The Bulletin: Arts & Culture News | 8 March

Frightened Rabbit conquer the USA; new music from Factory Floor, Lapalux, Mudhoney and Baths; Sparklehorse documentary in the works, plus all the latest summer festival news...

Feature by The News Badger | 08 Mar 2013

Frightened Rabbit are conquering the USA one concert hall at a time, playing headline shows across the length and breadth of the country to promote their album Pedestrian Verse (which we reviewed here). The band have visited the US before on a short tour promoting their debut Sing The Greys, including a stop at South By Southwest in 2007, and then again in 2008 and 2011, supporting Death Cab For Cutie. They played the Jimmy Fallon show after the release of The Winter Of Mixed Drinks, which peaked at number 84 in the US Billboard charts; Pedestrian Verse has just recently gone on sale in the US, and following their strong performance on the Conan O'Brien show this week, the band's fortunes may continue to rise. The Skinny wishes the FRabbit boys the best of luck! Read our recent interview with the band here.


Live From Jodrell Bank launched in 2011 with headliners The Flaming Lips playing to a gigantic crowd clustered at the base of the Jodrell Bank Observatory near Manchester, which houses an array of radio telescopes, among the largest and most sophisticated of their kind in the UK. Elbow headlined in 2012, and now the headliners for this year's events have been announced – New Order (read our Stephen Morris interview here) will headline and curate a show, alongside Johnny Marr, The Whip, Jake Evans and Hot Vestry on 7 July. Another event is planned for later in the year, with headliners Sigur Rós curating the concert on 30 Aug. Details and tickets can be found here.

We've already previewed the track Curtains from Team Ghost's debut album proper, Rituals (reviewed here) – now watch the video, featuring the band performing in a smoke-filled space, alongside a dancer wearing an exotic couture outfit, and some very strange hair-based imagery. Check out our interview with the band here.

Featured in our March issue, young Brainfeeder-signed producer Lapalux this week unveiled the video for Without You, taken from his stunning debut album Nostalchic (reviewed here), featuring Kerry Leatham on vocal duties. It's one of the more downbeat, reflective tracks from the album, with an absolutely gorgeous and faintly disturbing video featuring a mysterious, gimp-suited protagonist. Our interview with Lapalux will be online later in the month. 

CHVRCHES, the Glaswegian synth-pop trio currently dominating the blogosphere with their infectous, hook-driven tracks, unveiled their new video this week - the dystopian imagery and stark photography of the video for Recover, the lead track from their forthcoming EP, is an interesting contrast to the melancholic, brightly-polished sheen of the track, which was a highlight of their recent headline show at The Arches (reviewed here). The EP is out 25 March.

Mark Linkous of US indie band Sparklehorse sadly took his own life in 2010, leaving behind a string of intimate, gently lo-fi indie rock albums, which occupied a significant space in the heart of '90s music fans. Linkous had a troubled history of substance abuse and depression, related to his bipolar disorder. Now a new documentary about Sparklehorse hopes to examine the often symbiotic relationship between bipolar disorder and creativity, while preserving the legacy of Linkous's art. The documentary, to be titled The Sad & Beautiful World of Sparklehorse, is being crowd-funded by Alex Crowton and Balwant Dass, who were close frinds of Linkous. Get involved and donate here, and watch a preview of the film here.

Vice and Quietus scribe John Doran interviews Aidan Moffat for Noisey in the clip below, taking a look back over his career with Arab Strap, and as a solo musician and poet. Topics covered include poppers-fuelled early gigs with Mogwai, taking ecstasy by mistake before going on stage at T in the Park, and why the French don't get the humour in his lyrics.

More acts have been added to the Flow Festival (7-11 Aug) in Helsinki, including magisterial post-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor, dream-pop innovators Beach House, and Finnish experimental rock outfit K-X-P. They join previously announced headliners Kraftwerk, The Knife and Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds. Full lineup and tickets here.

Festival No. 6 (13-15 Sep) takes place in Portmeirion in South Wales, famously the setting for cult psychedelic espionage series The Prisoner. The festival (which we are assured is a festival, not a number, despite its title) has just announced its bill, with headliners Manic Street Preachers coming out of retirement to headline alongside the likes of James Blake, I Am Kloot, Everything Everything, AlunaGeorge, Mount Kimbie and Clinic. The festival also has a strong dance music lineup, with appearances from the likes of Carl Craig and Andrew Weatherall, and an arts and culture strand featuring the likes of punk poet John Cooper Clarke, journalist Caitlin Moran and Booker-winning author DBC Pierre. Details and tickets here.

Eastern Electrics (2-4 Aug) takes place in Knebworth Park, and focuses mainly on dance music. This year will see performances from a gigantic selection of electronic talent, including Anja Scheider, Blawan, Jackmaster, Joy Orbison, Maya Jane Coles, Ben UFO, DJ Sneak, Dave Clarke and Richie Hawtin. It's pretty much a who's who of techno and house. Check out the lineup and book tickets here.

Finally, this year's NYC Red Bull Music Academy announced its lineup of speakers, advisors, performers and workshop leaders for this year's month-long industry pow-wow and proving ground for up-and-coming talent, taking place in New York from 28 April. Lucky delegates will get to hear lectures from the likes of Brainfeeder boss Flying Lotus; the godfather of electronic studio production himself, Brian Eno; and much-admired British superproducer Four Tet. A few of the performers getting ready for intimate, one-off live shows are Blondes, Metro Area, Skream, Mala, Oneohtrix Point Never, and Laurel Halo. Full details and tickets here. The latest RBMA #HASHTAGS documentary, Don't Call It #TumblrWave is also up online this week. 


It's an alt.rock Clash of the Titans! On a track from the soundtrack to Dave Grohl's new film about legendary LA recording studios Sound City, the Nirvana drummer and Foo Fighters head honcho brings in some A-list assistance on a track entitled Mantra. He's joined by Nine Inch Nails / How To Destroy Angels frontman Trent Reznor, and Queens of the Stone Age ringleader Josh Homme. The track starts slow and builds to a powerfully explosive crescendo. 

While we're on the topic of grunge-era alt.rock heroes, Mudhoney are back for 2013 with a new album, Vanishing Point, their ninth release. It promises to be a strong offering in a 25-year career that has seen the band pioneering their particular brand of sludgy, doomed punk rock. Appropriately for a band who never lost their sense of humour – they once named an album Superfuzz Bigmuff after their two favourite guitar pedals –the album is out on April 1. Stream and grab a free download of first single I Like It Small below, and watch the trailer for Vanishing Point below.

Baths, the Anticon-sgned producer whose debut album Cerulean was greatly admired by our reviewer back in 2010, is back with the follow-up, the similarly colour-themed but evidently darker Obsidian, slated for release on 28 May. It showcases a bleaker sound from the producer, but maintains a strong melodic sensibility. The first track to be revealed, Miasma Sky, is below.

French electronic superstar Anthony Gonzalez of M83 has co-produced the soundtrack to the new Tom Cruise-starring post-apocalypse sci-fi romp Oblivion – he worked with Joseph Trapanese, who also worked with Daft Punk on their score for Tron: Legacy. The first track from the score was unveiled this week. Rolling Stone have an exclusive stream.

London-based industrial trio Factory Floor have also been working on a collaboration – at their forthcoming performance ArchLive, they have been working with Simon Fisher Turner, seminal Mute Recordings artist, former member of The The, and pioneering modern composer. FF's Gabriel Gurnsey and Dominic Butler will be live-scoring visuals by Nik Colk Void alongside Fisher Turner at the event at London's ICA on 14 March, which will feature some tasty morsels from the band's eagerly-awaited new album. There's a very brief teaser below.

Ghostly International will release the long-awaited follow-up to the 2009 classic Why Bother? by electronic duo ADULT. on 13 May. Hailing from Detroit and formed in 1998, the band's dark and intelligent, techno-influenced sound was a turning point in electronic music, bringing in punk influences and helping to define the electroclash sound. They premiered the first track from the album, Idle (Second Thoughts) this week. The album will be titled The Way Things Fall

Supermarkets are the only recession-proof companies out there. Over the past decade or so they have bankrupted town centres by undercutting their prices at massive out-of-town retail parks; monopolised the home delivery market for groceries, further destabilizing local shops and businesses; and colonised the high streets themselves, expanding their range of products to include DVDs, video games, and music sold at discount prices. Many blame this trend for the decline in sales and widespread closures of independent media retailers, and even the collapse of major high street chains such as HMV. It is therefore unsurprising to learn that retail giant Tesco is now looking to take a slice of the valuable music streaming market, launching its own service under their Blinkbox subsidiary, acquired in 2011.

Subscription service Blinkbox already offers media streaming for TV shows and films, and Tesco recently announced a new service, Clubcard TV, which will allow free ad-supported viewing of TV shows online for Clubcard holders. Following Tesco's buyout of music service We7, which operates much like Spotify, it is now assumed that they plan to merge that site's functionality with that of their Binkbox service, in addition to offering access to e-books, much in the way Amazon does. Tesco's Michael Comish, head of Digital Entertainment for the company, said that the service will allow Tesco to "provide even more choice in how customers buy and enjoy their entertainment" – presumably as long as they buy it from Tesco.

With Amazon already accused by many of having an effective monopoly on many methods of digital content delivery, and companies like Google launching their own streaming services, Tesco's bid for a share of this growing online market seems very much a calculated move – and if the range of music on sale at their high street shops is anything to go by (you can buy everything from Adele to One Direction, at bargain prices), the service will value discount prices and unit-shifting commercial appeal over true choice and fair deals for artists. Do you have an opinion on this story? Tell us in the comments below.


As usual you can get a handy run-down of our Top Ten Events for the coming week from our regular feature, including mini-festivals Ladyfest and Tenement Trail, happening in Glasgow. For those of you in the 'Burgh, there are a couple of very tasty local club nights to check out, featuring some long-established favourites and some talented up-and-comers. 

The 49Hz collective formed in April last year around a core of like-minded DJs and producers who favour the intersection of bass music, techno, garage and house that has come to define the most cutting-edge dancefloors of the post-dubstep club scene. This weekend they are having a free party at new-kid-on-the-block venue 511, which occupies the basement of city centre pub The Newsroom. Their residents Fault Lines and De Courcy will be joined by guests and regular co-conspirators Atticus Jacks and Comrade Massie. It's free to get in but space is strictly limted to 120 people, so get yourself down early! The event isn't listed with us, but you can get details on Facebook here

Now safely ensconced in its new location beneath the Edinburgh Central Library, The Bongo Club welcomes back regular funk, soul and reggae night Four Corners for their 8th birthday celebrations. The night is something of an Edinburgh institution, with hosts Astroboy, Simon Hodge, Johnny Cashback and Wee G always guaranteed to show you a good time with an unpretentious, welcoming crowd of regulars. If you haven't checked out the new Bongo yet, now is the time. Details here.