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Glen Hansard new album out 12 April 2019

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Album release: 'This Wild Willing' by Glen Hansard
Release date: 12 April 2019
Label: ANTI- Records
More info: Artist website

“This collection of songs is mainly made up of those that came through while improvising and following the melodic lines and threads. Sometimes when you take a small musical fragment and you care for it, follow it and build it up slowly, it can become a thing of wonder.” – Glen Hansard, 2019

Those who have followed Glen Hansard’s career since his Academy Award winning turn in the film 'Once' will have witnessed one artistic arc: the journey of a Dublin busker who cut his teeth on the greats - Dylan, Van Morrison, Leonard Cohen – and followed the path of the troubadour to great effect. But there is another thread running through Hansard’s musicianship; in his decades as lead singer of Irish stalwarts The Frames, rock and folk ambitions coexisted with moments of strangeness, intimacy, and stillness.

Today, Hansard announces 'This Wild Willing', his fourth full-length album and a collection of songs that follows this second path, where he marries the sonic inventiveness of the best of his work in The Frames with the discipline he’s found as a songwriter and lyricist in his solo career.

Lead track 'I’ll Be You, Be Me' finds Hansard weighing the risks of such vulnerability, his restrained vocal masking the fury of the underlying instrumental’s building storm, and to which Hansard advises “on first listen, please turn it up loud in your head phones!”

Listen to lead single 'I'll Be You, Be Me' here.

“I’ll be you, be me and I’ll be you/I’ll take your truth, your lies, your secrets,” he sings, negotiating the consuming potential of desire. There is danger here, but it is without rancor or ill-will – the danger of a hare with its belly exposed. There is also a duality in the invitation: the audience is drawn in just as surely as the song’s object to the immersive world conjured by the album.

'This Wild Willing' was conceived in Paris and recorded at the French Black Box studios with producer David Odlum and a core group of musicians that includes classically-trained Iranian musicians the Khoshravesh brothers, long-time Hansard associates Joe Doyle (bass) and ROMY (piano, vocals, string arrangements), and Dublin electronic musicians Deasy and Dunk Murphy (Sunken Foal). The album is grounded in a spirit of openness to invention and experimentation.

Pre-order ‘This Wild Wiling’ here.

EU tour begins this March. Full list of tour dates and tickets here.

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Mandolin Orange new album out 1 February 2019

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Album release: 'Tides Of A Teardrop' by Mandolin Orange
Release date: 1 February 2019
Label: Yep Roc Records
More info: Band website

Today, Mandolin Orange release 'The Wolves,' the third single taken from their new album 'Tides Of A Teardrop' out February 1st on Yep Roc Records. Watch video for ‘Wolves’ here.

Pre-order the album here.

The band has also announced that later this year they will be performing live at the Islington Assembly Hall on 15 May — a sign of things to come for the “slow-burning, steadily rising duo [that] exudes gentle elegance” (NPR Music). This further extends their largest headlining tour to date, with over 55 shows hitting the US first and then on across Europe.

Find tickets here.

Mandolin Orange are coming off an incredible 2018 that saw them sell out every single one of their headlining US performances, make new inroads in Europe, and rack up almost 50 million streams from over 5 million fans on Spotify. The North Carolina duo’s new studio album, 'Tides Of A Teardrop', has received early praise from NPR, Paste, The i Paper, and Rolling Stone Country.

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LAGS new album out 29 March 2019

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Album release: 'SOON' by LAGS
Release date: 29 March 2019
Label: Casu Marzu Records (UK/US)
More info: Band website

Today, Italian post-hardcore band LAGS have announced their return with their new single 'Knives and Wounds'. The track was premiered via Consequence of Sound, who called it "an anthemic track with a sound reminiscent of bands like Hot Water Music, BoySetsFire, and Sparta, as singer Antonio Canestri delivers the lyrics with a powerful rasp."

Hear/share new single 'Knives and Wounds' here.

Speaking about the 'Knives and Wounds', frontman Antonio Canestri says, "‘Knives and wounds’ is the opening track of our new album and is the first song we wrote for the new album. It’s a song written in collaboration with our former singer (Luca de Santis aka SUVARI) and addresses two very important themes in the record: a disease and the search for a cure; the difficulty of being sabotaged by our own body, the failure in breaking down the "walls" in our mind, that most of the time we build as a form of self-defense from others and also from ourselves. The video is based on the concepts expressed in the lyrics and it was written by the director Stefano Pedretti: “I am my own fears, that’s what I’ve become.”"

The new track is taken from their forthcoming sophomore album 'SOON', which is due out 29th March 2019 via the newly-formed UK/US Casu Marzu Records, as well as the lauded Italian label's To Lose La Track (Crash of Rhinos, Delta Sleep, Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger!, DAGS etc.) and Fuzzy Cluster Records.

The new album is available to pre-order here.

More than three years have passed since Rome’s post-hardcore quartet LAGS released their debut album ‘Pilot’; a cult favourite across the Italian scene, but a well-kept secret to most. Since releasing their debut on Italian label To Lose La Track (home to likes of: Crash Of Rhinos, Delta Sleep, Tiger! Shit! Tiger! Tiger!), LAGS have played over 80 shows throughout the peninsula with the likes of Beach Slang, Delta Sleep, Screeching Weasel and Raein, as well as performing at a number of national and international festivals, winning over new fans with each set. Now, March 2019 will finally see the release of their highly anticipated follow up album ‘SOON’.

Punchier and more proactive, the new album distils the sound of 2015’s ‘Pilot’ LP, coupled with a production that is consciously raw and provocative. ‘SOON’ is the sound of LAGS at their intoxicating best, mirroring the restless energy of their live shows alongside moments of measured temperance that balances the whole thing on a razors-edge.

Architects of intense contrast the band’s powerful instrumentation regularly flirts with the fragility and weight of the emotionally driven lyrics, flitting between huge anthem-to-be, shout along vocals, intricate guitars and decisive drum work. From the immediate and incendiary opener ‘Knives and Wounds’, to the hook heavy vocals of ‘Echoes’, right through to the emotive and climactic LP closer ‘I Still Remember’, the new record places its focus squarely on power, melody and understated complexity. With a nod towards classic Dischord, 90s post-hardcore and anthemic 00s indie-punk, whilst calling to mind the likes of ‘After The Eulogy’-era BoySetsFire, At The Drive-In, DeSoto, METZ and Self Defense Family, it's safe to say that long-time fans, and fans anew, will not be disappointed.

Thematically, the new album is about arrivals and departures, losses and conquests, and illnesses and healings. Full of deeply honest lyrics ‘SOON’ is a cathartic and self-realising record with moments of surprising uplift. Speaking about the record, frontman Antonio Canestri says, “Soon is a word inextricably linked to the present. It suggests immediacy, but also anticipation and uncertainty about arriving safe and sound to some place that can be either extremely beautiful or extremely painful.”

Incredibly sentimental and sonically accomplished, the new album sees LAGS hone familiar expressions from their debut into refined, darker aesthetics that give their direct sound renewed vigour. ‘SOON’ is a brazen statement of intent and a chance to prove their true prowess having spent the last few years writing and touring. LAGS are climbing steadly, gunning for soft spots and proving that they should be anything but a well-kept secret.

‘SOON’ will be released on ltd. edition cassette as well as vinyl, CD and across all digital platforms. Following the album’s release, the band will head back out on the road playing dates across Italy as well as heading overseas to play their first UK dates.

“Post-hardcore gets a fresh breath of life” – Stereogum

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Nick Waterhouse new album out 8 March 2019

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Album release: Nick Waterhouse
Release date: 8 March 2019
Label: Innovative Leisure
More info: Artist website

Los Angeles-based musician Nick Waterhouse has announced his new self-titled album set for March 8th release via Innovative Leisure. Following 2016’s 'Never Twice' which was hailed by Vogue as “the second coming of soul” and earned Nick a performance on 'Later' with Jools Holland, the new album was recorded at LA’s legendary Electro-Vox Recorders, and co-produced with Paul Butler (Michael Kiwanuka, St. Paul and the Broken Bones), with backing from a heavy bevy of friends and session players including Bart Davenport, percussionist Andres Renteria (Flying Lotus, Father John Misty), flutist Ricky Washington (Kamasi’s dad), and saxophonists Paula Henderson (Gogol Bordello) and Mando Dorame (JD McPherson).

The scorched earth first single 'Song For Winners' is out today via Consequence of Sound. Drawing inspiration from British poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and Nina Simone, the knockout track combines a feral R&B howl with elegant touches of club jazz with 60's soul.

Mary Anne Hobbs had the first play of the track on her new morning show on BBC 6 Music as her 'Near Future' feature, explaining how she’s “always loved the way he creates this atmosphere of swirling noir.”

Nick will head out on a run of European and UK headlining live dates in support of his upcoming album. See below for a full list of dates.

Listen/share: 'Song For Winners'

Pre-save album on Apple / Spotify

2019 UK + European Live Dates:

March 18th - Manchester, UK - Gorilla

March 21st - London, UK - 229 The Venue

March 23rd - Brussels, BE - Botanique-Orangerie

March 24th - Paris, FR - Petit Bain

March 26th - Hamburg, DE - Mojo Club

March 27th - Berlin, DE - Columbia Theatre

March 28th - Amsterdam, NL - Het Zonnehuis

March 30th - Athens, GR - Fuzz Live Music Club

March 31st - Thessaloniki, GR - Fix Factory of Sound

The 11-song collection features ten new Waterhouse originals, plus a deep cover of 'I Feel An Urge Coming On,' originally written by Nick’s friend and mentor Joshie Jo Armstead, who has previously written with Ray Charles and performed as both a Raelette and an Ikette in the 1960s and 70s.

There’s a reason why Nick chose to name this, his fourth album, his self-titled release. While he has always had a “style is all his own” according to NPR, this album is a deeper reflection of the cultural and emotional firmament that has made Nick the artist he is today: his passions and influences; his love and outrage. The music of Irma Thomas and Chico Hamilton; the films of Robert Siodmak and Adam Curtis. The good old bad days in San Francisco, Detroit, and Los Angeles. It’s an intoxicating world, and this album invites you to get lost in it.

Since releasing his debut single in 2010, Nick Waterhouse has toured the world (most recently on an extensive run with Allen Stone), and collaborated with or produced everyone from upstarts like Ty Segall, Leon Bridges and Jon Batiste, to septuagenarian soul legend Ural Thomas, and Latin stars the Boogaloo Assassins.

Selected previous praise for Nick Waterhouse

“Think music ain't what it used to be? Then you haven't heard Nick Waterhouse.” – GQ

“...unashamedly retro, but fizzes with an energy that retools classic R’n’B as a vibrantly post-modern American folk-art...nigh-on irresistible” – Uncut

“...balances a nostalgic timelessness with modern, urgent emotions” – Q Magazine

“...the kind of analogue obsession that suggests even the valves of his heart glow” – The Independent

“It's sexy, it's smart, and it's definitely worth another round in a bar east of Koreatown in the middle of a dark and stormy night.” – Esquire

"(I've) always loved the way he creates this atmosphere of swirling noir." - Mary Anne Hobbs (BBC 6 Music)

"...sounds like the passionate conglomeration of influences from an outraged man." - Consequence of Sound

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Mozes and the Firstborn new album out 25 January 2019

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Album release: 'Dadcore' by Mozes and the Firstborn
Release date: 25 January 2019
Label: Burger Records
More info: Band website

Following the worldwide release of their third full-length album 'Dadcore' on Jan 25th via Burger Records, Mozes and the Firstborn will bring their potent mix of grunge and powerpop to the UK for an exclusive show at Shacklewell Arms, London on March the 12th. Full dates for their newly announced EU tour can be found below, Mozes and The Firstborn’s European Tour kicks off after their US dates with "Madrid's finest" The Parrots in February 2019.

Mozes and the Firstborn European tour dates and tickets

California's Burger Records were the first to jump onto the addictive, raw energy of Mozes and the Firstborn, releasing their debut album in 2014. Since then the band have had praise from the likes of Pitchfork, NPR Music, Noisey, released various singles on Universal B.V. and played countless SXSW shows, winning fans across the world.

Listen to latest singles 'Hello' and 'If I'.

Pre-order the new album here.

Ask an average 15 year old kid nowadays what rock music means to him and they'll probably say: "That's something my dad listens to". With 'Dadcore', Mozes and the Firstborn embrace this sentiment by exploring their favorite styles within the paternal genre. The band present the record as a mix-tape, a colourful collection of eclectic songs that they've hand chosen and want you to fall in love with and pick out your favourites, like any other mix-tape. The production of each song was approached differently to highlight the wide influences on the album. Melle Dieleson explains the love behind their music:

"Dadcore is a love letter to rock music. It's an ode to being in a band. After eight years we still sometimes play shows where only twelve people show up, there's no backstage and the fee is a case of beer and a place to crash. Nonetheless, there's four people up on that stage rocking out as hard as they can. That's Dadcore to me."

Dadcore was produced by drummer Raven Aartsen with Chris Coady (Beach House, Yuck, together PANGEA) on board as co-producer. On this third record the band has worked with different mixing engineers including Chris Coady, Rob Barbato (Kevin Morby, The Babies, The Fall), Roland Cosio (together PANGEA, Fuzz, Peach Kelli Pop) and Andrew Schubert & Eric Carlson (together PANGEA, Mean Jeans, Wand).

"...like something that might waft out of a California garage in the 1960s...sunny, crunchy, extremely catchy." - NPR Music

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Wet Dreams debut album out 29 March 2019

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Album release: Wet Dreams
Release date: 29 March 2019
Label: Black Pop Records
More info: Band website

Norway's newest power-punks Wet Dreams have revealed a brand new single today called 'Bad Boy' and announced their debut self-titled album which will be released on March 29th via Black Pop Records.

Songwriter Sebastian Ulstad Olsen of Wet Dreams said that the video was: "...filmed in the deep forests of our beloved Østfold, Norway, this is the site for a secret festival happening every year. If you know, you know…"

Watch Wet Dreams 'Bad Boy' video on YouTube.

Wet Dreams were consummated in an Oslo basement, when Death By Unga Bunga frontman Sebastian Ulstad Olsen had conceived a few bastard songs he did not know what to do with. The songs grew into a fast and scruffy EP, released in the summer of 2017 – and now the self-titled debut album is finally here.

Wet Dreams is a punk rock/garage group from Oslo consisting of members from FOAMMM, Warp Riders, De Marvells as well as the aforementioned Death By Unga Bunga. They played one of their first ever concerts at Norway’s biggest festival, Øya in 2017, which lead to them being highlighted by NME as one of the best discoveries from the event where they described them as being for fans of "The Ramones to The Vaccines" and said their set was like "Motorhead covering The Hives”. In 2018 they have played festivals in Finland, Sweden, Denmark and Norway. Following the album release in March 2019 the band will tour Norway, Europe and the US.

Wet Dreams recorded the album by themselves, while Øystein Braut (Electric Eye, Dig Deeper, Soft Ride, Low Frequency in Stereo) aced the mixing, birthing an album of gritty, aggressive and ultra-catchy punk rock n roll.

Songwriter Sebastian Ulstad Olsen had this to say on the sound of the band:

"Even if the song structures aren’t miles away from the stuff I write in Death By Unga Bunga, I’ve been longing to challenge the recording and production process. I love music that bends the rules, so Wet Dreams is a great laboratory for this purpose."

The record is about the idea of being – or trying to be – “larger than life” to conceal one’s own insecurities. The collection on the surface may appear a classic testosterone-fueled out-pour, but the lyrics combat this with belief that ultimately we’re all just humans with the same fundamental needs and desires.

The Wet Dream-song 'I Can Fly' will be featured in an upcoming episode of the US TV show 'War Games' - an interactive up-to-date take on the 1983 classic Matthew Broderick-starring film.

“Imagine Motorhead covering The Hives. Add beer, punk, and stir. Doesn’t that sound fun?” – NME (2017)

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Cleaning Women new album out 15 February 2019

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Album release: 'Intersubjectivity' by Cleaning Women
Release date: 15 Februrary 2019
Label: Svart
More info: Band website

The cleaning robots return with their first album in ten years. Cleaning Women, with their DIY instruments, release a new album on Svart Records on February 15th. Titled ‘Intersubjectivity’, the album has been mixed by Einstürzende Neubauten’s Alexander Hacke, which has resulted in the band’s curiously original approach to music sounding more organic than ever.

Watch / share new video for the single 'We Work It Out'.

“We wanted the album to sound like how we sound live on stage, at least to our ears. We wanted to carry our junk instruments to the finest studio we can find so that we could bring out the smallest nuances of the sound our instruments produce. We recorded the album in the brand new E-Studio in Sipoo, Finland, with as few overdubs as possible. Alexander Hacke, who has three decades of experience with the clang and rattle of junk metal, managed to dig up the essential elements in our music. Studio sessions took a mere five days, as did mixing, so everything happened quite intuitively with little polish to things. That’s why we feel the result sounds intergalactically fresh”, comments the band.

Alexander Hacke thinks that “Working with the Cleaning Women was a wonderful experience all around. This Finnish trio is a unique outfit with an innovative agenda, inventing and building their own instruments, while delivering solid, danceable and very entertaining music. They are fearless, cranky with a great sense of humour"

After the previous album ‘U’ the band have spent their time with a number of multidisciplinary projects, including music for documentaries and movies and live soundtracks to silent movies, and also played over 500 shows in over 20 countries. The band also took part in, among others, the Parallax art exhibition in Mexico City, which showcased Finnish modern art.

Cleaning Women's DIY instruments

  • Thunder Plate

  • Electric Coffee Bean Can Bouzouki

  • Customised Laundry Rack

  • Metal Box

  • Percussion Set: Plastic Bucket Kick Drum, Metal Boxkick Snare, Movie Reel Box Snare, Metal Cans and Pots, Washing Machine Drive Snares

  • 3-String Sub Bass

  • Melodic Kling Klang

  • 3-String Closet Hanger Rod Bass

  • Wooden Box

  • 4-String Enamel Wash Tub Bass

  • Electric Hammered Dulcimer Bass Rack with Melodic Metal Rods

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Guided By Voices new album out 1 February 2019

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Album release: ‘Zeppelin Over China’ by Guided By Voices
Release date: 1 February 2019
Label: Rockathon
More info: Band website

We are extremely excited to announce that Guided By Voices will be appearing at Primavera Sound Festival 2019 in Barcelona (May 30) and Porto (June 7).

This will be the legendary band's first return to Spain since 1997 and their first time ever in Portugal. GBV has played just one show in Europe (2011) in the past 15 years.

In celebration of the news, the band are sneaking out a preview song, titled ‘My Future In Barcelona’, from GBV's forthcoming epic double album, ‘Zeppelin Over China’ (in stores on February 1st). Pre-order the album here. Listen to ‘My Future In Barcelona’ here.

‘Zeppelin Over China’ is a major and majestic work in the GBV canon, spotlighting the scope and genius of Pollard's songwriting. With 32 songs in 75 minutes, the massive Zeppelin reaches lofty heights on its musical journey. Pollard continues to deliver endless invention and emotional wallop in 2 and 3-minute guitar rock gems.

Pollard has assembled his greatest supporting cast ever -- Doug Gillard (guitar), Kevin March (drums), Mark Shue (bass), Bobby Bare Jr. (guitar) and Travis Harrison (engineer) -- and this line-up's virtuosic talents spur him to his most ambitious work yet, a grand album of emotional resonance and narrative drama.

After well-deserved acclaim for the mind-boggling milestone of Pollard's 100 career albums, ‘Zeppelin Over China’ is a wonderful entry point for new listeners to experience Guided By Voices for the first time. Not resting on his laurels, Pollard’s tireless tenacity pays off with spectacular results.

If one song is not enough, the band also release their ‘Wine Cork Stonehenge’ EP on 7" and you can hear the effortless pop smarts of ‘My Angel’ from that record here.

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Maxïmo Park new album out 22 February 2019

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Album release: ‘As Long As We Keep Moving’ by Maxïmo Park
Release date: 22 February 2019
More info: Band website

Over three million album sales and multiple Top 10 records into their career, Maxïmo Park are today announcing that their live album ‘As Long As We Keep Moving’ will be released on Feb 22nd, featuring hits spanning their six albums to date. ‘Get High (No, I Don’t)’ and ‘What Equals Love?’ appear from latest album ‘Risk To Exist’, as does Top 20 single ‘Books From Boxes’, and the beloved ‘Going Missing’ B-Side ‘A19’.

Much-loved on record, the band are famed for reaching new levels of dynamism, energy and excitement in a live environment. Many fan-favourites are given such life in this new release. Mixed by Adrian Bushby, he captures the band at the peak of their powers, showcasing what has made them such a popular live act over the last 14 years. Accompanying the live performance on CD is its counterpart on DVD; a beautifully filmed, engaging and intimate set from the band, that really highlights the live strengths they have.

Lead singer Paul Smith comments; "It's been over a decade since our only live DVD, ‘Found On Film’. We thought we would make an audio-visual document of our band in its current incarnation, especially because we feel like we are at our most dynamic in a live setting.”

Pre-order it HERE (includes ‘I Want You To Stay’ as an instant-grat) and watch the live video HERE.

To coincide the release the band have also confirmed their first live outing for 2019, at Leeds Beckett University on Jan 10th. Tickets go on sale Friday 30th November at 9:00am, and will be available HERE.

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Me and My Friends album out 6 December 2018

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Album release: 'Look Up' by Me and My Friends
Release date: 6 December 2018
Label: Split Shift Record
More info: Band website

Me and My Friends have released their new single, 'You Read My Mind', as they gear up for their new album release next month.

The track premiered at Folk Radio who admired the"...beautiful plucked cello and Latin-inspired strings". Read the full piece here.

  • Listen to 'You Read My Mind' via YouTube

Sparkling guitar lines, an addictive vocal hook and a bouncy, syncopated groove, 'You Read My Mind' is a playful tribute to vintage Ghanaian highlife greats such as Pat Thomas, Ebo Taylor and K. Frimpong. At the centre of the track is a gorgeous plucked cello solo, which slowly builds into a euphoric crescendo, as the band create a version of the highlife style which is wholly their own.

The band have been touring the UK throughout the autumn, upcoming dates include a newly announced show on Thursday 6th December at Rich Mix in London.

Nick Rasle, songwriter in Me and My Friends, told Folk Radio UK:

'We had been toying with using plucked cello as a lead line for a while, as we felt it's such an underused texture - more melodic than the double bass, and more meaty than the violin or viola. As we played the groove, more and more ideas kept coming to Emma, so we decided to make it the focus for the track, and place it centre-stage'.

The track is an exploration of rhythmic and melodic ideas over a modal theme, an approach inspired by early 70s music from Ghana and Nigeria.

'You Read My Mind' is a typical example of the Me and My Friends sound: unashamedly drawing from a specific genre, yet remaining unplaceable in time and space; a dance track filled with gentle, lilting melodies and supremely uplifting vocal harmonies; a catchy single in opposition to the tradition of pop songwriting.

Me and My Friends play soulful, poignant, and gloriously danceable music, subtly referencing many styles, including vintage Ghanaian highlife, Jamaican roots and Afro-Brazilian folk. The UK-based quintet create a timeless sound with a global outlook, performed with an infectious energy, and the result is instantly recognisable, highly original and truly genre-defying.

On their new album ‘Look Up’, coming December 6th via Split Shift, the elegant voice and West African finger-picking guitar style of songwriter Nick Rasle is cradled by stunning vocal harmonies and the evocative combination of cello and clarinet, all underpinned by a rhythm section with a deep sense of groove. ‘Look Up’ draws heavily on early 70s acoustic soul, as well as the modal ‘Ethiopiques’ of Mulatu Astatke and the minimalism of the Penguin Café Orchestra.

Built on deceptively simple, yet richly satisfying grooves, the songs explore timeless themes of friendship (‘Another Lifetime’), commitment (‘Promise Me This Much’) and nostalgia (‘High As The Sun’). Having worked in a volunteer kitchen on the Greek island of Lesbos at the height of the refugee crisis in 2016, Nick Rasle recounts a tale he heard over and over on the haunting roots reggae track 'Good Life'. Drawing on the determination of the people he encountered to feel hope, to look forward and to be acknowledged, the song is a call for empathy and understanding in our increasingly intolerant society.

From the title track ‘Look Up’ with its energetic afro-beat, addictive melody, and jazzy breakdown, to the atmospheric ‘All Of This I Know’ that has clear influences from avant-garde British folk, the album takes the listener on a journey through many genres and cultures.

Me and My Friends released their critically acclaimed second album ‘Hide Your Way’ on Soundway Records in 2016. After support from the likes of Songlines, BBC Radio 2, BBC Radio 4 and BBC 6 Music in the UK, the group also had recognition from nu-jazz DJ, Will Holland, as the album headed up Quantic’s ‘favourites of the year’ mix.

On ‘Look Up’, Me and My Friends have refined their signature sound into one that travels through many styles and influences and yet remains with you in a wholly unique way.

  • "This is enough to brighten up any day...features beautiful plucked cello and Latin-inspired strings" - Folk Radio UK

  • “Unusual instrumental forces create a sublime fusion that combines pastoral dreaminess with the heat of reggae, highlife and Afrobeat sounds” - Songlines Magazine

  • “A life-affirming sound” - Loose Ends, BBC Radio 4

  • “They’ve got joy written through them” - Alex Lester, BBC Radio 2

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Marvel collector's editions albums out 7 December 2018

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Album release: Universal and Marvel Comics collector's edition hip-hop vinyl reissues
Release date: 7 December 2018
Label: UMe
More info: Urban Legends website

  • Featuring GZA, LL Cool J and 50 Cent.

Deluxe collector’s editions (limited to 3000 copies) include double colour vinyl with 3D lenticular print of Marvel’s variant cover artwork, along with a copy of the limited-edition corresponding Marvel comic book that ties in with the artwork.

Urban Legends, the urban catalogue platform of Universal Music Enterprises (UMe), and Marvel Comics are collaborating to bring together the mighty, epic worlds of comics and hip-hop with an ongoing exclusive album series that will feature variant covers for select collector’s editions of some of the record label’s most legendary hip-hop releases. The first releases in this joint series, out December 7, are Iron Man standing behind cracked glass for 50 Cent’s incendiary 2003 debut, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’; the Punisher replicating LL Cool J’s famous stance on the cover of his 1990 album Mama Said Knock You Out; and Iron Man duelling Maestro, mirroring the cover of GZA’s second studio album, Liquid Swords.

Marvel Comics originally debuted these album art-inspired images as comic book variants for many of their top comic titles in 2015, reinterpreted by a number of fan-favourite comic book artists. Now Marvel’s highly successful variant comic book cover series will be combined with UMe’s vast catalogue that includes the most revered and influential albums in hip-hop history.

In making this announcement, Bruce Resnikoff, President/CEO, UMe, said, “Marvel comics have always occupied a special place in the hearts of hip-hop fans – both media continue to serve as source of expression, escapism and inspiration for generations of super fans around the world.”

Andre Torres, Vice-President, Urban Catalogue and Head of Urban Legends, adds: “There is an undeniable heroism that consistently runs through the veins of both art forms and I’m excited to help weave these iconic narratives together in a way that celebrates their art and introduces new fans to their genius.”

Daniel Fink, Executive Director, Business Development at Marvel, said, “Marvel’s hip-hop variant covers celebrated the music industry in a whole new way, combining the creativity of original album art and the Marvel Universe to create one-of-a-kind pieces of art. We’re excited to collaborate with UMe to bring these variants back for fans of these iconic albums.”

Each album release will boast a pair of collectable options, the first one being a double colour vinyl Variant Cover Collector’s Edition that replaces the album’s original image with Marvel’s variant hip-hop cover art.

Second, a Deluxe Variant Cover Collector’s Edition will sport the featured album itself housed in a gate-fold LP with the variant cover printed directly on the front. The deluxe collector’s edition will include double colour vinyl, along with a copy of the limited-edition corresponding Marvel comic book that ties in with the artwork. The deluxe version will also include a 3D lenticular print of Marvel’s variant cover artwork. Each initial Collector’s Edition will be capped at 3,000 units.

UMe plans to release hip-hop variant albums each quarter, distributing them to traditional record stores and retail channels, as well as directly to consumers. The initial limited-edition runs will be capped at 5,000 units each.

Pre-order the first three titles:

  • 50 Cent Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ here

  • LL Cool J Mama Said Knock You Out here

  • GZA Liquid Swords here

Released in 2003 by Shady/Aftermath/Interscope, 50 Cent’s debut, Get Rich Or Die Tryin’, was the year’s bestselling album worldwide. It stormed to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 albums chart with more than 872,000 copies sold during its first week of release. Featuring the acclaimed No. 1 Billboard Hot 100 singles "In da Club" and "21 Questions,” and the Top 5 "P.I.M.P.," the album is six-times platinum-certified by the RIAA. The exclusive hip-hop variant cover inspired by this album was originally drawn and coloured by Brian Stelfreeze for Invincible Iron Man #1 in 2015.

LL Cool J’s fourth studio album, Mama Said Knock You Out, drew praise from critics worldwide, lauding the album’s hard-hitting, soulful jams. Released in 1990 by Def Jam, the multi-platinum album’s chart-topping and GRAMMY®-winning title track is an iconic hip-hop staple. The exclusive hip-hop variant cover inspired by this album was originally drawn and coloured by Tim Bradstreet for Punisher #1 in 2016.

Released in 1995 by Geffen, GZA’s second solo studio album, Liquid Swords, peaked at No. 2 on Billboard’s Top R&B/Hip-Hop Albums chart and at No. 9 on the Billboard 200 albums chart. The platinum-certified album is critically acclaimed, recognised as one of the best hip-hop albums of all time and as a particularly strong solo release by a member of the Wu-Tang Clan. The exclusive hip-hop variant cover inspired by this album was originally drawn by Denys Cowan and Bill Sienkiewicz and coloured by Chris Sotomayor for Contest of Champions #1 in 2015.

About Urban Legends/Universal Music Enterprises (UMe)

Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) is the centralised U.S. catalogue and special markets entity for UMG. Working in concert with all the company’s record labels, UMe provides a front-line approach to catalogue management, a concentration of resources, opportunities in new technologies, and an emphasis on strategic marketing initiatives to engage all types of consumers across multiple entry points and platforms.

Urban Legends is a multi-platform website that honours the past 30 years of Universal Music Group's (UMG) urban catalogue. The label imprint and platform, which came to fruition in late 2017, celebrates the artists and music at the heart and soul of hip-hop, with commentary by noted music writers and the artists themselves.

Nobody forgets the album that changed their life—that one song that defined the moment. Urban Legends remembers and re-imagines what it means to be a fan, helping music lovers fall in love with their favourites all over again. We celebrate our icons, our culture, our style, our legacy, our music—and why it matters.

About Marvel Comics

Marvel, a wholly-owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is one of the world's most prominent character-based entertainment companies, built on a proven library of more than 8,000 characters featured in a variety of media over seventy-five years. Marvel utilises its character franchises in entertainment, licensing and publishing. For more information visit here.

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Press Club debut album out 25 January 2019

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Album release: Press Club
Release date: 25 January 2019
Label: Hassle Records
More info: Band website

  • Watch the video for first single ‘Headwreck’ here

  • First UK tour dates set to be announced for Spring 2019

With Press Club having already risen way out of Australia’s underground punk scene, to become one of the country’s buzziest new bands, today they announce that they have signed to Hassle Records for the UK / EU release of their debut album Late Teens on Jan 25. Support from the influential Triple J radio station has come thick and fast for the band, with a number of singles gaining heavy rotation, and a coveted ‘Like A Version’ session slot generating over 150,000 views. Rolling Stone Australia and Beat Magazine have also touted the band as Ones To Watch, as the first pockets of UK media support have begun to emerge from Kerrang! magazine and the BBC Radio 1 Rock Show’s Dan P Carter.

Press Club are also sharing lead single and accompanying video for ‘Headwreck’; two and half minutes of frenetic, raw, self-assured and commanding punk, stacked with buzz-saw guitars and brimming with honesty. The track is about a place we’ve all been; in a relationship with someone that doesn’t treat you right, doesn’t respect you. It’s a call to arms to respect yourself, to demand more. The video was shot in a Collingwood warehouse, with the help of two friends, Nick Manuell and Will Maconachie, who have created a video that captures the band’s brash energy, and embodies how the song was recorded: live and in one take. It’s a glimpse at the kind of performances that have won them so many fans in support of the likes of Japandroids, Joyce Manor, Cloud Nothings, The Smith Street Band and Dream Wife on the road in their native Australia.

Press Club will also play their first ever live shows in the UK this coming Spring, with more details to be announced shortly. Bassist Iain MacRae comments; “Absolutely over the moon to be part of the Hassle posse! It's great to finally have someone we trust in our corner after being independent for so long. Let the Antipodean takeover of Europe commence!”

Late Teens is what happens when four Melbourne musicians come together to create a body of work entirely devoid of outside influence, being answerable to only themselves. Over six weeks, bassist Iain MacRae’s house was converted into a temporary song-writing sweatshop where the band wrote forty songs that were distilled into the dozen that make up the track list on Late Teens. Relying upon the experiences of their friends and people they know as subject matter, Late Teens thematically approaches displacement, relationships, internal turmoil, gentrification and inequality. Press Club is the musical embodiment of the attitude of a generation experiencing impermanence in every way.

Pre-order Late Teens on limited colour vinyl / CD / Digital here.

“A rootsy, passionate emo-punk gem… They’re another band with an incredible frontwoman, Nat Foster, whose voice imbues the songs with passion and yearning.” - Kerrang!

“One of our records of the year for sure – so great.” - Dan P Carter, BBC Radio 1

“There’s plenty of buzz surrounding Press Club, with firebrand frontwoman Natalie Foster proving she has one of the strongest set of pipes that we’ve heard in a while.” - Rolling Stone Aus

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Deer Tick new album out 1 February 2019

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Album release: ‘Mayonnaise’ by Deer Tick
Release date: 1 February 2019
Label: Partisan
More info: Band website

On Feb 1st Deer Tick will release a new compilation album entitled ‘Mayonnaise’ – a 13-song companion piece to last year's full-length albums 'Deer Tick Vol. 1' and 'Deer Tick Vol. 2.' Listen to two tracks from ‘Mayonnaise’ now - a cover of George Harrison’s ‘Run Of The Mill’ as well as brand new track ‘Hey! Yeah!’, which is accompanied by a Scorpion Dagger animated visualizer.

  • Check out ‘Hey! Yeah!’ here.

  • Listen to ‘Run Of The Mill’ here.

The band explains: “On ‘Mayonnaise,’ you’ll find alternate versions of songs from ‘Vol. 1’ & ‘Vol. 2’ that we feel have their own merit and wanted to share. We also decided to record some of the cover songs that ‘Vol. 1’ & ‘Vol. 2’ inspired us to play on our Twice Is Nice Tour. We had such a good time playing these covers live that it felt appropriate to document them here. And, lastly, if we are going into the studio, why not write a few new songs, record them, and give the fans something new to round everything out? So, here you go, this is ‘Mayonnaise.’”

'Deer Tick Vol. 1' and 'Deer Tick Vol. 2' were the band’s first new material since 2013’s ‘Negativity’ and were recorded at the legendary Ardent Studios in Memphis, TN. The albums earned raves everywhere from Vice Noisey, Consequence of Sound, Mojo, Uncut, Uproxx, as well as a performance on CBS This Morning. The band will be on tour in the UK / Ireland this November, with more dates to be announced soon.

Praise for 'Deer Tick Vol. 1' and 'Deer Tick Vol. 2’

"...with Vol. 1 and Vol. 2, McCauley solidifies his status as a modern-day barstool poet...throughout both albums, the band varies its rhythms and arrangements with surprising agility." – Pitchfork

“Vol.1 is raw, introspective and rootsy… Vol.2 is its noisy yang” – Mojo

“Vol 1 is reflective and rootsy… Vol 2 is high-class punk thrash” – Uncut

"...'Deer Tick Vol. 1' and 'Vol. 2' find the Rhode Island roots rockers back and better than ever...Deer Tick's most optimistic effort yet, a masterclass in newfound maturity not losing what made the band so likeable in the first place." – Noisey

"If the motive behind putting out two albums with contrasting volumes was intended as a demonstration of ambition and range, well, mission accomplished" - NPR Fresh Air

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Foxwarren debut album out 30 November 2018

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Album release: Foxwarren
Release date: 30 November 2018
Label: Anti-Records
More info: Band website

Growing up in scattered small towns across the Canadian prairies, Foxwarren is comprised of singer songwriter Andy Shauf (guitars/keys/vocals) and his childhood friends Dallas Bryson (guitar/vocals) and brothers Darryl Kissick (bass) and Avery Kissick (drums & percussion) who eventually found themselves in Regina, Saskatchewan. The initial sessions for their self-titled debut – coming out November 30th via ANTI- Records – began ten years ago in the Kissicks’ parents’ farmhouse while they were away on vacation. Upon their return, Foxwarren was forced to relocate and recording resumed back in Regina in a rented house where the members lived as roommates. The band's name comes from the Kissick brothers’ family home in Foxwarren, Manitoba.

Today the four-piece has released its first song 'Everything Apart'; the driving krautrock, drum machine backbone of the song evokes a ticking clock – a race against time. “Combined with Andy’s existential lyrics, the song’s propulsive feel reminded us of the noir-ish tension of classic spy thrillers like ‘The Conversation’, ‘Three Days of The Condor’, and ‘Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy’,” explained the video’s directors, the Ft. Langley Production Company. “With the band’s blessing, we set to work on creating our own micro cold-war thriller, paying homage to era tropes like zoom-heavy camerawork, trench coats, and analogue tech.”

Watch Foxwarren video ‘Everything Apart’ on YouTube

As college friends, Foxwarren initially bonded over Pedro the Lion and drew influence from The Band and Paul Simon. Now a decade into the project, Shauf reflects on their debut release: “So much time and effort went into making this album; it's something I think we're all really proud of. My touring and recording schedule got pretty wild over the past three or four years, so it put the Foxwarren album on the backburner. Making the album was such an enjoyable time - the collaboration and frustration of it all. All of us trying to make something better than we previously had. I'm excited to get it out into the world and have other people listen to it. We've been a band for 10 years or so and never properly released an album, so this is special for the four of us.”

"...recalls classic pop songwriters in the vein of Harry Nilsson or Randy Newman, coupled with the plainspoken timbre of a Paul Simon, albeit with a laconic Canadian drawl." - NPR Music

"...one of the single most promising voices to emerge from Canada in recent memory." - Flood Magazine

"...Shauf has always had a way of portraying characters and telling their stories in the most delicate and piercing ways." - The Line Of Best Fit

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JP Harris & The Tough Choices new album out now

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Album release: ‘Sometimes Dogs Bark At Nothing’ by JP Harris & The Tough Choices
Release date: Out now
Label: Free Dirt Records
More info: Artist website

  • UK Tour begins this Saturday in Scotland. Tickets here.

  • Featured: 10 New Country Acts You Need To Know In August 2018 - Rolling Stone

“...thoughtful, authentic music.” - Don Henley, The Eagles

“…has the rugged edges of outlaw, the danceability of honkytonk, and classic country’s beloved emotional candour - Harris has a timeless voice.” - Wide Open Country

After performing across Europe earlier this month, JP Harris is set to start his UK tour this Saturday November 10th with his full band, The Tough Choices, accompanying him. Including three dates in Scotland to kick things off, the critically acclaimed musician will also be stopping in Newcastle, Bristol, Oxford, Bedford, and headlining at the Omeara in London on November 16th.

With his latest album ‘Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing’ (released October 5th on Free Dirt Records), Harris is back after a four-year hiatus to remind folks what a lifetime dedicated to country music looks and sounds like. Sure to please fans of his hardscrabble earlier work, this new collection of songs finds the acclaimed songwriter and vocalist stretching himself both musically and personally.

In today’s musical culture, the word “authenticity” seems to have lost all meaning. What used to represent something bona fide and true is now just watered-down marketing speak, stamped onto press releases without a second thought. Born in Montgomery, Alabama in 1983, JP Harris doesn’t fancy himself a musician as much as he does a carpenter who writes country songs. However, his stranger-than-fiction story begins after the eighth grade, when he left home on a Greyhound bus in the middle of a summer night. And he’s never looked back.

For over a decade, Harris travelled the country, often alone, hitchhiking and hopping freight trains while making his living as a farm labourer, shepherd, woodsman, and carpenter, among many other titles. Still an in-demand carpenter to this day, Harris has been writing and performing country music for nearly ten years, releasing his debut album, ‘I’ll Keep Calling’, in 2012. He followed that release with ‘Home Is Where the Hurt Is’ in 2014, which only saw his star rise both among country fans and critics at major outlets like Rolling Stone. Even Eagles frontman Don Henley referenced Harris in a 2015 interview with Hey Reverb saying that Harris made “thoughtful, authentic music.”

Working with producer and Old Crow Medicine Show member, Morgan Jahnig, Harris tapped a handful of his favourite players, sent them acoustic demos, and gave some pretty unconventional instructions: “Take five days to think about these songs. Please write notes of whatever ideas come to mind. Please don’t talk to each other about it. Let’s all just get in the studio on day one and compare notes as we go.”

The resulting sessions featured a palpable spontaneity and creative energy, both of which manifest in an album that’s real, raw, and more akin to his live performance than anything Harris has put out thus far. “We took a counter-intuitive approach,” he says. “We had no pre-production. There were no rehearsals. We basically had a whole studio full of multi-instrumentalists, a six-piece band total, for the whole recording session. Everybody played at least two instruments. It was a really interesting way to do it and I think it helped us avoid anybody, including myself, overthinking the songs.”

Sometimes Dogs Bark at Nothing opens with ‘JP”s Florida Blues #1’, a hard driving country rock number that details some of Harris’ darker days touring Florida with his band, the Tough Choices. ‘Lady in the Spotlight’, an affecting song with layered strings, turns a critical eye to the stark gender imbalance and the seamy, predatory side of music industry.

Album highlight, ‘When I Quit Drinking’, is, as its title suggests, a tender look at one of Harris’ most personal struggles. ‘Gossamer’ strands of pedal steel complement the gentle quaver in his voice, underpinning some of his most personal lyrics to date.

After years of writing and playing, Harris is more in love with country music than ever before. He sums up his hopes for the album simply: “I’m just hoping that me coming to the table without gimmicks or cool-looking costumes or fancy vintage jeans—just the grubby guy I am with a sleeveless shirt and a pair of boots on—is enough to get people into the music.”

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The Steel Woods new album out 18 January 2019

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Album release: ‘Old News’ by The Steel Woods
Release date: 18 January 2019
Label: Thirty Tigers
More info: Band website

"Though there is not a shortage of Southern rock bands, few have the edge and darkness The Steel Woods bring to the table..." - Saving Country Music

‘Old News’, the new album from Nashville based southern-inspired rock band The Steel Woods is set for a January 18th release via Woods Music/Thirty Tigers. Centred around the soulful and commanding vocals of lead singer Wes Bayliss and the instrumental prowess of guitarist Jason (Rowdy) Cope, Old News makes a statement in the continuing evolution of The Steel Woods as a unit and the Bayliss/Cope combo as songwriters, something their 2017 debut ‘Straw In The Wind’ only scratched the surface of. Listen to the title track here.

Over the last two years The Steel Woods have built a loyal and passionate fan-base through their road warrior touring mentality and extraordinary live shows. Whether headlining or supporting artists such as Dwight Yoakam, Lynyrd Skynyrd, Jamey Johnson, Cody Jinks, Miranda Lambert, Blackberry Smoke and many more, The Steel Woods consistently convert audiences with each performance. Click here for a full schedule of The Steel Woods tour dates.

The themes reflected on Old News range from perseverance (‘Wherever You Are’, ‘All of These Years’), to unity (‘Blind Lover’) to hope and resilience in the stand out title track ‘Old News’. Their belief in finding common ground through shared life experiences and a musical connection was inspired by the conversations the band had with people they met on the road.

As with their acclaimed debut album, The Steel Woods again included a Black Sabbath cover (‘Changes’), but also felt the need to acknowledge some important artists we have recently lost. The four tribute tracks honour Tom Petty (‘Southern Accents’), Merle Haggard (‘Are The Good Times Really Over (I Wish A Buck Was Still Silver)’), their dear friend Wayne Mills (‘One Of These Days’) and Gregg Allman (‘Whipping Post’).

Old News was recorded at Echo Mountain Studio (Asheville, NC) and Blackbird Studio (Nashville, TN) and features band members, Wes Bayliss (guitar/vocals/keys/mandolin/harmonica), Jason Cope (guitars), Johnny Stanton (bass) and Jay Tooke (drums/percussion).

The Steel Woods are a band steeped in Southern culture with a modern approach and powerful intensity in live performance. Though their style is apologetically Southern Rock and Rock, just pull back the layers to find lyrics that feature passionate storytelling and messages that resonate.

Brand new album from The Steel Woods, ‘Old News’, available for pre-order here.

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Paul Smith new solo album out now

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Album release: Diagrams’ by Paul Smith
Release date: Out now
More info: Artist website

Today, Paul Smith releases his brand-new solo album ‘Diagrams’, a record that strips bare his work to this point and ploughs fresh songwriting pathways. Already riding a wave of positive reviews, the record will be BBC 6 Music’s Album of The Day on October 29. ‘Diagrams’ sees the Maxïmo Park frontman continues to sharpen his skills via a keenness to step out of his comfort-zone, and an ever-present desire to digest culture in all its forms. Most recently he found himself performing alongside folk star Rachel Unthank for Lauren Laverne’s Great Northern Soundtrack, and he is currently a host for publisher Penguin’s podcast alongside David Baddiel and Konnie Huq, discussing the latest book releases.

Smith gives songs from the album their first live airing at a sold-out launch show at The Waiting Room in Stockton on Oct 28th, before taking the show on the road with a full band through November. Full details can be found here.

With each Paul Smith release we expect an evolvement, and on Diagrams he remains committed towards expanding the parameters of his songwriting. From the anthemia of his debut solo outing ‘Margins’ (2010) to the exploratory minimalistic jazz of his Peter Brewis (Field Music) collaborative album ‘Frozen By Sight’ (2014) and the spirited, guitar pop record that was ‘Contradictions’ (2015), Diagrams sets its stall out as a vivid and complex album that binds the obscure and the everyday, searching for romance under stones that not many songwriters would think to turn over.

As a body of work, it seeks to unite the strengths that Smith has in his canon, drawing on his ability to both write from experience, yet also conjure new stories of unknown protagonists. Sidestepping (but not wholly ignoring) the more autobiographical work that played out through previous releases, ‘Diagrams’ instead sees Smith further explore his nous for telling these short stories. Alongside co-producer Andrew Hodson, of 6 Music favourites, Warm Digits, he charts a course into the yearning, melancholic jangle-pop of The Go-Betweens, finding himself drawn to the literate, grunge-pop of The Lemonheads, to build a cohesive collection that pulls in his many strengths.

“I try to absorb information and filter parts that interest me into the songs, while retaining my own, singular voice. I still believe in the power of a pop song to alter someone’s day, and although this record was mostly made in a bedroom, I felt the songs would have a universal appeal.” – Paul Smith

With his ability to unravel the day-to-day and transform the commonplace into an eloquent turn of phrase, the thread that holds ‘Diagrams’ in place is Smith’s honesty and empathy. It’s these matters-of-the-heart elements that push and pull at the listener’s emotions. Resultingly, it’s a collection that feels incredibly relatable.

Album opener ‘The Public Eye’ sets the tone with a dark undercurrent and was written in the aftermath of the ‘Hostile Environment’ policy adopted by the British Home Office. Taking aim at our climate of suspicion, it shines a light on how vulnerable groups are attacked without factual foundation (‘Convictions without proof’). ‘Around and Around’ similarly details the futile merry-go-round of the news cycle, before ‘Silver Rabbit’ conjures a story of self-doubt, set against the low-budget romance of the seaside, and channelled through overdriven guitars. ‘Lake Burley Griffin’ - inspired by the story of Walter Burley Griffin, an American who designed Canberra alongside his wife Marion Mahony Griffin – is the album’s discordant left-hand turn, taking in the post-rock influence of Slint or Tortoise. A love story featuring prominent clarinet, it showcases – along with the saxophone in ‘The Public Eye’ – Smith’s addition of woodwind instruments to his musical palette. Elsewhere on ‘John’ he imagines a life that can never be known, inspired by a name scrawled on the back of a toilet door, extrapolating the sentiment and following it into a world where the story unfolds from schooldays to falling in love. It’s in these instances that Smith’s talent is subtly exemplified. He envisages unknowable situations and turns them on their head to evoke truly universal emotions of hope and regret (“what if the first chance, is the last chance?”).

Through ‘The Beauty Contes’t and ‘Critical Mass’ – the former featuring folk royalty, Marry Waterson, the latter inspired by JG Ballard and Cormac McCarthy's 'The Road' - Smith again shows us he can veer into and out of songs inspired by reality. ‘The Beauty Contest’ plots a late-night train journey, and ‘Critical Mass’ plumbs bleak and apocalyptic depths, albeit alongside a black sense of humour.

‘Diagrams’ is a collection that further cements Smith’s reputation as a revered songwriter and lyricist, whose skills continue to find new avenues through which to develop. Listen to ‘Diagrams’ here.

PRAISE FOR DIAGRAMS

"Always an artist doing interesting, exciting and unexpected things." - Lauren Laverne, BBC 6 Music

"A wealth of strong songs… Shapeshifting between bright guitar pop and darker, introspective tales" - Mojo

"Around and Around and John pleasingly recall the breezy stylings of early Real Estate or Best Coast" - DIY

"His way with words is as a poet, and mastery of the English tongue shines throughout" - Dork

"Around and Around offers fine poetic storytelling" - The i Paper

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Josephine Davies' Satori new album out 9 November 2019

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Album release: 'In The Corners Of Clouds' by Josephine Davies' Satori
Release date: 9 November 2019
Label: Whirlwind Recordings
More info: Artist website

  • View the new single 'Wabi-Sabi' premiere with JAZZIZ

  • Listen/share new single 'Wabi-Sabi' on YouTube

Saxophonist and composer Josephine Davies is engaged in a continually evolving, creative musical expedition with near-chordless trio project Satori; and for this second recorded waymarker, ‘In the Corners of Clouds’ (the follow-up to the 2017 Whirlwind debut, Satori), she welcomes drummer James Maddren alongside existing double bassist Dave Whitford to explore eight original numbers, fronted by her own inquiring tenor resonances.

The spontaneity of this purely acoustic trio has already captured imaginations, as well as spurring Davies on in its progression. “We played a lot of shows after the first release and soon after I had written another album’s worth of material; and because our approach has become more and more open, I began to see my tunes mainly as a basis for improvisation. It might be seen as limiting to have no traditional "harmonic instrument" in this line-up—especially with the deeper frequencies of the tenor—but it actually throws melody to the fore, which I like. And if melody is happening you really can do whatever you want. We create so much space together that it actually encourages me to both compose and play in a different way.”

Comprised almost entirely of first takes, the less-rehearsed immediacy of Satori’s sound is fundamental to the ambiences which Davies seeks, and is encapsulated in opening number ‘Wabi Sabi’, named after a Japanese philosophy which embraces and celebrates the beauty in imperfection.

Here, Whitford’s rhythmic ostinato and the core melody are broken up, creating an oriental long groove for improvisation before being put back together into a similarly beautiful state. Davies’ long-held fascination with the music of John Coltrane can be heard in ‘Dancing Saint’, its bluesy, smouldering rhythms and long, shaped tenor lines paying homage (with animated individual features for bass and drums).

Title track ‘In the Corners of Clouds’, prompted by two Haiku based on these opposingly angular and ineffable subjects, “arrived very quickly and fully formed”, explains the saxophonist; and its almost singer/songwriter feel is characterised by an attractive, cantabile, downward sequence.

Gingerly-trodden ‘Oddities’, built from a clutch of motif snippets, leads to ‘The Space Between Thoughts’, whose finely-spun thoughts echo Buddhist meditation. The impassioned weight of Coltrane-like tune, ‘Cry’, pushes tenor out close and high, dramatized by rumbling bass and drums, only to be contrasted by the joyful South African township sway of ‘Lazy’. To close, ‘Scattered’ (a favourite of the saxophonist) travels through differing key centres, sans time signature, with complete abandon.

Reflecting on the affecting unrestraint of Satori, Josephine Davies concludes: “As a culture, we mostly don’t celebrate the crusty, technically imperfect, unglossed aspects of life, but rather seek perfection—and that doesn’t move me. I’ll always go for the intangible or the emotional; that ‘creative something’—which is what I feel all the timeless albums have got. The enduring appeal of Satori is its freedom—a wonderfully exciting and valuable experience.”

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Frankie Davies debut album out 2 November 2019

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Album release: 'Wherever I Go' by Frankie Davies
Release date: 2 November 2019
More info: Artist website

Bob Harris has had the first play of the new single by Frankie Davies called 'Open Road' taken from her debut album 'Wherever I Go'. Frankie has described the song as articulating how she feels about the love between her and her partner and their journey together:

"I wrote this song after a big road trip with my partner," says Frankie, "...sometimes it's rough and we have no idea where we are going but actually it takes us to some place beautiful. More importantly, when it seems there is no more road left to take, we just turn a corner and carry on our adventure."

Listen to 'Open Road' on Bob Harris Country BBC Radio 2.

Listen to 'Open Road' on Spotify.

Previous single 'High On Love' came with a playful new video that saw Frankie meandering home ‘the morning after’ around her local streets with the gorgeous landscape of Jersey as a backdrop. 'Wherever I Go' is released worldwide this Friday November 2nd. The album reached Number 2 in the iTunes Country Chart last week upon UK release.

Watch the video for 'High On Love' here.

Pre-order the album here.

“Wherever I Go is me, encapsulated.” says Frankie Davies, Jersey-born songwriter, on her highly anticipated debut album. This is an important release for Davies, in fact, she has said that the record “represents me, my journey and experiences over the last 4 years.”

In 2015 Davies released her debut EP ‘Dancing All Night’ out of which came 3 singles, critical praise and national airplay. In 2017 she began work on her debut album, recording with renowned Nashville musicians in the home of Country, and back in the UK with her all-female band. Davies has visited Nashville on many occasions to write and perform, once notably with BBC Radio 2’s Bob Harris as one of just 3 UK artists selected to represent BBC Introducing in Nashville at the Americana Music Festival. She continues to enjoy support from Bob and his team on his radio shows and festival stages. In 2016, Davies was invited back to Nashville to perform at an international showcase at one of the world’s biggest Country festivals, CMA Fest.

Davies performs at the highest level touring the UK and wider Europe with some of the biggest names in Country Music including Maddie & Tae, Chris Young, Charlie Worsham, Mo Pitney & Josh Kelley. Closer to home Frankie has appeared regularly at the UK’s biggest Country Music Festival ‘C2C’, toured with UK favourites The Shires, supported Ward Thomas & completed her first headline tour in 2017.

2018 marks an important step in her story, the release of ‘Wherever I Go’, Davies’ debut album on the 2nd of November, something fans have been waiting to hear for a long time. Its variety of influences are tied together by Davies’ evocative vocals and addictive melodies that transport listeners through both painful and joyful moments in her life.

“In one sense this album is a showcase of lessons learnt from my beginnings and being young and naive in the music industry. From the rockier, You Don’t Know Me, written with Emily Linden, where I let my frustration pour out, to the contrasting Front Row Seat. The latter song is about an experience that broke me. I had been led to believe that a show I had been booked for would suddenly change my life. When it came to showtime there was only one person in the audience.” This confrontation with a harsh world at such a young age only pushed Frankie forward and adds a grit to her songwriting as well as moments of heart-breaking honesty.

“I went out and I played and from my disappointment, I discovered something truly valuable. Even if there is only one person to listen to my music they deserve my best performance. I am always grateful to anyone who wants to listen.”

'Wherever I Go' was released to the US and UK on October 26th before the worldwide release on November 2nd.

Album launch shows:

  • 7th November - Ruby's Lounge, St Helier, Jersey

  • 9th November - The Acorn, Penzance, Cornwall

  • 11th November - Gullivers, Manchester

More information

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Pedro The Lion new album out 18 January 2019

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Album release: 'Phoenix' by Pedro The Lion
Release date: 18 January 2019
Label: Big Scary Monsters / Polyvinyl Records
More info: Band website

  • First album as Pedro The Lion since 2004's 'Achilles Heel'

  • Watch the Jason Lester-directed video for the album's debut single 'Yellow Bike'

Pedro the Lion has always been David Bazan, but it took a long time to get back there.

In August 2016, during what he now recognizes as his lowest point, Bazan was touring the country alone in an aging minivan and found himself in his hometown of Phoenix, AZ. In need of a break from the road, he spent a night off at his grandparents’ house instead of driving on to San Diego. Before leaving town the next morning, after realizing that even the most familiar places can become unrecognizable, Bazan gave himself the gift of a quick detour past the house he grew up in, and on the way, experienced a breakthrough - one that would lead him both forward and back to another home he had built many years before.

From the beginning, Pedro the Lion didn’t work like the bands Bazan had played drums in, where each player came up with their own parts. Instead, like scripting scenes of dialogue for actors to play with, Bazan recorded and arranged all of the skeletal accompaniments for his obsessively introspective lyrics and spare melodies. Each player would then learn their parts and, together as a band, they brought the skeleton to life. While bandmates played on a few recordings, Bazan often played all or most of the instruments himself.

“I found so much joy working this way,” Bazan remembers. “It came naturally and yielded a feeling and a sound that couldn’t have existed by any other process. At the same time, I was also aware that not everyone wanted to play in a band where the singer wrote all the parts and might perform them on the record. Someone even suggested it might not be a valid approach to having a band in the first place. Being insecure and wanting to find camaraderie, I became conflicted about my natural process.”

By 2002, after recording Control, the high rate of turnover in the band finally caused Bazan to ditch his “natural process” in favour of a collaborative writing process. When, after a couple more years, this move did nothing to stabilize turnover, Bazan was perplexed. In November 2005, Bazan decided to stop doing Pedro the Lion altogether.

Ironically, Bazan didn’t see “going solo” as a chance to revert back to his original process of writing and playing all the parts. For the next decade Pedro the Lion felt off limits, even forgotten, like a childhood home Bazan had moved out of. He pushed forward with releasing solo albums & relentless touring in living rooms and clubs, through every part of the US and beyond, sometimes with a band, but mostly on his own. It took a toll on his family and more acutely on himself. By the summer of 2016, he still hadn’t found the personal clarity or the steady collaboration he’d been seeking and was at the end of his rope.

“I had abandoned my natural way of working in the hopes of creating space for a consistent band to write with...and it hadn’t worked. So I got a rehearsal space, mic’d up drums, bass, and guitar, and really leaned into my original process again. It immediately felt like like home. Before long I realized it also felt like Pedro the Lion.”

In June 2018, with Bazan on bass, vocals, and arrangement writing, Erik Walters on guitar and backing vocals, and Sean Lane on drums, Pedro the Lion went into Studio X and Hall of Justice with producer Andy Park to create Phoenix, the first new Pedro album in 15 years.

The songs themselves are the result of mining your past for who you are now. On opening track 'Yellow Bike', Bazan encapsulates a core ache he’s been exploring since 1998’s ‘It’s Hard to Find a Friend’ with the line:

“My kingdom - For someone to ride with”

Phoenix also deals with having to be better to yourself in order to be better to others on 'Quietest Friend', and harkens back to Control’s 'Priests and Paramedics' with a story about EMTs facing a gruesome scene, and storytelling as coping mechanism, on 'Black Canyon'. It bears witness to both what was around and what was inside, with the signature kindness and forgiveness that lightens Pedro the Lion’s darkest notes.

The result is a twisting, darkly hopeful introspection into home and what it means to go back, if you ever can. It is rock and roll wrapped in tissue paper, its hard edges made barely soft. Every melody is careful, a delicate upswing buoyed by guitar lines that hold each tender feeling together like string before ripping them apart to see what’s inside. It is an ode to the place he still loves despite how alien it can appear to him now. It is the story of a life from the beginning, but not a linear one. This life is a circle, and 'Phoenix' goes back to that first point, to show that when we are looking for home we’ll eventually run into it again, whether it’s in the desert, in a rehearsal space, or on a stage.

"He's both singular and reliable, and within a narrow but potent vein of subject matter and style, he's an explorer." - NPR

More information

If you would like some more information about this release, or would like to contact us about interview opportunities / review copies, just contact us via our press enquiries form.

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