Franz Ferdinand

Fearne Cotton and Dave Berry to present iTunes Festival

daveberry_rtvPresented by Fearne Cotton and Dave Berry, iTunes Festival 2009 will give viewers exclusive backstage access to some of the hottest names in music today.  The superb Roundhouse venue will capture the unique Camden vibe with what promises to be one of the most exciting music events of the summer.  iTunes Festival 2009 on ITV will showcase the greatest performances of the festival. ITV’s viewers will get up close and personal to their favourite bands throughout the show-stopping performances of Oasis, The Saturdays, Flo Rida, Franz Ferdinand, Paulo Nutini, Snow Patrol and Kasabian with more yet to be announced. Each of the live gigs will be recorded and sold exclusively on all 22 iTunes Stores worldwide. For seven days after each ITV2 show, there will be the chance to catch up on the highlights at ITV.com.

1000 bands register to play Benicássim festival

paul-wellerThe Fast Track to FIB Heineken competition kicked off in spectacular style this month as over 1000 bands registered and uploaded their music in an attempt to win a slot at this year’s Benicássim festival in Spain.  For the second year running, Vince Power has partnered up with rapidly emerging youth music brand Supajam, to find Europe’s newest super-group, and so far the response has been phenomenal! The contest allows bands to submit their music online and a careful selection process follows (see below) before the final 5 bands battle it out at a live showdown in Piccadilly’s The Pigalle Club. Voting doesn’t officially start until May 16th but with so much interest in the upload stage of the competition, Supajam are preparing themselves for the inevitable onslaught from bands’ fans.  Having already confirmed a monumental line up including The Killers, Oasis, Kings of Leon, Franz Ferdinand, Paul Weller (see photo) , Lily Allen, Glasvegas, Maximo Park, The Horrors, 2 Many DJ’s and Elbow fans have come to expect bands of the very highest calibre, so its no wonder that competition for a slot on the Benicássim bill is fiercer than ever.  Last year’s winner JKLMNO have taken massive steps forward since taking home the ‘Fast Track to FIB Heineken’ crown. Since winning the contest they have recorded a live studio session for the BBC and seen their music featured as the ‘Windows Media download of the week’. Set to record a single for physical release in August with Manic Street Preachers producer Greg Haver in the Manics’ own private studio, many are tipping them as one to watch for 2009.  Other finalists from last year were Doll And the Kicks who have since supported Morrissey on his European tour and Irish rockers CODES, who shared the stage with Keane on their UK tour.  If you want a chance to perform the gig of your lifetime visit supajam now!

Rock festival Pinkpop celebrates its 40th instalment this year

pinkpop1PINKPOP, Landgraaf, Holland, 30 May-1 June  Rock festival Pinkpop celebrates its 40th instalment this year. Set in the town of Landgraaf, also home to the largest indoor ski piste in Europe and 134 miles from Amsterdam, thedemocratic festival invites its 100,000 guests to have a say on three of the acts. Booked to headline this momentous year are Franz Ferdinand, The Killers, The Kooks, Depeche Mode, Bruce Springsteen and Placebo and  many more.

 Festivalbus coaches depart the UK on 29th May, cross the channel on a late night ferry and arrive in the morning on the 30th, meaning you’ll have plenty of time to sort your camping area out before the music starts.

This year Festivalbus is running coaches to Pinkpop from Birmingham, Brighton, Bristol, London, Manchester and Southampton so it’s even easier to get to Pinkpop!

Head over to www.festivalbus.co.uk/booking.asp to get your tickets

Dot To Dot Festival: Nottingham’s biggest music marathon of the year

dot-to-dot-festivalOn Sunday May 27, Nottingham plays host to the third – and biggest yet – Dot To Dot Festival. We say biggest with good reason: as well as there being over 80 artists confirmed to appear at this year’s event, there will also be a couple of new venues – Nottingham Trent University and Lee Rosy’s Tea Rooms – hosting performances alongside the more established venues such as Rock City, the Rescue Rooms, Stealth and the Social.

Additionally, this year the festival spreads its wings to accommodate a whole separate city: a day earlier (Saturday 26, then), Dot To Dot will be down the M5 in Bristol, where at least 40 artists are confirmed to play across three of the city’s main venues: the Thekla Social, Louisiana, Fiddler’s. For details on the Bristol line-up/s, click to here (and here for the Dot To Dot website).

DiS’s Nottingham contingent has been excited about the festival for many a month now, so without further ado, here’s Dom Gourlay’s guide on who he’s literally busting a gut to see…

yo_chomsky_lead_203x152Yo! Chomsky
Initially formed for a laugh by a bunch of media students at Nottingham University, their recent show with Hadouken! proved that their Beastie Boys via the Human League electro grime is here to shake things up. Anyone not taking them seriously does so at their own risk.
Yo! Chomsky play the Rescue Rooms at 2:30pm

blonde-redheadBlonde Redhead
Possibly the oldest band playing at this year’s festival, Blonde Redhead have been around for almost fifteen years now without ever really gaining the commercial recognition their complex and critically acclaimed noise-saturated arrangements merit. Thankfully, all that seems set to change if reviews of their most recent record 23 (See DiS’s review here) are anything to go by, and with their visits to the UK becoming more and more sporadic, don’t let this opportunity pass you by. They are one of the most genuinely intriguing bands in the world right now. Blonde Redhead play the main room of Nottingham Trent University at 10pm

We Are The Physics
wearethephysics300Hailing from Glasgow and mixing Devo-style jerkiness with Albini-esque polemics, We Are The Physics are one of those bands who demand to be seen by as many people as possible, and to date, unless you hail from north of the border, chances are you won’t be one of the lucky few to have caught them thus far. Not to worry, as this is as good an opportunity as any…We Are The Physics play the upstairs room of Nottingham Trent University at 9:30pm

Catweasels
catweasels_203x152DiS has been raving about Chester-Le-Street-based five-piece Catweasels for a good few years now. Formerly prefixed by (The), Catweasels mix old and new wave sensibilities with a melee of sounds that occasionally winds up echoing the moan of Mansun being inappropriately manhandled by Interpol. Other times they just go for the jugular by composing grandiose pop a la XTC, the sort that you wouldn’t expect anyone with a DIY aesthetic to pull off. They manage it in pretty spectacular style. Again, this is their first show in this part of the world. Are we excited? You bet we are…
Catweasels play Lee Rosy’s Tea Rooms at 5:30pm

You Slut!
you-slutYou Slut! might be the possessors of the best name at this year’s festival by a long shot, but that only tells half the story. One listen to their “Rifftastic-post-progressive-indie-power-rock-math-disco-pop warfare” – their words, not ours – should be enough to convince anyone that the East Midlands is alive and well and simply bursting with creativity, and is about to explode any time now. Go see, then tell all your friends how great You Slut! are. You Slut! play Lee Rosy’s Tea Rooms at 3:30pm

The full (provisional) timetable for Nottingham reads as follows:

Rock City Basement (14+ venue)
1:15-1:45 The Recovery
2:15-2:45 Furthest Drive Home
3:15-3:45 Sunset Cinema Club
4:15-4:45 Ox.Eagle.Lion.Man
5:15-5:45 Brigade
6:15-6:45 The Scare
7:15-7:45 Drive By Argument
8:15-8:45 The Dykeenies
9:15-9:45 Lethal Bizzle
10:15-11:00 Gallows

Rock City Main Hall (14+ venue)
2:15-2:45 I Was A Cub Scout
3:15-3:45 Help She Can’t Swim
4:15-4:45 Pull Tiger Tail
5:15-5:45 Foals
6:15-6:45 Kate Nash
7:15-7:45 New Young Pony Club
8:30-9:15 Kano
10:00-11:30 The Cribs

Nottingham Trent University Main Room (14+ venue)
2:45-3:15 Six By Seven
3:45-4:15 Absentee
4:45-5:15 Maps
5:45-6:15 Annuals
7:00-7:45 Architecture In Helsinki
8:30-9:15 Broken Family Band
10:00-11:00 Blonde Redhead

Nottingham Trent University Upstairs (14+ venue)
2:30-3:00 Love Ends Disaster!
3:30-4:00 Radar
4:30-5:00 Nova Saints
5:30-6:00 Olympus Mons
6:30-7:00 Candi Payne
7:30-8:00 Draytones
8:30-9:00 Goodbooks
9:30-10:00 We Are The Physics
10:30-11:00 The Thermals
11:30-12am Bearsuit

Lee Rosy’s Tea Rooms (14+ venue)
3:30-4:00 You Slut!
4:30-5:00 Talibam!
5:30-6:00 Catweasels
6:30-7:00 Fanfarlo
7:30-8:00 Karima Francis
8:30-9:00 Tom Mansi

The Social (18+ venue)
1:15-1:45 Grave Architects
2:00-2:30 House Of Brothers
3:00-3:30 Blood Red Shoes
4:00-4:30 Bobby Cook
5:00-5:30 The Changes
6:00-6:30 Sky Larkin
6:45-7:15 Emmy The Great
7:45-8:15 Emma Pollock
8:45-9:45 Moon Music Orchestra / Findlay Brown
10:15-11:00 Scout Niblett
11:30-3am Grimewatch with Boy Better Know and more TBA

Rescue Rooms (18+ venue)
2:30-3:00 Yo! Chomsky
3:30-4:00 Ratty Rat Rat
4:30-5:00 Mighty Roars
5:30-6:00 These New Puritans
6:30-7:00 Pete And The Pirates
7:30-8:00 Fear Of Flying
8:30-9:00 Laura Marling
9:30-10:00 Kid Harpoon
10:30-11:00 Late Of The Pier
11:30-12am Datarock
12:45-1:30am Hot Club De Paris

Stealth live room (downstairs) (18+ venue)
4:00-4:30 The Whip
5:00-5:30 Holy Hail
5:30-6:00 Metronomy (DJ set)
6:00-6:30 Thieves Like Us
6:30-7:00 Metronomy (DJ set)
7:00-7:30 La La Lepus
7:30-8:00 Mum (DJ set)
8:00-8:30 We Smoke Fags
8:30-9:00 Mum (DJ set)
9:00-9:30 Kap Bambino
9:30-10:00 Opticks (DJ set)
10:00-10:30 SMK
10:30-11:00 Opticks (DJ set)
11:00-11:30 Dolby Anol
11:30-00:15 TAPEDECK (DJ set)
00:15-1am Bonde Do Role
1-1:30am TAPEDECK (DJ set)
1:30-2:30 Chromeo

Stealth DJ room (upstairs) (18+ venue)
4:00-6:00 Paul Thomson (Franz Ferdinand)
6:00-8:00 Nightmoves
8:00-10:00 Riotous Rockers
10:00-12am Surkin
12-2am Para One
2-4am Erol Alkan

For more information on the festival, visit the Dot To Dot MySpace.

The Prodigy added to Norway’s Hove Festival line-up

 prodigyNorway’s Hove Festivalen is proud to announce that The Prodigy will be smashing out their seminal hits as they take prime position at this year’s festival. The groundbreaking UK band have sold over 17 million albums since starting up in 1990, and are reckoned to be one of the pioneers in modern electronic dance music.  Almost twenty years after the group formed, The Prodigy are back with a new album (#1 in the U.K) with their accompanying tour absolutely sold out. Invaders Must Die confirmed the bands position as one of the premier groups in the world, and contained, among other things, a special guest performance by Foo Fighter, Dave Grohl.   This is probably the 20th festival they have done for me so they are clearly a favourite and this year they play Reading and Leeds as well as Hove. The band have come back stronger than ever, and the show will epitomize mayhem. Miss it at your peril! ‘ says Melvin Benn.  Hove Festival takes place between 22nd and 25th of June 2009 at idyllic Tromøya on the Norwegian south coast. Confirmed acts so far include Faith No More, The Killers, Franz Ferdinand, Slipknot, Q-Tip, The Ting Tings and many others. For more information about Hove Festival visit www.hovefestival.com

Tommy Sparks releases ‘She’s Got Me Dancing’

tommy-sparks2Hot on the heels of Tommy Sparks’ killer debut single ‘I’m A Rope’ comes his out of the box smash hit ‘She’s Got Me Dancing’. Like Chic jamming with MGMT and Franz Ferdinand the forthcoming single is a brazen dancefloor assault, crammed with memorable hooks, bucketloads of fizzy energy and Tommy’s uniquely modern twist on classic new wave stylings.  The video, directed by Eric Wareheim, is 3 minutes and 14 seconds of technicolour comedy genius. Wareheim is one half of the cult American comedian duo Tim & Eric, and Tommy – a huge fan – personally called him to request his creative magic. Their current TV show ‘Tim and Eric’s Awesome Show, Great Job’ features guest appearances by Johnny Depp, John C Reily, Jeff Goldblum, John Mayer, Weird Al Yankovic, The Saturday Night Live Crew, Elisha Cuthbert… the list goes on and on. Eric very rarely directs videos but he recently helmed fellow fans’ MGMT’s first video ‘The Youth’. 
Tommy Sparks’ debut album (produced by Mike Crossey: Razorlight, Arctic Monkeys and Foals) is out May 25th on Island Records.

More about The Arctic Monkeys.

the-arctic-monkeysBy  distilling the sounds of Franz Ferdinand, the Clash, the Strokes, and the Libertines into a hybrid of swaggering indie rock and danceable neo-punk, the Arctic Monkeys became one of the U.K.’s biggest bands of the new millennium. Alex Turner and Jamie Cook jumpstarted their careers in 2001 after receiving guitars for Christmas; two years later, they began performing shows around their native Sheffield with drummer Matt Helders and bassist Andy Nicholson. A series of demo recordings followed, and the Arctic Monkeys’ audience swelled as fans circulated those recordings via the Internet. The teenaged musicians soon found themselves at the center of a growing media circus, with such outlets as BBC Radio examining the band’s music and mounting hype.

By distributing their homemade material on the Internet, the Arctic Monkeys were able to build a rabid fanbase without the help of a record label, effectively circumventing the usual road to superstardom. They continued to buck tradition by signing with Domino Records in 2005, eschewing a major label’s help for Domino’s D.I.Y. mentality and hip roster (which also included Franz Ferdinand, a touchstone for the band’s sound). The smart moves paid off, as the Arctic Monkeys’ first two singles — “I Bet You Look Good on the Dancefloor” and “When the Sun Goes Down” — topped the U.K. charts. Critical reception was similarly favorable, but few could have predicted the whirlwind success of the band’s debut album, which ousted Oasis’ Definitely Maybe as the fastest-selling debut in British history (a record that was lost one year later to Leona Lewis’ Spirit). Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not sold 363,735 copies during its first week alone, transforming the Arctic Monkeys from underground stars into mainstream figures.

The Arctic Monkeys’ debut sold approximately 300,000 copies in America — enough to warrant more media coverage, but notably less than the album’s British sales during its first week alone. Nevertheless, the band’s success continued as they released a spring EP, Who the F*k Are Arctic Monkeys, and prepared for a stateside tour. Temporary bassist Nick O’Malley was brought aboard for the band’s American shows, while a fatigued Nicholson stayed at home. Nicholson then announced his official departure when the band returned home in June 2006, and O’Malley remained with the Arctic Monkeys as a permanent member. That Fall, the musicians received the 2006 Mercury Prize and donated the accompanying money to an undisclosed charity. Additional accolades included “Best British Breakthrough Act” at the Brit Awards and “Best New Band and Best British Band” at the NME Awards. NME also made a bold assertion by deeming the band’s debut one of the Top Five British albums ever released.

Released in April 2007, Favourite Worst Nightmare updated the the Arctic Monkeys’ sound with louder instruments and faster tempos. The bandmates had recorded the sophomore album quickly, wishing to return to the road as soon as possible, and the speedy turnaround between records only helped solidify the band’s popularity at home. Favourite Worst Nightmare sold 85,000 copies during its first day of release, while all 12 tracks entered the Top 200 of the U.K. Singles Charts. As Alex Turner briefly turned his attention to a side project, the Last Shadow Puppets, the Arctic Monkeys’ second album earned another Mercury Prize nomination and took home two titles at the 2008 Brit Awards.

Tony Christie to play Glastonbury

tony-christieTONY CHRISTIE has been added to this year’s Glastonbury line-up.  The crooner will play the main Pyramid Stage on the Sunday afternoon of the three-day festival.  Christie, who said he was “in awe” of the event, follows in the footsteps of Neil Diamond, Dame Shirley Bassey, Brian Wilson and James Brown, who have all played Sunday slots over the past few years. Fans can expect to hear him perform his number one hit (Is This The Way To) Amarillo, which spent seven weeks at the top 2005 after it was re-released for Comic Relief. Christie said he was “excited” about performing at the event and told BBC News: “I’m going to do some of the new album tracks and I’ve got to do my old stuff as well. “I did the V Festival three years ago but I think Glastonbury is the big one, so it’s a great honour.” Neil Young, Blur and Bruce Springsteen have already been confirmed as headliners at the festival, with Franz Ferdinand, Lily Allen and Fleet Foxes among the other acts performing. The full line-up will be announced nearer the event, which takes place in Somerset from 27-29 June.

 British balladeer Tony Christie proved the continued commercial viability of traditional pop in a post-psychedelic world, scoring a series of easy listening hits that spanned the 1970s. Born Anthony Fitzgerald in South Yorkshire, England, on April 25, 1943, at 18 he joined the popular local group the Counterbeats, later fronting his own combo, Tony Christie & the Trackers. After mounting a solo career, he cut his debut single, “Life’s Too Good to Waste,” in 1966, followed a year later by “Turn Around.” Upon signing to MCA in 1969, Christie teamed with the songwriting and production tandem of Mitch Murray and Peter Callender. Although their first collaboration, “God Is on My Side,” went nowhere, the 1971 LP Las Vegas proved the singer’s breakthrough, generating the Neil Sedaka/Howard Greenfield-penned smash “Is This the Way to Amarillo?” (a number one hit in Germany, Sweden, Denmark, and Spain), “I Did What I Did for Maria,” and “Don’t Go Down to Reno.” Christie remained a constant of the European charts for much of the decade via subsequent hits including “Avenues and Alleyways” (the theme to the television series The Protectors) and “The Queen of Mardi Gras,” selling more than ten million records during the Me Decade. He also hosted his own BBC variety series, and in 1976 played the role of Magaldi during recording sessions for Tim Rice and Andrew Lloyd Webber’s musical +Evita.

In 1979 Christie paired with producer Graham Sacher for the blockbuster “Sweet September,” but his stardom waned during the decade to follow. He nevertheless maintained a demanding international tour schedule, and remained a regular presence on television as well. Upon teaming with producer Jack White, who previously masterminded hits for Engelbert Humperdinck and Baywatch heartthrob David Hasselhoff, Christie scored a massive comeback hit with 1990′s “Kiss in the Night.” However, he again spent a number of years on the cabaret circuit before enjoying a new wave of popularity and credibility via the 1999 single “Walk Like a Panther,” written for him by Pulp frontman Jarvis Cocker. The single earned Christie his first appearance on Top of the Pops in a quarter century, and his newfound hipster cachet was further solidified when the smash comedy series Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights employed “Is This the Way to Amarillo?” as its theme song. In the spring of 2005, the single was re-released to raise funds for the charity Comic Relief, and spent seven weeks atop the U.K. pop charts. After cutting the theme for Kay’s spinoff series Max and Paddy, Christie closed out the year with a tongue-in-cheek big-band cover of Slade’s “Merry Xmas Everybody,” which fell shy of the British Top 40

Bloc Party cancel US gig

 bloc-partyBLOC PARTY were forced to scrap an performance in Miami after Kele Okereke fell ill with a throat virus. The singer contracted viral pharyngitis – an inflammation of the throat as they were due to play at the Ultra Music Festival on Saturday. The group apologised for the cancellation and assured fans they will return to Miami to play in the near future. A statement on their website said: “Kele has contracted viral pharyngitis and is unable to perform today at the Ultra Music Festival in beautiful Miami, FL. “We send our heartfelt apologies to all our fans and the Ultra Music Festival organisers. We hope to return to Miami, FL, at our earliest opportunity.” 

Equally inspired by Sonic Youth, Joy Division, Gang of Four, and the Cure, East London art punkers Bloc Party mix angular sonics with pop structures. Consisting of singer/guitarist Kele Okereke, guitarist Russell Lissack, bassist/singer Gordon Moakes, and drummer Matt Tong, the band was formerly known as Angel Range and Union before settling on Bloc Party. Okereke and Lissack met each other through mutual friends at the Reading Festival, and discovered that they had musical tastes as well as friends in common. Tong and Moakes soon joined their collaboration, and under the name Union, the quartet issued a demo in early 2003; later that year, they switched their name to Bloc Party.

The group’s demo and concerts began to attract attention from both the press and their peers; Okereke sent a copy of the demo to Franz Ferdinand, who invited them to play at the Domino tenth anniversary bash in fall 2003. Early the following year, the band released one of the demo’s tracks, “She’s Hearing Voices,” as a single on Trash Aesthetics. A few months later, Banquet/Staying Fat arrived on Moshi Moshi. That spring, Bloc Party signed to Wichita to release their full-length album in the U.K., and to Dim Mak for U.S. distribution. The band spent summer 2004 recording and touring. Late that summer, Bloc Party, which collected the band’s first two singles, arrived in the States. Their debut album, Silent Alarm, appeared early in 2005 and was released by Vice Records in the States to widespread acclaim. Later that year, Silent Alarm Remixed capitalized on the band’s burgeoning popularity, as did the 2006 EP Helicopter. A Weekend in the City, Bloc Party’s second proper album, followed in 2007. A Weekend in the City leaked onto the Internet months before the album’s street date, which inspired Bloc Party to issue their third album, Intimacy, online in late summer 2008; the album was released on compact disc that fall

Top Of The Pops Special

franz_ferdinandBritish music telly institution Top Of The Pops returned on Friday night (March 13th) for a very special show featuring U2, Oasis, Tom Jones and many more.

Founded in the early 60s, Top of The Pops became one of British television’s most iconic shows. With its weekly chart run down, families across the nation would crowd round the television arguing the merits of that weeks performers.

Axed in 2006, the is only resurrected once a year for a Christmas special. However, this year there was considerable debate after the BBC seemed reluctant to bring the show back.

Pop mogul Simon Cowell offered to buy the show, claiming the entire industry wants the program brought back. Even the government got in on the act, with the Culture Secretary arguing for its reinstatement.

The one off instalment was filmed for Comic Relief, and featured Oasis playing their new single ‘Falling Down’. In the past Oasis were responsible for some classic TOTP moments, including being the first group since The Beatles to play two songs on the show.

Amongst the other highlights were U2 performing new single ‘Get On Your Boots’ and Scottish indie gentry Franz Ferdinand performing to a wild audience reaction.

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