Doing something for the second time is usually a disappointment. Remember when you watched '12 Years a Slave' for the second time and realised it wasn't that good? Remember when you went back to that villa in La Manga for the second time and were left sorely dissatisfied? Oh, and then there's that ex-girlfriend.
This was the task facing Django Django. Their debut album was one of the most exciting, unique and compelling records of the last few years and one that, musically, surprised everyone. This time, we know what Django Django are about. The surprise factor is no more.
Luckily, it's a resounding victory for second timers. 'Born Under Saturn' is less 'in your face' than its predecessor and feels like a properly constructed album. It rewards repeat listens and demonstrates the band's versatility perfectly. The opening track 'Giant' is, well, exactly that; an incredibly well constructed beast that clocks in at almost 6 minutes and sets the album up perfectly. 'Found You' is another slow burning belter that sounds a lot like The Horrors might do if they went on a summer holiday. These songs feel like new ground for Django Django, but they certainly haven't ditched what they do best.
Continue reading: Django Django - Born Under Saturn Album Review
Beacons Festival returned to the scenic Yorkshire Dales at Skipton's Heslaker Farm once again for the August 16 - 18 weekend bringing music, food, arts and a host of other treats to an audience that have travelled from much further afield than the outskirts of Yorkshire. After a triumphant, sun-soaked return following difficulties in previous years, the return of Beacons Festival was one met with eager anticipation and with such an impressive line-up announced, the pressure was on for the festival to succeed and deliver once again.
As campers battled to put up their tents during the sporadic showers on Thursday night, the warm return of the sun on Friday morning was a much needed boost for the festival, one that stuck around for most of the duration, bar a soggy Saturday. Futuresound competition winners Battle Lines opened up the Noisey 'You've Got To Hear This' stage and ultimately brought the festival itself to life with a raw and invigorating performance. Expect big things from this young Leeds band. As the day went on, the scope and size of the festival really became apparent, and a walk across the campsite to the 'other' part of the festival arena to see Mickey P Kerr's hilarious set at the ELFM stage really put into perspective what the festival organisers were trying to achieve. The camping area and the arena itself almost melded into one designated area that brought an expansive festival atmosphere to a relatively small area. At no point did anything seem squashed together or unsoundly designed, as the overlapping elements of the festival only ever made it seem cosier, and never uncomfortably snug. It was encouraging to know that from the get go you were at a festival that was determined to not oversell itself to ensure that the festivities didn't suffer as a result. Money might not be everything after all.
Before finally leaving the ELFM stage on the other side of the arena following King No-One's fantastic semi-acoustic set, it was back to the main arena to check out the stalls and stands that offered something a little different for the festival connoisseur; from art exhibits and craft courses, whiskey tasting workshops and a smorgasbord of food (oh, the food!) options for any palate. As the night drew closer, festival returnee Ghostpoet was on hand to bring his leisurely flow to the main stage with a rapturous set, but there was little time to hang around afterwards as Oneman was about to begin what would turn out to be one of the defining performances of the weekend. The DJ rarely disappoints with his sets and his Friday night set (the first hour of it at least) was packed with banger after banger. Whilst the prospect of seeing Bonobo may have been too much to ignore for some, Canadian punk rockers F****d Up were far too tempting and choosing them over Bonobo and the rest of Oneman's set may have been the best decision made all weekend. Opening with the first two tracks from 2011's seminal album David Comes To Life, mixing in a few oldies for good measure and even playing a brand new song, the set had people moshing at the front and boogying at the back. The pressure was on from there on to beat F****d Up as the best performers of the weekend, and it was a task that many nearly achieved, but few succeeded in coming close.
Continue reading: Beacons Festival - 2013 Live Review
Skipton's Heslaker Farm will be once again hosting one of the North of England's finest small festivals when Beacons Festival 2013 pitches up its tents in the scenic Yorkshire Dales. Bringing some of the alternative music scene's best up and coming talent, mixed in with some of the best DJs in the world today and a host of more established acts, the Dales will be rocking again on August 16 - 18.
One of the most refreshing parts of Beacons 2012 was its celebration of local talent, with a plethora of Yorkshire-based musicians joining up with some internationally recognised stars and in 2013 that is still very much the case. For nearly fifteen years, Leeds-born Bonobo has been one of the most sought-after and appreciated down-tempo, trip hop producers in the world and when he takes to the main stage at Beacons, you know that it's going to be a big occasion. One of the Leeds music scene's fastest rising and most promising bands in years, Hookworms, will be returning to Skipton to bring their brand of psychedelic, fuzzy rock. Bradford MC and Don't Flop's biggest success story to date, Lunar C will bring his marmite-like flow with him to the fest, joining a collection of rising hip hop stars including festival returnee Ghostpoet and one of the rap game's most watched stars today: the unmistakable Danny Brown.
London/Bedford folk-rockers Wolf People will also feel right at home when they return to the Dales, having recorded their acclaimed, April 2013-released sophomore album Fain in the North Yorkshire Dales. Nottingham-formed Childhood look like one of the bands to go check out before they end up headlining the festival, with the young indie rockers already whipping up a frenzy of anticipation with only a handful of songs recorded by them already. Headliners Django Django really tie up the UK connection (and that's without mentioning any of the mouth-watering array of DJs lined up) and may very well perform THE show of the weekend.
Continue reading: Beacons Festival - 2013 Preview
The Glasgow musician beats some prodigious talent to the prize
RM Hubbert beat out popular Scottish outfits Django Django and The Twilight Sad to take Scottish Album of The Year at a ceremony at Glasgow's Barrowland Ballroom last night. The prize saw Hubbert receive £20,000 and an exclusive piece of artwork created by Emma Reid, of Glasgow School of Art, and Gregor Morrison, of Edinburgh College of Art.
Hubbert said in a statement: "I am shocked and delighted at winning. I never expected it. It is testament to all my collaborators that we won." John Williamson, chair of the judging panel, added: "In the view of the judges, RM Hubbert’s album was the one that encapsulated and engaged the most." The judging panel included an array of musicians, journalists, DJs and visual artists: Douglas Anderson, Christopher Brookmyre, Stewart Cruickshank, Tom Doyle, Douglas Gordon, Kate Molleson, Joe Muggs, Jude Rogers, Tjinder Singh, Rebecca Vasmant and Sue Wilson.
Django Django missed out
Continue reading: RM Hubbert Beats Django Django To Scottish Album Of The Year
With Field Day 2013 less than two weeks away, now seems like a good time to look at the 5 must-see bands of the festival.
After the success of the festival last year it was difficult to see how it could possibly be improved. As the line up announcements filtered through from Field Day HQ, it became clear just how special this year is going to be. A quite astonishing array of artists all playing in one field, on one day - what could possibly go wrong? Clashes, of course. The chances of you catching every artist you intended on seeing are slim, so here are the 5 must-see acts this year.
Arguably the most exciting band of 2013. Renowned for their extraordinary live performances, as demonstrated on Jools Holland a few months ago, Savages are one band you will not want to miss this summer. With their debut album having come out a few weeks ago, now's the time to catch them live. It will be an "I was there" moment.
Continue reading: Field Day 2013 - Preview
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
The two minute opening track to Django Django's debut self-titled album sets the Django Django scene without hesitation through a blend of layered synths and electronic loops, one of which, beneath the lot, sounds strangely like the ambience of a rainforest with its' tweeting and glitching. Above this multi-layered tapestry of electronics is a vocal melody doubled by whistling which offers a flavour of the Wild West; from the Rainforest to the Wild West via music technology in a matter of seconds, blimey. Accompanied by rumbling drums, the blend then crescendos to segue into 'Hail Bop' at which point a pounding stomp kicks into the groove. Amongst the synths, drums and bass, there's now a guitar over which the sung melodies echo with their close vocal harmonies sounding almost like The Beach Boys being projected forward into the 21st Century. Django Django definitely have that element of stateside-created surf pop laced into their electro groove though they're entirely home-grown from this side of the Atlantic; in fact, the band formed in London in 2008 having previously met at Edinburgh College Of Art.
Continue reading: Django Django, Django Django Album Review