Posts Tagged ‘Blaenavon’

A lot was riding on the release of Blaenavon’s debut album this year. Since signing with lauded London label, Transgressive Records, in 2013, the young British alt-pop trio had opened for Bloc Party, Foals, and Two Door Cinema Club and earned much adoration in under-the-radar profiles from the British music press. Yet, in those four intervening years, they’d only released a few EPs and their first attempt at recording an album had been rejected by higher-ups. Would their debut full-length live up to the hype?

Listen to That’s Your Lot and the answer becomes obvious. Take the mesmerizing destruction of “I Will Be the World,” the raw, lovesick adventure of “Prague ‘99,” or today’s featured song, “My Bark is Your Bite,” and you’ll agree, this is an impressive and versatile debut, the kind you hope for (but don’t necessarily expect) from a band who played Glastonbury before any of the members’ 21st birthday.

“My Bark is Your Bite,” is a polished post-punk gem detailing a romance dependent on dishonesty. Whether it’s a reluctant embrace or an outright lie, each of the singer’s deceits is a double-edged sword, keeping the peace, but wounding the singer. “It cuts like a knife when I lie,” Ben Gregory sings, but “my mind says it’s the best thing to do, for you.” All the signs are there that something is wrong, but the singer is too afraid of the aftershock to drop the bomb. Meanwhile, the song races along with the anxiety of keeping up appearances. Bassist Frank Wright picks a pulsing bassline. On occasion, Gregory’s heavy baritone trips up to a fluttering falsetto, as if he can’t hide his nerves. In the end, it seems, the music saves the pair. After a few choruses, drummer Harris McMillan slices the beat in half, revealing a shiny Editors-like dance groove, the guitar glimmers, bright for a moment, and a dancefloor appears. Gregory concedes: “I’ll take one more chance, I’ll dance if you’ll dance.” Love will tear us apart, but lies – and a well-crafted pop song – will keep us together. At least for now.

Blaenavon recorded a session with KEXP at the Triple Door on June 13th. Stay tuned to the KEXP YouTube page for video from that performance and, for now, enjoy the video for “My Bark Is Your Bite.”

Blaenavon ‘That’s Your Lot’ out now!

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These two covers might not come as a surprise in the way that the Prague ’99 EP was, but having first been heard in sessions for BBC Radio 1, the band’s covers of Sign of the Times by Harry Styles and High and Dry by Radiohead are now out on youtube .

Their version of Sign of the Times, is stripped back affair to piano, double bass and vocals only, whilst High and Dry sees the whole band plus additional vocals from Blaine Harrison (Mystery Jets) and singer songwriter Marika Hackman.

“Here you have two very different covers that mean very different things to us. ‘Sign of the Times’ is a massive song… could be a classic, even. The lad’s got an impressive range and we fancied giving it a crack and keeping it sparse. ‘High and Dry’ however, we wanted to go all out. We were lucky enough to be joined by two amazing musicians (Blaine from Mystery Jets and Marika Hackman) and we tried to keep it close to the original, as it’s pretty perfect as is. It’s a beautiful arrangement and I think you can hear how much we’re all enjoying it in the recording.

Earlier in the week, the band also announced that they’d be out touring Europe with Sundara Karma in December, just after their own headline tour of the UK which includes a date at the O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London. Details of all their upcoming shows,

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Coming just after Blaenavon’s Prague ’99 EP, here is a video for the title track directed by Kit Monteith – a frequent collaborator of Foals and Toothless.

The song is so dynamic – intricate at times as well as soaring and majestic. We wanted to make sure the visuals matched up to this and developed a technique where all these sides could be seen at once; combining slow motion and normal speed action within the same shots. However, the track is more complex still, there is sadness yet strange celebration within it and this more emotive side is where we wanted to experiment in making Ben’s psyche a character in itself. We wanted to create a surreal space where Ben could start to blend with a female presence and for this merging of forms to be the visual backdrop to the fragility, anguish and intensity of his performance on the track. It was also just a nice excuse to see a Blaener in the buff.”

The song also appears on their debut album which came out earlier this year – That’s Your Lot. It’s been an incredible year so far as a result, with tonnes of great reviews, shows alongside Sundara Karma, The Sherlocks, alt-J, Two Door Cinema Club and Circa Waves, as well as all their festival appearances. They’ll be back out on tour in November, with their biggest show yet at the Shepherd’s Bush Empire in London.

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Since 2012, Father John Misty, aka Josh Tillman, has unexpectedly emerged as a singular (if not undeniably, um, idiosyncratic) voice. Whether by virtue of his lyrics, which routinely defy the presumed polarities of wit and empathy; his live performances which may perhaps be described best as “intimately berzerk”, or the infuriating line he seems to occupy between canny and total fraud online or in interviews, Father John Misty has cultivated a rare space for himself in the musical landscape – that of a real enigma. Pure Comedy sees Tillman at the height of these powers: as a lyricist, and equally so a cultural observer – at times bordering on freakishly prescient. Tillman’s bent critiques, bared humanity and gently warped classic songwriting are all here in equal measure and – at 75 minutes – there’s a veritable fuck ton of it. The album navigates themes of progress, technology, fame, the environment, politics, aging, social media, human nature, human connection and his own role in it all with his usual candour, and in terms as timely as they are timeless.

Tillman wrote the majority of Pure Comedy throughout 2015 and recorded all the basic tracking and vocals live to tape (in no more than two takes each) at United Studios (fka the legendary Ocean Way Studios, favored by Frank Sinatra and The Beach Boys) in Los Angeles March 2016.

Pure Comedy was co-produced once again by Josh Tillman and long-time producer Jonathan Wilson; mixed by Tillman, Wilson and Trevor Spencer, and mastered by Bob Ludwig at Gateway Mastering Studios. The album features string, horn and choral arrangements from classical iconoclast Gavin Bryars (Jesus Blood Never Failed Me Yet, Sinking Of The Titanic), with additional contributions from Nico Muhly and Thomas Bartlett.

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Limited copies come with a 12 track bonus CD That’s Your Lot – The Bedroom Tapes. Following a breakthrough 2016 which saw them sell out London’s Scala, fill tents at Glastonbury, Reading and Leeds and Latitude, ink a US deal with Canvasback / Atlantic and release a run of critically acclaimed singles, Blaenavon release their long awaited debut album, That’s Your Lot. Recorded with Grammy-winning producer Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele, Bjork) the LP marks a certain milestone for the band – a sumptuous, thrilling and brave collection of songs written throughout their teenage years and now fully realised. Intensely personal, yet exploring the universal experiences of friendship, sadness, hope, love held and lost, and all the confusions of youth – a body of work to help define a generation. That’s Your Lot includes I Will Be The World, Let’s Pray and My Bark Is Your Bite – a more than impressive run of singles championed by the likes of Annie Mac, Zane Lowe, Huw Stephens, NME and Fader, whilst collectively racking up over 1,500,000 Spotify streams. The album will also feature explosive new single Orthodox Man, Blaenavon’s most immediate moment to date and already a firm fan favourite following a series of incredible live performances.

2LP – Limited Double Blue Vinyl with Fold Out Poster.

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Diet Cig are here to have fun. They’re here to tear you away from the soul-sucking sanctity of your dumpster-fire life and replace it with pop-blessed punk jams about navigating the impending doom of adulthood when all you want is to have ice-cream on your birthday. Alex Luciano (guitar and vocals) and Noah Bowman (drums) have been playing music together ever since Luciano interrupted the set of Bowman’s other band for a lighter. The New Paltz, New York duo have since released the infectious, 2015 ‘Over Easy’ EP that introduced consistent sing-a-long lyrics with thrashing drums and strums that never held back. ‘Swear I’m Good At This’ is the first full-length from the band and accumulates their tenacity for crafting life-affirming, relatable tales with a gutsy heart at their core. Luciano has the ability to write lyrics that are both vulnerable and badass, perfecting a storm of emotive reflection that creates a vision of a sweaty, pumped-up room screaming these lines in unison. Diet Cig make it okay to be the hot mess that you are.

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When Happyness first burst into the public conscience with 2013’s debut single ‘It’s On You’, their spirited take on US college rock was as big a surprise as it was an instant hit. The resulting full length, ‘Weird Little Birthday’, went on to feature in many of 2014’s End Of Year album lists. Worldwide tours, an NME Award, a re-issue on much-loved label Moshi Moshi Recordings (Bar/None in US) and millions of plays later, it is with some anticipation now that the band finally reveal the full details of the follow up.

Titled ‘Write In’, released through Moshi Moshi Recordings and featuring artwork from the band’s own Jon EE Allan, the record was made in the band’s own studio above a now-abandoned bookshop, then finished and mixed with Adam Lasus at his LA home studio.

‘Write In’ sets its stall out as an outward looking, inventive and thoughtful progression from their debut. Drawing on an array of influences including Roxy Music, The Beach Boys, Randy Newman, Sonic Youth, Big Star and Pierre Cavalli, the direction is best summed up by Jon EE Allan; “I’d like to think this record looks outside the little American alt-rock sphere we were looking in on. I think we used to be very afraid of being earnest. And now we’re able to be tender or heartfelt without feeling too guilty about it.”

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One band who have been threatening a big breakthrough is female four-piece The Big Moon, who in 2016 were dubbed the coolest young band in Britain are destined to be huge in 2017 with their Slits and Elastica-inspired punky gems.

“Definitely a band to watch” – London On The Inside
“With each new release, they continue to reach brand new heights” – The Line of Best Fit
“Another sign of the band’s blossoming maturity and growing confidence as songwriters” – Clash
“London’s most exciting new quartet … The Big Moon are readying to shoot for the stars” – NME
“Another introduction to one of the buzziest new bands on the scene, it’s proof that they’re making all the right moves on their road to the top”

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Canyons of My Mind is, as its title suggests, a landscape where the personal and the pastoral converge. Drawing inspiration from the biographies of literary figures like Charles Wright and Jim Harrison, Combs has created an album that explores the notion of sustainability in its many facets – artistic, economic, spiritual, environmental. “When I set out to record All These Dreams, I had a distinct vision of what I wanted the record to sound like. It was a cocktail of the Roy Orbison, Glen Campbell, Nilsson vibes that you can hear right there on the surface,” Combs says. “Canyons is much more personal. It’s a testament to my acceptance of who I am as a man, and who I am becoming.” The quiet struggles and satisfactions of carving out an identity in a world gone wrong are palpable throughout the album. Whether questing through the labyrinth of his own spiritual yearning, (Heart of Wonder), recreating a rail rider’s full-body sensation of freedom beneath an azure Montana sky (Rose Colored Blues), imagining a near-future dystopia where the very idea of green spaces has been annihilated (Dirty Rain), or channeling the desire of a peeping Tom who has fallen in love with his sylvan quarry (Hazel), Combs refines the vulnerable vagabond persona he mastered on All These Dreams while pushing it beyond those boundaries, into a more pastoral realm aligned with artists like Nick Drake and Tim Buckley.

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Currently performing sold out shows on their huge headline tour and with their highly anticipated debut album “That’s Your Lot” released this Friday, Blaenavon have shared brand new single ‘Lonely Side’ .

The song marks a coming of age for the band, and may well be their most accomplished effort to date – fitting, as the whirlwind 18 months Blaenavon have had since passing up University places and focussing on the group full time has most certainly seen them bloom. ‘Lonely Side’ offers Blaenavon the chance to explore their own teenage years and applying that to afford the audience some insights in to the world we face.

Discussing the song, singer/guitarist Ben Gregory offered the following:

It’s probably about time that I admitted I am a young, ridiculous, romantic buffoon. I am in love with everyone at the same time: but in and out of love constantly – disillusioned like a juvenile James Dean. This is incredibly unhealthy, but also very fucking funny. I will continue to get absolutely everything wrong until I grow old, settle down and die. Until then, I walk the Lonely Side.’

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Blaenavon say their debut That’s Your Lot is “five years of our lives condensed into 59 minutes of yours…Youth, capriciousness, duality, duplicity, love, bitterness, fate. Songs from the human core: some malleable, long considered – others pure, direct, cruelly honest. An album to bathe in and appreciate the inevitable end.”

The band have been tipped for some time, with their precocious live shows matched to some superb songwriting.

The long awaited debut album from indie trio Blaenavon. The band play a blend of indie-rock with a sunset-beach vibe, full of well crafted melodies, tip-toeing guitar licks, funky bass and drum patterns, this is one to keep an eye on

Debut album ‘That’s Your Lot’ was recorded with Grammy winner Jim Abbiss (Adele, Björk), the album really has taken its time but will be released on April 7th.

BLAENAVON – ” Orthodox Man “

Posted: January 14, 2017 in MUSIC
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Though ‘Orthodox Man’ might come packaged with a title that nods to tradition, convention, and keeping things ordinary, the latest from Blaenavon sees the increasingly versatile band exploring yet more new territory. Sharpened no end, with angular, cutting lines, and diamond-saw melodies (not to mention a few woo-ee-woo chants, for good measure) this might just be the Hampshire lads’ most immediate moment to date.

It’s ripe foundations for Blaenavon’s impending debut – a first effort set to pack bite, evolution, and bold statements into the mix. Orthodox, man? This is anything but.

Blaenavon - Let’s Pray

Blaenavon love a good juxtaposition. Dishing out shiny, perky guitar lines for fun, they’re also specialists in brutally dark, romantic imagery. “Let’s pray, let’s pray, let’s pray for death!” isn’t exactly the kind of chorus you’d want your kids singing at the dinner table, but don’t rule out it spreading like wildfire.

As an instrumental, ‘Let’s Pray’ would be a sweet, sunny-side-up indie banger, fit for Match of the Day goal montages. Combined with Ben Gregory’s bewitched tales, it becomes something beautifully twisted, like playing frisbee in a graveyard. Blaenavon’s frontman is skilled at embracing his own mortality, turning dark thoughts into pop gold.

Blaenavon: huge Marseille fans

The best and biggest highlights of SXSW is seeing one of your own young artists smash their debut US gigs for the first time, converting an audience and a curious industry in the process. Blaenavon are a band that are signed to Transgressive Records officially last year, three whole years after meeting them (when they were still in school). Their blend of anthemic yet sensitive guitar-driven frenzies have never sounded more compelling than in recent live shows, and their soon-to-be-completed debut album with producer Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys, Adele et al) is sounding like it could be one of the biggest records of the year.

With team Transgressive providing the industry oomph, and the guiding arm around the shoulder, there’s no reason Blaenavon can’t do whatever they desire. After Thursday’s display of growth, intelligent writing and emphatic performance, the only safe bet would be on their success.

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Official music video for Blaenavon ‘Hell Is My Head’ from their EP ‘Miss World’ out October 30th on Transgressive Records

Watch the latest track ‘Dragon‘ by Blaenavon, filmed exclusively for Burberry Acoustic,

Blaenavon have recorded a stunning version of ‘Dragon’, taken from their recent ‘Miss World’ EP, for Burberry Acoustic.  Filmed in Manchester’s historic Albert Hall, the band strip the song right back to its basic elements. The laid back new track in the shape of “Dragons”, thus completing their EP – which is available to stream on their soundcloud page. Their EP is released via Transgressive Records (one of my favourite labels)