Portishead (pronounced /p?rt?s?h?d/, with the stress on head) are an English musical group from Bristol. The band is named after the nearby town of the same name, 13 km (8 mi) west of Bristol. Portishead consists of Geoff Barrow, Beth Gibbons and Adrian Utley while sometimes citing a fourth member Dave McDonald; an engineer on Dummy and a producer and engineer on Portishead.
Portishead's first album Dummy was released in 1994. Despite the band's aversion to press coverage, the album was successful in both Europe and the United States (where it sold more than 150,000 copies even before the band toured there). Dummy spawned three singles: "Numb", "Sour Times", "Glory Box". Furthermore, the album won the Mercury Music Prize in 1995.
After their initial success, Portishead withdrew from the spotlight for three years until their self-titled second album, Portishead, was released in 1997. The album's sound differed from Dummy, characterised as "grainy and harsher. " Three singles, "All Mine", "Over" and "Only You" were released, the first one achieving a Top 10 placing in the UK.
Roseland NYC Live (1998)
In 1997, the band performed a one-off show with strings by the New York Philharmonic orchestra at the Roseland Ballroom in New York City. A live album primarily featuring these new orchestral arrangements of the group's songs was released in 1998. There was also a long-form VHS video of the performance, and a DVD followed in 2002, with substantial extra material including many early music videos.
For the next few years, the band members concentrated on solo and other pursuits. In February 2005, the band appeared live for the first time in seven years at the Tsunami Benefit Concert in Bristol. Around that time, Barrow revealed that the band was in the process of writing its third album. In August 2006, the band posted two new tracks on its MySpace page, described by Barrow as "doodles". Around the same time, Portishead covered Serge Gainsbourg's "Un Jour Comme un Autre (Requiem for Anna)" on the tribute album Monsieur Gainsbourg Revisited.
On 2 October 2007, Portishead stated that the new album Third had been mixed and was nearly complete, and was due for release in early April 2008. The release was later pushed to April 28. On 8 and 9 December 2007, the band curated the All Tomorrow's Parties festival in Minehead, England. The festival featured their first full live sets in nearly 10 years. They premiered five tracks from the new album: "Silence", "Hunter", "The Rip", "We Carry On", and "Machine Gun". On 21 January 2008, a European tour to support the album was announced, together with a headline spot at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival on 26 April 2008.
Third was made available on Last.fm the week before release, attracting 327,000 listeners in just under 24 hours. It was the first time Last.fm had made an album available before its official release date. The album was released on 29 April 2008 to coincide with the band's appearance at Coachella. On 29 May 2008, Portishead's Geoff Barrow realised a "boyhood fantasy" when Chuck D of Public Enemy joined the band onstage at the Primavera Sound festival in Barcelona. He contributed a freestyle rap over Portishead's single "Machine Gun".
On 18 May 2008, Barrow expressed the band's enthusiasm for recording new material on their official website's blog, stating that he "can't wait to write some new tunes."
On 3 December 2008, Universal Music Japan released the albums "Dummy" and "Portishead" as limited Super High Material CD (high bit-stream) versions.
- Official site
- Unofficial Portishead site
- Portishead at Discogs
- Portishead at Allmusic
- Portishead at Last.fm
- Pitchfork interview: Portishead, 7 April 2008
- Portishead: back on the beat, Telegraph, 12 April 2008
- Review of Wolverhampton Civic Hall show 13 April 2008
- Portishead feature on AOL Music Canada
- Podcast of Portishead's entire 2008 Coachella performance
Biography from Wikipedia