The Grapevine: Music News, 30 Sept 2020

Tropical f*ck storm band promo imnage

Howdy folks, time for a round-up some of the most interesting Music News, tour dates, new single releases and albums we hear about on the grapevine. This week Shame, Gorillaz (feat. Robert Smith), Tiña, Tropical F*ck Storm, The Mountain Goats, SUUNS, Fontaines DC, Lambchop and Will Butler each have stuff to get excited about.

Shame Return With New Single “ALPHABET” One Dead Oceans

First New Music Since Critically Acclaimed Debut Songs of Praise

Shame band promo image
[Photo: Sam Gregg]

Shame have announced their much-anticipated return, via the frenetic, storming new single “Alphabet.” It marks their first new music since the release of their critically acclaimed debut album Songs of Praise in 2018 via Dead Oceans.

Alongside, the band have shared a Tegen Williams-directed video for the single, capturing the unnerving nature of hypnagogic hallucinations and the distressing way the mind can play tricks on us while dreaming.

On the track, produced by James Ford, frontman Charlie Steen explains:

“Alphabet is a direct question, to the audience and the performer, on whether any of this will ever be enough to reach satisfaction. At the time of writing it, I was experiencing a series of surreal dreams where a manic subconscious was bleeding out of me and seeping into the lyrics. All the unsettling and distressing imagery I faced in my sleep have taken on their own form in the video.”

Shame’s return, at under three minutes long, is a burst of energy that blazes bright and fast. It’s a restless and relentless track that feels familiar yet bigger and bolder than anything the band have done before, signalling the arrival of a new era of Shame.

Tiña share video for new single ‘People‘ + Announce new UK/ IRE live dates for Feb 2021

New album ‘Positive Mental Health Music’ out 6th November 2020


The First-ever album release from Speedy Wunderground (Squid, Black Midi, Black Country, New Road + more)

Previous single ‘Golden Rope‘ A-listed on 6 Music

Enigmatic South London band Tiña follow up the announcement of their much-anticipated debut album ‘Positive Mental Health Music’ (out 6th November via Speedy Wunderground) with new single ‘People’. The track comes on the heels of their previous single ‘Golden Rope‘, which was recently A-listed at BBC Radio 6 Music.

The final track on the album, ‘People’ is a song about the cloud that lifts following a serious bout of anxiety or depression, the lyrics celebrate solidarity and togetherness, something deeply lacking in modern England. The single’s accompanying video mirrors this message of togetherness with friends of the band and members of the local community coming together and donning frontman Joshua Loftin’s trademark pink cowboy hat at a skatepark.

Speaking briefly on the track, Loftin says, “The sun’s going down, John Lennon and Elton John are in a small rowboat together, they’ve just been intimate with each other and are lying down side by side, and everything is okay.”

Going on to speak about the video, he says, “This video was a big collaboration of ideas and work from different people all melded into one. A big shout out to the friends & community who came out for the skatepark part of the video shoot and made it a great day.”

In addition to the new single and video, Tiña have also announced new UK / IRE live dates for 2021.

2nd Feb – Moth Club, London – TICKETS
4th Feb – Elsewhere, Margate – TICKETS
5th Feb – Heartbreakers, Southampton – TICKETS
6th Feb – Rough Trade, Bristol – TICKETS
7th Feb – Hare & Hounds, Birmingham – TICKETS
9th Feb – Workmans Club, Dublin (IRE) – TICKETS
11th Feb – Yes Basement, Manchester – TICKETS
12th Feb – Hug and Pint, Glasgow – TICKETS
13th Feb – Hyde Park Book Club, Leeds – TICKETS
15th Feb – Prince Albert, Brighton – TICKETS

Supports TBC

‘Positive Mental Health Music’ will be the first ever LP to be released on tastemaker label Speedy Wunderground (Squid, Black Midi, Black Country, New Road + more).

To record the new album, the band headed back into the homely ‘Speedy’ studio with producer Dan Carey in South London. Lead singer/songwriter Joshua Loftin explains that he used the songs to “work through a mental breakdown” and the 11 track LP provides an honest and intimate portrait into this process of self-examination, covering themes of anxiety, depression, love, sex, isolation, fear and failure. Yet, ‘Positive Mental Health Music’ is anything but a difficult listen: the tracks are hook-filled, dynamic and even danceable at times. Loftin’s cooing vocals, his lyrics poetic yet slightly self-mocking, sit atop a blend of psych-pop keys, drums and guitars.

“What caught my ear was the beauty of their chord changes,” says Carey, who first saw Tiña at The Bunker Club, a small, sweaty basement venue in Deptford. He hoped to capture the experience of the band live, opting to record three songs in a row as continuous pieces with an intention “to capture the mind state we experience at a gig, the way time travels and how our senses are completely distorted”.

The LP was recorded on tape for the warmth that comes with analogue recording but also to give the process a sense of ceremony and gravity, “tape is limiting, and unlike with the computer when you wipe it, it’s really gone” – this Carey believed creates a “psychology of process whereby everything recorded becomes precious”. The idea of recording-as-ritual is in keeping with the band’s ethos; Loftin referred to live performance as “ceremonial… I feel like a Shaman, hence the bright colours” – referring to the pink, felt cowboy hat and velour cycling shorts he wears at every show.

‘Positive Mental Health Music’ is an emotional and tender record, a mood reflected in the recording process says Carey, “those days we had in the studio had a distinct tone to them”. He praised Loftin’s way with words “that can touch you so directly”.

On the milestone for Speedy Wunderground Carey says, “I’m so glad this is the first record on the label, I’m really proud of it.”

‘Positive Mental Health Music’ is due out 6th November via Speedy Wunderground

Pre-order HERE.

Tropical F*ck Storm Shares Cover of Talking Heads’ “Heaven,” Listen HERE

Legal Ghost 7”, Out Now on Joyful Noise Recordings

Tropical f*ck storm band promo imnage
[Photo: Jamie Wdziekonski]

Australia’s Tropical F*ck Storm have released their Legal Ghost 7,” out today on Joyful Noise Recordings. Alongside, they share the B Side, a cover of Talking Heads’ “Heaven”.

Recorded on the same four-track machine that “Legal Ghost” was originally recorded on over 20 years ago, the song features guest performers Don Don and H’y, on pedal steel and violin, respectively.

“‘Heaven’ is this weird chameleon-like tune which has meant one thing for about 40 years, but in light of all this pandemic shit and all the trouble and strife in the western world, has done a total 180-degree flip and now means the reverse of what it once did. It also has a lovely melody.”

“Heaven” and the title track that make up the 7” are TFS at their existential best, and it’s just what the doctor ordered. The songs were recorded at Dodgy Brothers Studio in Central Victoria, right before the world went indoors. To further celebrate the 7″ release, the band are selling a brand new Joe Becker-designed t-shirt exclusively on the Joyful Noise website. The design has two colour options: white with black ink, and white with multi-coloured ink (image below). To quote the band, Joe Becker is “the reclusive-Canadian-evil architect” behind the cover artwork for all of Tropical F*ck Storm’s releases.

The Mountain Goats are Ready to “Get Famous” With Their New Song

The Mountain goats band
[photo: Jade Wilson]

Getting Into Knives highlight “Get Famous” compresses the Mountain Goats’ fervor into a backhanded benediction, a three-minute pop entreaty to reach for the stars. But frontman John Darnielle isn’t the type to wish fame on anyone. Instead, he sings the song’s title as if it were a curse.

From John Darnielle: “If I told you all how much fun we had making this one you wouldn’t even believe me, but we hope it comes through.”The Mountain Goats’ John Darnielle, Matt Douglas, Peter Hughes, and Jon Wurster recorded Getting Into Knives in a single week with local players at the legendary Sam Phillips Recording in Memphis, Tennessee. Cohabitation radiates throughout Getting Into Knives, with many tracks featuring seven or more musicians playing at once. Following April’s Songs for Pierre Chuvin and 2019’s In League with Dragons, Getting Into Knives is a document of a band at the top of its game.

Knives provided by Knives International​, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Knives Worldwide.

Getting Into Knives arrives October 23. Pre-order on cassette, CD, and 2-LP wherever records are sold, as well as salmon-coloured deluxe vinyl in the Mountain Goats store. In addition, the Merge store carries limited-edition metallic gold Peak Vinyl and a new enamel pin, both available à la carte or as part of a super bundle that comes with a free embroidered patch while supplies last.

SUUNS Announce FICTION EP Out October 30th On Joyful Noise Recordings & Share Lead Single “PRAY

SUUNS band
[Photo: Joseph Yarmush]

Montreal-based band SUUNS, comprised of Ben Shemie, Joe Yarmush, and Liam O’Neill, announce their new FICTION EP out October 30th via Joyful Noise Recordings, and share the lead single.“PRAY” was recorded during a hot Dallas summer in 2015 with John Congleton, originally for the band’s 2016 album Hold/Still. “It didn’t make the cut, probably because we loved it so much and thought we had an even better version of it in us,” says O’Neill. “We subsequently tried to record multiple versions of this song, none of which captured the unhinged energy of this live-off-the-floor performance. Discovering this lost jam and its power felt like a reminder to keep in the moment and to trust ourselves – you just have to keep moving forward.”

SUUNS are future-oriented. New sounds, new techniques, new ways of thinking; above all, new environments are the lifeblood of the band. And true to form, here on the FICTION EP, SUUNS are exploring fresh processes as a result of their current surroundings and global circumstances.

On the FICTION EP, new sounds and sonic directions are fashioned out of old. A year-long period of limited resources and contact inspired the band to reflect on the various environments in which they’ve created music over the years: to comb through their previous sounds and creative approaches, and fuse them together with new ideas, ultimately producing a sort of future/past alchemy. The FICTION EP is as much a project of curation as it is one of creation: sifting, re-imagining, and re-framing, sometimes completely disassembling and then building from the ground up. Each song is a live-off-the-floor recording that was then taken into isolation and re-worked.

As much as the FICTION EP is a project born of introspection and reflection, it’s equally one for which SUUNS sought inspiration from outside. Longtime friend of the band Radwan Ghazi Moumneh (Jerusalem In My Heart), bringing relentless claps and buzuks, leads SUUNS through “BREATHE,” while Amber Webber (Lightning Dust) sings a mournful siren song on the penultimate track, “DEATH.” Finally, the ghost of Frank Zappa lends the band his fervent societal diagnosis, as relevant today as it ever was, on “TROUBLE EVERY DAY.”

Zappa’s darkly prophetic message, repurposed from 1966 to meet our moment, is an apt referent. These dualities, confluences of past and future, of introspection and influence, are what defines the FICTION EP. Produced from old remnants, it is entirely new; done in relative isolation, and is also something of a live record. The songs have been meticulously reworked, and yet the entire collection feels deployed with hardly any reflection, done in one breath. It’s the sound of SUUNS regrouping, and then poised, and then driving towards the future.

The FICTION EP is the first preview of more new music to come in 2021.

Pre-order FICTION EP:

FICTION EP Tracklist:
2. BREATHE (feat. Jerusalem In My Heart)
5. DEATH (feat. Amber Webber)

Fontaines D.C. share new video for “A Lucid Dream”

New LP ‘A Hero’s Death’ out now via Partisan

Fontaines DC promo image
[Photo: Ellius Grace]

Fontaines D.C. have shared a music video for “A Lucid Dream,” the thunderous and apocalyptic highlight off their newly-released second LP ‘A Hero’s Death’ (Partisan).‘A Hero’s Death’ has been one of the best-received albums of 2020 so far, debuting at #2 in the UK charts (behind only Taylor Swift).

Far from a re-hash of their swaggering 2019 debut (‘Dogrel’), ‘A Hero’s Death’ arrives battered and bruised – albeit beautiful, with songs that are patient, confident, and heady takes on the modern world and its great uncertainty.

Watch their stellar remote performance of “A Hero’s Death” for Jools Holland HERE.

Fontaines D.C. also recently announced a run of Spring 2021 UK tour dates, including a May 27th show at London’s Alexandra Palace, their biggest UK headline show to date.

UK 2021 headline tour dates are as follows:1st May – Edinburgh Corn Exchange3rd May – Nottingham Rock City

4th May – Bath Forum
6th May – Liverpool Mountford Hall
7th May – Manchester Academy – SOLD OUT
8th May – Manchester Academy – SOLD OUT
10th May – Leicester De Montfort Hall
11th May – Leeds O2 Academy – SOLD OUT
12th May – Newcastle O2 City Hall
14th May – Glasgow Barrowland – SOLD OUT
15th May – Glasgow Barrowland – SOLD OUT
17th May – Cambridge Corn Exchange
18th May – Sheffield O2 Academy – SOLD OUT
20th May – Birmingham O2 Academy
21st May – Cardiff Great Hall – SOLD OUT
22nd May – Bristol O2 Academy – SOLD OUT
24th May – Bournemouth O2 Academy
25th May – Southampton O2 Guildhall
27th May – London Alexandra Palace

Buy/stream A Hero’s Death via the band’s webstore HERE

Buy/stream A Hero’s Death on all platforms HERE

Lambchop Shares Cover of Wilco’s “Reservations” From New Covers LP out November 13

Lambchop promo image
[Photo: New Formalists]

The almighty Lambchop returns with TRIP, a new covers LP out November 13, 2020, on Merge in North America (City Slang for rest of world).

Listen to their epic take on Wilco’s “Reservations” now, and pre-order TRIP today on CD, LP, and coke-bottle clear Peak Vinyl, the latter packaged with a limited-edition blotter paper print.Grimey’s in Nashville is also selling an exclusive version of TRIP on translucent pink with yellow and white swirl vinyl, signed by the band and limited to 300 copies.

For TRIP, each of Lambchop’s six band members was tasked with choosing one song for the group to cover, and leading the recording session to completion each day. Lambchop principal Kurt Wagner says, “My idea was to see what might happen if I removed myself from the process as much as possible.”

Lambchop’s drummer and electronics guru extraordinaire Matthew McCaughan on selecting the Yankee Hotel Foxtrot closer: I’d like to say that Wilco’s “Reservations” is a song I’ve always wanted to cover. But honestly, after a friend had mentioned it in a story, I had to go back and give it another listen. Picking out a cover is stressful for me. It’s kind of a dumb thing to stress about, but so many songs have memories tied to them, and I don’t want to cloud those memories. I usually pick one of those songs that I feel would fit the band, but then I go back and forth, wondering the best way to approach the arrangement. Should we honor the original and try to faithfully re-create all the sounds and performances that make the song special to me, or should we take it apart and start over? Then, add in the fact that the cover would be recorded and preserved forever. I could not think of one song that I couldn’t make an argument for both approaches, so it always ends in a one-person stalemate. So I decided I would pick a song that, while I love it, and know it, it wasn’t one that had been on repeat for months at some point in my life, nor was it one that is permanently tied to some memory of my own. Instead, I used my family’s and friends’ collections and recollections with and without their permission. That way I’d just ruin it for them. But it’s the thought that counts.

TRIP tracklist:

“Reservations” (Jeff Tweedy; originally performed by Wilco)
“Where Grass Won’t Grow” (Earl “Peanutt” Montgomery; popularized by George Jones)
“Shirley” (Jamie Klimek & Jim Crook; originally performed by Mirrors)
“Golden Lady” (Stevie Wonder)
“Love Is Here and Now You’re Gone” (Brian Holland, Edward Holland & Lamont Dozier; popularized by The Supremes)
“Weather Blues” (James McNew [of Yo La Tengo, Dump]; unreleased)

Gorillaz “Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez” Out 23rd Oct

Song Machine Live Coming Dec 2020 — New Episode #6 “Strange Timez” Feat Robert Smith

Gorillaz song machine cover

Gorillaz started the year with Episode 1 – ‘Momentary Bliss ft. slowthai and Slaves’ – of Song Machine, a whole new concept from one of the most innovative bands around. Now, six episodes in, Noodle, 2D, Murdoc and Russel have visited Morocco and Paris, London and Lake Como, as well as travelling all the way to the moon, and Gorillaz is ready to bring you the full collection. Titled Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez, out on 23rd October 2020 with physical releases on standard CD, vinyl and cassette; plus the 17-track Deluxe and Super Deluxe box sets. Not forgetting the bulging full-colour, one-of-a-kind 210-page Almanac, the very first annual from Gorillaz.

Song Machine is the ongoing and ever-evolving process which has seen Gorillaz joined by an expanding roster of collaborators captured live in Kong Studios and beyond. The result is an expansive collection of 17 tracks embracing a myriad of sounds, styles, genres and attitudes from a breath-taking line-up of guest artists including Beck, Elton John, Fatoumata Diawara, Georgia, Kano, Leee John, Octavian, Peter Hook, Robert Smith, Roxani Arias, ScHoolboy Q, Slaves, Slowthai, St Vincent and 6LACK, as well as CHAI, EARTHGANG, Goldlink, Joan As Police Woman, JPEGMAFIA, Moonchild Sanelly, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Skepta and of course Tony Allen.

The latest episode, “Strange Timez” ft. Robert Smith sees our heroes on the moon, in full magnificent Jamie Hewlett technicolour, spinning around the world at night, spinning around until the sun comes up, a strange time to see the light.

And coming on 12th and 13th December is SONG MACHINE LIVE, featuring a unique blend of visuals and live Gorillaz performance with songs from Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez performed live for the first time globally via Livestream on LiveNow in three time zones.

For more information visit LIVENow.

Further Information:

Watch Episode 1 – Momentary Bliss ft. slowthai and Slaves – here.
Watch Episode 2 – Désolé ft Fatoumata Diawara – here.
Watch Episode 3 – Aries ft Peter Hook and Georgia – here.
Watch Episode 4 – Friday 13th ft Octavian – here
Watch Episode 5 – Pac-Man ft ScHoolboy Q – here

Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez – FORMATS INFORMATION:

Standard: (11 tracks) CD & 12” Vinyl & Digital Download; Deluxe Vinyl Edition: (17 tracks) Hardback Art Book and x3 Art Prints, 2x 12” Vinyl, CD, Digital Download; Limited Edition Super Deluxe Edition: (17 tracks) Hardback Art Book, 2x 12” Vinyl, 11 7” Vinyl, 11x Art Prints, CD, Crankshaft Music Box, plus Digital Download); Song Machine Mixtape Cassettes: 4x, Character curated, each selecting 11-12 tracks from the Deluxe Edition.

Song Machine: Season One – Strange Timez – FULL TRACKLISTING:
1. Strange Timez (ft. Robert Smith)
2. The Valley of The Pagans (ft. Beck)
3. The Lost Chord (ft. Leee John)
4. Pac-Man (ft. ScHoolboy Q)
5. Chalk Tablet Towers (ft. St Vincent)
6. The Pink Phantom (ft. Elton John and 6LACK)
7. Aries (ft. Peter Hook and Georgia)
8. Friday 13th (ft. Octavian)
9. Dead Butterflies (ft. Kano and Roxani Arias)
10. Désolé (ft. Fatoumata Diawara) (Extended Version)
11. Momentary Bliss (ft. slowthai and Slaves)

1. Strange Timez (ft. Robert Smith)
2. The Valley of The Pagans (ft. Beck)
3. The Lost Chord (ft. Leee John)
4. Pac-Man (ft. ScHoolboy Q)
5. Chalk Tablet Towers (ft. St Vincent)
6. The Pink Phantom (ft. Elton John and 6LACK)
7. Aries (feat. Peter Hook and Georgia)
8. Friday 13th (ft. Octavian)
9. Dead Butterflies (ft. Kano and Roxani Arias)
10. Désolé (ft. Fatoumata Diawara) (Extended Version)
11. Momentary Bliss (ft. slowthai and Slaves)
12. Opium (ft. EARTHGANG)
13. Simplicity (ft. Joan As Police Woman)
14. Severed Head (ft. Goldlink and Unknown Mortal Orchestra)
15With Love To An Ex (ft. Moonchild Sanelly)
16. MLS (feat. JPEGMAFIA and CHAI)
17. How Far? (ft. Tony Allen and Skepta)

Gorillaz are once again disrupting the paradigm and breaking convention in their round the back door fashion with Song Machine, the newest concept from one of the most inventive bands around. Song Machine will see Gorillaz joined by an exciting and ever-evolving roster of as yet unannounced collaborators captured live in Kong Studios alongside the world’s most successful virtual band*. The cameras are rolling 24/7, the fourth wall is broken, the kettle is on, the chaos is real, the door is open… What’s coming next? Stay tuned.

Virtual band Gorillaz is singer 2D, bassist Murdoc Niccals, guitarist Noodle and drummer Russel Hobbs. Created by Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett, their acclaimed eponymous debut album was released in 2001. The BRIT and Grammy Award-winning band’s subsequent albums are Demon Days (2005), Plastic Beach (2010), The Fall (2011), Humanz (2017) and The Now Now (2018). A truly global phenomenon, Gorillaz have achieved success in entirely ground-breaking ways, touring the world from San Diego to Syria, winning numerous awards including the coveted Jim Henson Creativity Honor.

* The band are recognised by The Guinness Book Of World Records as the planet’s Most Successful Virtual Act.

Will Butler premieres massive song “Bethlehem” on Apple Music

Will Butler promo image
Courtesy of Merge Records

On “Bethlehem,” the third single from Will Butler‘s imminent new solo album Generations, fevered energy arrives at the song’s onset and never relents, providing what might be the most cathartic three and a half minutes you’ll hear all year. It premiered last night alongside an interview on Apple Music’s ALT CTRL program. Today, Butler presents the video, which, like a nightmare of a Flemish still life, shows the anxious preparation of a symbolic feast (co-directed by Adrienne Anderson).

Generations arrived on September 25; so get your copy today on CD, LP, and red splatter Peak Vinyl in the Merge store, or wherever records are sold.

Will Butler on the background of “Bethlehem”:

This song partly springs from “The Second Coming” by William Butler Yeats:​ “what rough beast, its hour come round at last, / Slouches towards Bethlehem to be born?” Like a lot of folks, I woke up after the election in 2016 mad and sad and scared and exhausted. This song is born of that emotion.

My bandmates Jenny Shore, Julie Shore, and Sara Dobbs sing the bridge, and it’s a corrective to my (appropriate?) freaking out—this isn’t the apocalypse. You’re misquoting Yeats. Get your fucking head on straight. History has not ruptured—this shit we’re in is contiguous with the shit we’ve been dealing with for a long, long time. But still, we sometimes do need an apocalyptic vision to make change. Even if it’s technically wrong. I dunno. It’s an ongoing conversation.

In the five years since Will Butler released his debut album, Policy, he’s toured the world both solo and as a member of Arcade Fire, released the Friday Night live album, recorded and released Arcade Fire’s international #1 album Everything Now, earned his master’s degree in public policy from Harvard, hosted a series of touring town halls on local issues (police contracts, prison reform, municipal paid sick leave, voting rights), and spent time raising his three children.

He also found the time and inspiration to write and record a new album, Generations.

“My first record, Policy, was a book of short stories,” Butler says. “Generations is more of a novel—despairing, funny, a little bit epic… A big chunk of this record is asking: What’s my place in American history? What’s my place in America’s present? Both in general—as a participant, as we all are, in the shit that’s going down—but, also extremely particularly: me as Will Butler, rich person, white person, Mormon, Yankee, parent, musician of some sort, I guess. What do I do? What can I do? The record asks that question over and over, even if it’s not much for answers.”

“Bethlehem” follows in the footsteps of previous Generations singles “Close My Eyes” and “Surrender,” both also accompanied by self-directed music videos.

Follow Butler on FacebookTwitter, and Instagram.

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