Wednesday, 31 March 2010

ALBUM REVIEW: Laura Marling, I Speak Because I Can

Laura Marling first emerged as a backing vocalist, on Noah & The Whale’s debut hit 5 Years Time. She released her debut album, Alas I Cannot Swim, which was produced by her then boyfriend, Charlie Fink of Noah & The Whale, to much acclaim.

I Speak Because I Can, the follow up to the Mercury-nominated 2008 album, more than lives up to its predecessor, as Marling continues to demonstrate why she’s such an exciting singer-songwriter.

Marling is more mature, darker, and sophisticated, her songs, simple yet complex, which twist and turn as you listen. With ominous titles such as ‘Darkness Descends’ and ‘Devil's Spoke’ ending up jauntily rolling along with cheery banjo-picking.

On tracks such as ‘Hope In The Air’, and the gorgeous ‘Made By Maid’ and ‘Rambling Man’, Marling writes in the voice of traditional folk ballads, streaked with elements of reproach and revenge.

Marling has broadened her musical approach with the help of Producer Ethan Johns, most effectively on the lovely ‘Goodbye England’, the finest moment of the album, where organ and strings accompany her hymn to an "England covered in snow".

There have been other female artists who have travelled similar territory in recent years but few have done so with such grace. I Speak Because I Can, divulges its gems gradually making it something very special indeed.

Track listing:

1. Devil's Spoke
2. Made By Maid
3. Rambling Man
4. Blackberry Stone
5. Alpha Shallows
6. Goodbye England (Covered In Snow)
7. Hope In The Air
8. What He Wrote
9. Darkness Descends
10. I Speak Because I Can

Warner Bros Hiring Students for Piracy Crackdown

One of the world's biggest labels is seeking to recruit a university student to spy on file-sharer’s and monitor message-boards for "pirate groups and pirate activities".

Warner Bros Entertainment UK is offering £17,500 for the 12-month "anti-piracy intern" position to students studying a "computing related discipline”. Details of the job have been posted at the University of Manchester's careers website.

Beginning in July 2010, the student will be required to go undercover on file sharing services, creating accounts and monitoring content to track the exchange of possibly pirated Warner Bros content.

Additional duties involve developing and maintaining 'bot' programs that will scan for pirated files, as well as sending copyright infringement notices. The candidate will need to be familiar with file-sharing services, web forums and IRC systems.

Warner Bros will provide training on the development and use of the anti-piracy and monitoring applications.

Applications close tomorrow, 31 March.

Tuesday, 30 March 2010

Reading and Leeds Festivals 2010: Line-Up Announced

Guns N' Roses, Arcade Fire and Blink-182 will headline 2010 Reading and Leeds Festivals, while The Libertines will reform especially for the event.

Acts such as Dizzee Rascal, Paramore, The Cribs, Biffy Clyro, Weezer and Queens of the Stone Age will also be on the Main Stage.

The NME Radio 1 stage will be headlined by LCD Soundsystem, Klaxons and Pendulum while Mumford and Sons, Crystal Castles, Foals and Bloc Party frontman Kele Okereke's solo side project will also play the big top.

The 2010 Reading and Leeds Festivals line up so far is:

Reading - Friday August 27 / Leeds - Sunday August 29
Main Stage:
Guns N' Roses
Queens of the Stone Age
Biffy Clyro
Gogol Bordello
Billy Talent

NME/Radio 1 Stage:
LCD Soundsystem
Mumford & Sons
The Big Pink
Two Door Cinema Club

Reading - Saturday August 28/ Leeds - Friday August 27
Main Stage:
Arcade Fire
The Libertines
Dizzee Rascal
The Cribs
The Maccabees
Modest Mouse
Gaslight Anthem

NME/Radio 1 Stage:
Enter Shikari
Crystal Castles
Special Guests
Frank Turner

Reading - Sunday August 29/ Leeds - Saturday August 28
Main Stage:
Cypress Hill
Limp Bizkit
You Me At Six
All Time Low

NME/Radio 1 Stage:
We are Scientists
Band of Horses
The Drums

More acts still to be announced.

Friday, 26 March 2010

The Sale of Legal Highs Banned from T in the Park Festival

T in the Park organisers have announced they will be clamping down on traders selling 'legal highs' at this years festival, anyone caught selling mephedrone or any similar substance will be ejected from the site.

They have banned revellers from taking controversial legal party drugs mephedrone, fearing a three-day binge may result in more deaths at this summer's event which takes place at Balado in Perthshire, and runs from Friday 9th to Sunday 11th July.

People wishing to sell mephedrone and other legal party drugs will be banned from T in the Park and festival goers will have such substances confiscated Promoters DF Concerts have warned.

DF Concerts said, "Drugs are no more acceptable at T in the Park than they are anywhere else and the same risks and penalties apply.

The drug, also known as "bubbles", "cat", or "Meow-meow", has become prevalent on the UK party scene in the past six months. But with Scotland's premier music festival approaching in the summer, organisers are taking a hard line.

The festival will feature a line-up with over 180 artists playing over 11 stages with headliners Kasabian, Muse and Eminem joined by Black Eyed Peas, Biffy Clyro, David Guetta, Dizzee Rascal, Faithless, Florence and the Machine, Jay-Z, plus many more.

For full details of this year’s line-up, please click here.

Tickets for this year's T in the Park have already sold out.

Live Nation Unveils 'Smart Chip' Digital Wristbands

Live Nation has unveiled plans to scrap paper tickets in favour of digital wristbands at future UK festivals.

The concert promoters have been piloting the new digital wristbands which hold information about the identity of the wearer.

They hope to combat the problem of touts and ticket fraud with its unique "smart chip" devices, which will initially be aimed at large-scale outdoor music events.

Live Nation UK spokesperson John Probyn told BBC’s Newsbeat: "Your ticket won't be a paper ticket; it'll be a wristband unique to you."

Plans to customise each ticket to the customer would also hamper the online sales of tickets via secondary markets. The on sale of tickets via the secondary market is an issue that continues to blight the music industry, and most notably festivals.

As the world's biggest concert promoter, Live Nation organises some of music's biggest annual events, including London's Wireless Festival.

Thursday, 25 March 2010

New Campaign Launched, 'Music Matters'

A new campaign, called Music Matters, has been launched to highlight the importance of music and steer music fans away from illegal file-sharing services.

Music Matters, is a collective of people across the music industry, including artists, retailers, songwriters, labels and managers, formed to remind listeners of the significance and value of music.

The drive aims to highlight the value of music and educates consumers on how to identify legitimate music services.

The campaign has designed a "trust mark" that will appear on licensed music download and streaming sites, including iTunes, MySpace, Tesco and Spotify.

Tinchy Stryder, songwriter Guy Chambers and Duffy were among the artists at the launch in London.

The campaign comes as the digital economy bill, which would give communications regulator Ofcom the power to disconnect or slow down internet connections of online music pirates, goes through parliament.

For more information, go to

Sunday, 21 March 2010

Leftfield Stage Returns To Glastonbury, Billy Bragg to Curate

The Leftfield Stage is set to return to Glastonbury this summer. The tent, which, mixes 'pop and politics’, was missing from last year’s festival.

Organisers have announced that musician Billy Bragg is to curate the stage; the 52-year-old will book the bill for the Leftfield tent. "Glastonbury is the original activist festival," Bragg told the festival's official website.

"It has always had that political edge since it’s rebirth in the 1980s as a gathering for dissidents and dancers. Leftfield’s mixture of red and green politics aims to reflect the way activism plays an important part in the festival as a whole."

Says Bragg: "It will be a place where you can take part in political debates with leading activists and political figures and then hear some great music from people who believe in using their talent to inspire audiences to change the world."

Asked whether it's important as ever to have Leftfield at Glastonbury 2010, Bragg added: “Definitely. Not only are we facing the biggest economic meltdown since the Great Depression, but by the time we pitch the tent, we may all be living under a Conservative government committed to massive cuts in public services.

“Plus there is the continuing threat of global warming and the rise of the BNP to contend with. We’ll have plenty to talk about in our daily debates.”

There's no talk of artists yet, but organisers are promising a new site and a new tent. Past performers on the stage have included Brit-nominee Seasick Steve, Dirty Pretty Things and Kate Nash.

Headlined by U2, Muse and Stevie Wonder, Glastonbury takes place at Worthy Farm, Pilton, from June 23rd to the 27th 2010.

Friday, 19 March 2010

Songlines Music Awards 2010 – Nominees Announced

Songlines magazine has today announced the final nominees for its Songlines Music Awards 2010.

The awards recognise outstanding talent in world music and are voted for by the magazines readers and the general public.

There are four categories: best artist, best group, cross-cultural collaboration and newcomer. Here is the top four nominees in each of the categories based on albums reviewed in Songlines during 2009.

The final 16 nominees and their relevant album:

Goran Bregovic (Alkohol – Sljivovica & Champagne)
Bassekou Kouyaté (I Speak Fula with Ngoni ba)
Oumou Sangaré (Seya)
Lura (Eclipse)

Gypsy Groovz Orchestra Goes TuttiMundi (Night Train for Lovers & Thieves)
Staff Benda Bilili (Très Très Fort)
Tinariwen (Imidiwan: Companions)
Shooglenifty (Murmichan)

Justin Adams & Juldeh Camara (Tell No Lies)
Transglobal Underground (Run Devils & Demon (Best Of))
Stockholm Lisboa Project (Diagonal)
Faiz Ali Faiz/Titi Robin (Jaadu)

Invisible System (Punt: Made in Ethiopia)
Deolinda (Canção ao Lado)
Speed Caravan (Kalashnik Love)
Mamer (Eagle)

The winners of each category will be announced in the June issue of Songlines, on sale from April 30.

Thursday, 18 March 2010

T Break 2010 - Launches Search for Unsigned Acts

Since 1996, T Break, a Tennents Lager initiative has supported new Scottish Talent giving up and coming unsigned talent an opportunity to play in front of a wide cross section of music industry judges, A&R representatives, and dedicated music fans.

The brewery giant is reiterating its commitment to Scotland’s music scene through the launch of its unsigned act search, T Break 2010.

Tennent’s are on the look out for Scotland’s most exciting unsigned talent to perform on the T Break Stage at this summers T in the Park.

Each year they invite unsigned Scottish bands to send in their demo and then, along with their panel of industry judges, select 16 bands to play the stage.

From hundreds of hopefuls a panel of music industry experts – including promoters DF Concerts, BBC Radio 1 and PRS for Music – will select 16 acts to showcase at the T Break Stage, where they will share a bill with Muse, Eminem and Kasabian.

T Break is open to any unsigned musical act that is resident in Scotland, provided they are over the age of 18, and perform original material.

Applicants should register their details on the website at:, where they can also find full details on how to submit their work.

The deadline for submissions is April 16, 2010.

Friday, 12 March 2010

Date Set for ‘Save 6 Music’ Protest

The ‘Save 6 Music’ Facebook group is to stage a protest outside the BBC to voice its opposition to plans to close the digital radio station.

The protest will be outside BBC Broadcasting House on Saturday March 27 at 12pm.

Organisers say they have lined up “some well-known speakers and live performances to create an air of festivity” in what is intended to be a celebration of 6 Music.

“What the BBC proposes is unacceptable,” they add. “6 Music is the only place that caters for our diverse tastes; the only station where you will hear Howling Bells played back to back with Seasick Steve; The Isley Brothers leading into dEUS, Delphic, Yeasayer and all topped off with dash of Half Man Half Biscuit.

Organisers urge people to “come along to show your solidarity and support; bring a flask of tea and have a sing-along all in the name of saving 6Music”.

The Facebook group has almost 160,000 members.

Figures show the proposed closure of BBC 6 Music, which celebrated its eighth birthday this week, has prompted one of the biggest complaints campaigns ever directed at the BBC.

Corporation bosses have now received nearly 8,000 complaints in a week and a half, as people object to the axing of the digital service.

Click here to go to the group’s Facebook page.

Glade Festival Offers Free Entry To Anyone Who Parachutes In

Event organisers are offering revellers the chance of free entry to this year’s Glade Festival – but only if they parachute into the site.

Nick Ladd, founder of the Glastonbury spin-off, announced the news this week in a posting on the festival's official website.

He wrote: “A mate of mine who is into sky diving asked me 'If me and some friends did a charity sky dive into Glade would we get in for free?'

“I said yes, so long as they are all dressed as Elvis, have a sound system strapped to one of their backs and all hit the ground dancing.

“So I think it’s only fair that we throw this open to all comers, although it’s worth mentioning that the 50ft high flame that comes out the top of the Arcadia stage is probably worth avoiding!”

Glade Festival takes place from July 15th-18th at Matterley Bowl in Hampshire and this year’s event will be headlined by Tricky, Orbital and Simian Mobile Disco.

For more information, go to:

Tuesday, 9 March 2010

'Save 6 Music' Gig to Be Held At Proud Camden

Following BBC Director General Mark Thompson’s announcement last week that BBC 6 Music will close at the end of 2011, a one-off event is being organised at Proud Camden to raise awareness and try to reverse the decision.

The gig, which is being organised by Rage Against The Machine Christmas No.1 campaigners Jon and Tracy Morter, takes place tomorrow, Wednesday 10 March.

Following last week’s announcement, a Facebook campaign to save 6 Music has attracted an overwhelming level of support from more than 150,000 people, including listeners, presenters, musicians and key industry figures.

The event aims to bring together a selection of high profile musicians, up-and-coming bands and radio DJs and presenters to raise awareness of what is at stake should the closure go ahead, with all profit going to Shelter.

The line-up so far is:
Kitty Daisy and Lewis (LIVE)
Master Shortie (LIVE)
Ali Love (DJ)
Joe Lean and the Jing Jang Jong (DJ)
The Holloways (DJ)
Jonathan Morter (Save Six Music campaign) and friends (DJ)

More acts still to be announced.

Ticket information: £5 in advance and before 10pm / £7 after

Friday, 5 March 2010

Pendulum to Headline Friday Night at Rock Ness 2010

Pendulum have been confirmed as the Friday night headliners at this year's RockNess Festival at Loch Ness.

The Australian drum and bass outfit whose live sets captivate rockers and ravers alike will top the Clash Arena bill on the Friday night. Joining Pendulum is the Dave Clark 'Baron of Techno', electro genius whose prolific output knows no boundaries.

Fatboy Slim, Leftfield and The Strokes are already confirmed as headlining the festival with support performances from Vampire Weekend, Doves, Ian Brown, 2ManyDJs plus many more.

RockNess takes place at Dores, near Loch Ness from 11-13 June and returns as a three-day event following last year's successful extension to three nights when the Main Stage got the party started on the Friday night for the first time.

Weekend camping tickets are on sale now for £149 with non-camping, day and VIP tickets also available.

For more information, go to:

Creamfields Granted 3 year License

Organisers of the Creamfields Festival which takes place on August Bank Holiday weekend have been granted a 3 year licence for its festival site in Daresbury, the first ever dance festival to receive an extended year license.

Creamfields which scooped the award for 'Best Dance Festival’ in the 2009 UK Festival Awards (the 3rd time the festival has won the coveted award) was granted the license by Halton Borough Council regulatory committee.

2009’s sold out event attracted a record breaking 60,000 people from across the UK. Organisers have increased the investment into site infrastructure for 2010, which will see bigger and better arenas and increased space and capacity in the campsites.

Commenting on the new licence, Event Manager Jim King said, "This decision to grant the festival a three year license is a very important decision in that it clearly shows the confidence that the authorities have in Creamfields and its management team. The festival has now established itself at its new location in Cheshire as one of the largest, most popular and well operated electronic festivals in the world".

Creamfields 2010 returns on Saturday 28th & Sunday 29th August Bank holiday weekend.

Line up for this years show will be announced soon.

For further information, go to:

Thursday, 4 March 2010

V Festival 2010 - Tickets Set To Go On Sale Tomorrow

Tickets for this year’s V Festival are set to go on sale tomorrow morning (March 5), from 9am (GMT).

The event takes place at Hylands Park in Chelmsford, Essex and Weston Park in South Staffordshire on August 21-22, Kings of Leon and Kasabian will be headlining.

The likes of The Prodigy, Doves, Faithless and La Roux are also on the bill.

For more information or to purchase tickets go

Monday, 1 March 2010

ALBUM REVIEW: Ellie Goulding, Lights

Ellie Goulding topped the BBC’s Sound of 2010 poll and won the Critics’ award at the BRIT’s, all before she released her debut album, Lights. I can’t help but think this may have done her more harm than good as expectations of the album are high.

Goulding is a young talent, who writes her own songs and has a unique style, fusing Folk and Electronica. Her chief collaborator is Fin Dow-Smith, aka Starsmith, who produced the majority of the songs on the album and co-wrote four of them.

The album is consistently confident throughout from opener Guns and Horses, Goulding sounds like a woman who knows exactly what she's doing with a clear understanding of her market.

It's all well made with tracks like Starry Eyed, with its stop-start dynamics and killer chorus whilst the punchy Under The Sheets is as aggressive as it gets. The delicate flutter of Wish I'd Stayed is the skilfully crafted sound-scaped highlight of the album.

On ballads like The Writer and I’ll Hold My Breath, Goulding’s voice swells and cracks giving a sense of a real emotional connection. She mixes heartfelt emotion with other-worldly atmospherics, spins cool Electronica into dreamy warmth.

Salt Skin, the last track on the album and the last track that was written and recorded is a restless mix of humming bass, popping beats and a processed choir.

Lights is a pleasant collection of songs delivered confidently by Goulding, and for the most part, the strength of her songwriting and her vocals should silence her critics.


1. Guns and Horses
2. Starry Eyed
3. This Love (Will Be Your Downfall)
4. Under the Sheets
5. The Writer
6. Every Time You Go
7. Wish I Stayed
8. Your Biggest Mistake
9. Swimming Pool
10. Salt Skin