Being on the road can do strange things to a man...Join Gordy, Matt, Russell and power roadie John as they duel their imaginary axes to the Top Gear theme on the tour bus before settling down to a quiet game of hat attack and a singalong to 10CC.
Nearly a week after Bloc Party unleashed 'Intimacy' on the unsuspecting public, there's been no word of an official album cover. So, to tide you over, here's the highlights of the fan-created album artwork. Thanks to everyone who sent in their ideas!
Artwork by Julien Bremard, Pierre-Louis, Alex Hiro, Alex Fox, Alex Stilman, Adrian Riemann and Sarah Jahn
Bloc Party latest headline for Q Awards 2008:The Gigs
Bloc Party have just been announced as the latest addition to Q Awards 2008: The Gigs, taking place in the run-up to The Q Awards on October 6. They will headline London Kentish Town Forum on September 30, and join the slightly troubling threesome of Keane, Razorlight and Sugababes in this series of exclusive shows.
Tickets for all the shows cost £25 plus booking fee and will go on sale at 9am on September 1 from www.aloud.com.
Bloc Party revealed their ambition to headline Reading And Leeds Festival during their set on the Main Stage at Leeds Festival tonight. "This is the last time you'll see us for a while. Hopefully next time you see us at this festival we'll be headlining," singer Kele Okereke told the crowd before final song 'Helicopter'. Okereke also bemoaned the subdued crowd, complaining: "I know it's a Sunday night, but you must have it in you to go crazy. Let's not draw on the negatives, though, eh?"
The singer's mood lightened when he later admitted: "We don't normally enjoy Leeds as much as this, thanks for making us enjoy it tonight." The band played a similar set to their appearance at Reading Festival last night, including two tracks - 'One Month Off' and 'Mercury' - from new album 'Intimacy'.
Daniel Lindegren once again stood in on bass for Gordon Moakes, who is on extended paternity leave from the band. Before 'One Month Off' Okereke encouraged the crowd to get loved up, saying: "If you've met someone at the festival, and they're stood next to you now, give them a squeeze,". Fan favourites 'So Here We Are', 'Flux' and 'Banquet' were also aired in the set, which concluded with 'Helicopter'.
Mercury / Hunting For Witches / Song For Clay (Disappear Here) / Banquet / Two More Years / One Month Off / This Modern Love / The Prayer / So Here We Are / Like Eating Glass / Flux / Helicopter
Bloc Party played Reading Festival tonight just days after releasing third album 'Intimacy'. The band released the album as a download on Thursday, making their Main Stage appearance their first gig since it became available. Marking the occasion, frontman Kele Okereke started the show with a short speech saying it had been a few weeks of "new members, new babies and a new record" - referring to bassist Gordon Moakes, who is on extended paternity leave and his stand-in Daniel Lindegren - before adding that "I have one more thing to say", and broke into the opening line of recent single 'Mercury'.
They later played 'One Month Off' from the new album, before dedicating 'This Modern Love' to their absent bandmate. "We'd like to dedicate our next song to Gordon our usual bass player," declared Okereke. "I have no doubt he'll be watching online, can we have a big hi to Gordon and his new baby Scarlet." A series of "Gordon" chants followed from the crowd with the singer noting "he'll love that".
However, ahead of 'So Here We Are', Okereke had to rein in his audience, after the big screens picked out a girl on someone's shoulder and the crowd chanted for her to take her top off. "Come on," cautioned the singer, "this is still a Bloc Party gig," before explaining the band were feeling good about tonight's show after "a bird shat" on their stand-in bassist, which "must be a good luck sign".
"I hope you're having as much fun as we are, you can show that we're all friends here," the singer later told the crowd as he kicked off 'Flux', working the opening lines of Prince's 'I Would Die 4 U' into his own song. With green lasers firing across the site, the band then seemingly wrapped up the set with a frantic version of 'Helicopter'.
However, Bloc Party returned for a rare Reading Festival encore. "Thank you so much, it's a little bit cheeky but we thought we have to play the song that started it all off," explained Okereke who sung the vocals for 'She's Hearing Voices' from the barriers at the front of the crowd.
Mercury / Hunting For Witches / Song For Clay (Disappear Here) / Banquet / Two More Years / One Month Off / This Modern Love / The Prayer / So Here We Are / Like Eating Glass / I Would Die 4 U (Prince cover) - Flux / Helicopter
The full (provisional) lyrics for 'Intimacy' are now up on BlocParty.net - a joint effort by fans on Always New Depths. To view them, go here and click on the song titles. There's still quite a few gaps and possible mistakes, so please write to the usual address if you spot anything!
Word on the street is that this cover isn't going to be the final 'Intimacy' artwork, so BLOG PARTY is opening it up for you to design your own covers for the download album to make do until the official artwork is released.
Send in your ideas here! The cover should have BLOC PARTY and INTIMACY written somewhere (the official font is Gill Sans MT), and should be a square with approximately 500 x 500 pixel dimensions. The best artwork ideas will be featured on this site!
First impressions always count...so write them below! Here's BLOG PARTY's initial take on the new album...
Bloc Party at their most 'wildly experimental'. This is easily Bloc Party's most ambitious song to date, setting the bar high for the rest of the album. It begins like a Sigur Rós song, before an epic guitar scrawl and heavy drums signal the band's intent. Kele spits out his lyrics with venom over a frantic breakbeat, rapping them Dizzee Rascal-stylee. The first chorus itself consists of a series of screamed vocals, backed by the riff and drums. 'I Still Remember' this is not. Judging by the warm, synth breakdown towards the end of the track, the band have been listening to Burial during recording.
Key lyric: We dance to the sound of sirens
The musical version of Marmite...evokes love and hate in equal measure. A cacophony of brass stabs, looped vocals and rumbling synths...it's too repetitive for some, but you can't deny the final crescendo, complete with samba drumming. Releasing this as the lead-off single was perhaps a good idea to attract attention, but it strays a bit too close to musical migraine territory for comfort.
Key lyric: My Mercury's in retrograde
The first taste of conventional guitars on the album - this plays like a classic fist-pumping Bloc Party song, all driving drums and interplaying guitars...could be a potential single. The last minute or so showcases Russell and Kele's trademark riffery, before Kele rounds things off with the downright sexy chorus.
Key lyric: Paralyse me with your kiss / Wipe those dirty hands on me / Maybe we're looking for the same thing / Maybe you're the one who'll complete me
For the Bloc b-side aficionados, this is similar to the recent b-side, 'Emma Kate's Accident'. Built upon a sparse guitar riff and Kele's yearning falsetto, the track slowly builds into a downbeat electro-ballad. A synthy song, this is likely to be one of the Jacknife Lee produced tracks and appears to have been written for a friend suffering from cancer.
Key lyric: You're not doing this alone
05. Trojan Horse
This track's been available on the band's MySpace for a couple days and was probably chosen as an album preview because it showcases both sides of the album - the trademark tremolo guitars, along with the electronic studio touch. A huge oriental-sounding riff comes in around the 2:20 mark, before a classic Bloc breakdown and a return to the riff bring the song to an abrupt close.
Key lyric: You used to take your watch off before we made love / You didn't want to share our time with anyone
Again, unlike any other Bloc song to date. The delicate music-box/glockenspiel intro is followed by billowing synths and a faint orchestral whitewash. Judging from the moving lyrics, this was written for a friend who recently passed away. Just past the three-minute mark, a full orchestra swoons in - a real hairs-on-the-back-of-the-neck moment. The most beautiful track on the album.
Key lyric: I see signs now all the time that you're not dead, you're sleeping / I believe in anything that brings you back home to me
07. One Month Off
Could be either an Epworth or Jacknife Lee track...shades of 'Helicopter' in the staccato guitar riff, but there is also some 'Mercury'-esque vocal sampling, carried out with a bit more panache in this track. 'One Month Off' boasts one of the catchiest choruses on the album - also a potential single candidate. Features an interesting time signature adjustment and Bloc Party's first key change, musos!
Key lyric: I can be as cruel as you, fighting fire with firewood
This is the 'album centrepiece'. Beginning with a grime-y vocal loop, sparse drums and Kele's vocals, the track morphs after the first chorus into a full-on choral beast. Anyone who was lucky enough to experience last October's Electric Proms concert will know how Bloc Party sound with a full choral backing, and the chances are the band was inspired by that show. A haunting, unsettling track - but one in which the experimentation has pulled off.
Key lyric: And all you said in your quietest voice was "I needed you as much as they do"
09. Better Than Heaven
In which Bloc Party continue to get dirty and electro on our asses. A bouncy drumbeat propels the track along a bed of electro-blips and echoing guitars...until it explodes at 2:50 into a tumbling spiral of bass, guitars, synths and drums. Even the kitchen sink's in the mix somewhere.
Key lyric: What's with all this / Doom and gloom? / You used to be such / Such a laugh
10. Ion Square
On first listen, perhaps the weakest track on the album. The production, as on the whole album, is fantastic, but fails to mask a below-par song - the main problem being annoyingly repetitive vocals and a lack of direction. The song just...is. Nevertheless, it's sure to be a grower like 'Mercury', and the track builds up to an impressive outro.
Key lyric: The space between us has disappeared / You finish my / You finish my words for me
Final verdict: Those fearing a Greek mythology concept album after reading the song titles will be relieved. This isn't a drastic new direction for Bloc Party, and it feels like a natural progression after the first two albums. 'Mercury' is probably the most experimental track on the album (along with 'Ares'), and is also the track where the experimenting feels the most forced. On many of the tracks, the band have recaptured the early energy shown on 'Silent Alarm', thankfully managing to overcome the lethargic atmosphere that infiltrated a lot of 'A Weekend In The City' by re-introducing the buzz-saw guitars, urgent vocals and Matt Tong patented drums.
But this is far from being 'Silent Alarm' mark II. It shows a band evolving, swallowing the sounds and ideas from the first two albums, and spitting them out into a new cohesive whole. As far as the instrumentation goes, this is perhaps Bloc Party's best album to date - there's so much going on in each of the songs that they are bound to reward repeated listening. Where 'Intimacy' is slightly let-down is in Kele's vocals. Not in the lyrics - the intimate, relationship-based subject matter much better suits his direct style than the grandiose city-theme of 'A Weekend In The City' - but in the melodies. A lot of Kele's vocal hooks are beginning to sound very similar, to the extent that you can pretty much guess the next melodic hook in the majority of the songs.
But that's not to take too much away from what is a definite return to form...Bloc Party are back to what they do best...genre-bending emotional boy rock, this time with an added smattering of electro-pop, choral chanting, dirty synths and...erm...glockenspiel. Welcome back Bloc Party!
On the eve of the third album release, Bloc Party this evening performed 'Mercury' and 'Flux' on Steve Lamacq's 6 Music show. Kele and Matt were also interviewed about 'Intimacy', which, according to this article, is Kele's break-up album (relationship-wise, not with the band). The production of the album was spread 50-50 between Paul Epworth (songs already pre-written) and Jacknife Lee (tracks which were written in the studio during the recording process).
Those on the ball will be able to download the new album in all its digital glory at 9am tomorrow morning, so get writing your sick notes now. It feels like Christmas Eve, aged 12, all over again!
To listen again to Bloc Party's 6 Music appearance, click here and fast-forward. The interview can be found at 1:43 and the session at 2:23.
Edit: Zane Lowe previewed another new song from the album tonight as his 'Hottest Record In The World'. To listen to 'One Month Off', click here and fast-forward 30 minutes (after Sigur Rós)!
Thought you had to wait a whole two days to hear new Bloc Party tuneage? Wrong...you'll be able to hear a brand new track from the third album, 'Intimacy', on NME.com sometime this afternoon. Check that site later today for more Bloc excitement!
Edit: Listen to 'Trojan Horse' on Bloc Party's MySpace now!
During the course of tonight's webchat, Bloc Party announced details of their third album, titled 'Intimacy'. And, would you believe it, they've kinda done a Radiohead. If you preorder the album now (here), you will receive the digital version on Thursday 21st August (two days time!), and the CD will arrive on October 27th with new tracks tagged on.
Here's the 'Intimacy' tracklisting...
05. Trojan Horse
07. One Month Off
09. Better Than Heaven
10. Ion Square
Looks like Kele's been reading up on his Greek mythology. So, mucho surprise, huh? Who's taking Thursday off?
It's that time of the year again...BlocParty.net is up for the Best Unofficial Music Site award at this year's BT Digital Music Awards. You can vote by clicking here or on the image at the top right of the page.
BP.net did prettywell in the last two years, so hopefully we can repeat it again this year...remember to tell Aunty Mabel, Cousin Boris, and your pet hamster Nibbles. You can vote once every day up to when voting closes at the end of September.
To say hello after their travels around Japan and the US, Bloc Party will be giving their first live webchat tomorrow, Monday 18th August, at 7pm GMT on the official site! Here's a few glimpses of the adventures the boys got up to:
Also, 'Mercury' today entered the Official UK Singles Chart at #16...click here for the full chart.
Bloc Party's brand new single, 'Mercury', (which may or may not feature on the third album) is out now! Go here for the full tracklisting and pick up all the tracks for a special fan price here. Is that Russell's tousled blochead on the front cover? If you've forgotten what the song sounds like, and/or want to be thoroughly creeped out by some Mighty Boosh-style apes, check out the video.
Hunting For Witches / Positive Tension / Waiting For The 7.18 / Price Of Gasoline / So Here We Are / The Prayer / The Once And Future King / Mercury / This Modern Love / Song For Clay (Disappear Here) / Banquet
Like Eating Glass / I Would Die 4 U (Prince cover) / Flux / She's Hearing Voices / Helicopter The Pioneers
Waiting For The 7.18 / Price Of Gasoline / Hunting For Witches / Blue Light / The Prayer / The Once And Future King / So Here We Are / Like Eating Glass / This Modern Love / Song For Clay (Disappear Here) / Banquet
Mercury / I Would Die 4 U (Prince cover) / Flux / She's Hearing Voices / Helicopter
Download Bloc Party's entire Lollapalooza set, performed last Friday night, after the jump (includes the first decent quality live recording of 'Mercury')!
"Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke looked like he was ready for a very political game of basketball. Dressed in brightly colored shorts, vintage Nikes and a Barack Obama T-shirt with the word “Progress” written on it, Okereke and his band managed to overcome some technical glitches and the absence of bassist Gordon Moakes (he’s at home with a new baby) to deliver a set of inspired stadium-sized dance riffs as the Chicago sun set. The band really clicked the new single “Mercury” (where Okereke sampled his own voice) and on the set-closing “Helicopter” (which was greeted as a true anthem). During some down time, Okereke even teased the opening riff of Nirvana’s “Heart Shaped Box,” which was a knowing nod to Lollapalooza’s early-’90s roots." (Rolling Stone)
Bloc Party return to the US festival scene tonight with an appearance at Chicago's Lollapalooza. The AT&T Blue Room will be streaming their set live at around 7:15pm Eastern Time (or 5 hours later in the UK)...go here for more info!