1978, an event that featured 16 of reggae’s biggest acts. One Love Peace was heralded as Marley’s triumphant return to his native soil, following his long exile in London after having fled the country as a result of a December 1976 assassination attempt at his Kingston homestead.

The album was recorded with the then-new configuration of The Wailers that comprised brothers Carlton and Aston 'Family Man' Barrett on drums and bass, Tyrone Downie on keyboards, Alvin 'Seeco' Patterson on percussion, and the I Threes — Rita Marley, Marcia Griffiths, and Judy Mowatt — on backing vocals, along with newest member Julian (Junior) Marvin on guitar. Two of Kaya’s songs had previously appeared in different arrangements on 1971’s Soul Revolution — the title track, and 'Sun Is Shining'.

Stephen's goal in mixing 'Kaya 40' was to create a balance that drew heavily from the original versions. Using Bob’s vocals from demos from original 'Kaya' sessions that were recorded at different tempos, Stephen synched the vocals with alternate takes and layered it over different instrumental arrangements.  Stephen tried to keep the flavor as authentic as possible. To mix the album, he used a similar minimal approach, basing his version heavily off the classic analog concepts they used in the 1970s.

Bob Marley’s artistic legacy forever endures, and the 40th anniversary edition of 'Kaya' only serves to reinforce just how much we all share the shelter of this special music.
 

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Mothers new album out 7 September 2018

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Album release: 'Render Another Ugly Method' by Mothers
Release date: 7 September 2018
Label: ANTI- Records
More info: Band website

Mothers attempt to exist in two places at once - both singular and collaborative, sprawling and concise, present and distant. Kristine Leschper, songwriter and founding member of the project, says that it is in the space between opposites that she finds herself. The multifaceted is, by nature, fragmented - each facet reflecting a slightly different perspective of the whole.

Mothers have announced their new album 'Render Another Ugly Method', set for a 7th September release date via ANTI- Records. Courtesy of NPR Music listen to the first track 'Blame Kit' here.

“A blame kit is exactly what it sounds like - an apparatus or social mechanism that aims to shift or imply guilt onto a particular person, group, or idea,” Leschper explains. “It is the first of many songs on the record that deals with the body as an object that can be expanded or collapsed, inhabited or deserted. The second section was inspired by a passage I discovered in a book of case studies of schizophrenic and autistic children: ‘His body will at one moment expand to contain things and events that are outside of it, and at the next shrink to near-nothingness…Uncertain of the boundaries of his body, things on the outside become terribly important.’ I couldn’t stop thinking about that.”

In contrast to 'Blame Kit', a new album teaser features a portion of a second track, 'Baptist Trauma'. A composition of stop-start drums and shards of jagged guitar, the song is ultimately a dissection of Leschper’s practice and work ethic, self-described as ‘ugly, at times seeking validation through itself.’ Watch it here.

Now based in Philadelphia, Mothers originated in Athens, Georgia where Leschper was attending printmaking school. In 2016 they released their debut album When You Walk A Long Distance You Are Tired to great critical acclaim. Named a Stereogum ‘Band To Watch’, Pitchfork’s review of the album compared Leschper to Angel Olsen and Sharon Van Etten while Noisey exclaimed that the record “is singer-songwriter prog rock for grown up emo kids.” When You Walk also kicked off a sprawling eight months of touring across the US, UK and Europe, as the group honed their take on left-of-center indie rock with an explosive and surprising live show that displayed how forceful the songs translated to a full-band setting.

"The first time I heard Mothers I knew it was a band that I wanted to work with,” said John Congleton, who produced Render Another Ugly Method. “So special and idiosyncratic, it is impossible to ignore their point of view. I loved making the record and seeing them work."

“Mothers have returned with new songs that are more challenging to listen to, with a sound that is less benevolent, and somewhat demanding in its tone.” – Bob Boilen, NPR Music

“Shifting, polyrhythmic song structures and unexpected refrains are sure to disorient in a way that can only be pulled off by a band like Mothers. You won’t be able to figure out where the song goes next, you’ll just have to drift along with it and maybe do some reckoning of your own.” – Stereogum

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Yazz Ahmed new remix EP out 3 August 2018

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EP release: 'La Saboteuse Remixed' by Yazz Ahmed
Release date: 3 August 2018
Label: Naim Records
More info: Artist website

  • Shares new remix featuring Hector Plimmer
  • Announces new remix EP featuring DJ Khalab, Blacksea Não Maya and more
  • See the premiere via The Vinyl Factory here
  • Hear/share via Soundcloud here

We are witnessing a burgeoning jazz scene in London, a resurgence that looks set to give us a return of the jazz filled 20s once again. One of the driving forces at the heart of this tidal wave of compelling, new music, is British-Bahraini composer and trumpet player, Yazz Ahmed, who has been cited as ‘redefining what jazz means in the 21st century’. La Saboteuse Remixed is her latest offering, released on Naim Records this summer. 

Following the 2017 release of 'La Saboteuse', her highly acclaimed psychedelic Arabic jazz album, this remix EP brings together three of Europe's eminent electronic DJs. This confluence of individual artistic visions creates music of deeply saturating polyrhythms, placing the listener into a curious state of relaxed tension. The sense of a personal narrative runs through all of Ahmed’s work and here is no exception. La Saboteuse as a whole is a journey of self-examination and with this remix EP, the reflection continues in both linear and abstract directions.

Ahmed’s symbiotic collaboration with illustrator Sophie Bass also continues, in celebratory style. Above a familiar desert landscape, dripping with symbolism and intrigue, the ever present fish soars high in a galaxy of stars, overseeing the eternal dance between the demonic Saboteuse and the spiritual creative force of the Sufi. Harmony and balance is restored through the natural healing power of water. 

Produced by Noel Langley, the original album paints a sinuous far reaching soundscape. The reevaluation of the inner well of self doubt as a strength, a resource to be celebrated, to take nourishment from, is heavily sewn through all the tracks. Three pieces from the original album have been reimagined. Meaning and substance, borrowed from the source tracks, are filtered through an alternative perspective, each collaborator adding their own strand to the unfolding story. These virtual conversations between the artist and the remixer, with the addition of her own creative response to this process, result in four stand-alone pieces, which together will extend the listener’s journey through a mystical land of snakes and desert sands. 

Remixers:

Hector Plimmer
Hector Plimmer’s forte is the combination of visual and auditory arts. Around for a little while, he had a track released on Gilles Peterson’s Brownswood Bubblers label compilation in 2014. The recipient of the prestigious PRS Steve Reid InNOVAtion Award in 2015 this led to tutorship by Four Tet, Floating Points and Gilles Peterson. The South London based DJ and graphic artist, released Sunshine in 2017, his full length debut, on Albert's Favourites, earning industry distinction. Following this release Plimmer conducted a full self-remix album of both the tracks and artwork, leading Subtempo to say, “It's hard to improve an original piece of music as good as the album itself, but with these remixes, this rises to a new level.” An Escheresque tessellation of shapes form the basis of the album artwork, splintering across the page while retaining a cohesive shape. With The Lost Pearl, he shows us yet another facet to his art, deftly sculpting a mesmeric original into a rarified groove to get down to. 

DJ Khalab 
The Italian self proclaimed ‘Afro-Futurist Beatmaker’, has had releases on close collaborator Clap! Clap!’s Black Acre and in 2015 produced the eponymous DJ Khalab and Baba Sissoko with Malian master musician Baba Sissoko. The weaving, electronic substrata of the album is imbued with tribal drums and fervent synths, creating mesmeric, complex and layered musical structures. With Jamil Jamal, Khalab takes Ahmed’s original track, suggestive of a caravan traversing a vast desert, and morphs it into a more frenetic examination of space and time. Starting with suspicious circumspection, the restless progression of the track is buoyed midway through, with the power of Shabaka Hutchings’ bass clarinet. Occasionally pausing in suspenseful anticipation, before descending again into an agitated world of overgrown jungle, whereby, at the end of the progression, Yazz’s horns are morphed into a myriad of whirling synths. 

Blacksea Não Maya
Straight outta Lisbon, represented by Portugal’s chief dance music label PRÍNCIPE, Blacksea Não Maya are dedicated representing the fundamental realities of life in the suburbs, projects and slums of the city they call home. The trio is formed of brothers DJ Noronha and DJ Kolt, and their long-time friend, DJ Perigoso. They have been collaboratively developing their talents since 2009 and were picked up by PRÍNCIPE in 2012. Since then they have aimed to share their wish that all can “live every day in the festive ambience of Lisbon”. Their dynamic tunes exemplify a vast range of persuasive dance music within each release, coercing and cajoling the listener into a rapturous state. Their phantasmagorical rejig of Al Emadi, Ahmed’s tribute to the ancient Arabic tribe of her forefathers, is transformed into a club banger. 

Ahmed/Langley
In the whirlpool of global excitement and glowing reviews surrounding the release of 'La Saboteuse', Ahmed had her interest piqued by comparisons made to the work of Jon Hassell & Brian Eno’s Fourth World project and the output of Flying Lotus, music which she had not encountered previously. Inspired by these new discoveries and the concept of collaborating with remixers, she decided to contribute a new track of her own to close the EP. 

In creating the haunting track 'The Space Between The Fish & The Moon', Langley and Ahmed had already begun experimenting with self-sampling and deconstructing existing compositions to make something new. This is the same approach that they used here, taking elements from Spindrifting (La Saboteuse Chapter Three), a few groovy bars of Corinna Silvester’s riqq, fragments of Lewis Wright’s bowed vibraphone, re-worked and re-orchestrated to form a flugelhorn melody. Disparate elements used as material for a collage, endlessly rearranged and reshuffled until the music began to discover what it wanted to be. This is the way Ahmed and Langley work together, things evolve, elements are added, elements are discarded, new material is layered over old, improvisations are developed, themes emerge. Samuel Hällkvist was invited to respond to the work in progress, adding the pulsing guitar arpeggios and Yazz felt this was the right time to reveal her longstanding collaboration with Jason Singh, the voice sculptor and sound designer, incorporating material from one of the soundscapes he had created for her. 

'Spindrifting' is a rich, dark tapestry of timbres and moods, almost orchestral in places, underpinned by a deep fragmented undulation. It intriguingly points to one of several possible future directions that Ahmed might take with her next full release….

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Creedence Clearwater Revival 50th anniversary video release

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Video release: 'Fortunate Son' by Creedence Clearwater Revival
Release date: Out now
Label: Craft Recordings
More info: Band Facebook

Craft Recordings proudly announces the 50th anniversary of America’s greatest rock band, Creedence Clearwater Revival. It was in the summertime half a century ago that CCR, a group that would reach sky-high success while retaining a resolutely rootsy, earthbound sound, released their debut album. This marked the beginning of an incredible legacy that was formed over just four years of unbridled creative output (1968-1972).

CCR's canon has become a staple in the Great American Songbook. Songs like 'Bad Moon Rising', 'Down on the Corner', 'Have You Ever Seen the Rain', 'Proud Mary', and 'Up Around the Bend' have been ingrained into the pop-cultural consciousness—not just as classic rock staples, but as American standards.

As the United States speeds towards another anniversary of its own on 4th July, Craft is kicking off the CCR50 campaign by releasing an official music video (the first ever) for one of the band’s most enduring classics, 'Fortunate Son', a song as vital now as ever.

Beyond its anti-war sentiment, 'Fortunate Son' is an anthem for the 99%ers, condensing a critique of elitism and class privilege into three simple, but powerfully defiant words: It Ain’t Me. Craft partnered with director Ben Fee (Band of Horses, The War on Drugs, The Lumineers, Aesop Rock) to give a whole new generation a visual entry point into the world of Creedence.

The song already has an undeniable place in history as one of the most visceral, attention-grabbing protest tunes of the Vietnam era. With the new video, Fee extends the reach of 'Fortunate Son' even further. "For me, protest right now is just showing pure positivity in the face of division and anger." Says Fee, “I wanted to highlight the community and positivity that everybody shares…I wanted to show what America feels like when you actually hit the road and drive throughout the states."

Though the Vietnam war is decades away in the rearview mirror, the people CCR were speaking for in the song are still the heart and soul of America, and they're still the underdog, facing a whole new set of challenges. So, Fee turned the video into a celebration of their indomitable spirit, giving viewers a glimpse of the broad array of characters comprising the patchwork that is our country at its core.

In spotlighting the diversity and unconquerable spirit of America's so-called 99%, Fee created a concept as relevant to today's world as it is to the original 1969 setting of "Fortunate Son." "I met so many beautiful people," says Fee of the folks he shot for the video. "I went to the Taos Pueblo people, into their land, and met with the war chief, and they were very big fans of CCR. They were so welcoming because they knew the song and the band, and they really loved the idea of protest through positivity." 

Click here to watch the video.

Fee’s video road trip took him across the country, from Los Angeles to Miami and all points in between. The footage captures people across America of diverse ages, cultures, ethnic backgrounds and locations (including Florida, Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, California, Washington and Hawaii) to document the true spirit that makes up the fabric of the United States, for which CCR have been the soundtrack for 50 years.

In addition to the video, the half-century celebration will continue in the coming months to fill out the CCR story even further. Craft will be honouring the band’s musical legacy via a diverse array of media, products and events; including a special release coming this autumn. The fête will also provide fans with new ways to engage with CCR online–sharing their memories, streaming new content, and diving deeper into the band’s legendary history. Stay tuned to CCR50.com for more details, coming soon.

In the meantime, you can dig in to more from the Creedence Clearwater Revival catalogue (and build your 4th July playlists) via Apple Music (click here for the Essentials) or Spotify (click here for This Is).

Creedence Clearwater Revival’s 1968 self-titled debut album introduced the world to guitar-playing brothers John and Tom Fogerty, drummer Doug Clifford, and bassist Stu Cook, four young men out of El Cerrito in the San Francisco Bay Area. Though they emerged in a place and time where trippy psychedelic visions were the order of the day, CCR bucked the trends and instead tapped into a rich, traditional seam of American music that connected to blues, country, rockabilly, gospel, folk and R&B.

While their contemporaries were unfurling mind-bending musical excursions with elaborate productions, Creedence crashed into the upper rungs of the album and singles charts with songs that wasted nary a note or word, overflowing with raw soul and unbridled energy. Although the band members were only together for four years under the Creedence Clearwater Revival appellation, they managed to accomplish more than many artists do in their entire career – they released 14 Top 10 hits, six Platinum albums, and one Gold in just four intensely prolific years, all powered by John Fogerty's gut-level growl, with Tom Fogerty, Stu Cook and Doug Clifford providing just the right kind of gritty, in-the-pocket punch to propel CCR's vision.

The band's West Coast origins notwithstanding, Fogerty's voice contained echoes of everything from the Chicago blues bite of Howlin' Wolf to the Alabama twang of Hank Williams and the Memphis swagger of Elvis Presley, creating an archetypal example of Americana decades before anybody ever thought of using that term to define a musical genre.

For all the indelible guitar hooks and commanding vocals the CCR catalogue contains, their songs are more than catchy tunes. CCR was a people's band in more ways than one; hand in hand with the accessibility that made their music relatable to just about everybody, there was a strong sense of identification with America's common folks, the ones whose stories were told in the songs.

On tunes like 'Born on the Bayou' and 'Green River', Creedence harnessed the sonic hoodoo of almost dangerously deep, “swamp rock” grooves to propel vivid New Orleans imagery. 'Long As I Can See the Light' floats luminously with the kind of sanctified soul feel that we've come to expect only from the South. And the spry country two-step of 'Lookin' Out My Back Door' finds its feet in Nashville, at least in a spiritual sense. While CCR's signature song, "Proud Mary," is a Southern-soaked riverboat travelogue, with stops in Memphis and the Crescent City.

Even some of the covers of Creedence's tunes have become part of history—Ike & Tina Turner's sped-up, R&B-slathered 1971 recording of 'Proud Mary' almost rivaled the original in popularity. And an astonishing array of artists, from Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson to R.E.M. and the Ramones, have recorded 'Have You Ever Seen the Rain', to home in on the reach of just one of their profusely covered songs.

The group also performed a historic headlining set at Woodstock, and toured the world before disbanding in 1972. CCR's music endures today – still in popular rotation on the radio, and heard regularly in films and TV shows. Having sold over 30 million albums in the U.S. alone, Creedence received a rare Diamond certification from the RIAA in 2016, marking 10 million units in sales for their 1976 compilation album, Chronicle: The 20 Greatest Hits.

The appeal of Creedence Clearwater Revival isn't tied to any one era or milieu; whether it's 50 years ago or 100 years from now, all you need is a pair of ears to pick up on their sound. As John Fogerty once sang on a certain 1969 hit single, "Over on the corner there's a happy noise/People come from all around to watch the magic boys."

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The Joy Formidable new album out 28 September 2018

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Album release: 'AAARTH' by The Joy Formidable
Release date:  28 September 2018
Label: Hassle Records
More info: Band website

Welsh rock trio The Joy Formidable are returning with yet another huge step forward, in the shape of upcoming fourth album 'AAARTH'. Propelled by their restlessness and curiosity, the band continue to sit at the forefront of inventive and aggressive guitar music, taking what can be done with the instrument to new levels with each album. Still commanding festival main stages around the world, and following a rapturous response to their sold-out UK live return at last week’s Robert Smith-curated Meltdown Festival, the band are now able to share full details of the album, along with brand new single 'The Wrong Side'. It was premiered on Radio 1 by Huw Stephens last night said "it's brilliant isn't it... a pleasure to bring you that this evening… I’m really looking forward to seeing them at Reading & Leeds.” Listen to the new single 'The Wrong Side'

'AAARTH' is released on September 28th on CD, download and LP, as well as an extremely limited boxset, Indie retail exclusive vinyl, and Rough Trade exclusive vinyl, which will be supported by in-stores at Nottingham, Bristol and London East. Pre-order the album here

'The Wrong Side' follows recent single 'Dance of the Lotus' and is a lurching, hulking giant of a track that aligns and progresses all of the band’s best qualities – a crushing, intense rhythm, remarkably inventive, snaking guitar work, and a soaring vocal melody – pushing things forward on an album that promises to be their most vibrant and experimental yet. Lead singer and guitarist Ritzy Bryan explains; “With life not always being that kind, you can either go down a really dark hole or you can smear yourself with colour and reverie and try to forget. That’s what we did with 'AAARTH'; we threw ourselves into this beautiful vivacious collage of experimentation, real meets unreal, and stopped giving a fuck about things that didn’t matter, and started caring more about the things that are worth your time.”

'AAARTH' marks a transformative, near-psychedelic rebirth that channels long-held anger, soundtracking a chaotic global period of injustice and division, setting it against a deeply poignant backdrop of personal experiences and healing. Although the album came into being as the band travelled the globe and recorded in their mobile recording studio, the music intertwines the whispering hills of Wales with the otherworldly rainbow canyons of the Utah / Arizona border. 'AAARTH' unites the personal with the mythical and symbolic, as Bryan continues; “We’ve definitely made a colourful, mystical collage with this record, partly because of our surroundings. Those multi-coloured sunsets & the primeval elements of nature in the Southwest – it’s emboldened our imaginations in the songwriting and the production. I love stories and seeing symbolism and meaning change with different cultures and interpretations. I see it in my lyrics, a lot of the imagery plays on being ambivalent because I’m often expressing a lot of things at once. That’s true of the title; it falls somewhere between a scream, an exaltation, a play on words, and then this motif of the bear (“arth” in Welsh) that spiritually represents strength, wisdom & healing.”   

The Joy Formidable bring their unique, evolving and progressive live show to an already-sold-out show at The Lexington in London, followed by main stage appearances at Reading & Leeds Festivals, before they depart for the US and Canada – by personal invitation from Dave Grohl – as support to Foo Fighters.
 

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Teksti-TV 666 new album out 7 September 2018

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Album release: 'Aidattu Tulevaisuus' by Teksti-TV 666
Release date: 7 September 2018
Label: Svart
More info: Band website

Listen to two new songs now: 'Aidattu Tulevaisuus' and 'Turbo-Mondeo'

Formed only a few years back, things have escalated rather quickly for this six-headed shoegazing kraut-punk monster. Armed with no less than four (and sometimes, just sometimes, five) electric guitars, Teksti-TV 666 are nowadays one of the most in-demand live acts in their native Finland, and select performances abroad have caused a bit of a storm as well. After 2016's Finnish tour with Kvelertak the band have set their sights on Europe, beginning with a tour in Norway. While the five guitars is a point of interest – the real thing of note are their songs. Teksti-TV 666 write very, very, good ones.

The band create an infectious pysch-punk rush that is undeniably exciting even on first listen, as well as pieces that are an ambitious, multi-layered assault that sets Teksti-TV 666 apart from their peers.

Teksti-TV 666 is a band built on contradictions; it is as if Neu! performed Ramones songs, or a shoegazing Hellacopters, it is a heavy but dynamic, measured, wall of noise, a colourful explosion veering off in different directions. Layers of intricate melody. With over 100 shows played in just three years and three critically acclaimed EPs behind them, the band's reputation is rapidly on the rise.

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Silverbacks new single out now

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Single release: 'Dunkirk' by Silverbacks
Release date: Out now
Label: PK Miami Records
More info: Band website

"Dublin art-punks Silverbacks combat marital strife and boredom via tense, methodical beats and prickly guitar riffs." - Paste

Dublin art-punks Silverbacks stomp back into action in 2018 with the release of their new single produced by Girl Band’s Daniel Fox 'Dunkirk' on June 15th through their own PK Miami Records. Today, the band have premiered the single on Soundcloud at Paste where it was described as "jagged and menacing".

“The song is about a character who is questioning the life they have been dealt,” Silverbacks explain. “They find themselves in a near dystopian future where Dunkirk, despite its history, has become a built-up holiday destination for young families.”

Underpinned by an insistent, nagging bassline and creepy crawly guitar lines, it provides the ideal vehicle for frontman Daniel O’Kelly’s stream of consciousness ramblings about martial strife, the perfect sandcastle and spotting a con artist when he sees one. Produced by Girl Band’s Daniel Fox, the track lurches forth, pressure building from the undulating backbeat and layers of skronking guitars accenting Daniel’s increasingly frazzled yelps before finally collapsing into a sugar sweet coda. Indie kids no more, Silverbacks mean business and ‘Dunkirk’ is a powerful first move. The single is accompanied by a brilliantly creative video from Belgian graphic designer and artist Cameron Francis Taylor.

Hailing from Dublin, Silverbacks are a thrilling prospect, delivering their own louche take on NYC-indebted rock: slack enough for the tastemakers while also mining the gems of a pop vein, catching the ears of those with a taste for a good hook. Now a full-fledged five piece after graduating from the bedroom project of songwriting brothers Kilian and Daniel O’Kelly, they ply their trade with as much emphasis on the dry humour running through Daniel’s lyrics as the propulsive, triple guitar-led onslaught in their music.

Last year’s ‘Sink The Fat Moon’ EP had the band lighting up their homeland, with nods from BBC’s Across The Line, RTE’s Dan Hegarty, The Irish Times, The Thin Air and Nialler9 amongst others. They followed up with riotous single ‘Just for a Better View’ before the end of the year, drawing more accolades and setting themselves up for an exciting 2018.

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Estrons new single out now

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Single release: 'Lilac' by Estrons
Release date: Out now
More info: Band website

Welsh alt-rock outfit Estrons return today with 'Lilac', the first song to be taken from fruitful recent sessions with Alex Newport (At The Drive-In, Death Cab For Cutie, Pissed Jeans). Debuted last night by Huw Stephens on his Radio 1 show, he said 'Lilac' was "so good" that he played it twice in a row. Listen to Lilac here.

A further evolution sonically from what has come before, immediate and anthemic, the song marries tense vocals from Tali Källström to the off-kilter, cutting guitars that Rhodri Daniel has become known for. Tali dedicates the song to "an encounter I had with a teenage girl in the early hours of the morning. I drove past her crying in the street with her shoes in her hand and so I decided to turn the car around to check on her. I'd assumed that she was crying about something superficial and I'd also assumed that the man walking a few feet behind her was trying to take advantage. Turns out the man actually lived on that street and the girl was heartbroken because her dad had just been diagnosed with terminal cancer. We often get things wrong because society leads us to create prejudices on genders; the song is myself reflecting on that. It also celebrates human empathy as the girl I helped was genuinely touched that I'd stopped to check she got home okay. I haven't seen her since that day - but this one goes out to her, anybody who is going through a difficult time and also to all the people out there who have helped me in a crisis. Someone always cares and you can get through it."

The band played a London headline show at House Of Vans, have been handpicked by Garbage to support on their September tour and also announce headlining dates of their own for November.

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Active Bird new album out 26 October 2018

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Album release: 'Amends' by Active Bird
Release date: 26 October 2018
Label: Barsuk Records
More info: Band website

Brooklyn, NY’s Active Bird Community today announced their new album and Barsuk Records debut, 'Amends', will be released on 26th October 2018 via Barsuk Records. The video for first single 'Unwind With Me' premiered today via Brooklyn Vegan, and can also now be seen here.

Filmed entirely in the back of a moving truck, director Henry Kinder explains, “We considered a few different options for how to pull this off, but at the end of the day, the only way to achieve the natural claustrophobia amidst the constructed world that we imagined was to practically build the apartment into the actual bed of a truck. This choice created tight parameters within which we had to work, but it felt like the only way to achieve exactly what we wanted: to visually represent this state of unsettled displacement that we were both feeling at the time and that we were hearing in the song."

'Amends' is also now available for pre-order here.

Of the song, singer/guitarist Tom D’Agustino says, "I don’t think I realised until after the song was finished that it sort of felt like I was putting myself on trial. It was finished during a pretty confusing time in my life, my relationship was ending right around the time I had gotten sick with shingles. It became clear that my life wasn’t going in the right direction or any direction really, and that left me feeling guilty and ashamed. ‘Unwind With Me’ was sort of like declaring bankruptcy on myself - I’m gonna unravel everything so I can get back to some sort of starting line. I think I also realised that in that decision or that outlook, I felt like I could take back some control. It’s my choice to tear everything down and rebuild, and even if it hurts, it’s alright because I’m moving forward, I’m willing a change..."

Active Bird Community have also announced a fall North American tour, beginning with a hometown Brooklyn show on 27th September at Rough Trade. The dates continue throughout the northeast, midwest, and Canada before wrapping up on October 6 at Great Scott in Boston, MA. 

'Amends' dwells in the intricacies of relationships -- broken bonds between friends, family, and lovers -- and hoping to heal. A contemplation on loss and forgiveness, the album volleys between the perspectives of D'Agustino and co-songwriter/lead guitarist Andrew Wolfson. “We’ve both written for the records before,” Wolfson says. “But on Stick Around it felt like Tom’s voice was the protagonist and mine was the narrator.” D’Agustino’s anxious search for maturity was countered by Wolfson’s hesitation to stop and absorb the world around them. A similar step-ball-change of action and commentary drives 'Amends' forward, only this time specific memories are unpacked, and the past is explored and confronted rather than avoided.

The 11 tracks deal with universal themes including the tension of family, loss, and learning to move on without resentment (“Amends,” “Lighthouse”), breakups (“Unwind With Me”), anxieties (“Downstairs”), and hope for the future (“Silver Screen”). As a whole, 'Amends' represents Active Bird Community’s efforts to contend honestly with the pain of their experiences and explore the empowering nature of forgiveness.

Active Bird Community’s 2017 album, 'Stick Around', was self-released last year and hailed as “a scrappy punk slugfest rife with immediate post-college struggles" (Billboard), and “superb...full of addicting cuts" (Earmilk). The band -- who have been playing together since middle school -- recently played a sold-out show at Brooklyn's Knitting Factory as part of Northside Festival, have toured with artists including Cymbals Eat Guitars and We Were Promised Jetpacks, and performed at festivals including Panorama and Audiotree.

Active Bird Community are: Tom D’Agustino (vocals, guitar), Andrew Wolfson (vocals/lead guitar), Quinn McGovern (drums), and Zach Slater (bass).

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The Molochs new album out 7 September 2018

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Album release: 'Flowers In The Spring' by The Molochs
Release date: 7 September 2018
Label: Innovative Leisure
More info: Band website

The Molochs have announced their new album 'Flowers In The Spring' is due out September 7th this year via Innovative Leisure. They have also shared the first single to be taken from it 'I Wanna Say To You' at The Line Of Best Fit where they were described as "somewhere between Pavement and The Stone Roses".

Speaking about the track, The Molochs explained, "The song lies somewhere between the Beatles' 'Rain' and Psychic TV with some paisley New Zealand tinges. The words "there's something I wanna say to you" are very liberating. They scream out. It could mean addressing someone else or addressing yourself. Sometimes you have to shake someone and yell a bit. Sometimes you have to shake yourself and yell a bit. It's good to call yourself out from time to time."

The Molochs’ 'America’s Velvet Glory' was the earliest burst of light and energy to hit in 2017, an album of electrified rock ‘n’ roll like Dylan and Lou Reed by a band named after the Ginsberg-ian glutton god who demanded the sacrifice of all things good and pure. In 2018 Moloch himself is fatter and happier than ever, so the Molochs couldn’t just make another record. After Glory showed the world who they were, they needed to make an album that showed what they could do. So 'Flowers In The Spring' is where the Molochs worked harder, thought harder and fought harder to be the kind of band that the times demand.  

“I like to think the world just needs some good solid songs out there,” founder Lucas Fitzsimons says. “It’s simple. It’s not easy … but it’s simple.” As on Glory, inspiration from Syd Barrett, Dylan, Nikki Sudden and kindred spirit Peter Perrett of the Only Ones was at work, but the Molochs are endlessly ravenous when it comes to things to read and listen to and learn from. On Flowers they refine and recombine their sound, working in that long tradition of poets who cover themselves in pop songs.

'I Wanna Say To You', their first single, draws from some of Creation Records’ dreamiest dreamers than it does from any esoteric 60s howlers.

'Flowers In The Spring' will be released on the LA indie label Innovative Leisure on 7 September 2018.

Selected previous praise for debut album

"The Molochs introductory is a thrilling and thoughtful beginning for a duo with plenty of promise." - NME

“One of the year's best. Which year? Any year” - MOJO

“Genre fans will love it--it’s the perfect soundtrack to pulling on your Chelsea boots and black crew-neck sweater.“ - The Guardian

 

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Foxing new album out 10 August 2018

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Album release: 'Nearer My God' by Foxing
Release date: 10 August 2018
Label: Triple Crown
More info: Band website

Foxing will release their highly-anticipated third album, 'Nearer My God', on August 10. Created over the course of nearly 3 years, Nearer My God was produced in St. Louis and Montreal by Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie, The Decemberists) and Foxing guitarist and songwriter Eric Hudson, with help from Joe Reinhart (Hop Along, Modern Baseball).

Pre-orders are available now at foxingtheband.com

Today, Foxing also share a video for their first new single since 2016, 'Slapstick'.  Named after the Kurt Vonnegut novel of the same name, 'Slapstick' is a brazen commentary on what arrogance and ignorance can do to a person. It’s video, a sci-fi inspired concept directed by Josh Coll, was shot in Cape May, NJ and Ottawa, ON.

See 'Slapstick' video on YouTube

“Movies like Ridley Scott’s Alien and John Carpenter’s The Thing have such impressive practical creatures propelling so much of the plot, despite having such little screen time,” Coll explains. “In that regard, I really like that the relationship between The Botanist and The Plant was established long before the video starts.”

“When you have five minutes to tell a story, the how’s and why’s of the narrative quickly become the most inconsequential elements – audiences are imaginative enough to fill in the backstory. What matters is that our two characters – who are clearly alone in the bunker – are friends who depend on each other for survival.”

"Look around you. The world is messed up and there’s almost nothing you can do about it. You binge read the news and tell yourself that it’s just a cycle; things have to get better because they always do, right? You may even sometimes find yourself laughing at it all because it’d actually be pretty funny if only it weren’t happening around you."

That’s the very personal perspective that vocalist Conor Murphy expresses on Nearer My God, a post-apocalyptic melodrama about control in a world that really, really feels like it’s falling apart. Completed by guitarists Eric Hudson, Ricky Sampson, and Jonathan Hellwig on drums, Foxing shines their collective brightest on this record, especially on tracks like 'Grand Paradise', 'Gameshark', and 'Heartbeats'. Here, they combine elements of anthemic indie rock, avant-garde R&B, classical and more to create some of their most original and strongest material yet.

Foxing will be in the UK + Ireland co-headlining with Pianos Become The Teeth and support from Kamikaze Girls throughout this August including a set at Bristol's Arctangent Festival.

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Ana Silvera new album out 6 July 2018

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Album release: 'Oracles' by Ana Silvera
Release date: 6 July 2018
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Artist website

  • New single 'Circle of Chalk'. See the premiere on Folk Radio here
  • Album launch show at The Purcell Room (Southbank Centre) on 4 July 2018

Since the 2012 release of her debut album, 'The Aviary', singer-songwriter Ana Silvera's work has garnered broad acclaim from audiences and critics alike. Her uniquely ethereal brand of alt-folk has seen her perform at SXSW, Iceland Airwaves Festival, Liverpool Royal Philharmonic and more, whilst recent collaborations include composing for Royal Ballet, duetting with Imogen Heap and singing original songs with early music consort Concerto Caledonia.Now six-years after her last full-length record, Silvera is about to release her sophomore album, ‘Oracles’.

“It was Marcus Davey, artistic director of the Roundhouse, who was really the 'Oracles' fairy-godfather. I’d sung in choirs till the age of 15, so that was always my musical foundation. Then Marcus mentioned this great, experimental in-house choir [REC] who were keen to collaborate. It was a very open-ended commission, basically ‘do what you want, use the choir somehow’. I don’t think either Marcus or I realised how much I needed to write this piece”.

Poignant, dreamlike and beautiful, and written following the sudden loss of her mother and brother, ‘Oracles’ was Silvera’s way to transmute her grief into a cathartic work of art. “I wrote ‘Oracles’ in a state of absolute urgency and emergency – it felt like I had been buried in the ground myself, and writing this music was a small pocket of air, my chance to breathe again”.

In 2011, the song-cycle was debuted with REC, and the following year was performed as part of a sold-out concert on the Roundhouse Main Stage, earning Silvera a nomination for a British Composer Award. She then returned to the Roundhouse Theatre to make a live recording of the piece, which forms her second full-length album. The recording features Silvera as a soloist, a choir led by Josephine Stephenson and a stellar line-up of guest musicians including pianist Bill Laurance (Snarky Puppy), double bassist Jasper Høiby (Phronesis) and drummer Jacob Smedegaard (Fiction, Du Blonde) as well as Simran Singh (violin), Anne Chauveau-Dhayan (cello) and Naomi Morris (percussion).

The result is a haunting yet life-affirming collection of songs whose lyrics explore loss, love, salvation and the journey towards acceptance, themes that are underscored by beguiling, weaving choral lines, mellifluous Debussian piano melodies, subtly off-kilter percussion and rapturous strings, all unified by Silvera’s dynamic vocal style which evokes the delicate yet theatrical prowess of Kate Bush, combined with what the Arts Desk described as a “Björk-like spontaneity’.

Conceptually, the piece follows the arc of a ‘quest’ – a folk tale that begins with a search for a tangible or symbolic goal and ends with a triumphant return home. “On reflection, I see my quest was to fathom this experience and - though it no longer existed in the familial sense of the word - to find my own way back home”. ‘Skeleton Song’, an Inuit-myth inspired tune about a woman who is sung back to life, is a fragile yet powerful paean to the female figures surrounding Silvera who “painstakingly pieced me together again”. ‘Catherine Wheels’, the epiphanic closing song, whose swelling strings push the song-cycle to an emotional climax, celebrates “the kind of earth-bound, steadfast love” that allowed Silvera to finally reckon with her past and come to terms with the present.

Says Silvera, “I can honestly say, I found it so moving that post-performance, audience members would come and speak to me about their own experiences of bereavement. Making that human connection and finding we are not alone is perhaps the greatest healer of all”.

Silvera will take a stripped-back version of ‘Oracles’ on tour across the UK and beyond later this year.

Press reaction to date

“Stunning . . . Silvera mixes folk elements with magical storytelling”
 – The Guardian

“a wonderful piece of modern folk . . . its deftness and surety of touch means it’s damned pleasing” – The Quietus

“There's both a lavish, vivid imagination and an intense intimacy at play . . . haunting, grown-up fairy-tales” – Metro

“Melodies that just won't leave you alone and a voice that tugs at your heart”
 – Late Junction, BBC Radio 3

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Tomberlin debut album out 10 August 2018

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Album release: 'At Weddings' by Tomberlin
Release date: 10 August 2018
Label: Saddle Creek
More info: Artist website

Tomberlin, the Louisville based artist, has shared a video for 'Self-Help', the lead single from her deeply moving Saddle Creek debut album, 'At Weddings'. Stereogum, who premiered the video today, profiled Tomberlin and named her an Artist To Watch, describing her music as being "made from the barest of bones, looping guitar lines and plinking keys and her silvery voice, that together create a kind of hymnal stillness."  'At Weddings' is available for pre-order and due out 10th August via Saddle Creek.

Watch the 'Self Help' video.

On her deeply moving debut album 'At Weddings', Sarah Beth Tomberlin writes with the clarity and wisdom of an artist well beyond her years. Immeasurable space circulates within the album's ten songs, which set Tomberlin's searching voice against lush backdrops of piano and guitar. Like Julien Baker and Sufjan Stevens, she has a knack for transforming the personal into parable. Like Grouper, she has a feel for the transcendent within the ordinary.

Born in Jacksonville, Florida, and now based in Louisville, Kentucky, Tomberlin wrote most of At Weddings while living with her family in southern Illinois during her late teens and early twenties. At 16, she finished her homeschooling curriculum and went to college at a private Christian school she describes, only half-jokingly, as a "cult." By 17, she had dropped out of school, returned home, and begun to face a period of difficult transition in her life. The daughter of a Baptist pastor, Tomberlin found herself questioning not only her faith, but her identity, her purpose, and her place in the world.

"I was working, going to school, and experiencing heavy isolation," Tomberlin says of the time when she first began writing the songs on At Weddings. "It felt monotonous, like endless nothingness. It was a means to get through to the next step of life." In songwriting, Tomberlin found relief and lucidity she had trouble articulating otherwise. When she was 19, she wrote "Tornado" on her parents' piano, and began to develop confidence in her music. A year later, she had written enough songs to fill an album.

Throughout 'At Weddings', Tomberlin's lyrics yearn for stability and belonging, a near-universal desire among young people learning to define themselves on their own terms for the first time. "I am a tornado with big green eyes and a heartbeat," she sings on 'Tornado', her voice stretching to the top of her range. Rich, idiosyncratic imagery - a fly killed with a self-help book, brown paper bags slashed violently open, clouds that weep over a lost love - sidle up to profound realisations about learning to be alive in this world. "To be a woman is to be in pain," Tomberlin notes on 'I'm Not Scared'. On 'A Video Game', she muses, "I wish I was a hero with something beautiful to say."

Tomberlin cites the hymns she grew up singing in church as her greatest musical influence, and while At Weddings in many ways documents the unlearning of her childhood faith, it's easy to hear the reverential quality of sacred music in her songs. "A lot of hymns talk about really crazy stuff - being saved from the depths and the mire, judgment. When you actually realize what you're singing, it becomes really overwhelming," Tomberlin says. "I grew up singing in church. I was still helping to lead worship when I started coming to terms with the realization that I didn't know if I believed. I felt nauseous and shaky reading these words I was singing and feeling their intensity. If I did believe this, how could I sing these words without being scared out of my mind? That's what's influenced how I write."

'At Weddings' is laden with reverence for music itself, for the power it has to heal others and help people navigate their lives. It is a record about learning to love oneself and others without reservation, from a place of deep sincerity - a lifelong challenge whose tribulations Tomberlin articulates beautifully. "My number one goal with my music is for honesty and transparency that helps other people find ways to exist," she says. With 'At Weddings', this remarkable young songwriter offers up comfort and wonder in equal measure.

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Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet new album 3 August 2018

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Album release: 'Polka Worldwide Deluxe Edition' by Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet
Release date: 3 August 2018
Label: Whirlwind Recordings
More info: Artist website

Bassist, composer and a leading figure of the 21st century Polish jazz movement, Wojtek Mazolewski has long been a frontrunner in the evolution of modern jazz. Heading up outfits such as Pink Freud (signed to Universal Poland) and the Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet, his career continues to evolve with the forthcoming release of ‘Polka Worldwide Deluxe Edition’, a collection of remastered and original material from the quintet’s highly acclaimed debut album ‘Polka’, along with their new EP and single.

Much like his recent counterparts overseas in London, Wojtek Mazolewski’s direction is future-facing and fascinating, focussed around introducing jazz to younger audiences by fusing his contemporary influences seamlessly with the world-renown traditions established during the golden era of Polish jazz. Mazolewski vigorously combines tradition and modernity, the analog sound of his Quintet harking back to the jazz masters yet also infused with electronica and other divergent influences. Echoes of Miles Davis, Eric Dolphy, Led Zeppelin and even the likes of Aphex Twin are all interwoven throughout the record. However, despite the familiarity that resonates from his eclectic inspirations, his sound remains entirely individual.

Explosive and eclectic concerts are the trademark of Mazolewski’s music, and have seen him play around the world, whilst collaborating with venerable musicians such John Zorn, Pete Wareham, Dennis Gonzales, Tim Berne, Tomasz Stańko and many more. Since the initial release of his debut album Mazolewski and his fellow musicians have played over 280 concerts, across 31 countries in 5 continents, whilst also appearing at OFF Festival, Red Bull Music Weekender, Jazzahead! and a multitude of other major international jazz festivals, winning over new audiences with every performance.

This has resulted in over 4 million plays across his YouTube channel, as well previous material climbing national Polish radio charts, which has led to the album going gold within 6 months and triple-platinum in just 3 years. This international acclaim has also earned plaudits for Mazolewski in the UK from the likes of tastemaker Gilles Peterson on BBC 6 Music, who featured the single ‘London’ in his Top 50 tracks of 2017, as well as NTS Radio, Worldwide FM, Wax Poetics, Lonely Planet, Jazzwise and more. Similarly, last year saw the Quintet perform to a sold-out audience at Church of Sound in London as part of a Polish jazz special.

Now, Mazolewski’s music has a further opportunity to delve into the UK jazz scene alongside other artists that are pushing the boundaries of the genre, fusing tradition with the modern culture that surrounds them. ‘Polka Worldwide Deluxe Edition’ will be Mazolewski’s first release on Whirlwind Recordings (and his first on a non-Polish imprint), a label with over 110 releases to their name and a strong reputation for signing artists that push the boundaries of their respective genres and strive to diversify their audiences. This adds another dimension to Mazolewski’s relationship with his far-reaching jazz audiences, placing him among the players who strive to redefine what jazz means, whilst breaking down any musical prejudices that might exist for the scene.

From the beginning the Wojtek Mazolewski Quintet have been building a strong young audience, and whilst the quintet has received acclaim back home, UK influencers are already starting see a lot of promise in him, and given the passion he’s breathing into contemporary jazz, it’s not surprising to see why.

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Delta Sleep new single and video out now

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Single release: 'El Pastor' by Delta Sleep
Release date: Out now
More info: Band website

Brighton math-rock band Delta Sleep announce their return, sharing a new video for their first single in 3 years entitled ‘El Pastor’. The new single is taken from the bands highly anticipated second record, which follows on from their widely acclaimed debut album ‘Twin Galaxies’, which earned plaudits from the likes of Clash, GoldFlakePaint, Q, Rock Sound and more. Further details to be announced...

Watch the video for 'El Pastor' here

Accompanying the new single, Delta Sleep have also announced a US tour (dates below) to start this autumn. The quartet’s live show is a force to reckoned with. Intense, captivating and extremely tight, they win over their audience at every turn. This has led the band to tour across the UK, Europe, Japan and Mexico since their 2008 formation, whilst also repeatedly appearing at festivals such as ArcTanGent, Handmade Festival, Truck Festival and 2000 Trees.

Their full list of forthcoming tour dates is as follows:

June
9th - Arundo de Festival, Torello, Spain
16th - Portals Festival, London, UK

July
22nd - Truck Festival - Oxford, UK

August
16th - Arctangent, Bristol, UK
23rd - Chicago, Beat Kitchen, US
25th - Columbus, Big Room, US
26th - Pittsburgh, The Fun House, US
27th - State College, Pennsylvania, House Party, US
29th - New Jersey, Flemington DIY, US
30th - Philly, Johnny Brenda’s, US
31st - Boston, House Show, US

September
1st - New York,  Gold Sounds, US

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