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The 1975

The 1975 are an English rock band originating from Manchester. The group consists of lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Matthew "Matty" Healy, lead guitarist Adam Hann, bassist Ross MacDonald, and drummer George Daniel. Matthew Healy, the son of actors Denise Welch and Tim Healy, grew up in Newcastle and Cheshire. He met Ross MacDonald, Adam Hann and George Daniel at Wilmslow High School in 2002; as teenagers, they played together. The band formed when a local council worker organized numerous gigs for teens. Healy found Hann who "came up to [him] and said he wanted to play one of these shows." The band began playing covers until they "eventually wrote a song," according to Healy. "We started from then and we've been making music together since we were about 15." After Hann invited the members to form a band, they passed their early days covering punk songs in a local club. Healy was originally the drummer but took over for vocals after the previous singer left to start another band. George Daniel was recruited as the new drummer to complete the final line up. The band formerly performed under Me and You Versus Them, Forever Drawing Six, Talkhouse, The Slowdown, Bigsleep, and Drive Like I Do, before settling on The 1975. Healy recounts that the name was inspired by scribblings found on the backpage of a poetry book by Jack Kerouac that stated "1 June, The 1975."

The Head and The Heart

The Mojave Desert reverberates with mysticism. It’s a landscape of boulders seemingly transported from the moon alongside Joshua Trees, their tops angled upward like hands grasping at the heavens. This is where everyone from John Lennon and Keith Richards to Victoria Williams and Gram Parsons have come for inspiration. And early last year, it’s where The Head and the Heart decided to shed old skin before writing their fourth album, Living Mirage, a sweeping, artful expansion of the earthy folk rock that once defined them.

This recent “rebirth, a spirit quest of sorts,” as bassist Chris Zasche describes it, came from growing pains after their last album: the amicable departure of guitarist-vocalist Josiah Johnson, replaced by Matt Gervais—husband to singer-violinist Charity Rose Thielen—and the return of keyboardist Kenny Hensley.

The palpitating-choral “Missed Connection,” the album’s debut single, is a poignant snapshot of the anxiety that accompanied their growing pains. “A lot of the beats on that song are quicker, and there are high hats that were never in our music before,” Tyler says, attributing the new sounds to their love of pop and hip-hop production. The track began as a remembrance of how Jon met his girlfriend, until morphing into a potent metaphor for the band—which met serendipitously around an open-mic night in Seattle 10 years ago—suddenly wondering, as he recalls, “Is it all going to work?”

The transcendent, voluminous title track, “Living Mirage,” the first they wrote, was their breakthrough. “There were no rules. That song was literally Jon tuning his guitar playing this riff. It was like, ‘Oh my god, keep playing!” Chris says. “‘Living Mirage’ is essentially a love song but also about getting out of your own way, eliminating barriers.” Adds Jon: “There are dual realities in the way that you see the world. You can choose to see things either in a positive or a negative light. This record is looking through the lens of love.”

The Joshua Tree session may have kicked off apprehensively, but quickly settled into powerful introspection and experimentation. (“Change keeps things interesting and keeps things relevant,” Charity observes. “I was genuinely reminded in this process that growth is often difficult because it requires shedding, leaping and believing.”) It also yielded the Fleetwood Mac–meets–John Steinbeck “Running Through Hell,” a mid-tempo anthem about persevering through hard times. During its inception, Chris says, “We opened all the doors. It was windy and dusty.” Jon free-styled lyrics over the music, building a narrative inspired by the Dustbowl era, about the strength of resolve. “In my mind, the songs on this album are vignettes.” Jon says.

After three weeks in the desert, the band parted ways, but inspiration lingered. This is when the process of assembling Living Mirage truly became a journey. “We left the Joshua Tree knowing we were onto something big,” Chris notes. Jon etched out the sauntering “Honeybee,” then an a-cappella floor stomp about rescuing a decaying relationship, during a writing workshop in Los Angeles. Meanwhile, the life-affirming banger “I Found Out” came to him while listening to local drummers on a volunteer trip to Haiti, where he also penned the hushed, almost gospel “Saving Grace” during a lightning-storm blackout.

The Head and the Heart kept forging ahead, hitting Appleton, Wisconsin, where they taped demos in a cavernous monastery–turned–art space called The Refuge. By October 2018, they were recording the album with producing duo Tyler Johnson and Alex Salibian (Harry Styles, Sam Smith, Cam) and engineer Ryan Nasci. “They are great at capturing our music in a way that feels timeless,” Jons says. Offers Chris: “Our records have been a little more sparse. There’s more dynamic and depth this time around.” Living Mirage lives up to its title, a shapeshifting fever dream of unease, angst, and ultimately hope. “This is literally the most work we’ve ever done on an album,” Jon remarks, proudly.

“The beautiful thing that happened in the process of making Living Mirage was coming to the understanding that this isn’t something that gets solved in some satisfying way, that we all walk off into the sunset,” Matt explains. “Instead, we needed to learn to embrace the uncertainty of our positions within the band and as humans, which can feel very threatening.” Instead of resisting, they let go of their egos.

Chris may have said it best, “This record feels the closest to our first record. Not musically, but sort of like how that first record had no rules, no template.”

Catfish and The Bottlemen

Catfish and the Bottlemen are practically of “no fixed abode” due to near constant touring and recording since 2014, when their platinum-certified debut album The Balcony surfaced. Preparing fans for a raft of new material to follow their 2016 gold-certified album The Ride, the band is led out of the studio and onto even bigger stages by venerated frontman and songwriter, Van McCann, along with Johnny Bond (lead guitar), Benji Blakeway (bass), and Bob Hall (drums).

Their eagerly anticipated 2019 live announcements come following a triumphant summer that saw them command headline slots across several major UK festivals, and break new ground internationally appearing at top festivals in Italy, Spain, France, and the United States. The past eighteen months has seen the band claim their place as a bona fide arena band at home, adding an already sold-out UK arena tour in February 2019 to an impressive list of previously conquered stages. They are also finding time to revisit Australia for the third time in two years when they kick off a national tour in Tasmania at the end of 2018.

Audiences from Manchester to Melbourne, London to Los Angeles, Newcastle to New York, and everywhere in between have been engulfed by the swell of eager sentiment propelled from a vociferous fanbase. Catfish and the Bottlemen possess a magnetic and dynamic focal point in McCann, renowned for posing everyday, easily-identifiable observations through his lyrics. 

Local Natives

Face-to-face songwriting and musical interplay put to tape: the classic studio setting is juxtaposed on Local Natives’ fourth full-length, VIOLET STREET [Loma Vista Recordings] with modern production and visuals to form a timeless album. The band’s signature soaring 3-part harmonies are augmented by loops of tape, physically spliced and transformed by hand, the result of experimenting in the studio with producer Shawn Everett [Alabama Shakes, Kacey Musgraves, The War On Drugs] is a band renewed.

In essence, Local Natives [Taylor Rice (vocals, guitar), Kelcey Ayer (vocals, keys), Ryan Hahn (vocals, guitar), Matt Frazier (drums), and Nik Ewing (vocals, bass, keys)] return to the methods of their 2009 debut Gorilla Manor, but with the bonds of their union fortified and with the growth of wisdom accrued in the studio and on stage in front of millions of worldwide fans.

“The record is about us reconnecting to playing off of each other,” states Taylor. “We didn’t go into separate corners, produce our own songs, and bring them to the group. Back when we made Gorilla Manor, we lived together in one house and made a frantically creative environment. This time, we were in a massive warehouse with Shawn, jamming, and relying on each other often until three or four in the morning for several nights straight. It was fun, but also pushed us to outdo each other. We got back to our strengths. We’ve always been super collaborative and democratic, as we have three songwriters and singers, and all five of us have a lot of creative input. This was the most collaborative and open we’ve been though. We were raw and vulnerable. It’s the first time we didn’t do any pre-production, we went in and built the record out of nothing.”

In many ways, all paths converged upon VIOLET STREET. Prior, the group progressed their sound over the course of three full-lengths, the aforementioned Gorilla Manor, Hummingbird [2013], and, most recently, Sunlit Youth [2016]. The latter received praise from The FADER, Consequence of Sound, The Guardian, and more as “Dark Days” exceeded 45 million Spotify streams followed by “Coins” with 23 million Spotify streams. In between countless sold out shows and festival appearances - including a standout Coachella 2017 set - they’ve graced the stages of Austin City Limits, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Late Show With James Corden, and more. And they tested new sonic waters, recording a cover of Kanye West’s “Ultralight Beam,” which Complex called “beautiful.”

After the tour cycle concluded in support of Sunlit Youth, the musicians decided to go back to square one in 2018. Rather than separately write, track, and contribute parts via email, they congregated in person at Shawn’s studio and warehouse, rekindling their chemistry and nodding to a tried-and-true tactic employed at the start of their career.

The music evokes an expansive scope introduced by the lush guitars, iridescent harmonies, and paranoiac pop vocals of the single “When Am I Gonna Lose You.”

“I got married last year, and ‘When Am I Gonna Lose You’ is the zig zagging, arduous journey for me to get there,” says Taylor. “I found myself in an amazing relationship, but I always felt like it was going to go away, fall apart, and crumble. A never-ending looping feeling in the back of my head that things can’t last, and the final leap it takes to get past that. It’s set in Big Sur on the coast, which was an important part of our story. I’m diving into murky emotions of anxiety and doubt in the middle of love and joy.”

Named after the Downtown address where Shawn operates his studio, the album encapsulates the spirit of the city in all of its widescreen splendor for the quintet. “Los Angeles is an important character in the music,” explains Kelcey. “VIOLET STREET embodied the space where we were able to make the songs and harness energy. Musically, we were both looking forward and experimenting, but leaning on time honored techniques as well. Similarly, the LA is growing and expanding culturally right now, but remains classic. Everything came to life in this place. All of our emotions and ideas were represented by VIOLET STREET.