Archive for the ‘MUSIC’ Category

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Soft Cell Happiness Not Included

Soft Cell the UK synth-pop duo of Marc Almond and producer/instrumentalist David Ball—have announced their first album of new material in 20 years. “Happiness Not Included” arrives spring 2022 via BMG Records. They’ve also announced a November tour of the United Kingdom.

Frontman Marc Almond said in a press release, “In this album I wanted to look at us as a society: a place where we have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality and decency, food before the rights of animals, fanaticism before fairness and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others. But in the album there is also a belief that there is a utopia if we can peel back the layers and understand what really matters.”

Soft Cell released “Northern Lights” back in 2018, part of a compilation called “The Singles Keychains and Snowstorms”. That one included another original song called “Guilty (‘Cos I Say You Are’),” and came alongside the retrospective box set Keychains and Snowstorms The Soft Cell Story”.

Soft Cell’s last album of new and original material, “Cruelty Without Beauty” out in 2002.  

We are delighted to announce the brand new album from Soft Cell and some very exciting live dates to celebrate 40 years of Non Stop Erotic Cabaret. The new album, “Happiness Not Included“, will be released via BMG in Spring 2022. The album will be available as a deluxe CD, digital download, yellow vinyl, picture disc and even cassette! There will be a number of ‘bundle’ options available too.

To increase the excitement even more – we can announce some live dates for later this year taking in Glasgow Manchester, Leeds and concluding at the iconic Hammersmith Apollo. The show will feature Non Stop Erotic Cabaret performed in full and many of the hits and fan favourites. Selected tracks from the forthcoming album will also be previewed.

Soft Cell released their first new song in 15 years in 2018, in conjunction with their “farewell” show, but we learned earlier this year that the iconic synthpop weren’t saying goodbye just yet. Marc Almond says, “In this album I wanted to look at us as a society: a place where we have chosen to put profits before people, money before morality and decency, food before the rights of animals, fanaticism before fairness and our own trivial comforts before the unspeakable agonies of others. But in the album there is also a belief that there is a utopia if we can peel back the layers and understand what really matters.

And Dave Ball adds, “Recorded remotely during a world pandemic. Science fiction stories for the 21st century.”

Tickets for the shows got on general sale at 10am on Friday 6 August

May be an image of 2 people and text that says 'Kilimanjaro presents SOFT CELL Non- Stop Erotic Cabaret 40th ANNIVERSARY The classic album performed live for the first time plus all the hits! NOVEMBER 2021 Wednesday 10 GLASGOW 02 ACADEMY Friday 12 MANCHESTER 02 APOLLO Saturday LEEDS 02 ACADEMY Monday 15 LONDON EVENTIM APOLLO HAMMERSMITH Tuesday 16 LONDON EVENTIM APOLLO HAMMERSMITH myticket.co.uk softcell.co.uk TICKETS ON SALE FRI 06 AUGUST AT 10AM Released Spring 2022 also reviewing tracks BMG and available to album order now from softcell.tmstor.es'

That in punk times, being a good musician was kind of frowned upon. This is despite ample evidence to the contrary – we only have to look at the likes of The Damned, Sex Pistols or the Clash to see that some of music’s best musicians sprang from these times.

Nevertheless, tales of musicians ‘unlearning’ their craft or pretending they couldn’t really play are plentiful. The reality of the situation is that the punk and post-punk scenes gave us some of the best and most innovative players of recent times. More than this, there was a sense of musicians searching for something new, of rejecting the standard way things were done and pushing the boundaries of what music could be.

John McGeoch came to fame as a founder member of Magazine, one of the great punk/post-punk bands. After founding Buzzcocks, lead singer Howard Devoto was quickly able to see the limitations that were being defined by punk music and left to create a band that would know no such boundaries. They were a band whose vision was instantly forward looking and expansive and whose lyrics were thoughtful and literate.

Left us on (March. 4th) in 2004: John McGeoch (in his sleep, aged 48), best remembered as the Scottish guitarist with a long list of notable UK post-punk bands, including Magazine (1977-80, performing on the group’s first three albums), Visage (1979-81, including 1980 international #1 hit single, “Fade to Grey”), Siouxsie & The Banshees (1980-82, including UK hit singles “Happy House”, “Christine”, “Israel”, “Spellbound” & “Arabian Knights”), The Armoury Show (1983-85), & Public Image Ltd. (PiL) (1986-92, including the albums ‘Happy?’, ‘9’ & ‘That What Is Not’).

Devoto struck lucky when he met McGeoch, who had moved to Manchester from his native Greenock to study art at university. Prior to this, McGeoch had played with a local band, but Devoto’s great fortune was that this undiscovered guitar player turned out to be one of the finest of his generation. Sometimes things just work out like that.

Magazine’s debut single, the wonderful “Shot By Both Sides”, was deceptively straightforward and borrowed a guitar line from Buzzcock’s Pete Shelley and so was perhaps not immediate notice of McGeoch’s talents. But the band’s debut album would soon put that right.

Real Life” was a glimpse of the future. Blending synthesisers with McGeoch’s guitar lines and Barry Adamson’s loose funky basslines, it was epic and instantly influential. It is easy to see Real Life as a signpost of what was to come, a direction for post-punk and laying the foundations for what came to be known as New Romantics. One thing that is hugely impressive about McGeoch and his playing is that he is quite happy to be in the background, adding texture, if that is what the song requires. A lot of players with his ability would perhaps feel side lined or their ego would make them want to be higher in the mix or to be the main attraction, but his playing is subtle and restrained and the songs are the better for it.

A lot of the playing on Real Life is fairly chord based. There are obvious exceptions to this, such as the magnificent “The Light Pours Out Of Me”, but what we are getting here is the first step in the evolution of John McGeoch’s playing style and the direction he was able to take guitar music in. Their move away from rock’s conventions was further cemented by 2nd album “Secondhand Daylight“. By now, Magazine had become further driven by bass and keyboards. McGeoch responded to this by developing a more delicate guitar style; chords are used for emphasis, but for the most part he adds picked guitar lines, subtle and effective. Opening track, “Feed The Enemy“, shows this to great effect. The bass and keyboards drive the song, but take away the guitar and the song would sound empty and incomplete. Part of McGeoch’s genius is to be able to do exactly what is needed to make a song more effective.

Magazine’s third album, The Correct Use Of Soap, was to be McGeoch’s last with the band as he became frustrated at the lack of commercial success the band got, despite huge critical acclaim. There are plenty of Magazine fans who would disagree with me on this, but their glory days were already behind them and to me this album sounds thin, rushed and somehow unsatisfactory. If you ask me (which I know you weren’t), McGeoch was wise to sense which way things were going and leave a sinking ship.

During his time in MagazineMcGeoch also played the field a bit. With band mates Barry Adamson and Dave Formula, he joined Steve Strange’s Visage, playing on their first album and their hit single, “Fade To Grey”. He also found the time to play some tracks with Gen X and temporarily joined The Skids for a “Peel Session” when Stuart Adamson became ill.

Meanwhile, Siouxsie and the Banshees were having personnel troubles . Guitarist John McKay and drummer Kenny Morris had left the band on the first date of a tour to promote their second album, Join Hands. The tour was quickly rearranged with Robert Smith of the Cure standing in on guitar and playing two sets per night, the first as support act then with The Cure before joining the headliners for the second. Budgie was recruited as drummer, a position he quickly made his own.

Never a band to let a disaster derail them, The Banshees quickly moved on to album three with a cast of guitarists, including old friend, Steve JonesMcGeoch played on five tracks, adding guitar, sax and keyboards and toured America with The Banshees.

It was soon announced that McGeoch had joined the band full time and The Banshees entered what is widely regarded as their golden age with their classic line-up. The first release with McGeoch as a full member of the band was the classic single “Israel”, featuring an unforgettable picked guitar line.

The album “Juju” came next and is, for me at least, both Siouxsie and the Banshees and John McGeoch’s high water-mark. The singles Spellbound and Arabian Knights are still regarded as classic alternative, the rest of the album is just as memorable. “Night Shift” features some of his best guitar work McGeoch ever recorded; heavily phased, expertly played and also showing highly effective work with feedback. Voodoo Dolly is a genuinely menacing track that builds over seven minutes, starting with a simple bass line and McGeoch getting some most un-guitar like sounds out of his instrument and effects. As the song goes on, it builds in both intensity and speed, with some of the most out there guitar work The Banshees ever saw, at times little more than an expertly controlled squall of noise.

Next album, “A Kiss in the Dreamhouse”, was to be McGeoch’s last with the band. It was recorded during a turbulent time for the Banshees; long time manager and ex-boyfriend of SiouxsieNils Stevenson, was fired shortly before recording began, but after he had to see the developing relationship between her and Budgie, who married in in 1991. There is a quote on the albums sleeve that says “Nellie the Elephant packed his trunk and said goodbye to the circus”, Nellie being the band’s nickname for Nils.

McGeoch was drinking heavily, which became a problem when the band promoted their new album. He was hospitalised after a visit to Madrid and was fired from The Banshees shortly afterwards. He said of this time, “I had a bit of a burn-out, that’s the easiest way to sum it up. I ended up in hospital and I didn’t get a second chance. By the time I’d got myself sorted out, it was a done deal.”

His swansong with the band is another superb album. “A Kiss in the Dreamhouse” saw the band broaden their sonic palette, using strings, chimes and experimenting with more vocal overdubs than previous records.

Despite the sudden and controversial sacking, Siouxsie herself described John McGeoch as “my favourite guitarist of all time.”

In 1983, McGeoch returned to making music with The Armoury Show, a supergroup comprised of members of Magazine (McGeoch and John Doyle) and The Skids (Richard Jobson and Russell Webb),who played some storming live shows and released an excellent, if over produced album, “Waiting for the Floods”.

Russell Webb was an old friend of John‘s and so invited him to play guitar in this new supergroup. The pair were to be reunited later in Public Image Limited. The pair were so close that Russell describes them as “co-adventurers” for over 30 years and was to deliver John‘s eulogy. The Armoury Show’s first single, “Castles in Spain”, is an often overlooked gem of a record. McGeoch’s playing is superb and, to these ears, Jobson has never sounded better.

Jobson’s attention seemed elsewhere, finding work as a model and TV presenter. As a result, McGeoch left, along with DoyleThe Armoury Show struggled on for a while, releasing the excellent Love in Anger and New York City singles before calling it a day, with what would have been their second album morphing into a Richard Jobson project.

Around this time, McGeoch was effectively head-hunted by John Lydon to join Public Image LtdLydon had first made this offer in ’84, but eventually managed to snag him thanks again to Russell Webb, who had joined the band on bass. McGeoch went on to become the longest serving member of PiL apart from Lydon himself. McGeoch’s guitar work with PiL was again extraordinary, even if it did create perhaps the most conventional music of their career.

In many respects, Lydon and McGeoch was not a dream pairing and their albums sold poorly. This was due in no small part to a lack of promotional budget from Virgin Records, but we must also wonder at the lack of chemistry between two of punk/post-punk’s guiding lights creating something that was somehow less than the sum of its parts.

Following his stint with PiLMcGeoch turned his hands to a few things, including playing with SugarcubesGlenn Gregory and forming another group, called Pacific, along with Spandau Ballet’s John Keeble. Unfortunately, nothing came of this and McGeoch retired from music in the mid ’90s and retrained as a nurse/carer.

Magazine reformed in 2008, with tours and a new album. Radiohead’s Jonny Greenwood was offered the job of guitarist but turned it down, according to Adam Buxton, “I think Jonny was just overwhelmed, cause he’s the biggest Magazine fan in the world”. It is well documented that Radiohead are huge fans of John McGeoch, so this may well be the case.

Richard Jobson reformed The Skids and The Armoury Show and it is tempting to think that McGeoch would have been involved with both of these ventures.

John was considered one of the most influential guitarists of his generation, dubbed at one point ‘the new wave Jimmy Page’; John Frusciante of The Red Hot Chili Peppers said that he taught himself to play “learning all John McGeoch’s stuff in Magazine & Siouxsie & The Banshees”; he was listed by respected UK music magazine ‘Mojo’ in their ‘100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time’; in 2008, the BBC aired an hour-long radio documentary on his life & work, titled ‘Spellbound: The John McGeoch Story’John McGeoch was a pioneer, an influencer before such a word existed and a creative whirlwind.

thanks to sun13 for the words

New York’s Activity are a favourite of ours, Consisting of members of the equally brilliant Gowns and Russian Baths, the four piece released their stunning debut album, “Unmask Whoever“, last year.  It was among the best debut album’s of the year and we’ve since heard nothing else to suggest otherwise. While the quality of Unmask Whoever is evident, we should also point out at Activity are probably the unluckiest bands from the lockdown period. Having released their debut two weeks before the pandemic and inevitable lockdown, look no further than the album title. 

Clocking in at just over 5 minutes, “White Phosphorus” starts with a medieval- riff before those water-tight rhythm sections take the song into a sprawling atmospheric presentation of the very idea of indie-rock circa 2021.

We are friends and we’re working on album 2. New York / Philadelphia. Our newest single thingy “White Phosphorus” (which was a song that got recorded along with our first album)

released February 5th, 2021

SQUID – ” Near The Westway “

Posted: July 30, 2021 in MUSIC

Earlier this year, Squid took part in an exciting and extraordinary live to vinyl recording challenge. In one take, the band recorded two new songs straight to lacquer for a two track EP titled ‘Near The Westway’, live and direct to vinyl at Metropolis Studios -and BBC 6 Music’s Steve Lamacq was there to listen in and play out on his show. A limited run of the EP was first available as part of Record Store Day Saturday and unsurprisingly sold out immediately. Squid then announced a further run of ‘Near The Westway’ available from 27th August via Warp Records.

Releases August 27th, 2021

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In album news, Steely Dan’s “Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live” and a live version of the acclaimed solo album by Donald Fagen“The Nightfly Live” – will both be released on CD & Digital on September 24th, 2021. Both albums will be available on 180g-vinyl on October 1st, 2021. The first live Steely Dan album in more than 25 years, Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live! was recorded across tour dates at New York City’s Beacon Theatre, The Met Philadelphia, & more, and showcases selections from Steely Dan’s extraordinary catalogue of slinky grooves, sleek subversive lyrics, and infectious hits.

Donald Fagen’s “The Nightfly Live” was performed live by The Steely Dan Band. Both albums are available for pre-order today.

Fans who pre-order Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live! will instantly receive a digital download of “Reeling In The Years” and those who pre-order The Nightfly Live will instantly receive a digital download of “I.G.Y.”

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The first live Steely Dan album in over 25 years. Featuring “Hey Nineteen”, “Aja”, “Reelin’ in the Years”, and more on 2LP 180g black vinyl.

The band announced additional details for their stop at the Capitol Theatre in Port Chester N.Y. on November. 9th and 10th. On Nov. 9 they will be playing Northeast Corridor: Steely Dan Live! along with additional hits, and on November. 10th they’ll play their beloved fifth studio album The Royal Scam in its entirety.

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Donald Fagen’s acclaimed solo album performed live by The Steely Dan Band. Featuring “I.G.Y.”, “New Frontier” & more on 180g black vinyl. 

A Universal Music Enterprises release; ℗ 2021 Nightfly Productions, Inc., under exclusive license to UMG Recordings, Inc.

Released on: 2021-07-26 , Vocalist, Rhodes, Melodica: Donald Fagen Drums: Keith Carlock , Bass: Freddie Washington , Guitar, Rhythm Arranger: Jon Herington Guitar: Connor Kennedy , Piano, Keyboards: Jim Beard Trumpet, Flugelhorn, Percussion, Horn Arranger: Michael Leonhart , Trombone: Jim Pugh , Tenor Saxophone, Alto Saxophone: Walt Weiskopf , Baritone Saxophone, Bass Clarinet: Roger Rosenberg , Vocals, Percussion: Carolyn Leonhart , Vocals, Percussion: Catherine Russell , Vocals, Percussion: La Tanya R. Hall , Vocals, Percussion: Jamie Leonhart

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Joni Mitchell shared a previously unreleased recording of her performing “The Downtreader” from Cafe Le Hibou, Ottawa, on March 19, 1968. The performance was recorded by Jimi Hendrix.

Joni Mitchell recounted the day on her Instagram, “They came and told me, ‘Jimi Hendrix is here, and he’s at the front door.’ I went to meet him. He had a large box. He said to me, ‘My name is Jimi Hendrix. I’m on the same label as you. Reprise Records.’ We were both signed about the same time. He said, I’d like to record your show. Do you mind?’ I said, ‘no, not at all.’ There was a large reel-to-reel tape recorder in the box.”

If you look real hard at the photo above you can just see Jimi Hendrix kneeling at the foot of the stage recording Joni’s performance on March 19th, 1968. The original photo taker remains a mystery 

A few days later Hendrix’s tape from that evening was stolen and the recording was thought to be lost forever. It was recently discovered in a private collection that was donated to the Library and Archives Canada and returned to Joni Mitchell.

This recording of “The Dawntreader” will be released as part of Joni Mitchell Archives Vol. 2: The Reprise Years (1968-1971) which will become available on October. 29th. the 5-CD or 10-LP set from JoniMitchell.com to receive an exclusive, limited edition 7” x 7” art print featuring a never-before-seen illustration by Mitchell

L.A. EXES – ” Get Some “

Posted: July 29, 2021 in MUSIC
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L.A.Exes bring on the girl-gang envy, uniting four music veterans: Sam Barbera (vocals, bass), Jenny Owen Youngs (vocals, guitar), Rachel White (lead guitar) and Steph Barker (drums). While they were a unit pre-pandemic, the global mess had the band hitting pause on announcing their glory for nearly a year. Now, having released singles “Temporary Goodbye,” “Skinny Dipping” and, “Baby Let’s Pretend”  L.A. Exes have announced their debut album, “Get Some,” will be out August. via Black Rainbow Records.

Although Barbera and Owen Youngs originally first met at a party, it was mutual friend and Grammy-winning producer Jake Sinclair (Panic! At the Disco, Weezer) that brought the queer quartet together. Barbera is best known for her electro pop group Begineers, whose singles like “Who Knows” and “Gimme Some” have proven great commercial syncs. Owen Youngs’ song writing has landed collaborations with Panic! At the Disco, Pitbull, Ingrid Michaelson and Brett Dennon, as well as syncs for “Grey’s Anatomy,” “Bojack Horseman,” “Weeds” and more. White’s multiple talents include producing, writing and even audio engineering for 5SOS, Weezer and Panic! At the Disco. Barker, whose solo project Baby Bulldog is reminiscent of Best Coast, is an award-winning jazz drummer with an international tour resumé including Kate Nash, Coast Modern and Love Fame Tragedy.

It’s all sun’s-out/buns-out with their playful, retro power-pop. The latest summer bop, “Baby Let’s Pretend,” has a classic shuffle with a charm that warrants plays on repeat. Juxtaposing cheeky lyrics with up-tempo melodies, Owen Youngs reveals that “this song deals with the sticky situation of being kept a secret. Not everybody’s been there, but anyone who has knows it doesn’t feel great. But just because something sucks doesn’t mean you can’t still have fun doing it.”

For better or for worse, life keeps moving forward. It’s this fundamental truth that Lexi Vega, the creative force behind Mini Trees, confronts throughout her debut album “Always In Motion“. But coming to terms with this inevitability has been a life-long struggle.

The daughter of a Cuban-born father and Japanese-American mother, the uniqueness of her identity has been an ever-present tension in Lexi’s life. She never quite fit in growing up within predominantly white communities in suburban southern California, with few who around her outside of her family to understand the generational scars caused by both exile and internment. When she was only 5 years old, Vega’s father, a professional drummer himself, took his own life. These traumas set in motion an ongoing questioning of Vega’s own self identity – and Mini Trees has provided the palette for Vega to process, to persevere, and to grow. After playing drums in various projects for years, Vega began writing and recording her own music under the moniker Mini Trees in 2018. She recorded her first solo track in the Summer of 2018 with producer Jon Joseph and was immediately hooked on the feeling of creating something that spoke directly to her as an artist, fully in control of her own vision. Mini Trees debut EP, “Steady Me“, dropped in 2019 and Vega followed it with 2020’s EP, “Slip Away”

We are excited to announce the September 17 release of “Always In Motion”, the debut album from Mini Trees,

The project of California born and Los Angeles-based artist, Lexi Vega, Always In Motion is a collection of relatable indie-pop songs that acknowledge our collective anxiety about life’s improbability. “Over the course of the album I teeter-totter between having questions and wanting answers, but the resolution is to be okay with not knowing. I think I do find some acceptance along the way, but the album purposefully concludes with no real resolution,” Vega said.

To celebrate the announcement, Vega released a brand new single, “Carrying On” The driving, upbeat track follows the debut of previous single, “Spring”.

“Carrying On” by Mini Trees from the upcoming album ‘Always In Motion’ out September 17th, 2021 via Run For Cover Records

RUNNNER – ” Awash “

Posted: July 29, 2021 in MUSIC

Runnner is the project of Los Angeles singer/songwriter Noah Weinman, and he just signed to Run For Cover Records, and his first release for the label will be Always Repeating, which features five re-recorded versions of songs from his 2017 debut “Awash” and all five tracks from last year’s “One of One” EP. The re-recorded version of the title track is out now, and it sort of sounds like a more rustic, twangy version of early Bon Iver. The LP drops July 16 via RFC

 Runnner will be hitting the road this fall in both the US and UK alongside Skullcrusher. 

9/05 – Glasgow, UK – Nice N Sleazy*
9/06 – Leeds, UK – Brudenell Social Club*
9/08 – London, UK – The Lexington*
9/09 – Brighton, UK – Komedia Studio*
9/10 – Birmingham, UK – Castle & Falcon*
9/12 – Bristol, UK – The Louisiana*
9/14 – Dublin, Ireland – The Workmans Club*

“Awash” by Runnner, from the album ‘Always Repeating’ out July 16th, 2021 via Run For Cover Records