Authorities in Jamaica have moved quickly to dismiss rumours that Vybz Kartel has escaped from prison.

Perhaps the biggest star to emerge from the Dancehall scene, Vybz Kartel has always been the subject of rumour and intrigue. Arrested and charged with murder last month, the singer is currently languishing in a Kingston jail cell.

At least, we think Vybz Kartel is in jail. Reports from Jamaica this morning appeared to indicate that that dancehall icon had escaped from the facility, organising a movie worthy raid with fellow prisoners.

Potentially the biggest jail break in the history of the Jamaican penal system, the rumours caused shockwaves amongst his fans. To increase speculation, Vybz Kartel left an intriguing Tweet on his Twitter feed and then later re-Tweeted rumours of his escape. Sadly, though, authorities have moved to quash the reports.

The Jamaican Observer is carrying quotes from senior police officials who have confirmed that Vybz Kartel remains behind bars.

Assistant Commissioner of Police Les Green explained that he had received no reports of a jail break. “I know nothing about that. If that had taken place I would would certainly have known,” Green said.

An un-named police officer informed the Jamaican Observer that he believed the rumours were a publicity stunt. “It may be an attempt by his cronies to keep him in the news but they don’t need to spread rumours to do that because he will be in the news for quite some time”.

Real name Adijah Palmer, Vybz Kartel was initially arrested on October 1st. The dancehall icon is currently battling two murder charges, conspiracy to murder, illegal possession of a firearm and possession of ganja.

Norway’s hardcore scene has a deep and often undocumented history. The influences from American DIY idealisms reappear in the decade-long Blitz scene, a radical squat in the centre of town, as well as Oslo’s oldest independent record store/label, Tiger. For the last few years, many Norwegian hardcore shows are built around reunions of great, but largely obscure bands from the 90’s. Yet the scene remains far from dead. Blogs like, “OC State of Mind” [http://ocstateofmind.blogspot.com/] run by the guys in Giant, keep up with the latest hxc gigs and Oslo straightedge scene. Another band who’s recently emerged and causing quite a stir are Dark Times, who in fact, release their debut EP this week. Dark Times started out as an all-girl trio in 2010 but today, consist of AK on guitar/vocals, Sebastian on bass and Rikke on drums. You can hear the track, “Distrust” from the EP here: [http://darktimes.bandcamp.com/].

Next Life, however, have been packing serious ammo in Norway’s underground for the last decade. They’ve just released their third full length, Artificial Divinity. Combining hardcore influences with gaming technology, it carries the intensity of Melt Banana dodging spitfires in a Zelda landscape! Formed by Hai Nguyen Dinh in 1999, their aggro- heavy sound originally derived from Amiga chip-instruments, synths… and a love for Zeni Geva. The current line-up has Anders Hangård, drummer from renown 90’s death metal band NoPlaceToHide, and Tormod Christensen on bass. While plenty o’ interviews tell of Next Life’s history, development and vision, I got into an interesting conversation with Hai about weird topics from children’s intuitions, crappy grunge, to Assück.

A: We’ve been talking about stuff we believe when we’re a kid, out-of this world perceptions we believe are true, but in the adult world deemed absurd. Like when I was six, being forced to speak in tongues. Guess that’s why I believe kids have the most powerful imaginations, especially in their ability to be 100% convinced in the unknown.

H: Sounds like a strong performance! But you understand the power of belief. Think you shouldn’t underestimate the power of many people in the same room… I was strongly influenced by music when I was little. I had a videotape with cartoons and spookey music videos my brother recorded. I think that had something to do with my current fascination with horror. I really liked to become really scared. I still seek out situations I can get really scared and lose myself. Speaking of that. I’m going to live in a big house with a pretty horrific cellar soon…

A: I remember Baptist ministers once laying hands on me as a kid,”healing” me. Now I don’t know if that was my imagination or a weird spiritual realm, but I swore I saw my leg grow. I really believed one was shorter then the other.

H: Is it?

A: I dunno. Isn’t everybody’s a little bit? Anyway, there’s something similar in hardcore, that’s magical about this genre.

H: Absolutely. The power of mass suggestion doesn’t have to be a bad thing at all. A shared common intelligence in a way. But to be honest, I was very seldom in the pit of bands that were cool. I was always into the Norwegian bands which weren’t cool. Like Kort Prosess. At least they were not so cool in the straightedge scene, the scene I felt most related to.

A: Are you going to For Pete’s Sake on Thurs?

H: I am going to Trondheim on Wednesday to perform with my other group, Verdensteatret, so I can’t go. But Sportswear wrote some very good songs, and in terms of Norwegian hardcore, those old Oslo guys were important for that music.

A: Do you feel part of the scene? Next Life seems a bit on the outside.

H: I wanted to be part of the scene, but when my music started to get good, I guess it wasn’t sport-y enough. Haha. My first band was Fleshfester… Hardcore was a kind of a lust, a burning desire. The will to revolutionise.

A: I remember listening to your Assück, “Salt Mine” cover, then listening to the original. The original song is quite chaotic and short, but you push it to another limit totally different to hardcore. I think that’s quite cool.

H: That’s nice to hear. Guess what you’re trying to describe is the drum machine. Metronomic and cynical. Becomes and makes the riffs more cartoonish? Maybe more clear.

A: It’s like when you hear a hxc riff you can almost hear a human heart beating. But when you guys express it… it’s like…

H: …like an ongoing monster?

A: Exactly. Sounds like an unstoppable, restless monster.

H: Well I think in Next Life, ”restless” is key. It reflects how I am, Next Life isn’t about war or being negative. Many bands in Norway these days tend to focus on negative things. We can be misunderstood as being an aggressive band. It is aggression but… it’s out of a… generous agenda. For me a perfect bad guy isn’t only a bad guy, but transforms the negative and destructive into something aesthetical and beautiful. An alternative if you like.

A: I agree. It’s so limiting– it’s like, how many 17th century nihilists or Bataille quotes do you have plagarise before it gets a bit juvenile and lame?

H: No no no, I know. The old grunge scene has lots of elements similar to modern metal/noiserock scene in Norway, like “we’re really tired of our parents and we want to thrash a little and be negative bc our parents didn’t let us”. Uhhh. It’s not a clear vision, not that everything has to be that. But that’s our difference, we have a clear vision.

A: You said that once before, that you have a spiritual agenda?

H: Yea we’ve spoken ’bout that– It is important for us to create belief. Belief you can succeed with something that is different, if I can put into words because it is abstract. Think it has something to do with creating much out of a little. Don’t over-consume. And that’s also why its very easy for us to relate to old computers, because it has low-resolution, it’s just a tone. You then have to create something with that tone, unlike a violin with a duration ability lo-res doesn’t have. Lo-res is only interesting when you create something with it– we’re really, uh, “opptatt av” [“preoccupied with”] composition and direction.

(cell phone ringing)

A: Did I just hear a ringtone from Mario Bros.?!

H: Yea! When you get the mushroom.

A: Wow, that’s such a good feeling when you hear it!

H: Oh yea! Hehe…sends me straight back to the time when i had 100% belief.

No, but just a comment about being free; making music is being able to forget stuff you learned on the way to becoming an artist… I think on the way it’s easy to lose that spirit which came from within when you’re told you have to do this or that genre, or to stay away from things “because that belongs to 80’s”, etc.

A: Or you feel as if someone’s already done it, and done it 100% better then you ever could so, why bother?

H: Yea, I was inspired by Earth Crisis in the 90’s and loved that kind of riffs and aggression. But I felt it was hard to add something to that universe. Maybe another songwriter could, but I felt it more important to add melodies and elements as my own person. I think when I achieved that for the first time I regained the feeling that I was going to be a musician…. 1999, when I started Next Life.

Maybe the reason I like computer and film music is because it’s so grammatical, its potential to create images is really big. And in touch into emotions. With no lyrics it remains abstract– I’ve always been really inspired by that. But I think in the epic and chaotic moments lays my way of experiencing life. A lot of people think I suffer from hyper-activeness. But I have a tendency to think really fast. I may not always be good at it. But I like it. Hehe.

**
Next Life – Anti Matter by NEXT LIFE

**

“Anti-Matter” is from Next Life’s latest album, Artificial Divinity, released on Tiger’s label Fysisk Format.

Words by Ann Sung-an Lee

Photos by Sophie Williams

For a review of the night, click HERE.

Every DJ has one.

A night when everything that can possibly go wrong does – and it does so in spectacular fashion. ClashMusic brings you DJ Disasters, featuring some of the most respected figures in the dance world reminiscing about those moments when it all went badly wrong.

An always in demand DJ, Brodinski’s quick mixes can keep any dancefloor on the move. Equally adept as a producer, the French soundsmith recently embarked on two – very different – high profile projects.

Invited to take charge of a mix in the FabricLive series, Brodinski responded with typical flair. Refusing to simply replicate his club set, the French DJ opted instead to craft something subtle, down tempo.

But it’s not always like this, as Brodinski explains…

– – –

So it was a month ago in France, in the city called Grenoble. It was up in the mountains, in the middle of France. I had to get there by train and the train was late so we arrived two hours after, we arrived just before the gig started. So we arrived and I met up with a friend of mine. The guy came with his car, he brought his car to the party so we had to take the funicular up. It’s like an elevator which brings you to the mountain.

We took one and got to the party, which was in a castle like outside because the weather was really good. Dixon was playing actually, and then after a few people it was me. Actually the guys were so happy that we were up there because two bands cancelled for the party so it was pretty much a disaster from the beginning. Then when Agoria starts to play it begins to rain – like crazy – and the party was outside so the gig had to stop. Everybody had to get back down on the funicular, but there were 1000 people and the elevator can only take like 300 people in an hour. So we had to wait like four hours up there in the mountain.

It was outside, it was freezing cold and the rain was coming down like crazy strong. We had to wait four hours before getting on the elevator again to get down. When we got down I was pretty chill about it but I didn’t play because the party was cancelled when I arrived. I arrived downstairs and met my friend, who went to get his car so we could go back to the hotel. We get in the car and then the car didn’t work! Seriously, I laughed because this time I was in a pretty good mood because I didn’t say anything but it was a pretty big deal for the guy because he was super annoyed. The guy was super stoked for his party but everything went wrong it was the worst situation ever. The car didn’t work anymore – we had to push it through the streets!

Seriously one of the worst experiences I’ve had. The guy was just so sad. He organised this party and then most of the bands cancelled it and then we had to get in this fucking elevator. A crazy week for this guy and a crazy party for us!

– – –

‘FabricLive 60: Brodinski’ and Bromance 001 (a split EP with Gesaffelstein) out now.

On one of the coldest nights of the year, fans of Frank Turner’s unique brand of full on English folk-punk queue up and proceed to pack out the venue. A full house; another sold out gig and the last date of the UK tour.

With his fourth album to date ‘England Keep My Bones’ just narrowly missing out on a place in the current top ten, it’s clear just how far the charismatic folk-rocker has come. Tonight he shows the audience exactly why. From the preliminary song ‘Eulogy’ to closing ‘Photosynthesis’ there are no slip ups, no gimmicks, just a man and his band giving a blinding performance with every fibre of their being.

Frank is joined onstage by staggeringly in-tune opening act: Emily Barker and The Red Clay Halo. They belt out a few hits including ‘Wessex boy’ and ‘Glory Hallelujah’. Frank also graces their set with a cameo role singing murder ballad ‘Fields of June’ alongside Aussie front woman Emily.

Frank’s relentless energy and array of hits sees the stalls erupt into a sea of hands moving in time with the anthemic ‘The Road’ and ‘Peggy Sang The Blues’. You cannot fault a man who has played over a thousand shows and still remains true to his roots. The audience lap up song after song, singing along word for word and have a little jig to boot.

The atmosphere is that of a thoroughly entertained, verging on euphoric crowd, who are spoiled with a three song encore. The definitive highlight of the night, however, has to be Turner’s rendition of Queen’s ‘Somebody To Love’ which well and truly tears the roof off the Apollo with everyone chanting the lyrics. Frank runs around the stage belting out the hit from the bottom of his lungs and acknowledging all those who have performed with and before him.

The finale of the gig is ‘Photosynthesis’, a song great at the best of times that gets sufficient amplifying tonight and draws the biggest sing-a-long of the evening.

Frank comes across as a genuine and likeable character in his little speeches, in addition to his tight performances. The sound has been more than satisfactory too with top form vocals and a great show from backing band ‘The Sleeping Souls’. Not to mention the good use of Emily Barker and The Red Clay Hero’s ship-shape vocals that added extra dimensions to the music with much aplomb.

“I’ll see you at Wembley next year” is his parting line. Mr Turner is set to headline London’s Wembley Arena next year supported by his personal hero Billy Bragg, and has already sold out a few European venues. Judging by tonight’s sold out show you’d definitely be a fool to miss him.

Words by Abitha Pallett
Photos by Al de Perez

For a photo gallery of the event, click HERE.

Austra are streaming a cover of the classic Roy Orbison single ‘Crying’, taken from the expanded version of their debut album.

Released in January, Austra’s debut album ‘Feel It Break’ bore immediate comparison to the weather. Cold, still and difficult to ignore it saw the Canadian six piece finally put their glacial synth hymns down on paper.

Almost 12 months later, Austra have taken their music around the globe. Now the band are set to re-visit their debut album with ‘Feel It Break’ due to be re-issued on two discs complete with B-sides, unreleased cuts and more.

Out now, the expanded version of ‘Feel It Break’ contains a version of Roy Orbison’s ‘Crying’. Stream the clip below…

Austra – Crying by DominoRecordCo

– – –

Bizarrely, this isn’t the first Roy Orbison cover ClashMusic have come across recently. Mariachi El Bronx recently tackled ‘Only The Lonely’ giving it a luxurious mariachi style makeover.

Out now, Austra’s expanded version of ‘Feel It Break’ also features a haunting version of Joni Mitchell’s ‘Woodstock’ and even a remix from M. Shawn Crahan, better known as Clown from Slipknot.

Austra’s expanded version of ‘Feel It Break’ is out now. Tracklisting:

Disc 1
1. Darken Her Horse
2. Lose It
3. The Future
4. Beat and the Pulse
5. Spellwork
6. The Choke
7. Hate Crime
8. The Villain
9. Shoot The Water
10. The Noise
11. The Beast

Disc 2
1. Identity
2. Young and Gay
3. Energy
4. Believe Me
5. Trip
6. Pianix
7. Woodstock
8. Crying
9. Beat and the Pulse (M. Shawn Crahan [Clown from Slipknot] Motion Remix)

Casiokids are teasing fans with a new live clip after confirming several January shows.

Well, it’s finally here. Casiokids introduced themselves with a series of blinding singles, tossing clattering riffs against child-like electronics to craft something that was unique yet sat in a great pop lineage.

Yet a full length release took its time to materialise. Finding time to sit down together in one place, Casiokids recently finished work on their debut album.

Completing a short burst of UK dates last week, Casiokids blasted through material from forthcoming LP ‘Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen’. In case you missed them, the band are streaming a live cut shot in France – watch it below…

London Zoo – Le Mouv’ Session from Blank Blank on Vimeo.

– – –

The first band to release a single sung in Norwegian in the UK, Casiokids just can’t seem to keep away. The Bergen group have confirmed another – slightly more in depth – tour of the country, opening in Birmingham on January 19th.

January
19 Birmingham Hare & Hounds
20 Manchester Deaf Institute
21 Glasgow Captain’s Rest
22 Newcastle Cluny
24 London Cargo
25 Cambridge Portland Arms
26 Bath Moles
27 Tunbridge Wells Forum
28 Canterbury Farmhouse

Click here to buy tickets for Casiokids!

Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker and Yim Yames have joined forces to record a tribute to Woody Guthrie.

The ubiquitous nature of Americana stands in stark contrast to the true nature of roots music. The United States boasts a number of styles and genres, which took time to be drawn into one swirling pool.

Perhaps more than most, Woody Guthrie helped draw this together. Celebrating the songwriter’s 100th birthday, Rounder Records have brought together four very distinct musicians for an unusual project.

‘New Multitudes’ is set to be released on February 21st, with the album matching never before seen lyrics from Woody Guthrie to music from four modern songwriters. Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker and Yim Yames have united to tackle the material, boasting a massive wealth of experience between them.

Jay Farrar helped found Uncle Tupelo before going on to lead Son Volt, while Yim Yames is better known as the frontman for My Morning Jacket. Anders Parker performed with Vernaline, while last but definitely not least Will Johnson has credits with Centro-matic and South San Gabriel.

‘New Multitudes’ kicks off the Woody Guthrie centennial, with the release set to be available on Single Jewel Case CD, Deluxe 2 CD release and on vinyl.

Nothing from the project has emerged as yet, although Jay Farrar, Will Johnson, Anders Parker, Yim Yames have confirmed a one off show. Taking place on January 25th in Glasgow, the quartet will perform as part of the city wide Celtic Connections event.

As if that wasn’t enough, the press release from Rounder promises a massive Library of Congress box set later this year.

‘New Multitudes’ is set to be released on February 21st.

R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe has ruled out attempting to start a solo career, claiming it would sound like “watered-down R.E.M.”

When R.E.M. first emerged, Michael Stipe hid his vocals beneath the mix. Deliberately obscuring his voice, the frontman evolved over time to become an instantly recognisable singer. So when R.E.M. announced their split after a 30 year career, many fans immediately assumed that Michael Stipe would attempt to start a solo career.

However the frontman clearly has other ideas. Giving a series of interviews Michael Stipe has ruled out any potential re-union, and recently denied that he had any plans to launch a solo career. “It’s unfathomable to me right now” he told Rolling Stone. “What would it sound like? Watered-down R.E.M.?”

Looking ahead, the frontman is apparently working on a documentary about the impact the internet has had on celebrity. Michael Stipe continued by teasing fans about potential future careers. Who says I have to be a songwriter? I’m in a place right now where I don’t know what the future holds for me.”

The singer also revealed his feelings when the news finally broke. “I had been under contract since I was 22. I’d been in a band since I was 19. I was experiencing something profound for the first time: freedom. Suddenly, I was a free agent. Mike and I met up two nights later, and he said to me, “This feels liberating.” (Sighs) I was like, “He feels the same way.”

Earlier this month, Michael Stipe claimed that there were “plenty of big fucking clues” that R.E.M. were about to split. Pointing to the sleeve of the band’s final album ‘Collapse Into Now’ the singer argued that R.E.M. had never appeared on their own cover, and suggested that he was waving farewell to fans.

Here’s the cover once again…

The Fall frontman Mark E Smith has offered his verdict on the riots which swept across the country this year.

Strange times for The Fall. But then, isn’t life in The Fall always strange? The band recently released their new album ‘Ersatz GB’ and completed a nationwide tour which saw them play both masterful and chaotic shows. Hitting Edinburgh, Mark E Smith departed from the stage after the opening song, only returning after 40 minutes to blast through ‘Mr Pharmacist’.

However in the main, reviews from the recent shows have been generous. Mark E Smith is leading a stable line up, with The Fall’s current incarnation having been in place for three albums. Giving a series of interviews, the frontman’s barbed, surreal wit has come to the fore with a recent Q&A resulting in some bizarre statements about the summer riots.

Speaking to the BBC, Mark E Smith was asked about disturbances and claimed he “agrees with Colonel Gaddafi” about the riots. “Too much laptops, too much Nescafe, that is what he (Colonel Gaddafi) said, you know,” argued the frontman.

Continuing, Mark E Smith described the riots as “biblical”. “It’s quite biblical actually, it was predicted in the bible, you know” he said. “People are just protesting about what they don’t really know anything about. What makes me laugh is that they always seem very well dressed. They don’t seem very ragged, do they.”

Recently, the legendary post-punk frontman was criticised after admitting to Uncut that he had killed “a couple” of squirrels eating his fence. Animal rights group Peta2 hit out at Mark E Smith, issuing a statement (via NME: “Nothing says inferiority complex like a fully grown man harming a defenceless animal who weighs only a few ounces and whose only defence is to run away.”

“Animals have the same capacity to feel fear and pain that humans do, of course, and they should have the right not to be cruelly attacked and killed by a has-been singer. PETA strongly advises that Mark seek help for his anger issues before anyone else gets hurt and hopes the court throws the book at him.”