This week is bonkers busy! P!nk has dropped album #8, the Hold Steady frontman Craig Finn has released another solo LP, and the Cranberries have shared their eighth and final album. It features vocals by the band’s late singer Dolores O’Riordan, who laid down demos prior to her death in January 2018.
There’s LOADS more to get your listening gear around below if none of that piques your interest.
Alan Parsons – ‘The Secret’ (Frontiers)
Aldous Harding – ‘Designer’ (4AD)
Amon Tobin – ‘Fear In A Handful of Dust’ (Nomark)
BAILEN – ‘Thrilled To Be Here’ (Concord Records)
Bear’s Den – ‘So That You Might Hear Me’ (Communion Records)
Billie Marten – ‘Feeding Seahorses By Hand’ (RCA)
Catfish and the Bottlemen – ‘The Balance’ (Island)
Claude Fontaine – ‘Claude Fontaine’ (Innovative Leisure)
Craig Finn – ‘I Need A New War’ (Partisan)
The Cranberries – ‘In The End’ (BMG)
The Damned Things – ‘High Crimes’ (Nuclear Blast)
Danko Jones – ‘A Rock Supreme’ (M-Theory Audio)
Foxygen – ‘Seeing Other People’ (Jagjaguwar)
George Benson – ‘Walking To New Orleans’ (Provogue/Mascot)
Guided by Voices – ‘Warp And Woof’ (Guided By Voices)
Hembree – ‘House On Fire’ (Oread Records/Thirty Tigers)
Hillsong United – ‘People’ (Hillsong via Absolute)
J.J. Cale – ‘Stay Around’ (Because Music)
Jackie Mendoza – ‘LuvHz’ EP (Luminelle Recordings)
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.
As I reminisce on the gigs I’ve been to throughout the year, a sudden realisation washes over me after a painful, head-scratching 10 minutes. Disappointingly, I can only count a meagre seven, in addition to two day-long festivals and one weekend festival. That’s a hugely unsatisfactory effort on my part, and I blame this entirely on being forced to spend my final uni days moping around a library, struggling through essays on existentialism and a dissertation on music and mental health (well, should’ve been – I actually spent most of my final year bingeing on Fargo and pretending Dirk Gently’s Holistic Detective Agency was “research”). For this reason, alongside the fact that Exeter’s Cavern had been largely destroyed in a fire, I didn’t go to anywhere near as many as I wanted to. The shameful list of shows I actually attended in 2017 goes as follows, in chronological order:
Fickle Friends @ Exeter Phoenix (Attended at the suggestion of a friend. Even after several G&Ts, it was distinctly average, with the weirdest support act I have ever laid eyes on.)
Bear’s Den @ Exeter Lemon Grove (Amazing.)
Redfaces @ Exeter Phoenix (My band were the support act. They’re actually getting pretty big now, and all of them were absolutely lovely. My four friends were the only audience members.)
Laura Marling @ Exeter Lemon Grove (Last minute press pass. Beautiful.)
Exefest @ Exeter University (Cascada, The Hoosiers, Wheatus… we left promptly after Example started a DJ set.)
Poltimore Festival @ Poltimore House (An adorable local grassroots festival that gets bigger and better every year – Matthew and The Atlas headlined.)
Isle of Wight Festival (Attended solely for Arcade Fire, who did not disappoint. Also featured the inimitable and fascinating Rod Stewart.)
The National @ London Eventim Apollo (Battled with the flu to drive from Cardiff to London and back, almost didn’t make it through. Finished the night with Lemsip and a headache. So rock and roll.)
This Is The Kit @ Cardiff Globe (Birthday. Sent from heavenly folky Bristol Gods.)
Mutation @ Cardiff Globe (Really fun night with Laura, worst hangover I’ve had for years. I don’t think I fit into the raging metal vibe very well.)
Looking back, the show that sticks with me the most (in a self-aware attempt to shift my attention away from the National) has to be Bear’s Den, as one of the most intimate, special moments I can remember from the year – and probably at any gig I’ve ever been to. The end of their set saw the bespectacled, bearded fellows huddle in the middle of the crowd, playing an entirely unplugged performance of a track from their debut album, ‘Bad Blood’. It would’ve been rude to whisper during such a breathtaking, intimate and profound moment such as this, and I was absolutely blown away.
Most of my favourite music this year stemmed from getting my first real-life-full-time-actual-adult-job here at Stereoboard, which somehow, miraculously for me, involves spending all day writing about and discovering new bands, while listening to BBC 6 Music in the background all day. In doing so, I’ve stumbled across some amazing things. Here are just some of them.
Sampha – ‘Process’
Nadine Shah – ‘Holiday Destination’
Alex Lahey – ‘Love You Like A Brother’
Courtney Barnett and Kurt Vile – ‘Lotta Sea Lice’
The War on Drugs – ‘A Deeper Understanding’
Grizzly Bear – ‘Painted Ruins’
Since being here, I’ve also done a handful of reviews of varying opinions – one astounding, one fine, and one I didn’t like at all.
The National are one of my favourite bands, and their latest record only skyrocketed this opinion further. It is triumphant, having reached number one status in the UK and received a Grammy nomination, and holds nothing back with a one-two punch of daring guitar solos by the Dessner brothers and Matt Berninger screaming his face off to Turtleneck, then hitting home with that graceful lyricism, gorgeous instrumentation and a style of storytelling that never ceases to amaze me on some of the softer songs. Each record sees the band develop further, honing their craft to perfection, and ‘Sleep Well Beast’ is no different.
OTHER COOL STUFF OF 2017
Campaign I Have Eternally Mixed Feelings About And Need To Voice (But Ultimately Dislike)
Arcade Fire – ‘Everything Now’
‘Everything Now’ is a particularly on the nose, self-aware critical commentary. Everything is monetised, capitalism is bad, massive corporations bring emptiness to everyone’s lives, and the current culture of immediate gratification will be the ruin of us all. Fine. This isn’t groundbreaking territory though – for years people have dissected and critiqued the way we live our lives through screens and massive corporations. So why make the point? And why make it in such an extravagant fashion?
Arcade Fire are not the type of band to create a fictional company to take over their marketing strategy, a fictional social media co-ordinator (who, when it all went to shit, released a fictional statement about taking his fiction too far, and got sacked from his fictional role), ridiculous, diva-esque demands and strict dress codes to their shows. On the flip side, it’s impossible to know whether any of these things hold any truth (#FakeNews), or if everything was calculated to go down as it did. The whole thing is bizarre, and it’s not the same band who wrote ‘Funeral’ or ‘Neon Bible’, which, incidentally, make similar points more eloquently. I’m not convinced the lack of depth on the album can be excused by such an obvious, and frankly embarrassing, conceptual point.
Mr Jukes – ‘God First’
Having recently re-listened to ‘So Long See you Tomorrow’, the final material from Bombay Bicycle Club before they parted ways on an indefinite hiatus, it’s clear to see the direction Jack Steadman, frontman, was desperate to go in, pulling the band towards sampling, more electronic sounds, and complex rhythms. On his solo (well, not so solo, given the number of collaborations including De La Soul, Horace Andy and Lianne La Havas to name a few) debut ‘God First’, Steadman takes the listener on a journey through modern jazz styles, old school RnB samples and breakbeats to meld genres into one awesome listening quest.
Musicians Doing Cute Non Musician Things
Orlando Weeks – ‘The Gritterman’
After announcing the end of bill-topping indie band The Maccabees (RIP) with huge farewell performances this summer, it is refreshing to see frontman Orlando Weeks injecting some adorable goodness into the world. His latest project, The Gritterman, is a children’s book-come-album-come-live-show about an ice cream man whose big dream is to help his community during the winter months by gritting the roads. Wholesome and heartwarming, perfect to get you in that Christmas spirit.
New Songs I Discovered and Can’t Stop Playing
Pip Blom – Babies Are A Lie
Hatchie – Sure
NARCS – Raus!
Allusondrugs – I’m Your Man
Weaves – #53
Alvvays – Not My Baby
This Is The Kit – Hotter Colder
Django Django – Tic Tac Toe
Manchester Orchestra – The Gold
Everything Everything – Night of the Long Knives
Esper Scout – Compass
Drahla – Form of Luxury
All in all, I leave 2017 with a desperate need to see more gigs, a desire to increase my band t shirt collection and with a heavy heart, as this has been an ultimately life changing year for me. What’s next?
Take That will bring their Wonderland Live tour to UK arenas in May and June 2017, with multiple shows planned in Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester, Liverpool, Sheffield, Birmingham, Swansea and Norwich, as well as four nights at London’s O2 Arena. The tour takes its name from the band’s new album, which is due to arrive on March 17. Support comes from All Saints. Compare and Buy Tickets
Tickets on general sale at 9.30am on October 28, prices start at £55.00/£56.75, plus fees.
The Keane frontman, who is currently playing shows in support of his debut solo album, ‘The Wave’, which arrived on October 14, will play further shows in Cardiff, Dublin, Belfast, Gateshead, York, Manchester, Edinburgh, Liverpool, London, where he’ll perform at the Palladium, Leicester, Southampton, Cambridge and Birmingham, winding up in Bexhill On Sea, in May. Compare and Buy Tickets
Tickets are on general sale now, prices start at £18.50/£25.00, plus fees.
Ariana Grande will bring her Dangerous Woman world tour to Birmingham’s Genting Arena, Dublin’s 3Arena, Manchester Arena and London’s O2 Arena in May, 2017. Compare and Buy Tickets
Tickets are on general sale at 9am on October 28, priced £35.00/£45.00/£55.00 plus fees.
Deftones will return to the UK next spring for shows at London’s Alexandra Palace, Manchester’s O2 Apollo and Glasgow’s SECC as part of a European tour in support of their recent LP, ‘Gore’. Compare and Buy Tickets
Tickets are on sale at 9am on October 28, prices start at £34.00/£36.00/£36.50 plus fees.
Ellie Goulding will play London’s Royal Albert Hall on November 21, with all proceeds going to Streets of London. Compare and Buy Tickets
Tickets are on general sale at 10am on October 28, prices start at £17.50 plus fees.
The duo will return to the UK and Ireland next spring, with stops planned in Dublin, Belfast, Exeter, Oxford, Cardiff, Sheffield, Newcastle, Glasgow, Manchester, Nottingham, Leeds and Southampton ahead of their previously announced show at the Eventim Apollo on April 5, 2017. Compare and Buy Tickets
Tickets are on general sale now, prices start at £16.50/18.50/£19.50 plus fees.
Peter Doherty will play the O2 Forum Kentish Town in London and Manchester’s Albert Hall following the release of his new solo album, ‘Hamburg Demonstrations’, which is due to arrive on December 2. Compare and Buy Tickets
Tickets will go on sale at 9am on October 28, priced £23.00/£26.00 plus fees.
Also announced this week, so far
Amber Run, Wilkinson, Skindred, Tegan And Sara, Stornoway, C Duncan, Badly Drawn Boy, Jorga Smith, Nathan Carter, Sundara Karma, Fufanu, Slaves (US), Billy Lockett, LVL UP, Tove Lo, Bare Knuckle Parade, Country To Country, Aaron Watson, Bloc Party, The Lemon Twigs, Hopsin, Dutch Uncles, Dreezy, The Hotelier, Toothless, Shirley Collins, Sonata Arctica, Gallant, Foxing, Danny Baker and many more!
There’s plenty to get your listening gear around this week. Bear’s Den have released the follow up to their 2014 debut, ‘Islands’, Gucci Mane has put out his ninth studio album, which features guest appearances by Drake, Kanye West and Yung Thug, and MSTRKRFT are offering up their first new album in seven years.
Make sure to check out the rest of our pick of this week’s new releases below.
Bear’s Den – ‘Red Earth & Pouring Rain’ (Communion/Caroline)
Crown the Empire – ‘Retrograde’ (Rise Records)
Gucci Mane – ‘His Everybody Looking’ (Atlantic)
Keith Sweat – ‘Dress To Impress’ (KDS Entertainment)
Adele has proved that you can’t keep a good woman down and is back at #1 on Stereoboard’s Hot Ticket Chart, pushing Stevie Wonder into second place, closely followed by Bruce Springsteen, who has risen from #8 on the last chart to #3 this week. Justin Bieber has also climbed into the top five this week, along with Muse.
The Tenderloins are not having a very good week as they’ve fallen from #3 to #9, but Dynamo has worked his magic and has managed to go from nearly leaving the top 20, being in last place, to rising to #13.