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Marvin Gaye new album out 29 March 2019

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Album release: ‘You’re the Man’ by Marvin Gaye
Release date: 29 March 2019
Label: Motown/UMe

In celebration of Marvin Gaye’s 80th birthday on April 2, Motown/UMe will release his never-issued 1972 Tamla/Motown album, ‘You’re The Man’, in 2LP gatefold vinyl and digital editions on March 29. ‘You’re The Man’ features all of Gaye’s solo and non-soundtrack recordings from 1972, with most of the album’s tracks making their vinyl release debuts. SaLaAM ReMi’s new mix of the album track ‘My Last Chance’ is available now for streaming and for immediate download with album pre-order.

Pre-order ‘You’re The Man’ here.

Listen to ‘My Last Chance’ here. (SaLaAM ReMi remix)

In 1972, Marvin Gaye was on top: or so it seemed. ‘What’s Going On’, ‘Mercy Mercy Me (The Ecology)’, and ‘Inner City Blues (Make Me Wanna Holler”)’, the three singles from his universally acclaimed album What’s Going On, had each hit No. 1 on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles chart (since renamed Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs) and Top 10 Pop the year before. His new single, ‘You’re The Man’ – a percolating, sarcastic riff on political non-action issued as the U.S. presidential campaign was kicking off – reached No. 7 on Billboard’s Hot Soul Singles chart. He saw Motown schedule a You’re The Man album (catalogue number Tamla 316). But when the lead single didn’t cross over Pop, stalling at No. 50, Marvin retreated. Ambivalent about recording, stubborn about moving to Los Angeles with Berry Gordy and Motown, Marvin by his actions proclaimed no more new Marvin Gaye music.

Or so it seemed.

In this singular and transitional year for the late music legend, Gaye recorded more than an album’s worth of music in Detroit and L.A. He produced himself, creating a suite of aching ballads; he worked with songwriters-becoming-producers Willie Hutch, then known mainly for the Jackson 5 smash ‘I’ll Be There’, but soon to be lauded for his film scores to The Mack and Foxy Brown; and with Pam Sawyer and Gloria Jones, whose ‘Piece of Clay’ for Marvin decades later became a smash in the 1995 film Phenomenon. He cut two sought-after tracks with Freddie Perren and Fonce Mizell, half of the hit-making machine behind the Jackson 5; he got together with Hal Davis, who was preparing a Marvin Gaye-Diana Ross album, to cut another topical gem, ‘The World Is Rated X’. And Marvin funnelled his anger over the Vietnam War, and his brother’s experiences there, into a sequel of sorts to ‘What’s Going On’, the poetic holiday ballad, ‘I Want To Come Home For Christmas’. He even re-cut ‘You’re The Man’ as an eerie funk jam, perhaps for the LP as a bookend to the single.

None of these tracks or any other on the LP, except the single, were issued at the time.

Three tracks from the album are newly mixed by SaLaAM ReMi, the songwriter and producer long associated with Nas, the Fugees, and Amy Winehouse: “My Last Chance,” “Symphony,” and “I’d Give My Life For You.” Also included is the rare, long LP version of Gaye’s cancelled 1972 Christmas single, plus an unreleased vault mix of its instrumental B-side. Over the years, songs from You’re The Man have been included on several CD releases but 15 of the album’s 17 tracks have not been released on vinyl until now.

You’re The Man’s 2LP vinyl edition includes new liner notes by Marvin Gaye biographer David Ritz. In his essay, Ritz delves into Gaye’s deeply personal internal conflict as a source of creative vigor and emotional burden as he experienced What’s Going On’s massive success and all that came with it. “Now I could do what I wanted,” Gaye told Ritz in an interview that first appeared in Divided Soul: The Life of Marvin Gaye. “For most people that would be a blessing. But for me the thought was heavy. They said I’d reached the top, and that scared me because Mother used to say, ‘First ripe, first rotten.’ When you’re at the top there’s nowhere to go but down. No, I needed to keep going up – raising my consciousness – or I’d fall back on my behind. When would the war stop? That’s what I wanted to know – the war inside my soul.”

Despite his inner turmoil, that same year Gaye recorded a duets album with Diana Ross, and he accepted an offer to write what became his landmark Trouble Man film score. A year later, he released Let’s Get It On, the biggest hit of his career.

In addition to You’re The Man, Motown/UMe will release a new expanded edition of Marvin Gaye’s 1965 album, A Tribute To The Great Nat King Cole, digitally on March 15. Honoring what would have been Cole’s 100th birthday, the album’s original mono mix makes its digital debut with the new edition, which also adds more than a dozen bonus tracks, including six alternate takes from the studio sessions.

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Plague Vendor new album out 7 June 2019

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Album release: ‘By Night’ by Plague Vendor
Release date: 7 June 2019
Label: Epitaph Records
More info: Band website

Today, Plague Vendor have announced their new album By Night, produced by John Congleton (St Vincent, Sharon Van Etten, Chelsea Wolfe) and recorded at legendary EastWest Studios (Brian Wilson, Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop). The follow up to their 2016 debut full-length BLOODSWEAT and their widely-acclaimed debut EP Free to Eat is set for release on June 7 via Epitaph Records. The 10-song set kicks off with the raw, vital track and first single ‘New Comedown’. Hear the song and watch the Dan Monick-directed video here.

"When we were writing 'New Comedown,' there were a lot of colours and themes that were coming through, so we thought it best to finalize the verses once we were in the recording studio,” notes the band’s frontman Brandon Blaine. “The energy, urgency, and excitement there was unmatched. We caught lightning in the booth and trapped it in the recording."

Plague Vendor is Blaine (vocals), Michael Perez (bass), Luke Perine (drums and percussion) and Jay Rogers (guitar). A fearless our-way-is-the-hard-way work ethic and famously physical live shows won the Southern California-based band a ferocious fan base and place of pride on the Epitaph Records roster. They are currently on the road taking their live show to venues around the US - supporting All Them Witches now, with select headline shows set for this spring. See tour dates below.

By Night sees Plague Vendor stretch and warp their songs, discovering a merciless sense of tension and apprehension that set every moment on edge. It captures the feeling of ruin and regeneration, of charisma and catastrophe and of slashing at the night with nothing but pure electricity. And, with Congleton’s precision production, they found their own way between the powerful-but-too-polished sound of right now and the engaging-but-aging reinterpretations of classic punk/rock albums of the 60s and 70s. Congleton’s limitless encouragement also led Plague Vendor to do things they never did before: chorused bass in endless waves, lightning-strike flashes of synth, motorik man-machine drums that sound inhuman and human at once and even a string section that’ll be a surprise if they ever do it live.

On ‘By Night’, Plague Vendor broke out new vocal ideas, new vocal styles, new depths of imagery and intensity that feel like flashbacks instead of pop songs. If BLOODSWEAT was a primal scream, By Night would be a precision attack.

Album pre-save / pre-order here.

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Dreyfus 'Jazz Reference' out 10 May 2019

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Album release: Dreyfus 'Jazz Reference'
Release date: 10 May 2019
Label: Sony BMG

Dreyfus Jazz/BMG announce a further 14 new reissues from the 'Jazz Reference' collection - available for the first time on vinyl (and CD) with brand new artwork by Seb Jarnot.

Featuring Chet Baker, Count Basie, Dinah Washington, Django Reinhardt, Frank Sinatra, Lester Young, Louis Armstrong, Miles Davies, Nat King Cole, Oscar Peterson, Sarah Vaughan, Sidney Bechet, Stan Getz and Thelonious Monk.

The 'Jazz Reference' series was originally created by Francis Dreyfus at the very start of the 21st century. This incredible catalogue regrouped the biggest names in Jazz at a groundbreaking sound quality.

Almost twenty years later it is still perceived as one of the best ever created. To help a new generation rediscover this amazing collection, BMG is reissuing a carefully curated selection of these releases. This series will available for the first time on vinyl, and all formats display a brand new artwork from Seb Jarnot, exclusively created for this special reissue.

Having released the first selection of 14 titles in 2018 with praise from Jazzwise, MOJO, Record Collector, the Guardian, The Financial Times, The Daily Express, BBC Music Magazine and more, the series now continues with a further 14 new reissues from the collection including inimitable legends such as Thelonious Monk, Miles Davis, Oscar Peterson, Stan Getz, Frank Sinatra, Count Basie and more.

Speaking about the collection on it's original release, the late Francis Dreyfus, said:

"Since my early childhood, I’ve been crazy about Jazz. This childhood fascination is what inspired me to create Dreyfus Jazz.

I am releasing these masterpieces in order to discover, through another perspective, a collection of the most beautiful tracks ever recorded before 1960 by the biggest and most renowned creators of the lively and flawless language of jazz.

Who is this anthology for?

It’s for those who already love Jazz, and for those who will find great pleasure in re-discovering it, thanks to the sound quality that is unexpected and unequaled. It’s also for the younger generation who don’t yet realize that they are going to love this music that burnt down from its creative violence and its jubilant swing throughout the entire twentieth century.

First, I had to achieve the near impossible: “Break the wall of sound” in order to enhance the already sublime tracks of yesterday… to make them sound as though they’d been recorded yesterday. Thanks to technological information storage and the resolute research of exceptional sound engineer René Ameline (with never ending passion and patience) it was possible to give a “new youth” to the voice of Ella and Billie, and to offer an unheard freshness to formidable improvisations by Louis Armstrong and Coleman Hawkins. We have included the best sources, the best songs, the best documents and there were no “second takes” or “false starts”.

I wanted to start from the original signals inscribed deeply in the wax, to enlarge and enrich the entire sound spectrum until it was inaudible and mute. It was necessary to carefully clean each chosen song, meaning that every useless scratch and annoying click had to be wiped, whilst avoiding stripping away the original grainy sound. With this we were able to achieve a more spacious sound, offering more depth and fullness compared to the original 78 record collection. The result is spectacular!

This collection is truly unique. From the will of a passionate perfectionist who manifested its conception like bearing a child, it was championed by a team of specialists who are lovers of jazz in all its dimensions: Claude Carrière, Noël Hervé and Daniel Nevers.

To really define the spirit of this adventure, which has lasted almost two years, I cannot think of a better way to conclude but to quote Claude Debussy: “Finally, a savage music with modern comfort”!"

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Wasuremono new album out 14 June 2019

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Album release: 'Are You OK?' by Wasuremono
Release date: 14 June 2019
More info: Band website

Wasuremono have announced their new album 'Are You OK?' will be released on June 14th. Today, they have also shared the title track from the album after teasing the news with previous single 'Lonely Type'.

Listen/watch new single 'Are You OK?' YouTube.

Listen/watch previous single 'Lonely Type' via YouTube.

Pre-order album 'Are You OK?' here.

In 2018, Wasuremono made quite the impression; with the release of their self-titled debut album, Steve Lamacq’s invite to record a live session for BBC 6 Music at the legendary Maida Vale Studios, Lauren Laverne describing them as a “favourite”, supporting both the The Flaming Lips and Phosphorescent on tour, and playing at iconic venues such as Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

New album, ‘Are You OK?’ was written and recorded by multi-instrumentalist William Southward in his shed. On the newly released title track, Southward has said that the song, "seemed to turn into a pep talk to myself, with themes and sounds of the seaside and clearing the mind asking yourself or someone else ‘Are you ok?’. It’s got a really 80’s vibe to this song with the help from the Linn Drum Computer pounding through the song backed up with synth sounds played on an old Yamaha Dx7."

With the enlistment of friends Madelaine Ryan, Isaac Phillips, and Phoebe Phillips, Southward’s songs come to life. Wasuremono will be performing across the UK this summer in support of 'Are You OK?', with stops at festivals including Live at Leeds, The Great Escape, Bluedot, and Dot To Dot, as well as a headline show at the Sebright Arms in London on June 19th. Full details here.

The Japanese word ‘wasuremono’ or, ‘忘れ物’ in kanji characters, roughly translates to “something forgotten or left behind.” Within the first few bars of Wasuremono’s new album ‘Are You OK?’, feelings of isolation, fear, defensiveness, and inherited reservations, are forgotten or left behind. It may sound like a tall task, but somehow, they nail it. “We will find you, we will, we will work it out!”, the climactic track ‘Self-Help’ reassures.

2018 was quite a year for Wasuremono; with the release of their self-titled debut album, Steve Lamacq’s invite to record a live session for BBC 6 Music at the legendary Maida Vale Studios, Lauren Laverne describing them as a “favourite”, supporting both the The Flaming Lips and Phosphorescent on tour and playing at iconic venues such as Shepherd’s Bush Empire – no mean feat considering the debut album was conceived and recorded in a garden shed.

‘Are You OK?’ was also written and recorded by multi-instrumentalist William Southward in his shed. “It’s a tiny space at the bottom of the garden, crammed with old instruments I have been collecting over the years and the sounds of birds occasionally spilling into the recordings”, explains Southward. With the enlistment of friends Madelaine Ryan, Isaac Phillips, and Phoebe Phillips, Southward’s songs come to life. ‘Are You OK?’ is an immersive kaleidoscopic collection that plunges the listener deep into an invigorating world of sanguine synths, radiant harmonies and salient percussion that is repeatedly sublime. Although the atmosphere of the album is mostly one of hope and assurance, it stylistically travels through baggy electronica, mesmeric psychedelia, wonderfully futuristic (or is it wonderfully retro?) pop, to off-kilter almost surf-rock on tracks like ‘A Lesson To Learn’.

The enveloping percussion on the release was central to its creation, explains Southward, “Most of this album was written around an old Linn Drum Computer that I managed to get my hands on last year. I had always really liked the distinct 80’s sound of the Linn Drum, made famous by the likes of Prince, Gary Numan, and Peter Gabriel, and it was a fun and unique process writing songs around the beats I programmed in.” Southward puts the fizz and pop of the record down to “all the songs on the album being the original demos; There always seems to be a magic in the original take of a song, that’s impossible to put your finger on and equally hard to replicate when you then try to re-record it.”

Despite the palpable emotion and fragility in the vocals, the layered production and distinctive melodies work to shift the focus from the intensity of the lyrical content, something Southward has recognised, “Unconsciously a lot of the songs I have written over the last year seem to explore mental health at some level, so ‘Are You OK? seemed a fitting title. I liked the idea of sugar coating the ‘Are You OK?’ slogan, which is something we can all be guilty of doing when portraying our lives, whether that’s online or to each other in person. Underneath all this though, is the more serious question that I think we should be asking each other and ourselves; Are You OK? Let’s talk…”

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Drahla debut album out 3 May 2019

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Album release: 'Useless Coordinates' by Drahla
Release date: 3 May 2019
Label: Captured Tracks
More info: Band website

Today, the Leeds-formed three-piece Drahla have announced their highly-anticipated debut album 'Useless Coordinates' will be released via Captured Tracks on May 3rd 2019.

The band have premiered the arresting first single 'Stimulus for Living' as a taster of the album along with a video for it via The FADER where it was described as "tightly bound and inventive...a frantic and densely packed song full of ideas and angst."

Drahla describe the video as: “a visual composition that reflects the lyric content of the track. Based upon abstracted ideas and thought, challenging standardised format and perception.”

Listen/watch to 'Stimulus For Living' here.

‘Stimulus For Living’ is the second track taken from ‘Useless Coordinates’ following the release of ‘Twelves Divisions Of The Day’ last summer. The album was recorded in Yorkshire in the second half of 2018, and sees the band’s sound continue to evolve with the addition of saxophonist Chris Duffin across the record. Since finishing ‘Useless Coordinates’ the band have spent their time touring the US and Europe, including stops at Eurosonic and La Route Du Rock this winter.

Blending wiry, dark post-punk with unpredictable art-rock, Drahla have established themselves as a formidable and distinctive band across their three sold out 7” singles and 2017's Third Article EP. Formed in late 2015, Drahla quickly found their identity in Yorkshire’s fertile music scene with their minimal yet robust bass-heavy sound. Their reputation as a fervent live act is ever-growing, with the band being asked to share stages with the likes of Parquet Courts, METZ, Ought, Buzzcocks, The Cribs and multiple festival appearances - including Meltdown at the request of The Cure’s Robert Smith.

Drahla will accompany the release with a run of tour dates. Tickets can be found here.

Pre-order 'Useless Coordinates' here.

“Go inwards and be bold.” This was Harmony Korine’s advice to aspiring creatives, during a Q&A at the British Film Institute back in early 2016. For the recently-formed Drahla, his words served as something of a directive, encouraging the trio to trust their own instincts, however far removed they might be from those of their peers. Three years on, the Leeds-formed band have defined their own vital subset of art-rock with Useless Coordinates, a debut album that’s as fearless as it is enthralling.

Speaking from her current base in south-east London with bassist Rob Riggs, singer/guitarist Luciel Brown recounts the record’s somewhat chaotic gestation. “Most of last year was spent touring, so we were squeezing writing and recording in from the beginning of 2018 until end of August.” In-between a headline tour, support slots with Ought and METZ, and multiple festival appearances - including at Meltdown at the request of The Cure’s Robert Smith - Brown, Riggs and Wakefield-based drummer Mike Ainsley managed 10 days in the studio in total.

It was the unsettled nature of the period that part-inspired the album’s title. “[Useless Coordinates] summarised all of our situations,” Brown explains. “We had all these shows coming up and we knew we needed to leave our jobs and change our living situations to make all this stuff happen. So we had all these fixed points and timelines, but at the same time we felt quite lost within all of that.”

Though they felt adrift in their personal lives, artistically Drahla thrived amongst confusion. Experimentation was integral to the creative process, with Brown and Riggs continuing to swap instruments as per their live shows, while collectively they were open to relinquishing traditional song structures in favour of adopting a more instinctive approach. Another integral development proved to be the involvement Chris Duffin of XAM Duo, who played saxophone on large swathes of the record and whose esoteric musical tastes were influential.

Via Duffin, they discovered the work of Japanese synth pioneers Mariah and saxophonist Yasuaki Shimizu. These cult figures figure amongst an eclectic array of musical touch points, from Glenn Miller and Swell Maps, to L.A.-band Behavior. As per their earliest releases, No Wave and post-punk remain integral to Drahla’s musical universe, evident in Brown’s brilliantly deadpan drawl, in the Gang Of Four-esque guitars on Gilded Cloud, and in Duffin’s skronking saxophone on React/Revolt, which draws parallels with the work of James Chance and the Contortions.

The set’s sharp angles, stark tones and claustrophobic textures are reflected in the album’s artwork. Designed by Brown and Riggs - as per all previous record sleeves and promotional videos - the minimalist, mixed media creation takes inspiration from Talking Heads and Gang Of Four album art, the work of American artist Cy Twombly, and the economical, regimented aesthetic of the Bauhaus movement. “Drahla came about off the back of needing an outlet for creative expression,” Brown explains. “So the whole aesthetic is hugely important. As important as the music.”

Whatever the medium, Brown’s interests lie in looking beyond the immediate to the abstract and indefinable. Her lyrics are developed from observations, notes and poems, and the fragmented imagery is spliced together to disorientating effect. On Gilded Cloud elegant snapshots from the golden age of Hollywood are juxtaposed with abrasive guitar textures, Pyramid Estate draws parallels between Ancient Egypt and the present day, and Serenity evokes the violent energy of a Francis Bacon painting. Beneath the abstraction are a diverse array of themes, including gender fluidity (Invisible Sex), city living (Primitive Rhythm) and artistic expression (Unwound).

The result is an uncompromising but deeply rewarding debut where the internal and external, cerebral and visceral coalesce to quite startling effect.

"(Drahla) make the kind of literate punk to kickstart a revolution in your mind" - The FADER

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Abdullah Ibrahim new album due Summer 2019

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Album release: Abdullah Ibrahim
Release date: Summer 2019
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Artist website

Legendary South African pianist and composer Abdullah Ibrahim signs to Gearbox Records for first album in 4 years, due Summer 2019.

Having released some of the most exciting jazz releases in recent years (Theon Cross, Binker and Moses, Thelonious Monk, Sarathy Korwar + more) Gearbox Records have now announced that they have signed a deal with legendary South African pianist and composer, Abdullah Ibrahhim.

His first new album in 4 years, Ibrahim recently recorded some previously-unreleased music with his long-time band, Ekaya. The session took place over the course of a day in London at the great RAK Studios, last November. They recorded some full band arrangements and Ibrahim also recorded a couple of solo, improvised piano pieces. The instrumentation is broad, and includes harmonica, cello, and piccolo. In his own words, "With Ekaya, I am blessed in that I have all these textural opportunities."

Speaking about the new album, the recording process and the recording process, Ibrahim says "We push ourselves out of our comfort zones. So that we can present to the listener our striving for excellence. So that we can engage with our listeners without any barriers of our ego. It’s not jazz. For us, it’s a process of transcending barriers. Technically it’s very, very skilled, but there’s simplicity in the complexity so that people can relate to it. It’s a natural rhythm of the universe. We’ve been looking at recording for some time. But we were looking for the correct vehicle. Someone who understands what we’re doing. "

Speaking about the signing label founder Darrel Sheinman, said "I was obviously honoured. He was coming to headline the London Jazz Festival, it was an opportunity to record him, so we did RAK Studios. There was a mixture of some older pieces and some new pieces. The other beauty is that he's happy to be released as Abdullah Ibrahim aka Dollar Brand, which is quite interesting because he hasn't done that since the '60s. And I've always been a fan of him, in particular his contribution to the whole township jazz sound."

The new album will be coming out through Gearbox Records in Summer 2019 - More details TBA

About Gearbox Records

Founded in 2009, Gearbox Records is a vinyl led label specialising in previously unreleased heritage jazz cuts, as well as contemporary artists from the jazz, folk and electronica genres. Their early archive jazz releases include artists such as Tubby Hayes, Yusef Lateef, and Thelonious Monk. Recent output includes award-winning London jazz duo Binker and Moses, inimitable tubist Theon Cross, Indian percussionist and tabla-player Sarathy Korwar, and American jazz and funk five-piece Butcher Brown.

Recent praise for Gearbox Records releases

"We’ve been looking at recording for some time. But we were looking for the correct vehicle. Someone who understands what we’re doing." - Theon Cross "Fyah" - Pitchfork (7.5)

No. 1 Urban Album of the Year 2017 / No. 2 Jazz Album of the year 2018. Binker & Moses "Journey To The Mountain Of Forever" / "Alive In The East?" - MOJO

"It’s a bold assertion that many of Monk’s disciples might disagree with. What’s undeniable is that with the release of Mønk, the star’s indomitable legacy has been reinforced . . . the record has been literally saved from the trash is a twist of fortune to be treasured forever." - Thelonious Monk "Mønk" - Bandcamp

"Making you reconsider totemic moments in jazz, this feels like an important record, one that opens up a conversation that has largely been excluded from the mainstream for much too long." - Sarathy Korwar & Upaj Collective "My East Is Your West" - Clash

Find more info on Gearbox Record's releases here.

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Pile new album out 3 May 2019

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Album release: 'Green and Gray' by Pile
Release date: 3 May 2019
Label: Exploding In Sound Records
More info: Band website

From their earliest days as the solo project of frontman Rick Maguire, Pile have followed an unusual path through a decade in which rock bands have generally receded from the cultural spotlight. Starting out in 2007, in the then thriving Boston DIY scene, the band rapidly became heroes and standard-bearers for their hometown’s music community, garnering a cultish-adoration that has only intensified as that cult has grown, expanding by word of mouth along the Eastern seaboard and across the country over 10 years that have seen 6 full length albums and 100s of shows in basements, bars, punk houses and clubs.

With their last full length, 2017’s ‘A Hairshirt of Purpose’, Pile found their widest audience to date. Hailed as a release that communicated the inimitable quality of the live shows that have made the band near-legendary in certain circles, the album received praise from all quarters, earning them a critical-acclaim commensurate with the adoration, heaped on them by their contemporaries, that has long granted them “your favourite band’s favourite band” status.

Today, Pile are announcing their 7th album, ‘Green and Gray’, which will be out on May 3rd via Exploding In Sound, and sharing the album's first single ‘Bruxist Grin’. Packed with the kind of hairpin dynamic shifts that have become Pile's hallmark, the track, with the aid of the album's engineer Kevin S. McMahon (Titus Andronicus, Frightened Rabbit, The Walkmen, Swans), opens up the space between the two poles of the Pile's sound. Showcasing Maguire's powerful voice, the track pulls from a seemingly bottomless bag of sonic tricks, shifting seamlessly from delicate acoustic guitar figures to pummeling full band rhythmic turns, relating the experience of Maguire's first panic attack with an almost psychedelic flair.

"I wrote "Bruxist Grin" when I was getting ready to move," Maguire explains. "I'd been showing people my place to take my apartment, and getting my life together to go make this record to then move two days after the session. It was a super tight timeline and I went to bed and had a panic attack. I hadn’t had one before, and I thought it came on kind of like a psychedelic experience, like when the acid starts to kick in and it’s like 'oh, here we go.' My heart was pounding and I didn’t know what was happening but I knew that there was a lot about my current way of living that was about to change and I assume it was just my body reacting to all of it. It was pitch black, and I perceived looking at myself and my position to the rest of the world, physically, psychologically and spiritually, and feeling this overwhelming anxiety, and that’s what the song’s about."

In support of the album the band will be heading out on an extensive North American tour. Full details can be found below.

'Green and Gray' will be released via Exploding In Sound on 3rd May. It is available for pre-order here.

Previous praise for Pile

"In certain parts of Boston, Pile are beheld with the kind of reverence traditionally reserved for local sporting heroes and/or minor deities...their music crackles and explodes alongside frontman Rick Maguire's over-firing neurons." - Pitchfork

"Pile is well-known as idols for their peers...The band balances the acrobatic and the annihilating as it shifts between gnarled melodies and heavy thrashing." - NPR

"Messy, loud, and rhythmically intense…the tension between softer, sadder moments and the abrasive ones feels vital." - FADER

"[Pile] have achieved the kind of mythical status typically ascribed to long-since-passed rock legends." - Stereogum

"A guitar band that doesn’t sound like a guitar band; there’s something intense and brave about them, but it feels feminine, not macho, not over the top." - Consequence Of Sound

"[Pile have] a nimble sense of timing more often associated with jazz or classical musicians, and a compositional ambition exceeding that of nearly all of their peers." - Spin

"Vivid and refined…[Pile have a] delirious energy that's inspired a decade's worth of devoted followers." - MTV

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The Get Up Kids new album out 10 May 2019

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Album release: ‘Problems’ by The Get Up Kids
Release date: 10 May 2019
Label: Big Scary Monsters
More info: Band website

The Get Up Kids today announced their first full-length album in eight years, ‘Problems’ - produced by Grammy Award-winner Peter Katis (Kurt Vile, The National) - will be released May 10th on Big Scary Monsters.

The video for first single ‘Satellite’ is out today; watch it now here and stream the track at all DSPs here. ‘Problems’ is now available for pre-order here. The band today also announced two shows at this year’s SXSW:

The Get Up Kids at SXSW:

3/13 - Austin, TX - The Mohawk - Polyvinyl Record Co. / Double Double Whammy / Big Scary Monsters + Friends Showcase (11:45 PM). Event info here.

3/14 - Austin, TX - Scoot Inn - Brooklyn Bowl Family Reunion (11:00 PM). Event info here.

‘Satellite’ opens on a stark arrangement of acoustic guitar and stripped-bare vocals, then bursts into brightly crashing rhythms and lyrics revealing the time-bending quality of The Get Up Kids’ songwriting. “I started writing ‘Satellite’ about my son who’s 14 and a total introvert - not antisocial, he just genuinely likes to keep to himself,” says guitarist/vocalist Matt Pryor. “But then somewhere down the line I started singing about myself - about how even when you’re playing a show to a room full of people, I can still feel anxious and isolated.” Director Kerstin Ebert explains, “The feeling of being isolated in a big city can be depressing. But instead of making this a sad story, I added a cardboard man named Hank to the storyline -- a guy who lives like a normal human being amongst 8 million other people in New York City. Even though Hank's adventurous ambitions as well as his facial expressions are very limited, he is the heart of the story and the biggest dreamer of all.”

‘Problems’ examines everything from life-changing loss to loneliness to the inevitable anxiety of existing in 2019. But by sustaining the essence of their sound - anthemic choruses with sing-along-ready melodies -The Get Up Kids highlight those troubles as a shared experience, giving way to an unbreakable solidarity. And at the heart of Problems is an invaluable element the band’s embodied since their 1997 debut Four Minute Mile: a penetrating lyricism that’s both acutely introspective and indelibly resonant.

The follow-up to 2018’s acclaimed EP, Kicker, Problems came to life in Bridgeport, Connecticut, with the band - Matt Pryor, Jim Suptic (guitars/vocals), Rob Pope (bass), Ryan Pope (drums), and James Dewees (keys) - holing up together for a three-week span. Working with Katis, The Get Up Kids took a characteristically riff-driven yet decidedly pop-minded approach to song structure, while also allowing themselves a new sense of creative freedom.

Through the years, The Get Up Kids have purposely pushed themselves toward previously unexplored songwriting material. “I’m 41 now, I could never write a song like when I was 19 - all those ‘I miss my girlfriend’ kind of songs” Suptic says. “It’s always important to us to write about wherever we are right now.” As shown on Problems, the resulting output both preserves the beloved spirit of The Get Up Kids and creates an entirely new context for their music. “A big part of the reason why we started writing new songs in the first place is that we have things we want to say about this moment in time,” says Pryor. “We’re still so connected to our past and where this all came from - it’s definitely a celebration of the fact that we still get to do this.”

The Get Up Kids play Slam Dunk North on 25th May and Slam Dunk South on 26th May

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Dwight Trible new album out 12 April 2019

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Album release: 'Mothership' by Dwight Trible
Release date: 12 April 2019
Label: Gearbox Records
More info: Artist website

Dwight Trible has forged an impressive career as an inimitable jazz vocalist, activist and as the godfather of the LA jazz scene. He is the vocalist for the Pharoah Sanders Quartet and has collaborated with a huge variety of artists such as Kamasi Washington (singing on ‘The Epic’ and ‘Heaven and Earth’), J Dilla, Life Force Trio, Carlos Nino, John Beasley, Bobby Hutcherson, Charles Lloyd, and is also the vocal director for the Horace Tapscott Pan Afrikan Peoples Arkestra - a Los Angeles institution with a history stretching back forty years and an active engagement in the city's Black community since the Watts Uprising.

Trible has also been on the forefront of the US jazz resurgence, working as executive director of the hugely crucial arts space The World Stage - a vital component to Leimert Park, which has been the epicentre of African-American art and culture in Los Angeles since the late 1960s. Artists such as Kamasi Washington and Terrace Martin have credited the venue as having helped to shape their sounds and the sense of community surrounding the scene, whilst also being an essential influence to the likes of Kendrick Lamar and Biz Markey, as well as number of artists from LA tastemaker label Brainfeeder and more.

In amongst all this noise, Trible is also a solo musician. Having released music on Ninja Tune as well as a collaborative record with Matthew Halsall on Gondwana Records, he is now set to release his new album ‘Mothership’ via London jazz aficionados and analog specialists, Gearbox Records (Binker and Moses, Sarathy Korwar, Theon Cross, Thelonious Monk).

Featuring appearances from legendary musicians such as Kamasi Washington, Mark de Clive-Lowe, Miguel Atwood-Ferguson (Thundercat, Dr. Dre, Flying Lotus) and more, the new album is packed with back-to-back cosmic trances, deep spiritual jazz cuts and messianic soul. But what takes centre stage here is Trible’s epiphanic vocals. Having been compared to the likes of Leon Thomas, he sings with a passion and range which is near unrivalled by living compeers, singing about love and empowerment, struggle and oppression and his personal, deep connection with spiritualism. Hear the new single 'It's All About Love'.

So, the question is why now, when in his late-50s, are many people only just hearing about Dwight Trible? It is entirely possible it’s because he hasn’t really wanted us to. An avid and passionate activist, an enabler of the local scene and a figurehead in the LA jazz community, Trible’s focus is rarely self-seeking, always facing outward his focus is largely centred on giving, inclusion and teaching, whilst also inspiring others and expressing himself both on-stage on-record behind the scenes.

A key figurehead in the LA jazz scene, Dwight Trible is a legend in waiting. With an incredible career spanning decades, he has played a pivotal role in creating as much jazz history through his work and inspiration in the new wave of US jazz, as he should be noted for in his undoubtable vocal and songwriting talent. ‘Mothership’ sees Trible make a giant leap into the foreground, and it won’t be long before everyone is wondering why they haven’t heard of him already.

"It was such an honour to play on Dwight Trible's album. His singing has inspired me since I was 15 years old. He has a way of bringing such a unique life and feel to every song that he sings. His voice has power, soul, and beauty, qualities that all us horn players strive for. Thank you, Dwight, for having me on this masterful piece of art." - Kamasi Washington.

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Big Scary Monsters new compilation out now

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Album release: 'Let's Just Do It And Be Legends' by Big Scary Monsters
More info: Label website

Today, Big Scary Monsters announce and celebrate their 250th release with their new compilation 'Let's Just Do It And Be Legends'.

Featuring new album tracks from American Football, Martha, Delta Sleep, Pedro The Lion and more, alongside vinyl exclusives from Cursive, Kevin Devine, We Were Promised Jetpacks and Jamie Lenman, the 12" picture disc is available now, for whatever price you'd like to pay. There's no minimum.

Commemorating years of critically acclaimed releases, the exclusive tracks on the record include Kevin Devine's 'Outstretched & Never Ending', which is taken from his digital only split with Worriers earlier this year; Jamie Lenman's cover of 'Good Riddance' by Green Day, which was on a Kerrang covermount several years ago; A new exclusive taken from We Were Promised Jetpack's recent album recording sessions, and an outtake from Cursive's new 'Vitriola', which was previously only available via a flexi disc which came free with New Noise magazine in the US. Additionally, the Martha and American Football tracks are both new singles, which are included in the compilation ahead of their respective album's that will come out in March.

Speaking about the release, Kevin Douch (label founder) says, "We think our roster is the best in the world and, as such, it deserves shouting about, SO WE MADE A LOVELY COMPILATION FOR YOU ALL.

We're immensely proud of the extremely talented artists' we're lucky enough to work with and only wish we could've squeezed more of them onto this record. It's release marks the beginning of a very busy period for BSM, with loads of brilliant new releases, showcases at SXSW, The Great Escape and Truck festivals, in addition to the return of our own multi-venue East London event, Big Day Out, on 28th September. Running a record label is never straight-forward and nor should it be (the fact that this release's catalogue number is accidentally BSM250 says it all) but we absolutely love what we do and hope this pay what you want LP helps introduce lots of people to their new favourite band."

'Let's Just Do This And Be Legends' is available, alongside hundreds of other records and merch items, via the labels new website.

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Fontaines D.C. debut album out 12 April 2019

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Album release: 'Dogrel' by Fontaines D.C.
Release date: 12 April 2019
Label: Partisan Records
More info: Band website

Over the last year, Fontaines D.C. have released four critically acclaimed AA side singles, all of which garnered considerable support both from radio, with the band A-listed at BBC Radio 6 Music for their last single ‘Too Real’, and from a vast range of international press, with the band featuring in a number of end of year lists and receiving high praise from the likes of: NPR, Rolling Stone, Q, NME, The FADER, Time Out, DIY, The Line of Best Fit, Dork, Clash, Gigwise, So Young, Stereogum, Paste and more.

Now, ahead of their sold-out UK headline tour in April, Dublin's Fontaines D.C. have announced their highly-anticipated debut album, 'Dogrel', which is slated for release on 12th April 2019 via Partisan Records. Alongside the announcement of their new album, the band have also shared a new video (directed by Molly Keane) for the album opener, 'Big'. Hear/share ‘Big’ here.

Speaking about the video, the band said, "we felt that great ambition was a sickness, and we got Grian's 11 year next-door neighbour to say it to you all because he's got the presence of a hundred frontmen."

Alongside the new album and single, the band have also announced a new EU/UK headline tour starting on 19th November 2019.

Fontaines D.C. have toured extensively over the last year supporting Shame on their UK tour and selling out every date their own UK headline tours in December 2018 and April 2019. Similarly, the band have just completed a 20+ run of sell out dates across Europe and Scandinavia, will support label mates IDLES on their US tour in April 2019 and are also set to appear at various festivals across 2019 including End Of The Road, Truck Festival, Y Not Festival, SXSW and more. Full list of tour dates here.

'Dogrel' is due out 12th April 2019 via Partisan Records and is available to pre-order here. The album will be released on limited edition transparent yellow vinyl, CD as well as all digital platforms.

About Fontaines D.C.

“Is it too real for ya?”

“We were encouraging each other to be who we believed ourselves to be all the time” - Grian Chatten, lead vocals, Fontaines D.C.

With the best bands, it seems to happen fast. The trajectory is steep, the progression seemingly preordained, inexorable. Assembling whilst still at college in Dublin a mere three years ago, from the ruins of early nowhere bands, and having discovered a shared love of poetry and a common zeal for authentic self-expression, the evolution of Fontaines D.C. has been swift, sure and seemingly effortless. Three self-released seven-inch singles (the first of which, “Liberty Belle,” emerged in May 2017) each a confident step onward from its predecessor, and a relentless schedule of live shows have seen them progress at a prodigious, yet wholly logical pace. Through around 200 dates in the UK, Europe, and the US, one word has kept resurfacing in their characteristically eloquent yet direct interviews: authenticity. “I think there's an authenticity to what we do, and people have been starved of authenticity for too long,” Chatten said in one early Irish radio encounter. Not youthful bravado, but a truthful reflection of the shared code that has guided these five young best friends thus far, with what has occasionally seemed a preternatural combination of insouciance and self-belief. This commitment to the authentic, in their music and in each other, is key to understanding the Fontaines D.C. aesthetic. In the course of “going round bars, drinking and writing poetry and romanticizing it to bits,” according to bassist Conor Deegan, the band pushed each other to create, always keeping a collective eye on keeping it real. “We’d call each other out” Chatten has explained, adding, “through each other, we found ourselves a lot quicker.”

Alongside this commitment to each other and the shared goal, another overarching formative dynamic was at work: Dublin City itself; more specifically, the disappearing Dublin embodied most readily in their immediate surroundings, the old working class neighborhood known as The Liberties. As with so many of our cities, the modern malaise of gentrification is steadily claiming vast swathes of the Irish capital. Sure, that's progress, but the underlying cultural cost of this air-brushing of an environment is something that has preoccupied Chatten, feeding into much of the Fontaines’ lyrical content, and indeed the early singles' artwork which featured long-gone, semi-mythical figures like Bang Bang and Forty Coats, real-life quasi-Dickensian characters, legendary in their own time but now becoming lost in the city's fading folklore. Chatten speaks of writing about “the dying romance of the city...the reason we love the Liberties is that seems to be where a lot of that action is happening,” It would be a mistake to view this as some sighing nostalgia, however. Rather, it speaks to the place of Fontaines D.C. in a broader Irish cultural lineage: the bloodline that is more Behan than Bono, evoking poets such as Kavanagh and Lynott, Chevron and MacGowan and yes, even Joyce in the expression of the universal and profoundly human experience through the prism of the local, the familiar, the real. As Lou Reed did with New York, or Ray Davies with London, or indeed The Smiths with Manchester. Write what you know, as the old advice goes. Or, in the words of guitarist Conor Curley: “From talking to these guys about literature, I saw Irishness as being easily romantic about what you see.”

It's a through-line that can be discovered in all the best of Irish art, whichever the medium, and the band's intent is drolly embodied in the album's knowing title: ‘Dogrel.’ To give it its dictionary definition (or close enough for now): crude verse of little artistic worth. The ribald rhymes of the docks, the factories and the early houses. The authentic poetry of the people, which any smart Irish poet knows it is foolish to think oneself above. For in it all is an ineffable beauty, something these young men understand very well.

Not that ‘Dogrel’ isn't rock and roll; it most assuredly is, the best example of the form that you are likely to hear this or any other year. It spits, it snarls, it snaps with the very best of them. But also it yearns, like the greatest Irish music must do. In songs like the almost unbearably sad “Dublin City Sky” there is a marriage of the lyrical to the poetic tradition that bears comparison not just with MacGowan's (the Pogues) best work, but echoes the exquisite heartbreak of Luke Kelly's timeless reading of Kavanagh's “On Raglan Road.” This is an example of one of the great strengths of ‘Dogrel’; its diversity makes it feel less like a debut and more like the work of a band who have long since proven their point, as I suspect Fontaines D.C. may well feel that they have; to the very people who matter above all: each other.

From the short, sharp opener “Big” (surely rivalling “I Wanna Be Adored” as an irresistible opening statement of self-confident intent) the album delightfully surprises at every turn. The singles sit fully at ease along much more complex, emotionally loaded pieces such as “Roy's Tune” and “The Lotts,” both examples of a bruised but unbowed melancholia which is the record's true genome. “Television Screen,” shares its title with the first ever Irish punk single (by The Radiators From Space featuring future Pogue and another of the great chroniclers of old Dublin Town, the late Philip Chevron) and it is a different beast again: melodic and stately, it's a perfect example of the untimely, almost unnatural maturity that this band has already attained. “Boys in The Better Land,” in another twist, perfectly captures the spirit of the album's title. Among a blizzard of evocative couplets, “He spits out 'Brits Out" and only smokes Carroll's,” stands out as as great a pencil portrait as you'll find anywhere. That Lou Reed thing again.

As a band, Fontaines D.C. are on fire throughout: witness the brief, urgent mechanical grind of “Chequeless Reckless,” which perhaps comes closest to a Fontaines D.C. manifesto: "A sellout is someone who becomes a hypocrite in the name of money. An idiot is someone who lets their education do all of their thinking. A phony is someone who demands respect for the principles they affect. A dilettante is someone who can't tell the difference between fashion and style. Charisma is exquisite manipulation. And money... is the sandpit of the soul.” Spat out by Chatten with palpable contempt, they are words that could come back to haunt him, but he's smarter than that, and anyway, somewhere Mister Wilde is wryly smiling.

‘Dogrel’ is a debut which is best enjoyed as a whole; it is very much in the grand tradition of the album as art form, just as this is a band very much in the classic band mold: great singles, an indefatigable work ethic and an utter aversion to standing still.

Reluctant to be viewed as part of any wider movement (“I get a bit uncomfortable with some of the comparisons that have been made,” says Chatten, as he must, though they inevitably shall be) Fontaines D.C. have delivered on their tremendous promise in a way that few bands have. It is to their credit and it augurs well that their collective eye is already on the next phase as they prepare for now to merely take on the world for real. To real.

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Charly Bliss new album out 10 May 2019

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Album release: ‘Young Enough’ by Charly Bliss
Release date: 10 May 2019
Label: Lucky Number
More info: Band website

Today, NYC's Charly Bliss return by signing to Lucky Number (Sunflower Bean, Dream Wife, Hinds, Sleigh Bells and more) for the World excl America and announcing their highly anticipated new album, ‘Young Enough’, with a video for its lead single ‘Capacity’. Watch here.

‘Young Enough’ is available for pre-order now and due out May 10th via Lucky Number.

Charly Bliss' Eva Hendricks says "'Capacity' is a song about wanting to kill your inner people-pleaser, and Michelle beautifully presented a parallel concept, which warns of the perils of getting swept up in other people's bullshit.”

Video director Michelle Zauner of Japanese Breakfast, says: "Charly Bliss has always made great narrative music videos, so I wanted to stay in line with that tradition and take advantage of working with a band that are all such great, funny actors individually. I was watching a lot of heist movies at the time, and I thought a sort of post-heist fall out between friends was the perfect setting for this song about reaching your limit with someone. Eva had an amazing mood board she brought to the table with references to Paris, Texas, Five Easy Pieces and Badlands so it was important for us to showcase a warm, 70's colour palette."

Additionally, Charly Bliss have announced European tour dates for May, as well as a return to SXSW. All dates here.

About Charly Bliss by Lizzy Goodman

"I don't know why it's easiest for me to frame the darkest lyrics in the context of upbeat songs," says Charly Bliss' Eva Hendricks. "It's completely instinctual and not something I ever plan out. It sort of mirrors how I am, and maybe it's a way of protecting myself. In my opinion, the two best emotional releases are crying and dancing, so it makes sense to me to marry the two."

That combination is the core of Charly Bliss who, on this record, embraced both sides of that equation more than ever before. Challenging each other to be exposed, to be seen for who they really are as people, and then to double down on the sound that emerged from that process is the story of the band's evolution from the scrappy upstarts who made 2017's brash punk LP Guppy, to the confident, assured artists behind the comparatively dynamic, unapologetically pop Young Enough. "We definitely go to different places on this one," says bassist Dan Shure. "But it still sounds like us. It's still fun." As they started writing, they tapped into their mutual love of pop music. "You know, bangers? Songs that just stick with you for a really long time," Dan says. In particular, the expansive but gritty title track and the synth-driven, emotive song "Chatroom" served as key points of reference for the overall direction of the album.

For Eva, the path to these moments of exaltation was fraught. Many of the singer's Young Enough lyrics were inspired by a past abusive relationship, one that had Eva - as such relationships are designed to do - doubting herself on many levels. Songwriting, which "wasn't something that I grew up thinking I could do," as she puts it, became a new source of respite, and, eventually, of redemption. "You go through experiences of loss or extreme pain and you just keep moving," Eva says. "You look around and wonder, how has the world not stopped? But it's also powerful. I'm still here, I'm not a person who is ruled by pain, I still like who I am." If the singer had any lingering doubts about her craft, they're gone now. "For a long time I understood my ability to write songs as like, OMG another one just fell from the sky, what luck - another one will never come again!" Eva says. "Now I know, I'm meant to be doing this. And I accept and honor that."

Exposing oneself emotionally, even to close friends and creative collaborators, is never easy -- especially when one of those people is your brother. Growing up in Connecticut, it was their parents' "wildest dream," as Eva puts it, that she and Sam, the band's drummer, would wind up playing in a band together, so of course they avoided it for as long as possible. The Charly Bliss origin story begins instead at performing arts summer camp, where guitarist Spencer Fox first met Dan. Eva and Dan also knew each other through musical theater; they did shows together as pre-teens. "We are super hardcore," jokes Spencer.

It was Spencer who first saw in Eva the possessed energy the bands' fans are so drawn to, this tornado of joy and rage and celebratory sorrow spinning out to mesmerizing effect on stage night after night. "It was just there," he says. "It was obvious." He eventually asked Eva out of the blue if she'd been writing songs, which shocked her a little; dudes didn't usually care. "I would always ask the guys at my high school who played music if we could start a band or write or do something together, but they pretty much ignored me," she remembers. "But Spencer totally encouraged me." Before long, the pair was writing together, and they called on Eva's big brother to join on drums. "It was kind of like, oh why didn't we do this a long time ago," Sam says.

By 2014 Charly Bliss was a fully formed band, living in New York, working the standard barista/bartender circuit by day, rehearsing by night. They recorded and released their debut EP, Soft Serve, and played lots and lots (and lots) of shows. There was a purity to those years. "I loved it," remembers Eva. "I really loved working in a coffee shop. I'd write songs while I was putting away milk." After they released Guppy through Barsuk Records in 2017, time spent out on the road increased, as did the Charly Bliss fanbase. But the essence of the band's sound, two and a half minute torrents of blissfully tight chaos that blew the roof off the place, (not to mention the band members' lifestyles) didn't change much.

When it came time to record a follow up, that's when things shifted. They all quit their jobs to focus full time on music and challenged each other to write as many songs as possible. Sam and Eva collaborated more closely than ever and found a prolific songwriting rhythm. After penning 20+ songs, they solicited the input of producer Joe Chiccarelli (the Shins, the White Stripes), who won their hearts immediately. "He just got us," says Eva. For Chiccarelli, the "infectiousness" he was initially drawn to when he heard the band play live in early 2017, was more apparent than ever. "There is a high level of energy in the vocal delivery, there is a sophistication and musicality in the guitar parts, the rhythm section just works, the parts are simple but they come alive," he says. "It's all the elements that make a great band."

The first five or six songs they wrote, felt good but a little too familiar, like Guppy 2.0. Then things started to open up. "Chatroom" and "Young Enough" were linchpins, as was the soaring, mini epic, "Fighting In the Dark." The delicate synth confessional "Hurt Me" also felt, as Eva puts it, "like something we hadn't explored yet." The entire record sounds like a newly explored realm, from the deceptively easeful confessional "Capacity" to the propulsive, more classic pop of "Hard To Believe." In the end, Young Enough feels joyful and celebratory, but also infused with a new sense of depth and maturity. "I want people to feel strong when they listen to this record," says Eva. "Like you're working through some shit but you feel really strong and beautiful, even if you're in a lot of pain. That's what I want people to feel. The opposite of broken."

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Larry "Ratso" Sloman debut album out 5 April 2019

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Album release: 'Stubborn Heart' by Larry "Ratso" Sloman
Release date: 5 April 2019
Label: Lucky Number
More info: Artist website

NYC author/writer/actor Larry "Ratso" Sloman has collaborated with some of the most dynamic figures in pop culture from Bob Dylan, Lou Reed, John Cale and Leonard Cohen. Ratso also wrote the best-selling memoirs for Howard Stern, Anthony Kiedis and more. Now at 70, Ratso announces debut LP 'Stubborn Heart' out 5th April on Lucky Number. Hear the first single "Our Lady of Light" featuring Nick Cave here.

Speaking about the new album Sloman says, “If you would have told me when I was covering Dylan's Rolling Thunder tour for Rolling Stone Magazine that forty-four years later, I would be releasing my first album I would have laughed and asked for a hit of whatever it was you were smoking,” he chuckles. “Guess I’ll take that hit now.”

For the last forty-four years Larry “Ratso” Sloman has forged an impressive career as a writer of books, lyrics and, most recently, screenplays. Credited with writing features on the likes of Lou Reed, George Harrison and Leonard Cohen for Rolling Stone, Sloman was also personally invited by Bob Dylan to join his ‘Rolling Thunder Revue’ as the tour's official scribe – leading to his first book ‘On The Road With Bob Dylan’ (dubbed by Dylan as ‘The War and Peace of Rock and Roll”), and being given the moniker of “Ratso” by Joan Baez for his dishevelled appearance. He has also collaborated with the likes of Howard Stern, Anthony Kiedis and David Blaine on their best-selling memoirs, has being personally asked by Leonard Cohen to preface ‘On Tour with Leonard Cohen’, and his biography of Houdini will soon be a major-motion picture.

Ratso has also paid his dues in the tower of song, having written the lyrics for over thirty tracks with Rick Derringer (McCoys) and ex-Velvet Underground founder John Cale - including ‘Dying on the Vine’, which became Cale’s signature solo song (inspiring not one, but two novels!) - as well as acting in films as diverse as the award winning short The Black Balloon, the horror film Satan’s Little Helper, and has a large role in Martin Scorsese's upcoming Netflix documentary on Dylan's Rolling Thunder tour, out in April.. What hasn’t he done? His own album.

Now in his 70s Ratso is releasing his debut album ‘Stubborn Heart’. Produced by his close friend Vin Cacchione (of Soft Black and Caged Animals) at his studio in Bushwick, Brooklyn, ‘Stubborn Heart’ blends a classic songwriting approach with a contemporary sophistication. The album features Ratso singing on eight originals (including songs that were co-written with John Cale) and what he describes as an “audacious” Bob Dylan cover, along with the generous talents of his friends Nick Cave (who he duets with on the evocative ‘Our Lady of Light’), Warren Ellis, Sharon Robinson (Leonard Cohen’s co-writer, producer and back-up singer), Yasmine Hamdan, Imani Coppolla and more.

Reminiscing on the album Ratso says, “Everything about this project was fun. And it was always about the songs. They had been lying dormant since 1984. They deserved a life.” Each track carries a significant and often astonishing history. For instance, the John Cale collaboration ‘Dying On The Vine’, was originally conceived in hotel room off Sunset Blvd. whilst trading lines with Tom Waits and Chuck E. Weiss, whereas Sharon Robinson was convinced to sing on the record in exchange for Ratso writing the aforementioned Leonard Cohen preface for free – described by Ratso as an “old school barter.

‘Stubborn Heart’ is an album that is fittingly autobiographical, harking back to various stages of Ratso’s accomplished career and life, sung by a guy who witnessed the counter-cultural explosion of 1970's NYC and birthed forty years later within the DIY confines of Brooklyn.

His Rolling Stones fan club card long gone, Ratso’s now a card-carrying member of the American Association of Retired Persons but he’s determined to ride this new career wherever it takes him. “Maybe I can be the Jewish Susan Boyle,” he muses. “The oldest best new artist ever and if that doesn’t pan out, I can always perform on subway platforms. Hey, I can get in for half-price!”

Pre-order 'Stubborn Heart' here.

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DADDY LONG LEGS new album out 10 May 2019

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Album release: ‘Lowdown Ways’ by DADDY LONG LEGS
Release date: 10 May 2019
Label: Yep Roc Records
More info: Band website

Brooklyn, NY-based trio DADDY LONG LEGS - Brian Hurd (vocals, harmonica, guitar), Murat Akturk (slide guitar), Josh Styles (drums, maraca) will make their Yep Roc Records debut May 10 with ‘Lowdown Ways’, their third studio album.

Produced by Jimmy Sutton and engineered by Alex Hall (JD McPherson, Pokey LaFarge, Jake La Botz) at Hi-Style Studios in Chicago, the album features 12 original compositions with songwriting contributions from JD McPherson and Sutton. A new direction from their first two studio albums (released by Norton Records), ‘Lowdown Ways’ sees the boys widen their sonic horizons with field hollers, gospel, Cajun, and Mississippi Hill Music, coupled with their renowned supercharged, harp-driven R&B bangers.

The first single, ‘Mornin’ Noon & Nite,’ premiered at WFMU. The track is now available at all streaming services.

Frontman Brian Hurd describes ‘Mornin’ Noon & Nite’ as “a Hoodoo Stomper in the vein of John Lee Hooker and is about one’s pure, savage lust for his or her lover.”

When asked by Village Voice “What is DADDY LONG LEGS?,” Hurd answered, “Rock and roll salvation through the spirit of roots and blues.” While influenced by the likes of Son House, Captain Beefheart, Howlin’ Wolf, MC5, and Dr. Feelgood, their sound personifies garage rock and punk with a contemporary raw twist performed in their own brand of supercharged R&B.

Since forming in 2010, the band has released two studio albums, a live album and two 45s on Norton Records. Their last album was 2015’s ‘DADDY LONG LEGS Rides Tonight’. The band has toured with Jon Spencer, Hurray For The Riff Raff, The Sonics, Nikki Lane, Nick Waterhouse, amongst others.

‘Lowdown Ways’ is now available for pre-order. The vinyl LP arrives on limited edition opaque white vinyl.

“…like Chicago blues fired at the moon, played by the demented children of the Pretty Things.” – Rolling Stone

“DADDY LONG LEGS takes the blues and turns them inside out, upside down, round about and renews their primal energy. My favorite rompin’ stompin’ New York band of the moment.” – Lenny Kaye

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Wet Dreams debut album out 29 March 2012

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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 'Boogie', the latest taster of their debut self-titled album which is due for release on March 29th via Black Pop Records. Sebastian Ulstad Olsen of Wet Dreams (and Death By Unga Bunga), explained the inspiration behind the track: "This song basically wrote itself. I’ve been a fan of raunchy and heavily distorted Boogie Rock since I first heard Guitar Wolf."

Listen to the new single 'Boogie' on Soundcloud | Spotify | Bandcamp

Pre-order album here.

The band announced the album with the storming single 'Bad Boy' along with a video that songwriter Sebastian Ulstad Olsen of Wet Dreams said 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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Field Medic new album out 19 April 2019

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Album release: 'fade into the dawn’ by Field Medic
Release date: 19 April 2019
Label: Run For Cover Records
More info: Artist website

Field Medic, the moniker of Los Angeles-based folk artist Kevin Patrick, has announced his new album 'fade into the dawn' will be released on April 19 via Run For Cover Records. Today, he released the album's first single 'henna tattoo,' a driving acoustic track recorded straight to a 4-track tape recorder backed by his boom box drum machine. The album is now available for pre-order and includes an instant download of 'henna tattoo.'

Listen/share 'henna tattoo' via YouTube / Spotify.

Pre-order link for 'fade into the dawn' here.

"It's a song about being afraid to speak up for fear of what the truth might be," explains Patrick. "So instead you remain in a state of unease & anxiety, because at least perpetual uncertainty isn't as bad as the imagined worst case scenario".

'fade into the dawn' is Patrick’s first proper full-length release for ‘Run For Cover’ following his critically acclaimed collection 'songs from the sunroom', which received acclaim from BrooklynVegan, Noisey, Stereogum and more. The new album features ten sparse, acoustic tracks that reckon with our perceptions of success and self as they face down the inevitable complications that arise from realising any hard-won dream.

During the recording of 'fade into the dawn', Patrick found himself going through a number of tumultuous changes: he relocated to Los Angeles from San Francisco, where he’d lived and recorded on and off for several years; he left the world of day jobs behind in order to tour year-round; and he decided to quit drinking, only to return to it halfway through a particularly grueling run of shows. It was the sort of emotional roller-coaster that he would normally work through in song, but even the simple act of writing seemed profoundly more complicated than ever before. Patrick had always written candidly about doubt and darkness and anxiety, but 'fade into the dawn' required him to dig deeper than ever before here, blending black humor and bold introspection as he weighs fantasy against reality and searches for meaning in the mundane.

Patrick writes of this process, "I had to learn to let go again, because the best songs are the ones that happen inexplicably, that feel like they come out of me almost against my will."

Field Medic's radical honesty is audible on every track of 'fade into the dawn'. The minimalist acoustic arrangements and lo-fi production aesthetic, along Patrick's cutting lyrical wit, all combine to produce an album that reflects his natural confidence as a songwriter, even as he gives himself permission to question this self-conception with each ensuing verse.

"Patrick has become a de facto bard for the hyper-online and anxiety-plagued...undeniably infectious and darkly funny...as much heart as there is humor." - Noisey

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Craig Finn new album out 26 April 2019

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Album release: ‘I Need A New War’ by Craig Finn
Release date: 26 April 2019
Label: Partisan Records
More info: Website

Partisan Records announces the release of Craig Finn’s eagerly awaited new album, ‘I Need A New War’ arriving Friday, April 26.

The third album in a trilogy (following 2015’s Faith in the Future and 2017’s We All Want The Same Things), I Need A New War once again sees Finn expertly chronicling our complex, often confusing, modern era, drawing deeply felt character studies about regular people trying to respond to extraordinary times, attempting to find connection whilst wondering how to keep pace with a world moving faster than they are. The LP further finds Finn focusing his lens on New York City – his home for the last 18 years.

“Going in, I saw this record as the third part of a trilogy,” says Finn. “Thematically, this was the third group of songs that I had written about smaller moments - people trying to stay afloat in modern times, attempting to find connection, achieving tiny triumphs and frustrating let downs in their day to day lives.”

‘I Need A New War’, Finn’s fourth solo LP, was recorded throughout 2018 at The Isokon in Woodstock, NY with producer Josh Kaufman and engineer D. James Goodwin, both of whom teamed with Finn on his widely acclaimed previous solo releases. In addition, the album features musical contributions from many of his regular solo collaborators, including Kaufman, horn master Stuart Bogie (Antibalas), pianist Sam Kassirer,vocalists Annie Nero and Cassandra Jenkins, and drummer extraordinaire Joe Russo.

“Perhaps forward motion is everything,” says Finn. “The characters in the songs on this record, and the last two, are trying to keep up and keep their heads above water. They succeed or they don’t, but their stories are the tales of their attempts at pushing ahead. And so, with my own push forward, I feel lucky and excited to be sharing these songs and stories.”

The first song from the new record premiered on NPR today and is available now on all DSPs. “Blankets is a song about someone who has never gotten over a past love, and goes searching for her. But time is running out,” says Finn. Listen to Blankets here.

Beginning today, fans can pre-order I Need A New War in physical and digital formats here. All orders through Finn's D2C store include a bonus digital EP featuring five b-sides from the album. Other items exclusive to the store include: a one of a kind, signed hardcover lyric book (featuring lyrics to all songs from FITF, WAWTST, INANW and photos by Dan Monick), signed vinyl, an enamel pin set, and more.

Perhaps best known as the singer of The Hold Steady, Craig Finn is a Minnesota-bred singer-songwriter and guitarist based in New York City. With his highly descriptive lyrical style and a defining focus on narrative, Finn has crafted whole worlds for the people in his songs to exist within. After five critically acclaimed albums with The Hold Steady, 2012 saw Finn release his first solo album, ‘Clear Heart Full Eyes’ prompting The AV Club to write, “As a solo artist, Finn has created a new world of characters and songs...working in new sonic territory while still sounding like the same old storyteller obsessed with falls from grace and calls for redemption.”

Largely written in the wake of his mother’s death, Faith in the Future earned four stars from Rolling Stone and ultimately, a top 10 spot on American Songwriter’s “Top 50 Albums of 2015.” “It’s time to pay attention to Craig Finn, who made his mark as the frontman with the Hold Steady — an infectious, Replacements-style rock act from New York — but really steps up on his own,” wrote the Boston Globe “Finn’s second solo album is packed with songs rich in street intelligence and wry humour.”

Finn’s remarkable third solo album, We All Want The Same Things, proved one of the most acclaimed releases of 2017 with inclusion on a wide range of high-profile year-end lists. ‘God In Chicago’, the extraordinary centerpiece track that gives the album its name, was ranked #1 by American Songwriter on its “Top 25 Songs of 2017,” noting, “We expect strong characters and compelling stories from Craig Finn, whether he’s recording solo or with The Hold Steady. We even expect beautiful details and excellent location scouting. But we didn’t expect a song as powerful, as specific, as lived in, as beautiful, as insightful, as risky as ‘God in Chicago’.” The Guardian, In a four-starred rave, hailed We All Want The Same Things as “a deeply personal work from a master storyteller,” while Paste simply declared the LP “[Finn’s] most self-assured album...The subtler sense of musical adventurism he has come to embrace on his own work, make these songs essential.” Finn celebrated ‘We All Want The Same Things’ by touring extensively throughout 2017. Highlights included an acclaimed headlining trek backed by his live band, The Uptown Controllers, as well as solo living room tours of the U.S. and the U.K.

Finn will support I Need A New War with a North American and European live schedule. He tours the UK in support of Brian Fallon on the dates here.

"There's a sensation of instability, but also a spirit of inevitability, and as with so much of what Finn weaves, there's grace through it all." - NPR

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Delicate Steve new album out 1 March 2019

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Album release: ‘Till I Burn Up’ by Delicate Steve
Release date: 1 March 2019
Label: ANTI- Records
More info: Artist website

Steve Marion - the songwriter, guitarist, and producer who has made four studio records of primarily word-less, guitar-first music as Delicate Steve – is excited to announce his fifth LP today, titled ‘Till I Burn Up’. It will be released on March 1 via ANTI- Records; pre-order it here.

The new track ‘Selfie of Man’ – listen to it here – was recorded on the Oberheim OB-X synthesizer that belonged to Freddie Mercury.

Now nearly ten years into his career, Steve is a cult artist of his time. He has been called to record with his heroes (Paul Simon, Kanye West) and contribute significantly to his contemporaries’ modern masterworks (Amen Dunes, Freedom), all the while recording and releasing his own critically hailed work and sharing the stage with Tame Impala, Mac DeMarco, Growlers and others.

The album name ‘Till I Burn Up’ comes from a line in Dr. John's ‘Walk on Guilded Splinters’ where Steve misheard John’s actual phrase "Tit Alberta" as "Till I Burn Up." But more than fodder for an album title, John’s Gris Gris, and records like it informed a new frame-of-mind for an artist who has historically set out to make a predetermined statement with every recording.

“The idea of this young freak making Gris Gris in LA, and nobody knowing what to do with it in 1968 ... He gave me confidence to be a little more freaky and abstract instead of quirky and nicely-packaged like my last album was,” Steve explained. He then went on to cite early records by Iggy Pop and Dylan and The Band’s electric tour that were panned at the time and lauded in hindsight. “There is a confidence that comes with abandoning the idea of wanting to create something that everyone might like to check out.”

“Delicate Steve seems interested in animating rock’n’roll’s most outrageous qualities, using his studio savvy to make it do all the things it can’t in real life.” – Pitchfork

“Vastly underrated not only as a guitarist but an accomplished composer and arranger to boot.” – Billboard

"The world's only guitarist that can claim Tame Impala, Death Grips and Paul Simon as admirers." - Uncut

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Crows debut album out 22 March 2019

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Album release: ‘Silver Tongues’ by Crows
Release date: 22 March 2019
Label: Balley Records
More info: Band Facebook

London's Crows were today announced as the latest signing to Balley Records (IDLES, Heavy Lungs, Lice) and will deliver their long-awaited debut album ‘Silver Tongues’ on March 22nd (pre-order 12" here). The album's thrilling first single ‘Chain Of Being’, this week's Lamacq's Livener on 6 Music, is a real statement: a widescreen slice of post-punk that combines heaviness and brooding melody in equal measures.

Stream ‘Chain Of Being’ here | Spotify.

Pre-order album here.

Joe Talbot said the following of his decision to sign Crows to his Balley Records label:

"I saw them play at the Louisiana in Bristol a few years ago and both the performance and the quality of their songs blew me away. Everything about them excites me; so when I heard they were looking to release an album, I had no choice but to chase them. It's a dream to work with them.”

Crows formed in 2015 and have since built a considerable following for the intensity of their live shows which have seen the band members break bones as well as instruments. Supporting the likes of Girl Band and Wolf Alice in the past, the band will take their deafening live show on the road in support of IDLES for their sell out April tour.

With a string of successful singles and EPs under their belt, ‘Silver Tongues’ has been a long while coming. Recorded in near total darkness to build a sense of atmosphere, the album fulfills both their early potential and confidently showcases a band comfortable across a variety of sonic avenues. From the monolithic noise-rock of the title track and opener, to the sky-scraping ‘Demeanour’ and ‘Wednesday's Child’ to the blissed-out closer ‘Dysphoria’, each listen reveals new layers, fresh ideas.

‘Silver Tongues’ is a huge step forward for the band, not only musically, but emotionally. A touring band who have been through so much already, this album rightly took time: now, both Crows and the listener can reap the rewards for their patience.

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Glen Hansard new album out 12 April 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pre-order ‘This Wild Wiling’ here.

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

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