Explosions In The Sky announce 20th anniversary Tour

To celebrate their 20th anniversary Explosions In The Sky have announced news of an extensive international tour… The band will be on the road in the US throughout September and October before heading to Europe in February next year and reaching the UK for five dates, including a performance at London’s Eventim Apollo…

Tuesday 11th February – Bexhill – De La Warr Pavillion

Wednesday 12th February – Glasgow – Royal Concert Hall

Thursday 13th February – Dublin – Vicar Street

Friday 14th February – Manchester – Albert Hall

Saturday 15th February – London – Eventim Apollo

To mark the occasion, the band will be releasing deluxe remastered and repackaged editions of two highly sought-after, long out-of-print pieces of their historic catalogue: their debut album, How Strange, Innocence (available on vinyl for the first time since 2004); and The Rescue (available on vinyl and on all digital platforms for the first time ever).

The members of Explosions In The Skyplayed their first show at the University of Texas’ student radio station in July 1999. A year later, they recorded their first album, How Strange, Innocence, over the course of two days.

In 2001 the band released their breakthrough second album, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Die, Those Who Tell The Truth Shall Live Forever, before signing to Bella Union in the UK and Europe for the release of their classic third LP, The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place, in2003. Subsequent acclaimed releases include All Of A Sudden I Miss Everyone, Take Care, Take Care, Take Care, and The Wilderness. The band have also recorded numerous soundtracks including Friday Night Lights, Prince Avalanche, Lone Survivor and Manglehorn.

Happy Release Day To The Flaming Lips

Today The Flaming Lips release King’s Mouth, their fifteenth studio album, via Bella Union in the UK/Europe and Warner Bros in the US. The album has been widely acclaimed as their finest collection of songs since The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. To coincide with the album’s release, a video for the track “How Many Times”is also released today. In typical Lips–ian fashion, the video is lysergically colorful and completely joyous in its simplicity. It was shot in the band’s hometown of Oklahoma City and directed by Wayne Coyne.

“The songs here are a total joy… More straightforwardly appealing than anything the Flaming Lips have come up with in years.” The Guardian – 4 Stars **** (Album of the Week)

“The Flaming Lips remain masters at creating an irresistible sense of sheer awestruck wonder that demands its own emotional reaction from the listener. Age has not withered their magical weirdness. Whatever far–flung universe they now inhabit, these inner–space explorers are clearly never coming home.” Uncut – 8/10

King’s Mouth is possibly The Flaming Lips most upliftingly utopian work since Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots, an album whose themes of heroism and sacrifice it echoes, and whose symphonic space–pop it revisits.” Q – 4 Stars ****

“A successful return to the melodic charm of Yoshimi… It hangs together beautifully, and richly rewards the listener who stops to hear it as a single, moving piece” Metro – 4 Stars ****

“Outstanding… King’s Mouth is as close as the Lips have got to reproducing the sci–fi fairytale feel of Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, as well as matching it for moments of sheer joy.” Record Collector – 4 Stars ****

“Heady instrumentals and psychedelic pop nuggets are intertwined with swelling strings and a story narrated by The Clash’s Mick Jones… The album climaxes with the elated closing ballad ‘How Can A Head’ with not a step misplaced on the journey to get there.” DIY – 4 Stars ****

“A gorgeous, ethereal concept opus evoking The Soft Bulletin and Yoshimi Battles The Pink Robots. There’s no one in this or any other universe quite like the Lips.” The Sun – 4 Stars ****

“A charming release… King’s Mouth demands your attention, the medieval fantasies of King Crimson colliding with the interstellar scope of David Bowie.” The i (Album of the Week)

“Based on the exploits of a child with the cosmos inside his head, it’s tuneful psychedelia is bolstered by shimmering synths and Beatles–like twists.” Daily Mail – 4 Stars ****

“Enthralling… Like their peak albums, King’s Mouth marries perky wide–eyed optimism with heft and gravitas… A laudable leap into something different and fresh.” PROG

“Sepia–tinted keyboards immediately transport us and a quaint magic unfolds, Lipsian splashy drums, mellotron chorales and flower–power melody all part of the spell.” MOJO

“Some of their loveliest tunes in years… King’s Mouth is a return to the thing they do best: gloriously weird psychedelic concept albums with plenty of heart.” Electronic Sound

“A record that shifts between tones, textures and rhythms, unfurling like a dream… King’s Mouth adds another unique and unpredictable chapter to The Flaming Lips’ legacy” Long Live Vinyl – 7/10

King’s Mouth is alive with all the psychedelic irreverence, scuzzy beats and melodious pop that’s become The Flaming Lips hallmark all these years.” Loud & Quiet

Spiritualized announce Hackney acoustic show

Having recently performed at All Points East, and soon to appear as one of the headline acts at the End Of The Road festival, Spiritualized have announced news of a special one–off acoustic performance at London’s Hackney Empire on September 14th as part of the Somewhere Festival. Tickets go on sale at 10am on Friday 19th July.

SOMEWHERE, which launched in Tokyo in April, with performances from Phoenix, JUSTICE, Carl Barât, Friendly Fires and Basement Jaxx, takes up residence at London’s Hackney Empire for a run of shows in September. SOMEWHERE brings unique performances at special venues around the world with distinctive staging and the backdrop of their trademark 1001 candles. Having already received great acclaim in Japan, this London event will be the first international appearance of SOMEWHERE, before touring classic Art Deco theatres in major cities around the world in Paris, New York, Berlin and Moscow.

Ezra Furman debuts two new tracks

With anticipation mounting around the release of his new album Twelve Nudes, available 30th August via Bella Union, Ezra Furman has shared two new tracks from the LP. Of new single “I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend” Furman says: “This is a romantic song of transgender longing. It’s another entry in my series of ‘I Wanna’ songs (in the tradition of the Ramones). I thought it was time we had an ‘Earth Angel’ for the queers. Of course because it’s an Ezra Furman tune, there’s a little bit of desperation, religion and body-talk.” The track comes with a brilliant video directed by Alix Spence, of which she says: “For me, I Wanna Be Your Girlfriend is a music video about externalising the internal. Listening to the song and speaking with Ezra, I saw our two dancers, Brandon Mathis and and Jobel Medina, as physical manifestations of internal suffering. I wanted to literally have us wrestle with ourselves and the complexities of our personal struggles. The video features amazing choreography from Sarah Prinz and costumes by Britton Litow.”

Of his new US single, “Evening Prayer”, Furman states: “Our rallying cry. We music fans go to shows for transcendence; it’s like being called to prayer. But as Abraham Heschel said, “Prayer is meaningless unless it is subversive, unless it seeks to overthrow and to ruin the pyramids of callousness, hatred, opportunism and falsehood.” I want all our fans to become activists. We punk fans have so much energy to give to the fight against injustice, i.e. the abuse of the poor by the rich, i.e. climate change. So this is one to get you in the mood.”

Twelve Nudes is our punk record,” says Ezra Furman. “We made it in Oakland, quickly. We drank and smoked. Then we made the loud parts louder. I hurt my voice screaming. This was back in 2018, when things were bad in the world. The songs are naked with nothing to hide.”

Immediate proof is offered by ‘Calm Down’ (aka ‘I Should Not Be Alone’), the album’s insanely catchy opening track and lead single, bound up in a compact two minutes and 22 seconds.

“Desperate times make for desperate songs” says Furman. “I wrote this in the summer of 2018, a terrible time. It’s the sound of me struggling to admit that I’m not okay with the current state of human civilization, in which bad men crush us into submission. Once you admit how bad it feels to live in a broken society, you can start to resist it, and imagine a better one.” 

Furman’s preceding album, 2018’s Transangelic Exodus, was “an angry and fearful and pent-up reaction to events too,” he recalls. “But it was a carefully written and recorded version; we took a lot of time with edits and overdubs. I knew I wanted I make this album quickly and not spend time thinking how to play the songs. Twelve Nudes is a ‘body’ more than a ‘mind’ record – more animal than intellectual, And by affirming negativity, it gives you energy, to reject stuff. There’s more space for positivity.”

Far from being defeated by a world in turmoil, Furman’s productivity has only increased the worse things have got – and he’s taken up different disciplines to boot. Between Transangelic Exodus and Twelve Nudes, the 33⅓ imprint published his deeply personal, thoughtful and incisive book on Lou Reed’s legendary 1972 album “Transformer”, before Furman scored the soundtrack to Netflix’s acclaimed comedy Sex Education (it aired in January), which showcased the tender side of his songwriting.

But all his pent-up energy had to be channelled somewhere: hence Twelve Nudes, which Furman and band recorded in October and November 2018 before the album was mixed by the venerated producer John Congleton (Sharon van Etten, St Vincent, John Grant). Furman says the album has two spiritual heroes – the late great punk rock rocker Jay Reatard, and Canadian poet, philosopher and essayist Anne Carson. “She’s one of my top three living writers,” he says. “Anne had these visions, or meditations, to deal with the intense pain in her life, which she calls ‘nudes’, and similarly these songs are meditations on pain and recognising what’s there if you go digging around in your anger and fear and anxiety. So, my album is called Twelve Nudes.”

“The record is political,” says Furman, “but it offers an emotional reaction rather than being specific or partisan.” Furman’s Jewish identity shapes ‘Rated R Crusaders,’ triggered by the Israel/Palestine conflict and its complex web of refugee trauma. ‘Trauma’, meanwhile, seethes with the spiritual malaise brought on by watching wealthy bullies accused of sexual assault rise to power. America, Furman well knows, is balanced on a knife-edge between white male supremacy and the dream of universal opportunity; hence the references to Mexico, slaveowners and US ‘founding father’ Ben Franklin in ‘In America’. As Furman sings, reiterating the spirit of punk rock, and positivity, “Put it all in a two-minute pop song / A really-mean-it-a-lot song for America.

“One of my goals in making music is to make the world seem bigger, and life seem larger,” he concludes. “I want to be a force that tries to revive the human spirit rather than crush it, to open possibilities rather than close them down. Sometimes a passionate negativity is the best way to do that.”

Happy Release Day Penelope Isles

Today at Bella Union we celebrate the debut album release from Brighton based band Penelope Isles. Until The Tide Creeps In is available now and you can catch this fantastic live band across Europe and America.

Praise for Penelope Isles’ Until The Tide Creeps In…

“Timeless and special… Unashamedly bight melodies that throw you into the sunlight and make the darker moments even more striking.” DIY

“A knockout album with instant charm… When Penelope Isles hit the spot they hit it with a dazzled burst of refracted light.” Metro

Until The Tide… is a generous, lively dream–pop offering. They soar like Spiritualized; they shimmer like Mazzy Star. On seven–minute epic ‘Gnarbone’ they go motorik, using found sound like Public Service Broadcasting.” London In Stereo

“Sweltering guitars scorch the earth [on ‘Chlorine’]… While summery synths and keys frolic in spaces left between the drum line and spiraling vocals, the riff phrases communicate nearly as much warmth and meaning as the lyrics do.” – Stereogum

“There is a grandeur to their songs, big and swelling, ebbs and flows…The whole band is seriously talented, and…seriously rock, too.” – Brooklyn Vegan

“Choppy guitar and thumping percussion combine to create a markedly DIY aesthetic throughout the video’s three minutes and five seconds of scrapbooked collage visuals. Said DIY aesthetic, both sonically as well as visually, operates as a self-aware style, one that brings an element of dirty garage rock to the haze of dream-pop flushes.” – Paste

“…a dreamy but biting piece of guitar pop…soaring, pastoral, highly intelligent songwriting.” – Clash Music

Formed around the chemistry between siblings and dual songwriters Jack and Lily Wolter, Until the Tide Creeps In is an album deepened by shared experience. Born in Devon and raised on the Isle of Man, the Wolters’ bonds were strengthened by separation when Jack moved away to study art at university at 19, when Lily was 13. As he puts it, wryly, “By the time I moved home Lily was not so much of an annoying younger sister anymore and had grown up and started playing in bands and writing songs. We soon became very close. I had written some songs, so we started a band called Your Gold Teeth. We toured a bit and then Lily left for Brighton to study songwriting. A couple of years later I moved down and we started Penelope Isles together.” For every sibling band forged in rivalry, many others mount an unassailable genetic argument for keeping the music in the family. The latter is assuredly the case with Penelope Isles, a quartet completed by Jack Sowton and Becky Redford.

Crisp and woozy, blissful and biting, Until the Tide Creeps In is an album deepened by shared experience: experiences of, in Jack’s words, “leaving home, moving away, dealing with transitions in life and growing up. We are six years apart, so we had a different experience of some of this, but we share a similar inspiration when writing music.”

Penelope Isles share ‘Cut Your Hair’

Today the Brighton based quartet Penelope Isles, led by brother and sister Jack and Lily Wolter, have released “Cut Your Hair” from their forthcoming debut album Until the Tide Creeps In, due out this Friday on Bella Union.

Flood premiered the song, saying: “…the five-minute slow-burner is its own unique brand of noisy pop, lurching along before opening up into a heavy, guitar driven downpour.” You can listen to the beautiful and spacious, slow burning jam below, and pre-order the album HERE. Additionally, the band is happy to reveal details for their first ever North American tour, taking place this fall. Full list of the band’s dates below. Tickets will be available for purchase HERE starting Friday.

Jack Wolter had this to say about the song: “One of my favourite songs to play live. The slow sludgy groove always feels like a refreshing moment in the set. I wrote it in our old garage on the Isle Of Man whilst in uncertainty of whether or not to move away to pursue a career in music or not. I had a small studio set up and it started with the drum groove and the rest happened really quickly. I guess it’s a fictional tale and concept of what could have been me if I didn’t have a go at doing ‘the band thing’. A don’t give up on your dreams kinda thing.

Early praise for Penelope Isles…

“Timeless and special… Unashamedly bight melodies that throw you into the sunlight and make the darker moments even more striking.” DIY

“A knockout album with instant charm… When Penelope Isles hit the spot they hit it with a dazzled burst of refracted light.” Metro

Until The Tide… is a generous, lively dream–pop offering. They soar like Spiritualized; they shimmer like Mazzy Star. On seven–minute epic ‘Gnarbone’ they go motorik, using found sound like Public Service Broadcasting.” London In Stereo

“Sweltering guitars scorch the earth [on ‘Chlorine’]… While summery synths and keys frolic in spaces left between the drum line and spiraling vocals, the riff phrases communicate nearly as much warmth and meaning as the lyrics do.” – Stereogum

“There is a grandeur to their songs, big and swelling, ebbs and flows…The whole band is seriously talented, and…seriously rock, too.” – Brooklyn Vegan

“Choppy guitar and thumping percussion combine to create a markedly DIY aesthetic throughout the video’s three minutes and five seconds of scrapbooked collage visuals. Said DIY aesthetic, both sonically as well as visually, operates as a self-aware style, one that brings an element of dirty garage rock to the haze of dream-pop flushes.” – Paste

“…a dreamy but biting piece of guitar pop…soaring, pastoral, highly intelligent songwriting.” – Clash Music

Formed around the chemistry between siblings and dual songwriters Jack and Lily Wolter, Until the Tide Creeps In is an album deepened by shared experience. Born in Devon and raised on the Isle of Man, the Wolters’ bonds were strengthened by separation when Jack moved away to study art at university at 19, when Lily was 13. As he puts it, wryly, “By the time I moved home Lily was not so much of an annoying younger sister anymore and had grown up and started playing in bands and writing songs. We soon became very close. I had written some songs, so we started a band called Your Gold Teeth. We toured a bit and then Lily left for Brighton to study songwriting. A couple of years later I moved down and we started Penelope Isles together.” For every sibling band forged in rivalry, many others mount an unassailable genetic argument for keeping the music in the family. The latter is assuredly the case with Penelope Isles, a quartet completed by Jack Sowton and Becky Redford.

Crisp and woozy, blissful and biting, Until the Tide Creeps In is an album deepened by shared experience: experiences of, in Jack’s words, “leaving home, moving away, dealing with transitions in life and growing up. We are six years apart, so we had a different experience of some of this, but we share a similar inspiration when writing music.”

Until the Tide Creeps In is released tomorrow via Bella Union.