Albums of Note... Much has changed for Gallows over the last year or so. They lost their singer, Frank Carter, who went and set up his own band, Pure Love. With this self-titled album, though, the band have released a statement of intent and are "no longer overshadowed by Frank Carter's legacy." Now with Wade McNeil on vocals (formerly of Alexisonfire), the band have had to forge ahead with a new vision and our reviewer reckons that the end result is a "triumph." "The first half of the record is over in a whirlwind of barely containable anger paired with surprisingly catchy choruses.Odessa provides one of the latter half of the album's highlights, with MacNeil screaming "you can stare at a car crash, but it'll stare right back, the violent labours of love, in the back of a Cadillac" over Steph & Lags' intricate and jarring guitars to create a swirling hardcore punk masterpiece."
When they were invited to create a re-working of Elton John's back catalogue, Pnau did the sensible thing and steered clear of the superstar's biggest hits. Instead, they went for some of his lesser-known tracks and melded them together "blending them into such a state that they're almost unrecognisable." In summary: "The album overall succeeds in what it set out to do and at 8-tracks long it is a perfect length for this kind of Balearic house, never once sounding self-indulgent or over-long."
The Gaslight Anthem have been steadily building up a burgeoning following, with numerous festival appearances and high-profile tours and they have set their own bar pretty high. With the release of 'Handwritten,' it is their own consistency that proves to be their biggest let-down, as "the entire record happily bobs along at an upbeat tempo until heartfelt album closer National Anthem." It seems that although they have channelled the finer points of some of the world's greatest songwriters, what The Gaslight Anthem are lacking in is originality.
Music in the News... The original Sugababes trio have reformed and will be performing under the name Mutya Keisha Siobhan. They're legally unable to discuss the use of the band's name but have been working with the likes of Emili Sande and producer Naughty Boy to get their new material under way.
Described as one of the "best small festivals this country has to offer," the second time around for LeeFest was a winner. Highlights included 80s pop enthusiasts Summer Camp, the massive rock of Sound of Guns and, of course, the festival closers, Mystery Jets who have been impressing audiences up and down the land with this year's 'Radlands' album.
The Week in Videos... This Liverpudlian bunch have come good once more with their disco-inspired rock and they've accompanied their latest release, 'Everything All The Time', with a gloriously psychedelic video. Outfit is currently working on their debut full-length release and will be working hard to make sure they continue escape the entrapment of the music critics' dastardly pigeon holes.
If you're not having the sunniest summer right now, you may find this Best Coast video slightly painful to watch. The Only Place is a fun-loving paen to the west coast of America. "Why would you live anywhere else? This is the only place." Bethany opines and frankly, who could argue with her after watching this barrage of sunshiney fuzz-pop fun.
Teenage songwriter, Jake Bugg hails from Nottingham and releases his latest EP 'Taste It' through Mercury Records. The video highlights the throwback feel of Jake's songwriting, with its authentic old-time country style reminiscent of the likes of Johnny Cash and Bob Dylan.
Channelling their summer hit potential, not to mention capitalising on their 'appeared on Hollyoaks' teen appeal, Dog Is Dead have gone for some seasonal charm for the 'Glockenspiel Song.' They've marked out some kind of middle ground between Mumford & Sons and Vampire Weekend and they don't seem as though they'll be letting it go in a hurry.
Charli XCX is a woman with a vision and right now, that vision involves her harking back to an early 90s pop sound, whilst simultaneously keeping us right up with the here and now, with 'You're The Only One.'
'Smalls Change (Meditations Upon Ageing)' arrives in April.
The two awards have made for a great 72nd birthday present for the country music icon.