It’s the end of another month, so let’s look over some of the best LPs that have been…

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Holden – ‘The Inheritors’
(Border Community)

“‘The Inheritors’ conjures a shamanistic English dreamtime of pulsing polyrhythms and warped melodies. Composed entirely of first takes, its exotic woodwinds, céilidh reels and offbeat orchestration intensifies each track with a vitality and immediacy which thrillingly threatens to career into chaos.” (Read the full Clash review)

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Fuck Buttons – ‘Slow Focus’
(ATP Recordings)

“Album three from London’s Fuck Buttons finds Andrew Hung and Benjamin Power crafting their brutish electronica in new shades. Technical elements might share similarities with previous work, but the sentiments expressed are of a distinctly darker design. Easy on the ear it isn’t, but ‘Slow Focus’ carves its name into the synapses nonetheless, like some sort of unstoppable, power-electronics ‘In Utero’.” (Read the full Clash review)

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Kirin J Callinan – ‘Embracism’
(Terrible Records)

“‘Embracism’ is honest in a way that most LPs are ashamed to attempt. And as the record develops, you’ll realise Callinan is not like most: his songwriting is draws on a wealth of raw personal experiences, brimming with the exuberance of someone creatively unleashed.” (Read the full Clash review)

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Maps – ‘Vicissitude’

“The theme here is one of acceptance and moving on, a realisation that sometimes you have to set yourself free in order to grow. Those reflections are delivered with a quiet, numbed resignation by James Chapman in an atmospheric, wide-screen take on melancholia.” (Read the full Clash review)

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Benin City – ‘Fires In The Park’
(Audio Doughnuts)

“Richly sonorous brass, sprinkles of chiming electronic melodies, streetwise lyrics that cover everything from the Thames to Facebook status updates, hip-hop, the euphoric jerky unpredictability of bass and dubstep: it’s all to be found, improbably working together just fine, on ‘Fires In The Park’.” (Read the full Clash review)

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Pet Shop Boys – ‘Electric’

“‘Electric’ is Pet Shop Boys’ most energetic and relentlessly hands-in-the-air music in 20 years. While familiar musical tropes abound, this is not that last vestige of the desperate fame-hunter: limp re-treads of what has gone before. They’re reborn, revitalised, and really rather good.” (Read the full Clash review)

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Maya Jane Coles – ‘Comfort’

“With its gently lilting title-track kicking off this deepest of journeys, Maya Jane Coles propels us into her obsessively quilled house music odyssey. House music’s fire will never go out. And this pack of rhythmic aces can only help fan its hypnotic flames.” (Read the full Clash review)

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The Icarus Line – ‘Slave Vows’

“Having edged from the primal roars of ‘Mono’ to a sound slightly more refined on second set ‘Penance Soireé’ (2004), The Icarus Line always exhibited evolution between releases. But this is a substantial progression, impact wise, from the comparatively timid swagger of ‘Wildlife’. There’s a much greater energy to proceedings here, which successfully infects the listening gear on a first spin, effortlessly encouraging repeat plays.” (Read the full Clash review)

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Huxley has stepped in to remix rising Edinburgh based producer Leon T Pearl – check it out below.

Edinburgh's club culture is much mis-represented. Often sitting in the shade of its West Coast cousin, the Scottish capital has a thriving network of clubs, promoters, producers and record shops.

Born in London, Leon T Pearl was raised in the shadow of Edinburgh castle. Coming of age in a city small enough to allow house music, bass culture and pop to overlap, it's clearly left a mark on the rising producer.

Far more than the sum of his youthful clubbing, the producer has a questing, restless spirit. Recently working with Nicolas Jaar in the United States, Pearl then travelled to Tokyo for a short spell in the Japanese city.

Returning to Edinburgh, the producer's 2-Step inspired approach has been refined to a razor-sharp edge. New single 'Take You To Market' will be released on August 12th via the newly minted Method Records, with Huxley stepping in on remix duties.

Self-deprecating pop delivered with a wink and a nudge, 'Take You To Market' is given a heavy bass edge which bolsters the bubbling house rhythms. Contagious, it's something you won't shrug off easily – listen to it below.

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Two Door Cinema Club's Alex Trimble is set to launch an exhibition of his photography.

One of the biggest groups in the country, Two Door Cinema Club normally spend their summer slaying the festival circuit. Sure, they're still knocking down the odd Albion field or two, but the band's Alex Trimble has decided to launch a new project.

Taking a road trip last year with close friend Jamie William, Trimble took his camera with him. Travelling across the United States, the pair captured another side of American life as they travelled.

Named in honour of the vehicle which propelled them, 'Mustang Margaritas' contains the best of these images. Held at the Gazelli Art House on Dover St, London the exhibition runs between August 20th and 21st.

Alex Trimble: "To get lost and found again through the lens of a camera, escaping life as we live it with a close friend is an unforgettable experience that I dearly wish to share with people through these pictures".

Also available as a collection of A6 postcards presented in a hand finished block foiled box, produced and sold by Manchester based company POLITE, signed copies will shortly be available online as part of a Facebook competition.

'Mustang Margaritas' runs between August 20th – 21st.

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Small is beautiful. This isn’t just Clash’s five-foot-six reviewer boasting, though – we’re talking festivals, and the intimate ‘boutique’ gathering, Beat-Herder, is as stunning as they come. It operates outside the ‘corporate world of cock’, according to its programme, so instead of brash advertisements littering the scenery there’s art installations, quirky speakeasy bars, and bespoke stalls wherever the eye wanders.

Lots of love goes in to every detail, and inclusive friendliness oozes from the surroundings. Whether you’ve come to see Stanton Warriors’ abrasive breakbeats shaking this green and pleasant land, or to nestle yourself in the purpose-built Working Man’s Club for an ale and an earful of folk, we’re all herded comfortably together under the same banner. As an added bonus, unlike the wash-out of 2012, this time the site’s bathed in golden sunshine – probably ordered by the super-efficient organisers to make Jimmy Cliff feel at home before his Sunday headline set.

Truth is, for a boutique festival Beat-Herder’s getting pretty big. The secret’s nearly out. There’s even an extra field acquired this year, 12 stages, and rumours of 30,000 attendees. The line-up too is deceptively big for a small site. Stages are hidden away in forests and tiny tents, but mixing therein are the likes of Shackleton, Bondax,  Dub Pistols, and the king of eclectic marathon sets, Mr Scruff.  The first night is even capped off with a huge set from legendary big-beat icons Groove Armada, who get everyone raving in unison by pulling out ‘Superstylin’’ et al amid a huge light show.

For fans of bands, this year belongs to Kettering psych-meets-prog outfit Temples, who bring out a befittingly colourful set in the new field on Saturday as part of the Maison D’Etre line-up. With an album on the way, their trippy ‘70s-influenced sound is super tight, and recent single ‘Colours To Life’ – a foot-stomping T.Rex-style stormer – is a big hitter in this sunken-roofed tent. Fellow Heavenly labelmates TOY pull off a tinnitus-inducing set in the same tent, with their distorted krautrock blasting full force from the speakers. Their self-titled debut’s finer moments are near mosh-inducing – ‘Motoring’, ‘Kopter’, and ‘Lose My Way’ make people lose their shoes. Bristol’s live dance band The Other Tribe bring the party vibes to the main stage in a standout performance as well – tribal paint, Indian headdresses, more energy than any fizzy drink that gives you wings.

The best of the fest however is Jimmy Cliff. Despite being in his 60s, the reggae legend radiates youthfulness and positivity. He dances around the stage clad in a Jamaican scarf and sings the classic ‘Wonderful World, Beautiful People’ to a crowd enjoying the best life has to offer. It’s a show concentrating on the greatest hits in the huge back-catalogue at his disposal, plus a few choice cuts from last year’s ‘Rebirth’ album. With the sun setting ‘You Can Get It If You Really Want’, and ‘I Can See Clearly Now’ perfectly fit the optimistic tone of the whole weekend. 

So make sure you go next year – it’s the biggest small festival around!

Words: Simon Butcher

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It’s with an eager heart that Clash returns to The Secret Garden Party for the event’s 10th and biggest year. And it certainly does not disappoint.

‘Superstition’ is 2013’s theme, and as ever SGP goes at it with gusto. Brilliantly illustrated guidebooks presented as occult texts, a pirate ship overcome by a huge kraken, a flame-spitting amphibious minotaur car: all sights the average punter can absorb within five minutes of stepping on site.

But let’s not forget the tunes. Warming things up Thursday night is the eclectic combination of The Brass Funkeys, The Asbo Disco and Mystery Jets.

Like previous SGPs, there’s no feeling of obligation to head to the main stage the majority of the time – over 19 stages of music, performance and talks cover the tastes of all present. While Bastille prove a popular choice on Friday evening, as many happily get their groove on to Kb & Airayd at the Dance Off stage.

With dawn comes the opportunity to restore body and mind, with yoga lessons available in the middle of the lake and discussions on mindfulness presented by Now Festival. Later on, while Willy Mason delivers Americana to the main stage, a very British David Icke passionately challenges people to confront how they perceive their world and government… while also throwing in lizards and holographic versions of ourselves.

At six, Youth Lagoon bring the chill factor, followed by special guests Dreadzone, a sure-fire crowd winner only booked 48 hours before their stage time.

At 10 comes the weekend's highlight: Big Burn, a 20-minute firework show orchestrated by the team that handled the Olympics’ sky lighting display. Accompanied by the national anthem, classical and more contemporary tracks, the eye-singeing display ends with the lake's pirate ship bursting into flames before sinking beneath the water, kraken and all.

Barely a five-minute break is had before Faithless erupt into a headlining PA/DJ set, expertly adapting their material to fit the duo of Sister Bliss and Maxi Jazz. While Jazz remains as effortlessly cool as ever, it’s Bliss who truly shows the kids how it's done.

Sunday morning sees many disco casualties littering the ground. But the strong take part in naked trampolining, or get introspective with Jamie N Commons’ brilliant bluesy numbers. Headliner Regina Spektor throws a diva fit, forcing Clean Bandit to cancel their set in fear of too much “floating bass”. In retaliation, many flee into Goldie’s arms to kick it old skool.

Natty Congeroo & The Flames of Rhythm finish proceedings nicely with a high-octane mix of swing, jazz, mambo and Harlem stride. And then, midnight: the witching hour. It’s an appropriate theme-matching time to finish four days of colourful and, quite frankly, insane activity. The unwashed leave the campsites, grinning, tired and so very up for next year. 

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Words: Sam Walker-Smart

Photos: Matt Wash

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TV On The Radio lynchpin Dave Sitek is set to launch a remix project featuring the likes of CSS, Freddie Gibbs, Kelis, Scarlet Johansson.

Dave Sitek has always been keen to attempt something new. Able to explode expectations, the producer has worked with everyone from TV On The Radio to Beady Eye, winning critical praise at every turn.

Yet his new project is intriguing, even by his own standards. Using his label Federal Prism as a base, Dave Sitek plans on release stems from high profile artists as free downloads and inviting fans to craft their own remixes.

There are no boundaries on the project, which has echoes of the Open Source movement – in fact, grime crew Butterz have utilised similar techniques to encourage innovation within their own scene.

In a statement on the label's SoundCloud the producer posted a mission statement for the project:

"Somewhere along the line music became 'content'… It's my full intention to bring it back to music again! I believe in the power of song. Under the spell of the right song, passion is within reach…love is close by…and you are not alone! With such potency, music should be treated with care. The sound, the feel, the presentation … everything! It is a medicine. It is a teacher! With Federal Prism I want to make hand-held music, undiminished by the need to make everybody in the world listen at once. The goal is to ride into the sunset, stereo blasting, and all of what's got you worried will disappear in the rear view mirror! If you can feel what I'm saying , this music is for you."

A few hours ago Dave Sitek posted stems from TV On The Radio's 'Mercy' with material from CSS, Freddie Gibbs, Kelis, Scarlet Johansson and more to follow swiftly.

Get involved HERE.

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Any Icelandic band that makes widescreen, expansive music is inevitably going to be compared to Sigur Rós. But in the case of teenage trio Samaris, such a parallel might actually be justified.

This self-titled debut album, combining previous EPs ‘Hljóma Þú’ and ‘Stofnar Falla’ with a quartet of remixes, draws heavily upon the ambitious, genre-shattering approach favoured by Jónsi and pals.

There’s an almost jazzy feel to some of the tracks, in the way they progress slowly and non-conventionally towards their intended targets. It’s an intoxicating experience, with each new listen drawing you in and inviting you to hear almost inconsequential accoutrements that had previously gone unnoticed.

However, it’s not entirely a resounding success – the lack of any strong melodies to latch onto means that it’s often more a work of texture and form, and the almost ephemeral nature of tracks means they have a tendency to vanish into the ether once the record’s stopped spinning.

This is an auspicious start, but it too often seems that Samaris lack the inherent ability to fully realise their ambitions.


Words: Joe Rivers

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Brolin has stepped in to provide a smooth remix of Chloe Howl's new single 'No Strings'.

Chloe Howl is honest: explicitly, endearing and sometimes embarrassingly so. It's something which filters through to her music, matching the underground awareness of Jessie Ware with Lily Allen's filthy wit.

Except – y'know – ginger. New single 'No Strings' is the sort of wicked imagination which makes boys blush, which rips apart expectations placed on young female artists.

"I guess people don’t expect 18 year olds to own up and say: Oh hey guys! Yeah I drink alcohol and fool around," Howl says. "I don’t see the point in pretending this kind of stuff isn’t going on and acting as though everything’s like Glee. I’m my age so I’m gonna talk about how gross it is to be my age".

Out on August 26th, the track has been given a remix by Brolin. Languid textures and vocal effects combine to provide that late evening, hazy summer feel with the producer retaining the essential sexuality of the original.

It's enticing stuff – listen to it now.

'No Strings' is set to be released on August 26th.

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Three men dressed in black spandex, decorated with studs and sporting the make-up of unhappy clowns are going through the motions on a stage that overlooks a fjord. In front of them, audience members who were probably not even alive when the band formed show their appreciation as the sun’s rays catch a wall of dried ice.

Clash is witnessing Norwegian black metal statesmen Immortal, founded in 1990 and living up to their name. They’re Norway’s version of a ‘heritage’ act and make for a pleasant change to many of the Madchester bands recently resurrected to cash in on the British festival circuit.

But Immortal struggle to live up to the brilliance of local band Shining, whose weird time signatures, obnoxious sax interludes and tight musicianship makes them one of the highlights of Slottsfjell’s three days. 

The festival’s bookers like to mix it up, and its relatively intimate size – 12,000 punters, a short walk between stages – is to its benefit. The line-up involves a musical alchemy that manages to combine some of the best talent in Norway with unusual veterans and a healthy dose of newcomers.

This festival is not so much about individual tastes, more about the opportunity to experience a diverse bill with the best audience in Norway. Unlike the Oslo hipsters, the Tønsberg crowds know how to show their appreciation, and rather than hanging out in the camping area guzzling moonshine like their northern brethren, these people are committed to checking out the full musical offering.

At times their enthusiasm seems misplaced – the sing-along stadium plod of Imagine Dragons or the pedestrian Swedish singer-songwriter The Tallest Man On Earth spring to mind. But more often, pleasant surprises are discovered. Truls, a portly former metaller turned falsetto pop singer, wins over the mainly female audience, coming on like the revived spirit of Barry White.

In the mosh pit for Kvelertak, Clash realises just how diverse this crowd is. Looking up after something grazes our heads, we see a 16-year-old girl crowd-surfing, sober. No RnB pish pumping out of her phone – she’s one beside the typical array of tattooed guitar fiends.

At this year’s Slottsfjell, it is overwhelmingly the Norwegians who provide the highlights, with the showmanship of Kaizers Orchestra, the warmth of rap duo Carpe Diem and the festival’s closing set by Susanna Sundfør adding to the great performances by Kvelertak, Shining and Truls.

From an outsider’s perspective, they look and sound better than many of the British buzz acts, such as Alt-J, Daughter and Dan Croll, who are rather unexciting and frequently look like their mothers dress them.

Nevertheless, fellow Brits Hot Chip deliver a performance befitting of the seasoned festival veterans they have become, lifting the atmosphere and bringing joy to the day. Add to this an impressive headline show by Scottish rock gods Biffy Clyro, who have been around almost as long as Immortal, and you have the makings of another great Slottsfjell.

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Words: Olaf Furniss

Photos: Jannica Honey

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Jonathan Wilson is set to release his new album 'Fanfare' through Bella Union on October 14th.

Hailed as updating the classic Laurel Canyon sound, in reality Jonathan Wilson is a far more complex, idiosyncratic entity. Sure, there are shades of that pastoral early 70s sound and even psychedelia, but the West Coast artist seems to continually play between influence and identity, tradition and possibility.

The songwriter's Bella Union debut 'Gentle Spirit' was a triumphant success, a tour de force of sunset-hued songcraft. Now Jonathan Wilson is ready to unfurl his next full length, with 'Fanfare' set to be released on October 14th.

"From the initial idea of the record, I knew I wanted a concert Steinway piano to be the centerpiece – the beating heart – of 'Fanfare'. I was going for this sort of 'widescreen' sound" he explains in a press statement. "I wanted strings, horns, vibes, voices, solos, improvisation and a full orchestra on some of the tunes… Having that 9-foot Steinway was central to achieving the sound that I wanted."

Featuring contributions from Graham Nash, David Crosby, Jackson Browne, Josh Tillman (aka Father John Misty), Wilco’s Patrick Sansone, Dawes' Taylor Goldsmith and more, 'Fanfare' certainly seems to be reaching for a lush sound.

Album cut 'Gentle Spirit' is available to stream online, a spiralling, butter-soft piece of artistry which seems to shift and evolve over its seven minute (!) length.

Listen to it now.

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