Theon Cross new single out now

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Single release: 'Panda Village' by Theon Cross
Release date: Out now
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Artist webiste

Today, London tuba player and composer Theon Cross has shared his brand new single 'Panda Village'. Featuring fellow jazz trailblazers Nubya Garcia and Moses Boyd, the track marks Theon's first new solo release since his 2015 EP 'Aspirations'. The new single was premiered by the Quietus yesterday, who said "It’s electrifying to hear such a masterful interplay by three musicians at the top of their game."

Hear / share the new single 'Panda Village' here.

As one of the stalwarts of the London jazz scene, Theon Cross has been dominating airwaves and stages recently. He's part of a family network of young London-based musicians who have regularly supported one another in stretching and re-shaping the boundaries of the jazz genre. Having made a name for himself both as a member of the Mercury-nominated and award-winning quartet Sons of Kemet, as well as his own powerful and eclectic solo material, the last few years have seen Theon Cross appear on a number of highly acclaimed releases including the lauded ‘We Out Here’ compilation via Brownswood Recordings, as well as on the recent ‘Where We Come From’ mixtape on Chicago label International Anthem. Similarly, he has also performed around the world alongside the likes of Kano (appearing on-stage at Glastonbury), Moses Boyd, Makaya McCraven, Jon Baptiste, Pharoe Monch, Emile Sande and is a permanent fixture in South London-based collective Steam Down.

Within all this noise, Theon has also been leading his own trio project with the talented Nubya Garcia and Moses Boyd. 'Panda Village' marks the first of Theon's new material from the trio to be released on Gearbox Records (Thelonious Monk, Binker and Moses, Sarathy Korwar), who he plans to release further music with in 2019 - More details TBA.

'Panda Village' is available to purchase here.

Praise for Theon Cross

“incredible!” – Gilles Peterson

“crucially embraces the bass and rhythm role with exuberant inventiveness” – the Guardian

“A prodigious young talent” – New York Times

“could easily be sampled for a fiery Skepta track” – Rolling Stone

“swaggering grime tuba and hyped-up free-bop interplay” – the Quietus

“a key player in the UK’s bright-burning young jazz scene” – Stamp The Wax

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Wet Dreams debut album out 29 March 2019

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

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

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

Watch Wet Dreams 'Bad Boy' video on YouTube.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Cleaning Women new album out 15 February 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

Cleaning Women's DIY instruments

  • Thunder Plate

  • Electric Coffee Bean Can Bouzouki

  • Customised Laundry Rack

  • Metal Box

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

  • 3-String Sub Bass

  • Melodic Kling Klang

  • 3-String Closet Hanger Rod Bass

  • Wooden Box

  • 4-String Enamel Wash Tub Bass

  • Electric Hammered Dulcimer Bass Rack with Melodic Metal Rods

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Guided By Voices new album out 1 February 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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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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Heavy Lungs tour dates January / February 2019

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Tour announcement: Heavy Lungs
Tour dates: January / February 2019
More info: Band website

To celebrate the release of the IDLES and Heavy Lungs split 7” single, Heavy Lungs have revealed a brand new video to accompany their track 'Blood Brother', a reference to their front man's close relationship with Joe Talbot. IDLES return the favour with their anthem ‘Danny Nedelko’, a direct reference to the Heavy Lungs singer of the same name.

Watch Heavy Lungs ‘Blood Brother’ video on YouTube.

Following their support role for IDLES' sold out UK tour last month, Heavy Lungs have their own headline UK tour early next year.

Full tour dates and tickets here.

Danny Nedelko of Heavy Lungs on the collaboration:

“The 'Blood Brother' video is a collaboration with our friend Elliot Pearce, who also directed the video for 'Stutter'. The video is a visually driven narrative that echoes the lyrical content of the song. However, it ultimately stands alone as a separate piece of surrealistic art driven by Elliot’s creative interpretation of the song.”

Editor & Director Elliot Pearce

"The lyrics are very potent and speak candidly about the love, devotion, and commitment that occur in friendship - specifically referring to Danny’s relationship with Joe. I wanted this video to represent these feelings in a more literal and physical sense. I also wanted it to be fun. I don’t come from a music video background, and I find the traditional idea of just watching a band play for three and a half minutes boring and artificial. This was about having fun, and I really hope that translates to anyone watching."

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Lene Lovich tour dates March 2019

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Tour announcement: Lene Lovich
Tour dates: March 2019
More info: Artist website

March 2019 sees the Lene Lovich Band taking to the road to celebrate the 40th anniversary of Lene's classic debut album ‘Stateless’. Containing the smash hit ‘Lucky Number’ and other perennial Lene favourites including ‘Home’, ‘Say When’, ‘I Think We're Alone Now’ and the celebrated ballad ‘Too Tender to Touch’, ‘Stateless’ was an immediate success when it was first released by cult post-punk label Stiff Records, and has held it's place in fans' affections for four decades. Lene Lovich’s work spent over four and a half months in the Top 40 charts after the release of her debut album in 1978 in the UK and 1979 in the US.

The tour will be fans' only chance to catch ‘Stateless’ performed in it's entirety. The show also includes other Lene favourites, such as the Thomas Dolby-penned hit ‘New Toy’, as well as a handful of songs from Lene's highly regarded second album ‘Flex’.

Dates and tickets here.

Listen to ‘Lucky Number’ here.

“It is incredibly flattering to know that people are still interested in Stateless after all these years. And it is always humbling to learn what it has meant to people on a personal level. We all have music which becomes the soundtrack to our lives, and to know that people are still listening is the highest compliment that you can ever be paid as an artist and a performer.

Far from being near nostalgia, taking the album out on the road for its anniversary year is a way of saying thank you, both to the fans who have appreciated it for so long, and also to the songs themselves, which have meant so very much to me and gave me such a wonderful start on this journey.” - Lene Lovich, November 2018

The Lene Lovich Band were formed in 2012 by Lene and guitarist Jude Rawlins and have been performing across Europe to much acclaim ever since. The Stateless 40th Anniversary Tour kicks off in the UK in March of 2019 and sees the band performing across the country for the first time since appearing as special guests of the Psychedelic Furs in 2017.

A new version of ‘Stateless’ is currently being recorded by the band and will be released to tie in with the tour, marking Lene's return to the studio after a 13 year hiatus.

More on Lene Lovich

Lene Lovich was born Lili-Marlene Premilovich in Detroit, Michigan, to an English mother and an American father of Yugoslavian descent. At age 13 her father developed health problems and so the family relocated to Hull, England. Later on she began to perform in cabaret clubs in London as a dancer, recorded screams for Hammer Film Productions to dub onto their horror-films, wrote lyrics for French disco artist Marc Cerrone (including the sci-fi dance hit ‘Supernature’) and worked in various theatre productions.

After finding her feet in the post-punk and new wave developing in the UK, Lovich's musical style combined her own quirky inventions with contemporary punk rock and new wave styles.

Biography by Tony R. Vario

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Mandolin Orange tour dates May 2019

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New video and tour announcement: Mandolin Orange
Tour dates: May 2019
More info: Band website

Today, Mandolin Orange release the official music video for 'Golden Embers,' a striking embodiment of both the agony and recovery at the foundation of their new album, ‘Tides Of A Teardrop’ (out February 1st on Yep Roc Records). ‘Tides Of A Teardrop’ delves into singer-songwriter Andrew Marlin’s grief following the death of his mother, and the visual paints an intimate, resilient portrait of a father and son coping with despair. As Marlin told Garden & Gun, “I wrote this song to my Dad. I think we all try to hide our emotional pain or frustration sometimes, for the benefit of the ones around us.”

Watch Mandolin Orange ‘Golden Embers’ video on YouTube.

As a thesis of the new LP and an encapsulation of Andrew Marlin and Emily Frantz’s patiently expressive work, the piece accompanies news of a headlining tour in Europe and the UK in May 2019. Stops will include London, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Munich and more - find all new dates here. Tickets are on sale this Friday, November 30th – following a Music Glue pre-sale on November 29th.

Mandolin Orange’s grassroots success story continues to grow: they’ve sold out every one of their headlining US performances in 2018, and nearly repeated that accomplishment in Europe. Their sixth studio album, ‘Tides Of A Teardrop’, is building on 100 million catalogue streams and 1.3 million monthly Spotify listeners, while earning early praise from Rolling Stone Country, Paste, Garden & Gun, and NPR Music, who hailed the North Carolinians as a “slow-burning, steadily rising duo [that] exudes gentle elegance.”

Watch a live rendition of lead single 'Time We Made Time'.

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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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The Rocket new single out now

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Single release: ‘Lost At Sea’ by The Rocket
Release date: Out now
More info: Band Facebook

  • Watch the video for ‘Lost At Sea’ here.

Belgian pop-punk outfit The Rocket are sharing the video for their latest single ‘Lost At Sea’, taken from their forthcoming album ‘Another Reason Not To Fear The Sky’, which is due out 30th November. The follow-up to recent single Focus, can now be watched here.

Speaking about the single, the band said;

"Lost at Sea might be one of the most personal songs our singer Tom has ever written. Although he’s this great charismatic dude who fills every room with joy, he’s not always great with expressing his feelings and thoughts. When he does so in lyrics like these, it’s always so poignant. He went through a bad breakup when we were writing the album, and Lost at Sea is about coming to terms with his own feelings.

We’re really proud of the clip we did for this one too; we fully directed and edited it ourselves, which was a painstaking process with lots of post-production and effects. For not being a high budget production, we really feel like we were able to stay true to our original concept and idea and the images just complete the song so well. The video shows a kid astronaut getting stuck on a planet without people, which to us seemed like a great metaphor for the loneliness depicted by the lyrics."

Having taken a break from writing together, the Rocket's new album Another Reason Not To Fear The Sky sees the band return in full effect. Produced by Marc McClusky (Weezer, Motion City Soundtrack, Bad Religion) and mastered by Chris Athens (Beastie Boys, AC/DC, N.E.R.D), the record is proof of the reinvigorated energy that has seen the quintet earn an illustrious live reputation playing stages at the likes of Groezrock and alongside many other major European festivals.

The album also features guest appearances from Justin Pierre (lead vocals/guitar) & Joshua Cain (lead guitar) of Motion City Soundtrack, merging the band's first-era pop-punk influences (think-Millencollin, NFG, Blink 182) with some of their more synth driven melodic sensibilities.

With years of gigging experience their shows are full of anthemic choruses, hook-driven emotive vocals, melodious synth lines and rapturous drumming, The Rocket are ready to blow all expectations away with a record that pushes genre forward with new layers of intricacy and depth, whilst packing in the vigour and irrepressible choruses fans of the genre have come to know and love.

Another Reason Not To Fear The Sky is due out on 30th November and will be see the band continue to a number of shows across Europe throughout the rest of 2018.

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Anne Marie Almedal new single out now

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Single release: ‘Lovesong’ by Anne Marie Almedal
Release date: Out now
More info: Artist YouTube

Following the release of her new album 'Lightshadow', Norwegian singer-songwriter Anne Marie Almedal has shared a new cover of The Cure's 'Lovesong'.

Growing up in the suburban bible-belt of southern Norway, bands like The Cure provided much salvation to the misfits of Anne Marie's generation, so it goes without saying that this cover was chosen with much diligence. Anne Marie's rendition of 'Lovesong' is stripped down to the bone with Nicholas Sillitoe’s piano-score sensibility and Alf Vaksdal's atmospheric guitar work and idiosyncratic electronics. Drummer Marius Trøan Hansen provides the downtempo minimalist percussion, whilst Anne Marie lays down her haunting vocals.

Following her critically acclaimed trilogy of folk-pop albums and a 5-year break to focus on family and other priorities, Norwegian singer-songwriter Anne Marie Almedal has now released her new album ‘Lightshadow’.

Recorded in Anne Marie’s hometown Kristiansand in a summer break with producer/co-writer Nicholas (taking time off his busy award-winning soundtrack schedule), the new album features a vast range of estimable Norwegian guest musicians including new-found producer/multi-instrumentalist/studio expert Alf Vaksdal, the young and talented drummer Marius Trøan Hansen, star Norwegian jazz double bassist Ellen Andrea Wang, violinist Sebastian Grüchot and a string quartet made up with members of the Kristiansand Symphony Orchestra. The album was then mixed with producer Tim Bran (London Grammar/Halsey/Birdy) and went on to be mastered by Pete Maher (The Killers, The Pixies, Lana Del Ray). The result, a one-listen-and-you’re-hooked defining new direction for Anne Marie.

Somewhat destined to be the first track off Anne Marie Almedal’s new album ‘Lightshadow’, lead single ‘You Keep Me At Arm’s Length’ arrives with just Anne Marie’s commanding vocals and Nicholas Sillitoe’s wistful folk guitar accompaniment, a brooding piano and synth bass slowly adding momentum. But it’s at the beginning of verse two, where we are suddenly propelled into the new ‘Lightshadow’ world of Anne Marie Almedal. Melancholy as ever, unmistakeably bittersweet, focused and full of longing, it’s here and now that Anne Marie sets about to prove herself with a bold new blend of folk, electronics, indie-dream-pop and nonchalant vocals.

Elsewhere, tracks such as ‘Travelling’ nod towards Kate Bush and George Harrison with an emphasis on Anne Marie’s vocals, Nicholas’s intimate piano work and Ellen Andrea Wang’s ruminating double bass. Whilst ‘My Dream Will Never End’ leans towards Anne Marie’s heavier folk sensibilities with references to the vast Norwegian wilderness, implemented in a pensive yet delicate manner that calls to mind the soft delivery of Vashti Bunyan.

‘Lightshadow’ is as diverse as it is evolutionary for Anne Marie. Her new album displays a blissfully original and sonically divergent take on what alt-folk music can sound like when restrictions, formulas, and self-consciousness are thrown out of the window. It may come 5 years after her last release, but shows that more often than not, the best things are worth waiting for.

Previous praise for Anne Marie Almedal

"Sweetness multiplied, sadness tripled, her music brings you a closer step to heaven...as fantastic as sharing the last cigarette with the one you love." - Esquire

"...a hint of Norwegian ice sends chills through all the rustles in the hedgerow." - Financial Times

"Breathtaking" - Daily Express

"Superbly chilled, the low-key approach seems to apply further intensity to the Norwegian singer's delivery, really focusing in on each word. A very lovely, pretty, sensual piece of music, it takes preconceptions around Anne Marie Almedal's music and shunts them into a different plane." - CLASH

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Me and My Friends album out 6 December 2018

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

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

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

  • Listen to 'You Read My Mind' via YouTube

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Marvel collector's editions albums out 7 December 2018

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

  • Featuring GZA, LL Cool J and 50 Cent.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-order the first three titles:

  • 50 Cent Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ here

  • LL Cool J Mama Said Knock You Out here

  • GZA Liquid Swords here

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

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

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

About Urban Legends/Universal Music Enterprises (UMe)

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

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

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

About Marvel Comics

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

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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

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