Ash

NEWS: Ash Celebrate 25 Years with a New Single and Tour!

Ash are back with “Darkest Hour Of The Night”!

And release “Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years Of Ash” next month!

by Christopher Smith

Having announced the career spanning “Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years Of Ash”, released on February 14th, Irish trio Ash are pleased to see in 2020 with new track “Darkest Hour Of The Night”. Penned once again by singer and guitarist Tim Wheeler, the previously unreleased “Darkest Hour Of The Night” was recorded last year at Atomic Heart Studios in New York and features horns by renowned American art-pop band Rubblebucket – a ray of light to pierce the darkest night of the soul; a redemptive anthem for a new decade.

Ash have also confirmed an Absolute Radio show event at London’s O2 Forum later this month on a special bill alongside Stereophonics on January 21st prior to their own European shows throughout February, March and April. Curated by the band, “Teenage Wildlife: 25 Years Of Ash” documents the recorded output, both the hits and lesser known gems from the past twenty-five years. Featuring Tim Wheeler (vocals, guitar), Mark Hamilton (bass), Rick McMurray (drums) and Charlotte Hatherley (guitar) whilst highlighting Wheeler as one of the era’s most accomplished and enduring songwriters.

Ash’s youth was undoubtedly alluring, yet the band’s Irish roots exuded a bit of American flair similar to the likes of Pavement and the Lemonheads. Wheeler, Hamilton, and McMurray weren’t even out of high school before three of their singles hit the Top Five in the UK indie charts. A year later, Ash made their full-length debut with “1977” topping the UK album chart, and set their sights on America, having inked a deal with Reprise Records. Named in honor of the year Star Wars was released, “1977” displayed Wheeler and Hamilton’s full-fledged love for all things extraterrestrial and science fiction-related; the record also flaunted sharp guitar hooks and exact production work by Owen Morris (Oasis, Paul Weller). Ash took to headlining major festivals, T in the Park, Glastonbury, Roskilde, and Reading and played club dates across the globe. In 1997, female guitarist Charlotte Hatherley was added to the previously all-male lineup, marking a change in the band’s sound and image.

With a new bandmate aboard, Ash matured during the late ’90s, as their sound featured heavier guitars and a gritty lyrical shift. The band’s sophomore effort, “Nu-Clear Sounds” (1998), featured the work of Garbage’s Butch Vig (Smashing Pumpkins, Nirvana) at the mixing board, but it also resulted in mixed reviews. NME turned on the band, criticizing Ash’s new sound, calling the band “terrifying ghoulrawk thrashnik, deathcore noiseterror sultans of satanic verse” in August 1998. Harsh words and reviews notwithstanding, Ash forged ahead with “Free All Angels” (released in April 2001, although it didn’t even see a US release until the following Summer) and 2005’s “Meltdown”, which marked the band’s first stateside release for the Record Collection label. They closed the year supporting U2 on their third world tour and, soon after, Wheeler and Hamilton decided to relocate to New York while the band went on a six-month hiatus. Charlotte announced her departure from the band one year later, having logged nearly a decade with the group.

Ash forged ahead as a trio and released “Twilight Of The Innocents” in 2007, claiming that the album would be their last. Interestingly enough, they also assured their fans that they were not breaking up; instead, the group would only release singles in response to consumer trends. Starting in 2009, the band began the “A-Z Series”, releasing a new single every two weeks until all 26 singles were released. The following year they released “A-Z: Vol.1”, which compiled singles A through M, while “A-Z: Vol.2” completed the collection with songs N-Z a few months later. In 2011, to mark the release of their “Best of Ash” compilation, they were reunited with guitarist Hatherley for a short UK tour where they performed fan-favorite “Free All Angels” in its entirety.

Ash marked their 20th anniversary in 2012 with a sold-out show at the Garage in London, and they released an EP to coincide with the impressive milestone. Titled “Little Infinity”, the record consisted of cover versions, including the Beach Boys’ “Do You Wanna Dance” and ABBA’s “Lay All Your Love on Me”. They continued their resurgence into 2013 with their first appearance in seven years at industry showcase SXSW in Texas, and they also played a handful of U.S. headline shows. Their busy touring schedule continued with a set of intimate shows in the UK before appearing at festivals at home and as far away as the 280 Festival in Jakarta. The trio kicked off 2014 with a string of shows on the West Coast of America before setting sail to perform on the Weezer Cruise. The following year they announced the release of their first full-length studio album since 2007’s “Twilight Of The Innocents”, despite their promise that it was their last. Titled “Kablammo!”, the record appeared in May 2015. Two years later, to mark the 20th anniversary of their debut album, the trio released “Live on Mars: London Astoria 1997”, a live album documenting their five-night 1997 residency at London’s famed Astoria venue.

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Written by Christopher Smith

So perhaps you’ve read an article or two that I’ve written and wondered “just who is this character?”! Well I thought maybe it would be time to introduce myself and what I’m all about. Well it’s all about the music! Having been born in the late 1970’s I was heavily influenced by my parent’s love of ‘popular’ music and rock and roll of the 1950’s and 60’s. My Mother always said she should of married Elvis and my father was, and is still, in love with Sandie Shaw! But while my Dad’s tastes stopped in about 1967, my Mum carried on loving music throughout the 70’s, 80’s and beyond. My first memory was playing on the floor whilst my Mother was ironing one day with the radio on, and hearing ABBA’s “Super Trouper” dancing my nappy off to it! Maybe that’s where it all went wrong…?! Having been subjected to all and sundry in my infant years, I finally found my feet in the mid-1980’s and began ‘partying’ to the likes of Culture Club, Stevie Wonder(!), Elkie Brooks and Bananarama to name but a few! The year 1987 would have a profound effect on my listening tastes and from thereon in my life would be dominated with buying and listening to music. Any number of outstanding songs were released and listened to that year, most notably “Nothing’s Gonna Stop Us Now”, “I Wanna Dance With Somebody” and “La Isla Bonita”. That Summer my mind was completely taken over with music and sounds I’d never heard before and I was totally taken in by it all. My father would say “whaaar rubbish you got on naaaaao?” (I’m from Norfolk!) but I was hooked. And it continued so for the rest of the decade and the next. At the beginning of 1988 I ‘met’ my true love and the singer I’ve worshipped more than any other artist or group. You may know of her. She’s from Australia…! Aside from pop music, my tastes are many and varied and continues to grow and expand as I ‘mature’ in age. I’ve always been heavily interested in films and in particular the mechanics of film making and of course film music, so scores and subsequently orchestral music takes up a lot of my tastes and collection. 90’s dance and club tunes also takes up much of the space in my head and I’m surprised my brain has stopped shaking from the years of abuse it took being dragged to nightclubs, often three times a week in my 20’s! I find with each year that passes I regress back to my youth and of course the 1980’s. 80’s music dominates and the lust to see as many 80’s acts and singers play live now is insatiable. I’m still getting into the groove as much as every breath I take, but I’m never gonna give up listening to my heart and pumping up the volume, simply because I LOVE MUSIC…any kind of music!
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