Following the release of her critically acclaimed eighth studio album ‘Let England Shake’, which we rate highly here at With Guitars, PJ Harvey has announced two new UK live shows for September, coming to Glasgow Royal Concert Hall on 4th and Manchester O2 Apollo on 8th.
PJ Harvey’s new album was recorded in a 19th Century church in Dorset, on a cliff-top overlooking the sea. It was created with a cast of musicians including such long-standing allies as Flood, John Parish, and Mick Harvey. It is the eighth PJ Harvey album, following 2007’s acclaimed ‘White Chalk’, and the Harvey/Parish collaboration ‘A Woman A Man Walked By’.
‘Let England Shake’ evokes the troubled spirit of 2010, but it also casts its mind back to times and places from our long collective memory. In keeping with such imaginative intentions, its music has a rare breadth and emotional power. Nearly two decades after she made her first records, it proves not just that its author refuses to stand still, but that her creative confidence may well be at an all-time high. It is safe to say that you will not have heard anything like it before.
From the outset, PJ Harvey has commanded attention. She formed the bass / drums / guitar trio in 1991 in Dorset, England and by autumn had released the debut single, ‘Dress’, on independent label Too Pure. Harvey began an impressive critical climb, which set the stage for a highly anticipated album release the following month. ‘Dry’ was hailed as an astonishing debut, not just in the UK but worldwide and especially in the United States, where Rolling Stone named Harvey Best Songwriter and Best New Female Singer.
In 1993, PJ Harvey signed to Island Records and began work on a follow-up album, ‘Rid Of Me’ which was released in early ’93. The album was supported by a lengthy world tour, drawing increasingly wide audiences and Harvey’s first Mercury Prize nomination. The original trio dissolved and Harvey’s solo work ‘4-Track Demos’ was released in the autumn of 1993. ‘To Bring You My Love’ followed in 1995, an eclectic and starkly original album. The tour which followed saw Harvey explore a theatrical edge to her live performance. She received her second nomination for the Mercury Music Prize and was nominated for two Grammies, received ‘1995 Artist Of The Year’ awards from Rolling Stone and Spin and gained album of the year acknowledgements across the board.
Her fourth album,’ Is This Desire?’ was released in September ’98 and attracted plaudits on both sides of the Atlantic gaining nominations for The Brits and The Grammy Awards. ‘Stories From The City, Stories From The Sea’, the much anticipated follow-up to ‘Is This Desire?’ was released in October 2000. This album won the Mercury Music Prize in 2001, ‘Stories…’ was supported by a lengthy world-wide sellout tour Harvey finished work on the album ‘Uh Huh Her’ in the autumn of 2003 which was supported by a world-wide tour and saw Harvey perform in South America for the first time. ‘White Chalk’ was PJ Harvey’s critically acclaimed seventh album.
In 1996 she worked on the album ‘Dance Hall At Louse Point’ with John Parish for both the album and a live accompaniment to the Mark Bruce Dance Company production of the same name. The follow up collaboration with Parish was released in Spring of 2009 – ‘A Woman A Man Walked By’. She has collaborated with an extraordinary range of musicians, including Thom Yorke, Nick Cave, Tricky, Bjork, Hal Wilner, Howe Gelb of Giant Sand, Pascal Comelade, Gordon Gano of Violent Femmes and Sparklehorse.
She joined Queen’s of the Stoneage’s Josh Homme on his critically acclaimed ‘Desert Sessions’ project  and worked with Mark Lanegan on his solo album, ‘Bubblegum’. Harvey produced the debut album by American artist Tiffany Anders and also wrote, recorded & produced material for Marianne Faithfull’s ‘Before The Poison’ . In addition to her musical career Harvey paints, draws, sculpts, and writes poetry & prose. Last summer saw Harvey guest design Francis Ford Coppola’s art & literary magazine; Zoetrope: All-Story. The issue featured previously unseen artwork, sculpture and drawings by PJ Harvey. Harvey made a guest appearance on BBC1’s Andrew Marr Show in May 2010, the week before the UK general election. She was interviewed by Marr and performed ‘Let England Shake’ in front of Marr’s other guest, the then Prime Minister, Gordon Brown.
Harvey is currently collaborating on various visual projects with the respected photo-journalist Seamus Murphy. Murphy, an award winning photographer, has spent over two decades uniquely documenting conflict through his lens. His work has brought him to Rwanda, Eritrea, Kosovo, Iran and Iraq. He has also spent extensive periods of timephotographing Afghanistan, and his most recent book ‘A Darkness Visible: Afghanistan’ is a classic illustration of life in Afghanistan, the rise of the Taliban and the impact of U.S. invasion.
PJ Harvey has also announced festival appearances at Bestival and Electric Picnic ahead of the new shows. To see PJ Harvey this September:
September 4th Glasgow Royal Concert Hall 0141 353 8000
September 8th Manchester O2 Apollo 0844 477 7677
On sale Friday 03 June @ 9am –www.gigsandtours.com / 0844 811 0051