Skylark and the Scorpion – Weather the Storm & Hey Lover.

‘FEATURED ARTIST’ ON GUY GARVEY’S FINEST HOUR (01.09.19)

OUT 4 OCTOBER 2019, VIA SKINNY DOG RECORDS

 DEBUT SINGLE ‘HEY LOVER’ 

ALBUM LAUNCH SHOW – FRIDAY 4 OCTOBER Tickets here

Weather The Storm by Skylark and the Scorpion is both a record of majestic folk beauty and a breathtaking cinematic experience from Skylark aka Petra Jean Phillipson (David Holmes/Martina Topley Bird/Marianne Faithful) and the Scorpion aka Nick J Webb (The Lea Shores/Nadine Shah).

The ambitious musical odyssey tells the tale of two haunted souls on their search for re-connection. It’s a conceptual project formed around the pairing of creator, producer, songwriter Nick and vocalist Petra. The album finds the duo assume the roles of two ill-fated lovers as they traverse through a turbulent story arc told through the album’s captivating song cycle. A real labour of love, the record arrives at the end of a journey almost as epic in reality as it is in its fiction.

To mark the album’s announcement, Skylark and the Scorpion are revealing the first two chapters of a 40-minute short film that accompanies the entire record. The film follows the emotional journey of the two lovers. Viewers will be able to tune into a progressive narrative that will gradually unfurl their destiny with a string of videos, each soundtracked by a song featured on the album with a new instalment set to be unveiled every week leading up to the full release in autumn.

You can watch the videos for ‘Hey Lover‘ – the first track for radio – and the film trailer for ‘Weather The Storm’ below.

Guided by Petra’s inimitable siren song, the lead single (and fittingly the first song Petra and Nick ever recorded together), ’Hey Lover’ flows through layers of languid orchestrations and rippling acoustic arpeggios, with a glorious opening salvo.

Weather the Storm film trailer. Director: Finlay Mackay / Producer and Editor: Nick J. Webb / Director of Photography: Peter Bathurst

Nick and Petra were joined by a talented array of hand-picked musicians and friends. Contributions from ambient music composer Roger Eno (brother of Brian Eno, who added piano and accordion to the mix) and orchestral arranger Nell Catchpole (on violin/viola), with additional contributions from Tim Harries (double bass), Jamie Spencer Smith (guitars), Fontane Liang (harp) and Nick Foot (percussion). Webb, who also plays the cornet, then completed the album by adding brass arrangements, before sending the results to celebrated producer Ben Hillier for mixing the elegant finished article we hear today.

Featured Artist on Guy Garvey’s Finest Hour BBC Radio 6 Music

Weather the Storm album launch show. Friday 4 October at:

St Matthias Church, Wordsworth Rd, London, N168DD. Tickets here


‘Definitely Maybe’ is 25.


In 1994 ‘Definitely Maybe‘ by Oasis was released. It was an immediate critical and commercial success and became the fastest-selling UK debut in history at the time. It included the tracks ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star‘, ‘Cigarettes and Alcohol‘, ‘Shakermaker‘, ‘Live Forever‘ and ‘Slide Away‘. We [Red Alert Promotions] were there from the start.

I worked with Noel Gallagher before he was in Oasis. We toured together with the Inspiral Carpets; I was merch, and Noel was a roadie. It was an amazing time looking back; it was the height of Madchester.

I’d got to know Noel – and later Liam – when I worked at the music venue The Boardwalk,Oasis shared a rehearsal room in the basement with Sister Lovers. Other bands that rehearsed there were Inspiral Carpets, Happy Mondays, James, ACR, The Fall, Simply Red, and Nico! Generally, after these bands finished rehearsing they come upstairs for a drink and watch the bands that were playing at the venue. I witnessed early shows from Primal ScreamHoleSonic Youth, Manic Street PreachersVerveBob Mould, Rage Against The Machine, Big Black, The Charlatans, The Wedding Presentand many more.

Following the demise of ‘Madchester’, I started working with Alison and Sue at Red Alert Promotions, a record plugging company with a cool roster that included The Charlatans, KLF, Depeche Mode, Pulp, Suede, The Sugarcubes and Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds... It was around this time our friend (and neighbour) Noel decided to join his brother’s band Rain which subsequently became Oasis.

Alison and I saw Oasis play many times in Manchester, including regular support slots at The Boardwalk and Tony Wilson‘s In The City music convention in September 1992 and 93. In ’92 they played The Venue to a handful of people including Gary Davies a DJ on BBC Radio 1 in ’93 they played Canal Bar (both venues are no longer there).

Earlier in May 1993, they played King Tut’s Wah Wah Hut thanks to Debbie from Sister Lovers. She knew Alan McGee and she invited them to play, the rest is history. Soon after Noel announced that Oasis were going to sign to Creation Records. Months later their record contract came through on the Red Alert fax machine. I remember the never-ending fax paper spewing out and folding it up. I put it into an A4 envelope for Noel to collect.

Naturally, Oasis were added to the Red Alert roster and we began promoting the now-classic singles from Definitely Maybe. As part of the campaign, we took Noel and Liam on a promo tour around UK radio stations for interviews. One of the early interviews was with Chris Moyles. He was working at a regional radio station, Signal Stoke. Chris recounts this and still has his CD with a Red Alert promo sticker. The band’s first radio session was for Craig Cash (The Royale Family); he presented a show on KFM in Stockport. Both went on to do very well.

Below is an early TV performance on Yorkshire TV. ‘Something For The Weekend’ was filmed at Leeds Warehouse. Oasis were introduced by Madame Jo Jo –  now Jo Jo on Capital Yorkshire. It looks great! Oasis played ‘Shakermaker’, ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll Star’ and ‘Supersonic’ in front of an audience of around 200.

The next tv footage is from America in 2017. CBS News correspondent Anthony Mason visits Noel’s native Manchester. It’s the first time Noel has been back to the city-centre flat where it all started. In the early 90s India House was inhabited by people who predominately worked in music and the arts including record pluggers, roadies, techies, managers, journalists, photographers, graphic designers, fashion designers, filmmakers, artists, writers and Hacienda staff. You’d sometimes bump into members of The Stone Roses, The Smiths, New Order and the Pet Shop Boys after the Hacienda going to parties.

India House – like Manchester – has so much to answer for. It’s where Noel wrote the first two albums. Lyrics such as “As I live my life in the city, there’s no easy way out.” (Rock n Roll Star), “Your music’s shite it keeps me up all night, up all night.” (Married with Children) and “The sink is full of fishes, she’s got dirty dishes on the brain.” (Some Might Say) were written in that building between 1989 and 1994.

Photo: Michael Spencer Jones 1994

James Holt – Little Green Light

Label: 63 Steps Records

Impact date: 27 September 2019

ISRC: UK9HH1900020

‘Little Green Light’ by James Holt is the followup to ‘Come Out to Play’ and continues in a similar vein while exploring new sounds and drawing from different influences.

It’s probably the most upbeat track I’ve released so far,” says singer/songwriter. “It’s a hybrid of sorts, fusing elements of disco, Latin American rhythms, and Johnny Marr jangly guitar lines, all with hints of The Beatles throughout.

James provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments apart from drums and saxophone on ‘Little Green Light’ and has continued to use the production skills of Jim Spencer (Johnny Marr, The Charlatans) that has proved successful on his previous single releases.

Describing the lyrical themes James said, “Lyrically, it explores the fading glow of the American Dream from an outsider perspective, a central theme in The Great Gatsby (symbolised by a green light at the end of a dock). It traces the early-American ideals of freedom of opportunity, which encouraged many to emigrate there in the early 20th century, to the fulfilled dream of the moon landing (the event celebrates its 50th anniversary this year).”

James plays headline shows at the Deaf Institute, Manchester on Friday 4 October and Hope & Anchor, London (Islington) on Thursday 17 October.

Meg Mac – album, ​’Hope’ & single ‘Give Me My Name Back’

“Powerful” – EMINA LUKARCANIN, BILLBOARD.COM
“Her most empowering anthem yet” – TRIPLE J RADIO

Already a star in her native Australia, Meg Mac has set her sights on the UK with her new album, Hope. The first track is the synth-infused ‘Give Me My Name Back’, a song about reclaiming dignity and self-worth in the face of emotional and physical abuse and upon its worldwide release, Meg received hundreds of private messages of thanks through social media.

“There were lots of messages from people who had come out to their friends or their family. People feeling like, that was their way of gaining their identity and their name back,” she says. “There were also a lot of [stories about] abuse and victims who had come through sexual assault; I would be crying reading some of them.”

Directed by Claudia Sangiorgi Dalimore, the video serves as a rallying cry about reclaiming identity, dignity and self-worth in a post-#MeToo era.

“This is a song for everyone who has lost an important part of themselves, which they need to reclaim in order to move forward with their life,” says Meg of the track. “It’s for the women who are standing up and speaking out, those discriminated against in the LGBTQI community, the indigenous people of Australia and the children abused by the church”

Listen here:

Apple Music:

Meg is a future global star, breaking out of Australia, signed to (littleBIGMANRecords in Australia) and 300 Entertainment in New York.

She was triple jUnearthed Artist of the Year in 2014, and since then Meg’s career has soared to ever-increasing heights. This is Meg discussing ‘Give Me My Name Back’ on triple j breakfast show.  

Meg’s strength is as a live artist. Here is a recent live review from The Sydney Herald.

MEG MAC Online:

Instagram

Facebook

Twitter

Youtube

James Holt – ‘Alone Again’

Label: 63 Steps Records

Impact date: May 2019

Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, James Holt releases the powerful, lyric-driven anthem in ‘Alone Again’.

The 24-year-old Boltonian provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments (excluding drums) on ‘Alone Again’. James has once again, brought in the production wizardry of Jim Spencer (Johnny Marr, The Charlatans) to create layers of reverb and different filters, allowing each part in the song to have a stark contrast to each section as James explains:

I really enjoy subverting people’s expectations in songs through sudden tempo changes, similar to Brian Wilson’s production method of splicing together of different sections, which gives ‘Alone Again’ an angular quality. I’ve always loved the classic songs of the 60/70s and – drawing inspiration from The Beatles (the Rubber Soul / Revolver years) and the dramatic variety of early Scott Walker – I aimed to write a song that pays homage to that golden era of songwriting.

“There are three separate narratives in ‘Alone Again’ with the underlying theme of loneliness and regret. In the first verse, the character loses his love in death (‘never-ending dream’). In the second he never told his love of his feelings (‘I should have screamed when I was whispering’) and in the final verse he blames himself for suffocating their passions (‘like fire clings to a burning man I have smothered you’).”

Quotes
“Feels fresh and exciting to listen to.” – Brian Eno

“Love James’ voice on that new single. Sounding great”. John Kennedy Radio X

BBC Introducing Manchester have been huge supporters of James. Co-presenter/producer, and Michelle Hussey commented, “It’s beautiful with definite echoes of Cherry Ghost.

“It sounds very Beatles-esque and – here’s a massive compliment – vocally it sounds very John Lennon.” Jim Salveson from XS Manchester


“Very talented, very wonderful – absolutely love his voice.”  Natalie BBC Introducing Manchester.

“With an arresting voice that is reminiscent of John Lennon or early Bob Dylan, wily lyrics and an upbeat weave of rock, prog and blues, it’s obvious to see why his remarkable music is turning heads.” Louise Dodgson, The Unsigned Guide.

Prose – ‘See Me Like This’

Title: See Me Like This

Artist: Prose

Label: Run With Faith Records

Impact date: available now

Mancunian indie/hip-hop duo Prose and acclaimed chamber orchestra, Manchester Camerata have collaborated on a brand new 5-track EP titled ‘Empty Hands’ 

‘See Me Like This’ is the lead track and singer/rapper Mike Murray has revealed the heartbreaking story behind the lyrics ahead of their UK tour 

Mike  – who formed Prose with Lee Royle (guitar, vocals) – penned the song about his late father after he sadly lost his battle with alcohol and drug addiction. 

He explained: “I wrote this song as my dad was dying in the hospital, due to alcohol and drug abuse. I felt conflicted with my feelings because he hadn’t been there for me and I missed out on things that a normal kid should have had with their dad. But it’s also about how much I still loved him and the pain I was feeling at the thought of him dying. 

Prose have drawn a broad variety of comparisons in their early press coverage. They were described as a combination of down-to-earth U.K. hip-hop, similar to The Streets or Plan B, and a touch of melodic lad rock that took its cues from fellow Mancunians Oasis. Their lyrical approach was inspired by life experience, often covering very personal subjects.

The single is available on all platforms now. The full EP will be available in March 2019. 

UK tour

Friday 1 March:  Bristol:  Zed Alley:   £8

Saturday 16 March:  London:  The Water Rats:   £10

Saturday 23 March:  Manchester:  Academy 2 (with The Manchester Camerata)  £15 

Saturday 30 March:  Glasgow:  Nice N Sleazy:   £8

Tickets for the tour here:

“Prose have experienced the harsher elements of life, and this is reflected in their songwriting. Poverty, hardship, homelessness, struggling to get by… it’s all in there” (Clash)

Manchester Camerata is ‘Probably Britain’s most adventurous orchestra” (The Times).


The EP is part of a project funded by the PRS Momentum Fund

James Holt – Come Out To Play

Artist: James Holt

Title: Come Out To Play

Label: 63 Steps Records

Impact date: 1 March 2019

It’s probably the catchiest chorus I’ve written to date, and it’s become a crowd favourite at gigs,” says singer/songwriter James Holt of his new single ‘Come Out to Play’.

‘Come Out to Play’ bridges the gap between his previous two singles, combining the pad soundscape of ‘Whispers’ with the angular unpredictability of ‘Alone Again’ but with a far more upbeat musical and lyrical theme.

The song draws inspiration from the classic songwriters of the 60/70s and also nods to Crowded House, Aztec Camera and The Smiths. One review commented that it sounded like Johnny Marr had joined the Beatles and the Beach Boys in the studio for a day.

James said, “Lyrically, the song is a journey through the life of a shy, introverted person, and their struggle to socialise – though at its core it’s an uplifting story about overcoming anxieties. There’s never an explicit reason why, but there are hints that they’re hoping for something more. (‘But I just keep holding on, for a day to reminisce on…’).

Each verse is a different stage of his life, represented with references to different seasons, but it’s in the last verse where our character sees himself in his son and tells him not to make the same mistakes he has made.

James provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments apart from drums on ‘Come Out To Play’ and has – once again – brought in the production wizardry of Jim Spencer (Johnny Marr, The Charlatans). The release coincides with James’ headline show at Night People, Manchester on Saturday 1 March and then on Saturday 23 March at Academy 2, Manchester (supporting Prose and Manchester Camerata).

Quotes
“Feels fresh and exciting to listen to.” – Brian Eno

“Love James’ voice on that new single. Sounding great”. John Kennedy Radio X

BBC Introducing Manchester have been huge supporters of James. Co-presenter/producer, and Michelle Hussey commented, “It’s beautiful with definite echoes of Cherry Ghost.

Another radio champion, Jim Salveson from XS Manchestersaid, “It sounds very Beatles-esque and – here’s a massive compliment – vocally it sounds very John Lennon.”


“Very talented, very wonderful – absolutely love his voice.”  Natalie BBC Introducing Manchester.

“With an arresting voice that is reminiscent of John Lennon or early Bob Dylan, wily lyrics and an upbeat weave of rock, prog and blues, it’s obvious to see why his remarkable music is turning heads.” Louise Dodgson, The Unsigned Guide.

Prose (featuring Manchester Survivors Choir) – A City United

Title: A City United
Artist: Prose (feat. Manchester Survivors Choir)
Label: Run With Faith Records
Impact date: Out Now

It is the very spirit of Manchester in music.” (Andy Burnham, Mayor of Manchester).

Prose and Manchester Survivors Choir have teamed up to raise money for the those affected by the Manchester Arena bomb. They have released a responsive piece of music entitled, A City United to mark one year since the terror attack.

A City United was recorded by Mike Murray and Lee Royle from Prose at their studio the day after the bomb. Elbow‘s Craig Potter has mixed it, it was mastered by Peter Hewitt Dutton at Metropolis, and the video was filmed by James Killeen – all in a matter of days! Mike explains how it all came about:

Like everyone, we felt devastated after the Manchester bomb attack. The following day we were in our studio and there were still a lot of people searching for missing family members and we were talking about how awful it must be for the families of the victims. The whole city was in complete shock that something like this had happened here and at a music concert with so many innocent people just trying to have a good time. We both felt very emotional and just started expressing how we felt. Lee started playing the piano, I started singing and without realising it we had the basis of a song, but we didn’t know what to do with it!”

Prose played the tune to friends and family, who all loved it, so they decided to make a live video just for their fans on their Facebook page.

Months later Prose were playing at a homeless benefit event in Manchester city centre for the Skullfades Foundation. Mike had himself been homeless in the past, so it’s something he feels strongly about. It was at this event where the Mayor of Manchester, Andy Burnham heard the song, as he recounts:

I first heard Prose perform this song in Piccadilly Gardens last year. It cut straight through the noise of the city and stopped me in my tracks. It captures exactly how we all felt last year when we heard the terrible news, but also how the character of this place pulled us through. It is the very spirit of Manchester in music.”

Andy approached Prose to see if they would be up for releasing A City United with the proceeds going to Manchester Emergency Fund and Peace Foundation. Lee and Mike said they’d be honoured, but only if they could ensure that the families and people involved were happy with them doing this. In fact, all the families are behind the project and have endorsed it completely. Saffie Rousso was the youngest victim out of the 22 people killed that day. Her father, Andrew posted this message on Prose’s Facebook page: “Heartfelt song from a great city.”

After it was approved, Andy Burnham got the ball rolling and tweeted a link to Prose’s Facebook video and announced the plan to release it and they were inundated with support and positive messages. Then Prose received a tweet from Manchester Survivors Choir who asked if they’d be up for having some choral vocals on the song. Cath Hill from the choir explains:

When we saw Andy Burnham’s tweet about the single, we knew we had to get in touch with Prose. We loved the song, the lyrics and everything it stood for and really hoped we could be part of it. They were singing about us, so it just felt right.

It has been an amazing experience for the choir to collaborate with the lads from Prose. The young people in the choir were so excited to get the opportunity to go to a professional recording studio. It was wonderful to see them all smiling, laughing and having the confidence to sing and be recorded. It is a tough song for us to sing, the lyrics are so moving and take us back to that night. However, we are determined to show the world that with a bit of northern spirit and resilience we can create something that people can enjoy listening to and hopefully raise some money for the charities who helped us and others affected. It is a positive end to a very difficult year.

Andy Burnham sums things up:

I am so proud of the band and the respectful way they have dealt with everything and also their generous commitment to use the proceeds to support those most affected and I hope people will get behind this song.”

Buy ‘A City United’ 

BRIAN ENO PRAISES JAMES HOLT

NEW SINGLE: ‘Whatever Happened to John?’

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Photo credit: Paul Husband

“Brisk, funny, exciting… this track feels fresh and exciting to listen to.” – Brian Eno

Manchester-born singer-songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, James Holt has just released the impressive video for his new single ‘Whatever Happened to John?’

The 24-year-old – who was diagnosed with a bilateral hearing loss at the age of four – has overcome his disability to release a pulsating and raucous rock’n’roll track. Speaking candidly about the record’s inception, James explained:

“The inspiration came from a Sky Arts TV programme set in an alternate reality in which John Lennon walked out of the Beatles before their fame in the mid-60s. It’s a fusion of thoughts and ideas and also bears references to George Orwell‘s 1984. Some people say that it sounds very Dylan-esque in the verses (especially with the harmonica), but I think the Indian-fused Beatles’ Revolver creeps in the bridge.”

Music legend, Brian Eno – who has long championed James – invited the young luminary to meet him at his John Peel Lecture for BBC Radio 6 Music. The former Roxy Music keyboard player, record producer and revered ambient pioneer also chose James’s song to use as part of an arts festival last year.

James – who graduated with a BA Music 1st class honours and MA in Music Composition (distinction) provides lead vocals, backing vocals and plays all instruments on the track, highlighting his immense talent as a musician and his resilience in the face of adversity.

‘Whatever Happened to John?’ follows several well-received releases from James, including his critically acclaimed second EP ‘Sanguine On the Rocks’, and ‘Butterfly’- a charity single for the Royal Manchester Children’s Hospital Charity, which has raised over £1100. James performed the single at the Royal Albert Hall for the Music for Youth Proms.

James continues to gain exposure, with a number of industry insiders tipping the young troubadour for great things. Watch this space.

Premiere on Louder Than War: http://louderthanwar.com/james-holt-whatever-happened-to-john-single-review-video-premiere/

For more information contact: liam@askmepr.com

LINKS
SoundCloud https://soundcloud.com/jamesholtmusic/sets/single-whatever-happened-to
Website: www.jamesholtmusic.com
Soundcloud: www.soundcloud.com/jamesholtmusic
Facebook artist page: www.facebook.com/jamesholtmusic
Twitter: www.twitter.com/jamesholtmusic
Spotify: http://spoti.fi/2ri6Fwd

QUOTES
“Very talented, very wonderful – absolutely love his voice.” – BBC Introducing Manchester

“Sounds so great on the radio.” – Chris Douridas KCRW

“With an arresting voice that is reminiscent of John Lennon or early Bob Dylan, wily lyrics and an upbeat weave of rock, prog and blues, it’s obvious to see why his remarkable music is turning heads.” – Manchester Evening News