THE LUMINEERS ANNOUNCE BRAND NEW ALBUM & 2016 UK HEADLINE TOUR

THE LUMINEERS – NEW ALBUM & 2016 UK HEADLINE TOUR

Platinum-selling, Denver outfit, The Lumineers, today announce their long-awaited return with news of second album Cleopatra – the follow up to their multi-Grammy-nominated, self-titled debut – and a much anticipated headline UK tour, which brings them back to London’s O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire.

The band also reveal their compelling first single, ‘Ophelia‘, instantly recognisable as The Lumineers with its syncopated piano rolls and sing-along chorus, released on 5th February 2016.

After exploding onto the scene with their monster single, ‘Ho Hey’, and its follow-up, ‘Stubborn Love’ (recently featured on President Barack Obama’s Spotify playlist), The Lumineers spent a solid three years touring six of the seven continents. During that time, the band earned a pair of Grammy nominations (Best New Artist, Best Americana Album), contributed two songs to The Hunger Games franchise (including the hit Jennifer Lawrence/James Newton Howard collaboration, ‘The Hanging Tree’) and sold an impressive 3 million+ albums worldwide.

The Lumineers took the UK by storm with the release of their first album in 2012, which propelled them from appearing at Hoxton Bar & Grill as relative unknowns, to playing two consecutive sold-out nights at Brixton Academy and headlining the 10,400 capacity Alexandra Palace as household names. And it was their show-stopping performance on the Other Stage at ‎Glastonbury in 2013 that cemented their position as one of the biggest breakout bands in the world.

But Cleopatra proves original members Wesley Schultz and Jeremiah Fraites – who founded the band in Ramsey, New Jersey back in 2002 – along with cellist/vocalist Neyla Pekarek, are neither taking their good fortune for granted, nor sitting back on their laurels.

With the help of producer Simone Felice (The Felice Brothers, The Avett Brothers), the band ensconced themselves in The Clubhouse, a recording studio high atop a hill in rural Rhinebeck, NY, not far from Woodstock. The Lumineers then set about trying to make musical sense of their three-year-plus rollercoaster ride. Their skill at setting a visual story to music comes through amidst the delicate, deceptively simple acoustic soundscapes.

We took the same approach this time as we did with the first album, recording demos in a small house we rented in the original Denver neighbourhood where we first moved,” explains Wesley, contributing the lyrical ideas while collaborating on the music with Jeremiah, who tackled a variety of instruments, including guitar, the very prominent piano and trademark tribal drums.

There is something timeless about this band that links their songs to 18th century pastorals, 19th century work songs, 20th century folk narratives and 21st century post-modern cinematic soundscapes. Success hasn’t spoiled The Lumineers; rather, it’s inspired them to follow their muses even further.

HEADLINE UK 2016 TOUR:

Thurs 14th Apr – Bristol, O2 Academy*

Fri 15th Apr – Glasgow, Barrowlands

Tue 19th Apr – Manchester, Albert Hall

Sat 23rd Apr – London, O2 Shepherds Bush Empire*

The Lumineers website is here .  They are on Facebook and tweets as @thelumineers

Hozier - Portsmouth

Hozier- Portsmouth 4th Feb 2016 – Photos

I popped over to Portsmouth last night to photograph Hozier.  I need to get my review of the gig written but in the meantime here are a few photographs to whet your appetite.

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Police Brutality: Sarah Reed Woman Beaten By London Cop Dies In Jail [Video]

London’s Metropolitan Police have shown that it isn’t just in the U.S. that suspects, especially black suspects, are subject of police brutality. Sarah Reed, a 30-year-old woman was brutally assaulted by London Metropolitan Police officer James Kiddie. Reed was suspected of stealing items from a London store and constable Kiddie was sent to investigate. Footage of the shocking act of police brutality was captured on the store’s security camera and as a result Mr Kiddie’s act of brutality ended with him being dismissed from the police and convicted of assaulting Reed.

The security camera footage of Kiddie’s act of police brutality has been obtained by the BBC and they report that police officer grabbed Ms Reed by the hair and then punched her as she lay on the floor of the Uniqlo store in Regent Street, London in 2012. Kiddie’s brutality also extended to him placing his knee on Ms Reed’s throat as he attempted to handcuff her and pulling her hair.

via Police Brutality: Sarah Reed Woman Beaten By London Cop Dies In Jail [Video].

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Charity Fundraising Idea

I have been thinking for some time about what I might be able to do to support the charities that the various fandom groups have worked with.

Rainbow Direction, One Direction NDA and 1D fans give all do amazing things to raise funds and I thought I might be able to help.  Below are four different pieces of artwork that I have created.  These are of course just samples in low resolution.  In full resolution these are good to print on a 40 inch canvas.

If I were doing these pieces for a client (including taking the photographs) I would be charging in the region of £500 to £1500 depending on the canvas size and the amount of detail required to finish the piece.

I could do one of two things.

Option 1. I could give a copy of an art piece to every fan who donated lets say $25 or £20.  I would simply set up a few pieces and each person could select their favorite.  They would then be free to print in whatever format they preferred.

Option 2.  I could get one or more of the charity drives to auction one unique signed piece with that one piece being the only one in the world.  To ensure printing and carriage costs are covered there would need to be a strict reserve.

Let me know if this would interest you and if so what option would you think best?

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Response To Comment On Censorship

Yesterday I wrote a post asking if certain writers were being censored and stated that censorship  “is more in keeping with Hitlers Nazi Germany than the modern day western world.”

I received a few negative comments on Twitter about using that analogy and this morning I found a lengthy comment on the original article that I believe deserves the right of a full and respectful reply.  You can check out the article and the comment by “R” here if you want to add some context.  Of course I could just have trash canned the comment but I don’t believe in censorship of any form

“R” argues that my comment comparing censorship to Nazi Germany is offensive and irrelevant in this context.  In response to this I would ask “R” to consider Gordon Allport’s work.

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The fact is that the writers I mentioned have already been raised to level 2 on Allport’s scale.  Both of the writers and myself have been subjected to verbal attacks, accused of being conspiracy theorists etc etc.  In fact in his or her reply “R” gives a perfect example when they say in the last sentence “You’re just facing the consequences of sloppy, clickbait, agenda driven writing.”  A comment aimed at being spiteful, demeaning and which invites people to ignore our writing because they don’t like it.

It is fact that in any arena, from the school playground to single party dictatorships, creating negative myths and bad-mouthing people is the first in a series of steps designed to silence them.  I would suggest that “R” reaches for the history books to enlighten themselves about how the Nazi’s used these tactics to legitimise themselves long before the war started.

If you don’t believe that this happens in the modern world you might care to check out this article.

Interestingly “R” then confirms what I suspected.  They openly admit that fans have taken action to close down both Aaron Butterfield and Sex at Oxbridge.

In the latter case by reporting content to Buzzfeed as inappropriate content because they don’t agree with their viewpoint.  In Aaron’s case the attack was even more insidious.  he was attacked through Attitude magazine.  His original article wasn’t even on that platform.  “R” clearly states that there was an organised conspiracy to shut Aaron down by One Direction fans who disagreed with what he said.

“R” then goes on to say “Larries like to say they are the biggest force in the fandom, but they’re just often the loudest. Many of us tolerate/ignore them because as long as they aren’t harassing people, why not let them do their thing?” There we go, back to anti -locution on Allport’s scale.

In another comment “R” uses a comment that I believe is aimed squarely at me.  “All you’re doing is reposting fanfiction and participating in the bullying a week old infant and his mother.”  A perfect example of someone speaking up thinking they have all the answers but without checking facts.

Let me state a few for you.  I have never once stated in my paid writing that “Larry is real” nor have I ever said that I don’t believe the baby is real nor have I ever said that I don’t think Louis is the father.  I have however written extensively on the doubts that people have about the whole thing.  I have said here, on my own blog that I think Louis may be gay and Harry Bi.  That is a personal view, not something I have written about in my pad work.

What I find really disturbing about “R”‘s comment is the open admission that they believe it is perfectly acceptable to attack and shut down those with whom they disagree.  They do so under the guise of saying “Y’all aren’t being censored. You’re just facing the consequences of sloppy, clickbait, agenda driven writing. Do better.”

Well I don’t know about you but that sounds like censorship to me.

“Censorship is the suppression of speech, public communication or other information which may be considered objectionable, harmful, sensitive, politically incorrect or inconvenient as determined by governments, media outlets, authorities or other groups or institutions.”

There my friends I rest my case.

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Words Are Louder Than Bombs – Are Writers being Silenced

Something very disturbing may be afoot.  It looks like writers are being silenced in a move that is more in keeping with Hitlers Nazi Germany than the modern day western world.  I don’t mind telling you that I am feeling somewhat paranoid.

Regular readers will be aware that in my paid writing I write about popular culture for a US based news aggregation service.  Over the past few months I have become engrossed with goings-on with pop group One Direction.

It’s fair to say that everyone knows that the music business is incredibly manipulative with the “middle-men” taking a huge cut of bands earnings.  It is also established fact that without publicity bands have less than zero chance of making it big.  For bands like One Direction image is all important.  Without the publicity machine bands drop off the radar as quickly as they arrived.

Across the globe billions is paid to PR companies to promote music.  When, like one Direction you develop into a £1 billion brand nothing must be allowed to damage the image that has been carefully cultivated.

Over the years we have seen all manner of stunts from bands and their PR teams to keep the name in the papers.  Through the years we have seen closeted gay stars forced deeper into their closets.  We have seen stars marry and even have children to maintain a straight image.

As most people will no doubt be aware it has long been rumored that one Direction stars Harry Styles and Louis Tomlinson are a couple.  Styles has never denied the rumors but fans suspect that Tomlinson and Styles have been forced to conceal their sexuality and have been fed a seemingly never ending stream of “fake” girlfriends to help maintain a squeaky clean and “straight” image.

Many One Direction fans also feel that the band have been badly let down by their management team.  From Simon Cowell to Modest management to HJPR fans feel that a web of deceit has been spun to take advantage of One Directions fans.

My own writing has discussed these issues on numerous occasions but two articles I wrote last Saturday give a strong insight into goings-on that are at the very least shady.  There has even been strong evidence to suggest that Louis Tomlinson’s baby is not real.

The posts can be read here and here.

Over the past few weeks I have been talking to another couple of writers who have written articles about some of the same issues I have been discussing.  Aaron Butterfield recently wrote a fantastic article outlining some of the issues for Breathe Heavy.  Aaron’s second piece has had to be delayed as a result of some skullduggery around his employers.

Another writer, who goes by the non-de-plume Sex At Oxbridge was writing an article on Buzzfeed earlier today when she was kicked off the site mid-article and was unable to log in again.  All of her articles about One Direction have since been deleted.  You can read about the experience here.

I fully accept that I may just be being paranoid but I really do wonder if these two writers have been nobbled by One Direction’s management through their employers.  After all if Simon Cowell comes along with a bunch of lawyers and wielding his cheque book like a  deadly weapon people tend to listen.

Music and writing are often about opinions.  Everyone is entitled to them.  The big outlets have all the resources to shout down the little guy with their access to the major news outlets.  One thing I do know is that cover-ups and misinformation is something that we face in every facet of our lives on a daily basis.  The only defence is for those involved in the media in whatever way to be allowed to speak out and expose wrongdoing when it comes to life.  Censorship has no place in a democratic society but I truly believe that these writers are being censored for one reason or another.

Censorship exists for one reason and one reason alone.  To cover up things powerful people do not want the general populace to know.  I now wait with baited breathe so see if attempts will be made to censor my own writing.  As I sit writing this one part of me says that I am deluded, that I am seeing something that isn’t there,  but am I?  Time will tell.

If you are concerned about censorship I would appreciate it if you shared this article around your social media feeds.

 

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ASKING ALEXANDRIA Debuts Music Video For New Album’s Title Track, ‘The Black’

ASKING ALEXANDRIA are perfectly poised for the biggest year of their already illustrious career with the release of their fourth full-length album, ‘The Black’– set for release March 25th.  Couple that with a huge North American trek with fellow countrymen, Bullet For My Valentine and While She Sleeps, starting Feb 2nd and all the pieces are set into place. In anticipation of that tour the band are very proud to present the epic, new music video for the new disc’s title track.  Visit https://www.facebook.com/askingalexandria for all touring info.

Pre-Orders for ‘The Black’ are also now available below
Amazon – http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01ART7UNI
D2C (UK) – http://askingalexandria.tmstor.es/

Life is all about how quickly you get back up. In January 2015, everything changed for Asking Alexandria. The chart- topping, gold-selling UK hard rock outfit parted ways with singer and founding member Danny Worsnop. On the outside, the future might’ve seemed uncertain—even grim—to some, but Ben Bruce [lead guitar, vocals], James Cassells [drums], Cameron Liddell [rhythm guitar], and Sam Bettley [bass] dusted themselves off, lifted their chins, and got right back up.

We hadn’t reached our destination yet, and Danny had,” admits Bruce. “I think it was necessary. When it happened, I was devastated. I lost my best friend. We even started referring to this part of our career as ‘The Black period.’ It was the darkest time, but we weren’t going to give up. If he hadn’t left, I don’t think we would’ve been as inspired as we were. I also don’t think Asking Alexandria would still be around. Instead, we’re more excited than ever about this band.”

In order to properly do that, the band actually turned to a fan. Ukrainian singer Denis Stoff gained notoriety posting Asking Alexandria covers on YouTube and consequentially inked a deal with Sumerian Records in his band Down and Dirty. Bruce shot him an email one night. The next day, a new Asking Alexandria song had vocals and a new era in the
band’s history took form.

‘The Black’ will be released via Sumerian Records on March 25th 2016