The perfect pop song is a bit like the Holy Grail – deep down we all know it doesn’t exist, but that doesn’t stop countless voyagers attempting to find its location.

Mark Sheffield’s own Hey Sholay down amongst the true believes, then. A largely self-propelled, independent phenomenon the band seems to cough up slices of golden melody which last no longer than three minutes.

It’s like an Elephant 6 production, exported to the Steel City. It’s like the finest moments of The Bees, who – despite never being burdened as a critic’s band – have themselves written some of the most perfect pop songs imaginable.

Debut album ‘((0))’ was soft launched over the summer, with a deluxe version set to be released on Fierce Panda this November. New single ‘My Blood’ is a sign of what to expect: flecks of psychedelia, chugging bass and a chorus which swoops and swoons, born Icarus like on the power of its own wings.

Hey Sholay have pressed ‘My Blood’ onto used X-ray acetate for the single release, which is available to order now via the band’s website.

For now, enjoy the video for ‘My Blood’ as a Clash premiere.

Photo Credit: Daniel Rose Design

Mumford & Sons have topped the British charts with their second album 'Babel'.

Here's a curious fact: despite it's enormous success, Mumford & Sons' debut album 'Sigh No More' has never been number one on the British charts. Reaching a peak of number two, it's failure to clinch pole position means that th band have never enjoyed a number one. Until now.

Yep, 'Babel' has seized control of the British album charts. Huge pre-order sales pushed Mumford & Sons ahead of American punks Green Day, and the weekend rush has only served to strengthen the band's position at the top of the official countdown. In all, the band have shifted 159,000 units in just seven days.

Claiming number one with considerable ease, Mumford & Sons have also become the year's fast selling artists with 'Babel' rocketing out the traps. (via Official Chart Company)

Green Day made do with second place for new album 'Uno' while P!nk reached number three. Last week's number one The Killers have fallen to fourth place, with 'Battle Born' managing to stay in the Top Five ahead of Jonathan & Charlotte. The xx sit at number eight with new album 'Coexist', while the Top Ten is rounded out by – what else? – Mumford & Sons' debut album 'Sigh No More'.

The current UK Top Ten albums are:

1. Mumford & Sons – Babel

2. Green Day – Uno

3. P!nk – The Truth About Love

4. The Killers – Battle Born

5. Jonathan & Charlotte – Together

6. The Script – Number 3

7. Emili Sande – Our Version Of Events

8. The xx – CCoexist

9. deadmau5 – Album Title Goes Here

10. Mumford & Sons – Sigh No More

The concept of 'indie' is long lost for people of a certain age.

The same way that electro these days means Deadmau5 instead of Drexciya, indie no longer means music on an independent label. As every label slowly swallowed up by Universal, the importance of labels such as Domino, Heavenly, 4AD and Sonic Cathedral cannot be understated. Whilst every band from Keane to Snow Patrol get bunched together and as stamped indie, real players of this stuff from DIIV and Ghxsts to Twin Shadow and Savages are the true essence of an increasingly less meaningful moniker, rewind 20 years ago and indie actually had a true meaning and you couldn’t get any more indie than Oxford four piece, Ride.

Ride appeared fully packaged; they were young, looked good and were signed to Creation, the coolest label in the country at the time. But despite regular four track EPs and packed gigs something conspired against them. They were in the right place at the wrong time too many times. Their debut album ‘Nowhere’ is as near to a perfect debut you can get but as soon it was released, the grunge epidemic which rendered all bands average occurred pushing Ride back to the fringes. Two years later they released their second and best album, the 1992 classic ‘Going Blank Again’ but this was just a little too early be enable them to join in on the Britpop party from a few months later, a band this introverted could obviously be no match for Brett Anderson’s snake-hips or the gobshite attitude of a young Damon Albarn.

Lightening struck a third time when they released their third album, ‘Carnival of light’ during the Spring of 1994, the steam had gone and their thunder was taken by some Mancunian short arses who shared one eyebrow and by the release of their fourth album, 1996‘s ‘Tarantula’, they’d already split up

Why all this rose tinted bitterness wrapped up and presented as a re-appraisal? Well Ride, one of the first bands to break out of the indie ghetto and into the top ten with spiky indie pop classics such as ‘Leave them all behind’, ‘Chelsea Girl’ & ‘Twisterella’ have had their back catalogue re-mastered and re-released. With bands such as TOY reinterpreting the 20 year old sounds of Ride, we find out what dual lead guitarist and singer Andy Bell thinks of the band he was in prior to joining Oasis.

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I remember hearing Ride back in 1990, their first EPs sowed the seeds of a long time love of guitar bands. I think that’s the same for a lot most Ride fans, how does it feel to knowingly galvanise a big group of kids growing up and establishing their own tastes? Did it feel like most of the people that followed you were your age or where they older?

It feels really good. It does seem like a certain generation of a certain kind of people (who are now 40 year old music nerds) were really affected by Ride's music. Of course we had no idea this was happening at the time. There's no perspective on anything from inside the bubble of being in a band. I do hear more and more of these stories as time goes on. It's great to know that music I was part of making, more than 20 years ago, is still remembered.

'Nowhere‘, ‘Going Blank again‘ and ‘Smile’, a collection of their first shattering EPs are rightly held up as shoegaze classics, when you recorded this material did you think it would have such a long lasting effect on the music’s listeners?

I don't think we expected it 100%, but I know we wanted it to be massive. We saw the records as pop music and saw no reason why they couldn't be as popular as the Beatles' music.

I really loved ‘Carnival of light’ at the time, it felt like a natural progression but with age, it sounds to me that the two main song writers were pulling in totally different directions, this is something you said at the time of the split of the band. Why do you think it got to a point where you were 2 totally different parties in the same band?

Having our songs on different sides of the record was just something that we said we'd do in the middle of a heated argument and it just stayed that way. Our two styles on the record are not even that different. To be honest that period was quite chaotic, there were songs that never made the album that were finished and sounded great but we just forgot! I think we just lost sight of things a bit. For the record I think Mark's songs on it are way better than mine. I was writing my best material on the first two albums and went downhill from there, trying too hard to write certain kinds of songs, that didn't always suit me.

'Carnival’ also contained many long tracks, the first single ‘Birdman’ was seven minutes, the opening track ‘Moonlight Medicine’ featuring Deep Purple’s Jon Lord on keyboards, just as long. Alongside this, was a collaboration with ex Beach Boys manager Jack Rieley as more than before. What instigated the shift from 3 minute perfect pop such as ‘Like A Daydream’ to over-long epics and working with rock music’s past?

I think we saw the band as potentially a 'Pink Floyd'. That’s where it would have gone if we would have stayed together. We were aiming for a 'Wish You Were Here' kind of suite of tracks, that was a vague intention but nothing overt.


Ride – Leave Them All Behind (Live at Brixton Academy – 1992)


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One of the noticeable things that happened around the time of ‘Carnival’ was that almost overnight, Ride weren’t hot, the indie media decided that we shouldn’t like Ride or Primal Scream anymore, we have to like Oasis. Did this sea change feel as drastic and as immediate as it looked to outsiders and what did that change feel like?

I was one of those people. I fell in love with Oasis at first listen and I still love them now. Ride had gone off the boil at the same time, there's no doubt about that.

Do you think any of the internal struggles in the band were the result of Mark being treated as the poster boy and being pushed up front in photographs, sometimes even appearing in them on his own?

One of many reasons. Not the biggest, not by a long shot. It all goes with the territory.

‘Tarantula’ seemed like an attempt to make the kind of record that fans of the big ‘alternative’ acts such at the time such as Oasis, Weller and Ocean Colour Scene would like. Was that the intention when you went into the studio?

No, it was an album that happened very much in our own world. It was an experiment really, a desperate attempt to get some excitement going in the studio after the very long sessions for the previous album. 'Tarantula' was recorded very fast, without any rehearsals, and hoping to find some spontaneous magic. Mark left during the making of the album, the rest of us did our best to save it.

From what I understand, the reason Creation only released it for 2 weeks is that the band were kind of embarrassed by it, was that the case? How do you feel about it now?

I like a couple of things on it, but it doesn't bring back very good memories. The 2 weeks release was the idea of the record company, I don't remember why. It was released after the band had broken up. I guess deleting it quickly was a way of putting a full stop on the band.

Words by Chris Todd

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The 20th anniversary edition of 'Going Blank Again' is out now.

The Joy Division / New Order story is as much about time as it is about music and of all inanimate existences the former is perhaps the cruellest. With its deceptive embrace, one arm has safeguarded the virtually ubiquitous feeling that the timethey took to createtheir now definitiverecords was well spent. But as years have gone by with little prophecy of what lay ahead, the other arm has cast a gloominess that tries to negate the importance of the group’s musical canon. Even though it has failedat this, their thorny and very public fragmentation is unfortunatelyimpossible to avoid.

Did Peter Hook ever imagine himself in this punishing state, segregated from his former band mates of over 4 decades? Probably not, "I’ve known Bernard [Sumner] since I was 11, you get less for murder!" he says with a wry laugh. Sure, your inner-tribalism will have you fighting an impassioned battle for one side or the other, but this fight encompasses the clock’s hapless stroke into post-punk’s most bitter war of ownership, "they use the justification for doing New Order without me by saying I stole Joy Division from them. But they were playing it before us as Bad Lieutenant – I don’t – you’d have to sit them down and ask them the question. He says ‘Oh no because he played the LPs, I played them separately’, I don’t really see the big difference to me, I’m sorry."

Still, playing Joy Division songs live is one of two things that he doesn’t regret doing ("especially Closer – we never got to play it because Ian [Curtis] died").The other is his new book release, 'Joy Division: Unknown Pleasures'. Following the success of 'The Hacienda: How Not to Run a Club', Hook had the confidence to write what probably should have been written first, "I was sick of reading books about Joy Division from people who weren’t there and weren’t involved and it wasn’t fair. I thought, ‘I’m going to put that right".

For Joy Division biographers before, the problem isn’t just their books are post-dated or a posteriori. It’s that they can never quite capture honestly the spirit of Joy Division. They are just voyeurs to the folklore of the band like we are as fans and painting a series of debauched and fatal events doesn’t tell us a lot. This book adds flesh to the band’s story, showing that there was a ‘Joy Division’ before there was the Joy Division. From Hook and Sumner’s school day rebellion to the former assuming him beloved mother’s ‘suffer-no-fools’ personality, it all seems to correlate with what they came to represent as a group – boldness. Joy Division’s essence preceded their collective existence and there is no one that can tell the story better than the members themselves.

Perhaps Hook, with his loquacious personality (which, despite his working class roots makes him seem at home with the white collar ‘1%’of the Groucho Club on the day of this interview) is the best man to tell the story. "I’m not the shy and retiring type", he states, and he never has been. It was his self-confessed bluff side that was sparked when he saw the Sex Pistols play The Lesser Free Trade Hall in 1976, "it just seemed like they were stood in front of a wall of feedback telling everyone to fuck off and at 20 I thought, that’s exactly what I want to do: just tell everyone to fuck off". Lucky for him, he found himself at a record company that wanted to do the same thing.

"The model of Factory as a record company is revered today – people know it won’t work but they revere it because that’s what they’d like to". Joy Division is inextricable to the legacy of Factory Records and though Hook may be called all kinds unflattering epithets, he is loyal to the people that made the band happen in this book, "those people were very, very important to us", Hook continues, "what I found when I got to London records with New Order was that they had narrow vision. They just wanted you to be big artists and hit records. Tony [Wilson} didn’t care about that, he loved it when you were awkward, when we did things that people hated and loved – he had a lot of breadth".

Joy Division – Atmosphere


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But Joy Division wasn’t all a big ‘fuck you’ to ‘the man’ and though Ian Curtis’ passing gives heed to the crude intrigue of the ‘suffering musician’ archetype there is nothing romantic about suicide, "as you get older you realise how ridiculous that is and as I said in the book: ‘a wife lost a husband, a daughter lost a father’, a lot more important things than a poxy group". Realising this, Hook had a revelation of his own, "when I wrote it all out, looking at the timeline as his illness became worse, I actually became more guilty. I thought insanely that I’d write the book and I wouldn’t feel guilty. I finished the book and I was like ‘oh, shit!’ It didn’t work."

With these fleshier moments coupled with the comic ones ("Barney eating in a bath, that’s gonna drive him mad that. He’s going to get asked loads of questions about why he ate in the bath!"), the memories show that Joy Division, at least in part, belongs to Peter Hook. From what started as a boyhood dream and transformed into this incredible reality, he was present through it all. But will his former friends see it this way? He doesn’t expect so. "I think they’ll read the book and they’ll think, ‘I’m going to give my lawyer a call."

The interview comes to a close after 50 minutes though we could probably go the whole day with him waxing lyrical about the peaks and troughs of his band – he’s far from shy about his success, "it always makes me laugh when people accuse me of trading on the past. I always think if you had a fucking past, you'd be trading on it", Hook emphatically spits. But 'Joy Division: Unknown Pleasure' isn’t just Peter Hook collecting some already exhausted stories for a quick pay out. It provides a kind of personal insight that most of us haven’t been privy to until now. "Doing the book was like sweeping a room clean, now I can move on to the next room and start cleaning that one".

"So a New Order Book then?" I ask tentatively.

"I never said it, you said it".

Words by Michelle Kambasha

– – –

'Unknown Pleasures: Inside Joy Division' is out now.

George Michael has been forced to cancel all upcoming Australian shows, acting on advice of doctors.

Battling his way back from a serious bout of pneumonia last year, George Michael is attempting to make his way to stage fitness. Organising a tour of Australia, the singer intended piece together a brand new set for fans. It seems that the repercusions of that recent battle with ill health can still be felt, though, with the singer cancelling all upcoming shows.

Issuing a statement to fans, George Michael confirmed that he has been forced to cancel those Australian shows. George Michael explained that the decision "breaks my heart" but the singer was forced to obey doctor's orders. The full statement reads:

– – –

I have today announced the cancellation of the shows in Australia which breaks my heart. By way of explanation all I can say at this time is that since last year's illness I have tried in vain to work my way through the trauma that the doctors who saved my life warned me I would experience. They recommended complete rest and the type of post traumatic counselling which is available in cases like mine but I'm afraid I believed (wrongly) that making music and getting out there to perform for the audiences that bring me such joy would be therapy enough in itself. Unfortunately I seriously underestimated how difficult this year would be and although I was right to believe that the shows would bring me great happiness and that my voice would recover completely (I truly think that some of my recent performances have been my best ever) I was wrong to think I could work my way through the major anxiety that has plagued me since I left Austria last December.

All that's left for me to do is apologise to my wonderful Australian fan base and to promise faithfully that as soon as I completed these shows here in the UK I will receive the treatment which is so long overdue.

— George Michael

Supergrass are set to re-unite next Wednesday (October 3rd) in order to honour Oxford venue the Jericho Tavern.

Oxford has a small, tight-knit music scene. Home to iconic acts – step forward Radiohead – and cult heroes – hello, Tallulah Gosh – the city has fostered an artistic community which rests only a handful of venues. Next week, one of those venues is set to be honoured for its role.

PRS For Music are set to award Supergrass with a heritage plaque, to sit above the city's famed watering hole The Jericho Tavern. Founding member Mick Quinn commented: “Everyone aspired to play the venue back in the day and I remember seeing my brother's band This Way Up play there as early as 1983. We received our first positive reviews as Theodore Supergrass at the Jericho in 1994, when the promoter Maccy burst into the dressing room after our gig telling us, “You've got it!” Soon after, the feeding frenzy of record company A&R men started.”

Guy Fletcher, PRS Chair commented: “It’s a rare talent that epitomises the feeling and energy of an entire decade. Supergrass were so much a part of our soundtrack to the 90’s and the guys worked incredibly hard. Their output was impressive and it is a genuine privilege to be presenting the group with this well deserved award. Oxford is an important hub for British music and live music venues like the Jericho Tavern need to be celebrated. It’s going to be a really special day.”

Taking place on Wednesday (October 3rd) the full line up of Supergrass are set to re-unite for a special ceremony at the Jericho Tavern. As if that wasn't enough, frontman turned solo performer Gaz Coombes is set to return to the city tomorrow night (September 28th).

Playing a date at the O2 Academy, we have a pair of tickets to give away. If you fancy entering simply Tweet @clash_music with the tag #supergrassoxford.

Here's 'Richard III'.

Taking time off from Vampire Weekend, Chris Baio decided to indulge his secret passion.

A long time DJ, record hoarder and House evangelist the producer recently unveiled a new pseudonym – Baio – and a solo EP. Sun drenched house symposiums, it's gentle pull and tug won admiring glances from dance cognoscenti and Vampire Weekend fans alike.

Spawning a handful of mixes, Session Victim recently strolled in to re-work 'Sunburn Modern'. Stretching out its house vibrations, the remix has a tribal, percussive feel without losing sight of the original's gaping, wide eyed innocence.

Handed to Clash as an exclusive, you can listen to the track below.

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'Baio' is out now.

For their part, Session Victim are teaming up with for a Stattbad party. Taking place tomorrow night (September 29th) the bill is headed up by a five hour DJ set courtesy of Daphni.

Event link.

Let’s get this out of the way first: Echo Lake have been put through more in one year than any band should really have to bear.

The tragic death of drummer Pete Hayes came just as their debut album ‘Wild Peace’ earned its general release, pushing the group into a period of seclusion when they should have been basking in the spotlight.

For a while, it seemed that they might not return. Taking their time, Echo Lake grieved in private before setting their course once more. On Monday (October 1st) the band are set to complete their first show in months, playing a late (but richly deserved) album launch at London venue the Lexington. Speaking on the phone, singer Linda Jarvis obviously finds it difficult to discuss the past six months in the band, but what shines through is her resolution to continue. “I think we always knew that we would keep playing but we've obviously had to make a few changes” she explains. “I think when that kind of thing happens you realise the things that are important to you and weave always thought it was important to keep playing. Obviously we took some time off. We've had to make a few changes now with this tour – some of our other band members couldn't come on the tour through work and various other reasons so we've pretty much got a new line up”.

Run on a shoestring budget, Echo Lake recorded debut album ‘Wild Peace’ in fits and spurts. What shines through, though, is the sound of the young band realising their potential; of ideas being recognised, embraced and realised. Perhaps one of the year’s most impressive dream pop documents – and there’s a lot of them about – ‘Wild Peace’ almost demands to be recognised.

Hopefully these new dates will earn Echo Lake a wider audience. Run on a shoestring budget, the tour has taken a while to organise, and has forced the band to re-organise. “ We've only done smaller tours in the past, mostly supporting other people as well, so it’s our first tour where we’re headlining most of the gigs” Linda Jarvis says. “It’s really hard. You've got to take the time off work, it’s costing us money and it’s a lot of organisation”.

It’s a risk worth taking. At their best a profoundly beautiful live experience, Echo Lake are focussing on one date at a time. Sadly, though, their mis-fortune has continued: Jarvis recently crashed on her bike, breaking a collarbone in the process. “It was pretty nasty. It wasn't my fault, it was just that another cyclist didn't turn their head before pulling out” she sighs. “I had just come down a hill so I was going pretty fast, smashed right into her and had to have surgery”.

The singer can see an upside, however. “I don’t need to carry my amp!” she laughs. “So we’re playing with Tom on guitar and our friend Will is playing bass. I’m playing keyboards – mostly with one hand but I’ll see how it goes, I might be able to play with two”. Re-learning their material, Echo Lake are adjusting and preening their live show. “ We've had to learn our current songs first so we’re pretty much playing our first album on this tour” she says. “The way we’re playing them live at the moment, most of them are the same tracks which we've been playing for a year or longer. They’re sounding quite different now so hopefully people who’ve heard us before will still find it quite exciting”.


Echo Lake – In Dreams


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Continually evolving, accepting and denying new influences Echo Lake have apparently been stockpiling sketches for new material. Guitarist Thom Hill leads the way, handing Linda Jarvis brush strokes of reverb coated guitar lines to work with. “Because it took so long to actually get the album out we've already got stuff written” she says. “Tom’s been writing the second album, I think he’s like 12 tracks into it at the moment. We’re working on the second album at the moment. It’s kind of just like having a cup of tea, he just pours the guitar lines.”

“We don’t really go to a studio we just record at home” she continues. “So we kind of fit it around all our other stuff. We’ll still be rehearsing and playing shows at the same time – I don’t think we need to do that kind of thing where you go to the studio for a month and record your album because we kind of record and write as it comes. We don’t really need to take time off to record, we can continue touring, I think.”

In addition to her musical work, Linda Jarvis is also a talented artist. Currently working on a backdrop for the Lexington show, the singer is typically bashful when explaining her work. “ I'm designing it. I've done all the designs for the posters and most of our artwork, but I think I'm going to do something pretty simple” she explains. “ I'm just going to be some material and some paint, I don’t think it’s going to be very exciting. Maybe some of the venues will have smoke machines or something!”

‘Wild Peace’ is out now.

Echo Lake are set to play the following shows:

October
1 London The Lexington
5 Brighton Green Door Store
8 Manchester The Castle
9 Glasgow Captain's Rest
10 Dublin The Workman's Club
11 Liverpool Leaf
12 York The Basement
13 Cambridge The Portland Arms
16 London Dingwalls (with The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart)
18 Oxford The Bullingdon Arms
19 Birmingham Hare & Hounds
20 Cardiff SWN Festival

Click here to buy tickets for Echo Lake!

 

The Line Of Best Fit editor Rich Thane has set up a Just Giving page in memory of Pete Hayes. Find it HERE.

Blink and you'll miss 'em. Fast Years are aptly named.

The Brooklyn group made their move at the start of the year, playing a series of dates with Rough Trade hopefuls Howler. Attracting attention, the group released debut EP 'Women' this summer – all quick fire riffs and corrosive lyrics it marked the band out as ones to watch. Currently plotting their next move, Fast Years recently shot a new video.

'Stolen Love' is a little softer than fans might be used to, but its tender balladry betrays a party-hardened heart of stone. A video that'll have you wondering just why you’ve lost a fair bit of your flexibility in your mid 20’s, watch 'Stolen Love' below.

AlunaGeorge have unveiled a pair of remixes courtesy of Friendly Fires and Duke Dumont – listen to them below.

Almost since their inception, AlunaGeorge have been prime fodder for remixes. Leaving plenty of space in their music, several guest producers have already stepped in to add new dimensions to the duo's output. As a Friday gift to fans, AlunaGeorge have now unveiled two fresh remixes.

Friendly Fires have stepped in to re-work 'Your Drums, Your Love' adding a hands-in-the-air house favour to the recent single – stream it below.

Alongside this, Turbo producer Duke Dumont has stepped in to add some extra weight to 'Your Drums, Your Love'.

Listen to it in yonder embed:

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Elsewhere, AlunaGeorge have outlined plans for a nationwide tour. Opening in Birmingham, the tour visits Glasgow, Nottingham, Bristol, Leeds and more. Ending with a visit to Brighton on November 24th, tickets for all shows are on sale now.

AlunaGeorge are set to play the following shows:

November
15 Birmingham Hare & Hounds
16 Glasgow The Hug And Pint
17 Nottingham Stealth vs Rescued
18 Bristol Start The Bus
20 Leeds A Nation of Shopkeepers
21 Manchester Deaf Institute
22 London Hoxton Bar & Kitchen
24 Brighton Coalition

Click here to buy tickets for AlunaGeorge!