2018 News Round-Up, Part 2: Idles, Muse, Wolf Alice, The Beatles 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 – in the second part of our year retrospective, we look back at some of the biggest headlines in British music we featured between June and December.

Idles 1

Idles in Brooklyn during their Joy As An Act Of Resistance world tour (Paul Bachmann / Live4ever)

June:

By June, the new Gorillaz album promised by Damon Albarn to a crowd in Santiago earlier in the year had been confirmed.

Now Now was planned to quickly follow-up last year’s Humanz album on June 29th, its lead track Humility premiered on Zane Lowe’s Beats 1 show. Speaking to the host, Albarn outlined his simple vision for the album, and discussed the latest set of Gorillaz collaborators.

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As the BBC’s live hub for more than 80 years, Maida Vale has played host to countless bands and programmes from The Beatles’ radio specials to the fondly remembered Peel Sessions. During this month though, its days were revealed to be numbered.

“I understand how much our musical heritage at Maida Vale means to us, to artists and to audiences,” BBC director general Tony Hall said.

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Anna Calvi‘s new album Hunter was set for release on August 31st.

“I’m hunting for something – I want experiences, I want agency, I want sexual freedom, I want intimacy, I want to feel strong, I want to feel protected and I want to find something beautiful in all the mess,” she said of an album which proved to be one of Live4ever’s top picks of 2018.

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Idles confirmed their second studio album Joy As An Act Of Resistance for release on August 31st.

After Colossus had emphatically delivered on its early live promise, lead single Danny Nedelko accompanied the announcement, as did a personal statement from Joe Talbot which passionately lent a voice to anyone looking on in despair at the current era. It all led to Live4ever’s number one album of the year.

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Richard Ashcroft was confirmed be the special guest of Liam Gallagher when he played the Lancashire CCC on August 18th.

Gallagher’s summer of outdoor UK and Ireland shows was underway by June after the completion of his joint tour of North America with Ashcroft the previous month. Ashcroft was also due to support Gallagher at Malahide Castle in Dublin and Belsonic in Belfast.

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The release of a double A-side single I Don’t Know/Come On To Me coincided with confirmation of Paul McCartney‘s new solo album Egypt Station.

His first solo LP since 2013’s New was set for release on September through Capitol Records.  “I liked the words ‘Egypt Station’,” Macca said. “It reminded me of the ‘album’ albums we used to make…Egypt Station starts off at the station on the first song and then each song is like a different station.”

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As the weather gods had a good old laugh at our expense by bathing the UK in a long, World Cup heatwave during what would have been Glastonbury week, bookies were turning their attention to the likely headliners for the festival’s return in 2019.

Betway made Led Zeppelin their 2/1 favourites for a return at Worthy Farm, despite Robert Plant’s constant refusal to entertain the idea of a reunion.

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Catfish & The Bottlemen

Catfish and The Bottlemen supporting Stereophonics at Glyndwr University Racecourse Stadium, Wrexham (Photo: Gary Mather for Live4ever Media)

July:

Morrissey‘s July UK tour, built around the previously detailed two outdoor shows at Castlefield Bowl in Manchester, was postponed.

A statement from the singer’s management blamed ‘logistical circumstances beyond our control’ for the latest of his tours to get disrupted. “We deeply regret any inconvenience to the fans and promise to reschedule UK and European dates as soon as possible,” it continued.

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Catfish & The Bottlemen‘s latest hefty UK show was revealed be at the SSE Wembley Arena in London on November 2nd.

It added to some big live outings the band had been enjoying during 2018, shows made possible by the continued success of their most recent studio album The Ride.

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Slaves confirmed the details of their third studio album.

Acts Of Fear And Love – a title inspired by a conversation between Isaac Holman and his college teacher – was set for release on August 17th as the successor to 2016’s Take Control.

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While his 2017 took in the release and subsequent re-release in expanded form of his thirteenth solo album A Kind Revolution as well as the vinyl-only EP Mother Ethiopia, Paul Weller was staying as productive as ever during the summer and confirmed the details of his next studio LP.

True Meanings got a release date of September 14th and included yet another collaboration with Noel Gallagher, with more guest appearances coming from Martin Carthy, Danny Thompson, Conor O’Brien and Lucy Rose.

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It had taken years, but with the Freddie Mercury biopic Bohemian Rhapsody set for a UK release on October 24th an official trailer was premiered in July.

Charting Queen‘s fortunes from their formation in the early seventies to the career-rejuvenating, highly acclaimed performance at Wembley Stadium for Live Aid in 1985, the biopic first got underway back in 2011.

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Noel Gallagher‘s third solo album Who Built The Moon? and Arctic Monkeys‘ Tranquility Base Hotel & Casino were nominated for the 2018 Mercury Prize.

While both records split opinion within their own fanbases, they were in turn been among the most critically acclaimed of their respective careers.

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Primal Scream 1

Bobby Gillespie with Primal Scream at the Brixton Academy, London (Alberto Pezzali for Live4ever)

August:

Franz Ferdinand, Mogwai, Neon Waltz and Young Fathers were on a cracking longlist for the 2018 Scottish Album Of The Year Award.

A week on from the Mercury Prize announcement, when all of the aforementioned acts missed out, Franz Ferdinand were hoping for a place among the final ten before the ceremony at Paisley Town Hall on September 6th, while Young Fathers looked like a strong favourite for the £20,000 prize thanks to Cocoa Sugar.

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The Courteeners were to embark on a tour of the UK through November after the first part of the year was focused on the 10th anniversary of their debut album St. Jude.

The band’s habit of winter touring continued into 2018 from November 15th at the Victoria Hall in Stoke, with arena visits in some of their northern strongholds such as Leeds, Glasgow and Liverpool also on the agenda.

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Bill Ryder-Jones was about to release Yawn, his follow-up to 2015’s highly acclaimed West Kirby County Primary, on November 2nd.

Ryder-Jones again kept things close for his fourth solo effort, recording and producing entirely by himself, though there were guest contributions from Mick Head and The Orielles.

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Primal Scream revealed plans to release the original studio recordings from their time at Ardent Studios in Memphis with producer Tom Dowd and the Muscle Shoals rhythm section which ultimately led to 1994’s Give Out But Don’t Give Up album.

From October 12th, for the first time (thanks to their discovery in Andrew Innes’ basement), we got to hear how the tracks from that record were first intended before the band decided to rebuild them from the ground up with a new producer, George Drakoulias.

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Muse 1

Matt Bellamy with Muse headlining the first day of Leeds Festival 2017 (Gary Mather / Live4ever)

September:

Into September and Muse were as good as their word and confirmed the new album Simulation Theory for release on November 9th.

The announcement concluded a year of occasional single releases, with Something Human and Thought Contagion both set for inclusion on the LP.

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Frightened Rabbit were to play their first gig since the death of Scott Hutchison at the end of the year.

Grant Hutchison revealed an appearance at the Sleep In The Park event in December – to be staged at Kelvingrove Bandstand in Glasgow – was arranged before the passing of his brother and bandmate in May.

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Wolf Alice were presented with the 2018 Mercury Prize for their second studio album Visions Of A Life.

The band were triumphant with their second nomination in as many albums after 2015 debut My Love Is Cool also made the award’s shortlist, and won the £25,000 ahead of favourite Nadine Shah and established names such as Noel Gallagher, Florence & The Machine and Arctic Monkeys.

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The ‘desire to shake it up’ didn’t appear to have lasted for much more than one album if the new single from Mumford & Sons premiered this months was anything to go by.

Guiding Light was the first preview of the band’s new album Delta, which was for release on November 16th and produced by Paul Epworth.

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The 50th anniversary of The Beatles‘ classic 1968 self-titled double LP, commonly known as The White Album, was to be celebrated with an expanded reissue on November 9th.

Newly mixed by producer Giles Martin and engineer Sam Okell, 27 of the early ‘Esher’ demos and 50 session takes were also included in the package.

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Stone Roses

Ian Brown onstage with the Stone Roses at Wembley Stadium, London. June 2017. (Alberto Pezzali / Live4ever)

October:

Ride were to play some UK acoustic shows from the end of November to celebrate their 30th anniversary.

Gigs started on November 29th at St. George’s Church in Brighton, and ended on December 4th in Manchester after stops in Margate, Bristol and London.

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Radiohead were again been nominated for induction into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame.

Rage Against The Machine, Janet Jackson, Roxy Music, Stevie Nicks, The Cure, Def Leppard, Todd Rundgren, Rufus and Chaka Khan, LL Cool J, The Zombies, Devo, John Prine, MC5 and Kraftwerk were also potentially in the class of 2019.

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Band Of Skulls primed the release of their fifth studio album for next year.

The band confirmed the news whilst detailing some UK gigs for November which took place at the London Scala and Manchester Gorilla. The new album will be Band Of Skulls’ first since 2016’s By Default.

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The Kaiser Chiefs signalled plans to return to play Elland Road Stadium in Leeds next June.

After headlining the venue in 2008, the band announced first supports The Vaccines and The Sherlocks for the concert on June 8th 2019 which has been arranged as part of Leeds United’s centenary celebrations.

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Noel Gallagher went home with two prizes from the 2018 Q Awards in October, while Let’s Eat Grandma picked up the Best Album gong.

Gallagher was presented with the Q Outstanding Contribution To Music Award after earlier winning Best Solo Artist, though in the peculiar way these ceremonies often work themselves out, it was Paul Weller who took the grand title of Best Act In The World Today.

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Coldplay were to release a live album to accompany their new A Head Full Of Dreams documentary.

Live In Buenos Aires was recorded on the final night of the band’s A Head Full Of Dreams world tour almost a year earlier, while a concert film was also set for release and captured them in São Paulo, Brazil.

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Fontaines D.C., Boy Azooga and Whyte Horses were some of the first names to be confirmed for next March’s South By Southwest Festival.

Fontaines will be heading to Austin after continuing some serious momentum during 2018 thanks to the irresistible double A-side single Chequeless Reckless/Boys In The Better Land – Live4ever’s #1 of the year – and some notable touring in support of the likes of Shame.

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‘Don’t be sad it’s over, be happy that it happened’, Ian Brown told the crowd at Hampden Park in Glasgow as The Stone Roses ended a 2017 summer of live gigs.

It brought hopes of the All For One and Beautiful Thing singles finally resulting in a full length album from the band; instead Brown has been reigniting his solo career and confirmed he will release a new album himself, Ripples, on March 1st 2019.

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The Manic Street Preachers were to continue their run of retrospective releases with a 20th anniversary reissue of This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours.

Since marking the same birthday of The Holy Bible in 2014 after long debating between themselves whether to do so, the Manics have put out anniversary editions of Everything Must Go and Send Away The Tigers, and were set to do the same for This Is My Truth… on December 7th.

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Foals begun to detail their live plans for next year with a follow-up to 2015’s What Went Down (hopefully) heading our way.

The band will play Germany’s Rock Am Ring and Rock Im Park events in Nürburgring and Zeppelinfeld respectively between June 7th – 9th, starting where they left off after concluding What Went Down’s campaign during the 2017 festival season.

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Fontaines DC

Fontaines D.C. post-show at the London (Sam Huddleston / Live4ever)

November:

Boy Azooga‘s debut LP 1, 2, Kung Fu! won the 2018 Welsh Music Prize.

The brainchild of band-leader Davey Newington, the album came out on top during the ceremony at the Coal Exchange in Cardiff ahead of the likes of Manic Street Preachers, Gruff Rhys and Gwenno.

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Stormzy was confirmed as the first Pyramid Stage headliner for Glastonbury 2019 not long after co-organiser Emily Eavis had dropped some big hints about this first bit of news.

Speaking at BBC Music Introducing Live in November, she said the event’s Friday headliner ‘hasn’t had a stage like this before’. “We have got one of the artists that I’m most excited about in Britain right now,” she continued. “This to me is going to be a moment. And he can become the enormous person that he is.”

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Fontaines D.C. unveiled their new single Too Real.

Following up the essential breakthrough release of Boys In The Better Land/Chequeless Reckless earlier in the year, the track was, like its predecessor, out as a double A-side with The Cuckoo Is A Callin’ on December 21st.

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Spring King announced their decision to part ways after releasing their second studio album A Better Life earlier in 2018.

“Over the past five years we have toured around the world and along the way we have made many friends,” they wrote on social media.

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Shame

Shame at the Bristol Theka. April 2018. (Jessica Bartolini / Live4ever)

December:

Shame posted an official video for their Songs Of Praise album opener Dust On Trial.

The band spent the vast majority of 2018 with one of the year’s best releases under their belt, and concluded it earlier this month with a promo directed by Bison.

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A celebration of classic songwriting at Hyde Park in London next year was detailed when Bob Dylan and Neil Young share a headline of the British Summer Time Festival.

James King of AEG Presents is anticipating ‘possibly the biggest event they have ever delivered in Hyde Park’ when the two US icons perform on July 12th 2019, but subsequent wranglings with Young meant the gig ultimately was decided to go ahead as a separate entity from BST.

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As December progressed, Doves confirmed their return to play their first live show in nearly a decade for next year’s Teenage Cancer Trust series.

The band’s comeback has been set for March 29th at the Royal Albert Hall in London, with Rudimental, Take That, The Levellers and The Script also on the line-up.

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Sam Fender was named the BRITs Critics’ Choice winner for 2019.

Fender was picked ahead of the other shortlisted artists Mahalia and Lewis Capaldi to land the first Brit Award for next year. “I am truly humbled to win The BRITs Critics’ Choice Award,” he’s responded.

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The year sadly came to an end as it began as Pete Shelley, lead singer of the Buzzcocks, died at the age of 63.

“This is the hardest thing I have ever had to do,” his brother Gary McNeish wrote on social media, “is tell you my brother Pete Shelley had a heart attack this morning and passed away.”

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The Specials shared the first single from their new album Encore, set for release on February 1st next year.

Vote For Me was written and produced by founding members Terry Hall, Lynval Golding and Horace Panter with long-time collaborator Torp Larsen, their first single since the iconic Ghost Town of 1981.

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And finally, there was another reunion with Ringo Starr for Paul McCartney as his gig at the O2 Arena in London this month drew to a close, and Ronnie Wood got in on the act too.

McCartney was in London for the last of three UK gigs supporting this year’s Egypt Station album, and was joined again onstage by his fellow Beatles for a performance of the band’s Get Back single.

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