Which are the best venues to visit this SXSW?
SXSW 2015 is set to take over Austin, Texas for yet another spectacular event, spanning numerous venues with countless showcases and hundreds of artists. We may be a few weeks away yet, but here's a little taster of some of the best places to be this year.
First up, the Parish is hosting some seminal shows all week, so this should definitely be at the top of your schedule. Wednesday, March 18th sees alt rock Londoners Wolf Alice on the bill, impressing with material from their EP releases; though we are yet to see an album release from these four. Equally, LA newcomers BØRNS are not to be missed, nor are San Diego indie favourites Delta Spirit. Thursday sees The Vaccines promote their upcoming album 'English Graffiti', alongside Palma Violets with 'Danger In The Club', while New York's Lolawolf brings their brand of sensational disco pop to the scene. Friday will be headlined by the Jarman brothers' band The Cribs, and Saturday will see appropriate surf-rock from Florida four-piece Surfer Blood.
Borns will perform at the Parish on Wednesday, March 18th 2015
Continue reading: 5 Venues You'll Want To Visit At SXSW 2015
Atoms For Peace and Beck to headline this year's Treasure Island Music Festival on October 19th - 20th.
Treasure Island Music Festival returns to San Francisco, California this October for two days with an impressive selection of live music and other entertainment at a stunning location on this popular man-made island.
Headlining Saturday, October 19th is Radiohead singer Thom Yorke's supergroup Atoms For Peace - a band with a dream team line-up in itself who released their debut album earlier this year - who will be joined by the likes of dancehall DJ Major Lazer and British duo Disclosure. Sunday 20th sees yet more great sets from exclusive headliner Beck, as well as Animal Collective, hyped band of the moment Haim, London indie group Palma Violets and pop duo Sleigh Bells. What's more, you don't have to miss out on any of this incredible music as bands will be spread out on two stages, with no-one playing at the same time and, more importantly, no interruptions.
Chicago's biggest music festival Lollapalooza to feature stunning headline acts, great activities and shelters for all weathers.
Since it's revival in 2003, Lollapalooza has been bringing you the very best of rock, metal, punk, hip hop and dance from all the major music legends to the up-and-coming rookies of the business. Taking place at Chicago's Grant Park from August 2nd - 4th 2013, the festival this year features a bedazzling headline roster of Las Vegas indie rockers The Killers, West Sussex goths The Cure, Grammy winning folk four-piece Mumford & Sons and long-running industrial rock group Nine Inch Nails. There will also be a huge range of activities to occupy yourself with over the weekend from the Samsung Galaxy Experience where you can check out the latest gadgets, to art stations where you can become a comic strip or be transformed into a work of pop art.
Albums of Note... Bonobo, aka Simon Green, may not have found instant stardom in his career but his work is characterised by a steady progress that is reflected in his tracks. North Borders is the fifth studio album from Bonobo and he calls on a range of influences, from hip-hop, soul, jazz and dubstep, to create a sound that has gradually developed into his own distinctive sound. Bonobo calls on a few friends for this album, notably Erykah Badu, who sings on ‘Heaven for the Sinner,’ a twinkling take on modern soul.
“What sets Bonobo apart in an overly crowded marketplace… is an expert ability to channel myriad influences from outside of his sphere into something that works perfectly inside it, not just within a single track but start-to-finish across an album.”
Albums of Note... Dave Grohl managed to rally a group of rock’s big players together to record an album designed to accompany his Sound City documentary – about the legendary LA recording studio of the same name. Amongst the stars making an appearance on Sound City: Real to Reel are Sir Paul McCartney, Josh Homme and Stevie Nicks; the latter of whom provides one of the album’s highlights:
“[The] tracks that do command attention… are worth wading through the mire for. One can only assume, for instance, that Lindsay Buckingham and the rest of Fleetwood Mac will be kicking themselves upon hearing 'You Can't Fix This,' because this is simply the greatest Fleetwood Mac song that never was.”
Ben Affleck may have picked up a Best Director BAFTA for his film Argo this year, but even he, with a few spare quid in his back pocket, wouldn't have put a penny on himself winning the best actor award once he'd seen Daniel Day-Lewis in the list of contenders. The BBC's Sound Of 2013 poll had a similar ring of predictability about it. Although Palma Violets were on the short list, they were never realistically going to top out the list of "most promising musical talent" (just like the BRITS, the winners have become a little too telegraphed and obvious). After a year in which they won 'Best Track Of The Year' from the NME ('Best Of Friends'), have had a Zane Lowe 'Hottest Record In The World' ('Step Up For The Cool Cats') and performed on Later With Jools Holland, maybe the Sound Of. Poll was just a leap too far for a group hailed as saviours of Indie guitar bands.
The four-piece from Lambeth have not yet celebrated their second birthday and already they've created quite a stir. Their early live performances brought them almost instantaneous adoration and the comparisons that have been made to the Libertines, and particularly the similarity to the relationship of their two front men Chilli Jesson and Sam Fryer to Pete and Carl, has certainly not diminished interest. All the column inches and hype can, however, obscure the content from getting through and hearing the new album. 180 feels a bit like going to watch Skyfall; there's not a lot left to discover.
There are a few ways to go here, either you bemoan the slightly one dimensional, formulaic sound of a feted band only in their infancy, or you celebrate their strengths, appreciate the passion and energy, enjoy the cohesive and enthusiastic set and set aside the massive and unrealistic expectations. I favour the latter as, on the whole, 180 is a good album and whilst there are no particular revelatory moments it's still a cracking spin.
Continue reading: Palma Violets - 180 Album Review
A Week in Video... Wakefield’s indie rockers The Cribs release ‘Leather Jacket Love Song,’ a nostalgic look back at their last decade of existence as a band. The video inter-splices archive footage of one of the brothers’ early gigs at Ossett Town Hall in Yorkshire, with the Cribs circa 2013 observing their younger selves. The Cribs’ sounds hasn’t altered a great deal over time, but their popularity seems to show no signs of wavering; their commitment to their DIY roots remains strong and even with Ryan breaking out with his new band Exclamation Pony, we reckon there’s a few years left in The Cribs yet.
Palma Violets have been causing a stir, with their accessible, psych-tinged garage rock. The video for ‘Step Up For The Cool Cats’ is a vaguely trippy, home-video style shoot; footage of the band playing is mixed with footage of them driving around in a car together, looking like it’s being played back on an old TV set. The band have gained a lot of attention since playing recent slots with London based Savages. It looks like 2013 could well be their year.