Self-described as "cowboy soul, future folk", NYC/DC artist Odetta Hartman’s sound is both traditional and modern; that modernity often featuring through the spacey and fragmented production of her partner Jack Inslee. Hartman’s 2015 debut album 222 landed her firmly on the folk scene, defying expectations and playing with the confines of the genre: Uncut Magazine wrote that “few artists combine the concepts of arcane and contemporary as atmospherically as New York’s Odetta Hartman.”
Hartman explains that 222 was a “totally independent project […] I didn’t need everything and the kitchen sink to make a recording powerful. It was definitely an introverted process.” The 2018 follow-up album, Old Rockhounds Never Die, demonstrates this power: whether in the instruments she plays, or the sampling of her own voice to create synths, Hartman soars and astounds. Through experimenting with found sounds and Foley, Hartman and Inslee have developed a sonic vernacular built around playing with a-typical instruments. Hartman explains that "many of the beats on the album were recorded in the kitchen: the snare sound is actually a running faucet, or if you hear these glockenspiel bells that’s actually a set of kitchen bowls. Other percussive elements include scissors, a pepper grinder and keys on the radiator."
Odetta Hartman plays The Islington in London on 24 September. Old Rockhounds Never Die is out now on Northern Spy Records.
The birth of Phantastic Ferniture was the result of a drunken promise between friends: it soon became apparent that there was something important happening. Fronted by Australian singer-songwriter Julia Jacklin, she explains her desire to create the band: “I’d gone straight into folk music, so every experience I’d had on stage was playing sad music with a guitar in my hand. I thought, I would love to know what it’s like to make people feel good and dance.” For Jacklin, it turns out that “it feels really good. It’s like having an alter ego.”
Jacklin is joined by Elizabeth Hughes on lead guitar, Ryan K Brennan on drums, and Tom Stephens on bass. The band’s first single, Fuckin ‘n’ Rollin, was described by The 405 as “impossibly cool”, and their self-titled debut album “comes close to garage-rock perfection” (Loud and Quiet). As likely to make you dance as shed a tear, this debut is full of Jacklin’s pain-pricked cut-to-the-quick flair, intoxicated by the upbeat instrumentalism of bandmates Hughes and Brennan.
In staying true to the band's ethics, and the spontaneity and passion that birthed it, there’s zero expectations or strict deadlines, save the ones they set for themselves. With a headline tour booked for August and Jacklin’s second solo album looming on the horizon, the group are comfortable to "let things happen naturally".
Calpurnia's story is how teenage rock dreams are meant to unfold: four friends, all raised on a healthy diet of the Beatles, Nirvana and David Bowie, and a deep love for their respective instruments, retreat one day to a basement and begin jamming together. They cut their teeth on some cover songs and then, with just enough confidence and a dose of adolescent enthusiasm, they write and record their own tunes. And the results are nothing short of stunning. "It was kind of destined to be," Finn Wolfhard says of the almost serendipitous genesis of the rough-and-tumble Vancouver-based indie-rock foursome he formed with three of his now-closest friends. "We all just really clicked. And when I'm passionate about something," the singer-guitarist adds
of Calpurnia, who this summer release their self-titled debut EP via our imprint paradYse in UK/Europe and Royal Mountain (US/Canada), "I like to get it done as quickly as I can. There's not a lot of wasting time. I love just going for it. Go big or go home."
The band - which in addition to Wolfhard includes lead guitarist Ayla Tesler-Mabe, a six-string prodigy whose bedroom-shredding viral videos have earned her legions of fans on social media, bassist Jack Anderson and drummer Malcolm Craig - all grew up within walking distance of one another. But it took Wolfhard - best known as one of Hollywood's hottest young actors thanks to his role as Mike Wheeler on Netflix hit series 'Stranger Things' - meeting Craig on the set of Canadian punk rockers PUP's 'Guilt Trip' music video for things to finally spring into motion. In short order, the pair met Tesler-Mabe at a music summer camp, and she quickly introduced them to Anderson, her close childhood friend and bassist. "And as soon as we started
rehearsing it was just insane," Anderson says of the quartet's instant personal and musical chemistry. "It was kind of unbelievable. Like a gift." Once they played their first official gig together, it was a done deal. "We had all the adrenaline we needed," Craig says. Where they'd previously played cover songs, "after the response we got," Craig notes, "we were like, let's record some of our own music!"
Glasgow-born, LA-based musician and producer, and PC Music affiliate, SOPHIE has been releasing music since 2013. Her debut compilation Product, released in November 2015, featured her break-out singles BIPP and LEMONADE. Since then, she has brought her unique take on production to collaborations with Charli XCX, Madonna, and Vince Staples, with upcoming collaborations with Lady Gaga, Kim Petras, and Bibi Bourelly.
October 2017 saw the release of single It’s Okay To Cry, which marked the first time SOPHIE had used her own image and vocal in her music. It paved the way for what would follow: her stunning debut album, Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides (June 2018), was praised by Pitchfork as “sprawling and beautiful, while still keeping the disorienting, latex-pop feel of her fascinating production technique”, with the album making “a bid for transcendent beauty.” Exclaim! gave the album a rating of 9/10, saying that “it sounds like no one else could have made Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides. This is the kind of music that, in 20 years, we may look back on as a pivotal point in changing the trajectory of the pop music sound.”
SOPHIE’s brand of disorienting, tactile pop is uncanny, both authentic and artificial, a physical experience from an alternate reality - be sure to catch her live performance to see it come to life.
Named after the Canadian neighbourhood he grew up in, Boniface is the project of 21-year-old Micah Visser. Visser spent his childhood learning violin, saxophone, guitar, piano, and computer programming. At some point he stopped learning other people’s songs and began writing his own. It was here, writing alone in his bedroom, that Visser forged a sound that would take an indie sensibility and make it glisten, finding his way to a new kind of 21st century pop.
Described as a "unique and beautiful underdog", Boniface play dream-like, heartfelt pop music, with most recent single Dear Megan (released 7 March 2018) demonstrating their shining exuberance as an outfit. The single builds on their past work, resulting in a track that is intense and wistful, nostalgic and infectious. Discussing playing live, Visser explains “I just fell in love with that energy. Facilitating positivity is all you can ask for really, and when I can tangibly feel that in a room it reminds me why I love doing this.”
The band have been playing around the world in the last few months, including an appearance at SXSW, and are no strangers to England, having supported Lo-Moon on their UK tour earlier this year. They will be back later in the year for a one-off London show, hitting Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen on 6 November.
Benny Mails is a South-London-based artist of restless creativity. Brought up in the midst of London’s grime scene whilst also listening to heroes like Nas on the one hand and the discovery of his family’s funk and jazz records on the other, his early experiences of playing live weren’t that of a typical MC. Benny breakdanced and performed contemporary dance from a young age, with surreal teenage encounters with the likes of b-boy legend Crazy Legs and the Zulu Nation.
Hippo Campus are four Minnesotan boys making music that is infectious, joyful, and thematically soaked with the sense of cynicism accompanying the youthful search of self-meaning.
The band met in High School and are still yet to hit legal drinking age but following an explosive SXSW - which marked their first shows outside their native town - the four teenagers that make up Hippo Campus are now set to release their debut EP ‘Bashful Creatures’ (produced by Low’s Alan Sparhawk)
The buzz around the band at the Austin music festival was also noticed by the producers of Conan O’Brien’s television show who booked them to perform single ‘Suicide Saturday’ at the soonest opportunity.
Their signing and television appearance serve as exciting markers in what has been a lightning quick but considered ascent for the band, who - having just completed their first tour of the US - are now set to make a debut trip to the UK for The Great Escape festival. They will then return shortly after for a run of dates with Modest Mouse, and also to play at Reading & Leeds festival.
Over the past two years, 22-year old Australian Flume has cemented himself as one of the biggest names in dance music. His self-titled debut album topped the chart in his homeland, beating One Direction, and since then he’s toured the world, playing to increasingly huge audiences and collaborating with some of the biggest names on the planet.
Flume had his first taste of producing at age 13 from the most unlikely of places - a music production program he found in a cereal box. Fast forward six years and Flume’s distinctive postmodern R&B sounds are uniting the affections of The XX, Four Tet and Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs.
‘Sleepless’ featuring Jezzabell Doran sees Flume expertly blend 90’s hip-hop with leftfield dream pop. To date ‘Sleepless’ has received over 1 million views on Youtube, spent several weeks at #1 in the iTunes Australia Electronic Charts and championed by the like of BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra and 6Music.
‘Left Alone’ is a yearning, late night slow grind, showcasing guest vocalist Chet Faker’s vivid lyricism and amazing control of cadence. ‘Holdin On’ a massive track online further demonstrate Flumes never- ending stream of aural textures and sound effects.
In addition to ‘Left Alone’ and ‘Sleepless’ which feature Chet Faker and Jezzabell Doran respectively, the album includes guest vocal contributions by Moon Holiday, George Maple (aka Jess from Flight Facilities’ Foreign Language single) and Puerto Rican, LA based, MC T.Shirt.
Since the release of the album he’s played sold out shows all over the world, including recently headlining the dance stage at Reading and Leeds, and has remixed the likes of Lorde and Arcade Fire and released an EP with long time collaborator Chet Faker. Flume is currently working on the follow up to his debut.
Still in their teenage years, and recently free of school, Blaenavon are three boys who have taken the music world by storm. Having played with the likes of Foals, Bloc Party and Warpaint to name a few, the band have released two EPs on Transgressive Records and have recently completed their debut album, with singer Ben Gregory starring in Burberry’s New Faces campaign.
Having released previous singles 'Into The Night' and 'Denim Patches' on Transgressive imprint paradYse, Blaenavon followed up with debut EP Koso in September 2013, through Transgressive Records. The four-track offering encompasses everything good about a young band with a very bright future, flowing seamlessly from delicately picked verses to euphoric sections of soaring vocals and powerful guitars.
In October 2015, the band released the follow up to Koso with their 'Miss World EP'. The release was accompanied by shows with the likes of Songhoy Blues and Foals, as well as a performance of 'Dragon' for Burberry Acoustic. 2016 has seen the boys continue to perfect their live show, with tours supporting The Sherlocks and Sundara Karma as well as their own headline tour in May, along with appearances at Glastonbury, Truck, Latitude and Reading & Leeds to name but a few across the summer. They've also released two singlea from their debut album, 'I Will Be The World' and 'Let's Pray'- watch below.
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Country Mile – the title for Johnny Flynn’s third album – is an apt description of a strident career that has encompassed a vast distance, along a naturally meandering pathway.
Johnny is an artist who has been led by his muse in an uncontrived fashion; his love for telling stories leading him to major theatrical and film roles, and along the way Queen Mab took him by the nose to realise certain musical dreams.
Johnny first appeared on the scene in 2006 playing in numerous bands and running club nights, but ears were pricked by his first album A Larum, released in 2008. It has come to be seen as an influential musical template in recent years, with its honest recording approach and revitalising take on traditional forms of music with songs such as Leftovers and Tickle Me Pink affecting and inspiring a new aesthetic.
A widened palette followed with his sophomore album Been Listening along with global touring. Songs such as Lost and Found and The Water (a duet with old friend Laura Marling) cemented his lyrical reputation, and prompted further collaborations with the likes of Anna Calvi, Barbarossa and subsequent production work with Marika Hackman, showcasing his desire to nurture and collaborate with varied and exciting new talent.
Following the album and a stint writing, producing and performing the soundtrack to indie film A Bag of Hammers, Johnny returned to the boards, appearing in Richard Bean’s The Heretic at the Royal Court, Jez Butterworth’s Jerusalem alongside Mark Rylance, Richard III and Twelfth Night at The Globe and West End with Stephen Fry and Mark Rylance, before taking the lead in The Low Road by Bruce Norris back at The Royal Court.
‘Demoing with intent’ throughout this process, with long time collaborator Adam Beach (bass player in Johnny’s band The Sussex Wit), Country Mile took shape naturally in various home recording environments and eventually at Soup Studios, London, rambling towards perfect song structures from furtive ideas without the pressure of timekeeping.
The title and opening track Country Mile sets up the idea of striking out and taking off - letting all fear and doubt dissipate to the imprint of your feet on the earth. After Eliot, which is loosely inspired by T.S Eliot’s style of writing, is about an abstract mis-encounter, a reflection on a relationship where the two people didn’t see the same thing happening at the same time.
The Lady Is Risen sees Johnny muse on the idea of divine love and its influence on relationships. The music for the song was written years apart from the lyrics and references old Southern soul records. Murmuration – the collective noun for a flock of starlings – evokes images of escapism, flying with the birds and saints. ‘It’s a song you'd sing to get through a difficult time,’ and owes a debt to Hank Williams who Flynn listened to a lot when writing the album. Fol-de-Rol references Johnny’s love of South American folk songs and specifically a Peruvian style of music called Chicha – psychedelic 'Cumbias' from the 60s/70s.
Einstein’s Idea, a lullaby written for Johnny’s two-year-old son Gabriel, takes the theory of relativity to romantic heights; ‘It’s explaining how objects, despite being separate from one another, are still attracted to each other, but talking about that space between things… the gap in between us and that same gap, it might as well be the gap between you and the stars.’ A hopeful interpretation comforting his true love with the notion that as everything is around you, everything is there for you.
Flynn supported the album with extensive touring throughout the US and Europe, including a tour in the USA with friends Mumford and Sons, sold out shows across the UK and Europe and a follow up solo tour in the US and Canada, which gave us the recently released Live in Washington DC album. His thespian tendencies have not been neglected either, with a lead in Song One alongside Anne Hathaway released January 2015, and a role in Oliver Assayas' Sils Maria with Juliette Binoche, Kristen Stewart and Chloe Moretz.
Rambling forward, the possibilities for Johnny Flynn are immense, especially with the arrival of Country Mile – perhaps the most rewarding chapter so far in this ongoing epic. As Johnny sings in The Lady Is Risen, ‘Life isn’t always like the end of your novels, things might wind up, but they always unravel.’
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See Songhoy Blues at Koko in London on the 4th November
Hailing from the heart of old Gao, Oumar Toure and Aliou Toure were, like most kids growing up in the ancient city, obsessed with hip-hop, R&B and bands like The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. By their early 20s, having met young guitarist Garba Toure (son of Oumar Toure, long term percussionist in Ali Farka Toure’s band), they began to make music while at university.
However, the growing unrest in the north of Mali saw Oumar, Aliou, Garba and many of their family take refuge down south in Bamako as hostilities worsened in early 2012 and their music born from this adversity. “We met up (in Bamako),” remembers Garba, “and told ourselves we couldn’t just stay shipwrecked by a crisis like this. We had to form a band.” They roped in a young drummer called Nathanial ‘Nat’ Dembele from Bamako and baptised their band Songhoy Blues in celebration of their displaced people and culture.
Once one of the most prominent and powerful of Mali’s many ethnic groups, the Songhoy, who hail from the banks of the Niger River between the ancient cities of Timbuktu and Gao, have suffered a long slow decline since their apogee in the 6th and 17th centuries. Now largely living on the margins of the West African nation whose political and cultural life is dominated by the Bambara people of the south, they nonetheless retain a fierce pride in their history, beliefs and music.
Hailing from the heart of old Gao, Oumar Toure and Aliou Toure were, like most kids growing up in the ancient city, obsessed with hip-hop, R&B and bands like The Beatles and Jimi Hendrix. By their early 20s, having met young guitarist Garba Toure (son of Oumar Toure, long term percussionist in Ali Farka Toure’s band), they began to make music while at university in Bamako.
Their deep attachment to the home grown songs and dances of the Songhoy, both traditional styles and the modern guitar based sounds popularised by the likes of Baba Salah and above all Ali Farka Toure, was helping shape their nascent music which sought to blend the trad and the modern, the homegrown and the foreign, the youthful and the ancient.
The growing unrest in the north of Mali saw Oumar, Aliou, Garba and many of their family take refuge down south in Bamako as hostilities worsened in early 2012 and Songhoy Blues were born from this adversity. “We met up (in Bamako),” remembers Garba, “and told ourselves we couldn’t just stay shipwrecked by a crisis like this. We had to form a band.” They roped in a young drummer called Nathanial ‘Nat’ Dembele from Bamako and baptised their band Songhoy Blues in celebration of their displaced people and culture.
Soon a fixture on the Bamako club and bar live music treadmill, their break came in September 2013 when French music manager Marc-Antoine Moreau was in the city to scout for musical talent on behalf of Africa Express. Prompted by local studio owner Barou Diallo. Aliou Toure cold-called Marc- Antoine – an audition quickly followed and subsequently the band were invited to record a song with Nick Zinner of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and the track, Soubour, ended up as opening track on the Africa Express album, Maison des Jeunes.
Invited to perform at the launch of the album in London in December 2013, the band later returned in the summer of 2014 to play shows in London, Glasgow and at the WOMAD festival, sign a deal with Transgressive Records and begin work on a full-length feature film about the banning of music in Mali.
All those old ‘world music’ prejudices have no place here. Songhoy Blues are four talented, hungry, sharp and outward-looking young men from a part of the world that has had more than it’s share and pain and conflict in recent years. But it has given far more than its share of music and joy to the world in return over the past four decades. That place may seem strange, alien and ‘exotic’ to some but deep down, Songhoy Blues are a familiar proposition: four young men, guitar, drums, bass and vocals, driving rhythms, big hearts and a story to tell.
While Impermanence is Peter Silberman’s first solo album, it could easily be thought of as a continuation of the emotional-spiritual odyssey begun through his work in The Antlers over the past decade. It travels some of the thornier terrain of the trio’s previous albums Hospice, Burst Apart, and Familiars, while carrying the conversation further down the path.
But much of what distinguishes Impermanence from its forebears can be attributed to an unexpected injury, which imposed upon the musician considerable time and space to ponder the finite.
A few years back, Silberman developed a hearing impairment in his left ear that resulted in a temporarily total hearing loss, extraordinarily loud tinnitus, and an excruciating sensitivity to everyday noises. The condition required extensive rest and quiet, and in order to get that, he left his Brooklyn apartment for a more secluded setting in upstate New York.
Though the first manifestation of his condition wasn’t deep silence, but a constant static. “Years of playing loud shows had me familiar with the high-pitched whine of tinnitus, but this was more like a Niagara Falls in my head,” explains Silberman. “When the brain isn’t correctly receiving and interpreting signals, it seems to produce its own placeholder sound. It’s as if the careful organisation of sonic elements becomes jumbled and disordered.”
“Once silence ceased to be available to me, I came to think of it as the luxury of well-calibrated perception. We mistakenly perceive it as nothing, but it’s a precious, profound entity. It became obvious to me why many prayers are silent, performed in immaculately quiet spaces.”
“For those several weeks, I was so sensitive to my own voice that I couldn’t talk or sing. I had to consider my life without music, to accept the loss of what was central to my being,” says Silberman. “It became painfully clear that I needed to turn the volume down, and I began to consider how I might continue to perform without doing further damage to my hearing.”
“As the sensitivity began to subside, I gradually re-introduced sound into my world, gently playing nylon-string acoustic guitar and whisper-singing. This once-solid element had become so fragile and tenuous, and I began to suspect that nothing was quite as stable as I’d believed it to be.”
“I’d come across the notion of impermanence through a number of authors— Alan Watts, Thich Nhat Hanh, Pema Chödrön, and Chögyam Trungpa— but it wasn’t until this experience that the idea resonated strongly, and felt so widely applicable,” he explains.
“Writing Impermanence became my effort to meditate on what had happened, and grasp what it had taught me: about my mortality, compassion, and change.”
Over the course of a few months, songs emerged from the deep quiet— “Karuna”, “New York”, “Gone Beyond”, “Maya”, “Ahimsa”, and “Impermanence”— each sparse, and minimal, like scraps of Tibetan prayer flags. The musician was scrupulous about only saying what needed to be said.
“I wanted to avoid crowding the central message with high-density lyrics. Instead, the songs are anchored by simple mantras, leaving room for contemplation,” explains Silberman. The six songs have an economy of expression, the spaces between the words as important as the words themselves. Like the infamous Miles Davis quote: “It’s not the notes you play, it’s the notes you don’t play.”
As the writing neared completion, Silberman linked up with his long-time friend and collaborator, Nicholas Principe of Port St. Willow. Over the course of a few winter months, Principe engineered the album in his upstate People Teeth studio, contributing production throughout. Together, they carved out a sacred sonic space, elongating the distance between notes, between chords, utilising minimal arrangements to allow breathing room.
But the album goes beyond experiments in ambience. It actually traces the stages of healing, as Silberman experienced them.
“The sequence charts a circular course between distress and peace,” he explains. “The final track returns you to the mood of the first by a wormhole through a single breath, split in half across the last and first seconds of the album. It mimics the cyclical nature of facing unexpected obstacles.”
“I hope Impermanence can provide comfort to people grappling with transition, while remaining honest about it. There’s no remedy for the unpredictable, and I want this record to reflect that, to offer an alternative way to think about changing circumstances.”
Nearly 2 years after the release of their debut, Alvvays are back with Antisocialites, which will be released on 8 September 2017. The album is the much-anticipated follow-up to their critically acclaimed, self-titled debut album which received accolades from Pitchfork, NPR, Rolling Stone and more. The first song to be heard is In Undertow.
The band comprises Molly Rankin, Kerri Maclellan, Alec O'Hanley and Brian Murphy.
Formed from the ashes of The Ed Fitz, Foals re-invigorated and re-invented a genre with their unique blend of minimal and post hardcore mathletics.
Having defined the sound of our times with debut single ‘Hummer' and ‘Mathletics', Foals once again ripped up the rule book with their Sitek-produced debut adding further emotional depths and boss tuneage to their already canny technique. And live they f**king rock.
Featuring the singles ‘Balloons', ‘Cassius', ‘Red Socks Pugie' and ‘Olympic Airways', Foals are perhaps the label's most defining act with their persistence with fan club shows, strange split releases (check out their killer split with Holy Fuck! or their collaborations with Kieran Hebden) Foals are, indeed, a very special band, and their new album currently in pre-production will surely cement their position as an important, devotional act.
2013: the year that Foals broke through the barriers. Relentless touring saw Foals play 155 shows across the world and travelling 135,110 miles, appearing high up the bill at festivals around the world and playing their first ever UK festival headline slot (Latitude), it’s no surprise then, that British media coined Foals as one of the hardest working acts of the year. The hard work paid off - by the end of 2013 Foals won a number of awards: Best Live Act at the Q awards, Best Live Act at The Sun Bizarre awards, Best Single (Inhaler) at the NME awards and a Barclaycard Mercury Music nomination (the band’s second). In December Foals topped the NME readers album and track of the year poll, beating Arctic Monkeys and QOTSA to pole position. Reading & Leeds Director Melvin Benn summed it up in the summer of 2013: ‘Foals are the most in touch guitar band in the world - I don't think anybody's matching them'.
Detroit. Willesden. Olympos, on the Greek island of Karpathos. “The inside of our skulls” - these are the places that made up Foals third album, their most direct and fully realised album yet. Holy Fire entered the UK charts at number 2 in February 2013 (their highest chart entry to date) andgave the band their first Number 1 album in Australia. Electrifying come back single ‘Inhaler’ and won ‘Best Single’ at the NME awards the same month, whilst the beautiful ‘Late Night’ (April 22nd) came complete with a shock and awe style video from critically acclaimed director Nabil (Frank Ocean, Kanye West, Nas) and premiered on Rolling Stone. So igniting was the relationship, Nabil also went on to make the video to follow up single ‘Bad Habit’ which premiered on The Guardian in June 2013.
Holy Fire is Foals highest selling record to date, reaching gold status in the UK just three months after it was released. In March 2013 the band played two shows in the same day (which sold out in 15 minutes flat) at London’s prestigious Royal Albert Hall, to rave reviews; ‘privileged punters realised they were witnessing one of the gigs of the year’ said The Times, 'Foals are the best live band the UK has to offer' said The Fly, whilst Evening Standard added'Foals are ready for their arena moment'. Foals continued their live assault across the UK throughout the summer with a set of high billing festivals shows – Glastonbury Other stage second from top, Reading & Leeds main stage third from top, and their first ever UK headline performance at Latitude Sunday night -'They gathered the strongest reaction of the weekend from the huge crowd assembled’ said NME, 'Foals lit up the closing night' said Metro.
Foals’ third album was produced by Flood and Alan Moulder. Much like the classic Depeche Mode, Nine Inch Nails and Smashing Pumpkins albums that the duo have previously collaborated on, Holy Fire found Foals uniting the personal with bigger themes – specifically feelings of contemporary dread. Other influences included, says Yannis "The Delta, voodoo, the swamp, sexuality, byzantine iconography and music, syrupy rhythms, the mountains, the abyss, the decline of the bee populations, hip hop and stoner rock." Then there's the folk music of the American Deep South, captured by Alan Lomax just before it passed into history: “most of the players of the music are long deceased, but you can still be part of these moments that were recorded in fields in the Delta," says Yannis. "You feel like there's a direct communion happening between you and a ghost."
Holy Fire is a record of contrasts, of Foals feeling themselves liberated to create a record that perhaps they didn’t even realise they had within them. "To make, it was the least harrowing of all the records,” says Yannis, before adding, ”in a lot of ways it's not been harrowing at all, and I think a lot of that has been Flood and Moulder. We vacillate between our experimental side and the side that enjoys the possibilities of what pop music can do, that it can speak outside it's own barrier. If anything we feel that we've made a record that doesn't exist between those two subsets. I feel content that we've made a record that is just what it should have been.”
Let's Eat Grandma (Rosa Walton and Jenny Hollingworth) were just 17 when they released their debut I, Gemini on 17 June 2016. A marriage of magnificence and makeshift, featuring synths, saxophones, clapping games and recorders. Their lives have changed unimaginably since then, with the album securing them sold out shows around the world, critical acclaim, and a spellbinding turn on Jools Holland.
Two years on, and their second album, I'm All Ears, is an even greater revelation: alive with furious pop, unapologetic grandeur, and intimate ballads. It features production from David Wrench (The xx, Frank Ocean), SOPHIE (Madonna, Charli XCX), and Faris Badwan (The Horrors); and cements Let's Eat Grandma as one of the most creative and exciting bands in the world.
The band say it is a portrait of their lives over the past two years, "the record is quite broad, in both style and meaning of the tracks, because it's supposed to represent the whole experience of what it's like to be us," says Rosa. Musically, it draws on their love of PC Music, Frank Ocean, their parents' record collections, ringtones, train journeys, vintage synths.
When we first came across Two Door Cinema Club, then three 18 year old lads recently move to London from Northern Ireland, they were of the most exciting new bands we'd stumbled along in a long while. Since we signed them to Transgressive Publishing back in 2009, they've gone on to become, undoubtedly, one of the biggest bands in the world right now.
Their music has been loosely compared to the likes of Death Cab for Cutie and Broken Social Scene but without a definitive capacity to be pigeon-holed. Melodic vocals, which hail from all three members of the outfit, infuse with guitar riffs that have been described as "oceanic" and rhythm described as "pulsing". Their debut album 'Tourist History' and a packed touring helped them build a huge network of grassroots fans all over the world, and led to the boys playing sold out shows in America, Canada, South America, South Africa, Australia, Asia, Europe and, of course, the UK. Along with main stage slots at Glastonbury and Reading & Leeds, their first album propelled them to a level that most bands can only dream of, going platinum in the UK. Its follow up, 'Beacon' was released in 2012, going to number 2 in the UK charts and to number 1 in Ireland. More touring followed, backed up with more huge festival dates and a sold out show at O2 arena in London.
It's fair to say we're proud of them.
The band have announced their third album 'Gameshow', due for release in October 2016. Listen to the first single 'Are We Ready? (Wreck)' below.
“hand solo,” “blow,” “conventional ride”—these are just a few of the cheeky offerings off Any Human Friend, the new album from rock provocateur Marika Hackman. “This whole record is me diving into myself and peeling back the skin further and further, exposing myself in quite a big way. It can be quite sexual,” Hackman says. “It’s blunt, but not offensive. It’s mischievous.” There’s also depth to her carnal knowledge: Any Human Friend (out via AMF Records and Sub Pop Records in North and South America) is ultimately about how, as she puts it, “We all have this lightness and darkness in us.”
Hackman lifted the album’s title from a documentary about four-year-olds interacting with dementia patients in senior homes. At one point, two little girls confer about their experience there, with one musing on how it’s great to make “any human friend,” whether old or young. “When she said that it really touched a nerve in me,” says the London-based musician. “It’s that childlike view where we really accept people, are comfortable with their differences.”
Such introspection has earned Hackman her name. Her 2015 debut, We Slept at Last, was heralded for being nuanced and atmospheric. She really found her footing with her last release, I’m Not Your Man—which earned raves from The Guardian, Stereogum, and Pitchfork—and its sybaritic, swaggering hit “Boyfriend,” which boasts of seducing away a straight guy’s girlfriend. “Her tactile lyrics keep the songs melodically strong and full of surprises,” remarked Pitchfork. We’ll say!
“I’m a hopeless romantic,” she explains. “I search for love and sexual experience, but also I’m terrified by it.” Hackman is a Rid of Me-era PJ Harvey for the inclusive generation: unbounded by musical genre, a preternatural lyricist and tunesmith who isn’t afraid to go there. (Even her cover art, which finds Hackman nearly nude while cradling a baby pig, is a nod to Dutch photographer Rineke Dijkstra’s unfiltered photos of mothers just after they gave birth.) To that end, “hand solo” extorts the virtues of masturbation and features Hackman’s favorite line, “Under patriarchal law, I’m going to die a virgin.” The song “blow” paints a picture of social excess. And “conventional ride” thumbs its nose at heterosexual sex through “the trope a lot of gay women experience: sleeping with someone, then it becomes apparent you’re kind of an experiment.”
With Any Human Friend, boundaries are no longer an issue for her. “I sent ‘all night’ to my parents and they were quite shocked,” she says of the paean to the flesh, dressed as a sweetly harmonic track. “Why does it sound shocking coming out of my mouth? Women have sex with each other, and it seems to me we aren’t as freely allowed to discuss that as men are. But at no point am I disrespecting the women I’m having sex with. It can be fucking sexy without banging people over the head with a frying pan. It’s sexy sex.”
Sharing intimacies with her parents makes sense when you consider she wrote ‘the one’—a portrait of the artist amid identity crisis where she crashed after a painful break-up with a longtime girlfriend. “‘send my love’ is a proper breakup song,” she says of the levitating, string-laden track. “I actually wrote that in a moment of grief. It’s a strange take on it because I’m imagining myself as my ex-girlfriend.” She penned its companion track, “i’m not where you are,” a melodic earworm about emotional detachment from relationships, roughly six months later.
“I think because my life was flipped upside down, it was taking me longer to write,” she says. “This was definitely the hardest process I’ve gone through to make a record.” She wrote the album over a year, recording a few songs at a time with co-producer David Wrench (Frank Ocean, The xx). “I stopped being able to sleep properly,” she says. “I was waking up in the middle of the night to write songs.”
But the longer recording process also meant that Hackman had the time to experiment in the studio, especially with electronic songs. She was inspired by Wrench’s vast synth collection, many of which she used throughout Any Human Friend (“the synths give the album a nice shine”), notably on “hold on,” a deep dive into ennui expressed as ethereal R&B. She also switched up drum rhythms and wrote songs on the bass, such as the upbeat, idiosyncratic “come undone” (working name: “Funky Little Thang”).
Hackman bookends Any Human Friend with some of her most unexpected musical turns. The first song she wrote, “the one” (technically its second track), is “probably the poppiest song I’ve ever written,” she says. “It’s about that weird feeling of starting the process again from scratch.” To that end, it features a riot grrrl Greek chorus hurling such insults at her as, “You’re such an attention whore!” The title track closes out the album and explores how, “when we’re interacting with people, it’s like holding a mirror up to yourself.” It’s a weightless coda that’s jazz-like in its layering of rhythmic sounds as if you’re leisurely sorting through Hackman’s headspace.
“The drive to do all this is all just about trying to work out what the fuck is in my brain,” she says, laughing. The dragon she’s chasing is a rarified peace that materializes after properly tortured herself. “I really did have a good time working on this album,” she says, reassuringly. “It’s just emotionally draining to write music and constantly tap into your psyche. No musician is writing music for themselves to listen to. It’s a dialogue, a conversation, a connection. I’m creating something for people to react to.”
For all enquiries, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Neon Indian is the brainchild of Alan Palomo, who's 2009 debut record Psychic Chasms not only earned the 20 year-old a spot on numerous year-end lists, but assisted the forming of a genre that, though known by a few names now (hypnagogic pop, glo-fi, chillwave), summoned a very unique and specific electro-mangled sound. Pitchfork, Rolling Stone, and SPIN all praised Palomo for his adventurous new sound, and he was tapped to perform at top festivals like South by Southwest, Bonnaroo, and Sasquatch and also scored opening slots for bands ranging from Massive Attack and The Flaming Lips to Phoenix and Chromeo. Written and recorded last winter in an efficiency apartment in Helsinki, Finland during its short solstice days, Era Extraña was ice sculpted from arpeggiated synth-scapes and scribbled journal entries made during his stint there alone in constant solitude. "It's the closest you can get to feeling like you're at the edge of the earth," he says. "And there were moments where I lost sight of what I was really there to do."
Era Extrana was released in the UK and Europe by Transgressive Records on vinyl, cd and digital download, on 10th October 2011.
In 2015, Neon Indian arrived back on the scene with the incredible 'Annie', which was quickly followed by new track 'Slumlord' and news of a brand new album entitled 'VEGA Intl. Night School' - the record will be released on the 16th October and full info can be found here.
Mutual Benefit was first created as a musical project by Jordan Lee while he was living in Austin, Texas. Lee then moved to Boston in order to meet up with some musicians he wanted to play with.
While touring on the road in late 2011, Lee began recording for his debut album 'Love's Crushing Diamond', which went on to become the first Bandcamp release to be named "Best New Music" by Pitchfork.
Now, in 2016, Jordan returns with 'Skip a Sinking Stone', his new LP and first on Transgressive, a two-part meditation on impermanence that also acts as a portrait of growing up.
The first half of the record, awash in warm string arrangements and hope, is written about the year that followed: Mutual Benefit’s rotating cast of friends and collaborators is touring non-stop, playing professional stages and festivals, and Lee is in love.
The second half of the album finds Lee in New York, in a rare position of having the time and resources to work on the new record full-time. Lee lives and records at the Silent Barn, breaking from his usual nomadic lifestyle to explore staying in one place, reflected musically by a comparative stillness and introspection. However, New York life presents another kind of unreality: one coloured by growing depression, a downturn in the relationship, and a city in turmoil, the atmosphere heavy with grief and anger in the wake of the Eric Garner verdict.
Mutual Benefit’s 'Skip a Sinking Stone' is out 20th May on Transgressive.
Skip a Sinking Stone tracklisting:
Not For Nothing
Watch the video for 'Not For Nothing' below
Born out of a desire to create something fresh and unique to them, Gengahr are a true gem and a group waiting to be discovered. They formed at school in North London in 2013 and released their debut album, A Dream Outside in June 2015 to widespread critical acclaim.
The output to date feels utterly timeless and yet genuinely refreshing, Gengahr create effortlessly smooth and melodic indie-rock that meanders along a laidback sun-kissed path. With a sound that could easily stem from influences drawn from icons such as The Smiths and Modest Mouse, to the more recently revered Unknown Mortal Orchestra and Youth Lagoon, Gengahr have already received support from Huw Stephens, NME, DIY and host of peers.
Gengahr are: Felix Bushe, John Victor, Danny Ward, Hugh Schulte.
Cosmo Sheldrake is a 28 year old multi-instrumentalist musician, composer and producer. He released his first single The Moss in 2014, which was followed by the Pelicans We EP in 2015. This April he will release his debut album The Much Much How How and I. Much of his work is to do with play, nonsense and the sonorous environment.
Cosmo has also toured internationally, both on his own and with Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit, Mr Jukes, Sam Lee and The Gentle Mystics.
In 2015 he ran a community choir in Brighton. He has composed music for film, theatre, including a series of Becket plays at The Young Vic. He has also worked as a facilitator and a teacher running music workshops for young people in England, Canada and the U.S.A.
"Each song picks up from where the previous tune refused to turn. These songs make up an ecology, composed and decomposed by an impish and irresistible logic. There is no opportunity for even the sourest of prudes to stand by and frown"
"He perceives the daily world around him, definitely with a child-like curiosity and wonder but also with a fair measure of genius."
"Cosmo mongers everything from hedgerow pastorals to high-grade, rusted thrump"
"Genuinely Great British Eccentric"
dots and dashes
"Sinewy soundscapes stretch over beats that seem to travel a mile in each hop. Nooks and crannies line these tunes, each home to some thrilling and unsettling liaison; mouldy elegies meet percussive gumptions, and conduct impossible affairs before your disbelieving ears"
Photo by George Coote
Transgressive Management look after all digital and social management for Robert Plant. For any enquiries please contact email@example.com
One of a generation of British kids, drawn without rhyme or reason, to sounds from a far away world. A world of field holler, despair, Levee camp and chain- gang moans; of Saturday night fish-fry and Juke Joint foot stomp.
A million miles lay between the brooding pulse of Mississippi Delta life and the sanitized shelter of the timid English boy, circa 1962.
50 years on – drawing from a lifetime of adventures, tracking the dark, beautiful resonator, Plant follows his heart and lifts his voice higher and joyous ever away - and beyond – A voice of experience and learning from the sounds of Southside Chicago Electric Blues; of Griot mantras from West Africa; from Louisiana Dance Halls; Greenwich Village Folk hangover; Haight Ashbury indulgences; Moroccan medina breakbeat; the early English radical techno materials, Texas two-step and Bristol Dubstep.
Before his recent projects in Nashville with Alison Krauss and Band of Joy, Plant worked alongside the very interesting force, “Strange Sensation”, recording the critically acclaimed, multi-Grammy nominated albums – “Dreamland” and “Mighty Rearranger”. From this platform, Sensational Space Shifters has developed. Now together these confederates and conspirators dig deeper and more intensely, always twisting and turning, bringing the past into a brilliant technicolour present.
It is impressive company:
Justin Adams - a childhood in the Middle East and teenage years with a soundtrack of UK punk set the tone for Adams ' musical adventures. He has produced Grammy winning Desert poets Tinariwen and Algerian Rai rebel Rachid Taha, as well as playing guitar and writing with Jah Wobble, Sinead O' Connor, Natasha Atlas and many more. Three award winning albums with Juldeh Camara for Peter Gabriel's Real World label have been the latest in a series of collaborations with Master Musicians from North and West Africa.
John Baggott - one of the originators of the Bristol Trip hop sound, Baggott cut his teeth as a teenage piano prodigy playing with visiting US legends like Jimmy Witherspoon and Charlie Feathers. He contributed to seminal work by Portishead, combining musicality with cutting edge sonic texturing and sampling, which led him to become a member of the Massive Attack team. He has also composed film and TV music for Emmy Award winning documentaries and most recently worked with songstress Anna Calvi on her new album.
Juldeh Camara - Juldeh was taught the Ritti (one- string African Violin) by his blind Griot father, who was reputedly taught himself by the forest spirits of Gambia who took his eyesight in return for the gift. A traditional Fulani village musician, Juldeh's exceptional talent and charisma took him first to Banjul, Gambia's capital and then around the world with Ifang Bondi. Hearing Adams' desert-inflected blues he decided the two should collaborate, which led to the groundbreaking JuJu records, and in turn to his work with Plant, where the connections between the Blues and Mother Africa turn full circle.
Billy Fuller - Fuller has been exceptionally creative in the past few years, as a founder member of post rock trio Beak, together with Portishead's Geoff Barrow, he has made two albums and played at the ultra – cool All Tomorrow's Parties Festival amongst many others. He has contributed to albums by Massive Attack, the soundtrack for the Banksy movie "Exit via the Gift Shop", guested with Portishead, and toured with Adams and Camara in JuJu. A rock solid bassist he is a vinyl junkie with consummate taste.
Liam “Skin” Tyson - A surreal Scouser (Liverpudlian) who now lives in the Misty Mountains of North Wales, his combination of Pastoral acoustic open tuned guitars and electric 21st century psychedelia make him a perfect foil for Plant’s balladry and fire. He made a massive impact with Brit Pop group Cast in the 90s who had a succession of chart hits, mentored by figures like producer John Leckie. He built a studio in his Barn where he recorded his Men from Mars project and from where he nurtures local bands in between surfing and touring.
Dave Smith - Originally trained as a jazz drummer and orchestral percussionist, a chance encounter with West African music led Smith to study sabar drumming in Gambia over a ten year period. He is the hub of a scene of Jazz and electronic improvisers based around the Vortex club in London, where he leads groups such as Fofoulah and Ruhabi, incorporating polyrhythmic African drive into their music. Headhunted by Adams and Camara, he brought a Ginger Baker like energy to their music which now moves to another level in the context of the Sensational Space Shifters.
Plant revels in the excitement generated by the collision of these remarkably powerful forces. Though his contribution to Pop Culture began with his work with Led Zeppelin, his path since has been uncompromising: keep it fresh, spin the bottle, dig deep, embrace the past - visit it – celebrate it – but don’t build a home in it.
Transgressive Records are thrilled to announce the first re-release campaign in the label's nine-year history, with two classic albums from one of the world's most influential bands, At The Drive-In. This is the very first time that Acrobatic Tenement, original released in 1996, will be available on vinyl. The vinyl format of their 2000 album Relationship of Command is currently one of those extreme rarities, making this a highly sought after release. The initial run of coloured vinyl copies of Relationship of Command will be available for Record Store Day on April 20th, while stocks last. Both titles will also be released on CD and on digital formats.
Of these reissues, guitarist and founding member Jim Ward said: It was interesting to revisit the recordings that bookended the first chapters of our band. The earnest and pure excitement of the beginning and the level of craftsmanship we achieved by Relationship of Command leaves me nothing but proud. I am happy these records have found their way to continue to feel new as people discover music they love and embrace our work.
At The Drive-In set the template for ferocious underground statements. Through their incendiary Later With... Jools Holland performance (Robbie Williams has never been the same since realising he'd have to compete with their explosive display) and over-packed tent performance at Reading and Leeds, At The Drive-In definitively proved that a single spark can start a spectral fire. The band's live prowess was recently affirmed by last year's much talked about reunion shows - their first in over a decade.
Combining a lyrical complexity and sensitivity with the most visceral yet melodic music and drilling in the same vein as The Stooges (Iggy Pop even appears on Relationship of Command), At The Drive-In remind all of the power of revolution. Continuing in the tradition of the great American underground fuelled by the likes of Fugazi and Rites of Spring, this collection of musicians inspire the kind of devotion usually reserved for the Smiths.
'If you were there, then thank you' - Cedric Bixler-Zavala
In seven years together, Brooklyn's The Antlers have created a quiet revolution in thought and sound with their harrowing and often haunted tales of love unmoored, human frailty and emotional evisceration.
On Familiars, their fourth studio album, The Antlers -- vocalist / guitarist Peter Silberman, multi-instrumentalist Darby Cicci, and drummer Michael Lerner -- have resumed the journey they began with 2009’s Hospice and continued over the next album Burst Apart and the EP Undersea, which found the trio picking their way through a labyrinth of fear, doubt, love and loss against a backdrop of layered textural songs that were as deeply atmospheric as they were anthemic.
More hopeful in mood than its predecessors, the new album emanates a palpable release of despair and an almost operatic verve on nine songs that took shape over the past year and a half.
Familiars moves the Antlers' emotional and spiritual odyssey further, alongside a palette of sounds that soar and retreat under a canopy of electronic trappings and the steady arrhythmic heartbeat of Lerner’s drumming. A choir of horns function as a second voice across the songs.
“I wrote the trumpet arrangements as a sort of emotional antagonist,” explains Cicci. “In some ways it acts as more of conscience to an otherwise omniscient narrator. Other times, it’s about giving a voice and personality to the dark, unsympathetic nature of reality - as an obstacle to the narrator’s quest for enlightenment.”
This duality is a persistent force throughout the record, guiding an exploration of the divided self and giving rise to the idea of a Familiar — rather like a guardian angel, your shadow, or your consciousness.
“If there was ever a time when you felt completely lost and you were able to appear to yourself, to give yourself advice and shed light on your situation, what would that be like?” asks Silberman.
Familiars not only shows what that would be like, it demonstrates how that’s achieved over the arc of nine songs.
“I wanted to explore that conversation we’re constantly having with ourselves throughout our lives. So I began to write and sing as two sides of the same person, as estranged twins trying to find each other in a shared mind, and eventually travelling together through a maze of malleable memories.”
“For a while, I’ve been focused on what it means to be present, and how difficult that can be, living in a world created by your past. The past can be a comfortingly painful place, and it’s easy to get stuck there. In that sense, I think of Familiars as a rescue mission.”
It took The Antlers a year and a half to transform that world into a symbolic and musical language. Recorded by the band at their studio in Brooklyn, Familiars represents an evolution in the band’s musicianship and creative process.
“I’m not sure we really were having any kind of synchronicity back when we started the record. We came together into that through the recording,” says Cicci.
“We became really obsessed with Alice Coltrane’s Journey in Satchidananda, Charles Mingus’ The Black Saint and The Sinner Lady, and Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew,” he adds. “In the context of starting a record, they represented an almost spiritual self-expression, fugue-like repetition of themes, and the liberation of using pure discovery as a finished work.”
“We wanted to connect to the humanity of music from the past,” adds Silberman. “To capture grace and the heart within those performances.”
So this time around The Antlers made a soul record in the truest sense of the word. Sure, they inundated themselves with Al Green, Nina Simone, and The Memphis Boys, but really they were making music about that mysterious and ineffable part of yourself. The metaphysics behind the physics: They found that they had made a record that was able to express the unseen.
Transgressive Records are proud to announce Berlin's instrumental collective s t a r g a z e have signed to the label, anointing their partnership with the stunning EP Deerhoof Chamber Variations.
Deerhoof Chamber Variations is devised as a continuous piece of instrumental music, based on 9 1/2 songs which drummer and composer Greg Saunier originally wrote for his acclaimed band Deerhoof.
Different from most other band and orchestra/classical collaborations Greg himself arranged and recomposed the material for a classical chamber ensemble, using exactly the same notes as in the originals while rearranging the songs structurally, in a kind of miniaturizing and abstracting way.
s t a r g a z e, recently featured on boiler room tv as a 'renegade new classical ensemble', was founded by the highly regarded conductor André de Ridder, who was introduced to Transgressive through his acclaimed work on the Africa Express "In C Mali" record - a different approach to Terry Riley's minimal music classic 'In C', which s t a r g a z e was invited to perform with Riley himself at Amsterdam's Muziekgebouw concert hall in April 2015.
In February 2014, 's t a r g a z e presents' was launched at the Volksbühne Berlin, a three day long-weekender reflecting the collective's approach and featuring concerts and exclusive collaborations with My Brightest Diamond, Pekka Kuusisto, Holy Other, Pantha du Prince & The Bell Laboratory, Mouse On Mars and Tyondai Braxton.
In Summer 2014, s t a r g a z e teamed up with Arcade Fire member Richard Reed Parry, performing his composition Music for Heart and Breath, and initiated and performed new collaborations with The Dodos as well as Grant Hart (Hüsker Dü). They have recently worked with Julia Holter, presenting an exclusive orchestral concert of her songs at the Barbican Centre London. Other highlights include appearances at the Holland Festival, the Kilkenny Arts Festival and residencies at the Dutch Into The Great Wide Open and German Haldern Pop festivals.
Africa Express – a collective of African and Western musicians – brings together artists from different cultures, genres and generations for exceptional collaborative events. Their debut record 'Africa Express Presents: Maison Des Jeunes' was recorded in Bamako, Mali over 7 days in October. Africa Express musicians and producers set up a temporary studio in a city youth club and worked with a new wave of contemporary Malian musicians to complete the album in one week. The club, situated on the banks of the Niger river and known locally as Maison Des Jeunes, became the venue for a week of discovery, collaboration, music-making and live performances.
The resulting 11-track album captures the spontaneity and excitement of a unique week in a country famed for its musical heritage, yet which saw music briefly banned in much of the nation following last year’s coup and militant takeover in the north. Highlights include Timbuktu indie band Songhoy Blues – formed in reaction to the jihadist occupation - teaming up with Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner for their first ever studio session on track ‘Soubour’; the extraordinary soulful voice of 21 year old singer (and niece of the renowned Bassekou) Kankou Kouyaté complementing the music of her band Gambari; and British singer and producer Ghostpoet joined by the percussive beats of Bamako-based talking drum band Doucoura on the Damon Albarn and Two Inch Punch produced rap track ‘Season Change’.
The full list of musician and singers featured are: Adama Koita, Bijou, Doucoura, Gambari , Kankou Kouyaté, Lobi Traoré Band, Moussa Traoré, Songhoy Blues, Talbi, Tiemoko Sogodogo and the Yacuba Sissoko Band - as well as Western producers and musicians André de Ridder, Brian Eno, Cid Rim, Damon Albarn, David Maclean (Django Django), Ghostpoet, Holy Other, Jeff Wootton, Lil Silva, Nick Zinner (Yeah Yeah Yeahs), Olugbenga Adelekan (Metronomy), Pauli The PSM, Remi Kabaka, Sammy Jay, Seye and Two Inch Punch
Brooklyn’s Great Good Fine Ok have quickly established themselves as the one of the most talked-about bands of 2014. Jon Sandler (singer/songwriter) and Luke Moellman (multi-instrumentalist/producer) only met last year, but finished their first song together in one night. The track in question, 'You’re The One For Me', would soon hit the #1 spot on Hype Machine twice within the space of one month. Their first New York show was an instant sell out and then, at SXSW this year, the duo found themselves one of the must see bands of the festival, with fans aching round street corners for all six of their shows as people clamoured to see them live. It was at SXSW that the band first caught our eye and we quickly signed them to our Publishing roster.
The band’s second track 'Not Going Home' quickly followed, with the video premiering on Stereogum, and soon both “You’re The One For Me” and “Not Going Home” had reached over 500,000 plays on Spotify.
Great Good Fine Ok haven’t looked back since. Their anthemic blend of dreamy electro flutters, R&B beats and expansive pop has seen them compared to the likes of M83, Phoenix and Passion Pit, with the band subsequently signing to Neon Gold/Epic.
Both the aforementioned 'You’re The One For Me' and 'Not Going Home' appear on the band’s debut Body Diamond EP, released November 2014, along with the tracks 'By My Side' and 'Say It All' which further showcase their knack for crafting infectious melodies over luscious swathes of synthpop. Their follow up EP, 2M2H EP, arrived in March 2015, along with the band's first trip to London, performing a series of amazing shows in the capital, including an appearance Club NME.
Fist City have gone through a fairly tumultuous time since their formation in 2010. Firstly bassist Brittany Fist left the group, only to rejoin a couple of years later, while her twin sister underwent gender reassignment surgery to become a man. On top of that, guitarist Evan van Reekum fell from a fourth storey window, effectively putting him out of action for a month. Despite all these challenges, Fist City came back stronger than ever.
Forming in Lethbridge, a smallish southern Alberta town, in 2010, Fist City jelled from the ashes of various punk bands to form a storming blend of garage-fuelled, surf-tinged, scuzzy rock n roll. The cataclysmic sound that made their riotous second album 'It’s 1983, Grow Up' so special was been re-mastered, making it heavier, gnarlier and even more of a must-have since its original hometown release on Black Tent Press. What makes this even more exiting is that a new vinyl version was released on Transgressive Records, alongside a limited edition cassette version on Jen Long’s Transgressive imprint, Kissability in May 2014.
Alongside stand out tracks such as “Endless Bummer”, “Boring Kids” and “Creeps”, this new release is scheduled to have two brand new tracks on board. “Let's Rip” is a sugary-sweet, violent pop song about a knife-wielding girl gang, and psych post-punk number “Losers Never Die”, written about being an immortal weirdo will also join the record. Both tracks were recently recorded with Felix Fung in his studio in Vancouver.
The band travelled to the legendary Electric Audio studio in Chicago to record their follow up with Ben Greenberg of the Men. The new record 'Everything Is A Mess', was released in June 2015, and the band came back to the UK to play The Great Escape, and are set to return to the UK and Europe in Autumn 2015.
Becoming Real is the moniker of ethereal artist and producer, Toby Ridler. A somewhat elusive entity, who takes influence from the stark sonic palette of grime, footwork and European techno and shifts it into sinister soundscapes which are as equally alien as they are recognisable to the listener.
Becoming Real first started making music in the forgotten suburbs of South London in 2010, forging his own mesmerising take on first wave grime. This quickly caught the imagination of various corners of the music world and before long there were sold out 12" vinyl releases through Tough Love Records, Not Even, RAMP Recordings and also his own Cold War Industries label.
After support slots with Mount Kimbie and Salem among others, Becoming Real finished 2011 by landing the main support slot on the SBTRKT tour which was unquestionably the hottest support of the year.
Ridler is currently working on his next project, due 2015.
Since the label's inception the enigmatic Burningpilot, known only by their input channels (i.e. Channel #1, Channel #2 etc.) have released three limited 7"s ‘Can't Kid A Kidder', ‘Two Words Two Syllables' and ‘You Stay Cool', before retreating into the studio to record debut album ‘Cold Caller', containing entirely new songs.
10 songs of dark-humoured jolty stylings, and more menace than you can shake a stick at (this is a band who once sent an unbriefed friend to their first press interview), it truly is a record out of time.
A more direct form of writing manifested a selection of songs that just weren't quite right for Absentee...
Co-produced with Valgeir Sigurdsson (Bjork, Will Oldham...) ‘Saltwater' is an exceptional solo debut which features some of the most touching songs these ears have heard in a long time.
With guest spots from Magic Numbers and Rumble Strips, it'll be changing lives in the new year when it's released by Memphis Industries.
Another one-off fling for Transgressive Records, the single 'Walk With Me' was a brilliant exercise in Teenage Fanclub XTC.
Rattled off by four talented young chaps who had already made about four albums in their garden sheds, we were thrilled by the early success it brought them.
The band signed to Columbia for their debut 'Control' which received great reviews and was remixed in it's entirety by a big chunk of the indie glitterati.
They are currently working on the follow-up.
A one man Casio-tone covers band of the Young Knives.
His exceptional 4 track EP was released on limited edition red 7" ‘The Voices of Buttons and Knobs'.
Rumours abound of the existence of The Human Foals.
Marques Toliver has, at only 23, already been an artistic foil for others through his performances with the likes of TV On the Radio, Bat For Lashes and Grizzly Bear.
Paying the rent through busking in Brooklyn and London with his unique blend of classical influences and love for modern quality pop, he attracted the attention of Transgressive Management and the producers of Later With Jools Holland who have allowed this unsigned artist one of their coveted slots on the show.
Instantly memorable tunes, invigorating arrangements performed with charisma and sense of style that make him that rarest of artists in modern music: a true original.
From the ashes of Les Incompetents appeared the phoenix of fire and brimstone that is Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man.
Lyrically disassembling the self, tearing away the layers of humanity like a musical Ballard, until any semblance of soul is all that's left.
If this sounds heavy, wait until you hear the pounding King Crimson, Muse shattering rock that accompanies it.
Releasing a debut stand alone single 'Motherhood'/‘Fatherhood' before looking at new approaches to formatting releasing the first two of three Opus'. Substantial amounts of music with immaculate music. For body and mind.
One of our favourite short-term signings, these guys were an amalgamation of all of our favourite US indie bands with a sardonic humour and fantastic tunes...
We proudly released 'Won't You Come Around' and 'Pep' on Transgressive before those canny chaps set up their own label to release their spectacular debut album.
'It Rots', the debut album from Wet Paint, was recorded for about a tenner in under a week in the spirit of ‘This Band Could Be Your Life'.
Fans of Pavement and Dinosaur Jnr will rejoice at the dollops of noise, reckless abandon and lyrical wit and wisdom that ensue.
These fans abound it transpires, as Trial And Error recordings are set to release the album in the new year, as well as Lightspeed Champion, who recently covered their work, and Bloc Party, who are taking them on a massive tour with Foals.
Classic songs crafted from cardboard coloured dreams, the Rumble Strips first released 'Motorcycle'/'No Soul' on Transgressive, aided by two fantastic videos that cost about 10p to make.
The next single was the fantastic 'Hate Me You Do' which also came with another incredible video - this time shot at sea with full aerial shots, again for about 10p.
The band moved on label wise for the album (Island), and the rumours are that their new Ronson-produced record will help cement them as a classic festival band.
Great songs, lovely folks.
Another frolicsome 7"-only deal for the spectacular 'ABC' single, these polka dotted temptresses, and the superb Cassettes backing band stole our hearts and the money to record a classic single and then get in bed with Memphis Industries for the album, 'We Are The Pipettes'.
Still our best ever one-night stand.
Gaggle is a spectacular all girl alt-choir that sing songs to strip the skin from your bones and scare the bejeezus out of you.
Another one single signing for us here at Transgressive, Duels were perfect glam-pop re-inventers who thrilled us with their single 'Potential Futures', the first release on the famed 3" cd format as well as our classic 7".
The band were quickly snapped up by Nude, and recorded their debut album with a young James Ford. The follow-up was released last year to great reviews.
Our first signing as Transgressive Records, the single ‘1am' was an exhilarating slice of ‘Punk ‘n Roll' that launched their career.
A singles label at the time, the band have since gone on to sign with Warners and released two albums ‘Young For Eternity' and ‘All Or Nothing'...
Still one of the best live bands around, their debut rumblings for Transgressive are now available on the ‘Transgressive Singles Comp Vol #1'.
Initially a project between Liz Neumayr, Kele Okereke and others, Ladyfuzz settled on their final line up of Liz, Matt Lord and Ben Esser shortly before recording their debut single 'Oh Marie' for Transgressive...
Their infectious grooves and post-punk spirit led to another single 'Hold Up' before we cemented them as our first album length signing...
The results of this - 'Kerfuffle' - were recorded in a cottage in Essex and a studio in Stoke Newington, and released on to an unsuspecting world with gigs in support of Bloc Party and The Futureheads, with songs such as 'Bouncy Ball' and 'Something About a Dog' confounding the 'NME', the band exploded in a magical splosh of colour... They disbanded in 2006; drummer Ben Esser soon resigned to Transgressive under his 'Esser' guise.
The summer spirit of '05 cannily captured in the poetry and exploration of four young gents entirely immersed in music.
'Happy as Annie', their sole single for Transgressive, was a dark slice of deliciousness which bewitched us all.
Moving to Warners for their debut album, the band remained firm friends (with Tim and Toby contributing backing vocals to a couple of tracks along with Jamie T and Mechanical Bride).
The band split on the eve of the second-planned Transgressive Roadshows.
Touring their native New Zealand relentlessly, So So Modern combine a love of 80's synth work outs with hardcore ethics, rhythms and guitars, and a set of lyrical influences which completely engrosses.
Following a series of self-released cdrs, Transgressive released the ‘Friends and Fires' series: four 7"s, one a week for a month, themed by colour, which were then compiled with the material from the cdrs as ‘Friends and Fires +00EPS' as a vital introduction to an immense act.
Currently recording their debut proper, So So Modern will return in the new year with their strongest songs to date, and a ferocious live show.
Graham Coxon will mark the 101st release of Transgressive Records, and our 31st signing.
An introduction is not needed; Coxon has remained one of the most influential and inspiring guitar players and songwriters of the last quarter-century, whether through his immensely eclectic and challenging solo material or role within Blur.
His new album, and first for Transgressive, is entitled "The Spinning Top", comprising 15 original new songs, as produced by Stephen Street and featuring collaborators such as Danny Thompson and Robyn Hitchcock.
His seventh studio LP to date, it is also his finest yet whether the folky blues shuffle of "Sorrow"s Army", menacing thrashes of "Dead Bees", or eight-minute daydream opus, and perhaps album centrepiece, "In The Morning".
Graham"s most intimate and beguiling work to date, "The Spinning Top" ploughs depths, textures and lyrical furrows that few of his contemporaries are still able to muster, especially this far down the line. Conversely, this is the sound of a man rejuvenated and refocused, ready for yet another flourish in an-already compulsive and vital career.
Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, based on name alone, may sound like a president on first offing, but give his eponymous, debut album a spin and you'll soon realise a more relevant career has presented itself for this 24-year-old Brooklyn bard.
Recorded in an intensive few days, with predominantly live takes, this is modern music made the old-fashioned way: take ten ragged, soulful and completely compelling hymns for tough times, throw into the mix an impressive array of backing musicians (Kyp Malone of TV On The Radio; Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear), and just record what happens… In this case, it's one of 2009's most intense, beautiful listens; 'Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson' is indeed a classic offering.
Mechanical Bride, AKA 25 year old songwriter and self-taught musician Lauren
Doss, made quiet but confident waves back in 2008 with her debut release, a
collection of beautiful songs called Part II: EPs. On the mini-album was a version
of Rihanna's ‘Umbrella', an affecting cover that seemed coated in icicles, more a
haunted nursery rhyme than the original pop smash. The track received plays all
over the airwaves from Radio 1, 2 and 3 to BBC6 Music and XFM and anchored
this exquisite mini-collection which gained her critical acclaim as an exciting and
talented new British songwriter as well as comparisons with the likes of PJ Harvey,
Bat For Lashes and Laura Marling.
Living With Ants, Mechanical Bride's debut album proper, is a defiant step up and
sees her song writing blossom from the stark, black and white songs on Part II, into
fully formed techni-colour flourishes. "I wanted to find the beauty and colour from
dark places that exist inside and outside of ourselves, the title ‘Living With Ants'
means learning to co-exist alongside niggling issues and worries that we maybe
create for ourselves". Living With Ants is a stronger, more vibrant record and is
testament to how much Lauren Doss has grown as an artist.
Lauren grew up surrounded by music with her mother working as a professional
singer performing with bands all over the world during the 1970s and early 80s.
There was even a home recording studio set up in the front room where Lauren
witnessed first hand some great musicians at work. And it was while Lauren
herself was singing with Larrikin Love as a vocalist that she was recommended to
Transgressive who immediately signed her and put out Mechanical Bride's debut
EP ‘In The Throes' in late 2007.
As well as studying for a degree in music and visual arts, Lauren also managed to
fit in an internship at Hans Zimmer's production company, headed by the hugely
successful Hollywood film score composer, responsible for scoring everything from
Rain Man to Pirates Of The Caribbean. It is not surprising then, to find a filmic
quality to Mechanical Bride's music, each song telling its own story filled with
weird and wonderful characters. The main character being Mechanical Bride, who
was created by Lauren to describe the relationship between record players and the
records they play; a mechanical partner with which they share their lives with.
Making music has always been a way to escape for Lauren and the tracks on Living
With Ants make up a patchwork of tales and fables and, much like the haunted
fairy tales on Part II, the new album is rooted in escapism and fantasy. There is a
strong animal theme on the album, with some of the songs and even the album title,
having animals in its name. As with the opening track ‘Magpie', which begins with a
sweeping piano, joined by Lauren's gloriously stunning voice, reminiscent of singers
form a bygone era. Laced with sighing strings, soft trumpets and lightly brushed
drums, it slowly builds to a beautiful crescendo.
‘Young Gold' (You Stole My Heart)' is the kind of song you think you've heard
before, it sounds so familiar. An uplifting ode to a friend or lover, the delightful
melody intertwines with the horns and delicate beat, all masterfully produced with
care and restraint by Nick Abbott and Lauren herself. Upcoming single ‘Colour Of
Fire' out 9 May, is a stand out track with Lauren's voice once again tugging at your
heartstrings as she sings around a swirl of piano and strings.
‘Walk Into The Forest' continues the animal theme with talk of monkey choruses,
creeping through the trees. Traces of Rudyard Kipling style storytelling and jazz
inflected strings are scattered over the piano led track, as Lauren whispers of finding
colour in the darkest of places. This leads nicely on to ‘Demons', a wonderfully
catchy personal call to arms, with muffled trumpets, a travelling double bass and a
skiffle-jazz feel, like something straight out of the Jungle Book or a song from the
house band in Belleville Rendezvous.
Although Mechanical Bride shares her name with a dark American science-fiction
play by Fritz Lieber Jnr, the sinister nature of Part II EPs has been transformed
like a butterfly, into the fully formed songs with lush arrangements, filled with
colour and playful lyrics found on Living With Ants. Lauren has stepped out of her
black and white music box and embraced all the outside world has to offer, without
losing any of the childlike sense of wonder and magic. Everything on the album
was recorded using vintage valve equipment, which contributes even more to that
fantastical sound, like that from a lost and forgotten world.
First promoted by Toby L in the UK, Regina was brought to us through The Strokes' producer Gordon Raphael. After falling in love with her utterly unique genius (hell, frankly, after falling in love with her) we found out that a planned re-release of her third album 'Soviet Kitsch' was on the cards. Disappointed that the world at large would never enjoy the gems on her first two albums, we engineered the licence and creation of an early days compilation, chosen by her and entitled 'Mary Ann meets the Grave Diggers and Other Short Stories'.
This classic album featured the anthem 'Us', and followed a one off single version of 'Carbon Monoxide' on the label, before she moved on to the legendary Sire records for her new album 'Begin to Hope' (which has since gone on to sell almost a million copies worldwide).
You know you're on to something when you settle down to describe an artist who attempts to meld the lyrical folk of Elliot Smith, with the violent outbursts of Lightning Bolt and the jam stylings of the Grateful Dead.
Live, he loops himself, singing verses before diving behind a drumkit and flailing around with his own beats.
On record, he self produces and refines these ideas to make a surprisingly listenable, but stunningly affecting piece.
His debut ‘I'll Be Lightning' features the singles ‘Second Chance' and ‘Better To Be', which were released on very limited 7"s with individual photo covers taken by the man himself.
The most important US indie band of recent times joined Transgressive for their classic third album ‘Wincing the Night Away'.
Released by our friends Sub Pop around the rest of the world, this album saw James Mercer pushing his songwriting into new areas and featured the unforgettable songs ‘Phantom Limb', ‘Turn on Me' and ‘Australia'.
The first release on Transgressive was an individually made 7" with a Polaroid taken by each member of the band, and we brought them over for some classic shows, including their biggest sell-out gig to date at the mammoth Hammersmith Apollo. Truly an awesome band.
The second of our licences from Sub Pop (they returned the favour by releasing Foals in the States....) Iron and Wine joined us for his masterpiece ‘The Shepherd's Dog'.
Already cementing his position at the top of the Americana scene, Sam Beam broadened his palette with his collaborations with Calexico before settling down to make an important record, both personally and politically.
Containing the singles ‘The Boy With The Coin' and ‘Lovesong of the Buzzard' both appearing on limited 10"s, and the stunning ‘Flightless Bird; American Mouth' appearing at a turning point in American history.
A classic in every sense of the word, and a stunning creation from a true genius.
Perhaps the definitive Transgressive band... we were thrilled by the band on our first visit to Oxford and immediately signed them for the ‘Junky Music Make My Heart Beat Faster' ep, and swiftly converted it to our first multi-album deal.
The band went from strength to strength with their debut album ‘Voices of Animals and Men' bringing a refreshing take to the post-punk revival, will killer pop songs such as ‘She's Attracted to', ‘Weekends and Bleakdays' and of course ‘The Decision' leading to a Mercury nomination, sold out shows and much press love...
The band broadened their horizons with the follow up ‘Superabundance', leading off with the vitriolic observational masterpiece ‘Terra Firma', ‘Up All Night' and the stunning ‘Turn Tail', blasting over people's conceptions of the band, and leaving them in a position where next, anything could happen.
Having subverted the mainstream since 2008, these soft handed punks have been causing quite a stir with their manic art-punk convulsion. Since their inauguration above The Packhorse pub in Leeds; they have toured tirelessly wowing critics, bands and audiences alike.
Thus attracting the attention of everyone here at 'Transgressive Towers' who immediately set to work planning the strictly limited 12" vinyl titled 'Live At Leeds' which was released on Record Store Day (17 April 2010) in the UK. Obviously their eponymous debut was warmly received worldwide after it's release on the 21st June 2010, as were the four kick ass singles which heralded its arrival. Its follow up 'Tough Love' was released in 2012 and continued the trend of incredibly raucous songs accompanied by even more impactful live shows.
They've just released their third album 'Blood', which has received incredible responses across the board from critics. With an upcoming UK and European tour be sure to catch them if they come your way!
Surely the greatest live band in Britain? Yeah Buddy!
“Best album yet, Pulled Apart By Horses have captured their own genie.” - Q
“Proves Pulled Apart By Horses can be subtle as well as skull-rattlingly loud.” – 4/5 The Guardian
“A consistent wave of modern rock classics” - DIY
"They’re just a more interesting and (whisper it) refined band now” - 8/10, Drowned in Sound
“One of the smartest bands to occupy a position on the heavier side of British rock.” - 8/10 The Line of Best Fit
Another exceptional group signed to Transgressive Publishing in 2010- and now Records - Dry The River are a band we've been waiting for for some time. Inclusive, inspirational and utterly thrilling.
Dry the River’s origins lie with frontman, Peter Liddle. Born in Norway to British parents, his early life was a shifting one thanks to his father’s work as an engineer in the oil industry. Ever-changing homes and schools gave Liddle a peculiar set of reference points: "I think I have a fixation with community and belonging, because that wasn't something I had as a child." And though his parents are only “quietly religious,” Liddle became fascinated by the iconography and language of the Roman Catholic Church at one of his many primary schools, where his voice was honed in the school choir.
Though he’s not overtly religious, religious symbolism creeps into Dry the River’s lyrics, whether on first album ballad's Bible Belt and Shaker Hymns or the more anthemic Gethsemane or Hidden Hand on the more recent Alarms in the Heart.
“I think if you play with King James' vocabulary it accesses a solemnity; something deep within people,” says the Leonard Cohen inspired singer. “It sets a tone that says this is some serious shit.”
By the time Liddle returned to Newbury as a teenager, he and the various members of Dry the River – guitarist Matthew Taylor, Scott Miller (bass) and Jon Warren (drums) – were crossing paths in various bands on the DIY scene centred around Southampton, Reading and Newbury’s Waterside Youth Centre. “It was this cool, grimy little venue,” says the singer. “You could rehearse there, and they always put on local bands alongside touring artists, which really helped cultivate the scene. It meant you could sell out a decent venue with your 16 year old punk band.”
University took Liddle first to Bristol, where he studied anthropology, and then to London’s Kings College, where he enrolled in medical school. “I don’t know if I wanted to save lives in a hands-on way,” he muses. “I saw myself more as a lab doctor than a people doctor. You know, spending a lot of time in a white coat looking down a microscope. I think in some ways I also wanted to look illness and mortality in the eye, to see how things like human dissection would affect me.”
At medical school, with ten years of band experience behind him, he resolved to put music on the back burner and focus on his studies. But in spite of his best efforts, the acoustic guitar in the corner was calling. Liddle started writing folky material in his hall of residence room and, on summer break, called on those old friends from the Reading scene – by now all living in London – to record them.
“Initially the emphasis was on it being something distinct from our old bands - really gentle and lo-fi,” says Liddle. “Every time Jon tried to rock out I’d say, No, no, keep it stripped back.”
On signing to Transgressive publishing, the band were able to quit their jobs and studies. “We went on tour straight after and went absolutely wild for six months,” says Taylor. “We just partied the whole fucking time.” They clocked up some miles too, playing across Europe, the UK and even the Outer Hebrides.
When not on tour, the five were living together in a house in Stratford, East London, in what can be described as near-medieval living conditions. “Pete sleeps on a mattress on the dining room floor,” says Taylor. “You have to climb over his head to get to the toilet in the night.” For at least one band member, it’s an improvement on what came before: “When Jonny was in hardcore bands he couch surfed for three years,” says Taylor. “It’s pretty normal behaviour on that scene.” The close living conditions and hard touring have fostered an impossibly tight bond between the band. “We know each other well enough to tell when people are actually pissed off,” says Taylor. “I guess in that respect it's like living with four brothers - we rip it out of each other relentlessly, but we know when to leave each other alone.”
In March 2011, the band traveled to Bridgeport, Connecticut to record their debut album with producer Peter Katis (The National, Interpol), a man whose professional ethos was a perfect match. “We were looking for someone who could strike a balance between lo-fi and hi-fi,” says Liddle. “We wanted to record the bulk of it to tape, to use analogue stuff in favour of computer wizardry where possible, but without it sounding like an old folk record. I think we tried to preserve the fragility and honesty of the more stripped down tracks, but still get the intensity of the live show across too - to marry those two aspects of our music without it sounding incongruous.” In downtime, they played shows in New York, growing a grassroots following there with each passing week.
Back in Britain, the band’s progress remained rapid – videos of off-the-cuff acoustic performances became internet smashes, EPs sold out and festival bookings began to come in. In March 2011, they stormed South By South West, despite performing
without a drummer for five of the six gigs due to visa troubles. "We decided we'd still use our amps and still be loud - we just played as if Jonny was there. For a couple of shows we put some drums on stage and kind of hit them when we could."
Having started the year as one of the 15 artists on the prestigious BBC Sound of 2012 shortlist, Dry the River released their debut album Shallow Bed in March 2012 to critical acclaim and promptly embarked on another gruelling bought of touring, storming practically every major festival in the UK and Europe in the process.
The band returned in 2014 with the second record, 'Alarms in the Heart', a record we loved so much we signed the band to our Records arm and released it ourselves. The release was supported by a huge UK, European and American touring, including an incredible homecoming show at London's The Forum in October, and helping us celebrating our 10th anniversary at the Barbican. Produced by Charlie Hugall (Florence and The Machine, Ed Sheeran), Paul Savage (Mogwai, Franz Ferdinand) and Peter Miles (We Are The Ocean, Futures, The King Blues) and with arrangements and strings from Valgeir Sigurðsson (Sigur Rós, Björk), the resulting 10-track album is bold, expansive, confident and cohesive. 2015 will see the band touring even more extensively and a huge summer of festivals.
Mystery Jets formed in the early ’90s when the group’s shock-headed frontman, Blaine Harrison, was only 12. The band was initially called the Misery Jets, in honor of the Heathrow-bound jets that habitually roared over their native Eel Pie Island, but they changed their name when Blaine (who, again, was very young at the time) misspelled ‘misery.’
Mystery Jets were essentially a family project, with Blaine on drums, Blaine’s dad, Henry Harrison, on bass, and Blaine’s friend William Rees on guitar. Henry eventually switched from bass to guitar, Kai Fish joined up as the group’s bassist, and Blaine switched from drums to keyboards. The group tried out a drum machine and a local kid named Max before finally latching onto drummer Kapil Trevedi.
The band's debut single 'Zoo Time' / 'Lizzie's Lion' was released by Transgressive in 2005, with their first full-length album, ‘Making Dens’, released on 679 the following year. Their second album proper, ‘21’, was released on 679 in March 2008 with dance producer Erol Alkan at the helm and minus Harrison Snr for the first time.
In January 2009 the Mystery Jets signed to Rough Trade Records and signed publishing with Transgressive, releasing the two critically acclaimed albums 'Serotonin' and 'Radlands'. A new studio album - the band's fifth - is scheduled for 2015.
THUMPERS are comprised of long time friends Marcus Pepperell and John Hamson Jr. - their colourful, exuberant pop celebrates their innate musical kinship and shared memories from their childhood.
Their debut album, 'Galore', was released on SONY RED in May 2014, following on from the single 'Dancing's Done' on Kissability and the 'Unkinder' EP on Transgressive. The band supported the release with extensive touring throughout the UK, Europe and America as well as pulling in huge crowds at festivals all summer. They released a follow up EP, 'Together' in November 2014, which included collaborations with the likes of Blood Red Shoes, Jena Malone and Chloe Howl. They're currently working on the successor to 'Galore'.
Four boys who grew up together in the South of France, although one of them is Italian and two of them are English. The band recently recorded their debut album with legendary Sultan of Sound Miti Adhikari (Nirvana, Radiohead) and exist within their own creative world built on punk ethics and timeless, romantic songwriting. Their debut Transgressive release 'Donkey' was Zane Lowe's Next Hype and massive follow up single 'Ava' has been described as "a powerfully poetic masterpiece". Their debut album 'We Fam Econo' was released on the 8th September and will be supported by a series of UK dates in the autumn.
This band could be your life. FAMY is Bruce & Arthur Yates and Luca Galbiati.
Jodie Marie is that rarest of things: a refreshingly pure talent with a collection of deeply personal songs that manage to genuinely affect the listener.
Her voice is that of a classic artist and her unique tone and phrasing is impossible to compare. Whilst the quality and substance of the songs bring to mind greats such as Carole King and Joni Mitchell, her style is truly original within this classic framework of writing. And the emotional depth of her writing belies her mere 19 years of age.
Raised in Narberth - isolated and disinterested in the pop charts - Jodie Marie was brought up on a diet of blues and Bonnie Raitt, leading her to a soulful and genuine signature sound.
Whilst musically isolated, this sense of difference is intensified by the very physical location of her upbringing; romantic sea vistas which to the outsider could feel like other worlds entirely with their contrasts of purple foliage, waterfalls and of course that Greeny Blue sea.
"I love Pembrokeshire," she explains. "I think it has had such a massive influence on me, having all the beautiful space, landscapes and sea on my doorstep is amazing. I spend so much time at the beach, or just in the sea kayaking, surfing, or cliff jumping. I really appreciate that feeling of going out of your back door and all there is are fields and silence. You really come into your own, it's great for inspiration."
But the songs are also deeply personal, highlighting the feeling of isolation that occasionally arises in trying to communicate to our fellow humans. Her debut album, "Mountain Echo" encapsulates this feeling, as Jodie explains:
"The songs are written as conversations to people in my life, but without speaking to them directly about things, almost like an echo."
Indeed, the principal of heartfelt communication with those we care about reached a poignant climax when writing the album's title track with collaborator Ed Harcourt, as it was conceived the day that Ed heard the news of his friend Mark Linkous from Sparklehorse had taken his own life.
"Ed had been good friends with him, and he was obviously really upset. I offered to go home and let him have space, but he wanted to carry on with the session. At the end of the day we had written a song called 'Mountain Echo': this song has such emotion behind it from Ed and myself."
The seriousness of much of her subject matter is lifted to a joyous and eminently listenable plain, through her unique ear for a tune and phrasing, compounded by the classic production styles of both Bernard Butler (Duffy, Suede) and Ed Harcourt (Paloma Faith). Much of the album has been recorded live with lush string overdubs in Konk studios (owned by Ray Davies), with no editing of vocals to capture the energy and emotion of these human performances; a rare approach in today's music industry.
"I loved recording the album in such an old-fashioned way. We had rehearsed together, the mics had been set up, we all had our own places to stand or sit, and we just played live altogether. Not many artists get to do that anymore, and I think that's where I've been really lucky recording the majority of my album this way."
Discovered by Transgressive Management (the team behind Johnny Flynn, Foals and The Noisettes) when Toby L's father was on a trip back to his hometown in Wales. Speaking about his son's involvement in the music industry over breakfast, he was instructed by the landlady to check out the local plumber's daughter's music.
Signed to Decca to relaunch the classic Verve label, she follows a strong lineage of artists, from Nina Simone and Billie Holliday to the Velvet Underground and is set to transcend trends and convention with her heartfelt debut album released later in the year. The debut single "Single Blank Canvas" is a small glimpse into the expansive world of this new original voice.
Mountain Echo allowed Jodie to tour the world, both as a headliner and supporting established artists such as Nerina Pallot and Will Young, and gained critical acclaim and a spot on the Radio 2 A List. Now working on its follow up, Jodie has just embarked on a side project with Samuel Taylor under the moniker Taylor and Marie. Taking its cues from the pair’s shared love of 60s folk, it beautifully showcases another side to Jodie’s immeasurable talent. Their EP, Tilt The Moon, was released on the 25th August via Dink’s Records, supported by a UK tour.
First spotted at one of the Mystery Jets infamous Eel Pie Island shows, Jeremy Warmsley was a truly unique proposition - a fantastic singer songwriter who also dabbled in madcap electronic explorations; a dynamic and influential combination.
Our first solo artist to the label (and later Publishing), Jeremy jointed us for two limited 10" EPs which would go on to form the basis for his debut album ‘The Art of Fiction'. Containing some inspirational singles (and videos) ‘Dirty Blue Jeans', ‘I Believe in the Way You Move' and ‘5 Verses', Jeremy supported the release with tours alongside The Shins and Regina Spektor.
The follow-up record, produced with Markus Dravs (the Arcade Fire, Coldplay), refined his craftwork and included the singles ‘Lose My Cool' and ‘Dancing with the Enemy' with the limited edition set also featuring stand alone single ‘The Boat Song' and his definitive cover of ‘Temptation' by New Order.
With Noisettes, it's always best to expect the unexpected. Two years on from a debut album awash with punk spirit and scorching blues-rock, the London trio returned with Wild Young Hearts, a set of sleek pop songs steeped in soul, dizzy on disco and harking back to the days of blues and jazz greats. Proving to be their most successful chart album to date in included the incredible singles 'Don't Upset The Rhythm' and 'Wild Young Hearts', propelling the band into the exclusive world of wonderful, intelligent, accessible pop music. Its follow up 'Contact', released in 2012 saw the band continue to build on their new pop direction, maturing and building on what they'd done previously.
The band are currently working on a follow up.
Darby Cicci, multi-instrumentalist and producer of critically acclaimed band The Antlers, is set for the debut of his solo project School of Night. The group's self-titled EP is out October 15 in the U.S. via Minus Green Records and October 14 in the rest of the world on Transgressive Records. Stereogum is premiering the album's lead track, "Lying," at http://bit.ly/13Gifzy. The album is available for pre-order via iTunes at http://bit.ly/1d32FkE.
The School of Night EP was written, recorded and produced between 2011-2012 mostly during Cicci's brief breaks from recording and touring with The Antlers. "I would go to my studio, play synths in the dark, collect sounds that I love and try to build little worlds I could just dissolve into and explore," Cicci notes of the writing and recording process. "At first it was mostly playtime and I wasn't planning on releasing it, but if I've learned anything from my experiences, it's that the more you open up and share about yourself, the more you'll learn."
Cicci is best known as multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer for The Antlers since the group's formation in 2007. Cicci produced The Antlers' last two critically acclaimed albums, Burst Apart (2011) and Undersea (2012), as well as records for Porcelain Raft and Yellow Ostrich. He has also made countless remixes for artists including Neon Indian, PVT and Freelance Whales.
Theme Park are one of the most exciting songwriting forces in our midst today, managing to attain that rare balance of feeling comfortingly familiar and yet not sounding like anyone else.
Formed by twin brothers Miles & Marcus Haughton and quickly enrolling the services of old friend Oscar Manthorpe (guitar) the band set to work on putting together their first batch of tracks. The songs that emerged from these early sessions proved an instant hit with the blogosphere who fell for their emotive vocals, melodic guitar lines and infectious drums - one site boldly stating that the band "might present the dawning of a new era for pop music. They're that good. Their self titled debut album reaffirmed their ability to write some the most upbeat, life-affirming pop music we've ever released and their euphoric live shows won them fans all over the UK and beyond.
The band are currently working on their second album.
Previously named Killing Moon, Battle reached out to us with their sensitive blend of c86 and shoegazing influences, combined with some of the most ambitious songwriting we've encountered.
After a debut single on Fierce Panda, we released 'Demons' on to an unprepared world.
Tours with Bloc Party and the Rakes soon followed, as well as gigs with New Order. The debut album's troubled birth (a number of different sessions and producers) bore exquisite fruits though, in the form of a mini album; 'Back to Earth', stand alone single 'Children' (and stellar b-sides) and full length 'Break the Banks' before the band split over creative differences.
'Tendency' proved one of our first top 40 hits, and songs such as 'Sit With Me' will melt even the frostiest heart.
Jason and Jamie are currently working on new material together, as a solo performer and producer, and their legacy is one of good intentions.
Signed to Transgressive Publishing, Absentee set the gravel-toned, self-dissecting lyrics and character pieces of Dan Michaelson to the kind of Pavement-tinged Americana that gets reviewers hot under the collar.
Two exceptional albums have been released to date, ‘Schmotime' and ‘Victory Shorts' as well as the excellent mini ‘Donkey Stock'. The singles have been plentiful and inspiring including ‘Bitchstealer', ‘Boy Did She Teach You Nothing' and ‘Something to Bang'.
The band also has a number of excellent side projects: Dan Michaelson and the Coastguards, Wet Paint and the more elusive The Bronsteins.