Next chance to catch the band in the U.K. is April 10 at Octagon center in the band’s hometown of Sheffield.
Additional U.K. dates include Carling Academy Newcastle (April 13), Carling Academy Oxford (April 18), and Kentish Town Forum in London (April 21).
European cities on the itinerary include Tourcoing, Paris, Evreux and Strasbourg in France; Groningen, The Netherlands and Hamburg, Berlin, Cologne and Munich in Germany.
The band’s North American run kicks off May 14 at Johnny Brenda’s in Philadelphia and wraps June 3 at Glass House in Pomona, Calif.
Other stops include Bowery Ballroom in New York City (May 16), Great Scott in Alston, Mass. (May 19), Lee’s Palace in Toronto (May 22), Logan Square Auditorium in Chicago (May 24) and 7th Street Entry in Minneapolis (May 25).
The Long Blondes – who hail from Sheffield, birthplace of Human League, ABC and Pulp – are vocalist Kate Jackson, Dorian Cox on lead guitar and keyboards, bassist Reenie Hollis, rhythm guitarist Emma Chaplin and drummer Screech Louder (whose real name is Mark Turvey).
The band’s bright, jangly, guitar and bass driven sound and glamorous punk image reflect a number of influences including The Pretenders, Buzzcocks, Blondie, Siouxsie and the Banshees, and Pulp. In fact, their debut full-length was produced by Pulp bassist Steve Mackey.
TLB released a number of successful singles on a variety of indie labels, including “New Idols / Long Blonde” on Thee Sheffield Phonographic Corporation, “Appropriation (By Any Other Name)” and “Giddy Stratospheres” on Angular Records and “Separated By Motorways” on uber-producer Paul Epworth’s Good and Evil imprint, before being signed last year to indie-label icon Rough Trade.
“Couples,” due May 6 on Rough Trade, is the follow up to last year’s Someone To Drive You Home.
The band said the title, complete with quotation marks, is a tip of the hat to David Bowie’s “Heroes” and Adam Ant’s “Antmusic,” as much as it is a reference to the topics of the songs on the disc.
The album was recorded with producer/DJ Erol Alkan (Klaxons, Hot Chip, Daft Punk) in a studio complete with a “couples wall” constructed by the band and featuring images of dynamic duos throughout history: The Two Ronnies, Gilbert and George, Ron and Russel Mael of Sparks and Basil and Sybil Fawlty to name a few.
Hollis explains, “Situations would continually arise when we would look towards famous couples for inspiration, entertainment or enlightenment. It was either fate or the onset of cabin fever., but “Couples” seemed like the ideal title.
Chaplin elaborates, “A lot of the couples on the wall seemed like tragicomic figures, the type of people Andy Warhol would have…we decided to take this further by using snippets of dialogue by the likes of Peter Sellers and Kenny Everett as album interludes.”
Cox said another thing that helped the band expand its musical horizons was the methods used by Alkan.
“Erol has a non-musical approach to production in the tradition of Joe Meek and Brian Eno which was very inspirational. The last thing we wanted was a self-satisfied big-name producer who didn’t care about the music or the band. With album, we were hungry to prove ourselves and we needed a producer who felt the same.”