Northern Ireland’s Girls Names return this autumn with their third full-length album, Arms Around a Vision, due for an October 2nd release via long-term home, Tough Love Records.
“We look to Europe for inspiration. For romance. For the idea of a better life,” says the band’s frontman, Cathal Cully, when discussing the album. “For me, living in Belfast just makes you focus on your own art.”
True, Girls Names formed in Belfast, but they’ve long considered themselves a European band. The distinction is important – their vision of Europe is one of weird, labyrinthian histories, blackest-ever-black coffee, and long drives to dismal places. Romantic notions for those of a certain disposition, but behind the thousand-yard stares they’ve always been a soft-hearted lot. As the title of Arms Around a Vision would suggest, they’re all set to let love in.
The band initially came together as a relatively lean two-piece back in the summer of 2010, but over the course of a handful of EPs and three very different albums, they’ve grown in number and ambition. Their last album, The New Life, was an unexpected underground hit in early 2013, taking the band around the world and garnering much critical praise, culminating in nominations for both the Northern Irish and Irish Music Prizes. Emboldened by the reception to that record, in March they returned with an 11-minute single that was played in full on Radio 1 and, typically, does not feature on their new album. Girls Names like to do things a little differently.
On Arms Around a Vision, they’re more widescreen than ever but also more direct and aggressive. The bass, drums and guitars are still there, but so are saxophones, organs, detuned broken guitars and pianos, and even sheets of metal assaulted with hammers. Conceptually, Arms Around a Vision acts as a love letter to European elegance – Italian futurism, Russian constructivism, Germany’s Zero Group and both Neubaten and Bowie’s Berlin.
Love and pain, romance and fucking. It’s all in there somewhere. Grand claims, perhaps, but in an ever bleak world, why not skygaze? The album opens with ‘Reticence’, a song in two parts that’s half metallic knockout, half midnight swagger. It sounds unlike anything they’ve ever done before, and is a perfect primer for an album that treads a course between Eno-era Roxy sleaze, Birthday Party dissonance and M.E.S’ three R’s: repetition, repetition, repetition.
As confident as it sounds, hardship has equally played a role in shaping Arms Around a Vision. “I'm not starving or anything, but I've practically been living hand to mouth since I was 22,” confirms Cully. “Most guitar music now is just a playground for the rich middle classes and it's really boring and elitist. We're elitist in our own way, in that we're on our own and you can't fuck with us when we’ve nothing to lose”. The near-6 minute ‘A Hunger Artist’ tackles that subject full on, addressing that age old adage of suffering for one’s art.
While the songs aren’t narrative-driven as such – the band still generally favour abstraction and ambiguity – there is a consistent underlying message: “We've got nothing. We’ve never had anything. And we don't expect to. The only person I ever wanted to impress was myself. I've never got anywhere close to succeeding in doing that until this album. I'm proud of it. I think I can start saying I'm a musician now.”
Tracklisting: 1. Reticence 2. An Artificial Spring 3. Desire Oscillations 4. (Obsession) 5. Chrome Rose 6. A Hunger Artist 7. Málaga 8. Dysmorphia 9. (Convalescence) 10. Exploit Me 11. Take Out the Hand 12. I Was You
Click the drop-down menu above to see bargain priced CD and LP + limited edition screenprinted T-shirt bundles. Due to rising international pressure, Joanna Gruesome’s new album Peanut Butter will finally enter the world via Fortuna POP! (UK/Japan), Slumberland (US) and Turnstile (RoW). Rival groups will be disappointed to learn that the record is a further experiment in combining hyper-melodic pop music with sonic violence. Officials have confirmed that the album contains a record number of hooks, traces of nut and elements of jangle pop, British hardcore punk, atonal music, screaming and drone organs. Yet they have issued warnings of "a marriage of radical politics with peanut butter spread". One authorised statement reads: “Weighing in at a concise 25 minutes, the album hurtles through its ten songs, each one a succinct, powerful gem.”
Like their debut, the new album was recorded by MJ from Hookworms, with the aim of heightening the group's "pop" and "aggressive" elements to excessive and hitherto unrecorded levels.
As songwriter Owen Williams explains: “We tried to make it shorter, more economical and attempted to pack as many hooks and screams in as quickly possible in order to avoid short changing the consumer or wasting her/his/their time. Lyrically it’s more obtuse and surreal but also attempts to mock trad masculine rock themes whenever things do get more lucid. But sometimes musically we embrace them by doing embarrassing guitar solos. I'm not sure how much else I'm at liberty to say but one thing I will disclose is that the record is a response to threats posed by rival groups."
The record has also seen the group explore new and potentially dangerous lyrical territory. Opener Last Year is reportedly about experiencing personal tragedy and the occult in a waterpark and a pizza restaurant. Yet Jamie (Luvver) is a straightforward pop song about having a crush on someone named Jamie, queer literature and Welsh public transport. These tracks are followed by the incredibly catchy Honestly Do Yr Worst, a song about espionage, rival groups and the radical possibilities of peanut butter spread.
Things become surreal on There Is No Function Stacy, a song about “someone called Stacy who wrongly believes a party is happening that she’s been invited to. The narrator has to painfully explain to her that there was never a party and she fabricated it all”, while on Crayon Williams addresses his approach to lyrics directly. “Sometimes you can undermine hetero macho rock shit through nonsense words, obtuse statements, action, melody, sound or aesthetic rather than through traditional lyrics.”
Speaking confidentially, one official confirms that “The sixth track, I Don't Wanna Relax, is yet another hook-filled potential single. This is swiftly followed by Jerome (Liar), a fan favourite based on a subversive folk tale.” On Separate Bedrooms, the group cover a song by Bristol DIY act Black Terror (now performing as “CUP WINNERS' CUP”), a group known for their attention to melody. The penultimate track is the “crushing, sparkling” Psykick Espionage, a song about telepathy and the occult in rock’n’roll, and “the first time I ate an avocado”.
The record is brought to a close by Hey! I Wanna Be Your Best Friend, a heartwarming number about radical friendship and Thin Lizzy appreciation. Under media interrogation, guitarist George Nicholls confesses to the themes of the record: “It’s about radical politics, fancying people and espionage. The first record was more about violence and revenge fantasy, whereas this one is more about peanut butter."
Comprised of Alanna McArdle (vocals), Owen Williams (guitar), Max Warren (bass), George Nicholls (guitar & organ) and David Sandford (drums), the band members originally met on a wine tasting holiday. Their debut album Weird Sister took the world by storm when it was released in September 2013, and went on to win the 2014 Welsh Music Prize. Overwhelming press support saw glowing, hysterical reviews across the board with particular interest from media outlets 'Pitchfork' and 'the NME'.
On the radio their singles have scored a remarkable four out of four on the 'BBC 6 Music playlist' and the band have played sessions for both 'Lauren Laverne' on '6 Music' and for 'Huw Stephens' on 'BBC Radio One'. Since the release of Weird Sister the band have been constantly hounded, surfacing from hiding only to release split singles with Bristol’s Trust Fund and New York’s Perfect Pussy, as well as touring with Los Campesinos!, Speedy Ortiz and Stephen Malkmus.
1. Last Year 2. Jamie (Luvver) 3. Honestly Do Yr Worst 4. There Is No Function Stacy 5. Crayon 6. I Don't Wanna Relax 7. Jerome (Liar) 8. Separate Bedrooms 9. Psykick Espionage 10. Hey! I Wanna Be Yr Best Friend
Order now and get a FREE DOWNLOAD of the song "You Will Be Loved [Curt Smith & The Reverend Charlton Pettus Remix]”
Following the release of her fourth critically acclaimed studio album “Tigermending”, British singer/songwriter Carina Round returns from a brief spell of touring and recording with her other musical endeavours Puscifer and Early Winters with a full-length remix album of its predecessor, the aptly titled “Tigermixes”.
Collaborating with a host of talent from both her native England and resident US, “Tigermixes” is an exaggerated, re-imagination of Round’s skillfully crafted works, quite unlike any of her releases to date. Boasting the remix and production efforts of an eclectic cut of standout acts including: Puscifer (Maynard James Keenan and Mat Mitchell), Curt Smith (Tears For Fears), Phil Mossman (LCD Soundsystem) and personally selected underground and breakthrough talents, including members of Carina's musical family who worked closely on the making and touring of Tigermending, features re-workings of all eleven tracks from the original album, together with the physical release debut of the fan favourite bonus track “Got to Go” [2000 Years BC Remix] Feat. Billy Corgan (The Smashing Pumpkins).
Tracklisting: 1. Pick Up The Phone [The Swan Sisters Remix] 2. The Last Time [Sonoio Remix] 3. Girl and the Ghost [Puscifer Remix] 4. You and Me [The Beta Machine Remix] 5. Set Fire [Mang-Kon Remix] 6. You Will Be Loved [Curt Smith & The Reverend Charlton Pettus Remix] 7. Marcel Marcel / The Arrangement [Gary Go vs. Thorne Remix] 8. Weird Dream [Avan Lava Remix] 9. Mother’s Pride [Hillstromania Remix] 10. The Secret of Drowning [Phil Mossman Remix] 11. Simplicity Hurts [Glitterous Remix] 12. Go to Go [2000 Years BC Remix] Feat. Billy Corgan.
Born in Berlin in early 2014 and nurtured over the following summer, ‘I Declare Nothing’ is the spine-tingling collaboration between Tess Parks and Anton Newcombe (Brian Jonestown Massacre), due for release on Anton’s A Recordings label on 29th June.
The duo, who co-wrote and co-played on the album, they are touring across Europe this year.
Tess Parks - A native of Toronto, Tess Parks moved to London, England at the age of seventeen where she briefly studied photography before deciding to focus on music. Tess made an impression on industry legend Alan McGee, founder of Creation Records, albeit the timing of their meeting could hardly have been less ideal; McGee was no longer involved in music and Tess was due to move back to Toronto. After moving back to her hometown in 2012, Tess formed a band on the advice of McGee and less than a year after their meeting, he returned to music with his new label, 359 Music.
Tess became one of his first signings and released her debut record ‘Blood Hot’ in November 2013 to excellent reviews. One reviewer described her as “Patti Smith on Quaaludes”. Others have mentioned her "gauzy psychedelic sound” and "smouldering voice”. Alan McGee himself said: “She’s only 24 and is already an amazing songwriter... she just doesn’t quite know she is yet … her most beautiful quality is her lack of ego. Tess is an amazing lady”.
Anton Newcombe - Anton Newcombe is the leader of the Brian Jonestown Massacre, who returned last May with their 14th full-length album ‘Revelation’ to critical acclaim. It is the first album that was fully recorded and produced at Anton Newcombe’s recording studio in Berlin and was released on his record label A Recordings. It was supported by a successful European tour.
Named in tribute to the legendary Rolling Stones guitarist and his influence in introducing Eastern culture and music into the world of Western rock & roll, Brian Jonestown Massacre formed in San Francisco, California in 1990.
Two dozen band members later and numerous “ups and downs” (some have been famously sensationalized in the media), the one thing that has always remained consistent for this psychedelic collective, is front man Mr. Anton Alfred Newcombe.
LP Tracklisting Side A: 1. Wehmut 2. Cocaine Cat 3. Peace Defrost 4. German Tangerine 5. Gone
Side B: 6. October 2nd 7. Mama 8. Voyage de L’âme 9. Melorist 10. Friendlies
CD: 1. Wehmut 2. Cocaine Cat 3. Peace Defrost 4. German Tangerine 5. Gone 6. October 2nd 7. Mama 8. Voyage de L’âme 9. Meliorist 10. Friendlies
Nottingham duo the Sleaford Mods are due to release their third ‘proper’ album on July 24th via abstract-punk label Harbinger Sound on vinyl, CD and download.
The album will be housed in a gatefold sleeve designed by Steve Lippert and was mastered by Matt Colton at Alchemy. Everything else was done by Sleaford Mods.
“Key Markets” was a large supermarket bang in the centre of Grantham from the early 1970's up until around 1980,” explains Jason Williamson. “My mum would take me there and I'd always have a large coke in a plastic orange cup surrounded by varnished wood trimmings and big lamp shades with flowers on them. Beige bricks with bright yellow points of sale and large black foam letters surrounded you and this is why we called the album 'Key Markets'. It's the continuation of the day to day and how we see it, the un-incredible landscape.”
“The album was recorded in various periods between summer 2014 through to October of that year. We worked fast as we normally do, the method was the same as the other albums and like the other two, the sound has naturally moved itself along. 'Key Markets' is in places quite abstract but it still deals heavily with the disorientation of modern existence. It still touches on character assassination, the delusion of grandeur and the pointlessness of government politics. It's a classic. Fuck em.”
Sleaford Mods are: Jason Williamson – words Andrew Fearn – music
Tracklisting: 1. Live Tonight 2. No One's Bothered 3. Bronx in a Six 4. Silly Me 5. Cunt Make It Up 6. Face To Faces 7. Arabia 8. In Quiet Streets 9. Tarantula Deadly Cargo 10. Rupert Trousers 11. Giddy on the Ciggies 12. The Blob