19 year-old South Coast newcomer Megan Bird releases her infectious debut single 'Affirmation' today.
Having worked closely with GRAMMY and Ivor Novello award winning songwriter Eliot Kennedy (Spice Girls, Bryan Adams, Gary Barlow), Megan proves herself to be a surefire one to watch, possessing an infectious sound that shines through more so than ever in ‘Affirmation’, her first official musical offering.
Much like female figureheads Pink, Kelly Clarkson and Demi Lovato who Megan considers hugely influential in her musical journey, lyrically they share similar running themes of self-assurance and empowerment. Growing up on pop-rock royalty Paramore and All Time Low have also played an important role in moulding her sound over the years.
On both the making and meaning behind the debut single, Megan says of ‘Affirmation’ -
“This song was the very start of my debut album, the first song I wrote up in Sheffield with Eliot and Jim, and it made me excited about writing music again. I had just started college and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do, I was doing a music course but wasn’t that interested and couldn’t find something that I could fully relate to. I was 16 when we first wrote it, and hearing the change in my voice and confidence over the past three years is crazy.“
On the meaning of the song -
“Within these last few years there’s been different situations in my life where I can really relate to the lyrics, and that’s something I always want to achieve with songwriting - that you can always relate in some way to what’s being said, and I love the timeline within the song itself. It’s based on a one sided relationship, which can also reflect on friendships. This has been a recurring theme for me and is the best way to let that frustration out, through music and especially lyrics.”
Bursting at the seams with energy and attitude, ‘Affirmation’ boasts the perfect blend of cinematic chords and anthemic drums, all brought together by Megan’s sharp melodies.
Alongside her full band, Megan presents the opportunity to experience the new music live with a headline homecoming show in Winchester on October 12th.
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Art School Girlfriend is the moniker of Polly Mackey, a producer, multi-instrumentalist and vocalist from Wrexham, North Wales. Her upcoming second EP ‘Into The Blue Hour’ tracks her move from London to a tightly knit creative community in the seaside town of Margate. After trading the intrusive city skylines for an endless horizon by the sea, Mackey’s forthcoming music has a new sense of space, depth and introspection. The EP’s lead single ‘Distance (Blank)’ is available to buy and stream on all platforms.
The founding member of Welsh shoegaze outfit Deaf Club, Mackey spent time immersed in East London’s creative ecosystem before moving south of the river. Since the group disbanded, Mackey became enamoured with London’s pirate radio networks and began making electronic music with an experimental focus, releasing her debut ‘Measures’ EP as Art School Girlfriend in late 2017. Now expanding on those electronic blueprints, the ‘Into The Blue Hour’ EP sees Mackey further develop her production tool kit and mastery of negative space. The beat-driven lead single ‘Distance (Blank)’ explores Mackey’s fatigue with crowded city living, feelings of claustrophobia and the desire to be out in a wide open space. The single is soon to be paired with visuals directed by Tom Dream.
Art School Girlfriend embarks on her first full UK tour in October, beginning with a performance at London’s St Pancras Old Church on the 5th. Full details follow. The ‘Into The Blue Hour’ EP will be released in full on September 28th via Wolf Tone.
UK Tour Dates
05/10 London St Pancras Old Church
06/10 Southsea Dials Festival
07/10 Hare & Bounds Birmingham
08/10 Hug & Pint Glasgow
10/10 Sneaky Petes Edinburgh
11/10 Underground Newcastle
12/10 Now Wave Venue Manchester
13/10 Sound Basement Liverpool
14/10 Tom Thumb Margate
15/10 The Hope Brighton
16/10 Hy Brasil Bristol
LA Women Release ‘I was admiring her through a series of precision cut mirrors’ on Island Records
New Zealand trio LA Women have been quietly building a name for themselves as they released a series of slick, soulful and impressively crafted, RnB infused pop. Following the release of ‘Conscience’ last week; a sultry, blissed out slow jam, LA Women’s today release their highly anticipated debut EP ‘I was admiring her through a series of precision cut mirrors’ and as singer Jake describes “the song is a romanticised reflection of my experience with partying, alcohol, drugs, and all things that take a toll on my ‘conscience’”.
The trio, who hail from the Wairarapa, an area in the deep south of New Zealand, is made up of cousins Jake Schdroski and Zac Emerson and school friend Jesse Brown. They formed in 2016 and released the much hyped ‘Hurricane Love’ the following year, hitting some of the most reputable playlists on Spotify and winning early support from the likes of Complex & MTV, to name a few.
The tracklist for ‘I was admiring her through a series of precision cut mirrors’ is:
Keep up to date with L.A Women HERE.
Hozier has released his new EP today, titled ‘Nina Cried Power’. Consisting of four brand new tracks written and performed by Hozier, the EP’s lead single and title track features legendary soul/gospel singer Mavis Staples, with iconic musician Booker T Jones on organ.
Single ‘Nina Cried Power’ channels the raw spirit and energy of protest and social activism. In the song, Hozier name-checks several iconic artists, activists and proponents of the civil rights movement whose messages, activism and artistry contributed to change through protest. Those mentioned in the track’s lyrics include (among others) Joni Mitchell, John Lennon, James Brown, the song’s namesake Nina Simone, and Mavis Staples - whose peerless vocals feature on the track too.
Of the single, Hozier says:-
“The song was written sometime last year, my aim was to credit the actuality of hope, solidarity and love found in the human spirit at a time when their opposites were being given a mainstream platform 24/7. The song started as a tongue-in-cheek inquiry into modern popular language regarding political awareness and grew from there.
In many ways the song is a thank you note to the legacy of artists from the 20th Century whose work still inspires us, and whose well we draw from in times of uncertainty. Mavis Staples is one such artist. Getting to work with her on this song was a joy, and nothing short of a dream come true.”
Mavis Staples says:-
“Oh, Nina is gonna wake the world up. Such a huge sound it could shake the Earth, filled with soul, passion, and fire, and it channels the struggles of some of my contemporaries. I’m telling you when you hear it, it’s going to drive you to rise up.”
The ‘Nina Cried Power’ EP continues with second track ‘NFWMB’, a softer song in contrast to the opener, which builds from just a tender acoustic guitar to a full and brooding sound, reminiscent of the song’s assertive lyric. ‘Moment’s Silence’ follows, an up-tempo, blues-inspired number whose lyrics serve as an ode to the peaceful clarity which love can yield, even when surrounded by the chaos and confusion of the wider world. The final track on the EP is ‘Shrike’, an example of Hozier’s astonishing vocal range and poetic lyricism as he urges: “Remember me love when I’m reborn…As the shrike to your sharp and glorious thorn.”
Listen to ‘Nina Cried Power’ here: https://Hozier.lnk.to/NCPPR
Mavis Staples is a multi-Grammy Award-winning artist and performer, and was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1999 as part of The Staples Singers, the enormously influential gospel, soul and R&B group she was a founding member of. Fellow Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductee and Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Booker T. Jones also appears on Hozier’s ‘Nina Cried Power EP’ - his inimitable Hammond B3 Organ playing appears on tracks 1, 2 and 3.
Booker T. Jones says:
“Hozier is a rare artist who remains a wellspring of creativity. Like a baby who never becomes a child, he lingers selflessly at the source, rendering one fresh song after the other.”
Hozier will play a special show at prestigious London venue Koko next Tuesday 11th September. All proceeds from the intimate show - which sold out within minutes - will go to War Child, a charity close to Hozier’s heart. He will announce further UK, Ireland & European dates on 17th September.
Born Andrew Hozier-Byrne, Hozier is an award-winning musician, singer and songwriter from Ireland. His number one, debut studio album ‘Hozier’ was released in October 2014 and includes the multi-Platinum, Grammy-nominated anthem 'Take Me To Church', which later won ‘Best Song’ for Hozier at the 2015 Ivor Novello Awards. The record also featured the optimistic, up-tempo 'Someone New', the soulful 'Work Song', and early stand out 'From Eden'. In 2016, Hozier released the album’s closing track ‘Cherry Wine’ as a charity single to create awareness of the domestic abuse problems worldwide, with proceeds benefiting a series of international domestic abuse charities. The official video features 3-time Oscar-nominated actress Saoirse Ronan. Hozier followed up the success of his debut LP with the track 'Better Love', taken from the soundtrack of the Warner Bros’ adventure film The Legend Of Tarzan.
Hozier’s ‘Nina Cried Power’ EP is out now via Island Records. Listen to the EP and connect with Hozier here: https://hozier.lnk.to/FollowPR
Northern Ireland's Jealous of the Birds shares new single 'Russian Doll'; taken from new EP out July 13th
Following on from her recent single 'Plastic Skeletons' - and its accompanying video - today Northern Ireland's Jealous of the Birds - aka Naomi Hamilton - returns once more with 'Russian Doll', the closing track of her forthcoming new EP, The Moths Of What I Want Will Eat Me In My Sleep, which arrives July 13th via her new homes Hand In Hive (UK & Europe) and Canvasback Music (US).
'Russian Doll' - which originally appeared on Hamilton's 2016 debut album, Parma Violets, in a slightly more subdued form - makes a return on the new EP retooled, re-mixed by Ben Baptie (Young Fathers, Daughter, Lianne La Havas, London Grammar) and sounding the best it's ever done. A meandering, driving number replete with punchy guitars, syncopated wordplay and well-travelled imagery, it sits comfortably in the middle of a Venn diagram between Elastica, Speedy Ortiz and Cat Power.
Hamilton, speaking of the song's central metaphor, says:-
"It’s about when you’re in a relationship and you’re having someone else projecting certain things on you and a lot of the time you don’t have any control over that. It’s matching up the person you want to become and what someone else sees you as... I was thinking about the Freudian iceberg and it’s a comparison: you’ve got the sense of self and your ego and it’s all very multi-layered."
Watch the lyric video for 'Russian Doll' here: https://youtu.be/AJ6DUrb1okk
And revisit the raucous recent video for 'Plastic Skeletons', directed by Libby Burke Wilde, here: https://youtu.be/EmYfPMDJoQs
Hamilton has been making waves in the indie music scene since her debut EP Capricorn, which she recorded while studying English and Creative Writing at Queen’s University, Belfast. Then, following the 2016 release of her aforementioned debut album proper, Parma Violets, came a serendipitous SXSW performance that same year that would ultimately lead to her signing with Canvasback (alt-J, The War on Drugs) and subsequently Hand In Hive (Saltwater Sun, Dama Scout).
Recent single 'Plastic Skeletons' was debuted by NPR, who write "[It] takes the singer's gift for evocative, concisely crafted, seemingly free-associated wordcraft and sets it against a swirling and forceful psych-rock arrangement." Since its launch, the track has seen UK radio support across BBC Radio1 (where it was recently awarded Huw Stephens' Tune of the Week), 6Music, Amazing Radio and more.
See further below for where you can catch Jealous of the Birds live in the coming months and keep your eyes peeled for more dates on both sides of the Atlantic to be announced soon.
Sept 27 | Dublin, Ireland - The Workman's Club
Oct 14 | Dublin, Ireland - Bord Gais Energy Theatre
Pre-order The Moths of What I Want Will Eat Me in My Sleep on 12" white vinyl here.
Alt-rock quintet Dream State have announced their new EP, Recovery, which is set for release on May 18th via UNFD. Fans can pre-order the EP here: https://unfd.lnk.to/Recovery. The band has also released their brand new single "New Waves" today, following last night's exclusive premiere on BBC Radio 1 with Annie Mac. Listen to "New Waves" here: https://youtu.be/8s2POYKsKsw.
"'New Waves' is about finally letting go of prodigal habits and ties and riding new waves, making fresh starts, releasing myself of the past and welcoming the future," states vocalist CJ Gilpin on the new single. "Life is not easy for anyone but it's good to remember how far you've come and no matter how dark life can appear, it can't compete with the light that follows, so I put these new experiences and feelings I've been having into 'New Waves' and I couldn't be happier with the results."
Watch the music video for the band's previous single "In This Hell" here: https://bit.ly/2GNkn1O.
The band recently announced their signing to UNFD (Northlane, In Hearts Wake), along with the reissue of their hit single "White Lies". "White Lies" was previously featured as a #NewName on BBC Radio 1 with Annie Mac. Watch the music video, which has over 5 million views, here: https://bit.ly/2rVQXUr.
Dream State has been announced on line ups for Download, 2000trees, Slam Dunk, and The Great Escape. The band will also be playing shows this summer with As It Is in the U.K. and then with Babymetal throughout Europe.
Dream State is CJ Gilpin (vocals), Aled Evans (guitar), Rhys Wilcox (guitar), Danny Rayer (bass), and Jamie Lee (drums).
Upcoming Festival Tour Dates:
May 18 - Brighton @ The Great Escape (Afternoon headline slot)
May 18 - Brighton @ The Great Escape (Evening slot)
May 19 - Brighton @ The Great Escape (Evening slot)
May 21 - Norwich @ Arts Centre
May 22 - Sheffield @ Plug*
May 24 - Bristol @ The Lantern*
May 25 - London @ St Pancras Old Church
May 26 - Leeds @ Slam Dunk
May 27 - Hatfield @ Slam Dunk
May 28 - Birmingham @ Slam Dunk
May 30 - Swansea @ Sin City^
June 1 - Reading @ Purple Turtle ^
June 2 - Dover @ Booking Hall^
June 4 - Innsbruck @ Music Hall**
June 5 - Utrecht @ Tivolivredenburg**
June 6 - Utrecht @ Tivolivredenburg**
June 10 - Donnington @ Download
July 7 - London @ Basingstoke Live
July 14 - Cheltenham @ 2000 Trees Festival
August 4 - Bournemouth @ Burned Out Festival
*w/ As It Is
NYC songwriter, producer and musician Amber Mark has shared her new single 'Love Me Right' (Listen HERE). The lead from her upcoming Conexão EP, the track is available to buy and stream everywhere today via PMR/Virgin EMI.
Raised across Europe and Asia, and based in New York City, Amber Mark weaves her deep knowledge of international styles into a stunning musical tapestry. Growing up on a diet of soul, R&B, bossa nova and electronica, Amber's rich songwriting and production talents were distilled into her 2016 release - the '3.33am EP'. The release was a dedication to her late mother and an exploration of how grief can birth incredible creativity. Now on Conexão, Amber is turning her sights to the future. "It's about my process of finding love again," she explains of the project. "It's like you're reading a book about my life and this is the next chapter." On stunning lead single 'Love Me Right', Amber lays out the terms of a relationship over pared-down, purposeful R&B rhythms. Like all her music, the song is an honest reflection of real-life emotion.
The Conexão EP confirms Amber Mark as one of 2018's most inventive artists, both as a songwriter and a producer. This summer, Amber performs at Moogfest as part of an all-women line-up. "Music production has been such a male dominated industry," she says. "It's definitely important for me to champion women producers". In amongst worldwide tour dates and further releases, Amber's first 2018 release is a mission statement for the year ahead.
Launching from Norwich, pop-punks Crossing The Limits have announced that their debut EP entitled ‘Perseverance’ will be self-released on 6th April 2018. Rachael Holland, the vocalist for the newcomers, sets the scene: “It's about walking through the storm. Life gets rough, but you have to keep going. You can't just sit there in your rut and give up, you have to persevere through setbacks to grow.” Now available for streaming here, is the quintet’s bright and infectiously catchy debut single ‘Won’t Settle’, with Holland revealing: “I wrote this track when I was dating someone who didn't really feel as if they were making any effort at all. I'd just gotten over a really bad break up, and they were the first person I'd really liked for a while, but they were completely emotionally unavailable. I just said to myself “I cannot settle for someone who just isn't 100% there”. We want people who listen to this song to feel empowered, you have to walk away from anything that isn't serving your happiness.”
Completed by Tom Colmans and Dan Smith on Guitar, Tim Clements on Bass and Ben Brennan on Drums, Crossing The Limits came together thanks to ‘the internet’, with Holland recalling: “I'd just gotten out of another band I'd been in for a few years, but it had reached a point where we weren't all on the same page any more. I felt pretty disheartened but I knew that I wasn't done. I began searching online for members to start a new band with, who were all committed and driven. Our ambition is for our music to uplift people and inspire them to be who they are.”
With the line-up complete, the members set about writing material, drawing upon lessons they had learned over the past year. Not all of the songs made the cut, but after 4 months the band had the material that would become the record, seeing them dealing with topics such as “the heartbreak of a first love; loss of friendship; not being afraid to carry on going alone and resisting the urge to fall in line by favouring your own path in life.” Recorded at Steel City Studios with Drew Lawson and mastered by Grant Berry at Fader, Holland fondly recalls: “Staying in a budget hotel, living off of fast food and being around each other all the time brought us all closer together, and we really got to know each other and how to agree to disagree sometimes. These guys are my best friends, and the support we give each other is amazing, they're my brothers.” Naming Neck Deep, Tonight Alive, State Champs and Against The Current amongst their influences, on ‘Perseverance’ Crossing The Limits offer up a delightfully energetic and uplifting dose of posi-pop-punk. Holland concludes: “There aren't enough female fronted bands out there right now, we can bring it just as much as any male fronted band. We're coming full force.”
Stream Debut Single ‘Won’t Settle’ now: https://youtu.be/y2OuyPM9mEA
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Toronto-based alternative rock band Selfish Things have announced their EP Vertical Love, out 16th March. After a string of successful single releases, earning notable positions on playlists such as New Noise on Spotify, this will be the band’s first full body of music for fans since they started in 2015. Fans can pre-order the EP here.
Co-produced by James Paul Wisner (Paramore, Dashboard Confessional) and lead singer-songwriter, Alex Biro, Vertical Love serves as Biro’s full transition from singer-songwriter to an all-out alternative rock band with Selfish Things.
“‘Vertical Love’ came into being after what was one of the most tumultuous periods of my life. It’s a body of work that’s representative of a time when I was struggling to eliminate my nihilistic outlook and replace it with something that was innately more sustainable and emotionally fruitful. I’ve always had a tendency to contemplate whether or not we choose the path we walk, or whether god / the universe / deity has placed us on a path that we have no control over. Looking back on it now, I think all of these songs are indicative of my struggle for control over the things I can’t understand or make sense of. The pain and suffering that come with sentience are necessary as a means of quantifying the depth of our experiences as living beings.” explains Biro.
Vertical Love features 6 tracks that will be released independently in the US and via A Wolf At Your Door Records (Deaf Havana, Lower Than Atlantis, Mallory Knox) in the UK & Europe. Within the 6 tracks, singles “8147 Mulholland Terrace” and “1435” will be packaged within the EP. In addition to the EP announcement, Alternative Press recently debuted the video for “1435”, and the video can be watched by clicking below or you can stream the sing HERE.
In addition to the video and new EP, the band is excited to embark on their first North American tour, as official support for Los Angeles-based act, Layne. The 29 date tour is the much anticipated follow up to their successful run opening for Simple Plan in Canada late 2017.
“We’re really looking forward to spending some time in parts of America we’ve never seen individually, or as a band,” notes Biro. “I’m looking forward to hanging with my best friends on the road, eating some good southern food and making memories."
Vertical Love is out 16th March via A Wolf At Your Door Records.
Irish Indie rockers Pillow Queens announce new EP 'State of The State'; streaming new single 'Favourite'
Pillow Queens announce new EP ‘State of The State’. Set for release 16th March via Specialist Subject: http://shop.specialistsubjectrecords.co.uk/products/609465
Stream new single ‘Favourite’:
‘State of The State’ is the new EP from queer, all-girl Irish indie rock group Pillow Queens. The four tracks will be released via Bristol-based indie Specialist Subject Records on 16th March. The first taster of the new collection is ‘Favourite’, a maniacal composition about self-delusion, which fizzes with intent and boasts a perfectly potent hook.
Despite the sunny disposition of Pillow Queens’ catchy melodies and rambunctious riffs, the songs found on ‘State of The State’ tend to have a darker undercurrent. Opener ‘Puppets’ is “a song about the frustration of trying to succeed in post-recession Ireland and the effect that has on mental health,” explains vocalist/guitarist/bassist Sarah Corcoran. Elsewhere on the EP, the band muse on emotional highs and lows, the inevitability of anxiety and paranoia.
‘State of The State’ is the product of Pillow Queens’ first year being a band. Their intense year of gigging, touring, and really getting to know each other’s abilities fed into this recording, in contrast to the creation of their delightful debut ‘Calm Girls’ EP, which was recorded just after the band got together.
Producer Peter Ashmore tapped into the wide-reaching references PQ threw at him, which included the likes of Hop Along, Yuck, Weezer, Manchester Orchestra and the Pixies, in order to attain a timeless feel befitting of the beautifully crafted songs. Rachel Lyons (drums/vocals) observes that the EP draws “from all our teenage musical influences which have been chewed up and poured out, PQ style.” The resulting creation is something special and unmistakeably “Pillow Queens”.
The artwork for the EP was brought to life by Nola Mellon and is inspired by the old Fallon’s maths times table book you used to have in primary school.
Pillow Queens are:-
Sarah Corcoran – Guitar / Bass / Vocals
Pamela Connolly – Guitar / Bass / Vocals
Cathy Mc Guinness – Guitar / Vocals
Rachel Lyons – Drums / Vocals
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