Swedish garage rockers Mando Diao dropped by the Clash office the other day for a chat about their new album, ‘Give Me Fire!’.

Watch the video interview above and listen to the album exclusively on ClashMusic.com HERE.

View a photo gallery of Mando Diao on the road, with captions by the band themselves, HERE.

London newcomers The xx have been forced to cancel a range of European shows due to “exhaustion”.

The xx formed in high school, inspired by the sounds they heard around them. Eager to create, the band were polite enough to turn their amps down when rehearsing at night leading to their sparse, crystalline sound.

Playing a series of shows around London the band impressed with their own material and their inventive covers. In love with slick R&B The xx somehow find a way to input some melancholy in otherwise chirpy chart fodder.

ClashMusic recently caught up with The xx for a short chart – click HERE to read their thoughts!

The xx have been touring hard of late. Playing a series of shows at music industry showcase CMJ the band won admiration from Stateside press, recruiting a new army of fans in the process.

However this has taken its toll on the group. The xx were forced to cancel a show in London last week due to Baria Quereshi suffering from “exhaustion”.

The xx returned to live action this week but a spokesperson for the band confirmed that a series of European shows are due to be cancelled. Containing shows in Holland, Luxembourg and Belgium the shows represent the opening salvo of their European tour.

However the band are due to return to live action shortly, with a show in Frankfurt on November 3rd set to go ahead as planned.

The xx have cancelled the following shows:

October
29 Utrecht EKKO
30 Luxembourg Exit 07
31 Brugge Music In Mind

November
2 Stuttgart Universum Club

Click here to buy tickets to The xx!

View a gallery from 29th October as The Specials kicked of Liverpool Music Week at the city’s Olympia Theatre.

The band originally found fame in the late 70s and early 80s before reforming recently, without founding member Jerry Dammers. ClashMusic spoke to the band’s opposing factions, Terry Hall and others, and Jerry Dammers. Read both sides of their story over the band’s division HERE.

You can also read a potted history of the band HERE.

Photos by Anthony Mooney

Kitsune is one of the coolest labels on the planet.

Mixing dance with rock, Britain with Europe, the United States and everywhere else the label has broken new ground with each release.

Currently, two British groups are making waves on the label. Two Door Cinema Club have only released a handful of singles yet already their danceable electro pop is turning heads across the continent.

Manchester band Delphic, meanwhile, do what Manchester bands seem to do best. Effortlessly blending dance with rock they recall New Order at their ground breaking height without losing their own distinct voice.

Joining up for a recent high profile tour, Two Door Cinema Club and Delphic learned to live out each other’s pockets for weeks at a time. ClashMusic gave Two Door Cinema Club a camera and prepared ourselves for the shocking truth of life on the road with Kitsune…

Returning Scottish indie types Frightened Rabbit are due to play an acoustic set on the London Eye today (October 30th).

Formed by a group of Glasgow Art School veterans, Frightened Rabbit have put aside the furious innovation and speculation of art rock for something more emotionally involved.

In just two short albums the band have proved themselves masters of heartbreak, with singer Scott Hutcheson emerging as a hugely talented lyricist. Frightened Rabbit’s second album ‘The Midnight Organ Fight’ was followed by a series of lengthy tours, taking the band far beyond these shores.

Secluding himself away in rural Fife, Scott Hutcheson began crafting new material earlier this year. Working with American producer Peter Katis, Frightened Rabbit shipped out to Tarquin Studios in Connecticut.

With some additional input from Stuart Hamilton at Castlesound Studios in Scotland, the new album is set to be titled ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’.

A few lucky fans in London are set to get a special preview of the new album with Frightened Rabbit set to play a special show today (October 30th).

Beginning at 5pm the group are set to play on top of the London Eye. This is the band’s first show as an official five piece – earlier this week Frightened Rabbit announced the addition of a new member of the band, former guitarist in Make Model, Gordon Skene.

Frightened Rabbit are set to release ‘The Winter Of Mixed Drinks’ will be released on March 1st, and features the following tracks:

‘Things’
‘Swim Until You Can’t See Land’
The Loneliness & The Scream’
‘The Wrestle’
‘Skip The Youth’
‘Nothing Like You’
‘Man/Bag Of Sand’
‘Foot Shooter’
‘Not Miserable’
‘Living In Colour’
‘Yes I Would’

If you take out the multi-layered guitars and experimental soundscapes that New York band Asobi Seksu are famous for, place them in a renowned London studio during its last few weeks of its life, you end up with a crisp and gentle album of minimum recordings of Asobi Seksu tracks.

It comes together perfectly in tracks like ‘Familiar Light’ where Yuki’s haunting 3am vocals echo through the gentle acoustics. However, at other times it feels a little too mellow, and a touch repetitive. The stand out track is the Hope Sandoval cover ‘Suzanne’ that will soothe you with its beauty and gentle confidence.

6/10

Words by Stephen Maughan

Hugely successful ivory tinkler Elton John have been forced to postpone tonight’s (October 30th) show in Dublin.

Elton John’s tours tend to be mammoth undertakings. Sure, the days of elaborate make up and costume changes are gone but the singer still has a love for anything over the top.

Sadly, his new tour of Britain and Ireland has been dogged by illness. A recent show in Newcastle was postponed due to poor health, with Elton John apologising to fans after being forced to miss the date.

Vowing to return, the singer concentrated on getting well. However it seems as if Elton John’s is still suffering from an as yet un-named illness.

A new statement from the singer confirmed that tonight’s (October 30th) show in Dublin will not now go ahead. A spokesperson for Elton John revealed that the star has been left saddened after missing the date.

“He is bitterly disappointed not to playing Dublin” the statement said.

“He had picked Dublin to close the Red Piano (tour) worldwide, because of the great warmth of the people and the great concerts he had in the city over many years. He is hoping to reschedule the dates in the very near future.”

Fans have been advised to keep hold of their tickets, with promoters attempting to re-schedule the cancelled dates.

Although the band name might bring to mind some nordic metal group with a grudge against sons of the soil, Krikor And The Dead Hillbillies is the chosen title of Frenchman Krikor Kouchian, a man with a history as a DJ and electronic musician.

This album, ‘Land Of Truth’, is not what you would expect from those snippets of information at all. Tracks vary from the gentle picking of ‘Wanton Boy’ to the cracked disco strut of ‘God Will Break It All’.

Yes, it does boast drum machines and electronic textures but it’s heart seems to be in some derelict, burnt out club, ruing the misfortunes that delivered it to skid row.

6/10

Words by Nick Annan

Hotly tipped Los Angeles act The Soft Pack have confirmed that they are set to release their debut album next year.

Some band names are offensive. Polite souls may baulk at shelves filled with LPs by Holy Fuck, Fuck Buttons and the like. But it takes a group of hardy souls to name themselves after an entire religion.

The Muslims burst out of Los Angeles with a stunning stage show and material that veered from all out brutality to soothing melody. A stunning performance at CMJ saw the band snapped up by a major label, but soon a snag emerged.

With a potentially offensive name the band swiftly re-emerged as The Soft Pack. Losing no time in heading back out on the road, it seems that the group have also managed to lay down their debut album.

Working with producer Eli Janney – once of dearly loved Girls Against Boys – the band secluded themselves away in New York. Speaking to the NME guitarist Matty McLouglin claimed that it was a match made in heaven.

“Eli was a perfect producer choice, he comes from that DC punk background, but he’s also being in a band who were pretty poppy, they were sort of like a next Nirvana kind of thing in the ’90s.”

“He understood both ends of the spectrum. We do write pop songs but we come from more of a punk background and he made sure we didn’t sound cheesy or lame. We just wanted a better fidelity, like Iggy Pop on ‘New Values’.”

The band have moved on since they were named The Muslims. The Soft Pack have matured, leaving only one track from their former incarnation. “‘Parasites’ is the only song that’s been out before, everything else is new,” said McLoughlin.

The Soft Pack are set to release their self-titled debut album on February 1st. Tracklisting is as follows:

‘C’mon’
‘Down On Lovin”
‘Answer To Yourself’
‘Move Along’
‘Pull Out’
‘More Or Less’
‘Tides Of Time’
‘Flammable’
‘Mexico’
‘Parasites’

The follow up to their much loved first album sees Johnny Foreigner eschewing the temptation to add a layer of gloss to their recordings in favour of lo-fi scratchiness.

Produced by Alex Newport (At The Drive In, Death Cab For Cutie) ‘Grace And The Bigger Picture’ is a snapshot of life for a small touring band on the toilet circuit as many of the song titles, (‘Ghost The Festivals’, ‘I Woke Up On A Beach In Aberystwyth’), go to show.

This Birmingham trio have always taken a while to get used to but at times ‘Grace…’ is ruefully under cooked and whilst ‘Criminals’ and ‘Feels Like Summer’ show the band still know their way around a killer melody the big picture here is that JoFo have possibly missed their target.

6/10

Words by David Renshaw