To be honest, I’ve never quite seen eye to eye with ‘Nevermind’.

‘In Utero’ and me, well, we get along just fine. ‘Bleach’ – ditto – while ‘Insecticide’ is the sound of the great band just kicking out and having fun. But given the hype, the overwhelming media attention and the general atmosphere of you-must-like-this ‘Nevermind’ has always left me… cold.

Released in 1991, the album was certainly a once in a generation game changer, kicking down the doors of the mainstream and letting in the freaks. But Spin Magazine didn’t quite see eye to eye with the album either. In a controversial move (one which they have arguably never really lived down) the publication overlooked ‘Nevermind’ when anointing the finest album of 1991. In its place lay a little thing called ‘Bandwagonesque’ by the Glasgow band Teenage Fanclub, and you know what? They were probably right.

And here’s ten reasons why…

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1. ‘Bandwagonesque’ has a better cover.
It does. Check it out – a bag of money with a dollar sign, like a Lichtenstein painting for the post-Thatcher era. The 60s references are there, but it just seems fun, witty and above all eye catching. It deserves to be painted onto t-shirts and hoodies across the land. The less said about that baby’s schlong the better…

2. ‘Bandwagonesque’ is funnier.
It’s a criminal mis-understanding to assume that Kurt Cobain spent most of his time shooting up, complaining about a stomach ailment and bleaching his hair. The reality is that, for most of his life, the Nirvana frontman was an ordinary, shy guy with a kick ass sense of humour. Sadly, ‘Nevermind’ is not best place to experience this, with most of its lighter moments coming off a little forced. ‘Bandwagonesque’ meanwhile is a barrel of laughs from the get-go: ‘She wears denim wherever she goes, says she’s gonna buy some records by the Status Quo’.

3. ‘Bandwagonesque’ has better influences.
This will prove to be controversial. Cobain’s stated mission –matching Black Sabbath to The Beatles – inevitably means that his music is focussed, confined. Teenage Fanclub though are a myriad of 60s pop, lost Memphis icons Big Star and the underground rock scene of the time. J Mascis jamming with Brian Wilson while John Lennon puts something funny in the tea, indeed. ‘Bandwagonesque’ caused my record collection to become packed full of cool shit OVERNIGHT.

4. ‘Bandwagonesque’ has inspired better groups.
Almost looking for trouble with this one. Sure, ‘Nevermind’ inspired countless kids to take up a paper round and save for a guitar but how many of those starry eyed dreamers ended up crafting something like ‘Lithium’? Nirvana acted as a starting point, but not a sonic template – unless you count Creed and Nickelback. Meanwhile, right now at this very moment in time amazing bands like Yuck, Mazes, Veronica Falls and more are nestling at the teat of Norman Blake, Gerard Love, Raymond McGinley and Francis MacDonald (OK, OK – I know the line up was different for ‘Bandwagonesque’ but the point stands).

5. ‘Bandwagonesque’ is not a definitive statement.
‘Nevermind’ may have pushed grunge into the mainstream but its success meant that the genre very quickly became trapped by formula. Sure, part of this is down to commercial appeal but in reality ‘Nevermind’ is the artistic full stop on grunge as a movement. ‘Bandwagonesque’ though seems to open up as many questions as it answers. The album seems full of ‘what ifs’and possibilities, the sound of a band with more ideas than their fingers can replicate.

6. ‘Bandwagonesque’ has better production.
The story of ‘Nevermind’ is the story of an underground band attempting to retain their credibility within a mammoth corporation. Butch Vig was brought on board, and his production work has remained a bone of contention with fans. Upon hearing the album, Steve Albini apparently opined that it was the worst record he had ever heard. History doesn’t record what Albini thought when he heard ‘Bandwagonesque’ but he was probably playing air guitar, kicking out the jams to ‘Is This Music?’

7. The guitar riffs are better.
‘Smells Like Teen Spirit’ apes ‘More Than A Feeling’. ‘Come As You Are’ pinches from the back pocket of Killing Joke. Teenage Fanclub however are having a great time rocking out, with ‘I Don’t Know’ bumping along with the kind of riff Mudhoney would’ve given their left earlobe to own.

8. Kurt Cobain said so.
Bit of a trick, this. Kurt Cobain spent the best part of 1991 trying to convince anyone who would listen that Teenage Fanclub were the best band in the world. If you were listening to ‘Bandwagonesque’, you probably agreed with that. If you admired Kurt Cobain, why would you disagree?

9. The media have not killed ‘Bandwagonesque’.
There. I said it. Years after complaining that the media had unjustly foisted ‘Nevermind’ upon my shoulders I am now attempting to do exactly the same thing with a different album. Does this keep me up at night? Hell no. ‘Nevermind’ has been picked apart for two decades, with countless hacks trying to analyse that once in a lifetime appeal. By way of contrast, ‘Bandwagonesque’ remains frustratingly on the sidelines, with its only role in the wider scheme of things seeming to be yet more evidence against the critical impotence of Spin circa 1991.

10. It just is.
So there.

Susan Boyle’s version of the Depeche Mode classic ‘Enjoy The Silence’ has emerged online.

Ah, Susan Boyle. An unlikely icon, but in the space of three minutes the shy, retiring Scottish singer turned herself into a viral sensation, enjoying near instant fame across the globe.

Since then, the singer has consolidated her success with a number of releases. An album earlier this year saw Susan Boyle cover ‘Perfect Day’ by Lou Reed, seemingly unaware of its heroin tainted connotations.

Now a new cover version has emerged. Susan Boyle has decided to tackle ‘Enjoy The Silence’ by seedy 80s synth gods Depeche Mode.

A much loved classic of the era, ‘Enjoy The Silence’ had a profound effect on the Godfather’s of techno – Depeche Mode are cited by both the Belleville Three and Kompakt as an important formative influence.

How does it fare in the hands of Susan Boyle? Listen below…

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No matter what you make of her cover, Susan Boyle appears to be sincere. Rolling Stone were granted the exclusive, with SuBo telling the American magazine that she if a fan of the original cut.

“The melody of the song is just beautiful,” Boyle said, “but really that lyric sounds like it will touch so many people in the way it touched me.”

Susan Boyle’s third album ‘Someone To Watch Over Me’ is set to be released on November 1st.

Bass collaboration Author are streaming a new mix previewing material from their debut album.

Leeds has a thriving electronic scene. David Kennedy (Ramadanman / Pearson Sound) studied in the city, while the area boasts clubs with a nationwide reputation. Now Author pits two of the city’s foremost producers against one another.

Jack Sparrow and Ruckspin have teamed up to form the project, with their debut album set to drop on Tectonic. A Bristol label for a Leeds’ sound, Author are set to drop the self-titled LP on November 14th.

Following a series of one off cuts, Author have already established a reputation for more spacious arrangements. The emphasis has been moved from the dancefloor to a more general exploration of sound, with the partnership using live musicians to push their output in different directions.

Taking their cue from Kruder & Dorfmeister’s ‘K&D Sessions’, the pair also cite prime era Mowax as a massive inspiration. A step beyond their usual frame of reference, Author sees Jack Sparrow and Ruckspin explore influences that maybe wouldn’t fit in with their previous reputations.

Tectonic will release the duo’s debut album on November 14th, with Author recently recording a special preview at Eiger Studios in Leeds. Caught performing live, you can stream the results in a new mix available below…

AUTHOR LIVE @ EIGER STUDIOS by J.Sparrow (dubstep)

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Author will release their debut album on November 14th.

Casiokids are offering fans a preview of their soon to be released debut album.

Part of Bergen’s bustling music scene, Casiokids made history by becoming the first group to release a single in the UK sung entirely in Norwegian. Signed to Moshi Moshi, the band’s gleeful blend of home spun electro pop and jagged riffs made them an infectious proposition.

Three singles down the line, Casiokids are at home in their own studio with a debut LP on the way. Putting the finishing touches to the album, the Norwegian band are set to release the snappily titled ‘Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen’ in January.

Lead single ‘Det Haster!’ is due to be released on October 24th. Stream the upcoming single below…

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Casiokids are set to return to the UK for a short burst of five dates. The Norwegian band will open the shows with a visit to Southampton on November 21st, before playing Liverpool the following day.

Hitting London on November 24th, the show in the capital takes place at the Shacklewell Arms. Ending with a date in Nottingham, Casiokids will mix some of their early singles with material from the new album.

Tickets are on sale now.

Casiokids are set to play the following shows:

November
21 Southampton Joiners
22 Liverpool Shipping Forecast
24 London Shacklewell Arms
25 Brighton The Haunt
26 Nottingham Bodega Social Club

Click here to buy tickets for Casiokids!

Daft Punk have collaborated with Coca Cola to design a special edition bottle.

One of the most influential dance groups of all time, Daft Punk remains instantly recognisable. Almost never seen without their trademark helmets, the duo apply a vigourous design process to anything which bears their name.

So when Daft Punk get involved with Coca Cola, you can expect a lengthy discussion went into the design. The drinks company hooked up with the French pair earlier this year, allowing them free reign to re-design their iconic bottles. (via Stereogum)

The results fit neatly into Daft Punk’s aesthetic. Only 20 sets will be made, with the special edition bottles no doubt due to become instantly collectable.

The design is dark and metallic with fans offered a choice of silver or gold caps. Slotting neatly between Daft Punk and Coca Cola’s previous art work, the special edition has a distinctly metallic feel.

To catch some bottle shots of the special designs just visit HypeBeast.

Sadly, news on the Daft Punk front is pretty thin on the ground. The group returned with a new album last year, the soundtrack to Disney’s much anticipated ‘Tron: Legacy’ flick. Recorded in London with the aid of an orchestra, it matched the retro-Futurism of the soundtrack perhaps over-shadowed the film itself.

Later given the remix treatment by an – ahem – varied cast of producers, ‘Tron: Legacy’ remains a vital part of the Daft Punk back catalogue.

For more information on the Daft Punk / Coca Cola collaboration clickHERE. Watch an advert for a previous collaboration below…

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Ford & Lopatin have unveiled a club driven remix of ‘Too Much Midi’ courtesy of Alan Braxe.

A meeting of minds, Ford & Lopatin’s collaboration earlier this year resulted in one of the year’s more under-rated albums. ‘Channel Pressure’ used jazz fusion as a template, exploring some new areas in the process.

Uniting two acclaimed Stateside producers, Ford & Lopatin seemed to journey under the critical radar. Not without faults, ‘Channel Pressure’ was still a fascinating endeavour with some real high spots.

Label Mexican Summer are set to take charge of upcoming single ‘I Surrender’. Due for release on October 17th, the flip side sees Alan Braxe take charge of album track ‘Too Much Midi’.

Flipping the cut on its head, Braxe supplies a direct, club driven remix that bursts with energy from the first beat. Stream the remix below…

Ford & Lopatin -Too Much Midi (Please Forgive Me) (Alan Braxe Remix) by ALAN BRAXE

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Meanwhile, Daniel Lopatin has returned to his Oneohtrix Point Never project. New album ‘Replica’ is the producer’s first studio bound effort, with Lopatin locking himself away at the Mexican Summer complex.

Mastered by Joe Lambert and mixed by Al Carlson, the album retains Lopatin’s commitment to the Juno 60 synth but continually strives to move forward.

‘Replica’ is due to be released on November 7th.

Fanfarlo are giving away a new remix EP ahead of their London show tonight (September 30th).

With their backgrounds spreading across numerous nationalities, Fanfarlo have decided to call London home. Thankfully for us – debut album ‘Reservoir’ was a tremendous offering which matched emotive songwriting with subtle production from Peter Katis.

Recorded in the US of A, ‘Reservoir’ was rewarded with critical praise and a cult following. Keeping fans waiting for a follow up, Fanfarlo are now within sight of the finishing line.

The band’s second LP is set to drop in January, with new single ‘Replicate’ already making an impression. Handing the stems over to some close friends, Fanfarlo are now offering fans a free download remix EP.

Here’s the blurb:

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Today we have three fabulous remixes for you to download from three of our friends.

First up Teletextile: as a violinist, harpist and singer she’s a musical force, but here she demonstrates some serious deftness at the screen in this remix debut. She’s also been helping us out for years, putting us up in nyc on our very first trip over there in 2008, playing with us at a couple of shows and generally being the life and soul. Her new record drops October 14th.

The 2 Bears from London, one of those bears being one half of Hot Chip, have brought the boogie with a house reworking of the track. Slim-line.

Senz from back home in Brussels has always had the best record collection out of all my friends. He’s been chopping and screwing since he’s been in long pants and this number was constructed entirely on an mpc. Look out for more from him at Isolated Wax Records.

Enjoy,
Fanfarlo

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Replicate. Replicate. Replicate. by Fanfarlo

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Meanwhile, Fanfarlo are gearing up for a show at London’s Hoxton Hall tonight (September 30th). Tickets are sold out, although the band have just confirmed an extra show at Cargo on November 21st.

Fanfarlo are set to play the following shows:

September
30 London Hoxton Hall

November
21 London Cargo

Click here to buy tickets for Fanfarlo!

A documentary on Bikini Kill and Le Tigre singer Kathleen Hanna is searching for fan funding.

Riot Grrl was an almost completely mis-understood phenomenon. Rising to public attention at a time when grunge was becoming increasingly dominated by machismo, the movement aimed to provide a feminine voice for underground rock.

Mis-represented by the press, Riot Grrl was in reality a fun, creative and ultimately inspirational force. As the singer with Bikini Kill, Kathleen Hanna became one of the movement’s most recognisable faces.

Frequently outspoken, Kathleen Hanna at one point refused to speak to the press after numerous quotes were taken completely out of context.

Bikini Kill released several influential albums before splitting, with Kathleen Hanna then forming Le Tigre. Leading a fascinating career, the singer’s life and work will be documented in the new film ‘The Punk Singer’.

Shot on a tiny budget, the film is currently searching for pledges from fans to assist with funding. $44,000 is needed to see ‘The Punk Singer’ through post-production, with a range of benefits on offer to fans.

The highest pledge – $10,000 – will see Kathleen Hanna herself re-design a room in your house. Elsewhere, a variety of fanzines, signed DVDs and posters are on offer to fans who support the project.

Kickstarter are taking charge of the pledge project, with director Sini Anderson revealing a little of what to expect from the film.

“(Kathleen Hanna has) been a lightning rod for controversy, and a famously private person. Five years ago, she disappeared from the public eye, and is only now re-emerging. The Punk Singer combines 20 years of archival footage and an intimate look at four consecutive seasons of Hanna’s present life, to tell the story of what happened, and who she is now.”

Click HERE for more information.

Okkervil River have debuted the very personal video for ‘Your Past Life As A Blast’.

Led by Will Sheff, Okkervil River have all the depth of a great American novel. New album ‘I Am Very Far’ matches excellent production to typically involving lyrics, with Sheff’s imagination once again coming to the fore.

Containing a real autobiographical streak, Will Sheff was on hand to assist with Okkervil River’s new video. ‘Your Past Life As A Blast’ comes backed with a video using footage taken from the songwriter’s family holidays in the 80s.

Speaking about the song itself recently, Will Sheff explained that he was focussed on the divide between reality and memory. “When I was writing the lyrics for ‘I Am Very Far’ I kept fixating on the idea of being new, specifically memories of being very little and being conscious of the fact that I was a new person, that I hadn’t existed before” he said.

“I kept thinking about the way the brain works when it’s not trying overly hard to put ideas or thoughts in order, either because it’s new or maybe because it’s dreaming or maybe because it’s been disarranged in some way.”

The video itself is oddly moving, matching an extremely well written song to some very personal footage. “Like many kids of the late 70s and early 80s, my dad was often hovering around with a Super 8 camera, filming my mom and me and – as time passed – my younger brother and sister” he said.

“I remember him projecting these movies on a bare wall and, eventually, the movies becoming as much a part of my memory as the original events he had filmed. I thought it would be cool to use actual footage of those memories in the video itself, to make a really personal kind of rock video.”

Watch the video for ‘Your Past Life As A Blast’ below…

Okkervil River – Your Past Life As a Blast from Secretly Jag on Vimeo.

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Okkervil River have confirmed the following shows:

November
19 Glasgow Oran Mor
20 Manchester Sound Control
21 Bristol Trinity
22 London KOKO

Click here to buy tickets for Okkervil River!

Trophy Wife have confirmed a full nationwide tour this November after the release of ‘Bruxism’ EP.

Oxford seems to be bustling with talent right now. The Blessing Force collective have caused a ripple of energy in the city, with the likes of Chad Valley and Trophy Wife reaching an audience beyond the Bridge of Sighs.

The first release on the Blessing Force label, Trophy Wife’s ‘Bruxism’ EP is a conceptual release. Themed around sleep, the EP uses five different producers including close friends and techno greats.

Ewan Pearson handles on track, while Foals singer and fellow Oxford resident Yannis Philipakis has taken charge of ‘Wolf’. A stand out cut from the new EP you can watch the video below…

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Due to be released on October 31st, Trophy Wife are now set to play a number of British shows this November. Expanding to a four piece for live performances, Andrew Halford will join the band for a number of upcoming shows.

Opening in Oxford on November 5th, the shows continue with dates in Bristol, Leeds and more. Hitting The Nest in London on November 12th, the tour moves to Scotland with a show at Edinburgh’s Electric Circus on November 15th.

Ending in Liverpool at the Shipping Forecast, the tour will then visit Paris for a set at Inrockuptibles.

Trophy Wife have confirmed the following shows:

November
5 Oxford Boot Factory
10 Bristol The Croft
11 Leeds Constellations Festival
12 London The Nest
14 Manchester Deaf Institute
15 Edinburgh Electric Circus
16 Liverpool Shipping Forecast
22 Paris Inrockuptibles

Click here to buy tickets for Trophy Wife!