Superior pop, that's London Grammar.

With their slick, hi-gloss production and wide-eyed vision, the youthful trio effortlessly charmed 2013.

Well, it seems that the new year is set to suffer the same fate. New single 'Hey Now' drops on March 16th, and to celebrate the band have recruited some guest remixes.

House guru and man-of-the-moment Tensnake has stepped into the breach, delivering a fantastic re-working. Ushering the vocals up into the heavens, the producer lays down a bass-heavy disco arrangement which tempts you straight onto the dancefloor.

Oh, and there's a cheeky homage to Electronic's 'Getting Away With It' in there, too…

Expect to hear this at festivals near you across the summer. Check it out below.

'Hey Now' is set to be released on March 16th.

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Kings Of Leon needed to take it back home.

After their astonishing growth, their newfound stadium swagger, the Followills recognised a need to go back to where it began.

So they returned to Nashville. Last year's 'Mechanical Form' was a raw, lustful effort which saw the band attempt to re-capture the energy of their debut.

For the most part, it worked. Clash editor Simon Harper labelled it "a strong, engaging return to form" while the subsequent tour saw Kings Of Leon probe their very public youth and young manhood.

Album cut 'Temple' was released as a Stateside single, with a video now emerging online. Shot in as basic a format as possible, it is interspersed with footage which looks for all the world like their own native Nashville.

Watch it now.

– – –

'Mechanical Bull' is out now.

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Golden melodies from a rainy Northern town.

We've been down that road before, haven't we? The North of England has produced some of the country's most inspiring guitar acts, establishing a lineage which runs from Buzzcocks to The Smiths, Shack to The Coral.

High Hazels sit neatly in this continuum. Debut EP 'In The Half Light' is the Byrds if they'd grown up in a small Yorkshire town, Love if they'd spent more time tripping on the bus to Sheffield.

Out on April 7th, the EP contains four tracks of golden melancholia, four nuggets of wistful psychedelia delivered with a garage edge.

Direct, down to Earth and uniquely Northern, new cut 'Summer Rain' is online now.

Check it out below.

 

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Animalistic. Fevered. Debauched.

The Orwells are all that and more. Well, onstage at least. Offstage, the Illinois teenagers are relatively sedate, doing things that most bands do, like focussing on their songcraft, swapping lyric ideas and recording their new album.

“Right now we’re at a studio called SOMA in Chicago” explains frontman Mario Cuomo. “It’s on the West Side of Chicago, it’s got a nice studio. A good size, not too big. I’m pretty sure we might be the last band to record there. I think they’re shutting down after us.“

Debut album ‘Remember When’ – derided as “a piece of shit” by the singer – now languishes on the shelves, with The Orwells busy building a new identity. They’re not working alone, though, with the group recruiting Chris Coady on production duties.

“Definitely what caught our eye about him was this album by Smith Westerns called ‘Dye It Blonde’. It’s probably one of my favourite albums of all time” the singer announces. “Definitely one of the albums that I listened to the most growing up.”

What binds The Orwells and Smith Westerns together is their age, their adolescent fury. “Seeing them do it at such a young age – they were probably our age when they started, when they recorded their first album” enthuses Cuomo. “So it was kind of inspiring to be in high school and think: I want to do this, I want to try to do this. They did it, so we could try to do it because it’s working out for Smith Westerns. They made this amazing album that’s helped us all in so many ways just by listening to it. It was almost like.. they paved the way for young, suburban Mid-West kids. I just thought: oh, it’s totally possible.”

The recording process has been remarkably simple, with The Orwells focussing on capturing the energy, the spit, blood and sweat of their live shows. “Chris (Coady) was a very down to Earth person so is super chill to work with. Just a good guy” the singer explains. “Right now, usually we’ve just been doing it live a bunch of times first and then just doing that to get the drum and the bass tracks. The foundation of it. Then we’ll come back in a lay down the guitar tracks separately and then I’ll come in last and lay down the final vocals.”

“It’ll sound as big as it might on a stage” he warns. “It’s not going to be toned down or anything.”

Currently on tour, The Orwells have one final date left in the UK:

March
Bristol Thekla

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Quilt are appropriately named.

The band make music to be drawn slowly over your head, to be clutched at during winter nights.

Soft, warm and comforting, each track evolves at its own pace, with Quilt's indie pop textures being illuminated by the faintest touch of psychedelia.

'Eye Of The Pearl' is sumptuous, beautiful almost purely for the sake of being beautiful.

Taken from their new album, the band recently shot an entrancing live session with Out Of Town films.

An intimate film, Quilt's performance seems as gentle and effortless as breathing. Watch them slowly exhale their way through 'Eye Of The Pearl'…

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Quilt's new album 'Held In Splendour' is out now. The band have confirmed the following UK show:

April
2 London Windmill

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On Wednesday it was confirmed that Michael and Nicole Colovos – the designer couple who’ve been at the helm of Helmut Lang since 2006, following the label’s namesake departing in 2005 – will stand down.

The pair, who helped with the initial re-launch following Link Theory of Tokyo’s acquirement of the Helmut Lang brand, showed their final collection for the label earlier this month at New York Fashion Week.

Their successors haven’t yet been confirmed.

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English actress Charlotte Rampling was this week named as the face of Nars’ forthcoming 20th anniversary campaign.

Set to hit pages in September – with Rampling to be shot by the company’s founder and Creative Director Francois Nars – the news has caused a fuss due in part to Rampling’s age; at 68, she is older than the stereotypical face of beauty for a major campaign.

Nars has since cited Rampling as a muse.

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In the wake of the Nars news, yesterday Marc Jacobs confirmed 64-year-old actress Jessica Lange as the face of the new Marc Jacobs Beauty campaign.

The line was introduced last year in partnership with French store Sephora, and Lange’s appointment marks the debut campaign.

David Sims – who shot the current SS14 campaign featuring Miley Cyrus – has shot the beauty campaign, a single image of which was tweeted by the brand.

Helmut Lang image via Style.com, Marc Jacobs image via Facebook.

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Hard bleedin’ graft, that’s what some of these new bands need. Being on the road isn’t supposed to be easy – the struggle is what defines you, what propels you forwards.

Eagulls haven’t stopped moving since they started, a never-ending roll call of gigs, venues, concerts and loading in times. “We’re from a working background, so we put that back into the music,” admits singer George Mitchell. “I think people need to work a bit harder in the music industry.”

Imbued with a do-it-yourself attitude, Eagulls stem from that ever-productive cell of northern punk. Furiously independent, the band took its time before finding the right label. “From the start, where we’ve come from is like the do-it-yourself sort of thing. It’s just the way that we work. We don’t want to do what most bands do, which is just get some sort of record deal and then let the label handle the rest.”

But that isn’t to suggest that Eagulls operate without support – the band’s relationship with Partisan is vital. “Obviously, our record label does a few things which we would have never got by ourselves, but we still do everything that we want to do in our own way. They work with us on that and they’re really good about that. We’re really lucky.”

The band’s eponymous debut album (review) is a thrilling re-vitalisation of faith in British guitar music. A focused, intense bout of creativity, the recording was interrupted by the group’s day jobs. “We recorded in Headingly with a boy called Matt Pierce. You wouldn’t realise it was there, it’s called Cottage Road Studios,” Mitchell explains. “I mean, the album was finished a year ago but then whilst we were doing it we were working full-time jobs. It was pretty strenuous. We funded it all ourselves, it was a strenuous time. I think you can sort of hear that in the record as well, which is good.”

Yet this hard work seems to be paying off. ‘Eagulls’ is reaching a passionate audience, which now stretches beyond British shores and into the United States. Invited to perform on the Late Show With David Letterman, the band found themselves at the heart of the American mainstream. “It was very surreal,” the singer admits. “It was very, very surreal. You’re there in the green room watching the TV and then you suddenly have to go out onstage and it’s like you’re actually in the TV. It honestly feels that way. There’s that many cameras and lights – it’s really weird.”

For now, though, the band’s aims are quite simple. “We want to go to any sort of place and play our type of music and let anyone hear it,” Mitchell asserts. “It’s quite a universal sort of sound, I think, so we’re able to let anyone hear it and play wherever we want.”

– – –

– – –

Where: Leeds

What: Sweat-drenched punk rock with an emotional flair

Three Songs: 'Nerve Endings' (video above), 'Yellow Eyes', 'Possessed'

– – –

Words: Robin Murray

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There's always been a divide in British music between indie and electronic.

Currently, house is reigning supreme with countless underground artists hopping into the charts.

Yet this doesn't mean that guitar bands are ignoring these new sounds – some of the most unlikely groups are opening up their ears.

Bombay Bicycle Club dropped past Radio 1's Live Lounge earlier today, rattling through tracks from their number one album 'So Long, See You Tomorrow'.

Springing a surprise, the group also unveiled their rendition of Disclosure's 'F For You'. It's a fun version: shorn of electronic production, it's easy to see the pop chassis which lies under anything Disclosure put their name to.

Check it out now.

– – –

Clash recently sat down with Bombay Bicycle Club for a lengthy interview – check it out HERE.

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Aimed at families, Camp Bestival still displays the same eclecticism which rules at its elder sibling.

Returning this summer, the event has already bagged performances from the likes of Basement Jaxx, James, Johnny Marr, Laura Mvula and Boy George, with more on the way.

The latest additions have been unveiled with De La Soul set to headline the event on Saturday evening. True hip hop legends, their current touring ensemble contains a funky live band – oh, and those immortal Daisy Age hits.

Rob da Bank: "De La Soul have soundtracked my life for the past 25 years since the dayglo hippy daisy age glory of 3 Feet High and Rising first found its way onto my first plastic turntable. I’ve seen them loads of times since then and they are just one of the best party acts imaginable. Camp Bestival is gonna be a very, very fun place on Saturday night!"

Tickets are on sale now.

Camp Bestival runs between July 31st – August 3rd.

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Funny how English has seized control of pop culture.

After all, it's a sphere which dominates the entire globe, from South Carolina to South Korea and back again.

So it's heartening when an English speaking group attempt something different. Franz Ferdinand are based in Glasgow, yet recently decided to record a German language track.

'Erdbeer Mund' features as the flip on new single 'Fresh Strawberries', which is due for release on April 7th.

A gleeful disco romp, you can stream 'Erdbeer Mund' below.

Franz Ferdinand are set to play the following shows:

March
1 Manchester Victoria Warehouse (6 Music Festival)
14 London Roundhouse
15 London Roundhouse
17 Brighton Dome
18 Bristol O2 Academy
19 Southampton Guildhall
21 Birmingham O2 Academy
22 Manchester Academy
23 Dublin Olympia
25 Glasgow Barrowlands
26 Leeds Academy
27 Newcastle O2 Academy

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