Posts Tagged ‘The Big Moon’

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It’s hard to escape the influence of Bonnie Tyler’s 1983 melancholic power ballad “Total Eclipse Of The Heart.” Even before the recent surge in popularity, its impact was hard to deny. The song (and its video) has been covered and parodied by dozens of artists. Even Warby Parker got in on the action. Adding their flavor to the mix of covers are London rockers The Big Moon. The four-piece band stepped into Bonnie Tyler’s shoes, and delivered a moody, rocking cover for the ages.

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The Deer Shed Festival is a truly fantastic, family-friendly festival that somehow manages to retain a quality of music and band choices, Its true to its roots, where other festivals sometimes feel like a compromise. It fills a great gap between a serious festival for music lovers like myself who like to see the newer bands on the gigging circuit and also find that hidden newcomer, plus where else can the kids have fun rather than having to send them to the usual token and half-hearted kids field/tent like you get at other festivals. Where else do you have a whole football sized area for swingball or make cardboard boxes into something from your imagination.  From the whole heap of things to make in the science marquees to running around the perimeter of the park for you morning run.

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My Pick of Bands to check out over the weekend

Friday

It could be a difficult evening ahead, as there is such a huge array of talented bands on all stages Teenage Fan Club are such an iconic indie band surely not to be missed having released their 10th album this year, but we have some returning bands both with terrific album releases this year to the festival Honeyblood are a duo I’ve seen many times now, they played the festival two years ago, Stina Tweeddale’s is a great guitar player with her distorted ringing guitar and vocal performance to match, the band present rage-filled, but beautifully written, songs along with Cat Myers’s powerful drum beats constantly driving them forward. Stina is a great front person and for just a duo their sound is huge.

Happyness are a 3-piece alternative rock band from London, All 3 members write the songs, they also have played Deer Shed previously and have a real charm, their latest album is just another stunning collection full of wonderful power pop tunes  which finally followed up their great debut album “Weird Little Birthday” that included one of the best songs about Arcade Fire ever “Montreal Rock Band Somewhere” . LP2 is called “Write In”, and it finds the UK indie rockers continuing to explore the lackadaisical, sardonic indie rock pastures .

In The Dock Stage, Manchester band Cabbage a five piece serving up an idiosyncratic, satirical attacks in the form of discordant neo post-punk.Cabbage have been the festival band of the year drawing huge crowds to the stage as the year progressed .

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Lets Eat Grandma Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth are another big addition with a very visual stage presence.

Jesca Hoop has a  captivating voice her set with Sam Beam at the End Of The Road last year was possibly one of the best musical and magical moments of the last year, Hoop has released another stunningly good album earlier this year “Memories Are Now” the resulting combination is powerfully evocative, with overarching themes of biology, nature and humanity.

Over on the Obelisk stage Hopefully avoiding line-up clashes the headliners here are a folk duo not to be missed are the beautiful Folk-Rock vocals of Josienne Clarke and the guitar talents of her bearded band mate Ben Walker. Together, Clarke and Walker , both 34, are one of Britain’s biggest folk acts, with five albums of beautifully textured, twilight songs, plus many years of treading the dusty boards of folk sessions and festivals, and a coveted Radio 2 folk award for best duo between them. Original songs have been part of Clarke and Walker’s arsenal since day one, and their latest album, “Overnight”, includes seven of them: beautifully drawn miniatures full of a melancholy reminiscent of early-70s singer-songwriters. Clarke writes the songs, “the squishy, lyrical stuff”, while Walker’s the arranger and planner.  If you love bands like Pentangle or Fairport Convention and the voice of Sandy Denny Don’t miss this twosome ,

The other artist not to be missed on the friday is Bryde, aka Sarah Howells of the band Paper Aeroplanes  Praise for the Welsh songwriter has been well-bestowed,  Bryde music deals with human psychology and the darker side of broken relationships with an infectiously defiant and life-affirming quality. Described as being about entangling and unravelling, it sways from fierce to fragile.

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I really hope there isn’t any clashes as if you can get to see these above bands already its as good as it gets a superb first day at the Deer Shed.

Saturday 

My picks for Main Stage would have to be King Creosote  also known as independent singer-songwriter Kenny Anderson from Fife with his current album “Astronaut Meets Appleman”. The first track to be shared is the album’s opener ‘You Just Want’. A seven-minute piece of hymnal drone-pop, its touchstones are the art of patience, scenes of mild bondage and Venus (in Furs) . On Astronaut Meets Appleman, King Creosote is still upsetting apple-carts and dealing with the fallout, still appraising love and life, the moon, the stars; tide tables, bagpipe scores, zeros and ones; mathematics, ticking clocks and the beat of our hearts.

Saturday includes one of my favourite bands  The Big Moon are a band I’ve seen this last two years around fifteen times great indie-pop songs full of fun and just glorious girls to boot. Based in London the four-piece girl band formed in 2014 by Juliette Jackson.[ Their debut album, “Love In The 4th Dimension was released early April 2017, containing a number of singles previously released on their EP, The Road.

The band is signed to Fiction Records and have toured internationally. The Big Moon played as backing band for Marika Hackman’s second album, I’m Not Your Man, concluding in live dates across America recently,

Check out the first artist to hit the Main Stage on Saturday Nilufer Yanya her set at Latitude was considered the best of the weekend intricate guitar work weaves around the West Londoner’s soulful vocals and jazz-flecked instrumentation.  She started performing at 18, the same year she released debut single “Waves” which she made for a college project. Rejected twice from a popular music degree, she took an artist development course and steadily graduated from the city’s open-mic scene to cooler stages, eventually supporting artists like Mitski and headlining her own shows.

Listen to the ‘The Florist’, the standout from recent EP ‘Plant Feed’ is a propulsive gem

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In the Dock Stage My other pick of the day is Goat Girl who bought out a cracking single earlier this year Their debut release track ‘Country Sleaze’ which you can hear below, was one half of a double A-Side released on Rough Trade Records last October . ‘Sleaze’ is probably an apt description for the gritty new track which packs a sludgy bass line, jangling guitar and some pure unchecked, uncensored criticism of the world right now: “I’m disgusted, I’m ashamed of this so-called human race”.

On the Lodge Stage make sure you catch the Liverpool band Hooten Tennis Club, The band’s second album ‘Big Box of Chocolates’ was produced by Edwyn Collins If their debut album, Highest Point In Cliff Town, was the band’s statement of intent, Big Box of Chocolates  is a record that retains all the colour and invention of their debut, while being elevated by richer instrumentation and lyrics that hint at slightly heavier themes: love and loss, nihilism and the ‘non-spaces’ of Northern England, all delivered in the band’s typically laconic, bittersweet style. The dozen tracks continue the band’s knack of combining catchy off-kilter riffs with droll storytelling; album narrators – vocalists and guitarists Ryan Murphy and James Madden – seem to straddle optimism and uncertainty with their lyrics, whether singing about their internal worlds or commenting on a motley cast of characters who turn up across the album’s 41 minutes to amuse, tempt or torment them. Whether fictional (the awkward genius Jimmy ‘looking shifty in his new shoes’) or real (Ryan’s ex-housemate immortalised in first single ‘Katy-Anne Bellis’), each character shares an equal platform, all revered in Hooton’s own low-key way.

The giant of a man B.C Camplight the multi-talented multi-instrumentalist Brian Christinzio is the perfect showman with his dynamic and diverse take on BC Camplight’s epic pop pizzazz and simmering balladry combining eloquent songwriting with a self-destructive bent, he’s described himself as, “the guy who blew it.” Christinzio started playing piano aged just four, inspired by his mum’s Jerry Lee Lewis and Nilsson records and his Dad’s classical collection. But this sublime talent with the keening vocal and fearless approach to lyrical introspection has another chance.

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His album ‘How To Die In The North’, recorded in his newly adopted home of Manchester, England, is a fantastically rich, stylistically diverse trip. From dramatic, layered pop to a haunted take on Sixties sunshine-pop Beach Boy’s style, from blue-eyed soul to speedy surf-pop, from sparser piano balladry to psychedelic showstopper and a grand finale that’s part Nilsson and part Broadway showtune.

Sunday

Neil Hannon

The Main Stage headliner the Divine Comedy with the superb songs of Neil Hannon a welcome return from hyper-literate songsmith. With a new album “Foreverland” out now is another iteration collection of The Divine Comedy’s virtues – sumptuous, orchestral pop laced with lyrical acerbity. The new album highlight is the brilliantly song titled and perfectly judged Sinatra pastiche “I joined The Foreign Legion (To Forget)”.without a doubt they are the suitably ideal band to close the festival .

With the shimmering sounds of guitar-synths indie pop band Teleman ‘Brilliant Sanity’ was definitely one of the top albums of the year last year, the bands minimal sound has grown into something solid and substantial with constant touring and last years sold out tour. Teleman are currently working on their third album and therefore just playing just a few select festivals this summer.

Earlier in the day plus singer songwriter Hannah Lou Clark. Its a shame that the Dock Stage has no music whatsoever on the Sunday I would love to see another 4 bands present their talents to make the day and weekend complete . In the Lodge Stage I love the sound of the Sunderland based songwriter  Martin Longstaff  under the name The Lake Poets and then later the rockier psychedelic sound of Flaming Gods, Juanita Stern could be a hidden gem if you recall the band Howling Bells who made a great record on the Bella Union label then seemed to disappear she returns with her debut solo album ‘America’ to be released late july.

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So lots to see and so many things to do especially for the kids, my only criticism is I would like to see even more music each stage could do with one more band, to make this more than the perfect festival especially when there are bands like Lewis Capaldi, George Taylor ,Estrons, Girl Ray, Gurr, Dream Wife, Blaenavon, Pumarosa, The Wharves, Palace ,Our Girl (Sophie From The Big Moon’s other band), Mammut, Japanese House, Shame , Keir, Flyte , Stevie Parker, Lemon Twigs and Lucy Rose all crisscrossing the country this weekend , The Big Moon are playing three festivals just that day as are Cabbage plus I would love to see a few more USA artists passing through.

Spoken Word & Literary line-up

Owen Jones, Tim Dowling, Stuart Heritage, Amy Liptrot, Woody Woodmansey, Ken Scott, Vanessa Kisuule, Rob Cowen, Anthony Clavane, Kate Pankhurst, Dominic Berry, Rowan McCabe, Kate Fox, Paul Cookson, Lorna Mallet, Jenna Drury, Hoglets, Say Owt Slam Poetry, Shed Talks, Pip Theatre, Mud Pie Arts and A Thoughtful Place To Be.

The highlight to look out for here is Woody Woodmansey and Ken Scott From The Beatles to Bowie, Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust. Ken Scott best known as Beatles engineer and producer of no less than five classic David Bowie albums. Woody Woodmansey, meanwhile, is the Yorkshireman drummer from humble Driffield who boarded Bowie’s spaceship and became A Spider From Mars.

This unique event reunites them both. Ken will be talking about his new book Abbey Road to Ziggy Stardust and Woody will wow Deer Shedders with tales from and not from his recent autobiography, before a joint audience Q&A. If you ever wanted to know what it was like to be in the studio with Beatles or share a bus with Ziggy Stardust, this is a very special chance to find out.

Comedy line-up .

John Shuttleworth, Hal Cruttenden, Justin Moorhouse, Ivo Graham, Josh Howie, Bec Hill, Tom Parry, Sarah Bennetto, Scummy Mummies, Nick Doody, Edd Hedges, Patrick Monahan, Dan Nightingale and Hannah Silvester.

Four-piece indie group ready to be 2017’s breakout British export. The debut album, ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’. was released on April 7, 2017 via Fiction Records, and includes re-recorded versions of previous singles like ‘Sucker’, alongside recent ones ‘Cupid’ and ‘Silent Movie Susie’.

It was recorded over the summer with production by Catherine Marks and Big Moon ringleader Juliette Jackson, who says, “We spent twelve gorgeous summer days in the studio hanging out with the brilliant producer and super babe Catherine Marks, experimenting and noodling and shredding and hitting things until all the right noises happened at once. We’ve been playing these songs for two years now, and it’s a dream come true to finally immortalise them on record. It’s like having eleven tiny babies all at once, all with their own little faces and voices and personalities, and now we’re ready to throw them out of our nest and into your ears.”

check out their debut LP, Love In The 4th Dimension.

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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.

Marika Hackman the 25-year-old British singer/songwriter with a ’90s alt-rock kind of vibe. She has toured with Laura Marling and sang on alt-J’s last album. Her debut album, “We Slept at Last”, came out in the U.K. in 2015. But she recently signed to Sub Pop and is now releasing her second album “I’m Not Your Man” on the label on June 2nd. She has already shared a video for the album’s first single, “Boyfriend” Now here’s another song from the album, “My Lover Cindy.” .

Charlie Andrew (alt-J) produced and mixed I’m Not Your Man at various locales around London. The British band The Big Moon  (Hackman’s friends) acted as Hackman’s backing band on the album. “They really captured the soul of what it all meant to me and brought a lot of fun and creativity,” said Hackman in a previous press release about working with The Big Moon. Hackman also had this to say about the album in the press release: “The record’s all about female relationships, romance and breakdowns, but there’s also a dim worldview going on. I’m Not Your Man can either mean, ‘I’m not your man, I’m your woman,’ or it can mean, ‘I’m not a part of this.'” The album will be released in Europe by AMF Records.

 

'Love In The 4th Dimension'

As we anticipate the upcoming album , The Big Moon seems to have been around a fairly long time the band must have played a huge amount of shows, They now have released fan favourite ‘Sucker’ as a big hunk of a single. The track has been around for quite a while now but the new release shows just how good it is.

Thicker and fuller than before the newly developed ‘Sucker’ is still the hit it was. Benefitting from the extra production sees the band hint at just how good their debut LP will be, due out on April 7th, might well be. Raspy vocals and big riffs with a snarling attitude would probably vehemently tell us that this is going to be the hit of 2017.

“We spent twelve gorgeous summer days in the studio,” says Jacklin, “experimenting and noodling and shredding and hitting things until all the right noises happened at once. We’ve been playing these songs for two years now, and it’s a dream come true to finally immortalise them on record. It’s like having eleven tiny babies all at once, all with their own little faces and voices and personalities, and now we’re ready to throw them out of our nest and into your ears.”

Already-heard jams “Sucker” and “The Road” have been spruced up for Love In The 4th Dimension, which will also feature big-hitting belters “Cupid” and “Silent Movie Susie”.

The band have also been recording for singer songwriter Marika Hackman on her new album.

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Marika Hackman’s forthcoming album “I’m Not Your Man” features a striking cover created by artist Tristan Pigott.

Hackman asked Pigott to paint a group portrait of everyone who was closely involved in making the album. “That was really important to me … everyone came together to make this,” she says. The singer-songwriter is pictured standing in a messy kitchen alongside Juliette Jackson, Soph Nathan, Celia Archer and Fern Ford from the band The Big Moon. Producer Charlie Andrews’ face appears on passport photos on a wooden dining table.

Pigott’s painting is filled with references to tracks from the record as well as recurring themes in his own work. Cucumbers often appear in his art and he is fascinated with images of dying and decaying plants. Sliced apples and cigarette butts refer to song titles and a portrait of Hackman’s friend Gina appears in the pages of a magazine – a reference to the track Gina’s World.

Tristan Pigott's oil painting for Marika Hackman's album, I'm Not Your Man

The layout of the portrait reflects the recording process: Archer and Fern played bass and drums in one room while Hackman and Nathan played guitar in another. “We had two rooms and a window in between so we could see each other,” explains Hackman.

There are also references to the cover of Hackman’s previous album We Slept At Last. A painting on the wall inspired by Tracey Emin’s famous artwork My Bed features the same mattress and colour scheme used on the album’s cover.

Alongside this, there are phallic symbols, smiley faces and images alluding to key themes on the album. Dirty dishes represent a rejection of domestic ideals and a detailed postcard on the floor juxtaposed with a simplistic view from a window represent how “we’d rather be looking at the world through a glamourised perspective [ie on social media] than acknowledging reality” – a theme prevalent in the track blahblahblah, says Hackman.

It’s a striking image and a highly detailed one. While most solo artists opt for an image of themselves on their album covers, Hackman’s artwork reflects the idea of an album as a collaborative process. Pigott’s surreal scene offers a window into both Hackman’s world and his and hidden references reward repeat viewing.

“There’s a lot of stuff in there which I think is really fun. It was fun to think of and when I’m looking at record sleeves, that’s what I want to look for and discover. It’s a much more exciting prospect than taking a picture of my face and putting it on the cover,” says Hackman.

Hackman met Pigott at a party and says she “fell in love” with his work. “It’s so incredibly detailed but not everything is quite right,” she says. “Sometimes eyes are slightly off or colours are quite flat … and it creates this really weird illustrative world that also has a sense of the hyperreal. I love that sense of playing with perspective.”

Pigott worked from lyrics and Hackman’s initial concept but also added several ideas of his own, creating the painting while the album was being recorded. “The reason I chose Tristan is because I love his work, so I have to be very respectful of that. I don’t want to stand there and say, ‘do it this way’,” says Hackman. Hackman discussed the initial concept with Pigott and had a look at early sketches but didn’t see the final painting until it was complete.

“He worked out what would be best visually, whereas I was just thinking about everything we’d need to get on [the cover]. We got the layout together and spoke about colour concepts and things like that, but he very much led that side of it and always very much got it right in my mind.”

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Hackman’s next single Boyfriend is out on 31st March. AMF Records, a division of Universal Music Operations Ltd

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“Save this holy mess,” announces Jules Jackson in the opening moments on ‘Hold This’ – throwing away the keys to the control booth, and fleeing an unspecified scene of total chaos never to be seen again. Luckily, she’s had second thoughts a verse later, and The Big Moon’s latest becomes an odd, squalling, musical entanglement instead, which wrestles with messy situations, and finds the answers by holding them together.

Echoing the themes of ‘Formidable’ (this new ‘un forms the b-side) ‘Hold This’ is a song that deals in darker and more complex lyrical themes ,Darkness, and mildly menacing instrumental interludes aside, though ‘Hold This’ remains a total banger of a song, too. Such a wonderful band who have worked so hard these last 12 months , Looking forward to the debut album due out very soon .

the debut album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’

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Julie Byrne – Not Even Happiness
For fans of the early work of Leonard Cohen, Vashti Bunyan, Joni Mitchell and Cat Power. American wanderer Julie Byrne’s second album Not Even Happiness comes 3 years after her debut. A more confident beast, Not Even Happiness adds atmospheric instrumentation and electronic flourishes to Byrne’s unusual guitar tunings and fingerpicked melodies, moving the songs from the front-porch into subtle anthemia. Julie Byrne has counted Buffalo, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Seattle, New Orleans and Northampton, Massachusetts as her transient homes in recent years. For now, she’s settled in New York City, moonlighting as a seasonal urban park ranger in Central Park. Whether witnessing the Pacific Northwest for the first time (Melting Grid), the morning sky in the mountains of Boulder (Natural Blue), or a journey fragrant with rose water; reading Frank O’Hara aloud from the passengers seat during a drive through the Utah desert into the rainforest of Washington State (The Sea As It Glides), Not Even Happiness is Julie’s beguilingly ode to the fringes of life. Her debut album was released back in January 2014 on Chicago based DIY label Orindal after initially being as two separate cassettes releases. Rooms With Walls and Windows went onto become a true modern-day word of mouth success story (it would have to be for an artist who shuns all forms of social media) and ended the year being voted number 7 in Mojo magazine’s best albums of the year, with the Huffington Post calling it “2014’s Great American Album”. A collection of hushed intimate front porch psych-folk songs, that unknowingly recalled the greats, but felt very much for our time. The album is the first release on a new record label Basin Rock, based in the Lancashire / Yorkshire border town of Todmorden.

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The Flaming Lips – Oczy Mlody

The Flaming Lips release their long-awaited new studio album, entitled Oczy Mlody, via Bella Union. Produced by the band and their long-time producer Dave Fridmann, the highly-anticipated LP is the follow-up to their globally acclaimed 2013 album, The Terror. On Oczy Mlody, The Lips return to form with an album no less experimental in nature, but perhaps more melodically song-oriented, recalling the best parts of their most critically applauded albums The Soft Bulletin and the gold-certified Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots.

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The Big Moon –  Formidable

Limited edition standard 7” vinyl with outer sleeve. Mostly, when bands talk about bringing something to their recorded output, they’re on about capturing the ferocity of their live performances. The claustrophobic sweat of the circuit stage, the immediacy of the moment. The Big Moon don’t have to worry about that. They’ve captured something even more magical. The best bands, see, are a gang. It’s them against the world. They’ve got their own personalities, their own sense of humour. Open up the door and they’ll drag you into their world. It’s that which runs through the core of Formidable. Even when not going for the sugar spun funhouse of Silent Movie Susie or Cupid, there’s still that nudge, wink and held hand into their magical kingdom. Switching between swooning verse and firmly planted chorus, there’s a steely defiance to Formidable, The Big Moon’s latest offering. Like the last piece of a jigsaw puzzle, it’s the sound of something clicking. What was potential before is realised now. Supermoons be damned, this is one lunar cycle that’s going interstellar.

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Brian Jonestown Massacre –  Groove Is In The Heart

Limited Green Vinyl 10″. Groove Is In The Heart is the first of 3 singles from the forthcoming album Don’t Get Lost released in February 2017. Both tracks (Groove Is In The Heart and Throbbing Gristle) feature vocals by Tess Parks, these tracks give an idea of the changing rhythms of The Brian Jonestown Massacre for the new album. Heavy hypnotic beating drums, with smoky vocals provided by Tess Parks.

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R.E.M  – Radio Free Europe: Live From The Capitol Theatre, Passaic, Nj. June 9Th 1984

Live album from 1984 when they were just starting to really grow in stature. Tracks include Pale Blue Eyes, Radio Free Europe and another 11 tracks.

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R.E.M – Pretty Persuasion: FM Broadcast live in Orlando, Florida, April 30th, 1989

Another great radio show recording from 1989 – and they are on top form, playing Orange Crush, Crazy, Gravity and another 10 tracks.

One of the best bands of the year have given us hope for the next with the announcement of their debut album “Love in the 4th Dimension” which is due out 7th April 2017 via Fiction Records. The record will feature stand out tracks “Cupid”‘Sucker’ and ‘The Road’ as well as the below single ‘Formidable’.

Speaking of the album, Juliette Jackson said: “We spent twelve gorgeous summer days in the studio hanging out with the brilliant producer and super babe Catherine Marks, experimenting and noodling and shredding and hitting things until all the right noises happened at once.

“We’ve been playing these songs for two years now, and it’s a dream come true to finally immortalise them on record. It’s like having eleven tiny babies all at once, all with their own little faces and voices and personalities, and now we’re ready to throw them out of our nest and into your ears.”

‘Formidable’ has been a crowd favourite for a while so it feels like a real ‘moment’ for the band as the debut album comes ever closer.

Pre-order the debut album ‘Love In The 4th Dimension’ on signed CD & Vinyl out 7th April via Fiction Records