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English Teacher sign to Island Records and release new single

The Leeds outfit have dropped 'The World's Biggest Paving Slab'

By Joe Goggins

English Teacher press shot, 2023
English Teacher's debut album is expected early next year. (Photo: Tatiana Pozuelo)

English Teacher have confirmed that they’ve signed with Island Records, dropping a new single in the build-up to their debut album.

The Leeds indie rockers have been hotly-tipped since dropping their Polyawkward EP last year, which blended musical invention with witty lyricism. Now, as they kick off the run-up to their debut record, expected early next year, they’ve released ‘The World’s Biggest Paving Slab’, and signed a major label deal with Island.

The new track was produced by Marta Salgoni, who has previously worked with the likes of Björk, Black Midi and Animal Collective, and is streaming now. You can hear it below. Speaking about the song, singer Lily Fontaine said: “I wrote and recorded the demo in my bedroom in one day, during my final year of university in 2018. Moving to a city for university forced me to reflect on how my experience of growing up in and around Pendle, how witnessing the social, economic and political issues that exist around there in juxtaposition with the beauty of the landscape and the characters that live within in it, has shaped me into the artist and person that I am.”

“These semi-rural stories leak into most of my writing; in particular, this song tackles delusions of grandeur and inferiority from the perspective of a small town’s local celebrities. It’s split into two halves.” The song arrives a day after Fontaine made an impassioned plea for more opportunities for UK bands outside of London, in the wake of the downscaling of the BBC’s regional Introducing shows.

“There are good bands from London, but I think what’s really exciting about music is when it takes you to Batley, Blantyre or Barrow-in-Furness; when it takes you to a place you’ve most likely never visited before,” she wrote in a piece for DIY. I want to see a Brit School in Bradford…I also want to see labels like EMI, who have just opened branches in the north, pull through on their promise to nurture local talent.”

English Teacher have also confirmed dates for their biggest UK tour yet, which gets underway in October. You can see full details below.

English Teacher, October 2023:

8 – Liverpool, District

21 – Edinburgh, Sneaky Pete’s

22 – Glasgow, McChuills

23 – Newcastle, Cluny 2

24 – Leeds, Brudenell Social Club

26 – London, Scala

27 – Bristol, The Louisiana

28 – Southampton, Heartbreakers

29 – Brighton, The Hope and Ruin

31 – Birmingham, Hare & Hounds

November 2023:

1 – Manchester, Night & Day Café