Today’s electronic dance culture is due for a melodic transcendence from the shadowy, industrial electro that has been hammering away at the scene. As dance floors begin to buckle under such weighty beats, the Belgium-based band aptly named Aeroplane is dedicated to elevating its fans toward a higher musical space undefined by standardized genres. They reach for freedom from constraints of predictability, weaving currents of psychedelic guitars, pop keys, disco beats, catchy bass lines and melancholic waves into a singular connection of modern beat-driven music.
At the controls of Aeroplane are Stephen Fasano and Vito Deluca, a duo whose combined experience gives life and emotion to the music. Vito brings with him a producer background that pulsates the hands and heart of Aeroplane, and Stephen’s DJ roots vibrate the eyes and soul. Their unique collaboration of sound and purpose is channelling appreciation from among the biggest DJs and producers around, and the 2007 release of their first 12” entitled “Caramellas/Aeroplane” (Eskimo Recordings) has generated a jet stream of increasing momentum. Subsequent releases have kept their ring tones looping with remix requests from artists like Cobra Dukes, Das Pop, Lindström, Cut Copy, Grace Jones, MGMT, Bloc Party, and Friendly Fires. Projects like these reinforce the integration of electronic music into the omnipresent indie scene. Blends of Cosmic Nu Disco, Psychedelic, Balearic, Emo, etc. are forming a new era of musical hybrids, and explorations are officially under way. After all, machines are human too…
Beachdown Festival will also be celebrating what would have been the King of Pops 51st Birthday on the 29th August with a medley of artists covering their favourite Michael Jackson songs. Full line-up: Grace Jones, Ocean Colour Scene, The Zutons, Laurent Garnier (live), Super Furry Animals, The Rakes, Saint Etienne, Grandmaster Flash, Prince Buster and the Delroy Williams Junction Band, The Fall, Ida Maria, Terry Callier, Alice McLaughlin, Mulatu Astatke and the Heliocentrics, Quantic and his Combo Barbaro, James Hunter, Acid House Brass, Band, Secret Affair, Joey Negro and the Sunburst Band, The Blockheads, James Taylor Quartet, Dreadzone, Gilles, Peterson, Jazzanova, The Apples, Snowboy and the Latin Section, Jazz CoTech Dancers, Lack of Afro, Nostalgia 77 Octet, Laura Izibor, Belleruche, The Impellers, Funkshone, The Fantastics!, Jah Shaka Sound System 3 day residency, Favela Chic Arena of Stupidity 4 day residency ft Radio Favela, Belleruche (Live), Swap-A-Rama, Zeep Acoustic, Renegade Cinema, The Wheel of Bestune compered by Gringo Da Parada, Ross Clarke, Clek Clek Boom ft Tchiky and Monsieur Boo, Savoir Faire Soundsystem, Sofrito Sound System, Vibes Unlimited, Healer Selecter, Spiegel Tent, Super, Cinema, Cool Cabaret, Postonove Madness, Baile Beats, Samba Stupidity.
Club nights: Blah Blah Blah, Dub Pressure, Slackers Convention ft Pav Luquas and Dirtbomb, Go Bang!, Shameless vs Pop Musik with special guests The Food Fighters and The Justice Force 5 plus Tatoo Parlour, Face Painting, Dance Offs and Competitions, Spellbound, JFB and Ed Solo present Multijam, Bust the Box and Tekkitangwan Sound System presents the Boogie Beach Hut, Playgroup ft Manjinga 7, Kalakuta Millionairs, AK/DK, The Devils Way, Bad Sandwich, Beatabet Band, The Resonator Plus DJ¹s Shamblin Sexton, Baca Maraca, Chiv, Dad Disko, Somewhere in the Universe, Stick it On, full line up TBA, Roots Garden Present Nation Vibration Sound System ft Manasseh, MC Kenny Knots and Leroy Horn, Supercharged ft Cagedbaby, Stero:Type and Sneaky, Ocean Rooms presents Our Friends Electric with very special guest, JP presents Return of The Funky Man, Grace Jones After Party with Wild Fruits Jon Byrne and Dulcie Danger, Tru Thoughts ft Rob Luis, Natural Self and Kinny, Mufflewuffle, Balearic Jukebox ft Trevor Fung.
DJ line-up: Youth ft Zoe, Dub House Disco ft Greg Wilson, Derrick May (& Jim Masters), Soft Rocks and Weirdo Police (live), Wayne Hemingway, Ben Balafonic, DJ Farmer Palmer!, Kliks ft Dan Bell, A Guy Called Gerald, Mia, Alex Smoke, Lee Smith and Mark Lerman, Breakin Bread ft DJ Skeg, Nealy Wheely and Natural Self, Good Times ft Norman Jay, Dave Lee, Craig Woodrow, Hospitality ft High Contrast, Skream, London Elektricity, Ed Rush, Cyantific, Caspa, Break, Randomer, Rod Azlan, MC Wrec and Script, Skints Damian Harris and Andy Mac, Gordon Kaye.
2009 is the 50th anniversary of the founding of Island Records, arguably the most prestigious record label in the history of British music. To mark this milestone the label is entering into the world of book publishing. May 21st ’09 will see the publication of ‘KEEP ON RUNNING – THE STORY OF ISLAND RECORDS’ edited by Chris Salewicz (acclaimed author of recent best-selling Joe Strummer biog ‘Redemption Song’ as well as books on The Rolling Stones, Bob Marley, Jimi Hendrix and many others) and produced by Universal Island Ltd. and The Island Trading Company Ltd.
‘KEEP ON RUNNING’ is a 226-page full-colour hard-cover commemoration of Island Records, started by Jamaican Chris Blackwell in 1959, the most illustrious record label that the British music business has ever known. Illustrated by copious rare images, including original artwork and photographs from the Island Records archives, ‘KEEP ON RUNNING’ will tell the story of this extraordinary label, its art and its artists, in a series of twelve essays by celebrated writers such as Paul Morley, Jon Savage, Sean O’Hagan, Vivien Goldman, Lloyd Bradley, David Katz, Robin Denselow, Sylvia Patterson, Richard Williams and Joe Boyd. Chapter headings include Out of Jamaica, The Pink Label, Season of the Witch, Glitterball, Roots-Rock Reggae, Singular Voices, The Tuff Gong, Globalisation, From Africa & Beyond, Re-birth Of The Cool and The New Millennium. Photographers include Anton Corbijn, Adrian Boot, Gered Mankowitz, Keith Morris, Andy Earl, Lawrence Watson, Maria Mochnacz, Jean-Paul Goude and Neville Garrick.
The book will be published to coincide with the 50th anniversary celebrations of Island Records in May ’09: these include a large-scale, month-long exhibition of Island artwork and memorabilia in London’s Soho; a week of concerts by key artists at Shepherds Bush Empire; a 90 minute TV documentary about the label; a Radio 2 documentary; and deluxe re-releases of many iconic Island albums, which will continue throughout 2009.
Chris Blackwell founded the Island label in Kingston, Jamaica in 1959 with capital of just £1000. Relocating to London in the early 60s Blackwell built the most diverse and enviable back catalogue of any independent record label in history. From Island’s early Jamaican roots in ska and rock-steady, through the label’s expansion to become the cutting edge of progressive rock in the late 60s, and then on to the signing of such international superstars as Bob Marley and U2, Blackwell brought to Island a unique vision and passion which still informs the label’s approach to this day.
The Island label has been responsible for the careers of some of the biggest stars in music including U2, Bob Marley, Cat Stevens, Traffic, Free, Fairport Convention, Nick Drake, Sandy Denny, Toots & The Maytals, John Martyn, Marianne Faithfull, Aswad, Tom Waits, King Sunny Ade, Third World, Roxy Music, Robert Palmer, the B52s, Sly & Robbie, Melissa Etheridge, The Slits, Steel Pulse, Grace Jones, Tom Tom Club, Pulp, Baaba Maal, Tricky, Talvin Singh, and latterly Amy Winehouse, PJ Harvey, DJ Shadow, Sugababes, Keane, The Fratellis, Scott Matthews, Paul Weller, The Feeling, Portishead and Florence & The Machine.
Even before “queen of all media” Perez Hilton took the stage and proclaimed her “the new princess of pop,” Lady GaGa showed she’s a serious contender to Madonna’s crown Friday at the Wiltern. She might be a relative newcomer, but the artist born Stefani Joanne Germanotta commanded the stage with a royal air during her hour-long set, at times even sporting a glowing scepter.
With two chart-topping singles to her credit and her debut album, “The Fame,” climbing the upper reaches of the Billboard 200, GaGa’s first theater tour is a hot ticket — and the Lady did not disappoint. Borrowing from Madonna, Grace Jones, David Bowie and Daryl Hannah‘s “Blade Runner” replicant, GaGa put on a compelling show revolving around her mysterious persona, a trio of leather-jacketed dancers, multiple costume changes and props and a lone DJ providing musical accompaniment.
Old-schoolers might bemoan the lack of a live band, but GaGa’s eye candy and an onslaught of beats delivered by DJ Space Cowboy filled the void effectively. Opening with the dance-pop basher “Paparazzi,” trapped on a platform that complemented her angular modern ensemble, GaGa focused on the beat-heavy pop that comprises most of “Fame.”
But midset she pulled out a surprise: a translucent purple piano she claimed was designed specifically to match her dress, made of giant plastic bubbles. At the keyboard she proceeded to perform a drastically rearranged bluesy lounge version of her current hit “Poker Face,” proving her talent extends beyond the dance floor.
It’s the sort of stunt a veteran artist pulls after performing one of their biggest hits for decades, but GaGa had the chutzpah to circumvent the wait and go directly for the kill. She followed with the not-yet-released doo-wop-flavored space oddity “Future Love,” again performed on piano while she serenaded a glowing mannequin.
In an age of too much information, one of the most refreshing things about GaGa is her mystery. She often hid behind shades, and her mostly incomprehensible, coy and semi-robotic stage patter did little to tell us who’s that Lady.
“Some people say Lady GaGa is a lie, and they’re right,” she said at one point. “But every day I kill to make it true.”
Whatever the case, by the time GaGa pulled out her big hits, “Just Dance” and the more familiar version of “Poker Face,” she had transformed the Wiltern into a joyous dance party that might have made even that other Stefani a little jealous.
Last week’s Brit Awards were all very clean cut in the end. Pristine princess Duffy walked away clutching a bunch of gongs in her dainty hands, Paul Weller somehow won an award and even Lady Gaga looked reasonably sensible performing with the Pet Shop Boys. In short, very little scandal. There will be no such behaviour at the NME Awards, taking place tonight at London’s O2 Brixton Academy.
Comedian Mark Watson is in charge – well as much as you can be with tables quaking under the pressure of free alcohol.
Joining Watson on the night to play live are White Lies, Friendly Fires, Glasvegas, Franz Ferdinand and The Cure, who’re being inducted into NME’s hall of Godlike Geniuses.
Those looking to pick up a middle finger [NME's crude statuette] include Oasis, leading the pack with seven nominations and Kings Of Leon closely following the Gallaghers with four.
The red carpet will be graced by, um, Grace Jones, MGMT, The Ting Tings, Little Boots, The Killers and Crystal Castles amongst a host of other stars.
Much of the running order and attendees remain undisclosed but rumours of a collaboration between Florence & The Machine and Glasvegas persist and that The Cure will play amongst a Tim Burton-esque forest stage set up.
What would really be exciting – seeing as Oasis are up for so many Awards – would be for Blur to make their first public appearance since reforming last year. We’ll see.
The nominations – with our predicted victors – in full:
BEST BRITISH BAND
Last Shadow Puppets
Going home with a finger: Oasis
BEST INTERNATIONAL BAND
Kings of Leon
Going home with a finger: The Killers
BEST SOLO ARTIST
Going home with a finger: Jay-Z
BEST NEW BAND
Late Of The Pier
Going home with a finger: MGMT
BEST LIVE BAND
Kings Of Leon
Going home with a finger: Kings Of Leon
Kings Of Leon
Going home with a finger: Glasvegas
Vampire Weekend – A-Punk
Last shadow Puppets – Age Of The Understanding
Kings of Leon – Sex On Fire
The Ting Tings – That’s Not My Name
MGMT – Time To Pretend
Going home with a finger: MGMT – Time To Pretend
Late Of The Pier – Heartbeat
Last Shadow Puppets – My Mistakes Were Made For You
Radiohead – House of Cards
Vampire Weekend – A-Punk
Oasis – Shock Of The Lightening
Going home with a finger: Late Of The Pier
Foo Fighters Live At Wembley
Rolling Stones – Shine A Light
Kaiser Chiefs – Live From Elland Road
Arctic Monkeys At The Apollo
Muse – HAARP
Going home with a finger: Arctic Monkeys At The Apollo
BEST BAND BLOG
Noel Gallagher / Oasis
Going home with a finger: Little Boots