Posts Tagged ‘Bella Union Records’

Cocteau Twins, former CT bassist Simon Raymonde and Richie Thomas of Dif Juz are gearing up to release their second Lost Horizons albums, In Quiet Moments, on February 26th via Bella Union Records. It’s a double and packed with notable guest vocalists to help them achieve their cinematic vision. The terrific first half, which came out digitally back in November, features guest vocals from John Grant, Porridge Radio, Penelope Isles, former Midlake frontman Tim Smith and more, while Pt 2 features Marissa Nadler, Ural Thomas, The Innocence Mission’s Karen Peris, and more.

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As you’d expect from two men who released records during the ’80s arty heyday of 4AD, the artwork is as important as the music itself. The packaging for the Deluxe Edtion vinyl of In Quiet Moments is especially lovely and comes on ocean blue and green vinyl, with a wide-spinned sleeve on uncoated/reverse board and is housed in a cool PVC outer sleeve with printed text. (There’s also a sticker, for those looking to cover logos on your laptop or decorating your fridge.) We’ve got a special edition in our store where the first 100 orders come with an art print postcard signed by Simon Raymonde.  

While we wait for the whole thing to drop, you can listen toIn Quiet Moments Part 1 now along with the Marissa Nadler song, “Marie,” from Part 2:

Releases February 26th, 2021

A.A. Williams

Making her stage debut in April 2019 and selling out her first headline show at London’s prestigious Southbank Centre less than a year later, A.A. Williams has hit the ground running. Similarly, the acclaim for her performances and her music has been unanimous from the start. After one self-titled EP and the 10” vinyl collaboration “Exit in Darkness” with Japanese post-rockers MONO, the London-based singer-songwriter has signed to Bella Union and made a stunning debut album, “Forever Blue”.

A rapturous blend of post-rock and post-classical, Forever Blue smoulders with uncoiling melodies and haunted atmospheres, shifting from serenity to explosive drama, often within the same song. Williams is a fantastic musician as well as songwriter, playing the guitar, cello and piano, and her voice has the controlled delivery of a seasoned chanteuse whilst still channelling the rawest of emotions.

Forever Blue is named after a song that didn’t make the album’s final cut, “but it still encapsulated these songs,” Williams explains. “It sounded timeless and in the right place.” The album’s threads encapsulate the anxieties and addiction of love and loss with haunting detail, for example ‘Glimmer’(“I wasn’t meant to see the sun washed out and pale / I wait undone / I wasn’t meant to be the one hollow and hurt and meant for none”), though Williams admits the theme was shaped more by her subconscious than any grand plan.

Therapy is intrinsic to Williams’ approach: to not just express and unpick her feelings of longing and loss but to work through them. “Verbalising something, you feel a weight has been lifted,” she says. The transition can be mirrored in the dynamic shift from ‘quiet’ to ‘loud’, as on ‘Glimmer’ and arguably at its most euphoric on ‘Melt’. “There’s something very satisfying and elating about songs that have that drop in them, to stomp on the guitar pedal on and let it all out.”

Forever Blue will spread the news of A.A. Williams’ extraordinary talent far and wide – and once lockdown is over, she and her band will be taking the next steps on her journey by touring the record. She’s already come so far but this story is only just beginning. For the past year or so, dark singer/songwriter A.A. Williams has been releasing gloomy, minimal covers that put a hauntingly beautiful spin on the originals, and here’s another great one. She makes the ’60s prog-pop hit sound like something that could’ve come out on ’80s 4AD.

Taken from the album ‘Songs From Isolation’ by A.A. Williams

Lost Horizons

Lost Horizons are back with another preview of their “In Quiet Moments” album, this time teaming up with Marissa Nadler for “Marie“. The new track arrives with a video created by Nadler, with editing and direction by Penelope Isles’ Jack Wolter. Lost Horizons say of their new outing, “I don’t think there was ever a second I wasn’t going to find a song for Marissa to sing on the new album track. So much cool stuff came out of our last collaborations on Ojalá, indeed I think we ended up recording four songs from the original idea of doing one! Marissa is a really great & generous collaborator as she really throws herself in deep and commits to it fully. That is a rare and beautiful gift and Richie and I appreciate it enormously.”

“Marie” marks Lost Horizons’ second release of 2021 after Ural Thomas collaboration “In Quiet Moments” that landed earlier this month.

They add, “It was a beast of a track to mix I’ll be honest, and that had nothing to do with Marissa’s vocals, in fact they were a breeze to mix. But the initial music that Richie and I improvised in our basement studio in Brighton was a bit messy and we didn’t use a click or anything to keep tempo so fixing anything later was a lost cause, but it is such a cool piece that I loved creating (I think i put 4 maybe 5 bass parts on with my old trusty Fender VI string bass guitar!) that even when it’s kinda falling apart during that instrumental section near the end, I still love it. It probably sounds like it took half an hour to mix but the truth is it took weeks of starting it, scrapping it, starting over, scrapping it, etc. And yes, I fully intend to ask Marissa to contribute to our next one too.”

In Quiet Momentswhich will follow 2017’s Ojalá, will also feature previous outings “One For Regret” featuring Porridge Radio, “Grey Tower” featuring Tim Smith of Midlake, Then there is the John Grant collaboration “Cordelia” and “I Woke Up With An Open Heart” featuring The Hempolics.

Lost Horizons is a rare sighting of two gifted musicians who, for different reasons, have been largely absent from music-making for the last 20 years. Yet their debut record Ojalá is proof of a telepathic relationship through music, established when the pair first became collaborators and friends in the eighties.  Raymonde was the bassist of the seminal Cocteau Twins, where the vein of melancholia went very deep. Even before the band had signed to 4AD, the label were releasing records by the instrumental quartet Dif Juz, arguably the first word in post-rock, 15 years before it became a trend: Richie Thomas was their anchor; the engine room of their wondrous free-flow. The two bands became friends, and toured together.

Taken from the album ‘In Quiet Moment’s’ due 26th February via Bella Union Records:

Proof rings out with force and feeling on Hilang Child’s superlative second album, “Every Mover”, released on Bella Union Records. In 2018, Riman delivered a serene, textured debut album in Years, rich in sound and feeling. The “lonely, pressured” aftermath of Years found Riman grappling with “rough self-esteem and anxiety issues”, amplified in part by social media’s ‘fulfilment narratives’. Duly, he set out to navigate and overcome these mindsets, drawing deeply on his own insecurities and those he recognised in others.

These themes converge emphatically on Every Mover, an album steeped in everyday emotional states and crafted for cathartic, communal performance. Drawing on a rich spread of collaborators, sounds and themes, Riman uses his frustrations as the impetus to transform the brimming promise of Years into upfront and expansive new shapes.

Good to be Young serves swift notice of this leap, its banked synths and twinkling sound clusters leading to an assertion of fresh force when the main beat lands and a congregation of friends – AK Patterson, Paul Thomas Saunders, Dog in the Snow, Ellen Murphy, members of Penelope Isles – unite for the gang-vocal refrains. “It’s all iridescent colour I’m on,” Riman exults, a claim lived up to on the full-flush folktronica of Shenley. A reflection on spiralling insecurity,Seen the Boreal ups the ante again with its monk-ish chorales, looping samples, spectral woodwinds (from multi-instrumentalist John ‘Rittipo’ Moore, of Public Service Broadcasting and Bastille previous) and ecstatic chorus, Riman transforming a meditation on hindsight’s limiting effects into a spur to look forwards. And surge forwards he does with the glittering synths, spacey guitars, and Krautrock propulsion of King Quail, developed in jam sessions with dream-pop wonder Zoe Mead (Wyldest) in her basement studio.

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Riman’s sounds are enriched wherever you turn, from the epic prog-tronica of The Next Hold to the vocal release and layered arrangement of “Play ’Til Evening”; a kind of summit meeting between Surrender-era Chemical Brothers and Fleet Foxes in the high church of ecstatic sound. The treated chorales of Magical Fingertip and naked lyrics of the festival-sized “Anthropic (Cold Times)” showcase a fertile push-pull of lush arrangements and wide-open emotions in Riman’s sound; on the latter, Rittipo’s horns brim with expressive power.

Brought to a sublime close with Steppe, the resulting album projects its own epiphanic force. The birth was not always smooth: due to Covid-19, tours were cancelled and studios closed. Thankfully, most of the main parts were recorded pre-lockdown between East London, Gateshead, Brighton, Wandsworth and elsewhere, before mixing proceeded remotely.

That sense of passion lights up Every Mover, an album that hymns the redemptive qualities of richly expressive music crafted in simpatico unison with friends.

Over the moon that my new album Every Mover is out TODAY via Bella Union/PIAS!! It’s available on 180g red vinyl (with signed print), CD or digital download. 

Also check out the music video for ‘Pesawat Aeroplane (English)’ on YouTube or at the bottom of this email, featuring some trippy mountain visuals using stunning footage captured in Komodo by Tobias Brent and Lifted Imaging. Thank you to Everyone who was involved in the making of this album, from the bottom of my heart. You helped me make something I’m proud of and focus my energy during a difficult time. Onwards xxx

Taken from the new album Every Mover, available on vinyl,

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Lancaster, PA’s Innocence Mission have been making delicate dreampop for longer than that descriptor has existed, with Karin Peris’ heartbreaking voice forever the star of the show. Draped in aching melancholy, “See You Tomorrow” is among the group’s finest in a span over a 30 year plus career. Alternative folk act The Innocence Mission first gained recognition in 1989, when they found chart success with their self-titled debut album. By the time the band released their third album, Glow, in 1995, they had earned a zealous cult following that remains loyal to them to this day. Their songs tend to be exquisitely crafted, featuring ethereally beautiful acoustic-based music and hauntingly introspective and thoughtful lyrics, all combining into a sound that is at once delicate yet intense. The band, led by married couple Karen Peris (vocals, guitar, piano, organ) and Don Peris (guitars, drums vocals), originated when they first met in high school. Now, more than thirty years later, they (along with bassist Mike Bitts) are preparing to release their twelfth studio album,

Love. Connection. Community. Understanding. Most of us experience these aspects through the prism of family and friends. But not everybody can turn those feelings into song, especially not with the beauty and sensitivity of Pennsylvania trio the innocence mission, fronted by Karen Peris and husband Don. Following their Bella Union album debut “Sun On The Square”, which won the band some of their best-ever reviews, they have made another exquisite and touching album, “See You Tomorrow“.

This is a record steeped in awe and wonder, intense longing, sadness and joy; a rich sequence of songs that attempt to describe the essence of what makes us human. Sufjan Stevens, who has covered the innocence mission’s classic Lakes Of Canada, once called their music “moving and profound. What is so remarkable about Karen Peris’ lyrics is the economy of words, concrete nouns which come to life with melodies that dance around the scale like sea creatures.” The band recorded See You Tomorrow in the Peris’ basement (and the dining room where the piano sits). Karen wrote and sang ten of the album’s eleven songs, and plays guitars, piano, pump organ, accordion, electric bass, melodica, mellotron, and an old prototype strings sampler keyboard. Don contributes guitars, drums, vocal harmonies, and one lead vocal on his song Mary Margaret In Mid-Air. Fellow founder member Mike Bitts adds upright bass to four songs including On Your Side, the album’s first single.

With wistful strings and distant acoustic guitar, “On Your Side” sounds like the first chill of autumn.

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Once Wayne Coyne saw Runnin’ Down a Dream, a 2007 documentary on Tom Petty, he became fixated on a stop Tom Petty made through Tulsa, Oklahoma in 1974 and his recording in that city with the earliest inception of the Heartbreakers—along with Belmont Tench and Mike Campbell—as Mudcrutch.  Manoeuvering through imagined scenarios and what-ifs, the Flaming Lips frontman became caught in some imaginary realm between his Oklahoma upbringing, the current state of America, and an imaginary jam session with the late rock legend. Imagine if the Lips were a local Oklahoma band that befriended Petty in his pre-Heartbreakers days—or what if Tom and company were pulled into the seedier side of Tulsa, shifting the course of rock history as we know it?

Running down a rabbit hole of reflections, the Lips’ sixteenth album “American Head” drifts through the singer’s wild imagination, exploring addiction and mental health in its drug-induced Americana. “As we destroy our brains / ’Til we believe we’re dead / It’s the American dream,” Coyne sings on “At the Movies on Quaaludes” before the more revelatory “Now I see the sadness in the world / I’m sorry I didn’t see it before” on “Mother I’ve Taken LSD.” Following up  Lip$haa proposed 2014 album with Kesha, and collaborating on the psych-pop experiment Miley Cyrus & Her Dead Petz in 2015, for American Head, the Lips cozied up to Kacey Musgraves for some feminine texture on three of the record’s tracks. Only The Flaming Lips could conjure up their American Head narrative, mixing loosely based recollections, romanticized tales…and the state of the country as we think we know it.

American Legends The Flaming Lips are pleased to announce the release of their 21st studio album, American Head released on September 11th via Bella Union. The album is comprised of thirteen new cinematic tracks, produced by long time collaborator Dave Fridmann and The Lips. Among them, “God and the Policeman” featuring backing vocals from country superstar Kasey Musgraves. American Head takes on a welcome temporal shift that occupies a similar space to that of The Soft Bulletin or Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots and just may be their most beautiful and consistent work to date

American Head finds The Flaming Lips basking in more reflective lyrical places as Wayne Coyne explains in a longer form story titled “We’re An American Band.”  Excerpt below:

The Flaming Lips are from Oklahoma. We never thought of ourselves as a band. I know growing up (when I was like 6 or 7 years old) in Oklahoma I was never influenced by, or was very aware of any musicians from Oklahoma. We mostly listened to the Beatles and my mother loved Tom Jones (this is in the 60’s)… it wasn’t till I was about 10 or 11 that my older brothers would know a few of the local musician dudes.

So… for most of our musical life (as The Flaming Lips starting in 1983) we’ve kind of thought of ourselves as coming from ‘Earth’… not really caring Where we were actually from. So for the first time in our musical life we began to think of ourselves as ‘AN AMERICAN BAND’… telling ourselves that it would be our identity for our next creative adventure. We had become a 7-piece ensemble and were beginning to feel more and more of a kinship with groups that have a lot of members in them. We started to think of classic American bands like The Grateful Dead and Parliament-Funkadelic and how maybe we could embrace this new vibe.

The music and songs that make up the American Head album are based in a feeling. A feeling that, I think, can only be expressed through music and songs. We were, while creating it, trying to NOT hear it as sounds… but to feel it. Mother’s sacrifice, Father’s intensity, Brother’s insanity, Sister’s rebellion…I can’t quite put it into words.

Something switches and others (your brothers and sisters and mother and father…your pets) start to become more important to you…in the beginning there is only you… and your desires are all that you can care about…but… something switches.. I think all of these songs are about this little switch.”

The Flaming Lips return on Bella Union Records with American Head, their 21st studio album. They’ve pulled off a masterstroke here, it retains all of their bubbling psychedelics, whilst sounding more introspective or reflective than they have in years. It’s a cracking set of songs and very pretty too.

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Lanterns On The Lake‘s Hazel Wilde has spoken to NME about their nomination for Hyundai Mercury Prize. The Newcastle band have scored their first Mercury nod with their acclaimed fourth album ‘Spook The Herd’ – which sees them employing their unique brand of atmospheric indie to dissect the hell-scape that we’re all living through. Rising nationalism and entire countries being let down by their leaders are all pertinent themes on the record, but they are always tackled with a degree of impressive subtlety.

“We never do sit down and say ‘this is what we’re going to write a record about’, because it feel too forced and not natural,” said Wilde.

“But that stuff, climate change and global politics is just what you see when you’re flicking through the news. Those things are on my mind and they’re the things we talk about as a band. It seeps into the music.” She continued: “We’re not political with a ‘capital P’ in the songs, but not in a social commentary kind of way – it’s a personal point of view. We’re not trying to lecture anybody or proclaim that we’ve got the big answers to massive questions. It’s coming from the point of view of people who are just living in these weird times.”

“We’ve just discovered that there’s been a big leak in our rehearsal room and a load of stuff is knackered. It would come in pretty useful for that! But we’re not thinking of the winnings – we’re just chuffed to be on the shortlist and have the album heard by more people,” Hazel explained.

And while fans had to wait five years for the arrival of ‘Spook The Herd’, it seems that the follow-up could be here sooner than expected. She added: “I’m really itching to get started on the next one. We do have a few ideas that we started on, but that had to take a backseat at the start of this lockdown. I’m itching to just getting cracking on the next one, I’m sure it will find its own way.”

Mercury Prize nominees Lanterns on the Lake released a live rendition of their beguiling track When It All Comes True ahead of their album and had us hooked. Of the track vocalist Hazel Wilde says: ‘Sometimes when you write a song you are creating a world in the same way a film maker or an artist painting a scene would. This is a twisted coming-of-age love story where we’re let in on the thoughts of what seems like a deranged narrator with a premonition.’

“Spook the Herd” was the fourth studio album to come from Lanterns on the Lake. It was released on 28th February 2020 under Bella Union Records.

Having earned a mercury music nom for their stunning lp earlier in the year, Lanterns on the Lake are back already with a 5-track ep of dream-pop bliss. if you’re new to them & yet to hear what all the fuss is about, this’ll be the perfect snapshot of a band whose understanding of engrossing melodies & captivating atmospheres is second to none.

The ep includes four brand new tracks as well as a new reworked stripped-back arrangement of the single “Baddies”. of the track and ep vocalist Hazel Wilde says: “the realist is a song about being a dreamer, clinging to a vision and following your heart – even when that path can seem deluded to others. it was one of the songs that didn’t make it onto the album spook the herd as it didn’t fit sonically or narratively. it felt like it came from another place. so we began putting together this ep. we wanted to sculpt an intimate “Headphones” record. one for the introverts and dreamers, the ones that still find beauty and magic in things. recording some of the songs over lockdown in our homes helped in creating that world.”

Taken from The Realist EP out 11th December 2020 on Bella Union Records.

Emmy The Great shares Chang-E

With her new album “April /月音” due for release 9th October via Bella Union Records, and having recently been featured in The ObserverEmmy The Great today shares a beguiling part-animated video for her new single “Chang-E”. Of the track Emmy says: “It begins with this. Chang-E, the wife of the tyrant Hou Yi, drinks the elixir of immortality to save China from his eternal reign. She ascends to the moon, and lives there with the Jade Rabbit, its original inhabitant. In Mid-Autumn, we celebrate Chang-E’s sacrifice with a festival of lanterns and lights. Many centuries later, NASA tells the moon-bound Apollo 11 astronauts to look out for the Chinese queen and her rabbit. Michael Collins replies, ‘We’ll keep a close eye out for the bunny girl.’”

Of the video Emmy adds: “I wanted to tell the story of the moon goddess as I heard it as a child. It’s a lesser known version of the famous legend (which forms the centrepiece of Mid-Autumn celebrations), and all the more evocative because Chang-E’s destiny is decided by an act of defiance. I had worked with animator Renee Zhan on her film O Black Hole, and I knew she would understand the story and its roots. The creative team also included Mona Chalabi (storyboard), Armiliah Aripin (editing), and Jesse Romain (production). In the fragmented lives we’re living in at the moment, the ideas came together remotely from around the world. This is reflected in the footage between the animation, which is from my personal archive, and a performance of Chang-E on Hong Kong’s RTHK, that I performed while 5 months pregnant.”

“Combining Canto pop with warm neo-folk, her songs are beautifully constructed, the arch quirkiness of her early albums replaced by the lush writing of songs such as Chang-E or Okinawa.” MOJO

“An album filled with soft, tender indie-folk… ‘Mary’ skips along via a country-tinged shuffle, adding to the ever-present feeling of gliding through a city.” Uncut

 

“If you have a vacancy for another favourite new band on your listening device, Pom Poko would like to apply for the role,” tweeted Tim Burgess last April, as Norway’s finest punk-pop anti-conformists revisited their joyous debut album, “Birthday”, for one of Tim’s mood-lifting twitter listening parties.

Pom Poko pimp their cv on all fronts with their glorious second album, “Cheater”, is due for release via Bella Union in November. between the quartet’s sweet melodies, galvanic punky ructions and wild-at-art-rock eruptions, Cheater is the sound of a band celebrating the binding extremes that make them so uniquely qualified to thrill: and, like Tim’s listening party, to fulfil any need you might have for a pick-you-up. as singer Ragnhild Fangel explains of the leap from “Birthday” to “Cheater”, “I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. in the production process I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic execution and recording, but also let ourselves explore the less frantic parts of the Pom Poko universe.

I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.” both sonically and thematically, that sense of amplification asserts itself right off the bat with the tearaway title-track. bursting into life on the back of a blast of fractious guitar noise, a thrashing riff and a sweetly sardonic vocal, “Cheater” laces its serotonin rush with tangy lyrics about dreams and, says Ragnhild, the kind of “cheating kid who doesn’t understand why they didn’t get things exactly like they wanted on their first try”: thematic motifs that reverberate throughout the album. from here, Pom Poko court their extremes with firecracker confidence. its lilting melody laced with a critique of gender stereotypes and set to a breeders-style lurch, “like a lady” is sharp and catchy. “Andrew” upholds a facility for simplicity in one of Pom Poko’s loveliest choruses, though a band such as this will never settle for the obvious: Martin Miguel tonne’s jazzy guitars seem to do everything except what you expect them to.

Further evidence arrives in the contrast between the thrilling, think-on-its-feet thrash-pop of “My Candidacy” – made in less than three hours – and the mellifluous “Danger Baby”, a tale of irrational fears with Ragnhild’s vocal and Martin’s guitar merged in unexpected union. That love for surprise synchronicities, slanted sounds and unexpected subject matter propels “Andy Go To School”, where a tempo-tweaked guitar line accompanies a lyric extolling the pleasures of water parks and a free-flowing sonic palette. “Towards the end one of the guitar pedals made a huge bzzz sound in a pause, but we thought it was cool and raw so we just rolled with it,” says Ragnhild. “We like to mix the feeling of a surgically produced piece of music with the random sounds that also happen when you are a band playing together.” after its opening, almost Bolan-esque belches of guitar, “Look” extends that spirit of openness to an invitation to look outside of one’s self, before “Body Level” ends the album on a characteristically generous, unguarded – amplified – note of positivity. “Things Get Better,” sings Fangel, embracing directness with the same readiness as Pom Poko exult in giddy intricacy. The sound of four distinct personalities driving in divergent directions towards one destination, the result is an evolved snapshot of the bracingly contrary chemistry forged when Fangel, Tonne, Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) united to play punk during a jazz gig at a literature festival in Trondheim (the band-members studied jazz there.) taking their name and spirit from japanese animation visionaries studio Ghibli’s marvellously out-there film about raccoon-dog rebels with unfeasibly large testicles, Pom Poko showcased that convulsive individuality to exuberant effect on 2019’s Birthday. along the way, they drew praise from NME, interview magazine, DIY, Popmatters, the Line of Best Fit, the Independent and BBC radio 6, where Miranda Sawyer was moved to note that Birthday’s “Crazy Energy Night” seems to contain about 20 songs in one.

Meanwhile, a huge touring schedule included countless sold-out headline shows and a rapturously received uk jaunt with Ezra Furman. Written in the same run that produced interim releases “Leg Day” (with its playful dance-based video) and “Praise”, and recorded/produced in cooperation with Marcus Forsgren (jaga jazzist, broen, arc iris), Cheater does its predecessor proud on every front. bursting with colour and wonky life from its cover art (by close collaborator Erlend Peder Kvam) outwards, it differs from Birthday primarily in that its songs did not have a chance to be road-tested before going into the studio. but you wouldn’t know it. as Ragnhild explains, “that meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time.” in other words, consider that vacancy for free-thinking punk-pop adventurism in your life filled.