Editors #9 - Marching Orders


Two taster tracks in and I'm absolutely itching for Editors fifth album (still unannounced and undated but given there is a full UK/Euro tour for October and beyond, I'd expect the album to come along shortly beforehand). "Marching Orders" follows the brilliantly brooding synths of "No Harm" and is similarly full of slow building anxiety.

Editors have long been one of my favouite bands, as I've said on these pages often already. I love how they can effortlessly blend these beautifully tense moments of extended cinematic melodrama with searing, guitar led anthems, "Marching Orders" combines darkly hued synths and is the longest track the band have released to date at almost eight minutes, drenched in raw emotion with Tom's rousing vocals and pulsating beats shimmering to its extended finale, for me at least, it's instant love.

The track is released on vinyl through a partnership with  Oxfam, if you are lucky you may find one of 300 hand stamped 12” in a store near you (if you are in the UK, Germany and Belgium that is).

Editors #8 - No Harm


April 2015 marks the tenth year anniversary of the very first time I saw Editors live. Since then I've seen the band play some thirty odd occasions (only The Joy Formidable can better that in my own personal seen chart). From sweaty early day sell-out gigs at the Barfly to Tom playing an acoustic set for Oxfam to festival slots at Glastonbury and the grandeur settings of Royal Albert Hall and The Roundhouse, Editors are a band made for the live arena and have never once failed to electrify.

There were plenty of changes back in 2013 with founder member Chris leaving the band and his replacements Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams joining before the release of their fourth album The Weight of Your Love. The record saw the band at their most stadium-friendly and whilst perhaps lacking some of the intensity of their earlier work, had some of their best tracks of recent time in "Formaldehyde", "Two Hearted Spider" and "Sugar" (the live version of "Nothing" is up there too).

Fast forward to 2015 and it's all about album five. The first taster of which is Editors' new single "No Harm", a slow-burning track full of brooding, bubbling, barely-there synths (a divisive move for sure but I'm glad to have them back) much akin to the title track from the wonderful In The Light and On This Evening, the focal point throughout on Tom's ever-stunning falsetto, more haunting than ever, it sends chills with a sparse, cinematic intensity. 

I can't wait to add to that gig tally, hopefully I won't be waiting too long.

My Favourite 25 Albums of 2013: Part Three - 17-14

My Favourite 25 Albums of 2013: Part Three - 17-14

Direct Links to Albums (updated as they become live) : 25 - 22 // 21 - 18 // 17 - 14 // 13 - 10 // 9 - 6 // 5 - 2 // 1

17. Editors - The Weight of Your Love

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The past couple of years have seen more changes than any previous in Editors almost ten year long career, founding guitarist Chris Urbanowicz left the band and in have come Justin Lockey (known to me as half of Lights on Moscow alongside Lanterns on the Lake's Hazel Wilde) and Elliott Williams (formerly of Airship). The bands fourth LP The Weight of Your Love is the first with their involvement and sees a return to anthemic rock after their successful (in my opinion) attempt at electrifying synth-led work on In This Light and On This Evening.

It kicks off with “The Weight” which soon introduces a starkly produced album full of ominous soundscapes with the emphasis on Tom's baritone vocals. The track is all dark, brooding atmosphere built around strong song-writing and some luscious string arrangements, full of emotion and fragility rarely seen from the band before it highlights a maturing band unafraid of what people may have to say.

There are two obvious single moments here, "A Ton of Love" instantly grabs you with both barrels and blasts you into submission with a mix of pop-hooks, swirling synths and heavy drum beats, easily the most upbeat song we've heard from the band to date it harks more to Simple Minds than Joy Division, big, bright rock which swaggers with a stadium sized conviction and "Formaldehyde" is up there with any of the bands best hits, a non-stop adrenaline filled rush of typically Editors-esque pace and pomp.

Perhaps ironically another of my favourite tracks is an older track I heard first live when Chris was still in the band "Two Hearted Spider" combining a creeping guitar line with Tom's brooding lead, building in emotion and power amongst skittish drums and shimmering guitars."Sugar" is as sweet as the name suggests while the restrained "The Phone Book" is a very nice moment too.

I'm pretty biased when it comes to Editors but The Weight of Your Love is a fine fourth record from a band continuing to try new things and improve themselves, though in the live arena is perhaps where this album is best, the live version of "Nothing" is nothing short of stunning.

16. Agnes Obel - Aventine

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Aventine, the second LP from Berlin based Danish singer-songwriter Agnes Obel confirms an intoxicating talent with a stunning album of refreshingly pure and sparse piano led melodies backed with the odd bit of luxurious strings and a soft, expressive vocal.

Lead track "The Curse" instantly mesmerizes and is possibly the boldest moment throughout, a stark yet seductive melody with little more than twinkling piano and haunting string arrangements combining with Agnes' fragile vocal. The result is devastatingly beautiful and poignant and the good news is there's plenty more for fans of such beautiful, affecting melancholy too.

"Dorian" is impeccably constructed, weaving a similarly delicate and majestic spell under restrained, wintry instrumentation whilst the contemplative and slightly creepy "Run Cried The Crawling" hints more at the darkness. Aventine remains an ethereal, immaculate experience throughout and is best summed up by the poignant, calming tapestry of "Fuel To Fire", a beautiful piano led melody armed with an emotive narrative that, like much of the album, is guaranteed to make hearts go a flutter.

15. Lady Lamb The Beekeeper - Ripley Pine

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Lady Lamb The Beekeeper (the recording name of Ally Spaltro) released her debut studio album Ripley Pine early in the year (a release that contains a few tracks that had been previously released on her earlier bedroom recorded releases but I can ignore that as I'm late to the party. Ripley Pine devastates with an incredible range of songs that hit right at your soul, one minute stripped back electric guitar solo and then the next complex full-band arrangements with a running length that equally varies, from three minutes to seven yet the dozen tracks here are always rich and sophisticated, it is simply an incredible record from a lady with a versatile voice and a raw, expressive talent..

At her most vulnerable on the exquisite "Florence Berlin", a stark, intimate heart-breaker and on "Little Brother", a soft delicate beauty that transports you to a world of soulful dreams with her lone electric guitars twangs sending shivers down your spine. "Bird Balloons" feels like it should be Ally's breakthrough track, as dynamic and powerful as a St Vincent and as epic and emotive as Patti Smith, it bursts with venom and anguish in equal measures and is as affecting as any song you'll hear this year.

My Jim Steinman roots mean I'm a sucker for long tracks and the two on Ripley Pine are possibly my favourites on the record, "You Are The Apple" is one of those rare tracks that brings you to a stand-still on first listen, progressing from a bluesy opening to a full band stomper with an eruption of raw emotion. Ally made a comment during a live show I saw about alienating her early fans with the 'polish' of the recorded album and thus also releasing a demo album via her Bandcamp yet, for me at least, it's the rough aggression that I find so powerful and astonishing, when the orchestra comes in; goosebumps all over.

"Crane Your Neck" closed the same live set and is likewise the sort of track to bring an audience to a stand-still, even those at the back who come to gigs to chat to their mates stop to pay attention as Ally howls and shrieks with her typically unpredictable voice, resonating with a fiery intensity that perfectly sums up Ripley Pine, hot, rich and passionate throughout - do yourself a favour and order Ripley Pine via Ba Da Bing here.

14. Savages - Silence Yourself

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Savages soon found themselves at the centre of the music industry's attention, the London based quartet ended a fine debut year with a place in the BBC's Sound of 2013 long-list after taking people by storm with their ferocious post-punk soundscapes and a live show full of the most blistering intensity and entrancement, their debut full-length Silence Yourself did not disappoint.

Taking the sound perfected in the live setting into the studio to make a faultless record driven by uncompromising bass-lines and pounding drums, with brutal guitar lines adding distortion and noise while Jehn's shrieking vocals command and possess, it makes you want to play it louder and louder, again and again.

Much of the album is the same tracks I heard in the Shacklewell Arms or The Old Blue Last in early 2012 from the searing, terrifyingly beautiful "City's Full" to the propulsive energy of "Shut Up" or the shimmering textures that open "She Will". Silence Yourself remains hypnotic and contagious throughout, brimming with repressed energy which explodes with a juddering climax on "Husbands", Savages calling card with strong-venomous vocals, prominent bass, fierce guitar and clear tight drums - each of the bands individual members come together and the result is a potent, brutal and brilliant combination.

A special note must go for the albums wonderful closing track "Marshal Dear", the most beautiful moment on the record with twinkling piano leading Jehn's restrained vocals with occasional guitar soars the only indication Savages true form. A gentler beast that indicates Savages will be around for many, many records to come.

Editors #7 - Formaldehyde


Let's kick start the week with an absolute beast of a track, Editors have been making up for lost time over recent months featuring here time and time and time again with tracks from their latest (and somewhat divisive) album The Weight of Your Love, here they are again with the newly announced  second single from the record - not due until September - "Formaldehyde".

Instantly infusing itself in the brain, if "Formaldehyde" were a stick of rock it would have the word 'single' written right through it. Tom's booming vocals sound more commanding than ever as the track's infectious chorus and upbeat radio-friendly sheen skittles along with unbridled pomp, it's as close to An End Has A Start Editors as I've heard for a while, dominating drums and a fuzzy throb of bass - I'm happy to admit I've always been a bit biased when it comes to Editors but I bloody love this.

Editors #6 - The Weight


Editors have shared another new track from their forthcoming album The Weight Of Your Love, the similarly titled “The Weight”, a real stark beauty. Gone are the pounding beats and epic guitar hooks of the last track “A Ton of Love”, or the booming synths of a “Papillion”, instead “The Weight” is all dark, brooding atmosphere built around Tom’s baritone vocals, his typically strong song-writing and some luscious string arrangements, full of emotion and fragility rarely seen from the band before it highlights a maturing band unafraid of what people may have to say.

I’ve been an Editors fan boy over the years, I’ve seen them over twenty five times (second only to The Joy Formidable who are at over fifty), they even went to the same university as me, at the same time but I don’t recall ever seeing anything about Pilot (the initial name of Editors) around Stafford town, although I was in a Prince bubble at the time and didn’t really go to gigs (nor like female vocals, so you may have guessed how much my musical tastes have shifted).

I always try to approach a new album by one of my favourite bands with open eyes, change is good, three albums that sound the same is boring and the change Editors did with album three In This Light And On This Evening instantly met with approval here and although The Weight Of Your Love seems to have stripped back much of what made me initially love the band, I have to say I’m enjoying the new direction so far. I’m more of a mellow, whisky drinker than a youthful jumping around the room sort of person myself these days!

Editors #5 - The Sting

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I recently talked about the a-side to Editors come-back single "A Ton of Love" (due June 17th two weeks before their fourth album The Weight Of Your Love which follows on July 1st), a track which saw the band swagger with a stadium sized combination of pop hooks and booming vocals. Not content with that, we've been treated to the single's flip side, a rather wonderful track called "The Sting"...

Editors are (to me at least) one of the best b-side bands around, numerous tracks better than most bands album tracks exist right from the start, all were bundled together on the breathless Unedited boxset (seven CD's and seven LP's) - "You Are Fading", "Banging Heads", "No Sound But The Wind" to name just three exceptional ones - "The Sting" can easily take its place amongst them.

Somewhat starker than a version I remember from a few years back (the track has been floating around the live set for a good three years), the emphasis is put firmly on Tom's baritone vocal, building in emotion and power amongst skittish drums and a layered, brooding piano melody, (and I'm writing this for the second time today) "The Sting" is sure to appeal to fans of The National as well as early Eds adopters, a beautifully plaintive ballad from a band still yet to do much wrong in my opinion.

Editors #4 - A Ton of Love


Editors have been one of my favourite bands since I first saw them at the turn of 2005, their debut album The Back Room is a stunning collection of songs that stands the test of time while their third album In This Light and On This Evening highlighted another side to the band and is in my opinion their best yet, a few changes have happened over the past couple of years though, Chris Urbanowicz left the band and in have come Justin Lockey and Elliott Williams. Yesterday the first track featuring the new members hit the Internet...

"A Ton of Love" is the first preview to Editors fourth album The Weight of Your Love (due for release on July 1st via PAIS and is available to pre-order on a variety of formats including a signed, deluxe edition with a bonus CD with additional tracks - that's good enough incentive for me!) and to be honest if you took away Tom Smith's booming, signature vocals there's not too much that shouts 'Editors' out at you.

Easily the most upbeat song we've heard from the band to date it harks more to Simple Minds than Joy Division, big, bright rock made for big arenas. One track is too early to decide if that's a good thing or not but "A Ton of Love" instantly grabs you with both barrels and blasts you into submission with a mix of pop-hooks, swirling synths and heavy drum beats - a song that will make people sit up and take notice of the band again, of that, I am certain.