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Ondt Blod new album out 9 March 2018 

ondt-blod.jpg

Album release: 'Natur' by Ondt Blod
Release date: 9 March 2018
Label: Fysisk Format
More info: Band website

'Natur' is a Sami scream from the far north. Made 100 years after the first indigenous political organising in Norway, This is a Sami call to arms against the still on-going colonization and oppression. 'Natur' celebrates the duality of human nature, where champagne meets cyanide, machine-gun riffs meet the catchiest choruses out of Scandinavia since ABBA. 

'Natur' is Norwegian hardcore-unit Ondt Blod’s second album and offers an indigenous blend of hardcore, grim metal and catchy punk; the polar bear mates with Pet Sounds. 

The album is recorded in Oslo, and is produced by star producer Yngve Andersen (Blood Command, Hold Fast). Technical wizardry is provided by Ruben Willem (Haust) and Simon Jackman, who also have mixed the record. Guest performances are given by Lauritz Lyster Skeidsvold (yacht-saxophone) and the Sami pop star Ella Marie Hætta Isaksen of the electropop group ISÁK, who does a traditional joik (ancient Sami singing tradition) duet with Ondt Blod singer Aslak on the record’s last track 'Giron'. The album’s artwork is a woodprint by Peter-John De Villiers, who also did the artwork for the singles. 

Despite of having only released one album, Ondt Blod have a lot to show for. Not only have Ondt Blod been deemed the “pride of the North” in Norwegian media; their debut-album 'Finnmark' was nominated as the “new-comer of the year” for the Norwegian equivalent to the Grammys in 2016, and they have been listed on Norwegian national radio with five songs. The band has toured Norway alongside Kvelertak, and played the Roskilde Festival in 2016. 

With 'Natur', Ondt Blod has made an album that is at once a razor sharp political confrontation and a hedonistic celebration. 

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Canshaker Pi release new single ‘Indie Academy’

Canshaker.jpg

Single release: ‘Indie Academy’ by Canshaker Pi
Release date: Out now
Label: Excelsior Recordings
More info: Band Facebook

An ill-fated leap. A glorious descent.

Indeed, a Canshaker Pi show can be described as one big kamikaze run. The Amsterdam-based quartet's inflammable brand of indie rock is a gleeful but high-stakes affair. The first thing you notice about Canshaker Pi is how they relish in puerile dicking about, albeit never for the sake of just 'dicking about'.

Beneath their fidgety, high-strung stage antics simmers a piercing intensity, one that perhaps comes with a creeping awareness that the days of being young, wild and free will eventually pass. With releasing their new single Indie Academy via Excelsior Recordings, Canshaker Pi frantically capitalize on their youthful zest with a relentless now-or-never stride.

Stream 'Indie Academy' via Soundcloud
Stream 'Indie Academy' via Spotify

Canshaker Pi's swoon-and-swagger racket was first introduced to us on their untitled debut album released late 2016. Not surprisingly, indie rock's chief slacker-savant, Pavement's Stephen Malkmus, took a shine on Canshaker Pi's noise pop haphazardry. Producer and pal Remko Schouten flew Malkmus over to The Netherlands to record with the band. The result of those sessions is captured on the debut, that led the band to play the infamous Le Guess Who? Festival and nearly every other relevant Dutch festival this year.

Truth be told, Canshaker Pi thrives on that constant tension created between catchy-as-sin hooks and torrents of noise. The band is not afraid for a gear slower without sacrificing the small but charming blemishes: the whirring amplifiers, itchy fingers and impromptu howls of joy.

Long story short, Canshaker Pi drives itself into a complete stupor in their rocketing career so far. They voluntarily allow the anxious friction of their music to boil over, until it irrevocably submits to the knee-jerk enthusiasm that makes this bunch tick.

Canshaker Pi is touring Europe this fall, alongside Spiral Stairs (of Pavement-member Scott Kannberg). They’re playing 27 shows in 15 countries and are visiting Manchester, Newcastle, Glasgow, Leeds, Brighton and London on their tour through the UK.

Press reaction to date

“Powerfully crafted, highly intelligent indie rock...” – CLASH

“An infectious romp, weaving in and out of vintage rock, fuzz, and punk and easily ramping up and down at the perfect moments.” – Stereogum

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Andrew Weatherall new album due 29 September 2017

Album release: 'Qualia' by Andrew Weatherall
Release date: 29 September 2017
Label: Hoga Nord Rekords
More info: Hoga Nord website

The aural collusions of Weatherall, Walsh and an old accomplice and sparring partner in Legrand (11/11/65 - 22/11/11), 'Qualia' is a quandary, a question mark and maybe, just maybe, his finest release in years. It's also a record best defined in the words of Mr Weatherall himself:

"Mr Brackstone, my psychic shepherd, when confronted by the facts would probably say it was cosmic synchronicity but then again he would because he's Jung at heart. Others may cite mere coincidence. These are the facts. I'll leave the metaphysical debate for another time...

It's all about the black notebooks as memorial device and 'The Black Notebook' and 'This Is Memorial Device'. At the same time as reading Mr Modiano and Mr Keenan I was ensconced in the Woodleigh Research Facility investigating a method of composition sparked by a random event too prosaic for the telling; unless of course we go back to 'The Red Book' and see the hand of Jah [the D.M.T molecule that steers human existence] at work. After all it was him/her/non-binary that sent me the "shave your beard off" message. And the "don't buy any more drugs" one. 

Whatever your leanings the music on 'Qualia' is the result of images, feelings
and thought processes stirred up by Monsieur Modiano and Mister Keenan channeled through the medium of a sonic noteboook - in itself the memoir of somebody else's life/fiction.

My own black notebooks, like Jean's [Modiano's protagonist] stir the silt of
memory and birth as many mysteries as memories. They also provided the track titles."

Andrew Weatherall. The Woodleigh Research Facility, July 2017.

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Diamond Thug new single ‘Cosmic Dreamer’ out now

Single release: 'Cosmic Dreamer' by Diamond Thug
Release date: 4 August 2017
More info: Band website

In 2016 the South African band, Diamond Thug, recorded their debut EP with the help of Dave Minehan (The Replacements) and released it to waves of support, Indie Shuffle calling it ‘…a joy to listen to’. After significant support at Spotify where they have now had several million plays on just one single, and in their home country, Diamond Thug have introduced their music internationally with their last single ‘Eclipsed’, that premiered at Wonderland who described the track by saying “As flawless vocals glide over soaring guitar riffs and electronic melodies, the track has clearly been created for lazy summer evenings and dancing under festival sunsets. An exciting look at what the South African quartet have in store, we look forward to hearing more.” And more comes in the form of their next single ‘Cosmic Dreamer’, and it doesn’t disappoint. The track is available from August 4th via Phonofile and you can listen/buy it here.

Since their formation, Diamond Thug have continually evolved, always striving to create a unique sound that’s stay true to their perspective. Their music glides through dream-pop, skittish, off-kilter electronica & psychedelic-rock, creating cosmic-influenced ethereal soundscapes, which swirl below Chantel’s haunting, yet beautiful melodies. The pursuit of an authentic & honest sound has earned the band various honours in international competitions such as Culture Collide’s pick to perform at SXSW 2017, as well as Converse’s Music Global Takeover and the attention of Grammy Award winner Darryl Torr, who had this to say about the band:  "When listening to Diamond Thug, you are taken on a journey.  It’s the effortless vocals, supported by a solid band, that tips you over the edge & pulls you through into their world.  It’s rare to find a voice that can execute such interesting melodies so effortlessly as well as a band that leaves space for the vocals to shine, yet are able to maintain musical integrity."

Press reaction to date

“Their music can move you, excite you and perhaps even - dare I say it - inspire you.” - The Huffington Post

“Diamond Thug’s come-hither voice dances through salty beach air” – Billboard

“They mix danceable electronic melodies with swooning guitar melodies that sometimes morph into scuzzy riffs into a delicious melting pot. This isn’t a diamond in the rough; it’s a proper gem.” – DIY Mag

“Diamond Thug are establishing themselves as one of the most exciting bands around at the moment” - Wonderland

“Chantel Van T’s vocals are like smooth honey to your ear drums…a joy to listen to” – Indie Shuffle

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Cassels album 'Epiphet' due 6 October 2017

Album release:  'Epiphet' by Cassels
Release date: 6 October 2017
Label: Big Scary Monsters
More info: Band website

The precociously young and talented art-punk two-piece Cassels today announce their debut album proper, 'Epiphet' for October 6th on Big Scary Monsters. Poetic and agitated, you can stream the opening salvo of tracks, 'Coup', and 'Let', now. They will also play two launch shows for the record:

  • October 6th - Birthdays, London
  • October 7th - The Cellar, Oxford

For Cassels, music is about authenticity. Together they embody the spirit of punk, even if their sound stretches the boundaries of any genre. It is rare to find a band who sound only like themselves, especially one with just two instruments, but Cassels are just that. The work of two brothers, Loz and Jim Beck, they have been playing music together since long before their voices broke and all that practise has paid off – direct and considered lyrically, musically challenging and in possession of an originality you could never force.

“I’m hoping cynicism will pass as lyricism,” Jim Beck, the driving force behind the sibling duo spits on previous single ‘The Weight’, featured by NME, Dork, DIY, Upset, Gold Flake Paint and a highlight of a “pre-album” that got 5 K’s in Kerrang!.

“I guess it stems from a few places,” he says of the origin for this attitude, “people letting me down, not having a particularly sociable childhood, and our dad’s a pretty cynical guy.”

But in his mind, cynicism is realism. It underpins what Cassels stand for. Their noisy, edgy and sometimes deliberately jarring sound is built around a reluctance to idly stand by as our political climate clouds our futures. It balances apathy with anger, and through it channels a generational voice. A generation who are incorrectly dismissed as being inactive, but who are finding new ways to attack the establishment.

The message lies unfiltered over a unique sound only the UK DIY scene could cultivate. There’s no metaphor to hide behind. Cassels are antagonistic and brash, but more importantly, they challenge the norm, both musically and lyrically. 

The lyrics are like contemporary poetry driven by the frustration of socio-political injustices, and fed by the ennui of growing up in a one-horse town. “There’s the old cliché that good lyrics stand up on a page without music, but in reality I don’t think many read well at all,” Jim says scathingly of mainstream music. “At some point I made the conscious decision to try and write words which could be read in isolation without them being obviously identifiable as being from a song.”

‘Epiphet’ features the production work of Rocky Reilly (And So I Watch You From Afar, Adebisi Shank) who captures all the intricacies of the two piece in their biggest sound yet. From the opening salvo of singles “Coup” and “Let”, to the bitter tribute to the town they grew up in – “shitty Chipping Norton” – on “Where Baseball Invented”, onto the call and response hooks of “You Turn On Utopia” and the melodic suss of closer “Chewed Up Cheeks”, the album rarely lets up pace. Disparate, desperate wording set to music that moves from cacophony to melody seamlessly, ‘Epiphet’ further cements their youthful tenacity, and continues to paint them as one of the most unique, and most important, bands of our time.

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Placebo new single 'Life's What You Make It' out 2 June 2017

Single release: 'Life's What You Make It' by Placebo
Release date: 2 June 2017
More info: Band website

For a band with such a strong and unmistakable catalogue of original material, Placebo have always had an impeccable way with a cover version. Starting with a take on Syd Barrett’s Dark Globe, way back in 1996, they have freely interpreted the songs of others to complement the originals. Their choice of covers – from Nick Drake to Boney M; Serge Gainsbourg to Depeche Mode – demonstrates Brian Molko and Stefan Olsdal’s musical influences and heritage. Rather than keep their musical passions locked in an ivory tower, they approach each interpretation with an excitement to share what they love.  

With its sledgehammer beat and Molko’s keening vocal, ‘Life’s What You Make It’ – the lead track from last year’s EP of the same name – instantly reminds you of all the reasons you fell in love with Placebo. There is a great deal in common with the work of Talk Talk (who sang the original in 1986) and Placebo: both remained true to their artistic vision, even if that has sometimes meant not taking the easy route. The song’s message of making the best of circumstances strikes a particular chord in the challenging era in which we live.   

“We covered Talk Talk's Life's What You Make It because it is a song from the 80s that we still liked, and wondered if we could replicate Gwen Stefani's global smash hit with her band's cover of 'It's My Life'. That remains to be seen…” Brian Molko says.  

Molko wanted something different for the film to accompany their song. He had a concept in mind that was loosely based around the original 1986 Talk Talk video that was shot at night on London’s Wimbledon Common. It featured the band surrounded by nature, complete with, as Molko puts it, “little beasties crawling over leaves”. Brian felt that there could be an updated version, where “the band would be robots playing instruments and that e-waste would replace nature, as it appears to be doing only a few decades after the song’s original release”. The brief that the band put out to prospective directors was short, simple and open to interpretation: “e-waste, please!”  

It’s not that Placebo were inundated with appropriate responses. Brian continues, “The only director who actually came back to us with a treatment about e-waste was Sasha Rainbow. I called her up to sound her out and discovered that I was speaking to a very brave and passionate woman.” 

Rainbow’s accompanying film for ‘Life’s What You Make It’ was shot in Agbogbloshie, a former wetland in the heart of Accra, in Ghana, which is home to one of the world's largest electronic waste dumps. It sets an apocalyptic backdrop of first-world waste against the daily lives of those who inhabit this thoroughly otherworldly space. 

“I told her that she had balls of steel for actually daring to go film on location in Ghana and that, no, we would not be coming, since we were timid little souls,” Molko says. 

“The two boys in the film live in this extraordinary place,” Rainbow says. “Which for me, highlights a human’s ability to adapt with incredible strength, resilience, and humanity.” It is a compelling look into a world that few know exists: “I hoped to capture the environment in a dreamily meditative way that would at once juxtapose and yet synergise with the theme of the song, and glimpse at part of the repercussions of our current technological revolution. On the one hand, technology is enabling us to create things beyond our wildest imagination, and yet little discussion has been had about what to do with all our discarded e-waste.”  

“I think that it is important to stress that the video is not anti-technology,” Molko adds. “That would be ridiculous, considering how much it enriches our daily lives. To me, it is about the triumph of the human spirit in the face of adversity that has not been chosen. We do, however, hope that it will make the viewer think about the repercussions of just throwing away tech that doesn't work anymore. There are several new and ingenious ways to recycle tech these days. Some companies will even give you money for it. All it takes is a little more effort.” 

One of songwriter Mark Hollis’ key phrases in ‘Life’s What You Make It’, “yesterday’s favourite”, is sung so powerfully by Molko, and underlines the e-waste message strongly in the film; yet it is far from being downbeat – the boys are seen dancing and laughing, making the most of their circumstances. 

‘Life’s What You Make It’ continues Placebo’s remarkable run of singles, and its accompanying short film will provide one of the most thought-provoking moments you’ll have all year. 

The video for Placebo’s new single ‘Life’s What You Make It’ premieres Friday, June 2 2017. 

We are delighted to announce that Placebo will be returning to the UK to play a run of dates in October.  

Fans have the opportunity to get tickets in a special 48 hour pre-sale that begins at 9am on the 7th June here

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Craig Finn new album 'We All Want The Same Things' due 24 March 2017 

Album release: 'We All Want The Same Things' by Craig Finn
Release date: 24 March 2017
Label: Partisan Records
More info: Artist website

Nowness shares a strikingly beautiful music video for Craig Finn’s 'God In Chicago,' the next single off his forthcoming solo album 'We All Want The Same Things' out March 24 on Partisan Records. Directed by Kris Merc, the video follows the fleeting journey of two young lovers finding beauty in the unremarkable. It’s relatable, poignant and raw. 

“I was already in love with the song and I was mostly struck by the words and their pacing,” says Merc. “The spoken word quality of the narrative had a sombre, melancholic tone that left me feeling a bit reflective about the fleeting moments we all face in life. We decided the video should tell a story about the meandering nature of youth. From there, we created a narrative that follows the fleeting journey of two young characters who find beauty in their bleak circumstances, carving out hope in their own way while knowing their time together is limited. It's a meditation on the idea of memories, nostalgia, and the feeling of being caught up in a raw moment. All this happens in a landscape reflecting contemporary America. In this search for meaning, you can feel the raw emotion of something lost and something gained. There is a lot of tension, but I think the problems we all face are the same. ‘We all want the same things’ — the camera is constantly seeking solace; It is seeking out a truth not easily found.” 

About the song, Finn says: “I've done a lot of songs that have been called ‘talky,’ but this is the furthest I've gone towards spoken word. It's a story about a guy and a girl pushed together to try to fix a problem. In doing so, they push into unchartered territory for both of them. Going to a bigger city without supervision for the first time is a huge moment, no matter how you get there. I was trying to capture that.  Also, I wanted to show how easily it is sometimes to take a break, if briefly, from our regular lives. Annie Nero has a lot of vocals I love on this record but this one might be my favourite.” Watch 'God In Chicago' via Nowness

Finn's "We All Want The Same Things" is his eagerly awaited third album and arrives via Partisan on Friday, March 24. It’s available for pre-order now at all leading DSPs. All pre-orders receive an instant download of the album's first single, "Preludes," that premiered exclusively via NPR Music. The album is also available via Pledge Music with exclusive merch. Anyone who pre-orders through Pledge will receive an exclusive four-digital track EP. 

Finn and his band The Uptown Controllers are currently on a North America tour supporting Japandroids. He will then play a series of house shows in the UK through April, culminating in a headline London show. See complete details and regularly updated tour information.

'We All Want The Same Things' sees Finn exploring themes of love and partnership in the modern world, as ever expressed via finely etched character studies, black humour, and smartly arranged rock 'n' roll. Largely recorded last spring at The Clubhouse in Rhinebeck, NY with frequent collaborator Josh Kaufman producing and Dan Goodwin engineering and mixing, the album features musical contributions from drummer Joe Russo, keyboardist Sam Kassirer, Rainer Maria vocalist Caithlin De Marrais, singer/songwriter Annie Nero, horn master Stuart Bogie, Jon Shaw, Jordan McLean, Matt Barrick and Finn's longtime partner in The Hold Steady, guitarist Tad Kubler. 

"We named this collection 'We All Want The Same Thing's after a line in 'God in Chicago', Finn says. "It seems like a bit of dark humour in these turbulent political times, but it also rings true: no matter our differences we all have some very basic wants and needs that line up with each other. The characters in these songs are normal people trying to help themselves, trying to move forward, and in some cases trying just to survive. All the while they are negotiating what space the others in their lives can occupy." 

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Diet Cig debut album 'Swear I'm Good At This' due 7 April 2017

Album release: Diet Cig 'Swear I'm Good At This'
Release date: 7 April 2017
Label: Frechkiss Records
More info: Band website

Diet Cig are happy to announce the forthcoming release of their hugely anticipated debut album. Entitled 'Swear I'm Good At This', the album will be released on April 7th via Frenchkiss Records. Today the band share the first single off the album - the highly infectious 'Tummy Ache.' Listen to 'Tummy Ache'.

Of the single Diet Cig note: "Tummy Ache' is all about unpacking the feeling of approaching punk with radical softness, and the struggle when it's not always read as powerful or cool or whatever enough. Its the shout into my pillow when what I'm saying isn't being heard, and a big old I FEEL YA to all the femme folks creating space for themselves in a world that wants to keep us quiet."

'Swear I'm Good At This' is now available to pre-order here, and includes an instant grat of 'Tummy Ache'.

The band, who are well-known for their energetic and bombastic live shows, will be touring the world in support of 'Swear I'm Good At This' and the first tour is announced today as well.  It kicks off April 5 in New Haven, CT at Bar and concludes May 8 at The Catalyst Atrium in Santa Cruz, CA.  Diet Cig will play two shows in one night at Brooklyn's Baby's All Right on April 7 and The Echo in Los Angeles, on May 4. Further, the band will play a handful of pre-release dates including at set at this year's Noise Pop Festival in San Francisco on February 22 and shows during SXSW. The complete list of dates below and tickets go on sale tomorrow, January 13.

Diet Cig is Alex Luciano (guitar and vocals) and Noah Bowman (drums).  The two have been playing music together ever since Luciano interrupted the set of Bowman's other band for a lighter. The New York duo have since released the infectious, 2015 Over Easy EP that introduced consistent sing-a-long lyrics with thrashing drums and strums that never held back. The New York Times labeled it "a lo-fi whirlwind, with songs cutting to the heart" and NPR said the EP is "cathartic pop-punk with boundless vitality and wide-eyed charm" while Pitchfork chimed in calling it "a collection of brisk, personal pop-punk."

'Swear I'm Good At This' accumulates Diet Cig's tenacity for crafting life-affirming, relatable tales with a gutsy heart at their core. Luciano has the ability to write lyrics that are both vulnerable and badass, perfecting a storm of emotive reflection that creates a vision of a sweaty, pumped-up room screaming these lines in unison. Diet Cig make it okay to be the hot mess that you are.

But there's also a deeper, more powerful fuck-you among the bangers that see Diet Cig grow into an unstoppable and inspiring force. "I'm not being dramatic, I've just fucking had it with the things that you say you think that I should be" spits Luciano on the album's 'Link in Bio;' "I am bigger than the outside shell of my body and if you touch it without asking then you'll be sorry" she yells on 'Maid Of The Mist'. It's the sound of a band doing things on their own terms.

'Swear I'm Good At This' was produced, engineered and mixed by Christopher Daly at Salvation Recording Co. in New Paltz, NY with additional recording at Atomic Sound in New York City.   

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Sorority Noise album 'You're Not As _____ As You Think' due 17 March 2017

Album release: 'You're Not As _____ As You Think' by Sorority Noise
Release date: 17 March 2017
Label: Big Scary Monsters
More info: Band website

Sorority Noise have announced 'You're Not As _____ As You Think', their third full length record and follow up to 2015's Joy, Departed. 'You're Not As _____ As You Think' is set to be released on March 17th via Triple Crown Records. Sorority Noise recently released a teaser trailer for the new album that can be viewed here

Sorority Noise have also recently announced they will be touring the US this March with Modern Baseball, Kevin Devine and The Obsessives. 

Sorority Noise write important songs. They go to uncomfortable places, unafraid to let the darkness in – but they’re also not shy at kicking back until the sorrow subsides. They’re songs of confusion, anger, life, death, mental health and, most importantly, hope. They’re what it means to be human.

That vulnerability has been Sorority Noise’s hallmark since they formed in 2013, but it’s never been as precise as it is on 'You're Not As _____ As You Think', their third album, set for release March 17th via Triple Crown Records. The album follows the Connecticut-based quartet’s It Kindly Stopped For Me 7” (2016), critically acclaimed Joy, Departed (2015) and debut Forgettable (2014) and is the most collaborative, fully realised version of Sorority Noise to date.

Sorority Noise recorded 'You’re Not As _____ As You Think' with producer Mike Sapone (Brand New, Taking Back Sunday) over the span of 10 days – three times longer than it took to track Joy, Departed – and this increased time allowed the band to hone the songwriting and visceral performances that have launched them onto tours with Modern Baseball, Citizen, Turnover and The Menzingers and into outlets like Pitchfork, Consequence of Sound, The Fader, Spin, AV Club and Stereogum. 
 
Singer/guitarist Cameron Boucher, who prefers not to edit or overthink his lyrics, empties both his pen and soul on songs like 'No Halo,' 'Disappeared' and 'A Portrait Of,' stark vignettes that find him coming to terms with the death of close friends. He’s had days, weeks and months to confront these and other emotions, and when it came time to write about them, the words spilled out.
 
So what you’re getting is an emotional bulldozer – an unfiltered, inward look at the last year of the band’s life that’s filled with intimate, visceral details yet remains universally relatable. But even amidst heavy subject matter, Sorority Noise want to give you a sense of resilience. “No matter what I feel, it’s going to be OK,” Boucher says. “Things are going to be tough, but it’s going to be fine in the end – and you have to keep going because you just have to. This is how it’s going to be. You’ve just got to do it.”

It’s in this way that the album’s title comes into view, and it only takes inserting a few adjectives – sad, happy, rich, poor – to realise life is all about perspective. Hardships are inevitable, but so is hope. Rather than living in the shadows, Sorority Noise have learned the only way to move past the struggle is by never stopping moving forward into the sun.

 

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Whenyoung new single ‘Actor’ due 25 November 2016

Single release: ‘Actor’ by Whenyoung
Release date: 25 November 2016
More info: Band Soundcloud

Irish trio Whenyoung have announced their second single 'Actor', which will impact on 25th November.

 'Actor' is the follow-up to debut single See How They Run and is an immediate burst of melodic rock ‘n’ roll with a swarm of unruly jangly guitars, commanding drums and sweet yet punchy vocals. Despite an untainted youthful sound, lyrically the song has a profound meaning. The band say; “'Actor' is about contorting your character to fit into a disfigured view of the perfect self in order to belong. It's about acting every day and projecting artificial images of yourself through social media and in real life interactions with others. This helps to reassure you that you are important, relevant, interesting and necessary but behind it all there’s a sinking feeling. It’s not you. It’s an act. It’s tiring.” 

“These days we’re all doing it. It seems to be essential but there has to be another way, an honest existence.” 

Whenyoung are Aoife Power (Vocals/Bass), Niall Burns (Guitar) and Andrew Flood (Drums) who originate from Limerick in Ireland but are currently based in London.

First meeting as teenagers, sneaking into the only indie bar of their city in Ireland, they bonded over cheap vodka and The Velvet Underground. Soon after, Niall moved to London, with Andrew and Aoife quickly following, and here they began writing songs together.

After a handful of packed out London shows, Whenyoung have just announced a further date at Shacklewell Arms on 24th November.  

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Blink-182 vinyl box set due 7 October 2016

Album release: 7 album limited edition vinyl box set from Blink-182
Release date: 7 October 2016
Label: UMG
More  info: uDiscover Music website 

Since their humble beginnings twenty-four years ago, when they started playing in a San Diego garage, Blink-182 has sold over fifty million albums worldwide and rocked audiences from Adelaide to Zurich having become one of the defining rock bands of their generation. The trio of bassist/vocalist Mark Hoppus, guitarist/vocalist Tom DeLonge and drummer Travis Barker, emerged from the Southern California pop-punk scene of the early ‘90s and quickly gained a reputation for their raucous live shows, incredibly catchy songs and irreverent, tongue-in-cheek humor. Blink-182’s latest studio release, California, with new member Matt Skiba of Alkaline Trio who replaced DeLonge, debuted at #1 in July, giving the band their second career #1 album and first in 15 years.   
 
UMG will bring Blink-182’s entire Universal catalogue together for the first time as a limited edition vinyl box set on October 7. The 10-LP collection will include their six studio albums on heavyweight 180-gram vinyl complete with MP3 downloads and consist of 1995’s 'Cheshire Cat', 1997’s 'Dude Ranch', 1999’s 'Enema Of The State' and 2001’s 'Take Off Your Pants And Jacket' on single LPs and 2003’s  'blink-182', 2011’s 'Neighborhoods' and their riotous live record, 2000’s 'The Mark',  Tom & Travis Show: The Enema Strikes Back!, as double LPs. A limited number of the vinyl boxes will come with exclusive stickers and a slipmat, only available at uDiscover: here. All titles will also be made available individually as “Back To Black” releases. 
 
'Cheshire Cat' was Blink-182’s debut studio album. Recorded at Westbeach Recorders in Los Angeles and Santee, Calif.’s Doubletime Studio and produced by Otis Barthoulameu and the band themselves, the album was originally released on February 17, 1995 through local San Diego-based record label Cargo Music who signed the band after hearing a handful of demos. The trio, composed of guitarist Tom DeLonge, bassist Mark Hoppus and drummer Scott Raynor, demonstrated their knack for catchy, energetic pop-punk and hinted at what was to come, leading to several major labels courting the band. Standouts 'M+M's' and 'Wasting Time' were released as singles to promote the album and received popularity on local radio. The band embarked on their first-ever national tour and expanded their fan base exponentially outside of So. Cal.  
 
'Dude Ranch' was the band’s second studio album for Cargo and was picked up for distribution by MCA, who signed the band in 1996 after winning a bidding war. It was the band’s last with original drummer Scott Raynor before he was replaced by Travis Barker of the Orange Country ska band The Aquabats. Recorded at Big Fish Studios in Encinitas, Calif., with producer Mark Trombino, the album produced the rock radio smash, 'Dammit,' on the heels of the band’s worldwide tour on the Van’s Warped Tour. Three more singles were released, including 'Apple Shampoo,' 'Dick Lips'and 'Josie,' with a video that was an MTV fixture. The album peaked at #67 on the Billboard 200, but eventually went platinum by 2000. U.K.’s Kerrang! ranked it #15 on its list of the “51 Greatest Pop Punk Albums Ever.” 
 
Blink-182’s third studio album, and first with new drummer Travis Barker, 'Enema of the State', marked their breakthrough to the mainstream and went on to sell 15 million copies sold worldwide, launching them to global fame. The band enlisted producer Jerry Finn, who a few years earlier had worked on Green Day’s smash, Dookie, and recorded the album at various studios throughout San Diego and Los Angeles over a three-month period. 'What's My Age Again?,' 'All the Small Things'and 'Adam's Song' became hit singles and staples on MTV and crossed over into Top 40. 'What’s My Age Again?' achieved the highest success on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart, where it peaked at number two. It registered within the top 20 on UK Singles Chart as well, peaking at number 17. The subsequent 'All The Small Things' crossed over from alt-rock radio to contemporary hit radio, peaking at #6 on Billboard’s Hot 100 and #1 on the Modern Rock Tracks chart. It peaked at #2 in the UK and was a top 10 hit in Australia, Austria, Ireland, Italy and Sweden.  The album peaked at #9 on the Billboard 200, selling 109,000 copies in the U.S. its first week and eventually was certified five times platinum. The album was an international phenomenon: quadruple platinum in Canada, triple platinum in Australia, double platinum in Italy, platinum in the UK, gold in Austria, Germany, Indonesia, Mexico, the Philippines and Switzerland. Ranked #37 on Rolling Stone’s 2016 list of the “40 Greatest Punk Albums of All Time,” the album is cited as having an enormous impact on contemporary pop punk, reinventing it for and inspiring a new generation and spawning myriad bands. 

Recorded over two nights at L.A.’s Universal Amphitheatre and the Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco in November 1999 by producer Jerry Finn, The Mark, Tom & Travis Show: The Enema Strikes Back!, released in 2000, captured the band in the midst of their meteoric rise as they enjoyed their first-ever arena tour. The high-energy set showcases songs from across their three studio albums with a focus on Enema Of The State which they were on tour supporting. A handful of songs – 'Family Reunion,' 'The Country Song,' 'Blow Job,' – were songs made up on tour and only played at the shows. The album features one non-live track, 'Man Overboard,' which was written during the Enema sessions and recorded after the tour. Released as the album’s lead single, it peaked at #2 on Billboard's Modern Rock Tracks chart. The record debuted at number eight on the Billboard 200 chart, selling 110,000 copies its first week. The fourth side of the vinyl release, titled 'Words of Wisdom,' closes out the album with 29 “skits,” examples of some of the wild between-song patter by DeLonge and Hoppus that has distinguished the band for its fans. 

Blink 182’s cleverly titled fifth studio album, 'Take Off Your Pants and Jacket', released in 2001, continued the band’s mainstream rein and became the first punk rock album to debut in the U.S. at #1 on the Billboard 200 with first week sales of 350,000 copies. It also debuted at #1 in Canada and landed on Germany’s Top 100 Albums. Within a year it went double platinum in the U.S. and went on to sell 14 million albums globally. All three singles – 'The Rock Show,' 'First Date' and 'Stay Together' were top 10 hits and led to national TV performances on the Late Show With David Letterman and Late Night With Conan O’Brien. The record, produced again by Jerry Finn, has been referred as a concept album chronicling adolescence, with songs dedicated to first dates, fighting authority and teenage parties. Kerrang! ranked it #14 on its list of 'The 50 Best Rock Albums of the 2000s.'

Blink-182 eponymous fifth studio album was released in 2003 following the group’s hiatus and involvement in various side projects such as Box Car Racer and Transplants. Recorded with longtime producer Jerry Finn, the album marks a departure from their earlier work, with experimental elements creeping into their usual pop-punk sound, inspired by both fatherhood and their work away from the group. The songwriting is both more personal and explores darker terrain, touching upon the realities of maturity and hardships. The track, 'All Of This,' features vocals by Robert Smith of The Cure, one of Hoppus’ musical idols and an obvious inspiration throughout the record. The album spawned four singles, including 'I Miss You,' which peaked at #1 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart, #8 in the UK and New Zealand, #13 in Australia and #21 in Ireland. The video, directed by Jonas Akerlund, has racked up more than 133 million views to date. Album opener 'Feeling This' peaked at #2 on Billboard’s Modern Rock Tracks chart and was a top 20 hit in the UK and Australia. Entertainment Weekly wrote that "despite their newfound earnestness, [the band] seem incapable of pretension. And in a career littered with songs about awkward moments, their latest is a dork classic.” Slant’s gave the album four stars, stating, "Giving up the fart jokes is risky business for Blink—but Blink-182 might just be the band's best album to date. The album debuted at #3 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S., #1 in Canada and in the top 10 in Australia and New Zealand. It was certified double platinum in the states, eventually selling 2.6 million in the U.S. and a total of 7.5 million worldwide.  

Blink-182’s sixth studio album, 'Neighborhoods', released in 2011, was the band’s first new music in eight years, following a six-year hiatus where each of them focused on other projects and family life. Hoppus, DeLonge and Barker were inspired to get the band back together following Barker’s near-fatal plane crash with his friend and fellow survivor DJ AM, and the premature death of their longtime producer Jerry Finn, often called “the fourth member of the band.” As a result of Finn’s death, the band produced 'Neighborhoods' themselves, which would end up being DeLonge’s last album with Blink. The band worked on the album apart and got together several time to record. Each member’s influences inspired their contributions to the record and the sum resulted in a sound that recalled their individual upbringings. The album’s title stemmed from the idea that each musician brought something unique to the band much like the various neighborhoods that make up a city. The album debuted at #2 on the Billboard 200 and #1 on both the Alternative Albums and Top Rock Albums charts. All Music Guide was impressed with the band’s new, more mature direction and said it was "a different beast than any of the cheerfully snotty early Blink-182 albums, as the band picks up the gloomy thread left hanging on its eponymous 2003 album ... yet it's far better to hear Blink-182 grapple with adolescent angst via the perspective of middle age than vainly attempting to re-create their youth.” New York magazine called the record "one of those albums on which a group reunites as professionals and equals, each having gone off and collected his own interests via side projects, and then negotiates a sound that brings it all to bear: no-nonsense modern rock, serious but unpretentious, ambitious but full of the same easy hooks as ever." The album would end up being DeLonge’s last with the band. 
 

 

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Happyness to tour ahead of recording new album

 

Tour announcement: Happyness with The Dandy Warhols
Tour dates: May 2006
More info: Band website

This May, Happyness take a break from writing new material in advance of recording their highly anticipated second album for Moshi Moshi/PIAS (and follow-up to the acclaimed 2014 debut Weird Little Birthday) as The Dandy Warhols take them out on tour across the EU and UK.

Not only that, the band return with their first taste of new music in 2016, in the shape of new song SB’s Truck. In their own words, the track “has something to do with [the late, famed, 80s wrestler and actor] André The Giant as a teenager having to be taken to school in Samuel Beckett's truck because he couldn't fit in his dad's car.” 

> Listen to SB's Truck here

As for touring with The Dandy Warhols, Happyness say; "We’re bringing a friend of ours along to play some of the parts that we can’t play with just three people. We’ll be playing a few songs from the first record that we haven’t been able to play before, and some of the same songs a little different to how people have heard them, and some new ones. So we’re going backwards and forwards in time, and we're excited to do it. And our friend's name is Paul. And thanks to The Dandy Warhols for having us on tour with them!" 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Press reaction to date

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

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

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Fassine debut album 'Dialectik' released 2 May 2016

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

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

Press reaction to date

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

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Japan's toe to release new album 'Hear You'

Album release: 'Hear You' by toe
Release date: 28 August 2015
Label: Topshelf Records
More info: Band website

Influential Japanese 4-piece toe have announced details for their long-awaited third studio full length album, 'Hear You', which will be released on August 28 via Topshelf Records.

The follow up to their 2012 EP, 'The Future Is Now,' this new album sees the band continue to grow and push their sound in exciting new directions.

Composed of Kashikura Takashi on drums, Mino Takaaki on guitar, Yamane Satoshi on bass guitar, and Yamazaki Hirokazu on guitar. toe has formally played with this line-up since the band’s inception in 2000.

The vast majority of their music is instrumental and features the swift and acute drumming of Takashi. The band is also known for its melodic, clean guitar settings. Additionally, the compositions have repetition from typical rock motifs, but use very subtle changes in beat and rhythm to form a unique sound. The band has changed their sound over their musical tenure by incorporating acoustic guitars, rhodes piano, and vibraphones in their most recent releases.

toe tours regularly in Japan, and can most notably be compared to acts such as Pele and The Album Leaf.

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Infinity Girl release new album Harm on August 28

Album release: Harm by Infinity Girl
Release date: 28 August 2015
Label: Topself Records
More info: www.topshelfrecords.com

Brooklyn, NY's Infinity Girl have signed with Topshelf Records and will release their sophomore LP, 'Harm' on August 28. A track titled "Firehead" is now premiering on Stereogum.

A dollar from every pre order of the album will be donated to the Direct Relief Network in Nepal. Additionally, all pre-orders will include an Infinity Girl button as an extra thank you for pre-ordering.

Forged in the crucible of the Boston underground and now based in Brooklyn, New York, Infinity Girl is a four-piece American guitar band. The act emerged in 2012 with a startlingly whole and reverent shoegaze sound on its debut full length, 'Stop Being On My Side,' a set that was equal parts haunting melody and ear-bleeding power. An EP, 'Just Like Lovers,' followed in late 2012 and again propounded Infinity Girl's refreshing proclivity for bending classic song forms toward its will to experiment.

More recently the band has taken its music to a darker and more dynamic place informed by both classic post-punk sounds and an increasingly formidable ability to meld noise and hooks in exciting, surprising ways.

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The Velvet Teen to release new album All Is Illusory

Album release: All Is Illusory by The Velvet Teen
Release date:  30 June 2015
Label: Topshelf

More Info: www.thevelvetteen.com

Topshelf Records and Sonoma Country, CA-based indie-rock band The Velvet Teen are proud to announce the release of the band’s forthcoming album titled 'All Is Illusory'. Being released on Tuesday, June 30, 'All Is Illusory' marks the band’s fourth album and is the long-awaited and elegant follow-up to 2006’s Cum Laude! that was recorded and co-produced by Steve Choi (Rx Bandits, Peace'd Out) and Roger Camero (No Motiv, Peace'd Out). From its gorgeous, swirling electronics to its harder, angular, ‘90s-leaning flourishes of grunge, indie and emo, 'All Is Illusory' is a welcome return for a band whose varied influences are still very much intact after its short silence.

Since its inception in late 1999, The Velvet Teen have travelled the world and challenged the very concept of genre with its eclectic and at times schizophrenic appeal. From the early EPs which showed prowess in the pop realm, to the dynamic indie jangle of its Chris Walla (Death Cab For Cutie)-produced debut, Out of the Fierce Parade, to the romantic strings and quietly political lyrics of Elysium, to the sexually charged whip-it beats of Cum Laude! and No Star EP, The Velvet Teen truly has a talent for seducing the masses into a cult-like state, before promptly leaving the faithless with nothing but a Kool-Aid aftertaste. The believers, however, will vouch that the experience is well worth the risk.

The Velvet Teen officially made its debut in a brief Icelandic tour in the debatedly millennial new year, finding founding member Judah Nagler accompanied by electronic arrangements programmed on a portable sequencer. After returning home, Nagler teamed up with former bandmate Logan Whitehurst, and together they recorded the first EP under the moniker. Josh Staples soon joined the group, and the trio recorded a wealth of material while touring North America, Canada and Japan until late 2004 when Whitehurst was diagnosed with brain cancer. Whitehurst would sadly pass from the disease in 2006. Casey Deitz filled in for Whitehurst and later joined the group permanently to help extend the band’s reach to Europe and record Cum Laude! (2006).

The present day finds The Velvet Teen signed to the San Diego, CA-based powerhouse independent label Topshelf Records (Braid, The Jazz June) and preparing for the release of 'All Is Illusory', its newest material that is a culmination of its history and a body of work that represents where its members currently are, creatively. 

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Heartless Bastards to release new album on 15 June

Heartless Bastards

Album release: "Restless Ones" by Heartless Bastards
Release date: 15 June 2015
Label: Partisan Records
More information / listen on: Heartless Bastards website

Heartless Bastards have spent the past decade in motion, boldly pushing their unique brand of rock ‘n’ roll into new shapes over four acclaimed albums and nearly non-stop roadwork. Now, with "Restless Ones", the band sets out once again, blazing a path to a place of shifting moods, seasoned songcraft, and unbridled spontaneity. Heartless Bastards’ fifth studio recording and follow-up to 2012’s breakthrough "Arrow", the album finds singer/songwriter Erika Wennerstrom exploring as-yet-unvisited avenues of sound and sensation, her bravery and ambition readily apparent in the emotional timbre and the sheer physicality of her songs. “Wind Up Bird” and “Into The Light” are straightforward yet stunningly sophisticated, shot through with layered guitars, atmospheric harmonies, hints of synth, and a powerhouse rhythm section adept at both subtle swing and heavy horsepower. Wennerstrom’s spellbinding vocals are of course front and center, her one-of-a-kind voice as primal, cathartic, and indefinable as ever.

“We took a lot of chances,” Wennerstrom says, “taking the sounds in different directions in order to grow. I don't ever want to make the same album twice.” 

Now based in Austin, the band’s current incarnation – that is, guitarist Mark Nathan, bassist Jesse Ebaugh, and drummer Dave Colvin – united in 2009, touring Heartless Bastards’ acclaimed third album, "The Mountain", before hitting the studio to record "Arrow". 

"Arrow" proved popular success, earning Heartless Bastards’ top album and track sales to date, fueled by multi-format rock radio airplay across the land, high-profile placements on a wide range of highly rated network programming, rave reviews in the likes of Rolling Stone, NPR, Entertainment Weekly, and show-stopping performances on such TV shows as NBC’s Friday Night Lights, CBS’ Late Show with David Letterman, TBS’ Conan, and ABC’s Jimmy Kimmel Live! The band celebrated with furious roadwork, including sold out headline tours and memorable appearances at such famed festivals as Bonnaroo Music & Arts Festival, Lollapalooza, Pickathon, Hangout Music Festival, Summerfest, Wakarusa Music Festival, Firefly Music Festival, and Austin’s own ACL Music Festival and Fun Fun Fun Fest. 

Having spent the better part of two years on tour, summer 2014 saw Heartless Bastards humming on all cylinders and ready to commence work on their next record. Wennerstrom began honing in on the myriad ideas she had accumulated, developing melodies and arrangements though not yet committing lyrics to paper. She experimented with vowel and consonant noises, toying with untested sounds and instrumentation. 

GRAMMY® Award-winning producer John Congleton (St. Vincent, Angel Olsen, Swans) was tasked with corralling Heartless Bastards’ collective energy. The band made significant inroads during pre-production sessions, tightening songs and structures but still leaving things open to chance.  

“John came down to Austin and sat in with us for a couple of days,” says Nathan. “That was really great – it was important to get an outside ear and it helped make the process more concise. I’ve never seen anybody get sounds as good and as quickly as he does.” 

“These songs are about what’s happening now,” Colvin says, “about not looking too far ahead or back. John is a real decisive person, which is great for us as players. He helped us to capture the moment and not worry about it.” 

"Restless Ones" was tracked in August 2014 during a 10-day session at El Paso’s renowned Sonic Ranch. Located on 2,300 acres of pecan orchards bordering the Rio Grande and Mexico, the studio – the largest residential recording complex in the world – provided the perfect setting, miles away from all real world responsibilities and thus able to fully invest themselves in the act of creation.

“When you record in the city you all live in, it’s easy for people to just come in and out of the studio,” Wennerstrom says, “so vocals and guitar parts and overdubs are often recorded without anyone else hearing them. Recording at Sonic Ranch was a way for everyone in the band to experience the creative process and to be able to offer opinions in real time.” 

The band put their back into the project as one, living together, dining together, always alert to their mission. The communal nature and concentrated schedule of the Sonic Ranch sessions proved an intense but inspirational combination. 

“There was no break from the process,” says Nathan. “In some ways, it made the good things better and the bad things worse, but looking back, it was a different experience and I’m glad we did it.”

“Sonic Ranch attracts talent from all over the Americas,” Ebaugh says. “We met people from Chile, Argentina, Mexico City. It helps you contextualize your own work to be shoulder to shoulder with other artists from backgrounds so different from your own. It makes you think twice as hard about what you are saying, about your life, and your background artistically.”

The sessions were marked by Heartless Bastards’ openness to the unfamiliar, allowing previously untapped influences – from The Byrds and Syd Barrett to the Faces and the Flaming Lips – to take root in their own distinctive blues-powered rock ‘n’ roll. “Wind Up Bird” is given texture and psychedelic lift via a visit from keyboardist John Baggott (Robert Plant’s Sensational Space Shifters, Portishead, Massive Attack), while the album-closing “Tristessa” was born of Wennerstrom’s home experiments with guitar loops but then grown by the band into a deeply devotional drone.

 “We started with sketches and ideas of directions,” Ebaugh says, “but allowed the process of discovery to guide the finalization. It allowed us to think about the songs more globally and really flesh them out.”

“There were some happy accidents,” Colvin says. “Things that were completely organic, that could’ve only happened in that moment. Things are still shifting, nothing’s set in stone.”

Where some tracks were built from the ground up, others were completely upended. First recorded for the soundtrack to 2013’s acclaimed "Winter In The Blood", “Hi-Line” was broken down and retooled from front porch folk to Fleetwood Mac-inspired country pop unlike anything in Heartless Bastards’ prior canon.

“‘Eastern Wind’ provided a bit of a road map for the record,” she says. “It’s a song of wanderlust. Writing words is always a real challenge for me, so I end up taking off in my car and roaming around by myself looking for inspiration. I think in doing that I’m taking myself out of my comfort zone. I turn my world upside down over and over and start anew. 

Further insight came from such literary touchstones as Haruki Murakami (“Wind Up Bird”), Jack Kerouac (“Tristessa”), and the late photojournalist/artist/activist Dan Eldon, whose Be Here Now philosophy is at the very heart of "Restless Ones."

“I love the idea of ‘The Journey Is The Destination,’” she says, referencing Eldon’s most famous work. “Not looking too far ahead and really focusing on the present. I've tended to look so forward that I forget to stop and smell the roses. The process of working towards the things you want in your life is more important than the goal itself.”

“As always, Erika’s lyrical honesty informs the behavior of the whole project,” says Ebaugh. “There comes a time in an artist's trajectory when you realize that your entire life experience is expressed through the work, so you better be able to relax and let the work reflect the experience that is yours.”

"Restless Ones" was finished in the fall with two mixing sessions at Congleton’s Elmwood Recording in Dallas. Heartless Bastards’ next challenge is bringing the album’s studio-crafted songs to the stage.  “It’ll be fun to chuck it all at the wall and let the collective experience of band/audience dictate the conversation of the music,” Ebaugh says.  “That's the mission ultimately: rock ‘n’ roll communion.”   

Rich with purpose, passion, and commanding musicianship, "Restless Ones" captures an idiosyncratic band exploring their craft and soul in an effort to reach a place that’s both true and transcendent. Heartless Bastards continue to drive their monumental music ever forward, towards hidden vistas and horizons still unseen.

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Rush release their 14 Mercury albums in 2015

Alum Release: Rush
Release Date: 2015
Label: Mercury

Call it 12 months of Rush as Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees ready their 14 Mercury albums for release in 2015. 

All titles will be reissued on high-quality vinyl with a download card for Digital Audio version, high resolution Digital Audio releases, while three titles will also be released on Blu-ray Pure Audio 

Los Angeles, CA – December 11, 2014 – With the release of multi-platinum Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees Rush’s self-titled 1974 debut this past April, Universal Music Enterprises (UMe) kicked off its own celebration of the legendary Canadian prog-rock band’s 40th anniversary since that first album. In 2015, vocalist/bassist/keyboardist Geddy Lee, guitarist Alex Lifeson and drummer Neil Peart, who joined the band in July, 1974, shortly after the release of that first album and two weeks before the group’s inaugural U.S. tour, will see the reissue of the remaining 14 albums in their Mercury catalog in chronological order, starting with Fly By Night, which will be available in high-quality vinyl with a download code for a 320kbps MP4 vinyl ripped Digital Audio album download; high resolution Digital Audio editions in DSD (2.8mHz), 192khz / 24-bit, 96kHz / 24-bit; and an additional Blu-Ray Pure Audio version with 96kHz / 24-bit 5.1 surround sound and stereo, on January 27. A Farewell to Kings and Signals are the other two albums which will be reissued in Blu-Ray Pure Audio. 

The remaining 13 titles will be released one or two a month through the end of the year. The band performed at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony in April, 2013 at L.A.’s Nokia Theater after receiving a loving, humorous induction speech by super-fans Dave Grohl and Taylor Hawkins, who joined the group on-stage before a crowd of boisterous Rush supporters. “When the f**k did Rush become cool?” wondered Grohl, while recounting his own history as a rabid fan. “They broke all the rules,” added Hawkins. “And isn’t that rock ‘n’ roll?”  

January 26: "Fly by Night" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio / Blu-Ray Audio): The 1975 release of Fly By Night was the first to feature drummer Neil Peart, who also became the band’s lyricist. The singles included the title track and “Making Memories.” Fly By Night reached #113 on the Billboard chart, going platinum in both the U.S. and Canada. 

February: "Caress of Steel" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio): The second album to be released in 1975, the band’s third release marked their emergence into more hard prog-rock styles as opposed to the blues-based style of the group’s first two albums. Singles included “The Necromancer: Return of the Prince” and “Lakeside Park.” Although the album peaked at #148 on the Billboard charts, it has since gone gold in both the U.S. and Canada.  

March: "2112" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio): The group’s fourth album, first released in 1976, proved a breakthrough, highlighted by its seven-part title suite written by Lee and Lifeson, with lyrics by Peart, recounting a dystopian story set in the year 2112. It came in at #2 on Rolling Stone’s list of “Your Favorite Prog Rock Albums of All Time.”  Most Rush fans consider it the band’s definitive recording, as the album sold 3 million in the U.S., going triple-platinum.  

"All the World’s a Stage" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio): This 1976 double-live album was recorded at Toronto’s Massey Hall June 11-13, during the band’s 2112 tour, with the title a nod to William Shakespeare.  The record climbed to #40 on the U.S. Billboard chart, and going platinum in the States and Canada. 

April: "A Farewell to Kings" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio / Blu-Ray Audio): This 1977 release, the band’s fifth studio album, was recorded at Rockfield Studios in Wales and mixed in London’s Advision Studios. It became the band’s first U.S. gold-selling album within two months of release, and went platinum. The singles included “Closer to the Heart” and “Cinderella Man,” while the album peaked at #33 on the Billboard 200 and #22 on the U.K. album charts.    

May: "Hemispheres" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio): Another favorite of true Rush fans, this sixth studio album, released in 1978, once more explored fantasy and science fiction themes in Neil Peart’s lyrics. The final track, the ambitious nine-and-a-half minute “La Villa Strangiato,” was the band’s first instrumental  The album peaked at #47 on the Billboard charts, and was the group’s fourth consecutive gold album in the U.S., featuring the singles “The Trees” and “Circumstances.” 

June:  "Permanent Waves" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio): The seventh studio album was released on January 1, 1980, and recorded at Le Studio in Quebec, becoming the first U.S. album to go Top Five, peaking at #4 on the Billboard charts.  The effort marked a transition from the band’s long, conceptual pieces into a more accessible, radio-friendly style on such rock airplay hits as “The Spirit of Radio” and “Freewill,” with the album going platinum.  

July: "Moving Pictures" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio):  Rush’s eighth studio album, released in February, 1981, also turned out to be their biggest-selling in the U.S., rising to #3 on the Billboard charts (and #1 in Canada), as one of the first discs to receive the RIAA’s first-ever multi-platinum designation, scoring 4 million sales to date in the U.S. on the strength of classics like  “Limelight,” “Tom Sawyer” and “Vital Signs.” 

"Exit… Stage Left" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio):  Released in August, 1981, this live album was recorded during the Moving Pictures tour at the Montreal Forum and in Glasgow Scotland, peaking in the Top 10 of the Billboard charts, buoyed by live versions of “Close to the Heart,” “Tom Sawyer” and “A Passage to Bangkok.”    

August: "Signals" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio / Blu-ray Audio): This September, 1982, release marked the band’s increase use of electronic instrumentation, especially sequencers and electric violin (played by Ben Mink), peaking at #10 on the Billboard charts and eventually going platinum. A total of five singles were released from the album, including “Subdivisions,” which became a live staple of their concerts, along with “New World Man,” “The Analog Kid,” “The Weapon” and “Countdown.”  

September: "Grace Under Pressure" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio): Released in April, 1984, the band’s tenth studio album reached #10 on the Billboard chart and went platinum. Alex Lifeson called it “the most satisfying of all our records.” It was the first album they recorded without long-time producer Terry Brown, eventually producing it themselves.  The song’s themes were influenced by the growing tensions in the Cold War. The music itself continued the presence of synthesizers introduced on Signals, as well as incorporating elements of ska and reggae into their sound. Singles included “Distant Early Warning,” “The Body Electric,” “Red Sector A:” and “Afterimage.”  

October: "Power Windows" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio): This 1985 release was Rush’s 11th studio album, and the first time they worked with producer Peter Collins, who recorded the album at The Manor in the U.K., George Martin’s AIR Studios in Montserrat and Sarm East Studios in London. It was also the group’s first CD release. More keyboards and synths were introduced into the sound, with “The Big Money” and “Mystic Rhythms” made into videos for MTV. The album once more hit #10 on the Billboard 200 and eventually sold a million copies, earning platinum status. Other singles included “Territories,” “Manhattan Project” and “Marathon,” the latter two topping the U.S. Mainstream Rock airplay charts at #10 and #6, respectively. 

November: "Hold Your Fire" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio): Released in September, 1987, Rush’s 12th studio album continues the band’s commitment to exploring new songwriting territory, with Aimee Mann contributing vocals to “Open Secrets” and “Time Stand Still,” appearing in the video for the latter. The album debuted at #13 on Billboard and eventually went gold. The other singles included “Force Ten” (#3 U.S. Mainstream Rock), “Lock and Key (#16 U.S. Mainstream Rock) and “Prime Mover.”  

December: "A Show of Hands" (Vinyl+Download Code / High Res Digital Audio): The band’s third live album was released January, 1989, recorded while on tour in Birmingham, U.K., New Orleans, Phoenix and San Diego during the 1988 Hold Your Fire tour, as well as in the Meadowlands in New Jersey during the 1986 Power Windows tour. The opening track “intro” features the Three Stooges theme song, “Three Blind Mice,” a song the band used to open many of their concerts during the ‘80s. That same year, the group released a video of the same name on VHS and Laserdisc featuring the Birmingham show, while a DVD version was included as part of a 2006 box set and as a stand-alone the following year.  The album reached #21 in Billboard, going gold, with the singles including “Closer to the Heart” and 12” promos of “Mission” and “Marathon.”

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The Complete American Recordings of Johnny Cash

Album release: Complete American Recordings by Johnny Cash
Release date: 11 May 2015
Label: USM

USM are proud to present the Johnny Cash American Recordings LP boxed set, a classic black box housing all studio albums released between 1994 and 2010 on 180gm vinyl. 

American Recordings is the 81st album by the country singer Johnny Cash after he was approached by producer Rick Rubin and offered a contract with Rubin's American Recordings label, better known for rap and heavy metal than for country music. Under Rubin's supervision, he recorded the album in his living room, accompanied only by his guitar.  His successful collaboration with Rick Rubin was in part due to Rubin seeking a minimalist sound for his songs. The album was hailed by critics and many declared it to be Cash's finest album since the late 1960s, while his versions of songs by more modern artists such as Tom Waits and Glenn Danzig helped to bring him a new audience. 

American Recordings received a Grammy for Best Contemporary Folk Album of the Year at the 1994 Grammy Awards.  In 2003, the album was ranked number 364 on Rolling Stone magazine's list of the 500 greatest albums of all time. Unchained is the second album in Johnny Cash's American Recording series and contains songs by Tom Petty ("Southern Accents"), Soundgarden ("Rusty Cage") and Beck ("Rowboat"). Unchained received a Grammy for Best Country Album and Cash was nominated for Best Male Country Vocal Performance for his version of “Rusty Cage”. American III: Solitary Man was notable for being Cash's highest charting solo studio LP since his 1976 One Piece at a Time. Between Unchained and Solitary Man, Cash's health declined due to various ailments, and he was even hospitalised for pneumonia. 

American IV: The Man Comes Around is the fourth album in the American series by Johnny Cash and his 87th overall, released in 2002.  This is the last album released before his death in 2003.  The majority of songs are covers which Cash performs in his own sparse style, with help from producer Rick Rubin. For the song "Personal Jesus", Rubin asked then-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante to re-work an acoustic version, which featured a simple acoustic riff that stripped down the song to a blues style. 

American V: A Hundred Highways is the 93rd overall album and a posthumous title by Johnny Cash released on July 4, 2006.  The liner notes of “Unearthed”, a box set composed of outtakes from the first four entries into the series, claim "around 50" songs were recorded during the American V sessions before Cash's death on September 12, 2003.  However, only two albums worth of material were released, including American VI: Ain't No Grave, which was released in February 2010. 

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