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Paul Simon makes a surprise appearance at Newport Folk Fest



Paul Simon made a surprise appearance at Newport Folk Festival on Saturday (July 23), where he joined Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats at the end of a tribute set to his music.

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Simon previously announced his retirement from touring in 2018, playing his final ever concert in Queens, just minutes from where he grew up.

The veteran singer-songwriter ended his ‘Homeward Bound’ farewell tour at Flushing Meadows Corona Park, playing a 26-strong set that ended with two separate encores.

His unannounced appearance at Newport Folk Festival saw him being backed by Nathaniel Rateliff & The Night Sweats, as well as Jerry Douglas on guitar. He kicked off his set with ‘Graceland’, followed by a special updated rendition of ‘American Tune’ featuring Rhiannon Giddens on vocals.

Following this, he played ‘The Boxer’ joined by Douglas, Lucius, Rateliff and Lukas Nelson, closing out the evening with a performance of ‘The Sound of Silence’ by himself.

Prior to Simon joining them on stage, Rateliff & The Night Sweats played a number of covers, including ‘Mother and Child Reunion’, ‘Homeward Bound’ and ‘Cecilia’.

“What a joy working with Nathaniel and his incredible band. The atmosphere at the festival was nothing short of wonderful,” Simon said in a statement after the show (via Rolling Stone).

“It’s hard to put into words the joy we felt bringing the great American songwriter Paul Simon to the Newport Folk stage,” Rateliff added. “Thank you, Paul, for your songs, your voice and your presence.”

Joni Mitchell also surprised the crowd at Newport Folk Festival over the weekend when she joined Brandi Carlile on stage for two songs.

Together, the pair sang Mitchell’s classics ‘Both Sides Now’ and ‘A Case Of You’, released in 1966 and 1971, respectively. She also played the guitar solo from her 1974 song ‘Just Like This Train’.


U2 say Larry Mullen Jr “gave it all” on ‘Atomic City’



U2 have spoken about drummer Larry Mullen Jr playing “up a storm” in the studio when recording their new single ‘Atomic City‘, despite being saddled with surgery recovery.

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

The band, who dropped their first new song in two years today (September 29) hours before their residency at Las Vegas’ new MSG Sphere venue opens, said in a new interview that drummers – and Mullen Jr – are “a breed apart” when it comes to soldiering on.

Mullen Jr last year cited damage to his “elbows, knees [and] necks”, which he “got a chance to have a look at” during the COVID pandemic. He said that he was unsure whether he’d be able to tour with U2 for the foreseeable.

Due to these drumming-related injuries, which he described as “damage along the way”, Mullen said he’d “like to take some time… to get myself healed”. Reports have since emerged that he has surgery to address the injuries.

But U2 vocalist Bono and guitarist The Edge have now revealed to Zane Lowe on Apple Music 1 that Mullen Jr “gave it all” when recording their new single. It’s perhaps an indication that the drummer could return to playing live with U2 again in the future.

Krezip drummer Bram van den Berg is filling in for Mullen Jr at the residency shows in Las Vegas where the band are playing their 1991 album ‘Achtung Baby’ in full.

Reflecting on Mullen Jr laying down ‘Atomic City’ in LA, Bono said: “It’s really tricky for him. And he came in the night before we recorded it in Sound City. So many stories in that studio. And Edge wanted us to go there. And Larry went the night before to just make sure. He didn’t know if he could play for an hour or… he didn’t know if he could play for 15 minutes. And he just played up the storm.”

The Edge added: “John [Mullen Jr’s drum technician] was saying that he loved the sound of the room so much, he ended up playing for like three hours.”

U2 also addressed shooting the music video for ‘Atomic City’, which is the nickname for the city of Las Vegas where the shoot took place.

Bono said: “It was the right place for us. And it took its toll on Larry. He’s miming. We’re doing the video and he’s like, ‘Ow.’ But he’s going to get back to fitness. It’s a heartbreak for Larry to be here and to see this and know that Bram [van den Berg] is standing in for him.

“And by the way, Bram is a superstar. He was a fan of Larry’s and a student of Larry’s. And now he’ll be here playing instead of Larry, and that’s got to hurt as much as some of the injuries. But he gave it all on this song anyway. Drummers are born, not made. And they speak their own language. They’re a breed apart. And we’re nothing… That’s where the rock and roll comes from in our band.”

It’s not known whether ‘Atomic City’, which is U2’s first song 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.

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

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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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