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Kelis describes her sixth album as “a kind of unspoken lovefest”, albeit one involving two unlikely partners. On the one hand, there is Kelis Rogers, who first came to prominence singing the hook of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s 1999 hit "Got Your Money"; whose debut album Kaleidoscope helped usher in the wave of sharp, thrillingly futuristic r’n’b that dominated the charts in the early Noughties: as exemplified by her global hit, 2003’s "Milkshake"; whose last album was a pop-dance extravaganza featuring production from will.i.am and David Guetta. On the other, there was Dave Sitek, guitarist in acclaimed Brooklyn experimentalists TV On The Radio; producer by appointment to a certain kind of smart, arty indie band: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Foals, Liars. “It’s like we’re such different people,” says Kelis, “but I met him and he’s really just this brilliant, strange creature. I musically fell in love with him and I think he’s just a divine person. It’s ridiculous how much we speak the same language, musically and food-wise.”

Ah, food. As you may have gathered from the title, and indeed the tracks "Jerk Ribs", "Friday Fish Fry", "Biscuits n’ Gravy" and "Cobbler", food has quite a large role to play in Kelis’ sixth album, and indeed her life. She is a qualified chef, who took a cordon bleu course in 2008, after a traumatic battle with her then-record label came to an end: “I’d been trying to get off the label for four years. It was all-out war. I was in combat mode. I’d fought them for years, then one Friday I got this call telling me they were finally releasing me from my contract. I was sitting in my kitchen, watching TV, an ad came on for culinary school and I was like, “yeah, I’m going” I started class Monday morning. A year and a half course, seven hours a day, five days a week and Saturdays and Sundays you’ve got to get on the line, ready to be hired in a restaurant.”

Despite her reservations about having to wear “a stupid hat and chef’s getup”, she loved it. She’s about to launch her own range of sauces in the US called Feast – “at school I realized sauce is my thing, I personally think everything is better either smothered or poured” – and there’s talk of a TV cookery series, for which she’s just filmed a pilot episode: “a lifestyle show, it’s my life, and there really is no separation for me between the food and the music.”

You can tell as much from her hugely, infectiously enthusiastic descriptions of the session at which Food was recorded. “First of all, it was recorded at Dave’s house, which is like two minutes from my house in L.A.: ideal because we’re both borderline hermits, so that worked out really nice,” she laughs. “So I’d get there, and he’d be like, “oh, are you hungry?” And I’m like “yes, what do you have?” and I’d go and look in his kitchen. He used to start playing stuff, sitting at the piano, in the living room, right next to the kitchen, and I’d start singing a melody to it, while I’m chopping something. So then I’m frying something or whatever, and he’s playing another melody and I’m like “I love that”, so he says he’s going to call Todd. Todd’s this ridiculously good trumpet player who comes over and does this stupid freakin’ beautiful horn arrangement...

And the next thing you know, I’m cooking pies and there’s all these random musicians arriving, and it’s very calm and chilled, food’s being put on the table in the living room, another guy’s got an idea for a melody and I’m like, “I love that, it makes me think of this” and by the end of the night, we’ve got 11, 12 musicians there and everybody’s stuffed and the music is blaring, the songs are playing, it’s like a freaking zoo in there because he’s got three dogs and two Bengal cats, but it’s also like a freakin’ commune, because he’s got these girls staying there who are in this band CSS, so they’re from Brazil and now they’re cooking, they’re mixing micheladas…” Her voice trails off, happily. “It’s was great. No ego. They guys from TV On The Radio are there, and they’re working with me, and everyone is like: “I know who I am, I know who you are, I’ll do what I do and you’ll do what you do and we’ll do something that knocks everybody out in here.” And in the midst of that, we’ll eat.” She chuckles. “Literally every day, that’s what it was.”

Between mouthfuls, they devised an album entirely unlike anything Kelis has released before: a quick spin of the Simon And Garfunkel-esque ballad "Bless The Telephone" will underline that. It mints a sound that’s rootsy without ever being self-consciously retro, that pitches live horns and gospel-y organ against electronics, that for all its classic soul and funk influences, couldn’t have been made any time but now. “The one thing we did say at the beginning of this record is that whatever we do, we’re not copy cats” says Kelis. “The music I listen to and love, I can’t duplicate it, I would never try. I don’t want to make a copy of an old-school record. It doesn’t make any sense. It almost comes off as disrespectful to think that I could actually recreate what was already created masterfully.

That was never my goal. But what I will say is that thinking about moments of my life growing up, I think about what my parents listened to, what was just playing around the block, in my neighbourhood – half of it I don’t remember, but I remember the essence of it, the smile that it provides.Dave’s wonderful at grabbing a moment as opposed to trying to recreate something that doesn’t need to be recreated. That’s what we wanted to do. It’s not about, “let me duplicate this record”. It’s like, hell, we did something because it was authentic and it was beautiful and it’s rich and it’s flawed and I love it.”

In a way, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kelis’ music has taken another unpredictable shift: she hasn’t exactly shied away from pushing at the boundaries of the public’s perception of her from the start (“do I think that record labels in the past have had trouble knowing what to do with me and being unable to pigeonhole me?” she ponders, “um, in short: yes”). Her then-record label thought her second album, Wanderland, was too experimental and eclectic to release in America, while she’s probably the only artist in history to take a David Guetta pop-rave track and turn it into a paen to the joys of new motherhood: "Acappella", a song about the birth of her son Knight in 2009. This time, the results aren’t just unexpected, but highly personal.

Food is about more than just Kelis’ culinary passion, it’s an album about life, relationships and the uncertainty of that – “sure I’m self-sufficient, blah blah, independent,” she sings on "Floyd", “truthfully I’ve got some space I want that man to fill it” - and ridding yourself of anger and bitterness as expressed on Change. I think it’s just about where I’m at right now, and what’s going on around me and wanting to make a record that… that I believe. That I can sit down on a stool and sing for a long time.”

Understandably, she thinks she’s succeeded. “Being as arrogant as I can be, no one on Food is new to this, no one there gives a crap, everybody is literally like, “I do this because I’m good at it, I love it and it’s a blessing, and if I can do this with you, then bring it, let’s do it.” It’s like, OK, we’ve all had big budgets, we’ve all done big studios, that’s nice and whatever, but I’m also like, “I’m great, I don’t need any of that, I’ll go on my own schedule.” It would be a waste of energy throwing money at it, because everyone is there is so well-seasoned. There’s not a second of insecurity, not a second of doubt. The reality is that we’re too talented, too old and too good for any of that.” She hoots with laughter. “Like I said,” she smiles, “that’s putting it as arrogantly as I can.”

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Kelis describes her sixth album as “a kind of unspoken lovefest”, albeit one involving two unlikely partners. On the one hand, there is Kelis Rogers, who first came to prominence singing the hook of Ol’ Dirty Bastard’s 1999 hit "Got Your Money"; whose debut album Kaleidoscope helped usher in the wave of sharp, thrillingly futuristic r’n’b that dominated the charts in the early Noughties: as exemplified by her global hit, 2003’s "Milkshake"; whose last album was a pop-dance extravaganza featuring production from will.i.am and David Guetta. On the other, there was Dave Sitek, guitarist in acclaimed Brooklyn experimentalists TV On The Radio; producer by appointment to a certain kind of smart, arty indie band: the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Foals, Liars. “It’s like we’re such different people,” says Kelis, “but I met him and he’s really just this brilliant, strange creature. I musically fell in love with him and I think he’s just a divine person. It’s ridiculous how much we speak the same language, musically and food-wise.”

Ah, food. As you may have gathered from the title, and indeed the tracks "Jerk Ribs", "Friday Fish Fry", "Biscuits n’ Gravy" and "Cobbler", food has quite a large role to play in Kelis’ sixth album, and indeed her life. She is a qualified chef, who took a cordon bleu course in 2008, after a traumatic battle with her then-record label came to an end: “I’d been trying to get off the label for four years. It was all-out war. I was in combat mode. I’d fought them for years, then one Friday I got this call telling me they were finally releasing me from my contract. I was sitting in my kitchen, watching TV, an ad came on for culinary school and I was like, “yeah, I’m going” I started class Monday morning. A year and a half course, seven hours a day, five days a week and Saturdays and Sundays you’ve got to get on the line, ready to be hired in a restaurant.”

Despite her reservations about having to wear “a stupid hat and chef’s getup”, she loved it. She’s about to launch her own range of sauces in the US called Feast – “at school I realized sauce is my thing, I personally think everything is better either smothered or poured” – and there’s talk of a TV cookery series, for which she’s just filmed a pilot episode: “a lifestyle show, it’s my life, and there really is no separation for me between the food and the music.”

You can tell as much from her hugely, infectiously enthusiastic descriptions of the session at which Food was recorded. “First of all, it was recorded at Dave’s house, which is like two minutes from my house in L.A.: ideal because we’re both borderline hermits, so that worked out really nice,” she laughs. “So I’d get there, and he’d be like, “oh, are you hungry?” And I’m like “yes, what do you have?” and I’d go and look in his kitchen. He used to start playing stuff, sitting at the piano, in the living room, right next to the kitchen, and I’d start singing a melody to it, while I’m chopping something. So then I’m frying something or whatever, and he’s playing another melody and I’m like “I love that”, so he says he’s going to call Todd. Todd’s this ridiculously good trumpet player who comes over and does this stupid freakin’ beautiful horn arrangement...

And the next thing you know, I’m cooking pies and there’s all these random musicians arriving, and it’s very calm and chilled, food’s being put on the table in the living room, another guy’s got an idea for a melody and I’m like, “I love that, it makes me think of this” and by the end of the night, we’ve got 11, 12 musicians there and everybody’s stuffed and the music is blaring, the songs are playing, it’s like a freaking zoo in there because he’s got three dogs and two Bengal cats, but it’s also like a freakin’ commune, because he’s got these girls staying there who are in this band CSS, so they’re from Brazil and now they’re cooking, they’re mixing micheladas…” Her voice trails off, happily. “It’s was great. No ego. They guys from TV On The Radio are there, and they’re working with me, and everyone is like: “I know who I am, I know who you are, I’ll do what I do and you’ll do what you do and we’ll do something that knocks everybody out in here.” And in the midst of that, we’ll eat.” She chuckles. “Literally every day, that’s what it was.”

Between mouthfuls, they devised an album entirely unlike anything Kelis has released before: a quick spin of the Simon And Garfunkel-esque ballad "Bless The Telephone" will underline that. It mints a sound that’s rootsy without ever being self-consciously retro, that pitches live horns and gospel-y organ against electronics, that for all its classic soul and funk influences, couldn’t have been made any time but now. “The one thing we did say at the beginning of this record is that whatever we do, we’re not copy cats” says Kelis. “The music I listen to and love, I can’t duplicate it, I would never try. I don’t want to make a copy of an old-school record. It doesn’t make any sense. It almost comes off as disrespectful to think that I could actually recreate what was already created masterfully.

That was never my goal. But what I will say is that thinking about moments of my life growing up, I think about what my parents listened to, what was just playing around the block, in my neighbourhood – half of it I don’t remember, but I remember the essence of it, the smile that it provides.Dave’s wonderful at grabbing a moment as opposed to trying to recreate something that doesn’t need to be recreated. That’s what we wanted to do. It’s not about, “let me duplicate this record”. It’s like, hell, we did something because it was authentic and it was beautiful and it’s rich and it’s flawed and I love it.”

In a way, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that Kelis’ music has taken another unpredictable shift: she hasn’t exactly shied away from pushing at the boundaries of the public’s perception of her from the start (“do I think that record labels in the past have had trouble knowing what to do with me and being unable to pigeonhole me?” she ponders, “um, in short: yes”). Her then-record label thought her second album, Wanderland, was too experimental and eclectic to release in America, while she’s probably the only artist in history to take a David Guetta pop-rave track and turn it into a paen to the joys of new motherhood: "Acappella", a song about the birth of her son Knight in 2009. This time, the results aren’t just unexpected, but highly personal.

Food is about more than just Kelis’ culinary passion, it’s an album about life, relationships and the uncertainty of that – “sure I’m self-sufficient, blah blah, independent,” she sings on "Floyd", “truthfully I’ve got some space I want that man to fill it” - and ridding yourself of anger and bitterness as expressed on Change. I think it’s just about where I’m at right now, and what’s going on around me and wanting to make a record that… that I believe. That I can sit down on a stool and sing for a long time.”

Understandably, she thinks she’s succeeded. “Being as arrogant as I can be, no one on Food is new to this, no one there gives a crap, everybody is literally like, “I do this because I’m good at it, I love it and it’s a blessing, and if I can do this with you, then bring it, let’s do it.” It’s like, OK, we’ve all had big budgets, we’ve all done big studios, that’s nice and whatever, but I’m also like, “I’m great, I don’t need any of that, I’ll go on my own schedule.” It would be a waste of energy throwing money at it, because everyone is there is so well-seasoned. There’s not a second of insecurity, not a second of doubt. The reality is that we’re too talented, too old and too good for any of that.” She hoots with laughter. “Like I said,” she smiles, “that’s putting it as arrogantly as I can.”

[links_clean] =>

Website
Facebook
Twitter
Instagram
SoundCloud
YouTube

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North Carolina-born artist Travis Stewart known as Machinedrum has produced and composed over a dozen albums under various aliases since his first independent release in 1999. Covering an astonishing variety of styles with ease, through solo Machinedrum work and with collaborative projects Sepalcure, JETS, Dream Continuum, or other mutations, Stewart has established himself as electronic music's true Renaissance man.

His debut as Machinedrum Now You Know, was released in 2001 on pioneering Miami-based Merck Records and gained worldwide attention and praise from musicians, fans and critics. Having a strong background in both acoustic and electronic instrumentation, he was quickly able to navigate those various elements on his early releases from field recording and vintage synth laden Urban Biology to his seminal production and mixing of This Charming Mixtape with MC Theophilus London and his critically acclaimed 2009 album Want To 1 2? 2010's Many Faces EP ushered the next phase of Machinedrum's career and a fruitful relationship with Glasgow-based label LuckyMe. Sepalcure, a duo launched with Praveen Sharma shortly after, became one of the most intriguing names in the bass music scene and a series of releases on bubbling imprint Hotflush has given the duo NYC ambassadorship of this UK-based genre.

Relocating to Berlin for a few years, Machinedrum maintained a steady flow of releases including the Alarmaa and SXLND EPs with LuckyMe and the critically-acclaimed Room(s) LP on Planet Mu Records, a fresh new exploration of juke, jungle, and drum&bass that garnered high praise across the music world.

The dance floor blitzkrieg JETS, his latest project with longtime collaborator Jimmy Edgar has kept him ahead of the curve once again, serving as yet another showcase for his musical evolution.

His biggest and boldest release came last year in the form of the full-length LP Vapor City on famed label Ninja Tune, a conceptual universe which included an interactive website, digital citizenship program for fans, and an art exhibit in NYC that launched with the album. With subsequent EPs, exclusive remixes from a series of heavyweights, and a critically-acclaimed world tour, Vapor City carried on his rich exploration of multimedia arts and music.

Delivering his signature on every thing he touches, through each solo album and EP, collaborations, or production work for the likes of Azealia Banks, Jamie Liddell, Jesse Boykins III and others, Machinedrum is now widely recognized as a producer's producer, a pioneer of many styles, and a master of his craft.

[links] =>

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Facebook
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North Carolina-born artist Travis Stewart known as Machinedrum has produced and composed over a dozen albums under various aliases since his first independent release in 1999. Covering an astonishing variety of styles with ease, through solo Machinedrum work and with collaborative projects Sepalcure, JETS, Dream Continuum, or other mutations, Stewart has established himself as electronic music's true Renaissance man.

His debut as Machinedrum Now You Know, was released in 2001 on pioneering Miami-based Merck Records and gained worldwide attention and praise from musicians, fans and critics. Having a strong background in both acoustic and electronic instrumentation, he was quickly able to navigate those various elements on his early releases from field recording and vintage synth laden Urban Biology to his seminal production and mixing of This Charming Mixtape with MC Theophilus London and his critically acclaimed 2009 album Want To 1 2? 2010's Many Faces EP ushered the next phase of Machinedrum's career and a fruitful relationship with Glasgow-based label LuckyMe. Sepalcure, a duo launched with Praveen Sharma shortly after, became one of the most intriguing names in the bass music scene and a series of releases on bubbling imprint Hotflush has given the duo NYC ambassadorship of this UK-based genre.

Relocating to Berlin for a few years, Machinedrum maintained a steady flow of releases including the Alarmaa and SXLND EPs with LuckyMe and the critically-acclaimed Room(s) LP on Planet Mu Records, a fresh new exploration of juke, jungle, and drum&bass that garnered high praise across the music world.

The dance floor blitzkrieg JETS, his latest project with longtime collaborator Jimmy Edgar has kept him ahead of the curve once again, serving as yet another showcase for his musical evolution.

His biggest and boldest release came last year in the form of the full-length LP Vapor City on famed label Ninja Tune, a conceptual universe which included an interactive website, digital citizenship program for fans, and an art exhibit in NYC that launched with the album. With subsequent EPs, exclusive remixes from a series of heavyweights, and a critically-acclaimed world tour, Vapor City carried on his rich exploration of multimedia arts and music.

Delivering his signature on every thing he touches, through each solo album and EP, collaborations, or production work for the likes of Azealia Banks, Jamie Liddell, Jesse Boykins III and others, Machinedrum is now widely recognized as a producer's producer, a pioneer of many styles, and a master of his craft.

[links_clean] =>

Website

Facebook
Twitter
Instagram

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From the UK via Liberia, Nigeria and Scotland, Young Fathers have pursued a unique trajectory, from mid-teen hip hop trio via psych-pop rap to where they are now, on their own original island thrown up by a pop volcano, tectonic plates of genres rubbing up against each other like under-sea dirty party-people; seams of molten pop history spewing lava more fertile than guano, upon which the rich foliage of hook, rhythm and bass grow immodestly in the sun.

Along the way, they have dropped pearls:  Straight Back On It, from their unreleased debut album Inconceivable Child... Conceived, is the telescoping of Tommy Boy into the 21st century.  Featured performances with Simian Mobile Disco and Stanton Warriors gave glimpses of the kind of light bulb shattering energy they are capable of.  Several tours, many festivals, honing a live presence which often looked like the vision of a boy band through the bottom of a glass of crystal meth.

Finally, having left their original production company and moved out on their own, Young Fathers dropped their first mixtape/mini album at the end of 2011.  TAPE ONE showed them in a darker place, a natural pop progression, the kind documented in the David Essex films, That'll Be The Day and Stardust, reaching shamanistic levels of call, response, lyrical invocations.  Wildly urban.

Signing to American west coast pulse-finder label, Anticon in 2012 they released TAPE TWO, even dirtier and louder than TAPE ONE (of course!) but also its natural side two.  With tracks like Queen Is Dead (which had the honour of being temporarily 'banned by the BBC' - literally, 'in case the Queen of Britain died') tapping into a Swazi initiation ceremony cut up by Gyson's scissors, to I Heard, full of that sweet, soul pain, holding hands with Curtis and Marvin over a dystopic beatbox.

2013 saw them venture to America, a natural target, where they mystified and blew away jaded SXSW regulars, then more tours around Europe and the UK, each time touching a few more innocents, passing through Reading and Leeds and creating thunder at the In The Woods festival.

Here they are then, alternating spells in the basement creating with alchemy massive bass on sheets of flash and mantronik steel, forged in an African fire, their new full length album entitled DEAD, due out on Anticon and Big Dada in the new year.

Loquacious Alloysious Massaquoi, lithe and graceful on stage, can take it from down and dirty to beatified choir boy in a musical phrase; growling and whispering 'G', gazing into the spotlight, transfixed by his own rhythms, pleading with the crowd to just, get it; exploding Kayus, whose overproof rapping can rip holes in walls without a microphone, hinting at dark deeds known and done, Ole Dirty Bastard's bastard son.

A stream of self-conceived and directed videos, a tie-in with Ch4 and Lemonade Money for the short films broadcast in 2013 featuring them and their music, hosting a friday night tombstone slot through October on BBC R1xtra, curating a monthly night in Glasgow at Broadcast (Back Off Devil), this plus upcoming tours of France, where TAPE TWO has been greeted with the classic Gallic understanding of all things dark-rocknroll (where Jim Morrison is apparently buried), touring the UK and the rest of Europe in the new year, all means that Young Fathers will hardly have time to think, let alone roam the gothic streets of old Edinburgh, hanging with friends.  

They are committed, on course, irrefutably aligned with the stars, set to sail the globe like a ghost ship, bringing dread and joy to safe harbours and dangerous docks.  Traveling with sails tattered and billowing from a mistral, channeled from the west coast of Africa to the east and the north of Britain, unfettered and multinational.  Without passports.

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From the UK via Liberia, Nigeria and Scotland, Young Fathers have pursued a unique trajectory, from mid-teen hip hop trio via psych-pop rap to where they are now, on their own original island thrown up by a pop volcano, tectonic plates of genres rubbing up against each other like under-sea dirty party-people; seams of molten pop history spewing lava more fertile than guano, upon which the rich foliage of hook, rhythm and bass grow immodestly in the sun.

Along the way, they have dropped pearls:  Straight Back On It, from their unreleased debut album Inconceivable Child... Conceived, is the telescoping of Tommy Boy into the 21st century.  Featured performances with Simian Mobile Disco and Stanton Warriors gave glimpses of the kind of light bulb shattering energy they are capable of.  Several tours, many festivals, honing a live presence which often looked like the vision of a boy band through the bottom of a glass of crystal meth.

Finally, having left their original production company and moved out on their own, Young Fathers dropped their first mixtape/mini album at the end of 2011.  TAPE ONE showed them in a darker place, a natural pop progression, the kind documented in the David Essex films, That'll Be The Day and Stardust, reaching shamanistic levels of call, response, lyrical invocations.  Wildly urban.

Signing to American west coast pulse-finder label, Anticon in 2012 they released TAPE TWO, even dirtier and louder than TAPE ONE (of course!) but also its natural side two.  With tracks like Queen Is Dead (which had the honour of being temporarily 'banned by the BBC' - literally, 'in case the Queen of Britain died') tapping into a Swazi initiation ceremony cut up by Gyson's scissors, to I Heard, full of that sweet, soul pain, holding hands with Curtis and Marvin over a dystopic beatbox.

2013 saw them venture to America, a natural target, where they mystified and blew away jaded SXSW regulars, then more tours around Europe and the UK, each time touching a few more innocents, passing through Reading and Leeds and creating thunder at the In The Woods festival.

Here they are then, alternating spells in the basement creating with alchemy massive bass on sheets of flash and mantronik steel, forged in an African fire, their new full length album entitled DEAD, due out on Anticon and Big Dada in the new year.

Loquacious Alloysious Massaquoi, lithe and graceful on stage, can take it from down and dirty to beatified choir boy in a musical phrase; growling and whispering 'G', gazing into the spotlight, transfixed by his own rhythms, pleading with the crowd to just, get it; exploding Kayus, whose overproof rapping can rip holes in walls without a microphone, hinting at dark deeds known and done, Ole Dirty Bastard's bastard son.

A stream of self-conceived and directed videos, a tie-in with Ch4 and Lemonade Money for the short films broadcast in 2013 featuring them and their music, hosting a friday night tombstone slot through October on BBC R1xtra, curating a monthly night in Glasgow at Broadcast (Back Off Devil), this plus upcoming tours of France, where TAPE TWO has been greeted with the classic Gallic understanding of all things dark-rocknroll (where Jim Morrison is apparently buried), touring the UK and the rest of Europe in the new year, all means that Young Fathers will hardly have time to think, let alone roam the gothic streets of old Edinburgh, hanging with friends.  

They are committed, on course, irrefutably aligned with the stars, set to sail the globe like a ghost ship, bringing dread and joy to safe harbours and dangerous docks.  Traveling with sails tattered and billowing from a mistral, channeled from the west coast of Africa to the east and the north of Britain, unfettered and multinational.  Without passports.

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Artist Date City Venue Buy
Kelis Saturday, Jun 28th Somerset, GB Glastonbury Buy
Machinedrum Saturday, Jun 28th Pilton, GB Glastonbury Festival Buy
Young Fathers Saturday, Jun 28th Pilton, GB Glastonbury Festival
Kid Koala (w/ Deltron 3030) Saturday, Jun 28th Evreux, FR Le Rock dans Tout Ses Etats Festival Buy
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