Friday, May 10, 2019

Liverpool’s great lost band, Candy Opera release their first album after 35 years

When Candy Opera release 45 Revolutions Per Minute on February 23rd, it will be a belated introduction to a very special band, sired during Liverpool’s 1980s golden age, which has taken almost thirty years to happen.

Lovingly unearthed and compiled by Firestation Records of Berlin, and available on limited edition 18-track CD and deluxe 16-track vinyl, the result is a lost gem that points to a million what-might- have-beens.

When Candy Opera first appeared on the kaleidoscopic early 1980s Liverpool music scene, by rights they should have changed the world. Here was a classic four-piece, after all, steeped in the symphonic pop of Love’s Forever Changes and The Beach Boys’ Surf’s Up. Taking such influences as a template, alongside contemporaries such as Aztec Camera, The Pale Fountains and Prefab Sprout, Candy Opera were in the throes of crafting a 1980s song-book in their own image, and the band’s 1983 Honeysuckle Rose demo has become something of a holy grail.

By 1985, the band had played alongside the likes of The Pogues, The Go-Betweens and The Redskins, as well as appearing on Granada TV. Reviews in NME, Sounds and Jamming magazine followed.

Forming on the tough Phythian Estate in Liverpool’s Kensington district in 1982 and based around the songwriting of Paul Malone, Candy Opera offered up a nouveau classicist sensibility, which had seen the band listen without prejudice to The Monkees and Karen Carpenter.

“Where I grew up, it was a so-called impoverished area,” says vocalist and song-writer, Paul, “but my childhood was very happy, very insular, the world was within a street. As a kid, I didn’t really feel affected by the poverty. It wasn’t ’til later, when I went to other areas and saw how they lived, that I realised the differences. So, my environment was really the main inspiration for songs.”

With assorted Candy Opera line-ups augmented at various points by baroque flourishes of clarinet, flute or violin, such a sophisticated musical palette went way beyond notions of indie-band purism to create something grander, none of which remotely fitted in with the voguish scene-setters behind shoegaze, baggy and Britpop.

After a decade ploughing their own stubborn furrow in various guises, despite interest from EMI and Go! Discs, Candy Opera called it a day in 1993 with only a fistful of demos to their name. As the mainstream took a glossier turn, Candy Opera somehow got left behind, and for the best part of thirty years have remained a rumour, a whisper and a quietly lost legend that the occasional online leak could only hint at. Until now…

In 2017, the Berlin-based purveyors of indie obscurities behind Firestation Records chanced upon those same demos and it was love at first listen. The label’s Uwe Weigmann tracked down Malone and co, and found a band who hadn’t made music for a very long time. Paul comments, “When the label got in touch, it just all seemed a bit surreal to me; it was a big surprise, especially after 35 years, but I was glad that somebody finally recognised our worth.”

Having unearthed a spate of recordings that span Candy Opera’s entire history, the result is 45 Revolutions Per Minute.

“I first read about the band some years ago, on a forum for The La’s, and from this point on I was very interested to hear the band’s music,” recalls Uwe, Firestation’s founder and label manager. “Then a friend of mine told me that some Candy Opera songs were on YouTube. The first I listened to was What A Way To Travel. A couple of minutes later, I was sure that I wanted to work with the band. 45 Revolutions Per Minute is the perfect pop album, in my opinion.

It is an absolute masterpiece and I would list it next to such classics as Steve McQueen (Prefab Sprout), From Across The Kitchen Table (The Pale Fountains), High Land, Hard Rain (Aztec Camera) or Trapped and Unwrapped (Friends Again).”

Today, the songs that make up this exquisite package, that comes with extensive sleeve notes and archive photographs, sound both of their time and beyond it. On the surface, the arrangements sound simple, but there is depth there too, with Malone’s lyrics wrapped up in a sweetness that recalls a more innocent age.

That was Candy Opera, and this is 45 Revolutions Per Minute. Watch this space…


You can find Candy Opera on Twitter and Facebook. Firestation Records have their own website which can be found here

Monday, May 6, 2019

Songwriter Tommy Botz Releases Single “Mama (A Mother’s Love)” for Mother’s Day

Having gripped listeners with his tale of hardship and compassion in his recent song “Teddy Bear”, Songwriter Tommy Botz brings yet another true life struggle to light, this time through the eyes of his mother, in his heartfelt new single ““Mama (A Mother’s Love)” - just in time for Mother’s Day.

“She watched as his own family turned their backs and walked away // But through it all she loved him endlessly and each night you know she’d pray”. So begins one of the opening lines of Tommy Botz’s “Mama (A Mother’s Love)”, a song true-to-life written from the point of view of a mother watching her son struggle with substance abuse. The touching country ballad, sang by musician and vocalist Billy Sullivan and written by Botz, is one that truly hits home for the songwriter, whose latest album delves into some of his past with lyrics that are both poignant and inspiring. The refrain brings the songs title full circle, citing the true power in any mother’s love for their child - “Give him bread when he gets hungry, give him warmth when he gets cold, give him love when he gets angry, before he gets too old. Give him hope when there is none, give him faith deep in his soul, Father let him know he’s your son, before he gets too old”. In an age where country music has become more pop-driven and uninspired, “Mama” brings back the true heart of what country once stood for.

Tommy Botz has come a long way. Now sober for 14 ½ yrs, he’s lived in a halfway house after having “crawled through the doors on May 3rd 2004 of The Ed Keating Center a homeless drunk with nowhere to go”. There he met a kind old man named Jack Mulhall who told him that if he followed some direction he would never have to live like that again. “I wasn't always a homeless drunk. I had dreams and goals like every young man has. I always loved country and gospel music.” says Botz, whose early interest lead him to become the lead singer in two bands - The Chevells and The Caesars 5 early in his music career, winning a Battle of the Bands and winding up with an RCA recording contract. But after the loss of their guitar player and their contract being pulled, Botz’s drinking got worse and soon penitentiaries became a way of life.

From broken marriages to lost jobs, no car, and no licence - living to drink and drinking to live became his routine. Finally, with several years of sobriety and working under his belt - he made the decision to go for his dream and finally record some of the over 200+ songs he had written over the years.

“One night while I was praying I heard in my heart - go for you dream and I will put someone in your life who believes in your music”, and after contacting Ante Up Studios owner Michael Seifert, the two began a collaboration that would become his 6-song EP “Family and Friends”.

Now, with Mother’s Day on it’s way - “Mama (A Mother’s Love)” will continue to show the true power and strength behind the love every mother has for their child, no matter the age.

Sunday, May 5, 2019

Jayda G announces debut album Significant Changes on Ninja Tune

Jayda G will release her debut album, Significant Changes, this March on Ninja Tune.

The album follows a string of EPs released on labels such as 1080p, DJ Fettburger’s Freakout Cult and the producer’s own imprint, JMG Recordings. Listen to the lead single ‘Leave Room 2 Breathe’, featuring frequent collaborator Alexa Dash, now.

In 2018 Jayda G completed a masters in Environmental Toxicology and the title of her debut is derived from her final thesis. “I’m trying to bring my two worlds together”, explains the producer.

“I don’t know if people in the electronic music world will want to talk about the environment but I think I should try! I think it’s our duty to use a platform like this in a positive way, that’s our social responsibility.”

Significant Changes will be released on March 22 via Ninja Tune and is available to pre-order now. Check out the album artwork and tracklist below.


01. ‘Unifying the Center (Abstract)’
02. ‘Renewal (Hyla Mix)’
03. ‘Stanley’s Get Down (No Parking on the DF)’
04. ‘Leave Room 2 Breathe’ [Feat. Alexa Dash]
05. ‘Orca’s Reprise’
06. ‘Missy Knows What’s Up’
07. ‘Sunshine in the Valley’ [Feat. Alexa Dash]
08. ‘Move to the Front (Disco Mix)’
09. ‘Conclusion’

Sunday, April 14, 2019

The Flaming Lips Share 'All For the Life of the City' From New Album 'King's Mouth': Premiere

It seems appropriate that on the weekend Game of Thrones wraps, the Flaming Lips unveil King's Mouth: Music and Songs -- whose "All For the Life of the City" is premiering exclusively below.

The Oklahoma art rock band's latest set -- limited to 4,000 gold vinyl copies for Record Store Day before a wide release during July -- has its own epic tale. 'King's Mouth' is the title of an art installation the Lips launched during 2015 at The Womb, the group's headquarters in Oklahoma City. It's morphed and grown into a large-scale head that visitors can open via a foam mouth, then experience a seven-minute LED light and visual show, and it's since been shown at museums in Baltimore, Portland and Santa Fe.

The trio, of course, included music in the presentation, and frontman Wayne Coyne tells Billboard it was inevitable that it would grow to become a concept album -- in this case, about a benevolent despot whose tragic death, while trying to save his subjects from a snow avalanche, was widely mourned and his head removed and preserved as a testament to their regard for him. "We started out with a half-hour's worth of abstract musical, dynamic stuff, and that ended up being 10 minutes by the time we got to the first museum opening in Baltimore. Then everywhere we'd go people would think, 'This is going to be an album...' We didn't plan it that way, but I think it became more and more apparent that it could be a record."

King's Mouth had to wait for a minute, however, as the Lips were busy working as Miley Cyrus' Dead Petz, on its own Oczy Mlody album and some archival projects. But it stayed on Coyne and bandmates Michael Ivins and Steven Drozd's radar, finally coming to fruition with an unexpected twist -- narration from Mick Jones of the Clash and Big Audio Dynamite.

"That was just serendipitous, dumb luck," says Coyne, noting that the connection to Jones came through a neighbor of Big Audio Dynamite co-founder Don Letts, who served as "an ambassador" to recruit Jones' participation. "It was a weird coincidence, because we were listening to a lot of Clash music, and one of the songs has some narration in it," Coyne recalls. "We were already planning to have a narrator for (King's Mouth) because it felt a little bit like a storybook, and I felt like this eccentric British guy would be the right kind of character for the role. So we mailed (Jones) the text and everything -- songs we hadn't even written yet, just some outlines -- and we didn't really know what was going to happen, then about a month later it all came back, already recorded, and it was perfect."

"All For the Life of the City," a mid-album song about the king's sacrifice in stopping the avalanche, was "probably the first track we wanted to turn into part of the King's Mouth story," according to Coyne. ”This is the center of the story, the middle of the record where he's celebrated, then he gets buried by the snow. At the very beginning it was a more sinister-sounding track; We still struggle with making it more fun."

There are currently two King's Mouth installations, one in Oklahoma City and the other headed to the Rough Trade NYC record store in New York, where Coyne plans to be for Record Store Day. No King's Mouth concert tour is planned at the moment, though Coyne anticipates putting some of its songs into the Lips' future live sets.

"Playing brand new songs that nobody knows, we don't do that very often," Coyne says. "Once the records out for a little while we'll say, 'Hey, maybe you'll know this song...' and play it. Even myself, I've never liked it that much when artists concentrate too much on the brand new thing. The last time I saw Paul McCartney -- and I'm not begrudging him, I think it's wonderful he makes new music -- but I could tell that's when everybody goes to get the second hot dog of the night. So we may take a minute before we start to put too many of the (King's Mouth) stuff into the show."

Monday, April 8, 2019

Brooke Moriber Drops Brand New Album “Cry Like A Girl”

Having Released the Debut Single of the Same Name This Past November, Fans Will Finally Get the Full Taste of The Acclaimed Singer/Songwriter Parade Magazine Recently Lauded For Sharing “Raw Emotion with Strong Vocals and a Spot-On Delivery”

New York, NY (April, 2019) -- Coming off a recent taping of “Cellar Sessions” at New York’s City Winery just last month where she was able to debut some of her most inspired tracks in an intimate live setting, acclaimed Singer/Songwriter Brooke Moriber has finally released her brand new album Cry Like A Girl!

The album was recorded in Nashville, Tennessee, with legendary producer Fred Mollin (Sheryl Crow, Vince Gill, Shawn Colvin) at the helm and mixed by 5 time Grammy Winner Chris Lord-Alge (Carrie Underwood, Madonna, Bruce Springsteen). With Parade Magazine hosting the exclusive premiere of the first single in late 2018, they called it a “high-powered Americana-infused track with an empowering message" with Popdust jumping on board as well proclaiming Brooke a “powerhouse”.

The 11-track release delves into messages of self-discovery, empowerment, and overall growth explored in the single, which Moriber says embodies the collection as a whole. “Itʼs a statement about the strength that comes from embracing your emotions and allowing yourself to heal and grow. The making of this album was a journey of self discovery for me”.

Track Listing:

1. Cry Like A Girl

2. Steal the Thunder

3. The Last Goodbye

4. The Devil I know

5. Behind the Scenes

6. 99 Days of Rain

7. Here and Gone

8. It Doesn’t Hurt

9. Time Takes It’s Time

10. Long Long Time

11. Shattered Glass

To celebrate the occasion, Brooke will also be taking the stage LIVE at Rockwood Music Hall - Stage 2 (196 Allen St, New York, NY 10002) on Wednesday, June 12th at 9:00PM. For tickets, VISIT:

Eels announce 2019 tour dates

Eels will continue to tour for last year’s The Deconstruction, having just announced North American and European dates for 2019. Those kick off April 21 in Denver and include shows in Minneapolis, Chicago, Detroit, NYC, Nashville, Dallas, Austin, L.A., San Francisco and many points in between. The NYC stop happens May 1 at Irving Plaza and tickets go on sale Friday, February 1 at 10 AM with presales starting Tuesday (1/29) at 10 AM.

All tour dates are listed, along with a stream of The Deconstruction, below.


April 21—Denver, CO—Gothic Theatre
Apr 23—Minneapolis, MN—First Avenue
Apr 24—Milwaukee, WI—Turner Hall Ballroom
Apr 25—Chicago, IL—Thalia Hall
Apr 26—Detroit, MI—Majestic Theatre
Apr 27—Pittsburgh, PA—Mr. Smalls Theatre
Apr 29—Buffalo, NY—Town Ballroom
Apr 30—Boston, MA—The Wilbur
May 1—New York, NY—Irving Plaza
May 3—Nashville, TN—Cannery Ballroom
May 5—Dallas, TX—Canton Hall
May 6—Austin, TX—Emo’s
May 8—Phoenix, AZ—The Van Buren
May 9—Santa Ana, CA—The Observatory
May 11—San Diego, CA—The Observatory North Park
May 12—Los Angeles, CA—The Theater at Ace Hotel
May 13—San Francisco, CA—The Regency Ballroom
May 14—Sacramento, CA—Crest Theatre
August 14—Zurich, Switzerland—X-TRA
August 15—Le Locle, Switzerland—Rock Altitude Festival
August 19—Nottingham, UK—Rock City
August 20—Southampton, UK—O2 Guildhall
August 21—London, UK—Hammersmith Apollo
August 24— Amsterdam, Netherlands—Once In A Blue Moon Festival
August 27—Copenhagen, Denmark—Grey Hall
August 28—Oslo, Norway—Rockefeller
August 29—Stockholm, Sweden—Debaser Medis
September 2—Milan, Italy—Circolo Magnolia
September 4—Linz, Austria—Posthof
September 6—Barcelona, Spain—Razzmatazz
September 8—Santiago de Compostela, Spain—Auditorio De Galicia
September 10—Lyon, France—Radiant

Bikini Kill’s Kathleen Hanna, in her own words

Pussy Whipped, the debut LP from Bikini Kill, was an edifying statement-of-intent and incendiary call-to-arms which declared teenage girls be seen and most definitely heard. Over 12 lung-blasting, bile-fuelled hits of feminist punk noise, vocalist and songwriter Kathleen Hanna spat out such hard-boiled lyrics as “when she talks, I hear the revolution / In her hips, there's revolutions” (“Rebel Girl”) with red-faced screams over frantic, heavyset guitars in thrall to hardcore punk, backed by bassist Kathi Wilcox, drummer Tobi Vail and guitarist Billy Karren.

Kathleen Hanna: I don’t want to brag about myself, but I have heard the same phrase so many times, and it’s always, ‘When I was 15 years old, Pussy Whipped saved my life.’ To feel like you were part of a 15-year-old’s survival through high school, which is rough for everyone, makes me feel more successful than any record sales or magazine cover ever could. Because it was pretty harsh being a girl in America in 1993. We were told that feminism didn’t exist any more; that there was no reason for it to exist because women had equality. I lived in a small town and had worked in the domestic-violence shelter, where I saw first-hand that equality for sure did not exist. There were 14 women killed by a guy gunning for feminists in Canada in 1989 and that was a big impetus for me to play music. Those women were my inspiration.

Initial reactions to Pussy Whipped from the underground magazines were that it sucked! By the time we got to the UK in 1993 we were talking a lot about the way the media was portraying us, which was amplified by music weeklies like Melody Maker and the NME, which both had riot grrrl editions. When we met Huggy Bear things really changed, because people really cared about it in the UK. Huggy Bear managed to have fun and still have these really smart gender politics, whereas it had felt like such a fight every day for us to be a band. I think seeing that what we were doing and what we were a part of had gone international gave us a big boost of confidence. We were playing in Scotland and something had happened – maybe a bomb threat – which made us not want to go down to the show. We were just putting on our make-up in the room above and trying to figure out what to do when the girls downstairs spontaneously started singing ‘Rebel Girl’. It was like a scene from a teen movie! We could hear it through the floor so we took the stage and Tobi started playing the beat.

“I don’t want to brag about myself, but I have heard the same phrase so many times, and it’s always, ‘When I was 15 years old, Pussy Whipped saved my life’” – Kathleen Hanna, Bikini Kill

It was just one of those moments, and so beautiful that the girls wanted us to play that badly. During the show I realised why – it’s because there were so many guys there screaming ‘cunts’ or ‘bitches’ every time we stopped a song that it felt like the place could explode at any minute.

So there was this beauty within this amazing, awful intensity. These days, it’s so much more normal being a girl in a band. I just saw Savages on the TV the other night and they were great. But there’s still violence at shows and I still hear about girls being told to shut up when they start talking about issues like gay rights between songs.

I feel most proud that I wrote everyone back who wrote me a letter. I still see some of those people – they come to lectures, events, panels that I do – and they tell me how much it meant to them that I wrote back and that they’re doing great. That always feels like my biggest sense of achievement. But I regret coming off as a leader too much and feel like I should have made better decisions in terms of making sure the movement was more accessible to women of colour who wanted to be involved. That always really bothers me – it’s a massive regret. I wrote the riot grrrl manifesto when I was in my early 20s. There’s this book coming out so I decided to re-read the manifesto the other day – which is weird when you’re 44 – and I started editing it in my head. I was a terrible editor back then! I’d definitely write it better, but the message is still exactly the same.

Spiral Stairs announces new LP & tour (listen to “Hyp-No-Tized”)

Stephen Malkmus isn’t the only Pavement member announcing a new solo album today. Scott Kannberg has a new Spiral Stairs album on the way which is titled We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tizedand will be out March 22 via Nine Mile. He made the record with many of the old friends and collaborators he worked with on 2017’s Doris and the Daggers, including Kelley Stoltz, Matthew Harris (Oranger), Tim Regan (Snowglobe, Oh No Oh My) and former touring Preston School Of Industry drummer Jim Lindsay. “To me We Wanna Be Hyp-No-Tized feels like the records I’ve been listening to and the records I’ve been digging and aspire to sound like,” Scott says. “In my early-twenties I felt like I knew everything – I always knew about new bands before everyone else – but that kind of closed off a lot of bands that I didn’t give much credence to, and now I’m a bit older and it’s, like, ‘Wow, how did I miss that?’” First single from the album is the horn-charged rave-up “Hyp-No-Tized” and you can listen to that below.

Spiral Stairs will be on tour, starting things in Austin for SXSW and hits NYC for two shows: Mercury Lounge on March 26 and Brooklyn Brewery on March 27. Tickets for Mercury Lounge go on sale Friday, January 25 at noon with a Citi cardmember presale starting Thursday (1/24) at 10 AM (stay tuned for info on Brooklyn Brewery tickets). All tour dates are listed below.

1. Hyp-No-Tized
2. The Fool
3. Diario
4. Them Cold Eyes
5. Hold On (Til I Figure It Out)
6. Fingerprintz
7. BTG
8. Dear Husband
9. Swampland
10. Borderline

3/12 -Austin, TX SXSW The Mohawk
3/19 – Davenport, IA Racoon Motel
3/20 – Chicago, IL Hideout
3/21 – Minneapolis, MN 7th St. Entry
3/22 – Madison, WI Kiki’s Righteous House of Music
3/23 – Detroit, MI Third Man Records
3/24 – Toronto, ON CAN Horseshoe Tavern
3/26 – New York City, NY Mercury Lounge
3/27 – Brooklyn, NY Brooklyn Brewery
3/28 – Allston, MA O’briens
3/29 – Philadelphia, PA Ortlieb’s
3/30 – Chapel Hill, NC Cat’s Cradle
4/20 – Brisbane, AUS Stones Corner Pub
4/21 – Tallarook, AUS Boogie Festival
4/26 – Ballarat AUS The Eastern
4/27 – Melbourne, AUS The Toff
5/30 – Seattle, WA Hotel Albatross
6/1 – Portland, OR Alberta Street Pub
6/3 – Tuscon, AZ Hotel Congress
6/4 – Phoenix, AZ Rebel Lounge
6/5 – San Diego, CA Soda Bar
6/6 – LA, CA Bootleg Theater
6/7-6/8 – Sonoma, CA Huichica Festival
6/14 Austin, TX 3TEN