May 28, 2012

Albums of Note... Maximo Park return with their latest album, 'The National Health.' The album title may suggest a concept album about the state of the nation, but don't be fooled. Inside, you'll find what appear to be some pretty bitter break-up tracks.
The band are "playing to their strengths" here, with an album full of "chest-beating, lighters out moments."

The Walkmen are also back, with 'Heaven.' This latest studio album sees an "adjustment" and a "ripening" of the band. In fact, the band have "matured beyond recognition. 'Heaven' does a fair amount of genre-hopping and The Walkmen may have lost the youthful aggression for which they were once known, but it's all to the benefit of the listener.

The Week in Videos... Any one that had written off The Hives as early-noughties-also-rans can think again.

The Hives Official Image

The Swedish rockers are back with a new single 'Go Right Ahead' and they might not have diversified much since their previous run of popularity (they're still rocking the monochrome look, and still rocking the three-chord punk vibe) but they've got every ounce of energy they had when they first burst onto the scene.

We Are Augustines have been gathering some serious airplay recently and, with Juarez, the Brooklyn band have seem to have struck gold, with a song written as a result of singer Billy McCarthy having cut his hand open, high on painkillers and only having two fingers free to play the guitar. The video, set in dust-bowl America is both moody and rousing, drawing on the song's emotive lyrics.

Working hard to stand out amongst the current crop of male troubadours bothering the charts, Jake Bugg releases 'Lightning Bolt Video.' Part Woody Guthrie, part Arctic Monkeys, this Nottingham-based teenager manages to neatly bridge the gap between old and new, with this vintage-style video.

An Interview With. Rudimental... Contactmusic chatted to Piers Agget of Rudimental, one of electronic music's fastest-rising groups, about the importance of youth-centred music studios, the group's own eclectic music tastes and the pressure of dealing with hype: "We're looking to have a longer career and, don't get me wrong, a number one would be incredible, but we're just not trying to think about stuff like that just yet."

Festival Previews... Festival season is nearly upon us and we previewed two of the hottest European summer festivals for you. Barcelona's Primavera Sound 2012 is always a scorcher and we're not just talking about the weather. This year, the highpoint of the European festival calendar brings a wealth of stellar acts to a sun-dazed crowd, including Mudhoney, The Cure, Wild Beasts and The Pop Group.

London's Field Day, held in Victoria Park in the city's east-end is the perfect place to check out some of the best up & coming bands that the world has to offer. You'll be able to check out Grimes, who has recently been touring the UK, and slaying crowds with her innovative, ethereal take on 'dream pop.' Pond will also be playing; the band that had a Pied-Piper effect on the world's music journalists at SXSW 2012 and the more established Metronomy will be building of the success of their recent NME tour.

Sir Elton John The 2012 Concert For The Rainforest Fund Afterparty

Music in the News.. Britney Spears has made her highly-publicised return to the public eye, with her judging role on this season's US X Factor. She's already got gossip columnists poised for a scandal, by seeming to storm out of the studio after a contestant butchered one of her songs. Can she make it through the series without creating a drama?

Elton John was rushed to hospital in LA last week, with a serious respiratory condition. The singer was forced to cancel his Las Vegas shows but has vowed to return later in the year.