Saturday, 30 June 2012

LISTEN TO: The Best Of June 2012

So last month (May 2012) saw a new monthly feature begin, where I compile a playlist featuring some of the best music released during that particular month. June 2012 saw new album releases from Two Wounded Birds, Levellers, Beach Boys, Bobby Womack, Dexys, Crocodiles, Ultravox, Neil Young, the Smashing Pumpkins, The Offspring, Funeral suits, Baddies, Maximo Park, the Hives and many more. This month also brought singles from Jake Bugg, Muse and Clubfeet... You can listen to the whole playlist for free via Spotify...

Go HERE to read about all of June 2012's big music news stories...

LISTEN TO: Clubfeet - 'City Of Light'/'This Time'

It's the last day of the month so there's just about enough time to tell you about Too Pure Singles Club's release for June. Clubfeet are a five piece from Melbourne and Cape Town, Australia and they provide June's Too Pure single with their brilliant ‘City of Light’ backed with B side ‘This Time’.

The split single is the band’s first offering since their 2010 debut album, Gold on Gold, which was released from a then-unknown band who have since amassed a long list of champions from some of the world’s most respected music press and a steadily growing international fanbase.

The new single is mixed by Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Depeche Mode), ‘City of Light / This Time’ displays a immense evolution in the band’s sound. "Combining mellow synths, driving percussion and a sense of melody that is both compelling and understated, Clubfeet prove with these two tracks why they are becoming the darlings of many a record collection the world over..."

SONG FOR TODAY: Simon Fowler's Merrymouth - In The Midst Of Summertime

A fine track taken from Ocean Colour Scene man Simon Fowler's recent project. This particular song was written and sung by Dan Sealey, now also a member of OCS...

A very limited number of CD copies of the album are still available from or you can download the album from usual outlets...

Friday, 29 June 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: Two Wounded Birds - My Lonesome

A track taken from a recently released album that comes highly recommended. The self titled debut album from Two Wounded Birds was released a few weeks ago via Holiday Recordings. 'My Lonesome' is a mysterious and captivating moment recalling the surf guitar of Link Wray, carrying super-cool melancholy and a haunting vocal... 

Hailing from the crumbling seaside town of Margate, the Guardian said of the band:  "Inspired by the Beach Boys, this Margate band bring the west coast to east Kent with upbeat reveries tinged with darkness..."

Read my review of the album HERE where you can also hear the record in full...

To buy the album go here:

LISTEN TO: The Offspring - Days Go By

The Offspring have released their ninth studio album 'Days Go By'. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to listen to the album in full (requires Spotify) and read my review HERE.

The record, which is the ninth of the band's career, is the follow-up to their 2008 effort 'Rise And Fall, Rage And Grace' and their first album with new drummer Pete Parada. The album contains a total of 12 tracks and has been produced by Metallica/Lostprophets knob twiddler Bob Rock. 

The tracklisting for 'Days Go By' is as follows:

'The Future Is Now'
'Secrets from the Underground'
'Days Go By'
'Turning Into You'
'Hurting As One'
'Cruising California (Bumpin' In My Trunk)'
'All I Have Left Is You'
'OC Guns'
'Dirty Magic'
'I Wanna Secret Family (With You)'
'Dividing By Zero'
'Slim Pickens Does the Right Thing And Rides The Bomb To Hell

LISTEN TO: Martin Carr - 'Sailor'/'I Will Build A Road'

Former Boo Radleys man Martin Carr has released some new solo material. Two new tracks 'Sailor' and 'I Will Build A Road' are available to download now, and you can hear them both in full via the music player below...

'Sailor' was written and recorded by Martin Carr and mixed by Greg Strutton at Sail On Sailor Studios, Cardiff.

Carr revealed: "I will be releasing regular singles through Bandcamp from now on. I’ve been writing and getting to grips with my studio so there is no shortage of material and ideas. You can pay what you like for the single (min £2), hopefully at some point I’ll be able to afford to make a proper album. I would rather do it this way, give you an immediate return for your money than have you pledge for something that doesn’t exist but and extra funding would be, of course, much appreciated.

All the bravecaptain albums and ‘Ye Gods (and little fishes) are also available.

I also have a Tumblr page that I prefer to use now, I’ve started doing 10 Questions again on there and there is the odd snippet of music, photographs, robot children etc

I also have a Soundcloud account where you will find new songs and demos."


Thursday, 28 June 2012

PREVIEW: The Orb and Lee Scratch Perry - The Observer In The Star House

The last proper album was released in 2010 and was a collaboration with Pink Floyd's Dave Gilmour, and now The Orb are gearing up for another collaboration LP, this time with the utterly mental Lee 'Scratch' Perry. 'The Observer in the Star House' will be released on CD, vinyl, digital formats and a deluxe boxset on September 3rd 2012 through Cooking Vinyl. Scroll down to the bottom of this page to hear the new single 'Hold Me Upsetter' and 'Golden Clouds', a re-working of the classic 'Little Fluffy Clouds'.

The album's 11 tracks are

1. Ball Of Fire
2. House Of The Orbs
3. Man In The Moon
4. Soulman
5. Golden Clouds
6. Hold Me Upsetter
7. Go Down Evil
8. Thirsty
9. Police and Thieves
10. Ashes
11. Congo

A press release states: "Recorded in Berlin over the last few months, 'the observer at the starhouse' sparks with a rare magic as dr alex paterson and long-time orb member thomas fehlmann construct a panorama of stripped-down backdrops to provide the perfect backdrops for the upsetter's inimitable pronouncements, righteous declarations and sweet vocals. the orb have long been known for their assimilation of deepest dub into their stratospheric sonic innovations, as evidenced on u.f. orb's towers of dub, itself something of a lee perry tribute with its sound effects and distinctive underlying eccentricity. starting in the late 60s with the upsetters, perry wrote the book on jamaican mixing desk trickery, then constantly ripped it up to create new aural blueprints for the music via his black ark productions of the following decade, since then charting a waywardly idiosyncratic path which has ensured legions of followers absorbing his every move. 

Meanwhile, thomas has been at the forefront of germany's electronic music scene since his pioneering avant foraging with palais schaumburg in the late 1980s, becoming part of berlin's rapidly-evolving techno underground, working with sun electric and many of the city's major artists and operations, including the mighty kompakt. his immaculate electronic knowledge and intuition now had two disparate lightning rods to bounce between, recalling, "i met lee for the first time during this session and it was pretty touching to see how an unexpected connection and inspirational exchange could so awaken our creative juices. alex and i had never made so much new music on the spot before. it was soon pretty clear that we wouldn't get far with the four backing tracks we pre-produced for the session. lee was so overwhelmingly creative that it took an afternoon for those to be finished. from then on we were forced to come up with new beats on the spot, to keep lee in the flow." scratch's vocals glide distinctively over bass heavy monsters such as 'soulman' and 'man on the moon', the most overt orb-dub behemoth on the set, while 'don't rush' takes the ridim form then dismantles it in subterranean sonic catacombs. house grooves inflect 'house of the orb' and 'ashes' while a funky slide bass-line percolates under 'thirsty'. 'hold me upsetter' sparkles with lovely bass-string interplay, while 'congo' brings in rolling banks of african percussion, many of the tracks beat with the subliminal rasta heartbeat. both parties rework one of their classics; 'police and thieves', the track which perry produced for junior murvin in 1976, is turned into a bass-heavy vocal vehicle for the reggae veteran, while the orb's 'little fluffy clouds' is reshaped as the hallucinogenic dancehall clatter of 'golden clouds'.

The mouth-watering prospect of a legendary master working with long-time acolytes who tuned into his unique wavelength long ago blossoms and explodes on the observer at the starhouse, which, in the best scratch and orb tradition, often takes music where it's not gone before."

PREVIEW: Tim Burgess - 'Oh No I Love You'

Frontman of The Charlatans, Tim Burgess is set to release his new solo album 'Oh No I Love You' on September 24th. The album was recorded in collaboration with Lambchop's Kurt Wagner, and you can hear new single 'White', and two live versions of tracks from the album by scrolling to the bottom of this page and clicking...

Burgess says of the album: “The root of this album goes right back to a Kurt Wagner show in Manchester. It was the quietest yet the most powerful live performance I had ever seen and afterwards I carried Kurt's guitar to the car for him. I took the chance to ask him if he would ever consider writing a song with me. "Sure Tim, you write the music and I'll write the words". That one song turned into an album and almost ten year's after we first talked about it, the album is ready and it's called 'Oh No I Love You'".

"Kurt gave me the number of producer Mark Nevers in Nashville. He said Mark's studio, The Beech House was the perfect place to record. We got together members of Lambchop, Clem Snide, My Morning Jacket. We used strings, brass and a gospel choir. Chris Scruggs, grandson of the legendary Earl Scruggs came and played on a couple of songs and lo fi legend R Stevie Moore stopped by and we recorded a track in one take. Further contributions came from Factory Floor’s Gabe Gurnsey and Nik Colk Void and string arrangements from head High Llama Sean O'Hagan”.

Tim Burgess has also confirmed a UK tour in support of the album

18 Aberdeen Lemon Tree
19 Glasgow Oran Mor
20 Manchester Deaf Institute
22 Birmingham Glee Club
23 Bristol Thekla
24 London Union Chapel
26 Dublin Workman's Club
27 Belfast Stiff Kitten

SONG FOR TODAY: Magazine - Shot By Both Sides

A band who I first became aware of after singer Howard Devoto collaborated with the much-missed Mansun on one of their B sides. Then as the years went on I discovered the Buzzcocks, who Devoto also used to be a member of, and eventually began to listen to the excellent Magazine, who were also notable for the stunning guitar of John McGeoch... 

"Shot by Both Sides" is a song written by Howard Devoto and Pete Shelley, and performed by the English post punk band Magazine, which was released in January 1978 as the band's first single (reaching #41 on the UK charts) and a few months later appeared on their debut album Real Life. Shot by Both Sides is also the title of the English translation of Meisei Goto's paranoid Japanese novel, Hasamiuchi (original 1973, translation 2008). Translator Tom Gill chose the title because he was a Magazine fan, and also because the more obvious title, Crossfire, had already been used as the title of another Japanese novel translated into English—a detective novel by Miyuki Miyabe. A very similar guitar riff would shortly be used in the song "Lipstick" by Devoto's former band Buzzcocks, released as a b-side in November 1978...

Wednesday, 27 June 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: Senor Coconut - Around The World

THIS has been playing for the last few minutes on BBC 6Music, as Sex Pistol Steve Jones sits in for Marc Riley this week. The original was of course by the excellent Daft Punk, and was a song that I played to death when it came out in the mid-to-late 90's, but here is a superb version by Senor Coconut... 'Around the World' is a song by the French electronic music duo Daft Punk. It appeared on the duo's debut album, Homework and was released as a single the same year. It subsequently became a major club hit around the world and arrived at #1 in dance charts. The song is particularly known for the repeated phrasing of its title. It is also known for its music video, which was directed by Michel Gondry and choreographed by Blanca Li. In October 2011, NME placed it at number 21 on its list "150 Best Tracks of the Past 15 Years".

Listen to the new MUSE single 'Survival' HERE now!

So here it is: Muse's new single 'Survival', the official song of the London 2012 Olympics. Scroll to the bottom of thi spage to hear the track in full (thanks to Warner Brothers for the stream)

The bombastic Queen-like track, which is titled 'Survival', will be played when athletes enter the stadium, in the lead up to the medal ceremony and also as the theme for all international TV coverage. 

The track, which the band have said is inspired by "total conviction and pure determination to win", was debuted on Radio 1 a few minutes ago (June 27) at 7.30pm (GMT).

Writing about 'Survival', the band said: "We are very excited to announce that a Muse song, Survival, has been selected by the London Olympic committee to be the main official song for the London 2012 Olympic Games. Matt wrote the song with the Olympics in mind. It's about total conviction and pure determination to win."

They continued: "The song will be played throughout the Games including when athletes enter the stadium, in the lead up to the medal ceremony and also as the theme for all international TV coverage. The worldwide radio exclusive will be tonight on BBC Radio 1 around 19:30 and will be available to buy on iTunes and in the store immediately afterwards."

They continued further: "We are honoured that the Olympics have chosen our song to officially represent the London 2012 Olympic Games across the globe."


About a year and a half ago young Nottingham based singer Jake Bugg handed influential DJ Steve Lamacq a CD in the street and 18 months after Lamacq played his first demo, Bugg recorded his first BBC 6 Music Session.

The hotly-tipped singer-songwriter began playing guitar at the age of 12 and began writing songs when he turned 13. The recent release of his new single 'Lightning Bolt' has seen his profile increase, with the track receiving much airplay and critical acclaim. A few weeks ago he performed on 'Later... With Jools Holland' and has also been on tour supporting the brilliant Michael Kiwanuka.

Lightning Bolt
Jake Bugg - SaffronBy scrolling down to the bottom of this page you can listen (and watch the video) to 'Lightning Bolt' and the upcoming single 'Taste It'. Underneath those are videos of his performances on 'Later...'.

The debut album is out 22nd October 2012. Available to pre-order now on:

'Lightning Bolt', the new single from Jake Bugg. Available to download from iTunes now:

You can download the track "Saffron" for free via his Facebook page.

Subscribe to Jake's newsletter:

PREVIEW: The Vaccines - 'The Vaccines Come Of Age'

The Vaccines have confirmed details of their second album, 'The Vaccines Come Of Age', which is set for release on September 3.

Scroll down to listen to the new single 'No Hope' plus live versions of two other tracks slated for inclusion on the album, 'Bad Mood' and 'Teenage Icon'

Speaking to NME about the album, the band's singer Justin Young has said: "I don't think there's any danger of us making the same record twice. But I think anything people found attractive about us the first time round has been retained. I'm really confident we've got the balance right." 

He added: "I wanted to look inwards with this record. Honesty goes a long way in music and it's therapeutic. There's a lot about the way I'm feeling. One minute you're a shit-kicking 21-year-old and the next you're playing a song you've written in front of 20,000 people chanting your name. But that's tongue-in-cheek too, it's not me taking myself completely seriously."

The tracklisting for 'The Vaccines Come Of Age' is as follows:

'No Hope'
'I Always Knew'
'Teenage Icon'
'All In Vain'
'Ghost Town'
'Aftershave Ocean'
'Bad Mood'
'Change Of Heart pt.2.'
'I Wish I Was A Girl'
'Lonely World'

The album has been produced by Ethan Johns, who has previously worked on albums by the likes of Kings Of Leon, Laura Marling and Tom Jones. 

Last week (June 22) the band offered fans a free live EP, recorded in Brighton, to download featuring the tracks 'Tiger Blood', live favourite 'Wreckin' Bar (Ra Ra Ra)' and their cover of R.Stevie Moore's 'Why Should I Love You'. You can download the EP from 

Lowe spoke to the band's frontman Justin Young about the upbeat, melodic new single 'No Hope'. "We all felt it was a really good bridge between the first record and the second record," said Young in the interview, before going on to explain that the song's vocals were recorded completely live. 

"You can progress without getting too weird," said Young of the direction of the follow-up to their 2011 debut album, 'What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?' Young said that the band were currently in a studio outside of Bath, "just putting the finishing touches" to the album. 

Last month, Young told NME that the band's new album is sounding "more intimate" than their debut. He also praised the positive influence of producer Ethan Johns.

Young said it was a "dream come true" to work with Johns, commenting: "He mixes it live so everything is very organic. He says that when the hairs on his arms stand up he knows it's time to stop." The frontman continued: “The record is a lot more intimate and close than the first record, whether you're a fan of the music or not, it sounds brilliant.”

Tuesday, 26 June 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer - Straight Out Of Surrey/The Crack Song

This gloriously funny track is taken from Mr B The Gentleman Rhymer's first long-player, 'Flattery Not Included', released a few years ago. It introduces Mr. B's notion of 'Chap Hop', a form of Hip Hop performed in the King's English with banjolele accompaniment and chappist lyrical themes concerning nostalgia for Edwardian life (or an idealised version of it), notably cricket, pipe-smoking, and sherry. Other songs focus on Hip Hop culture and the relations between it and "chappism" as practised by Mr. B. The best way to listen to 'Straight Out Of Surrey' is to hear NWA's original version first to compare the contrasting lyrics... Since 'Straight Out Of Surrey' isn't available on the service, Spotify users can instead listen to 'The Crack Song', a jolly ditty included in the music player at the bottom of this page...

Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer is a parodist who performs "chap hop" — hip-hop delivered in a Received Pronunciation accent. Mr. B raps, or "rhymes", about high society, pipe smoking and cricket while playing the banjolele. The character is described as having grown up in Cheam and attending Sutton Grammar School for Boys.

Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer is an alter ego of Jim Burke (formerly a rapper with the Britpop group Collapsed Lung). Mr. B The Gentleman Rhymer started performing in late 2007, playing at cabaret clubs, and venues across the UK including the Glastonbury Festival and club NME in Paris, and performed as part of the 2010 Edinburgh Fringe Festival. He has performed on radio including the Steve Lamacq show and "Introducing with Tom Robinson" for the BBC. He has also been named as a 'Band of the Month' on the Kooba Radio podcast.

His debut album "Flattery Not Included" was released in 2008 for the Grot Music label, which includes the track "Chap-Hop History" which is a Received Pronunciation reworking of some well known hip-hop classics. Its accompanying video has received numerous views on YouTube. Another track from the album, "Timothy", is about the unique vocal style of BBC Radio's Tim Westwood. Perhaps his best known track, "Straight Out Of Surrey", is a parody of N.W.A's "Straight Outta Compton" and purports to be "the extent of [his] cricket knowledge."

Mr B. has appeared as a guest on the Zero Day album by MC Frontalot, playing the banjolele and providing additional vocals on the track "Better At Rapping".

He is currently in a feud with "chap-hop" artist Professor Elemental...

LISTEN TO: Ginger Wildheart - 100%

(Words courtesy of
Best known through his work with The Wildhearts, Ginger Wildheart has spent the last twenty years writing and recording some of Britain's best rock music and building a fanatical following. His new album '100%' is currently at number 5 in the midweek album charts having been released yesterday (June 25th 2012). Listen to the album in full below, via Spotify...

In mid 2011, Ginger Wildheart approached various labels with a typically ambitious triple album project. Unable to gain any interest from labels or distributers to fund the album, Ginger Wildheart turned to Direct to Fan platform PledgeMusic, which allowed him to work directly with fans to create the album, bypassing the traditional methods of recording and releasing music. 

The target that was set was beaten in six hours, and doubled in 24 hours. Six months later and Ginger Wildheart has completed 30 songs, and the total stands at over 560%! This has been the biggest direct to fan/fan funded album release through any of the DTF platforms (Kickstarter, PledgeMusic, Indiegogo etc..) in the WORLD. EVER. The campaign has raised over $260,000 before the campaign was closed.

Ginger Wildheart made a direct connection with his fanbase and has proved, in this time of doom and gloom in the music industry, that there is an attractive alternative to making records that doesn't involve the label system of borrowing money, getting in debt and struggling to recoup. This process allows bands to engage with their fans. It also allows fans to getting excited about (and feel involved in) an artists new record.

The PledgeMusic triple album – aptly tilted 555% - was played to Pledgers in three weekly instalments during March 2012. The Twitter listening parties took place at 5.55pm every Friday and each week the tag #Ginger555 became the highest trending topic on Twitter in the UK. The Pledgers then voted on their favourite tracks and from those votes the twelve tracks that make up '100%' were chosen.

The tracklisting for '100%' is as follows:

1. Forget About It
2. Internal Radio
3. Lover It'll All Work Out
4. You're The One, You're The One, Yeah, I Know You're The One, You're The One (Yeah, I Know You're The One)
5. It Appears That The Party Is Over
6. Taste Aversion
7. Another Spinning Fucking Rainbow
8. Just Another Song About Someone
9. Westward Ho! (A New Reputation)
10. Beautifully, Blissfully Unsettled
11. We've Been Expecting You
12 Time

The album features artwork by the legendary Terry Pastor (Hunky Dory, Ziggy Stardust).

INTRODUCING: Charlie Lankester And The Mojo Killers

A great new album to look out for over the coming months is the new one from Charlie Lankester And The Mojo Killers, entitled 'Songs In A Minor Key'. The album is preceded by a single 'The Spinning Of The Wheel' in August, but until then you can get a free mp3 of the poignant 'In My Time' by signing up to Charlie's mailing list HERE. You can hear the track and listen to previews of new tracks via the music player at the bottom of this page...

The day before singer / songwriter / pianist Charlie Lankester was due to mix the final track of his upcoming ‘Song In A Minor Key’ solo album in the studio, (in mid-December 2011), he was diagnosed with hepatocellular carcinoma – incurable cancer of the liver. So much for the bad news; the good news is that, in Charlie's own words “I ain't dead yet”; in fact, he is now playing and singing better than ever. “I was feeling so good about the album that when the doctor told me I had only months to live I just laughed and said ‘No mate, that's not gonna happen. I've got an album to release.” Fired up by the determination to see through the fruition of his new creation, he immediately finished mixing and sought the very best alternative medical advice available to him - rather than undergo extensive chemotherapy or radiotherapy. Charlie’s tumour has now been reduced by fifty per cent, thanks to dedicated diets and supplements for cancer, plus several courses of intravenous doses of high intensity vitamin C.

After two decades of playing keyboards for the likes of Linda Gail Lewis, Osibisa, Otis Grand, The Boogie Band and the John Warwick All Stars, he had decided several years prior to that day to fulfill a lifelong ambition to write and record his own personal full length album, “written just for me”. Having spent the previous 20 years playing other people’s songs, he had taken time out (in the country) to create a classy collection of his own bluesy, rootsy compositions, totally without distractions.

Very much a man on a mission, Charlie Lankester now can’t wait to headline The Bedford in Balham on June 19th to preview the release of ‘The Spinning Of The Wheel’, the first single on 20th August, and then ‘Song In A Minor Key’ on September 3rd on Midmoor Music, distributed by World Domination Music Ltd/Proper Records.

Charlie Lankester first tasted life as a musician when he dropped out of medical school in the late 70’s and spent four years in Aussie cult outfit The Last Chance CafĂ©, building a major following ‘Down Under’ and winning support slots with the likes of Fats Domino, BB King, JJ Cale, AC / DC, Billy Joel and Status Quo. Various record deals were offered by such labels as Polygram, CBS and Mushroom, but the band imploded just as they were put on the table. Charlie upped sticks in disgust and travelled to Europe, busking in places like Ibiza and Barcelona before settling in London and training as an Osteopath at the end of the 80’s. For the last 20 years, while practicing as an osteopath by day, he has morphed into a much sought after musician at night, winning an enviable reputation for his ivory tinkling skills.

Having worked with numerous accomplished musicians over the years, in 2011 he assembled the cream of the crop; guitarists Derek (‘Del’) Mandel and Mark Hawkins, bass player Dave Cuthbert, drummer Daniel Howard, plus the consummate horn section of Paul Silver on Saxophone, Gavin Broom on trumpet and Nick Mills on trombone, and dubbed them ‘The Mojo Killers’.

‘Song In A Minor Key’, which Charlie firmly believes will not prove to be The Mojo Killers’ swansong release, is a gloriously organic, mellow, yet totally uplifting collection of passionate blues rock gems. “You’ll just have to put up with me for a while yet” quips Charlie!


Monday, 25 June 2012

SONG FOR TODAY: Steppenwolf - Born To Be Wild

Another track from that excellent 'Essential Soundtracks' compilation that FilmFour released years ago. Also on the excellent 'Easy Rider' soundtrack album, which I now own on vinyl... "'Born to Be Wild' is a rock song written by Mars Bonfire (Canadian songwriter Dennis Edmonton) and performed by Steppenwolf. It is often used in popular culture to denote a biker appearance or attitude. It is sometimes described as the first heavy metal song, and the second verse lyric "heavy metal thunder" marks the first use of this term in rock music (albeit not obviously as a description of a musical style). The song was initially released in 1968, but it was subsequently included in many compilation albums and soundtracks. The first of these was the soundtrack for the movie Easy Rider (1969). Unlike the album or single version, the song on this soundtrack is accompanied by the sounds of motorcycles as an introduction. (Another Steppenwolf song from their first album, "The Pusher", was also used in the film.) When the movie was in production, Born to Be Wild was used simply as a placeholder, since Peter Fonda had wanted Crosby, Stills and Nash to do the movie's soundtrack. Eventually, it became clear that the song was well suited for the movie..."

PREVIEW: Bloc Party - 'Four'

Bloc Party have announced that their new album will be titled 'Four' and will be released later this summer.

The album, which is the follow up to their 2008 LP 'Intimacy', will be released on August 20 and has been produced by Death Cab For Cutie/The Mars Volta knob twiddler Alex Newport.

The quartet have released a video trailer for 'Four', which you can see by scrolling down to the bottom of the page and clicking. You can also hear the new tracks 'Day Four', 'Octopus' and watch videos of live versions of seven of the tracks from the album...

'So He Begins To Lie'
'Real Talk'
'Day 4'
'Team A'
'The Healing'
'We're Not Good People'

Speaking about the record on his blog, the singer admitted that the band needed time apart from each other and very nearly parted ways before they'd even started work on 'Four'. 

He wrote: "We could have come clean from the get go but to be honest we had no idea if anything was going to come out of these sessions. There was a big question mark over whether Bloc Party were ever going to make another record again."

He continued: "We were exhausted and bored and distant from one another. so in 2010 we all did our own thing, Gordon [Moakes - bass] had a baby, Russell [Lissack - guitar] joined Ash, Matt [Tong - drums] built a studio in his basement with his bare hands and I moved to New York to finish a book that I had been writing for the last 3 years."

The singer then admitted that in 2011 he found himself longing to be back with his bandmates and asked them to reconvene, which they did.

He wrote: "Something became clear to me, I needed to put my band back together, I missed my friends. Even though I had made a record by myself I missed the way that my band worked, how little improvisations and suggestions would then go on to spark other ideas in me like wildfire. Being in bloc party always forced me to think on my feet."

He continued: "It turns out that everyone had been feeling the same way so we arranged to decamp to New York and start writing our fourth record and in that time it became clear to us that the only reason to be in this band was to make the sort of music that only the four of us could make."

The band will preview their new album with three low-key shows next month. The trek kicks off with a date at Glasgow Garage on June 19, followed by a show at Manchester's HMV Ritz on June 20 and wrapping up at London KOKO on June 21. They will also play a run of European and US shows throughout the summer.

Last year Kele courted controversy by claiming that while he was busy with his solo career, the remaining members of Bloc Party would be auditioning new singers to allow them to continue playing together. Bloc Party soon backtracked on the admission, which had been made to NME.

LISTEN TO: The Flaming Lips - The Flaming Lips And Heady Fwends

'The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends' is a collaborative studio album by The Flaming Lips. Recorded throughout 2011 and 2012, the album was released as a limited edition on vinyl for Record Store Day on April 21, 2012 and on CD and digitally on June 26, 2012. Four songs from the album were previously released on collaborative EPs in 2011. Amongst others this album features collaborations with Nick Cave, Neon Indian and Yoko Ono...

You can listen to the whole album below via Spotify, or if you prefer via a YouTube playlist...

Sunday, 24 June 2012

GIG REVIEW: Mark Morriss - Devizes Fringe Festival 23/06/2012

With some people at tables, others standing and a group sat on the floor at the front, this intimate setting is perfect for Mark Morriss to win over the hearts of more people with not only his great songs but also with his sharp wit and genuinely humorous charm. He's a humble, self mocking character, often becoming engaged in conversation with members of the audience in between numbers and raising countless laughs all night. A lot of people here are longtime fans of Mark's old band The Bluetones, others are here to see what's going on in this cramped upstairs room of a Devizes pub. One thing's for sure, everyone here enjoys it very much indeed. 

When he plays the classic 'Slight Return' it reveals that his voice is every bit as strong as it was all those years ago when it was a hit single. He also treats us to the striking new track 'Low Company', which is easily as good as anything The Bluetones ever produced. With its superb chorus and revealing lyrics, it's one hell of a tune, and has that rare gift of sounding so simple yet so stunning at the same time. It leaves the audience hungry to hear more new material, but towards the end this show is pretty much a small, crowded room full of people shouting out the names of their favourite Bluetones songs for Mark to play. In his own words he doesn't want to take it as far as becoming "a human jukebox" but taking requests from fans in such a warm, intimate setting works really well tonight and clearly Mark enjoys it as much as the audience do.

Later he plays an excellent rendition of Neil Young's 'Old Man' for a mate in the room who is celebrating his birthday, and plays the fine 'I Was A Teenage Jesus' at the request of an incredibly pleased fan. The acoustic version of 'Science And Nature' album track 'Slack Jaw' is brief but delivered brilliantly, and someone shouts out for an acoustic version of 'Mudslide'. "You mean that song with all the samples and loops in it?"... Obviously there are certain limitations when it comes to only being armed with an acoustic guitar and a voice. But some of the old tracks that people are used to hearing played by a full band actually sound more powerful when played in such a stripped back fashion, 'Sleazy Bed Track' being a prime example. 

Despite being in one of the most well loved and long-lasting indie bands of the 90's, here's a man who treats his audience like they are his friends and is as down to earth as singers can be. Judging by brilliant live shows like tonight and the strength of his new material, there is no reason why Mark Morriss shouldn't deserve even greater success as a solo artist.

Scroll down to watch a video of Mark Morris playing 'Old Man'...

Go HERE to read a gig review of Mark Morris in Portsmouth earlier this month, which also includes videos and better photos...

And go HERE to visit Mark's official website where you can download two new tracks for free, including the excellent 'Low Company'...