Author: Nils van der Linden

Slowdive Go Deep At Roundhouse

On the excellent Song Exploder podcast, Slowdive singer and guitarist Neil Halstead spends a solid 10 minutes detailing the genesis of Sugar For The Pill. It’s a story of seagulls, effects pedals, layered drums, Wuthering Heights, multiple vocal takes, ProTools experiments, and bubble-wrap that gives a fascinating insight into the group’s meticulous creative process. That attention to detail is equally apparent during a transcendent Roundhouse performance that hinges on the quintet’s ability to create beautiful noise. There’s no long-winded between-song banter, no encouragement of audience participation, just an almost two-hour dreamscape carefully woven from gossamer vocals, ethereal harmonies, inexplicable...

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Steven Page Returning To The UK After A Decade

Steven Page is touring the UK for the first time since leaving The Barenaked Ladies. The Canadian singer-songwriter, who in 2009 left the band he co-founded, is back on these shores in October and November following a 10-year absence. And he’s got new music to share. Last year Page released the album Heal Thyself, Pt. I: Instinct which explores the origins of a life dedicated to music. “I’ve always had a sense of wonder about that era of ’60s and ’70s music, and probably always will,” he says. “I remember getting Paul McCartney’s second solo album for my 11th...

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Keith Christmas Rediscovers His Folk Rebellion

London’s folk music scene was in full bloom by the late 1960s and Keith Christmas was right at its centre, playing not just on David Bowie’s Space Oddity album but at the very first Glastonbury festival. Ahead of his appearance at RockShot Mag’s #BLOGTOBER FEST night at the Finsbury on 19th October, he tells us about those heady days, turning his back on the music industry for decades, and returning with not just a new album but multiple live dates.   In December last year, you released Crazy Dancing Days, your first new album in over a decade. How...

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Barenaked Ladies Are Lookin’ Up At Fake Nudes

Barenaked Ladies, who release their fifteenth album Fake Nudes in November, are bringing their energetic live shows back to the UK in April 2018. The Canadian band (comprising lead singer and guitarist Ed Robertson, bassist Jim Creeggan, keyboard player and guitarist Kevin Hearn, and drummer Tyler Stewart) have reunited with longstanding producer Gavin Brown for the upcoming LP. “I’m incredibly proud of this collection of songs,” reveals Robertson. “This is a record where all band members shine. It’s incredible to feel so excited about something 29 years into our career. I’m excited to get out and play these songs...

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Third Eye Blind Soak Up The Love At Roundhouse

The equation’s simple. Albums aren’t selling like they did a decade ago. But gig tickets are in higher demand than ever. Therefore, mark the anniversaries of those unit-shifting LPs by playing them live from start to finish. In the past year alone, U2, Manic Street Preachers, Interpol, and even The View have all done it. Now celebrating the 20th anniversary of their six-times platinum self-titled debut album, Third Eye Blind could rightfully add their name to the list. But they haven’t. The slick quintet are so keen to dispel notions of nostalgia that they open their Roundhouse performance with...

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Sigur Rós Mesmerise At Hammersmith Apollo

Young children can be mesmerised by almost anything: ants, mud, the rain, a man in a purple dinosaur costume singing songs. Adults, not so much. Between all the Snapchats, news alerts, and seeing what’s happening everywhere but here, there’s just no time to focus. Something’s always pulling us out of the present, to the extent that mindfulness, a potential antidote to all that distraction, is now a £4-billion industry. But there are still a few things other than meditation apps that can cut through the clatter of life. Like Sigur Rós. Not only can the Reykjavík trio entrance and...

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Glenn Hughes Interview: Trust, Openness & No Fear

Glenn Hughes may have lived in California for more than 40 years, but the Black Country will forever be his home. His birthplace of Cannock gave rise to the band Trapeze, which launched a five-decade-and-counting career for the singer and bassist. Stints in Deep Purple and Black Sabbath led to a successful solo career that’s included high-profile collaborations with the likes of Pat Thrall, Tony Iommi, and Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith.   But even though he’d long since swapped the West Midlands for the West Coast, when Hughes, singer-guitarist Joe Bonamassa, drummer Jason Bonham, and keyboard...

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!!! (Chk Chk Chk) Turn Up The NRGQ Ahead Of UK Return

!!! (Chk Chk Chk) are back with NRGQ, a high-energy video that captures the spirit of their frenzied live shows. And, following their successful UK tour in May, the New York City dance-punk band are bringing those frenzied live shows back to these shores at the end of October. NRGQ, taken from their latest album Shake The Shudder, features a typically gutsy performance from lead singer Nic Offer and vocalist Lea Lea as they front an equally energetic four-piece band. Their brightly coloured suits (and short shorts) contrasting with the white backdrop only add to the vibrancy, while continuing...

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Look Look Look! At The New Video From Velvet Volume

Velvet Volume’s latest single, Look Look Look!, tackles the uncertainties of life head on, while providing a glimpse of the Danish rock band’s upcoming debut album. “This track was written at a point in our lives where we all had to get used to time with restlessness and insecurity,” says guitarist and singer Noa Lachmi, who’s joined in the band by her sisters Naomi (bass and vocals) and Nataja (drums). The accompanying video, featuring the trio in shiny wigs, finds director Daniel Aude channelling Sofia Coppola as it enters the dreamworld of a restless young woman who finds herself...

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Diamond Thug Reach Into Space On Cosmic Dreamer

South African quartet Diamond Thug continue their international (or intergalactic) expansion with new song Cosmic Dreamer. “Cosmic Dreamer speaks to the expedition of a traveller yearning to drift out of the space they occupy,” says the band. “An external force grips them, pulling them beyond the realm of their experience, giving them a taste of a new expansive, exciting and awakening orbit. “The song describes the liberating journey of escaping one’s known world, bending the rules of gravity and breaking the bounds separating reality from surreality.” Taken from their upcoming debut studio album and recorded at Cape Town’s Digital...

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X Ambassadors Throw A Political Party @ ULU

Want to front a chart-topping band? You’ll need more than a distinct voice. You’ll need to be a cheerleader, inciting the crowd to wave their arms or sing along in unison, like it was their idea in the first place. You’ll need so much energy that standing still is simply not an option. You’ll need the swagger to pull off iconic rock star poses (like holding your guitar aloft while in silhouette), without a hint of irony. And you’ll need the sincerity to deliver passionate monologues that celebrate both unity and self-acceptance.   In short, you’ll need to be...

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Triggerfinger Get Animated On Colossus

To coincide with the release of their new album, Triggerfinger have launched an animated video for the title track, Colossus. The song, which showcases the Belgian trio’s now more expansive sound, marks the first time the band worked with two basses. “Ditching the guitar really opened up the groove, and the combination of two bass guitars was very intriguing, sonically. It was heavy, but fresh at the same time,” explains singer Ruben Block. “Images and pieces of conversations flashed through my mind, like a collage, and over this monumental groove I began to chant: ‘Colossus! Colossus!’ It stuck.” This...

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Mastodon Breathing Steam Into A Cold Dark Place

Mastodon aren’t relaxing in the run-up to their December UK tour. Last week they released the video for their latest single, Steambreather. Last night they appeared in the season finale of Game Of Thrones. And today they announce Cold Dark Place, a new EP featuring four previously unreleased songs. Filmed in London by the husband and wife team of Essy May and Stevie Gee, the Steambreather video examines what happens when a disparate group of people accept an invitation to examine “The Breath of Life – Release Your Inner Self”. Taken from Emperor of Sand, their eighth studio album...

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Joan Osborne Is Tangled Up In Blue

Joan Osborne has released Tangled Up In Blue, the new single from her forthcoming studio album, Songs of Bob Dylan. The LP finds the seven-time Grammy nominated singer-songwriter put her own spin on highlights from Dylan’s back catalogue. Tangled Up In Blue, for example, gets a classic soul makeover. “We ended up listening to Dusty Springfield’s Dusty in Memphis, some of the classic Memphis recordings of that time, to see if we could flavour the Dylan song with some of that stuff,” reveals Osborne. “It’s a very lengthy song, and that’s why people tend to do it at this...

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The Vex Hail Malala On Education Kills

Following the news that Malala Yousafzai has earned a place at Oxford University, The Vex have shared a tribute to the young advocate for women’s right to education. Featuring lyrics like “for this fearless heroine, the nation unites” Education Kills deals directly with the resilience and bravery of the young Nobel laureate who survived an assassination attempt by a Pakistan Taliban gunman in 2012.   With a video shot against the backdrop of Big Ben and directed by Sam Holmes, the lead track from the London band’s self-titled EP follows The Clash template of pairing politically aware lyrics with...

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Park Hotel Are Going West In Their New Video

London-based post-electronic dance duo Park Hotel have shared their latest video. Going West, a collaboration with the artist Henry Colborne, is being released in the run-up to the group’s live set at Bestival and their headline show at The Pickle Factory. In the studio, the creative core of Tim Abbey and Rebeca Marcos-Roca explore what they describe as “the mirrorball-noir territory between alternative arena electronica and wired downtown songwriting”. But on stage, the disco-rock duo expand into a six-piece band featuring drums, percussion, two guitars, keyboards, and three-way vocal harmonies that all adds up to a neo-funk hybrid of...

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Widowspeak Living The Dream With New Single

Widowspeak have shared The Dream, the third single from their forthcoming album. Expect The Best, a collection of songs that ask “how did we get here?”, is due for release on 25 August and will be followed by a UK tour that begins at Birmingham’s Actress & Bishop on 11 November. The new LP, which follows 2013’s Almanac and 2015’s All Yours, was written by lead singer-songwriter Molly Hamilton after a move back to her hometown of Tacoma, Washington. The result is her most honest collection of songs yet. “In the past I’ve felt compelled to write songs that...

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At The Drive In Fly Back With Call Broken Arrow

At The Drive In are back with the new single from their latest album, in • ter a • li • a. And what’s more, Call Broken Arrow acts as a prequel to the recent video for Hostage Stamps. “In Hostage Stamps, we have a prisoner being tortured and monitored by some sort of authoritarian organisation,” explains director Rob Shaw. “The guys wanted to show why he was imprisoned, as well as cast doubt over his innocence. “It’s funny how in stories, especially film stories, you tend to sympathise with whoever you spend time with. When you watch someone...

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Dream Wife Announce Fire EP & UK Headline Tour

London-based trio Dream Wife have announced their new EP, Fire, and shared the title track. “It’s a song of explosive emotion; volcanic, eruptive, and reflective in turn,” explain the group members, Rakel Mjöll (vocals), Alice Go (guitar and vocals), and Bella Podpadec (bass and vocals). “During moments of pure connection a bolt of fire can be felt between people. The explosion begins; movement is electric, conversation erratic and you become fully immersed in the moment. Thematically and tonally we explore the paradox present in the symbolism of ‘fire’ as both a creative and destructive force.” The EP also includes...

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Welshly Arms Are Legendary At Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen

Welshly Arms have released the video for breakout single Legendary ahead of their headline show at Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen in London. The song, which has over 13 million streams on Spotify and been Shazamed more than 600 000 times in six months, conveys the Cleveland-based band’s drive to succeed. “It’s about how there’s a payoff to all of that effort,” explains lead singer and guitarist Sam Getz, who’s fronted the blues-rock six-piece since they formed in 2013. “In the beginning, it was inspired by [basketball player] LeBron James. He’s from the Cleveland area, and he ended up...

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Apocalyptica Plays Metallica By Four Cellos Across The UK

Apocalyptica, the Finnish band known for their cello-based take on metal and hard rock, are returning to the UK in early 2018 to continue celebrating the 20th anniversary of their debut album, Plays Metallica By Four Cellos. When the group released the LP in May 1996, the graduates of the prestigious Sibelius Academy added a new twist to the genre. Their unique, instrumental approach to some of Metallica’s biggest songs, including Enter Sandman and Master Of Puppets, paved the way for a career that’s seen the classically trained musicians release seven more studio LPs and amass sales of over...

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Vision: 5 Billion In Diamonds, Travelling

5 Billion In Diamonds, the latest project from Butch Vig, have released Travelling, the brand new single from their brand new self-titled album. The third song to be taken from their debut LP, it was actually the first written by the collective that also features UK DJ James Grillo and UK producer Andy Jenks. “James and I came up with a couple dreamy guitar loops, which inspired Andy to record all these amazing groovalicious keyboards, which inspired me to track some funky drums and to bring Justin Meldal-Johnson in on bass,” explains Vig, best known as Garbage’s drummer and...

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Vision: Black Country Communion, Collide

Black Country Communion are back with the first single from their first new album since 2013. The rock supergroup featuring bassist/singer Glenn Hughes, guitarist/singer Joe Bonamassa, keyboard player Derek Sherinian, and drummer Jason Bonham have released the video for Collide, taken from their upcoming fourth studio album BCCIV. “I had written the riff to this song in the morning of the first day of writing BCCIV,” Hughes tells us. “Joe came over and I played him the riff, and we finished the song before lunch. I had a feeling that Collide would set the pace for the record.” And...

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Live: Wildwood Kin @ The Islington

Wildwood Kin are on the verge of something very big. They’ve already had a single playlisted on BBC Radio 2, supported Ward Thomas on a national tour, played Glastonbury, headlined their first London shows, and signed to Sony. And that’s just in the past three months. Now, with their debut LP two weeks away and this momentum already behind them, tonight’s likely the last time they play a venue as intimate as The Islington. Which is as it should be: these songs, and the three young women performing them, deserve to be heard by as many people as possible....

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Christina Martin, Old Memories New Perspective Interview

Canadian singer-songwriter Christina Martin has spent the past 15 years carving out a solo career that, across six albums, has seen her perfect a musical style that pairs an Americana-rock sound with lyrics that are personal, yet universal. Her latest single, Lungs Are Burning, from her upcoming LP (expected in November 2017) is a case in point. An irrepressibly catchy song with an irresistible chorus, it conveys her reaction to the Fentanyl drug crisis that’s killed thousands of Canadians. It’s one of the songs she’s been performing on her latest UK tour. Just before her recent show at The...

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Live: U2 @ Twickenham Stadium

U2 come out swinging. Having warmed up an already expectant crowd with The Waterboys’ guaranteed party starter The Whole Of The Moon as their intro tape, the band launch into a chronological run of eight songs that have anchored their live performances for at least the past 30 years. As Bono declares “there’s no place we’d rather be than here with you”, a thunderous Sunday Bloody Sunday makes way for a jubilant New Year’s Day. Bad, the only bonafide stadium anthem to ever tackle heroin addiction, still manages to sound menacingly tragic and beautifully uplifting all at once, before...

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Live: Midnight Oil @ Hammersmith Apollo

“We spent more time on this setlist than most people did thinking about how to vote on Brexit,” says Midnight Oil frontman Peter Garrett towards the beginning of the band’s first London show in 20 years. Initially it seems like a throwaway joke from the former government minister and lifelong activist. But he’s clearly not kidding. Like crafting the perfect mixtape, they’ve picked the right songs in the right sequence for the biggest impact. Blistering set opener Redneck Wonderland easily fulfils its purpose, getting the punters up and and out of their seats within the first 15 seconds. Originally...

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Sound: Shelby Lynne and Alison Moorer, Every Time You Leave

Shelby Lynne and Alison Moorer have shared their reimagination of The Louvin Brothers’ classic Every Time You Leave. The song is drawn from the sisters’ first ever collaborative album Not Dark Yet, which sees the two musicians reinterpret songs by the likes of Bob Dylan, Nirvana, Nick Cave, The Killers, Townes Van Zandt, Merle Haggard, and Jason Isbell. The 10-track collection was recorded in Los Angeles in the summer of 2016 with producer Teddy Thompson. A collaboration showcasing the sisters’ individual and collective artistry, the LP ends with a co-written original (Is It Too Much) that highlights their strong...

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Live: Spoon @ Forum Kentish Town

It’s midway through Spoon’s set at Forum Kentish Town. A fired up Britt Daniel has just led the band, backlit in orange, through a ferociously jubilant Do You. Multi-instrumentalist Alex Fischel begins a moody keyboard piece that gradually swells to Sigur Ros levels of intensity. As Gerardo Larios joins in on organ, the instrumental slowly shifts again, culminating in his playing the unmistakable melody of I Ain’t The One alone. And somewhere from the shadows Daniel croons the opening verse, his earlier swagger now all restraint and composure. Together, he and Larios hypnotise the audience with silences and subtleties,...

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Sound: David Ramirez, Watching From A Distance

David Ramirez returns with Watching From A Distance, the first single from his upcoming fourth album, We’re Not Going Anywhere. Discussing the song, the Austin-based singer-songwriter told Rock Shot: “Most times, when a relationship ends, there is a season of mourning but then the clouds part, the sun rises, and we move on. What happens if and when the sun doesn’t rise? What happens if, no matter how hard we try, we can’t move on?” The LP it precedes marks a departure for Ramirez who built on the rootsy sound of his early albums by incorporating musical influences from his...

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Vision: The Moonlandingz, The Rabies Are Back

Fresh from their Glastonbury performance, The Moonlandingz are sharing the video for new single The Rabies Are Back. Discussing the video, which stars frontman Lias Saoudi, a large log, and a razor blade, the band told Rock Shot: “We shot the video on the outskirts of Sheffield in the Peak District. Lias came up with the idea of shaving with a giant log as a representation of the human struggle, so he went into this wood and found the biggest, heaviest trunk he could find – and we attached a razor blade to the bottom of it. “Just holding...

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Live: Jon Stevens @ Borderline

Jon Stevens rose to fame in the 1980s, the decade when more was most definitely more. Over 30 years later, he’s still got the same mindset. Instead of just one London gig, the Australian rock legend is playing five across the city. And, although the venues are far more intimate than those he’s used to, don’t for one second think he’s scaled back. He’s brought the full band who supported him at the Isle of Wight Festival, even though they struggle to fit on the Borderline stage. He’s brought a team of audio and lighting engineers so, although the...

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Live: Chris Shiflett @ The Water Rats

Chris Shiflett grew up in Santa Barbara, California. His childhood idols were Kiss. He first gained attention as a member of punk band No Use For A Name. And for almost two decades he’s been the Foo Fighters’ lead guitarist. Yet, over the past five years, the musician with such bonafide rock credentials has been beating a path down to Nashville (the city not the TV show) on three solo albums. The latest, West Coast Town, is his most authentic yet. Recorded in the city’s legendary RCA Studio A with Chris Stapleton’s producer Dave Cobb, its classic country sound is...

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Live: Simple Plan @ Kentish Town Forum

Simple Plan know what a noisy, sweaty old-school rock show needs. The psyched audience scream on command. The showman singer likes to leap off the monitors, continually whips the crowd up into a frenzy, and suddenly appears at the mixing desk. The wild drummer stage dives and crowd surfs. Fog blasters and streamer cannons go off with wild abandon. Bras are thrown up onto the stage. T-shirts and giant beach balls get lobbed into the crowd (complete with a “playing with my balls” joke from the frontman). And the band unleash one riotous punk anthem after another. Tonight the...

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Live: Imagine Dragons @ Roundhouse

The Imagine Dragons sound is big on beats, both on record and on stage. So it’s almost expected that their encore of Radioactive climaxes with all four band members pounding on some type of drum. Less expected is the might of lead guitarist Wayne Sermon. Relatively low-key on their albums, in concert he’s as integral to the Las Vegas quartet’s sound as Dan Reynolds’ voice and, yes, even those pounding rhythms. Not convinced? How about the long, fluid instrumental that echoes the vocal line on seismic set opener Thunder? Or the fiery noodling to ride out the victory march...

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Live: Eddie Vedder @ Hammersmith Apollo

London’s Hammersmith Apollo isn’t what you’d call intimate. And yet Pearl Jam frontman Eddie Vedder makes the 3,600-seater venue feel like a living room, or a cosy campfire singalong. And it’s not just because he’s surrounded by a vintage radio, reel-to-reel tape player, battered suitcases (complete with The Who sticker), various old-timey speakers, assorted instruments, and, later, an actual campfire complete with starry sky backdrop. Most of it’s down to Vedder himself. Seated on stage alone for much of the two and a half hour set, he’s frank, honest, spontaneous, and vulnerable in his words and musical performances. He makes...

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Vision: Oumou Sangaré, Kamelemba

Oumou Sangaré is sharing the new video for Kamelemba, lifted from her new album Mogoya. Set in Paris’ 13th arrondissement, the all female Afro-futurist video shot by Chris Saunders references Congolese “La Sape” dandy culture in a deliberately non-gender, European setting. Performances by the female dancers of the Swaggers Group form a retort to the mistreatment of women by the womanisers of Kamelemba, which Sangaré outs in her lyrics. She told us: “It’s about men who show off, who bring women down, about women who fall badly in love. I wrote that song to give advice to our sisters...

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Live: Mollie Marriott @ The Borderline

As a two-year-old, Mollie Marriott remembers seeing Chuck Berry perform. She was in the front row, “dancing like crazy” on her mother’s lap. Fast forward a few years and she’s still dancing like crazy, albeit on the Borderline stage in front of her own equally enthusiastic fans. Like Berry and the other rock ‘n roll greats she saw growing up as Steve Marriott’s daughter, she has real presence, personality, and power. She endears herself with disarming comments about being excited but frightened, getting hot and sweaty, the challenges of tackling an Aretha Franklin song, and the tightness of her leather...

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Live: Overcoats @ St Pancras Old Church

“We believe in the strength and power of female friendship,” declares JJ Mitchell, one half of Overcoats, “and the things you can achieve when you stand by a woman.” But actions speak louder than words. So Mitchell and her best friend Hana Elion begin and end the show with a long embrace. They spontaneously drape their arms around each other. During moments of emotional intensity, they lock eyes across the stage. And, after the final song, Mitchell piggybacks the injured Elion (torn ligaments) out of the venue. Their singing is equally unified, two voices intertwining delicately as the New...

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Live: Sheryl Crow @ Shepherd’s Bush Empire

Be Myself, the title of Sheryl Crow’s latest album, says it all. After flirting with soul and classic country on her last two outings, 100 Miles From Memphis and Feels Like Home, she’s gone back to her roots, embracing the sound that first made her a household name. The decision to be herself once more was clearly personal, as lyrics like “Hanging with the hipsters is a lot of hard work” make abundantly clear. But there’s the added benefit of the new material slipping seamlessly into a live show that, from the get go, leans on her first three...

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