IDLES – Five Years of Brutalism

Having stumbled upon IDLES by chance in a tent at 2000 Trees in 2016, news of a show at Brighton’s 100 capacity Prince Albert was a welcome follow on. As the date grew nearer and tracks were shared from their then upcoming album Brutalism, the scrap for tickets was huge. For those of us lucky enough to have picked some up early, it was obvious that something big was about to happen for IDLES, as their stage performance and the buzz around the album got louder and louder.

IDLES, The Prince Albert Brighton, 13/03/17

Now five years on, it sits as a collection of tracks that has marked its place in the annuls of musical history, and the occasion will be suitably marked. Details from the press release here:

Set for release on Friday 9th December via Partisan, Five Years of Brutalism will be re-issued on limited cherry-red vinyl with alternative artwork. The digital package will feature the entire set from their surprise performance from the BBC Introducing Stage at this year’s Glastonbury.

Brutalism was originally self-released in March 2017, surpassing expectations to become one of the decade’s most important debut albums. Beneath the surface of its aggressive, foreboding music and lyrics lies a level of confessional vulnerability and honesty that comfortably cemented it as an instant classic.

Having previously released two cult EPS, 2012’s Welcome and 2015’s Meat, it was Brutalism that catapulted IDLES into the spotlight. Showcasing the band’s ability to summarise societal discourse with pin-point accuracy, one of the album’s central themes was to highlight the role of women in singer Joe Talbot’s life. Having lost his mother during the recording of the record following a long illness, it journals his experiences with grief and eventual rebuilding. The original album artwork features a photograph of his mother alongside a sculpture created by Talbot and his father. A limited edition of 100 LPs were released in October 2017 with Talbot’s mother’s ashes pressed into the vinyl. Speaking further about the album, Talbot writes;

“What started as a headstone slab of indulgence and unrest became a long journey of beauty, forgiveness, and gratitude. Little did we know that it was not just a headstone but the foundations we were building, for a house full to the brim with loving human beings. Thank you so so much”.

In the 5 years since Brutalim’s release IDLES have gone on to achieve so much, including a number one album, sold out tours and festival headline appearances around the world. Its follow-up, Joy as an Act of Resistance, further springboarded the band into the UK (and beyond)’s consciousness and paved the way for the colossal ‘Ultra Mono’ – the band’s first UK No. 1 album. Last year’s CRAWLER contained the buzz-saw urgency that their now global fanbase had come to expect, but expanded its sound with more melodic and introspective songs. At every step of the way the band have garnered a wealth of dedicated supporters – from the early breaks given to them by Steve Lamacq and BBC 6 Music, the independent live music circuit and the rabid AF Gang community – the latter of whom produced a feature film entitled “Don’t Go Gentle: A Film About IDLES” released globally and screened at many international film festivals.

To further celebrate the release of the Five Years of Brutalism the band will be taking part in a Youtube Listening Party on release day at 19:00 GMT, giving fans the opportunity to listen and chat alongside members of the band whilst they communally listen to the original album. The event will begin with the broadcast of a brand new video for album track ‘1049 Gotho’ directed by frontman Joe Talbot. Speaking further about the video he writes: 

“The 1049 Gotho video is a pastiche of some old cliched ideas I had when we started the band and I wanted to honour that and also nod to the references of Crawler which were a reflection on the Brutalist period. It’s a time capsule of ego and gratitude”.

Join the Party at 19:00 tonight, Friday 9th December here: https://youtu.be/IpvpJnR1MJk

IDLES

Intro and live photo by Siobhan, header photo by Tom Ham via Sonic PR

9th December 2022

Exhibition – For The Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover (The Photographers’ Gallery)

Exhibition, The Photographers’ Gallery, 8th April – 12th June 2022
For the Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover 

Header image – Vinyl: Miles Davis, Tutu, Warner Bros Records – 1-25490, United States 1986. Photography: Irving Penn. Design: Eiko Ishioka.

When CDs began to nudge records off shop shelves in the 90s, something that was sadly missed by collectors was the opportunity to own cover artwork worthy of display and conversation. Singles were for fun but albums, with seemingly endless possibilities around double albums, gatefold sleeves, embossing and lyric sheets, held the potential to be serious pieces of art.

A new exhibition opening at The Photographers’ Gallery in London on Friday celebrates the album cover as an art form, curated and presented in collaboration with collector and exhibition originator, Antoine de Beaupré, whose extensive and impressive collection form the basis of the display.

Left – Vinyl: Led Zeppelin, Physical Graffiti, Swang Song – SSK 89400, England 1975. Photography: Elliott Erwitt. Design: AGI / Mike Doud / Peter Corriston.

Right – Vinyl: Prince, Lovesexy, Paisley Park – 9 25720-1, United States, 1988. Photography: Jean-Baptiste Mondino. Design: Laura LiPuma.

Vinyl: Grace Jones, Island Life, Island Records – 207 472, France 1985. Photography: Jean-Paul Goude. Design: Greg Porto.

Showcasing the talent of photographers and artists including  famous names such as David Bailey, Andy Warhol, Joseph Beuys, Helen Levitt and Cindy Sherman, the exhibition takes us on a journey through the changes to music and art through the years. There will be covers you recognise, maybe some you own, and certainly some that bring new stories to the table.

Left – Vinyl: Serge Gainsbourg, Love on the Beat, Philips – 822 849-1, France 1984. Photography: William Klein.

Right – Vinyl: Everything but the Girl, Before Today, Virgin – VST 1624, England 1997. Photography: Jürgen Teller. Design: Form / EBGT.

Details from the press release:

For the Record brings together over 200 album covers, highlighting the central role photography plays in defining artists and bands, and showcasing some of the most iconic album covers of our times. While many of the artistes on the covers will be instantly recognisable, the exhibition illuminates the often overlooked and multifaceted contributions of photographers and other visual artists to the identity of the ‘stars’ and the labels themselves.

For the Record: Photography & the Art of the Album Cover will be on display at The Photographers’ Gallery, London from 8th April until 12th June 2022.

The Photographers’ Gallery, 16 – 18 Ramillies Street, London W1F 7LW (nearest tube Oxford Circus)

Usual opening hours are as follows – please check the website for news, admission charges and concessions before visiting, tickets may be booked in advance:

Monday (& Bank Holidays): Closed
Tuesday – Wednesday: 10.00 – 18.00
Thursday – Friday (Lates): 10.00 – 20.00
Saturday: 10.00 – 18.00
Sunday: 11.00 – 18.00

All images and exhibition details are reproduced with permission from The Photographers’ Gallery.

Words excluding press release by Siobhan

6th April 2022

Album Review – The Ninth Wave

The Ninth Wave – Heavy Like a Headache

As The Ninth Wave announce a hiatus to pursue other projects, they leave us with second album Heavy Like a Headache. Mixed emotions for fans as the anticipation of new music is coupled with the knowledge that those intense, intimate performances that the band have been bringing over the last few years are no longer on the cards. Nonetheless, the album still has stories to tell.

Vocal heavy Maybe You Didn’t Know holds elements of traditional Scottish songs of the past, segueing into more familiar ground on the 80s’ fashioned electro-pop of Heron on the Water. There are many dilemmas posed throughout. Recent single Hard Not to Hold You questions, ‘Should I change myself enough so you stop wanting to know me?‘ while closing track Song for Leaving ponders what might happen ‘if we break apart’.

As a whole piece of work, the album is impassioned and heartfelt, befitting of the circumstance in which it arrives. If this is to be their swansong, then at least we have a soaring momento of everything that’s gone before. Heavy Like a Headache, released tomorrow via Distiller Records, is an accomplished reminder of why The Ninth Wave will be very much missed.

Watch the video for What Makes You a Man below.

Vinyl, CD, cassette and download versions of the album available here

Words by Siobhan
Photo by Yaël Temminck

17th March 2022

Classic Albums – The Verve: Urban Hymns

Looking back at the albums that hold a special place in our memories, Derek Rickman reflects on a favourite from Wigan’s big hitters The Verve…

The Verve / Urban Hymns  1997

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The one album I keep returning to through all the diverging genres and phases of music. My battered copy (with the original booklet beautifully photographed by Michael Spencer Jones) still sounds contemporary thanks to Chris Potter’s gleaming production values and the band’s stellar musicianship throughout.

Listen to Richard Ashcroft’s Jay-Z like ruminations on Neon Wilderness, one of the last tracks recorded at the sessions, and Nick McCabe’s wonderful guitar embellishments on the extended jam Catching the Butterfly. Indeed it’s the band songs rather than the folk tinged numbers such as Ashcroft’s maudlin Drugs where their talent shines through. Check out the blistering live version of The Rolling People at their triumphant Glastonbury appearance in 2008 and the rousing call to arms of monumental closer Come On.

For years I had Bitter Sweet Symphony as my ringtone/alarm, to the annoyance of my brothers one morning on a weekend camp where, after a night of over zealous drinking, they couldn’t locate my repeating cellphone buried at the bottom of my sleeping bag.

Richard Ashcroft will release Acoustic Hymns Vol. 1 on October 29th, an album featuring new stripped-back versions of some of his classic songs.

By Derek Rickman 

16th October 2021