Albums of Note... Deftly side-stepping the pitfalls of ‘second album syndrome,’ Everything Everything have stepped things up a notch with second album Arc, which looks set to raise their profile even further. They’ve retained their quirky dance geek sound, but this time around, the songs have a darker, more emotional sound. Where their debut was playful, a newfound intensity can be found on this follow-up. “Arc offers more drama and intensity than the playful-ness we heard on Man Alive, Everything Everything's 2010-released debut… each track stands in its own right; nothing is filler and Arc maintains interest throughout; it's a much more mature offering than Everything Everything's previous, particularly with the likes of the gentle, piano-backed 'The Peaks, which sensitively showcases their trademark falsetto vocals in an atmospheric setting.”
Paul Weller’s latest release, the ‘Dragonfly EP’ is described by our reviewer as a “victory lap.” The EP contains a number of unreleased tracks from the Modfather’s trilogy of experimental albums released in 2012. Described as “by no means essential for the casual fan,” the tracks contained herein are a step away from the sonic experimentation of the albums and are closer to his early solo days.“The Dragonfly EP is therefore well worth your time if you have any interest in Weller's more recent output. However, for the more casual listener, it may seem like it's business as usual for the Modfather. The 5 additional songs certainly deserve to be heard, and it's a welcome move that they haven't just ended up on the cutting room floor.”
Jools Holland has teamed up with a whole host of musical stars – and, of course, his own Rhythm & Blues Orchestra on The Golden Age of Song. It’s a nostalgic look back at songs from a bygone era and classic pop hits that never seem to age. From Etta James ‘Something’s Got A Hold On Me,’ sung by Paloma Faith, to Jessie J’s take on ‘Get Here.’ Other guests include the late Amy Winehouse, duetting with Paul Weller and a performance of Duke Ellington’s ‘I Got It Bad (And That Ain’t Good).’“This compilation's downfalls are few and far between… Any slight wavers are definitely thwarted by some real treats which occur later on in the tracklisting; Caro Emerald's version of 'Mad About The Boy', for example, which opens with a trombone solo and then lilts into a melting string-backed blend sounding akin to a Bond theme… Another solid offering that perfectly captures the fun and collective nature of Jools' musical projects as showcased on his Later... and Hootenanny programmes, and appealing to several audiences to boot.”
When his band The Wiseguys disbanded, Theo Keating embarked on the club circuit as DJ and producer, using the moniker Fake Blood. Cells is his debut album of “teetering on the edge basslines,” fused with “chirpy analogue synths.” A collection of upbeat house music, akin to the Big Beat Boutique days of the ‘90s, “'Cells' harks back to the hedonistic days of yore without resorting to plagiarism or following the herd governed by dollar signs and all its associated trappings.”“The Fake Blood live experience is undoubtedly much more fulfilling than any of his records but, as a supplementary document, Cells ticks most of the boxes.”
Music in the News... Coldplay led the way with this year’s New Year’s Eve celebrations, with their performance at Brooklyn’s Barclays Arena. Jay Z was there to see the new year in with the British band, who boasted stars such as Cheryl Cole, Christina Aguilera and Harry Styles in the audience. Lead singer Chris Martin’s wife Gwyneth Paltrow also joined the band onstage.
Haim were announced as the winners of the BBC’s Sound Of 2013 poll, beating rapper Angel Haze and Alunageorge to the coveted title. The band say that they have “found a second home” in the UK and they’ve clearly been welcomed, by being bestowed with the honour of being the ones to watch for the next 12 months.
Azealia Banks and Angel Haze have been feuding on Twitter. The two female rappers each recorded their own tracks, dissing the other and news of their unpleasant rivalry spilled out beyond the social media site and into the headlines. Azealia even managed to create her own sub-story by using abusive language about celebrity gossip blogger Perez Hilton when he commented on the feud.
Ellie Goulding and Skrillex may have split some time ago but they’ve decided that their musical collaboration should still see the light of day. A video for ‘Summit’ has hit YouTube but both stars are notably absent from the video.