Tag: Bella Union Records

New Audio: Lost Horizons Teams Up with John Grant on a Slow-Burning and Brooding Meditation of Time and Loss

With the release of their full-length debut 2017’s Ojaiá, (Spanish for “hopefully” or “God willing”) to critical praise, the members of Lost Horizons — Cocteau Twins’ and Bella Union Records label head Simon Raymonde (bass. guitar, keys, production) and Dif Juz’s Richie Thomas (drums, keys, guitar) — ended a 20+ year hiatus from creating music. “These days, we need hope more than ever, for a better world,” Thomas said in press notes at the time. “And this album has given me a lot of hope. To reconnect with music . . . And the hope for another Lost Horizons record!”

The world has gotten even worse. And the possibility of a better world seems — at this moment, at least — increasingly dim. Our political, economic and social systems are in the middle of a slow-burning collapse while entire sections of the world have burned down However, one small portion of Thomas’ hopes have been fulfilled: Raymonde and Thomas will be releasing a new album, In Quiet Moments. Adding to overall sense of doom, fear, heartache and tragedy, as Raymonde and Thomas were about to buckle down and craft the largely improvised instrumental bedrock of the new album’s material, Raymonde’s mother died.

Raymonde threw himself into his work as a way to channel his grief. “The way improvisation works,” he says, “it’s just what’s going on with your body at the time, to let it out.” The duo forged ahead crafting 16 instrumental tracks that they eventually sent to an eclectic array of guest vocalists including Ural Thomas, Penelope Isles’ Jack Wolter, The Hempolics Nubiya Brandon, Tim Smith, Gemma Dunleavy, the innocence mission’s Karen Petts, Horse Thief’s Cameron Neal, Marissa Nadler, Porridge Radio’s Dana Margolin, John Grant, Ballet School’s Rosie Blair, Penelope Isles’ Lily Wolter (as her solo recording project KookieLou) and an impressive list of others. When they sent the instrumental tracks to their then-prospective guest vocalists, Raymonde suggested a guiding theme for their lyrics: “Death and rebirth. Of loved ones, of ideals, at an age when many artists that have inspired us are also dead, and the planet isn’t far behind. But I also said, ‘The most important part is to just do your own thing, and have fun.”

During the writing and recording process, COVID-19 paralyzed and frightened the entire world. And while about half of the album’s lyrics were written in the middle of pandemic-related lockdowns, Raymonde in particular, saw a silver lining: people were slowing down and taking stock of their lives. Having heard a lyric written by the aforementioned Ural Thomas, Raymonde singled out one phrase “in quiet moments” and thought it would be the perfect album title. “It just made sense,” he says. “This moment of contemplation in life is really beautiful.”

While generally centered around loss, the album’s material is more specifically tied to hope — and as a result, the album is more about rebirth than death. “I think it’s more joyous than Ojalá,” Thomas says. “But both albums have a great energy about them.” That shouldn’t be surprising as both Lost Horizons albums find the duo and their various collaborators undulating across a dizzying array of moods and voices. In Quiet Moments’ latest single, the lush “Cordelia.” Centered around atmospheric synths, some gorgeous steel pedal guitar from David Rothon, elegant strings from Fiona Brice, paired with John Grant’s layered and brooding vocals, the song is a painterly (and brooding) meditation on the passing of time, the changing of seasons and of loss — but with the tacit understanding and acceptance of the fact that all things are transient.

“This was one of the last tracks recorded for the album, though it came from the ashes of one the first improv sessions Richie (Thomas) and I had,” Raymonde explains in press notes. “Listening back to what we started with, I jettisoned the drums and most of the guitars but salvaged a small part of it and turned it into something brand new. Then I had the amazing David Rothon, who I had seen play live with Marissa Nadler a few nights before — and long-time collaborator Fiona Brice add pedal steel and strings respectively. Sitting quietly in the studio with our spacey slice of instrumental swirl, I closed my eyes to imagine a voice. While much of his recent work involves synths and crunchy beats, how he magnificently handles cinematic melancholy in his own work, and specifically in the Scott Walker Prom for the BBC, I knew my dear friend John Grant would nail this. I hoped he might enjoy the freedom of creating some melodic magic alongside elegant emotional lyrics. I sent him the piece, aware that he is always so incredibly busy, and tried to keep my expectations low, in case he had to turn it down, but to my utter and continuing delight he said yes and I’ll have to admit to shedding a tear or two when he sent me back the completed vocal a few weeks later.”

John Grant adds, “I really loved doing this track with Simon. I’d had the idea for this song for a long time and when he sent me the instrumental, I immediately thought: ‘CORDELIA’ – so happy to have found such a beautiful home for this track!”

In Quiet Moments is slated for for a two part release through Bella Union. The first part will be released on December 4, 2020. The second part will be released on February 26, 2021 with the physical release of the entire album.

New Audio: Acclaimed Norwegian Act Pom Poko Release an Exuberant and Breakneck New Single

Deriving their name from one of the more outre films ever released by Japanese animation studio Studio Ghibli, Pom Poko is a rising Norwegian quartet — Ragnhild Fangel (vocals), Martin Miguel Tonne (guitar), Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) — that can trace their origins back to 2016 when the members of the band met while they were studying jazz at Trondheim Music Conservatory, and bonded over their desire to play punk rock at a jazz gig at a literature festival.

Interestingly, the individual members of the rising Norwegian act have publicly cited a wide and eclectic array of influences on their sound and approach, including Oumou Sangare, Ali Farka Toure, Vulfpeck, Palm, KNOWER, Hella, Death Grips, Jenny Hval and Nick Drake among others. And as a result, the act has managed to establish a sound and approach that defies easy description or categorization. “We’ve all done lots of improvised music in the past, and I think that shapes the way we play, even though the tunes are not improvised,” the band explained in press notes. “We like when new and strange things happen in an old song, and that music can change over time by being played live, because that removes predictability and the ‘recipe’ that some genres of music have.”

Last year’s full-length debut Birthday received praise from the likes of Interview Magazine, The Line of Best Fit, The Independent, Clash Magazine, DIY Magazine and NME, who picked the band as one of the acts to watch out for in 2019 — and with the breakneck “My Blood,” a track that possessed elements of math rock, punk rock and indie rock was a great example of their wildly inventive, exuberant sound. Adding to a breakthrough year, the band also received airplay on BBC Radio 6 while landing Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannprisen) Award and Nordic Music Prize nods.

Building upon the momentum of last year, the Norwegian quartet’s highly-anticipated Marcus Forsgren-produced sophomore album Cheater is slated for a November 6, 2020 release through Bella Union Records. Written during the same period that produced one-off singles like “Leg Day” and “Praise,” Cheater finds the band further establishing the sound that has won them national and international acclaim — but the major difference between the two is that Cheater’s material wasn’t road-tested before the band went into the studio.”That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time,” Pom Poko’s Ragnhild Fangel explains.

“I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process, I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic education and recording but also let ourselves explore the less frantic part of the Pom Poko universe,” Fangel says of the differences between Birthday and Cheater. “I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.”

Cheater’s latest single “My Candidacy” finds the act managed to walk a tightrope between breakneck mosh pit friendly punk, centered around enormous power chords and saccharine sweet verses. Featuring the classic grunge rock alternating loud, quiet, loud song structure, the song explodes with an unpredictable, brash and girlish coquettishness while evoking the swooning rush of love. According to the band “the song itself is about the wish to be able to believe in unconditional love, even though you know that there probably is no such thing. We, at least, believe in unconditional love for riffy tunes with sing-song choruses.”

New Video: I Break Horses Releases a Brooding and Lonely Visual for “Depression Tourist”

Led by frontwoman Maria Linden and featuring Fredrik Balak, the Stockholm-based indie act I Break Horses have released two critically applauded albums: 2011’s full-length debut Hearts received praise from Pitchfork, The Guardian, NME, The Independent and others for material that possessed a luxurious grandeur and 2014’s Chiaroscuro, which found Linden crafting ambitious material with a cool, self-assuredness. Building upon a growing profile, Linden and Balak toured with M83 and Sigur Ros— and U2 played “Winter Beats” before their stage entrance during 2018’s Experience + Innocence tour.

Released yesterday through Bella Union, I Break Horses’ long-awaited third album Warnings was centered around Linden’s desire to take the time to make something entirely different — crafting martial with a strong emphasis on instrumental, cinematic music.  Much of the album’s material can trace its origins back to Linden watching a collection of her favorite films on her computer with the sound muted. As she did so, she began to make her own soundtrack sketches — and those initial sketches gradually evolved int songs. “It wasn’t until I felt an urge to add vocals and lyrics,” Linden says, “that I realized I was making a new I Break Horses album.

Sonically, the album’s material consists of lush and sumptuously layered soundscapes featuring dreamy mellotrons, haunting loops, analog synths and layered vocals meant to create an immersive, dramatic tension on multiple levels. “It’s not a political album,” says Lindén, “though it relates to the alarmist times we live in. Each song is a subtle warning of something not being quite right.” Perhaps unsurprisingly, the album’s creative process was also centered around several different dramas of its own:  “It has been some time in the making. About six years, involving several studios, collaborations that didn’t work out, a crashed hard drive with about two years of work, writing new material again instead of trying to repair it. New studio recordings, erasing everything, then recording most of the album myself at home…” Linden says in press notes.

Warnings also finds Linden collaborating with producer and mixing engineer Chris Coady, who has worked with the likes of Beach House and TV on the Radio. But his experience and expertise with dense and cinematic sound wasn’t the only reason Linden recruited him to mix the album. “Before reaching out to Chris I read an interview where he said, ‘I like to slow things down. Almost every time I love the sound of something slowed down by half, but sometimes 500% you can get interesting shapes and textures.’ And I just knew he’d be the right person for this album.”

“Nowadays, the attention span equals nothing when it comes to how most people consume music,” Lindén adds. “And it feels like songs are getting shorter, more ‘efficient.’ I felt an urge to go against that and create an album journey from start to finish that takes time and patience to listen to. Like, slow the fuck down!”

Now, as you may recall, I wrote about “Neon Lights,” Warnings third single, a lush and cinematic track that managed to recall Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk and the Stranger Things soundtrack with a much-needed we-re-all-in-this-together air.  “Depression Tourist,” Warnings’ latest single is an eerie and atmospheric track, centered around a sparse arrangement of shimmering and ethereal synths and Linden’s voice fed through vocoder and other effects. And as a result, the song feels intimate and lonely, yet otherworldly. 

“I wanted this song to sound as if it was broadcasted from space, the loneliest place I could imagine,” Linden explains. “As I obviously couldn’t perform it up there I filmed this version in the loneliest field I could find in Malta.” Shot in black and white, the recently released live session features Linden and a synthesizer in the middle of a windswept corn field. The concept my be simple but it’s gorgeous and evocative. 

Lyric Video: Stockholm’s I Break Horses Releases a Shimmering and Cinematic New Single

Led by frontwoman Maria Linden and featuring Fredrik Balak, the Stockholm-based indie act I Break Horses have released two critically applauded albums: 2011’s full-length debut Hearts received praise from Pitchfork, The Guardian, NME, The Independent and others for material that possessed luxurious grandeur and 2014’s Chiaroscuro, which found Linden crafting ambitious material with a cool, self-assuredness. Building upon a growing profile, Linden wound up touring with M83 and Sigur Ros– and U2 played “Winter Beats” before their stage entrance during 2018’s Experience + Innocence tour. 

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Bella Union, I Break Horses’ long-awaited third album Warnings is reportedly centered around Linden’s desire to take the time to make something different — by crafting material with an emphasis on instrumental, cinematic music. As she watched a collection of her favorite films on her computer with the sound mute, she began to make her own soundtrack sketches, with those sketches gradually evolving into songs. “It wasn’t until I felt an urge to add vocals and lyrics,” says Lindén, “that I realized I was making a new I Break Horses album.”

Sonically, the album’s material is centered around lush and sumptuous soundscapes — dreamy mellotrons, haunting loops, analog synths and layered lyrics paired together to create an immersive, dramatic tension on multiple levels. “It’s not a political album,” says Lindén, “though it relates to the alarmist times we live in. Each song is a subtle warning of something not being quite right.”  Interestingly, the album’s creative process involved several different dramas on its own right: “It has been some time in the making. About six years, involving several studios, collaborations that didn’t work out, a crashed hard drive with about two years of work, writing new material again instead of trying to repair it. New studio recordings, erasing everything, then recording most of the album myself at home…” Linden says in press notes.

Warnings also finds Linden collaborating with producer and mixing engineer Chris Coady, who has worked with the likes of Beach House and TV on the Radio. But his experience and expertise with dense and cinematic sound wasn’t the only reason Linden recruited him to mix the album. “Before reaching out to Chris I read an interview where he said, ‘I like to slow things down. Almost every time I love the sound of something slowed down by half, but sometimes 500% you can get interesting shapes and textures.’ And I just knew he’d be the right person for this album.”

Adds Linden, “Nowadays, the attention span equals nothing when it comes to how most people consume music,” Lindén says. “And it feels like songs are getting shorter, more ‘efficient’. I felt an urge to go against that and create an album journey from start to finish that takes time and patience to listen to. Like, slow the fuck down!”

“Neon Lights,” Warnings’  third and latest single is a lush and cinematic track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a motorik groove, thumping beats, a rousingly anthemic hook and Linden’s plaintive and expressive vocals. And while recalling Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk and the Stranger Things soundtrack, the song has a much-needed we’re-in-this-together air. The track as Linden explains is “anthem for all of us who have ever felt like we didn’t fit in. It is trying to give a glimpse of hope to all outsiders who feel like they can’t find their way and to show the world that being a ‘misfit’ is a beautiful thing, not something to be pushed aside.”

Interview: A Q&A with New Colossus Festival Co-Founder Mike Bell

Co-founded by three New York music industry vets and longtime friends, Lorimer Beacon‘s founder and head Mike Bell, Kanine Records‘ founder and label head Lio Kanine and Kepler Events and Lola Live’s Steven Matrick, the second annual The New Colossus Festival, which will take place on March 11, 2020 – March 15, 2020 will feature more than 100 handpicked, emerging indie bands and artists from the US, Canada, the UK, the European Union, Australia, and Singapore. By design, the festival takes place just before SXSW: the festival’s co-founders view the festival as a pre-SXSW stopover that will give its emerging acts an opportunity to organically gain exposure – while filling a critical void in the festival circuit.

The festival’s second year finds the festival expanding by leaps and bounds: while still featuring showcases at venues across the East Village and Lower East Side including Berlin Under A, Lola NYC, Pianos, The Bowery Electric, Arlene’s Grocery and The Delancey, the festival has expanded to feature showcases at two beloved New York institutions – The Bowery Ballroom and the recently added MOSCOT Eyewear, as well as Ludlow House.

TNC20-SchedulePoster-R18-WebMockup-4x5

Of course, New Colossus offers adventurous fans and music industry insiders alike an opportunity to catch many of these emerging and buzzworthy bands before SXSW – and in many cases, the festival will offer the unique opportunity of catching some of these acts playing their first Stateside shows ever. Personally, I’m looking forward to catching JOVM mainstays The Orielles, Summer Heart and A Place to Bury Strangers, along with Beverly Kills, Hanya, Bodywash (who I caught at M for Montreal last year) and Jackie – but I’m also looking forward to some serendipitous discovery of new acts and the opportunity run into old friends, and to network and meet new friends and colleagues. And much like its inaugural year, the second New Colossus Festival will also feature panels and talks that will be of interest to the music community.

I got in touch with New Colossus Festival co-founder Mike Bell by email to chat about the second edition of the festival – primarily its rapid expansion, the founders hope for the future and more. Check it out below.

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WRH: This year is the second New Colossus Festival. In terms of the festival, what makes this year’s edition different than last year?

Mike Bell: We’re thrilled to be back!  This year we’ve grown from 6 venues to 9 venues while still keeping everything within walking distance on the Lower East Side.  We added MOSCOT Eyewear on Orchard Street as a venue, which will host shows all day Friday. It’s pretty exciting to be teaming up with a wonderful Lower East Side institution.   We also added an after-party at Ludlow House on Thursday and a late show featuring our friends A Place To Bury Strangers at Bowery Ballroom on Friday.

WRH: The second edition of New Colossus features a packed lineup of over 100 bands. Much like last year, there’s a big representation of Canadian acts. But I also see a few Norwegian acts, a few Spanish acts, a fair number of British acts, an Irish act or two, a couple of Austrian acts, an Irish act or two, an Australian act and even an act from Singapore on the bill. Was there anything specifically that changed in how acts were chosen and booked this year?

MB: Our prime motive is always the quality of the music and how it makes us feel. We’re booking bands who play music that we love.  We aren’t targeting a band from Djibouti because they’re from Djibouti. If there’s a great band from anywhere in the world that is able to make it to NYC and are serious about their careers as professional musicians, we’ll certainly consider them.   I will say that there are great festivals and conferences like Halifax Pop Explosion, Focus Wales, The Great Escape and Music Finland that have flown us out to find talent because their governments support exporting their music and art.

WRH: Who comes up with the festival playlist?

MB: That’s all Steven [Matrick]! He’s really good at it and puts a lot of thought into song placement. He’s been sending out playlists to his friends for many years.  You can hear his “Best of 2019” here:

WRH: This year’s festival sees the addition of two new venues – Ludlow House and the biggest venue in the festival’s history to date, Bowery Ballroom, which will host arguably the most talked about showcase of the entire festival. Does this give you and the organizers a sense of an even bigger future for New Colossus?

MB: By the time your readers see this, we’ll have announced MOSCOT as another venue that will be hosting bands all day Friday, March 13, with our friends from AdHoc. As mentioned previously, MOSCOT has been part of the Lower East Side community for over 100 years. They’re also a huge supporter of music so it made a lot of sense to team up with them.

The Bowery Ballroom show is a big deal and we’re super excited about it. However, we really don’t see this as a showcase nor as a “headline” show. We definitely don’t want to be the kind of festival that makes fans choose between seeing a more established band versus a smaller one. A Place to Bury Strangers are part of our TNC family and we see their show as another awesome band for festival attendees to see after the other showcases have ended.  That said, Bowery Ballroom is a great venue and we hope to expand and do more shows with them next year.

WRH: Festivals like Winter Jazz Fest, New Colossus, SXSW and other festivals with a conference segment have featured talks covering a variety of subjects of importance to their audiences, which will predominantly be musicians, music industry professionals and journalists. How did you and the organizing team come up with the subjects for the various talks that will happen this year?

MB: The topics we chose were the ones that we felt were most useful and interesting to the bands playing the festival. We feel it is important to include speakers who would be the most likely to connect with the artists in a meaningful way.  In the age of declining record sales, Indie labels, sync and touring have become vital to survive as a musician.  The other panels are on activism, mental health and the history of music in NYC, all very relevant to the bands playing our festival.

WRH: Besides making a living off your art and passion, and how to survive the touring life, one of the biggest issues that concern musicians, music industry types and those who love them is their mental health and wellness. A portion of my readers aren’t music industry insiders. Can you talk a bit about why having discussions on the subject of mental health and wellness is so important for the music community as a whole?

MB: Mental health and wellness is something we need to talk about as much as possible. Professional artists’ lives and livelihoods are dependent on maintaining their wellbeing. We are here are for the artist and want to help them with their careers, which includes making sure that issues like mental health are not stigmatized and that they addressed in an open form.  Most touring musicians spend a huge percentage of their lives in bars at music venues and it is a struggle for everyone single one of them to be healthy and sane while touring.

WRH: Simon Raymonde and The Charlatans UK’s Tim Burgess DJ’ing a New Colossus After Party? Holy shit, dude. So, how did that happen?  

MB: It’s pretty amazing! Tim is also playing his first US solo shows at the festival. Lio has been friends with Simon and his wife Abbey for years and we all love their label Bella Union. In the end it really all came down to them believing and understanding what this festival is all about.  Bella Union also sent us two of our favorite bands Penelope Isles and Lowly last year, and Pom Poko and Dog In the Snow this year, as well as the legendary Tim Burgess of the Charlatans.

WRH: Where do you see the direction of the festival next year?

MB: We are already thinking about what we’ll do for 2021 and have some plans that involve integrating more with the community and the neighborhood as a whole. We’d love too partner with a backline company and do more pop up shows in art galleries and stores.

For more information on the festival, including badge and ticket information, check out the Festival’s home page: https://www.newcolossusfestival.com

I’ll be covering New Colossus’ second edition. You can check out festival coverage here:

Twitter: @yankee32879

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Live Footage: Newcastle’s Lanterns on the Lake Perform “Swimming Lessons” at Blast Studios

Over the past month or so I’ve written a bit about the critically applauded Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based indie rock quintet Lanterns on the Lake. Currently comprised of founding trio Hazel Wilde (vocals, guitar, piano), Paul Gregory (guitar, production) and Oliver Ketteringham (drums, piano) with newest members Bob Allen (bass) and Angela Chan (violin, cello, viola), the band was founded back in 2007. And as you may recall the band self-released two EPs and a single, which caught the attention of Bella Union Records, who signed the band in late 2010.

Shortly after signing to Bella Union, the band contributed a track to the label’s Christmas 10″ EP compilation, which featured tracks from Peter Broderick and Radiohead‘s Phillip Selway. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding, the band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut effort, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home was released to critical applause in 2011.  During that period, the band opened for Explosions in the Sky, Low, and Yann Tiersen.

The band’s sophomore album 2013’s Until the Colours Run was released to critical praise, with most reviewers making special note of the material’s sociopolitical thematic concerns and undertones. The band then supported their sophomore effort with extensive touring across the European Union and their first Stateside tour that went on through the following year.

Interestingly, the Newcastle-based act’s third album, 2015’s Beings continued a run of critically applauded albums with Drowned in Sound calling the band “one of Britain’s most crucial bands of the present moment” and DIY Magazine describing them as “virtually without equal.” Lanterns on the Lake supported the album with extensive tours across the European Union and the UK, playing their largest hometown show to date, at Sage Gateshead, where they were accompanied by Royal Northern Sinfonia, performing orchestral arrangements by Fiona Brice.  The show was recorded and released as a 2017 live album, Live with Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Adding to a growing profile nationally and internationally the band has played sets across the international festival circuit, including End of the Road Festival, Glastonbury Festival, SXSW and Bestival.

The Newcastle-based indie act’s fourth album Spook the Herd dropped today. And as you may recall, the album’s title is derived from a pointed comment at the manipulative tactics of ideologues. Naturally, the album thematically is inspired by, and draws from our turbulent and uncertain time, with the album’s nine songs touching upon our hopelessly polarized politics, social media, addiction, grief, the climate crisis and more.

Interestingly, their latest album marks the the first time that the band left their native Newcastle to record in a studio — Yorkshire‘s Distant City Studios, where the album was engineered by Joss Worthington. Doing such a thing shook up the comfortable mindsets they’ve developed during their relatively young careers. “We are a pretty insular band in how we work, and trusting other people enough to allow them to get  involved is not always easy for us,” the band’s Hazel Wilde admits in press notes.

Recorded live as much as possible, the band’s sound still draws from dream pop and post rock — but with a stripped down approach, which gives the material a stark urgency and immediacy. And it reportedly may be the most intimate feeling album of their growing catalog with the material feeling as though you were in the room with the band. So far I’ve written about two of the album’s released singles: the Portishead meets Beach House-like  “Baddies,” and the Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp-like “When It All Comes True.” 

To celebrate the release of their latest album, the acclaimed British indie act released the album’s fourth and latest single, the shimmering and cinematic “Swimming Lessons.” Centered around a gorgeous string arrangement, strummed acoustic guitar, an enormous hook — and while continuing an amazing run of cinematic singles, the track is a breathtakingly earnest songwriting. 

The recently released video is centered around gorgeously shot black and white live footage of the band performing the song for  The Spook Sessions at Newcastle’s Blast Studios, which was directed, edited and filmed by Ian West.

Live Footage: Newcastle’s Lanterns on the Lake Performs “When It All Comes True” at Blast Studios

Lanterns on the Lake are a critically applauded Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based indie rock quintet, currently comprised of founding trio Hazel Wilde (vocals, guitar, piano), Paul Gregory (guitar, production) and Oliver Ketteringham (drums, piano) with newest members Bob Allen (bass) and Angela Chan (violin, cello, viola).  Founded back in 2007, the band self-released two EPs and a single, which caught the attention of Bella Union Records, who signed the band in late 2010.

Shortly after signing to Bella Union, the band contributed a track to the label’s Christmas 10″ EP compilation, which featured tracks from Peter Broderick and Radiohead‘s Phillip Selway. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding, the band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut effort, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home was released to critical applause in 2011.  During that period, the band opened for Explosions in the Sky, Low, and Yann Tiersen.

The band’s sophomore album 2013’s Until the Colours Run was released to critical praise, with most reviewers making special note of the material’s sociopolitical thematic concerns and undertones. The band then supported their sophomore effort with extensive touring across the European Union and their first Stateside tour that went on through the following year. 

Interestingly, the Newcastle-based act’s third album, 2015’s Beings continued a run of critically applauded albums with Drowned in Sound calling the band “one of Britain’s most crucial bands of the present moment” and DIY Magazine describing them as “virtually without equal.” Lanterns on the Lake supported the album with extensive tours across the European Union and the UK, playing their largest hometown show to date, at Sage Gateshead, where they were accompanied by Royal Northern Sinfonia, performing orchestral arrangements by Fiona Brice.  The show was recorded and released as a 2017 live album, Live with Royal Northern Sinfonia.

Adding to a growing profile nationally and internationally the band has played sets across the international festival circuit, including End of the Road Festival, Glastonbury Festival, SXSW and Bestival.

The band’s highly-anticipated fourth album, Spook the Herd is slated for a February 21, 2020 release through Bella Union. Deriving its title from a pointed comment at the manipulative tactics of ideologies, the album thematically is inspired by and draws from our turbulent and uncertain times in which we’re on the brink of our own annihilation — with the album’s nine songs touching upon our time’s hopelessly polarized politics, social media, addiction, grief, the climate crisis and more.

Spook the Herd marks the first time that the band left their native Newcastle to record in a studio — Yorkshire‘s Distant City Studios, where the album was engineered by Joss Worthington. Doing such a thing shook up the comfortable mindsets they’ve developed during their relatively young careers. “We are a pretty insular band in how we work, and trusting other people enough to allow them to get  involved is not always easy for us,” the band’s Hazel Wilde admits in press notes.

Recorded live as much as possible, the band’s sound still draws from dream pop and post rock — but with a stripped down approach, which gives the material a stark urgency and immediacy. And it reportedly may be the most intimate feeling album of their growing catalog with the material feeling as though you were in the room with the band. Last month, I wrote about Spook the Herd’s second single “Baddies,” a track that found the acclaimed British act balancing a widescreen cinematic bombast with a balladeer’s intimacy with the track centered around soaring strings, dramatic and forceful drumming, shimmering guitar lines and Wilde’s gorgeous and expressive vocals. The end result is a song that sonically recalls Portishead-like trip hop, Beach House-like dream pop and post rock with a narrator making a desperate, last stand against hatred and polarization. 

The album’s third and latest single is the incredibly cinematic “When It All Comes True.” Centered around a soaring hook, Wilde’s gorgeous and expressive vocals, shimmering strings, twinkling keys, forceful drumming, “When It All Comes True” — to my ears, at least — brings Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp to mind, but with a darker, more uncertain undertone. 

“Sometimes when you write a song you are creating a world in the same way a film maker or an artist painting a scene would,” Lantern on the Lake’s Hazel Wilde explains in press notes. “This is a twisted coming-of-age love story where we’re let in on the thoughts of what seems like a deranged narrator with a premonition. They’ve been trying to warn everyone around them of what is to come but nobody takes them seriously. At the time I was writing this one there was a lot of awful stuff on the news about shootings in America and elsewhere and some of that seeped into the story. At the end our narrator promises: ‘through the empty streets in the searing heat I’ll keep my word for you, when the sirens cease and my pulse is weak, I’ll keep my word for you.’”

The recently released video features live footage of the acclaimed British act performing the song for The Spook Sessions at Newcastle’s Blast Studios, which was directed, edited and filmed by Ian West. 

New Audio: Newcastle’s Acclaimed Lanterns on the Lake Release an Urgent Call to Resist Hate

Lanterns on the Lake are a critically applauded Newcastle-upon-Tyne-based indie rock quintet, currently comprised of founding trio Hazel Wilde (vocals, guitar, piano), Paul Gregory (guitar, production) and Oliver Ketteringham (drums, piano) with Bob Allen (bass) and Angela Chan (violin, cello, viola).  Founded back in 2007, the band self-released two EPs and a single, which caught the attention of Bella Union Records, who signed the band in late 2010. 

Shortly after signing to their label home, the band contributed a track to Bella Union’s Christmas 10″ EP compilation, which featured tracks from Peter Broderick and Radiohead’s Phillip Selway. Building upon the growing buzz surrounding, the band’s self-produced and self-recorded full-length debut effort, Gracious Tide, Take Me Home was released to critically applause in 2011.  During that period, the band opened for Explosions in the Sky, Low, and Yann Tiersen. 

The band’s sophomore album 2013’s Until the Colours Run was released to critical praise, with most reviewers noting the material’s sociopolitical thematic concerns and undertones. The members of Lanterns on the Lake supported their sophomore effort through the following year with extensive touring across the European Union and their first Stateside tour. 

Lantern on the Lake’s third album 2015’s Beings continued a run of critically applauded albums with Drowned in Sound calling the band “one of Britain’s most crucial bands of the present moment” and DIY Magazine describing them as “virtually without equal.” The Newcastle-based act supported the album with extensive tours across the European Union and the UK, playing their largest hometown show to date, at Sage Gateshead, where they were accompanied by Royal Northern Sinfonia, performing orchestral arrangements by Fiona Brice.  The show was recorded and released as a 2017 live album, Live with Royal Northern Sinfonia. 

Adding to a growing profile nationally and internationally the band has played sets across the international festival circuit, including End of the Road Festival, Glastonbury Festival, SXSW and Bestival. 

The band’s highly-anticipated fourth album, Spook the Herd is slated for a February 21, 2020 release through Bella Union. Deriving its title from a pointed comment at the manipulative tactics of ideologies, the album thematically is inspired by and draws from our turbulent and uncertain times in which we’re on the brink of our own annihilation — with the album’s nine songs touching upon our time’s hopelessly polarized politics, social media, addiction, grief, the climate crisis and more. 

Interestingly, Spook the Herd marks the first time that the band left their native Newcastle to record in a studio — Yorkshire’s Distant City Studios, where the album was engineered by Joss Worthington. Naturally, this shook up comfortable mindsets they’ve developed during their relatively young careers. “We are a pretty insular band in how we work, and trusting other people enough to allow them to get  involved is not always easy for us,” the band’s Hazel Wilde admits in press notes. 

Recorded live as much as possible, the band’s sound still draws from dream pop and post rock — but with a stripped down approach, which gives the material a stark urgency and immediacy. And it reportedly may be the most intimate feeling album of their growing catalog with the material feeling as though you were in the room with the band. The album’s latest single “Baddies” finds the acclaimed British act balancing a widescreen and bombastic cinematic air with a balladeer’s intimacy, centered around soaring strings, dramatic and forceful drumming, shimmering guitar lines and Wilde’s gorgeous and expressive vocals. And while being breathtakingly beautiful, the song which seems to recall Portishead-like trip hop, Beach House-like dream pop and post rock is its narrator’s desperate, last stand against hatred and polarization; one that has its narrator actively seeking the universal to bring the little people of the world together. 

“Baddies is a song about the rising tide of anger and hate in the world that seems to have been unleashed over the last few years, with those in positions of power and influence actively encouraging it for their own ends, and the polarization of society as a result,” Hazel Wilde explains in press notes. “It is about the need for the individual, the underdog, to stand up to it, but the fact in doing so we become part of it. We become someone else’s baddie.” 

New Video: JOVM Mainstays Penelope Isles Releases a Lysergic and Technicolor Visual for “Round”

Throughout the course of this year, I’ve written a bit about the rising  Brighton, UK-based indie rock quartet Penelope Isles. Led by its Devon, UK-born, Isle of Man-raised sibling songwriting duo Jack Wolter and Lilly Wolter, the band also features Jack Sowton and Becky Redford. Unsurprisingly, the band is centered by the bond between the Wolters, a band that was ironically strengthened when Jack, who’s six years older, moved out of the family home at 19 to study art.  “By the time I moved home, Lil was not so much of an annoying younger sister anymore and had grown up and started playing in bands and writing songs. We soon become very close. I had written some songs, so we started a band called Your Gold Teeth. We toured a bit and then Lily left for Brighton to study songwriting.”

While Lily Wolter studied in Brighton, she met Jack Sowton and Becky Redford, with whom she formed a band. As the story goes, when Lily Wolter returned home for the holidays, the idea of a forming a new band rapidly developed. Though Jack and Lily have long written separately, they chucked their disparate songs into a shared song pot, their new band was fueled by a passion for DIY alt rock/indie rock — and are influenced by the likes of Deerhunter, Pixies, Tame Impala, Radiohead and The Thrills among others.

So far, this year has been a big year for the Brighton-based act. They signed a record deal with Bella Union Records, who released their full-length debut Until the Tide Creeps In earlier this year. Thematically, the album is informed by the Wolters’ shared experience — in particular, leaving home to start your life and the various transitions you’ll experience in your life as you begin to experience adulthood. “We are six years apart, so we had a different experience of some of this, but we share a similar inspiration when writing writing music. Family, leaving home, disconnection and connection all ring bells!”

“Chlorine,” Until the Tide Creeps In’s Sleepy Sun-like album opener was centered around an arrangement that subtly bridges shimmering dream pop, shoegaze and fuzz pop — and while buoyant and seemingly ethereal, the song possessed a bracing quality, much like stepping into a cold shower. Interestingly, the song has an underlying emotional push and pull; the sort of complexity brought about by obligation and duty and the need to go out on your own. The album’s latest single is the woozy “Round,” a track that sonically seems to mesh 70s AM rock with shoegaze as the track is centered by a looping and shimmering guitar line and a soaring hook. And much like its predecessor, the new single will further establish the band’s bracingly wistful take on a familiar and beloved sound — all while evoking the ebb and flow of complicated and ambivalent emotions.

The recently released released video for “Round” is a lysergic and technicolor fever dream that features a person walking  and dancing around a very British-looking town in an inflatable, round suit in bright colors with floating images of the band performing the song in the background. “‘Round’ was the first song I wrote when I moved to Brighton a few years ago. I wrote it on a dan electro 12 string, which I had to sell to pay the rent,” the band’s Jack Wolters says in press notes. “We played the song constantly when we first started gigging and ended up leaving it out of the set for a while. We revisited it, as it felt weird to not include it on this record. We made the video in Brighton on one of the hottest days of the year. It consists of footage of Lily, dressed in a large round blow-up suit that pulsates with bright psychedelic colors and floating images of the band. We had a laugh making this one!”

New Audio: Up-and-Coming British Indie Rock Act Penelope Isles Release a Sludgy and Slow-Burning New Single

Throughout the course of this year, I’ve written a bit about the Brighton, UK-based indie rock quartet Penelope Isles. And as you may recall, the act, which is comprised of Devon, UK-born, Brighton-based sibling songwriting duo Jack Wolter and Lily Wolter, along with Jack Sowton and Becky Redford is centered by the bond between the Wolters, a bond that ironically was strengthened when Jack, who’s six years older moved out of the family home to study art when he was 19. “By the time I moved home, Lil was not so much of an annoying younger sister anymore and had grown up and started playing in bands and writing songs. We soon become very close. I had written some songs, so we started a band called Your Gold Teeth. We toured a bit and then Lily left for Brighton to study songwriting.”

When Lily Wolter studied in Brighton, she met Jack Sowton and Becky Redford, with whom she formed a band. And as the story goes, when Lily Wolter returned home to the Isle of Man for the holidays, the idea of forming a new band rapidly developed. Although Jack and Lily have long written separately, they chucked their disparate songs into a shared song pot, their new band was fueled by a passion for DIY alt rock/indie rock — and are influenced by the likes of Deerhunter, Pixies, Tame Impala, Radioheadand The Thrills among others.

The up-and-coming Brighton-based indie rock act’s highly-anticipated full-length debut Until the Tide Creeps In will officially drop on Friday through renowned indie label Bella Union Records, and the album thematically is informed by the Wolters’ shared experience — in particular leaving home, moving away, dealing with the various transitions in life and growing up. “We are six years apart, so we had a different experience of some of this, but we share a similar inspiration when writing writing music. Family, leaving home, disconnection and connection all ring bells!”  The Wolters explain in press notes. 

“Chlorine,” Until the Tide Creeps In’s Sleepy Sun-like album opener was centered around an arrangement that subtly bridges shimmering dream pop, shoegaze and fuzz pop — and while buoyant and seemingly ethereal, the song possessed a bracing quality, much like stepping into a cold shower. Interestingly, the song has an underlying emotional push and pull; the sort of complexity brought about by obligation and duty and the need to go out on your own. “Round,” the album’s second single found the band meshing 70s AM rock with shoegaze while evoking the ebb and flow of the complicated and ambivalent emotions of adulthood.”

Centered around a quiet-loud-quiet song structure, complete with a slow-burning and sludgy groove, shuffling drumming and an anthemic hook, the album’s fourth and latest single “Cut Your Hair” manages to subtly recall 120 Minutes-era alt rock. “One of my favourite songs to play live. The slow sludgy groove always feels like a refreshing moment in the set. I wrote it in our old garage on the Isle of Man whilst in uncertainty of whether or not to move away to pursue a career in music or not,” the band’s Jack Wolters says of the album’s latest single. “I had a small studio set up and it started with the drum groove and the rest happened really quickly. I guess it’s a fixtinal tale and concept of what could have been me if I didn’t have a go at doing ‘the band thing’. A don’t give up on your dreams kinda thing.”