POST-ROCK DUO ANNOUNCE FIRST ALBUM FOR 6 YEARS:
‘HOUSES OF THE SUN’
OUT 22 JUNE VIA VILLAGE RECORDINGS
+ MAY UK TOUR DATES
+ ‘SWITCHING OFF THE PERFUME GARDEN’
TEASER TRACK – LISTEN HERE
“something rather special” – Tom Robinson, BBC 6Music
“soundscapes, reverb and blizzards of overdrive.” – Guitarist Magazine
“Low slung, spaced out psyche rock” – Echoes & Dust
Breaking a six year hiatus this summer – THE BLOOD CHOIR – are overwhelmed to announce their sophomore album: ‘Houses of the Sun’.
Set for release on the 22nd June 2018, the long-awaited follow up to their 2012 debut ‘No Windows to the Old World’ will see the pairing of Robin Maddicott and Joe Mountain reassume their joint moniker once more for the release.
Whilst the cult band have been dropping hints of the possibility of a new body of work to fans for some time, the only material to have emerged so far has been cerebral teaser track ‘Switching off the Perfume Garden’, a track championed by BBC 6 Music’s Tom Robinson following its radio premiere as “something rather special”.
Confirmed to appear on the forthcoming ‘Houses of the Sun’, you can watch the video for first cut, ‘Switching off the Perfume Garden’ here:
In anticipation of the new release, the duo are also pleased to announce a run of UK tour dates taking place throughout May, with confirmed appearances in Bristol, London, Cardiff, Bath and more – full dates and details below.
THE BLOOD CHOIR – MAY UK TOUR DATES
Fri 18 May – The Barrel House Ballroom, Totnes
Sat 19 May – Mr. Wolf’s, Bristol
Wed 23 May – Paper Dress Vintage, London
Thu 24 May – Gwdihw, Cardiff
Fri 25 May – The Queens Head, Box
Sat 26 May – Moles Club, Bath
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Much like the music of their mastery, fans of The Blood Choir must have known deep down that the record we now know to expect as ‘Houses of the Sun’ would only ever have arrived in such a gloriously glacial, unfurling fashion.
With a penchant for puppeteering even the most unwieldy genres and idiosyncratic sonic palettes to populate each of their slow-burning micro-masterpieces, the Anglo-Danish duo accrued acclaim the world over around the release of their first full length collection of studio tracks, 2012’s ‘No Windows to the Old World’ LP.
In 2018, wrapping your ears around ‘Houses of the Sun’, it’s like they’ve never been away. ‘Houses of the Sun’ sees the band once again sifting through a raft of genres as far flung as arena rock to Nordic ambient to noise-pop to metal, unpicking their tightly-bound seams, scavenging their desired properties and weaving them into compositions entirely their own.
Title track and opener ‘Houses of the Sun’ breaks like a new dawn, shots of Mountain’s searing guitar penetrating brightly through clouds of hazy ambience. On ‘Cold Waves’ Maddicott’s voice reverberates with that ear-prickingly unmistakable Mark Hollis via Thom Yorke hushed quality, hovering amidst a sea of ambient piano motifs and awash with atmospherics. ‘Drake’ sees the pair flirt with the epic hallmarks of a Floyd or Mogwai progressive masterwork, tightly wrapt up in a 4 minute number. The ghoulish and claustrophobic confines of ‘Simon’s Beach’ and the psychotic arpeggios of ‘Horseback’ wouldn’t find themselves amiss on a John Carpenter score. Whereas ‘Tide’ sweeps in with the kind of understatedly epic climax that we’ve come to expect from the band; a masterclass in reverb-drenched, slow building, sci-fi tinged wonderment.
Undoubtedly this is The Blood Choir we have come to know and adore, but also reaching for new realms unchartered and thrilling. With such unmistakable consonance of sound, it seems the only dislocation to this neat narrative is the question of that lengthy hiatus…
It seems we find the origins of ‘Houses of the Sun’ back in 2013. With the band riding high on the acclaim of their debut and bristling with ideas and optimism, The Blood Choir checked in for a series of sessions, recording with esteemed producer Tom Dalgety (Pixies, Royal Blood, Opeth). However, whilst the sensational “Houses of the Sun”, “The Boat”, “Switching off the Perfume Garden” and “White Bear” would receive the credit of Dalgety’s co-production caress, they would be the only tracks that now appear on the record to do so.
After this initial creative flourish, the band soon found themselves becoming mired in the familiar feuds, family crises and the failures that have consumed even the greatest artists who find themselves under the pressure of that sacrosanct sink-or-swim second album. As Maddicott explains:
“The last five years have been a particularly turbulent period for us. We’ve both experienced some pretty tragic personal losses; we parted ways with our record company and manager; the touring line-up of the band fell apart acrimoniously; we had to cancel a tour; and I had to move to Denmark when the album was only half-finished.”
With their trust in the industry in tatters and their set-up reduced to just its core founding members (both of whom now faced an uncertain futures separated oceans apart), the destiny of The Blood Choir had all but reached the very brink of collapse. Yet, unlike those oft-well documented albums that perhaps will never see the light of day, it was the commendable creative vision and unwavering companionship of Maddicott and Mountain that finally steered ‘Houses of the Sun’ through these turbulent waters and homeward bound.
Each feeling an unquenchable yearning to finish what they had begun, the duo began to communicate ideas electronically, incrementally sending files to one another back and forth between Denmark (where Maddicott had relocated due to family reasons) and Mountain’s base in Blighty. Progress was slow, but after patient exchanges over many months, the blueprints finally began to come into focus and the pair set a date to hook up in the flesh to finish what they had started five years previously. Bunkering up in a UK-based studio with the assured assistance of producer/engineer Jon Walker (Arcane Roots, The Heavy), in just 3 weeks their vision of ‘Houses of the Sun’ would become a reality.
Tentatively lifting the gauntlet thrown down by their debut over half a decade later, it’s safe to say The Blood Choir’s return to the studio has been one of cautious and considered deliberation, bitterly fought and hard won, but with results that they (and we) knew would always be worth the wait.
* * * * *
The Blood Choir are comprised of founding members Robin Maddicott and Joe Mountain. Formed in Bristol in 2009, they began recording material for what would become the unreleased and much-coveted ‘Dartmoor’ EP.
Signing with IRL (Independent Records Ltd) in 2012, the duo released their first official album ‘No Windows to the Old World’, a record co-produced with Tim Oliver (New Order, Robert Plant), who simultaneously released the record through his own label Top Cat Music. With the likes of Guitarist Magazine praising the record’s “soundscapes, reverb and blizzards of overdrive” (4*), The Blood Choir fleshed out their ranks to develop an expanded set up to do the album and it’s multitudinous depths justice in the live setting. The band toured extensively with Arbouretum, plus accepted invites to perform with The Handsome Family, The Magic Band, Steve Gullick’s Tenebrous Liar, Dark Dark Dark and Silver Apples among others.
Still centred around the nucleus of Maddicott and Mountain, though currently operating between Denmark and the UK, The Blood Choir will return in 2018 with their first full length studio album for six years: ‘Houses of the Sun’.
THE BLOOD CHOIR – ‘HOUSES OF THE SUN’
Available on 22 June 2018 via the band’s own label Village Recordings.
The label’s first physical release, the record will be available on CD, 180g Vinyl, and on Spotify, iTunes, Apple Music and all official streaming services. Pre order the album here:
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