As we all know, Glastonbury isn’t all about the main stages and the big names. Such is the size and scope of the festival that you can wander for days enjoying an alternative world of massages, crystals and digeridoos.

Our man in a field, Brian Murnin, ventured forth from the main attractions to capture some of the spirit of Glasto in the weird and wonderful village that is Pilton Farm at the end of June each year.

Highly controversial and – pending an appeal – possibly law breaking Swedish website Pirate Bay has been sold and is due to become a legal download website.

Started by four young men in Sweden, the Pirate Bay went on to attract international attention. Essentially a listings website for torrents, sites which offer illegal downloads, Pirate Bays soon became extremely popular.

Quick and easy to use, the website became an internet phenomenon but also attracted a huge amount of criticism. Major labels swooped and, with the site also offering links to film downloads, the entire entertainment industry was soon on their tail.

Taken to court in Sweden on copyright charges, the four men behind the site were placed under intense media scrutiny. However some rejoiced in the attention, with one member of the team updating his Twitter account from the courtroom.

Eventually found guilty the men were sentenced to a year in jail as well as being given a multi-million pound fine. Immediately stating their refusal to pay the fine the quartet have begun the appeal process against their sentence.

However the Pirate Bay is still available online and, thanks to the attention created by the trial, ironically gets more hits than ever. Now, though, it is set to turn away from listing torrents with the site being acquired by the Swedish gaming company Global Gaming Factory X AB.

Bought for 60 million Swedish SEK (£4.7 million) the site will now offer legal downloads and increased sound quality.

Hans Pandeya, CEO of Global Gaming Factory X AB said: “In order to live on, The Pirate Bay requires a new business model, which satisfies the requirements and needs of all parties, content providers, broadband operators, end users, and the judiciary,” he explained.

“Content creators and providers need to control their content and get paid for it,” he added. “File-sharers need faster downloads and better quality.”

In a statement, the founders of Pirate Bay claimed that the site’s ethos would remain the same. “A lot of people are worried,” they said. “We’re not and you shouldn’t be either! The right people with the right attitude and possibilities keep running the site.”

“It’s time to invite more people into the project, in a way that is secure and safe for everybody. We need that, or the site will die. The old crew is still around in different ways. We will also not stop being active in the politics of the internet – quite the opposite.”

Of course, there is a precedent for all this. The first major trial of the download era was the Napster case, after which the site was converted into a legal music site. In a nice omen for the Pirate Bay crew, Napster is still flourishing almost ten year after the trial.

Damn these journalistic clichés.

Everything these days is ‘on acid’. Stick ‘on acid’ after a reference point and, hey presto: you’ve got a neat little comparison, a nice box to stick those pesky ground-breaking acts in. Trouble is, White Denim sound as if they are actually on acid. Not in the manner of a trendy back-catalogue spotter, but Timothy Leary style, the sun erupting into flames that burst deep into the mysteries of the human soul style… ACID.

Crawling out of the hinterlands of Texas, White Denim is a six-legged beast that’s operated on the sidelines of American rock for a while now. Trends have come and gone, leaving ‘Fits’ as the band’s second album to date. But while it’s easy to feel frustrated that White Denim aren’t skinny dipping in a swimming pool full of dollar bills, it’s gratifying to witness a band who are able to evolve on their own terms, without the distraction of media hype.

‘Fits’ opens with the jagged stop-start rhythms of ‘Radio Milk How Can You Stand It’. Never sitting in one place, White Denim’s music moves like a pendulum switching from one point to the next. Drums scatter like pounding rainfall before a screaming wah wah guitar blows the whole thing to smithereens. Sure, Hendrix ain’t the hippest cat to namedrop any more but take it as read: these sons of bitches can wail. ‘Say What You Want’ opens all Black Sabbath bluster before moving into something approaching the pastoral, except the production is so dense the guitars never lose their edge, like Hells Angels standing menacingly at the edge of a love in. The Indian elements of the song recall the much-derided experiments of the past, guitars and bass duelling in territory that sits dangerously close to Austin Powers land.

However ‘Fits’ is that rare thing: a non-retro psychedelic album. ‘I Start To Run’ sparks and flames like prime-era Minutemen, full of bass spasms and military order vocals. It helps that White Denim have such obviously short attention spans – most of the tracks on the album clock in under three-and-a-half minutes, meaning that the band never run of the risk of becoming indulgent since they don’t actually stay around long enough.

Which isn’t to say that White Denim are afraid of stretching out. ‘Mirrored And Reverse’ sits atop keyboard flourishes, with the guitar plucking harp-like notes before the band groove on out. But the rhythms are just so damn tasty, so inventive and continually moving that it’s difficult not to become involved. Course, way back when this was called dance music – y’know, before samplers came along and took all the fun out of everything.

‘Fits’ closes with the placid tones of ‘Sync’n’, with singer James Petralli’s vocals sounding as if they were recorded into a Walkman. Rough and ready, it retains something personal, something unique about his voice that would be lost amidst the maze of pro-tools and auto-tune. There’s something about White Denim that sits simultaneously in the past whilst pointing to the future. They’re a puzzle, for sure, but then the best innovators never sat easily in a box. That’s why they were innovators. Best not to worry – just turn on, tune in and drop out.


White Denim – ‘I Start To Run’

You can see the summer’s top live events for free courtesy of a new competition by the charity Action Aid.

As the list of potential festivals mounts up, so too does your bank balance. After buying the ticket you actually have to get there, which more often than not involves a lengthy trek across the country or beyond.

Well courtesy of the charity Action Aid you could be sent to some of the country’s top live music events for FREE! In addition to this, the winner of a new competition will be sent back stage to interview their heroes.

Titled ‘Bollocks to Poverty: Work it!’ the new competition invites fans to create their own event. The actual event could be anything – from a house party, a fashion show or a gig – but it must take place before August 12th.

Entries should upload details of the show onto the charity’s site, with the best event being judged a variety of top stars including Laurent Barnard from Gallows. Entrants will blog about their experiences, with the winner being the person who gets the most attention from the users of the website.

The winner will have the honour of becoming ActionAid’s Bollocks to Poverty Tour Ambassador for 2009, which involves visiting festivals and going backstage for a top music website!

Laurent Barnard from Gallows praised the charity’s work in a new statement. “ActionAid work hard to make sure people less fortunate are provided with the same opportunities as the rest of us. Bollocks To Poverty: Work It! is the perfect chance to not only do something positive for charity but to also get together with friends and put on whatever kind of night you wish, be it a rock show or a house party.”

“This could even kickstart a career as a party liaison expert which we all know would be a lot of fun!”

Bollocks To Poverty is a great way to involve young people in a worthwhile cause, which aims to poor communities work their way out of poverty.

Click HERE for more information! The competition closes on August 10th.

One of the most influential groups in the history of rock are to return to London later this year, with New York Dolls announcing a one off date.

New York Dolls were formed back in the early 70s, when rock was becoming progressive. Dominated by career minded musicians, rather than kids who must wanted have fun, the rock scene was almost totally stagnant.

The band’s Todd Rundgren produced debut album dropped in 1973, and its clumsy attempts to re-create the sleazy gory of the Stones became an important touch stone for punk rock. Eventually collapsing in 1977, the group’s small back catalogue has proved to have a lasting impact.

Sex Pistols svengali Malcolm MacLaren managed the band for a short while, after New York Dolls collapsed into his Sex emporium. Morrissey meanwhile was so impressed by the band that he started a fan club, and later wrote a biography of the band.

After years scattered in the wilderness, New York Dolls reformed for an emotional performance at the Southbank Centre as part of the Meltdown festival – curated by none other than Morrissey.

Original bass player Arthur Kane died soon after, leaving David Johansen and Sylvain Sylvain as the only constant members of the band. New York Dolls then released their first studio album in twenty two years with ‘One Day It Will Please Us To Remember Even This’.

Working on their new album ‘Cause I Sez So’ with Todd Rundgren, the group have managed to re-capture the sleazy charms that made them so irresistible. Adding a classic pop polish to their rowdy rock thrills, the partnership is just as potent as it was on their seminal debut album.

Despite death, heroin, illness and a three decade hiatus New York Dolls remain a stunning live act. The band played a show in the legendary punk haunt 100 Club in London earlier this year, with tickets selling out in just four minutes.

With a new date being organised for later in the year, it seems that the second life of New York Dolls shows no sign of stopping.

New York Dolls have confirmed the following tour date:

4 London Kentish Town Forum

Tickets for the concert will go on sale Tuesday 30th June

Returning songwriter Jack Penate is the latest top name to be added to the bill for Reading and Leeds.

Jack Penate erupted onto the music scene in 2007 as a hot young thing, yet the press ignored his long musical education. Years on the London open mic scene had served Penate well, allowing him to work on his music free of overwhelming attention.

All that changed with his debut album however. Hailed as a saviour for the British music scene, Penate’s first offering ‘Matinee’ was buried beneath missed opportunities.

Yet critics weren’t allowing the songwriter to explain himself. Sure, the album didn’t live up to the hype but given the attention that was foisted upon him little could. Retreating to his rehearsal room, Jack Penate began working on a new batch of material that came from a place much truer to who he really is.

Titled ‘Everything Is New’ Penate’s second album is a clearing of the decks affair. Retaining the slick pop touch of his debut, the new record feels much more natural with the singer’s unforced voice soothing and coaxing the listener.

A surprise success, Jack Penate has followed the album with a series of successful tour dates. Much more at ease with himself, in a recent interview the songwriter claimed that he had to focus on who he was, and not who everyone seemed to want him to be.

A new edition to the bill, this year’s Reading and Leeds festivals look to be a golden crop. Headlining are Arctic Monkeys, whose long awaited new album ‘Humbug’ is due for release later this summer.

With anticipation surrounding the release reaching fever pitch fans have flooded in to buy tickets. In addition to this Radiohead are set to make their only UK festival appearance of the summer at the event, playing a rare British date.

Also due to perform at Reading and Leeds are the likes of Kings Of Leon, Kaiser Chiefs, The Prodigy, Maximo Park, Bloc Party and many more.

Spread across two sites, three days and countless stages this summer’s Reading and Leeds may just be the most ambitious yet. Don’t go looking for tickets, though – those sold out a long time ago!

Reading and Leeds takes place between August 28th – 30th.

What with us reaching the halfway point of 2009, near enough, all week is bringing you the best albums of 2009 so far. Five top tens from five different writers – five opinions that, come Friday, will come together to give us a great impression of the year ‘til now.

Think of these pieces – each written by one of Clash’s five key editorial staffers – as a reminder of all the great records released over the past six months. They’ll certainly serve as useful tools to us in another four or five months, when we’re starting to think about our end-of-year best-of list.

Here, Clash reviews editor Nick Annan takes us through his ten choices. A different ten will follow tomorrow, and then another, and then one more. Get it? Easy. These lists aren’t ranked or anything – they’re more for fun than anything else.

Read Mike Diver’s ten HERE.

– – –

Yppah – ‘They Know What Ghost Know’
(Ninja Tune, released May)
One out of left field for me, Yppah’s second album landed in May with a dream team of DJ Shadow-esque cut ‘n’ paste beats, lo-fi woozy electronica and a whole museum of guitar textures. This young Mexican America, Joe Corrales Jr, conjured up a rockier take on his influences here than on his 2006 debut ‘You Are Beautiful At All Times’ (also on Ninja Tune), making more apparent his love of shoegaze alongside his years as a turntablist. Sweeping from mad-dash guitar grinds to Boards of Canada melancholia, ‘They Know What Ghost Know’ dominated May’s highly contested walk-to-work iPod time.

Yppah – ‘Playing With Fireworks’ (audio only)

– – –

Trentemøller – ‘Harbour Boat Trips 1: Copenhagen’
(HFN, released June)

Initially put to one side as another DJ mix CD, a glowing recommendation saw this grudgingly promoted to the temperamental Dundee office stereo. The fact that the CD player refused to recognise it further hampered our budding relationship until, it was safely loaded onto the iPod and the heavy petting began. A wonderfully encapsulating experience, a selection inspired by Copenhagen harbour, this is the best kind of compilation: sending you off to the internet to find out more about unheard artists (check out Grouper and I Got You On Tape). Oh, and I do believe that the Four Tet mix of Caribou’s ‘Melody Day’ could some stop an axe murder at ten paces, such is its loveliness.

Caribou – ‘Melody Day’ (Four Tet remix – from ‘Harbour Boat Trips 1’)

– – –

Odd Nosdam – ‘T.I.M.E. Soundtrack’ (re-issue)
(Anticon, released May)

Anticon stalwart Odd Nosdam (a.k.a. David P Madson) recorded this material two years ago as the soundtrack for a skate film, ‘This Is My Element’, apparently viewing early footage and composing pieces to reflect the riders’ styles. Now I haven’t seen the film (and have no real desire to) but this is a welcome case of a soundtrack standing on its own proud hoofs. For fans of Odd Nosdam the audio here isn’t a particular revelation, but the brief of scoring to video seems to have brought focus to his trademark hazy, hip-hop-on-downers sound. Combining for a woozy one-two with the Yppah album, I was audibly stoned all May.

Odd Nosdam – ‘Top Rank’ (audio only)

– – –

Fink – ‘Sort Of Revolution’
(Ninja Tune, released May)
Another May release, ‘Sort Of Revolution’ was Fin Greenall and chums’ third album, following Clash Dundee office fave ‘Distance And Time’ (even if track nine had a habit of sending the CD player into meltdown. Like I say, it was a favourite: we wore it out). The best description of Fink’s music is also the statement of fact that he’s a singer/songwriter signed to Ninja Tune. Think how that might sound… Yep, that’s him. ‘Sort Of Revolution’ is an easy companion piece to ‘Distance And Time’, and although it isn’t up to its predecessor’s standards it’s still a ‘glad to see you, old friend’ listen.

Fink – ‘Sort Of Revolution’

– – –

Phoenix – ‘Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix’ (pictured, top)
(V2 Records, released May)
Seeing as this is a list with an emphasis on the first half of the year, it seems appropriate that this choice is all about its first half. Yep, much as I love Phoenix and this album, I have to admit that focus wanes on the second half of its ten tracks. Thankfully the first five have enough quality to leave a lasting impression: ‘Lisztomania’ could make anyone dance like they’re in ‘Footloose’, while ‘1901’ and ‘Fences’ show the band perfecting their spotless, robotic funk pop, and ‘Love Like A Sunset’ (parts one and two) cover an impressive scope in their combined eight minutes. The remainder of the album is good, but it’s the opening clutch of classics that make this a sunny morning staple.

Phoneix – ‘1901’

– – –

Doves – ‘Kingdom Of Rust’
(Heavenly Records, April)
After waiting four years for ‘Kingdom of Rust’, my expectations were unreasonably high. The pre-album release free download of ‘Jetstream’ did nothing to quench my thirst and I have to admit that on first listen I wasn’t blown away by ‘Kingdom Of Rust’. But with further investigation, through the good grace you feel you owe your favourite bands even when they seemingly let you down, it revealed itself to be Doves’ best album yet. All was present and correct, with the added ghosts of their Sub Sub existence seamlessly blended into the mix. I still feel bad for doubting them.

Doves – ‘Winter Hill’

– – –

DJ Hell – ‘Teufelswerk’
(International Deejay Gigolo Records, released April)
I used to be out all night, dancing at clubs of ill repute. Honest. Nowadays I have an aversion bordering on agoraphobia about being in small, dark rooms with groups of gurning strangers. Thankfully DJ Hell makes dance music that even us past their dancing days can enjoy and proclaim great in younger company. Acclaimed by pretty much everyone, ‘Teufelswerk’ really is an album (over two discs, ‘Day’ and ‘Night’) that has the scope and depth to impress those not au fait with the latest going-ons in Berlin’s clubland. It might even spark a Bryan Ferry renaissance.

DJ Hell – ‘Disaster’

– – –

The Deer Tracks – ‘Aurora’
(Despotz Records, March)
A would-be audio accompaniment to the Aurora Borealis, The Deer Tracks hail from Gävle, Sweden and share a palette with the likes of M83, Múm and Mew. The male/female duo sings as one over pretty folktronica that occasionally works itself into an impressive tizzy, as on album opener and blog favourite ‘Yes This Is My Broken Shield’. As an aside Gävle built a 40-foot straw Yule Goat (it’s a Swedish thing) in the city square, which local youths doggedly try to burn down before Christmas. I can report with some relief that album track ‘Christmas Fire’ doesn’t featured the sound of distressed goats.

The Deer Tracks – ‘Slow Collision’

– – –

The Beastie Boys – ‘Check Your Head’ (re-issue)
(Capitol Records, released April)
I feel guilty choosing another re-issue when there has been so much good music this year, but if we’re talking personal choices then the expanded release of ‘Check Your Head’ made my day. ‘Check Your Head’ was my reintroduction to The Beastie Boys back in 1992: I missed ‘Paul’s Boutique’ but was on board for their ‘License to Ill’ debut, and it opened up a new world of sound to this youngster, brainwashed by US hip-hop’s normally rigid listening manifesto. It seems kinda daft now, but the fact that they were playing those funky instrumentals was big news to me, while their reckless attitude to sampling – dropping a Dylan line into a track to complete a rhyme and bargaining him down to $700 for its use – remains genius.

The Beastie Boys – ‘Time For Livin’’

– – –

Raphael Saadiq – ‘The Way I See It’
(Columbia, released April)
While we may all be a bit ‘fatigued’ with the whole retro soul movement (can you call Amy Winehouse a movement?), those who know their soul were more than welcoming of this release. The danger with those who seek to emulate sounds of the past is that, by doing it too faithfully, it is rendered a museum curio. Saadiq however does a Jurassic Park on the golden age of soul, proving that this is a living, breathing sound with plenty to offer in the 21st Century (‘Big Easy’ reflects on a post Hurricane Katrina New Orleans). Even an appearance by Joss Stone doesn’t spoil it.

Raphael Saadiq – ‘100 Yard Dash’ (live on Jimmy Kimmell)

– – –

Tomorrow: another ten from a key Clash editorial type. Maybe even our head honcho Mr Harper if he ever gets his shit together…

Read ed Mike Diver’s ten HERE.

– – –

Check out a playlist containing tracks from these albums on Spotify HERE.

Brum fight pop alumni Johnny Foreigner are set to preview their new album ‘Grace And The Bigger Picture’ with a FREE three track download bundle.

Johnny Foreigner make a very big racket for just three people. The band erupted out of Birmingham with an astonishing live show, which featured awesome tunes, a lot of sweat and plenty of flailing limbs.

The band managed to sit down long enough to record their debut album last year. Signing to Best Before Records, Johnny Foreigner released their first record ‘Waited Up ‘Til It Was Light’ to great acclaim.

A superb mixture of energy, power and poise the group managed to retain their live energy whilst also adding a handy studio sheen. Packed full of pop potential, the album pointed to a talent that would only bloom further.

After yet another lengthy bout of touring the ever energetic band returned to the studio late last year to work on another batch of material. Johnny Foreigner released their first new blast of new material on Monday (June 29th) with new single ‘Feels Like Summer’.

A blast of sunshine, the single is typical of the group’s sound – galloping, life affirming indie pop. Click HERE to read our review!

With their new album ‘Grace And The Bigger Picture’ ready for release, the band are set to preview the record with a free download bundle. Featuring ‘Feels Like Summer’ the three track download comes with two exclusive tracks.

To download your free Johnny Foreigner tracks just click HERE!

Produced in New York with Alex Newport – whose CV includes At The Drive In and Death Cab For Cutie – the new album is the band’s most exciting release yet. With a host of live dates scheduled, this may yet be the year that Johnny Foreigner claim the success they so richly deserve.

Johnny Foreigner have confirmed the following tour dates:

5 Nottingham Bodega
6 Oxford Jericho
7 Birmingham Flapper & Firkin
8 Exeter Cavern
9 Brighton Audio
10 London Garage
12 Sheffield The Harley
13 Manchester Deaf Institute
14 Leeds Brudenell Social Club
15 Glasgow King Tuts
16 Liverpool Korova
17 Cambridge Soul Tree

Click here to buy tickets for Johnny Foreigner!

Chart topping British rock behemoths Kasabian have been confirmed as the headliners for this year’s Liverpool Music Week.

Founded in 2003, Liverpool Music Week has grown from strength to strength. Supporting local talent as well as attracting massive performers, the event has grown in stature to become Britain’s biggest winter indoor music festival.

Last year Liverpool Music Week attracted a record breaking 55,000 people with this winter’s event set to eclipse that total.

Organisers unveiled the first of their bill this week, with Kasabian being invited to headline the event. The Leicester group have become big news since the success of their new album ‘West Rider Pauper Asylum’.

Hitting number one on the charts the group were propelled into a word of arena tours, and have been invited to support Oasis on their mammoth UK jaunt. A stunning live act, ClashMusic recently caught the band in action – click HERE to read what we made of it!

LMW Director James Barton said: “Liverpool Music Week has gone from strength to strength over the last 7 years and attracted some of the UK’s biggest acts, this year we’ve secured Kasabian our biggest headliner to date, attracting a band of this stature proves just how far the festival has come.”

Joining Kasabian on the bill are fellow Oasis support group The Enemy. After releasing their second album ‘Music For The People’ earlier this year the band are riding the crest of a wave, playing sensational shows wherever they go.

Also confirmed for the bill are the highly controversial Reverend & The Makers. Lead singer Jon McClure has already split the group once, and recently responded to the BNP’s gains in the European elections with a hard hitting song.

LMW Founder & Director Mike Deane said: “It was always going to be a difficult task to better the amazing year we had in ’08, and we’ve worked extremely hard since the start of the year to ensure the festival is once again bigger and better. This is just the first of several big announcements for Liverpool Music Week 2009”.

Liverpool Music Week takes place at venues across the city from November 7th – 16th.

The title is the first clue. It seems Jack Peñate wasn’t unaware of the critical arrows aimed his way last time around and has pretty much disregarded his first album as compromised, tainted by external meddling and ultimately the work of “a kid”. A bold stance, but given his association with a particular time and place it’s maybe a good move to clear the decks and actively distance himself from that regrettable mockney singer/songwriting fling (even if the U.S. is currently falling for Adele).

‘Everything Is New’ is declared as the work of a man in control of his creative output, the result of twelve months with producer Paul Epworth (Bloc Party, Friendly Fires) at his home studio. First listens reveal a definite broadening in scope: gone is that (former trademark) itchy guitar, replaced with a multitude of new and interesting sounds, tempos and rhythms. Still present are his multicultural magpie tendencies, bringing a fair spattering of Caribbean, African and South American flavours to the mix.

First single ‘Tonight’s Today’ doesn’t sound dissimilar to production playmates Friendly Fires, Peñate’s ghostly voice and highlife guitar lines enhanced by handclaps and mass choral chanting come a pleasantly sunny chorus. Album opener ‘Pull My Heart Away’ is a lush mid-paced lament regarding the end of a relationship, comprising a curiously downbeat beginning to this venture. Thankfully it works, and is a nice, suitable entry into this new Peñate world. Other highlights include the title track, the stripped down ‘So Near’ and the meditative ‘Every Glance’.

For all this talk of radical new beginnings, ‘Everything Is New’ is a fairly accurate progression from Peñate’s exuberant (if one dimensional) beginnings, and displays that he has a fair few cards up his sleeve.


Jack Peñate – ‘Be The One’