Five Things We Liked This Week – 26/6/15

FIVE THINGS WE LIKED THIS WEEK

5. The Queen Of Songs

Seven years after their last studio album, Mercury Rev have announced they are signing to Bella Union and confirmed that their long-awaited ninth album, The Light In You will be coming out in September. When asked what people could expect, founding member Grasshopper responded, “steel Resonator Mandolin. Timpani. Sleigh Bells. All sorts of electric guitars…..” He subsequently added, “it is the best stuff we have done in a long, long time. Gonna be big sounding!”

From the sound of the album’s first single, The Queen Of Swans, he wasn’t lying! It might start off with just a gentle organ, and Jonathan Donahue ‘s unique vocal, but it builds gradually to epic proportions that wouldn’t sound out of place on a Sigur Ros record, it’s really rather lovely!

The Light In You is out via Bella Union on September 18th. Mercury Rev has announced tour dates at the start of October and the back end of November.

4. Setting Out Classically with Andrew Skeet 

We’re not going to lie, this is about as highbrow as we’re ever likely to get around these parts, but Croydon born neo-classical composer Andrew Skeet’s latest single, Setting Out is just too darn beautiful to ignore! Andrew’s music is the product of a classical music loving father and a more eclectically minded step-father, and the result is music that’s at once heartbreakingly beautiful and accessible.

Aged 46 Andrew has finally found a home for his atmospheric, beautiful and engaging music with Sony Classic and has set about recording his debut album Finding Time which marks him out as a contemporary of the likes of Nils Frahm and Ólafur Arnalds as much as his label mates Jonas Kaufmann and Yo-Yo Ma.

Finding Time is out via Sony Classical on July 10th

3. Low, Low, Low, Low Happening

Twenty One year after their debut album, 1994’s Live In Hope, Low are set to return in September with their eleventh studio album, Ones and Sixes. The title might sound like a particularly aggressive cricket innings, but we’re guessing it’s more likely to be something to do with throwing dice.

The Sub-Pop signed band shared the albums lead single, No Comprende, a dramatic and dark slowburner of a track that brings to mind Timber Timbre at their most maudlin and bodes well for what Ones and Sixes will bring in the Autumn.

Ones and Sixes will be released via Sub Pop on September 11th. Low play this years End Of The Road festival before returning to the UK for a string of dates in October.

2. We Guess This Must Be The Collaboration Of The Year

The twin silver voiced geniuses that are Iron & Wine’s Sam Beam and Band Of Horses‘ Ben Bridwell have come together to release one of the most anticipated collaboration in many a year, and this week they shared the first track taken from it, a cover of Talking Heads classic This Must Be The Place (Naive Melody).

The track is taken from the pairs upcoming covers album, Sing Into My Mouth. After spending years talking about it the pair finally got together to record in Echo Mountain Studios in Asheville, North Carolina, and it see’s the good friends combine to cover some of their favourite tracks by artists from Sade to Pete Seeger and Bonnie Raitt through to El Perro Del Mar.

Sing Into My Mouth is out July 17th via Black Cricket / Brown Records. Both bands are heading out on separate tours across the USA in July.

1. John Grant tickles our Ear Lobes

Bella Union superstar and all round excellent singer-songwriter John Grant confirms he’s returning in the Autumn with his third solo album, imaginatively titled Grey Tickles, Black Pressure. He has confirmed it will include spoken word, a tribute to the late actress Geraldine Paige and following in the footsteps of Sinead O’Connor, guest appearances from Amanda Palmer and Tracey Thorn.

Recorded in Dallas with producer John Congleton (St Vincent, Franz Ferdinand, Swans) John has promised the new album will be “moodier and angrier”. And what’s with the title you ask? Well Grey tickles’ is the literal translation from Icelandic for ‘mid-life crisis’, while ‘black pressure’ is the direct translation from Turkish for ‘nightmare’. That said he’s also suggested it’s considerably more fun than that might suggest.

Grey Tickles, Black Pressure is out via Bella Union on October 2nd. John Grant embarks on a European tour in November.

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