With the sun beating down on Dublin for much of the past week, it's almost as if the weather gods are already gearing up for this summer's fast-approaching festival season. Or maybe we're just going to get (another) one of those weird 'Indian summers in reverse', where March, April and May are nicer than they should be and then it pisses rain for the next three months solid. Who knows? But I digress...
Ragged Words was
out to lunch washing its hair at the dentist away from a computer when news broke yesterday afternoon of the first batch of acts to be confirmed for this year's Electric Picnic music and arts festival. We've now got a full initial breakdown for you below, in case you were likewise engaged this time yesterday (or have just been hiding under a rock for the past 24 hours).
Set to take place from Friday, August 31 to Sunday, September 2 at its usual home of Stradbally Hall in Co. Laois, tickets for the summer-ending weekender's ninth edition went on sale this morning priced €230 for regular weekend and family camping passes. A Sunday day ticket will set you back €99.50, and if you're planning on rocking up in a campervan it will cost you an extra €60. Ticketmaster have an installment option available for full weekend ticket-buyers.
So, what sort of musical bang can punters expect for their buck this year? Well, without further ado, the lineup of artists announced so far looks like this:
THE CURE // SIGUR RÓS // ELBOW // GRIZZLY BEAR // ORBITAL // CHRISTY MOORE // THE ROOTS // HOT CHIP // GLEN HANSARD // THE XX // METRONOMY // THE HORRORS // AZEALIA BANKS // ROOTS MANUVA // BELL X1 // STAFF BENDA BILILI // MILAGRES // ED SHEERAN // ALABAMA SHAKES // CRANES // LITTLE ROY // JOHN DIGWEED // LAND LOVERS // BAXTER DURY // JONATHAN WILSON // SOLAR BEARS // FATOUMATA DIAWARA // WILLIS EARL BEAL // LANTERNS ON THE LAKE
As well as that lot – and per entertainment.ie's update a little earlier – it's now been confirmed that THE KILLERS (sic.!), BAT FOR LASHES and TINDERSTICKS will also be making the trip to Stradbally. Of course, this is just the initial press release, so we can expect a whole rake of fresh additions to be announced over the coming months. We will of course endeavour to keep you posted...
Priding itself on being "a liquorice allsorts of festivals", Electric Picnic offers much more than just quality live music: as well as its usual array of themed areas (Mindfield, Body & Soul, Global Green etc. - some of which are effectively 'festivals-within-a-festival'), there will also be a whole host of other distractions on offer, including a comedy tent, food village, boutique and family camping areas, and even the return of Fossett's Circus.
The lineup announcement comes on the back of this week's IMRO Live Music Venue of The Year Awards, which saw The Picnic crowned Music Festival of The Year for 2011. For a full, comprehensive lowdown on this year's event, visit www.electricpicnic.ie and follow EP on Facebook and/or Twitter (#electricpicnic).
So, what do you make of that lineup?
Will you be heading along come the end of August?
Is there a slight element of Electric Picnic's loss being Forbidden Fruit's gain this summer?
Will there be more than one Pieminister stall this time?
Has poor ol' Ed Sheeran stopped trending yet?!?
We've already got our tent and wellies airing out in the back garden - apart from anything else, we're not going to pass up the opportunity to finally cross The Cure off our must-see-before-we-die list. We'll also be looking forward to hearing new material from The xx, Hot Chip, Sigur Rós and Grizzly Bear. And we're very excited to see how Willis Earl Beal gets on in front of a festival crowd. Roll on late August!
Now, for the day that's in it...
We remember being quite taken late last summer with Reptar's Ben Allen-produced debut EP, Oblangle Fizz Y'all, on which the Athens, GA quartet lived up to their cartoonish moniker with a bouncy collection of psychedelic pop jams. Giddy group chants, tumbling world-music grooves and exclamatory blasts of synth made for an upbeat, fun listen - crucially, the band members all sounded like they were having a whale of a time.
Reptar have since been hard at work alongside Animal Collective/Washed Out/Gnarls Barkley producer Allen on their debut LP, with Vagrant announcing last week that that record – entitled Body Faucet – is set for release (Stateside, at least) in early May. You can swap your email address for a free download of the album's lead single and opening number below. While 'Sebastian' may not quite match the standard set by tracks like EP standout 'Stuck in My Id' and early 7" single 'Houseboat Babies', it still shows enough potential to suggest that these guys are no mere fly-by-night AnCo copyists.
You can have a listen right now below to pretty much everything the band's put out to date, We've also got some footage of them performing 'Sebastian' during a recent KEXP session, as well as a pretty retro Body Faucet trailer. Their live shows look like fun, don't they?...
Oh, and be sure to check out the band's website for some Windows 95-style LULZ.
"Can't see the wind but I see the trees sway..."
We hadn't even heard of Willis Earl Beal before the start of the year. Since then, the jack-of-all-trades Chicago native has had all the right people tweeting his praises. He's also been profiled extensively, and was subsequently whisked off to New York and snapped up by XL (home to the likes of Adele, Vampire Weekend and The xx). The influential label will now put out the singer's debut LP, Acousmatic Sorcery – recorded using a battered karaoke machine against a jarring maelstrom of tape hiss – via its fledgling imprint Hot Charity on April 2.
Beal certainly has no shortage of musical ideas – songs aired to date incorporate a melting pot of blustering soul, bedsit indie and spine-tingling gospel – nor things to say, for that matter (he's already stated his aim of becoming "the black Tom Waits"). There's also a (seemingly genuine) backstory involving fanzine-style flyers and the singer answering fan requests down the phone from his grandma's basement.
The next fortnight will see the buzz surrounding the 27-year-old start to seriously swell as he embarks on a brief run of intimate UK dates, with no fewer than four London shows lined up. The trek begins this evening at the 80-capacity Power Lunches Arts Café in Hackney, but don't bother looking for tickets - the show is already sold-out beyond belief. You should have better luck with one of his other gigs, details of which are listed below.
Debut single 'Evening's Kiss' is a stunning piece of stream-of-consciousness songwriting that's bound to stop you in your tracks if you haven't yet heard it. A lo-fi breeze of lyrical nuggets tied to a deceptively simple melody, it sounds a bit like a pre-Sub Pop Sam Beam covering Jeffrey Lewis. Beal has illustrated and directed the (briefly NSFW) accompanying video himself, as he has done for Acousmatic Sorcery's artwork. Check out the 'existential sketch' cartoon promo below, then go and buy the 7" and pre-order the album from XL.
WILLIS EARL BEAL // Spring UK Tour
Feb 28: LONDON @ Power Lunches ***SOLD OUT!***
Mar 2: MANCHESTER @ The Trof
Mar 3: LEEDS @ Nation of Shopkeepers
Mar 4: LONDON @ Notting Hill Arts Club (Communion night)
Mar 9: LONDON @ The Victoria (Swamp Dance night)
Mar 13: LONDON @ Sebright Arms
It's a fairly damp and dreary Monday here in Dublin, so we've been catching up with our good friends Vimeo and YouTube.
Below we've grouped together some of the more noteworthy music promos currently doing the rounds, along with relevant release info, tour details etc. for each vid. Enjoy our roundup, which features a mess hall knees-up, a 3-D seafaring adventure and a stroll through a deserted L.A. cityscape.
Cork production house Feel Good Lost have crafted a swell-looking centre reflection video for brand new MMOTHS track 'THNX'. Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson were also the crew behind last year's similarly panoramic 'Summer' promo.
The track itself presents a neat summation of Jack Colleran's signature sound, with heavily reverbed drops splashing down into a cocoon of pulsating sound. It's also the opening number on the Kildare-born producer's self-titled debut EP, which is out on March 5 via L.A. imprint SQE.
MMOTHS gets his brief UK tour under way tonight in Glasgow. He also has a show lined up at Galway's Róisín Dubh late next month, followed by an appearance at this year's Trinity Ball in Dublin in April. The full list of dates looks like this:
Feb 24: GLASGOW @ The Berkeley Suite
Mar 1: MANCHESTER @ The Kraak Gallery
Mar 2: SHEFFIELD @ Bungalows and Bears
Mar 3: LONDON @ Shacklewell Arms
Mar 5: LONDON @ Rough Trade East (EP release in-store)
Mar 29: GALWAY @ Róisín Dubh
April 20: DUBLIN @ Trinity Ball 2012
No, that's not a typo you see before you. Multi-instrumental folk singer Peter Broderick has indeed decided to call his latest album http://www.itstartshear.com. The long-awaited follow-up to 2008's quietly brilliant Home, http://www.itstartshear.com took three years to make and was produced by Nils Frahm, who Broderick says encouraged him "to explore a richer, wider sonic landscape".
So, what's with the album title then? Well, all is explained over at the website of the same name, which functions as an 'interactive liner note' - or, as the sometime Efterklang band member himself puts it:
...a place where all listeners, no matter what format they obtain the music in, can easily access all the lyrics and notes and visuals which are meant go along with the songs. And as a title, http://www.itstartshear.com serves the music well by automatically becoming a link any time the album is written about. A link to the place where people can learn all about the album, directly from the source. A link that is the album.
Each of the record's ten tracks has its own dedicated page, where you can listen along whilst perusing the nomadic singer's various jottings and observations. It's an interesting and well-executed concept that's worth checking out.
An added bonus comes in the form of the intimate session that surfaced earlier this week, and which you can now watch below. Broderick gives an up-close performance of several tracks from the LP in the Berlin studio where it was recorded. We've also posted the video for the album's slightly offbeat (sort of) title track. And if you'd prefer a more conventional means of listening, then TLOBF have an exclusive SoundCloud stream.
As unveiled a little earlier on John Caddell's Finest Worksongs show on Dublin's Phantom 105.2, below is the first phase of the musical lineup (complete with day-by-day breakdown) for this year's Forbidden Fruit festival. Now taking place across all three days of the June Bank Holiday weekend – and upsizing from three stages to five – the quality of this initial lineup certainly reflects the growing ambitions of this non-camping urban weekender.
Per this morning's press release:
Each day’s music line-up has a slightly different bend, ranging from an electronic bill on the Saturday to an indie/folk bill on the Monday; with the Sunday bill somewhere between the two!
That's the sort of attention to detail that saw last year's inaugural edition bag the award for Best New Festival at The Irish Festival Awards 2011. Let's just hope they can get the bar queue situation (as well as everything else) right this year...
As well as bands, there will of course be the same blend of art, fashion and gourmet food stalls as there was last year. We're also told that this year's event will feature a brand new comedy stage, details of which will presumably be revealed in due course. But getting back to the music, here be those acts:
SATURDAY, JUNE 2:
Bloody Beetroots (DJ set)
Bear In Heaven
SUNDAY, JUNE 3:
Death Cab For Cutie
Death In Vegas
Rarely Seen Above Ground
MONDAY, JUNE 4:
James Vincent McMorrow
Loads more to be announced, of course, but Ragged Words already can't wait to see Mazzy Star.
Forbidden Fruit 2012 takes place from June 2-4 at The Royal Hospital, Kilmainham, Dublin. Tickets priced €49.50 (for one day) / €89.50 (any two days) / €115 (full weekend) go on sale this Friday. Early-bird presale begins tomorrow at 9am, and will basically get you a fiver off the price of each ticket. There will also be a weekend instalment plan available (more details over on Ticketmaster). For more, check the official festival website and/or follow Forbidden Fruit on Facebook and Twitter (#ForbiddenFruit).
Exciting times for Blur fans (which we're assuming is pretty much everyone reading this). First of all there was last week's teasingly auspicious Pitchfork chat with Damon Albarn - jump-out quote: "I can't say why we're rehearsing with Blur, can I?". And then, at Sunday night's War Child BRITs Show in London, one half of the band rolled out a brand new song in the shape of bruised ballad 'Under The Westway' (footage below courtesy of BlurBalls).
It's also now been revealed that Blur have been chosen to headline BT London Live, the London Olympics' Closing Ceremony Celebration Concert in Hyde Park – the scene of the band's triumphant 2009 reunion shows – on August 12 as part of their hotly-anticipated summer touring itinerary. The Londoners will top a bill that so far also includes fellow over-forties athletes The Specials and New Order (we're sure there must be some sort of gold/silver/bronze gag we could use, but we're not going to). That's the rather striking 'Best of British' gig poster you're looking at above.
Oh, and if you can bear to sit through several hours of mostly wretched live television, you can catch Messrs. Albarn, Coxon and co. performing at tonight's BRIT Awards 2012 ceremony (ITV1, 8pm), where the Londoners are set to pick up the gong for Outstanding Contribution to Music. A decision that will no doubt clip the (High Flying) wings of a certain Mr. Noel Gallagher, who is also lined up to perform.
For the record, Blur haven't put out a studio album since 2003's Think Tank. Anyone else think this new tune sounds a bit like 'She's Leaving Home'?...
[via The A.V. Club]
Noise pop duo Sleigh Bells tore it up on Saturday Night Live over the weekend ahead of the release of their second LP, Reign of Terror. Derek Miller and Alexis Krauss (along with touring guitarist Jason Boyer) performed the album's official lead single 'Comeback Kid' as well as surprisingly restrained standout track 'End of The Line'.
Reign of Terror is out today via Mom + Pop, and The New York Times' website is where you wanna head if you're looking to stream the record. Sleigh Bells kick off their spring European tour next Monday with a gig at Dublin's Academy - a full list of dates can be found on the band's Facebook page. For a fresh taste of what to expect – and remember, these guys can do LOUD! – check out this footage from last Friday night's hometown show at New York's Terminal 5.
[via The Audio Perv]
Andrew Weatherall has already had a go at twisting new shapes out of Clock Opera's recent single 'Once and For All', and now it's the turn of Mancunian beatmaker D/R/U/G/S (aka Callum Wright) to leave his mark. His reworking is certainly one for a dark, sweaty club setting - unlike the original, which has summer festival fields written all over it. Stream both remixes right now below, or swap your email address for a free download of the D/R/U/G/S edit over on the band's website.
If you've got a few minutes to kill, you can also choose below between the single's official, Ben Strebel-directed video and a rather ace, stripped-down 'Under The Floorboards' clip filmed by the band themselves.
Clock Opera, of course, are no strangers to remixes, having turned in one of the finest examples of the past few months with their own reworking of Feist's 'How Come You Never Go There?' (also available as a free download below). D/R/U/G/S's SoundCloud page, meanwhile, is worth investigating for his take on Lykke Li's 'Sadness Is A Blessing' alone, but you can also hear the producer's recent Mary Anne Hobbs mix as well as his Love / Lust EP from last year.
Both D/R/U/G/S and Clock Opera are among the dozen or so acts already confirmed for May's inaugural Meteor Camden Crawl Dublin. The London quartet have also just announced details of their first ever UK headline tour in support of debut album Ways to Forget (iTunes pre-order link), which arrives on April 9 via Moshi Moshi/Island.