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Header photo by Jen Carey
New Zealand pop veteran Neil Finn has released the video for ‘Divebomber’, the lead single from his forthcoming solo album ‘Dizzy Heights’, following a live webcast of a rehearsal session for the new songs. The rehearsal featured Finn on piano and acoustic guitar, accompanied by a full orchestra, and also contained an audience participation element, with Finn answering questions submitted in real time via Twitter and Facebook. If you missed the live Webcast, it is now archived at Finn’s Web site and can be viewed here.
In the webcast, Finn remarked that several of the songs on ‘Dizzy Heights’ include large arrangements with either orchestra or full band, revealing the expansive direction of the new material. “I didn’t want to make it a solo record in a stripped back singer-songwriter sort of way,” he says, explaining his collaboration on the record with co-producer Dave Fridmann (Mercury Rev, The Flaming Lips, Tame Impala) and fellow New Zealand musicians Connan Mockasin and Sean Donnelly (SJD).
Though he is best known for the catchy pop tunes of Crowded House, Finn has always seemed to take inspiration for his songwriting from unexpected sources, particularly in his solo material. ‘Divebomber’ was inspired by a 1941 film of the same name, which received an Oscar nomination for its vibrant cinematography. Finn’s ‘Divebomber’ video is less boldly graphic, instead using video footage from a beach vacation in Greece overlaid by diffuse aerial cloud imagery to match the discordant, unsettled tone of the musical setting. But the track’s soaring strings, marching percussion and breathy vocals reflect the heroic and tragic nature of the film’s plot line, as well as the bravery and risk involved in Finn’s recent songwriting ventures. As the song’s lyrics state, ‘There’s only one way down’, and with ‘Divebomber’, Finn has taken a headlong plunge into uncharted territory.
‘Dizzy Heights’ will be released on 10 February 2014 via Lester Records / Kobalt Label Services. Watch the video for ‘Divebomber’ below. Finn will be playing a one-off show at St. James’ Church in London on 27 November but the gig is already sold out.
LA quartet Warpaint have been away too long. Their debut album ‘The Fool’ was released in 2010, and it’s been 3 long years since we heard from these enigmatic women. With an eponymous second album being released in January on Rough Trade, a teaser single has been released to remind us of what we have been missing.
Forthcoming single ‘Love is to Die For’ is a mesmerizing trance of a tune that uses the bottom percussion you keep you grounded while the rest of it swirls hauntingly in, through and around you. With the repeated lines “love is to die, love is to not die, love is to danc”’, the ladies bring back their signature evocative sound. If this song is just the intro to what is coming in January, then I am truly intrigued.
Having just dashed off after three dates in the UK, we will have to wait until the album is released before there is another chance to hear this grand stuff live. ‘Warpaint’ is scheduled to be released on the 20th of January on Rough Trade. Their next live dates are listed under the stream of the song.
Thursday 23rd January 2014 – Brighton Dome
Saturday 25th January 2014 – Oxford Academy
Tuesday 18th January 2014 – London Koko (added November 2013)
Wednesday 19th February 2014 – Leeds Academy
Thursday 20th February 2014 – Liverpool Academy
Friday 21st February 2014 – Bristol Academy
By Mary Chang
on Tuesday, 15th October 2013 at 12:00 pm
Hold on to your hats, folks. Or maybe I should say geriatric vitamins and walkers, because this news should make you feel old. Piano-driven stadium rockers Keane have done the unthinkable and announced they’ll be releasing a greatest hits compilations, ‘The Best of Keane’, on the 11th of November on Island. To hook long-time fans into buying this package are two new songs, ‘Won’t Be Broken’ and ‘Higher Than the Sun’, the latter of which has already hit radio stations.
The tune starts off relatively benignly, with a pleasing drummed rhythm and it isn’t long before Tom Chaplin’s signature voice comes in: “Turn, turn up the sun / takes me higher than the sun / sing, sing from your gut / sing it ’til we become one” – ? Are you serious? Is this really from the same band that brought us ‘This is the Last Time’, ‘Everybody’s Changing’ or even more recent ‘Silenced by the Night’ and ‘Disconnected’? The one saving grace to this song is the grand build-up to the chorus, which Tim Rice-Oxley is a master at orchestrating.
The bridge is admirable – “There’s a song to ease your fears / a song to take you far from here / one for joy, one for desire, one for despair” – but seeing that the song as a whole feels lacklustre, I wonder if the words would have worked better written down in a book in poem form rather than being offered up in a song. Songs are meant to inspire. Are Keane past it? As a long-time fan, I sincerely hope not, but I wonder how much longer they can keep going like this.
Stream the song below. Watch the promo video for ‘Higher Than the Sun’ here in this previous Video of the Moment feature.
It’s difficult to imagine exactly how a band from Leeds should sound. It might have something to do with heavy industry, perhaps a bit of boot-in-the-face blues-rock; certainly there will be an electric guitar or two. Suffice to say whatever the mind conjures it probably won’t be what Fossil Collective offer with their latest song revealed.
‘The Water’ uses layers of acoustic guitar and heavily-reverbed vocals to generate a windswept, desolate landscape, which builds to a gentle, keening brass-laden crescendo of modest beauty. Imagine standing atop a granite boulder somewhere on a windswept corner of the Yorkshire Moors, summoning the spirits of deceased Black Dyke Band members, as photographed by Andreas Gursky. That should do the trick.
‘The Water’ is also the title of their forthcoming EP, to be released on the 28th of October on Dirty Hit Records. We’ve yet to hear the other three tracks, but if they are up to the same standard as this then fans of bucolic UK folk will be dead chuffed, like. Stream ‘The Water’ below, and catch up on their their tour dates across the UK and Ireland posted below as well.
Tuesday 1st October 2013 – Brighton Haunt
Friday 4th October 2013 – Bristol Louisiana
Saturday 5th October 2013 – Cardiff Moon Club
Sunday 6th October 2013 – Exeter Phoenix Art Centre
Monday 7th October 2013 – Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
Tuesday 8th October 2013 – Oxford Academy
Wednesday 9th October 2013 – London Tabernacle
Thursday 10th October 2013 – Leeds Brudenell Social Club
Friday 11th October 2013 – Liverpool Leaf Cafe
Sunday 13th October 2013 – Edinburgh Cabaret Voltaire
Monday 14th October 2013 – Glasgow King Tut’s
Tuesday 15th October 2013 – Belfast McHughs
Wednesday 16th October 2013 – Dublin Academy 2
‘This Modern Glitch’ was one of the first albums I ever reviewed, and it was definitely the first album I have properly obsessed over. The record just made me freak out in my car and I remember fondly a friend of mine and I dancing like absolute nutters as ‘Tokyo (Wolves and Thieves)’, ‘Our Perfect Disease’ and ‘Techno Fan’ blared from the speakers.
High expectations for the Wombats‘ new release ‘Your Body is a Weapon’, then.
Disappointed? Not one bit. It’s exactly the neurosis-drowned banger that I wanted from the Liverpool band. Swamped in Murph’s indomitable sense of misery, talking about a paparazzi who he witnessed taking a photo of some generic Harry Styles or Conor Maynard wanker.
At around 2 and a half minutes in, you get a taste of the unhinged beauty of the Wombats as Murph squeals, “my body is a temple of doom, doomed to not be by your side”, before bursting into the chorus of “someone protect me from the one I love!” It’s an absolute bouncing keg of fun, whatever the subject material, not something to get morose and dwell on but an indie banger, from the Liverpudlian KINGS of the indie bangers, the Wombats.
2014 watch out. There’s about 10 tunes up ahead you won’t stop hearing at any ‘alternative’ club night for a good while coming from these boys. Watch the animated kinda sorta lyric video for ‘Your Body is a Weapon’ below; the single is out now on 14th Floor Records.
Northern Irish soul troubadour Foy Vance is allowing us a sneak peek at yet another track from his forthcoming second full length album ‘Joy of Nothing’.
‘Closed Hands, Full of Friends’ starts off with an insistent throb, filled in with resonant piano notes, it then builds up to the shattering release of “But I’m feeling alright!” Crafted with a perfect mix of strings, piano, and voice, oh my god that voice, it’s 4 minutes that was on a loop for me as soon as I heard it. With a rallying cry of “I will find my means to an end with an open-hearted home and closed hand full of friends”, you can feel the swelling of grandeur within the space between the notes. The song builds to a sudden end that provides instant closure, yet leaves me clawing for more. I simply cannot wait for this album later this month.
Vance is also offering his b-side ‘Dark Horse’ for free via Noistrade. Grab it, listen to it below, pre-order ‘Joy of Nothing’ and fall in love with this man. ‘Joy of Nothing’ will be available 26 August on Glassnote Records.
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