Politically inter-country relations may have been a little strained in Europe of late, but culturally French four-piece Phoenix is bringing the love for their neighbours with a love letter to Italy. The title of the band's sixth album says it all really, Ti Amo, literally translates, as "I love you", it's a phrase that's one of the most heartfelt in the Italian language. The question is why has Phoenix chosen the sun drenched beaches of southern Europe as its muse this time? 2013's Bankrupt" had occasional undercurrents of social commentary, at first glance its follow-up feels decidedly more frivolous and disposable. Perhaps though, amongst all the doom and gloom an album with this lightness of touch is exactly what we all need.
Over the course of 36 minutes and 10 songs this brisk and energetic record wastes no time in shifting Phoenix's sound towards the dance floor and further away from the guitar led songs of their earlier work. Yes, there are more programmed beats here and the songs are lavished in electronic synths, but the mood they create is just as infectious as any of Phoenix's past successes. At times you can more clearly see the link between Phoenix and fellow French band Air, it's no surprise that in their earliest days they supported that duo. Thomas Mars and his band mates could be seen as following a path into indie-disco taken by bands like The Killers before them, but I suspect that it's a move that won't be seen as egregious by long-standing fans. That's for one simple reason, Phoenix sound comfortable with their new sound and certainly don't overstretch themselves here.
You'd also imagine that guitarist Laurent Brancowitz would have less to do, but his presence is felt throughout in subtle ways. His guitar underpins the title track 'Ti Amo' and is just as memorable as the beats themselves, similarly 'Goodbye Soliel' allows Brancowitz to explore a more funk-inspired type of playing that he excels at. It's actually Thomas Mars' lyrics, which come across as the most straightforward thing on the album as he sings about the summer, gelato, and standing by the jukebox with champagne or prosecco. He's obviously concentrating on crafting those choruses rather than an underlying and more subversive message. If there's a criticism to make it's that the album is all polish and sheen without something more substantial underneath.
Continue reading: Phoenix - Ti Amo Album Review
Music Midtown is growing once again with a new stage and a bigger and better line-up.
It looks like Atlanta's Music Midtown festival is on its way back up as 2013 brings us the biggest line-up since its return from a six year hiatus.
We are back to where we started with Midtown, which takes place on September 10th - 21st at Piedmont Park, as we see a 2 day, 2 stage event just like its debut in 1994. We've still got a long way to go before it's back at its peak with 3 days and 6 stages, but the line-up hasn't far off doubled from last year and another stage has been added too. The excitement when it was announced that Midtown was making its return in 2011 is hard to beat, but we reckon this year's line-up could reel in an even more impressive overall ticket sale.
Continue reading: Music Midtown Festival Continues To Grow After Successful Rebirth
This year's festival season may have seen its disasters, but Made In America closed the summer of 2013 with a bang!
The Budweiser Made in America Festival 2013 was jampacked with highlights from some of the most iconic artists of the age, as well as some of the best up-and-coming stars and the hidden talent you'd be a fool to have missed.
Taking place over August 31st and September 1st in Philadelphia, the Saturday kicked things off with some impressive acts. Feisty California sisters Haim performed early on in the afternoon with a thoroughly entertaining set, in terms of both music and audience interaction, on the Liberty Stage where other must-see artists such as Deadmau5, 2 Chainz and triple BRIT winning Emeli Sande also thrilled the crowd. The Freedom Stage saw the likes of Rudimental further establish their place in the hearts of a large proportion of festival goers, while the Skate Park Stage saw much smaller bands such as Ohio group Cloud Nothings and New Jersey D&B duo Brick & Mortar get the ultimate chance to showcase their talents. The main Rocky Stage was, of course, the real crowd bringer, with Beyonce headlining and Phoenix and Imagine Dragons delivering the uttermost electrifying rock shows of the night.
In one of the biggest weeks for news in some time, Ben Affleck was unveiled as the new Batman by Warner Bros, while Miley Cyrus and Taylor Swift made sure the MTV Video Music Awards 2013 would not be forgotten in a hurry.
Batfleck: Well, Warner Bros caught us all off guard last week, announcing Ben Affleck as the new Batman for the Man of Steel 2 - and just as we were winding down for the week. Take a look at the road Affleck took to reach one of the biggest roles in Hollywood.
Is It Worth It? Let Me Twerk It: Forget N-Sync, Lady Gaga, Eminem or One Direction, because for better or worse, the MTV VMA's 2013 belonged to Miley Cyrus. She twerked in a nude bikini. The internet exploded. Rihanna looked confused. Check out the fallout here.
Continue reading: A Week In News: Batfleck, Miley Cyrus At VMA's, Taylor Swift's F-Bomb
Justin Timberlake, Bruno Mars and Katy Perry are among the names confirmed for the iHeartRadio Music Festival at the MGM Grand Arena in Las Vegas in September. The two-day festival, set to be held on September 20 and 21, will also feature performances from Elton John, Keith Urban and a special pairing of Queen (with Brian May) and the former American Idol star Adam Lambert.
The main festival line-up was announced on Monday morning (July 15, 2013) in a press conference hosted by Ryan Seacrest. A final schedule will be announced closer to the festival, though Timberlake, Perry, Elton and Bruno Mars are likely to be the marquee names. The likes of Muse, Tiesto, Chris Brown, Fun, Phoenix, Maroon 5, Tim Mcgraw, Ke&ha, Thirty Seconds to Mars and Benny Benassi are other high profile names to have been confirmed.
Last year's festivals played host to No Doubt, Pink, Usher and Swedish House Mafia though it will be remembered for Billie Joe Armstrong's meltdown during Green Day's set. After smashing the band's instruments in protest of his set being cut short, Armstrong left the stage and was admitted to rehab the next day, cancelling his band's tour dates and promotional appearances.
Phoenix's new album Bankrupt! is a more complicated record than it may seem at first glance. Yes, opener 'Entertainment' has the expected and heady mix of synths and guitars that have propelled the French quartet to worldwide superstardom. But there's emotional turmoil hiding below the polished surface of album number five. That's perhaps why the record cover is more telling than you'd expect. An unimposing and bland still life of some fruit, it hints at Phoenix's art-rock credentials, but seems at odds with their songs, which aren't known for pondering self-reflection. However, once you dig a little deeper into Thomas Mars' silky vocals, you'll notice he feels isolated and alone. The initially innocuous record cover actually seems to be signposting the prevailing mood of Bankrupt!
There's little here musically that changes the successful formula of 2009's breakthrough Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix. There are even a number of subtle nods throughout. 'Entertainment' sounds like a 21st century update of The Vapors' 'Turning Japanese', for example. Elsewhere the drum machines on 'The Real Thing' owe a debt to New Order, and the title track has been taking notes from fellow French pioneers Air. Perhaps unsurprisingly, by the time closing track 'Oblique City' plays, Phoenix are channelling The Strokes and are certainly giving Casablancas and Co a run for their money. Yet none of these touches feel detrimentally derivative, instead they provide a sense of fun to proceedings.
But despite the upbeat melodies and pop tinged production, it's Mars' lyrics that provide some weight and balance to Bankrupt! He first hints that all may not be what it seems on 'Entertainment'. "I'd rather be alone" he declares during the chorus, as he makes a stand against conformity in celebrity circles. It's a theme that's made even more explicit during 'S.O.S. In Bel Air'. Mars illustrates a party scene where "idols are boredom to everyone" which leads to his chant of "alone, alone, alone". The vacuous nature of, and Mars' dissatisfaction with, his social circumstances are alluded to throughout with 'Chloroform' and 'Bourgeois' picking up the baton later in the album.
Continue reading: Phoenix - Bankrupt! Album Review
French band Phoenix hit the Shepherds Bush Empire in London during the UK leg of their world tour which has already seen them hit Coachella.
Phoenix took to London's Shepherds Bush Empire last night (April 22nd 2013) as part of their major world tour which is set to continue until the end of the summer.
The Versailles rockers have managed to sell out a handful of their shows in the biggest cities including Orlando, Florida; Atlanta, Georgia; New York, and Paris, cementing their popularity further after their worldwide charting fourth album 'Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix' in 2009. This tour promotes their newest album 'Bankrupt!' which was also released yesterday through Glassnote and Loyauté records. The band performed at the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival in California on April 13th which was a hugely discussed performance mainly because Daft Punk were initially supposed to be joining them on stage. However, the fact the electronic duo didn't actually turn up wasn't a hindrance at all, as R. Kelly showed up instead making it one of the festival's most talked-about performances.
R 'n' B star surprises Florida crowd with impromptu cameo
We love Phoenix here at Contactmusic but we certainly couldn’t have predicted this: the French band, making their much-anticipated comeback this year with new album Bankrupt!, played the first weekend of Coachella on Saturday night (April 13, 2013) and, though rumors were that they’d be joined by fellow countrymen Daft Punk on the night, the special guest they did get out from the wings turned out to be someone very different indeed – R Kelly!
That’s right, the warbly soul singer and otherwise general loon came on stage to join Phoenix in a frankly weird mash-up of the French band’s big hit ‘1901’ and Kelly’s own smash ‘Ignition (Remix).’ Now given that everyone was hoping that legendary electronic duo Daft Punk were to be the ones making a cameo, you could perhaps expect a little disappointment from the Coachella crowd. Not a bit of it, and after the initial shock subsided, the packed out audience went mad for it, turning the venue into a giant dance floor.
Aside from that, the group largely previewed their new album, though left plenty of room for hits like ‘Lisztomania’ and live staple ‘Love Like A Sunset’. The whole shebang’s rolls back into Florida next weekend with the same line-up and a crowd still a-waiting their Tupac Hologram moment.
Continue reading: Phoenix Stun Coachella With Live R. Kelly Collaboration
It was an unexpected collaboration, but Phoenix and R Kelly rocked Coachella none the less.
Coachella is pretty much in full swing now and one of the headlining acts this year is the French indie rock band Phoenix.
The Grammy award-winning band were joined onstage by none other than R&B singer R Kelly. Unfortunately, the rumors that Phoenix would perform with electro duo Daft Punk didn’t prove true, but there was still a lot to enjoy in their set. The Californian festival stage saw the band perform some of their older music, as well as new songs, which will be featured on their upcoming album, “Bankrupt”, due for release on April 22nd. The tracks, "Entertainment" and "The Real Thing" were instant hits, but the band also played some old favorites, including "Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix", such as "Lisztomania" and "Fences".
R Kelly’s appearance was the surprise of the show, especially since the crowd was expecting a collaboration with Daft Punk. The rapper performed a mashup of his “Ignition” with Phoenix’s “1901”. This is the band’s first time headlining Coachella, after they appeared at the festival twice before. "Our vision of Coachella is that you can never be medium. It's either fantastic or a big catastrophe, we don't like medium things. For us, it's always been an extreme experience. The first time we played was our worst show ever, and the second time was one of our best shows ever, it's either a huge failure or success," Mazzalai told Reuters ahead of the band's set.
Continue reading: Phoenix And R Kelly, Not Daft Punk, Rock Coachella
Phoenix Announce Details of New Album, Recorded on Michael Jackson's 'Thriller' Recording Console
The French alt rock band Phoenix are planning to release their new album Phoenix and have revealed to NME that it was recorded on the very same console upon which Michael Jackson recorded his 1982 classic ‘Thriller.’ After toying with the idea of naming the album ‘Alternative Thriller,’ Phoenix eventually changed their mind and settled on ‘Bankrupt.’ Hopefully, the album title wasn’t inspired by the £10,826 ($17,000) that guitarist Laurent Brancowitz spent on the Harrison 4032 recording console.
“The most mysterious part to me was that no one else - no nerd or music engineer or memorabilia freak - seemed to want it,” said singer Thomas Mars. He explained that he purchased the equipment because they “liked the idea of working with a consecrated artefact, as well as having something strange upon which to fixate between albums.”
‘Bankrupt’ will be released on April 22, 2013 and is preceded by the single ‘Entertainment.’ This is the band’s first album release since 2009’s ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix.’ Phoenix also have a busy summer of festivals ahead of them. they have been announced toplay Coachella, as well as T In The Park and the Rock am Ring / Rock am Park festivals in Germany.
Continue reading: Ahead Of Coachella, Phoenix Announce New Album, 'Bankrupt'
Today saw the announcement of the Coachella Festival 2013 line-up, to be run on the weekends of April 12, 2013 and April 19, 2013, and as expected it’s another smorgasbord of musical taste, with everyone from Britpop veterans Blur to funk rockers Red Hot Chili Peppers turning out for the California event. The sheer array of names is dizzying – just where do you start with deciding who to go and see? Well handily we’ve had a bit of a browse through the line-up for you, so here are a few of our tips.
Pick Of The Headliners
Continue reading: Coachella Festival 2013; Who To See?
How do you top having a dead man headline your festival? Well, in all honestly, you’re not going to. Coachella’s talent bookers must have been scratching their heads in bewilderment when it came to topping last year’s Tupac hologram and they’ve done the best they can, given the lack of deceased artists willing and able to play Coachella 2013.
The two Friday nights (the festival takes place both on April 12 – 14 and April 19 – 21) are looking like a highlight for fans of the Britpop revival, with Blur and Stone Roses lending a very British end to the evening. A newly invigorated Yeah Yeah Yeahs (well, Karen O’s dyed her hair blonde, does that count?) also play the Friday, as well as Modest Mouse, Lou Reed and Jurassic 5. Saturday has the French band Phoenix headlining, in support of their recently-announced new album. They’ll be preceded by British electronic gloom-pop band The XX, as well as Postal Service and New Order. The line-up for the Sunday nights is a slightly heavier one, with Red Hot Chili Peppers headlining, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds making yet another return (Cave will be raking it in that weekend, as his other band Grinderman also play the Fridays), Social Distortion and Wu Tang Clan.
Coachella always has an impressive array of legendary / stalwart alternative acts as well as the hottest new bands you’ve only just heard of. What they haven’t got, is anything that’s going to grab the headlines, or the public’s attention in the same way that Tupac’s hologram did.
Saint Etienne The Primavera Sound Festival - Day 2 Barcelona, Spain