Slipknot share surprise new standalone track, ‘Bone Church’

“‘Bone Church’ started life in a jam room on the ‘.5: The Gray Chapter’ tour. We’ve been bringing it closer and closer to life ever since, and finally, here it is. This one is for the fans – a further vision deeper into Slipknot’s history, which is still being written. Enjoy.”

You can listen to the track here:

Recently, Slipknot frontman Corey Taylor shared an update on the future of his solo project, revealing that his forthcoming second album “sounds better” than previous releases.

The vocalist discussed the project – a follow up to 2020 debut ‘CMFT’ – in a video shared to social media last month (January 22). Taylor said the album contains “elements of” ‘CMFT’, Slipknot and Stone Sour, and admitted he’s “really, really excited” by the material. He continued: “Everything’s bigger this time. Everything sounds better. Everything’s running better… Instead of where I came from, this is where I’m going”.

Taylor revealed that the record will embrace “all the stuff that I’ve always wanted to do”, before issuing a final tease for the as-yet untitled project. “Nobody is ready for what they’re about to hear,” he said. “I’m serious as a heart attack”.

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Last September, Taylor teased his sophomore solo effort in an interview with SiriusXM, saying it will have “a darker edge to it” than ‘CMFT’. “There’s still great rock and roll on it”, he said. “There’s some heavier stuff, but there’s some really great slower stuff. It’s gonna be really rad”.

Slipknot’s last album, ‘The End, So Far’, arrived in September of last year, and received a four-star review from NME. Last month, member Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan revealed that the band’s follow up to ‘The End, So Far – the once-lost album ‘Look Outside Your Window’ – could be released sometime this year.

Slipknot are set to headline Download Festival this summer, alongside Metallica and Bring Me The Horizon. The festival will be taking place at Donington Park from June 8-11.

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Tom Grennan shares new single ‘Here’, tracklisting and release date for ‘What Ifs & Maybes’

Have a listen to ‘Here’ below:

Over on social media, Grennan revealed that ‘What Ifs & Maybes’ will be released on June 9 via Insanity and Sony. He said of his ambitions for the LP: “I wanted to make a record that hopefully helps people, de-shackle, take risks and realise their dreams… remember without you I’m nothing!”

See the cover art and tracklisting for ‘What Ifs & Maybes’ below, and find pre-orders for the record here.

1. ‘How Does It Feel’
2. ‘Remind Me’
3. ‘Crown Your Love’
4. ‘Here’
5. ‘Before You’
6. ‘Sleeping Rough’
7. ‘This Side Of The Room’
8. ‘Psychedelic Kisses’
9. ‘All These Nights’
10. ‘Problems’
11. ‘Head Up’
12. ‘Love Don’t Cost A Thing’
13. ‘Someone I Used To Know’
14. ‘You Are Not Alone’

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‘What Ifs & Maybes’ was announced last September alongside details of a UK arena tour, which Grennan will embark on in March. At the time, he explained that the album is “about going with your gut, not your head, because you never know what’s going to happen”.

Further expounding on those themes, he continued: “I’m not afraid to jump into the unknown – because it’s exciting! It’s about rolling the dice and living your best life with nothing to lose. I’m in a new creative space, and I know I’m finally the artist I want to be.”

In a recent interview with NME, Grennan called the new album a “different chapter” of his career, which will take him in “a different direction” from 2021’s ‘Evering Road’ album. “One door has closed and another one is open,” he said. “[‘What Ifs & Maybes’ is] a colourful album, an exciting one and it’s really going to lift people’s moods – because it lifts mine.

‘Here’ is the fourth single released from ‘What Ifs & Maybes’, following ‘Remind Me’ last March, ‘All These Nights’ in July and ‘You Are Not Alone’ in December.

Meanwhile, last October saw Grennan appointed as one of the latest patrons of The Music Venue Trust. Speaking about the importance of the effort, Grennan said: “Grassroots venues are so important because if we didn’t have them, we wouldn’t have music.”

“Music is still alive and this is why venues like this are so important, because if we didn’t have venues I wouldn’t be about, and I know a lot of others wouldn’t be about. There are so many artists, so many genres of music, so many different people that are wanting or needing to be found. You don’t need to be glued to your phone to try and find the next big thing because, trust me, the next big things are in venues like this.”

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Headie One shares energetic new song ‘Martin’s Sofa’

Check it out below.

Elsewhere in 2022, Headie shared the singles ‘Came In The Scene’, the Gazo-assisted ’22 Carats’ and ‘Illegal’.

‘No Borders’ is the latest in a long string of Headie One’s collaborative projects, having recruited Fred again.. for the 2020 mixtape ‘Gang’. The following year, he released fifth mixtape ‘Too Loyal for My Own Good’, which served as a follow-up to his 2020 studio debut ‘Edna’. The rapper toured that album last year, with his London show last November receiving a four-star review from NME. 

Following the release of the new mixtape, Headie took part in a special Fire In The Booth freestyle performance, with help from some friends.

To celebrate the mixtape dropping, Headie One shared a special, 24-minute long Fire In The Booth performance that saw him team up with some of his ‘No Borders’ collaborators including Koba LaD, Pajel, Yasin, Chivv, Shiva and Dezzie, who freestyled over a series of 11 beats.

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Arlo Parks announces new album ‘My Soft Machine’, shares first single ‘Weightless’

Speaking of the single, Parks said: “Weightless surrounds the painful experience of caring deeply about someone who only gives you tiny breadcrumbs of affection. It’s about suddenly realising that a person has dulled your edges and embarking on the slow journey back to being a brighter version of yourself.”

In addition to news about the album, Parks has announced a run of headline tour dates across the UK and Europe for September, which includes a show at London’s Eventim Apollo. See full dates below and access the pre-sale here.

SEPTEMBER
5 – Dublin, 3Olympia Theatre
14 – Amsterdam, Paradiso
15 – Brussels, Ancienne Belgique
17 – Berlin, Huxley’s Neue Welt
19 – Milan, Alcatraz
21 – Paris, L’Olympia
28 – London, Eventim Apollo

‘My Soft Machine’ has been described as a “deeply personal body of work” which highlights Parks experiences of navigating life in her 20s. “The world/our view of it is peppered by the biggest things we experience – our traumas, upbringing, vulnerabilities almost like visual snow,” she said in a statement about the album.

“This record is life through my lens, through my body – the mid 20s anxiety, the substance abuse of friends around me, the viscera of being in love for the first time, navigating PTSD and grief and self sabotage and joy, moving through worlds with wonder and sensitivity – what it’s like to be trapped in this particular body.”

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In other news, Parks is set to perform at this year’s Primavera Sound Festival for both the Barcelona and Madrid editions. She has also been booked to headline this year’s The Great Escape festival.

this feels like the biggest secret I’ve ever had to hold in but I can finally announce that my sophomore album “My Soft Machine” will be released on 26th May 2023!! pic.twitter.com/OqGNhBSJCd

— Arlo Parks (@arloparks) January 18, 2023

Parks released her first new music for 2022, ‘Softly‘, in February. The single also marked her first release since her Mercury Prize-winning debut album, ‘Collapsed In Sunbeams’, landed in 2020.

NME gave that record a five-star review, with Georgia Evans writing: “Arlo Parks may be the voice of Gen Z, but there’s no doubt that this is a universal collection of stories that’ll provide solace for listeners of all ages and backgrounds for decades to come.”

Last year, the singer cancelled a number of US tour dates to protect her mental health. “I am broken,” she said in a statement. Parks began a run of shows in the States at the start of September 2022 but said that her mental health had “deteriorated to a debilitating place” and left her “burnt out”.

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boygenius release three new singles and announce new album

NME called it “a record that leaves you yearning for more” in a five-star review, adding that it “would be astonishing regardless of the length of time it took to make, but it becomes even more so when you learn these songs were created in a matter of days”.

The trio also teamed up on Bridgers track ‘Graceland Too’ from her 2020 album ‘Punisher’ as well as providing backing vocals on ‘Roses/Lotus/Violet/Iris’, a track from the debut solo album by Paramore vocalist Hayley Williams.

The release of the three singles marks the first new music from the band since 2020, when they released a handful of demos from the recording sessions for the EP to raise money for charity.

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In 2021, Baker linked back up with her boygenius bandmates, featuring Bridgers and Dacus on the track ‘Favor’ from her third album, ‘Little Oblivions’. That album was released in February 2021 to a four-star review from NME, and also featured singles ‘Faith Healer’ and ‘Hardline’.

In November that year, boygenius played at a San Francisco charity event, marking the first time they had performed together since 2018.

The trio performed a 12-song set that comprised of a handful of their individual solo tracks and the entirety of their self-titled Boygenius EP. All proceeds from the one-off benefit gig at Saint Joseph’s Arts Society went to the Bay Area nonprofit Bread & Roses.

the record is out march 31st and three songs are out now. https://t.co/WjyL0e2I9U pic.twitter.com/9oDUBIIrGu

— boygenius (@xboygeniusx) January 18, 2023

The full tracklist of ‘the record’ is as follows:

1. ‘Without You Without Them’
2. ‘$20’
3. ‘Emily I’m Sorry’
4. ‘True Blue’
5. ‘Cool About It’
6. ‘Not Strong Enough’
7. ‘Revolution 0’
8. ‘Leonard Cohen’
9. ‘Satanist’
10. ‘We’re In Love’
11. ‘Anti-Curse’
12. ‘Letter To An Old Poet’

In other news, boygenius will perform at this year’s Coachella Music Festival on April 15 and April 22, which will be headlined by Bad BunnyBLACKPINK and Frank Ocean.

The Californian festival will take place at Indio’s Empire Polo Club between April 14-16 and April 21-23. You can register for passes now on Coachella’s official website.

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Willow shares in-studio snap with St. Vincent

St. Vincent’s last album, ‘Daddy’s Home’, was released in 2021. In a four-star review, NME wrote: “this ’70s funk pastiche is her warmest album yet”.

“I wanted to tell my story with a level of humour and compassion,” she said of the record in an NME Big Read interview.

More recently, St. Vincent has launched a podcast about the history or rock music and joined Metallica onstage for a performance of ‘Nothing Else Matters’. She’s also set to support Red Hot Chili Peppers on their 2023 tour – get dates and ticket details here.

Credit: Andy Ford for NME

Willow, meanwhile, released her ‘COPINGMECHANISM’ album in October. “You can tell the star is using her influences to make her own seminal sound,” NME wrote in a four-star review.

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The following month, she appeared onstage with The Smashing Pumpkins to perform ‘Cherub Rock’. It followed collaborations with Yungblud, Avril Lavigne, Travis Barker and Machine Gun Kelly.

Willow has previously teased a collaboration with KennyHoopla. “We’ve definitely been throwing around ideas and getting in the studio to have fun, so I definitely feel like something’s gonna come soon,” she told NME.

Talking about her ongoing exploration of guitar music, she added at the time: “There’s a certain level of reckless abandon that comes with rock music. Specifically, I think the magnitude of oppression that any minority in America has historically experienced, it puts something inside of us that makes us want to growl a little bit and scream. I think pop-punk is a very beautiful expression of that.”

During a recent In Conversation interview with NME, Willow spoke about what she looks for in a collaborator. “Someone [who] is open to being experimental, and to doing things that other people may not be into doing,” she said. “And I just look for a friend. Like, if I really love you and you inspire me as a person, I’m down. I love working with people who I love – that’s really the only criteria.”

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RAYE on scoring UK Number One single with ‘Escapism’: “It’s the ultimate validation”

“It’s also a huge time of reflection. It’s 10 years since I dropped my first single, you know – these things don’t happen overnight. All of the hard work that’s gone into this moment… I feel a bit sick!”

In the summer of 2021, RAYE made headlines when she parted ways with Polydor Records after claiming that the label had refused to release her debut album, despite signing a four-album deal in 2014. Since then, she has gone independent and will release her debut album next month.

“I don’t think this music would have seen the light of day if I wasn’t independent,” she told NME. “It just shows that nothing’s impossible, to be independent and achieving this. We don’t have huge budgets to spend on marketing campaigns, people have genuinely just decided that they’re going to connect to the song and stream it and like it.

She continued: “I think everyone felt a bit sorry for me after all of that stuff happened, thinking, ‘It’s not looking good’. The most insane thing is being reassured that it’s important to trust your gut and to trust that you know what’s best for yourself as an artist.

“I’m just so proud of myself for staying the course and just backing myself. As tough as it’s been, in the darkest of times, it’s the ultimate validation.”

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The singer wrote ‘Escapism’ two years before its release, and said that its subject matter, which discusses substance abuse, is often seen as taboo for women to sing about in music.

“As someone who has battled with the subjects I’m talking about, [it’s] not necessarily seen as attractive for women to address substance abuse so head on and so viscerally,” she admitted. “It’s really difficult as a woman battling those demons specifically, because there’s no healthy outlet.

“All of this album is me addressing these uncomfortable subjects head on. If the girl that I wrote that song about could see this now, where I’m at and what’s going on, she’d be so emotional, both that she made it out and now that she’s Number One!”

RAYE. Credit: Callum Walker Hutchinson.

Since the track’s release three months ago, it has slowly climbed the charts and already achieved Number One in Ireland. It currently sits at Number Five in Germany, in the Top 10 in Australia and has also entered the Billboard Hot 100 in the United States.

“I promised myself and went through all the mental preparation to not need to expect anything from statistics or chart success,” RAYE told NME, instead believing “that it was just about releasing art and slowly building a new fanbase, a fanbase that accepts me for whatever story I need to tell. Because of that, all of this is just blowing my wildest expectations. I just genuinely just did not see anything like this happening anytime soon, so it’s just bananas.”

With the album due out next month and worldwide headline shows alongside an arena support run with Lewis Capaldi to come, RAYE said the timing for the chart success is perfect. “I’m just so ready,” she beamed. “Some of these songs have existed for years, and I’ve been waiting to tell some of these stories for so long. I’m just so grateful that this is my life. It feels like someone needs to wake me up from this dream. It’s just wild, wild, wild.”

Thanking her parents, who work with her in the “family business” and ‘Escapism’ producer Mike Sabath, who she wrote the song with “in some random log cabin in Utah,” RAYE added: “Honestly shout out anyone who’s stuck by me for so bloody long. It’s been a wild journey and I’m just excited to get the chance to rewrite my story and begin releasing albums… with an S!”

After sharing the tracklist yesterday, RAYE will release ‘My 21st Century Blues’ on February 3.

RAYE confirmed this week that she will be supporting Lewis Capaldi on his ‘Broken By Desire To Be Heavenly Sent’ tour, which kicks off next week. You can see the full list of dates below and buy your tickets here.

JANUARY 2023
14 – Leeds, First Direct Arena
16 – Sheffield, Utilita Arena
18 – Manchester, AO Arena
19 – Liverpool, M&S Bank Arena
21 – Newcastle, Utilita Arena
23 – Aberdeen, P&J Live
24 – Glasgow, OVO Hydro
26 – Birmingham, Utilita Arena
27 – Nottingham, Motorpoint Arena
29 – Belfast, SSE Arena
30 – Dublin, 3Arena

RAYE is set to embark on a headline tour of her own not long after, spanning the UK, Europe and a few dates in North America. You can buy your tickets here.

FEBRUARY 2023
25 – Amsterdam, Melkweg
26 – Berlin, Frannz
27 – Copenhagen, Lilie Vega

MARCH 2023
1 – Stockholm, Debaser Strand
2 – Paris, La Maroquinerie
4 – Dublin, Olympia Theatre
5 – Belfast, Limelight
7 – Manchester, O2 Ritz
8 – London, Roundhouse
14 – San Francisco, Popscene @ Rickshaw Stop
15 – Los Angeles, Troubadour
17 – Toronto, Velvet Underground
19 – Chicago, Lincoln Hall
21 – Brooklyn, Music Hall Of Williamsburg

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Kendrick Lamar avoids social media to not get “lost in your ego”

“My social media, most of the time, is completely off,” he said. “Because I know, like … I can easily smell my own [expletive]. I know.

“Like, I’m not one of those dudes that be like, Oh, yeah, I know how good I am, but I also know the reason why I’m so good is because God’s blessed me with the talent to execute on the talent, and the moment that you start getting lost in your ego, that’s when you start going down.”

Kendrick Lamar performs onstage during day three of Rolling Loud Miami 2022 at Hard Rock Stadium on July 24, 2022 in Miami Gardens, Florida CREDIT: Jason Koerner/Getty Images

Elsewhere in the interview, Kendrick opened up about his artistic connection to Compton and ambitious “Hood Beethoven” live show.

On how he and Free stay connected to their roots – both were raised in Compton, California – Lamar told The New York Times: “It’s nature versus nurture. I was nurtured in an environment where there’s, like, a lot of gang mentality. That certain language, certain lingo. How we walk. How we talk.

“All the little nuances and in-speaks that I have in Compton. I have that. That’s not going nowhere. That’s why I can go into any environment, any type of street environment, and be able to still connect even at this high of a level, as the son that never leaves. That’s nurture.”

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Lamar’s ‘Big Steppers Tour’ ended earlier this month in Australia and New Zealand, following legs in North America, Europe and the UK. A stop in Paris earned a five-star review from NME, who wrote: “There’s a human touch here that can sometimes be lost in the midst of creative genius… [The tour] presents a creative vision that would boggle the minds of most mere mortals. It’s a stunning, moving display from a true great of modern rap.”

The tour came in support of Lamar’s fifth album, ‘Mr. Morale & The Big Steppers’, which arrived back in May. It scored a a five-star review from NME – who called it “a cathartic, soul-baring autobiography” – while the album also came in at Number Five on NME’s list of 2022’s best albums, and ‘N95’ scored Number 14 on NME’s Top 50 songs of the year.

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Squid announce long-awaited London headline show

Now, on February 9, 2023, nearly three years after its original date, Squid will make it to Scala for the headline show.

“Our original show at Scala was meant to be our first London headline,” the band said, “so it means a lot to be able to make it happen.”

Find full details below and get ticket information here.

View this post on Instagram

A post shared by Squid (@squidbanduk)

Earlier this year, Squid headed out on a 10-date run of North American tour dates, marking their second slate of shows on US soil since the release of their debut album.

‘Bright Green Field’ landed back in May via Warp. It featured the singles ‘Narrator’‘Paddling’ and ‘Pamphlets’, and was celebrated with the launch of Squid’s very own beer (in collaboration with Gan Yam Brew Co).

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NME gave ‘Bright Green Field’ a five-star review upon its release, writing: “From their very earliest material it was clear to tell that Squid would only be able to truly fulfil their potential when given the canvas of an album, on which to tell a story that ebbs and flows at a pace and route that they dictate.

“On ‘Bright Green Field’, in all of its weird, frantic and fantastic glory, they’ve gone above and beyond.”

The record also made NME’s list of the best debut albums, EPs, mixtapes of 2021, and the half-yearly list of the best albums overall.

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Kasabian announce huge UK and Ireland shows for summer 2023

The newly announced date at Leeds’ Millennium Square – which has featured some huge recent performances, including Richard Ashcroft back in July this year – will take place on July 7 2023, and promises some “very special guests”.

Kasabian have also shared details of their rescheduled Dublin date, a show at Limerick’s King John Castle, and an appearance at Sea Sessions in Bundoran, all taking place in June.

Tickets go on sale this Thursday (December 8) at 9.30am GMT, and will be available to buy here – see details of the new dates via the band’s recent tweets below.

PLUS
☄️June 13 Ireland, Dublin, 3 Olympia Theatre (Rescheduled)
☄️June 14 Ireland, Limerick, King John Castle.
☄️June 16-18 Ireland, Bundoran, Sea Sessions.
🎫Tickets Friday 9th December via https://t.co/3x7pubdP7a🎫 pic.twitter.com/vWuVRDSGrJ

— KasabianHQ (@KasabianHQ) December 6, 2022

In a four-star review of ‘The Alchemist’s Euphoria’, NME wrote: “Kasabian have always been about having a good fucking time, and although this is understandably their most introspective record yet, it does point to euphoria ahead.”

“Back in May, the frontman told NME: ‘This album was just us saying, ‘Let’s see what we can do – let’s see where we can take this’.’ On the evidence of this surprising, eclectic and intimate record – which still finds time for the anthems of old – the answer is: as far as they want to.”

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Watch Gen Z react to Slipknot: “Is this The Purge?”

“Their masks freak me out way too much,” one Gen Z-er says in the video, followed by another that asks “Oh, is this The Purge?” referencing the 2013 film. Elsewhere, comments include: “I’m OK with metal, but heavy metal is like a bit much for me!” and “Not my cup of tea but it seems so lit! I’m not gonna lie, everybody here seems to be having a good time”.

In response to the video for ‘Left Behind’, the same teen notes: “If I was eight years-old and I saw this on TV, I would probably pee my pants”.

In other news, Slipknot were recently announced as the headliners of next year’s Download Festival, alongside Metallica and Bring Me The Horizon.

In celebration of the rock and metal festival’s 20th year, event organisers have extended it to four days (June 8-11) with four headline slots.

Metallica will perform two unique headline sets over the weekend with no songs repeated, on Thursday (June 8) and Saturday (June 10), while Bring Me The Horizon will perform on the Friday (June 9) and Slipknot on the Sunday (June 11).

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Elsewhere, Slipknot percussionist Shawn ‘Clown’ Crahan said the iconic nu-metallers may look to abandon their traditional album-based release patterns.

During a new interview with NME – where Clown detailed Knotfest’s upcoming debut in Australia – the artist opened up about the band’s newfound independence; after signing to Roadrunner Records in July of 1998, their contract was officially completed with the release of their seventh album, ‘The End, So Far’.

He explained: “I always thought, ‘What would it be like if Slipknot was big enough that we weren’t held to albums?’ Let’s say Clown could convince you, ‘Hey, instead of waiting two years for 12 songs, I’m gonna give you one song every month.’ So in reality, I’m shaving a year off for the same thing.”

‘The End, So Far’ marked the band’s final release on Roadrunner, arriving on September 30 with singles including ‘The Chapeltown Rag’‘The Dying Song (Time To Sing)’ and ‘Yen’. In a four-star review of the album, NME’s Andrew Trendell said it “may rattle many of the metal faithful, but for the prowess and lasting impression of this record alone, this is a true Slipknot record”.

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Watch The Cure debut heartfelt new song ‘A Fragile Thing’ in Italy

At the first show of the tour – which took place in Latvia on Thursday October 6 – the band debuted ‘Alone’ and ‘Endsong’, marking their first new material since 2008’s ‘4:13 Dream’ album. ‘And Nothing Is Forever’ was then debuted in Sweden, before Polish fans were introduced to ‘I Can Never Say Goodbye’ some three weeks ago.

‘A Fragile Thing’ is a fittingly melancholic tune, with Robert Smith singing wistfully over a melody of droning piano chords and a steady beat: “‘There’s nothing you can do to change it back,’ she said / ‘Nothing you can do but sing’ / This love is a fragile thing / This love is my everything.”

Have a look at some crowd-shot footage of the moment below, then see the full setlist from last night’s show (via setlist.fm)

The Cure played:

1. ‘Alone’
2. ‘Pictures Of You’
3. ‘A Night Like This’
4. ‘Lovesong’
5. ‘And Nothing Is Forever’
6. ‘Cold’
7. ‘Burn’
8. ‘At Night’
9. ‘Charlotte Sometimes’
10. ‘Push’
11. ‘Play For Today’
12. ‘A Forest’
13. ‘A Fragile Thing’ (live debut)
14. ‘Shake Dog Shake’
15. ‘From The Edge Of The Deep Green Sea’
16. ‘Endsong’
17. ‘I Can Never Say Goodbye’
18. ‘The Figurehead’
19. ‘Faith’
20. ‘Disintegration’
21. ‘Lullaby’
22. ‘The Walk’
23. ‘Friday I’m In Love’
24. ‘Close To Me’
25. ‘In Between Days’
26. ‘Just Like Heaven’
27. ‘Boys Don’t Cry’

The Cure’s UK and European tour will continue in Geneva, Switzerland tomorrow (November 6), with a further 25 dates on the itinerary. They’ll wrap up with a trio of back-to-back shows in Wembley, performing at the OVO Arena across December 11-13. See more details here, and find tickets to the remaining shows here.  

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The band are yet to formally announce ‘Songs Of A Lost World’, but Smith told NME back in May that it was “almost finished”. He did, however, say at the time that it would be released before The Cure began their current tour.

Meanwhile, the band recently reissued their classic 1992 album ‘Wish’, with the 30th anniversary edition sporting 24 previously unreleased tracks. In August, too, keyboardist Roger O’Donnell announced that he’s working on his first film score.

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Check out behind the scenes moments from Rebounder and CLIP’s Brooklyn Sound gig

Since its inception in 2018, Brooklyn Sound has featured artists such as Ho99o9, Lightning Bolt, and former NME cover stars, Sunflower Bean throughout its events. The newest iteration of the series will continue to support local rising artists from across the musical spectrum, and spotlight the diversity of the subcultures that exist within New York City.

Rebounder CREDIT: Sam Keeler

Rebounder CREDIT: Sam Keeler

“We’re Rebounder, it’s great to be back in the city,” Dylan Chenfeld told the Brooklyn crowd before launching into their bright and upbeat track, ‘Slow Angel’. The band also treated the audience to multiple indie-rock tunes, including the funk-laden ‘Night Sports’, swaggering, ‘Boy Friday’, and the melodic track ‘Japanese Posters’. Rebounder also fits in a few surprises along the way, including a cover of New Order’s ‘Bizzare Love Triange’ and a quick homage to T.L.C.’s ‘No Scrubs’ in the middle of one of their songs.

“Did we mention that we’re Rebounder from New York?” the band joked before closing their set with an energetic performance of their track, ‘Swim Zone’.

Rebounder are set to play tonight (November 3) at Brooklyn’s Music Hall of Williamsburg, before playing at Thunderbird Music Hall in Pittsburgh next Tuesday (November 8). Then the band will head to Ohio for a stop at Cincinnati’s Top Cats on Wednesday (November 9) and Columbus’ A&R Music Bar on Thursday (November 10). Check out their full itinerary and ticket details here.

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Before alt-rapper CLIP takes the Union Pool stage, Brooklyn Sound fans are treated to a dynamic DJ set. Once the warmup ends, the New York City-born performer, whose unique sound oscillates from straight-forward rap to harmonic vocals, took the stage transforming the Brooklyn venue into a dance floor.

CLIP CREDIT: Sam Keeler

CLIP CREDIT: Sam Keeler

“So, honestly I really make music for the bitches that be going through it and suck it up every day get their bag, try to be good people,” CLIP told the packed Union Pool crowd midway through her set. “This one’s for you.”

“Man, I really hate feeling this way” she rapped in her emotional track, ‘Gotham’, a slow-burning song about trying to find “Something to believe in.” The NYC rapper continued to bring raw and honest moments to the crowd with a smile across her face, like the steady synth-backed track, ‘Villian’ where she raps, “I swear it’s not you / I’m just a fuck up my baby.”

Other set highlights came by way of track, ‘Calvin K’, with CLIP giving dancing to the lyrics of the direct and rebellious track, and smiling while she rapped the lyrics “I don’t got no time to waste, and I don’t need new friends/ Me myself and I with my demons in my head”.

CLIP CREDIT: Sam Keeler

CLIP: Sam Keeler

CLIP CREDIT: Sam Keeler

Rebounder CREDIT: Sam Keeler

Rebounder CREDIT: Sam Keeler

Rebounder CREDIT: Sam Keeler

Brooklyn Sound fans CREDIT: Sam Keeler

Brooklyn Sound fans CREDIT: Sam Keeler

Brooklyn Sound fans CREDIT: Sam Keeler

Check out behind-the-scenes moments from MICHELLE and Sarah Kinsley’s Brooklyn Sound gig here, and exclusive photos and highlights from Nation Of Language and Infinite Coles’ Brooklyn Sound show, here.

Read more about the artists featured in this year’s Brooklyn Sound series here.

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Slipknot announce Megadeth, Parkway Drive, Trivium and more for Knotfest Australia 2023

Pre-sales to Knotfest Premium Members begin on November 3 at 8AM AEDT, while early bird pre-sales will be released on the same day at 9AM AEDT and can be registered for here. General ticket sales will begin on November 7 at 9AM AEDT, and can be purchased via Knotfest Australia’s official website.

The poster for Knotfest Australia 2023. Credit: Press

The announcement follows the release of Slipknot’s seventh full-length album – and final release with Roadrunner Records‘The End, So Far’ in September. Speaking to NME, frontman Corey Taylor discussed the band’s penchant for experimentation, highlighting their latest release as their boldest yet: “Musically, we’ve never shied away from a challenge.”

“It got to the point where you’re like, ‘Where do we go?’ [We said] let’s look back for inspiration instead of trying to look forward, and let’s try to embrace some of the shit that made us wanna do this in the first place.”

In a four-star review, NME’s Andrew Trendell praised the album’s adventurous sonic palette, stating that “aside from the blood, the gore, the theatrics and the noise, there’s clearly always been much more to the band’s ability to shock and surprise – and now it seems their next left turn of an era could be their most daring yet.”

Recently, Taylor also teased Slipknot’s possible headlining appearance at Download Festival next year while answering fan questions at Manchester’s For The Love Of Horror convention. “On my life, I can neither confirm nor deny. I wish I could tell you that we’re going to be there, I really do,” the vocalist stated. “Unfortunately, I don’t have that answer right now so I will tell you when I can.”

The full line-up for Knotfest Australia 2023 is:
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Slipknot
Parkway Drive
Megadeth
Trivium
Northlane
Amon Amarth
In Flames
Knocked Loose
Spiritbox
Story Of The Year
Alpha Wolf
Void Of Vision
Bad Omens
Malevolence

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5 Seconds Of Summer talk being named NME’s Worst Band In The World three times

“Y’all called us the worst band and that affects a guy,” he laughed. “That guy at 28 doesn’t give a fuck and I actually think it’s awesome. But when you’re 17 and 18 you go, ‘I’m in the worst band? What?’ and it’s like what do you mean? What does that mean to me? What did I do wrong?

“But that’s just a relative example of how things can be said about the character of the band, really do affect the stability of the whole thing.”

5 Seconds Of Summer’s Ashton Irwin. CREDIT: Tim Mosenfelder/Getty Images

During the same interview, the band also talked about their new album ‘5SOS5’, which they recorded at the Joshua Tree Studios in California, which have previously been used by seminal musicians including PJ Harvey and Arctic Monkeys. “We just booked a trip, and decided to hang out and see what happens. There’s no other way to explain it than it just felt right for us,” said lead guitarist Michael Clifford.

Frontman Luke Hemmings added: “In many ways, this album feels like the first one to me. The debut was recorded when we were living in London and didn’t really know what we were doing – and this time around, we had this freedom and sense of feeling carefree, in a way that we didn’t really have the last time around. I think that really shines through in the lyrics: everything has changed, and nothing has changed for us. It was nice to feel as though we’re able to do all of this on our own.”

Meanwhile, the frontman recently opened up about the death of late Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins.

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“There’s such a tragedy and so much to miss about Taylor,” Hemmings said (via Billboard). “Everything from friends and family through the band and to entertainment of fans. Everyone missing him desperately.”

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Listen to Death Cab For Cutie’s uplifting new single, ‘Here To Forever’

The visual shows lead vocalist and guitarist Ben Gibbard packaging the band’s vinyl after overhearing a conversation with two pressing plant employees, played by comedians Natalie Palamides and Courtney Pauroso. In between the scenes are clips of the five-piece performing the new song in full. Check it out below.

Speaking about the new song, Ben Gibbard said: “It’s a song both about our impermanence and the anxiety of these times. It’s also about wanting to believe in something bigger even when it feels like nothing is out there.”

The song follows on from previously released single ‘Roman Candles’, which was the first track released off Death Cab for Cutie’s upcoming tenth studio album ‘Asphalt Meadows‘. That arrives on September 16 and you can pre-order it here.

Death Cab For Cutie’s last recent release was ‘The Georgia EP’, a collection of five covers that came out in 2020 via Bandcamp and landed on streaming platforms last January. Also released in 2021 was a 35-track reissue of 2001’s ‘The Photo Album’.

Speaking to NME in March 2021, Gibbard explained that his then-new signature Fender Mustang guitar had inspired Death Cab’s next LP. “We’ve got a lot of songs and I’m really happy with the material,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of musicians say that their new material is the best thing they’ve ever done and try to hype it up. I don’t want to give it that weight, but I can say that I’m really excited about it. I think it’s going to be a really good record.”

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Death Cab For Cutie’s North American tour is continuing until late October. You can purchase any remaining tickets here.

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Watch Death Cab For Cutie play an unreleased song called ‘Here To Forever’

‘Asphalt Meadows’ is the follow-up to 2018’s ‘Thank You For Today’, and will be released on September 16 via Atlantic. Until then, Death Cab For Cutie’s most recent release is ‘The Georgia EP’, a collection of five covers that came out in 2020 via Bandcamp and landed on streaming platforms last January. Also released in 2021 was a 35-track reissue of 2001’s ‘The Photo Album’.

Speaking to NME in March 2021, Gibbard explained that his then-new signature Fender Mustang guitar had been inspiring Death Cab’s next LP. “We’ve got a lot of songs and I’m really happy with the material,” he said. “I’m sure a lot of musicians say that their new material is the best thing they’ve ever done and try to hype it up. I don’t want to give it that weight, but I can say that I’m really excited about it. I think it’s going to be a really good record.”

Death Cab For Cutie’s North American tour will continue in Lewiston, New York tomorrow (July 11), and roll on into late October. You can purchase any remaining tickets here.

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Irenegarry on her upcoming EP ‘Mandona’ and new single ‘Contéstame a La Historia’

The Madrid-based artist has put out three songs this year, and she explained that: “these last three singles are all part of an EP, I’m super excited to get it out as it’s my first body of work that I can present, and I feel very glad that it’s happening”

One of these recent singles is ‘Contéstame a La Historia’, which was released earlier this month.

“It was the first song I ever wrote in my life,” she explained of the song. “I had never tried as I felt embarrassed by trying to come up with my guitar and little ideas, it was a bit strange for me. But I tried with this song as I think I was very ill at that moment, I had a fever or something, and then I came up with this idea of just becoming obsessed with someone over Instagram, when you don’t know them.”

She continued: “It has been with me for two years, I’ve been playing it in different forms and I’m really happy with the final result.|”

Irenegarry also added that the catchy song was inspired by Spanish group cariño, and the way the talk about “super normal stuff in Spanish in pop songs, like not getting a text or arriving later to work”.

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Ahead of Mad Cool Festival 2022 Irenegarry showed NME around her hometown of Madrid, for the latest in NME‘s Welcome To My Neighbourhood series.

Visiting favourite haunts like only-open-on-Sunday record shop Satanasa and legendary local music venue Siroco, Irenegarry also discussed what it’s like to be playing Mad Cool Festival. “You can see a lot of big bands sharing the line-up with you, and that gives you some motivation as a young musician, it motivates you to do things better and work more!”

Check back here at NME for the latest news, interviews, photos and more from Mad Cool 2022.

NME is an official media partner of Mad Cool Festival 2022

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Alt-J tell us about working with Soulwax and Wet Leg at Mad Cool 2022

Alt-J live at Mad Cool 2022. Credit: Andy Ford for NME

The band continued to describe how they enjoyed Soulwax’s recent electro-pop remix of Wet Leg’s ‘Too Late Now’, lifted from their eponymous debut album. Vocalist and guitarist Joe Newman also revealed that he’s a fan of the Isle of Wight duo, having discovered them online last year.

“I found out about Wet Leg about eight months ago. I was looking on YouTube, and I saw this band playing ‘Chaise Longue’,” he said. “I thought they were Scandinavian at first, because they looked so cool. It was such a refreshing song that it made me think, ‘Who are they?!’

He continued: “I immediately began to delve into their other songs as I wanted to know who they were. [Wet Leg] are also from the Isle of Wight, which is not far from Southampton, which is where I’m from, so I immediately felt a kinship with them.”

Looking to the future, Alt-J told us that they’d “love to win another Mercury Prize”, and referenced how their 2012 debut album ‘An Awesome Wave’ won the award a decade ago. Newman quipped: “We’d certainly settle for a Grammy next year!”

Check back here at NME for the latest news, interviews, photos and more from Mad Cool 2022.

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NME is an official media partner of Mad Cool Festival 2022

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NME announce release details for limited edition Billie Eilish print magazine

The limited-edition magazine will feature the full Big Read cover story published in June, as well as a double-sided poster celebrating both the cover feature, and her very first NME cover from January 2019.

Billie Eilish on the cover of NME

In the feature, she reflects on the pressure to headline Glastonbury, saying that “I feel I owe it to everyone to put on a good show because of that. I’m so honoured to be a part of it. It’s heart-warming to see how much people care about it and think that this is going to be the best weekend of their lives.”

NME said that her “headline set ushers in a new era for the festival” and that “amid political turmoil back home, the star proves her place as a Pyramid Stage headliner; the festival is in good hands for the next half-century.” Read the full review of her Glastonbury headline set here.

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Julien Baker shares emotive new single ‘Guthrie’ and announces ‘B-Sides’ EP

Listen to ‘Guthrie’ below, then check out the cover art and tracklist for the ‘B-Sides’ EP:

‘B-Sides’ EP tracklist:

01. ‘Guthrie’
02. ‘Vanishing Point’
03. ‘Mental Math’

‘Little Oblivions’ was released last February and earned a four-star review from NME.

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In the year-and-a-half since then Baker has shared collaborations with the likes of Fucked Up and The Ophelias, and contributed to a compilation album to raise money for the National Network of Abortion Funds.

She’s also released a ‘Little Oblivions’ remix EP, covered a Smashing Pumpkins song for a seven-inch split with Van Etten, and teamed up with Tom Morello and Nandi Bushell for the Afghan charity single ‘God Help Us All’. Last July, too, she re-recorded the ‘Little Oblivions’ song ‘Faith Healer’ in Simlish.

Speaking to NME upon its release, Baker noted that ‘Little Oblivions’ chronicled a monumental turning point in how she approached the creative process, by proxy of changes in her personal life.

“In the year over which I made this record,” she said, “I had to unlearn the idea of recovery being linear, or quantifiable, or something that you did out of principle, that was just a moral achievement.

“With my previous two records, the idea I had was a little bit more idealistic. And for my own sanity, I chose to apply this narrative to all the obstacles and struggles and pain in my life, to help me assign meaning to pain… you know, what human beings have been trying to do since the dawn of time!”

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Eurovision 2022 winners Kalush Orchestra announce North American tour

Tickets for all of the dates – a full list of which can be found below – are on sale now via Bomond. A portion of the funds raised from sales will be donated to Ukrainian relief efforts via the charities Gate To Ukraine and Help Heroes Of Ukraine.

May saw Kalush Orchestra win the Eurovision Song Contest in Turin with their song ‘Stefania’. The six-piece band raised $900,000 (£739,000) for Ukrainian relief by auctioning off their winners’ trophy.

A further $370,000 (£301,000) was also raised by raffling off the pink bucket hat that member frontman Oleh Psiuk wore during the group’s victorious performance.

Last month the band made their UK debut with a performance at Glastonbury 2022. Their 13-song set included two renditions of ‘Stefania’, as well as a dozen other songs that, according to the band’s team, were written in the space of just 10 days.

NME spoke to bandmember Psiuk ahead of Kalush Orchestra’s Glastonbury set. Asked about the prospect of Eurovision 2023 being moved away from Ukraine due to the war with Russia, he said: “It’s a pity that Eurovision might not be in Ukraine, but there’s a lot discussion right now and everybody hopes that Eurovision will be in Ukraine.”

Kalush Orchestra’s 2022 North American tour dates are:

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OCTOBER
Thursday 20 – Seattle, Club SUR
Friday 21 – San Francisco, City Nights
Saturday 22 – Denver, (Venue TBA)
Sunday 23 – Los Angeles, Avalon Hollywood
Thursday 27 – Dallas, Granada Theater
Friday 28 – Houston, Decorum
Saturday 29 – Philadelphia, (Venue TBA)
Sunday 30 – New York City, Melrose Ballroom

NOVEMBER
Wednesday 2 – Washington DC, The Howard Theater
Thursday 3 – Miami, Sport Of Kings
Friday 4 – Chicago, Concord Music Hall
Saturday 5 – Montreal, Theatre Plaza
Sunday 6 – Toronto, The Opera House

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Independent Venue Week reveals full 2022 program in United States

“No longer is the locally owned or operated room or festival solely on their own; this event serves to unite the individuals within our many communities, reminding those on and in front of the stage what makes these places so special, and of course worthy of a week-long celebration.”

The ambassador for this year’s United States IVW will be Big Freedia, who will play a closing party at the Grog Shop in Cleveland, Ohio on July 12.

Elsewhere, Spoon will play at The Englert Theatre in Iowa City, Japanese Breakfast and The Linda Lindas will perform at Minnesota’s First Avenue and The Mountain Goats will play the Wave venue in Wichita as part of over 1,000 shows.

See the full program for next week’s events below, with more information here.

Amazing to see the full programme for #IVW22 in the US, with more than 400 venues in all 50 states and D.C. set to participate ⭐️

What a week they are set to have for their big 5th anniversary, sending all our love to the @IVW_US team 💛

Head to the US site and check it out 🇺🇸 pic.twitter.com/U0hZStzxTR

— Independent Venue Week (@IVW_UK) July 6, 2022

Back in February, independent venue owners, associations, and touring artists spoke to NME about what the US live music community still needs from the US government to survive this stage of the ongoing pandemic.

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With ticketholder no-show rates reaching a high of 50 per cent last month and the National Independent Venue Foundation recently relaunching its Emergency Relief Fund, venues and artists told us they are still facing show cancelations, financial challenges, and health risks associated with COVID.

Looking back on how his venue endured the past two years, Bruce Finkelman, owner of Chicago’s The Empty Bottle told NME: “I think our perseverance as a people and as a music scene has been amazing.”

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Lorde brings out Arlo Parks and Clairo for ’Stoned At The Nail Salon’ at Glastonbury 2022

During the performance, Lorde also took the time to speak out against the recent overturn of Roe v. Wade. The supreme court overturned the landmark case on June 24. The ruling had granted women in the US the right to terminate a pregnancy and was put in place nearly 50 years ago.

Olivia Rodrigo also spoke out against the decision during her set yesterday (June 25). After bringing Lily Allen out to the stage, she told the crowd, “Roe v. Wade, which is a law that ensures a woman’s right to a safe abortion, a basic human right” had been overturned.

“I’m devastated I’m terrified and so many women and so many girls are going to die because of this,” she continued. “I wanted to dedicate this song to the five members of the supreme court, who showed us that at the end of the day they truly don’t give a shit about freedom.

“This song goes out to the justices, Samuel Alito, Clarence Thomas, Neil Gorsuch, Amy Coney Barret, and Brett Kavanaugh. We hate you.” Then, the pair dueted a fiery rendition of Allen’s hit ‘Fuck You’.

Check back at NME here for the latest news, reviews, interviews, photos and more from Glastonbury 2022.

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Neil Young to immortalise 2019 tour on ‘Noise & Flowers’ live album and film

The tour that ‘Noise & Flowers’ chronicles took place shortly after the death of Young’s longtime manager, Elliot Roberts. In a new blog post, Young explained that he and his wife were en route to the airport – where they would fly to Europe ahead of the tour’s start – when he learned of Roberts’ passing. They returned home for his funeral, but powered on with the tour nonetheless.

“During the tour,” Young wrote, “we had a poster of Elliot on a road case, right where he always stood during all shows. Everyone who was with us felt that this tour was amazing for its great vibe. The Real and I delivered for Elliot.”

In the liner notes for ‘Noise & Flowers’ (per American Songwriter), Young further expounded: “Playing in his memory [made it] one of the most special tours ever. We hit the road and took his great spirit with us into every song. This music belongs to no one. It’s in the air. Every note was played for music’s great friend, Elliot.”

Check out the cover art and tracklisting for ‘Noise & Flowers’ below:

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1. ‘Mr. Soul’
2. ‘Everybody Knows This Is Nowhere’
3. ‘Helpless’
4. ‘Field Of Opportunity’
5. ‘Alabama’
6. ‘Throw Your Hatred Down’
7. ‘Rockin’ In The Free World’
8. ‘Comes A Time’
9. ‘From Hank to Hendrix’
10. ‘On The Beach’
11. ‘Are You Ready For The Country’
12. ‘I’ve Been Waiting For You’
13. ‘Winterlong’
14. ‘F***in’ Up’

Before dropping ‘Noise & Flowers’, Young will release ‘Toast’, a previously shelved album he recorded with Crazy Horse back in 2001. Described by Young as “heavy and distressed [and] brimming with electrifying tension”, that album – named for the San Francisco studio in which it was minted – will be released on July 8 via Reprise.

According to Young, ‘Toast’ is “an album that stands on its own in [his] collection”. He cited the record’s melancholic tone as a reason why it never left the studio, explaining in another blog post: “Unlike any other, ‘Toast’ was so sad that I couldn’t put it out. I just skipped it and went on to do another album in its place. I couldn’t handle it at that time. 2001.”

Both the release of ‘Toast’ and ‘Noise & Flowers’ come amid Young’s ongoing series of archival reissues. In April, he released the ‘Official Release Series Volume 4’ box set, comprising three classic albums from the 1980s – one of his own, and two collaborative efforts – as well as a rare EP that was only ever sold in Australia and Japan.

His most recent album was another effort with Crazy Horse, ‘Barn’, which landed last December. NME gave it a four-star review, with Rhys Buchanan writing: “Raw and rugged at every turn, the album captures the telepathic bond that these rock’n’roll renegades have cultivated over the years.”

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How Bon Iver’s live sound design prioritises fan experience and “what goes into their ears”

“It’s the 10 year anniversary of our album release, ‘Bon Iver, Bon Iver’, but it’s also a return after quarantine and COVID lockdown,” Vernon said of focusing on sound on their current tour. “We’ve gotten to be on the ground floor of something new,” he added, noting that “it’s not just two stacks of speakers in a room anymore.”

The first time the Wisconsin indie band played their nuanced tracks via the L-ISA high-resolution speaker software, their engineer came up to Vernon after the performance and told him, “That’s the best show you’ve ever played, and it has a lot to do with that sound system.”

“Overall, if we were to prioritise what we’re bringing to people out there [it’s] what goes in their ears,” the Bon Iver bandleader said of the importance of their sound quality. “What we’re trying to do is make it an experience.”

Scott Sugden, the head of product and technology at L-Acoustics who worked directly with the band on their audio design, told NME: “Bon Iver have a really high priority on sound, more than anything else. If you’ve ever been to one of their shows, they don’t even have a front light on the band. They’re forcing you to listen, not to see.”

For Sugden, one of the most important experiences their system provides is giving everyone in attendance, no matter where they’re sitting at a show, the same quality of sound.

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“Live shows are great, they’re exciting, they’re fun…when you’re sitting in the sweet spot for sound,” he told us. “But when you buy a ticket for [Brooklyn’s] Terminal 5, and you’re sitting in the balcony on the right, it might be a beautiful sound system, but it’s not a beautiful sound experience.”

As of today, L-Acoustics’ immersive sound systems can also be heard at Coachella, Lollapalooza, the Hollywood Bowl, and on tours for Radiohead, Adele, Lorde, Foo Fighters, and Depeche Mode. Following two years of tour cancellations and low-quality concert livestreams due to the ongoing pandemic, the company believes sound prioritisation will become the norm for artists.

“There are early adopters like Bon Iver, but we’ll continue to see more touring artists pushing the envelope and the experience for their audience,” Sugden said. “Eventually, if your ticket doesn’t include immersive sound, you may choose to spend your hard-earned money somewhere else. Having been to many immersive shows, it’s hard to go back.”

Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. CREDIT: Gus Stewart/Redferns

Laurent Vaissié, CEO of L-Acoustics, agreed that the future of sound and live performance will require immersive technology. “Artists hear music in a three-dimensional way,” he told NME. “Giving them this canvas to create with resonates with them, which is why we are seeing more interest from artists. This is the way they want their music to be heard.”

The sound company is not only concerned with giving artists the tools to create a sound experience that reflects how they imagine their music being heard but also giving fans a higher quality live music experience.

“For the audience, once you get past the immediate experience of being enveloped by the sound, it’s just a side effect,” said Vaissié. “It’s not the most important aspect. If it were only the surround sound, it would get boring really fast. The most important aspect is the ability to specialise a sound that gives fans a better connection to the artists.”

Vaissié told us that concert attendees, who’ve heard their systems at shows for bands like Alt-J, told them that with L-ISA they feel closer to the band and like they’re at an intimate show, even when they’re in a large arena.

“Coming out of the pandemic, there’s an interest, from promoters to artists, to make the experience as incredible as possible,” he added. “The reality is that our competition is Netflix, it’s staying at home and bingeing a show or watching a concert on TV.

“So, to convince people to come to a show at this point, they have to feel like it’s worth it. That’s why we’re seeing production being elevated because artists want to make the commitment worth it for the fans.”

Bon Iver opened their sold-out Forrest Hills stadium show with their piano ballad ‘U (Man Like)’ and closed with their layered track ‘Rabi’. From start to finish, the immersive sound quality was clear, for not only those sitting in close proximity to the centre of the stage, but also for fans sitting in seats at the very top of the bleachers.

For L-Acoustics, working with artists is not so much about the technology but about making sure the technology “doesn’t impede the art”. Their goal is not just to make the music louder, but to make the sound “dynamic” and “more interesting” for listeners, giving them a chance to be “part of the live experience, not just a witness to it.”

“If you’re just going to witness it, you might as well stay home and just watch it on YouTube,” Sugden said. “That’s the reason you go to a live show. You want to be part of the experience. I’ve heard them play 50 times, but going to a Bon Iver concert in L-ISA? That’s a life-changing experience.”

Bon Iver is currently on a world tour with upcoming stops in the US and UK. View the full itinerary here and purchase tickets here.

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American Express and NME launch Amex Gold Unsigned initiative

The winner of Amex Gold Unsigned will provide a track and feature in a forthcoming national advertising campaign for American Express Gold Rewards – a prize that will ensure that their music is given prominent, nationwide exposure.

The overall winner will receive a host of additional benefits, including a fully serviced release of the winning track (a dedicated music team will be on hand to help with production, studio time and rehearsal space), professional songwriting and production mentorship, and the opportunity to perform at a future American Express-sponsored music event.

A short film about the Amex Gold Unsigned initiative, which will focus on the winning artist and also feature the shortlisted acts, is set to be produced, while the winner will also be the subject of an NME feature and perform live at a future NME event.

You can find out more information about Amex Gold Unsigned, including details on how to submit your music for consideration, by heading here.

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US live music scene: “Without government support, you won’t have independent venues in America”

“I didn’t postpone the shows because of local guidance or venue guidance,” she told NME. “I just decided to myself.”

Credit: Squirrel Flower/Press

Williams has had to conduct her own research on COVID rates and venue safety while out on tour, telling us that’s it’s been hard to make moral decisions for “me, my band, my fans, and for the venue workers because there is no government guidance.”

For her, the lack of guidance for artists is a symptom of the government’s lack of respect and support for the livelihood of Americans in general.

“I don’t think the government gives a shit about any workers in the US right now,” Williams told us. “When you look at [president] Joe Biden he’s not giving [money] to anyone except for already wealthy people and bailing out banks and large businesses.”

In 2020, the government started multiple Federal Unemployment Programs to support those who could no longer work because of COVID. Those benefits expired in September of 2021.

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“At the beginning of the pandemic when the government was offering support, a lot of musician friends of mine were in a comfortable financial position for the first time in their lives,” the singer explained. “We’re now seeing so much amazing music that came from people being able to focus on their craft and not have to worry about being in debt or being behind on rent.”

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When asked how she handles COVID safety concerns without the support of a large team, Squirrel Flower told us: “I am effectively my own tour manager.”

“When you go to a venue, you’re essentially having to advocate for your needs and COVID adds another element to that,” she said. “You’re having to ask people working to wear masks or ask the venue to check proof of vaccination, even if the state doesn’t require it.”

For Williams, touring during COVID also means covering the added cost of masks, COVID tests, and even hotel rooms since crashing with friends could lead to accidentally contracting the virus.

“For anyone going to shows right now: if they have the means to, they should buy merch and support artists in any way they can outside of just buying a ticket,” she told us. “There are a lot more expenses behind the scenes now.”

Despite her frustration over the lack of government guidance across all venues, when asked about recent tour stops at Brooklyn’s Baby’s All Right and Manhattan’s Mercury Lounge, she said “at the root of it, everybody at these venues is doing the best they can.”

Credit: Getty / David A. Smith

Dayna Frank, CEO of First Avenue Productions and president of NIVA, has witnessed the struggle Williams told us about first-hand. “Working class and emerging artists have had the toughest time over the last couple of years without touring revenue,” she told NME.

Formed in March 2020, shortly after the pandemic shuttered the doors of almost every independent venue in the US, NIVA successfully lobbied to obtain $16billion in federal relief funding via the Save Our Stages Act, which passed as part of the COVID-19 relief bill in December of 2020.

“The grants were a god-send,” Frank told us. “I don’t want to swear, but it feels like a fucking miracle. I can’t overstate what the impact has been and will be for decades to come from this grant program. Without it, you wouldn’t have independent venues in America.”

She added: “That’s why you saw everyone fighting so hard in 2020, because we all see our books, we all know what the realities are of keeping our businesses open when there was no business, no resources, and no hope.”

Credit: Caitlin Abrams

Now, the coalition is lobbying for additional funds to deal with “inflation and worker shortages compounded by the fact that COVID is still ongoing.”

“There’s about $2billion left [in funding] and NIVA is advocating for more time [to use those funds],” Frank said. “Because of the shutdowns, there were fewer concerts and fewer events to utilize the money. At the same time, venues in urban areas that were shut down completely, have use for more funds.”

NIVA is also working on a proposal to open its relief program to businesses that were deemed ineligible for the first round of funding. Last month, the organisation spoke before the US House Small Business Committee. At the time, no-show rates for ticket-holders had hit a high of 50 per cent.

“That no-show rate, we call it the drop count, is one of the key metrics we watch for,” Frank said, noting that when rates reach 50 per cent “you can’t operate profitably for artists or venues.” As COVID rates have dropped, however, so has the rate of no-shows.

NIVA shared that currently “on average, across new venues, we’re seeing a 15 per cent [drop count] which is a massive improvement from 50 per cent. Industry standard in the before times was about three to five per cent, so we still have a little bit to go, but it’s certainly trending in the right direction.”

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Independent venue owners are hoping that the rate will continue to drop because, as Frank told us, when attendees don’t show up it’s “impossible to plan, you’re overstaffed, you have too much inventory and the entire economics are askew.”

“Artists and venues rely on customers entering the venue, buying drinks, buying merch, coming with friends, to make all of the finances of a concert work,” she said.

On how fans can assist in lowering no-show rates, Frank said: “If you have a ticket for a show that’s been rescheduled, and you can’t go to the new date or you’re exposed [to COVID] give your ticket to somebody who will go. Let them experience the band, let them experience live music.”

According to NIVA, independent venues have been hard at work ensuring the safety of fans who attend shows during the pandemic. The organisation recently distributed 200,000 KN95 masks to venues across the country, and has also worked with venues, promoters, and bands to push for vaccination checks and cleaning procedures so fans feel safe at shows again.

“The safety of concert-goers and fans are as important to us as it is to them because without them we don’t have a business and we don’t have this magical experience that we’ve worked so hard for,” Frank said. “Every independent venue owner I know is doing every single thing they can to keep everyone safe.”

Squid plays at Empty Bottle Credit: Ricardo E. Adame

Looking back on how his venue endured the past two years, Bruce Finkelman, owner of Chicago’s The Empty Bottle told NME: “I think our perseverance as a people and as a music scene has been amazing.”

Like many venue owners in the US, Finkelman has had to make his own decisions on which COVID protocols to follow for his venue because “a state could go ahead and mandate something and have a certain restriction and then the city could do something completely different.”

The team at The Empty Bottle decided to follow Center for Disease Control guidelines, noting that although they have to adhere to city and state mandates to keep the venue open, their main concern has been to “ensure that our families, our staff, our performers, and our guests are as safe as possible.”

He added: “The only thing that made sense was to take whatever advice we could from medical professionals and actually use that as our guidelines above and beyond the politicians.”

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Now that Omicron is subsiding and “there appears to be a little bit more comfortability with the idea of going back into a venue and seeing performances,” Finkelman is excited to welcome fans back, adding that, “as a venue owner, there’s nothing better than being able to see our spaces utilized as they were intended.”

“The most important thing for all of the independent venues is that we want to be around,” he told us. “I speak from Chicago having one of the best music scenes in the world and groups like CIVL (Chicago Independent Venue League). We’re concerned with making sure our music scene gets preserved for years and years to come.”

Though there’s still uncertainty surrounding how long certain protocols will be in place and if new variants of COVID will arise, the Chicago venue owner said that The Empty Bottle is starting to feel the way it did before the pandemic.

Dry Cleaning perform at The Empty Bottle Credit: Ricardo E. Adame

“There is a spot at the end of the bar where you can see the bartenders working and you can see the band and you can see the people,” he said. “That’s my favourite place on earth.

“One of the things I looked forward to throughout the pandemic was being able to sit on that stool again and see that happen again. It’s been pretty amazing to slowly get more and more glimpses of that as we move towards whatever this post-pandemic normal is.”

Last week, Dr Ross McKinney Jr., an infectious disease specialist, and chief scientific officer of The Association of American Medical Colleges (AAMC), told NME that although “we may be in a quiet period in terms of COVID” during this upcoming music festival season “there’s still no way to tell” if that will last.

Though Dr Mckinney Jr. said he understands why events would “just throw their hands up and say ‘It’s not worth the effort’,” he still thinks that “it’s the right thing to do to require vaccination.”

“When people are vaccinated, they are less likely to get sick themselves and less likely to make others ill,” he told NME. “It’s not perfect, but right after your booster [you can have] as high as 90 per cent protection against getting infected at all and later on you’re still less likely to get seriously ill. Even if you do get infected, your period of being infectious will likely be shorter.”

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Phoebe Bridgers on first time texting Taylor Swift: “It was just a total high”

Now, speaking to Billboard, Bridgers has given her side of the story, explaining that at first she thought the text was from The National‘s Aaron Dessner.

“I got this random text from Aaron Dessner that was really weirdly worded for him,” she said. “And I was like, ‘What the f–k is this?’ And as I was reading it, I [realized], ‘Oh, my God, it’s from Taylor Swift.’

She continued: “We started texting about all kinds of stuff. It was just a total high. It felt like when you meet someone at a party and you’re in the corner all night being like, ‘Me too!’”

Bridgers then revealed that she and Swift have still not met in person. “I’m excited for when we hang out for the first time,” she said. “We’ve only been very [COVID-19], online friends.”

Elsewhere in the interview, Bridgers was asked about the future of Boygenius – the indie-rock supergroup she plays in alongside Julien Baker and Lucy Dacus – and whether they plan on releasing a follow-up to their 2018 self-titled EP, which NME called “a record that leaves you yearning for more” in a five-star review.

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“Since that band started, our plans have been like, ‘Whenever it’s easy and fun.’ I’m sure we will, but none of us have gotten to tour our own solo [albums], so we’re just meeting up whenever we can,” Bridgers said, adding: “Maybe we’ll try to go on a vacation or something. Maybe the next time we hang out will not be for music.”

Back in November, Boygenius reunited at a San Francisco charity event, marking the first time they’ve performed together since 2018.

The one-off benefit gig took place at Saint Joseph’s Arts Society, with all proceeds from the event going to the Bay Area nonprofit Bread & Roses.

Bridgers has kept incredibly busy in the year-and-a-half following the release of her second album, ‘Punisher’, launching her own record label (Saddest Factory) and dropping the ‘Copycat Killer’ EP of reworks. ‘Punisher’ earned itself a five-star review, and was previewed by the singles ‘Garden Song’, ‘Kyoto’, ‘I See You’ and ‘I Know The End’.

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Watch Noel Gallagher talk about the last time he spoke with David Bowie

Gallagher went on to explain that he first met Bowie after seeing him perform at the Wembley Arena – Bowie did four gigs on that stage in November of 1995, playing to a cumulative 200,000 Londoners in support of his ‘Outside’ album. Gallagher’s last interaction with Bowie was after the 2014 BRIT Awards, where Gallagher and Kate Moss accepted Bowie’s award for Best Male Solo Artist.

“The very next night, I got an email pinged through on my iPad,” Gallagher explained. “It just said, ‘Thanks for the shoutout last night. Keep writing, love David.’ And I was thinking, ‘David? Who’s David? I don’t know anybody called David.’ And then it slowly dawned on me, so I emailed back straight away, ‘Oh, no problem mate…’ And then he emailed back straight away, and I was like, ‘Am I in a conversation with David Bowie?’

“Turns out it was in fact David Bowie, and he was like ‘Oh, keep writing,’ and I was like, ‘Start gigging.’ He was a dude. A bit too tall for my liking, but still, a bit of a dude.”

As for his favourite song from the Bowie catalogue, Gallagher rounded off a few particular tracks from his ‘80s output – specifically ‘Let’s Dance’, ‘Modern Love’ and ‘Blue Jean’ – but noted that “the one that [he] always go[es] back to” is ‘Let’s Dance’ because “there’s not enough dancing in the world”.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Bill Nighy was cast as the lead role in a forthcoming TV reboot of Bowie’s The Man Who Fell To Earth. The classic sci-fi movie, based on Walter Tevis’ 1963 novel of the same name, marked one of Bowie’s most memorable roles, starring as Thomas Jerome Newton – an alien posing as a human in an attempt to save his home planet.

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The new Showtime adaptation was first announced in 2019, and is set to premiere later this year. Commenting on the series recently, NME writer Matt Charlton said the makers should “tread carefully around Bowie’s legacy”. A graphic novel adaptation – written by Dan Watters (Cowboy Bebop, Lucifer) and illustrated by Dev Pramanik (Dune: House Atreides) – will also launch in 2022.

Back in January, Gallagher covered Bowie’s 2013 track ‘Valentine’s Day’, performing it as part of a special livestream to celebrate what would have been Bowie’s 75th birthday.

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