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Summer of Albarn, Dr Dee, operatic loveliness

via teh graun: Damon Albarn gets his Dr Dee out.

The record’s out now (and it’s lush), but the opera will be performed in London this summer by English National Opera. Apparently something cultural that’s going along with the big sports day?

Of course, Blur will be headlining the big shindig at Hyde Park (where have I heard that before?), which will surely be awesome. Oh yes.

Stream Laura Marling’s A Creature I Don’t Know

The Guardian and the NYT are both streaming Laura Marling’s 3rd LP, A Creature I Don’t Know ahead of its release on the 12th (UK) / 13th (US).

I have to admit that although I really, really liked Alas I cannot Swim, I just for the life of me could not get into I Speak Because I Can, despite the fact that everyone else thought it was the dog’s bollocks. Maybe it was in spite of everyone else loving it and I’m just a contrary bastard, but I just felt like it was a whole bunch too precious. Still, I’m not one to force my opinion on anyone, especially when I’m clearly right.

Anyway, A Creature I Don’t Know seems quite the return to form (of things Skye likes), at least on first listen. Quoth me: “hurrah!”

The Guardian: A Creature I Don’t Know stream

New York Times: A Creature I Don’t Know stream

Also: the graun also has streams of all of the Mercury Prize nominations, which you can listen to here. Fingers crossed for Fife’s finest, the Kingiest of Kings, King Creosote!

The Guardian: We want your Mercury prize 2011 reviews

Stream Sons & Daughters, Mirror, Mirror

Oof. I love Sons and Daughters but I am not sure that this is the perfect Saturday morning hangover record. Not with that sharp intro to the record on “Silver Spell”, anyhoo. Having said that, the drone of the tune is kind of consonant with the way my head feels. Oof, indeed.

The Graun have a stream of Sons & Daughters’ 3rd LP, which is well worth a listen; if the first track doesn’t grab you, Mirror, Mirror really takes off with second song “The Model”. The group are citing a bunch of influences such as Italian Giallo cinema and the director Dario Argento, and talking about this record being darker than previous efforts. If it is darker than The Repulsion Box and This Gift, I’ll be impressed – those were pretty dark to begin with…

Mirror, Mirror is out this week. Yikes!

The Guardian: Sons & Daughters, Mirror, Mirror

Rome, the Danger Mouse way

Monday’s exciting stream of excitingness is Rome, from Danger Mouse and Italian composer Daniele Luppi. It’s pretty epic, totally befitting the eternal city and the timeless soundtracks of Ennio Morricone which provide some of the inspiration. The guest spots are pretty ace (with the nice conceit of “starring”), especially that from Jack White – and from Morricone’s spaghetti western choir.

Rome is streaming over at the Guardian and also at NPR’s First Listen, and will be out later this month.

Stream Wild Beasts’ Smother

Erstwhile crazyband Wild Beasts‘ latest LP is streaming this week over at The Guardian: their third, Smother, follows up Mercury-nominated Two Dancers, and it has to be said, it sounds pretty darned good. Auntie is calling Wild Beasts the “the most inspirational, intriguing, effortlessly enrapturing band at work on these shores“, which is pretty effusive. Do they deserve the hyperbole? Well, judge for yourselves. Certainly it retains the group’s trademark esoteric sound, and it doesn’t feel like they’ve sacrificed themselves to the mainstream. And there’s a synthesis here of the band’s subtlety along with nuance and intrigue: check out the superbly well-titled “Loop the Loop” for evidence of that.

Smother is out on the 9th of May in the UK and the 10th in North America.

The Guardian: Wild Beasts, Smother (stream)

C’mon, C’mon and Listen to Low

A rare treat: Low’s ninth studio LP, C’mon is streaming from Sub Pop and the Graun this week ahead of its release on the 11th and 12th of this month. Recorded in the same Duluth church as 2002′s Trust, it’s a typically brooding release from the band – and it’s typically marvellous, too. The enlistment of Katy Perry, Leona Lewis and Avril Lavigne collaborator Matt Beckley as producer might have been a bit clever too, as there’s maybe just a hint more peppiness buried deep within the record… or maybe I’m hearing that just because I’m too darned happy to he hearing a new Low record.

Low – C’mon (via teh Grauniad/soundcloud/sub pop)

Click through for tour dates and mp3…

(Read the article)

The Mummers give away their Tale to Tell

A Friday evening bonanza from The Mummers over at Teh Graun: first LP Tale to Tell is being given away for free by the band and the paper over at the Guardian’s music blog. The giveaway is in advance of the group’s newest EP Mink Hollow Road on Monday 24th.

As well as the free record, Mummers singer Raissa Khan-Panni talks about the band’s recent history and the tragic loss of musical partner Mark Horwood.

“After Mark died, I started writing lots of personal, direct lyrics, and I was tempted to go in that really personal direction,” she says. “The music could have turned out edgy and dark.” Instead, she wrote songs that were, if anything, even more ornate and escapist than before. “I just thought … ‘No, this isn’t me, it’s too self-indulgent, that’s not the Mummers.’ And also, I felt that that would in some way be capitalising on what happened. So I went the other way and began almost romanticising how things should have worked out. I wanted to make it better.”

The Guardian: The Mummers: ‘We’re honouring his spirit completely’ (Paul Lester)

Tale to Tell will be free to download from teh graun and Soundcloud until Sunday 23rd January.

Rip It Up and Start Again: Flowing Streams of Orange Juice

Something else from teh graun: a stream of selected songs from the six-disc collection Coals to Newcastle, a retrospective set covering the career of Glasgow post-punk pioneers Orange Juice.

These are as exciting as you’d expect them to be: Edwin Collins and co.’s sound remains as vibrant, fresh and idiosyncratic as it ever did.

The graun has 18 tracks, but you can listen to 5 of them right here:

The six CD and 1 DVD set comes out on the 22nd in the US and was released in the UK today, and as well as the group’s complete discography and other studio recordings there’s also a collection of their BBC sessions, including 16 previously unreleased tracks with another 23 tracks previously unavailable on earlier re-issues.

The Guardian: Orange Juice – Coals to Newcastle: exclusive stream

(Read the article)

Do You Remember The First Time? Pulp Reforming, Live Dates in 2011

Best News In a Very Long Time. The Graun are reporting that Pulp’s original lineup will be reforming to play a handful of dates during 2011.

Pulp are set to re-form for live dates in summer 2011. The Sheffield band, fronted by Jarvis Cocker, have announced a series of festival appearances for next year, including London’s Wireless and Spain’s Primavera Sound.

A press release distributed this morning said: “Pulp have decided to get together and play some concerts next summer. The shows will involve all the original members of the band (Nick Banks, Jarvis Cocker, Candida Doyle, Steve MacKey, Russell Senior and Mark Webber) and they will play songs from all periods of their career. Yes, that means they’ll be playing your favourites.”

This is super exciting, and you have to wonder if they’ve been inspired by the success of Blur’s reunion tour (and the fact that Albarn and co. had to massively extend their run beyond the initial 2 Hyde Park dates last year – will Pulp also be hoping for a reprise of their monumental 1995 Glastonbury success…?)

Some cryptic info is available at, and there’s also a Facebook page with some more details.

The dates will be the Wireless Festival in Hyde Park (!) on Sunday 3rd July 2011 and then the Primavera Sound Festival, Barcelona on Friday 27th May.

The Guardian: Pulp reunite for live dates in 2011 (Rosie Swash)

Pulp reunite for live dates in 2011

Telephone: Antony & Björk

Alas, not an eclectic cover of the Lady Gaga hit by Antony and Iceland’s favourite songstress,* but an ACTUAL REAL CONVERSATION on a telephone. In case you haven’t popped over to the Graun’s music site this morning, the paper’s captured a call between the pair in which they range over a number of subjects, including science & the enlightenment, nature & climate change, and the colonisation of other planets. Fascinating stuff!

The call is also up as part of Antony’s takeover of the Guardian’s music coverage for this week.

The Guardian: When Antony phoned Björk: ‘People make bad decisions when their ship is sinking’

*Although I think we can all agree that would be both wonderous and magnificent.

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