Simon Pegg and Andy Serkis have finally been confirmed as the stars of the upcoming John Landis directed ‘Burke & Hare’ currently in production in the Scottish capital. Based on the real-life skulduggery of Irish immigrant ‘resurrection men’ William Burke and William Hare, who killed at least 17 people in Edinburgh in the mid 19th century.

Selling bodies to medical schools was good business back then as anatomists were only permitted to use the corpses of murderers who had been hanged. Far too enterprising to wait around for such slim opportunities they instead turned to murder to keep their business profitable. Famously selling their wares to Doctor Robert Knox, at Edinburgh University’s prestigious medical school.

In a delicious twist of fate, Burke was publicly dissected after being convicted of the murders. His skeleton still hangs in Edinburgh’s anatomy school, as does a rather macabre notebook fashioned from his skin.

As their crimes were so genuinely dark and horrific it will be interesting to see how Landis (An American Werewolf In London) deals with the fine line between the proposed tone of mixing dark comedy with horror, even though he’s managed to successfully blend the two previously.

Other confirmed cast members are also some cause for excitement; Tim Curry (whose talents are woefully underused these days) Jessica Hynes (Peggs co star in Spaced) and the fantastic Tom Wilkinson, who will no doubt add the requisite gravitas to proceedings.

The film does not yet have a release date so watch this space.

Wales – the land of song!

However in recent years the Valleys have given us some rather peculiar acts. A trio from a small town in North Wales, Joy Formidable are the latest in a new breed of indie rockers to emerge from the country.

The band drew attention to themselves in 2007 with the release of their debut single ‘Austere’. Joy Formidable began touring across Britain, and earned a cult following for their no-holds-barred stage shows.

Returning to the studio, Joy Formidable set about smoothing their chunks of noise into something approaching a song. The Welsh trio released the single ‘Greyhounds In The Ships’ last year, with the band completing their debut album shortly after.

Taken from the long player, new single ‘Popinjay’ is a straight out of the traps, full throttle rock anthem. Showing the group’s grunge roots, it matches this with a rapidly maturing songwriting talent.

Due out on April 5th, you can watch the video now on ClashMusic!

Foul mouthed pop pixie Lily Allen is set to perform at the Wireless festival, after Jay-Z requested she be added to the bill.

Lily Allen has always had a troubled relationship with pop music. Not by nature a songwriter, the singer had in fact wanted to push forward her acting career before debut single ‘Smile’ became an enormous hit.

Now, however, the stress and strain of the music industry have become too much for her. Announcing that she was to take a break from music Lily Allen has unveiled plans to launch her own label.

In recent interviews Lily Allen has not ruled out a return to making music, although the singer is now concentrating on a variety of business ideas. However the singer has one final show to prepare for, after being added to the bill of London’s Wireless festival.

Taking place in Hyde Park, it seems that another headliner demanded Lily Allen be there. One of the most powerful men in the music industry, rap heavyweight Jay-Z suggested that the London singer be added to the bill.

Wireless takes place between July 2nd – 4th.

Meanwhile, friction between Lily Allen and Courtney Love is gathering pace. The two are alleged to have clashed at the NME Awards, arguing over a Versace dress which both had wanted to wear.

Lily Allen has just posted on her Twitter page, labelling the grunge queen a “paranoid drug addled lunatic”. This one could run and run…

Reports that BBC 6Music could be set to close have been met with fury across the music industry.

Founded in 2002, BBC 6Music operates in a different way from most radio stations. Using the license fee the organisation were not beholden to advertisers, and therefore free to broadcast what they fancied.

The result was a genre-crossing mixture of rock, pop, soul, funk, hip hop and more. Although audiences rarely topped 700,000 a month fans of the station were devoted, with BBC 6Music gaining enormous critical respect.

Today (February 26th) British newspaper The Times has published a report that the BBC are preparing to close 6Music and sister station Asian Network due to funding problems.

Fans have poured in tributes to the station, with Twitter buzzing with talk of the station. A Facebook group set up to try and save the station has grown to more than 50,000 members with more joining every second.

Now the stars have lined up to pay tribute to the station. In a Twitter message David Bowie said: “6Music keeps the spirit of broadcasters like John Peel alive and for new artists to lose this station would be a great shame”.

Continuing in this vein, newcomers Frankie And The Heartstrings have claimed that they owe their career to BBC 6Music: “our first ever air play …… we owe it everything really”.

Mogwai guitarist Stuart Braithwaite didn’t mince his words: “An utter scandal if true that they are to shut BBC 6music down”.

Meanwhile comedian and journalist Charlie Brooker felt a very personal impact. “I was going to buy a digital radio next week. If they get rid of BBC 6music I might as well not fucking bother.”

Sometimes it takes something dreadful to happen before people come together.

The recent disaster in Haiti has been met with a huge outpouring of public grief, with an all star telethon in the United States raising huge sums for the relief effort.

The charity fundraisers are ongoing, with some more attractive than others. Featuring Shane MacGowan, Nick Cave, Bobby Gillespie and more an all star version of ‘I Put A Spell On You’ is well worthy of your attention.

Due for release as a download shortly, the new single contains a mouth watering cast. The Pogues’ star Shane MacGowan is joined by some old friends including The Clash star Mick Jones.

Hollywood star Johnny Depp has contributed to the single with The Pretenders star (and former music journo) Chrissie Hynde also set to take part.

The video for the track has now been released. Check it out…

Hairy knuckle rock ‘n’ rollers Band Of Skulls have confirmed an extensive UK tour for later this year.

Sometimes its best to leave things simple. Band Of Skulls seem to understand this, with their head splitting riffs and garage rock raunch not likely to win an indie version of ‘Mastermind’ any time soon.

However the band’s frenetic thrills have made them something to adore. Debut album ‘Baby Darling Doll Face Honey’ is set to be released next month, and contains some pure grade adrenaline fuelled rock ‘n’ roll.

Honing their chops on the live circuit, the band were formed by three friends and this easy going camaraderie seeps through onstage. Early singles such as ‘I Know What I Am’ and ‘Blood’ laid clear the group’s plans – pure, simple garage punk.

Fresh from a tour of the United States and Canada, Band Of Skulls have confirmed another batch of British shows. The band are almost constantly on the road right now, and played a rapturous show in London’s 100 Club just last month.

Taking place in May, the new tour opens in Leeds before shooting off around the country. Finishing in London on May 14th the breakneck tour precedes the beginning of the festival season, with Band Of Skulls likely to become a must see.

Tickets for the shows are on sale now.

Band Of Skulls are due to play the following shows:

May
7 Leeds Cockpit
8 Glasgow Classic Grand
9 Manchester The Factory
10 Nottingham Rescue Rooms
11 Wolverhampton Slade Rooms
13 Portsmouth Wedgewood Rooms
14 London Electric Ballroom

Click here to buy tickets to Band Of Skulls!

Uber-hip French dance label Kitsune is set to show off its wares at a special one off London show.

The rise of electro house has seen dance music push itself back to the forefront of pop culture. A handful of labels have driven the sound to commercial heights, notably Paris based imprint Kitsune Maison.

Easily one of the most influential dance labels on the planet, Kitsune are set to showcase their wares with a special one off show in London. Taking place at the famed club Heaven the gig will feature a varied cast.

Friendly Fires have teamed up with Kitsune in the past, with remixes appearing on the label’s sampler series. Fresh from recording a split 12 inch with Holy Ghost, the band are to perform at the upcoming show.

Spinning some of their favourite discs, Friendly Fires will perform a very special DJ set. Joining the St Albans trio on the wheels of steel will be Two Door Cinema Club, DJ Falcon, Gildas, Tronik Youth and Luca C.

The night will also have a range of live shows from newcomers Crystal Fighters, Fenech Soler and Jamaica with more set to be announced.

Acts for the Kitsune night are still being confirmed, with more announcements due soon. Taking place on Easter Sunday the gig will stretch until 5am with advance tickets on sale now.

Kitsune have arranged the following show:

April
4 London Heaven

Click here to buy tickets for Kitsune!

Legendary dance rockers Primal Scream have added a second date to their upcoming ‘Screamadelica’ retrospective.

Released in 1991, ‘Screamadelica’ caused shockwaves in the British music scene. Years of tension between the dance and rock scenes were suddenly broken as Primal Scream partied down the barriers.

Taking on board Acid House influences the band’s central core shone through. A mash up of techno, dub, blues, psych-punk and much more ‘Screamadelica’ was an immediate line in the sand and remains a defining document.

Earlier this year Primal Scream announced a special one off show to celebrate the album. Performing ‘Screamadelica’ in full the band are to look back ahead of completing work on their new studio album.

The show brought back memories of the band’s debauched peak, when Primal Scream were capable of losing the cheque for the Mercury Music Prize within hours of being given the award.

Now Primal Scream have added a second London show in which they will celebrate their seminal 1991 album. Taking place in the Olympia venue, the two shows will see the band re-visit their past in some style.

With tickets on sale now, fans had best act quick to catch a show which will include gospel choir, brass section and singer Denise Johnson.

Primal Scream are set to play the following shows:

November
26 London Olympia
27 London Olympia

Click here to buy tickets to Primal Scream!

The Sunshine Underground seem to live for playing in front of an audience.

Hailing from Leeds, the band’s blend of dance and rock won them plaudits with their debut album ‘Raise The Alarm’. However an extended break saw them previewing new material on the road.

This knowledge of how songs were working live seems to have shaped their long awaited second album. Released earlier this month, ‘Nobody’s Coming To Save You’ is an energetic triumph.

Delighting fans, The Sunshine Underground celebrated with – what else? – a lengthy UK tour. Taking their camera on the bus with them, the Leeds dance rockers took a series of intimate snaps for ClashMusic.

Here are the results…

This latest discovery from Warp is an enigmatic sort. Emerging from a desert dust storm, the voice, beats and accompaniment sound years worn yet are here on this debut release.

Now part of the Los Angeles music scene, and aided and abetted here by producers The Gaslamp Killer, Mainframe and Flying Lotus, despite such heavyweight talents, Sumach, the man behind the voice, remains the centre point of these warped and wheezing, stoned and dusty recordings. His drawled, out of focus mumblings drawing you in unavoidably to the patchwork sonics, and though the album can be a little overwhelming on first listen, repeated plays reveal an irresistible talent.

7/10

Words by Nick Annan