Hath been the week of the ‘scrounger’.

A lumbering musical moonlighter that scours the net for free downloads. This week, Clashmusic.com has been an absolute haven for these aforementioned luxuries. Like that snakey witch from Hansel & Gretel, we are fattening you up with free downloads of Simian Mobile Disco, XX Teens, Sunset Cinema Club, Cats In Paris, The Prodigy, and for pudding – a whole podcast mix from turntable maestro, Luke Solomon. Then we are going to lure you to the delectable Clash Revue… And cook you, whilst patting our large capitalist bellies. Only joking. Or are we? Yes, yes we are. Honest, it’s just a gig.

The nuclear fall out of the triple release explosion that was Killers/Kanye/Guns n’ Roses has finally resided and normality has resumed. ‘A Cross The Universe’ by Justice stole the week with 76 minutes of aural capitulation, too good to ignore. And the news has been a dirty little gossip vine; be it a Kings Of Leon split, The Killers and their ego or the squeaky clean life of Noel Gallagher.

The Monday ahead brings with it a host of tidy little numbers. Singles, singles, singles. Mr Oizo is back. Judging by pre-release track-listings, including ‘Bruce Willis Is Dead’ and ‘Gay Dentists’, there is fluffy attitude en route. ‘Positif’ is the first track to drop from forthcoming album ‘Lambs Anger’. Oasis have packed plenty of goodies in to accompany their release of ‘I’m Outta Time’. The single will be accompanied by Jagz Kooner mix of ‘The Shock Of The Lightning’ as well as the Neon Neon mix of album track ‘To Be Where There’s Life’.

They Came From The Stars And I Saw Them join the ranks of ‘Best Group With A Fully Constructed Sentence As Their Band Name’ (prestigious award within the Clash office). Their new track ‘Moon Song’ has been knocking around for a while, but the long awaited construction of a video has delayed its official release, until now. Florence & The Machine continue their production of beautifully mellowed pop with ‘Dog Days Are Over’. We stole the VIDEO for you.

The Old Romantic Killer Band are really, really good. You would think the old guitar/drums combo would start wearing a bit thing, but this unlikely duo make it sound more like 10 on drums and 6 guitars being equally thrashed to submission point. Their debut album will pass under our eager eye next week. Watch out for the review.

Glasvegas are most definitely in-fitting with that age old Marmite cliché or love it/hate it. Some argue that the lead singer mumbles Glaswegian incoherence over poor percussion and guitar production. Some think they combine a rough-edged sound with their urban toil lyricism to produce a unique and heartfelt sound. Either way they have a written themselves a cheeky Christmas album. You know if you want any of those elusive ‘indie points’, you must have an opinion on this! So check our review HERE.

We’ll conclude with our hazy suggestion that Eminem may unleash ‘Relapse’ on Monday. Well, the news reel seems to think so. As does HMV. With a record company refusing to comment, surely it must be a promotional scam to gather increasing attention towards a future release date. We’re not taking any chances.

Albums

Glasvegas – A Snowflake Fell (And It Felt Like A Kiss)

Eminem – Relapse * Rumour Mill *

The Old Romantic Killer Band – Swan With Two Necks

Singles

Oasis – I’m Outta Time

Florence & The Machine – Dog Days Are Over

Mr Oizo – Positif

They Came From The Stars And I Saw Them – Moon Song

Heartsrevolution – Ultraviolence

Clash Magazine has cleaned up at the PPA Scotland awards, leaving the glitzy ceremony clutching the gongs for ‘Best Consumer Magazine’ and ‘Magazine Of The Year 2008’.

Held in Glasgow’s Radison Hotel, the PPA Scotland awards are designed to showcase and celebrate the very best of the Scottish magazine world. A nation that prides itself on its heritage of ground-breaking and astute journalism, competition as ever was fierce as newcomers fought with long established periodicals.

The awards celebrated Clash Magazine’s unique identity. An independent magazine that focuses on music, fashion, film and entertainment, Clash has become the magazine of choice for a discerning generation.

Collecting the awards on the night were two of Clash’s founding directors, John O’Rourke and Jon Paul Kitching. Commenting on this latest achievement, O’Rourke said: “Naturally we are thrilled and delighted to be named Magazine of the Year, and this gives us the motivation to keep driving the brand forward into 2009 and beyond.”

In London on the same night, Clash was nominated for Magazine of the Year at the Record Of The Day music and journalism awards, a title that it won in 2005.

Amongst the highlights of a stunning year for Clash were exclusive interviews with Oasis, Hot Chip, Duffy and many more, in addition to hosting events at Rock Ness, Get Loaded In The Park and beyond. With a new year on the horizon, we have already begun planning for an even better year ahead – make sure you join us, each step of the way!

Clash will be celebrating these awards and the success of 2008 with an end of year party on Wednesday 3rd December. The Clash Revue will take place at Proud Galleries in Camden, London, and will feature performances by Simian Mobile Disco, David Holmes, Buraka Som Sistema, XX Teens, Beardyman and Baddies.

Click here to buy tickets for the Clash Revue!

Free show… free show… free show…

Because repetition gets the message home, y’see? This Sunday, November 30, Clash is hosting a free show. Yes, a free show. It’s a free show! Oh, you want to know the wheres, the whys and the hows?

Fair enough. The venue in question is the ever-reliable Lock Tavern in Camden, home of such other Clash Live events as the last Clash Live event at the Lock Tavern. Check out photos from that show, featuring Red Light Company and more, HERE.

You’ll find the Lock Tavern at 35 Chalk Farm Road, London NW1. Inside it, between the hours of half three in the afternoon and eleven at night, you’ll find…

4pm-6pm: Clash DJs
6pm: Sam Isaac (MySpace)
7.30pm: Roses Kings Castles (MySpace)
9pm: Department of Eagles (MySpace)
Clash DJs ‘til close

Get in early enough and you’ll even be able to enjoy a delicious roast – trust us when we say the Lock Tavern does a fine plate. We hope to see you there, for another afternoon-into-evening of musical merriment, banishing the Sunday blues for good.

Why not check out Department of Eagles performing their ‘No One Does It Like You’ for Pitchfork TV, below…? The track’s from their latest album, ‘In Ear Park’ (4AD).

Returning rock icons Guns ‘N’ Roses have topped download charts worldwide with the release of much anticipated new album ‘Chinese Democracy’.

The Los Angeles rock stars released their first album in fifteen years earlier this month, and are currently engaged in a UK chart battle with The Killers.

The album has been over a decade in the making, and currently tops the iTunes chart in nearly all the countries where Apple’s music store operates. The only exception? Denmark, where Tom Christensen’s ‘Superior’ is holding off the challenge of Axl Rose and co.

Despite their popularity on the download charts, its seems The Killers are set to snatch number one slot away from the group. Guns ‘N’ Roses are currently lagging behind the Las Vegas group, but with another day of sales it seems all is still to play for.

Guns ‘N’ Roses currently top the download charts in nearly every country with new album ‘Chinese Democracy’.

Farewell, Richey Edwards.

After nearly 14 years of searching, of rumour, half-truths and sick lies it seems that the much-missed Manic is ready to disappear into the background of rock ‘n’ roll.

….one of the greatest British singles of the decade

Richey Edwards’ family have had him officially declared dead, and with his band mates now set to use the last of his remaining lyrics perhaps the image of this tortured young man can disappear from the popular consciousness. Forming one half of the ideological centre of the group, it is astonishing that Manic Street Preachers have survived, let alone keep things together, for over a decade.

With their friend missing, the band decided to kick back against the black, and knuckle down to doing what they loved – creating art. Here are ClashMusic.com’s ten highs and lows of the Manic Street Preachers, without the sadly officially departed Richey Edwards.

– – –

10. ‘A Design For Life’

Written as a poem in the aftermath of Edwards’ disappearance, childhood friend Nicky Wire channelled his thoughts into a stunning validation of working class improvement. Containing some stunning lyrics right from the opening line (“Libraries gave us power”), the song was given life by the melodic power and vocal gusto of James Dean Bradfield. Cruelly kept from number one, this 1996 track was one of the greatest British singles of its decade.

9. ‘Australia’

In the midst of one of the greatest British pop upheavals of the previous 30 years, Manic Street Preachers added the weight of intelligence to their newly found commercial touch. Scoring four top ten singles in 1996 – the only act of the year to do so – the band hit pay dirt. ‘Australia’ was the stunning vision of Welsh emigration reborn as life affirming pop.

8. ‘If You Tolerate This Your Children Will Be Next’

The energy of their ‘Everything Must Go’ period now ebbing, the Manics slipped quietly into middle age. This was their first number one single, and featured a soaring vocal performance from Bradfield as well as elegiac lyrics from Wire concerning the men who travelled to Spain to fight against Fascism in the ‘30s. But elsewhere on parent album ‘This Is My Truth Tell Me Yours’ were signs that the band had become bored of their own success.

7. ‘The Masses Against The Classes’

Guitars that bite like great white sharks. Searing polemic. A sample from Noam Chomsky. Surely this is what the Manics are all about? The Welshmen return to their roots for a blink-and-you’ll-miss-it number one.

Containing precisely zero decent tracks it earned the wrath of both fans and critics

6. ‘Louder Than War’

Long in love with radical chic, the band took events to the extreme by becoming the first Western group to play Cuba – meeting Fidel Castro in the process. The resultant document was a stunning live document, but there was something sadly appropriate about the sight of Manic Street Preachers meeting a fading revolutionary, fast becoming an anachronism even in his own country.

5. ‘Ocean Spray’

Entirely written by James Dean Bradfield, this was the first sign that the group were moving away from their previously established roles. An affecting lament for his mother, who had recently died of cancer, it was one of the bright spots on the album ‘Know Your Enemy’. Dogged by a split personality, the record saw the band running on the spot, unsure of where to go next.

4. ‘Forever Delayed’

And so, after a decade in the business, a ‘Greatest Hits’ arrives. But then, what use is that to a Manics fan? Accused by their faithful hardcore of having sold out their past for record company luvvin’, the group quickly released the rarities album ‘Lipstick Traces’ to placate fans. Sadly for everyone with a stake in the band, worse was to come.

3. ‘Lifeblood’

The absolute nadir of Manic Street Preachers’ career, ‘Lifeblood’ was so absolutely awful it couldn’t even manage a top ten placing, shuffling out of the hit parade after a pitiful two weeks. This being when selling a dozen records would bag you a number one smash hit, mind. Containing precisely zero decent tracks it earned the wrath of both fans and critics, forcing the group into a long gestation period for the follow-up.

2. ‘Send Away The Tigers’

A full four years after the ‘Lifeblood’ debacle, Manic Street Preachers returned with this revitalised epic. Containing the stone cold pop genius of ‘Your Love Alone’, the album seethed and writhed with a renewed sense of purpose. For the first time in years, the band seemed cocksure, Nicky Wire’s razor-like tongue cutting much younger groups to pieces in interviews.

1. ‘Journal For Plague Lovers’

The cheerily worded ‘Journal For Plague Lovers’ is the rumoured title of the new album the group are recording with Steve Albini in his renowned Electrical Audio studio in Chicago. Astonishingly, the Manics have decided to use Richey Edwards’ remaining notebooks, said to be even more intense than ‘The Holy Bible’. Let the fan hysteria commence…

Attempt four and no closer, but what the heck: let’s roll on regardless.

Four beginnings, never getting further than a first paragraph ‘til now (and that’s only because I’m presently commenting on my own inabilities rather than the topic at critical hand). Because writing about Wild Beasts is a truly difficult task. They are a band like no other, emerging from an ether previously unknown, delivering pop music from a dimension most…

Most… sepia-hued and senses-sparking, otherworldly but recognised on postcards and biscuit boxes; a place where creativity runs in abundance, precedents there to be ignored, convention a concern only of the fearful. Wild Beasts express no fear, no worry; they exhibit true faith in material that many would laugh at, the fools. Narrow-minded men of rigorous regulation need not read further than… Here.

And besides, where here is, that’s anyone’s guess. The Borderline, physically, in body. But the soul rises to a plain manifested in the mind when one’s synapses dance merry to music that can only come from men working without regard for what does and doesn’t sell, what can be pumped into gridlocked estates every day at five-thirty. It exists because its masters make it so, under no duress from external influences. And as such its uniqueness is absolute, beyond the falsetto and the (tonight shaved) moustache, beyond the print-press approval and handshake pleasantries.

‘The Devil’s Crayon’ you know, I know – everyone here knows and a full club bops ‘til they can’t drop, for the floor is too full to allow a body the space to crumble on the spot. And ‘Limbo, Panto’ is mined, superbly – a boisterous ‘Brave Bulging Buoyant Clairvoyants’ stretching beyond the ostensible nonsensicalities to become a bona-fide fan favourite, ‘His Grinning Skull’ transformed from an album diversion to a most-tender and touching torch song to accompany the first dance of the entwined romantics who’re yet to meet.

Somewhere between A and B I wonder if Wild Beasts could ever have happened if it wasn’t for the natural eccentricity of the Brits, the bountiful abundance of individuals pursuing paths without falter. That Wild Beasts stand on the edge of breakthrough proper amazes, not because their material is not strong, singularly so, but because it stands out like several sore thumbs when absorbed by contemporary musical context.

I conclude: no. Music – art – is the product of heart and head meeting environment and pursuing purpose. It staggers not in the dark, but focuses solely on the light that shines brightly and evenly across its various facets. Every nuance tonight can be dissected, analysed; processed and digested and reduced to dots and dashes and numbers and symbols. Yet to do so…

To do so is to play the fool, and all fools were abandoned some time back, their own rolling on with faith in the inspirational hamstrung by habit. To love Wild Beasts is to love irrationality, intrigue and intellect. A seemingly random jumble of emotions made whole by a design uncompromising. Right now, I don’t think there’s a British band more essential to the progress of pop music than this one.

Love them, hate them – they trigger a reaction. And the truest of artist can ask for no more.

Photo: Lucy Johnston

Welcome to your handy round up of the past seven days on ClashMusic.com. Jump in below and catch up on the week’s essential going-ons from news to reviews, competitions and free audio in Track of the Day.

You voted in your thousands and next week the results of our Tracks of the Year will be revealed on ClashMusic.com. All week we’ll be counting down the top 40 with the big reveal happening on Friday. Set your alarms now!

Read more >

The Clash Revue – next Wednesday at Proud Gallery, London

So, another year gone. Well, sweep away that melancholy with the party to end all parties. The Clash Revue! Taking place at Proud Gallery in London on December 3rd (next Wednesday), come along and catch appearances from Simian Mobile Disco, David Holmes, Buraka Som Sistema, XX Teens, Beardyman and Baddies.

Read more and buy tickets >

Before then, we have some more live music for you. Our latest Sunday Sessions gig in happening this Sunday at the Lock Tavern with Sam Isaacs, Roses Kings Castles and Department Of Eagles. It all kicks off at 2pm and is completely free!

Read more>

NEWS

Friday heralds the end of another great week for news on ClashMusic.com with stories concerning Franz Ferdinand‘s surprise London gig, the Rock Ness festival announced it’s headliners including The Prodigy and Basement Jaxx, Billy Bragg‘s latest recruits to his Jail Guitar Doors prison project and the Great Escape’s plans to help unsigned bands.

Read more >

FEATURES

Appearing in our Culture Clash Extra feature this week were My Morning Jacket, we also talked to iPod ad soundtrackers Chairlift, the legend that is Robert Wyatt, Yank indie behemoths Death Cab For Cutie and, talking about his The Fireman project, friend of Clash Sir Paul McCartney.

Read more >

REVIEWS

Finally released this week, our Album of the Week award went to The Killers‘ ‘Day & Age’ while French duo Justice provided fresh thrills with their live ‘A Cross The Universe’ release. We also gave Past Lives‘ ‘Strange Symmentry EP’ a spin and caught Ryan Adams and The Cardinals live in London.

Sunday Sessions – this Sunday at the Lock Tavern

Read more >

GIGS & TICKETS

There is but one focus for Clash at the moment and that is the Clash Revue end of year bash. Contradicting myself we also spotlighted upcoming gigs from Coldplay (with Jay Z as support!), Gaslight Anthem, The Prodigy (with Dizzee Rascal as support!) and Damon Albarn and Jamie Hewlett’s ‘Monkey: Journey to the West‘ opera.

Read more >

WIN

With Santa hats firmly in place we applied our usual method acting approach and bagged some great prizes for you to squabble over including limited edition artwork from Sir Macca‘s The Fireman album, a copy of The Kinks massive new boxset, tickets to see Hip Hop legends Public Enemy and signed albums, t-shirts and special Christmas cards from Glasvegas.

Read more >

AUDIO

This week saw part three of Clash’s Dj Mix series go live with Dj and producer Luke Solomon taking the controls. Our Track of the Day feature boasted tracks from Cats In Paris, Santogold, Sunset Cinema Club and, appearing at Clash Revue on December 3rd, Simian Mobile Disco and XX Teens.

Read more >

The Killers have been talking big as their third album ‘Day And Age’ hits the shops, with frontman Brandon Flowers saying he wants the group to be bigger than U2.

The Killers are the current cover stars of Clash Magazine, with ‘Day And Age’ being our album of the week. We like them, obviously. In a special treat for fans we’ve also dug out an old interview we did with the group when they were still unknowns. Listen to it here!

Brandon Flowers was interviewed recently, and claimed he had “drive bordering on obsession”.

“U2 are unbelievable, but they’re getting old,” Flowers said. “It feels like it’s time.”

He added: “We wanna see where this will take us. It doesn’t make any sense to place restrictions.

“We write these songs as human beings, and they affect us, and we put them out there in the hope that they will affect other human beings, that they transcend any limitations.”

The Killers are currently doing battle with Guns ‘N’ Roses for the UK number one album slot.

This was, of course, your average gig. Stagger in at half ten, hit the merchandise stall, purchase cup of tea and biscuit, then watch interactive animations blended over a loving mix of soul, jazz and afrobeat. Needless to say, there was a lot of love in the room.

Mr Scruff began proceedings early. Very early. He played for four-and-a-half hours. Yet he mastered the long set, moving through tempos and beats like a reciting poet, at a magical volume. Plenteous bass to shake your lungs, but quiet enough for drunken chatter. Come midnight, the tea-drinking Manc had reached second gear, and the extrovert lone jiver of the dancefloor was joined by the hundreds that had previously propped up the bar. Animations began to flourish upon the projectors, and an order to “Wobble those legs” was issued. ‘Spandex Man’ sufficed as a leg-wobbling rumba.

The potato-based art of Scruff added a unique visual and humorous dynamic to the performance. A vibrating amp (with a face) graced the screen during bass-laden tracks and hundreds of dancing and trumpeting characters appeared during floor-fillers. Tongue-in-cheek messages would emerge gradually throughout the gig, moving from the subtle “mind the bass” to “warning: bass” until the more arresting “BEWARE OF THE BASS”. The bass, however, was not half as dangerous as the 100% effort/0% skill dance moves that littered the floors, climaxing in some impromptu break-dancing during a brilliant rendition of ‘Once In a Lifetime’ by Talking Heads. When I say breakdancing, I mean an assortment of flailing limbs, ending with all participants lying on the floor. Three admitting defeat, one still attempting to do the ‘worm’.

The finale showcased Mr Scruff at his tasteful mixing best, as he fired into his very own jazzed-up banger, ‘Get A Move On’. A soulful brass band instrumental of ‘Sexual Healing’ completed the night, literally and emotionally. A venue specific animation appeared and “Big up all Dundee massive” resulted in the rapturous excitement seen at Take That gigs, when a teenage girl is convinced they pointed at her during ‘How Deep Is Your Love’.

Award winning musical event Bestival has announced its fancy dress theme for next year’s installment – an interstellar extravaganza!

Far in advance of the actual bill being announced, Bestival has revealed that the fancy dress theme for 2009 will be ‘outer space’. Each year organizers set a theme and festival-goers use their imagination to come up with some spectacular and outlandish ideas.

Last year’s theme ‘30,000 Freaks Under The Sea’ produced some spectacular results, and 2009’s event promises more of the same.

This year’s Bestival contained some stunning performances from Grace Jones and Hot Chip amongst others. Dogged by a torrential downpour, the organizers did their best to help ease the struggles of mud bound music lovers.

in a statement founder Rob Da Bank said “its only been 3 months since we peeled off our underwater outfits at Bestival 2008 but we’ve had so many requests to get on and announce the theme for 2009 that we gave in! I’m tweaking the exact title as we speak but due to popular demand from our ever busy forum and the fact that next year is the 40th anniversary since Man landed on the moon, it’s a Space theme -Out of Space, 2009: A Space Oddity, Alien. You get the gist! So get needle and thread out, dig out the dressing up box and prepare for lift off!”

Bestival is set to take place on September 11th – 13th in Robin Hill Country Park.