Friday, March 30, 2007

March’s Hip-Hop Highlights:

Here’s a selection of hip hop highlights for April with 30 second clips, some of which are virtually impossible to find outside of specialist stores.

Pete Rock feat. Styles P & Sheek Louch – 914 (Fat Beats, New York)
Breathing new life into the tired UFO loop, Pete takes us back to ’95 with D-Block’s Styles P and Sheek Louch ripping it.

Super Chron Flight Bros – Panama Red (Fat Beats, New York)
Despite a DOOM produced A-side it’s the grimy as f**k flip that impresses from these under the underground weedheads from Brooklyn.

Masta Killa feat. RZA, U-God & Method Man – Iron God Chamber (Fat Beats, New York)
One of the highlights from last years LP “Made In Brooklyn”. The RZA-esque beat by Whiz Rhuger keeps things moving along nicely while members of Shaolin’s finest effortlessly take care of business.

Flavor Flav – Col-Leeping (Ear Wax, Atlanta)
Despite a disappointing LP, Chuck D’s crazy sidekick delivers with this updating of his classic “Cold Lampin’ With Flavor”.

The RZA feat. Big Daddy Kane, GZA & Suga Bang – Cameo Afro (Fat Beats, New York)
More Wu-Tang for you as RZA reminds us how he became so legendary in the first place. Enlisting the help of fellow rap icon Kane, RZA serves up a superior head nodder with typical finesse.

Wednesday, March 28, 2007

News: Patrick Wolf, Junior Boys, Only Ones, Mouse On Mars

Eccentric troubadour (and MR fave) Patrick Wolf is taking to the road this April in support of his latest LP ‘The Magic Potion’. Fresh from his recent dates with Arcade Fire, Mr. Wolf will kick-start the European tour with a show at London’s Astoria on April 11th followed by shows in Portugal, Switzerland, Spain, The Netherlands and Austria. Tour Dates.

In very exciting news, wacky German electronica duo Mouse On Mars have teamed up with grumpy/violent Fall bandleader Mark E Smith to form a new side project called Von Südenfed. The trio will release the album ‘Tromatic Reflexxions’ via Domino on June 5th which will intriguingly combine Smith’s acerbic ramblings with the sounds of electro, dub-step, grime and disco. Lets hope that Smith likes the boys enough to start and finish a whole tour.

Legendary new-wavers The Only Ones are to reform this summer for a string of UK dates including appearances at All Tomorrow’s Parties and Connect Festival in Scotland. The tour will coincide with the reissue and remastering of their back catalogue which will include extra unreleased material.

Tour Dates:
27th April - All Tomorrow's Parties Festival
1st June - Manchester: Academy 2
2nd June - Glasgow: ABC
6th June - Nottingham: Rock City
8th June - Wolverhampton: Wulfrun
9th June - London: Shepherds Bush Empire
31st August - Connect Festival, Inverary Castle,

It looks like an eleven date UK tour plus two shows at the 50,000 capacity Lancashire cricket ground simply isn’t adequate enough to cover the colossal number of Arctic Monkeys fans throughout the UK. The band are pleased to announce two more shows at Cardiff International Arena on the 19th and 20th of June.

Finally, in more Domino related news, Junior Boys are to release a new remix EP entitled ‘Dead Horse’. Split over two 12”s the Canadian duo have enlisted the talents of Carl Craig, Kode 9, Tensnake and Hot Chip to rework four tracks from their last LP ‘So This Is Goodbye’. The 12”s will be in the shops from April 9th and can be pre-ordered now from Domino.

Monday, March 26, 2007

News: Bowie, Arcade Fire, White Stripes, Happy Mondays

David Bowie, the Music Recommenders “Godfather” himself, is taking his musical endorsements to the next level by curating his own festival. The High Line Festival, which will take place at various venues throughout NYC, looks set to be a great showcase for some of his favoured acts covering not only music but performance, visual art and comedy as well. Running from May 9th to the 19th, acts confirmed so far include Arcade Fire, Deerhoof, Laurie Anderson, Daniel Johnston, The Secret Machines and Ricky Gervais. Please visit David's Site for the full low-down.

Poor old Win Butler has succumbed to a nasty sinus and bronchial infection resulting in the cancellation of the rest of Arcade Fire’s European tour. After going against his Doctor’s advice and continuing on with a hectic tour for the love of the fans he finally reached breaking point this weekend in Oslo, Norway where he couldn’t even recognise his own voice through the speakers. Visit the band’s website for more info on the situation from the man himself. Lets hope he gets well soon!

Happy Mondays are to release their first studio album for fifteen years. Shaun Ryder, Bez and co have hooked up with Howie B and Quincy Jones’ grandson Sunny D Levine to record the new material and hope to release a single in June via Sanctuary Records. It even features a guest spot from Ry Cooder and US rapper Mickey Avalon.

White Stripes have revealed details of the full tracklisting of their forthcoming sixth LP to Apparently featuring bagpipes and no piano at all (unlike last album 'Get Behind Me Satan') the album is quite a varied affair, ranging from good old balls-out garage rock to some mariachi-style leanings. Full Tracklisting.

Attention Simple Kid enthusiasts! If you are a fan and would like to appear in (and make) the video for his forthcoming single ‘The TwentySomething’ then pay a visit to his Myspace page. Simple Kid is appealing to fans to film themselves singing the track and the best efforts will be pasted together to form the official video. All you need is a myspace profile, camera and the ability to entertain the man himself.

Friday, March 23, 2007

News: Flaming Lips, Jurassic 5, Timbaland, Chemical Bros

First Abba, then Queen, now it’s The Flaming Lips’ turn to tackle Broadway. Lips frontman Wayne Coyne has announced plans to turn the majestic ‘Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots’ into a musical. They mean business too as they have already enlisted ‘West Wing’ creator and scriptwriter Aaron Sorkin to write it and the Tony award winning director Des McAnuff has signed on to direct. Lets hope it’s better than ‘Tommy’. Click here for more details.

After 14 years in the game, West Coast indie-rap legends Jurassic 5 have decided to call it a day. It appears that musical differences and a desire from certain members to go solo are the reasons for the break up. According to MC Zaakir: “…we’re not seeing eye to eye right now. People see us as a harmonising, loving group but that’s far from the truth". Oh dear.

Timbaland in post-punk shocker! The busiest man in hip hop has revealed plans for a very interesting new direction in sound for the next Justin Timberlake album. After initial talks with Timberlake they want the LP to sound like howling post punkers The Rapture, specifically their breakthrough single ‘House of Jealous Lovers’.

London’s magnificent indoor folk festival ‘Homefires’ is returning for its fourth year this summer. The two-day event will take place on the first weekend in June (2nd and 3rd) within the comfortable surroundings of Conway Hall
in Holborn. Alongside Music Recommenders favourites Bat for Lashes other acts confirmed include Nina Nastasia, Adem, Richard Swift, Emmy the Great and many more. Full listing.

Finally, The Chemical Brothers have announced that their sixth album ‘We Are The Night’ will be released this summer in June on Virgin Records. The Chemicals will also play a one-off show at London’s prestigious Roundhouse venue on May 31st showcasing the new material.

Wednesday, March 21, 2007

News: Maximo Park, Bjork, Flying Lotus, Domino

Newcastle angular rockers Maximo Park are celebrating the release of new album “Our Earthly Pleasures” with a special gig on the roof of The Baltic Centre for Contemporary Arts in their hometown on 28th March. In order to get your mitts on ONE of the very limited number of tickets you best get yourself down to Newcastle’s RPM record shop (25 Highbridge, NE1 1EW) on Tuesday 27th. Tickets go on sale 10am at £5.00 each. There will also be a midnight in-store performance at Newcastle’s HMV on Sunday April 1st. The Gil Norton produced album is released by Warp on April 2nd.

Iceland’s most famous export has announced details of a forthcoming tour to promote new album Volta (released May 7th). In true spectacular Bjork fashion, she will take to the road with album collaborator Chris Corsano, old friend Mark Bell (aka LFO), an all female brass band and an Icelandic Chinese concert pianist with a “huge pipe organ” to perform “virtuoso dramatic performances in-between sets”. Business as usual then… Tour dates and more

Experimental LA hip hop producer (and Alice Coltrane’s nephew) Flying Lotus has signed to Warp Records. Previously signed with electronica/hip hop label Plug Research, his appearance on that label’s excellent “The Sound Of LA” compilation pricked up the ears of the Warp staff and roster (including Mark Pritchard and Prefuse 73) leading to the inked deal. Mr. Lotus’s scuzzy, off-kilter, electronic production is a very welcome addition to their ever more eclectic roster.

An exhibition of Domino cover art will be taking place at The Art Vinyl Gallery in East London (Broadway Market, E8) from 5th-18th of April. The gallery specialises in record cover art allowing artists, labels and bands to curate the space on a fortnightly rotation and now it’s the mighty Domino’s turn. The label (home to Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Fourtet, Pavement et al) will also be providing a night of live entertainment. On April 7th there will be an open door policy with a performance from Lightspeed Champion (ex-Test Icicles member Dev Hynes’s new outfit) and a DJ set from Psapp. More Info

Wednesday, March 14, 2007

News: Arctic Monkeys, Interpol, Simian Mobile Disco, 1990s, Green Man

Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys have announced details of a UK tour this April to build up even more anticipation for their sophomore effort, “My Favourite Worst Nightmare”. Before you rush out and buy tickets though, as an effective ‘up yours’ to touts the Monkeys are only selling to fans on the band’s mailing list via a ballot. Click here for more info and tour dates.

Details of this year’s Green Man Festival have been finalised and it looks like it’s going to be an absolute winner. Acts confirmed so far include: Joanna Newsom, Vashti Bunyan, Stephen Malkmus & The Jicks, Robert Plant & The Strange Sensation, Gruff Rhys, Smog, Vetiver, Dead Meadow, Tuung… the list just goes on and on. The folk fest takes place at Glanusk Estate in Brecon Beacons National Park in Wales on August 17th – 19th.

Indie kids-turned-acid fiends Simian Mobile Disco have unveiled details of their forthcoming debut “Attack Decay Sustain Release”. Released on April 6th by Wichita it features guest vocal spots from Ninja and Barry Dobbin of Go Team! and Clor respectively with seven new tracks alongside singles “It’s The Beat”, “Hustler” and “Tits & Acid”.

Glaswegian indie rockers The 1990s have also confirmed the release of their first LP. Produced by Suede guitarist Bernard Butler at the tail end of last year, “Cookies” will be released by Rough Trade on May 7th. Click here for a tracklisting.

Finally, Interpol have revealed that work on their follow up to 2004’s “Antics” is nearly complete. It’s their first with a major (Capitol) after leaving Matador records and is said to be more ‘expressive’ than their previous releases. According to guitarist Daniel Kessler: “There is a lot more texture and interesting sounds, there is definitely progression and growth.” No release date as yet but we’ll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 13, 2007

Dance-punk: who’s the daddy?

Back in 2002 when James Murphy unleashed his first sneery-groovy LCD Soundsystem single, “Losing My Edge”, and at least three members of !!! were in a band called Out Hud who sounded like they might be capable of reinventing the dance-punk wheel, hopes were high for rock’s return to the dancefloor. Now, New York trend thermostat Other Music reports that ‘beardos’ outnumber ‘angular haircuts’ 3-1 in the city. The Rapture’s “Pieces Of People We Love” album has stalled and the furiously reproducing hot house of the UK indie disco is looking like running away with New York’s dance-punk crown.

Two records released this month might have a thing or two to say about that, though. Firstly there’s !!!’s “Myth Takes”, in many ways their most accomplished album yet. But here’s the problem. The more they attempt to clip the wings of their sprawling jam-band funk and turn out disciplined songs, the harder it is to like what !!! do. Live they can be sensational as they seamlessly wash cathedrals of guitar into breakouts of pure rhythmic bliss, building and releasing tension. That’s the formula that made Out Hud’s “S.T.R.E.E.T. D.A.D.” LP so good and it’s why !!!’s Warp debut 12” “Me And Giuliani…” remains their most essential moment. We’ll still drag ourselves through fields of mud to see their live act this summer but “Myth Takes” could happily be edited down to a four-track EP.

James Murphy’s the daddy though, right? His second LCD Soundsystem album, “Sound Of Silver”, makes the first one sound like a collection of dance 12”s padded out with a few off-cuts and b-sides. That’s to say, it’s an album in the cohesive, ‘rockist’ sense. If not as thrilling and covetable as tracks like “Beat Connection”, “Yeah” or “Losing My Edge” - all of which demand to be owned on 12” vinyl the moment you hear them – this set has an identity beyond the party. And, that’s what the guardians of rock are looking for isn’t? And, in fairness, that’s what makes for a satisfying album whilst ever the album remains a meaningful format.

From the opening “Losing My Edge”-style pulses of relentless, brainy club banger “Get Innocuous!”, through to the ambitious seven-minute motorik of “All My Friends” it’s clear that Murphy has stepped his game up to another level. “Someone Great” is surely the first disco track to approach the subject of bereavement with its heart so touchingly on sleeve and the title track is wonderful; the axis at which Manuel Göttsching meets Liquid Liquid and Claro Intelecto. Until The Klaxons, Metronomy, Joakim, NYPC, Simian Mobile Disco - Hot Chip, even – approach this level of accomplishment, Europe may have stolen the energy but New York still has the daddy.

Monday, March 12, 2007

Soundwave: Faithless, Coldplay, Swizz Beats, REM, Lou Reed & Wilco

What’s with the Coldplay / mainstream hip hop collabos? Hooking up with his second thugged-out rapper in under a year (after last year’s dubious duet “Beach Chair” with Jay-Z), Chris Martin and co will be guesting on new Swizz Beats album “One Man Band Man”. “Part of the Plan” will be the first single released from the LP, preceding yet another guest-spot on the forthcoming Kanye West album. Lil’ Chris and the College Boys better step their game up if they want to bring it to Ghostface, Doom et al.

REM are heading back into the studio in the next few weeks. Producer of the moment (and former UK big-beat type) Jacknife Lee will be at the controls this time around fresh from his work on the last U2, Bloc Party and Snow Patrol albums. The follow up to last year’s “Around the Sun” promises to have more of a rock edge and is planned for release in late 2007.

Faithless will kick start their eleven-date arena tour with a secret warehouse gig exclusively for Myspace users. The intimate gig is to be held in a 260 capacity venue in an undisclosed location just outside of Leeds on Friday March 16th. In order to get your hands on a ticket visit and

After treating fans to a performance of his classic 1973 LP ‘Berlin’ in NY last Christmas the mighty (and generous) Lou Reed has decided to bring the show over to Europe this summer with a nine-date tour including two nights at London’s Hammersmith Apollo. He explained: “I only do this every thirty years. One time, one time only. You can tell your kids you saw Lou Reed’s Berlin.” Tour Dates

Poor old Wilco, just like their last two albums it appears that latest LP ‘Sky Blue Sky’ (due to be released May 15th on Nonesuch) has been leaked online by eager fans. It hasn’t seemed to faze Jeff Tweedy though. Speaking to Billboard yesterday, he said: “There's probably some good argument to be made that it will prevent a few people from buying the record, but there's also the idea that I believe is true for us, which is, it's people listening to our music."

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Soundwave: Ryan Adams, Cat Power, Beasties, Beck and Bobby G

Stonehenge might not be the most conventional rock venue but in the mind of Ryan Adams it’s just another arena. The alt country/rock songsmith has announced a gig there as part of the Salisbury International Art Festival on June 5th which also happens to be the release date of new album, “Easy Tiger”.

He’s not the only US indie darling with live plans… Chan “Cat Power” Marshall is bringing her beautifully melancholic songs to European shores this spring, kicking off proceedings in Glasgow on April 25th. She plays the Dirty Three-curated All Tomorrow’s Parties festival (April 27-29) and then a string of dates covering Europe. Dates in full.

Also on the road this spring is Beck making his first Australian appearance in four years as part of the finalised line-up for first antipodean leg of the V festival. Taking place in Sydney and the Gold Coast on March 31st and April 1st respectively, other acts confirmed include: New York Dolls (with their first Australian appearance ever!), Pixies, Pet Shop Boys, 2Many DJs, Jarvis Cocker, Gnarls Barkley and Nouvelle Vague.

The Beastie Boys are hinting at a summer release for their follow-up to 2004’s “To The 5 Boroughs” and plan to debut some new material on live outings in the US and Europe. It’ll hopefully follow hot on the heels of the new Bad Brains LP, which has been produced by senior Beastie, Adam Yauch. Featuring the original line-up, “Build a Nation” drops in late May / early June.

Finally, Bobby Gillespie has offered his drumming services to the newly reformed Jesus and Mary Chain. Gillespie, who quit the group in 1985 to form Primal Scream, has expressed a keen desire to complete the reformed original line up. The band have confirmed they will play LA’s Coachella festival in May. Lets hope the bickering Reid brothers can keep it together long enough to produce a new album.

Friday, March 02, 2007

Soundwave: White Stripes, Beirut, Boom Bip, Arctic Monkeys, Wilco

The White Stripes emerge, blinking from the studio this month. Entitled ‘Icky Thump’, the fiendishly anticipated sixth studio album from the Detroit two-piece was recorded at Blackbird Studios in Nashville TN over, they claim, a three week period. It includes the songs “Catch Hell Blues”, “Little Cream Soda”, “Icky Thump”, “Rag and Bone”, “You Don’t Know What Love Is (You Just Do What Your Told)” and “I’m Slowly Turning Into You” and will be released through Warner Bros ‘as soon as corporately possible’.

Meanwhile, Beirut already have an EP available online just weeks after the release of last release, “Lon Gisland”. Consisting of the two tracks “Fountains and Tramways” and “Napoleon on the Bellerophon” this one boasts subtle French pop influences and is apparently something of a departure from the usual Balkan gypsy stylings. It is available now for download from and will soon be available in Europe via

Boom Bip (aka Bryan Hollon) is another one-man release schedule on the independent music circuit.Fresh from finishing recordings for the Neon Neon project with SFA’s Gruff Rhys, he’s somehow found the time to release a new EP of solo material. (We had a crafty listen to some of the Neon Neon stuff recently and can happily report that it’s ace with exciting contributions from Spank Rock, Yo Majesty and Fat Lip.)

"Sacchrilege" has a much harder, dancefloor orientated sound than his previous efforts, closer in spirit to the minimal techno of Berlin than the lush electronica he’s known for. One of the tracks (“1 of 11”) can be previewed at The release will coincide with a European tour covering the UK, France, Belgium, Holland, Austria, Italy and Russia.

The Arctic Monkeys new LP ‘Favourite Worst Nightmare’ will feature a track with grime’s leading man, Dizzee Rascal. “Temptation Greets You Like Your Naughty Friend” will feature as a b-side to the forthcoming single “Brianstorm” released by Domino on April 17.

And finally, Chicago alt. rock stalwarts Wilco have announced a world tour in support of the new album “Sky Blue Sky’ (released by Nonesuch on May 15th). Kicking off in April in Australia, they will then travel on to the UK and Europe playing a series of dates in May before wrapping it all up in June with an appearance at the Bonnaroo festival in the US.