2018 News Round-Up, Part 1: Arctic Monkeys, Liam Gallagher, Radiohead, Gorillaz and more

During the course of 2018, Live4ever’s News Round-Up has each week been bringing seven days of top news stories to our readers – here we look back at some of the biggest headlines in British music we featured between January and May.

Alex Turner, Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys live in New York. May 2018. (Paul Bachmann / Live4ever)

January:

2018 began with more sad news of notable deaths in the music world. Mark E Smith, whose acerbic tongue, total disdain for commercialism and above all talent for writing some of British music’s best post-punk alternative anthems made him a cult hero in the truest sense, died at the age of 60.

The Fall frontman remained the only constant through his band’s near-four decade career, the revolving door of musicians becoming famous since the release of debut album Live At The Witch Trials in 1979.

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Dolores O’Riordan, lead singer of The Cranberries, died suddenly in London at the age of 46.

The BBC quoted a statement from her publicist which read: “The lead singer with the Irish band The Cranberries was in London for a short recording session. No further details are available at this time. Family members are devastated to hear the breaking news and have requested privacy at this very difficult time.”

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In much happier news, the widely expected return of the Arctic Monkeys had just kicked into gear.

The band were confirmed on the Firefly Festival line-up to start a year which would eventually bring many more live dates and a new album.

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And Gaz Coombes announced the details of a new album entitled World’s Strongest Man.

His follow-up to Matador – one of Live4ever’s albums of 2015 – was due on May 4th and trailed by Deep Pockets.

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Radiohead headlining the first day of TRNSMT 2017 (Gary Mather / Live4ever

February:

In February, Radiohead were intent on making their way back to North America.

A year on from their first spate of State-side touring in support of 2016’s A Moon Shaped Pool, the band detailed a return for the summer with multiple nights booked at Madison Square Garden in New York, Montreal’s Bell Centre, the Air Canada Centre in Toronto, Boston’s TD Garden and Wells Fargo Centre in Philadelphia.

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Liam Gallagher thanked his ‘army of songwriters past and present’ after being named Godlike Genius at the 2018 NME Awards.

Despite missing out on Best British Solo Artist to Loyle Carner and Best Live Artist to Kasabian, it was the Oasis frontman’s evening as he joined brother Noel (2012) in being awarded the title.

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The summer festivals began to take shape as the first wave of acts for Reading & Leeds 2018 were unveiled, including headliners Fall Out Boy, Kendrick Lamar, Panic! At The Disco and Kings Of Leon.

Fall Out Boy were to top Reading’s first night during the UK’s August Bank Holiday weekend, with Kendrick Lamar and Panic! At The Disco at Reading on the Saturday and Leeds on the Sunday, and Kings Of Leon headlining Leeds’ opening day and Reading’s final day.

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Noel Gallagher lent heavily on his Who Built The Moon? solo album as his 2018 world tour began in Detroit that month.

Opening with a live version of Fort Knox, the High Flying Birds went on to air Holy Mountain, Keep On Reaching, It’s A Beautiful World, She Taught Me How To Fly, Be Careful What You Wish For, Black & White Sunshine and Dead In The Water from the 2017 record, whilst also performing settled solo favourites such as Ballad Of The Mighty I and If I Had A Gun.

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Robert Smith was revealed to be curating the year’s Meltdown Festival.

In a move which The Cure frontman would later reveal helped to inspire a new album for the band, due in 2019, he followed the lead of David Bowie, Yoko Ono, David Byrne and others in taking charge of the event which was to be held across the London Southbank complex, taking in the Royal Festival Hall, the Queen Elizabeth Hall and The Hayward, between June 15th-24th. “I am honoured and excited to be curating the 25th Meltdown,” Smith said.

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A headline spot at TRNSMT along side Liam Gallagher, The Killers and the Stereophonics was just one of many 2018 festival appearances that were being confirmed by Arctic Monkeys as February progressed.

Various European events were added by the Sheffield band to their line-up, with an already ridiculously strong Mad Cool, Primavera, Flow and Sziget among those getting in on their live return.

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Paul Simon was the latest big name to be confirmed for the year’s British Summer Time Festival in London.

The songwriting legend joined the likes of Roger Waters, The Cure and Eric Clapton at the Hyde Park event, and was himself be joined on July 15th by James Taylor and Bonnie Raitt for a gig which was being dubbed ‘Homeward Bound – The Farewell Performance’. Indeed, September would bid farewell to Simon’s live performances in New York.

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The Boxer Rebellion confirmed they would release their new album Ghost Alive in March.

“This album was certainly born during a particularly challenging time for my family and I,” frontman Nathan Nicholson said of an LP which would go on to be named one of Live4ever’s best of the year.

“Late one evening – right in the middle of pre-production – I was informed by telephone of my Dad’s passing. I was in London with my wife and son, and left first thing in the morning to fly back to Maryville, Tennessee, where I’m from.”

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Idles signed to Partisan Records after completing work on their second album.

“This is not a decision based on greed,” Joe Talbot responded. “They excite us and have injected ideas and passions into our camp that we would not have mustered. We as a family have realised our limitations in as far as the ship we have built with you all is becoming too much for the team we have to achieve the best of our abilities.”

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Liam Gallagher

Liam Gallagher performing at the 2017 Leeds Festival (Gary Mather / Live4ever)

March:

As Live4ever headed off for another week of South By Southwest coverage, March saw Blossoms set their second studio album Cool Like You for release on April 27th.

The successor to 2016’s UK number one, self-titled debut album was led by I Can’t Stand It, a track which received its first play on BBC Radio 1. “Longevity’s where it lies,” frontman Tom Ogden said on Annie Mac’s show.

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Liam Gallagher joined brother Noel as a headliner at the BBC’s Biggest Weekend event – though they were still separated by 24 hours and a good few hundred miles.

Liam topped the Coventry leg, at War Memorial Park, on May 27th, with UB40 and Paloma Faith also joining that bill. Noel, meanwhile, was to headline Scone Palace in Perth, Scotland the day before.

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The Rolling Stones expanded their European stadium tour to include extra UK shows in Southampton and Coventry.

An appearance at St. Mary’s in Southampton was added for May 29th, while a gig at Ricoh Arena in Coventry slotted in before the Old Trafford, Manchester date.

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Bloc Party‘s 2005 debut album Silent Alarm was ready to be remembered on a European tour later in the year.

Kele Okereke’s latest line-up, which saw Justin Harris and drummer Louise Bartle replace Gordon Moakes and Matt Tong for the campaign behind their most recent studio album Hymns, arranged gigs in Amsterdam, Paris, Berlin, Brussels, Dublin and London for October, performing Silent Alarm in full.

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Slaves supporting The Cribs @ Leeds Arena (Gary Mather / Live4ever)

April:

With Alex Turner all set for his return to the Arctic Monkeys, Miles Kane unveiled his own post-Last Shadow Puppets plans this month.

The pair reunited in 2016 for a second studio album entitled Everything You’ve Come To Expect, but Kane was now back on the solo trail and set to embark on a UK headline tour in May and June to go with various previously announced festival appearances.

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Gorillaz‘ swift follow-up to last year’s Humanz album seemed just around the corner.

A brand new track entitled Hollywood received its live debut in Santiago, while Damon Albarn told the crowd that an album was going to be out ‘very soon’. He wasn’t wrong.

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Arctic Monkeys confirmed the release of their sixth studio album Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino on May 11th.

Their first since 2013’s AM was recorded in Los Angeles, Paris and London, produced by Alex Turner and James Ford, and was another which ultimately featured prominently in Live4ever’s end of year list.

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Johnny Marr announced his new solo album Call The Comet.

The album was his ‘own magic realism’, and due for release on June 15th after sessions at his Crazy Face studio in Manchester. “It’s set in the not-too-distant future and is mostly concerned with the idea of an alternative society,” Marr continued.

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Slaves were on social media confirming work on their third studio album was complete.

Laurie Vincent and Isaac Holman began recording their follow-up to 2016’s Take Control around a year earlier, Holman telling Steve Lamacq on BBC 6Music that the conclusion of the 2017 festival season was when they had been planning to reenter the studio.

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The Coral unveiled the details of their new album ‘Move Through The Dawn.

The follow-up to Distance Inbetween was pencilled in for release on August 17th, and was being led off by a video for ‘Sweet Release, directed by James Slater.

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Everything Everything and Elbow both received nominations for the 2018 Ivor Novello Awards.

Everything Everything competed in both the Best Song Musically And Lyrically and Album Award categories thanks to Can’t Do and A Fever Dream respectively, while Elbow were also up for Best Song Musically And Lyrically with Magnificent (She Says).

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Morrissey

Morrissey appearing at the Alexandra Palace in London, March 2018. (Alberto Pezzali / Live4ever)

May:

At the start of the month, Record Store Day 2018 releases were naturally dominating the UK Record Store Chart, with David Bowie‘s Welcome To The Blackout at number one.

There was new entries all the way down the Top 20, with more special RSD issues from the likes of Arcade Fire, The National and The Cure proving popular.

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The View’s frontman Kyle Falconer confirmed the details of his debut solo album.

Another which would go on to be one of our favourties, No Thank You was to be released on July 27th, following up his first single Poor Me which was inspired by the Alcoholics Anonymous mantra ‘poor me, poor me, pour me another drink’. “Every day you get triggers and traumas stuck in your head, and you’re hearing all of these horrible stories,” he said.

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Florence & The Machine followed-up How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful and a 2015 Glastonbury headline performance with the new album High As Hope.

Out on June 29th, it contained the recently shared Sky Full Of Song as well as the official lead single Hunger. The LP was recorded in London and Los Angeles and featured numerous guest appearances; from Sampha, Jamie xx and Kamasi Washington among others.

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Suede‘s next album was to be released on September 21st.

The Blue Hour was set to be their eighth studio album and third since the 2010 reunion. “‘The Blue Hour’ is the time of day when the light is fading and night is closing in,” a statement read.

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Mike Skinner was detailing plans to take his Streets comeback into 2019 with another set of UK dates.

A handful of brand new tracks had been released since Skinner brought The Streets back in October 2017 to go with a Greatest Hits European tour which concluded over three nights at the Brixton Academy in London.

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Two homecoming concerts were announced by Morrissey for July.

The Smiths singer was hoping to return to Manchester on July 7th and 8th, playing shows in support of his latest solo album Low In High-School at the Castlefield Bowl.

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