Monday, 20 September 2010

I'm On A Boat

The holiday of a lifetime in the Carribbean caught on camera, courtesy of Ali Auchincloss. Can someone put me in a time machine so I can be there again!

Thursday, 12 August 2010

Florence's second

After a summer of festivals, and some time off in September, Florence Welch has told me for BBC 6 Music she is hoping to get back into the studio this October with Paul Epworth and James Ford, who worked on her debut Lungs.

Hear what she had to say at the Isle of Wight festival:

Thursday, 22 July 2010

Wish I was there...

Two of my favourite acoustic folk people Damien Rice and Australia's Julia Stone (from Angus and Julia Stone) singing You're The One That I Want, yes the classic from Grease, a 1978 masterpiece. All happened at Latitude festival last weekend. Lovely!

Tuesday, 20 July 2010

And the nominees are...

This year's Mercury nominees are out. Who will it be to scoop the much lauded music prize?

Biffy Clyro
Corinne Bailey Rae
I Am Kloot
Laura Marling
Dizzee Rascal
Paul Weller
Kit Downes Trio
Mumford & Sons
Wild Beasts
The xx

I reckon The XX will be like last year's Horrors, the band everyone puts their money on but who don't win the race at the end of the day. Still, saying that it's probably worth a few bob at the bookies (Just in case!). Foals, Laura Marling, Wild Beasts and Mumford and Sons have all produced excellent albums in the past year and could be well in with a chance. Then I Am Kloot have been around for ages and in the same vein of Elbow's 2008 win deserve some recognition. Dizzee Rascal - really?! I get that the Mercury Prize celebrates the album of the year but surely even though he's a grime-pop king, he's way mainstream for it now. It would be a bit like Kings of Leon getting it for their Sex on Fire (Only By The Night) effort. Bonkers! Just an opinion though. I'd certainly like to see Foals or Laura Marling win as Total Life Forever and I Speak Because I Can have been on repeat on my stereo.

Friday, 16 July 2010

Oh no! Poor Pink

I'm not gonna lie. I have a bit of a penchant for Pink. Even watched a documentary about her recently, charting a turbulent past with hubby biker dude. It was insightful and made me love her even more. Say what you will about her, she's ballsy enough to get fired over the crowd on a zip wire at the very least. Nice! But here's what happened when it went tits up....

DOH! But she got up and went on with the show didn't she. GO PINK!

Wednesday, 14 July 2010

A Flaming collaboration - Yeah!

In Zagreb at the T-Mobile INmusic festival Flaming Lips frontman Wayne Coyne told me he's been badgering Yeah Yeah Yeahs singer Karen O for a special collaboration.

Plus there's an even bigger name he'd like to work with too. Ruuuuuude.

Hear all in my 6 Music package below:

Sunday, 11 July 2010

Massive Attack's next

Massive Attack have confirmed they are planning the Heligoland follow-up, kinda big news as that record took 7 years to hit shelves after the previous one.

They are playing all across the world this summer but only stopping at one UK festival - the Big Chill in August.

Then they are studio bound to get working on their sixth album.

Check this - it's Daddy G and 3D:

Friday, 9 July 2010

Morning Benders showcase

The Morning Benders are an indie quartet from Berkeley, California.

They released their second album
Big Echo last month in the UK, and have fast become one of the 2010 'buzz' bands.

The record was co-produced by Chris Taylor of experimental rock band Grizzly Bear and I caught up with their main man Chris Chu before their sold out show at Camden's Barfly earlier this month.

Hear the full report:

Thursday, 8 July 2010

Arcade Fire me up

The Canadian band showcased new material at one-off UK gig at the Hackney Empire on Wednesday. It was monstrous, monumental, ridiculously amazing and wonderful. 2,000 people in a tiny theatre. That close to Win and Regine. No words. Their new songs are fab too. Epic building songs - the sort that Arcade Fire do proper like!

Listen to my package of the night's events here:

Wednesday, 7 July 2010

James Murphy's future moves

We've known for a while now LCD Soundsystem headed up by DFA records man James Murphy will be disbanding after this current tour.

Recently they've been doing the rounds at Glastonbury and the O2 Wireless festival in London but are now in Australia where their tour continues.

I caught up with the man himself when he was in the UK and he gave me the full low down on what the future holds for New York's influential music mastermind:

Tuesday, 6 July 2010

Unkle and Nick Cave go 'glam rock'

One of my 6 Music work chums Adrian Larkin got the scoop on the Unkle and Nick Cave collaboration so when I caught up with them at Wireless thought it was only right that I squeeze out some more info from them about it all.

Sounds very exciting.

Watch Unkle chatting about it in this video:

Monday, 5 July 2010

Wireless coverage

In it's sixth year Wireless Festival took over London's Hyde Park at the weekend.

While the first day, Friday 2 July, saw Pink headline with support from the likes of Gossip and The Ting Tings, Sunday 4 July played host to Jay Z, Lily Allen and Friendly Fires.

LCD Soundystem, 2ManyDJs, DJ Shadow, Unkle, New Young Pony Club, The Big Pink, Snoop Dogg and Missy Elliott all took over the festival on Saturday.

It was an absolute scorcher and me and my chum George had some serious fun interviewing and later soaking up some beats.

Check out my audio and video round-up (the latter was kindly and lovingly filmed and edited by Mr Belfield):

Wednesday, 30 June 2010

New Bands Storm The Charts

Storm the Charts, a grassroots campaign aimed at filling the UK singles chart with new music, has been brewing for six months and this week is calling on music fans for support.

40 songs by 40 artists who aren't on major labels and haven't charted before have been selected to fight for sales against big name acts.

The initiative was set up by Wes White after he was inspired by the 'Rage Factor' endeavour at Christmas, which saw Rage Against The Machine triumph over X Factor winner Joe McElderry for the number one slot.

London band Revere, Glasgow's A Band Called Quinn and Leeds four-piece Middleman are among the 40 acts put forward.

Listen to my package below:

Thursday, 24 June 2010

A Flaming stage invasion

Some of you may know last year I was standing by the side of the stage for N.E.R.D at Glastonbury when they called for moshers. Within seconds I was up on the Pyramid Stage rocking out during lapdance next to Pharell in front of thousands of people in yellow wellies doing embarrassing mum dancing! This year I felt I couldn't go without some sort of onstage antics so when asked by Flaming Lips manager if I fancied joining a load of croatian teens to dance in a silly outfit onstage for the WHOLE of their set at the INmusic festival in Croatia's capital Zagreb, I couldn't really pass him up on the offer.

Admittedly I was eager to back away as soon as I saw the costume but upon that first sighting of the orange monstrosity, I was immediately enrolled into the group by one of the roadies and there was no going back! The show really was something else from that vantage point though. The ultimate showman, Wayne Coyne entered the stage and walked on top of the crowd in his "space bubble' and throughout the set there were confetti canons, smoke machines and hundreds of giant balloons thrown into the crowd. Seeing 20,000 passionate Europeans singing every word to Do You Realize is something I'll never forget.

I caught up with Wayne Coyne at the hotel before the show and we looked ahead to Glastonbury. They are headlining the Other Stage on Friday night. No doubt it's going to be spectacular. Listen to a bit of that interview below:

The reason I went to the INmusic festival was to write a piece for BBC Entertainment Online about Croatia's blossoming festival market. It's here if you've got some time to kill have a read....

Sunday, 20 June 2010

Watch This (My)Space - 2:54

They are friends with The XX, who have royally smashed it here and in the US and probably everywhere else. A friend 'in the know' recommended them to me. They are a very new addition to MySpace.

Friday, 18 June 2010

Fake Blood funk

Stupidly catchy and danceable summer choon I can't get out of my head courtesy of Fake Blood from his last EP Fix Your Accent.

Wednesday, 16 June 2010

New Strokes album 'amazing'

THE band of the last decade The Strokes made their live return on UK soil last weekend with performances at the Isle of Wight festival and Rockness. It was admittedly the reason I went to the festival and they smashed it, despite playing no new material from that fourth album which every Strokes fan is yearning for. Julian Casablancas was as 'rock 'n' roll' as ever with some cringeworthy inter-song ramblings which verged on embarrassing dad drunk at a wedding, but all the same the band were still tight. They weren't doing press but I chatted to two friends of the New York dons; singer Devendra Banhart and Noah Georgeson, who produced Little Joy (the side-project of Strokes drummer Fab Moretti). They gave me a wee album update.

Listen here

Tuesday, 15 June 2010

Florence's Fine Fashion

Florence Welch aka Florence and the Machine just after I chatted to her at Isle of Wight festival for 6 Music. Stardom is clearly treating her very nicely as she came complete with gorgeous leather Mulberry jacket and John Lennon-esque shades! The singer supported Jay Z on the Main Stage to a full field, two years after her last appearance at the festival where she was DJing for an hour. G'wan girl!

Monday, 14 June 2010

IOW: The wonder of Juliette

Was truly lucky to meet the legend that is Juliette Lewis at the weekend at Isle of Wight. I watched the early Johnny Depp classic What's Eating Gilbert Grape last week and LOVED it so it was even more crazy to chat to her. PLUS she worked with Omar from Mars Volta on her latest album Terra Incognita. Bam, that's a touch. And who could forget Oliver Stone's Natural Born Killers!? She was rocking some serious double denim too - in a good way - with some amazing flares with American flags on them and a denim jacket. As if she wasn't cool enough with her matching blue hair, when she came down the media run to me she started raving about my feather earring and Tatty Devine genie lamp necklace. Wish I'd given my earring to her right then and there! I have four. That would have been alright! "Here you go Jules, my treat!" Oh hindsight isn't a wonderful thing really, it's like the time I walked past Diplo the day after the best DJ set ever at Mad Decent Soundystem. Still wish I'd hi-fived him. He played a dubstep version of Pixies Where Is My Mind?. TOO MUCH.

Tuesday, 25 May 2010

Warpaint’s warpath to success

Los Angeles all female four-piece Warpaint brought their own brand of experimental art rock to London's Lexington last night (24 May), and what an attack it was.

At Brighton's Great Escape festival earlier this month and at South By South West before that, they were the talk of the town, quite rightly so.

These girls know how to rock, and so accomplished they are in their roles, their playful and dynamic live show takes on a life of it's own compared with their dreamy Mazzy Star-esque MySpace tracks.

With only eleven songs in the set, they played for over an hour, owing to the space they give the tunes to develop legs and meander into some experimental jam.

The drum and bass unit were both busting matching brilliant red, all-in-one romper suits and maybe it was their eye-catching attire, or the fact that they were centre stage no further than a meter away from each other at all times, but I couldn't take my eyes off them.

Australian lean mean drumming machine Stella Mozgawa barely broke a sweat, driving the band with post-punk rhythms, while bassist Jenny Lee Lindberg's body undulated as she emitted strong, repetitive bassline grooves.

Their on-stage chemistry was expressed further when percussionist Stella swapped with Theresa to play some guitar on Set Your Arms Down, and she and Jenny knelt together on the floor, occasionally touching heads as if they were conjoined twins sharing the same musical frequency (pictured above).

Their sounds underpinned the stirring guitar parts and hypnotic vocals of Emily Kokal and Theresa Wayman, which would peak and trough in and out of epic crescendos.

Warpaint count Billy Zane, the late Heath Ledger and former Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante - who gladly mixed their debut EP Exquisite Corpse - among their fans.

40 Days and 40 Nights actress Shannyn Sossamon, who was the original drummer and is the sister of Jenny Lee Lindberg, was in the audience as was Babyshambles' Drew McConnell and BBC 6 Music presenter Steve Lamacq, who has been championing them on his show.

The crowd was also smattered with an intriguing group of shaven-headed, somewhat lairy lads, who looked as if they'd accidentally missed the pub playing the England match and ended up there.

However, they turned out to be super fans, singing every word to the band's commercial calling-card, Billie Holiday, which features the melody from Mary Wells' Motown classic My Guy.

It seems the secret's out and the fast-rising band could be quite a success in the UK, deservedly so.

Their lush shoegaze melodies can obviously melt the hardest of hearts and what's more, we have their first album to look forward to as they've been in the studio with Grammy Award-winning producer Tom Biller.

He recorded the acclaimed Punch Drunk Love soundtrack, among others, helped launch the Silversun Pickups' career and recently co-produced the Where The Wild Things Are Soundtrack written by Karen O of Yeah Yeah Yeahs.

Warpaint's debut LP is scheduled to be released this year, August I believe. Watch out, because this talented bunch seem to be on the right warpath to greatness.


Set Your Arms Down

Tuesday, 20 April 2010

Parting Shots From Coachella

I'm currently cruising back to Los Angeles in perfect sunshine reflecting on my time atCoachella festival. Last night I saw two familiar English voices. Radiohead's Thom Yorkewith Atoms For Peace and Blur's Damon Albarn with Gorillaz.

Both were extraordinary for me as it was the first time I had seen them play live with these side-projects and then Thom Yorke went and played acoustic versions of twoRadiohead songs, Airbag and Everything In Its Right Place. A perfect finale to a great weekend of music. To top it all off we just went for a walk in the national park at Joshua Tree, the area where Arctic Monkeys recorded their latest album Humbug.

Here are three of my favourite snaps that sum up my experience of Coachella.

1. Danny DeVito


The festival is glamorous. Everyone there is out to impress. It's seriously intimidating how many good looking people are around the place. One day I was sitting in the press area doing interviews and I saw a pair of girls literally lapping the VIP area for the best part of three hours. That's how it is. Star spotting comes easy. The likes of Arctic Monkeys, Kelly Osbourne, Alexa Chung, Jaime Winstone and Daisy Lowe were out in force. Beyonce and Jay-Z seemed very comfortable wandering among the punters and were standing a metre behind me to watch Thom Yorke! They were loving it. Another friend saw them watching The Dirty Projectors with B's little sis Solange. Apparently they were singing every word. My colleague Rodrigo Davies even spoke to Danny DeVito, who was there for a sixth year in a row.

2. The Dead Weather


After an hour of stress while no calls and text would connect because of bad reception, I ended up being driven high speed in a gold buggy through the backstage area and interviewing The Dead Weather as they were gearing up to their performance on the Outdoor Stage. Massive highlight to meet Jack White and Alison Mosshart.

3. Sunsets

There's not a festival in the world I don't think which has better sunsets than Coachella. The warm sun drops behind the mountains and you get this.


Previous Post
Coachella Culture Shock - first impressions of California

Sunday, 18 April 2010

Coachella Culture Shock

I have now experienced a day at Coachella Festival, what's tipped as America's answer toGlastonbury, and feel suitably informed to be able to give you the lowdown.

I've come here to report on it for BBC 6 Music with a fellow music journo, but also to see what a festival in the desert has to offer for a hardened festival nut like myself.


Photo by Vaughn Youtz from

We're doing this festival with a group of American Coachella old-timers who know the game. They've hired 'condos' for us in the sleepy city of Palm Springs, known for its retirement credentials.

The festival itself is an hour drive away from our peaceful retreat. I think it's the way to do it as camping would be uncomfortable in this heat, to say the least. You'd wake up half-baked at sunrise. However, it's swings and roundabouts. Last night it took two hours to get out of a grid-locked car park. It not just the UK's infrastructure that can't cope with the influx and mass-exodus of festival-goers!

To picture it, imagine an expanse of polo fields, surrounded by palm trees, set against a backdrop of mountains. By day it's a scorcher, 86 degrees plus, which apparently is quite 'cool' according to our American friends. It's not! By night, the temperature drops and it turns into an otherwordly land of beautifully lit art installations with a pyramid of lasers shot into the sky directly above the plot.

A fenced-off VIP area, fit with speakers, looks out over the pitch where the main stage is located so all the media lovies, hollywood stars and groupies don't even need to move and get to see some music as well. Bonus! Mind you that is where the beer is so I'm not surprised it's always full. Even the latest Dr Who, Matt Smith, has parked his tardis here and got involved. Other spots include Beyonce, Jay-Z, Danny DeVito, the Arctic Monkeys, Alexa Chung,Jaime Winstone, the list goes on.

The crowds are some of the most attentive and polite audiences I think I have ever experienced at a festival. Maybe that's because of the strict rules of where you can drink alcohol and where you can't. You have to buy and finish any beverage in the drinking area from which you brought it, which means... shock horror... you can't have a beer while watching the bands, rendering you thirsty for ever-more. Every cloud though, it does mean there is not a flying cup of urine in sight. You have no chance of a crowd-surfer landing on your head, or getting insnared into one of those mosh pit circles of death.

The 75,000 strong hoard each day is mostly made of up people dressed to impress, but not in the English way where you don a silly hat and some garish lycra. Here the masses don their finest shades, are on trend in every way and it's less 'put your lighters up', more 'put your iphones up'. I've even seen a stretch hummer leaving the car park.

I don't want this post to sound too scathing because on the whole this festival does have a LOT to offer. The surroundings and idyllic sunsets are a thing to behold and above all, the music is excellent, which is why I've come. Pretty much every act I've seen has been a highlight and I was fully blown away by Fever Ray's set. The sound at every stage and tent I've visited has been bang-on and the artists have exceeded my expectations, but it's just it's so regimented. There are so many rules in place that you can't quite let go. You don't see the unique spectacles that grace festivals in Europe, whether it's the emo trolley wars I've seen at Reading, a gig from a band hanging in a tree at Secret Garden Party or the general fancy dress idiocy of Bestival. It seems like a bit of a trade off to me, but my mind might be changed. I've still got two more days to go!