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Manchester all-female five-piece PINS have just released the first single from their upcoming new EP, along with a list of UK tour dates for April of this year. The new single is titled ‘Aggrophobe’ and features a guest vocal from none other than Iggy Pop. You can take a sneak peek at the teaser for ‘Aggrophobe’ just below the tour date listing.
PINS’ April tour will begin in Cardiff on the 10th of April and wind through the UK to finish at home in Manchester on the 22nd. Tickets for the following live shows are available now. TGTF’s previous coverage of PINS is back this way.
Monday 10th April 2017 – Cardiff Moon Club
Tuesday 11th April 2017 – Brighton Rialto
Wednesday 12th April 2017 – Oxford Bullingdon
Thursday 13th April 2017 – Norwich Arts Centre
Friday 14th April 2017 – Glasgow Broadcast
Saturday 15th April 2017 – Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s
Monday 17th April 2017 – Newcastle Cluny 2
Tuesday 18th April 2017 – Leeds Headrow House
Wednesday 19th April 2017 – London Moth Club
Thursday 20th April 2017 – Bedford Esquires
Friday 21st April 2017 – Leicester Cookie
Saturday 22nd April 2017 – Manchester White Hotel
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 11th January 2017 at 6:00 pm
Not a man with such a name, IAN SWEET are actually a trio led by Jillian Medford. Medford used to travel and perform as a solo singer/songwriter until she hooked up with bassist Damien Scalise and drummer Tim Cheney to form their band as it is today. Last year, they released ‘Shapeshifter’, now available from Hardly Art. Ahead of their scheduled appearance at SXSW 2017 in March, they’ve released an amusing video for ‘Slime Time Live’. As one might expect for a band totally willing to laugh at themselves, the accompanying promo video includes copious amounts of the green stuff. Watch the video below. Stay tuned for more preview coverage of SXSW 2017 in the coming weeks and lead-up to the big event in Austin.
Header photo by Julie Gardner
Last summer, Canadian singer/songwriter Neil Young released his eye-popping 37th album ‘Earth’, which he described as “a collection of 13 songs from throughout my life, songs I have written about living here on our planet together.” Though the songs themselves weren’t new, the recordings were. Captured while Young was on tour with The Promise of the Real, the live audio was mixed with overdubbed sounds to make a point about the artificial nature of our lives and the damage we’re causing to our planet.
Though he hails from Canada, Young has often used his artistic activism to weigh in on American political and social events. In a Rolling Stone interview around the release of ‘Earth’, he remarked “I vote with my mouth. That’s my way.” Young could easily have rested on his laurels following ‘Earth’, but instead he turned his attention to unfolding drama in the United States, speaking out once again with an album of original music titled ‘Peace Trail’.
Recorded at Rick Rubin’s Shangri-la Studios and co-produced by Young and John Hanlon, ‘Peace Trail’ is a mix of predictable acoustic folk rock and experimental synthetic sounds designed to provoke a specific and unsettling effect. Title track and album opener ‘Peace Trail’ is musically what you might expect from Young, with fuzzy guitars and folk-style tribal percussion, but its central lyric “I think I’ll hit the peace trail / take a trip back home to my old town / ‘cos everyone back there says / something new is growing” hints that change is afoot.
The opening lines of ‘Indian Givers’ are the centerpiece of the album, clearly speaking out against the construction of the controversial Dakota Access Pipeline: “There’s a battle raging on the sacred land / our brothers and sisters had to take a stand / against us now for what we all been doing / on the sacred land there’s a battle brewing”. The rhyme might be a bit awkward but the sentiment is solidly stated, over a musical backdrop that combines Young’s blues rock with stark rhythms and austere harmonies more reminiscent of Native American traditional music. Young continues his humanist sermon with ‘Show Me’, a starkly simple arrangement of two-line verses and a repeated one-line chorus that challenges listeners with an ultimate vision: “when heaven on earth is improved by the hand of man / and people everywhere get together and join their hands / show me.”
From that point, the album takes a bit of a left turn. The discordant and rhythmically disjunct ‘Texas Rangers’ comes as a bit of a shock after the predictable folk rock of the previous songs. As jarring as the musical effect is, the lyrics are almost moreso: “Look, can you see things / when they show you / what they want you to know / watch what you don’t see / on the TV / when they hide the truth”. In similarly disturbing fashion, ’Terrorist Suicide Hang Gliders’ explores the dark specters of racial and religious distrust among white Americans: “I think I know who to blame / it’s all those people with funny names / moving in to our neighborhood / how can I tell if they’re bad or good?”
‘John Oaks’ goes back to familiar musical territory with a lengthy and detailed acoustic folk narrative about migrant workers and racial tensions. ‘My Pledge’ has a similar poetic structure, but a distinctly modern and synthetic arrangement of the vocal melodies. One particular stanza, “I’m lost in this new generation / left me behind it seems / listening to the shadow of Jimi Hendrix / ‘Purple Haze’, sounding like TV” seems markedly appropriate in that context. Young closes the album on a somewhat lighter note with ‘My New Robot’, though sinister undertones peek through the acoustic arrangement in a wide and weird array of computerised voices, and the song’s ending can only be described as alarmingly abrupt.
Neil Young is a legendary and prolific songwriter with a wide and established audience. On ‘Peace Trail’ he has once again used his craft as a vehicle for preaching his broad humanitarian social platform. The messages contained in its songs are deliberate and blunt, not particularly elegant, but in their style, very particular to Young as an artist. The real significance of the ‘Peace Trail’ comes in the fact that Young felt the need to make these statements publicly, and that, at this point in his career, he continues to find bold, inventive ways to keep awareness of political and social injustice at the forefront of our collective consciousness.
‘Peace Trail’, Neil Young’s second album of 2016 and 38th album overall, is out now on Reprise Records.
By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 11th January 2017 at 9:00 am
C Duncan, aka Scottish electronic singer/songwriter and bedroom producer Christopher Duncan, released his second album ‘The Midnight Sun’ back in October. I reviewed it back here last autumn. Naturally, he’s got a whole slew of live dates to celebrate and support his latest amazing work. Previously, he announced a January and February 2017 UK tour; all these dates are listed first below. Duncan will also be busy in March: he has been announced as the primary support act during Elbow‘s UK tour that month.
As if he wasn’t clocking up the miles in the UK enough with his previously announced shows, he has also added another group of live dates in May, starting with three shows in Ireland, followed by additional dates in the UK. Phew. These new dates just revealed are listed below as well. The newest May shows go on sale this Friday, the 13th of May. Really, you don’t have an excuse not to see C Duncan live! ‘The Midnight Sun’ is now available from FatCat Records. For more on Duncan’s music on TGTF, use this link.
Monday 23rd January 2017 – Inverness Eden Court Theatre
Tuesday 24th January 2017 – Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s (sold out)
Thursday 26th January 2017 – Glasgow Saint Luke’s (Celtic Connections)
Friday 27th January 2017 – Newcastle Cluny
Saturday 28th January 2017 – Liverpool Academy 2
Sunday 29th January 2017 – Oxford Bullingdon
Tuesday 31st January 2017 – Brighton Komedia
Wednesday 1st February 2017 – Bristol Thekla
Thursday 2nd February 2017 – Norwich Arts Club
Friday 3rd February 2017 – Leeds Wardrobe
Saturday 4th February 2017 – Nottingham Bodega Social Club
Thursday 4th May 2017 – Cork Cyprus Avenue – on sale 9 AM on 13/1
Friday 5th May 2017 – Limerick Dolans – on sale 9 AM on 13/1
Saturday 6th May 2017 – Dublin Whelan’s – on sale 9 AM on 13/1
Monday 8th May 2017 – Birmingham Hare and Hounds – on sale 9 AM on 13/1
Tuesday 9th May 2017 – Cardiff Clwb Ifor Bach – on sale 9 AM on 13/1
Wednesday 10th May 2017 – London Islington Assembly Hall – on sale 9 AM on 13/1
Friday 12th May 2017 – Manchester Band on the Wall – on sale 9 AM on 13/1
Saturday 13th May 2017 – Sheffield Leadmill – on sale 9 AM on 13/1
Sunday 14th May 2017 – Edinburgh Caves – on sale 9 AM on 13/1
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 10th January 2017 at 6:00 pm
Frank Carter & the Rattlesnakes will be releasing their newest album next week. ‘Modern Ruin’ will drop on International Death Cult via Kobalt Label Services on the 20th of January. Ahead of the release, Carter and co. have unveiled the music video for one of the arresting singles from the LP. The visuals for ‘Wild Flowers’ aren’t bad either: the promo was directed by the Turner prize-nominated, critically acclaimed artist Jake Chapman. Watch the video below. For more of TGTF’s coverage of Carter and his band, follow this link.
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 10th January 2017 at 12:00 pm
Header photo by Phil Knott
Ahead of his scheduled appearance at SXSW 2017, electronic musician and producer SOHN ushers in the new year with his newest album. Though the London-born Christopher Taylor has spent most of his creative time since 2012 living in Vienna, he temporarily relocated to a house in sleepy Northern California to work on this second outing, ‘Rennen’. Interestingly, the topics he explores on this effort aren’t entirely escapist; instead, he faces his personal life and international politics head on. And in an unusual move, Taylor decided to take a less is more approach on this SOHN album, limiting himself to three elements going into each track.
Meaning the action of running in German, the title seems to sum up well his escape to America following the whirlwind of critical attention paid to him and the exhausting touring he undertook to promote his celebrated 2014 debut LP ‘Tremors’. “I was running nonstop that whole time,” he says. “It was this incredible blur of seeing the whole world all in one go. I was going from experience to experience to experience always saying yes, and that’s just an incredible thing to put yourself through as a human.”
Given the popularity of ‘Tremors’, which contained the robust singles ‘Bloodflows’ and ‘Artifice’, any follow-up would be difficult. But the time away seems to have done SOHN’s new music a world of good. The influence of his co-writing and production work for other, more pop-centric artists, from Rihanna to Disclosure, have seeped into ‘Rennen’. This provides surprisingly wonderful moments on the album that might otherwise not happened. Changes in Taylor’s personal life since his debut – including falling in love, getting married and learning he will become a father – also affected the content of the new album, providing a unique window into the artist’s psyche during this snapshot in time.
‘Rennen’ begins with the bluesy ‘Hard Liquor’, a darkly appealing track with a clear r&b bent, quickly followed by two already revealed songs. The repeated lyrics in ‘Conrad’ – “I can feel it coming, we can never go back” – could sum up well our collective sorrows of 2016, but Taylor meant to point specifically to Europe’s uncertain future and shaky political climate, no doubt to include the passage of Brexit. The use of empty bottles and kitchen utensils for percussion adds to the scrappy desperate feel despite the song’s undeniable pop sensibility. ‘Signal’ debuted with a music video directed by and starring Hollywood starlet Milla Jovavich. The single itself sees Taylor return to what we formerly knew as the SOHN sound: less pop and more experimental, with intriguing synth note and vocal compression and a bare yet oddly soulful drumbeat. ‘Proof’ is another great example of this.
The rest of SOHN’s ‘Rennen’ will delight electro heads but will also fascinate open-minded pop fans with plenty of interesting bits in a post-Bowie/Prince world. The synth chords on ‘Dead Wrong’ are borderline ominous, but accompanied by Taylor’s r&b vocal and rhythm, you can imagine it’d be something Michael Jackson might have come up with if he was still alive today. On ‘Primary’, Taylor revisits politics, specifically the start of the 2016 U.S. presidential election campaign: “nobody seems able to really change / I can’t believe we’re not better / I thought we were past this”. The bright, percussion-led ‘Falling’ mirrors the intoxicating adrenalin rush of love with its upbeat tempo. Is it too much to wish for him to finally record in daylight and be totally happy on album #3? Ha. On the starkly bare title track ‘Rennen’, Taylor’s double-tracked vocals and at times falsetto are beautiful. Maybe we should leave him to follow his muse.
An electronic producer has, pretty much, infinite options at his fingertips when he sets his mind on making music. In challenging himself to do more with less, Taylor proves without a doubt through his vocal and songwriting abilities on ‘Rennen’ that he shines in a relatively minimalist environment. An incredible achievement.
‘Rennen’, the second album from SOHN, will be out this Friday, the 13th of January 2017, on 4AD. Prior to his scheduled appearance at SXSW 2017, he will embark on a European tour in early February, culminating in a show at London Electric Brixton on the 1st of March. For more coverage of SOHN on TGTF, go here.
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