When you think of the words alternative spirit you think -upbeat, raucous indie-pop music and that's exactly what this new PIAS compilation album provides. The album consists of 39 tracks from artists such as Roisin Murphy, Basement Jaxx and Fleet Foxes.
Alt-J's Left 'Hand Free' is a fun opening track with its catchy hooks and upbeat melodies - a perfect intro that leads into The Black Keys track 'Tighten Up' which is one of the compilations many highlights. With a raw, blues sound it's everything you'd want (and expect) from a Black Keys track.
One of the more guitar heavy tracks comes courtesy of Bloc Party and their contribution '3x3'. Its hard-hitting vocal and frantic playing remind us just how good their album 'Four' (which the song was featured on) was.
Continue reading: Various Artists - [PIAS] Alternative Spirit Album Review
Sam Smith and Florence and the Machine are also set to play the Chicago festival.
Paul McCartney and Metallica have been announced as the headliners for this year's Lollapalooza Festival, taking place at Chicago's Grant Park on July 31st through to August 2nd. The legendary Beatle’s heading slot marks his first ever appearance at the long-running festival, while fellow headliners Metallica are making their Lollapalooza return after a 19 year absence.
Paul McCartney is headed to Grant Park
McCartney will headline the opening night of the festival, with The Weeknd, The War On Drugs, Alabama Shakes, Alt-J, Hot Chip and James Bay also scheduled to take the stage on Friday, July 31st.
The two acts are the latest announcements for Poland's summer festival.
The newest additions to Open'er Festival 2015 arrive in the form of Flume and Tom Odell, who are joining an already stellar line-up including Alt-J and Kasabian for some fantastic Polish fun this summer. Further additions are yet to be announced.
Australian electronic musician Flume and one of the UK's favourite singer-songwriters Tom Odell are the latest additions to the fourteenth Open'er Festival, held at Gdynia-Kosakowo Airport in Gdynia, Poland from July 1st - 4th 2015. They'll be playing alongside the likes of Main Stage acts Alt-J and Kasabian, Tent Stage musicians Jose Gonzalez and St. Vincent and Alter Stage visitors Swans.
Ride and The Strokes will be joined by The Black Keys, Patti Smith, The Replacements and more.
Fans and hopeful attendees of Barcelona's Primavera Sound were delighted to discover that the preview app they downloaded was a video game displaying the full line-up for the festival's fifteenth anniversary.
Already announced were Friday and Saturday's headliners Ride and The Strokes, and now they've been joined by a host of other equally incredible artists. Thursday sees The Black Keys leading the bill alongside The Replacements, who are hitting Spanish stages for the first time and Antony and the Johnsons, who've been doing plenty since their last Barcelona gig. Bringing some variation to Thursday proceedings are electronic virtuosos James Blake, Richie Hawtin and Simian Mobile Disco.
Continue reading: The 15th Anniversary Line-Up For Primavera Sound Is Finally Here!
After bursting onto the scene in 2012 with the stunning Mercury Award winning 'An Awesome Wave', Alt-J faced the ever possible 'second album syndrome' with their next release. While their debut brought a both intimate and overt arrangement of folk, electronica, indie and pop with high levels of emotion and so much character, album two 'This Is All Yours' had a lot to pull off; and, by the sound of lead single 'Hunger Of The Pine', it looks like it may have.
Starting out with slow electronic bleeps and Joe Newman's unmistakable strong but soothing vocals, this feels like a tamer change in direction for Alt-J. The synths flick between long distorted notes and more scattered, playful tones, giving a powerful contrast in sound. When the sample of Miley Cyrus' single '4x4' comes in (which sounds much more random on paper than on the actual song) the timing feels a little misplaced, but quickly absorbs into the rest of the track with her repetition of 'I'm a female rebel' alongside all the misty music.
Not once on the song is there a huge electronic explosion or a souring vocal, like what could've been heard on 'An Awesome Wave'. Alt-J appear to be taking a more relaxed approach to their music this time, with more emphasis on ambient electronica than their previous pop elements, but it works for them and certainly remains as something that their fans are likely to enjoy nonetheless. If the rest of 'This Is All Yours' is as impressive a feat, Alt-J have cemented their musical brilliance.
Continue reading: Alt-J - Hunger Of The Pine Single Review
Alt-J are back with 'This Is All Yours', plus a UK tour.
Alt-J have announced their return with second album This Is All Yours - the follow-up to 2012's Mercury Prize winning An Awesome Wave. The new record will be released on September 22 through Canvasback and Infectious Music.
Alt-J are back with new album 'This is All Yours'
The 13-track album is the band's first release as a trio, with co-founder Gwil Sainsbury leaving the group in January.
Continue reading: Alt-J Return With New Album 'This Is All Yours', Plus UK Tour
This year’s contenders have just been announced, who will succeed from Alt-J?
The Barclaycard Mercury Prize nominations have come round again, designed to celebrate this year's best British musical offerings. Last year we saw Alt-J with An Awesome Wave take home the coveted music industry prize and have since seen them go on from strength to strength with full UK touring and an extensive festival diary as the indie quartet revelled in the exposure the annual awards had brought them and their infectious, enthralling debut.
Last Year's Winners, Alt-J, Benefitted From The Prize.
This year's nominees, as announced this very evening predictably include Arctic Monkey's AM, Disclosure's Settle, David Bowie's The Next Day, and Foals' Holy Fire. However the other choices include Laura Marling's Once I Was An Eagle, Jake Bugg's self-titled debut, and Laura Mvula's Sing To The Moon - all pleasing choices which will make for an interesting and unpredictable race to the 30th October awards show.
Alt-J, Ben Howard and Lianne La Havas feature on British music USB given to G8 leaders at last month's Northern Ireland summit.
Prime Minister David Cameron has promoted young British musicians by giving all the G8 leaders a 10-track USB stick containing songs from Alt-J, Conor Maynard, Laura Mvula and Gabrielle Aplin with a very prominent theme of love.
Perhaps the Tory party leader is attempting to up his "cool" factor or seem down with the kids - the voters of tomorrow - having also recently been seen at Oxfordshire's Cornbury Festival and regularly sharing his music taste with reporters. The ten songs weren't selected by the busy PM however, rather the British Phonographic Industry (BPI) assembled the tracklist presented to each of the G8 leaders on a USB stick.
Cameron Taking Some Time Out Of Parliament To Soak Up The Sun At Oxfordshire's Cornbury Music Festival.
Continue reading: David Cameron Gives Romantic Mixtape To G8 Leaders, Who's On It?
Are you ready to rock, Scotland? T in the Park ready to kick off a weekend of musical wonderment but not without a heavy police presence to cut drug use.
The sun is shining, the line-up is terrific; T In The Park 2013 is about to celebrate its 20th anniversary with thousands of fans and seven stages. Performers during the three day festival will include Mumford & Sons, Rihanna, The Killers, Ke$ha, Kendrick Lamar, Emeli Sandé, The Proclaimers, and many more massive mainstream names. The recently revived German electronic pioneers Kraftwerk will also be making their festival debut in a hotly anticipated set that is rumoured to include 3D visuals, as well as My Bloody Valentine.
Kraftwerk To Bring Their Machine-Like Electronica To T In The Park.
T must surely rival similarly huge English festivals Glastonbury and Download for the strongest line-up of the year, with Mercury Prize winning Alt-J, New York's Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Frank Ocean, Paloma Faith and Icelandic newcomers Of Monsters and Men also playing across the weekend to celebrate two decades of the Scottish event. Festival director Geoff Ellis said, according to BBC's Newsbeat, "It doesn't feel like 20 years since we started and it's a milestone." The festival, which has been held annually since 1994 has been held at Balado airfield in Kinross-shire since 1997 and now attracts 85,000 fans and 35,000 campers to the second largest greenfield event in the UK.
Continue reading: As Fans Gather For 'T In The Park,' Police Crack Down On Drugs
A Week in Videos... Undoubtedly the most eagerly-anticipated video of the week comes from Daft Punk, who return to the scene with ‘Get Lucky.’ Featuring Pharrell on vocals and the legend that is Nile Rogers on guitar, the track has already broken daily play records on Spotify and quickly became one of the most talked-about tracks online. A classic in the making, Roger’s distinctive guitar sound lends the track an authentic disco edge.
Heavy on the expletives, low on production costs, this Frank Turner video for ‘Plain Sailing Weather’ sees the angry troubadour continuing the confessional vibes of his last single ‘Recovery.’ Playing with his band in a church, the track begins with Frank playing alone, with his guitar, before the band kick in with him for the chorus.
Emeli Sande is among the nominees for two prizes at the Ivor Novello awards in May.
Emeli Sande may be adding to her growing list of accolades as she is newly nominated for two different awards at the 58th Ivor Novello awards.
Her UK number 2 hit 'Next To Me' is nominated for Best Song Musically and Lyrically as well as the Most Performed Work award. Competing in the former category is 'Laura' by Bat For Lashes and 'Two Fingers' by Jake Bugg while the latter category also sees nominations from Olly Murs' 'Dance With Me Tonight' and Coldplay's Paradise. Sande has previously received two Urban Music Awards, three BRIT, three MOBO awards and an ECHO Music Award among several others and she's definitely up for a chance in the Ivor Novellos as her nominated track was apparently the third most listened to track of 2012 - a pretty impressive achievement in itself, though not as impressive as the reception her number one debut album 'Our Version of Events' received!
Other artists nominated in two separate categories are Plan B with 'Ill Manors', which is up for Best Contemporary Song and Best Original Film Score, and Alt-J with 'Fitzpleasure' for Best Contemporary Song and 'An Awesome Wave' for Best Album. The awards ceremony will make its way to the Grosvenor House hotel in London later this Spring on May 16th 2013.
Ben Howard Is Surprise Winner In Otherwise Bland Brit Awards, 2013
Last night’s Brits ceremony could well have been the blandest Brits in years. Aside from a frisson of post-breakup tension between Harry Styles and Taylor Swift (who took to the stage wearing a sexy black hot-pant jumpsuit with gold embellishments) there was little in the way of shock, surprises, or backstage gossip (or if there is, it hasn’t made it’s way down to us yet!).
Mercury Music Prize winners Alt-J have been given their first BRIT Award nods, after being nominated for three awards: Best British Group, Best British Album and British Breakthrough.. Still, despite earlier success the band have admitted that they were still taken by surprise with the announcement of their recognition.
Speaking to NME, keyboardist Gus Unger-Hamilton described the news as "incredible," but admitted that he and the rest of the band were taken by surprise by the announcement, saying: "thought this this wouldn't be for the likes of us."
Last year the group's debut album, An Awesome Wave, received wide-spread acclaim and was awarded the title of BBC Radio 6's Album of 2012 as well as the Mercury Award and with the BRITs constantly vying to remain relevant and 'cool' it looks like the group might also be in contention to take away at least one gong at February's awards show, regardless of what the modest group members may think of their chances.
Continue reading: Alt-J Taken By Surprise By BRIT Nominations
This year’s Brit Awards nominations look as though they were concocted by a group of strangers, with wildly different cultural backgrounds, on a drunken night out. Is this a sign that the mainstream music world is finally starting to accept that it’s becoming more and more acceptable to have diverse musical tastes? Or are the organisers of the BRITS simply trying to spark controversy? have they lost the plot? Or is this an honest reflection of the mindset of a 2013 British music buying public? Let’s take a look at the evidence, and scrutinise some of the more baffling categories…
British Female Solo Artist Nominees – One of the more sensitive and contentious issues, here, in the British female solo artist category. Of the five nominees, only four of them were alive this year. We understand that Amy Winehouse has a lasting legacy in British pop music. We understand that she was – and, in many ways remains - a tour de force. But, for the sake of the awards, we simply have to ask, at the risk of sounding flippant, what has Amy Winehouse done for British music in the last 12 months? Sadly, nothing. Her posthumous album (released in December 2011, we should add), Lioness: Hidden Treasures was politely and quietly denounced for being little more than cuttings from the studio floor. We simply can’t get our heads around her inclusion on this list. With Bat For Lashes throw in as the ‘alternative’ wild card, to lend a touch of outsider cool to the category, it’s between Emeli Sande, Paloma Faith and Jessie Ware to catch this one, we reckon.
Continue reading: BRIT Awards 2013 Nominees Announced: Diverse? Or Just Weird?
Albums of Note... Rihanna’s seventh studio album, Unapologetic has been met with a mixed response and our reviewer reckons the Barbadian pop star phoned this one in. As her career becomes more of a marketing cash cow than an artistic endeavour, so her albums impress less and less.
Of course, there is also the ‘elephant’ that seems to appear in every room Rihanna walks into… an elephant known as ‘Chris Brown.’ He makes an appearance on the album, duetting with RhiRhi on a track called ‘Nobody’s Business.’ “Fun: it's something that's lacking a lot in this album, Unapologetic rattling on machine-like but with very little given away to the spirit of enjoyment… She doesn't have to feel apologetic for anything, but what's more concerning is that Rihanna doesn't seem to feel anything anymore, something all too apparent on this turgid LP.”
It may still only be November but tomorrow (November 30, 2012), early bird tickets will go on sale for next year’s Reading and Leeds Festivals, with Mercury Music Prize winners Alt-J unsurprisingly featuring on the list. The festivals take place on the August bank holiday weekend and the festival organisers are following in the footsteps of Glastonbury Festival by introducing a £50 deposit scheme, to help spread out the cost of the ticket price, which could be a little too steep, especially this close to Christmas.
Other acts to be announced in the line-up are Sub Focus, Deftones and Wiley’s grime gang, Boy Better Know. The line-up will be moving away from its rock traditions, as the tastes of the festival’s audience begins to diversify. Organiser Melvin Benn told the press earlier this year “There will quite a bit more dance music, quite a bit more other bits and pieces” and also announced that there will also be three new stages introduced at the festival, too.
Tickets for the two festivals which run the same line-ups, on separate days, will go on sale at 9am tomorrow morning . The deposit scheme ensures that fans can secure their ticket for the festival, as long as they pay the balance before March 31, 2013. For a limited period (until December 31, 2012, tickets will be on sale at 2012 prices.
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."
Doing little to dispel their image as white, middle class indie kids, Alt-J pointed out in their acceptance speech at the 2012 Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize that the £20,000 that they won could go towards paying off their student loans. And taking their parents out to dinner. Somehow, you couldn’t imagine Plan B, or Richard Hawley making the same references if they’d won the title.
We’re not entirely convinced by the band’s assertion that they hadn’t thought to prepare for winning the award. As they took to the stage, they said “wow, we literally haven’t prepared for this.” Which shows a gross lack of time management skills, then, given that they have been hailed as the favourites for the award for weeks now and managed to fend of competition from Richard Hawley in the bookies’ odds. By their own admission, they had been tipped as favourites to win before the shortlist even came out. The band decided against naming the people that they wanted to thank, but chose to acknowledge everyone in “team Alt-J,” instead.
Whilst Alt-J are understandably revelling in the praise that has been heaped upon them, for fighting off competition from the likes of Jessie Ware, Plan B and Richard Hawley, one man has taken to Twitter to reveal how Alt-J allegedly tried to prevent him from reviewing their gig, to avoid him publishing a negative reaction. The latest post on the matter, from The Independent’s music critic Simon Price (@simon_price01) reads “Ironically, the call about being banned from the @Alt_J gig came just after I'd been lecturing Solent uni kids about editorial independence.”
Alt-J have revealed a history of hallucinogenic drug-use after winning the prestigious Mercury Prize.
Alt-J, the Indy rock band for Leeds, England, have revealed that they experimented with hallucinogenic drugs at the beginning of their career. The band recently received the Mercury Prize on Thursday 1st November 2012, and revealed that they never took drugs during the writing sessions for their songs.
In an interview with 'The Daily Star', frontman Joe Newman explained: "In my first year of university at Leeds I did mushrooms and it ruined me. I actually didn't enjoy it at all. I don't think I'd ever do mushrooms again. We've all done mushrooms, acid and this, that and the other through uni. But we'd never do it before a practice or before we wrote songs."
Continue reading: Alt-J Win Mercury Prize And Reveal Drug Use
Congrats to the Scotch quartet, Alt-J! The alternative indie act have pretty much been the favourite for the prize since the nominations were released, and now they have proven all their backers right.
Despite having been around since 2007, forming when they met at Leeds University, Alt-J have steadily risen to success with little fan-fair but plenty of talent. 2012 really seems to have been their year, with the release of their first major studio album, 'An Awesome Wave', which is the record that has just won The Mercury Prize. Despite it not charting higher than number 18 in any country, the judges for the prize disregarded this and consider it to be an exemplary specimen of British music. Despite the album title sounding like something to come out of the mouth of a dread-locked Californian clad in tye-die, their album really is rather British. With driving riffs, complex lyricism and a shoe-gazy atmosphere, theirs is an accumulation of the sounds that have dominated the alternative music scene over the past few of years.
Speaking to the Guardian in August this year, Alt-J's keyboardist, Gus Unger-Hamilton said: "We've got this far with pretty much nobody knowing anything about us". With this accolade under their belts this apparent anonymity will be short lived.
The winner of this year's Mercury Music Prize will be announced at a ceremony in London tonight, with British indie pop quartet Alt-J the bookies favourite at 6/4. However, an interesting market mover has sent tongues wagging as to the possibility of an outsider scooping the £20,000 prize.
When the nominations were first announced SkyBet had Sunderland rockers Field Music at 14/1 for their fifth album Plumb, though today, just hours before the ceremony, the band's odds have more than halved to 6/1. That puts them third favourites behind Alt J and Richard Hawley and Field Music are now shorter than Jessie Ware's record Devotion, which has been quietly tipped for the prize. Early favourite Plan B has drifted out to 9/1, while Django Django have also drifted to 8/1. Reacting to a wave of support on their Twitter page today, Field Music told followers, "Thanks everyone for all the kind wishes. Whatever happens we're going to have a right laugh and maybe even a few shandies." Late market movers can often suggest information has leaked out, so if Field Music's odds go any shorter, we suggest sticking your money on! Odds aggregating website Oddschecker.com has obviously noted the market move, tweeting, "Field Music are the big mover ahead of tonight's Mercury Award, 10/1 tops and cut across the board."
Lauren Laverne and Nick Grimshaw will host coverage of the Mercury Prize, which begins at 9.45pm tonight on 4Music.
Continue reading: Mercury Music Prize: Field Music's Odds Plummet As Ceremony Looms
As the Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize 2012 draws near, we have a look at the shortlist and the likelihood of each act actually walking away with the prize. There’s no such thing as a done deal when it comes to the Mercury Music Prize; the ones that you think are the favourites never seem to walk away the title, the judging panel is very hard to second guess. But hey, that’s not going to stop us giving it a try!
Alt-J: An Awesome Wave
These quirky popsters have crept up on the public throughout 2012, and with their debut album garnering critical acclaim in all corners of the press, they’ve been pegged by many as the favourites to win. A recent survey conducted by Spotify showed that Alt-J’s tracks had been streamed more times that any other nominated artist. That doesn’t necessarily mean that they’re going to walk home with the prize though.
Continue reading: Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize 2012: Our Predictions
The Mercury Prize is set to be awarded tomorrow (1st Nov. 2012), and true to form and tradition, many of the artists in the nomination lists are ones that you may never have heard, or even heard of. As such, we thought it'd be useful to give you a brief breakdown of three acts topping the list of favourites, Alt-J, Richard Hawley and Jessie Ware.
Jessie Ware's album 'Devotion' is nominated and 3rd in the favourites. Ware used to be a vocalist with drum and base act SBTRKT. Some of that synthy influence can be heard in this album, but the vocals hark back to the '80s and early '90s, though with her own twee stamp.
Richard Hawley comes in second. He was originally in the Britpop band Longpigs and also played with Pulp for a few years before launching his solo career. He's nominated for his whimsically titled album 'Standing at the Sky's Edge'. Despite that whimsy, he has described this album as 'angry', to the Guardian. The guitars and vocals are verging on gritty, but angry? Not quite.
Continue reading: A Brief Run Down Of The Mercury Prize Favourites
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.