Things We Love This Week: Kojey Radical, Jarvis Cocker, Interpol

Hello there, and welcome to another episode of Things We Love This Week. Today on the show, we take a break from listening to the National’s new album and try to branch out into other bands. Find out how we get on after the break.

Kojey Radical – Can’t Go Back

Two years since his last full-length, ‘In God’s Body’, Hackney-born Kojey Radical has announced a new project, and even shared some new music. Announced via a social media video that shows an honest and open side of the rapper and vocalist, his latest single, like most of his work, is SLICK AF. He teams up with KZ on the production side of things to create a hip hop tune that’s brass heavy, topped up with some gospel vocals in the chorus. Hell yeah.

Jarvi Is – Must I Evolve?

Jarvis Cocker has unveiled a new project. And apparently, Jarv Is… a band featuring his lordship of Pulp, Serafina Steer, Emma Smith, Andrew McKinney, Jason Buckle and Adam Betts. From the sound of the stomping piece of indie rock, it’s going to be a BIG show when they play live at All Points East on May 25. It’s a super, trance-like track to get the crowd going.

Interpol – ‘A Fine Mess’

It’s almost as if Interpol have taken a look at my life and decided to caption it how they want. It’s a mess, but she’s fine. Their new EP (of the same name as my, erm, fictional, now-four-part documentary series, out in June…) sees five new tracks from the New York band, helmed by Paul Banks, Sam Fogarino and Daniel Kessler. If you love Interpol (and who doesn’t, am I right?), it’s time to get a fix of some new music.

One lil thing before we sign off, and that’s an advert on the London Underground for Lewis Capaldi’s debut album. Not the usual sort of thing that ends up on this blog, but I couldn’t not share the genius that came up with ‘Capalbum’ and the accompanying picture. God bless.

The lack of female representation in this week’s post is unacceptable. I’ll make up for it next week, dear readers. Promise.

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Things We Love This Week: Big Thief, Bad Books, Porridge Radio

For the sake of my (thousands of) readers’ sanity, I will forgo listing the National in today’s edition of Things We Love This Week, because you’re probably all sick to death of it. Although, they did release a new single AND announce film screenings and listening events of ‘I Am Easy To Find’, all over the world. Not that you’re interested, of course…

In other news, I found out today that Dan from Bastille shaved his head recently, and I couldn’t be happier about it. Once known for having the tallest/most annoying do in pop, he’s now just a (not so) humble skinhead. Peace at last. They’re touring and you can see it for yourself.

Big Thief

There’s something about Big Thief that I just can’t pin-point – perhaps it’s their luscious instrumentation, perhaps it’s whispered, delicate voice of Adrienne Lenker. Perhaps it’s because their new album cover is just them chilling in the woods. Perhaps it’s just a combination of everything. Either way, they make some darn good music. Their latest album, ‘UFOF’, dropped today, after releasing the single Century on Wednesday.

The track’s  jangly guitars remind me (fondly) of the Isley Brothers, while Lenker’s lyrics touch on the sensation of cool autumn rain. It’s pretty much perfect whatever way you look at it. Let’s hope the rest of the album follows suit, eh? Just kidding. We know it will.

Bad Books

If you haven’t heard of Bad Books, please turn to Manchester Orchestra in your textbooks. If you haven’t heard of Manchester Orchestra, then head here with immediate effect. For those of you who left your textbooks on Musical Perfection at home, Bad Books are an indie band made up of Andy Hull and Robert McDowell from Manchester Orchestra, alongside Kevin Devine.

Today, they announced their third album, the imaginatively titled ‘III’. It’ll arrive on June 21 through Loma Vista recordings. Alongside the announcement, the band have shared two tracks: Lake House and I Love You, I’m Sorry, Please Help Me, Thank You. Andy Hull is the best in the biz’ when it comes to making sensational and dramatic albums, and from the sounds of it, ‘III’ is bound to be more of the same. Yipee!

Porridge Radio

I’m all about not judging books by their covers, but what about bands by their name? It probably shouldn’t be the way for a serious music journalist, but how can you not listen to a band called Porridge Radio when it appears on your screen? Is it a radio made of porridge? Is it porridge made of radio?

It’s actually a sort of alternative punky pop band made of chaos and some sort of wooden agogo. They are getting ready for support slots with Ezra Furman at the end of the month and a set at the Great Escape next weekend. Listen to their new single, Don’t Ask Me Twice.

Thanks for reading, kids! You truly would be the light of my life, if it weren’t for reduced price Easter Eggs. I mean that from the bottom of my heart.

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Things We Love This Week: Sŵn Festival, We Are Scientists, Stella Donnelly

Oh, hi. I didn’t see you there. You like music? This is the place for you.

Sŵn Festival Line Up

It’s time to flex your musical muscles once again – Cardiff’s Sŵn Fest have confirmed their line up for autumn – and what a banger it’s set to be. The event is set to descend upon Wales’ capital between October 18 and 20, with some awesome up and coming acts set to perform across the city.

First, we’ve got jazz extraordinaires the Comet Is Coming, whose fervent instrumental songs have had us in the office hooked for weeks. Also on the line up we’ve got Rebecca Taylor’s Self Esteem project, whose recent album ‘Compliments Please’ was an immediate critical darling upon release. Oh, and don’t forget all that noise rock from the boys in the Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs camp. Oink.

Also on my radar for the weekend is Nilufer Yanya, and She Drew The Gun, who were featured on the soundtrack to the BBC drama Killing Eve, Skinny Pelembe and Rozi Plain. Check out the full line up, then book tickets here.

We Are Scientists

A press release came through the inbox this week, which at first seemed to look like any other press release. A headline, a poster, some tour dates. But wait, look again at the headline.

WE ARE SCIENTISTS ANNOUNCE 50TH ANNIVERSARY SHOWS AND VINYL REISSUE FOR DEBUT ALBUM ‘WITH LOVE & SQUALOR’

We Are Scientists? 50th Anniversary? Wasn’t this the same indie-pop-rock band that I was into when I was 14? The first band I interviewed as a student newspaper editor, about their fifth  album ‘Helter Seltzer’, in around 2016? Even with Keith Murray’s grey hair, SURELY they’re not that old?

Then I read on, to a statement from Muray.

A long time ago our management came to us and suggested we do some With Love & Squalor shows on the 14th anniversary of its release, which we thought was pretty dumb. ‘Come back to us on a real anniversary,’ we told them. Fast-forward to a couple weeks ago, when they told us big 50 was coming up. I’d say that’s worth celebrating.”

In true WAS style, they’re trolling all of us.’With Love And Squalor’ was their debut album and came out in 2005. It’s 14 years old this year. But why not do a 50th anniversary tour? Banter. Check out the full dates and book tickets here. I will probably attend, if these guys are as funny live as they seem!

Stella Donnelly at Thekla

As seems to be a recurring theme recently, the final installment of Things We Love This Week is dedicated again to a gig I attended this week – Stella Donnelly at Bristol’s Thekla. If you don’t know Stella Donnelly – and you do like fingerpicked guitar, mesmerising vocals, cutesy indie pop songs and ramen, then she is the musician for you.

Her debut album, ‘Beware Of The Dogs’ arrived in March, with a firm angle on not taking any shit from anyone. Track Boys Will Be Boys, also featured on her first EP ‘Thrush Metal ‘(“I’ll keep putting it on albums for as long as I have to” said Donnelly), has a clear message: men are trash, but frequently get away with misogynistic and abusive behaviour because they can get away with it with barely any repercussions. At the live show on Wednesday, she’s transparent that no, this isn’t all men. But they do exist, and these topics need to be talked about. TOO RIGHT STELLA.

On a happier note, she performs her excellently written, sarcastic and hilarious song with a huge smile, and even throws in a dance routine. There’s a first. More indie bands should incorporate dance routines into their shows – I think it would let people loosen up a bit.

Better yet: there’s still dates left on her UK tour! Get tickets here.

Bon soir, mon amie x

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Things We Love This Week: Bear’s Den, Lizzo, The National

Another week has rolled around agai- oh no wait, IT’S A FOUR DAY WEEK. Happy Easter, you crazy animal. Thank you Jesus for blessing us with two bank holidays.

Bear’s Den – O2 Academy Bristol

If you’ve ever been lucky enough to witness Bear’s Den live, you’ll know it is one hell of a special occasion. They’ve been touring lately in support of their new record, ‘So That You Might Hear Me’, which is due to arrive at the end of the month. This Tuesday saw them hit Bristol’s O2 Academy, and it was sensational.

Although, yes, incredibly sad, there’s something about Bear’s Den’s folk-tinged, finger-picked masterpieces that can both break and mend a heart, simultaneously taking away your breath and bringing tears to your eyes. What an emotional time. As well as churning out the new material, they still took the time to play fan favourites, including Isaac, Above The Clouds of Pompeii and of course, closed the performance with the foot-stomping, flannel-wearing, banjo-wielding Agape.

This band are at their best when cutting out the synths and their new-found War On Drugs aesthetic, and stripping their gorgeous songs right down to the bare bones. A trademark at their live shows, Andrew Davie, Kev Jones et al turned off the amps and played Sophie fully acoustic. Later on saw them ascend the stairs that frame the audience in the O2 Academy to play a new one. It was pretty epic. The girl behind me cried. 10/10 would recommend. Tickets for the remaining dates of the tour are available here.

Lizzo – Juice

Lizzo doesn’t half release some bangers! Juice is easily one of the best pop songs to come out of 2019 so far, with catchy melodies and a whole load of personality to match. The single dropped in January to widespread acclaim, and got its own ‘70s-flecked video too.

This week a second video was shared — because after all, you can never have too many music videos for the same track. The new release sees the incredible vocalist dancing with some of the competitors from RuPaul’s Drag Race — A’keria Davenport, Asia O’Hara, Detox, Mariah Balenciaga, Morgan McMichaels, Soju, Sonique, Mayhem Miller, and my new favourite, the brilliantly named Silky Nutmeg Ganache.

Among the bright colours, wacky hairstyles, and suggestive dance moves, there is a lot of fruit involved. Squeezing grapefruits, crushing lemons with bare hands, and even *ahem* deep throating bananas. At least they’re getting their five a day, eh?

The National on BBC Radio 6 Music

Oh look, it’s me again, your friendly neighbourhood National-fanatic gushing about our Ohio boys. The National are currently on tour in the UK (despite not heading anywhere near the South-West or Wales, cry), and made a brief stop off at Maida Vale Studios in London for a live set.

Introduced by Mary-Ann Hobbs, the lads kicked off proceedings with Rylan — a song that’s been in the works for a long time, played at live shows for years, and has lots of rumours associated with it among fans on social media. Then came Oblivions, accompanied by vocalists Mina Tindall and Kate Stables. My. Heart. Aches. They closed things up with Light Years, their latest single.

The album, ‘I Am Easy To Find’ is due for release on May 17 via 4AD. On Thursday night they headlined the Royal Festival Hall in London, and I’ve heard some EXCELLENT things. Head here to get tickets for the rest of the shows. You should.

Things start happening about an hour in to the show. Listen here.

Enjoy copious amounts of chocolate, and don’t even THINK about setting an alarm until Tuesday. Over and out x

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Things We Love This Week: Panda Bear, James Blake, Christine and the Queens

This week, I learned what krumping is. Why, you ask? I’ll get to that. Patience, young music lover.

Panda Bear – Buoys

I’m not entirely sure why, but I can’t stop looking a French bulldog with human teeth. It’s an image that will haunt me for probably about an hour. The latest video from Noah Lennox, otherwise known as the experimental pop musician Panda Bear, is an… interesting watch.

We all love dogs. There’s nothing new there — but dogs hosting game shows? Someone call HBO! You’ve got yourself a hit TV show.  Beatrice the Frenchie is looking for love in the Danny Perez-directed video, which is full of wacky, ‘70s inspired graphics and colours.

Panda Bear plays Electric Brixton next week. Head here for tickets.

James Blake: ‘Assume Form’ Tour

James Blake kicked off the UK leg of his ‘Assume Form’ tour this week, and I was lucky enough to nab some tickets to the second Bristol show. With songs galore from his new album, as well as audience favourites like Retrograde, The Wilhelm Scream, and Limit To Your Love, he took the O2 Academy’s breath awayI had never felt bass vibrations in my nostrils before, but goddammit James you made it happen.

Although the record has a what feels like hundreds of collaborations on it, Blake didn’t bring anyone on tour with him. He did an excellent job with vocal samples instead. The vibe transcended expectations, ranging in mood from intense and brooding on Mile High, to club-like trance toward the end of Voyeur and back down to earth again with Lullaby For My Insomniac, performed solely on loops, to close.

Blake finishes off the tour with two London dates next week. Head here for tickets.

Christine And The Queens – Comme Si Video

As promised, here is your lesson in krumping. A horrible word that sounds like something your stomach might do after eating something out of date, it actually has a more wholesome definition. It’s a form of street dance popular in the US as a way to express emotions in a non-violent, but equally as powerful way.

So why all the krumping talk? Christine and the Queens can explain through the power of motion picture. Héloïse Letissier is an impressive dancer, and in her latest video, Comme Si, she performs a routine inspired by Orphelia, a painting inspired in turn by the Shakespeare play Hamlet.

Check out the superb video here, then, it’s pretty much a given that you’re going to want to purchase tickets to her All Points East show.

That’s all for now, folks! Tune in next week for another episode of Things We Love This Week, where I’ll be discussing more gigs, videos and tracks. #FridayFeeling

 

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Things We Love This Week: Sacred Paws, Tame Impala, Marvin Gaye, Angie McMahon

Although perilously tempted to include Lighthouse Family’s comeback in this week’s blog post, I have since been informed by the official Office Nark Police that that would be an incredibly lame thing to do. Hence, you’re not going to find out that anything about their new album or new tour. No Ocean Drive for you.

Sacred Paws

What a delightfully fun band. In a world where the Antlers are celebrating 10 years of the heart-breaking ‘Hospice’ and Daughter’s Elena Tonra can’t stop drowning herself depressedly in alcohol on her latest project ‘Ex: Re’, I am a firm believer that Sacred Paws are the antidote to all the sadness around us in 2019.

Aside from the upbeat, jangly guitars and an indie-pop rhythm section, they’re even having fun in the video. How can I join?

Tame Impala

Tame Impala have released a new single, and it’s SO Tame Impala. Their first new material (apart from the endless side projects members partake in) since 2015’s ‘Currents’, think peak Kevin Parker vocals, a groovy bass line and some retro disco keys, and you’ve got yourself a psychedelic triumph. Nice one, lads.

While it’s hoped to be the first sign of a new album, nothing’s been confirmed. Fingers crossed!

Marvin Gaye

What’s going on? I heard through the grapevine that some previously unreleased Marving Gaye material is dropping this spring. ‘You’re The Man’, a double LP recorded in 1972, will arrive through Motown/UMe on March 29, followed by a CD release on April 2 — which would have been the legend’s 80th birthday.

There simply ain’t no mountain high enough for that guy to climb, even posthumously.

Angie McMahon

McMahon won the Grulke Prize at SXSW last week —a title given to the most notable developing artists from outside the US. But prestige is nothing something that’s prevalent in her new single, which is about being bored, eating pasta, and playing with dogs. This couldn’t be more relatable to my entire life if she tried. It also helps that the song is super accessible, with a volta midway through turning that frown upside down.

“I spend so much time eating pasta,” she sings. Same, girl. I got you.

Catch McMahon at her one-off UK show at the Lexington in London on May 28.

HAPPY FRIDAY ONE AND ALL. I’m off for a week now. Laters.

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Things We Love This Week: Carly Rae Jepsen, Holly Herndon, Bjork

While the political turmoil we’ve all become numb to reaches critical stages of development, let’s all take a break by pondering some of the best of this week’s music news. Happy listening.

Carly Rae Jepsen

Carly Rae Jepsen is still doing crazy things with people she has just met. Or, in the case of her video for the new single Now That I Found You, animals she’s just met.

Finding a poor little kitty all alone in the rain, she adopts the feline and soon becomes obsessive. 20 cats later and she’s inhaling catnip through a bong. Shit gets weird, but it’s pretty great. 

Holly Herndon

Herndon’s announced a new album that isn’t about artificial intelligence, but was made in collaboration with her own AI ‘baby’. It even has a name: Spawn. 

With a whole ensemble of both contemporary and traditional folk vocalists, in addition to some pretty swanky tech to process it all, ‘PROTO’ references our current protocol era, compelling the listener to ask who we are, what we are, what we stand for, and what we’re headed towards.

So what is it? I’m not really sure. But I know that the single Eternal is definitely a grower. See for yourself below, live at Manchester International Festival on July 20 or find out more about the project here.


Björk

The one and only Björk has announced she is to reissue her back catalogue on colourful cassettes, and if that isn’t THE MOST Björk thing to do I don’t know what is.

Nine of her releases — 1993’s ‘Debut’, 1995’s ‘Post’, 1997’s ‘Homogenic’, 2001’s ‘Vespertine’, 2004’s ‘Medúlla’, 2007’s ‘Volta’, 2011’s ‘Biophilia’, 2015’s ‘Vulnicura’ and 2017’s ‘Utopia’ — will be available individually or as a bundle from April 26.

The reissue has inspired me to go back over the iconic Icelander’s (entire) discography over the weekend, so those are my plans. What are yours?

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Things We Love: International Women’s Day Special

Oh, hi there. On this week’s edition of Thing We Love This Week, we’re giving it a twist. Get your eyes and ears ready for a bumper edition of your favourite blog celebrating women in all their amazing, musical forms. And it’s not just about what’s happened this week, for a change either, oh no. These are Women We Love This Year (And All The Time).

Little Simz

If you haven’t listened to ‘Grey Area’ yet, you need to. Right away. Little Simz is a name on everyone’s lips, and her excellent third record concerns that grey area of your mid-20s, trying to find your place in the world. But when you’re Little Simz, your world consists of a friend getting murdered, the monotony of touring and even working with Michael Kiwanuka. It’s emotional, cutting and heartfelt. It slays.

She’s just announced some new tour dates this week. Check ’em out here.

Queen Zee

Queen Zee are kiiiilllliiiing iiiiiit at the moment. They released their debut self-titled album last month, which saw an accompanying *almost* sold out headline tour of the UK. With frequent mentioning in 2018 end of year lists and some serious attention from BBC Radio 6 Music, RTE2, Amazing Radio and even BBC Radio 1, they’ve got a hell of a summer lined up: slots at BBC 6 Music Festival, French Escapade, and even Download. Woaah.

Judging by the abundance of joy and pure energy on their super fun punk-come-rock tracks, their live sets will be something special to behold.

Sharon Van Etten

The ever-prolific musician, singer and songwriter Sharon Van Etten seems like the busiest woman on the planet. While recording her latest album, ‘Remind Me Tomorrow’, she became a mother, appeared in the Netflix series the OA, earned a psychology qualification at college, and wrote an entire film score for Katherine Dieckmann’s Strange Weather. With all that going on she still managed to craft an album about pursuing your passions, that is a brilliant piece of rich, intelligent, thought-provoking pop.

Van Etten’s UK tour kicks off next week, and heads around Europe too. You should head to a show. Check out our review of the album here before you go.

The Beths

WE LOVE THIS BAND. Ever since the release of their debut full length ‘Future Me Hates Me’ last year, we can’t stop listening to their impressive, punk-inflected guitar and harmony-laden pop tracks.

They too, tour the UK in May, and we will definitely be in attendance. (Although, disappointingly, none of the members are named Beth. Wouldn’t it be great if they were all named Beth? Alas.)

Em from Nervus/Milk Teeth

As well as their own band Nervus, Em Foster is now a fully fledged member of the punk band Milk Teeth too. What a busy time. Come the summer, they are going to be just the second trans woman EVER to play on the main stage at Reading and Leeds, following Against Me!’s Laura Jane Grace in 2015. The world needs to catch up.

Catch Milk Teeth support PUP on their upcoming UK and European tour or at a shedload of festivals this summer.

Billie Eilish

The biggest (and let’s face it, most interesting) name in mainstream pop at the moment, Eilish is the American-Irish pop star you need to know about. If you like creepy, dark lyrics and catchy pop songs, this is the woman for you. Oh, and did I mention she’s only 17? By 20 she’ll have taken over the entire world. Eilish for President!

Check out our analysis on how she got everyone under her spell here.

Lizzo

If you’re a regular reader of Things We Love This Week, you’ll already know why Lizzo. Is. The. Best. She needs no more words. Watch any interview with her and you will see why her bubbly personality is one of the best in the business. Oh, and her voice is INCREDIBLE. 

Lizzo is set to release her new album ‘Cuz I Love You’ on April 19 and will follow it up with a North American tour this spring and two UK dates in May — Manchester’s O2 Ritz and the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London.

So happy International Women’s one and all, regardless of where you stand on the ever-irrelevant spectrum. Peace and love.

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Things We Love This Week: the National, Loyle Carner, KOKO

It’s St David’s Day and I’ve got a suitably Welsh Chinese takeaway on the horizon. What have you got planned? This. You have this. And that beats everything. Dydd gŵyl Dewi hapus.

The National

Rumour has it, the National have finished recording their new album. And for most people, that’s enough for a simple mutter of “Huh. Cool.” For me, it means an outpouring of garble about how they are the best band in the world. But maybe I’ll save you the eye roll, and simply let you know that Matt Berninger, the Dessners, the Devendorfs and co have announced a handful of special Evening With shows for April. What will happen at these shows is a little vague for now, but more info will be revealed in the coming weeks. Whatever they have planned, I’m sure it will be special.

*fangirls*

Loyle Carner and Jorja Smith

Loyle Carner has shared a new track featuring Jorja Smith. Loose Ends has those silky smooth bars from Carner, that we love so, so much, accompanied by the soul vocals of the recent BRIT winner for British Female Solo Artist.

It. Is. Great.

London’s KOKO

KOKO is shutting down! BUT it is getting a redevelopment. And not just any redevelopment, a £40 million redevelopment!

The venue began as the Camden Hippodrome in 1900, and since has seen legendary performances from the likes of the Rolling Stones, the Clash, Spandau Ballet, Blur, Madonna, Prince, Kanye West, Amy Winehouse and Coldplay.

On March 6, the iconic venue will close its doors temporarily. Having acquired the two adjoining buildings, the new site will see an additional 20, 000 square feet of space to play around with. Designed by Pirajean Lees and architect David Archer, it will be made up of six performance areas, a radio station, broadcast studio, three new restaurants, rooftop conservatory and terrace, and even a penthouse space where artists are able to rehearse and record. It sounds incredible, and I can’t wait to visit the new site.

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Things We Love This Week: Lizzo, Bikini Kill, Vampire Weekend

So the Brits happened again this week, with winners including everybody’s chart favourites: Ed Sheeran, Little Mix, George Ezra, etc, etc… but the real winner was a certain video shared by Lizzo. Read on to find out more…

Lizzo

THIS WOMAN IS EVERYTHING. Lizzo is the epitome of fabulous, and she bloody well knows it. With a voice the size of Mount Everest, her awesome single Juice is the pop-come-disco track you never knew you needed. She performed it live on BBC Radio 6 Music this week, running amok with the softly spoken Mary-Anne Hobbs. It was awesome. Listen back here.

And, did you catch this? Lizzo is my spirit animal.

Bikini Kill

These riot grrl pioneers are BACK baby! Original members Kathleen Hanna, Tobi Vail, and Kathi Wilcox will be joined by guitarist Erica Dawn Lyle for their first UK dates for 23 years, hitting up the O2 Academy Brixton for two shows in June. This band paved the way for feminist bands of the present, so it’s a pretty big deal. Yeah!

Get tickets here.

Vampire Weekend Video

Check out this new video from Vampire Weekend, accompanying their crazy catchy new single Harmony Hall. Ezra Koenig looks like he makes the BEST pancakes ever.

Taken from their new album, ‘Father Of The Bride’, the band have lined up a tour of the same name across North America later this year. They’ll also play Trinity College in Dublin this July as part of the venue’s summer series.

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