"Good girls go to heaven, bad girls go everywhere" – Helen Gurley Brown.

Hailing from Sweden, Everywhere seem to impact a perfectionist sensibility on each new step. Pop in the loosest, grandest sense of the word, their's is a widescreen sound, a cinematic flair.

New track 'Soldier' is a case in point. Taken from upcoming EP 'American Grandeur' it's a piano led stomper, with Everywhere displaying a rhythmic dexterity to match their contagious melodic touch.

A song detailing the pressure to attain perfection in day-to-day life, the video for the track re-envisages this struggle as a genuine battle. For the shoot frontman Max Berga was forced to wear combat fatigues before eventually storming through the swamps of Gothenburg in little more than his birthday shoot.

Watch it below.

'American Grandeur' is set to be released on November 11th via Trompe L’oeill Records.

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Few come louder. Back with an ear-splitting bang, Brooklyn duo Sleigh Bells release their third studio album, ‘Bitter Rivals’, on October 7th.

The new album follows 2010’s ‘Treats’ (Clash review) and 2012’s US top-20 hit ‘Reign Of Terror’, and finds the pair – Alexis Krauss (vocals) and Derek E. Miller (guitars, production) – on perhaps unexpectedly melodic form. Sure, they’re still making a mighty racket. But this time it’s different. This blistering rock has got some sugary pop to it, and that’s nothing to be ashamed of.

Clash catches up with Krauss to talk zesty sing-alongs and dance routines…

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Sleigh Bells, ‘Bitter Rivals’, from the album ‘Bitter Rivals’

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‘Bitter Rivals’ feels like a pretty summery album, a lot easier on the ear than some of your harsher material. Does it feel right to get this out before the sun completely disappears for the winter?

Well, I’ve never really thought of music as being suitable for specific seasons, but it’s true that there are always certain songs that remind you of summer, and stir inside you a celebratory feeling. And I do feel that ‘Bitter Rivals’, the song, has a sense of empowerment about it. I think it’s a song that people will want to put on in their car, with the windows down.

I think we could have put the song out at any time, but as we were getting this new album ready, I thought that it’d be good to get it out for the end of summer – when everyone is going back to school, and back to work – so that it hopefully becomes this sort of anthem for the beginning of something new, in that sense. It has a lot of energy to it, so in that sense it’s more of a summer song than a winter one.

So what is this zestier album sound down to, then? Compared to your last album, ‘Reign Of Terror’, ‘Bitter Rivals’ is so much… well, I suppose brighter. It’s less dense, if you see what I’m trying to say.

Absolutely! Musically, and lyrically, ‘Reign Of Terror’ was a very dark record. It was extremely dense, and heavy, and a lot of the lyrics were bleak, reflecting a period in Derek’s life of extreme personal loss, and personal tragedy. So that record was a kind of musical therapy, I think. This time, though, we’re definitely in a different place, with newfound strength, and energy, and joy and excitement.

This album is a true collaboration, too. Derek and I were working together in a way we’d not done before, and we found a lot of new excitement just through that collaboration. And this might sound silly, but we started boxing, pretty seriously, during the making of this album. Neither of us is getting in the ring any time soon, but before we went into the studio we’d go and box. And there’s something really inspiring about waking up and having that natural serotonin release and then having a really productive day in the studio.

So the way we were living our lives, and the excitement we were feeling, that definitely inspired us to make music that’s brighter. We’re not ashamed to say that this record is poppier than what we’ve done before. Sonically, it tends towards R&B more than before, but there are still lots of aggressive moments, as showcased on the song ‘Bitter Rivals’.

I think this record is more in the vein of ‘Treats’, as hopefully people will feel strong and empowered when they hear it. Maybe it’s something they put on with friends and let themselves go to. ‘Reign Of Terror’ was definitely harder to listen to without being distracted by the darkness of the lyrics. This record still feels like a fight, it still has that pugnacious energy to it – but it feels like a fight we can win this time, rather than a losing battle.

You were touring ‘Reign Of Terror’ until the start of 2013. ‘Bitter Rivals’ must have come together fairly quickly, then, for it to make its release date. Were you working on a lot of this material while on the road?

It did come together quickly, yeah. It was a very quick turnaround. We started actually working on this material midway through the touring cycle for ‘Reign Of Terror’, and whenever we had more than just a day off we’d book some studio time in Brooklyn with our engineer, Shane Stoneback, and we’d work on some new songs. That was getting us really pumped, and really re-energising us.

We had a long, rigorous touring cycle – but we officially came off the road after The Big Day Out in Australia, and went straight into the studio full time. That was from early February until June. We took our time with this – even though it was quick! It didn’t feel rushed.

We recorded 14 or 15 songs, and we loved them all, but decided in the end that we’d go with those final 10 songs that are on the record. They were the most fitting and appropriate tracks. All of our records are pretty brief, so I think that’s pretty consistent, and ‘Bitter Rivals’ feels really compact.

We’re already working on new songs for a fourth record, actually. We don’t like taking breaks, y’know! We’re constantly working on material, instead of waiting to work on material because it’s not what our record label wants us to do. Maybe it’s more intriguing when a band does go away for a while between records, and people start to wonder about them. But that isn’t really our style – we’d rather put music out and get on the road again.

You have to be careful, going away for too long. Absence might be said to make the heart grow fonder, but in music, chances are a New Favourite Band will come and take your place with the fans…

Yeah, there’s so much music out there, so it’s really hard to make it as a lasting band. But, y’know, some of the time bands are their own worst enemies. I know bands that have let internal turmoil destroy them. Derek and I have been very fortunate. It’s just the two of us, and we’re very close friends. We get a lot of our issues out there on the table, with a lot of open communication. So I think that a lot of the reasons why bands need time away from each other, we don’t feel them. We live our lives, our musical lives, in a way where we want to keep working together.

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Sleigh Bells, ‘Comeback Kid’, from the album ‘Reign Of Terror’

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You said earlier on that you hope people are empowered by ‘Bitter Rivals’. I wonder if there are any key themes at play, across the tracks? I read an amusing little MTV piece that drew parallels between your lyrics and the works of Shakespeare…

(Laughs) I didn’t see that! That’s probably a first. Well, Derek writes a lot of the lyrics, and the way that we work is that we’ll do the track and have, like, a Word document full of lyrics. A lot of them are stream of consciousness, just fun wordplay. They’re not particularly deep, always. I’ll take what we have home and naturally gravitate towards what I feel is strongest. And then we’ll arrange the lyrics in a way that complements the melodies.

I’m not saying that our lyrics are secondary, as by far this new album is lyrically the most cohesive one we’ve done, with some of Derek’s best work on it. But we’re arranging them in a way that gives them this spontaneous quality. They don’t represent a narrative, they don’t tell a story. One of the most exciting things about this record is that it’s full of surprises. There are unexpected directions to come – and the title track is one of the most straightforward songs on there. A lot of the other songs, they’ve got these random lyrical moments, which might be a shout here or something that takes the track in a totally different direction.

So, we’re not writing to an overriding theme. One of our idols is Bruce Springsteen, so we appreciate great lyrics and great storytelling – there’s no better lyrical storyteller than him. But for our music, it’s always been about how everything works together, how the lyrics integrate with the music. The lyrics support the kick drum, and the percussion.

A lot of the lyrics here have a sort of singsong-y delivery, and there are some traditional, melodic moments – something more like Janet Jackson or Beyoncé, these classic R&B divas (laughs). I’m trying to use my voice in a way that’s comfortable for me, as I grew up singing soul and R&B, and my idols have always been people like Jackie Wilson and Etta James. There are definitely melodies that you can sing along to on this record, and I think that’s a blast.

You spent some time at theatre school, right…?

Yeah. My father’s been a musician my whole life, and he still is, that’s what he does. I grew up singing with him – but the first thing I ever really wanted to do, with my voice, was sing on Broadway. I auditioned for many things as a pretty young child, when I was as young as nine, and from there is how I ended up getting unexpectedly involved in the teen-pop world. That was my professional entry into music – and I learned a lot from it, but it was not the way that I’d foreseen things going! So I stepped away from that, and took some time out from the music business.

Well, I asked about that as, to look at your music videos, it seems you’ve a thing for dance routines. I wonder if fans come down and re-enact them?

(Laughs) We have a couple of choreographed moments in the video for ‘Comeback Kid’, and there have definitely been some diehard fans at shows trying those moves.

For the video to ‘Bitter Rivals’, I thought it would be hilarious to have me with some back-up dancers. I was watching a lot of old-school Tina Turner videos, with her with two or four girls, and it’s just so magical when it works. I kind of wanted to pay homage to that, to the traditional girl-group formation.

But I think that also comes from… Well, there’s an element to our live shows that’s really over the top, and almost ridiculous. And that’s something we’ve embraced! We’ve never wanted to take this too seriously – that’s not to say we don’t always want to give people the best show that we can, just that we want to deliver that theatricality. When we get on stage, we really want to put on a show. I’m not interested in just standing there, looking at the floor and moaning, or even singing everything perfectly. I’d rather get up there and create this storm of energy and chaos.

Well, I’ve seen that first hand. You say about being on the stage – I’ve certainly seen you off it, too, in the crowd, rather lost in the moment…

(Laughs) Yeah, I do tend to get a little caught up in it, for sure.

I see you’re doing a show with Danny Brown, in New York in November – is he allowed into Canada again, yet? (Clash news here)

I don’t know! But Canada’s so funny. I know so many people in this business, like tour managers right here in New York, who’ve been blocked from entering Canada because of this tiny arbitrary reason or whatever. It’s madness. The border security there… Sometimes you’ll get a routine inspection and they let you right on through, but other times you’ll get someone who just wants to give you a hard time. And I know people who have something really minor on their record, which might’ve happened 10 years ago, who have no problems crossing for years, but then they get that one guard… “Oh, you have this? Oh, you’re not coming in today.” It’s really that arbitrary. Say you’re on a bus, and someone finds this slightest bit of weed dust in a bunk that isn’t even from the touring band in question… They find it, and then it’s like: “$2,000 right now, or you’re not coming in.”

Well, good luck with your tour on that side of the Atlantic…

Yeah, here’s hoping we make it across. And we’re definitely coming to the UK soon. I think we’re going to make that happen in November.

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Sleigh Bells, ‘Infinity Guitars’, from the album ‘Treats’

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Photo: Petra Collins

‘Bitter Rivals’ is released on October 7th via Mom + Pop Music / Republic Of Music. Find Sleigh Bells online here

Read an archive feature on Sleigh Bells, from 2012, here.

Get the best of Clash on your iPhone – download the app here

Stream tracks by Sleigh Bells via Deezer, below…

‘Words’, ‘Lines’ and ‘Sounds’, these are the names given to three Percival produced films, made to enhance the label’s Autumn Winter 13 offerings.  

Said collection incorporates classic Percival elements such as smart casual shirting, polite jackets, and trousers that won’t offend Nan, Grandad or your BFF. As the press release lets on, the pieces ‘balance striking textural and graphic elements’, hence the Houndstooth Sheepskin Western jacket and the Japanese striped college shirt.

The films feature the familiar faces of Rick Edwards and George Lamb, as well as some less familiar faces (see Senior Digital Creative, James Dow and James Jordan, a Custom Motorcycle Builder). Each of the gentlemen included plays a prominent role in their respective field, and does so with sartorial prowess.

The first film – below – sees a loose series of word games gather varying responses from the men, each sat alone in the studio, perched on a different chair; unsurprisingly the series is called ‘Men in Chairs’. The words spoken all stem from themes surrounding the collection, though personally we wouldn't put Percival and porn together…

       

‘Lines’ will be out later this month.

www.percivalclo.com

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Savages singer Jehnny Beth has penned a note concerning the band's nomination for this year's Barclaycard Mercury Prize.

A perennial bugbear with musicians, the issue of awards has again raised its ugly head. The shortlist for this year's Barclaycard Mercury Prize caused no end of speculation, while Godpeed You! Black Emperor's response to winning the Polaris Prize in Canada created international coverage.

Savages were nominated for the Barclaycard Mercury Prize, and over the weekend singer Jehnny Beth gathered her thoughts. Writing a note to fans, she mused on the nature of the prize itself and what she hoped debut album 'Silence Yourself' stood for.

"If anything, this nomination doesn’t make me feel totally uncomfortable. But if there is a lesson I am taking from this, and maybe you will care for it too, it is this one : whatever happens, do whatever the fuck you want. Being nominated or not doesn’t make you a better band, it doesn’t change anything, musicians of our generation don’t earn millions the way they used to in the past, we simply don’t have anything to loose. I wish above all for young artists today to keep their determination intact, because I know how hard it is to believe it is still possible to develop yourself with artistic integrity".

"I wish for our nomination to send the right signals. ‘Do whatever the fuck you want’ is the positive message, the new mantra. Impose yourself, they will get used to it. Times are changing. The letter published by ‘Godspeed You! Black Emperor’ following their Polaris music Award is setting an inspirational example for the young generation that we are. It is possible for artists to develop themselves the way they feel it should be done, without being afraid, and without compromising what they truly are."

Read the full note HERE.

Clash online editor Mike Diver recently wrote a piece expanding on the controversy around this year's Barclaycard Mercury Prize shortlist – catch up HERE.

Get the best of Clash on your iPhone – download the app here

The Beta Band’s extraordinary run of EPs and albums established them as one of the most inventive bands of the late-‘90s. Alas, they were also plagued with money worries and a quite remarkable run of bad luck until their dissolution in 2004.

This exhaustive set collects everything the band released, as well as tacking on two discs of harder-to-find tracks. The Betas were a formidable live band, and the radio session tracks here are as good as, and sometimes better than, their studio counterparts.

There’s little in the way of actual rarities, though. The semi-mythical unreleased second disc from their self-titled debut is still absent, and the only ‘new’ track is the bland ‘Shepherd’s Dub’.

Still, those albums, eh? ‘Hot Shots II’ and ‘Heroes To Zeroes’ are both fantastic. And the compilation affair ‘The Three EPs’, taken as an album, remains one of the most casually ambitious and impressive records of the 1990s. (The sublime ‘Dr Baker’, below, is taken from ‘The Three EPs’.)

So their self-titled set is a bitty, unfinished mess, but it’s also weirdly compelling and contains some of the band’s best songs in ‘The Hard One’ and ‘Round The Bend’.

It’d be nice to think that the title here, ‘The Regal Years’, is an indication that the band may consider reforming, rather than just an indication of their record label for these songs. But if not, they’ve left a fine legacy.

9/10

Words: Will Salmon

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Read two special Beta Band features on Clash: the liner notes to this very collectionand a best-of top 10 put together by a Super Furry Animal

Get the best of Clash on your iPhone – download the app here

Stream tracks by The Beta Band via Deezer, below…

With her soaring voice and obvious ability on guitar, Anna Calvi went for the jugular on her Mercury nominated debut album (Clash review). Channelling her inner Springsteen, the album had an epic feel that masked a tender, personal style of songwriting.

But for her follow-up, Calvi has opted to remove the protective layer of The Boss for something rather more delicate, more downbeat.

An album of subtle, if sometimes striking, progression, ‘One Breath’ is a patient, carefully wrought work. Sure, that cinematic sweep is still there on occasion – notably lead single ‘Eliza’ (video below) – but for every moment of overblown drama there is a shy, retiring passage to enrapture your heartstrings.

Partially shocked into action by the death of a loved one, ‘One Breath’ is lyrically much more daring than Calvi’s debut. ‘Suddenly’ ends in ashes, while ‘Piece By Piece’ blends the grieving process to a neat, almost funky, bassline.

A far darker piece than her debut album, this is a downbeat yet profoundly affecting second act.

7/10

Words: Robin Murray

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Read an interview with Anna Calvi, about her new album, here

Get the best of Clash on your iPhone – download the app here

Stream tracks by Anna Calvi via Deezer, below…

Let The Machines Do The Work release their new EP 'Let Me Be The One' today (September 30th) – listen to it on Clash right now.

'Let The Machines Do The Work' was a slogan employed by tech advocates – those who saw technology are removing the burdens placed on humanity by the daily grind. But – as anyone who has ever sat in front of a blue screen can testify – that's not always the case.

A four piece project from Brighton, Let The Machine Do The Work recognise the freeing power of technology, but also its restraints. A fast-rising disco-house project, the quartet recently completed work on a new EP.

Lead cut 'Let Me Be The One' is already a staple in their sets, with its supple, dextrous rhythms matching a reserved, deeply English sense of funk.

The vocals are joyous, pleading, yet also distorted, robotic – everything the group touches has that organic / digital play off. Available as a four track EP, Clash is delighted to be able to stream the songs in their entirety.

Out now via Champion, you can pre-order the package HERE or simply dive in below:

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Azealia Banks has decided to can her much discussed Disclosure collaboration.

Sometimes discretion isn't merely advisable, it's absolutely necessary. When Azealia Banks and Disclosure hit the studio together, the musicians would no doubt have anticipated the scale of interest which would be levelled against them.

Speaking to fans on Twitter, Azealia Banks' revelation meant that Disclosure were then asked about the session. Playing down the project, the duo told 3voor12 that the interest was slightly premature:

"I think she’s kind of taken to Twitter quite heavily with the fact that she’s meeting with us […] People now think that we’ve made the greatest song of all time, and it doesn’t even actually have a chorus yet."

As a result of this perceived slight, Azealia Banks has canned the project. Speaking to AU Review the singer said abruptly: "I did something with Disclosure but they were, like, really rude in an interview, so I canned it."

Admitting that she "might leak" the track, Banks added: "To be honest, I’ve got better stuff on my record".

The killer pay off line? It won't even be a B-side. "It can be an F-side, a fuck-you side."

Get the best of Clash on your iPhone – download the app here

elbow are set to release their as yet untitled new album on March 10th.

elbow's success is both richly deserved and a long time coming. An example of strong songwriting capturing the nation, the group recently returned to the studio to work on a batch of new material.

As with 'build a rocket boy!' and breakthrough album 'The Seldom Seen Kid' producer is being overseen by keyboardist Craig Potter.

Though the title has yet to be confirmed, elbow have stated that their new album will be released on March 10th. NME report that the working title is 'All At Once' with Guy Garvey commenting:

"When you’re 40, you're all ages at once, because you're thinking of your youth, which has very definitely passed, and about how you became the person you are. You wonder about how the rest of your life plays out from here."

Insisting that the album has "some big themes" the songwriter then states that the album has "got some old-school spacerock sensibilities".

Bluffing? You'll find out on March 10th.

Alongside this, Elbow have confirmed a full arena tour for April 2014. A pre-sale for fans opened this morning (September 30th) – dates are as follows:

November
5 Birmingham LG Arena
6 Glasgow SSE Hydro
8 Cardiff Motorpoint Arena
9 Manchester Phones 4U Arena
11 Leeds First Direct Arena
12 Liverpool Echo Arena
14 Nottingham Capital FM Arena
16 London The O2

Get the best of Clash on your iPhone – download the app here

Arcade Fire’s penchant for an album-uniting concept is nothing new. 2010’s multi-award-winning ‘The Suburbs’ (Clash review) arrived informed by its makers’ upbringing, at the fringes of bigger-city culture. It proved a suitably sprawling affair, mazey, sometimes unsure of direction but ultimately arriving at its desired destination.

Contrastingly, ‘Reflektor’ finds the Montreal-based ensemble – ostensibly fronted by husband-and-wife pairing Win Butler and Régine Chassagne – ditching the GPS and going their own way. Inevitably, things don’t go smoothly.

‘Reflektor’ is lyrically rote and compositionally rudimentary. It feels unfinished and forced to this ‘completion’ point. Lyrically, it concerns itself with topics of duality by regularly dipping into tired metaphors – contrasts between light and dark, day and night, and so on – replete with awkward excursions into elementary wordplay.

“Is anyone as strange as a normal person?” questions Butler on ‘Normal Person’. Really? ‘You Already Know’ talks of life moving fast, but of the song’s subject moving slow. ‘Porno’ trades in masks, in hiding away from reality: “All your make-up, take it off / I’ve got to find you.” It’s all so utterly uninspired.

But the lyricism is far from the only fault to be found on this fourth studio collection. The opening, Bowie-featuring title-cut (video below), initially bouncing to an appealing LCD Soundsystem-goes-Talking Heads tempo (co-production here comes from James Murphy, beside ‘The Suburbs’ collaborator Markus Dravs), loses its hold on the attention courtesy of a horribly protracted outro.

‘We Exist’, the next number, falls victim to the same problem, and would be twice as effective cut to half the length. So much here is simply too long to hook into the listener – a less-is-more attitude would have worked wonders. (This does not need to be a double-disc affair, beyond the conceptual relevance of such presentation.) 

But just as one questions if this band even knows how to finish a song, standout number ‘Awful Sound’ (knowing irony?) ends dead, snapping from swollen strings to striking silence. It’s a rare high, sincerely lovelorn and possessing potential to become another Arcade Fire anthem.

‘It’s Never Over’ is this band’s best TV On The Radio impression, and ‘Porno’ almost goes G-funk: a pleasant surprise. But undercooked electronics, impotent rhetoric, too-familiar crescendo-ing structures and an overall feeling that this needs further post-production attention render ‘Reflektor’ an entirely substandard album.

4/10

Words: Mike Diver

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Stream tracks by Arcade Fire via Deezer, below…