Music In the News...Jack White has been awarded an honor for musical excellence, from University College Dublin. The James Joyce Award was presented to the former White Stripes frontman, who is currently touring with Willy Moon, by the university's Literary and Historical Society.
Cat Power has informed her fans, that her European tour will still go ahead, despite the news that she is suffering financial and health difficulties. She told her fans "European Tour Is On. Without Stage Presentation. Hard Money Wasted." It is thought that she is planning a stripped-down version of her show for the tour, which will include her first London show in four years.
Katy Perry has been accused of 'sexualising children' by the indie-dance band Crystal Castles. The band's singer, Alice Glass, told NME magazine "I think a lot of (pop stars) sell sex to children. I think a lot of kids are more sexualised now than they were years ago and I'm not sure it's a coincidence. Like f**king Katy Perry spraying people with her f**king d**k, her f**king c** gun c**ming on f**king children. And little girls, like six-year-old girls wearing a shirt with 'I wanna see your (pea) cock' on it."
DJ Steve Aoki cancelled a show in Bilbao, Spain, after learning of the deaths of three fans at his Halloween show in Madrid's Thriller Music Park. The three victims were killed during a crowd crush. Aoki said he "was devastated to hear that three people had died during a crowd rush at one of the exits. The safety of my fans has always been my top priority and had I known that there was any distress putting people in jeopardy within the venue I would have ended my show immediately."
Alt-J won this year's Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize award. They'd been favorites to win, for some time, for their album An Awesome Wave and when they collected their award, they pointed out, in their acceptance speech, that the £20,000 prize was barely enough to pay off one of their student loans.
Albums of Note... Rough Trade Records have chosen to honour Bella Union records in the latest of their celebratory Rough Trade Shops compilation series. Bella Union was originally contrived by Simon Raymonde and Robin Guthrie of Cocteau Twins. With Guthrie having take a back seat, Raymonde is now the figurehead of the label, who release music by the likes of Explosions in the Sky, The Walkmen, Fleet Foxes and Beach House. Midlake's 'The Jungler' and 'To Guard and To Guide You' are amongst the highlights on this epic thirty-four track compilation, with Laura Veirs 'July Flame' and Van Dyke Parks' 'Be Careful' also standing out."Overall, there's little here not to enjoy, and as birthday celebrations go, this really is as good as it gets."
Josh Davis, aka DJ Shadow, has had a long-ranging career over the last 20 years. He became a hip-hop sensation back in 1996 when he released Entroducing but many of his fans have erred on the side of 'precious' and turned their backs on the producer as his sound began to evolve. Shadow is now releasing a career retrospective, entitled Reconstructed. When pieced together here as a timeline, tracks from the divisive third album The Outsider sit neatly alongside the rest of his output."In typical DJ Shadow fashion one of the samples here encapsulates Davis' mind-set and ultimately what's great about Reconstructed. "I'd like to just continue to be able to express myself, as best as I can. I've got a lot of work to do still; I'm a student of the drums. I'm a teacher of the drums too."
Ora is the debut album from Rita Ora, the 21 year-old born in Kosovo and moved to London as a child, where she attended the Sylvia Young Theatre School. She's already got a string of impressive guest appearances under her belt, including stints (with the likes of Drake and Jay-Z), Rita Ora has now become a fully-fledged artist in her own right. Just don't mention the Rihanna similarities. "Given the right choice of producer coupled with an army of capable songwriters, there was every chance the UK could finally have found a pop star to rival the Beyonces and Rihannas of this world. Which is just as well because 'Ora' is clearly in awe of Miss Fenty in so many ways. Certainly from a style perspective, the similarities are endless, although whisper it in US R'n'B circles, but Ora's vocal actually comes across as being more proficient at times."
Aerosmith are back, with their first album of new material in 11 years. It's an enthusiastic effort from these rockers, though they appear to have gotten a little stuck in time and Music From Another Dimension doesn't bring us anything new from Aerosmith. Just more of the same, from Steven Tyler and co. "If you like your rock soft and rooted in the 1980s then this album is surely a gem. If you're a fan of progress, innovation, or lyrical insight, you may want to give it a wide berth."
Interview of The Week... We spoke to Peter Hook, the infamous New Order and Joy Division bass player, about the 30 year Hacienda celebrations and how the club was transformed from being a financial black hole to becoming a commercial success, with the advent of house music. Hook also talks about the recording of New Order's seminal album Technique and about DJing in a world that's shifting from vinyl to USB: "If it goes to USB, I'm going to vinyl! I spend all day over a laptop, and I don't think it works when you see someone try to do it. I know it's progress, and when I'm in the gym I love having 4,000 tracks to listen to, but the audience do watch you, whether they're supposed to or not. Ultimately, it might sort the men out from the boys."
Videos of the Week... Fusing the tradition of blues music and modern experimentation, Willy Moon brings us a highly stylized video for 'Yeah Yeah'. Flanked by a room full of dancers, Willy's pulling shapes on a podium, in amongst all the synchronization. With a recent appearance on Jools Holland's TV show under his belt and a tour underway with his label boss Jack White, Willy Moon could well be destined for big things.
'Cant' Play Dead' is the latest video from The Heavy. It's a creepy, stop-frame animation affair, set in a graveyard and featuring miniature versions of the band members rocking away as disturbing creatures crawl out of the graves surrounding them, creating the vibe of a 1950's B-movie as they go. It's a fitting scene for their blues-heavy rock; the band recently released their third album, The Glorious Dead, on Counter Records / Ninja Tune and the band is currently touring Europe.