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ARMY OF FRESHMEN INTERVIEW PART 1 - HERE
ARMY OF FRESHMEN INTERVIEW PART 2 - HERE
DAN MANGAN + BLACKSMITH:
new album 'Club Meds' for release on Jan 12th via City Slang
Mangan has confirmed details of his fourth studio record, ‘Club
for release via
City Slang on January 12th 2015 (Arts & Crafts in Canada & the US).
Listen to the first single from the record,'Vessel':
The follow up to 2011's highly acclaimed, award winning 'Oh Fortune' sees the Vancouver-based artist return after a few years out of the limelight, this time officially joining forces with his long-time, now integral, band members to play under the moniker Dan
Mangan + Blacksmith.
"I used to be emotionally crippled at times by the need for others to enjoy my work" Mangan says, explaining the palpable sense of freedom in the recordings this time round. "I trust my gut more now, and end up happier with the product."
The album title, 'Club Meds', is a pun on one of the driving lyrical motions of the record; the idea that we're all on vacation from having to be honest with ourselves - that sometimes it's easier to medicate than deal with reality.
"Club Meds is about sedation." Mangan writes in the record's liner notes. "Sedation can be chemical, but not exclusively so. There is a great vaction from actuality going on. Maybe there always has been. It seems like everybody else is already at the party and that life is somehow easier or more fun under the fog." During the course of the albums 11 tracks, the record sees Mangan and his band move from topics such as the use of the word Kitsch (originally a political concept of promoting an ideal aesthetic and glossing over any unacceptable realities), through to painting a picture of Louis XVI and Marie Antoinette on top of Wall St tower during the Occupy movement in the track 'XVI'. And yet for all its social commentary, 'Club Meds' was never intended as a grandiose political record, nor is the outlook overtly cynical; more a touching and thought-provoking collection of deep-rooted sentiments and observations.
In his home country of Canada, Dan Mangan has grown up in the public eye since garnering attention with his 2009 record ‘Nice, Nice, Very Nice’.‘Club Meds’ now sees him step from the singer-songwriter bracket, into the Technicolour splendour of a full band with poise, self-confidence and a new found depth & complexity.
Blacksmith is Kenton Loewen (drums), Gordon Grdina (guitar), John Walsh (bass) and often JP Carter (trumpet), Jesse Zubot (violin) and Tyson Naylor (keys).They bring an unmistakable character to 'Club Meds'; a stark glassy edge that swells and sways like a roaring ocean. Through a fog of analogue feedback loops and synths, the band's performances breathe deeply and steadily like a dragon at rest.
ARMY OF FRESHMEN HIT THE UK
It's been a bit of a Freshmen frenzy this past week here at Cult Following, as Army of Freshmen landed on British soil for a full 4 days of shows. We caught up with the band ahead of their first show, where we sat down with Chris and Dan to find out what has been going on in the AOF camp.
Part 1 and 2 of our interview is online now in the 'Interviews' section
You can also read our review of the band's headline show at The Waterfront, Norwich. Including a piece by Freshmen first-timer Lizzi.
ARMY OF FRESHMEN DON SUITS THEN ROB BANK
Army of Freshmen have released the first single and video for "AVA" off of their upcoming full length album, Happy To Be Alive. The full album will be released on November 13th and as a thank you to fans for their loyalty over the groups 15 years together, they have offered up album's first track, "America, You're Breaking My Heart" for free download HERE.
The "AVA" video finds the band looking spiffy in matching suits and Archie masks as they head into rob a local bank as well as perform a rock show while they are there, of course.
Happy To Be Alive was produced by longtime friend of the Freshmen, noted metal and hard rock producer, Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Stone Sour, Steel Panther). While the record still maintains the hooks and harmonies the band is known for, the subject material tackles some serious issues, such as the struggle of a recovering alcoholic in the driving, "Paperweight", dealing with the loss of a loved one in the anthem worthy, "We'll Always Have Forever" and the pain that comes at the end of a long term relationship in the haunting ballad, "Skyscrapers".
The band's positive and energetic sound is still very much prominent in songs like the record's single, "Ava", "Cape May Diamond Ring" and "Devotion" which are destined to be fan favorites with their undeniably pop perfect choruses.
Army of Freshmen will be celebrating with an album release party and performance on Saturday, November 17th at the Bombay Bar & Grill in Ventura, CA. Every person in attendance will receive a free cd of Happy To Be Alive.
ARMY OF FRESHMEN SET NOVEMBER 13 RELEASE DATE FOR HAPPY TO BE ALIVE
Army of Freshmen, the six piece Ventura, California rock band is preparing to celebrate their 15th anniversary, and the release of what has already been called "a career defining record," the appropriately titled, Happy To Be Alive on November 13th, 2012. In celebration of the release and as a thank you to fans for being loyal to the independent band throughout their 15 years, the band is offering a free download of the album's first track, "America, You're Breaking My Heart."
Get the track HERE.
Happy To Be Alive was produced by longtime friend of the Freshmen, noted metal and hard rock producer, Jay Ruston (Anthrax, Stone Sour, Steel Panther). While the record still maintains the hooks and harmonies the band is known for, the subject material tackles some serious issues, such as the struggle of a recovering alcoholic in the driving, "Paperweight", dealing with the loss of a loved one in the anthem worthy, "We'll Always Have Forever" and the pain that comes at the end of a long term relationship in the haunting ballad, "Skyscrapers". The band's positive and energetic sound is still very much prominent in songs like the record's single, "Ava", "Cape May Diamond Ring" and "Devotion" which are destined to be fan favorites with their undeniably pop perfect choruses.
"There's a lot of real life on the new record," explains, lead singer, Chris Jay. "We've been through a lot personally and professionally. I think it's natural that as artists we're going reflect that but our band's story is one of hope, devotion and believing in dreams, sometimes maybe a little too much, and that's always going to come across in the music. We're not grumpy old men just yet. We're still having a lot of fun."
Most bands with such diverse accomplishments and ardent supporters would have had the backing a high powered record label or management company, but, when it comes to Army of Freshmen, long before it was fashionable or necessary, they've done it all on their own.
Throughout their career, they've performed over 1,500 shows in 43 states and 13 countries. They've appeared at music festivals around the world like Japan's Summersonic Festival and England's Download and Sonisphere Festivals sharing the bill with artists like Radiohead, Kiss and Iron Maiden. They can count among their fans everyone from hip hop legend, Chuck D from Public Enemy, who has joined the band on stage, to former WWE world champion and bestselling author, Mick Foley. They've been slapped with a multimillion dollar lawsuit by The Beach Boy's, Mike Love, which found the band being deposed alongside Brian Wilson in a true story that has more twists and turns than a movie. They've broken down international barriers when they were the only American band to perform at China's massive Midi Festival. Their fiercely loyal fan base has even tattooed lyrics and logos on themselves and in fact, it was those fans who helped fund the new record through the band's Pledge Music campaign.
And now, with their new record, Happy To Be Alive, Army of Freshmen are out to prove that slow and steady really does win the race.
Lit release their brand new album 'The View From The Bottom'. Eight years since their last, so is it worth the wait? Take a look at our album review and find out.
Gaggle are pleased to announce that their first headline show of 2012 will be at Village Underground, London on 4th July. Live shows by the riotous 21-strong female choir are talked about for months after and this special gig will be no different.
With their debut album 'From the Mouth of the Cave' ready to hit shelves on June 4th, they have also unveiled a hypnotic animation to accompany anthemic new single 'Army of Birds', out May 21st through Transgressive Records. You can watch the video for the new single below:
TWO WOUNDED BIRDS
With just over 4 weeks until the release of their self-titled debut album, Two Wounded Birds have unveiled a brand new track.
'The Outer World' is a dreamy and delicate track showing one of the record's more melancholic and vulnerable moments - a new deeper side to the band that fans will not have heard on their previous singles. It's one of the brand new songs making up the full length LP 'Two Wounded Birds', out June 4th.
See Two Wounded Birds on tour:
May 24th London Queen of Hoxton
May 26th MargateThe Turner Gallery, Tracey Emin Exhibition opening
June 29th Coventry Godiva Festival
July 6th Rome, Italy Atlantico Live Rome
July 20th Preston Mad Ferret
July 28th Portsmouth Club NME
Sept 1st Portsmouth Southsea Festival
Pop-rock party-starters THE AUDITION have announced additional live dates for May and June on top of Slam Dunk festival.
After departing Victory Records in July of 2010, Chicago-based pop-punk band THE AUDITION is set to write their own history with the self-release of their brand new EP, titled 'Chapter II' on 11th June in the UK to coincide with appearances at the 2012 Slam Dunk Festival in Leeds, Herts and Wales. The band have also announced headline dates in Brighton and Southampton, as well as an appearance at Facedown clubnight at The Scala in London. Backed by the support of their fans around the world, 'Chapter II' sees the band heading in a fresh direction and honing their signature sound into one that demonstrates a maturity and breadth evident in their earlier releases but not fully realized until now.
26th May Slam Dunk Festival, Leeds University SOLD OUT
27th May Slam Dunk Festival, Herts Uni, Hatfield
28th May Slam Dunk Wales, Cardiff Uni
29th May Southampton, The Cellar
30th May Brighton, The Hydrant
Critically acclaimed Los Angeles band Dawes are set to release their debut album 'North HIlls', on June 4th.
A prequel, if you will, to 2011's critically acclaimed Nothing is Wrong, North Hills is Dawes' first effort, a glimpse at the roots of a now fully grown band. Comprised of 11 soul-bearing tracks, North Hills is drenched with the essence of the band's native California, evoking the mythology of 1970s Los Angeles without compromising their contemporary sound. Hazy ballads like the album's opening tunes 'That Western Skyline', and first single 'Love is All I Am' are balanced with soaring, stadium-ready tracks like 'When My Time Comes,' showcasing the band's dynamic, versatile, and cohesive talent. With swelling harmonies and ambitious guitar solos, rolling bass lines and heartbeat drums, North Hills is an authentic slice of 21st Century Americana.
Dawes recently wrapped up their first headlining European tour, including three sold-out London shows. They'll be back for a handful of festival dates in July, which will include sharing a stage with Bruce Springsteen at Hard Rock Calling in Hyde Park.
07/07/12 - T IN THE PARK
13/07/12 - LATITUDE FESTIVAL
14/07/12 - HARD ROCK CALLING
BLOOD RED SHOES
Blood Red Shoes are set to release their new single 'Lost Kids' on May 14th via V2/Co-Operative Music.
The second single to be taken from the Brighton duo's new album 'In Time To Voices', 'Lost Kids' is a blow to the senses adding more punch to their new change of direction. Laura-Mary Carter and Steven Ansell's vocals are double tracked for a potent layered effect over a killer hook and huge chorus. Angst ridden cries create a tense and fraught atmosphere, conjuring up images of chaos, mayhem and unrest.
27th Concorde 2, Brighton
28th Wedgewood Rooms, Portsmouth
29th 02 Academy 2, Oxford
1st Trinity, Bristol
2nd Waterfront, Norwich
3rd Heaven, London
4th HMV Library, Birmingham
5th Academy 2, Manchester
7th Zanzibar, Liverpool
8th Cluny, Newcastle
9th Tunnels, Aberdeen
10th King Tuts, Glasgow
12th The Cockpit, Leeds
13th Rescue Rooms, Nottingham
Blood Red Shoes will be playing the main stage at Reading on Saturday 25th and Leeds on Sunday 26th August.
Gallows are pleased to announce that recording for their as yet untitled third album, and follow up to 2009's 'Grey Britain' album is now underway. Due for release in September, the band are recording with old Watford friends Steve Sears and Thomas Mitchener in a local studio to ensure they capture the raw, primal noise that is currently flooding from the new line-up of the band.
The album will be released on the bands own label in partnership with PIAS Recordings. The band can now announce that the label will be called Venn Records.
These are exciting new times for the UK's most notorious punk band and they'll be unleashing their fury on the following stages over the coming months. Carnage guaranteed.
Sat 26-May Slam Dunk Festival North, Leeds
Sun 27-May Slam Dunk Festival South, Hatfield
Fri 8-June Donington Download Festival, Headline Red Bull Stage
Fri 13 July 2000 Trees Festival, Cheltenham
Fri 24 Aug Leeds Festival, Lock Up Stage
Sun 26 Aug Reading Festival, Lock Up Stage
Fri 7 Sept Bestival, Isle Of White
The Seattle music scene, famous for its contribution to breeding amazing musicians in the USA has once again delivered another rocking band that are coming for your ears this summer. Local garage duo My Goodness are about to unleash their energy-packed blues-rock to the UK and release their debut single 'C'Mon Doll' digitally on Monday 28th May following their debut UK tour.
My Goodness keep their blues-infused bluster simple. Economical. They pare it back to the bare bones with use of just one guitar and a drum kit. Vocals cutting through the middle. In their world, less is more. It's all about the power of two. The strength of the duo. Synchronicity and simplicity. It's about liberation too - and the unreconstructed idea of having fun. Just plugging in and letting rip. It's about amplified, electrified music. Stroppy, wired and armed with tunes a-plenty. Just as it should be.
The band was born when Joel Schneider and Ethan Jacobsen closed a bar one night in January 2010 and went for a drunken jam in a nearby practice space. Both were working in iconic/historic Seattle venue Neumos and already in other bands but the two needed to bust loose.
Their debut single 'C'Mon Doll' and b-side track 'Lost in the Soul' was recorded in Red Room Studios, Seattle with producer Chris Common from These Arms Are Snakes who also recorded their debut album scheduled for release in the UK later this year. Everything was recorded to tape - no Pro-Tools, no digital enhancing.
This live and raw approach carries over into My Goodness' live shows too. See this for yourself on their debut UK tour at the following dates this May in support of We Are Augustines.
2nd May - Manchester Academy 3 (SOLD OUT)
3rd May - Dingwalls, London (SOLD OUT)
6th May - Hare and Hounds, Birmingham (SOLD OUT)
9th May - Academy 2, Liverpool
10th May - ABC, Glasgow
American laptop rap pioneer MC LARS returns to the UK in May for an extensive tour. He also appears at Slam Dunk festival in Leeds (May 26th) and Hatfield (May 27th) and Beggars Big Day Out festival in Esher on June 4th. A Greatest Hits album will be released, May 28th to coincide with the dates and will be followed in June by a brand new EP, "Edgar Allan Poe" (released June 18th). Both will be released on Lars' own label Horris Records.
Tour dates are:
12 THE PARISH Huddersfield
14 THE FRUIT Kingston
16 ARC Stockton
17 BLAKE HALL Bridgwater
19 CRAUFORD ARMS Milton Keynes
21 THE OTHER ROOM Birmingham
22 FROG AND FIDDLE Cheltenham
23 ESQUIRES Bradford
24 LONDON Relentless Garage
26 SLAM DUNK FEST Leeds
27 SLAM DUNK FEST Hatfield
28 CLASSIC GRAND Glasgow
29 TUNNELS Aberdeen
30 SOUNDCONTROL Manchester
04 BIG DAY OUT FEST Esher
05 SUB 89 Cardiff
06 LASER HUB Crawley
07 MUNI ARTS CENTRE Glamorgan
08 TALKING HEADS Southampton
09 SURREY UNIVERSITY Guildford