In London, you’re never more than one metre from a rat. When listening to Kitsune compilations, you’re never more than four songs from a hit. It’s two CDs, but start with the second. It’s far more rewarding. The first track by Clock Opera is addictive, wielding samples as if they were homemade instruments, splicing them in to create glowing chop-pop. Then, I’m afraid, it’s wading through the commonplace musical rodents inbetween. In this case, wade past the over-glitzed ‘South Pacific’ by Is Tropical, and find your way to the Proxy-esque nausea of ‘Blockhead’ by Punks Jump Up. Likewise, Strange Talk equals rodent, Justus Kohncke equals hit. It’s electro-pop lucky dip, that pays out… occasionally.

5/10

Words by Joe Zadeh

Part-Americana, part-country-rock, part-alt-folk (all good), Phosphorescent come with a stirring reputation. The noises prior to tonight’s show have them down as a kind of 6-piece version of Bonnie Prince Billy meets Bon Iver – and indeed, on record its easy to make the comparison. Tonight’s support slot with glorious melancholy mongers The National further amplifies their reputation and after this evening’s close-knit operation, it’s a status which can only evolve.

Fronted by permanent member Mathew Houck, the conveyor belt line up of the bands other members doesn’t show – collaborators or not, Phosphorescent’s performance tonight is that of an act more tightly-knitted than most of their full time contemporaries. Although to be fair, the signs were already there if their impressive ability to knock out an album a year since 2007’s ‘Pride’ was anything to go by. Unsurprisingly the set focuses heavily from ‘Heres to Taking it Easy’, Houck’s fifth release in five years. The setlist fades in between the ‘dream-folky ‘Los Angeles’ and the ‘jovial-folky’, ‘Nothing Was Stolen’. Elsewhere a particular highlight of their intimate set came in the form of the harrowing (presumably) fan-favorite ‘Wolves’, taken and remastered this evening straight from Houck’s afore-mentioned ‘Pride’ release. Evoking a downbeat version of Beirut’s ‘Postcards From Italy’, ‘Wolves’ is a morbid and at times wistful sway, perhaps included to prepare the crowd for this evenings main entertainment. Or perhaps included simply for it’s the harrowing, blissful, woozy side effects it seems to cast over this evenings sold out 02 Academy guests.

Phosphorescent, in whatever line-up, now have the rest of their supporting slot tour to finish before heading back to their native USA. However much of a cliché it may be, the band surely must expect to be back headlining in the UK as soon as. If not themselves, their ability to make this look effortless does.

Words by Jack Gilliam

Deerhunter songwriter Bradford Cox has forced Sony to back down over a download issue.

Between his work with Deerhunter and Atlas Sound songwriter Bradford Cox has become an underground icon. Capable of churning out potential classics on a daily basis, the songwriter can barely stop working.

Left with huge amounts of material which never leave his bedroom, Bradford Cox decided to simply release the tracks on his blog. Containing early versions of well known tracks, total rarities and covers the download series was a treasure trove for fans.

However his label Sony weren’t pleased. Sending the songwriter a stern ‘cease and desist’ order the label demanded that Bradford Cox take down almost every track from the download series.

Infuriated, Bradford Cox complied with the order then simply re-loaded them. Writing to fans, he singer admitted that he had failed to secure clearance for the covers – but since none of the original artists were signed to Sony none was legally needed.

“Apparently Sony Music Owns my bedroom,” he complained. “I am re-uploading the files now.”

A bizarre case, which just took a rather pleasing twist. Bradford Cox recently received an apology from the label, which has admitted that it was in the wrong. Speaking to American magazine Billboard, a spokesperson for the label bemoaned the decision to take action.

“The Bradford Cox tracks were mistakenly removed. We advised Mediafire that the titles were mistakenly taken down. We have communicated all of this to Bradford Cox and his manager.”

So Bradford Cox wins the day. Yet despite this the case leaves a bad taste in the mouth, perhaps indicating the paranoia which exists amongst the upper echelons of the major label system.

Everyone loves a mystery. But don’t expect to see Jessica Fletcher raving it up to France’s latest dance darlings.

Deploying a cloak of anonymity Acid Washed have arrived, a duo of Parisian men adopting the benign noms-de-guerre Richard D’Alpert and Andrew Claristidge, they continued their subterfuge by obscuring their faces in all communications.

In doing so they’ve driven total focus onto their exquisite vintage electro. But it’s not all gimmicks: “Our anonymity, it’s not complete,” states ‘Richard’ from Paris. “When we play, we’re not using masks because that would be too close a reference to Daft Punk.”

The secret lives of artists is of course nothing new, see Basic Channel, Underground Resistance or the Aphex Twin for a starched lesson on riling up the underground. However something amongst their retro electro, shimmering imagery, instrumental bangers and addictively weighted dance vocals has led them to the top of the blogosphere hype aggregators, for weeks at a time.

So how have they so quickly shared the world’s gaze with the likes of Sufjan Stevens and Arcade Fire? “I really thought about it lately after all the blog figures came out,” continues ‘Richard’. “Music-wise so much of this record is drenched in emotions. It just seems like ten years of drug and drink memories and ten years of friendship all got put into the album. So there’s this melancholic aspect but also this joyful aspect too.”

Released on Record Makers, also home to Francophile brethren Brodinski, Sebastien Tellier and Kavinsky, it seems once more we may well soon be surfing a lysergic wave of the French touch again.

Words by Matthew Bennett

Where: Paris, France
What: Retro electro pop
Unique Fact: They were the most blogged about artist in the UK in September.
Get 3 songs: ‘General Motors’, ‘The Rain’, ‘Change’

Cold War Kids have added a series of UK tour dates ahead of the release of their third album.

Whatever happened to Cold War Kids? After a sparkling debut the band made a swift return but since then the trail has gone cold. Taking time off to re-gain focus, the group are now set to break cover.

Third album ‘Mine Is Yours’ finally lingers on the release schedules, after lengthy writing sessions earlier this year. Cold War Kids are set to end nearly two and a half years of silence with the new album, which drops early in 2011.

Fans are eager to hear the new material, which Cold War Kids have kept firmly under wraps. Written in Nashville and Los Angeles, the record was produced with assistance from Jacquire King (Kings of Leon, Tom Waits and more).

Promising a deeply personal new album, songwriter Nathan Willett has decided to focus on relationships. “These are portraits of relationships and commitment — what is holding these things together and what does it all mean?” he asked.

“A lot has happened in the last two years — long tours, marriage, relationships, people going in different directions. I felt the need to be more personal, to show the many sides of me.”

‘Mine Is Yours’ is set to be accompanied by a full length UK tour. Cold War Kids will open the shows in Manchester on February 20th, before playing a one off Glasgow show in the city’s Garage venue.

Ending in London on February 23rd, Cold War Kids are preparing to unveil a host of new material.

Tickets are on sale now.

Cold War Kids are set to play the following shows:

February
20 Manchester Academy 2
21 Glasgow Garage
22 Birmingham O2 Academy 2
23 London Koko

Click here to buy tickets for Cold War Kids!

Yoko Ono has given a new interview revealing aspects of her childhood in Japan.

Despite being instantly recognisable Yoko Ono remains enigmatic. Her work remains largely unexplored by the wider public, despite her deeply influential contributions to visual art and music.

In a new interview Yoko Ono reflects on her childhood with her son Sean Lennon. The Japanese artist reveals that she had a troubled upbringing, with her family essentially disowning her.

Speaking to NPR the artist said: “I was born from my mother, who is a Yasuda, and my father, who is an Ono”.

After explaining that she led a “very kind of outlandish life” the artist opened up about her privileged yet stifling background. “Yeah, well, you know, my father was a banker, but he was an independent spirit,” Ono said. “He was a very good pianist and very much into music.”

Continuing, Yoko Ono explained that her father was largely absent from her childhood. “It was big. And the time that I met him, my mother and my father were kissing, and I looked like this, like, ‘Well, maybe he’s going to kiss me too,'” she said.

“You know, the thing is, my mother was a beautiful, beautiful woman from a very rich family,” she continued. “And my father — that just upset him, you know?”

Yoko Ono recently took part in events to celebrate the life of her husband John Lennon, who would have turned 70 last month. Playing a concert in the United States the singer was joined by a group containing her son.

For his part, Sean Lennon remembers a fraught upbringing which contained kidnapping threats. Driven to school in a limo, the young musician still found a way to subvert the rules.

“I would make the — well, maybe you don’t know — but I used to make the limo driver stop two blocks from my school, so I could walk to school” he revealed. “Because everyone else took the bus, and you wouldn’t let me take the bus. Because it was a dangerous time.”

Read the entire article HERE.

David Lynch has asked fans to assist him in the making of the video for his new single.

It’s no small request. One of the most iconic directors of his generation, David Lynch is responsible for shifting perceptions of what could be achieved in cinema. Now the director is asking for your help…

Embarking on a new career as an electro producer, David Lynch yesterday (November 29th) released two new tracks. Signed to Sunday Best, ‘Good Day Today’ and ‘I Know’ are available on iTunes now.

However the single still needs a video. David Lynch has asked fans to help him compile footage for a new release, in co-operation with Genero.

“Lynch has teamed up with Genero.TV to give aspiring directors the once-in-a-lifetime chance to collaborate with one of the most feted cultural icons of our age” reads the announcement.

“Entrants are invited to view a personal video message containing the project brief from Lynch himself at www.Genero.tv, to create short films to accompany either or both of Good Day Today and I Know, and to upload them to the site. 10 of the best entries for each track will then be shortlisted and passed to Lynch himself to choose the winners. The two chosen pieces will be used as the official promotional music videos for Lynch’s debut electronic music single.”

“The competition is open to all via Genero.TV and entrants have three weeks from today (30th November) to enter, with the competition closing on 21st December with winners announced on the 3rd January. Full terms and conditions are on the website www.Genero.tv etc etc”.

Watch the announcement HERE.

Stream ‘Good Day Today’ below…

David Lynch – Good Day Today [Original] by Sunday Best

Apparently this soundtracks the last two years of Swedish House Mafia’s rise to popularity. To account for the offensively retrospective nature of this trawl of commonplace dance-floor garbage (we’re talking Coldplay, Candi Staton and Justice), I must assume, first, that they spent the last two years in a timewarp somewhere between 1993 and 2006. And secondly, that they spent this time in trashy commercial nightclubs, where glowsticks never die, dancefloors rotate and there’s a price reduction for hen parties. Even when it’s stutters into the moderate unknowns of Riva Starr-ish, balkan klez-tech, with ‘Valodja’, it’s still wholly unconvincing. Who remembers Modehookers, and when these three were the progressive behind progressive house? Swedish House Mafia, what happened to you? WASTE!

1/10

Words By Joe Zadeh

Manic Street Preachers are planning to release a five track digital EP recorded on their recent tour.

It’s been a big year for Manic Street Preachers. Eager to return to mass influence, the band donned their stadium rock costumes for the bombastic new album ‘Postcards From A Young Man’.

The logical follow on from ‘Send Away The Tigers’ the band expertly match stunning rock riffs with politically charged lyrics. With the Con-Dem coalition sparking fury across the country, rarely has a Manics album been so badly needed…

Completing a celebratory British tour recently, the band plan to see out the year with two releases. Manic Street Preachers are due to release their new single ‘Some Kind Of Nothingness’ on December 6th.

Taken from their recent album, the single features guest vocals from the one and only Ian McCulloch. Alongside this, however, a special five track live EP is also set to be released as a digital download.

‘Some Kind Of Nothingness’ is the lead track, backed by a live version from ‘Later…’. Alongside this, the band drop in a few classics including the number one single ‘Masses Against The Classes’.

A five track release, Manic Street Preachers have trailed the new EP with a special stream of ‘Roses In The Hospital’ recorded live on their British tour.

Listen to it below…

Manic Street Preachers – Roses In The Hospital (Live) by Stayloose

Cocteau Twins veteran Simon Raymonde has been invited to speak at Liverpool Sound City.

Taking control of venues across the area, Liverpool Sound City is one of the country’s biggest music showcase events. Alongside some notable performances the festival boasts a number of guest speakers.

As a member of Cocteau Twins’ Simon Raymonde has been responsible for more than his fair share of seminal releases. One of the most prominent acts during the golden age of 4AD, the dream pop outfit remain inspirational.

However since then Raymonde has moved on. Forming the independent imprint Bella Union, the musician turned label boss has become one of the most influential voices in the British music industry.

Bella Union are a hugely respected label, with a roster which includes Beach House, Fleet Foxes, Vetiver, Wavves and more. Simon Raymonde will give a guest talk at Liverpool Sound City, joined in conversation by Eric Pulido, shining light of Bella Union signed group Midlake.

Discussing life as an independent, the pair are hugely experienced. Bella Union has braved some catastrophic financial events of late, with both their licensing and distribution partners going under.

Yet what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger and Bella Union have thrived to become one of Britain’s most successful independents.

Liverpool Sound City is set to announce more guest speakers closer to the event, with more details due to be revealed. Running for three days, the festival mixes conference style events with some exclusive events.

Liverpool Sound City takes place between May 19th – 21st.