Jonathan Wilson winter tour

With his epic new album Fanfare due for release mid-October Jonathan Wilson has just announced news of a 7-date UK tour in late November / early December including a performance at Islington Assembly Hall in London.

Wednesday 27 November – LEEDS – Brudenell Social Club
Thursday 28 November – MANCHESTER – Gorilla
Friday 29 November – LIVERPOOL – Kazimier
Saturday 30 November – BRISTOL – Thekla
Monday 2 December – NORWICH – Arts Centre
Tuesday 3 December – BRIGHTON – Studio Theatre (Brighton Dome)
Wednesday 4 December – LONDON – Islington Assembly Hall

Fanfare will be released 14th October on Bella Union in the UK/Europe and Downtown in the US (on 15th October).

Watch: Sun Song by Laura Veirs

Next week Laura Veirs will release her new album Warp & Weft  into the World. Beautiful, lush and at times deeply dark, ‘Warp and Weft’ captures the intensity of love and motherhood. We have a suitably hazy new video for ‘Sun Song’ – the albums opening track – to share with you…

Laura Veirs will embark on a UK tour in November, catch her at one of the following dates…

Sunday 10 November – NORWICH, Norwich Arts Centre
Monday 11 November – BRIGHTON, Komedia
Thursday 14 November – YORK, Fibbers
Friday 15 November – MANCHESTER, Academy 3
Saturday 16 November – GLASGOW, ABC2
Sunday 17 November – NEWCASTLE, Cluny
Tuesday 19 November – NOTTINGHAM, Rescue Rooms
Wednesday 20 November – BRISTOL, Thekla
Thursday 21 November – LONDON, Islington Assembly Hall

Midlake return with fourth album “Antiphon”

An antiphon is a call-and-response style of singing, from Gregorian chants to sea shanties. In the case of Denton, Texas’ favourite sons Midlake, it’s the perfect title for a bold response to a new phase in the band’s illustrious career, with a re-jigged line-up and a newly honed sound as rich and symphonic as it is dynamic and kaleidoscopic.

Anyone who knows Midlake’s preceding albums will recognise some constituent parts of Antiphon: the quirky psychedelia of 2004 debut Bamnan and Slivercork, the ‘70s soft-rock strains of breakthrough album The Trials Of Van Occupanther and the Brit-folk infusion of 2010’s The Courage Of Others. But their fourth album is another fascinating departure, but also a logical progression. The sound is simultaneously familiar and changed.

Visit Midlake’s website and sign up to the mailing list to download the track.

“It’s always through the scope of Midlake,” says vocalist / guitarist Eric Pulido, “but on Antiphon we wanted to embrace the psychedelia, style and nuance you might hear in bands from yesteryear while also being aware of music influences present now. The result was less folk and more rock. Less nostalgic and more progressive. Now the sky’s the limit.”

This growth is down to the ambition and ability of Pulido (vocals, guitars, keyboards) Paul Alexander (bass, keyboards, bassoon, guitars, backing vocals), McKenzie Smith (drums, percussion) and Eric Nichelson (guitars, autoharp), plus Jesse Chandler (keyboards, piano, flute, backing vocals) and Joey McClellan (guitars, backing vocals) from Midlake’s last live incarnation. But it’s also down to the absence of Midlake’s former singer Tim Smith, who left the band in November 2012.

As Pulido explains, Midlake had finished touring in support of The Courage Of Others in November 2010. “We immediately returned to the studio, as we always did. With hindsight, that wasn’t a good thing to do.” The Courage Of Others had taken the best part of two years to make, and they found themselves struggling to achieve their aim.  Midlake tried recording at the farm in Buffalo,Texas where they’d had success with The Courage Of Others, “but we knew something was missing,” Pulido recalls. The band took a break to play a few concerts, “to try out new songs and keep ourselves out there. One show was Bella Union’s 15th anniversary at the End of the Road Festival, which we didn’t realise would be our last with Tim.”

After some time back in Denton, Smith announced his departure. In the fall-out over the spoils of what had been recorded, the remaining members  decided to start afresh, and wrote and recorded Antiphon in six harmonious months – bar ‘Vale’, which had been demoed without Smith during one of the sessions. With its ravishing, rippling textures symptomatic of Antiphon’s scale, ‘Vale’ showed how far they’d already come. The remaining nine tracks – the album is free-flowing in feel, concise in structure – confirm it’s very much Midlake, but uncannily rebooted, and relaxed.

The band had already validated their sublime instrumental mettle by backing John Grant on his award-winning 2010 solo debut Queen Of Denmark; now they had to step into new roles, collaborate on songwriting and have Pulido take over as frontman. He admits it wasn’t the easiest transition for any of the band but the experience was enormously freeing: “Antiphon is the most honest representation of the band as a whole, as opposed to one person’s vision that we were trying to facilitate.”

For example, ‘The Old And The Young’, a lighter, swinging version of the ‘new’ Midlake, has elements of “bouyancy” that Pulido says were long suppressed. “The chorus is catchy and has a lift, like we were releasing the dove! I love many genres of music – from Abba to Zappa, and I wanted to write in a way that wasn’t putting parameters around what it is we were creating. It was a more honest representation of who we really are.”

Antiphon will be released 4th November on Bella Union.

Ballet School unveil video to new single “Heartbeat Overdrive”

With new single Heartbeat Overdrive shaping up to be one of the tracks of the summer, Ballet School today unveil the video for this irresistible tune.

This video was made in London by Cathal O’Brien, underground artist and filmmaker, and best friend of vocalist Rosie Blair who met while attending St Martin’s together. He has previously worked with Ballet School on the visual for ‘All Things Return At Night’ which was self-released in June 2012. Cathal’s aesthetic is influenced by the likes of Kenneth Anger, Robert Mapplethorpe, Jean Genet and Susan Seidelman. He re-films and integrates textures in digital film with analogue effects.


Catch them live on August 23rd at The Shacklewell Arms.