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Jang Gyu-ri to leave fromis_9 as contract expires, group to continue as eight members



Pledis Entertainment has announced that Jang Gyu-ri will leave fromis_9 following the expiration of her contract.

Earlier today (July 28), South Korean music label Pledis Entertainment took to fromis_9’s official Twitter page to announce Jang’s departure from the K-pop girl group at the end of the month following the expiry of her exclusive contract with the group’s previous agency.

“fromis_9 will become an eight-member group starting from this coming August and will meet their fans in their upcoming Japanese activities and other various activities scheduled for the second half of this year,” wrote Pledis.

“fromis_9’s fifth EP ‘from our Memento Box’ will be the last promotional activity of Jang Gyu-ri as she wraps up her time as a member of fromis_9. She will conclude her contract earlier with us as of July 31 to embark on a new journey.”

With Jang’s departure, fromis_9 will consist of Lee Sae-rom, Song Ha-young, Park Ji-won, Roh Ji-sun, Lee Seo-yeon, Lee Chae-young, Lee Na-gyung and Baek Ji-heon.

Pledis Entertainment said the remaining members of fromis_9 had opted to sign new exclusive contracts with the company after the group transferred to Pledis from WAKEONE in August 2021, and Jang was the only member who did not do so.

“Jang Gyu-ri maintained the conditions of the original contract with her former agency and Pledis has been in charge of tasks including the management of her team and individual activities,” the label continued. “The artist and the company made the decision after careful consideration and discussions on what would be the best path for everyone.”

“Please continue to send your love and support to Jang Gyu-ri, who has always committed to do her best as a member of fromis_9 and to the eight members of fromis_9 who will start a new chapter of their careers,” Pledis concluded. “Our company will continue to support fromis_9 to help them grow as artists as they continue their activities in various fields.”

fromis_9 released their fifth mini-album ‘from our Memento Box’ late last month, led by title track ‘Stay This Way’. On that new release, fromis_9 were rejoined by youngest member Baek Ji-heon, who had gone on hiatus in February due to health concerns.


Shed Seven share new single featuring Rowetta and talk guest-heavy album ‘A Matter Of Time’



Shed Seven have shared their anthemic new single ‘In Ecstasy’ featuring Happy Mondays powerhouse Rowetta, and spoken to NME about how they also recruited Pete Doherty and Reverend And The Makers’ Laura McClure for their sixth studio album ‘A Matter Of Time’. Check out the new video on NME first below, along with our interview with frontman Rick Witter.

The rousing track, sees Witter and the Mondays’ singer trading vocals, over a driving, motorik beat and soaring guitars. It came together after the frontman stumbled across a melody he felt would be perfect for Rowetta’s powerful vocals.

“When I was writing that song, as soon as I thought of this particular melody, I just thought of Rowetta, I just thought ‘I can hear her singing that,’” he told NME.

“Because we’ve met a few times over the years and we supported the Mondays way back when, I just thought I might as well reach out and see if she’s interested and she was all over it.”

He continued: “She’s just got that sass hasn’t she? She’s got the Manchester sass, that Manchester energy. It didn’t take a lot for her to understand what we wanted either. I just showed her the melody and said, ‘These are the words, see what you wanna do and before we knew it she had a big (adopts her singing voice): ‘In ecstaaasy!’ It was very Rowetta.”

The Shed Seven frontman also managed to get Pete Doherty onboard for the album’s closing track ‘Throwaways’ after he caught The Libertines man singing along to their songs at the side of the stage at last year’s Bingley Weekender.

“We played just before The Libertines on the main stage and while we were doing our set, I just looked at the side of the stage and discovered that Peter was stood there with my family watching the gig and he was singing every word,” Witter remembered.

“So after we’d finished our gig, I went over and he was telling me that in the ;90s – pre-Libertines – he’d sit on his bed with his guitar and learn Shed Seven songs, which I thought was pretty cool. I just said, ‘Look we’ve got this song, we’ve got another couple of guests on our record, we might as well throw the boat out here, would you fancy jumping on?’ And he said, ‘I would absolutely love to’.”

Pete Doherty of The Libertines CREDIT: Mike Lewis Photography/Redferns

Elsewhere, the York band recruited Reverend And The Makers keyboardist and backing singer Laura McClure for ‘Tripping With You’, a song about an obsessive stalker.

“We wanted a girl’s voice that sounded really sweet and innocent,” Witter explained. “We’ve supported the Reverend a few times over the years and I thought of Laura. I spoke to her over the phone and gave her the brief and said it’s a bit stalker-ish. We wanted someone very innocent down to the point where I wanted a sort of giggle on there. So she gave us a few different giggles and I chose the right one for us and I think she nailed it.”

Ahead of the writing sessions for the album, which started in March 2022, longterm drummer Alan Leach and guitarist Joe Johnson left the band to pursue other projects.

“It’s one of those things isn’t it? You can’t stop someone from doing what they want to do,” Witter reasoned. “And the two guys obviously felt that it was time for them to try and do something else. All we can do is wish them the best of luck with what they do in the future.

“But I guess as long as there is me, [bassist] Tom [Gladwin] and [guitarist] Paul [Banks] in the band, we are the mainstays that have been there from the beginning. So as long as people are watching me fling my hips about onstage and singing about gold and rainbows then we should be all be happy shouldn’t we?”

Former Shed Seven drummer Alan Leach CREDIT: Press.

Following the duo’s departure, the band drafted in former Audioweb drummer Robert “Maxi” Maxfield and multi-instrumentalist Tim Wills, who had previously worked with Ian Brown, for the recording sessions on ‘A Matter Of Time’ which eventually saw them retreat to the Spanish mountains. There they reunited with Killing Joke bassist Youth, who produced their 2017 album ‘Instant Pleasures’.

“We were in Spain for three weeks in his studio, halfway up a mountain with one hire car and he was the only person that was allowed to drive it. So we were basically trapped there and he’s quite a force of nature is Youth,” said Witter.

During the sessions, the producer would force the band to play each song on an acoustic guitar rather than listen to their demos.

“We found ourselves every morning having to show him the next song we were gonna record so we basically recorded a song a day,” the frontman explained. “He would say, ‘Right what song are we playing today?’ And we’d strum it on an acoustic guitar and I’d be singing and one minute he’d be looking to the heavens wondering what on earth he’s hearing and the next he’d be going, ‘Oh yeah that sounds really good’. He’s a very clever man and it was a really interesting process to kind of hear his thoughts and opinions! And then he’d fall asleep while we were recording.”

Producer and The Killing Joke bassist Martin “Youth” Glover April 6, 2023 CREDIT: Lorne Thomson/Redferns

As for his thoughts on working with the new band members, Witter said: “It’s been fantastic. They’ve made us pull our socks up because they’re hungry, they’re brand new to the party, they want things to go as well as they possibly can. So it’s kind of given us a massive kick up the arse. They’re also fantastic musicians and we don’t have to tell them twice how to do something. They’re just clued in.”

Having recorded two albums in the last six years, Witter argues that the band have finally shed what he describes as their 90s “nostalgia tag”.

“We’ve lost that nostalgia of just going out and playing our old hits like a lot of bands tend to do,” he added. “We’ve found ourselves feeling a little more current again because we’re doing brand new stuff. The fact the new stuff definitely stands up with our past material in the sense that it sounds very fresh and current is a great thing. So we’ve found ourselves in a really healthy position.

“Having said that I’ve never got bored of singing our old stuff because of the fact that everyone there in that room watching us is just having the best time. It’s difficult to get bored when you’re looking at 2,000 people looking like they’re having a really, really good night out.”

Before they release their new album, Shed Seven will head out on a UK tour next month which they hope will give them the chance to roadtest their songs with some of the guest artists on the record.

“Unfortunately Rowetta is in Australia while we’re doing most of these gigs. It turns out that she gets home the day before we play Manchester so that would be pretty cool if we could get her to come out and join us onstage in her hometown. We’ll keep our fingers crossed that she’s not too jet lagged,” Witter enthused.

“If we’re in Sheffield and Laura’s available we’ll definitely ask the question. And with Peter obviously he’s a busy man himself but they’re always welcome and why wouldn’t we? The other alternative to that is to get a big screen and get them to sing on it. We’ve gotta keep up with the modern times haven’t we?”

As for what lies ahead in 2024, the frontman concluded: “I think it’s gonna be a big year for us, starting with the release of our brand new album in the first week of the 30th anniversary of our debut ‘Change Giver’. If you’re a Shed Seven fan I think you should buckle up because you’re gonna be in for a good ride. And if you’re not a fan, find a big rock and hide behind it.”

A ‘Matter Of Time’ is released on January 5, 2024. You can pre-order/pre-save the album here.

The band’s UK tour dates are below. Visit here for any remaining tickets.

Shed Seven’s UK dates are as follows:

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Listen to Baekho’s R&B cover of Brown Eyed Girls’ ‘Abracadabra’



K-pop singer and former NU’EST member Baekho has dropped a sultry cover of Brown Eyed Girls’ ‘Abracadabra’.

The singer has released a cover of the 2009 Brown Eyed Girls hit through his official YouTube channel. Baekho’s rendition of the song swaps its electronic sound for a guitar-led R&B instrumental, with the singer also slowing down parts of ‘Abracadabra’.

Bring, bring, I want to hold you in my arms / I will do anything and even more / Bling bling, you are my fantasy / I’ll put everything / In stake to have you,” he sings in the chorus.

The new cover comes two weeks after the singer dropped his remake of singer Park Jin-young’s 1995 hit ‘Elevator’, for which he has also released a performance video.

Prior to this, Baekho’s last music release was his debut mini-album ‘Absolute Zero’ in October 2022, which was led by the single ‘No Rules’. In support of the release, he went on Asia tour at the beginning of 2023, performing in Taipei, Bangkok and Seoul.

In May, the singer was cast in MBC’s upcoming K-drama I’ll Take the Trip For You, marking his first-ever television acting role. Based on a Japanese novel of the same name, the series follows a former idol singer who becomes a travel reporter. At the time of publishing, the network has yet to announce its premiere date.

In other K-pop news, BTS’ Jungkook has released his second solo single ‘3D’ featuring American rapper Jack Harlow and its accompanying music video, in which the two stars play a game of chess.

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U2 release anthemic new single ‘Atomic City’



U2 are back with their first new song in two years – listen to “Atomic City’ and watch the accompanying music video below.

  • READ MORE: Kiss The Future review: U2’s historic gig in war-torn Sarajevo 

The Irish band have returned to the post-punk of their heyday with a stirring guitar hook reminiscent of their 1983 hit ‘Sunday Bloody Sunday’ and a chorus that channels Blondie.

Vocalist Bono sings about freedom (“I’m free/ I see what’s in front of me/ And your freedom is contagious/ What you’ve got I wanna be,”) and nods to “Atomic City” aka Las Vegas, the city in which the accompanying music video is set, as somewhere to find it.

It’s not known whether the song, which is U2’s first since 2021 when they released ‘Your Song Saved My Life‘ for the Sing 2 soundtrack, will feature on an as-yet-unannounced album. The band have teased a record that prioritises a “guitar music” sound.

The new single was produced by Jacknife Lee and Steve Lillywhite and recorded at Sound City in LA. A statement about the song describes it as a “homage to the magnetic spirit of ’70’s post punk with a nod to Blondie, whose pioneering work with Giorgio Moroder inspired and influenced the band”.

U2’s last album of entirely original material was 2017’s ‘Songs Of Experience‘. Earlier this year they released ‘Songs Of Surrender‘, a reimagining of 40 songs from their back catalogue.

Meanwhile, ‘Atomic City’ has arrived the same day (September 29) that U2 kick off their residency at Las Vegas’ new MSG Sphere venue.

The run of shows, which are the first to be played at the new venue, will see them play their 1991 album ‘Achtung Baby’ in full.

Up to 250 fans and extras gathered in the city’s Fremont Street earlier this month to watch the band play through ‘Atomic City’ several times for what Bono joked was a “low budget” music video.

The surprise performance also saw the band play ‘I Still Haven’t Found What I’m Looking For’ from their classic album ‘The Joshua Tree’ [via U2 Songs]. U2 shot the music video for that single not far from Fremont Street in the late ’80s.

“This is the world premiere of ‘Atomic City,’ a rock’n’roll 45-inch tradition of late 70s post-punk if you are interested…Blondie, The Clash,” Bono told the audience.

On hand for the shoot were Bono, guitarist the Edge, drummer Adam Clayton and bassist Larry Mullen Jr., the latter of whom is not performing at the band’s Sphere shows due to surgery recovery.

In other U2 news, the band recently launched ‘Zoo Station’ – an immersive experience for fans designed ahead of their upcoming shows.

Opening yesterday (September 28), the immersive ‘Zoo Station: A U2:UV Experience’ fan portal aims to help fans gather a deeper understanding of ‘Achtung Baby’.

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