First single from forthcoming LP “Quicken the Heart” released on CD/ 2 x 7″ vinyl/ digital download through Warp Records on May 4 By now you would, in all probability, have heard “Wraithlike”, the first tantalizing taster from Maximo Park’s imminent third album, “Quicken the Heart”. However, that is but one piece of the forthcoming Maximo Park puzzle. Just as the shiny new third album, produced by Nick Launay, is pretty much full to bursting with all manner of aural surprises and delights – and pushes the band to new levels not previously witnessed – so the first proper single is yet another delicious leftfield turn. For with “The Kids Are Sick Again”, Paul Smith and company have pulled off something wonderfully rare indeed: they’ve created an instantly immortal, poignantly timed, ridiculously addictive pop song.
At once powered by fury but laced with romance and optimism, “The Kids Are Sick Again” is an impassioned call to arms, an anthemic clarion call against societal complacency and small-town boredom, or as Smith himself says, “it’s a song about escape…about breaking free of your mental shackles and jumping into the unknown”. As such, it is a song which resolutely defies traditional structure and convention and uplifts and galvanizes in equal measure, finding a band operating at the very peak of their powers. This is a roof-raising, chest-swelling, triumphant single of the kind so rarely made anymore, and one that definitely ranks as one of the band’s absolute best.
Following on from the download-only teaser “Wraithlike”, this is a double whammy to sharpen anticipation for “Quicken the Heart” like no other. Indeed, so besotted with “Wraithlike” was Zane Lowe that upon him debuting the track on his radio show on March 9, he ended up playing it twice, back to back, followed swiftly by Jo Whiley the next day. An extremely rare honour indeed, but one certainly befitting the stellar return of Maximo Park – and we mean literally stellar. Just wait until you see the artwork…
More about Maximo Park
Just two vinyl-only singles in, and things are pulling very sharply into focus for Maximo Park. A year ago, their inchoate howls of frustration set to big choruses were still largely un-moulded and all-but unknown outside (even inside) their native Newcastle. But what a difference a debut makes. Now, copies of their first, red vinyl seven-inch pairing of “Graffiti” and “Going Missing” are ferociously fought over at an online marketplace near you, changing hands for upwards of 50 quid. Thankfully one of these rare artefacts found its way into the hands of Steve Beckett, Warp Records supremo. And the band who were to redefine the roster of the world’s leading electronic label were decidedly on their way.
Beckett saw in Maximo Park and their arresting frontman Paul Smith, something of the promise he had earlier identified in Pulp and Jarvis Cocker just as they were making their transition from bookish miserable-ism to sharply-honed, hilarious social commentary, set in a pop idiom. Both bands talk easily about the landscape of boring, sh-tty Britain, speaking with originality, accuracy, resigned wit, and more than a little fire in their bellies. Like Cocker, Paul seems often thwarted in his songs, waiting both literally and metaphorically as the “Position Closed” sign goes up.
“That song ['Signal & Sign'] is supposed to be about seizing new direction and a new dawn, a very simplistic call to arms: ‘Don’t waste your life, Just go outside!’,” says Smith. “But the chorus is just a confused person, and there are loads of different moods and other smaller stories within the song. I like balancing simple and complex elements and watching them battle it out with each other.”
Words mean everything to Smith and he confesses to delighting in trying to smuggle strange concepts and non-pop phrasing into his work. “Every single line on the record I’ve thought about individually to see if it stands up in isolation,” he says. “Often you only get one line on a record that really gets you, and I’m trying to go one better than that. Pop’s a transient form of culture and I’m trying to add something of resonance to it.”
Smith is undoubtedly a charismatic and serious young man, but he goes through some kind of metamorphosis when he approaches a stage. “There is a transformational aspect to performing,” he says. “I react to the music and filter it through my body. It’s different every night, a different place with a different atmosphere and different people. From my point of view, it’s a very basic thing that happens onstage. People say ‘That Paul Smith, he thinks he’s a bigger star than he is,’ but when I’m jumping around like an idiot I’ve got no time to think about being cool, or anything other than giving 100% commitment. I am a servant of the music and I’ve got no self-confidence outside of that. It comes out of you and if you can’t express it you shouldn’t be on stage; it is after all built on a higher level so people can see you.”
On stage and in the studio, Smith deals in tight wordplay, his tumult of syllables bombarding the listener and reflecting the singer’s state of personal confusion over another fine mess he’s gotten himself into. Somehow out of this maelstrom Maximo Park reliably manages to conjure a stone cold killer chorus, as in the epically pummelling “Once A Glimpse,” the deliciously baffling “The Coast Is Always Changing,” or the self-explanatory “Now I’m All Over The Shop.”
Throughout their short songs Smith chaffs gently at the boundaries of the pop lexicon, breathing real life into stifling lyrical situations, making them true, in his own language and own accent. So that, without ever seeming to try to be different, he manages to construct a believable environment of small town, narrowed horizons, from which a young man has no choice but to cut and run.
“People have a preconceived notion of what constitutes real music and soul music, but Soul Music is just another package. Real soul music is Joy Division and Cocteau Twins, as well as Aretha Franklin,” says Smith. “A Certain Trigger is an emotional record. I’m not sure that any new emotions have been invented in the last 20 million years. Things remain pretty basic and it’s those things that I’m trying to interpret; trying to be universal and individual at the same time.”
In this quest he is bolstered and driven ever forward by the inventive song structures of Duncan Lloyd (guitars), Lukas Wooller (keys), Archis Tiku (bass), and Tom English (drums). Musically there is something almost claustrophobically tight about Maximo Park that means you have to check yourself to make sure you remember to breathe.
Out of this ferment the band is writing some of the best and most memorable pop songs of their generation. Both sides of that classic debut, “Graffiti” and “Going Missing” sound like bona fide big, big hits of the near future. “Graffiti,” with its barnstorming rattle through a tale of hitting a personal wall, is bug-eyed intensity incarnate; its burning and complex guitars providing the perfect escape route from a town where nothing happens and where both hope and vision have long since been lost.
“It’s about the continual search for romance around every corner in everyday life,” says Smith. “‘I’ll do graffiti if you sing to me in French’ was a line left over from before I joined the band. And it reminded me of the allure of the Paris riots of 1968 and the New Wave and Situationism; a time when it seemed possible for anything to happen, but remembered in a relationship when nothing seems possible and you are looking for a moment of transcendence. ‘What are we doing here if romance isn’t dead?!’”
Anthemic and immense, “Going Missing” is if anything stronger still, the plangent, ringing guitars managing to recall both primetime Stone Roses and something great by Dinosaur Jr, like “Start Choppin’.” “I’m going missing for a while, I’ve got nothing left to lose” sings Smith with all the urgent passion of someone who’s just emerged from another bad situation and realized once again that life is just chockfull of possibilities.
And it doesn’t stop there. Closing the album, “Kiss You Better” contains perhaps the record’s most perfectly encapsulated moment when Smith demands, “You! Are you so scared that you’re just going to let it happen?!” And it sounds like a vital personal question to everyone listening; a rallying cry for anyone not dealing with their sh-t, when in truth it’s probably just Paul asking another girl why she’s copping off with someone else and not him…again.
Oh, yes, did I mention sexual frustration? Not all the frustration set out on A Certain Trigger is directed at the pen pushers of petty bureaucracy. A fair amount, in fact, most of Paul’s tension seems to stem from his singular inability to do as well as he’d like with the ladies. (i.e. “Night I Lost My Head,” “Apply Some Pressure,” “Postcard Of A Painting” and “Signal & Sign”). But that’s another story.
The Dykeenies, Brian (vocals/synth), Andy (bass), Steven (guitar) and John (drums), have been locked up in the studio for the past six months – recording new material and preparing to hit the road as a four piece after the departure of original band mate, Alan, earlier this year.
As Scotland’s best loved indie popsters are putting their finishing touches to their second album, which they are planning to release later on in the summer, The Dykeenies have announced that fans can get their hands on a new track for FREE! The exclusive version of Are You With Me Now can be downloaded from www.myspace.com/gofindthedykeenies.
The Dykeenies are also heading out on a 16 dates UK Tour in March.
Here are full dates:
10 March – Exeter – The Cavern
11 March – Brighton – Digital
12 March – Southampton – Talking Heads
13 March – Portsmouth – The Cellars
14 March – Coventry – Kasbah
15 March – Manchester – Moho Live
17 March – London – Underworld
18 March – Derby – Rockhouse
19 March – Leeds – The Cockpit
20 March – Glasgow – QMU – SOLD OUT
21 March – Liverpool – Carling Academy
24 March – Inverness – Ironworks
25 March – Aberdeen – Moshulu
26 March – Dundee – Fat Sams
27 March – Edinburgh – Studio 24 – SOLD OUT
28 March – Newcastle – Carling Academy
Tickets for the shows are available now by logging onto www.ticketmaster.co.uk or by calling 08444 999 990.
Hailing from the Glaswegian satellite town of Cumbernauld, they comprise of two brothers – Brian (vocals/synths), and Andrew Henderson (bass) – and two childhood friends, Steven Ramsay (guitar) and John Kerr (drums), all aged between 20 and 25. There were originally 5 members but Alan Henderson (guitar) left in December 2008.
Since they formed in the summer of 2005, The Dykeenies have played numerous sold out shows around Scotland, as well as supporting the likes of Maxïmo Park, The Fratellis and Mystery Jets.
The band got their big break when they played the “Your Sound” night – a platform for unsigned talent, at Glasgow’s legendary King Tuts, the venue where an unknown Oasis were signed on the spot by the then head of Creation Records, Alan Mcgee in 1993. The Dykeenies became the first signing to the King Tuts’ Recordings label, whose aim is to release one off singles by new bands with a view to bringing them to the attention of other labels.
The double A side single, “New Ideas/Will It Happen Tonight” was released in July 2006 and was a perfect showcase for their angular punk pop melodies. It did the trick. They have secured reams of glowing press from the Scottish media as well as a playlist on XFM Scotland and London. The single also brought them to the attention of Steve Lamacq, who supported the release and invited the band to do a live session.
The Dykeenies are now turning their attention south of the border. Having been championed by the New Music editor at NME after he received an early demo, they secured an opening slot on the NME Rock ‘n Roll Riot tour with The Horrors, The Maccabees and The Fratellis.
Now signed to Lavolta Records, The Dykeenies released debut EP “Waiting For Go”, on the label on November 27th. Written by the band, the eighties inspired lead track was produced by Jim Abbiss (Arctic Monkeys/Kasabian/Editors) and mixed by Cenzo Townshend (New Order/U2/Kaiser Chiefs). The EP also features “Things You Cannot See”, “Feels Like Sleep” and “Dark Time”, which showcase the band’s unique brand of spiky, indie pop and flair for infectious choruses that whirl around your head long after the CD has left your stereo.
In April of 2007 the band released “New Ideas”, which debuted at #54 in the UK, whilst entering at #2 in Scotland. They have since embarked on two UK tours and have just released “Clean Up Your Eyes”, with the album “Nothing Means Everything” due for release in September 2007.
Never forget…The Dykeenies love you!
Maximo Park have announced the title of their new album, “Quicken the Heart”, set to be released in May. Following their Mercury Music Prize nominated debut, “A Certain Trigger”, and the top 2 charting follow up “Our Earthly Pleasures”, “Quicken the Heart” will precede their first, white hot UK tour of 2009, a tour which saw venues such as Newcastle, Leeds, Manchester and Brixton Academies selling out in record time. It contains 12 brand new tracks from the band, recorded in LA with famed producer Nick Launay, who has also worked with the likes of Talking Heads and Nick Cave in the past, as well as recording the latest Yeah Yeah Yeahs album.
UPCOMING TOUR DATES:
13 NEWCASTLE Academy – SOLD OUT
14 NEWCASTLE – Academy – SOLD OUT
15 GLASGOW – Academy – SOLD OUT
16 LIVERPOOL – University – SOLD OUT
18 SOUTHAMPTON – Guildhall – SOLD OUT
19 BIRMINGHAM – Academy – SOLD OUT
20 NOTTINGHAM – Rock City – SOLD OUT
22 LEEDS – Academy – SOLD OUT
23 MANCHESTER – Academy – SOLD OUT
24 NORWICH – UEA – SOLD OUT
26 LONDON – Brixton Academy – last few tickets £17.50
27 LONDON – Brixton Academy – SOLD OUT
28 BRISTOL – Academy – SOLD OUT
More about Maxïmo Park
Newcastle’s angular pop quintet Maxïmo Park consists of singer Paul Smith, guitarist Duncan Lloyd, bassist Archie Tiku, keyboardist Lukas Wooller, and drummer Tom English. Like their friends and neighbors the Futureheads, Maxïmo Park craft smart, sharply catchy songs inspired by post-punk and new wave legends like the Jam, XTC, Wire, and the Smiths. Maxïmo Park issued their debut 7″, The Coast Is Always Changing/The Night I Lost My Head, in 2004; it caught the ears of Warp Records, which despite being a mostly electronic label signed them and released their second single, “Apply Some Pressure,” early in 2005. It made the Top 20 in the U.K.’s national charts. At that time, Warp also released the Apply Some Pressure EP, which featured tracks from both of the band’s singles, in the U.S.
Maxïmo Park also finished recording their debut album with producer Paul Epworth (who also worked with Bloc Party and Babyshambles) that winter and spent the spring touring the U.K., Japan, and the U.S., making an appearance at South by Southwest. The “Graffiti” single heralded the arrival of the band’s full-length debut, A Certain Trigger, late that spring. More tours of the U.S. and U.K., including gigs at Glastonbury and Reading, kept the band busy that summer. Early in 2006, the B-sides collection Missing Songs was released; Maxïmo Park also maintained their hectic touring schedule and returned to the studio late that year, teaming with producer Gil Norton. Our Earthly Pleasures arrived in spring 2007.
Paul “Scooby” Smith
For more information keep your eyes peeled on the official website: www.maximopark.com
Maximo Park have added two extra shows to their May tour after some of the initial shows sold out this morning. O2 Academy Newcastle sold out in 10 minutes, Leeds and Manchester sold out in less than 30 minutes and all 4,800 tickets for the Brixton date went within an hour.
Due to overwhelming demand, the band have added 2 final shows on this tour; another at the O2 Academy Newcastle on May 13 and a second night at the O2 Academy Brixton on May 26. Tickets are on sale now via the Xfm Gig Guide here.
The full tour itinerary is:
May 13 O2 Academy Newcastle
May 14 O2 Academy Newcastle
May 15 O2 Academy Glasgow
May 16 Liverpool University
May 18 Southampton Guildhall
May 19 O2 Academy Birmingham
May 20 Nottingham Rock City
May 22 O2 Academy Leeds
May 23 Manchester Academy
May 24 Norwich UEA
May 26 O2 Academy Brixton
May 27 O2 Academy Brixton
May 28 O2 Academy Bristol