Four years after the unexpected and exquisite treat that was Philip Selway’s debut album Familial, the man formerly known only as the drummer of Radiohead returns with his sophomore record, Weatherhouse. At ten tracks and 38 minutes, the album is as concise in shape as it is expansive in mood and assured in execution, mining a generally darker, fuller sound than its gentler, more acoustic-based predecessor and reflecting the band-centred nature of its construction and its creator’s growth in confidence.
Weatherhouse was made in collaboration with Adem Ilhan and Quinta; artists in their own right who had previously performed in Philip’s backing band. “From the outset,” Selway recalls, “we wanted the album to be the three of us, and we covered a lot of instruments between us. With a studio full of inspiring gear and a great-sounding desk, we felt like a band. Different musicians stretch you, and I felt stretched on Weatherhouse, but very enjoyably so.” Working mostly out of Radiohead’s studio in Oxfordshire, Adem also produced and engineered Weatherhouse, while Quinta played an equally integral role in the arrangements. The album was mixed by David Wrench.
Album opener ‘Coming Up For Air’ sets the scene with its brooding, spectral mood, mantra-like pattern and Selway’s simmering, reverb-drenched vocal exploring the album’s dominant theme. “It’s very much about taking stock of my life. I wanted to convey a sense of release and affirmation,” he says. “This was the first song that we recorded. Immediately it felt in a very different space from Familial.”
The album’s talismanic qualities explore a world of hope and plans, connection and disconnection – between family, friends and self – and dreams and fears: “I love records that you can almost live in, where the songs become talismans that you take to heart. That’s what I was trying to create in Weatherhouse.” With its emotional frankness, haunting melodies and gripping tension, Selway has made a great artistic leap and created something that even the most experienced singer-songwriters would be proud of.
This weekend, Philip, Adem and Quinta begin a run of shows with Rambert Dance Company at their Southbank home. They perform a specially commissioned score for a series of Merce Cunningham ‘Events’, set against the backdrop of Gerhard Richter’s “Cage” paintings. Info here.
Weatherhouse will be released 6th October on Bella Union.
Bella Union are thrilled to announce the late summer release of The Dew Lasts An Hour, the brilliant, long-awaited debut album from Berlin-based multi-nationals BALLET SCHOOL. From ambient intro ‘Slowdream’ to the slow R&B jam of new single ‘Lux’, from the swooning dream-pop of ‘Pale Saint’ and ‘Heliconia’ to the ecstatic hooks of ‘Heartbeat Overdrive’ and ‘Ghost’, the album is a fresh, vibrant take on the lush, emoting tropes of Eighties pop and rock, but sounds resolutely 21st century, its diverse influences placing the trio at the forefront of pop’s new alternative.
Listen to new track ‘Cherish’ below…
“We’re not a synth band, we’re a guitar band, but one that’s trying to push the boundaries of the traditional set up,” declares Rosie Blair, whose beautiful, octave-stretching vocals spearhead Michel Jun Collet’s luminous guitar figures and Louis McGuire’s inventive drums. “We write pop songs. I never thought pop music was a lower form of art. We actively try to play with the model of mainstream pop against what indie is supposed to be and find our own new form. And though I love laptop pop, it’s vital that people witness our energy, that punk lust, when we play live.”
Ballet School began in early 2011 when Blair spotted Collet in Berlin’s U-Bahn underground, “playing amazingly delicate, arcane, beautiful guitar. We bonded over Cocteau Twins and immediately knew we had to be in a band together.” When the pair subsequently met McGuire in one of Kreuzberg’s artist-run spaces, witnessing the talented young drummer playing an electronic kit and simultaneously triggering bass lines, the trinity was complete.
Last year’s Boys Again EP included the pop-euphoric pair ‘Heartbeat Overdrive’ and ‘Ghost’, which appear on the album in re-recorded versions, likewise the dynamic ‘Yaoi’ with it’s early-Eighties Cure/Banshees guitar chime, alongside an alternative take on ‘Crush’ and seven brand new tracks. The album title may refer to the transience and fragility of youth, but Ballet School’s sublime debut is going to live on for a very long time.
The Dew Lasts An Hour will be released 8th September on Bella Union in UK and US.
See the flyer below for dates.
Bella Union are thrilled to introduce ELECTRIC WÜRMS, the new side-project Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd, whose debut abum Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk will be released 18th August.
It all began in the 70s when someone invented the right kind of acid that could make you fly! It seemed that everything was, at last, possible. And the overly optimistic freaks of the day began flying into outer space. They flew in spaceships that were, at first, made of futuristic super metal but before too long they didn’t even NEED ships. They BECAME the ships and they called themselves Electric Würms. I think because they became just bolts of electrified electricity that could penetrate wormholes in the far reaches of the unknown heaven.
And before they died they sent back to earth beings a sonic bible of discoveries and failures. It was, until now, a strange unsolvable mystery of frequencies and rhythms. Two groups of determined musicians and weirdo thinkers set forth to decipher its message. Two members of The Flaming Lips (Steven and Wayne) and four members of Linear Downfall (Charlee, Chance, Doom and Will) were the chosen ones.
What you have is the first of what could be endless communicated sound stories. It is titled Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk, which predicted this modern day dance move by almost forty years ago. Some of it is indeed hard to twerk to but some of it, if I could do it, is not. There is a particular track called Transform!!! that closely resembles a drug fuelled boogie freak rock track by Miles Davis. Another verse Heart Of The Sunrise sounds vaguely like a song by the prog folk group Yes. Of course Yes also turned themselves into space ships so it’s no wonder these songs share a similar vibe.
The ensemble leans toward a hypnotic mood for most of the space bible readings. It is a scary truth that we are hearing and then forced to ponder. The pulsating poem Living states… “live as if you were living already for the second time. And that you had acted wrong the first time”. So they call themselves Electric Würms after the greatest of the super freaks. But they are not a super-group. They are like Sherpas climbing with you. To help you. To love you. All the secrets that they know they tell you. That’s what love is.
Electric Würms will be visiting the UK late summer to perform at the End Of The Road festival followed by a headline show at the Village Underground. Dates/info below:
Sunday 31 August – DORSET – End Of The Road festival
Monday 1 September – LONDON – Village Underground
Musik, Die Schwer Zu Twerk will be released 18th August on Bella Union in the UK/Europe (19th August on Warner Bros in the US).
Living legends on Baltimore’s thriving music scene, Celebration return with Albumin, a seismic slice of psychedelic rock’n'soul, which will be released 18th August on Bella Union.
The first single to be released from the abum is ‘Tomorrow’s Here Today’, the extraordiary video of which features a troop of interpretive dancers doused in black powder and paint resembling arty alien ninjas. Directed by Matt Riggieri at Digital Cave Media and currently premiering on Stereogum the video can be viewed here:
“It’s been a long journey,” recalls Ford, who with multi-instrumentalist (and husband) Sean Antanaitis and drummer David Bergander, formed Celebration in 2004. “We’ve all experienced a lot of life, toured a whole lot, had our ups and downs, and the music reflects that. It goes deeper now.”
Clearly something in Baltimore’s water supply has a slowly seeping effect. Following the recent breakthrough by another local favourite, Future Islands, it’s now Celebration’s turn to carry the torch for bands that only improve with age. This is partly down to the permanent addition of former collaborators Tony Drummond (keyboards, percussion, backing vocals) and Walker Teret (bass, guitar), whose creative input has had a galvanising impact on Albumin’s sweltering grooves. It’s a record that revels in tradition, such as the Sixties girl-group swing of ‘Blood Is The Brine’ and the southern rock base of ‘I Got Sol’, while the album’s spread of fabulously funky-chunky organ is a hallmark of vintage psychedelia, but the music’s art-punk ambition makes Celebration a distinctly 21st century entity.
Albumin will be released 18th August on Bella Union.