SPACE ELEVATOR – their second album ‘II’ is out now and they will be spreading the word about Nordoff Robbins via social media on the day. They mix pop and rock in their sound led by the flamboyant The Duchess.
Following the declaration of intent of lead single ‘Pop Don’t Stop’ Kim Wilde releases the thrill ride of raucous second single ‘Kandy Krush’.
‘Pop Don’t Stop’ was playlisted on BBC Radio 2, declared “a huge pop anthem” by the Express and a “pop wrecking ball that’s about to smash its way through your brain” by Popjustice and included the prescient lyrics “The seasons come and go again and what was old is new again.”
Kim Wilde’s return to recording isn’t a comeback, but it does mark a fresh start in the iconic singer’s extraordinary career. Proud of her past, but focused on the future, Kim has never stopped singing or selling out tours – she has played more shows in the past decade than ever before, finding fans in countries she never dreamed she’d visit and turning new generations on to her songs – such huge hits as ‘Kids In America’, ‘Chequered Love’, ‘You Keep Me Hanging On’ and ‘Cambodia’.
Named after a real-life Close Encounter that occurred in Kim’s back garden in 2009, ‘Here Come The Aliens’ contains 12 tracks of swagger and sweetness that delve in to disco, new wave, electro and glam rock, but are really just smart, stylish, arms-aloft pop. From the slinky, stomp-along opener 1969 and the electro monster ‘Stereo Shot’ to the shimmering ballad ‘Solstice’, the addictive, riff-drenched ‘A Different Story’ and the boisterous ‘Birthday’, ‘Here Come The Aliens’ pairs Kim’s trademark lust for life with the strongest set of songs of her nearly 40 year career.
Vocally, Kim has never sounded better, the result of a hectic gig and festival schedule that has taken Kim and her six-strong band around the world for the past decade, playing not only her classic ‘80s tracks, but the hits she has continued to enjoy throughout Europe, Scandinavia and Asia up to the present day. In fact, it’s in Britain where Kim has been off the road the most.
“I’ve played more in the past 15 years than I did in the first two decades of my career,” says Kim, the UK’s most successful female pop star of the 80s, whose early tours included opening for David Bowie and Michael Jackson. “My band and I have headlined several tours abroad, but this is the first one for almost 30 years at home. But I’ve had fantastic experiences here touring with Rewind and Let’s Rock so our fans know that they have a very special place in my heart. I cannot wait to see them all up close and personal.”
A true family affair, ‘Here Come The Aliens’ was largely co-written by Kim and Ricky (who produced the record) and also features her niece Scarlett, who has played in the band for a decade and sings and songwrites on the album. The multi-talented Scarlett is also responsible for the album’s phenomenal artwork.
Here Come The Aliens tracklisting
1 -1969 – written by Kim Wilde & Ricky Wilde.
2 – Pop Don’t Stop (duet with Ricky Wilde) – written by Kim, Ricky & Scarlett Wilde.
3 – Kandy Krush – written by Kim, Ricky, Frederick Thomander & Anders Wikström (‘Epicentre’).
4 – Stereo Shot – written by Ricky & Scarlett Wilde.
5 – Yours Til The End – written by Ricky Wilde & Neil Jones.
6 – Solstice – written by Kim, Ricky & Scarlett Wilde.
7 – Addicted To You – written by Sean J Vincent, Ricky, & Roxanne Wilde.
8 – Birthday – written by Ricky, Scarlett Wilde & Shane Lee.
9 – Cyber.Nation.War – written by Kim & Ricky.
10 – Different Story – written by Kim, Frederick Thomander & Anders Wikström (‘Epicentre’).
11 – Rock the Paradiso – written by Kim, Ricky & Scarlett Wilde.
12 – Rosetta (duet with Frida Sundemo) – written by Kim & Ricky.
Here Come The Aliens tour dates:
30th Fri Ipswich Regent Theatre
31st Sat Southend Cliffs Pavilion
2nd Mon Glasgow Old Fruit Market
4th Wed Bath The Forum
5th Thu Torquay Princess Theatre
6th Fri Yeovil Westlands
7th Sat Bournemouth The Pavilion Theatre
11th Wed Wrexham William Aston Hall
12th Thu Preston The Guildhall
13th Fri Sheffield Plug
15th Sun York Barbican
16th Mon Gateshead The Sage
19th Thu Halifax The Victoria Theatre
20th Fri Buxton Opera House
21st Sat Birmingham Town Hall
22nd Sun Salisbury City Hall
24th Tue Hastings The White Rock Theatre
26th Thu London Koko
30th Mon Salford The Lowry
Always a treat when a band or musician contacts you directly via this blog. The Morning Yells are one such band, hailing from the US, they formed around brother and sister Phil and Laura Stancil. To date they have released one album in 2016 and an EP late last year. They have a new album due this summer and you can hear some of their music below – a beguiling mix of pop, rock and reminded me of Tom Petty in the vocals and laid back musical feel. I’d highly recommend you give them a listen…
Following their recent triumphant anniversary show last month, PictureHouse have announced plans to release “Somebody Somewhere”, the lead track and from the 21st anniversary celebration album “How Can I Explain How This Came To Be?” on November 24th via Plane Groovy records
Amid the fanfare of reaching their 21st anniversary which included a letter of tribute from the Irish President Michael D Higgins, the band received video messages of support from a host of well known Irish faces including U2 frontman Bono. Massive accolades indeed.
A favourite in live sets, Somebody Somewhere is a song about keeping hope in even the most bleakest and darkest situations. The band first premiered this song in a prison in Dublin after being invited to play for selected inmates. There wasn’t a dry eye in the house.
The band play an intimate showcase in London’s The Islington on November 21st.
Release Date: 24th November 2017
Cat Nos.: LJX111LP / LJX111CD / LJX111D
Click here to stream ‘The Perfect Summer’ the first single taken from the album
If Brit Awards were handed out to Best Kept Secrets or Lamentably Lost Legends, Pugwash wouldn’t be able to move under the weight of their gongs. In the 20 years since the Irish band was formed by Thomas Walsh – an ELO, XTC and Beach Boys nut from Drimnagh, south Dublin – their reputation has grown by stealth and they’ve caught the attention of almost all of Walsh’s musical heroes, but mainstream success has remained frustratingly, tantalisingly just out of reach.
Well if it’s ever going to happen, it’s now, with the release of their seventh studio album Silverlake. It’s not only Thomas’s best body of work to date, but an album which leaves you marvelling at how effortlessly he can conjure up so many heavenly pop gems after all these years.
“I still live in a small house with nine guitars, a Dansette, a telly and a fuckin’ mellotron,” says Walsh. “I collect records and live hand-to-mouth. We’ve made some great records but most of them have gone nowhere.”
‘Silverlake differs from recent Pugwash albums in one major respect: it’s essentially a collaboration between two men – Thomas and Jason Falkner. (The four-piece who recorded 2011’s Top 20 The Olympus Sound and 2015’s Play This Intimately (As If Among Friends) has now disbanded). As a former member of Jellyfish, respected solo artist, and musician, Falkner – who’s worked with everyone from Paul McCartney to Air – is another underrated artist with a hugely loyal international following. For fans of these two cult heroes (and there are plenty) this promised to be a dream ticket…and it delivers in droves.
Recorded in Falkner’s LA studio earlier this year, Thomas wrote all 11 songs, arranged them, and played acoustic guitar. Jason played everything else (except the strings), sang backing vocals and recorded/produced. The result is a classy pop-rock feast featuring Walsh’s endlessly hooky melodies and Falkner’s unmistakeable sonic footprint.
“I’ve known Jason for twenty years, so I rang him last Christmas and asked him what his next year was looking like,” Thomas reveals. “He said, ‘It’s fuckin’ full up, but if you’re saying to me we can make a record, I’ll make time.’ That was an amazing thing to hear. The minute I heard that I was hooked. I got excited again. Within a week I’d written all the songs.”
Opening with the irresistible single ‘The Perfect Summer’ and closing with the Beach Boys/ELO homage ‘Autarch’, Silverlake wears its collaborators’ passion for pop perfection on its sleeve which, at the very least, will consolidate Pugwash’s standing in the eyes of those Thomas most admires.
In 2006 Brian Wilson’s manager David Leaf emailed him out of the blue, mentioning Brian loved the band’s recent single ‘It’s Nice To Be Nice’. “Brian was coming to Dublin to play and wanted to meet me… meet me!!” Thomas recalls. “He came and I met Brian. He said ‘Hey! You’re the ‘Nice To Be Nice’ guy. I said ‘Yes’ and he just said, ‘Great song’!! I still think it was all a fantastic dream to honest.”
In the meantime, other “celebrity” admirers got in touch, including XTC’s Andy Partridge who briefly signed Pugwash to his Ape label and co-wrote several songs with Walsh (XTC’s Dave Gregory also played guitar on some of the band’s earlier recordings), The Divine Comedy’s Neil Hannon – with whom he made two best-selling Duckworth Lewis Method albums – and Jeff Lynne.
“I arrived home late one night after an Olympus Sound session, knackered, to find a letter from the States,” Thomas recalls. “I nearly dropped when I realised it was from Jeff Lynne. I grew up worshipping ELO – I could tell you how many hairs there are on Jeff Lynne’s arse. He’s my idol. It was such a beautiful letter in which he said a lot of really nice things about Pugwash. He also said… ‘and I really liked the cricket album (ie, the first Duckworth Lewis album), but I didn’t think it featured you enough.’ So I rang Neil straight away and said, ‘Neil, Jeff just sent me a fuckin’ letter. He’s slagging you and all in it, it’s brilliant!”
After two decades Thomas has little to prove. Despite certain disappointments, he’s received great acclaim from where it counts – his peers and equals, plus Ivor Novello, Choice Music Prize and Meteor Awards nominations, and two Top 40 albums (with The Duckworth Lewis Method). The only way is up!
As Thomas concludes: “Some people have suggested, ‘Oh why don’t you change the sound of your music?’ But… I love the sound of my records! They ask if I would try something different. I could, but you can’t go out there and make a record just to please other people.”
Silverlake by Pugwash will be released by British indie label Lojinx on November 24th, on heavyweight vinyl LP, CD & digital. Lead single The Perfect Summer is out now on ice-cream swirl coloured 7″ vinyl and digital.
Upcoming live shows:
Sparks celebrate their first UK Top 10 album in 43 years with Hippopotamus entering the Official UK Charts at Number 7. Hippopotamus becomes the second highest-charting UK album of the band’s career, behind 1974’s Number 4-peaking Kimono My House. In a recent interview with OfficialCharts.com, Sparks – Ron and Russell Mael – describe this week’s chart success as “frosting on the cake” to the positive reception the album has secured critically.
Currently on tour in Europe, the band have posted a video online in which they are clearly thrilled by the news:
Ron later said “We’re ecstatic that an album we felt was musically special has been so widely embraced by the U.K. public. Many thanks!” Speaking with the Official Charts Russell said “It’s amazing …we’re happy with the really positive reception that the album has gotten critically. The reviews are beyond our wildest dreams and people have been saying really positive things. It’s really satisfying that it’s reaching in that way.”
Since storming into the UK charts, minds and TV sets in 1974 with This Town Ain’t Big Enough For Both of Us, Sparks have consistently created genre defying music and inspired – and continue to inspire and influence – generations of artists. Released on BMG, ‘Hippopotamus’ has been universally acclaimed with many critics declaring it to be one of the finest albums of the year and the pinnacle of the band’s career. Written, recorded and produced by Sparks ‘Hippopotamus’ is released on digital, CD, LP, picture disc and cassette formats
“the album is brilliant” 5 stars – The Times
“stuffed with short, literate, witty pop songs” 5 stars – Album Of The Week – The i
“‘Smarter and more satisfying than ever” 5 stars – Independent
“Sparks remain all about tomorrow” “[Hippopotamus] could lift them once more above the cult parapet” 5 stars – Record Collector
“a truly magnificent record” 9/10, Louder than War
“Fresh, inventive, quirky and instantly recognisable” 9/10 – Vive Le Rock
“Ron and Russell Mael at their arch-pop best” 4 stars – The Guardian
“emphatic show of Ron & Russell’s late-period genius” 4 stars – MOJO
“no end of delights” 8/10 – UNCUT
“brilliantly bonkers pop” 4 stars -Classic Pop
“Hippopotamus is, suitably, large” 4 stars – Daily Mirror
Listen / buy HERE: https://sparks.lnk.to/hippopotamusPR
Remaining tour dates
The Hippopotamus Tour Tickets on sale now
Saturday 16 Sep Ancienne Belgique, Brussels
Monday 18 Sep Waterfront, Norwich (sold out)
Tuesday 19 Sep The Boilershop, Newcastle (sold out)
Wednesday 20 Sep Queens Hall, Edinburgh (sold out)
Friday 22 Sep O2 Ritz, Manchester (sold out)
Saturday 23 Sep Rock City, Nottingham
Sunday 24 Sep O2 Institute 1, Birmingham
Tuesday 26 Sep 02 Academy, Bristol
Wednesday 27 Sep O2 Shepherds Bush Empire, London
Thursday 28 Sep 02 Shepherds Bush Empire, London
Sunday 1 Oct La Gaîté Lyrique, Paris
Tuesday 10 Oct Le Poisson Rouge, New York
Wednesday 11 Oct Le Poisson Rouge, New York (sold out)
Saturday 14 Oct El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles
Sunday 15 Oct El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles
Tuesday 17 Oct El Rey Theatre, Los Angeles
Sunday 20 Oct The Chapel, San Francisco (Early Show) (sold out)
Sunday 20 Oct The Chapel, San Francisco (Late Show)
Tuesday 24 Oct Kinema Club, Tokyo
Wednesday 25 Oct Kinema Club, Tokyo