Category Archives: New Release Section

New Release Section:
Gaz Coombes, “Long Live The Strange”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Ahead of the release of his forthcoming solo album Turn The Car Around, due January 13th 2023 via Hot Fruit Recordings / Virgin Music, Gaz Coombes has released his latest new single “Long Live The Strange” and accompanying music video.

Recently Gaz announced a UK/EU headline tour for 2023 and also debuted music from the new album to a packed audience at London’s intimate Lafayette, a first taste of the masterfully written and recorded songs contained within, and a timely reminder of why Coombes remains one of the UK’s most enduring and gifted songwriters.

Gaz explains “This song was written as a celebration of the weird and wonderful and as a reminder to embrace that at all times.” The single stands as an ode to how music has the power to bring people together. He wrote it after taking his daughter Tiger to see Cavetown in Oxford in 2020. “The show had a big impact on me,” he recalls.

“It was what live performance is all about, connecting with an audience that consists of anybody and everybody who wants to be part of it, it’s fully inclusive and I found that quite powerful.” It was heartening to Coombes to discover, 30 years after he listened to Inspiral Carpets and Pixies and The Wedding Present and felt like he was part of a gang, there was still a place where the strange ones go. “It’s obviously strange in the nicest sense of the word,” he adds.

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New Release Section: Matthew Sweet covers Kate Bush’s “Wuthering Heights”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Today, Matthew Sweet is releasing his version of Kate Bush’s landmark 1978 single, “Wuthering Heights,” on all digital platforms. This is the first new recording from Sweet since his January 2021 album Catspaw, which was recorded pre-covid. Sweet, known for his collaborations with hotshot guitarists over the years, plays the searing guitar solo on the track as well as all the additional instruments save for the drums, played by longtime Sweet sideman Ric Menck.

“As the latest season of Stranger Things (Netflix) came and went this year, it was hard not to notice the resurgence of Kate Bush’s song “Running Up That Hill” in this covid recovering world of 2022.

I do love that song, but this got me thinking about a piano and vocal demo I once made of “Wuthering Heights,” the 1978 hit that first brought the 19 year-old Kate to the attention of the world of music. Like Kate herself, I have a strong amount of Irish blood in me, as my mother, like hers, was 100% Irish. In fact, I have dual citizenship between Ireland and America. Maybe this helps account for my always feeling a mystic kinship with Kate, despite our music being worlds apart in so many ways.

Regardless, my wife recently urged me to dig up that demo of mine, and although I couldn’t find a multitrack of it, I did locate a rough of the song I had bounced down many years ago. And so it is I came to overdub some guitars and other instruments and produce this single track for release in tribute to Kate. In this streaming world we live in, there is nothing to stop me from doing so.

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New Release Section: Nina Hagen, “16 Tons”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Nina Hagen, the beautiful and strident hell-raiser to toe the line between punk and pop, East and West and outta space that Germany has ever produced is finally back. With her first single release “16 Tons,” Nina Hagen has taken on a heavy burden: “You load 16 tons, what do you get? / Another day older and deeper in debt.”

The song is her version of the 1947 country-folk classic by country singer Merle Travis, about Kentucky miners whose lives consisted of working themselves to the bone and overcoming constant hardships. Nina sings of the inescapable desperation of daily life—“muscle and blood and skin and bones”—in her deep, commanding and ominously vibrating voice. It features country twang updated for the year 2022 and recorded with plenty of erratic reverb, unwaveringly forward-moving groove and bone-dry electric guitars. This song has been waiting for Nina Hagen, an artist who has always celebrated the political power of music.

There are many Ninas—so many iterations and incarnations; so many images, moments, voices and songs; so many faces with mouth ripped open, an array of faces that now spans five decades. The same is true in the video for her new single “16 Tons.” Nina Hagen is a legend—“the Godmother of punk rock,” activist, fictional character, performer, extraterrestrial emissary and Brecht connoisseur. She breaks down walls and begins again, keeps on and never stands still.

Unity is Nina’s first album since Volksbeat in 2011. Unity plays with a multifaceted mélange of textures, samples and everyday sounds. Amidst this rich foliage of sounds and themes there is, of course, that voice; in the wink of an eye it transitions from operatic to demonic, hitting insane high notes then plummeting to awe-inspiring deep bellows, as if she is trying to interfuse the sexes. Nina Hagen screams and hisses, belts out lyrics and performs recitatives, rasps and reverberates in electronic distortions. She launches into musical dialogues and soliloquys. It is as if her voice is echoing into our time from another world.

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New Release Section:
A Certain Ratio,
“Waiting on a Train”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | A Certain Ratio today share “Waiting on a Train,” the first track to be taken from their forthcoming studio album, 1982, scheduled for release on March 31 via Mute.

A Certain Ratio’s greatest strength has always been their unpredictability. “That’s what people like about us, they don’t know what’s coming next!” explains Jez Kerr. This new track ushers that in via the slick and charismatic presence of Mancunian rapper Chunky. Chunky trades bars with the vocals of one of Manchester’s fastest-rising neo-soul musicians Ellen Beth Abdi, who you’ll recognize from the ACR live lineup in recent years. The result is a track unlike anything the band have made to date.

Watch the video for “Waiting on a Train”—directed by Rollcam Directors, produced by Joe Vickers with Jan Koblanski as director of photography above. Pre-order 1982 on limited edition smoke grey vinyl, orange vinyl, CD, cassette, and digital platforms here.

“Waiting on a Train” began life as a lo-fi hip hop jam in the studio. It made perfect sense to bring in both Chunky and Ellen—already good friends outside of A Certain Ratio. “It worked really well, there’s great chemistry between them,” Martin Moscrop continues. “It’s got the right amount of pop, the right amount of surrealism, the right amount of moodiness. It just works.”

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New Release Section:
Ron Sexsmith, “What I Had In Mind”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Half man, half melody Ron Sexsmith will release a new album entitled The Vivian Line on 17th February ’23. The first single “What I Had In Mind” is available at all reputable digital thingys today and you can order it (or even pre-order it!) and pre-save it now for when it’s finally available in all its glory here. The animated video for “What I Had In Mind” was made by C.J. Wallis at Fortyfps Films in Vancouver. The Vivian Line is Ron Sexsmith’s 17th album. It features 12 new songs written and performed by Ron.

The who, what, where, why and how of the record are best explained by Ron himself: “The Vivian Line is a rural route right near where we live in Stratford (Ontario). Whenever we have to get out of the city we jump on The Vivian Line and it dumps us out onto the highway. I wondered about the name when we first moved there and thought it was intriguing… it sort of represents escaping from our old life in Toronto to this new phase we’re in. And it’s also like a portal to my old life when I have to get back there. I recorded it (The Vivian Line) with Brad Jones in Nashville. (Brad played bass on 3 of my earlier records Other Songs, Whereabouts, and Blue Boy) and it’s a very lush sounding almost baroque pop record. (A distant cousin of Whereabouts.) The songs were mostly inspired by this stage in life that I find myself in and trying to figure it all out.”

Ron Sexsmith is one of Canada’s most accomplished singer-songwriters. Born and bred in St Catherine’s near Niagara Falls and currently resident in Stratford, Ontario, he has released 16 albums to date—Grand Opera Lane (1991), Ron Sexsmith (1995), Other Songs (1997), Whereabouts (1999), Blue Boy (2001), Cobblestone Runway (2002), Rarities (2003), Retriever (2004), Destination Unknown (2005, with Don Kerr, released as Sexsmith & Kerr), Time Being (2006), Exit Strategy Of The Soul (2008), Long Player Late Bloomer (2011), Forever Endeavour (2013), Carousel One (2015), The Last Rider (2017) and Hermitage (2020).

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New Release Section:
The Chills, “Scatterbrain-Storms: Outtakes”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Dunedin’s finest, The Chills, follow their acclaimed seventh studio album Scatterbrain with a special US tour exclusive 7″ “Scatterbrain-Storms: Outtakes.” Released digitally on 27th September for the world to hear, this special EP features three brand new tracks “The Dragon with the Sapphire Eyes,” “No One Knows Better Than Me,” and “Nowhere,” A 7″ will then be exclusively available to fans at shows on their upcoming US tour with Jane Weaver who will be bringing her full live experience with her band to the US for the very first time.

“We felt these were too good not to be released and were actually the first three songs we wrote for Scatterbrain before its lyrical tone and musical direction became established. It was important to us to offer fans something special on the tour.”
Martin Phillipps

A thought provoking and evocative stock take from a man who has lived through good times and bad. But now, the world is a different place and optimism is in short supply. Viewed from the perspective of a man understanding his age and indeed his own mortality, Scatterbrain is underpinned, as ever, with catchy melodies and an incisive turn of phrase; it takes a mature look at matters arising with a side order of perspective.

Scatterbrain is a life passing before your ears as uncertainty increases and fake news rumbles on; during which aliens invade, Phillipps scales the walls beyond abandon as he probes the minutiae of worlds within worlds and the hourglass fills. Scatterbrain is a landmark album from one of the great modern song writers, it’s pure pop music for the new normal and we can’t wait to see how it ends.

Recorded at Port Chalmers Recordings Services, “Scatterbrain-Storms: Outtakes” was produced by Tom Healy with assistance from Tom Bell. The Chills are Martin Phillipps, Oli Wilson, Erica Scally, Callum Hampton, and Todd Knudson.

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New Release Section:
The Wombats, ‘Is This What It Feels Like To
Feel Like This?’

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Fresh from topping the charts with their first UK number one album, Fix Yourself, Not The World, playing their biggest ever global headline tour which included sold-out shows in NYC and Los Angeles, and a slot at Chicago’s Lollapalooza last month, and hitting 1 million subscribers on Spotify, indie legends The Wombats today continue their remarkable return with the announcement of their new EP “Is This What It Feels Like To Feel Like This?”—available to pre-order now here. The six track collection will be released on November 18 digitally and on vinyl.

Recorded shortly after completing their acclaimed fifth studio album, “Is This What It Feels Like To Feel Like This?” is The Wombats rawest material yet, trading polished synths for spiky guitar riffs and heavy choruses. Bassist Tord Øverland Knudsen took the files back to his homeland of Norway, producing and mixing the EP himself in his home studio.

The announcement comes accompanied by a new single in the form of the eponymous “Is This What It Feels Like To Feel Like This?.” Blending The Wombats’ trademark infectious energy with an earworm of a riff, frontman Matthew “Murph” Murphy explains how the single came about: “I remember driving past an extremely rundown hotel and wondering what the hell could be going on in there, and that’s where this song was born. It’s about catching someone in a compromising situation that’s very unusual for their specific character and is far more fitting for your own.”

If anyone doubted it, “Is This What It Feels Like To Feel Like This?” confirmed the fact that The Wombats are a band at the peak of their powers. Built over sixteen years, their ever-expanding fanbase has continued to swell, boosted first by a new generation of fans discovering their vast catalogue of indie bangers through streaming, then via TikTok following the viral success of Oliver Nelson’s remix of their 2015 hit “Greek Tragedy.” The album was included in Vulture magazine’s “33 Albums We Can’t Wait to Hear in 2022” and Inside Hook’s “The Best Movies, TV, Books and Music for January.”

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New Release Section: Death Cab for Cutie, “Foxglove Through The Clearcut”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Today, 8x GRAMMY® Award-nominated rock band Death Cab for Cutie releases new track “Foxglove Through The Clearcut.” Featuring meditative instrumentation and moving spoken word elements that ultimately crescendo into a sweeping outro, the song arrives accompanied by a striking lyric video designed by frequent visual collaborator Juliet Bryant (Justin Vernon, Japanese Breakfast, Laura Jane Grace).

Of “Foxglove Through The Clearcut,” lead vocalist and guitarist Ben Gibbard shares: “Foxglove is by far the most personal song on the record. While I was writing it, I thought I was merely the narrator. But the longer I sat with it, I realized I was both the protagonist AND the narrator.”

Today’s new song follows “Here to Forever,” which was the most-added song at AAA and Alternative radio upon its release in mid-July. Currently, the single sits at #2 at AAA radio and has already quickly risen to #13 at Alternative. The track has also amassed tremendous critical acclaim, with Stereogum hailing it: “a grand and stirring rocker, one that mixes the soft-eyed sensitivity of the band’s early days with their arena-sized major-label work.”

The first song to be released off the album, “Roman Candles,” arrived with a (quite literally) explosive one-take music video directed by Lance Bangs (Sonic Youth, Nirvana). That track was featured on NPR’s All Songs Considered, with host Bob Boilen highlighting its “two bursting minutes.” All three songs are lifted off the band’s highly-anticipated tenth studio album Asphalt Meadows, due out September 16th. Pre-orders are available here.

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New Release Section: Jimmy Cliff, “Refugees” ft. Wyclef Jean

VIA PRESS RELEASE | One of the most important reggae artists of all-time, Rock & Roll Hall of Fame® inductee, and GRAMMY® Award-winning icon Jimmy Cliff makes his long-awaited return with a new single entitled “Refugees” (feat. Wyclef Jean). This international anthem paves the way for his first album in over a decade, Refugees, on August 12, 2022 via UMe.

With a Dance Version now and Rap Version (due out later), “Refugees” captures the spirit of Cliff’s most classic output with a neo-soul hip-hop twist courtesy of the legendary Fugees co-founder Wyclef Jean. It also continues the creative and spiritual connection between these two mavericks as Wyclef famously inducted Cliff into the Roll Hall of Fame® in 2010.

Regarding this generational collaboration, Wyclef commented, “For me, coming to America wasn’t easy when I first got here. Having family members who suffered political torment, it wasn’t easy for us. When I say ‘Fugees,’ ‘Fugees’ is short for ‘Refugees.’ I was always like, ‘If I could penetrate a message, it would be that.’ And who inspires that? Jimmy Cliff is one of my biggest inspirations ever, and he has always stayed on message when it comes to peace, love, and unity.”

“The collaboration with this record is just what we are, talking for the forgotten. In an era where love is needed, I don’t think anybody can convey that better than the king.” That’s what the “King” does best on Refugees. Jimmy said, “I’m very proud of this, because it sees Jimmy Cliff in a new musical direction. I’ll always go into something new. Even though Refugees is a heavy title, you’re going to be moving your feet, because it’s on the dancefloor. There we go. I love it.”

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New Release Section: Robyn Hitchcock,
“The Shuffle Man”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Robyn Hitchcock has announced the long awaited release of Shufflemania!, arriving via Tiny Ghost Records on 21st October. Pre-orders—including limited edition blue vinyl, classic black vinyl, CD, cassette, and digital download, are available now exclusively at www.robynhitchcock.com.

The veteran British artist’s first full-length collection in over five years, Shufflemania! is heralded by the mischievous first single, “The Shuffle Man,” available now on all streaming services. The single features instrumental and vocal accompaniment from musician/ producer/ artist Brendan Benson.

“The Shuffle Man is the imp of change, the agent of fortune” explains Hitchcock.”He throws the cards up in the air and leaves you to deal with where they fall. He is the exhilaration of chaos—with fast hands and a stovepipe hat.”

Recorded in locations around the world over the pandemic era, Shufflemania! offers up 10 gloriously ingenious new Robyn Hitchcock songs in just under 40 minutes—a “proper pop album” as nature intended. Songs like “Midnight Tram To Nowhere” and the optimistic, album-closing “One Day (It’s Being Scheduled)” are state-of-the-art Hitchcock, manifesting his signature wit, miraculous gift for melodic craftsmanship, and striking humanity in a world gone mad.

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New Release Section: Blancmange, “Take Me”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | On 30 September Blancmange will release the new album, Private View. Marking a return to London Records, almost 40 years since the label released the band’s debut; the release is preceded by the track “Take Me.”

Of “Take Me,” Neil Arthur explains: “As usual I’m playing with double meanings and domestic references. Can you take me, in terms of the unpredictable aspects of a personality, or can you literally take me to our favourite place by the sea? And also how much does someone have to “take” before a relationship breaks down? How many times can your partner be expected to accept repeated mistakes? Where is the tipping point?”

Across the album, there’s a deft marriage of futuristic electronic sounds, Arthur’s unmistakable vocal hooks, and songs that veer from buoyant and joyful to dark and brooding. Benge returns as a key collaborator, and David Rhodes (Kate Bush, Peter Gabriel, Scott Walker) returns as the guitarist, having previously performed with the band on 1982’s debut Happy Families (as well as several other Blancmange albums).

In their post-punk early days, Blancmange made tape loops and experimental sounds with kitchen utensils, before developing into one of the definitive chart-topping British electronic pop acts. Since reforming in 2011 (Luscombe had to leave shortly after for health reasons) Arthur has harnessed a duality of experimentation and seamless pop melody to release a staggering 10 albums in the last decade. “I don’t know whether I’m on a roll but I feel something in me has been released,” he says. “I used to hold back and I didn’t trust myself. While I’m still full of self-doubt I’m now quite comfortable with it. This is it. We’ve only got one time around the block, so make the most of it.”

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New Release Section: Marketa Irglova,
“My Roots Go Deep”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Marketa Irglova, the Academy Award winner known most famously for staring in the movie Once and as one half of the duo The Swell Season, is ready to step back into the spotlight with LILA, her first record in over eight years. Irglova’s time away has been far from quiet as she married, had three children, and built a studio all while working on music near constantly in the intermitting years.

While many artists are busy offering up their pandemic record, LILA is a work that has been long in progress. With its confessional-like nature, the record offers insight into Irglova’s journey and how she has managed to find balance in her career as an artist, wife and mother, while embracing the full paradox of love, which softens even as it provides strength.

The central premise of LILA’s nine-song journey is one of LOVE. It finds Irglova living her dream life offering insight into the healing power of love and being at peace with that which you cannot control. As Irglova states: “Simply sitting with things I can’t change, rather than trying to solve them or run away from them, has brought me into a deeper place in my heart and I am grateful for that.”

LILA was conceived in Iceland with her partner/producer Sturla Mio Thorisson bringing Irglova’s vision into sharp focus. Recorded at the couple’s studio Masterkey, LILA is a showcase for Irglova’s exceptional piano and arrangement skills which have come to be known through her most famous song “Falling Slowly.” The singer-songwriter is joined by noted Finnish born / Irish based string player, Marja Gaynor, Czech guitarist Peter Moc, and Venezulan percussionist Manuel Barreto throughout the record.

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New Release Section: Lightning Seeds, “Sunshine”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Hard to believe it’s been more than a decade since Lightning Seeds released a new album but at last we can celebrate with the release of See You In The Stars, their first on new label BMG, out October 14th. This intoxicating 10 track collection is tunefully, emotionally, uplifting and is destined to kick start the summer with the feel good warmth of first track “Sunshine.”

One of the album highlights, “Emily Smiles,” was co-written with Specials man Terry Hall, whom Ian wrote Jollification’s “Lucky You” with. All songs on this ten track opus were written and recorded in short bursts over the last three years. The first two songs recorded were a pair written with the Coral’s James Skelly: “Great To Be Alive” and “Live To Love You.” “I always think music’s like attack and defense in football—or like politics—or like life. It’s about balance,” Ian Broudie says. “And achieving that is the challenge for me.” He’s more than succeeded with “Sunshine,” the first taste from the new album, out now.

“The song is about the sun being the source of life. I’ve had many dreams worrying about the future of an uncertain world,” Ian admits. “But then the sun shines and everything feels more positive and hopeful.

In 33 years as a recording artist, the man who is Lightning Seeds has sold a lot of records. Those include a million copies of Jollification, the 1994 album whose platinum-tipped success was spearheaded by era-capturing hit single “Change,” and which Broudie recently celebrated with a sold-out, 25th anniversary tour.

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New Release Section: Foals, “Crest Of The Wave”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Foals share the new song “Crest Of The Wave” ahead of this Friday’s release of their 7th studio album, Life Is Yours. The band—Yannis Philippakis, Jack Bevan, and Jimmy Smith—have released a succession of euphoric singles so far, including “Wake Me Up” to “2001.” The band yesterday announced their North American tour and are also confirmed headliners on Glastonbury’s Second Stage and at Latitude, which adds to their recent high profile live moments that have included Later… with Jools Holland, and a UK headline tour that saw them play to a combined audience of 40,000 people in London alone.

“Crest Of The Wave’ presents a more tranquil ambience than we’ve heard from Foals’ other recent singles. Yannis’s lyrics, however, present similarly evocative and escapist imagery. Fittingly, the band’s soundscape is dreamy tropical pop, all luminous guitar patterns and sparkling synth textures, while vocal harmonies coo and swoon around Yannis’s lead.

Yannis says, “A portion of ‘Crest Of The Wave’ existed in 2011, we had demoed it in Australia and just left it for years. But it was one of those songs which had always been at the back of our minds, like there was some unfinished business there.

As we were playing around with it with some of the themes on this record, we cracked it open and really revelled in adding lots of layers to it in the studio. I was looking at the power of the lyrics to transport myself and the listener somewhere else. It’s set in St Lucia which is an island that has always visually struck me as being very powerful.”

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New Release Section: Simple Minds, “Vision Thing”

VIA PRESS RELEASE | Today, Simple Minds release “Vision Thing,” the first track to be taken from the band’s eighteenth studio album Direction Of The Heart. Currently playing acclaimed shows throughout Europe (“Back in fashion and back on thrilling form.” The Times), Direction Of The Heart is Simple Minds’ first album of new material since 2018’s outstanding UK Top 5 album Walk Between Worlds.

Throughout its nine tracks Direction of The Heart, which is scheduled for release October 21 via BMG, finds the band at their most confident, anthemic best on an inspired celebration of life, none more so than on lead track “Vision Thing.” “Vision Thing” is a euphoric song—all pounding drums, synth washes and the unmistakable guitar-playing of Simple Minds’ lifelong six-string wonder, Charlie Burchill. With music written by Burchill and lyrics by frontman Jim Kerr the song is a tribute to Kerr’s “best pal,” his late father who passed away in 2019.

Direction Of The Heart’s opening track, “Vision Thing” sets the pace for a concise nine-track album. One which manages to perfectly encapsulate the essence of past and present Simple Minds, a band whose reascent over the past 10 years has seen them, once again, capture the magic and critical praise of their early days.

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