NEWS: black midi Announce New Album, Out July 15th

black midi – the UK-based trio of Geordie Greep (guitar, vocals), Cameron Picton (bass, vocals) and Morgan Simpson (drums) - announce their third album, Hellfire, out July 15th on Rough Trade, and a fall North American tour. In conjunction with the announcement, they share the album’s lead single/video, “Welcome To Hell.” Written in isolation in London after the release of last year’s Cavalcade, Hellfire builds on the melodic and harmonic elements of its predecessor, while expanding the brutality and intensity of their debut, Schlagenheim. As Greep describes it: “if Cavalcade was a drama, ‘Hellfire’ is like an epic action film" that delves into overlapping themes of pain, loss and anguish. It is their most thematically cohesive and intentional album yet.

Whereas the stories of Cavalcade were told in third person, Hellfire is presented in first-person and tells the tales of morally suspect characters. There are direct dramatic monologues, flamboyantly appealing to our degraded sense of right and wrong. You’re never quite sure whether to laugh at or be horrified. Today’s “Welcome To Hell” tells the story of a shell shocked soldier’s excess and military discharge. The setting is a far-off military campaign - an exotic coastal town, commandeered by the invading army and swarming with soldiers. It is night time; erratic men rush up and down the strip in various stages of inebriation, neon signs light up the bars, and out of their open doors waft wisps of indeterminate smoke. Deafening howls of motorcycle engines linger all around, accompanied by a medley of languages - albeit, all slurred, coarse, hoarse and evasive of any true emotion and he's unable to handle the world in which he finds himself. The track is soundtracked by funky guitar sections, driving horns and a progressively snarling vocal. It’s accompanying video was directed by Gustaf Holtenäs (who also directed the video for black midi’s “Slow”).

Almost everyone depicted is a kind of scumbag,” says Greep. “Almost everything I write is from a true thing, something I experienced and exaggerated and wrote down. I don’t believe in Hell, but all that old world folly is great for songs, I’ve always loved movies and anything else with a depiction of Hell. Dante’s Inferno. When Homer goes to Hell in the Simpsons. There’s a robot Hell in Futurama. Isaac Bashevis Singer, a Jewish writer who portrays a Satan interfering in people’s lives. There’s loads!

The mysterious military mining corporation behind Cavalcade’s “Diamond Stuff” reappears in Picton’s new song “Eat Men Eat,” and some of his best lyrics appear on the forcefully sweet “Still,” Hellfire’s least abstract, most lyrically personal song. “There’s a lot of love and things like that on Hellfire,” says Picton. ”There’s a tender flipside to every song. The dark comes out strongly, there’s Hell and Satan and murder and unsavoury things, but every song has both light and dark.”

Creating Hellfire took six months, sprouting from a riff on one of the group’s oldest jams, which bloomed into the futuristic boxing drama, “Sugar/Tzu.” The range, power and potent production of black midi’s music has never been greater than on Hellfire, partly thanks to producer Marta Salogni, who worked with the band on Cavalcade opener, “John L.” But, as always, the type of music black midi play isn’t as important as its quality. And whatever you think about black midi’s music isn’t as important as how you feel about it.

In November 2021, at the end of their celebrated US tour, black midi recorded a live album with Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago capturing songs from across their catalogue. Six of those songs will be pressed on 6 Flexi Discs (one song each), which will individually be available with a limited number of album pre-orders from specific retailers.

black midi’s North American tour is on sale Friday, May 13th at The band will play some of their biggest shows yet, including concerts at London’s Somerset House, New York’s Central Park SummerStage, Los Angeles’ The Wiltern, San Francisco’s The Warfield, Denver’s Ogden Theatre and First Avenue in Minneapolis.

Experiencing the band live, feeling the power of the tension they carefully build up just before each explosive cathartic release, is essential to understanding black midi. Live, there’s Kaidi Akinnibi (brass) and Seth Evans (keyboards), summoning fearsome squalls of intensity at will. Simpson’s concussive percussion underlining everything, sometimes a boxer fighting a nightly bout with his kit, others silkily caressing the cymbals. Picton, the still centre of a cyclone, waiting for those moments when the band feel inevitable, invincible, like “that massive lurching machine from Mad Max Fury Road”. And Greep, stalking the stage, soaking up that exhilarating, combustible energy, pouring it all out through his microphone and guitar.

black midi Tour Dates (North American dates in bold):

Tue. May 10 - Grenoble, FR @ La Bobine

Wed. May 11 - Milan, IT @ Santeria

Thu. May 12 - Zurich, CH @ Mascotte

Sat. May 14 - Vienna, AT @ Flex

Sun. May 15 - Prague, CR @ Meetfactory

Mon. May 16 - Berlin, DE @ Festsaal Kreuzberg

Wed. May 18 - Lille, FR @ Aeronef

Tue. May 31 - Istanbul, TR @ Zorlu PSM Jazz Festival

Thu. Jun. 2 - Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound

Thu. Jun. 9 - Porto, PT @ Primavera Sound

Sat. Jun. 11 - Mannheim, DE @ Maifeld Derby

Sun. Jun. 12 - Hilvarenbeek, NE @ Best Kept Secret

Thu. Jun. 17 - Sun. Jun. 19 - Vilnius, LT @ 8 Festival

Wed. Jun. 22 - Sun. Jun. 26 - Somerset, UK @ Glastonbury

Wed. Jun. 29 - Sun. Jul. 3 - Budapest, HU @ Kolorado Festival

Thu. Jun. 30 - Bucharest, RO @ Club Control

Fri. Jul. 1 - Sun. Jul. 3 - Plovdiv, BG @ Wrong Fest

Thu. Jul. 7 - Sat. Jul. 9 - Trencin, SK @ Pohoda

Wed. Jul. 13 - London, UK @ Summer Series at Somerset House

Wed. Jul. 13 - Sun. Jul. 17 - Dour, BE @ Dour Festival

Fri. Jul. 15 - Riga, LV @ Positivus Festival

Fri. Jul. 29 - Puglia, IT @ Sud Est Indipendente,

Fri. Aug. 12 - Rees Haldern, DE @ Haldern Pop

Wed. Aug. 17 - Essen, DE @ Ruhrtriennale

Sun. Aug. 21 - Winterthur, CH @ Winterthurer Musikfestwochen

Thu. Jul. 21 - Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club

Sat. Jul. 23 - Asbury Park, NJ @ Asbury Lanes

Sun. Jul. 24 - New York, NY @ Central Park SummerStage

Thu. Sep. 1 - Sun. Sep. 4 - Dorset, UK @ End of the Road Festival

Sat. Sep. 3 - Manchester, UK @ Manchester Psych Fest

Tue. Sep. 6 - Baltimore, MD @ Ram’s Head Live

Wed. Sep. 7 - Richmond, VA @ The National

Fri. Sep. 9 - Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel

Sat. Sep. 10 - Athens, GA @ Georgia Theatre

Mon. Sep. 12 - Birmingham, AL @ Saturn

Wed. Sep. 14 - Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall

Fri. Sep. 16 - Austin, TX @ Mohawk

Tue. Sep. 20 - Tucson, AZ @ Hotel Congress Plaza

Thu. Sep. 22 - Pomona, CA @ The Glass House

Fri. Sep. 23 - San Diego, CA @ Music Box

Sat. Sep. 24 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Wiltern Theatre

Tue. Sep. 27 - San Francisco, CA @ The Warfield Theatre

Wed. Sep. 28 - Sacramento, CA @ Harlow’s

Thu. Sep. 29 - Reno, NV @ Cargo Concert Hall

Mon. Oct. 3 - Boulder, CO @ Fox Theatre

Tue. Oct. 4 - Denver, CO @ Ogden Theatre

Fri. Oct. 7 - Lawrence, KS @ The Granada

Sat. Oct. 8 - Omaha, NE @ Slowdown

Sun. Oct. 9 - Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue

Wed. Oct. 12 - Chicago, IL @ Thalia Hall

Fri. Oct. 14 - Columbus, OH @ The Athenaeum Theatre

Sat. Oct. 15 - Louisville, KY @ Headliners Music Hall

Sun. Dec. 4 - Tokyo, JP @ O-East

Mon. Dec. 5 - Osaka, JP @ Club Quattro

Tue. Dec 6 - Nagoya, JP @ The Bottom Line