The lineup for Lollapalooza is out and while a lot of the bands I previously wrote about are confirmed there are so many more great acts. Big names: Pearl Jam, Daft Punk, Ben Harper, Muse, Iggy & The Stooges, Modest Mouse, Interpol, My Morning Jacket, Satellite Party, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Snow Patrol, The Roots, Patti Smith, Kings Of Leon.
The whole she-bang:
Bang Bang Bang
Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals
Chin Up Chin Up
Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
Cold War Kids
Those crazy Chemical Brothers are back with their latest release, We Are the Night, and this time they've picked up some really cool indie rock bands and singers, including Willy Mason, the Klaxons and Midlake. The set, due to drop June 19, is the duo's sixth full length, which follows the fantastic party-starter 2005's Push the Button that featured Q-Tip on the lead single, "Galvanize." The Chems have been sneaking in songs off this album throughout the last year while spinning at clubs around the globe. The first single, "Do it Again," featuring vocals by Ali Love, should give an indication of the direction of the album when it hits soon. The boys are doing an exclusive set at Glastonbury and will tour the U.S. in September.
Full track listing for We Are the Night:
No Path To Follow
We Are The Night
All Rights Reversed (Featuring The Klaxons)
Do It Again (Featuring Ali Love)
The Salmon Dance (Featuring Fatlip)
A Modern Midnight Conversation
Battle Scars (Featuring Willy Mason)
The Pills Won’t Help You Now (Featuring Midlake)
Last month, I ran into Peter, Bjorn and John at the airport in Austin on our way out of South by Southwest and recently followed up with lead singer Peter Moren at home in Stockholm. The band is about to kick off a lengthy U.S. tour (following a bunch of shows in Europe) with British indie dance rockers Fujiya & Miyagi and Brooklyn's all-female indie trio Au Revoir Simone. I've written a decent amount about PB&J already and by now you've likely heard their infectious pop hit "Young Folks." If not, you really need to stop reading this from under that rock.
SomethingGlorious: What do you think of the buzz and media attention you're getting?
Peter Moren: It's amazing to finally being able to do this at a somewhat higher level, then we used to. Especially in the states we are getting a lot of buzz I understand, which of course is great. I do understand if people, so called "indie-talibans," can get annoyed of the amount of exposure certain artists get at a certain time, which might prevent them of giving the music a decent chance. I've been there and done that myself. For example, I couldn't listen at all to the Strokes when they first came, because they were so hyped. But then six months later I actually got into their album and liked it a lot. And also for every band getting attention, there's always another great one -- or indeed lots of them -- overshadowed. But for of course for us the effect is only for the better at this stage, since we want to reach a wider audience. And we think we're worth it!
SG: When we chatted in the airport in Austin after South by Southwest, you said you felt your first label didn't pay enough attention - or spend enough money - to get your music out there. Do you think you finally landed somewhere that understands the importance of marketing your sound?
PM: I don't want to blame anyone for anything. Our first two labels were tiny, tiny Swedish indies without any kind of resources. Basically they were friends and music lovers. You can't sell a lot of our type of music in Sweden anyway; we still don't sell a lot of albums in Sweden, not even of Writer's Block. Sweden is too small; to have a career with just one indie-band, you have to have different things/projects going on at the same time, like Bjorn, who produces. What I did mean was that this time, we've been able to more or less get worldwide distribution and different licensing deals and I think our new label, V2 in Sweden, has been better at working these things out. Our second album, Falling Out, did come out in the States in 2005, again on a small label [Hidden Agenda] without lots of resources. Also we didn't tour it or promote it. We just put it out and that was it. The US media couldn't capitalize on any pre-European buzz, since as I said, the first two only came out in Sweden. But I totally salute Hidden Agenda for being first over there in finding us.
Sanctuary Records, home to such diverse acts as Morrissey, Widespread Panic, Tegan & Sara and former Cranberries frontwoman Dolores O'Riordan (who has an album coming out mid May), announced they're closing down the U.S. operations of their record label this summer. Sanctuary, which is HQ'd in the UK, will continue to run a catalog operation out of their U.S. offices, but the closing is part of overall strategic realignment, according to Billboard.
The Kaiser Chiefs are about to start another riot with the release of their second album Yours Truly, Angry Mob, which is already out in the UK and has topped the charts for two weeks in a row. My review for URB magazine comes out in the next issue:
On their follow up to the massively successful Employment, Kaiser Chiefs up the ante by settling into their groove. On Yours Truly, Angry Mob, Kaiser Chiefs grow up, dig in and get utterly serious, albeit in a pogo-hopping decadent British way. On this set, energetic front man Ricky Wilson takes vocal cues from Simon LeBon and Morrissey (not coincidentally, this album was produced by Stephen Street who also worked with the Smiths). The music charges forth in a polished package of angular Brit-poppy beats and rhythms with big, colossal guitars and sing-along songs, especially "I Can Do it Without You" and lead single "Ruby," a hyper-paced love ditty that gets enjoyably enmeshed in your head. "The Angry Mob," a melodic tune that morphs into a battle call of sorts, calls out the British public's love affair with tabloids and pubs. The rest of the album mixes signature Kaiser's power pop ("Heat Dies Down," "Highroyds"), anthems ("Try Your Best"), Duran-inspired ballads ("Love's Not a Competition But I'm Winning") and straight up fun tunes ("Everything is Average Nowadays"). Where the band predicted a riot on Employment, for this one, they're surely predicting world domination.
The album drops March 27. In the meantime, check out these songs:
Nick Drake isn't dead. He's alive and well and living under an assumed name in Denmark. Two assumed names actually: Ehlers/Thejsen. In reality Danish duo Morten Ehlers and Jonas Thejsen do a pretty damn good job of keeping the '70s singer/songwriter's vibe going strong. This pair makes gorgeous loungy music in a pure '70s AM radio style with soothing soulful vocals and glistening light and plucky acoustic guitar. They're backed by Marie Højlund, whose beautiful harmonies perfectly complement Thejsen's deeper yet lofty voice. Add in some wind instruments, cello and piano and you get a smoky jazzy groove on the melancholy "Echoes," while the upbeat and slightly psychedelic "Yes We Fixed Your World" shines a little hope on the darkness and negativity that abounds today. This music is a perfect discovery coming into spring -- its light and airy feeling is the ultimate soundtrack for a lazy hazy morning with the sun rising out over the lake when you want to blow off work and frolick in the park. In a nutshell, I just got turned on to Ehlers/Thejsen and I'm an instant fan -- I absolutely love this music. Their self-titled debut comes out April 2 on Denmark's Warfare Records.
Check it out on MySpace.
Peter Bjorn and John were on my flight from Austin to Chicago connecting to Stockholm. For a band that played seven or eight shows, filmed a TV spot and did a bunch of interviews over the last few days, they look surprisingly refreshed. I chatted with Peter for a bit, who told me they're coming back to the US for a tour in May, which will include a stop at Coachella and also at Chicago's Empty Bottle. He also confirmed they're playing Lollapalooza.
Peter said they were really happy to play the amount of shows they did because it helps keep the buzz going and helps prime them for the forthcoming full tour. They're definitely riding a wave, now that Writer's Block – their third release – is finally getting noticed. He complained that they had trouble with their old label, which really only distributed their albums in Sweden and didn't give them enough attention, because when I asked about why he thought this one was finally hitting he said "better distribution – and a hit single doesn't hurt either!"
The guys are excited to get back home to see their girlfriends but that this trip was a huge success. Peter was a little disappointed he didn't get to see any bands but then again, he said, "we're here to work." I encouraged him to try and book a couple of days for Lollapalooza so they can enjoy Chicago and see a bunch of music since they missed it all in Austin. Of all the shows they played, he said his favorites were the Rhapsody party at Mohawk (the set I caught) and also the show at La Zona Rosa, because it was "more of a proper show" – longer, great energy.
I actually walked onto the plane with Peter who was really looking forward to a little sleep after the whirlwind three days in Austin. We talked about more music and he again said he was disappointed that he didn't get to really see much music – but he did get to see Pete Townshend who played a song with his girlfriend, Rachel Fuller, during the DirecTV taping when PB&J did their set. He also said it was a thrill to see Robyn Hitchcock (who was joined by REM's Peter Buck) at the Mohawk show before PB&J's set and excited that Brazilian legend Gilberto Gil was around town, too. Running into them was a nice way to cap off my sxsw experience and hopefully I'll be doing a proper interview with Peter (or one of the other guys) before they return to the US in May.
After talking to a bunch of people on Friday and seeing other blog postings, it looks like Thursday was somewhat of a cluster fuck for many. But whatever mishaps took place on Day 2, Friday made up for it in spades. My day kicked off with a fantastic interview with Brandi Carlile at the Intercontinental. Brandi, whose new album comes out April 3, looks and sounds wonderful. She grew out her hair and reminds me of Mandy Moore, even with the cute little birthmark. We chatted for about 40 minutes about everything from recording with T Bone Burnett and the song content to her personal life and the need to have nature in her world. Afterward, I headed over to the Fader Fort, which for all intents and purposes was one of the best spots of the weekend (save the weak SoCo punch). I caught Cloud Cult, the sextet (or octet if you count the two artists painting on stage behind them) from Minneapolis, who sounded absolutely brilliant. It surprised me that there weren't more people there because it's bands like this that I feel really merit the exposure at these festivals. The inclusion of a cello and violin completely enhance their experimental northern sound and just make it all the more gorgeous.
Strolling down 6th Street, we stopped to grab a slice of pizza and, while waiting in line, heard someone ride by on a bike and scream "Perez Hilton!" I turned back around and the self-proclaimed gossip gangstar walked in front of us, accompanied by English buzz boy Mika. I swear, Perez is a glutton for attention. He died his hair pink and, wearing a bright yellow and pink striped shirt and loud yellow pants and looking fatter than ever, he honestly looked like the Ronald McDonald float from the Macy's Day Parade. Poor thing.
So tired. weird day. super hot. highilghts: [I'll add pictures later]
Pipettes @ Fader/Levi's Fort -- super cute, great voices -- not ready for mainstream
Foreign Islands @ the Fort -- amazingly tight, new york downtown raw indie rock
Schubas party @ Yard Dog -- hoped to see Cold War Kids; more or less hung with friends
PETER BJORN & JOHN @ Rhapsody's soiree @ Mohawk -- first, this new club down by the legendary Club DeVille is a fantastic setting for live music. With a huge indoor space and a great wooden deck. PB&J came on late so I only caught five songs before I had to leave but they finally lived up to their hype. Word was their shows in NY weren't so on fire, but this set ruled.
Uchi Sushi -- some of the best raw fish I've ever had.
Mika @ Eternal -- this young British troubadour lives up to the buzz surrounding him back home. His vocals were so crisp and pure that you almost had to question if it was really him singing live (it was) or if he was lip syncing (he wasn't). I chatted with him after the set and he complained that everything that could go wrong did. The sound was off. His drummer couldn't hear his monitors. I assured him that he was great and that we had no idea they were having issues. He is definitely a showman but needs more practice in front of a live audience. This was actually his third-ever show in the US.
Bloc Party @ Stubb's -- as always Bloc Party brought it, but again, chatting with Kele afterward at the C3/Playboy party, he said he didn't really love it. Something about the venue makes it difficult for him to connect with the audience. But instead of brooding over it, Kele said, "You play the show and then move on." At least he can let it go.
Ghostland Observatory @ Playboy Party -- Not sure what the deal is with this big Austin buzz electronic outfit, but honestly I found them pretty snoozy.
It's 2:30 am. I just got back to my hotel room -- and I'm definitely ready to rest up for the next couple of days. Today felt like one big summer camp reunion -- people from all walks of life popped in and out of the day. Friends from SF, NY, LA, Chicago -- some who I haven't seen for years -- all descended upon Austin for the Holy Grail of music festivals. We started the day with a brief stop at Emo's for the kick off to Metro's 25th Anniversary -- congrats Joe Shanahan for having one of the most incredible, influential music venues in the world. Then we headed to the Levi's/Fader Fort -- a pop-up Levi's store-cum-music venue with tight, eclectic lineups all weekend long. Today we caught a roaring set by David Vandervelde, one of my favorite new singers from Chicago who relives the sexiness of T Rex and Roxy Music. Vandervelde followed a rousing Brit-pulsing set by Foals and a hot interlude by Hot Club de Paris, which was cut short for a fine fine Tex-Mex meal at El Chile (thanks iser!). Heading back Downtown, I met up with friends at Stubb's, where I caught Jamie T, a garage-edged Arctic Monkeys vocals-sounding crowd-enticing young singer (who I first got turned on to in London last October). This NME showcase then featured Lily Allen, who totally drew in the crowd, but I've seen her so I bailed and caught the last two songs of Tally Hall before what will likely go down as one of the hottest sets of the weekend -- San Francisco's Birdmonster. While from the Bay Area, this hot foursome has a New York edge with a British thunderous vibe -- but without any bullshit or pretense. They rocked out so freakin' hard -- and the few industry smarts who were there definitely knew what was up. The night capped off with a righteous hell-raisin' set by spoken word artist Saul Williams whose music is set to an eclectic backbeat of electronic sounds, including his new stuff which is heavily steeped in drum 'n bass with a big Nine Inch Nails influence (which makes sense since Trent Reznor is producing his new album). But now it's time to go to sleep. Mas manana.