The revered British folk punk group The Men They Couldn’t Hang celebrate their 30th anniversary in 2014 with the release of a brand new album, ‘The Defiant’. Previewed with a sold out London show at Shepherds Bush Empire in April that won rave reviews in The Guardian and on The Arts Desk and an accompanying EP that saw significant specialist airplay on BBC Radio 2, 6 Music BBC Scotland and BBC Wales, the release of ‘The Defiant’ will be followed by a UK tour and a return visit to SBE.
The Men They Couldn't Hang formed in 1984. Championed by John Peel, their debut single 'Green Fields of France' was a huge hit on the UK Indie chart and was no. 3 in Peel’s Festive Fifty for 1984 (behind The Smiiths and Cocteau Twins). The song subsequently appeared on their first album, ‘Night of a Thousand Candles’ . The following year, they recorded ‘How Green Is The Valley’ with producer Mick Glossop, while by 1988 and their third album ‘Waiting for Bonaparte’, TMTCH had also achieved recognition in mainland Europe for their political comment and raucous live shows.
Touring in support of 1989’s ‘Silvertown’, the band played to a crowd of more than 250,000 in Estonia as communism started to crumble, prior to an unforgettable appearance at Reading Festival. At the height of their career, they recorded the acclaimed ‘Domino Club’  with producer Pat Collier, but then went on hiatus in 1991 following a ‘farewell tour’. Performing sporadically for the next few years, TMTCH reunited permanently in 1996 and released a new album, ‘Never Born To Follow’ and the ‘Six Pack EP’  that delighted their fans by displaying a fresh power and vitality to their music.
Two ‘Best Of’ collections, ‘Majestic Grill’ and ‘The Mud, The Blood And The Beer’ [both 1998] were eventually followed by the well received albums ‘The Cherry Red Jukebox’  and the Pat Collier produced ‘Devil On The Wind’ in 2009. TMTCH have spent the last few years touring regularly throughout Europe and playing at numerous festivals alongside the likes of The Levellers, Billy Bragg and Nick Lowe. They also headlined the 10th anniversary commemoration of Joe Strummer’s Acton Town Hall show in November 2012.
They kicked off their own 30th Anniversary celebrations with a sold out show at Shepherd’s Bush Empire in April 2014.
1. Raising Hell 2. Bonfires 3. Scavengers 4. Carrying the Flame 5. Turquoise Bracelet Bay 6. Silver Chains 7. Night Ferry 8. Tavarado 9. Atheni Dreams 10. Fail to Comply 11. Hardworking People 12. Twilight Road
Available for pre-order, released on the 24th of November.
“In times of complacency, what we really need is a band to rock up and tell everyone to fuck off.” NME.
“Stream-of-consciousness tirades that conjure up a world of sticky cafe table-tops, grinding hangovers, and the cold comfort of consumerism.” The Guardian
It’s been an utterly insane year for SLEAFORD MODS. Once dismissed around their native Nottingham as "two skip rats with a laptop", their last two albums, ‘Austerity Dogs’ in 2013 and this year’s ‘Divide And Exit’, both on Harbinger Sound, have achieved the kind of critical acclaim that less inspired bands could only dream of. Equally, their live gigs have become rapid-fire, explosive, cathartic performances, drawing in endless sold-out crowds of people blown away to finally witness something that matters and actually has something to say.
November 24th heralds the arrival of some highly-anticipated new music from front gob Jason Williamson and music master Andrew Fearn in the shape of the ‘TISWAS EP’. Released through Invada Records (the Bristol label responsible for BEAK>, DROKK and numerous soundtracks including Drive / OldBoy), the ‘Tiswas EP’ features four brand new studio tracks alongside ‘Tiswas’, lifted from the ‘Divide And Exit’ album.
It will be released on both yellow and orange Tiswas coloured vinyl (3000 units in total – 1500 of each variant), and digital download and sees Sleaford Mods pushing and developing their bile and style.
SIDE A: 1. Tiswas 2. Bunch Of Cunts
SIDE B: 3. The Demon 4. Mail Don’t Fail 5. 6 Horsemen (The Brixtons)
Available for Pre-order, release on the 17th of November.
First Lp by sombre australian chanteuse Elizabeth Downey and instrumentalist Dan Hawkins.
9 bruised vignettes that will take you to the scraped bottom of love. Soft, caressing and subtly disturbing, Frightening Lights’ songs move like menace through fog. Singer Elizabeth Downey says she first envisioned the songs as a kind of deathbed confession, their violence is carefully suppressed, modulated perhaps through long penitence. Shreds of instrumental sound – a funeral organ, an off-kilter accordion, discordant bowing on a borrowed danbo – flit in and out of the peripheries, creating eerie, flickery landscapes around Downey’s sleepy murmurs.
Downey formed Frightening Lights with her partner Dan Hawkins in 2007 after a sojourn in Russia, where she went to study fine arts and returned with a fascination for Russian and Polish folk music. Returning home to Melbourne, she found herself as drawn to Slavic influences – including the Russian poet Bulat Okudzhava and Polish singer Slawa Przybylska – as to rock artists like The Triffids, Rowland Howard and Marianne Faithfull. Back in Melbourne, Downey and Hawkins began recording at home on an enormous, two-inch reel-to-reel recording deck, working and reworking their spare material. Two of the duo’s songs appeared on Melbourne compilations- The Warm Cupboard from Albert’s Basement label in 2009 and the Swan V Raptor on Dan Lewis’ Special Awards Records in 2010.
The rest evolved gradually into the dream-like textures of this debut full-length. Downey sings and plays guitar on this debut, while Hawkins mans a rack of keyboard instruments – a Farfisa, a Hammond and an eerie Conn organ – as well as bass. There are no drums on the album, almost no sense of time at all, as melodies float like smoke over blasted territories. Downey’s lyrics trace elliptical connections between the novels she reads, the films she sees and the ordinary experiences of daily life.
The opening “Pere LaChaise” recalls a hazy interval in Paris, where Downey, sick with pneumonia, wandered nonetheless through the famous cemetery, deathly ill. “The Return of Genghis Khan” conflates her fascination with the Mongol warlord, a kitten that she once named after him and a romantic spat with her partner into a single, slow moving fever dream. Artist Earl Kuck calls the Frightening Lights "almost Bad Seeds-like with female vox,” and this self-titled debut has, indeed, some of the same eerie, subdued resonance as Cave’s recent We Know Who You Are.
If you like your menace soft, wrapped in lullaby sweetness and still profoundly unsettling, turn on the Frightening Lights.
Side A: 1. Père Lachaise 2. Small Town Stardust 3. All The Girls 4. Humankind
Side B: 1. The Return Of Genghis Khan 2. Strangers 3. Window 4. Looking Back 5. Pretty Things