About Bloc Party Silent Alarm
Bloc Party are an English rock band, composed of Kele Okereke , Russell Lissack , Justin Harris and Louise Bartle . Former members Matt Tong and Gordon Moakes left the band in 2013 and 2015 respectively. Their brand of music, whilst rooted in rock, retains elements of other genres such as electronica and house music. The band was formed at the 1999 Reading Festival by Okereke and Lissack. They went through a variety of names before settling on Bloc Party in 2003. Moakes joined the band after answering an advert in NME magazine, while Tong was picked via an audition. Bloc Party got their break by giving BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq and Franz Ferdinand's lead singer, Alex Kapranos, a copy of their demo "She's Hearing Voices".
In February 2005, the band released their debut album Silent Alarm. It was critically acclaimed and was named Indie Album of the Year at the 2006 PLUG Awards and NME Album of the year which both honour indie music. That year, the record was also certified platinum in Britain. The band built on this success in 2007 with the release of their second studio album, A Weekend in the City, which reached a peak of number two in the UK Albums Chart and number twelve in the Billboard 200. In August 2008, Bloc Party released their third studio record, Intimacy which entered the UK Albums Chart at number eight and number eighteen on the Billboard 200. The band went on a hiatus in October 2009 to focus on side projects. They reunited in September 2011, and shortly thereafter released their fourth album, Four, which entered the UK Albums Chart at number three. In 2013, Bloc Party released their third EP titled The Nextwave Sessions in August; the band then began an indefinite hiatus to continue with their respective side projects. The band's fifth studio album, Hymns, the first to involve Harris and Bartle, was released on 29 January 2016. Bloc Party have sold over 3 million albums worldwide.
Russell Lissack and Kele Okereke first met in 1998 in London. Lissack had attended Bancroft's School, while Okereke attended Ilford County High School, then Trinity Catholic High School, Woodford Green for sixth form. They bumped into each other again in 1999 at Reading Festival and decided to form a band. Bassist Gordon Moakes joined after answering an advert in NME, and drummer Matt Tong joined after an audition. After going through a variety of names, such as Union, The Angel Range, and Diet, the band settled on Bloc Party in September 2003, a play on block party. The band has said that the name was not intended to be an allusion to the Soviet Bloc or the Canadian political party Bloc Québécois. However, Moakes said on the group's official Internet forum that it was more a merging of the eastern "Blocs" and the western "parties", in the political sense. He also notes that the name was not explicitly driven by politics, but rather it "looked, sounded, seemed fine so we went with it."
In November 2003, Bloc Party had their track "The Marshals Are Dead" featured on a compilation CD called The New Cross released by Angular Recording Corporation. They then released their debut single "She's Hearing Voices" on the then fledgling record label Trash Aesthetics. Also in 2003 Bloc Party personally mailed Steve Aoki a 7-inch of the track “She’s Hearing Voices” and signed to Dim Mak shortly thereafter. Dim Mak teamed up with VICE, a subsidiary of Atlantic Records, and entered a major label deal for the first time. Dim Mak and Atlantic later released Bloc Party’s critically acclaimed and commercially successful Silent Alarm in 2005. The band got their break after Okereke went to a Franz Ferdinand concert in 2003, and gave a copy of "She's Hearing Voices" to both lead singer Alex Kapranos and BBC Radio 1 DJ Steve Lamacq. Lamacq subsequently played the song on his radio show, labelling the track "genius", and invited them to record a live session for the show. The buzz generated off the back of the single led to another release, "Banquet/Staying Fat", this time through Moshi Moshi Records, and to the eventual signing with independent label Wichita Recordings in April 2004.
Bloc Party's debut album, Silent Alarm, was released in February 2005 and was met with universal critical acclaim. It was voted 'Album of the Year' for 2005 by NME, and reached number 3 on the UK Albums Chart before being certified platinum. The first single from the album, "So Here We Are/Positive Tension", made the top 5 on the UK Top 40 chart. Further singles "Banquet" , "Helicopter", and "Pioneers", whilst failing to repeat this success, still managed to reach the UK top 20. The animated video for "Pioneers," made by the Shoreditch-based Minivegas design agency, was top of the NME video charts for four weeks. NME tagged them as "art-rock" at that time but the band felt it was too limited.
The band received positive reviews from critics in the United States and they toured there heavily in the 18 months that followed the release of Silent Alarm. In early 2006, they finished their tour with sold out shows in Los Angeles, Miami and Berkeley. The album went on to sell more than 350,000 copies in North America and over a million worldwide. After this success, the established electronic group, The Chemical Brothers, soon collaborated with Okereke for "Believe", a track on their Push the Button album. An album of remixes of tracks from Silent Alarm had also been released at the end of August 2005 in the UK. This remix album, entitled Silent Alarm Remixed, retained the album's original track list and includes remixes from the likes of Ladytron, M83, Death from Above 1979, Four Tet, and Mogwai.
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