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The Murder Capital UK tour starts 31 January 2019

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Tour announcement: The Murder Capital
Tour dates: January / February 2019
Label: Human Season
More info: Band website

The Murder Capital ended 2018 as that rare thing: a band tipped from all corners without having released a single song. In an age where people and bands overshare by default, The Murder Capital have been doing the opposite. If you wanted to know about The Murder Capital, you had to get to a show and see for yourself. That’s if you could get in. Based on the caustic strength of one live recording of ‘More Is Less’, which went viral on YouTube (watch), and feverish word of mouth from those who have been lucky enough to attend these early gigs, The Murder Capital have built a formidable reputation. In just over a year, they’ve sold out shows in their hometown of Dublin (to 400 people), played with Slaves, Shame and fellow countrymen Fontaines DC and seen the likes of the NME, Loud & Quiet, Dork and DIY back them already – with The Irish Times calling them out as Ireland’s best new rock band.

With ‘Feeling Fades’ the band fulfill their early promise – delivering a brooding, propulsive slice of post-punk recorded with Flood (PJ Harvey, Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, Foals). In one of their rare interviews so far, the band have stated they are driven by the genuine desire to affect cultural change, and when front-man James McGovern repeats the lyric “the now elapsed ‘round you and me, and it kept us all together” on this, their debut single, you start to believe that they’re capable of achieving just that.

Stream debut single ‘Feeling Fades’ here.

Watch ‘More Is Less’ (Live session) here.

The Murder Capital will tour the UK in January and February:

31st January – Liverpool – EBGB’s

1st February – Cardiff – Club Ifor Bach

2nd February – London – The Shacklewell Arms

3rd February – Brighton – The Prince Albert

5th February – Birmingham - The Sunflower Lounge

6th February – Newcastle – Think Tank? Underground

7th February – Glasgow – The Poetry Club

8th February – Edinburgh – Sneaky Pete’s

They will also support IDLES at the band’s sold out show at The Electric Ballroom on 6th April.

“Murder Capital are one of those most oddly entertaining prospects – a punk band that can truly instill can’t-look-away levels of captivation.” - NME

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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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Swazi Gold new single out now

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Single release: 'Disco' by Swazi Gold
Release date: Out now
Label: Research Records
More info: Band website

Formed by the chief songwriters from Melbourne bands Crepes, Dreamin' Wild and Sagamore, Swazi Gold brings old friends together. Chris Jennings and Sam Cooper grew up in the Victorian coastal towns of Barwon Heads and Ocean Grove, while Tim Karmouche was an inland man, hailing from Ballarat in the state’s north-west.

It’s this togetherness that’s at the heart of Swazi Gold’s debut album, 'Jehovah’s Whispers', out on 1st March 2019 via research records. There are six songs, two created by each member; through true collaboration and participation. Nothin’ but a democracy there.

The first single from the album is 'Disco', written by Jennings. He says the song is about, “moving to Melbourne and seeing how we’ve all changed. We’ve all come from these bands that were heavily influenced by the coast and were our hometowns. They’ve changed a lot. We’ve kind of stopped being from the coast,” he says.

Listen to Disco here.

Driven by a sassy disco beat, the song name-checks towns dotted along Victoria’s western coastline. These places, like Leopold, Portarlington, Bellbrae and Torquay, are the former homes of Swazi Gold. The final places, and indeed the final words uttered in the song, are better known international hubs—like Barcelona, London and Berlin—suggesting the mainstreaming of worlds in moving to the big smoke.

On 'Disco' and 'Jehovah’s Whispers', Swazi Gold draw on their collective love of Nigerian funk, American electronics, and quirky, melody-driven pop music to explore the spaces between conventional genres. Artists ranging from the likes of Haruomi Hosono and William Onyeabor to JJ Cale and Harry Nilsson form the reference points that the give light to the band's creative spark.

‘Jehovah’s Whispers’ was recorded in a single weekend in 2017 at the Cooper’s family home in Ocean Grove, and captures the deep friendship between the three members.

Lyrically, the remaining five songs address a range of themes, from the realisation of personal limitations to seeing a thriving country town fade to nothingness. There’s also a brooding one in there for anyone who’s ever been ripped off.

'Jehovah’s Whispers' proves the whole is greater than the sum of its parts. And in amidst the love and equality, Swazi Gold’s debut album still packs a punch.

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Silverbacks new single out now

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Single release: ‘Just In The Band’ by Silverbacks
Release date: Out now
Label: PK Miami Records
More info: Band website

Dublin art-punks Silverbacks are storming back into action in 2019 with their new single ‘Just In The Band’ premiering at Stereogum, produced by Girl Band’s Daniel Fox and released through their own PK Miami Records.

Irish art punks Silverbacks delve into themes of false idolatry and deeper connection in their latest track ‘Just In The Band’ out Friday November 23rd on PK Miami.

Produced by Daniel Fox from fellow Dubliners Girl Band, 'Just In The Band' carries the same nagging unease as previous single 'Dunkirk' with taut drums and unrelenting bass underpinning seasick guitar arps and Daniel O’Kelly’s blunt commentary on the ‘problems down the back’. Feedback soaked and frazzled, it sees the band step further away from their indie roots and more into the groove - if the groove covered itself in petrol and dared you to light the match.

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

Upcoming Irish shows:

  • December 1st: Other Voices 2018, Dingle (Hennessy Music Trail)

  • December 8th: Whelans, Dublin

The video for previous single 'Dunkirk' was created by Cameron Taylor, a childhood friend of the band's brothers Kilian and Daniel O'Kelly, who has done all of Silverbacks' artwork to date, and is "an important part of [their] direction." His video for 'Dunkirk' delves into their shared past: "The last scene in the music video features a typically grey and flat Flanders landscape where the three of us grew up. The estates in which we lived were once battlefields in the First and Second World War which isn’t too far off the idea of a beach resort in Dunkirk."

Dunkirk by Dublin band Silverbacks video on YouTube

Press reaction

"...infectious and breakneck" - Stereogum

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

"...jagged-yet-slick …modern post-punk" - The 405

"...another promising installment in Silverbacks’ early output, a suggestion that their forthcoming album will be an overdriven display of gratifyingly dense guitars and vocal hooks alike" - Stereogum

"...a crashing melodic chorus, kinetic drum fills, and tasty licks that would do Tom Verlaine proud" - Hot Press

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Hajk new single out now

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Single release: 'Keep Telling Myself' by Hajk
Release date: out now
Label: Jansen
More info: Band website

Today, Hajk have shared a brand new single entitled 'Keep Telling Myself' which has been described by DIY as "shimmering, woozy pop goodness".

The band's Preben Sælid Andersen has said that 'Keep Telling Myself' is, "actually a pretty dark song about trying to convince yourself that love still exists – not just between two people, but in general. This is also a sonic leap for us, containing a variety of sounds that we really enjoyed exploring."

Listen to 'Keep Telling Myself'

Pre-order album 'Drama'

'Keep Telling Myself' is the latest single to be released from newly announced album 'Drama', the first track 'Dancing Like This' can be heard below:

Listen to 'Dancing Like This'

Listen to debut single 'Magazine'

'Drama' – of the interpersonal kind – that’s what Hajk have turned their focus to. The band burst onto the scene with their self-titled debut album last year, garnering support around the world as well as making a name for themselves in their home country of Norway. Now, the highly anticipated follow-up 'Drama' has been announced for February 2019 – a record that both pulls at the heartstrings and urges you to dance away your sorrows. Lead single and first taste of what is to come arrives in the form of the bubblegum-flavoured new cut, 'Dancing Like This'. It's a lyrically melancholy and wide-eyed love song, with an addictive melody that looks to sugarcoat your tears.

Hajk’s 2017 debut received praise from the likes of Astrid S, Sigrid and Kimbra, as well as actress and model, Chloë Grace Moretz. International acclaim came in waves from Noisey, Stereogum, The Line of Best Fit, Drowned In Sound, V Magazine, The Independent, Indie Shuffle, and more, noting their idiosyncratic, yet supremely catchy pop tunes, while likening them to everything from Fleetwood Mac and Aztec Camera to Dirty Projectors and Little Dragon.

With their second album, 'Drama', a more self-assured band reveals themselves. Sharpened by more studio experience, they have once again produced the record themselves, taking extreme care over every second and minute detail of their work. Blending analogue and digital sounds, switching between programmed arrangements and live takes from the studio, drawing on three lead vocalists and an assortment of guest musicians, Hajk conjured up whatever was necessary to fulfill their creative vision.

The title 'Drama' relates to the drama of humanity and a somewhat naïve yearning for love in a world in which love can sometimes seem in scarce supply.

'Drama' is due for release on February 15th via Jansen Records.

PREVIOUS PRAISE FOR HAJK

"...shimmering, woozy pop goodness" - DIY Magazine

"This new Oslo-based band will make you feel so very fine" - Noisey

"The soaring vocals of Feist with the erratic percussion of Dirty Projectors" - V Magazine

Ones To Watch at The Guardian

"Hajk has delivered one of the best debuts of the year" - The Line Of Best Fit

"Crisp, clear, and smooth... street-ready guitar-pop" - Stereogum

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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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Jaws new single out now

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Single release: ‘Driving At Night’ by JAWS
Release date: Out now
More info: Band website

Birmingham dream-pop trio JAWS return today with the announce of their third and most ambitious album yet, ‘The Ceiling’, out April 5th 2019. Recording again with Gethin Pearson, who also produced 2016's "Simplicity", the album represents another musical leap forward for the band, adding new textures and further honing a sound that has been theirs since their inception.

You can watch the video (directed by Morgan Tedd) for the album opener and propulsive lead single ‘Driving At Night’ HERE.

Front man and guitarist Connor Schofield has the following to say about the new album and single:

“Lyrically ‘The Ceiling’ is generally about feeling a bit lost, I think as you grow up everything feels like its moving along a lot quicker; friends, relationships, life can all seem to move at 100 mph. Sometimes we forget that its OK to stand still for a bit sometimes and actually breathe. A lot of these songs are about dealing with that. Musically I think we’ve surprised even ourselves with it, we’ve gone down paths we haven’t taken before and ended up with something we’re really very excited about.”

“‘Driving at Nigh't’ follows the general theme of the record. I wrote it while thinking a lot about my hometown of Birmingham and I think it sets the tone perfectly for the rest of the record.”

Drummer Eddy Geach also said, "Basically that there's some things on there that people might not expect. Some that even took us by surprise, but also, classic jaws vibes."

As well as the new album, JAWS also announce a UK tour for April.

"The Ceiling" is due out 5th April 2019 - Pre-order HERE.

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YOWL new single out now

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Single release: 'John the Collector' by YOWL
Release date: Out now
More info: Band Facebook

Today, Peckham five-piece YOWL have announced their new single 'John the Collector'. The single follows the release of YOWL's third single for ‘Warm (In The Soft White Fire Of Modern Living)’ and is being released with DIY for Jäger Curtain Call ahead of their headline show, which will be taking place on 15th November at The Lexington, London (with support from Sister Talk and Lumer) - Tickets available here.

The single was recorded at London’s Tileyard Education Studios and you can see a video of YOWL in the studio here via DIY. Speaking about the single, singer Gabriel Byrde says: “It’s a loose delve into the male psyche. It’s about a guy who tries to open up a little more and realises the only way he can do that is to murder his friends and stick their faces onto his walls so he has someone to talk to at all times.”

Listen to 'John the Collector' here.

Following Jäger Curtain Call the band have two more shows lined up for 2018 including a show at Rough Trade Bristol on 8th December alongside Hotel Lux, Squid and more, as well as a sold-out end of year IDLES AF Gang Xmas party at Record Junkee in Sheffield on 15th December with John, Heavy Lungs and an IDLES DJ set from Joe Talbot.

'John The Collector' serves as a taster for what's to come from the YOWL in 2019 - Further details TBA

With an EP and three singles behind them YOWL have earned some impressive critical acclaim from the likes of NME, DIY, Clash, The Line Of Best Fit, AnOther, Loud & Quiet, So Young, The Most Radicalist and more. Following the release of 2016's Before The Sleep Sets In EP YOWL released debut single 'My Headache Likes To Speak' in May 2017. Across its noir-laden four minutes, the band marry gnarled razor-wire guitars and a swaggering rhythm section with the sick croon of vocalist Gabriel Byrde. 'My Headache Likes To Speak’ was the second release from London's Big Score imprint, after recently putting out material from Bristol's LICE. The label comes from the minds behind Golden Arm who have watched over the likes of HMLTD, Goat Girl, and The Big Moon.

Nobody’s happy putting up with poor job prospects and a city pricing out the poorest, but the Peckham-formed YOWL capture a frustration of the 9-to-5 London grind like few others. And in frontman Gabriel Byrde, they have someone who can spin poetry on songs about alienation and exhaustion. YOWL are often viciously loud, but Byrde’s fanciful delivery gives them an edge.

Previous praise for YOWL

“YOWL take the mundane and make it sound like a never-ending thrill" – NME

"Cool as hell, a completely natural, unforced slice of post-punk noir reminiscent of everyone from The Fall to Wire to The Birthday Party while retaining its own individual path." – CLASH

"ravaged, poetic and pissed-off rock." – DIY

"The Peckham five-piece perfectly capture anger, cynicism and hilarity in one fell swoop." – THE LINE OF BEST FIT

“YOWL are a band who make Peckham sound like New York City 2002” – LOUD & QUIET

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Foxwarren new single out now

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Single release : ‘To Be’ by Foxwarren
Release date: Out now
Label: Anti-Records
More info: Band website

As college friends, Foxwarren - Andy Shauf (guitars/keys/vocals) and his childhood friends Dallas Bryson (guitar/vocals) and brothers Darryl Kissick (bass) and Avery Kissick (drums & percussion) - initially bonded over Pedro the Lion and drew influence from The Band and Paul Simon.

‘To Be’ was one of the first songs written for the project – listen to it here.

“We tinkered with it for ages and ended up drastically reworking it the weekend it was recorded, but we knew early on that it was going to be the opening song on the record,” Darryl said.

“It was a guitar riff that I'd been playing for a few years at least, trying to figure out what to do with it,” adds Shauf. “It went through quite a few versions if I remember correctly. Foxwarren have a bad habit of never finishing vocal melodies and lyrics before we finish the music, so it made it a bit tricky and ended up being overhauled at the last minute.”

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.

The four-piece previously 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.”

Now a decade into the project of Foxwarren, 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.”

Foxwarren video ‘Everything Apart’ on YouTube

"...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

"Expect his voice to be by your side for years to come." - DIY Mag

"...a gleaming eye for detail and a kind of subliminal richness that seems to bring a golden light to whatever situation you find yourself listening to it in." - Gold Flake Paint

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Fontaines D.C new single out 21 December 2019

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Single release: ‘Too Real’ by Fontaines D.C
Release date: 21 December 2019
Label: Partisan Records
More info: Band website

Following their recent signing to Partisan Records and the announcement of their support slot on both the forthcoming Shame tour in the UK and Ireland, and next year’s IDLES tour in the US, Dublin’s Fontaines D.C. have now shared a video for their new single ‘Too Real’. The single was premiered by Steve Lamacq on BBC 6 Music who called it "poetic and powerful".

Watch the video for ‘Too Real’ here.

Speaking about the visuals in the new accompanying video, director Hugh Mulhern, says it is made up of "low-brow visuals inspired by Buster Keaton, James Joyce, The Dubliners and Jim Henson to discuss high- brow ramblings of some stout swilling stereotypes.”

The band will be releasing the single on a double A-side single including ‘Too Real’ and ‘The Cuckoo Is A Callin’’. The single will be released on 21st Dec and can be pre-ordered here.

Fontaines D.C. met as a quintet in Dublin, influenced and driven in equal measure by the rich history of their hometown’s counter-culture, their response has been to make concise and immediately authentic post-punk, channeling often-unassumingly poetic lyrics with a distinctive gritty Irish brogue that has done anything but fall on deaf ears.

The last year has seen Fontaines D.C. release three hotly received double A-side singles, all of which were named as singles of the week by Rough Trade, and garnered early support from the likes of Steve Lamacq and others on BBC 6 Music where they have previously been b-listed with their latest single ‘Chequeless Reckless’ (self-released) for 4 weeks, presented 6 Music Recommends and played live in session. Similarly, they have also earned plaudits from DIY, Dork, Stereogum, KEXP, Fred Perry Subculture, London in Stereo, So Young and every major Irish publication. The band have also played a number of sold-out shows across Europe, Ireland and the UK earning a reputation for their brooding and trenchant live performances, supporting the likes of IDLES, Metz, The Horrors, Girl Band and The Lemon Twigs, as well as playing festival slots at Primavera Pro, The Great Escape, Dot to Dot, Electric Picnic, London Calling, Hard Working Class Heroes and Simple Things Festival.

This month the band will be embarking on a full UK/IRE tour with Shame and in December will play a short series of headline dates, which have already begun to sell out. They have also announced further European and UK tour dates as well as main support on the IDLES US tour and a SXSW appearance for 2019 - Full dates can be seen here.

Fontaines D.C. have gone from strength-to-strength with each release, and with a vast array of critical acclaim, renowned live shows, a series of sold out releases behind them and their recent signing to Partisan, the new single and forthcoming dates stand as a huge statement of intent, which is not to be ignored.

The band entered the studio this autumn to record their highly anticipated debut album with estimable producer, Dan Carey (Kate Tempest, Bloc Party, Bat For Lashes, Black Midi, TOY, Goat Girl and more) - More details to be announced.

Previous praise for Fontaines D.C

"The best encapsulation yet of that surrealist, lyrical approach to noisy punk." - NME

"With one foot in the shambolic anarchy of The Pogues, and the other in a Las-esque lilt, Fontaines D.C are messy but melodic in the best way possible" - DIY

“Ireland’s latest greatest export” - DORK

“"Snarling, Swaggering Post Punk” - STEREOGUM

"I've played this about 15 times since yesterday. It's a little bit like hearing Idles for the first time. I really think there's something here" - STEVE LAMACQ

“The energy, the urgency and the emotion of these brilliant new songs made me stand up and take notice that this is the band I've been waiting for” - KEXP

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Paul Smith tour dates November 2018

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Tour announcement: Paul Smith
Tour dates: November / December 2018
More info: Artist website

Paul Smith's new solo album Diagrams is out now, and already riding a wave of positive reviews, including being made BBC 6 Music’s Album of The Day. 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 gave songs from the album their first live airing at a sold-out launch show at The Waiting Room in Stockton last month. Full-band live shows begin next week, continuing into December. 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 Contest 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.

"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

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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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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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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Hayes & Y new single out now

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Single release: ‘Blue’ by Hayes & Y
Release date: Out now
More info: Band website

"From the synth flecks to those speckled Nile Rodgers esque guitar lines, 'Blue' feels like the complete pop package." - CLASH

Hayes & Y have returned with a brand new single, 'Blue'. Described by CLASH magazine as "a moody dancefloor burner with a killer chorus", it follows recent track 'Always So Simple, Always So Cold' which was featured on Spotify's UK Viral Top 50 chart. Already picking up plays at BBC Introducing and BBC 6 Music, the group adds a little more insight into their latest creation;

"Blue is the first in a series of songs we've named after colours. It is about loneliness, insanity and imaginary friends. ‘Blue’ is a song about longing, masquerading as a dance track. The most ambitious work we've done so far, challenging ourselves and hopefully, our audience."

Listen to 'Blue' here.

With band members that hail from as far afield as Bulgaria and Finland before settling in Manchester, Hayes & Y collect their influences to create their very own sound. Their strong chemistry and rich musicality are manifest in their effortlessly sleek, immediate and addictive brand of pop - which has been compared to the likes of Jungle and Nile Rogers - with CLASH going on to comment on their "infectious funky yacht pop, their bleached out sound recalls everyone from Jungle to Kool & The Gang. 'Blue' will only serve to increase the hype around the quartet, an irresistible new single from the group."

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Imperial Daze new single out now

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Single release: ‘Always Settling’ by Imperial Daze
Release date: Out now
Label: AudioCommune Records

Watch / share ‘Always Settling’ new video here

Made up of singer/guitarist Alex Cameron-Ward, guitarist/bassist Felix Rebaud-Sauer, keyboardist/singer Facundo Rodriguez and drummer Tom Sunney, Peckham, indie-psych-pop quartet Imperial Daze started as a 3-piece studio project. At the end of 2015 that Alex, Facundo, and Felix decided to build a recording studio together with the intention of making music for advertising under the company name of AudioCommune, following Alex’s previous band being placed in a Sony PS4 advert, bringing in enough money to set up a recording hub in the basement of an industrial old warehouse building in Battersea.

Having begun writing music together, late-2016/early-2017 saw Imperial Daze release a short series of hotly received singles earning critical acclaim from the likes of DIY (Neu Pick), Clash (Track of the Day), Indie Shuffle, Hilly Dilly and more, whilst clocking up tens of thousands of plays across streaming platforms. The band’s hazy, rolling indie-pop and self-made success also caught the attention of Rupert Jarvis from The Maccabees and Ian Brundrett from Caroline/Fiction Records who took the band under their wing for both the production and management, helping the band to further explore their sound.

Having performed as a studio project up until meeting Rupert, the decision was made to put a live band together with the idea of recording a first EP and touring. Taken to The Drugstore (The Maccabees own recording studio in London) by Rupert, the band recorded their debut EP ‘Solid Fair’, which due to a last-minute line-up change also featured Sam Doyle (also of The Maccabees) on drums. These recordings and the bands work with Rupert led to the band supporting a series of estimable artists over the second half of 2017 including Mystery Jets, Matt Maltese, Nilufer Yanya, The Maccabees, All We Are, Man,The Echo and more, allowing the band to craft and hone their live show.

Having found their new (and current) drummer, Tom Sunney, again the band had to move their recording studio. History repeating itself, a strike of luck brought the band another opportunity to build their own walls inside a giant disused commercial freezer under a railway arch in Central London. Getting a call for AudioCommune to score an advert for a large ice cream brand, they land the job, get the pay check and with the extra help of a successful crowdfunding campaign they manage to gather enough money to build from scratch what is now called The Electric Eel Recording studio (the freezer was previously used to store eels) by Tower Bridge, London.

Having their own creative space has allowed the band to expand their sound and repertoire. They began by scoring, recording and producing the soundtrack to director Nathan Sam Long’s short movie ‘Give Up The Ghost’ (selected for Cannes) signalling a more “cinematic sound” to come. Going forward the band are continuing their collaboration with director Nathan Sam Long throughout two new music videos for their upcoming singles. The tracks have been recorded between their own studio and the now defunct Maccabees’ Drugstore studio and with ‘Always Settling’ out now a follow up single is due ahead of the bands forthcoming headline show at The Waiting Room in Stoke Newington in November.

Previous praise for Imperial Daze

"hazy and romantic, rolling along with little urgency, just a beautiful, driving vocal set against surf pop guitars." - DIY (Neu Pick)

"a succinct, groove-led summer jam with a chorus to stop you in your tracks." - CLASH (Track of the Day)

"if you're a fan of the genres described and know when a group not only has potential, but is nailing the kind of sound you love, this track is definitely one you'll like" - Hillydilly

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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

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

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Placebo 20th anniversary WYIN fan-site

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New website: ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ by Placebo
More info: WYIN website

Placebo celebrate 20 years of their iconic album ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ with the launch of new fan-site featuring new interviews and exclusive content

October 2018 marks the 20th anniversary of Placebo’s iconic second album ‘Without You I’m Nothing’. In celebration, the band have launched a fan-site which not only brings together classic live performance footage and photographs from the era, but exclusive new content and new interviews as well. Importantly, it has been created as a place for fans to share and contribute their own photos and memories of what the album means to them. View the new site here.

There is also the chance for fans to win one of two 12” ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ (ft. David Bowie) vinyl singles, and one of five ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ heavyweight vinyl albums, simply by tagging a post on Twitter or Instagram with #WYIN20.

Critically and commercially a significant record at the time, ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ led to plaudits worldwide, gaining platinum status, and birthing two UK Top 5 singles in ‘Pure Morning’ and ‘You Don’t Care About Us’. The single version of the album’s title track famously featured vocals from David Bowie. Thematically, ‘Without You I’m Nothing’ remains an incredibly personal piece of work, making this 20-year milestone the perfect time to listen again, share memories, and talk about a record that continues to mean so much to so many.

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Hajk new album out 1 February 2019

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Album release: 'Drama' by Hajk
Release date: 1 February 2019
Label: Jansen Records
More info: Band website

'Drama' – of the interpersonal kind – that’s what Hajk have turned their focus to in 2018. The band burst onto the scene with their self-titled debut album last year, garnering support around the world as well as making a name for themselves in their home country of Norway. Now, the highly anticipated follow-up 'Drama' has been announced for February 2019 – a record that both pulls at the heartstrings and urges you to dance away your sorrows. Lead single and first taste of what is to come arrives in the form of the bubblegum-flavoured new cut, 'Dancing Like This'. It's a lyrically melancholy and wide-eyed love song, with an addictive melody that looks to sugarcoat your tears.

Hajk’s 2017 debut received praise from the likes of Astrid S, Sigrid and Kimbra, as well as actress and model, Chloë Grace Moretz. International acclaim came in waves from Noisey, Stereogum, The Line of Best Fit, Drowned In Sound, V Magazine, The Independent, Indie Shuffle, and more, noting their idiosyncratic, yet supremely catchy pop tunes, while likening them to everything from Fleetwood Mac and Aztec Camera to Dirty Projectors and Little Dragon.

With their second album, 'Drama', a more self-assured band reveals themselves. Sharpened by more studio experience, they have once again produced the record themselves, taking extreme care over every second and minute detail of their work. Blending analogue and digital sounds, switching between programmed arrangements and live takes from the studio, drawing on three lead vocalists and an assortment of guest musicians, Hajk conjured up whatever was necessary to fulfill their creative vision.

The title 'Drama' relates to the drama of humanity and a somewhat naïve yearning for love in a world in which love can sometimes seem in scarce supply.

'Drama' is due for release on February 1st via Jansen Records. First single from it 'Dancing Like This', is out on September 28th, listen here.

PREVIOUS PRAISE FOR HAJK

"This new Oslo-based band will make you feel so very fine" - Noisey

"The soaring vocals of Feist with the erratic percussion of Dirty Projectors" - V Magazine

Ones To Watch at The Guardian

"Hajk has delivered one of the best debuts of the year" - The Line Of Best Fit

"Crisp, clear, and smooth... street-ready guitar-pop" - Stereogum

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Minus the Bear new single out now

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Single release: 'Viaduct' by Minus the Bear
Release date: Out now
Label: Suicide Squeeze Records
More info: Band website

Minus the Bear are thrilled to share their new single, 'Viaduct', the latest offering from their forthcoming EP, Fair Enough, which is due out October 19th on Suicide Squeeze Records. The song premieres today on Revolver, who who hail it as “a warm and catchy track propelled by jaw-dropping, shimmering guitar lines,” another banger delivered by the “guitar-virtuoso post-punk favourites” ahead of their final EP. The band is also excited to announce a charity auction they’re partnering on with MusiCares, a nonprofit that provides support and community services to musicians in need of medical, personal and financial assistance. Today, Minus the Bear launch an auction for the first in a series of four original paintings by artist and Minus the Bear bassist Cory Murchy, created for the cover of Fair Enough. Cory has the following to share on his thoughts behind the painting and EP cover art:

“It was important for me to create a cover relevant to the band and our history, as well as something strong enough to stand on its own artistic merit. The picture we used for our first EP was a blurry photo of the band walking through the forest. We were grainy and not so well defined, monochromatic, youthful. This painting is a response to those same young men and the 17 year-long journey they took together. The human figures, now much more defined, have been replaced by shapes that are now finding their own colors to live in. Much less unified but still working within each other’s orbit. The wonder of the woods has been replaced with a milled piece of working lumber. It’s a representation of who we’ve become as individuals and I think it reflects the music in a lot of the same ways. Distilled by time and purpose.”

MusiCares holds a special place in Cory's heart, as he personally benefited from their aid while struggling with a chronic back injury. You can learn more about MusiCares here. For more about Cory Murchy and his paintings, see here.

This past July, the band announced their breakup in tandem with a final farewell tour, which kicks off in Nashville on October 9th and culminates with three sold out shows in their hometown of Seattle on December 14th, 15th and 16th. Since their first shows in 2001, the Seattle group have been thrilling crowds with their virtuosic songwriting and play from Los Angeles, New York, London and Tokyo, to Jimmy Kimmel Live and Bonnaroo. Their melding of genres and innovative use of pedals, loops, and electronic elements in their music has been a defining contribution to indie rock in the mp3 and streaming era, and an influence on the band’s peers and those that followed in their wake.

You can check out the remaining VIP presale packages for this fall’s farewell tour here, as well as pre-order the Fair Enough EP. All upcoming tour dates are listed below.

Stream ‘Fair Enough’ via Stereogum or SoundCloud

Pre-Order the ‘Fair Enough EP’ here

Minus the Bear is a product of the first two tumultuous decades of this century. From their first show in 2001 to their impending dissolution at the end of 2018, the Seattle band thrived on the musical awakening in the era of the mp3, the internet, poptimism, and the endless cross-pollinations generated from an expanded consciousness of new forms of music. With the aim of sounding like “classic rock from the future,” they initially forged their music from the dichotomous blend of David Knudson’s prodigious finger-tapped guitar lines and Jake Snider’s cool-tempered narratives set against a backdrop of souped-up dance beats. Throughout their career, spanning six full-length albums and a raft of EPs, singles and split 7”s, they’ve carried on the trailblazing traditions of ‘70s prog rockers and guitar-centric indie rock pioneers of the ‘80s and ‘90s, but they’ve also always been a band of new sounds. Synths, drum machine break beats, omnichords, and pedalboard gadgetry all contribute to the band’s electronic flourishes. You can hear the poptimist appreciation for a club banger, a new wave hook, or a solid hip-hop beat in any number of their songs. And with their final EP, ‘Fair Enough’, Minus the Bear closes the book on their inimitable hybrid of scholarly art-rock, breezy indie pop, and warehouse party appeal.

One of the first tracks written for their last album VOIDS was ‘Fair Enough’, a reserved track that went through a variety of permutations before winding up on the backburner. Like most Minus the Bear songs, it began as a loose framework of interlocking guitar parts created by Knudson that quickly changed shape as the other members contributed their parts. “It’s interesting because we tried re-doing it twice in the studio,” says keyboardist/vocalist Alex Rose. “I was really into the first new direction as it was very pop, but collectively it didn't seem to fit. Then we tried a more ambient one… it just ended up being one of those songs that didn't beat the others.” But as the band was digging through their archives earlier this year, they stumbled upon an early version of the song. “It jumped out as sounding done,” Rose recalls. “I touched up the mix, fixed a few edits and sent it to everyone while we were on the recent Planet of Ice anniversary tour. The other guys all listened together and by all accounts had ‘a moment.’ I think the song had taken on new meaning after we decided to end the band.” Given Snider’s prescient lyrical lament of lost passions and finding “the exact moment we turned it off,” it’s hardly surprising to hear that the song resonates strongly within the group. Snider insists it was written to eulogize a failed romantic relationship, but it’s hard to not hear the lyrics as foreshadowing the band’s break-up.

The other three songs of Fair Enough are both a continuation and a culmination of Minus the Bear’s diverse sounds. The adrenalized up-tempo drumbeats, lush electronics, and nimble guitar work that initially set them apart from their peers back in 2001 are on full display during “Viaduct”. It certainly sounds like the same band that wrote “Monkey!!!Knife!!!Fight!!!”, but with a whole new arsenal of tricks, techniques, and toys to embellish the sound. “Dinosaur” has the punctuated groove of early hits of “Fine + 2 PTS ”, but crafted with the understated Steely Dan-esque delivery of their more current slow jams. In keeping with their “classic rock from the future” approach, the opening keyboard line of “Dinosaur” is a ham-fisted hook originally conceived on a cheap iPhone piano app. The EP closes with a nod to their ongoing remix collaborations, this time with a vibrant rave-up reinvention of “Invisible” by Sombear.

The EP album art comes courtesy of bassist Cory Murchy. “The picture on our first EP—This Is What I Know About Being Gigantic—was a blurry photo of the band walking through the forest,” Murchy explains. “The cover to Fair Enough is a nod to that almost 20 years on. The figures are much more defined, coming into their own colors, a little less unified but still working within each other’s orbit. The wonder of the woods has been replaced with a milled piece of working lumber as the canvas. I think it reflects the music in a lot of the same ways—distilled by time and purpose.”

Minus the Bear are a band born in the new millennium, when the gateways to cult artists were blown open by the internet, rock’s purist aesthetic rules were challenged, and technological advancements completely altered the way we create and consume music. If there was some middle ground to be found between King Crimson’s fretboard gymnastics, Midwest indie rock’s cerebral songcraft, Warp Records’ glitchy compositions, and FM radio’s current bump-and-grind staples, Minus the Bear staked it out first. Suicide Squeeze is proud to release Fair Enough on October 19, 2018. Fair Enough will be available on CD, digital formats, and as a 12” cut at 45rpm. The initial vinyl run consists of 2000 copies on coke bottle green and 1000 copies on black.

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