Björk will release a “coda” accompaniment to her last long-player proper, 2007’s ‘Volta’, in June.

‘Voltaic’ – released via One Little Indian on June 22 – will feature two DVDs containing footage of live shows in Iceland and France, as well as the music videos from the ‘Volta’ campaign. Also included are live studio performances and a host of remixes.

The release will be available in five different configurations, each celebrating in its own way two years in the life of one of pop’s most singularly special artists.

The packages are as follows:

1. CD 1 only
2. CD 1 and DVD 1
3. CD 1 and 2 plus DVD 1 and 2
4. CD 1 and 2, DVD 1 and 2, plus a set of three vinyl LPs (with the
contents of CD 1 and CD 2)
5. One vinyl LP (with contents of CD 1)

Be sure to start saving those pennies now…

Björk – ‘Declare Independence’

The stage show for this new ‘It’s Blitz’ album tour would have been aptly named ‘It’s Glitz’. Swankier and with more bravado (and more glitter) than ever before, Yeah Yeah Yeahs have put some time and effort into their stagecraft. It pays off in the entertainment stakes, but Karen O’s sudden fondness for borrowed Freddie Mercury poses and cheap pyrotechnic glitter explosions is a little unexpected and a little beside the point compared to the rough-edged brilliance of all three of their albums.

Karen O appears on stage wearing a pair of colourful hot pants with waistcoat to match as the band eases into a slow number, ‘Runaway’. She holds the microphone aloft like a chalice as a giant eye bobs up at the back of the stage, glaring outwards – witness to the birth of new rock royalty. It’s an opening steeped in mock irony, but it’s still a sign of the band slipping out of grimy chic into something a bit classier.

Yet, the first tracks, for all the slickness of their presentation, don’t have that familiar oomph. After upping the ante with a couple of ‘Show Your Bones’ favourites, ‘Gold Lion and ‘Honeybear’, all their raw appeal comes flooding back for ‘Black Tongue’. “This is an old, old Yeah Yeah Yeahs song”, Karen explains, as Nick Zinner’s wiry frame contorts around his wailing guitar. The song descends into perfect, rock dissonance. It’s the highlight of the night and goes to show the old, scummy tunes still have most resonance.

The waves of noise continue as Karen O skips off stage to don a studded leather jacket. The reverb segues nicely into the next track, ‘Zero’. It’s a trick that’s repeated all night and it keeps the show rolling along like a well-oiled compilation album. Even in the few minutes before the encore there’s still background noise rumbling on after the last note of ‘Heads Will Roll’. No time for fuck ups, missed cues or awkward silences any more. This is a tour with a plan and a purpose.

Predictably, but fantastically, the encore features ‘Fever To Tell’ stompers, ‘Y Control’ and ‘Date With The Night’. It’s what we all came for, to feel at one with Karen O during her gawky, indie-punk rock outs. Her microphone worship and tai chi moves were entertaining, but Yeah Yeah Yeahs are more compelling than that. It’s in fighting out of a sweaty corner that they show their best side. The artful dissonance was enjoyable, but the moments of riot made the show.

Words: Jonny Ensall

Legendary eardrum-botherers Dinosaur Jr are showcasing their new album with a free download.

‘Farm’ – the fifth full-length release to feature the founding trio of J Mascis, Lou Barlow and Murph – is previewed with ‘I Want You To Know’, available by clicking the link below.

The Link Below

You’ll have to leave some details, but fuck it man, it’s Dinosaur Jr. Do them that one favour.

‘Farm’ will be released via PIAS on June 22 – find the band on this internet thingy HERE.

London-based Italian Alessio Natalizia, a.k.a. Banjo Or Freakout, releases his new ‘Upside Down EP’ on 12” and digital download on Monday May 11.

Previously described as a crafter of “underwater daydreams”, and “enigmatic and atmospheric”, Natalizia’s music is indeed escapist fare, pitched into some magical middle ground between Atlas Sound and El Guincho. The ‘Upside Down EP’, coming your way via Half Machine Records, will only further the man’s already impressive reputation.

And fans are sure to notice the different working in a studio has made to the Banjo Or Freakout sound, with Natalizia’s woozy passages firmed up and fleshed out like never before. Suffice to say it’s the very definition of artistic progression.

To mark the EP’s release, Natalizia has made a special mix exclusively for ClashMusic.com, featuring a host of his own favourite artists. Download the hour-long mix below…

DOWNLOAD: BANJO OR FREAKOUT’S CLASH MIXTAPE

The tracklisting for the EP runs as follows…

1. ‘Upside Down’
2. ‘The Week Before’
3. ‘Like You’
4. ‘I And Always’
5. ‘This City Is A Fake’

And the tracklisting for the mixtape, that looks a lot like this…

1. The Beach Boys, ‘You’re Welcome’
2. Minor Threat, ‘Stumped’
3. KG, ‘Love Is’
4. Thai Orchestra (title unknown)
5. Mekanik Kommando, ‘Birds’
6. Pocahaunted, ‘Hideous’
7. Madvillain, ‘Light Of The Past’
8. This Heat, ‘Shrink Wrap’
9. Ricardo Villalobos, ‘Minimoonstar’ (Shackleton Remix)
10 A Mountain Of One, ‘Green’
11 Prince Francis, ‘Rock Fort Shock’
12 S.P.B., ‘All Your Life With Me’
13 Black Anger Movement, ‘Ra-N – Untut’
14 Group Inerane, ‘Awal September’
15 Black Merda, ‘Reality’
16 Kode 9, ‘Swarm’
17 Bridget St. John, ‘It Seems Very Strange’
18 The Misfits, ‘Braineaters’

Find Banjo Or Freakout on MySpace HERE.

Photo: Ben Queenborough

Returning Norwegian electro poppers Datarock have unveiled the bizarre and hilarious video to their new single ‘Give It Up’.

Many people go to festivals and come away inspired to do something different with their lives. However these plans often fall by the wayside when Monday calls, real life intruding upon some thrilling campsite chat. For Datarock, though, a trip to a festival in Bergen was to change their live forever.

Formed at a festival, Datarock embody that joyous summer euphoria. Debut album ‘Datarock Datarock’ was a cult success outside of their native Norway, spawning the dancefloor hit ‘Fa Fa Fa’. Since the band have spent time touring the world, enhancing their sound as they go.

New album ‘Red’ was released earlier this year, and lived up to fans expectations. Sure, Datarock were experimenting but the dance-rock thrills that made them so loveable were still in place.

Forthcoming single ‘Give It Up’ is evidence of this. A brilliant slice of 80s inspired pop, it comes backed with a new video which features the best dance-off this side of ‘Beat It’. Fredrik Saroea explains “thing is, just singing a song about dancing… it’s too simple. Everyone’s gonna dance anyway. So it’s nice to do something insane in the lyrics, like paraphrasing, you know, ‘Romeo & Juliet!’”.

Datarock are set to release their new single ‘Give It Up’ on May 18th.

Watch it in the ClashMusic VIDEO channel here.

London’s Meltdown event is to return later this year, with jazz legend Ornette Coleman set to curate the festival.

Held in the Southbank Centre, Meltdown invites a musical pioneer each year to prepare a uniquely personal bill. In the past Morrissey and Massive Attack have produced the festival, scoring exclusive performances along the way.

This year the minds behind Meltdown have chosen Ornette Coleman to be our musical guide. Now well into his 70s, Coleman is a pivotal figure in modern music having pioneered free jazz in the late 50s. Abandoning chords and scales, Coleman embraced chaos producing music that still resonates today.

Joining the legendary musician on the bill is none other than Yoko Ono. The Japanese artist’s career tends to be sidelined due to her marriage to John Lennon, but Ono is responsible for several acclaimed works that brought noise into rock. Performing with her son Sean Lennon, this promises to be a very special performance.

Also on the bill this year is chill out guru Moby, who said in a statement “I’m flattered and honoured to be asked by Ornette Coleman to play at his Meltdown festival. His approach to music, and the integrity with which he’s comported himself in all that he’s done, is a big inspiration to me. I can’t think of anyone alive who’s pushed things as far and as hard as Ornette Coleman.”

Meltdown takes place in the Southbank Centre between June 13th – 21st

Hip-hop legends De La Soul have been going strong for over 20 years, with their debut LP of 1989, ‘3 Feet High And Rising’, recognised as a classic of both its genre and era.

The New York group – Kelvin ‘Posdnuos’ Mercer, Dave Jolicoeur and Vincent ‘Mase’ Mason (many other aliases have been adopted over the years) – have released seven long-players proper, alongside collections of rarities and remixes. Their latest is ‘Are You In?’, the latest in the Nike+ Sport Music series of albums available exclusively through iTunes. The single-track, 44-minute piece is De La’s first new music for five years.

Although initially aimed at runners, the Nike+ Sport Music series received something of a critical shot in the arm with the release of LCD Soundsystem’s much-celebrated ’45:33’ release of 2006. Much like James Murphy’s composition, De La’s latest instalment is something that need not be listened to while pounding the pavement to be appreciated. Indeed, as it shifts through a series of constituent ‘songs’, ‘Are You In?’ reveals itself to be just as vital in its makers’ catalogue as any of their previous long-play releases.

Clash met up with the three members of De La Soul in east London to discuss the specially commissioned ‘Are You In?’ as well many other areas of their career to date.

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De La Soul discuss their place in the Nike+ series


– – –

I don’t suppose this part of the process, the promotion, gets any more fun for you as you get older…
Posdnuos: Well, it’s nice to know that people still wanna talk to us. I guess the time to be worried is when they don’t!

We’d better begin with the roots of this project – how did you come to work with a company like Nike?
Dave: I think the relationship has been going for some five or six years, and that’s certainly had something to do with it – we’d designed some dunks (basketball shoes) back when. And hopefully the individuals who were looking to do this next mix thought De La were a good idea – I would think the relationship we already had with them probably helped, but I’m hoping that a room full of people could agree that we were a good choice, and we were pretty up for it.

Were you already in a position to put something out, albeit maybe not a ‘proper’ De La Soul album?
D: Not really. At the time we were just recording to record, with an eye to putting an album out at some point. We love the fact that we did this, but in a way it got in the way rather than serve as an opening for something bigger, but because it was such a cool thing we were up for it. It didn’t seem like an opportunity, like, just to put music out, because we’re always working on music and looking to potentially release it. This kinda came from nowhere, and it was cool when it happened.

And the series has some critical clout behind it, too – these releases aren’t really received as ‘cut-offs’ collections.
P: Well, we would naturally never do that to ourselves. We respected the fact that if Nike wanted us to be involved, then they knew what the results were going to be like. We were quite critical early in the process, like maybe it sounded too commercial, but I can step back to it and say it still sounded good. It had to feel like a De La album that wasn’t just a poster for Nike – we wanted people to feel it was a great album on its own terms. We always think things through and put quality into anything we do – we never look to just take the cheque and run.

So none of what’s on the final release is stuff that’s been kicking about for a while?
D: It wasn’t music that’d been left over from years before or anything like that, no – we definitely sat down and put some new tunes together, listening to beats from other producers and really put in the work just as if it was a ‘proper’ De La album. We sort of approached it just as we would anything else – we never played up to the idea that it wasn’t an ‘official’ release in some way, and we essentially started from scratch on it.

Is beginning with a clean slate your typical way of starting an album?
D: I think, with music, it’s tough to sit with something for a while and then make it a part of something new. Like, there are songs we’ve got now that we’ve recorded, maybe four of them, and they might be on the next De La album… but equally they might not! You always want to start fresh.

It’s not like you make things easy for yourselves, as you’re often seen as being ‘ahead of the game’, if you will.
D: I think that’s something we’re quite critical about, always trying to do the new and be the new, create the new. But also the thing about De La is that, at the end of the day, what we put out has to feel good. Friends of ours, they don’t always do that – they’re like making these beats for people and knowing all this technical stuff, but at the end of the day it doesn’t always sound good, y’know? As much as we try to outdo what we’ve done before, sometimes that can just be the stripping down of a beat, something that simple. You find a way to treat a song properly.

With the many technological developments over the years, has it become easier to create the sounds you’re hearing in your heads?
D: It’s easier to produce, to put together a loop or add a delay, or what have you.
Mase: It shortens the time of it.
D: That’s it, pretty much, but the creative process is still pretty intense. You’ve still gotta think of that chorus, and perfect the arrangement; what instrument can be added, and what is the theme or the concept of the song? That stuff still takes time. And, y’know, we’ve obviously always been known for doing an album every four or five years, and we’ve tried to change that process a little bit to get more work in, but when it comes down to it De La’s new release will always have gone through that process, and it’ll take as much time as it needs to.

I guess if the end of the process – the recording and the mixing – is faster now, you can take that bit more time on the creative side of things.
P: Absolutely. We’re always bouncing ideas off each other by e-mail, sending each other tracks; I’ll record a lyric and get it back, and then I’ll send it on to an engineer, and he’ll mix it and play it back to us on a stream or what have you. That process is easier, but technology has to be used with respect, and you have to respect the other part of the process.

Do you think that sometimes bands take advantage of the speed you can get a record out, without properly considering its quality?
D: Yeah, but I don’t think you could take five years between albums nowadays, if you’re a new band. Consumers demand so much, as their mentality is completely different. Like, we were saying to someone earlier that you really don’t see that many incredible albums coming out. You see bands putting out singles, and they get sold and they have a video but if that’s not followed up in a couple of months, people just forget. But at the same time I think there is an audience that is willing to wait, that loves you and will play your music – across the last three or four albums you’ve had – and wait for the next one. But mainly the up-and-coming artists, they’re trying to release a record once every year or something, and only have two singles from ‘em. I dunno…

They try to ride that wave as long as they possibly can.
M: New artists these days, and this is just my opinion, but I think instead of putting put albums they should just keep putting out twelve-inches, so to speak, MP3s y’know. That way when they get to the point of focusing on an album, people really want that record – they’re, like, ‘I like you enough to buy you’.
P: And that’s what it used to be like, and it was great. You’d get four singles from someone like [Big Daddy] Kane, that’d draw you right in, and then you want an album. Nowadays everyone’s so fast to want to put out an album, but it’s only got one song on it of note, maybe two if you’re lucky.
M: Especially with rappers – there’s this Tupac theory of doing like over 17 songs on an album, and they forget that peoples’ attention spans are short, and they get bored real easy.

– – –

De La Soul – ‘The Magic Number’ (1989)


– – –

You’re one of only a handful of hip-hop groups that really embraced the ‘art’ of the album, as in having some sort of conceptual thread, and sequencing the songs so they sit together naturally.
D: That is important to us, because we come from that era of music – not just hip-hop music, but artists like Stevie Wonder, and Barry White, and Isaac Hayes, and Aretha Franklin. That was the concept, the album… But a lot of these new kids don’t know that. Going back to technology, now that you can buy a track for 99 cents, who really thinks about albums anymore?
M: Before there was the situation where the consumer was almost forced to buy the album – the single might be out, but really the only way you could get it was on the album.
D: And that obviously hurt sales, so now they’re obviously like: ‘Fuck it, let’s do the reverse!’
M: And now, if you don’t like the album, you can grab just the song that you like.

With so much competition, if you will, due to the way music is so widely consumed today, how does it feel to still be here, and still be relevant?
D: It’s a blessing, and I think alongside the mistakes that we all make we’ve made some great decisions along the way. I think, when we think back and wonder: ‘Why did we do a song with Teenage Fanclub…?’

Now, hang on – the ‘Judgement Night’ record was pretty big when I was a kid.
D: Well, okay, it was good that we did that in hindsight. Like, we did the Tibetan Freedom Concert with the Beastie Boys, and wondered: why were we there? But then you think about it, and realise why, and see how it’s helped. You know, the decisions that we made and what we were doing back then, it helped us out, alongside the good music. I think that’s helped us appeal to more people than just the boy on the corner. I think a lot of the times you don’t get the opportunity to go back and rethink those decisions, and we’ve always had people in our corner talking with us and trying to do the right thing.
M: And I think some of the traditional formats still apply, which helps, regardless of changes in the business. We put out a record, we go on tour – that’s who we are. We’re across the board, and that’s what all entertainers should be focusing on: putting out the music, regardless of whatever politics are going on, and satisfy that part of the soul and your audience, those people you’ve touched.

And when you go out on tour, do you still find it a pleasurable experience?
M: Yeah, and the best part about touring is when you don’t have any new shit out – I love that part. There’s nothing new out, no new product, but we’re still on the stage just as relevant as these new artists who’re selling the show out around the corner. People know when they come to see us, they get a good show, regardless of what we’re touring for or how old the material is. And that is a great feeling. Those are the divine moments for me – when you go into the struggle of your last record up to your most current one that you’re trying to release, and you’re looking at the way the business is going and seeing where you stand in it, and you’re still able to get on the stage and have that spark. That’s a great feeling, and it’s great to weather the storms with the same people.

Are you able to get any sort of perspective on just how influential a group you’ve been? Or are you too close to even the oldest material?
P: At certain times we can kinda appreciate what we’ve achieved, and our place in things. But, like, we don’t really see it as 20 years having gone by, as it’s gone in a heartbeat. So when someone’s saying we’re legends… It’s hard to see that, because we are everyday people. I don’t think a lot of artists are like that – they’re always around the business, getting money and splashing it, and we’re not like that. How you see us now, just lounging and sitting with y’all, this is how we always are. So it’s not a legendary life that we lead, y’know?
D: We never aspired to be ‘stars’. I don’t think we ever were attracted to the business side of the music, because Run-DMC were on the big screen wearing gold chains or anything – we got into this because of the music, and that’s all we’ve ever had. So for us it’s never about what we’re gonna pull up in, or anything like that.
M: To be making money from what you love to do, that’s a beautiful thing. There’s other shit that comes with this that I could do without, but ultimately we’re doing what we love. Ninety per cent of the world is probably doing something they don’t really care to do – they may even have gone to school to do something else, but now find themselves working a job elsewhere just because they have to. So, this is honestly a blessing, to be part of the ten per cent or whatever that gets to do what they love. The industry can force you to present a certain façade, but I thank God that we’ve never had that shit.

Totally. It’s not like the paparazzi have ever darkened your doors.
D: When these ‘megastars’ go back to just a small room, with nothing to show for their profile, that’s when the façade shatters.
M: We did it our way, and we’ll always do it our way. Some people might be uncomfortable with how we’ve done things, but it’s been the right way for us. I feel like my security is in the people who listen to our music, who know our music and understand it. They get to know who we are through that, so we don’t need no bodyguards or anything. Our bodyguards are people like you, people who feel connected with us in some way. If you’re connected, you’re gonna make sure we’re protected.

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‘Are You In?: Nike+ Sport Music’ is available to download now from iTunes; click HERE to get it into your earholes. Find De La Soul on MySpace HERE.

Two of the most forward thinking young electronic producers in Britain have teamed up, with Burial and Four Tet working on a new twelve inch.

The new announcement comes as no surprise to those who know the background of the twin producers. The pair attended the same London high school, have both remixed Radiohead and share a love of unusual production techniques. Indeed, back when Burial’s identity was a secret many observers presumed that Four Tet was behind the recordings.

With rhythm tracks built from natural clicks and bangs, Burial and Four Tet share a love of organic sound. Burial erupted onto the plate led dubstep scene with no introduction. His debut album stunned dub heads, while the Mercury nominated album ‘Untrue’ was a critical triumph, leading to much anticipation for his next move.

Four Tet meanwhile has been lumbered with the folktronica tag for too long. Virtually inventing the entirely fictitious genre with his album ‘Pause’ the producer has been trying to escape the label ever since, taking on board new techno influences and abandoning his array of samples for something more streamlined.

It is not known if the two were aware of each other while attending high school. Astonishingly, members of Hot Chip were also at the school – what a reunion that’d be!

Released via Text, this new 12 inch is a mouth watering release by two of the finest musical minds in Britain today.

Burial & Four Tet release ‘Moth / Wolf Cub’ on May 4th.

Watch the new video from Norway’s Datarock for their single ‘Give It Up’, taken from their latest album ‘Red’. It sees the band throw down in a very cool ‘Beat It’ inspired dance off.

The band’s Fredrik Saroea explains “thing is, just singing a song about dancing… it’s too simple. Everyone’s gonna dance anyway. So it’s nice to do something insane in the lyrics, like paraphrasing, you know, ‘Romeo & Juliet!’”.

Perhaps the defining British saxophonist of the past 20 years, Courtney Pine, is to tour the UK again.

Emerging from a young generation of jazz musicians in the early 80s, Courtney Pine embodied a new spirit in British music. Gone was the bowing to America, and in came a uniquely homegrown stylist who took the legacy of men like John Coltrane and Sonny Rollins and blended it to the sounds he heard around him.

Fiercely outspoken and completely dedicated to jazz, Pine began blending jazz with Caribbean sounds and hip hop rhythms. Producing startlingly new sounds, the saxophonist became perhaps the most recognisable British jazz figure to date, playing to enraptured audiences up and down the country.

A noted broadcaster, Courtney Pine was recently recognised for his work in British music by being awarded the Commander Of The Order Of The British Empire. After his visit to Buckingham Palace, the musician went straight back into the studio to being work on his twelfth studio album.

The resulting album is called ‘Transition In Tradition’ and sees Pine on ferocious form. Hailed by some critics as his finest album to date, the new album will be released later this year.

Courtney Pine is set to tour after the album hits the shops, and has chosen a band that can follow the subtleties of his music. With a rhythm section comprising of Robert Fordjour, Alex Wilson, Darren Taylor and Cameron Pierre this may well be Pine’s finest ensemble to date.

Courtney Pine is set to tour the UK throughout September.