Sunday, June 27, 2010


Not much to go with this week, unless you share our baffled love for the 100 Essential... series which expands this week. 100 Essential Pop starts with Westlife and Kelly Clarkson, and by CD4 it's onto Halo James and Modern Talking. What we can point you in the direction of is The Rise & Fall, the latest in the series of Madness album remasters, reissues and expansions. Their idea of a concept album, about their collective youths in north London, they took influence from Sgt Pepper and The Kinks Are The Village Green Preservation Society. Oddly for such a parochial album, it featured the track that made them one hit wonders in America, Our House. The extra disc here is all 12" mixes, B-sides and Tomorrow's (Just Another Day) with Elvis Costello on vocals.

The Serpentine Sessions in Hyde Park are a fine attempt to put independently promoted bands in a luxurious location over three nights. One can only imagine what Grizzly Bear could do on Monday given the surroundings, with Efterklang main support. Patti Smith pops in on Tuesday, while Thursday has Laura Marling backed up by Fanfarlo, Peggy Sue, Smoke Fairies and Alessi's Ark.

We may keep up to date with the latest churn of musical hipsterism, but we have our favourites. Illness are Smalltown America's latest hopes, an instrumental duo from Brighton who claim major influence from Pavement, which you can see if you take their Perfume V-like everything at once moments as foreground, Hella and Shield Your Eyes (who they're about to tour with) They also say they're essentially a pop hooks kinda band, which, as with all bands who go on about their pop hooks, is some other pop to the type everyone else knows. Abrasive without being full frontally sonic terrorist about it, tappy Don Caballero math-rock sifted until only the bare bones are left.

With Glastonbury having fired the starting gun on festival season 2010 this is the first big weekend, especially with Europe getting some of its bigger events in early - Roskilde, Hove, Rock Werchter (where Faithless are headlining over Muse) and Eurockeennes (Saturday headliner: The Hives). Can we manage with so many bands over for European fun? Not really. Wireless (Friday-Sunday, Hyde Park) is exclusively put on for T4's benefit and thus can be comfortably ignored. Hop Farm (Friday-Saturday, Tonbridge), basically Vince Power's big old two fingers at Festival Republic, has Bob Dylan on Saturday, his first UK festival since Suede refused to go on before him at Phoenix Festival 1995. Wonder if he remembers it. Ray of sweetness and light Van Morrison on Friday, with a fine undercard including Peter Green And Friends. Hopefully nobody will go to it eagerly only to be disappointed by the lack of Pocketbooks and the Parallelograms. Cornbury (weekend, Cornbury Park, Charlbury, Oxon) may never get over the fact David Cameron was spotted there a couple of years ago. Ten years ago's David Gray headlines.

Wakestock (Friday-Sunday, Pwllheli Inner Marina and Abersoch Beach), an event next to a large wakeboarding event, is always something you feel slightly unclean about by association of people you like playing it to what you can't with much honesty imagine is a receptive audience. Ting Tings, Eric Prydz and Maximo Park seem to be your headliners even though loads of proper chart and radio big shots are on the bill. Los Campesinos!, presumbly with an overworked drum machine, are on before Band Of Skulls, who you've never heard of, and after an RAF Falcons parachute display. The sea is a good place to think of the 'chuter. Also amusing: Blood Red Shoes on between Plan B and Hurts. Also an odd occasion, Coventry's Godiva Festival, whose range and potential reach seems to be so scattershot it's bemusing. It's free, for starters, although you still have to register before they'll let you into Memorial Park. And their local unsigned band competition finalists were more than half made up of bands from Birmingham. Friday night is 80s night, with the Christians and their one original member, Martin Fry (but not the rest of them), Kid Creole and the Coconuts - they headlined Camp Bestival last year! - and Hazel O'Connor. Saturday's Rock Day is headlined by Ash and that notorious decibel risker Badly Drawn Boy, and if anyone can explain why the Primitives, who lest we forget are a Coventry band, are playing before Senser and Detroit Social Club we'd be glad to hear from you. Beat Herder - "the most heart-on-sleeve northern festival we’ve been to" said Drowned In Sound, which could be read any number of ways - takes over Gisburn, Lancashire from Friday to Sunday. The Bar-Steward Sons of Val Doonican are on. Blissfields (Friday-Sunday, Alresford, Hampshire) is the sort of small and ultimately likeable event you know would book Chris T-T, Imperial Leisure and half a dozen Sound Systems. As indeed they have.

  • From the file marked 'well, of course they would': Noble from British Sea Power, Eamon and Marc of Brakes, Matt Eaton and Darren from The Tenderfoot have collaborated on a World Cup record based on a calypso tribute to the opening of Maurice Bishop International Airport in Grenada. It's called Football (Kick It In The Goal).
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