Mike Skinner and co. will take part in a new drive-in concert series set to be staged across the UK this summer. With attendees watching the shows from “private individual viewing zones next to their cars”, the band will perform in Leeds, Bolton, Liverpool, Edinburgh, Darlington, Milton Keynes, Lincoln, Newmarket, Cheltenham, Bristol, London and Birmingham between July 28 and August 12.
Pre-sale opens at 9am on June 25, ahead of general sale at 9am on June 26.
Look, I know this is such a fickle thing to care about right now, but this week, I have managed to land myself in another quarantine-induced period of comfort listening. My reliable album of choice, you ask? 1967’s ‘Magical Mystery Tour’, which, in one of my many questionable musical opinions that make me rather ill-suited to my job, I believe is the Beatles’ greatest body of work. Sue me!
Forget the age-old debate of whether it can actually be recognised as an LP or not (it was originally released as a double EP in the UK), ‘Magical Mystery Tour’ is an instant mood booster. It’s inarguably joyous, and now, in 2020, works as an instantaneous balm against the constant background hum of anxiety that this global pandemic has flared up for many of us.
Now that my life is devoid of my usual routines for the foreseeable, I am holding on tightly to anything and everything that may spark some sense of familiarity. And guess what? It seems that I am not alone in turning to the Fab Four in a time of crisis.
On May 10, Welsh archivist and artist Catrin Saran unveiled ‘Corona Revolver’, a reworking of the Beatles’ 1966 landmark album, ‘Revolver’, in aid of Tarian Cymru, who are currently raising funds to provide health workers in Wales with PPE supplies throughout the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
Here, Saran and a group of like-minded musicians have put together a 14-track, non-profit project that re-imagines some of the legendary group’s finest tunes; Bete Pest spins Love You To into a spaced-out, synth-flecked daydream, Safari Art’s take on Taxman sees the classic hit plod along with a newfound psychedelic gloss, and elsewhere, Plastercast Peacock shakes up the haunting Eleanor Rigby with pitch-shifted vocals and processed beats. And if the whole thing couldn’t get any more ingenious, Cardiff-based artist Rosie Daffern’s accompanying artwork sees the Beatles don face masks, around a collage of all those involved with the making of the album.
‘Corona Revolver’ is free to stream on Bandcamp, but Saran is encouraging listeners to make donations to Tarian Cymru. Da iawn, team.
It seems that Stockport’s indie darlings Blossoms have also been in a similar mindset of late, made evident by their cover of 1966’s Paperback Writer, which appeared on streaming services earlier this week.
Blossoms – Paperback Writer (In Isolation)
Blossoms are beloved regulars of the British festival circuit, but with 2020 now being called a write-off for practically all mass gatherings (let alone thousands of festival punters in a sticky field), how will the band keep their live act together? With the help of their instruments, various household items and Zoom calls, it seems.
Over the past few weeks, the band have shared a dozen videos via their social media platforms, all of which feature clips of each respective band member jamming out in self-isolation to create note-perfect covers. Paperback Writer is one of the many classic tracks that they have reworked, alongside hit singles from other iconic artists such as Tame Impala, Frank Ocean and…themselves.
They are set to compile these tracks onto a new project titled ‘Blossoms In Isolation’, which is set to receive a physical release later this year, though a final date is yet to be confirmed. Keep your eyes (and ears) out for any news — you will definitely want to add a copy to your record shelves.
Right, enough Beatles talk for now. Believe it or not, I have managed to find just enough listening time to discover some new music too! Bristol singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist James Humphrys’s latest single, Colour, has become quite the infectious earworm throughout the week, often inspiring the odd dance break at my desk.
James Humphrys – Colour
Marking the first taste of Humphrys’s forthcoming second EP, Colour sparkles with indie-pop ambition as it bounces along an addictive, kinetic groove. The funk-tinged track refuses to wear out after repeated listens, partially due to the fact that Humphrys boasts fretwork so nifty that it could rival that of South London’s golden boy Tom Misch.
Colour will certainly whet your appetite for a few more infectious, textual rhythms (complete with a cheeky trumpet solo) from Humphrys, but you’ll have to wait until July 10, when he is set to drop his ‘Memory Place’ EP. Get your dancing shoes ready!
The former Yes keyboardist will take The Even Grumpier Old Rock Star Xmas Show to London, Dorking, Basingstoke, Leicester, Birmingham, Southport, Gateshead, Manchester, Middlesbrough, Edinburgh, Bradford, Hull, Southend, Cambridge, High Wycombe, Southampton, Salisbury and Bexhill-on-Sea between November 27 and December 21.
Pre-sale opens at 10am on May 14, ahead of general sale at 10am on May 15.
This week’s instalment is going to be short and sweet. Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams has released her debut solo album, Kehlani has followed up 2017’s ‘SweetSexySavage’, and Mark Lanegan has put out ‘Straight Songs Of Sorrow’ — a record inspired by his life story, which is detailed in his recently released memoir, Sing Backwards And Weep.
Head below to check out what else is on offer.
Beauty Pill – ‘Please Advise’ (Northern Spy)
Butch Walker – ‘American Love Story’ (Ruby Red)
Choir Boy – ‘Gathering Swans’ (Dais Records)
Cryptex – ‘Once Upon A Time’ (Steamhammer)
Daedelus – ‘What Wands Won’t Break’ (DomeOfDoom)
Fake Names – ‘Fake Names’ (Epitaph)
Hailee Steinfeld – ‘Half Written Story’ EP (Island Records)
Hayley Williams – ‘Petals For Armor’ (Atlantic)
I Break Horses – ‘Warnings’ (Bella Union)
John Stewart – ‘Old Forgotten Altars: The 1960s Demos’ (Omnivore Recordings)
Kehlani – ‘It Was Good Until It Wasn’t’ (Atlantic)
Little Simz – ‘Drop 6’ EP (Age 101)
Mark Lanegan – ‘Straight Songs Of Sorrow’ (Heavenly)
Modern Studies – ‘The Weight Of The Sun’ (Fire Records)
The London-based band are hitting the road this December in celebration of their 25th anniversary, with shows lined up in Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham and Cardiff, as well as two hometown gigs at the Underworld in Camden.
Pre-sale opens at 10am on May 6, ahead of general sale that begins at 10am on May 7.
I have been trying to appreciate the small victories that have been happening around me, the main one being that this period of significant hardship has reminded me once again how grateful I am to have grown up in and around many independent venues across Cardiff.
At times, I have definitely been guilty of taking live music for granted. Growing up in a capital city with an ever-burgeoning musical landscape has always offered me a plethora of venues right on my doorstep, and in turn, multiple gigs have always been part of my weekly routine.
The current cancellation of all live events, then, has been quite a shock to the system and at times, it has become increasingly harder to work with a purpose now that my usual outlet is not currently an option. With that being said, we can only hope that a semblance of balance will be restored in the near future, but for now, we need to continue to support our local venues and artists in any way possible.
The best way to get directly involved from is to consider helping out Music Venue Trust’s Save Our Venues campaign, which is currently on its way to raising £1 million in aid of 556 independent venues that are currently are risk at permanent closure. Without our grassroots locales, most unsigned artists would lose any sort of opportunity to share their music beyond the spheres of social media. Our venues need our help to survive this unprecedented situation, so please, if you are in the position to do so, donate right here, right now.
Al Moses are one of the local acts that I’ve had the pleasure of following for a number of years, and watching their ever-increasing growth in popularity on a national level has always imbued a sense of pride in me. Their latest single, He Truly Is The Son Of God, seems rather apt for the minute.
Al Moses – He Truly Is The Son Of God
In a brisk two-and-a-half minutes, the South Wales rockers worship the grassroots acts that have helped them on their way up, flexing their garage-rock muscles via succinct riffs and a pointed narrative that documents (and exaggerates) what it means to come of age in and around decidedly messy areas of live music and nightlife. They commit this reckless spirit to He Truly Is The Son Of God perfectly, and so long as their local scene exists, there will be eternal value in this sort of escapist rock’n’roll.
On Facebook, the band said: “Son of God(…) was written when we were 18 and having a good time, going out and getting pissed at gigs in Cardiff. It acts as a reminder of the importance of our small and beloved music venues, especially those on Womanby Street where we grew up watching bands in Wales.” Well, I couldn’t have said it better myself.
Parish are another set of buzzmakers on the Cardiff circuit, having made the stages of the Moon, Clwb Ifor Bach and Tiny Rebel favourite haunts of theirs over the past few years. Earlier this week, they dropped new track Having It Better, and it’s most certainly a doozy.
Parish – Having It Better
Having It Better is a trouble-free ditty that dances in the balmy sun of long afternoons, as gentle guitar leads and a catchy pop structure work up a buoyant melody. It sees Parish show off some newfound psychedelic grooves, and marks a confident step forward for a group that could have easily got too comfortable with the basic chorus-and-verse mundanity of riff-heavy indie-rock.
Parish are starting to become certain of who they are, and they are bloody owning it, too. Add this one to your Spotify playlist, and thank me later when you see them hitting the big leagues in a few years’ time.
To rehash a point that I made in another feature last week; there are so many unsung heroes behind our favourite artists’ tours. From the managers, to the sound and lightning engineers, to the stage technicians and the drivers, gigs could simply not go ahead without them. The Tours That Never Were is a vital campaign that will have a drastic impact on the future of independent and underground acts being able to tour across the UK.
The Tours That Never Were
In partnership with Awesome Merchandise and Kerrang! Magazine’s Deputy Art Director, Aled Phillips, The Tours That Never Were is a non-profit fundraiser in aid of UK-based artists that were supposed to play shows between March and May 2020, alongside their crew and charities associated with the COVID-19 crisis.
What most of us are forgetting is that with each cancelled show, there is a domino effect of non-refundable bookings behind it, including hotel and travel costs. Exclusive festival line up-style t-shirts, totes, and posters with the names of affected artists are available here, and they include the likes of Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, Gender Roles, Dinosaur Pile-Up, Dream Nails, Haggard Cat, Cassels and Black Peaks, among others.
If you are in the position to help, I urge you to do your bit — your purchase will go much further than you can even imagine.
There are some big hitters dropping new music this week! Drake surprised everyone with the star-studded ‘Dark Demo Tapes’, Car Seat Headrest have put out the highly anticpated follow-up to 2016’s ‘Teens Of Denial’, and JoJo is back with ‘Good To Know’.
Head below for the rest of this week’s new releases.
Amyl and the Sniffers – ‘Live At The Croxton’ (Rough Trade)
Austra – ‘Hirudin’ (Domino)
Ben Lukas Boysen – ‘Mirage’ (Erased Tapes)
Boat – ‘Tread Lightly’ (Magic Marker Records)
Boston Manor – ‘Glue’ (Pure Noise Records)
Caleb Landry Jones – ‘The Mother Stone’ (Sacred Bones)
Car Seat Headrest – ‘Making A Door Less Open’ (Matador Records)
Curtis Stigers – ‘Gentleman’ (Emarcy)
Damien Jurado – ‘What’s New, Tomboy?’ (Mama Bird)
Devon Williams – ‘Tear In The Fabric’ (Slumberland Records)
Diet Cig – ‘Do You Wonder About Me?’ (Frenchkiss Records)
Drake – ‘Dark Lane Demo Tapes’ (OVO)
Dudley Simpson – ‘Doctor Who – The Sun Makers’ (Silva Screen Records)
Ghostpoet – ‘I Grow Tired But Dare Not Fall Asleep’ (Play It Again Sam)
Gold Key – ‘Panic Machine’ (Venn Records)
Hala – ‘Red Herring’ (Cinematic Music Group)
Happyness – ‘Floatr’ (Infinit Suds)
Houses Of Heaven – ‘Silent Places’ (Felte)
Joan As Policewoman – ‘Cover Two’ (Sweet Police)
JoJo – ‘Good To Know’ (Warner Records)
liar, flower (Katiejane Garside) – ‘geiger counter’ (One Little Indian)
Man Man – ‘Dream Hunting In The Valley Of The In-Between’ (Sub Pop)
Mark Kingswood – ‘Brave Enough’ (21K Productions)
Ride – ‘Clouds In The Mirror (This Is Not A Safe Place Reimagined By Petr Aleksänder)’ (Wichita Recordings)
The The – ‘See Without Being Seen’ (Cineola)
Vader – Solitude In Madness’ (Nuclear Blast)
Yxng Bane – ‘Quarantime: The Lost Files’ (Disturbing London Records)
The Welsh hip hop parody group will celebrate their 20th anniversary with shows in Birmingham and Porthcawl in September, Aberystwyth the following month, Narberth, Newport and Llandudno in November, and Swansea, Leeds and Cardiff in December.
Pre-sale opens at 10am on April 29. General sale begins at 10am on April 30.
What a week for new music! Fiona Apple has released her first new album in eight years, Gerry Cinnamon has put out his highly anticipated second LP, and Enter Shikari have followed up 2017’s ‘The Spark’.
Pop below for the rest of this week’s new releases.
Ashley McBryde – ‘Never Will’ (Rhino)
The Black Dahlia Murder – ‘Verminous’ (Metal Blade Records)
Clive Gregson – ‘Every Face Is Turned My Way (2020-04)’ (Gregsongs)
DaBaby – ‘Blame It On Baby’ (South Coast Music Group/Interscope Records)
Datura4 – ‘West Coast Highway’ (Alive Records)
David Bowie – ‘Reality (Yellow Vinyl)’ (Friday Music/Columbia/ISO Records)
Duke Dumont – ‘Duality’ (EMI)
DVSN – ‘A Muse In Her Feelings’ (OVO Sound/Warner Records)
Elbow – ‘Live At The Ritz – An Acoustic Performance’ (Polydor)
Enter Shikari – ‘Nothing Is True & Everything Is Possible’ (So Recordings)
EOB – ‘Earth’ (Capitol Records)
Fiona Apple – ‘Fetch The Bolt Cutters’ (Epic Records)