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FIERCE PANDA

Coldplay

Brother & Sisters - 25th Anniversary Reissue

    Today, 26th April, marks 25 years to the day since Coldplay released the ‘Brothers & Sisters’ EP via Fierce Panda. In celebration, an anniversary edition is now available to pre-order, as a gatefold double colour BioVinyl 7" via Fierce Panda. The original ‘Brothers & Sisters’ release was a two-track 7” (‘Brothers & Sisters’ and ‘Easy To Please’) and a three track CD single, with ‘Only Superstition’ as the third song which, while not included on the original 7" vinyl release, appears on this special 25th anniversary edition. The fourth track on the EP is a new addition, ‘The Story of Brothers & Sisters'. This is a spoken word excerpt lifted from the audiobook of ‘Pandamonium! How Not To Run A Record Label’ by Fierce Panda founder Simon Williams.

    TRACK LISTING

    Brothers & Sisters
    Easy To Please

    Only Superstition
    The Story Of Brothers & Sisters (by Simon Williams - Fierce Panda Records)

    Ash

    Race The Night

      Race The Night, the band’s eighth studio album, is released via one of their earliest label homes Fierce Panda. With 29 years, 18 hit singles, seven studio albums and an unfathomable number of tour dates since their appearance on the label’s 1994 Crazed And Confused compilation, Race The Night is both a party with old friends and a message to leap into the present with arms wide open.

      Fitting then that the lead single should be the album’s title-track, with its super-charged and widescreen anthemia being the perfect primer for a record that has melodies to spare. “Before the shadows let us go, and it’s too late, to race the night” sings lead vocalist and guitarist Tim Wheeler as the band feel the heat of obsession on their backs and motor away to grab hold of opportunity.

      Wheeler comments: “Race the Night is the sound of the band revelling in the sheer joy of being a band after being separated by time and distance through the insanity of the early 2020s. Lyrically it's all about seizing the crossroads moments in life with both hands. Take every chance as if it could be your last.”

      Continuing about the video he says: “Race the Night video is the product from the fevered mind of long time friend and horror director Jed Shepherd. He's taken a song about seizing the moment and had the band seized by a super fan who proceeds to force the band into doing her bidding. Enjoy the Misery…”

      STAFF COMMENTS

      Barry says: I kind of feel like i've grown up with Ash at this point, and there's still something wildly nostalgic that triggers whenever I hear the start of their debut LP, '1977'. It's some comfort then that verging on 30 years later, we're still presented with a heavy, unmistakeable but also undeniably unique Ash offering. Huge melodies, hints of melancholy and loads of drive. Exactly the ticket.

      TRACK LISTING

      1. Race The Night
      2. Usual Places
      3. Reward In Mind
      4. Oslo (feat. Démira)
      5. Like A God
      6. Peanut Brain
      7. Crashed Out Wasted
      8. Braindead
      9. Double Dare
      10. Over & Out
      11. Like A God (Reprise)

      Expanded CD Bonus Tracks:
      12. Race The Night (Acoustic)
      13. Usual Places (Acoustic)
      14. Reward In Mind (Acoustic)
      15. Peanut Brain (Acoustic)
      16. Oh Yeah (Teenage Years) [The Subways Cover]
      17. Like A God (Extended Version)
      18. Race The Night (Antosh V Ash Remix)

      Desperate Journalist

      In Search Of The Miraculous

        In Search of the Miraculous is the third album from much-loved indiegoth dreamboats Desperate Journalist and follows the bands critically acclaimed album Grow Up. If the title conveys a sense of wide- eyed ambition then the music on In Search Of The Miraculous fits the plot perfectly, featuring ten tracks fizzing with creative passion, giant choruses, heroic solos and poetic intensity. Warning: this album contains love songs, anti-love songs and other songs wandering about, lost in an in-between-daze. It’s a bit complicated. Boasting one of the most inspired band names of recent times, the quartet take their moniker from a 1979 John Peel Session track by The Cure. If you ever wondered what Harriet Wheeler from the Sundays would sound like fronting a rawer version of the Smiths or the Cocteau Twins with energy and a shimmering indie edge, then Desperate Journalist is a must hear.

        TRACK LISTING

        1. Murmuration
        2. Cedars
        3. Jonatan
        4. International Waters
        5. Argonauts
        6. Black Net
        7. Ocean Wave
        8. Girl Of The Houses
        9. Satellite
        10. To Be Forgotten

        Wooden Arms

        Trick Of The Light

          The Truth: WOODEN ARMS are a self-diagnosed “genre-fluid” quintet from Norwich who consist of Alex Carson (vocals / piano), Alex MacKenzie (drums / bass), Jeff Smith (guitar / trumpet), Connie Chatwin (violin) and Fifi Homan (cello). Those flowing genres are alternative, classical and trip-hop music, as you might expect from a string-enriched collective emboldened by the rhythmic sensibilities of Portishead carefully blended with the ethereal melodies of Sigur Ros. ‘Trick Of The Light’ is Wooden Arms’ second album, released on October 6th, and precedes December-time live dates in Germany and the UK, as outlined further below. ‘Trick Of The Light’ appears an eerily precise three years since the 06.10.14 release of the Wooden Arms ‘Tide’ debut. And ‘eerie’ is very much the word that you heard, as this is a band who write broodingly cryptic singles called ‘Burial’ which are influenced by Edgar Allan Poe and who make panic-stricken videos which are described as “Kafka-esque”.


          "A most beautiful piece of music...Somewhat reminiscent of a Winged Victory for the Sullen with that sort of emotion and tone to it...Absolutely bewitching." - Simon Raymonde (Bella Union)

          TRACK LISTING

          1. Trick Of The Light
          2. Restless
          3. 20,000 Streets Under The Sky
          4. Cole Porter
          5. Lost In Your Own Home
          6. Bells
          7. Burial
          8. Movie Stall
          9. Encrypted
          10. Brevity
          11. Yawning At The Apocolypse
          12. Milk Teeth

          Mates Of State

          You're Going To Make It

            Nine years since they last played live in the UK and four years since their last album the gently revered and long-time married, Connecticut-based, exuberant, indie-synth-pop duo of Kori Gardner (vocals, organ, piano and occasional guitar) and Jason Hammel (vocals, drums, percussion and occasional synthesiser) have announced the release of a brand new five-track EP called 'You're Going To Make It'. This new batch of tunes is Mates Of State in its purest form, fizzing with razor-sharp harmonies, shimmering new wave synth melodies and lyrics that speak to both personal and universal concerns.

            'You're Going To Make It' then is nothing but choice cuts; five anthemic and emotionally rich songs which are the cream of the songwriting crop, tunes that wriggle into your every waking hour like the earworms they are. On 'Beautiful Kids' the band speaks of how a sense of loneliness pervades, even though we are connected to one another 24/7 thanks to modern technology. Or as Hammel puts it: "We all just want to be seen, but we won't look up from our screens so that we can be seen." 'Gonna Get It' and 'I Want To Run' build off the same inspiring notion of the EP's title, encouraging both themselves and their fans to keep striving no matter what the odds. And fist-pumping opener 'Staring Contest' speaks to that delicious ache of schoolyard crushes and youthful love.

            TRACK LISTING

            1: Staring Contest
            2: Beautiful Kids
            3: I Want To Run
            4: Gonna Get It
            5: Sides Of Boxes 

            Surfer Blood

            1000 Palms

              You may recall that Surfer Blood were quite the breakout band of 2009: in the midst of their own 10 gig marathon at New York’s CMJ Pitchfork took one look at their ‘Astro Coast’ debut on Kanine and praised its “lo-fl clangor, glo-fi harmonies, punchy retro-garage concision and never-out-of-style classic rock songcraft…the band appears to have arrived at its enormously likeable sound organically.” Touring with Pixies and playing every cool festival on the known planet only seemed to solidify Surfer Blood’s place in the hipster heartland.

              With the band self-recording it was in the glamourous setting of an attic studio above a doctor’s office where drums were committed to tape. Of the work, frontman John Paul Pitts states “fortunately none of us are strangers to DIY recording, so this seemed like the kind of challenge well-suited to our band”.


              The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart

              Days Of Abandon

                "Days Of Abandon" comes off the back of two critically-acclaimed records – 2009’s self-titled debut and its 2011 follow-up, Belong – that demonstrated the group's ability to shift musical registers from bedroom pop daydreams to Alternative Nation anthems.

                The album was recorded at new Greenpoint studio House Under Magic which is owned by longtime Pains cohort Danny Taylor (ZaZa). Produced by Andy Savours (My Bloody Valentine, Patrick Wolf, Cloud Boat) and mixed by Charlie Hugall at London's Engine Room (Swim Deep, Florence And the Machine), Abandon departs from the exaggerated roar and clamor that defined the Flood-and-Alan Moulder helmed Belong.

                "I didn't want to make Belonger," Berman says. "This album was a chance to step back from that universal style of songwriting to something that was far more personal, more in keeping with my original ideals. I wanted the music to be joyful and full of light, even if the subjects were often dark."

                The Crookes

                Soapbox

                  The Crookes consist of George Waite (vocals / bass), Daniel Hopewell (guitar), Tom Dakin (guitar) and Russell Bates (drums). They live in Sheffield and infamously found (most of) each other, bleary of eye and dancing alone, on the indie dancefloor at the city’s Fuzz Club near the close of the previous decade.

                  ‘Soapbox’ saw the band forego the studio-related home comforts of South Yorkshire and instead drive their gear and recording facilities to the Alpine wilds of Italy at the start of winter. “We recorded at the very top of a mountain – quite literally in a cloud – in a very old church dedicated to San Antonio,”

                  You certainly couldn’t accuse The Crookes of shirking their tidy shirt-wearing duties: on September 27th 2010 they released the ‘Dreams Of Another Day’ mini-album; in the spring of 2011 came the ‘Chasing After Ghosts’ album; the spring of 2012 saw the release of the ‘Hold Fast’ album. Spring 2013 was relatively quiet – they merely released the ‘Bear’s Blood’ / 'Dance In Colour' standalone single and headlined London’s Scala. “This is definitely the bravest collection of songs we’ve ever written,” states a steely Daniel. “Musically we’ve definitely grown up, It certainly isn’t a happy, carefree album. But again, the intention has never been to make people like us…but simply to make music that we like.”

                  Woodpigeon

                  Thumbtacks And Glue

                    Expert lovers of gently bruised alt.folk.rock tumblings could well have first clocked Woodpigeon in 2006 with the “winningly understated” (BBC) debut album ‘Songbook’. Then came lovingly crafted long players with titles like ‘Treasure Library Canada’, ‘Die Stadt Muzikanten’ and the aforementioned ‘Balladeer’. As well as swapping continents since the release of the latter Woodpigeon has toured with Patrick Wolf, Andrew Bird and Junip and quietly, studiously gone about his business with an elegance which befits his winningly understated nature.

                    'Thumbtacks And Glue' rolls out the fulsome red carpet, strings and all. Backed at various points by mellotron, violin, harpsichord, oboe and French horn, as well as the more traditional rock ‘gear’ and heaps of backing “singings”, here is Woodpigeon in his creative element: large of heart, subtle of melody and never afraid to fray a nerve or two, judging by the way the pluckily intelligent ‘Robin Song’ sounds like a fraught Death Cab and the discordant squiggles of ‘The Saddest Music In The World’ make like an irked Grandaddy. Elsewhere you may well be able to hear whispered snatches of Elliot Smith, of Simon & Garfunkel, of Badly Drawn Boy…of men with their hearts in the right place, their hats on their heads and their art at the top of the agenda.

                    Ultrasound

                    Play For Today



                      They said it would never happen. And by ‘they’ we mean the band, their friends and anyone who had ever worked with them. But somehow, against all odds and several wads, ULTRASOUND are back. Back with a fresh attitude. Back with a new keyboard player. Back with a second album a mere 13 (that’s thirteen) years after colossal debut ‘Everything Picture’ rattled the gills of the album charts. You really couldn’t make it up, but make up they have.

                      This much we know: as the Twentieth Century wheezed to a close Ultrasound were in the process of spectacularly imploding. 1999 might have been the first year the known world heard of the likes of Doves, Coldplay, Elbow and Muse but for Ultrasound the race was already almost run, a journey which had seen them catapulted from the obscurity of a squat in West London to the front of the NME and a megadeal with Nude Records with scarcely a pause for breath. The fallout was, in a way, as thrilling as the rise upwards. Battered by a reality they didn’t understand and bent out of shape by a music industry they no longer trusted they parted company and walked out of the party. It would be ten years before they set foot on the same stage again.

                      But eventually, thanks to the charitable needs of a benefit gig for Tim Smith from The Cardiacs, Ultrasound did find themselves back together in a rehearsal room in 2010. Subsequent carefully chosen live shows at the Bull & Gate, Cargo and the Borderline presented a band who were (back) at ease with themselves. And creating the mammoth sounds of last year’s comeback single ‘Welfare State’ / ‘Sovereign’ gave them a taste for the creative juices they had never lost, just gently misplaced for a decade.

                      The excellent news is that that lost decade has not withered their appetite for gargantuan pop hooks and outlandlishly cosmic freakouts. ‘Play For Today’ was recorded in SNAP studios in North London and produced by Guy Massey. It consists of ten songs sprawled across 53 minutes and ransacks their trademark widescreen heart-searching / art-thrusting box of prog tricks, veering from the rock’n’roll brutalism of ‘Goodbye Baby, Amen’ and the sadfaced pop hookery of ‘Deus Ex Natura’ to the frankly epic ‘Between Two Rivers’, replete with mournful colliery brass band. Every alternative National Anthem should have one. There’s even a Bassey-esque vocal turn from bassist Vanessa on ‘Glitter Box’ - a life of surprises indeed.

                      So now they find themselves back on fierce panda, the launch pad for their debut ‘Same Band’ single the first time around. Of course, it is sublimely, typically Ultrasound that it should be thirteen years which separate their albums. Never knowingly understated at the best of times it would somehow have been poor form if they had waited a prissy half decade like the Stone Roses before getting around to a follow-up.

                      So here they are now. Entertain them. And quickly – otherwise it could well be the year 2025 before we get to hear a third album…

                      The Crookes

                      Hold Fast

                        Sheffield-based brainstormers The Crookes are back with a new tour, a new guitarist and plans a'plenty for their second album release called ‘Hold Fast’ and, as perhaps suggested by the fact that they romp through ten songs in 33 minutes, is their most dynamically direct New Pop message yet.

                        Lest we forget The Crookes are now men of domestic mystery and international intrigue after spending the past three years growing up in an industry where a three month stint can make you look like veterans. The callow, foppish youths who launched themselves out of the butt end of the noughties with independent singles on Heist Or Hit and Too Pure, and who’ve hurtled through the ‘Dreams Of Another Day’ EP and the ‘Chasing After Ghosts’ album on fierce panda in that past two years, are now well versed in the art of recording hi octane tunes and are well travelled enough to know their Aarhus from their Bromley-by-Bow.

                        Over the past two years barely a single European capital city with all their sun-kissed girls and un-kissed boys has been left untouched by their touring machine. They were recently flown to Japan to play the opening of the Burberry's flagship store in Tokyo and, on a slightly more homespun but no less exciting way they are poised to visit Darlington and Derby as part of yet another trek around the UK in May.

                        Those lucky bright young things will already know that this is a fitter, meaner Crookes: the fringes are a bit less floppy, the new songs are a touch more muscular, the attitude is a lot more...attitudinal. The Crookes once again prove themselves to be on the straight and narrow.

                        Hatcham Social

                        About Girls

                          The Truth: London Town-based alternative quartet HATCHAM SOCIAL are poised to come back into the fray with a new album, a revamped line-up and a zestily rewired leftfield pop attitude.

                          ‘About Girls’ follows up the band’s critically acclaimed debut ‘You Dig The Tunnel, I’ll Hide The Soil’, which received excellent reviews in the UK (including 10/10 in Vice,8/10 in NME and Album Of The Month” in Artrocker) and gained them support tours with The Maccabees, The Charlatans, Good Shoes and Razorlight.

                          Despite no official ‘releases’ in 2010 they made Artrocker's Top Ten singles of the year with 'NY Girls', which made a fleeting appearance on fierce panda's hypnotically limited 'Gruff Trade' compilation EP, while in 2011 they kept the home fires burning with the free download release of ‘Like An Animal’ and the Young & Lost digital club single ‘Shut Your Mouth’ whilst selling out the Lexington before Christmas.

                          The new album ‘About Girls’ was recorded in their very own studio in Wales, with the help of legendary producer Laurie Latham and Jim Anderson. The songs are punchier, perkier, with a "guitar heavy" sound that sees them move away from the synth-dappled sheen of 2009's 'You Dig The Tunnel…'. Hatcham Social themselves consider 'About Girls' to be "less layered, with more concise, playful and honest lyrics”. Catch Hatcham off guard and they might even say this is their "party" record.

                          Hawk Eyes

                          Ideas

                            Hawk Eyes are from Leeds. They consist of Paul Astick (vocals / guitar), Rob Stephens (guitar), Ryan Clark (bass) and Matt Reid (drums), and have done so in some form or another since 2005. Well, since drummer Matt joined from Whores Whores Whores anyway.

                            One of those previous so-called ‘forms’ was Chickenhawk, whose gruesomely complex ‘Modern Bodies’ album of 2010 cheerily brutalised a not-so-innocent generation of grumpy grunged-up kids as they toured the known universe with Alexisonfire, We Are The Ocean and The Computers.

                            The end of 2011 saw the renamed and reconstructed HAWK EYES foursome setting out their stall for future ever-so-slightly-mellower chaos with a nomination for Best Hard Rock Act at the Artrocker awards, touring fun with Turbowolf, The James Cleaver Quartet and Ginger Wildheart (though not all at the same time, you understand) and the release of the five-track ‘Mindhammers’ EP on Brew Records, a manically precise fusion of ferocious melodies and vivacious riffs which spewed forth comparisons with Foo Fighters, QOTSA, Alice In Chains and the epically heavy monstersound of Faith No More.

                            All extremely true, and all very indicative of a band growing up and rolling with the melodic punches. And the ‘Mindhammers’ template is refined and rewired on ‘Ideas’, HAWK EYES’ debut album which is sleek and modern and hardcore and suitably post-post-everything, but also cosmic and mischievous and never averse to (ab)using a classic riff here or there.

                            Electricity In Our Homes

                            Dear Shareholder

                              Electricity In Our Homes consist of Paul Linger (drums), Charles Boyer (guitar / vocals) and Bonnie Carr (bass / vocals). ‘Dear Shareholder’ is their first album since forming in 2007, which if nothing else shows how the trio have been moulding careerist convention to suit their own means in the shadows of this hyperfrantic get-rich-quick-or-split-up-trying music industry. The casual pace has been working in their favour, too: 2011 found the trio starring on the main stage at the 1234 Festival with the likes of Black Lips and The Raveonettes, and their European excursions mean they are now as likely to play in Leipzig as they are Liverpool. Nor have they been slacking on the recording front: championed by alternative icons as varied as Tim Burgess and Colin Newman of Wire EIOH have worked stealthily on the East London underground and released six singles on a selection of esteemed indie labels including Too Pure and 4AD.

                              Of those previous products last year’s ‘Appletree’ single and their most recent double AA-side 'Aching, Breaking’ / ‘Drumming Around The Room (Parts 1 & 2)’ – released on the Tim Burgess-owned O Genesis label in the summer – make the cut on ‘Dear Shareholder’, with another seven prime examples of pop-defying melodic bendiness bringing up the gently riotous rear. With a clattering rhythmic undercurrent, some seriously scratchy guitars and Bonnie Carr’s gently growling bass often to the fore, ‘Dear Shareholder’ melts the mind by putting the disco into discordant. ‘Fast As Lightning’ evokes the intense knockabout spirit of Postcard, the hypnotic ‘Oranges’ is borne of the Stereolab lab, ‘Buddy Lemonade’ guzzles from the C86 siphon and pretty much everything else sounds like there’s a rum-swiggingly room-spinningly ramshackle Peel Session party going on in their head and everyone’s invited.

                              TRACK LISTING

                              1.Drumming Around The Room (Part One)
                              2.Appletree
                              3.Fast As Lightning
                              4.Oranges
                              5.Buddy Lemonade
                              6.We Are All Trooping Off In A Big Old Gang
                              7.Nothing If Not Lovely
                              8.South Of France
                              9.Aching, Breaking
                              10.Drumming Around The Room (Part Two)
                              11.Play It Over


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