On the South East coast of England, in the once resplendent seaside resort of Margate, By The Sea Festival took up residency in the re-imagined heritage pleasure park, Dreamland. After the success of Foals and Hot Chip in its inaugural year By The Sea returned to a resurgent Margate to blend the established with the up and coming in an environment like no other. Amongst the helter skelter, big wheel, carousels and coasters the various artists took to the stages (and decks) in the wonderfully evocative Roller Disco, down at the dodgems or in the newly restored Hall By The Sea. With Kiss Me Quick cocktails and enough locally brewed cider to entice The Wurzels the amassed throngs were in for a very entertaining weekend.
Wild Beasts ("They're so f'ing sexy"-Blaine Harrison, Mystery Jets) got off to a cracking start in the Hall By The Sea with a pumped up version of 'Big Cat' and an impromptu birthday celebration for "ideosynchratic drummer" Chris Talbot before launching into a sizemic, shape shifting and floor shaking rendition of 'He The Colossus' and a wonderful working of 'Wanderlust'. The Kendal foursome sounded on top of their game, channelling circa '82 Simple Minds, ahead of their upcoming live set on 6Music.
In the shabby chic surroundings of the kitsch come cool Roller Disco, Mystery Jets got joyously playful with 'Flash A Hungry Smile'. After the initial grief imparted in 'Telomere' they ramped up the tempo and asked the assembled masses, "do you feel like dancing?" A blinding rendition of their single, 'Bubblegum', ensued. Taken from the band's latest album, 'Curve Of The Earth', it easily got the biggest interaction of the night so far. The Middlesex quartet followed up with another crowd pleaser, 'Young Love', and quite bizarrely another birthday shout-out, this time for Gary who did all of the MJ's art work! With apparently "too many tracks for just one album this year" the band took to a highlight off their new 5 track E.P, 'The Whole Earth', 'The World Is Overtaking Me' sounded spectacular, with front man Blaine and his three cohorts synched in tight unison, delivering a belting track replete with (Tubeway Army era) Numan esc keyboard loop, they sounded awesome; full of passion and presence as well as full of love for their fellow performers, especially The Big Moon, Wild Beasts and Meilyr Jones (at one time late on in his set striking a quick Bowie pose whilst teasing us with an all too brief classic Bowie riff) Mystery Jets pitched it perfectly in the Roller Disco with a short, sharp very entertaining set that left you just aching for a little more.
Bowie's final album 'Blackstar', along with 11 other British albums released in the last year, made the shortlist announced on Thursday.
Radiohead, Skepta, The 1975 and the late David Bowie are the big names to have been shortlisted for the 2016 Hyundai Mercury Music Prize, with Adele and previous winner James Blake the notable absences.
The 12-strong shortlist, picked by a panel of music critics, industry figures and artists, was announced on Thursday morning (August 4th) on BBC Radio 6 Music. David Bowie’s 25th and final album Blackstar, released just two days before his death in January this year, is already being touted as one of the favourites to win the overall prize when the winner is announced on September 15th.
Radiohead’s recent album A Moon Shaped Pool makes the Oxford five-piece the most nominated act in Mercury Prize history. Their albums OK Computer, Amnesiac, Hail To the Thief and In Rainbows all made shortlists in previous years, and this doesn’t even count lead singer Thom Yorke’s nomination for his 2006 solo album The Eraser. However, they have not yet won the award.
The Bat For Lashes singer has teamed up with Jon Hopkins to create the tear-jerker track.
Bat For Lashes' Natasha Khan and music producer Jon Hopkins have joined their creative forces to bring the official soundtrack song for upcoming war thriller, How I Live Now. Jon Hopkins had been working on the Kevin Macdonald-directed film's soundtrack when he decided to invite the exquisite vocals of Khan.
With an opening akin to The Stone Roses' 'I Wanna Be Adored,' the track is built around a softly thrumming bassline; a beating heart-style rhythm that keeps pace whilst Khan's ever-ethereal, mournful vocals sing of being "far away" from someone.
Emeli Sande is among the nominees for two prizes at the Ivor Novello awards in May.
Emeli Sande may be adding to her growing list of accolades as she is newly nominated for two different awards at the 58th Ivor Novello awards.
Her UK number 2 hit 'Next To Me' is nominated for Best Song Musically and Lyrically as well as the Most Performed Work award. Competing in the former category is 'Laura' by Bat For Lashes and 'Two Fingers' by Jake Bugg while the latter category also sees nominations from Olly Murs' 'Dance With Me Tonight' and Coldplay's Paradise. Sande has previously received two Urban Music Awards, three BRIT, three MOBO awards and an ECHO Music Award among several others and she's definitely up for a chance in the Ivor Novellos as her nominated track was apparently the third most listened to track of 2012 - a pretty impressive achievement in itself, though not as impressive as the reception her number one debut album 'Our Version of Events' received!
Other artists nominated in two separate categories are Plan B with 'Ill Manors', which is up for Best Contemporary Song and Best Original Film Score, and Alt-J with 'Fitzpleasure' for Best Contemporary Song and 'An Awesome Wave' for Best Album. The awards ceremony will make its way to the Grosvenor House hotel in London later this Spring on May 16th 2013.
Could Taylor Swift have what it takes to topple Mumford & Sons from the top of the US albums chart, with her new album Red? Of all of this week’s releases, Taylor looks the likely candidate to upset the current chart positions. Taylor has become headline news over the last few years. As she has gradually traversed the boundary from country to pop – and even sneaks in a spot of dubstep in this latest full-length outing – she appears to be welcomed with arms as open at the Grand ol’ Opry as they are at the annual MTV Awards parties.
The major label debut from Kendrick Lamar has already been hailed as one of the most significant hip-hop albums of the year. Good Kid, m.A.A.d. City was leaked online last week, ahead of its official US release today. A review from the UK’s NME magazine remarked that he may have lost some of his edge since releasing his 2011 mixtape, but the 25 year old from Compton certainly hasn’t forgotten his roots. With the success of single ‘Swimming Pools’ already under his belt, Good Kid… looks set to be a huge hit for Lamar.
A strong contender from across the pond comes in the form of Bat For Lashes, from the UK. Natasha Khan has been causing a bit of a stir with the cover to her latest album The Haunted Man, as she’s not wearing much in the way of clothing. Well, she’s not really wearing anything in the way of clothing. Discussion of her high-class Kate Bush-esque songs should soon eclipse the chatter about her nudity though. Her last album, 2009’s Two Suns was a huge success in her homeland, though it only reached 141 in the US album charts. Could The Haunted Man be the album that Natasha needs to break America?
Albums of Note... That 'difficult second album' phase is probably even more difficult when - in between your first and second album - you have performed at the Royal wedding, had your songs splashed all over the TV, dumped one of the UK's best-known radio DJs (Greg James) and started dating one of the United States' best-known producers (Skrillex). Ellie Goulding seems to have done a solid job of navigating the pressures of retaining her identity, whilst no doubt being squeezed by her record label. Overall though, Halcyonis not quite the blast of personality that we expected from Goulding: "The most disappointing thing is that they've not even really allowed Goulding's voice to flourish. She has a vocal that's pleasant if not exactly stand out, but all life in it's been stamped out through auto-tuning and correction, the singer sounding as though she's being possessed by the spirit of nothing at all."
Tall Ships are beginning to gather serious momentum on the live circuit in the UK and their debut album, Everything Touching cements that reputation. It's by no means a perfect debut but Tall Ships are already breaking free of the 'math rock' parameters that have been loosely placed about them. "The majority of the ten tracks are instrumentally intense with sounds overlapping and complimenting each other. An intriguing debut from Tall Ships, but there's just a spark missing. They should cut down on the instrumentals and replace with some words because, when they're used, the science and instrumental beauty are amplified perfectly."
Natasha Khan, better known as Bat For Lashes, has been rather quiet over the past few years, but her new album 'The Haunted Man'- her first record since 2009- will be released on October 23rd. Speaking to Spinner she explained her hiatus, which lasted longer than planned. Said that she “felt desperate about the record quite a lot of the time... it wasn't coming easily. [She] almost lost [her] way. Maybe the hardest records are the best in the end. But this record definitely made [her] bleed for it.”
Speaking to the Observer in September she said "I feel like I'm at the crux of something quite special. There's a feeling in the air which is different to the other two. I feel like I'm reaching something." And it looks as though the Guardian agrees with her, giving her an impressive 4/5 stars. Their review remarks specifically on the contrast between this album and her work that preceded it. Alex Petidris said: “Gone are the horses, head-dresses, candles and hippy accessories, the stuff that could cause a passer-by to label her kooky, one of the most dispiriting adjectives in the English language.”
The album cover reflects this dramatic change in style and substance, a black and white photograph of a naked Khan, with a naked man draped over her shoulders like a fox shawl, and as Petridis says 'the cover matches the contents.' The Haunted Man is minimalist and refined and reminiscent of School of Seven Bells. Dare we say it, Bat for Lashes has grown up. A cliché, for sure, but not a fallacy.
Continue reading: Bat For Lashes New Album The Haunted Man; Minimalist And Refined
Albums of Note… Copenhagen band Efterklang release Piramida, an album named after a Norwegian ghost town. Befitting of such a theme, the music itself falls somewhere between Brian Eno, Sigur Ros and The Blue Nile. Though they're writing about a town full of ugly abandoned Cold War-era buildings, Efterklang have somehow instilled Piramida with "an atmosphere of warmth" and our reviewer was so impressed, he went so far as to say that they write songs that are "everything you'd love an Elbow song to actually sound like." "With the pop world and everything else now divided beyond conciliation, what was once perceived as avant garde is now just another way of working."
Are they a choir? Or just a ridiculously large indie pop band? Whatever they are, the twenty women that make up Gaggle have crafted a fine album in From The Mouth of The Cave. The debut album from this unusual group is never dull and combined, their voices have some serious dramatic potential: "20 plus women joining together in a deliberately paired back drum and vocal delivery about being wronged, abused, deceived, damaged and pained is a formidable thing." "From The Mouth Of The Cave' is a challenging album from Gaggle. It is an experience and at times it can be hard work. it break(s) certain boundaries and above all it shows a great deal of promise for what else might yet come from the most unconventional girl group on the planet."
Bat For Lashes
What's a Girl To Do?
Continue reading: Bat For Lashes, What's a Girl To Do?, Single Review
Date of birth
25th October, 1979