Listen: Frank Ocean x The Clash x Diplo - Hero
Who knew selling out could sound so good? Okay, selling out is only a thing to moody teenagers (and those much older but with the mindsets of moody teenagers), but Mick Jones and Paul Simonon of The Clash are two people you’d think would be least likely to record a song for a shoe. Still, the Converse Music series has brought together odd combinations of acts in the past and resulted in excellent tunes - James Murphy, Andre 3000 and Gorillaz’ “DoYaThing” and Julian Casablancas, Pharrell and Santigold’s “My Drive Thru” being the two best examples. “Hero” joins those two predecessors, starting out like a classic Clash dub before exploding into a massive soulful chorus and middle eighth. It’ll do nicely to tide us over in the wait for Ocean’s second album.
Listen: Frank Ocean x The Clash x Diplo - Hero
So there it is, the iconic yellow & red of this year’s Reading & Leeds. Let’s look through the good, the bad and the ugly of it.
Both Paramore and Queens Of The Stone Age have broken out of the shackles of the permanent “penultimate act” tag, which plagued the likes of Bloc Party, Elbow and System Of A Down for years. The two acts definitely deserve their position on the card. Vampire Weekend have also seemingly elevated themselves a bit, although there probably isn’t a whole lot of crossover between their fans and the headliners’. SBTRKT has grabbed the penultimate act spot on the NME stage, as have CHVRCHES; both should provided excellent sets and a change to cut some shapes before their respective headliners. Jungle could solidify their “next big thing” status with a good showing, whilst those Die Antwoord sets are going to be off the chain.
Metronomy surely deserve better than the early evening-“no logo on the poster” treatment they’re getting right? They’ve been one of the top ten bands in the country for the last five years at least, certainly better than The 1975. And there’s little evidence to suggest exactly what it is Enter Shikari and You Me At Six are doing to keep getting lucrative mainstage slots, year after year. Also, how the hell you gonna have both Pusha T and Danny Brown down in the tiny text section? I know R&L is primarily aimed at white sixth formers, but jeeeeeeez. Also sticking with the bottom acts, is that Klaxons nuzzled away in there too? Wow, how the once mighty have fallen.
The Courteeners would’ve barely been acceptable second stage toppers back in 2008, let alone 2014. And there’s unlikely to be a run of acts worse than Foster The People into Imagine Dragons into Jake Bugg; how the hell is Jake Bugg still a thing? Is his mum buying thousands of copies of his albums?! But the big question here is: just how many bottles of piss are going to be thrown at Macklemore & Ryan Lewis during their sets?
Lily Allen reveals Sheezus album cover, tracklist, release date: Noted anti-feminist Lily Allen has finally announced the official details of her comeback album, the dreadfully-titled Sheezus (makes you shudder just to say it, doesn’t it?). Released on May 6th, the album is Allen’s first in five years after her relatively short “retirement” from pop music. Let’s be honest, after the furore over the racist connotations of her "Hard Out Here" video, it’s probably not the cleverest idea to have the phrase “divide and conquer” in Latin plastered on your album cover, is it? Oh well.
The tracklist for Sheezus is:
- L8 CMMR
- Air Balloon
- Our Time
- Insincerely Ours
- Take My Place
- As Long As I Got You
- URL Badman
- Silver Spoon
- The Life For Me
- Hard Out Here
Minimalist Posters of the day: Ooh, so who’s ridiculously hyped for the finale of True Detective? The first season of the crazy good, crazy popular HBO crime anthology concludes tonight and has set audience tongues a-wagging, spawning more theories than Lost and Twin Peaks combined, maybe. For the record, we’re pretty sure 2012 Rust & Marty traveled back in time to commit all the murders, just to give their 1995-era selves something to do… or something along those lines. Anyways, here’s some stunning minimalist art by Nigel Evan Dennis to keep you going until the final episode airs later
Listen: Metronomy - Love Letters (Soulwax Remix)
Have Soulwax ever done a bad remix? Have Metronomy ever had a poor remix of one of their tracks? The answer to both of those questions is no, which makes this coming together of the two magic. Plus it even keeps that lovely trumpet break from the original.
Abandoning a familiar and popular sound after just one release can be dangerous. It might have worked for The Horrors (although they could never really be described as popular circa their first album), but plenty of other acts have attempted to spread their wings on a second record, only to have them melted by the sun and crash back to earth.
Nai Harvest’s debut album Whatever was a crystallised example of the increasingly popular modern emo sound. But the throaty yells and fast-fingered guitar licks of old have been phased out for a tighter, smoother sound, more indebted to the grunge and alt-rock of the ‘90s, than the Sheffield duo’s contemporary scene. EP opener “Rush” is a golden nugget of fuzzy pop-punk which would fill hearts with joy, if it weren’t for the repeated refrain “Everything I love is dead/kill my heart, kill my head/I’ll be here lying in bed/everything I love is dead”. Actually, even with that it still fills mine with joy, it’s just a slightly miserable joy. I’m always loath to call the first track of anything the best on the record, but “Rush” certainly is.
That’s not to say it does’t have competition from the powerful and accomplished title track. Melodic as hell, it showcases Nai Harvest’s songwriting and musicianship, with both the verse instrumentation and breakdown impressing; there are bands a decade into their careers who have never written something this good. The remaining two tracks “Pastel” and “I Don’t Know” find an intersection between the emo stylings of the past and the proper rock band they’ve now become. They’re as scrappy and full of ideas as the earlier material, but with a sheen and enough hooks to hang Jaws on.
It’s a vivacious and uplifting collection - certainly not what’s come to be expected from bands under the emo umbrella - and a fantastic sign of rude health for one of Britain’s great guitar bands of the moment, especially one with such a DIY ethos. That second album is going to be cracking.
This year, I was lucky enough to be invited to the Oscars. While every girl I knew squealed and asked what I was wearing I was riddled with anxiety… How did I get invited to the 86th Academy Awards, you ask? Well, my best friend took me as her date. I met her seven years ago at an event where we both didn’t know a single person. We hit it off over a mutual respect for Chandler Bing, and we’ve been eating pizza together ever since.
I think the most interesting thing that they don’t show anyone on TV is the street leading up to the Oscars. Highland (between Sunset and Hollywood) is filled with barricades with different entry points so no crazy person can plow their car through, killing everyone on the red carpet. Guarding each entry point through the barricades are men in head to toe camouflage with gigantic automatic weapons (rifles? I don’t know guns). I try to take a photo of one and I’m stopped immediately. Completely lining the sidewalks of Highland are the Jesus freaks. I am not talking a few—I am talking every inch of the sidewalk is full of God-fearing picket signs and psalms. Some have megaphones and are yelling inaudible sermons and others just shouting at the line of black cars. Right before you get to the red carpet, you get to Westboro Baptists with huge yellow signs of pictures of Phillip Seymour Hoffman and Paul Walker saying “BURNING IN HELL” and other despicable things. It’s so surreal and hate-filled, I feel like I am heading to my own personal Salem Witch Trial. One thing is for sure: They think we’re all going to hell.
We finally arrive at the red carpet and as we exit the car, my date eats shit and uses my freshly done Lauren Conrad up do to break her fall. The crowd goes wild. There are flashbulbs and people circling yet no one asks if I need any help because unless you are famous at the Oscars, you are completely invisible. I have never experienced anything like it. The only time anyone talks to you is if you are in the way of his or her photo. Oh and photographers on the carpet yell “YOU IN THE HUGE DRESS, GET OUT OF THE FUCKING SHOT.” It’s incredible. It is no wonder actors are crazy. The carpet is filled with screaming fans and photographers who only care about you; everyone is salivating to talk to you and telling you how great you look. We finally make it to the end of the carpet and I decide to use the restroom before I sit. Jessica Biel holds the door open for me and compliments my dress—no human being should be allowed to have her face and body. I get inside and Margot Robbie from Wolf of Wall Street shows me her Kardashian-sized diamond ring in line for the toilet and says “I feel like a guy with a gun should be following me—I could be halfway to Mexico with this by now.” The lights begin to flicker and we are told we need to take our seats. I quickly pee and head to my seat.
It’s around this time that you realize you are STARVING and haven’t had any food since breakfast at 9 a.m. It’s hot and you feel like you’re going to pass out. After waiting for my date’s category, her dad and I decide to hit the bar and just watch from the monitor behind the bar and slam a few drinks to make this tolerable. The Academy really needs to spring for more hors d’oeuvres options because now everyone is hammered. My date comes out after her category and we decide to watch the rest of the show in the greenroom where there is pizza. This is where the presenters and winners are hanging out and it’s pretty jarring. Some guy picks up my purse that had fallen off my seat and I say “Thank you… Channing Tatum” and my dress gets caught on Jennifer Garner and we awkwardly laugh and someone tries to separate us. The lovely pregnant Kerry Washington asks me if she could have the Slim Jim in my purse. Glenn Close shows us her Oscar secret, which is a handmade corset and a dress long enough to hide her comfortable shoes. Miss J is sashaying around the room being crazy fabulous and I am one of maybe two non-famous people there. I kind of just sit there and smile creepily when someone catches me staring—shout out to Penelope Cruz.
After the show we go backstage where I meet Brad and Angelina. Brad Pitt smells amazing, like nothing I’ve ever smelled. Eventually we ask what cologne he’s wearing and he tells us, “I don’t wear cologne, it’s just my musk I guess.” I have to choose not to believe him because it would just be unfair to mankind. Angelina is gorgeous and elegant and they are like The Sun and The Moon.
The show ends and we’re ready to party. Everyone goes to Vanity Fair where, much like the Oscars, photographers yell at you and no one gives a shit that you are a human being unless you’re famous. We can’t enjoy ourselves because everyone, whether they know my date or not, has some weird story they just NEED to tell her as they stand in front of me pushing me out of the circle. I get tired of this and decide to follow Bill Murray around the party. At one point he looks in my direction and winks at me while dancing to “If You Want My Body and You Think I’m Sexy” by Rod Stewart—a moment, I now realize, my whole life had been leading up to.
|—||So you might not know her name, but Laura Simpson has been immortalised by the internet as the girl Jennifer Lawrence grabbed onto when she fell over at the Oscars this year. Ms Simpson also happens to be Lawrence’s best friend and was the actress’ date for that evening. Fortunately for those of us without megastar actor friends, Simpson has written an account of her night at the pinnacle of Hollywood over on MySpace (yeah, it seems like that’s back again? Time to fire up those top eights). The best parts? Flirty dancing Bill fuckin’ Murray, and Glenn Close’s covert comfortable shoes.|
Song Of The Day
Today’s tune was Number One in the charts (thanks to a Levi’s Jeans ad campaign, no less) when Hitsville’s Adam Hollis was born. Happy birthday Adam!
Psychedelia of the day: So the new hype poster for the final season of Mad Men is pretty colourful, to put it mildly. Does it mean the whole season will just be the entire cast of characters tripping balls on LSD? Because we all know Mad Men plus drugs resulted in two of the best episodes to date, specifically Season 5’s "Far Away Places" and Season 6’s "The Crash".
Showrunner Matthew Weiner explained to the New York Times:
“There is a dreamlike quality to it, and believe it or not, it is related to the show, and not because it’s psychedelic,” said Weiner, dressed appropriately for the period, with a buttoned-up suit vest but also a bright pink patterned tie. “That’s not what it’s about. What it’s about is the material and the immaterial world, and that’s what I loved.”
Did the imagery hold any clues to the season, beyond Don Draper’s affection for women and drink? Mr. Weiner, known for being unforthcoming with plot details, said, “This is related to the late ’60s, which is all I will say about it.” He added, “It maintains the idea that this is somehow going on in Don Draper’s mind, which is what the story is always about — and what the back of his head is about, on some level.”
…so that’s a no to fourteen episodes of Don and Roger off their tits in NYC 1969? The season better be good to make me forget about this disappointing news.