As many of you who followed the 90s British alternative rock scene know, many of the great bands from that era have reunited and released fantastic new music. (Ride, Slowdive, My Bloody Valentine) Some have simply reunited for a weekend in order to, “rewrite their ending.” (Adorable)
There is one band, The Catherine Wheel, that many have been waiting for and a reunion has seemed less and less likely. They were unofficially ‘parked’ back in 2000.
Well, it seems like something might be fermenting.
I attended 4 of the 5 Adorable reunion shows last week, only missing the first one on Wednesday night in Hebden Bridge. I instead spent that Wednesday night in Manchester and saw the Leeds’ band Mush, which are quite good. (Recommended if you like Television, Velvet Underground, Pavement)
I arrived into Hebden Bridge early afternoon on Thursday and was fortunate to be able to watch the soundcheck which lasted over an hour.
Music On Vinyl is reissuing The Catherine Wheel’s 4th album, Adam & Eve, on vinyl. English alternative rock band Catherine Wheel was evolving quite fast to a band which made an impression in both the shoegaze as Britpop scene. Their fourth album Adam & Eve didn’t sound like any of the band’s previous albums. It was a new beginning, both musically as artistically. This unique record strikes a balance between the alternative rock, guitar pop and the dreamy world they created. They’re constantly shifting in volume, keys, and guitars, but every song is connected with the next. It is one of the most underrated albums of all time, as this can compete with ’90s records by Radiohead and Spiritualized. Just take your first spin and you won’t be disappointed.
I was born with both the love for music and a mild hearing deficiency. (Which I suspect has become ‘moderate’ as I’ve gotten older and attended hundreds of concerts.) This makes it challenging because I appreciate the finer details in music but the law of diminishing returns, with regards to audio equipment, is even steeper with me.
I recognize some qualities in live music that others may miss (reverberation, the mix) but I miss the details in high tones that someone with normal or better hearing would appreciate. It would be a waste of money for me to go out and buy a top of the line home stereo setup to squeeze out a negligible improvement that only someone with excellent hearing could notice.
I’ve played around with various solutions to help me hear the things I’m missing and some work quite well while others are less than ideal or downright awful.
For your computer, you can add an operating system level EQ, which generally works quite well, however you can’t take it with you. (Audio Hijack, Airfoil, Boom, eqMac, iTunes built-in EQ) These require you to either know enough about equalization to customize the EQ bands yourself or use a built-in EQ setting, which won’t be customized for your own hearing ability.
On an iPhone you can use the built-in EQ but this is not customizable either. You’re limited to options like ‘Rock’, ‘Bass Reducer’, ‘Treble Booster’, ‘Pop’.
I read about Even headphones and their marketing tagline, “glasses for your ears.” I was suspicious but curious.
While glasses can be worn everywhere and correct your vision for all situations, Even headphones aren’t hearing aids and are designed for recorded music mostly but work with movies at home, tv, and videos as long as you can broadcast the source device with bluetooth. They don’t replace hearing aids, obviously.
The latest model of Even headphones is named ‘H4’. (Not to be confused with Beoplay H4 from Band & Olufsen)
Beryllium coated 40mm drivers (new type compared to the previous model which supposedly brings more definition and clarity to the table, especially in the higher frequencies)
Black or Wood ear cups
20 hours of battery life
The headphones and app run a hearing test that tests 8 frequencies on each side, from 125 Hz to 14 kHz. An audiogram performed by a licensed audiologist also test for 8 frequencies. (125 Hz, 250 Hz, 500 Hz, 1000 Hz, 2000 Hz, 3000Hz, 4000 Hz, and 8000 Hz.). Even calls this an EarPrint.
The test is very intuitive and easy to perform. You can create as many EarPrints as you want. Presumably for different household members who may use the headphones.
It’s not clear how many different levels they test for within each frequency. The EarPrint graph shows ranges from ‘soft’, to ‘normal’, to ‘loud’. It looks like they might play 9 different volume levels, based on looking at my test results, but it feels like they move through each one fairly quickly. The entire test only takes a few minutes.
It won’t let you modify an existing EarPrint setting and won’t let you fine tune each frequency. I would prefer to be able to dive into each frequency individually and configure it to my liking. I realize they likely want to simplify it and remove the chance for user error. However, I might be able to hear a tone at a particular volume if I had more time to respond and to realize what I’m actually listening for. The only way to change a setting is to repeat the whole test over again.
I’d love to know more about what they are doing to alter the sound for my hearing ability. It would be nice to be able to replicate their EQ in other situations where I have access to an equalizer but perhaps not these headphones. Looking at my custom EarPrint, I can guess but don’t know to what extent they’ve modified each band.
After the hearing test, I had to pair the headphones with my phone. I successfully paired the headphones the first time but no apps would see them. I had to power them off, on again, and re-pair them a second time for any applications to recognize them. I did experience some additional bluetooth goofiness during the next week as I played with the headphones where my phone wouldn’t connect to them. Sometimes this was due to the headphones already being connected to a different device but not all the time. It was always fixed by re-pairing the headphones. I don’t blame the headphones for this necessarily but I’d like to pair them with multiple devices (phone, Apple TV, Roku, bluetooth transmitter) and being able to reliably and quickly connect the headphones to the desired device would save a lot of annoyance.
Occasionally I experienced issues where the music would start but stop after a split second. I would select a different track and it would do the same thing. I don’t know if this was due to interference from other devices but I would expect them to work reliably once connected.
My first album to test was Radiohead’s ‘In Rainbows’. I was initially very impressed with the difference. When I turned off the EarPrint to test it without the adjustment, the audio sounded comparitively muffled and almost sounded like they could be intentionally downgrading the quality in order to give the impression their EarPrint technology is better. I had the same thought when I tried their free online demo. I know this is ridiculous but it occurred to me.
I grabbed my Sennheiser HD 650 cans and compared the difference between both headphones. Aside from expected characteristic differences in the headphones (open back, etc) the unmodified sound of the Even H4’s were not that different from the Sennheisers. I performed the same test with Audio Technica ATH-M50s and the results were similar. Color me impressed, but also disappointed in my own handicap.
Overall, snares have more snap, high hats are crisper, guitars are brighter.
Some of these may be obvious but are worth mentioning:
If the batteries are dead or if you want to listen to a source that doesn’t have bluetooth, you can use a cable but the EarPrint is disabled. There is no way to listen to any source using a cable AND have the EarPrint function. Even is planning on releasing a studio monitor version that allows this but not until 2020.
No touch enabled controls on the side of the headphones like some competitor models.
No hinges to collapse them down smaller.
Can’t control which source the headphones are connected to from the headphones or app.
Overall I’m quite pleased with them. They are comfortable and the sound improvement, for me at least, is like night and day.
You can buy them direct from Even or at Amazon for $150.
Australian shoegazers Flyying Colours played a few songs live on Australian radio this week on PBS 106.7 FM. They played a few new tracks which can be heard here. (Hit ‘play’ and skip to 10:22:15)
Unfortunately, the radio station’s studio audio quality isn’t as professional sounding as some you’re likely used to (KEXP, etc) but it’s a good listen if you’re anxious for new tunes.
They’ve finished recording their 2nd album and are in the last stage of mixing. No date was given for when we can expect the release though.
They’ve been playing live in Australia, with major acts like The Jesus & Mary Chain and The Black Angels, with new tunes in their sets. So if you’re in Australia then you’ve been fortunate enough to have the opportunity to see them and hear new tunes.
Hopefully they will make their way to the west coast of the US after the new album is released.
From the longing of synthetic fulfillment comes the self-titled debut album from American synth duo – out today, June 7th, 2019 on Idol Records. Find warmth in sweet bouncy melodies, as they frame a revolt from the digital dots that connect modern society. Stacked layers of brilliant vocals descend into a gritty bed of rock sentiment, leaving you wanting more. Their sound has drawn comparisons to St Etienne, Sylvan Esso, Purity Ring, STRFKR, Glass Candy, Ladytron, Beach House, XX and even Blondie’s more disco-leaning material.
“Like many important bands, Seattle quartet Versing got their start in college radio—Tacoma’s KUPS. The group’s main songwriter/guitarist/vocalist Daniel Salas served as alternative music director there, where he met guitarist Graham Baker, drummer Max Keyes, and bassist Kirby Lochner. Now Versing are poised to spread their coolly combustible brand of rock on those said airwaves…and beyond if the world knows what’s good for it.
Baker, Keyes, Lochner, and Salas have risen through Seattle’s competitive rock ecosphere with nonchalant élan. They cheekily titled a previous album Nirvana, but never mind the bleach: Versing isn’t emulating Sub Pop’s most famous artist. Rather, these four twentysomething aesthetes are forging an exciting sound that finds a golden mean between lustrous noise and ebullient melody.
Emerging from a stint as a drummer in a stoner-metal band, Salas formed Versing as a vehicle to vent obliquely about his political and social views with irony and humor. Populated with strange characters, his songs often double as “critiques of centrism and conservatism, from a leftist perspective. That’s a theme: committing to something or doing something that may be hard but is the better option. However, when I write politically, it’s more allegorical and can be interpreted beyond the political realm. I find that more interesting to write about than my personal life.”
That being said, the pell-mell, ostinato-laced “Renew,” which Salas says is his most hopeful song, has a personal message. “It’s about taking time to care for yourself—even when things are all weird and fucked up.” Meanwhile, the immersive, pummeling “Offering” evokes those twin pillars of 1988 rock: My Bloody Valentine’s Isn’t Anythingand Pixies’ Surfer Rosa. “I just really enjoy that droning line of guitar feedback,” Salas says. “We use a lot of feedback on our songs, but I think that’s one of the more deliberately musical uses we’ve found for it. It’s sort of a fantastical song about traveling through a mystical portal to stop an encroaching force of evil, and the feedback is like the whirring sound the portal makes.”
A limited edition 40th anniversary version of Unknown Pleasures will be released on June 14th, almost forty years to the day after it was originally released. The LP will be pressed on 180g ruby red vinyl with an alternative white sleeve resembling the original design idea.
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of our last ever show in Brussels in November 1994 we are reforming this autumn in our original line up, and then promptly splitting up again 3 days later.
Piotr: “When we originally split up in 1994 it was because of dwindling sales, press indifference and a label that didn’t want us anymore. 25 years on, we’re planning on going out on a high – to play some shows that are a celebration of our time together, and exit this time on our own terms!”
Radiant Dawn‘s nine tracks meld raw analog hardware with frontman Dan Boeckner‘s distinctive voice to create an immersive cinematic sound. Interspersed between the tracks are instrumental inter-titles that amplify the album’s 1970s sci-fi dystopian feel.
For fans of Boeckner’s catalogue (Wolf Parade, Handsome Furs, Divine Fits) Radiant Dawn feels like the next logical step in the artist’s two decade career, while maintaining a completely fresh energy.
Ride return with the 6th studio album of their career and their second since reforming in 2014 and signing to Wichita.
As with their previous album, Weather Diaries, Erol Alkan was in the producer’s chair, and Alan Moulder (with Caesar Edmunds) took care of the mixing (making this the fourth Ride album he has worked on).
Gathering influences from sources such as the Jean Michel Basquiat exhibition at the Barbican, and the post punk sound of The Fall and Sonic Youth, Ride have made an album which contains echoes of their earliest days as a band, while bringing these elements into 2019.
Both musically and lyrically, this is clearly an album made by a band who love being back together and who are at the very top of their game.
Double LP on limited edition green/blue vinyl (1000 copies) or black, includes a download code for album MP3s. This 2LP is released on Friday 16th August.
Since the 2015 release of Drab Majesty’s debut “Careless”, and the release of the acclaimed sophomore album “The Demonstration”the following year, artist Deb Demure and collaborator Mona D. have firmly established themselves amongst the pantheon of dark synth-pop greats, establishing a devoted fan base worldwide with their singular hypnotic sound and mysterious, constantly-evolving presence.
Following intense and extensive touring in support of the first two albums, Drab Majesty escaped to the inspirational landscapes of Athens, Greece to channel the songs for their most ambitious album creation yet: Modern Mirror.
Blowing the dust off the antiquarian myth of Ovid’s “Narcissus”, Drab Majesty uses its premise as groundwork for a modern reinterpretation. Each song tells a piece of the story, in which the listener’s own self-identity has become warped and dissociated through rapidly expanding technology, losing touch with the origins of their own personalities. Setting the stage as a romantic saga of antiquity, “A Dialogue” asks the listener if they are truly in love amid a building wash of guitars and reverb. Elements of classic tragedy weigh heavily in the reflection of Modern Mirror in songs like “The Other Side”, possessing a fundamental sound that is energetic, luminous and hopeful. Fusing the sonic aesthetics of predecessors like New Order and The Cure within the cautious instruction of Greek mythology and modern science fiction, Drab Majesty has birthed a hybrid of dreamy malaise, captured for a future moment.
The first single, “Ellipsis”, romantically plays up the distorted concept of courting through modern technology in a world that has yet to adapt, while on “Long Division”, Deb’s resounding guitar cascades around the chorus shared with No Joy frontwoman Jasamine White-Gluz, wistfully warning us against our vanity and self-obsession. Even when hope for everlasting love peeks through in “Oxytocin”, a sparkling and stoic track sung by Mona D., we are firmly reminded our fleeting existence.
Modern Mirror is a journey of self-reflection, nostalgia, love, beauty, and heartbreak told across eight addictive and emotional synth pop anthems – a seemingly classic tale delivered unblinkingly through the frame of the modern world.
Produced by Josh Eustis (Telefon Tel Aviv) and mastered by Dave Cooley, with appearances by Jasamine White-Gluz (No Joy) and Justin Meldal-Johnson (NIN, Beck, M83, Air). Packaging and design by Juan Mendez of Jealous God/Silent Servant. Photography by Nedda Afsari (Muted Fawn).
First edition pressing on 45 RPM hi-fi double LP, packaged in 24pt sturdy wide spine reverse board jacket with two reverse board euro sleeve lyric inserts. CD comes packaged in classic clear jewelcase inside a spined reverse board slip-case with lyric booklet.
Mercury-nominated Northampton composer/producer Maps is set to release his fourth album ‘Colours. Reflect. Time. Loss.’ on the 10th May 2019 through Mute, and today shares a new track from the album called ‘Just Reflecting’.
Maps (James Chapman) had this to say about the new release:
“I wanted to push everything to the limit with this record, and explore new territory for Maps. The orchestral instrumentation and addition of other musicians and singers played a huge part in finding the purer and more human emotion I was searching for. I learnt the violin as I was growing up, so I’m glad it finally came in useful!”
In only one week, Bob Mould returns with an entirely new catalogue of music on his full-length album Sunshine Rock, available February 8th via Merge Records. The record features the recently released tracks ‘What Do You Want Me To Do‘ and title-track ‘Sunshine Rock‘. Today, Mould shares his latest single ‘Lost Faith‘: a socially conscious song that sheds light on the mental friction caused from a mixture of facts, fiction, and biased opinions dispersed in the media.
Mould explains of the ‘Lost Faith’ concept:
“The video follows the protagonist who is trying to find solace and anonymity in an increasingly corrupt world filled with paranoia and misinformation. We see him being questioned about his real intent, apprehended by a fictitious yet familiar looking border security, then interrogated about the life he left behind.
Shot in Berlin, the video switches into dream sequences filled with chases, captures, and escapes. There’s a mosh pit of half-naked dancers, an accordionist in a church square, and the climax being a wild pursuit through the surrealistic ruins of a decommissioned CIA listening station.”
PledgeMusic has always been committed to serving artist and fan communities. It was established by artists and was born of a need to change the way in which the traditional music industry operated. It was designed to help artists and their teams at every level.
That said, we deeply regret that recently we have not lived up to the high standards to which PledgeMusic has always held itself. We acknowledge that many artists have and continue to experience payment delays. These delays to artists are unacceptable–not only to them but to us.
While the company has made progress, we still haven’t reached our goals. PledgeMusic has been in discussions with several strategic players in the industry who have an interest in the PledgeMusic platform. We are evaluating a number of transactions with those potential partners, and we plan to announce details of this in the next 60 days. It is our expectation that payments will be brought current within the next 90 days.
As of now, we are working through the backlog of correspondence with artists and teams to clarify their payment plans and your patience is appreciated as we complete this task. Furthermore, we are also working to address the fulfillment issues that some of our consumers have experienced in turn, often as a direct result of artist payment issues. Despite the unfortunate circumstances, the passionate inquiries and messages of support on social media from fans are appreciated, acknowledged and understood.
We are deeply sorry that we have not lived up to the high standards to which PledgeMusic always held itself. We are committed as a company of passionate music lovers to get things back on track as quickly as possible.
The first priority for the company is to sort the back payments issue as every penny that is owed to artists needs to get to them in the fastest possible time. A more detailed plan will be shared with the community shortly.
Secondly all funds coming into the company from now on will be managed by an independent third party (to be named soon) so as to ensure that all campaigns that launch going forward, will be paid upon their campaign milestones being reached. The specifics of this will be detailed in the aforementioned forthcoming announcement.
Thirdly I will work with the team to ensure that there is a go forward plan that includes and listens to the incredible community of artists and fans that we created. Once we are through our first two priorities we will work on the third.
Oxford indie/math rock band Foals have announced a new 2-part album called Everything Not Saved Will Be Lost. Part 1 is available for now here.
Part 1 will be released on March 8th. Part 2 will be released Autumn 2019.
The announcement states:
We couldn’t be more excited for you to hear all the work we’ve poured ourselves into over the past 18 months. The albums which will be coming out are two halves of the same locket. They can be listened to and appreciated individually, but fundamentally, they are companion pieces.
Musically, we pushed ourselves to the furthest limit. Lyrically, the songs resonate with what’s going on in the world at the moment. These songs are white flags, or mirrors, or attempts to work through the confusing times we live in… each in a different way.
They are offering a special Collector’s Edition which includes the following:
24 page hardcover book
Album on 12” violet coloured 180g vinyl
Exits 7” vinyl single – exclusive to this set
FLAC + MP3 download card of the album
2 exclusive art prints, 1 of which will be individually numbered and signed by a member of the band
Foals 2019 tour dates
3/16 – Mexico City, Mexico – Vive Latino 2019 3/18 – Vancouver, BC – Orpheum Theater 3/19 – Portland, OR – Roseland Theater 3/20 – Seattle, WA – Paramount Theatre 3/22 – Oakland, CA – Fox Theater 3/23 – San Diego, CA – The Observatory North Park 3/24 – Los Angeles, CA – Shrine Auditorium 3/27 – Las Vegas, NV – Brooklyn Bowl 3/30 – Buenos Aires, Argentina – Lollapalooza 2019 3/31 – Santiago, Chile – Lollapalooza 2019 4/2 – Santiago, Chile – Lollapalooza Sideshow @ Teatro La Cúpula 4/5 – Sao Paulo, Brazil – Lollapalooza 2019 4/13 – Brooklyn, NY – Brooklyn Steel 4/16 – Washington, D.C. – 9:30 Club 4/19 – Boston, MA – House of Blues 4/20 – Philadelphia, PA – The Fillmore 4/22 – Toronto, Ontario – Rebel 4/24 – St. Louis, MO – The Pageant 4/26 – Detroit, MI – Saint Andrews Hall 4/27 – Chicago, IL – Riviera Theatre 4/28 – Milwaukee, WI – The Rave 4/30 – Minneapolis, MN – First Avenue 5/3-5 – Atlanta, GA – Shaky Knees Festival 2019 5/12 – Brussels, Belgium – Ancienne Belgique 5/13 – Paris, France – Bataclan 5/15 – Lausanne, Switzerland – Les Docks 5/16 – Milan, Italy – Fabrique 5/17 – Luxembourg, Luxembourg – Den Atelier 5/19 – Amsterdam, Netherlands – Paradiso 5/20 – Berlin, Germany – Huxleys 5/24 – Newcastle, England – This Is Tomorrow 2019 6/5 – Hamburg, Germany – Grosse Freiheit 6/6 – Aaarhus, Denmark – Northside Festival 6/7-9 – Nürburg, Germany – Rock Am Ring 2019 6/11 – Manchester, England – O2 Victoria Warehouse 6/14 – Tunbridge Wells, England – Bedgebury Pinetum 6/15 – Birmingham, England – Digbeth Arena 6/18 – Glasgow, Scotland – SWG3 Galvanizers Yard 6/20 – Thetford, England – Thetford Forest 6/21 – London, England – Alexandra Palace 6/24-26 – Zagreb, Croatia – Inmusic Festival 6/26 – Bournemouth, England – International Centre 7/2 – Dublin, Ireland – Trinity College 7/5 – Barcelona, Spain – Festival Cruïlla 2019 7/5-7 – Ewijk, Netherlands – Down The Rabbit Hole 7/26-28 – Benidorm, Spain – Low Festival 2019 8/1-3 – Lustenau, Austria – Szene Open Air
Presale begins tomorrow, 22 January at 10 AM local.