A Week in Music Featuring: Muse, Mumford & Sons, Alpines, Miguel, Of Monsters and Men, Alt-J And Much More!
Albums of Note...After writing one of the official tracks for the London 2012 Olympics, Muse release their latest album, Supremacy. Our reviewer finds something lacking in the band's latest full-length offering, remaking that it sounds more like a soundtrack or a rock opera than a conventional album. Listeners will already be aware of the album's most contentious track, 'Unsustainable,' with its controversial dubstep elements but aside from such avenues of experimentation, Muse are still lacking a big hit from 2nd Law, such as they had with 'Plug In Baby.' There's potential for these songs to sound huge in the live arena but on record, this particularly collection of tracks is unfulfilling."Sprawling, bombastic and overflowing with ideas, yet somehow lacking something that's impossible to place."
Mumford & Sons return with a highly anticipated second album. Their debut release, Sigh No More saw the band's momentum grow at alarming speed and they have become a cornerstone for the nu-folk movement of British artists. Their second release, Babel is pretty much more of what you'd expect from Mumford & Sons. They've gone for the 'if it ain't broke don't fix it' approach to songwriting and stuck to their distinctive sound that has stood them in such good stead up until now."Many of the songs here build to barnstorming choruses, and while Mumford has flashes of anger to vent ('Broken Crown'), his vocal delivery has a warmth and tenderness that seeps into every crevice of the record. With no shortage of memorable songs, catchy melodies, and reasons to buy a banjo, Babel succeeds on pretty much every level." We also have a new video from Mumford & Sons: 'I Will Wait' shows the band performing in front of a huge crowd As the crowd hold lighters in the air whilst the band play on, it's an atmospheric and moving representation of their live shows.
'Early Hours' is the latest EP from the Kingston duo Alpines and is described in our review as "14 minutes of uplifting joy." Catherine Pockson and Bob Matthews have created four tracks of stunningly dark electro-pop, which hints that the band must have more quality material up their sleeves and ready to unleash on the world. "There may only be four tracks, but each one is crafted into something beautiful and stands apart from the next. Exactly what you want to hear on any record. A very impressive EP, Alpines deserve a large chunk of recognition for this."
Interview of the Week: Miguel We spoke to Grammy nominated singer Miguel about his new album Kaleidoscope Dream and his struggles with remaining true to himself as he grapples with the big bad beast that is the music industry: "I think it was so much easier because that was the actual driving thought: 'just be true to yourself' on every level this time around. On the first album, when it came to image and so forth, I wasn't making all of the decisions for myself. this time around, being myself was at the very core. I executive produced the album, if I didn't produce the song, I co-produce it or I played on the song, I wrote all the songs. I creative directed the album, like the packaging I styled myself."
Despite his success, Miguel hasn't lost touch with his fans and made sure to show some love before the album release by giving away the 'Art Dealer Chic EPs' online: "This was a definite way to reconnect, let me just forget about the label, let me just make music for me and the people that love this s**t," said Miguel.
A Week in Video.... 'Mountain Sound' is the latest video from Of Monsters and Men, a band we recently interviewed at Leeds Festival. This sees the band performing live at a festival in Reykjavik, doing all the things that bands do at festivals, setting up their kit, signing autographs for eager fans, giving backstage interviews and most importantly, performing for the masses.
Alt-J are a band at the forefront of many people's minds right now, as they've just been nominated for this year's all-important Mercury Music Prize. The 'Something Good' video is a sultry affair, with slow motion footage of a matador, impaled on a bull's horn, a crowd fleeing the trauma; it's somehow gory and romantic all at once.
Wild Belle have already been tipped for great things, and with 'It's Too Late' you can see why. They combine the charm of 80s pop like Bananarama, with the retro charm of old-school dub and '60s pop
Music in the News.... Legendary 60's crooner Andy Williams died last week, at the age of 84. He had been battling bladder cancer. Tributes were led by fellow singer Tony Christie, who said he was "a real pleasure to have met"
Rolling Stones' guitarist Ronnie Wood is said to be fuming after discovering that his ex-wife Jo Wood is holding an auction of his memorabilia and advertising it as a joint sale. Jo reckons she inherited the items as part of their divorce but Ronnie's not so sure.