There was so much to talk about this week in the music world, but alas, we only have so much space in one little blog. So, instead of discussing our favourite Mercury Prize nominees, the delightful new album from Common Holly or the 1975’s position on the climate change emergency, which they made pretty clear when including teenage activist Greta Thundberg on their latest single, we’re going down the fun route. S’all about the grooves this week, kids.
These indie-pop-dance-groove-disco-beat sensations are back in the game for 2019. After almost an eight year hiatus, Friendly Fires are returning with a new album, new tour and new singles! The latest of which arrived today.
Run The Wild Flowers has some super groovy beats, almost Brazilian-inspired percussion, and the breathy and beautiful vocal tones of Ed Macfarlane! Like a good, dry pinot grigio, this song is paired best with early evening sunshine and a little picnic. Glorious.
Kieran Hebden surprised us all this week when he dropped a live album out of the blue. Recorded during his two-night residency at Alexandra Palace in May, the record splits up his performance into seven tracks of varying lengths, from the 90 second opener to the fourth part coming in at almost 40 minutes.
If there was ever an artist to get lost in, it’s Four Tet. Beats and percussive skiffles a’plenty, Hebden’s music transports the listener to a whole other dimension. If you can’t really imagine how that would translate at a live show without the use of illegal narcotics, it makes for great background music while at work, or revising, or even an intense gym sesh. Thank you, Kieran.
DJ Shadow and De La Soul
The last few weeks have seen celebrations of the moon landing almost everywhere you look. So what better time to release a single called Rocket Fuel? It’s taken from the DJ’s new album, which is expected to arrive later this year, but is yet to have an exact release date. Boo.
The new hip hop track is full of energy and builds up from an a capella spoken bassline that’s sure to get those kids on Glee all excited about their next potential cover. Oh, and don’t forget that record-scratch solo. It’s a game changer, and I’m all here for it.
Happy Friday, one and all. Hope you’ve thoroughly got your groove switched firmly to ON for the sweet, sweet sounds of the weekend.
The singer-songwriter will end the touring cycle for 2018’s ‘Staying At Tamara’s’ with shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall on September 24 and 25 in aid of Mind. Tickets go on general sale at 10am on July 26.
The fast-rising pop vocalist, who is preparing to hit the road for her Mad Love Tour, has announced new autumn shows in Dublin, Belfast, Glasgow, Leeds, Liverpool, Manchester, Nottingham, Norwich, Southampton, Birmingham, and London, where she’ll play Hammersmith’s Eventim Apollo on February 12, 2020. Tickets go on general sale from 10am on July 26.
The trio, who will put out ‘Inflorescent’ on August 16, have lined up shows in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Dublin, Berlin, Paris and Amsterdam between October 30 and November 10. Tickets go on general sale from 10am on July 26.
The London rapper will follow up the release of his new album, ‘Hoodies All Summer’, with shows in Glasgow, Manchester, Birmingham, Brighton and London, where he’ll play the Royal Albert Hall on October 7. He’ll be accompanied by a full live band. Tickets go on general sale at 10am on July 26.
Kiss FM will head back to the SSE Arena Wembley in London for their Halloween Haunted House Party on October 25. The line up has not yet been announced, but last year the bill included Anne-Marie, Liam Payne, Stefflon Don, Jax Jones, Mabel, B Young, Rita Ora and more. Tickets go on sale at 9am on July 26.
Having previously filled venues across the country, including his hometown’s Metro Arena, the Newcastle comedian will take his new show 20/20 around the UK in spring 202o. Tickets go on general sale at 10am on July 26.
Hootie and the Blowfish, Megan McKenna, Natasha Bedingfield, Michael Malarkey, Chase Atlantic, Band of Skulls, Slaves, Villagers, Bombay Bicycle Club, Ed Gamble, Rufus Wainwright, Steflon Don, Sundara Karma, Airbourne, Red Rum Club, Tyler Childers, Life, Camp Cope, Thurston Moore, Public Service Broadcasting, Emily Atack.Head here for a full list and to find your tickets.
BLACK FRIDAY! CAPITALISM! BUY BUY BUY! Or, just listen, listen, listen, watch, watch watch, and read, read, read some of the best things to happen in the music world this week. But if you are feeling in the mood to spend some of that sweet, sweet dolla, head here.
Friendly Fires – Heaven Let Me In Video
Ahead of their club tour dates that kick off next week (!), Friendly Fires have revealed a video to go alongside their latest single, the Disclosure-produced Heaven Let Me in.
Getting more trippy and psychedelic as the seconds tick by, the visuals feature actor Jeremy Irvine having a boogie around the streets of London. Imagine this as a kind of premonition to how you’ll feel after the club parties. YES. (Of which, tickets are still available)
Cosmo Sheldrake at Fiddlers
“That’s the bane of my profession, people thinking that they know me.”
Overheard from the bar in the converted prison that is Bristol’s Fiddlers Club, Cosmo Sheldrake is just trying to watch the support act before he goes on stage for the first night of his UK dates supporting debut album, ‘The Much Much How How And I’. Despite his complaints about having to talk to humans, he seems pretty chill, and that vibe doesn’t waver throughout his two hour set.
In suitably wacky fashion, Sheldrake’s set features hocketing, a medieval vocal technique, bird song, the rhythms of New Mexico, the inspiration of moss, and samples of the sound of cow carcasses being smashed and crushed up – possibly not in tune with the large number of vegan hippies in the Bristolian crowd. Nevertheless, you can’t say his sample work isn’t fascinating. Tix are still available for the remaining shows.
LUMP – May I Be The Light Video
You know who we’re talking about by now. LUMP is only one of the coolest things to sprout out of 2018: Mike Lindsay, Laura Marling, drone synths, harmonies. Album. Fluffy lump. Bam.
A video came this week for May I Be The Light, directed and animated by Beth Jeans Houghton, now known to the masses as Du Blonde. Check out the stop-motion surrealist cartoon below.
Happy Friday to you. Now let us sleep for a thousand years (or just until Monday morning rolls around once again).
Happy almost-weekend to you, dear reader. Congrats on making it this far in the week – one small push left until two days of freedom. Here’s a lil somethin’ somethin’ to help you on your way.
Kiran Leonard – Legacy Of Neglect
Fancy something to catch you off guard? If you’ve got eight minutes to spare, this track will be time well spent. Kiran Leonard isn’t going to let anyone get bored. Starting off as a sweet acoustic song, within two minutes he’s joined by the floating harmonies of Let’s Eat Grandma (recent winners of Best Album at the Q Magazine’s Awards), and angular, distorted guitars are added to the mix in a sort of art-punk style, before it all goes nuts at the end. Have fun.
Chastity Belt – It’s Obvious video
Featured on last year’s album ‘I Used to Spend So Much Time Alone’, Chastity Belt’s It’s Obvious is a reverb-heavy, ethereal track that deserves a suitably subdued video. Enter Claire Buss, director, who casts a group of elderly women in matching pastel clothing to make a fruit smoothie in the slowest way possible. What this got to do with the song? Beats me. Now where are my grapes…
After releasing their first song for over four years back in April, Friendly Fires have now shared the second cut from a new album expected next year. Co-produced by Disclosure, it’s difficult not to hear the influence of the deep-house duo on Heaven Let Me In, resulting in a club-soaked groove.
The band have always had a sense of fun about their tracks, and fitting in with their new beats-based sound, Ed Macfarlane and co have announced a club tour, playing through the night in Newcastle, London and Bristol next month. Tickets are on sale now.
Public service announcement: Beirut are doing things! They’ve gone with an update of social media profile pictures to blank, grey boxes, and a short video clip as an indication of new things occurring.
The stage version of the television talent contest will hit some of the UK and Ireland’s biggest venues in February and March, with stops confirmed in Nottingham, Leeds, Birmingham, Brighton, Cardiff, Sheffield, Hull, Aberdeen, Glasgow, Liverpool, Newcastle, Manchester, Dublin, Belfast and London, where the show will roll out matinee and evening performances at the SSE Arena, Wembley. Tickets go on general sale at 9am on October 19.
Billy Joel is set to play Wembley Stadium on June 22, for what will be his first performance in London in three years and his only UK concert of 2019. Tickets for Billy Joel’s new date go on general sale this Friday, October 19, at 9am.
The Stockport band will play their biggest headline show to date at their hometown’s Edgeley Park Stadium on June 22 with support from the Coral, Cabbage, the Blinders and Fuzzy Sun. Tickets go on general sale at 9am on October 19 (Photo: BanditNanna).
Friendly Fires have lined up two nights at London’s Oval Space, plus dates in Newcastle and Bristol, with a rotating cast of supports and some curfews that run on way into the night. Tickets are on sale at 9am on October 19.
Alfie Boe has announced An Evening With UK tour for next spring, supporting the release of his new album, ‘As Time Goes By, out on November 23. The classical crossover singer will head to Cardiff, Llandudno, Glasgow, Blackpool, Gateshead, Edinburgh, Sheffield, Liverpool, Birmingham, Manchester, Harrogate, Nottingham, Leicester, Bournemouth, Southampton, Brighton and London, where he’ll play the Royal Albert Hall. Tickets go on sale at 10am on October 19.
The classical vocalists will take to the stage together for their first joint UK and Ireland tour, lining up over 20 shows during September and October, including a performance at the London Palladium. Tickets for the shows go on general sale at 9am on October 19.
P!nk, Westlife, Little Mix, Freya Ridings, Greta Van Fleet, Marillion, The Internet, Loyle Carner, Ed Harcourt, British Sea Power, Chip, Rival Sons, John Grant, Aaron Carter, Craig David, Kew The Music, Neneh Cherry, Sharon Van Etten, Slam Dunk Festival, Dermot Kennedy, Blue October, Catherine Tate, Patton Oswalt, Chris DeBurgh and more. Head here for more information and to find your tickets.
After a wild All Points East last weekend, Monday’s bank holiday/nap day was much needed. But now I’m gearing up for the second half of the festival, and am all about the fun fun fun in this week’s column.
Mac Demarco Dancing to Michael Jackson’s Rock With You
Pardon? Yep. You heard right. This might just be the only thing you need to see this week. Tuesday was memorial day in America, a specific holiday to remember those who died fighting for their country. Yes, important. But it’s also a day off, and Mac Demarco wanted to have fun. So he did. Be like Mac. Mac is fun.
He’s also announced some UK dates for October, which you can check out here.
Weezer – Africa
MORE FUN THINGS HAVE OCCURRED. A die-hard Weezer fan under the twitter handle @weezerafrica has, for months, been trying to persuade the band to cover Toto’s hit single with a hashtag campaign. Finally, they have blessed the rains down in social media land.
Initially trolling the world by sharing a cover of Rosanna, the wrong Toto song, Rivers Cuomo, Patrick Wilson and co eventually gave up the goods and shared a pretty awesome version of the track that everybody wanted to hear. It’s just one of those songs that makes you want to listen again and again. Triumphant, poignant, excellent. Excuse me for four minutes…
Friendly Fires – Love Like Waves Video
This is the first track in over four years from a indie-synth-pop band that I loved when I was about 15. Their last album was 2011’s ‘Pala’, and I didn’t know how much I had missed them until seeing one of their first comeback shows at All Points East last weekend. Frontman Ed Macfarlane’s vocals didn’t waver throughout, despite jumping and gyrating so hard his shirt soaked through. It was magical. All in a day’s work, eh?
The video for their comeback track was released this week, and its features Ed and the gang basically letting loose at a party, sunbathing in the day, splashing around in (and thankfully, jumping in) a pool, driving around a hot sunny holiday destination, and generally pissing around having fun. Can I join you?
Green Man Rising Final
Every year the good folks of Green Man Festival run a competition for unsigned artists on their way up. In true Battle of the Bands style, six groups play London’s Lexington on June 5 (a free show, if you’re in the area), and the winner will open the main stage of the festival in August.
Six finalists were announced on Wednesday, and they include Adults, Bitw, The Hungry Ghosts, Perfect Body, Park Motive and URF. Haven’t heard of them? Not to worry, that’s the point. One of them is a festival headliner of the future. Exciting, right!?
They’re all pretty different. Adults sound like Badly Drawn Boy’s indie road trip playlist, with twanging guitars, unusual chord progressions and casual vocals, whereas Welsh language Bitw have more of an alt-pop inclination. There’s the silky beats of Park Motive, more guitar rock with Perfect Body, the slightly worldly-psych-y vibes with URF, and the totally different Hungry Ghosts, who tag themselves under “slaughterhouse blues and trash country”.
Check out Green Man’s playlist of the finalists to decide your favourite.
Green Man is now sold out for 2018. Gutted if you haven’t got a ticket (it’ll be super fun).
The festival market is HUGE. There are hundreds to choose from in the UK alone. So, taking a huge leap and starting a brand new one in the current landscape is a risky decision. How do you stand out?
Well, it helps to be backed by the organisers of Coachella, and to slot in at a venue that’s been part of the scene for a while. All Points East will take place in London’s Victoria Park this weekend, and it’s being pitched as a fest for discerning music fans.
It arrives complete with claims of the best sound the park has ever heard, along with the obligatory fairground rides and hipster street food vans. But the real answer to standing out? Same as it ever was. Get the right line up.
On paper, the All Points East bill is forward-thinking, eclectic, and most of all cool. Just like you, right? First up, comeback kings LCD Soundsystem take over the East Stage on Friday night. Last September saw the release of their critically acclaimed comeback ‘American Dream’, the first new material from the Brooklyn dance-punks since their 2011 Madison Square Garden sign off.
Frontman James Murphy will be hitting the decks throughout the weekend too, with his side project Despacio – a collaboration with David and Stephen Dewaele of Soulwax and 2manydjs.
The Saturday night headliners showcase smooth laid back beats, distinctive vocals, flawless productions skills and even a Mercury Prize – it could only be the XX. The idea will very much be to lose yourself in a concoction of Jamie XX, Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim’s vocal plaits, delicate reverb and ambient backgrounds.
Sunday’s headliner might be one of the most eclectic singers of a generation, and one of the few genuine legends we have left. Björk will draw a line under things with colourful art-pop and avant-garde everything. There’s a decent gender balance on the bill – no, it ain’t a 50/50 split, we’re a long way off that yet – but it is far more diverse than some.
Across the weekend, expect to see performances from genre-spanning giants like Sampha, the international-pop-band-of-the-moment Superorganism, the returning shimmering indie band Friendly Fires, as well as the hugely popular Lorde, Father John Misty, Glass Animals, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Stefflon Don, Soulwax… you get the picture.
Thankfully, there isn’t too much overlap in terms of stage clashes – a sticking point often met with disappointment from die-hard festival-goers. On this bill, the most difficult decision you’ll make will be between Flying Lotus 3D and Father John, or Rex Orange County and Laura Misch.
Possibly one of the most interesting parts of All Points East is the accompanying side shows. They make the festival feel like more of a sprawl, with an eclectic list of big names set to step in. On June 1, indie types Catfish and the Bottlemen like will be joined by fellow indie types Blossoms and the Hunna, while the National take over on Saturday June 2 with their biggest headline show to date.
Support there comes from from the War On Drugs, Public Service Broadcasting, This Is The Kit and loads more, while Nick Cave and some particular Bad Seeds close the entire event – after sets from none other than Patti Smith, St. Vincent and Courtney Barnett – on June 3.
All Points East is an interesting proposition. It could be big, judging from the organisers and stellar line up. By the time Björk is done with us, it might be one of those events that elicits a response of jealousy and awe from your mates.
But it if it sounds like an overload of great bands all in one go, you’re also possibly on the money. Like most festivals it’ll likely be chaotic, expensive, and difficult to see past the tall guy in front of you while Matt Berninger does his thing or the many colours of Beck pass you by.
These are the risks, but early suggestions are that All Points East will hand you some of the best around on a historical-park-shaped platter.