OUT FRIDAY: Nature of Wires 'Modus' LP & River Drivers' 2-Track Single
British synthpop stalwarts Nature of Wires present their new double album 'Modus', out on August 16 via Manchester's Analogue Trash label. Comprising 18 tracks, this is 80s-influenced synthpop with a dark edge. The album had its genesis in the late 80s and early 90s, when the band were in the middle of a creative hot streak.
Ahead of this, the trio have released 'Harry's House' as a 2-track single, including the original and a New Order-inspired remix by British post-punk buzzband Klammer.
This follows up the single 'Madame Serena' with remix by electronic body music artist Leaether Strip, and the new video for 'First Light', along with remix by European electronic giants Mesh.
Nature of Wires was formed in 1986 in Herefordshire, originally comprised of Gary Watts (synths & programming) and Andrew Stirling-Brown (vocals). The band went on hiatus in 1994 until reforming in 2015. In 2016, they released 'Cyber Rendezvous' with California's CountessM on lead vocals, their first album since 1993's 'Modus Operandi'. The band's live shows were enhanced by the addition of Tim Powell-Tuck on electronic drums, with a UK tour and BBC appearances.
"Modus has been 33 years in the making and includes songs written between 1986 and 1993, recreated using 21st century technology. We want to look back on this album in 20 years' time and be satisfied that it is as good as possible," says Gary Watts.
"So we've involved some top producers - namely Steve Whitfield (The Cure, The Mission, Shed Seven, Terrorvision, Jah Wobble) and Mike Marsh (Calvin Harris, OMD, Human League, Chemical Brothers, Moby, Shamen, Massive Attack, Erasure, 808 State, The Prodigy, Depeche Mode). Artwork is by the super-talented Vlad McNeally. This is our final farewell to our younger years, representatives of the sound we created back then".
CD1 features 8 original tracks, forged during a time of personal and musical change, and with striking clarity in this music and lyrics. But now, with access to top of the line music technology, Nature of Wires have refined and reinterpreted the inner soul and meaning of each song to create something that reflects an exciting time in the history of electronica and dance music, while also holding its own in the modern synthpop scene.
On CD2, Nature of Wires curated re-imaginings of tracks on CD1, offered by alternative electronic heavyweights Leaether Strip and Mesh, UK post-punk buzzband Klammer, and label-mates Room 1985, The Cowls and AtomZero. Applying their own vision whilst being faithful to the spirit of the originals, they've each re-interpreted the tracks in their own impeccable styles, adding to the sense of history that underpins 'Modus'.
There's a sense of finality to 'Modus', as well as a statement of intent for the rebirth of Nature of Wires, coming to terms with the past in a glorious and positive fashion, and preparing for an exciting future.
"CD1 presents the retro-electro, 'lighter' side of our writing, influenced by the synth-pop of the 80's & 90s scenes. A 'definitive' version of the material we had back then, but with a modern edge. It brings together the core of our older fan-favourites and the very first song we wrote and one left unfinished in 1993, finally completed over 20 years later! We envisioned CD2 not just as a collection of remixes, but a deliberate companion or twin to 'Modus'. This is not a double album; it's a dual album," says Andrew Stirling-Brown.
Nature of Wires has shared the stage with many great electronic artists, including Empathy Test, Leaether Strip, Aesthetic Perfection, Lord of the Lost, The Frixion, Rodney Cromwell and Vieon. They also created remixes for the likes of Massive Ego, Leaether Strip, Sigue Sigue Sputnik Electronic, !distain, Precog, Advance, Freakangel, Machine Rox and Vogon Poetry.
On August 16, the 'Modus' LP will be released everywhere digitally and as a 2CD digipak. It is also available directly from the artist via Bandcamp, along with single 'Madame Serena' and 'Harry's House'. Nature of Wires will be touring the UK from summer to November.
Listen to 'Harry's House' here:
Philadelphia-based Celtic-tinged folk rock collective River Drivers has announced their new album 'Big Oak Road', be released in early October. Ahead of this, they are offering a taster of this high-energy blend of Celtic-Americana via the double A-side single 'Children's March (Mother Jones) / Going Once'. The release coincides with the band's appearance at this year's Philadelphia Folk Festival.
River Drivers is a four-piece whose unique passion-infused style of music draws from Celtic, Americana and Appalachian influences and features powerful and distinctive vocals. Their repertoire strikes a fine balance of original songs and more obscure folk songs, resurrected from deep folk vaults.
Anchored by Kevin McCloskey (vocals, guitar, mandolin, banjo, bass) and Mindy Murray (vocals, guitar, banjo, bass) with accompaniment by Marian Moran (tin whistle, low whistle, concertina, melodica) and Meagan Ratini (fiddle, Irish flute, tin whistle), their high energy music explores pervasive themes of hard-working men and women and social justice.
'Children's March (Mother Jones)' and 'Going Once' tell the stories of people who were just trying to get by and on whose backs other people made their fortunes - the stories of what they suffered through and what they did to overcome. The first concerns the Children's March in 1903, where child workers from various towns rallied to beat down the doors of mill owners in New York, marching all the way to Teddy Roosevelt's front steps in Oyster Bay.
"These songs are about two mothers from two different worlds, who each left Philadelphia with a group of children. In 'Children's March', we see Mother Jones lead a bunch of young maimed and malnourished children from Kensington to New York to confront the wealthy businessmen who owned the factories where they toiled," says Mindy Murray.
"In 'Going Once', Martha has to find a new home for her nine kids after their Torresdale farm is sold at auction for back taxes. This brave woman Martha was my grandmother".
Influenced by the likes of Billy Bragg, Christy Moore, Ewan MacColl, Phil Ochs, Bob Dylan, Neil Young, The Paul McKenna Band and Altan, River Drivers' distinct flavour of music is a sum of its parts.
Kevin McCloskey's passion for songs portraying the plight of working men and women was kindled by a childhood of performing Irish standards with his father, Irish tenor Tommy McCloskey. The intensity he brings to his music was shaped by years with the hardcore punk band Wrong Answer.
Mindy Murray's works are infused with the music of the mountains and the miners, having witnessed firsthand the struggles of day-to-day life in Appalachia during medical school. Years later, she and daughter Meagan Ratini formed the duo Port Murray. Meagan herself fell into Irish music over many years of mastering instrument after instrument. She became further immersed while helping to run the New Jersey Folk Festival.
Marian's roots lie in Ardara, County Donegal, an epicenter of Irish traditional music. Whenever she can break away, she steals back to the rugged coastline village to recharge at its nightly sessions and music festivals, eventually bringing River Drivers over to perform.
As of August 16, 'Children's March (Mother Jones) - Going Once' is available across digital stores and streaming platforms such as Spotify. It can also be ordered via Bandcamp. The album 'Big Oak Road' is slated for release on October 18.
Listen to 'Children's March (Mother Jones)' here: