In case you hadn’t already heard, Belfast alt-rock duo exmagician will be on tour in the UK starting tonight, supporting their recent album release, ‘Scan the Blue’. The album is out now on Bella Union. The tour will start in Glasgow on the 25th of April and stop off at London’s Sebright Arms on the 29th of April before wrapping up in Bristol on the 3rd of May. In the midst of their headline run, exmagician will make an appearance in Salford at the Sounds from the Other City Festival on Sunday the 1st of May. The duo are also scheduled to play at Tramlines and LeeFest in July.
Tickets for the following shows are available now. Though exmagician have only very recently formed from the remains of the late Cashier No. 9, we at TGTF already have quite a collection of coverage on them, which you can catch up on by clicking here.
Monday 25th April 2016 – Glasgow Hug & Pint
Tuesday 26th April 2016 – Edinburgh Sneaky Pete’s
Thursday 28th April 2016 – Cardiff Moon Club
Friday 29th April 2016 – London Sebright Arms
Monday 2nd May 2016 – Brighton Hope & Ruin
Tuesday 3rd May 2016 – Bristol Louisiana
Fiercely independent pop punk quartet Asylums have released yet another zany DIY video, this one for their new track ‘Necessary Appliances’, along with details of their debut album ‘Killer Brain Waves’. The ‘Necessary Appliances’ single release is set for the 29th of April, while the full LP is due out on the 29th of July, both naturally on the band’s own label Cool Thing Records.
‘Necessary Appliances’ is a stridently sarcastic commentary on Western consumerism, set to a persistent, anxious drum rhythm and abrasive guitar riff. The stark, rapidly shifting black and white video effects in the promo below are equally jarring, and thus illustrative of the song’s high-minded ideas about disposable culture and social interaction through digital media. The video’s setting takes its cue from the lyrics “lying in the bed they’ve made / conformity becomes a cage / as an intravenous coffee machine / feeds us caffeine”, and it is itself enough of a jolt to replace your morning cup of joe.
Back in 2008, people were still using the iPhone 3, and Barack Obama wasn’t even the President of the United States yet. It was April of that year when The Last Shadow Puppets released their debut album ‘The Age of the Understatement’, and a lot has changed in that time. The Arctic Monkeys have released three albums – ‘Humbug’, ‘Suck It and See’ and ‘AM’; while Miles Kane has released two solo albums, ‘Colour of the Trap’ and ‘Don’t Forget Who You Are’ ,and he also parted ways with The Rascals, following the release of their debut album, also in 2008. Not only that, but both Turner and Kane have relocated to Los Angeles. It’s been a long wait. Eight years following its predecessor, ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’ as Turner and Kane’s latest collaboration is packed to the hilt with velvet rhythms, crooning warbles and spooky organs aplenty.
The Last Shadow Puppets’ debut album was a commercial success, going straight to number one in the UK Album Charts. ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect ‘has proved to be no different, also landing a number one spot following its release. This marks Turner’s seventh consecutive number one album: no small achievement when considering he’s only just turned 30. The album, recorded in legendary producer Rick Rubin’s Shangri La Studios in Malibu, is now available on Domino Records.
James Ford, who previously worked with the pair on their debut, returns to provide drums, and they’ve added Zach Dawes on bass. The four of them also contribute all manner of instruments throughout the record, from harpsichord to saxophone. This varied mix of music is accompanied on all of the tracks by a plethora of stringed instruments conducted by Owen Pallett, who also worked on the debut album, and Matt Helders (Arctic Monkeys) provides backing vocals on three of the tracks. On paper, there’s quite a lot going on. But it all comes together to create an ambitious collection of songs that sound like they’ve come from the depths of Turner and Kane’s most avant-garde dreams.
As a whole, the album is elegant and a little bit eccentric: it’s subtle and soft in places, before amping up the pair’s flair for drama in other parts. It almost feels like some of the tracks shouldn’t be on the same album together, yet work together in some sort of chaotic cohesion. It’s in the same vein as their previous stuff, but with a move towards experimentation. In other words, it sounds like the kind of album that two talented and close friends might make on the downtime between other commitments.
The first single released from the album, ‘Bad Habits’, is a bit of a stand-alone track in terms of tempo and momentum when compared to the rest of the album. It may have also misled us ahead of the album’s release as to the feel of the record itself. ‘Bad Habits’ opens with a pounding bass hook and feral screech, and from the first moment I heard the initial bars I knew I’d be listening to it again and again. The theatrical swell of strings and guitars that rise and fall throughout the track, alongside Kane’s raw vocals and the intermittent riff of a guitar, makes this feel like psychedelic pop.
‘Aviation’, the record’s opening track and the third single released from the album, is one of the four songs on which Kane provides lead vocals. This is the song that feels most like it’s come out of the mould of what the pair has done before, with the steady rhythm of percussion and guitars, and stirrings of strings in the background. It’s an interesting opening to the album, teasing the listener into the realm of the familiar, before moving into slightly more uncharted territory than before. It’s also arguably the only song in history that has including the term “sectorial heterochromia” in the lyrics.
Title track ‘Everything You’ve Come to Expect’ is a bit like the soundtrack to a haunted fairground, with the trippy organ cavorting away in the background. The track moves along with an unhurried march, from the dramatic string arrangement and infrequent banging of drums to the distorted singing of the album title throughout the chorus. Turner’s signature ability to whip up lyrical wonder is evidenced in the track, from the ominously trivial “as I walk through the chalet of the shadow of death”’ of the chorus, to the opening “tiger eyelashes, summer wine / goosebump soup and honey pie”. It’s about as weird and oddly poetic as you could hope for.
Standout ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’ thumps along with the steady drive of the Bolero, before building into a heartfelt croon. Occasionally, there were times when listening to the album that I heard some of the lyrics, and had to replay to check I’d heard them correctly. On ‘Pattern’, Turner sings, “I slip and I slide / like a spider on an icicle”, and I internally curled up a little at the clumsiness of it. Then the lyrics in ‘Sweet Dreams, TN’, – you’re the first day of spring / with a septum piercing’ – made me question whether or not I thought that they are borderline genius, or self-indulgent nonsense. But by the time Turner cries out “little Miss Sweet Dreams, Tennessee” followed by a wave of strings to play the track out, I was sold.
There are other great tracks on the album. ‘The Element of Surprise’ is quick tongued and lyrically witty, pretty much everything we’ve come to expect from Turner. ‘The Dream Synopsis’ is a bizarre and endearingly personal story of one of Turner’s dreams. The lyrics “and the snow was falling thick and fast / We were bombing down Los Feliz / It was you and me and Miles Kane / and some kid I went to school with” sum up the odd collection of references and moments on this unorthodox track.
Overall, the great moments of the album outweigh the less impressive points. There’s perhaps a little to be desired for some listeners. And on certain tracks, such as ‘She Does the Woods’, seem to slide by without really demanding attention. But, on the whole, I‘m glad that Turner and Kane have come together once more. I’m looking forward to seeing what the pair put together for their next effort: here’s looking at you, 2024.
The Last Shadow Puppets are currently on a tour of Europe, the USA and Japan, which is set to run until August. They are also scheduled to appear at a number of festivals, including BBC Radio 1’s Big Weekend in Exeter in May and T in the Park in Scotland in July. Visit the band’s Web site for more details on where you can see them live this summer.
Southampton rock trio Band of Skulls will hit the road in England again this autumn, following their already sold out April and May live dates. Their new album ‘By Default’ is due for release on the 27th of May and will include the single ‘Killer’, which we’ve already featured right back here. Just below the tour date listing, you can watch a live session video of album track ‘Erounds’.
Tickets for the following shows are on sale today. For our collected previous coverage of Band of Skulls, click here.
Thursday 20th October 2016 – Leeds Stylus
Friday 21st October 2016 – Manchester Albert Hall
Saturday 22nd October 2016 – Newcastle Northumbria University
Monday 24th October 2016 – Bristol SWX
Tuesday 25th October 2016 – Nottingham Rock City
Wednesday 26th October 2016 – London Roundhouse
Thursday 17th November 2016 – Southampton Engine Rooms
London-based blues rock duo The Kills have announced a run of autumn live dates in the UK to follow the release of their fifth album ‘Ash & Ice’, which is due out on the 3rd of June via Domino Records. The band’s upcoming date at London’s Village Underground on the 4th of May is already sold out, but if you missed out on that, the autumn tour includes a date the London Roundhouse on the 7th of October. The Kills will also appear at the Isle of Wight festival in Newport in June.
Tickets for the following shows are on sale today. TGTF’s previous coverage of The Kills, including their new video for album track ‘Heart of a Dog’, is right back here.
Thursday 29th September 2016 – Manchester Albert Hall
Friday 30th September 2016 – Glasgow ABC
Saturday 1st October 2016 – Leeds Beckett Students’ Union
Sunday 2nd October 2016 – Nottingham Rock City
Tuesday 4th October 2016 – Oxford Academy 1
Wednesday 5th October 2016 – Bristol Anson Rooms
Thursday 6th October 2016 – Birmingham Institute 1
Friday 7th October 2016 – London Roundhouse
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 21st April 2016 at 6:00 pm
In case you’ve been living under a rock, The Wirral band The Coral are back this year with a new album. ‘Distance Inbetween’ was released in March, and now they’re announcing details of an another single to come from the record. ‘Holy Revelation’ will be ushering the second May bank holiday in on the 27th of May.
The legendary psychedelic band from the North West just performed on Later with Jools Holland on Tuesday night. For more on The Coral on TGTF, go here.