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Jim Pusey's Top 10 Albums Of 2013

Sigur Ros Biffy Clyro My Bloody Valentine John Mayer Frightened Rabbit The National Vampire Weekend The Besnard Lakes Local Natives

Jim Pusey's Top 10 Albums Of 2013

It's been a year of truly brilliant sounds even if there may have been a few disappointments along the way. Take hip hop, for example: unlike 2012's records by Kendrick Lamar and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, there was nothing that really demanded your attention. Yes, Kanye's album 'Yeezus' was technically brilliant, but it's a record I'm still struggling to digest properly. Similarly, Jay-Z's 'Magna Carta, Holy Grail' (which, in my opinion, is as good as West's effort) was less immediate than the likes of 'Blueprint 3', which means it's got somewhat lost in the public consciousness.

Both those records had an interesting release as well, materialising on shelves seemingly from nowhere. They're not the only ones either; My Bloody Valentine's 'mbv' appeared online out of the blue in February after a gestation period of 20 years. Equally, Mazzy Star, Boards of Canada, Nine Inch Nails and David Bowie made unexpected and impressive returns following long hiatuses. There were also some great reissues and live records; Rilo Kiley's 'Rkives' acted as the epitaph the band deserved, Bob Dylan repainted his self-portrait with the 'Bootleg Series' and revealed songs well worth revisiting, Steve Albini finally got to share his vision for Nirvana's 'In Utero', The Velvet Underground's 'White Light, White Heat' finally got the deluxe treatment it deserved following Lou Reed's sudden death and Neil Young presented what could well be his best live album to date with the 'Cellar Door' addition to his archives series.

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Dom Gourlay's Top 10 Albums Of 2013

Hookworms Arcade Fire My Bloody Valentine Factory Floor Foals Jagwar Ma

After an immense year for music, here's reviewer Dom Gourlay's favourites for 2013 - and possibly for a long while after!

Arcade Fire 'Reflektor'

Arcade Fire 'Reflektor' - Early reviews were ridiculously negative, probably because journos were invited to a one-hour listening session in a plush Soho bar while being plied with free booze. The test of time has proved otherwise. And some.

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Vampire Weekend Hookworms Justin Timberlake James Blake My Bloody Valentine Blood Orange Kurt Vile Daft Punk Arcade Fire Queens Of The Stone Age Joanna Gruesome Janelle Monae Nick Cave Chance the Rapper Haim Rhye Arctic Monkeys The National

Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampire in the City

Vampire Weekend 'Modern Vampire in the City' - 'Modern Vampires in the City' makes it three for three for the New Yorkers and their latest release could very well be their best yet. It shows evolution for the band, but they have retained that essential quality that made 'Contra' and their self-titled debut such wonderfully upbeat and genuine pleasures to listen to each time. 'Modern Vampire in the City' is also the release that marks Vampire Weekend as a band that should be taken seriously, but one who you can still have immense fun with. 'Diane Young' is yet another indie floor filler, standing shoulder to shoulder with previous bangers 'A-Punk' and 'Cousins.' Where the album really excels, however, is when VW reach out to new quarters and sound completely inimitable. The yelps of 'Ya Hey' bring fun to a song that essentially deals with the theme of lost conviction, the graceful 'Hanna Hunt' erupts in the most complete song released this year and album opener 'Obvious Bicycle' sets the whole thing in motion with its refreshingly angelic melodies and steady, train-like clunks that lie beneath all the splendour. Vampire Weekend are no longer the Brooklyn minions rattling at the gates of eminence, the gates have been swung open for them and the welcoming committee should have made them feel rightly at home. 

Hookworms - Pearl Mystic

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"God Help Them" - Is Kevin Shields Right About The Mercury Music Prize?

My Bloody Valentine Kevin Shields Mercury Music Prize

Kevin Shields, the singer and guitarist with the influential shoegaze band My Bloody Valentine, has accused the Mercury Music Prize of "banning" his band's music from consideration for the award. 

Sheilds' band were left off this year's shortlist - announced on Thursday (September 12, 2013) - in favour of a slew of more commercial acts including the Arctic Monkeys, Jake Bugg, Laura Mvula and Rudimental. The move angered the legendary guitarist who claimed his group were being ignored for self-releasing their last album and bypassing Apple, Amazon and the major record deals.

"Isn't Mercury a phone company or something, anyway? What's that got to do with music?" Shields said in an exclusive interview with The Guardian, "We're banned by them, and do you know why? Because we're not on Amazon or iTunes. That's one of the qualifying criteria. You have to have major distribution or be on iTunes or Amazon."

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FYF Fest 2013 Announces More Live Acts For August!

Yeah Yeah Yeahs My Bloody Valentine Deerhunter Devendra Banhart Foxygen Holy Ghost! Kurt Vile Les Savy Fav MGMT Toro Y Moi Yo La Tengo Brett Gelman Rob Huebel Paul Scheer

FYF Fest 2013 presents yet more new acts for its 10th annual weekend this August including comedians Doug Benson, Brett Gelman and Karen Kilgariff.

FYF is an alternative music festival spread over two days - this year, August 25th and 26th - at the LA State Historic Park. This summer we'll see no doubt spectacular headline sets from New Yorkers the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Dublin rockers My Bloody Valentine, as well as performances from MGMT, Devendra Banhart, Les Savy Fav, Holy Ghost!Deerhunter, New Jersey's Yo La Tengo, chillwave producer Toro Y Moi, the chart hitting Kurt Vile & the Violators and Californian duo Foxygen

Just announced are some equally brilliant comedy acts (as if you weren't going to have a massive laugh anyway) from the likes of 'Home Movies' writer Brendon Small, 'The League' star Paul Scheer with Rob Huebel, 'Eagleheart' comedian Brett Gelman and former 'Last Comic Standing' contestant Doug Benson. 

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Primavera Sound Festival - 2013 Preview

It's May and festival season is upon us, which means it will soon be time for Primavera Sound 2013, arguably the pinnacle of Europe's increasingly popular schedule. Set in beautiful Barcelona and mainly based on the Parc Del Forum site at the heart of the Diagonal Mar area of the Sant Marti district, this year's event will be the thirteenth edition of a festival that first opened its doors in the summer of 2001.

Primavera Sound Festival 2013 -  Preview

As has been the norm in recent years, Primavera week kicks off with a series of fringe events starting on Monday 20th May. Sonic Boom's Spectrum headline the Sala Apolo venue, with the likes of Bo Ningen, Godflesh, Veronica Falls and Parquet Courts all playing there over the two nights. The main festival itself kicks off at the Parc Del Forum on Wednesday 22nd May, with The Vaccines and Delorean heading a bill that also includes hotly tipped US trio Guards and skatepunk duo The Bots. 

The main event itself gathers momentum the next evening for the following three days, where over 200 artists will perform across eight different stages until the early hours of Sunday morning. However, as in previous years, that isn't where the fun ends, as there'll be a series of free shows on Saturday 25th and Sunday 26th May in the Parc De La Ciutadella featuring the likes of Merchandise, The Babies and Mac De Marco, while Sunday evening's closing ceremony at the Sala Apolo will see performances from Deerhunter, Come and The Orchids among many others.

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Hop Farm Festival Cancelled Due To Poor Ticket Sales

The Hop Farm Festival My Bloody Valentine

Hop Farm Festival was due to take place in rural(ish) Kent this July as has been the routine for the festival throughout it's five year lifespan, however the fest was forced to cancel for the first time this year after poor ticket sales and forecast of sales would have resulted in a massive loss for the festival's funders.

Hop Farm big cheese Vince Power posted a statement to the festival's website yesterday, outlining the reasons behind  the festivals cancelation and apologising for disappointed fans who will miss out on the event. Power's statement read that despite the best efforts of everyone involved, organising the festival "proved too much a of mountain to climb" reasoning that the circumstances "based on poor ticket sales and the forecast selling rate [would mean] substantial losses would be made."

Hop Farm
Hop Farm Festival suffered financial difficulties last year too, but still went ahead.

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The Hop Farm Bounces Back From Administration To Announce My Bloody Valentine And Rodriguez As 2013 Headliners

The Hop Farm Festival My Bloody Valentine

We’re not sure how Hop Farm is back in 2013 after going into administration last year and posting alleged losses of some £4.8 million… but good news, everyone! Hop Farm’s back in 2013! And it’s announced its first two headliners as shoegaze veterans My Bloody Valentine and, well, just plain veteran Rodriguez.

A host of other names have been announced, including The Cribs, Dinosaur Jr, Jimmy Cliff and Martha Wainwright to name just a handful, and in a press release statement Vince Power, the festival organiser, said “I am pleased to announce the sixth Hop Farm line up this year, which includes headliners My Bloody Valentine, exclusive to The Hop Farm Festival, off the back of their much awaited new album. Plus I’m excited to add international folk legend Rodriguez to the bill this year. Searching for Sugar Man, has just won an Academy Award and a BAFTA, so this is a very special year to welcome him to the Hop Farm. Last year has been tough for me, as it has been across the board for the festival market. I wanted to keep the festival going, but I’ve had to make changes for it to continue.”

That difficult year was the aforementioned folding of Hop Farm last year, which makes it somewhat puzzling that it’s been allowed to return, with the NME claiming that some bands hadn’t been paid from last year. However, they also posted a statement from him that said "The Hop Farm will happen this year, this is one blip in my career spanning over 30 years. All suppliers and artists are working with me and many of the suppliers have been with me for many years, through the Reading, Phoenix and Homelands days. They are being very supportive. I spent and paid artists alone approx £350 million over the years. The losses reported are inaccurate. The Hop Farm never lost 4.8 million. These losses included a group of companies in Kent Festival Ltd." So there you go.

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A Week In Music - My Bloody Valentine Make Victorious Return, Mumford And Sons Take Home Top Grammy Award

Unknown Mortal Orchestra Nina Simone Woodkid Shout Out Louds My Bloody Valentine Jim James Local Natives Veronica Falls Mumford And Sons Grammy Awards Kraftwerk

Unknown Mortal Orchestra Press Shot

A Week in Videos...The popularity of Unknown Mortal Orchestra has been on a slow burning rise for some months now. Taken from their forthcoming second album, helpfully entitled II, ‘So Good At Being In Trouble’ sees the band in a particularly catchy mode, a lilting melody lifting the trademark stoner vibe. The video features the actor Christopher Mintz-Plasse (you’ll know him as McLovin’ from the movie Superbad) causing a scene and trying to snatch a hippy from a scene that could well be set in a 1960s era Venice Beach.

In this video, Nina Simone talks about freedom and love, before the film cuts to a grainy performance of her performing ‘I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free.’ One of music’s legendary performers, Simone’s rendition of the song showcases her warm and passionate vocal. On the subject of freedom, Simone insists that she couldn’t possibly describe how it feels to be free, just as much as its impossible to describe the feeling of being in love. To hear her perform the track, though, you get just a glimpse of what freedom might feel like.

Continue reading: A Week In Music - My Bloody Valentine Make Victorious Return, Mumford And Sons Take Home Top Grammy Award

Critics Weak At The Knees For My Bloody Valentine's New Album

My Bloody Valentine

Shocked surprise has been replaced by gushing words and overzealous praise as critics rushed to get the first review in on the first My Bloody Valentine album released in 22 years. The band’s front man Kevin Shields had been teasing a new album – their first since the legendary Loveless – for the past few months, at one point claiming that it would be out by the end of 2012. That never happened of course, but at a recent show in London he surprised a heckler by telling them the new album would be out in a few days. That few days turned out to be last weekend, and since then the internet’s been awash with praise for LP m b v. You’d think 22 years would’ve have allowed him to think up a more inventive name.

“The songs on m b v are more melodically complex, intriguing and often pleasing than anything he has written before” The Guardian wrote, with the BBC adding “It’s an album that 22 years of speculation and analysis haven’t come close to matching the reality of. It sounds amazing, and represents an astounding return.”

Across in America Pitchfork were similarly enthused, writing “If you're wired a certain way {MBV's} mixture of desire and confusion is easy to map on to the wider world. For 22 years, the only way to get there was through Loveless and its associated EPs; now there's another path, one many of us never expected to find.”

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'mbv' - Reviewers Pleasantly Surprised By My Bloody Valentine's 22 Year Return

My Bloody Valentine

Twenty-two years may have passed since My Bloody Valentine last released an album (1991’s Loveless) but the band have not lost their ability to whip music critics into a frenzy. Writing for The Telegraph, Bernadette McNulty comments that the strangest thing about reviewing a MBV album (entitled mbv) in 2013 isn’t the fact that there’s been 22 years of silence from the band but the fact that - in order to review it ahead of its release – she’s listening to the music via digital files. My Bloody Valentine are one of those bands that almost embody the allure of vinyl (and fear not, MBV devotees, the album is available to purchase on vinyl) and a the bewilderment of a digital MBV experience becomes the focal point of McNulty’s review.

Dudley Colley’s blog post, republished by Huffington Post, approaches the album with trepidation yet finds, with some degree of surprise, that it’s actually rather good. “I'm loath to even describe much of the rest of the album, simply because every listen is leaving me a little more in awe, and I don't want to try and pin it down yet… like the LP just falls into place at the beginning, it similarly just falls out of place at the end.”

Our own reviewer, Jordan Dowling gave the new release an impressive 8/10. In comparison to its most recent predecessor, Dowling writes “Inevitably with such a diverse palette the cohesion of Loveless is forsaken, but mbv is all the better for it. It is not necessarily a stronger record than Loveless, but it is certainly better than what Loveless Mk II would have been.” The message is clear, then; mbv is well worth your pennies, just make sure you splash out for the vinyl, for a true MBV experience.

My Bloody Valentine - mbv Album Review

Let us from the offset ignore inactivity, as My Bloody Valentine's follow-up to "Loveless" holds no regard for it. It begins two decades on as if nothing but the turn of a page has occurred since the release of their landmark second full-length, and sees them depart from familiar grounds into brand new territories (for themselves). 

My Bloody Valentine - mbv Album Review

'she found now' submerges Spector's Wall Of Sound at the same depths as 'Sometimes' on its' predecessor, but as it progresses "mbv" finds the Irish quartet moving further and further away from the trademark sound of their peak, like the greatest hits of a catalogue that never made it past the confines of a studio.

Nothing sums up "mbv" better than its' artwork; it is an incomprehensible clusterfu*k of indecipherable shades and shapes when viewed at a distance, or indeed presented on a low copy, but under close study it reveals itself in multi-dimensional glory. Still it is a work of such scope that it is nigh on impossible to summarise efficiently and effectively, a point to note in these days of instant music criticism

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My Bloody Valentine Return! Excitement Causes Their Website To Crash

My Bloody Valentine

It's been 22 years but at last shoegaze heroes My Bloody Valentine have released the follow-up to 1991's Loveless. Needless to say, people were very excited by the news.

So excited in fact that since the band made their new album, titled mbv, available to download from their website, it has crashed on more than one occasion, as fans flocked to the site to hear the new release. The notoriously secretive band, fronted by noted perfectionist Kevin Shields, have kept fans relatively in the dark over when the album would be completed, issuing a statement on their official Facebook page only last night that said the album would be release later that night.

The band went on hiatus shortly after the release of Loveless, but returned to touring in 2008 and had long whipped up rumours that they would begin recording their third album. Shields only confirmed that the band were working on a follow up during an interview with NME last November, in which he said, "I think with this record, people who like us will immediately connect with something," adding, "Based on the very, very few people who've heard stuff - some engineers, the band, and that's about it - some people think it's stranger than Loveless."

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My Bloody Valentine Return With First Album In 12 Years

My Bloody Valentine

Conducting the release of their third album like it was some clandestine operation, My Bloody Valentine have finally released the follow-up to 1991's Loveless through their website.

The band announced the arrival of their album, titled m b v, through their Facebook page last night, posting, "We are preparing to go live with the new album/website this evening. We will make an announcement as soon as its up." Soon enough, the band relaunched their website,, giving fans the chance to download the new release in the most modern fashion possible.

Earlier this week, the band's frontman Kevin Shields said the long-awaited new album "might be out in two or three days" and with the album launch late last night (Feb 2) he proved to be a man of his word. The band will be heading out on a small UK tour in March to promote the album further, following a series of gigs they have planned in Japan and Australia. MBV will be heading back to Japan in the summer to headline Tokyo Rocks and will also be playing Primavera in Barcelona.

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My Bloody Valentine Bassist Says New Album Is 'Pretty Much Finished"

My Bloody Valentine Kevin Shields

The bassist from 90's shoe-gaze heroes My Bloody Valentine, Debbie Googe, has revealed the the band's long awaited third album is almost on the way, telling Drowned in Sound that the follow-up to 1991's Loveless is "pretty much finished."

In the interview, Googe details that that frontman and chief songwriter Kevin Shields is all but finished with writing material for what will be the band's third album, telling the website "It will definitely come out as it's pretty much finished. I mean, it's impossible to talk about time with Kevin, but in terms of percentage-wise, he's got one more track he wants to do then that's it. Everything else is recorded."

Shields, the notoriously picky perfectionist he is, has been working on and off with the album material since the early nineties, and gave first word on the immediacy of the upcoming project when he spoke to NME in November this year (12) when he said that the new album will come out this year. In the interview he also talked about the upcoming headlining slot at Japan's Tokyo Rocks Festival in May 2013, where the band will be playing exclusive material from a brand new, still untitled, album. The band have been touring together since they reformed in 2007, but the Tokyo performance will mark the first time the band will be playing entirely new material. The band are scheduled to perform three concerts in March next year across the UK, and we're sure fans will have their fingers cross that the group will be delving into some newer material when they perform.

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