Friday, 30 October 2009

ALBUM REVIEW: Devendra Banhart, What Will We Be

Devendra Banhart's major-label debut, ‘What Will We Be’, was recorded with the same collaborators who graced his 2007 ‘Smokey Rolls Down Thunder Canyon’. On this latest recording the idiosyncratic singer-songwriter is intimate, experimental and ultimately accessible.

28 year old Banhart finally sounds content with himself and his own sound. His latest offering is a big improvement on his 2007 album; it's also the most consistently satisfying in its mood, flow and passion, full-length he's made.

For his seventh album, Banhart gave himself over to super-producer Paul Butler from A Band of Bees, and with a little direction Banhart flourishes: In the catchy campfire sing-along’s ‘Angelika’ and ‘Goin' Back’, his appealing eccentricity gains potency when it's packed into more compact forms.

Butler has smoothed out the peculiar edges and given Banhart his most radio-friendly sound yet. His method of vocal arrangement lifts tracks such as ‘Maria Leonza’ from simple Latin sashay to an ache-filled lament. While breezy yet bass heavy ‘Baby’ and ‘16th & Valencia, Roxy Music’ shimmer with professionalism.

‘What Will We Be’ is dominated by powerfully melodic, mid-tempo tracks that have a sunny, breezy feel which makes it arguably Banhart’s most focused release to date.

Track listing:

1. Can't Help but Smiling
2. Angelika
3. Baby
4. Goin' Back
5. First Song for B
6. Last Song for B
7. Chin Chin and Muck Muck
8. 16th and Valencia Roxy Music
9. Rats
10. Maria Lionza
11. Brindo
12. Meet Me at Lookout Point
13. Walilamdzi
14. Foolin'


How To Make It In Music 2 – Help for Aspiring Musicians

A new book has been released to help out aspiring musicians.

Aspiring musicians who are keen to get their big break “without selling their soul to X Factor” may be in luck, as a new guide for unsigned musicians is released.

‘How To Make It In Music 2’ clearly sets out the lengths any aspiring musician needs to go to and the pitfalls they must avoid on their path to success.

The book deals with different aspects of the music business including information for independent musicians on approaching promoters, guides to selling and distributing their own music and in-depth reviews of recording equipment.

The book is published annually and was written this year by Stuart James Smith, a London-based musician.

It also includes in-depth interviews with industry figures including Rob Da Bank, Fatboy Slim’s music engineer Streaky Gee and Barfly promoter Mark Richards.

The 300-page book is priced at £7.99.

Bat For Lashes - HMV Picture House, Edinburgh 20th Oct 2009

Support act, Yeasayer, was an obvious choice since Natasha Khan collaborated with the Brooklyn band during the production stage of her last album, Two Suns.

Their special brand of apocalyptic psych rock initially seemed to meet with a degree of bewilderment. However, the cheers from the Edinburgh audience seemed to grow as the set progressed, with debut-album gems ‘Wait for the Summer’ and ‘Sunrise’ standing out.

As it’s the last night of the current tour I was wondering what kind of performance we were about to get. However, Natasha Khan gracefully floats barefoot onto the stage and immediately launches into a number that’s full of dramatics, with lightning bolt flashes and thunderous drums and kind of answers that question for me.

Straight away it’s pretty obvious that this girl can really sing, and sing beautifully at that, no coarse or strained vocals, given it’s the last night. Natasha Khan and her band are completely professional, effortlessly recreating the musical complexities of her two critically acclaimed albums, 2006's Fur And Gold, and 2009's Two Suns.

Her songs are fantastical tales with driving rhythms and atmosphere in abundance but dynamic drummer Sarah Jones almost stole the limelight in up-tempo tracks like Glass, Pearl’s Dream and the slow-building Siren Song, but Khan deservedly pulls focus with her stunning renditions of the more measured Horse and I and Prescilla.

Although the band was as tight as you'd expect at the end of a tour, the whole performance was a bit lacklustre there was something missing. It felt as though they were just going through the motions as it was rarely uplifting and never engaging with Khan’s stage presence less than commanding.

Reviewer: Starlet

Thursday, 29 October 2009

Canadian Folk Singer Dies Following Coyote Attack

Up-and-coming Canadian folk musician Taylor Mitchell has died as a result of injuries sustained after two coyotes attacked her in a Canadian National Park.

The 19-year-old singer-songwriter from Toronto was hiking alone in Cape Breton Highlands National Park on Tuesday when the incident occurred, leaving her in a critical condition. She was taken to hospital in Halifax, but died yesterday morning (October 28).

"Words can't begin to express the sadness and tragedy of losing such a sweet, compassionate, vibrant, and phenomenally talented young woman," said Lisa Weitz, Taylor's manager.

The artist had been touring Canada's east coast in support of her debut album, For Your Consideration, which had earned her a nomination for a 2009 Canadian Folk Music Award in the Young Performer of the Year category.

Wednesday, 28 October 2009

File-Sharing Disconnection Plan Unveiled

The UK will follow France's controversial lead to create a three strikes rule to battle illegal file sharing.

Speaking at a conference run by the Creativity and Business International Network (C&binet), business secretary Peter Mandelson said: "I was shocked to learn that only one in 20 music tracks in the UK is downloaded legally. We cannot sit back and do nothing."

He said that if the amount of illegal file-sharing taking place in the UK hadn't dropped by 70 per cent a year on from April 2010 measures to cut off file-sharers' connections would come into place from July 2011.

Mandelson said that connections would be cut off as a "last resort" and that there would be a "three strikes" policy, with offenders receiving letters of increasing severity.

Those illegally sharing files will first be sent an indefinite stream of warning letters, telling them to knock it off. If they don't, the owner of the content will be allowed to take legal action, with appeals going through Ofcom.

The minister added: "It must become clear that the days of consequence-free widespread online infringement are over."

Friday, 23 October 2009

Keep Track of Your Tracks with Internet Tool - Track Patrol

A new website has been launched that will help companies and individuals try to resolve the problem of unlicensed tracks appearing on compilation albums.

Track Patrol ( is a unique product that allows users to search every physical compilation album for sale online in the UK and US, to see which songs appear where, and therefore crack down on unauthorised use.

Paul Hatcher, the company’s co-founder (also director of The Licensing Partnership UK) has said that in his experience as a licensing agent, tracks frequently appear on compilations without the permission of correct rights owners because of admin errors.

He said “The majors’ rights databases are poorer than some systems,” adding “People often don’t update rights databases when they lose rights. I constantly find tracks on compilations that are unauthorised.”

Consumers can use Track Patrol for free although their search results don’t include full details. Users can pay £50 per search or subscribe for a monthly or annual fee.

Paid searches include information such as Compilations, Labels, Format, Release Date, Catalogue Numbers, Territory & Download sites. Users can pay £50 per search or subscribe for a monthly or annual fee.

Hatcher says the service has had a positive response from many major and independent labels. He will present it to the AIM Dance Committee in January.

Thursday, 22 October 2009

Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival Release 500 Early Bird Tickets

A limited number of tickets for next year's Belladrum Tartan Heart Festival will go on sale from 10am tomorrow (Friday 23rd October) morning at the same price as they were for the previous two years.

The 500 weekend tickets will be priced at £80 with children 12 and under able to attend for free. Campervan, caravan, and boutique tipi camping area tickets will go on sale at a later date.

The festival was sold out in 2009 and once the early birds have gone, new prices for the 2010 event will come into effect.

Belladrum takes place in the picturesque surroundings of Belladrum Estate, near Beauly in Inverness-shire, Scotland. Now in it's seventh year the festival will take place on Friday 6th and Saturday 7th August 2010.

The independent festival has built a reputation for its eclectic line-ups, its off-beat non-musical entertainments and its all-ages approach.

These early bird tickets are available exclusively from The Ironworks on, or by calling 0871 7894173 or in person from The Ironworks, 122 Academy St, Inverness (open from 10am to 6pm Monday to Friday).

Wednesday, 21 October 2009

Music Live Celebrates 10th Anniversary in 2009

Music Live 2009 celebrates its tenth anniversary next month at Birmingham NEC.

The event takes place at the NEC, Birmingham from Friday 6th until Sunday 8th November and for the past decade it's been the UK's favourite music-making event, inspiring and educating musicians in their thousands.

Music Live is the biggest exhibition of musical equipment and instruments in the UK. The show attracts music junkies on all different levels; from those who are playing professionally through to wannabe rock stars!

Every year there’s a fantastic showing of the latest and greatest guitars, drums, synths, amps, recording gear and software from the world's best-known brands, as well as educational advice and demonstrations throughout the whole show.

Exciting live performances are also part of the Music Live experience, which regularly pulls in crowds over 22,000 strong.

This year acoustic guitar wizard and YouTube phenomenon Erik Mongrain, new UK bands Cars on Fire and They Fell From The Sky and Ocean Colour Scene’s Damon Minchella are all scheduled for Live Stage shows and masterclasses.

On Sunday, November 8, the Live Stage is given over to some of the country’s finest tribute bands, including Iron Maiden tribute Hi-On Maiden who will be creating the classic 1988 Donnington Monsters of Rock bill.

This year the show also ‘hosts’ the Hellfire Festival, taking place on the Music Live stage each evening and featuring classic names alongside hot new talent, from Saxon and Anvil to Sylosis and Blakfish.

Joint discounted tickets for both Music Live and Hellfire are available to allow access to both events.

For further information visit

Friday, 16 October 2009

Oxjam Music Festival Takes Over Edinburgh

Oxjam is taking over five venues in Edinburgh on Friday 23rd of October for an evening of the best live music around in aid of Oxfam GB.

One wristband gets you access to ALL of the venues below, all night long.

Cabaret Voltaire Frightened Rabbit (Scott solo, with special friends), Three Blind Wolves, Boycotts, Dead Boy Robotics

The Bowery Meursault, Jesus H. Foxx, Y’all is Fantasy Island, The Occasional Flickers

Sneaky Pete's Woodenbox with a Fistful of Fivers, The Little Kicks, Chutes

City Café Come on Gang, Le Reno Amps, Pose Victorious, Paper Beats Rock, The Last Battle, Conquering Animal Sound

The Wee Red Bar My Electric Love Affair, Shellsuit Massacre, Snide Rhythms

Tickets for Oxjam cost £7 and are available from Avalanche Records on Cockburn Street, Edinburgh or visit

In addition there will be a couple of exciting pairings going on the night, with the highlight being a secret gig in the Oxfam store on The Royal Mile. Keep an eye on the for more details.

This year all proceeds from Oxjam will go directly to those already affected by climate change. Whilst for many climate change is a debatable subject the effects are being felt in the world's poorest communities, this is your chance to make a difference. 80 pence out of every pound donated will go directly into aid.

Edinburgh Seeks Next Generation of Concert Promoters

Wannabe music promoters are being offered a unique opportunity to hone their skills for free at Edinburgh’s Usher Hall.

A group of up to 20 over 16’s will get a shot at music and event promotion as part of a scheme run by the City Council and the theatre's creative education programme.

The 'Young Promoters' training project will include PR and marketing, front of house, health and safety and promotion in practice. Trainees will also work together to promote their own event, to be performed in the Usher Hall in 2010.

Councillor Deidre Brock, Culture Convenor, said: "Anyone who's ever dreamed of becoming the next Geoff Ellis - the hugely successful head of DF Concerts and Chief Executive of T in the Park - should leap at the chance to join the Young Promoters project.

"It promises to be a fantastic and practical introduction to the music and events promotion industry and what better setting than our very own world-renowned Usher Hall."

The group will have a budget to promote their own event and will support the planning and promotion of the Creative Education programme's performances.

The organisers are looking for a group of enterprising young people and are urging anyone interested in taking part to come along to a first event meeting on Monday 26 October at 2.00pm – 4.00pm in the Cambridge Bar at the Usher Hall.

For more information, go to

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

BBC Introducing at Electric Proms 2009

BBC Introducing is giving four unsigned artists the opportunity to record a session at the legendary Maida Vale Studios as part of 2009’s BBC Electric Proms.

This once in a lifetime opportunity will see the artists given exposure to industry experts who will guide them in creating unique sessions to be broadcast across BBC Radio from Tuesday 20th October to Saturday 24th October.

The four acts chosen, Kid Adrift, Daley, Lost Knives and Lettie, were discovered via BBC Introducing regional shows and the BBC Introducing music upload service.

Each artist will be championed across the week of Electric Proms with a session track being played by DJ’s on BBC’s flagship music radio stations, Radio 1, 1Xtra, 6 Music and Radio 2 respectively.

Videos of the sessions will be streamed online at www.electicproms/2009/introducing alongside behind the scenes footage of their recording process.

BBC Introducing at Electric Proms Schedule:

Tues 20th October – BBC Radio 1, Fearne Cotton - Kid Adrift

Wed 21st October – BBC Radio 1xtra, Mistajam – Daley

Thurs 22nd October – BBC 6 Music, Steve Lamacq - Lost Knives

Sat 24th October - BBC Radio 2, Dermot O'Leary - Lettie

Now in its forth year, the BBC Electric Proms challenges artists to come up with new and original material or arrangements of their music to reflect the central theme of the festival, creating new moments in music.

Headline acts will include Robbie Williams, Dizzee Rascal with a live band & orchestra, Doves with the London Bulgarian Choir, and Smokey Robinson all exclusively at The Roundhouse, London.

For more information including full line up, go to

Friday, 9 October 2009

Reading Festival Bosses Fined for Health and Safety Breaches

The company that organises the Reading Festival have been fined £4,000 after admitting health and safety breaches in preparation for the event in 2006.

Reading Magistrate's Court ruled that Reading Festivals Ltd failed to carry out a proper risk assessment and failed to ensure the safety of workers.

The charges were brought against the company after two men were hurt when a crane ran into power lines during preparations for the festival in August 2006.

The company has agreed to pay £21,769 in prosecution costs.

Earlier, festival promoter Melvin Benn had more than 18 charges of failing to ensure the safety of contractors against him dropped by Reading Borough Council.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Watchdog opposes Ticketmaster/Live Nation merger

The UK Competition Commission has ruled against the controversial merger of ticketing giant Ticketmaster with the world's largest concert promoter Live Nation.

In a provisional ruling, it said it was concerned about the joining of the world's largest ticketing firm and the world's biggest concert promoter.

Such a deal would limit the development of competition in the market for sales of tickets to live music. As well as higher ticket prices, the Commission feared customer service could get worse, and there would be no innovation in the market.

The US Justice Department is also investigating the proposed merger, which was announced in February.

Both companies have said the merger would improve ticket price options, increase attendance at events and make ticket technology better.

Live Nation operates a number of large UK concert venues, as well as manages a string of high-profile artists.

The company signed the likes of Jay-Z and Madonna to deals that include touring, publishing and albums, as well as concert promotion deals with U2 and Shakira.

The watchdog’s main concern was based around an agreement that Live Nation had entered into with Europe's largest ticketing agent, CTS.

Live Nation signed an agreement with CTS for ticketing of its live music shows and venues in the UK, shortly before the merger with Ticketmaster was announced.

The Commission said the deal would have given CTS a way into the UK market. And it argued that if the merger went ahead, there was a danger of competition being reduced because Live Nation would "seek to limit" its relationship with CTS - limiting how many tickets it made available.

This could force up ticket prices, lead to poorer customer service and may have "the effect of putting CTS's future prospects in the UK in considerable doubt", it said.

Live Nation and Ticketmaster said they were committed to the merger going ahead and were confident it would eventually be approved.

"Where the recording industry was once the economic engine for the music business, it is live entertainment that is now the future of the music industry," the firms said, adding the deal would "help achieve needed change".

The watchdog will now consider ways in which its concerns could be addressed, before issuing its final report, due on November 24.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

Guns N’ Roses Contest Copyright Infringement Claims

Guns N' Roses have come out in defence of the $1 million (£630,000) lawsuit which was brought against them by German electronic composer, Ulrich Schnauss.

Record companies, Independiente and Domino, who own the licensing rights to Schnauss' music, filed a lawsuit against GN'R and their label Universal Music Group.

The allegations are that the intro to the GN'R song 'Riad N' The Bedouins' uses parts of the Schnauss tracks 'A Strangely Isolated Place' and 'Wherever You Are'.

It's said their case focuses on 45 seconds of ambient soundscapes that form the introduction of Riad N' The Bedouins.

The bands manager Irving Azoff told Rolling Stone "The band believed when the record came out and still believes that there are no unauthorized samples on the track." Adding "[Guns N' Roses] vigorously contests these claims and intends to respond accordingly."

Friday, 2 October 2009

Edwyn Collins’ Manager Angered by Myspace and Major Labels

Scots pop legend Edwyn Collins has been stopped from putting his own music on the internet by Warner Music Group, even though they do not own the rights.

Collins wanted to put his 1995 hit single ‘A Girl Like You’ on his Myspace page for fans to enjoy and download for free. However, the social networking site would not allow this, because Warner Music Group claimed it was their song.

Grace Maxwell, wife and manager of the former Orange Juice frontman has detailed her "running battle" with MySpace and Warner, who she says are "claiming the ownership" of the song, despite Collins owning the copyright for it – on her blog.

"I was told Edwyn was attempting to breach a copyright and he was sent to the Orwellian myspace copyright re-education page," she wrote.

After writing to MySpace she was put in touch with a Warner Music Group rep who "promised to get it sorted" some months ago.

She added that "MySpace are not equipped to deal with the notion that anyone other than a major can claim a copyright".

She also went on to vent her frustration that 'A Girl Like You' is being sold elsewhere on the internet rather than being offered for free.

"'A Girl Like You' is available for sale all over the internet. Not by Edwyn, by all sorts of respectable major labels whose licence to sell it ran out years ago and who do not account to him," she wrote.

The track propelled Collins to new fame during the 90s, when it hit number 4 in the chart and stayed in the top 40 for 14 weeks.

To read in full, go to the blog at

Glastonbury Ticket Registration Closes Tonight

Glastonbury fans are being reminded that they must register by 23:59 (BST) tonight (October 2) if they want to buy tickets for the music event.

Anyone hoping to buy tickets for Glastonbury 2010 must register by tonight before they are allowed to buy tickets which go on sale on Sunday (October 4). Tickets cost £185 plus a £5 booking fee, and £4.95 for postage and packaging.

Fans can pay a £50 deposit to reserve a ticket and pay the rest by February 28 next year. Festival goers can still choose to pay the full price in one go from Sunday.

Fans from both the UK and overseas will need to enter their personal details, plus submit a digital passport-style photo. There is also an option to extend your registration details for future years to prevent having to re-register again.

Tickets will arrive with the submitted photographs printed on them to help prevent touting and fraud.

Glastonbury 2010 – 40th Anniversary - takes place next year on Worthy Farm, Somerset on June 25-27. Fans can camp on site from the Wednesday (June 23) to the Monday (28). Camping is included in the ticket price.

The line-up is yet to be announced.

For more information, go to

Thursday, 1 October 2009

ALBUM REVIEW: Hockey, Mind Chaos

Mind Chaos is the long awaited debut album from Portland-based quartet, Hockey. Combining razor sharp lyrics with funky baselines and a lot of soul, Hockey have produced an extremely catchy, uplifting and thoroughly enjoyable debut offering.

The album is energetic and cheery with each song as infectiously catchy as the next, guaranteed to lift the darkest of moods, from the synth-adorned debut single, "Too Fake” to the upbeat electronic funk of "3 AM Spanish".

This is an album full of literate songs that’ll get you up dancing, including hit single “Learn to Lose”, that combines a vocal soulfulness with a funky beat and the immensely catchy punchy choruses of “Song Away”.

They offer the listener a mix of songs to satisfy any musical taste, from the more Rock influenced “Curse this City”, with it’s crunching guitar solo, through to the chilled out "Work", which blends world weary lyrics with dancefloor groove.

They have clearly drawn influence from a range of artists, but added their own unique sound with a modern twist of Pop and Indie party anthems. Hockey have charisma as well as an incredible energy about them that’s totally infectious.

Track listing:

1. Too Fake
2. 3am Spanish
3. Learn to Lose
4. Work
5. Song Away
6. Curse This City
7. Wanna Be Black
8. Four Holy Photos
9. Preacher
10. Put the Game Down
11. Everyone's the Same

Tommy Reilly – ABC, Glasgow – 25th September 2009

The crowd went wild when the unassuming young singer-songwriter from Torrance, just outside Glasgow, Tommy Reilly, announced “This is the best night of my life”.

After winning Channel 4's talent show Orange UnsignedAct earlier this year, the likeable lad has been taken to heart by his Scottish fans. He seems like the kind of guy who really deserves it, as he remains modest and unaffected by his raw talent.

Reilly opens his set with, Just Like the Weather, a song that makes comparisons between a past relationship with a girl to that of the horrible weather of his hometown. Although he’s not the greatest singer, Reilly still manages to captivate you as he sings with a soft Glaswegian accent and his charismatic charm.

“This place is huge,” he marvels, as he looks around the Glasgow venue in bewilderment and scratches his head. When he first penned the lyrics “Tonight I wander carelessly, through the tunnels of the ABC” of what became his debut single, Gimme a Call, I bet he never imagined that this night would ever come.

The place went crazy when he announced “This is a song about the ABC” before playing, Gimme a Call, the crowd showed their appreciation as they took the lead on vocals during the chorus, managing to drown out Reilly’s efforts on acoustic guitar.

The modest 20 year old finished his set with his unique rendition of Mr Brightside, and it was obvious that the Glasgow crowd, men and woman alike, had full admiration and affection for him.

Tommy Reilly’s performance was not seamlessly flawless; neither were his vocals pitch perfect or even outstanding but that doesn’t really matter because it’s his passion and his charismatic charm that makes him endearing and a joy to watch.