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."
A Week in Video... Billie Joe Armstrong may be taking a break from life and reconstructing himself in rehab, but the Green Day PR machine waits for no man! After all, they have three albums of new material coming up that they need to promote and their latest single, 'Trouble Maker' sees the band in fine form, despite recent reports of Armstrong's mental state. Cut largely from live footage and candid shots from the band's rehearsal studio, 'Trouble Maker' has all the hallmarks of classic Green Day but with a touch of classic rock and roll thrown in for good measure.
The latest single from Paloma Faith is called 'Never Tear Us Apart' and the video is full of old-school glamour, featuring Paloma performing in a theatre, doused in red. Like much of Paloma's oeuvre, it's part pop-song, part show-tune, showing the singer in full-on dramatic mode.
The Vaccines' latest single 'I Always Knew' has all the feel of an old '60s pop tune, in a similar vein to the girl groups of days gone by, or even an old Andy Williams tune. The video's set in a fairground and shows a couple on a fairground ride, enjoying a moment of fun together though, as the ride draws to and end, the atmosphere between them starts to change.
'Magic Chords,' from Sharon Van Etten showcases this critically-revered songwriter at her finest. With a mysterious accompaniment of moving images, naked bodies languishing in the woods and in a lake, it's equal parts romantic and unsettling.
Interview of the Week: If you can get past the slightly dubious band name, Axewound are a pretty tantalizing super group of underground rockers. Featuring members of Cancer Bats, Glamour of the Kill, Rise to Remain, Pitchshifter and Bullet For My Valentine, Axewound have just released their debut album, Vultures and we caught up with the band ahead of the UK tour, to chat with drummer Jason Bowld.
Aside from getting psyched for their forthcoming touring duties, Axewound are looking a little further ahead and Jason seems confident that the band will continue to work together in the future and that Vultures won't just be a one-off as some may have feared.
"The passion and the will is there to do another album. I think we all know in the back of our minds that we want to do another album and we're very relaxed about it. Obviously we've all got other schedules but we're all cool with slotting it in where we can so there's no reason why it can't continue to another album, the will is there to do that."
Music in the News... Justin Bieber's laptop was stolen last week and the person that allegedly stole it (whilst Bieber was performing onstage, no less) has been taunting him on Twitter, threatening to post personal video footage of the 'Baby' singer on YouTube. Was it all genuine though? Or just a publicity stunt?
Natasha Khan, aka Bat For Lashes has caused a touch of controversy with her new album cover. Khan appears naked on the cover for The Haunted Man but admits she was surprised that it became as much of a discussion point as it did. "It's not a sexual image, it's more like just really stripping everything back and being really raw."
Nelly became the latest in a string of musicians to get busted in Sierra Blanca, Texas, near the Mexican border. Cops found heroin in his tour bus but the rapper himself was not arrested; one of his crew owned up to being the owner of the stash. With Fiona Apple, Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg also being busted there recently, you'd think that people would start getting wise to these drug searches, no?