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Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran Conquers Spotify – Most Streamed in 2017

Photo Credit: Scott Legato / RockStarProPhotography.com

Ed Sheeran fans now have an official reason to scream with joy, as if the singer is blessing them a 24-hour live performance.

That’s because he is…via their iPhones and bedroom speakers!

Ed Sheeran is Spotify’s most streamed artist of 2017 globally and the most streamed artist overall on the platform with over 47 million monthly listeners.

With over 3.1 billion global streams, his album ÷ was the most streamed album of the year on Spotify and ‘Shape Of You’ has become the most streamed track of all time on the service with 1.4 billion streams.

“Ed Sheeran absolutely dominated this year with the release of his record-breaking album, Divide,” said Stefan Blom, Spotify’s chief content officer. “There is no doubt that 2017 was The Year of Ed Sheeran, and we are thrilled that so many millions of music fans have discovered, listened to, and shared his music on Spotify. Congratulations to Ed on an amazing achievement.”

[Concert Review] Coheed and Cambria: “Neverender GAIBSIV” tour

Coheed and Cambria performed 'Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume 1: From Fear Through The Eyes of Madness' in its entirety.

I swear Neverenders never get old.

For those of you not familiar with Coheed and Cambria, a Neverender is exactly what it sounds like: It’s a concert where the band plays one (or a few) of their albums sequentially cover to cover. It’s a beautiful thing. If you’re like me and enjoy appreciating songs as part of the full picture of the album they were released on, it is a live music event dream come true!

In celebration of the 12th birthday of their most successful album, this year’s Neverender was a full play through of Good Apollo I’m Burning Star IV, Volume 1 : From Fear Through the Eyes of MadnessGAIBSIV was the band’s third studio release and is the proud holder of their mega-hit single “Welcome Home” (which I believe was required by law to be everyone’s Myspace profile song for at least 2 months back in 2005). GAIBSIV is a continuation of a story from the albums prior which chronicles The Amory Wars.  You can pick up companion copies of the companion comics for this album which are currently being released at BOOM! studios.

Opening for Coheed and Cambria was Rhode Island-based prog-rock band The Dear Hunter.  The band originated as a side project of Casey Crescenzo, formerly of The Receiving End of Sirens.  The band boasts and impressive discography of seven studio albums, a demo, two live albums and 13 EP’s.

The Dear Hunter put on an energetic and entertaining opening act despite a lack-luster (and honestly a little headache-inducing) light show accompaniment.  I was not previously familiar with the band’s music at all prior to seeing them perform at this show and was pleasantly surprised. Though I don’t know that I will be going out of my way any time soon to look up their full discography, I wouldn’t mind stumbling across them again on Pandora in the future. I do appreciate that they have an extensive storyline to tell across their albums in true prog-rock fashion, although I think I have my hands full enough following The Amory Wars at the moment.

I may be a little biased, but I do honestly believe that Coheed and Cambria consistently put on some of the best live shows. This year’s Neverender was no exception. The visuals on screen behind the band ranged from video clips to trippy, moving artwork and really added to the feel and experience of the full album. The energy from the band was high and engaging. Something about being able to anticipate the next song in the lineup also seems to really amp up the audience in a way that is incomparable to other concerts.

After the conclusion of GAIBSIV (including hidden track Bron-Y-Aur, a nod to Led Zepplin), the band ended the set with a three song encore that included “Island,” “Delirium Trigger” and “In Keeping Secrets of Silent Earth: 3.”

Coheed fans are an interesting group.  We refer to each other as Children of the Fence (COTF), a reference to Heaven’s Fence: The universe in which The Amory Wars takes place.  By the end of the encore, most of us in the back row had one arm around our neighbor and our other index finger up in the air during the lyric “we were one among The Fence.”

Overall, the show was phenomenal.  For those of you in Europe you can still get tickets to the European leg of the tour, which I highly recommend.

Linkin Park Announces ‘One More Light’ World Tour

Machine Gun Kelly will join Linkin Park on their world tour to support their upcoming album, 'One More Light.'

In anticipation for their seventh studio album, One More Light, Linkin Park has announced a world tour with Machine Gun Kelly.

To help get tickets into the hands of real fans, first access to tickets will be reserved for fans in a presale powered by Ticketmaster Verified Fan. The presale will help to ensure fans are competing against other fans for tickets, instead of scalpers or bots.

Presale begins May 9. Fans and LPU members can register at www.presale.linkinpark.com. General sales will begin May 12.

One More Light will be released May 19. For a complete list of show dates, visit www.livenation.com or www.linkinpark.com.

In This Moment Announces Summer Tour

In This Moment will tour with Motionless In White and Avatar.

This summer, L.A.-metalcore band In This Moment will embark on a tour to bring their one-of-a-kind theatrics to fans across North America.

In This Moment’s debut album, Beautiful Tragedy, was released in 2007. Their 2014 album Black Widow debuted at number eight on Billboard’s top 200 chart, giving the band their highest position in the charts to date. The album featured radio hits such as “Sick Like Me” and “Sex Metal Barbie.”

Joining In This Moment on tour will be Motionless In White and Avatar. For a full list of tour dates, visit www.inthismomentofficial.com/tour.

Album Review: The Ivins – “The Code Duello”

The Ivins will release their debut album, "The Code Duello," on April 28.

The Code Duello is the debut full-length album by Jack and Jim Ivins, also known as The Ivins.

The first single from The Code Duello titled “Stockholm Syndrome,” tells the story of living through an emotionally damaging relationship. The track has an awesome, raunchy bass line and fast drumming (think late-90’s or early-00’s grunge music) under a cool falsetto voice.

One stand-out track on the album, “Tell Me,” is the story of a plane crash Jim Ivins was almost in on the way back from a weekend of college visits as a teenager. The track is everything he was thinking on the plane:, everything from the love he never found (“I couldn’t tell the wife I never had goodbye”) to thoughts of his own mortality.

Musically, “Tell Me” has a groovy bass track and an almost-jazz guitar sound with soft drumming that makes the depressing content almost sound upbeat.

The only love song on the album, “Roam The World,” sounds about as far from a love song as you can imagine. The song has a very Alice In Chains sound, with multi-part harmonies set over heavy guitars.

During an interview with Altwire, singer/guitarist Jim Ivins said the term “immediate” was used quite frequently during the production of the album. Most of the tracks on the album are under three minutes long. This leads to one of the drawbacks of the album: It goes by really quickly, and after a short while, all of the tracks sort of seem to mesh together. If it weren’t for the break between songs, I would have had a hard time keeping up.

The Code Duello will be released on April 28. In anticipation, Jim Ivins has been offering followers an inside look into several of their tracks in a blog he calls the “’Cracking The Code’ Diaries,” which can be found on their website at www.theivins.com.

Related: After “Music Industry Nonsense,” The Ivins Prepare To Release New Album

[AltWire Interview] After “Music Industry Nonsense,” The Ivins Prepare To Release New Album

After relocating several times and dealing with managers and record deals falling through, The Ivins prepare to release their first album.

“The Ivins” is the musical brainchild of brothers Jim and Jack Ivins. The brothers, along with guitarist Hatton Taylor and Regan Akers, are less than two weeks away from releasing The Code Duello, their full-length debut album.

The road getting here has not been easy for the brothers. They began production on their album in 2013, after moving from Richmond, Virg. to New York City.

The History

“Over the course of the last three and a half years, we’ve had a couple of record deals come and go, managers, lawyers, everything,” said vocalist/guitarist Jim Ivins. “It’s basically just kind of put the album in limbo for a long time.”

In 2014, the Ivins brothers relocated from New York City back to Virginia. This past fall, they moved to Nashville, TN at the suggestion of their manager.

“We signed with a manager and he told us to leave New York,” said Ivins. “He thought it would look better if we broke out of our home state of Virginia. The amount of bands that you hear about breaking out of Virginia is extremely small, so we thought it would give us kind of a unique edge if we moved out of Virginia.”

Ivins also added that New York was “insanely expensive.” He also added that the move to Nashville has been beneficial due to a growing rock scene.

In addition to relocating several times, the brothers have also dealt with industry-related problems. Over the course of the past three and a half years, they’ve had several record deals, managers and representation fall through.

“The industry is in this weird place where a lot of industry insiders just don’t believe that people still like rock music,” said Ivins. “A lot of people have decided that pop music is the only thing left and if you sign a rock band, you’re basically signing your death certificate.”

As a result of this, the album sat in limbo. Ivins says that whatever momentum they had built up in New York was lost due to operating in a minimal capacity.

“We would play shows and what would always happen to us was people would come up to us at the merch tables and be like ‘I really love your band, where can I get your music?’ and we’d be like ‘You can’t.’”

After the last manager and record deal fell through, the brothers decided it was time to move to Nashville.

“Once we got to Nashville and we were around all the music going on here, we were just totally invigorated by the energy and wanted to be able to make our mark,” said Ivins.  “As such, having no more commitments to anyone other than ourselves at this point, this fall/winter we set about officially wrapping the album with new mixes and a few re-recording touch ups.”

Vins says he and the rest of the group are excited to make their own lane in the Nashville music scene.

The Album

Once they began working on the album, “immediate” was a term that was commonly thrown around.

“People in 2017, the attention span is so low, listening to new bands and listening to music in general, so it’s like, you’ve gotta get people’s attention right away. Because if you don’t, there’s a million other bands they could listen to.”

According to Ivins, only two or three of the songs on the 13-track album even break four minutes long.

The album, named The Code Duello, is named after an ethics code for duelists.

“We had the title before we made the album,” said Ivins. “Jack has a Master’s Degree in Southern History. When he was doing some of his studies, he stumbled upon this term … As the record kept being made and we kept having these music industry one step forward, two steps back experiences, the title kept becoming more appropriate for what the album was about and what we were going through at the time.”

Jim Ivins describes the album, which will be released April 28, is “a 3 a.m. album”, describing the vibe of the music “as the sound of walking through the Lower East Side of Manhattan, inebriated and wearing sunglasses.”

“A lot of the album has to deal with the struggle to get it made,” said Ivins. “There’s songs about overcoming what society thinks we should be doing as career musicians … there’s a song about a plane crash that I was almost in, there’s a song about Jack and I’s mom dying … It’s a pretty dark album.”

The album will be released on April 28. Check out The Ivins’ single “Stockholm Syndrome” here:

Album Review: Cold War Kids – LA Divine

Review by Liz Pena

Cold War Kids have delivered a broad social awareness and a deep personal honesty on their new record LA Divine. The album is a combination of pained ballads, experimental weirdness, and motivated anthems. Through this, they create a successful balance between political commentary and internal monologue. This music is human and real and sure to thrive in front of audiences.

Cold War Kids have always relied on a combination of brassy, slurred crooning and emotional falsetto on their vocals and for the majority of this album, they maintain that sound. Group vocals, energetic doo-wops, and wandering ooh-oohs are added throughout to create different effects. On “Free to Breathe,” the vocals are smooth, clean, and something we really have not heard much of from the band in the past. This track closes the record like an enchanted disappearing act. It contrasts these smooth, clean vocals and simple instrumentation with an almost feminine falsetto, perhaps the hauntings of lost love.

While one through line of the record is filled with longing and romance, there is also a relevant socio-political side to LA Divine. This is embraced in a subtle way on motivated anthems like “Can We Hang On” and “Ordinary Idols” but it is most clear on the tongue in cheek, experimental “Wilshire Protest.” The track is primarily spoken word – sarcastic, freeform poetry mocking the pseudo-enlightened. The statement is aware and direct, but not overt. They embrace the challenge of finding a place for meaning and intellect in our world in a interestingly punk way.

Experimental tracks are a significant part of the record as it carries on. “Part of the Night” yoyos pitch and emotion while “La River” spins fuzzy distorted noise backwards. “Cameras Always On” is a short, dreamy, vintage piano short that shows a real artistic vision in the flow of the record.

Weird works, but there is also some highly appealing pop hits on LA Divine. “Love is Mystical” opens the record with scream from the rooftops, impassioned romance and instinctive invincibility. They cry out about the “power to believe again,” something we all crave sometimes. “Restless” has a radio-friendly sound similar to hits by artists such as Sam Smith. There is a structured but anguished feel to this slow dance of a song that will reverberate with listeners.

Overall, the record has the most youthful, genuine sound we have heard from Cold War Kids and it has two different types of appeal. There is the lighters-in-the-air, sing-a-long energy that will make this record work on tour but also a developed and forward-thinking sound that creates radio magic. Hopefully this is a new direction for the band as they move into future production. Check out the record and let us know what YOU think.

Hot Mulligan Signs With No Sleep, Releases New Acoustic Track

Michigan pop-punk band Hot Mulligan has been signed to No Sleep Records, but according to vocalist/guitarist Chris Freeman, the band’s journey has been “unexpected.”

The band was formed in 2014 in the U.P. (upper peninsula) of Michigan.

“There’s no music scene up there, so I either had the choice to watch dads play Led Zeppelin covers in the local bars or do nothing at all but play in my basement,” said Freeman.

After booking their first tour, the band moved south to Lansing, the state capitol. Only two of the original members of the band were able to make the move: Freeman and vocalist Tades Sanville.

“I was playing drums, we had two guitarists, a bassist, and Tades … Tades and I were the only ones that moved to Lansing. One of the guitarists went to college … We realized everyone had to be in one area to make it work.”

Since the move, the band has hired new members. Freeman switched to vocals and guitar.

Last week, the band announced with a post on their Facebook that their recent EP, “Opportunities,” was gone forever.

“It was our best received EP yet, and a lot of people were really unhappy thinking that it was gone forever. We posted it and a lot of people were like ‘Hey, why is this going away, why won’t you tell us what’s up?’”

Following the outcry from fans, the band announced several days later that they had been signed to No Sleep Records.

“(Getting signed) was surprising for all of us, I guess, and a little eye-opening to know that we actually did something that we’ve wanted to do for a long time.

Hot Mulligan also announced that their debut EP would be remastered and rereleased. The album will also feature a bonus acoustic track, “Deluxe Capacitor.”

“We just put a new acoustic track on it,” said Freeman. “When we decided that we were going to do the re-release for sure, I know I didn’t want to just like take it down, put it back up … We didn’t want to just record a different version of one of the other songs on the record, so we went with an acoustic track and I think that’s probably one of our favorites now on it.”

As for the future, Freeman says the band plans to do “a lot more touring,” as well as release their first full-length album.

“We’re going to push harder than we ever have now that we have more resources.”

Hot Mulligan’s new single, “Deluxe Capacitor,” is currently streaming on Alternative Press. The remastered EP saw a digital release on March 31 and is available on the No Sleep Records store at www.nosleeprecords.com, hotmulligan.bandcamp.com, Apple Music, Google Play and Amazon.

The Shortlist – August 20, 2016

The Best New Music Every Week

Summer isn’t over yet and some of the most hotly anticipated albums of 2016 are still to come.  This week’s shortlist of the best new releases is chock-full of preview tracks and feel-good summer jams so grab a beer, hit the patio, and press play.

29d3ad19556c6a8396197af38b4d97fae5ee5e3cBon Iver – 22 (OVER S∞∞N)

After 5 years of other projects, Justin Vernon and company have a new album, 22 , A Million, coming out in late September.  This new single and it’s B-side, “10 d E A T h b R E a s T ⚄ ⚄”, make for a nice teaser of the chilled-out, glitchy electronic influenced sound we might hear from the group’s next effort.


e6a501acc6638413248b81f9eafc79474e063c71Mike Taylor – Electric Church

Mike Taylor doesn’t have a ton of recorded material under his belt, but it’s clear that he’s got soul and flair.  This upbeat track is a fun jam that’s guaranteed to get feet moving and heads bobbing.  It’s sure to fit right into your summer party playlist.


52aeb8f7073aed4025d35c10557185082b8a6cbdDe La Soul – Greyhounds (Feat. Usher)

De La Soul have long been a staple of alternative hip-hop alongside crews like A Trie Called Quest and The Pharcyde.  After a long hiatus they are gearing up for a brand new album and dropping singles left and right.  The releases so far have shown a more mellow side of the group with a strong focus on lyrics and storytelling.  The new album And The Anonymous Nobody… is due out on August 26th.


a40da1661b5e2953fc229db922cdc0225067b4c6The Shadowboxers – Build The Beat

Heavily influenced by upbeat soul and 80’s pop rock, the Shadowboxers deliver feel-good power pop like this one.  Groovy synth sounds and a hefty helping if blaring horns drive the song and leave you wanting to put it on repeat.


dc4fe1571e2a828e499a5b5f6e0c58f2b07f2c01The Tallest Man On Earth – Rivers

Swedish singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson AKA The Tallest Man On Earth gained fame with intricate arrangements, lo-fi recordings, and cryptic imagery.  With his more recent material, “Rivers” included, he has brought a fuller sound and a touching lyrical sensibility.  This one is for calm nights and serene locations.


217446f27dfc6ec7de94880f69ccfc7cd58ea46bAtmosphere – Ringo

Super-prolific Rhymesayers veterans Ant and Slug have a brand new album out.  This smirk-y lead single delivers the kind of clever, lighthearted jabs at society Slug has become known for over a sunny instrumental.  It’s a sing-along rap song served up with a wink and a nod.


0e344c0bd944d03b6831333b9bc48e060f7fde3eBig Gigantic – Got The Love (Feat. Jennifer Hartswick)

Boulder Colorado based electronic duo Big Gigantic is building buzz for their new album Brighter Future.  Jennifer Heartswick’s soulful vocals anchor this fast paced track and the bold horn accents make for a fun and unique sound that’s more than just EDM.


850c2f2c1a23270c1ebeb1c29b19160a767bc6aaGROUPLOVE – Do You Love Someone

GROUPLOVE has generally occupied the same musical space as Passion Pit or Fitz and the Tantrums, but this single finds them diverting from their tried-and-true synthpop sound and into something more guitar based.  The group as a whole sounds more powerful and ready to break free from the niche they once filled.  Perhaps with their upcoming album the band will be trying to bring out a more unique sound and pushing themselves outside the box.


ae18ea7edd088bc98672f546bbd5fcc8f40a8ca8Wilco – If I Ever Was A Child

Barely making it under the wire for the week, Wilco shared this new song off of their upcoming album Schmilco just yesterday.  The song takes on an acoustic, roots-Americana sound that the band most fully explored on their 2009 self-titled album.  Jeff Tweedy’s songwriting seems as strong as ever and this light, pleasant track makes for a good teaser and a good song to watch the sunset by.


6b77945fcb5f23834a6fb77e4ea1fdc2935778f3Nick Grant – Get Up (Feat. WatchTheDuck)

South Carolina’s Nick Grant just dropped this funky-soul track featuring classic southern hip-hop and fast, sharp lyrical delivery.  A relative newcomer to the rap scene, Grant is bold, confident, and sounds like he’s having an awesome time on the mic.  It’s a great recipe for a killer summer hip-hop jam.

Listen to the playlist below and follow Altwire for more


all photos from Spotify