In addition to contributing to Hot Press, Ed has written for the Irish Independent, the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph, Irish Examiner, London Independent, Guardian, FHM, Spin, Irish Times, Metro and various other publications. He is fortunate to be from Cork and supports the Cork hurling and football teams and Cork City FC.
Latest Articles by Ed Power
Best-known as a judge on RuPaul’s Drag Race, Michelle Visage is about to win a fanbase here on Ireland’s Got Talent. She talks about the Time’s Up movement, resisting Donald Trump and why sometimes it’s nicer to be nasty words
Indie outsiders reckon with the rise of Trump.
Our final round of international artists to watch out for in 2018.
Having scooped the Beeb’s coveted Sound Of 2018 gong, 21-year-old Norwegian sensation Sigrid is set to be one of the year’s biggest stars. She talks about her hit ‘Don’t Kill My Vibe’ and its resonance with the Me Too movement, covering Leonard Cohen for the Justice League soundtrack, and counting Lorde amongst her growing army of fans.
Television endured a rocky 2017 as the Harvey Weinstein scandal spread to the small screen. But what does 2018 have in store? Ed Power brings you our must-watch list for the year ahead.
Ed Power rounds up our list of international artists to watch out for in 2018.
Meet Billie Eilish, the 16-year-old Los Angeles wunderkind with an Irish connection set to take over pop in 2018.
Ed Power rounds up our list of international artists to watch out for in 2018.
Tour-de-force from London-Irish art rockers.
Indie rockers roar back with glorious reinvention.
Dave Grohl got a lot off his chest when he met Ed Power at the end of the summer...
With two TV adaptations of her work gaining swooning reviews it has been the year Margaret Atwood became the most influential author in the world. Words Ed Power
The 'Beck of the Bogs' delivers his best record yet.
David Fincher’s new collaboration with Netflix, Mindhunter, argues that the serial killer genre needs to get past Hannibal Lecter and reveal the truth about homicidal sociopaths. Star Holt McCallany talks about working with Fincher and presenting a fresh take on familiar subject matter.
David Fincher’s new collaboration with Netflix, Mindhunter, argues that the serial killer genre needs to get past Hannibal Lecter and reveal the truth about homicidal sociopaths. Star Holt McCallany talks about working with Fincher and presenting a fresh take on familiar subject matter.
Polished but not earth-shattering return from London soul singer
Recorded while she came to terms with first-time parenthood, Glasshouse is JESSIE WARE’s most grown-up album to date – and also potentially her most successful.
Solid sixth outing for pop princess.
Stranger Things was the surprise TV hit of 2016. Ed Power looks at how this valentine to ’80s cinema became such a sensation.
The world's best-loved TV show that doesn't have "Game" and "Throne" in its title returns to the screen after several miserable months. Can it reclaim its small screen crown asks Ed Power.
Former wild child straps on guitar and ten-gallon hat.
Ed Power was impressed with the indie heroes' first night in Dublin
Star Trek is back on television. But can the iconic saga cut it in today’s world of cutthroat television, wonders Ed Power
Personal upheaval gives bittersweet tinge to The Killers’ most vulnerable album to date
It’s been a wild ride for Foo Fighters and the band’s iconic frontman Dave Grohl. As the band unleashes their ninth studio album, he talks about getting over Nirvana, the pain of losing friend Chris Cornell to suicide and how the rise of Donald Trump informed the new record.
As a new Channel 4 series celebrates the work of Philip K Dick, Ed Power looks at the influence on television and cinema of science fiction’s most singular voice.
As she prepares to play Dublin, Aimee Mann explains how the election of Donald Trump influenced her new album and why a glum evening in Ireland inspired her writing process.
The Vampire Diaries was a cult TV sensation with students. Now star Michael Malarkey is swapping his prosthetic incisors for a guitar and taking his music career to the next level.
Cincinnatti's finest channel our troubled times with winning comeback
As Celtic punks Flogging Molly return to Ireland for a hugely anticipated Olympia gig, frontman Dave King talks about having one foot in America in the age of Trump and why he isn’t quite as optimistic as the title of the band’s latest album might suggest.
Electric Picnic headliners The xx have cast off their early shyness to become compelling pop mavericks.
Indie groovers return with best album yet.
As her new Amazon series The Last Tycoon debuts, Dubliner Dominique McElligott talks about achieving success on her own terms, while the show’s producers reflect on the parallels between America in the age of fascism and the United States under Trump. By Ed Power
Sci-fi escapism and political criticism are intertwined on Shabazz Palace’s double-whammy of new records. Frontman Ishmael Butler explains how, as an African American, he feels like an alien in the Age of Trump and what Prince’s death tells us about our unhealthy obsessions with celebrity.
Eerie siren turns her frown upside down.
Stadium grumps deliver return-to-form fire-cracker.
Ed Power delivers the inside story on Mumford & Sons' extraordinary rise and unique relationship with Ireland.
Ahead of The Weeknd’s Longitude headliner, Ed Power looks at the artist behind pop’s most fascinating enigma.
Pop prodigy stages triumphant return
Generic comeback belies Perry’s supposed “woke” phase.
As one-time baggy figureheads The Charlatans return with one of their finest LPs yet, singer Tim Burgess talks about moving on after death, collaborating with Paul Weller and his debt to Alan Partridge.
As ex-Gossip front-woman Beth Ditto returns with her first solo album, she explains how Jesus broke up her band and why she wasn’t surprised by the rise of Trump.
Folk wallflower channels Pixies for her latest album.
Artful folkies emerge from long dark night of the soul.
Saviours of British rock grow up but stay true to themselves.
Bon Iver tells about his youthful days in Galway and the inspiration for 22, A Million He's the world's biggest indie star- a contradictory figure who feels intensely uncomfortable in the spotlight, yet has Kanye West on speed dial. Now Bon Iver is returning to Ireland for a headline performance and an evening of curated music. But what makes this enigma tick- and how has his deepening unease with fame impacted his music? Ed Power attempts to uncover some of the answers...
A selection of top international acts to sink your teeth into at Forbidden Fruit
Back with their finest LP in decades, new wave legends Blondie talk about the influence of David Bowie, kicking up a punk racket in Trump's America, and their forthcoming Aviva Stadium hook-up with Phil Collins.
Electro maestros Moderat talk about finding inspiration in Berlin, explain why they refuse to sign with a major, and discuss their love for live music over DJing.
Pop introvert steps confidently from the shadows
Brooding alt.rock overlord Greg Dulli talks about The Afghan Whigs’ extraordinary rebirth, making rock in the Trump Era and how the death of Prince informed his latest album. Interview Ed Power
What makes a hitman? A new TV3 series from investigative journalist Donal MacIntyre lifts the lid on the secret world of the contract killer.
Ahead of his return to Ireland, funk legend George Clinton talks about his friendships with Prince and Kendrick Lamar, why the Trump presidency is on borrowed time and what Obama did right.
Alt/folkie gets his groove on for cool follow-up.
Life has been a rollercoaster for Nelly Furtado. But on her latest album she chronicles her journey from crowd-pleaser to mother at peace with the universe.
it's the most controversial new show of the year- but the team behind hard-hitting teen drama 13 Reasons Why argue that its gritty approach is entirely merited.
Ex-chart diva embraces the indie underdog within
As nihilistic comedy-caper Better Call Saul returns, start Bob Odenkirk reflects on the show's success and his unlikely journey from cult comedian to television icon.
With U2, Arcade Fire and Coldplay just a small selection of the acts headlining their own shows this summer, there really is no shortage of one-day events to choose from.
Mike Skinner talks life after The Streets and why he’s happiest as a jack of all trades.
Indie moochers return to form with sprawling opus
Elusive folk singer delivers career best LP
As the season finale of The Walking Dead approaches, Ed Power talks to the stars of the world’s most popular television drama.
Synth warriors shine on consistently rewarding album number 14.
Hot Press headed to vicar street for Cat Power's spell-binding performance
A dark comedy with a devastating streak of sincerity, Judd Apatow's Crashing is one of a generation of new sitcoms that mingle laughs with slice-of-life veracity. You'll giggle but maybe you'll cry too.
Affecting break-up LP from alt-pop mavericks.
One-time indie darlings thrive in the margins.
Truth-speaking rants from the laureates of Brexit Britain.
The Terrible Tangerine has ascended to the White House - but how will his dystopian presidency impact on the small screen?
Brit soul star serves up the goods on glossy debut
He's the up-and-coming songwriter of the moment - but don't write Declan McKenna off as just another Ed Sheeran clone.
As part of the Hot Press ‘Hot for 2017’ special, here’s our run-down of the best international drama to watch out for in the months to come.
Goth-pop crew turn their frowns upside down
London-based Limerick trio whenyoung on breaking into the UK indie scene, why it pays to have a day job and the shadow cast by Brexit. By Ed Power
Eye-rolling return to form by madcap crew.
Serial killer drama The Fall went out with a terrifying flourish, with career best performances by Gillian Anderson and Jamie Dornan. We talk to one of the show’s stars, Bronagh Taggart, and ask why this chilly thriller became such a word of mouth hit.
It’s been a stand-out 12 months for Pixies, with a fantastic comeback album to their name and now the ultimate accolade of Hot Press Indie Heroes of the Year. Ed Power breaks the good news to the Boston legends.
Adele is an all too rare example of a celebrity visibly retaining their humanity under the spotlight. Ed Power recalls the moment last year when Adele embraced her superstar status yet somehow found a way to stay normal.
In a revelatory interview, Panti Bliss opens up about inclusion, exclusion and matters personal and private.
It’s been a strange 12 months for Hot Press Man of the Year, Kanye West. Ed Power looks back at 365 days of heartache, scandal and sublime art from a troubled superstar.
Impassioned Return from Sometime Libertines Troubadour
On the 20th anniversary of Super Furry Animals’ debut album, frontman Gruff Rhys talks about taking the record back out on the road and offers his thoughts on the EU, Wales at the Euros and that time he drove a tank around Glastonbury.
Swedish star flies feminist banner. Gender rules apply...
Sublime R&B agit–prop from the cooler Knowles sister.
Potent stadium rock from former wild child guitar-slingers.
Synth-pop sadsters Poliça talk about Donald Trump, finding happiness when they least expected and their debt to Prince.
Cult folkie embraces obscurity.
As Black Francis and co return with their finest record in 25 years, the alt-rock luminaries talk egos, in-fighting and the controversial exit of bassist Kim Deal.
Elusive singer suffers enervating case of trying too hard
Where do you start with Jamie Treays? Here is an intense young man whose early career was dogged by severe panic attacks yet who has always aspired to an old fashioned, chart-slaying idea of stardom.
With season two of Narcos freshly arrived in Netflix, Ed Power looks at how the series met the challenges of chronicling the larger-than-life story of cocaine kingpin Pablo Escobar.
Artist on the rise Julia Jacklin tells Ed Power about coming of age in the mountains above Sydney, and why she can't wait to get back to Ireland for Electric Picnic.
Triumphant return from likely lad emoter
Dance duo deliver aural wallpaper on second outing.
Indie rockers of the moment Wolf Alice look forward to Electric Picnic, contemplate their overnight rise and tell Ed Power about the thrills and challenges of meeting your heroes.
After more than a decade on the go, Editors remain in rude health. Tom Smith tells Ed Power how the Picnic-bound rockers came through past upheavals to end up stronger than ever
Hollywood’s over-the-top master of ceremonies is making his first foray into television with a Netflix show chronicling the birth of hip hop. But, wonders Ed Power, can Baz Luhrmann’s The Get Down – the most expensive TV show in history – live up to the hype?
Synth weirdos shrug off loss of talismanic vocalist and return with spellbinding fourth album
Lera Lynn's Southern-gothic country dirges were the only good thing to come out of True Detective season two. The singer tells Ed Power about her new album, out-acting Colin Farrell's moustache, and the darkness that informs her music.
Mixed messages a-go-go as art-rockers deliver their most direct album yet
Lorde Acolytes Grow Into Their Sound
It's back to the Reagan era and smalltown America in the new sci-fi epic from Netflix. Ed Power binges on the Winona Ryder-starring Stranger Things.
Landslide of fun from missing-in-action sample gurus
The comeback kids celebrate their return to Irish shores with a showing every bit as triumphant as 21 years ago
Jamie XX has cast off his shy-boy shackles to become one of the most innovative figures in electronic music.
Up-and-coming Irish rapper Rejjie Snow tells Ed Power about his days as a budding sports star, touring with Madonna and bringing it all back home at Longitude .
Josh Tillman grew up believing in literal hellfire and damnation, he tells Ed Power. As Father John Misty he struggles both with the pain of his pentecostal childhood and the demons of adulthood.
As Netflix’s historical epic Marco Polo returns with a second season, Ed Power talks to star Lorenzo Richelmy about shrugging off bad reviews and why this tale of east meets west resonates with the present day.
Stately concept record from death-obsessed enigma.
NINETIES ICONS KEEP IT SIMPLE WITH MAJESTIC RESULTS
Your favourite prison dramedy is back. Ed Power looks at what we can expect from season four of Netflix’s Orange Is The New Black.
De La Soul have been part of hip hop’s tapestry since the genre exploded in the late ’80s. You could say they have a few stories to tell. Ed Power chats with the amiable Kelvin Mercer about the old days and the new.
The multi-talented Brix Smith Start discusses her new memoir, her old flames and how Princess Diana once flirted with her boyfriend.
Up and coming siren seeks to be all things to all listeners
Top Gear is back but can the new hosts fill the shoes of the previous trio?
Multi-headed jazz crew try to terrify you into liking them
It's the Irish comic book they said could never make it to screen. Now after 20 years and endless speculation, Gareth Ennis's Preacher is finally coming to TV.
DRAKE'S CAREER SERVES AS A CAUTIONARY REMINDER THAT WE SHOULD BE CAREFUL WHAT WE WISH FOR
Bizarre Shakespeare tribute from cult crooner
It's ten years since Wolfmother's debut album reinvented heavy, non-ironic rock. In a rare interview,frontman Andrew Stockdale contemplates the album's legacy and explains why nostalgia is ultimately best avoided.
As the Queen twists her stiletto heels into Jay Z's prone midriff, our man Ed Power judges the latest effort from the pop megastar to be her finest work to date
Cavan singer reaches career high on magnificent third album
Alt country crooner makes sweet music with Brit chanteuse
CONTROVERSIAL RHYMER DROPS SURPRISE - AND SURPRISINGLY HOT - MIXTAPE
Tighten your tabard and sharpen your broadsword – the new Game Of Thrones is almost here. Ed Power consults the Lord of Light, throws a few interns on the pyre, and looks at what we can expect from the world’s favourite TV show.
As they get ready to perform at Dublin's Music Town Festival, limerick hip-hop three-piece talk politics, identity & Kanye
No Doubt front woman pours heartache into frothy comeback record.
After years of buzz, Jack Colleran has just released his first album under his Mmoths moniker. He talks heartache, pressure and the negative stereotyping of lonely boys with laptops.
As they get ready to perform at Dublin's Music Town Festival, the Limerick hip-hop three-piece talk politics, identity & Kanye
With The National off the road, Scott and Bryan Devendorf are indulging their krautrock passion with their new LZNDRF
Santigold’s new album, 99 Cents, may take capitalism to task but it’s also meant to be a fun listen, she tells Ed Power.
Saul that you cant leave behind: Everyone's favourite crooked lawyer is back, as Better Call Saul returns for its second much-anticipated season on Netflix.
Smart R&B from New York pop royalty
Taylor Swift acolyte finds joy in sadness.
She's a soul sensation to watch - with a gorgeous voice that has already floored Sam Smith. Now the rest of the world is about to discover the sultry sound of Izzy Bizu.
The out-of-nowhere success of Netflix’s Making A Murderer speaks to audiences’ insatiable appetite for true crime. Ed Power dons his detective hat and investigates the making of a television phenomenon.
Acid-fried protest pop lands its punches
Zany return from psychedelic weirdos
As a teenager she moved to London on her own, determined to break into music. Now Dua Lipa is about to see her wildest dreams come true, with her more-than-meets-the-ear sound set to conquer the charts.
True Detective made director Cary Fukunaga famous. He reflects on the surprise success of the show and talks about putting himself through the grinder shooting his new movie, Beasts Of No Nation
Cobain demo collection shows new side to iconic artist
Quirky singer sticks to first principles
With his mercury-nominated solo album in colour, jamie smith – aka Jamie xx – shows there’s more to the xx than shadows and sulking.
Pop maven releases her catchiest collection yet.
French series The Returned is a zombie lark with a brain – and a distinctly philosophical outlook. As the second series commences, Ed Power examines the show’s international appeal.
Alt-country stalwart unearths Tay-Tay's inner miserabalist.
Dance king-pins Disclosure talk overnight fame, celebrity friends and why Ireland has a special place in their hearts.
Overnight sensation proves shes around for the long haul.
Electro-pop trio come out swinging on second record
Gobsmacking surprise solo record from Alabama shakes frontwoman
Miley unleashes heartbreaking eulogy to dead dog
He's the falsetto-voiced sensation who has tastemakers in a tizzy. Ladies and gentleman we give you future r&b super star Shamir
Ed Power opines as Bruce Springsteen plays Jon Stewart out.
Zombies are the hottest property on television right now. With hit American show Z Nation arriving on Irish screens this month, Ed Power looks at how the walking – and occasionally running – dead have taken over TV.
Odd Synth Pop from the big new thing of 2009.
Their first album was an overnight phenomenon. Second time around, blues sensations Alabama Shakes are determined to do things on their own terms, they tell Ed Power.
As a new season of hit prison drama Orange Is The New Black debuts on Netflix, Ed Power talks to key cast members and looks at how this quirky show become a surprise sensation.
Young Fathers are intimately acquainted with uproar, having grimaced their way to the Mercury Music Prize and infuriated Gareth Gates. They talk about confronting stereotypes and channelling upheaval into music.
Gloriously eccentric return from Manchester outsiders
Soul man's debut hits the vintage jackpot.
As a new season of hit prison drama Orange Is The New Black debuts on Netflix, Ed Power talks to key cast members – plus series creator Jenji Kohan – and looks at how this quirky show become a surprise sensation.
Series one of True Detective was a creepy blockbuster for the ages. Can the Colin Ferrell-starring second series live up to the crushing weight of expectation?
Were you watching Kanye? On a perfect summer's evening, Mr. Hansen delivered a spell-binding show at the Royal Hospital Kilmainham, Dublin last night.
Digital bliss marks return from Kevin Parker and chums
He achieved cult fame in I’m Alan Partridge. But Stephen Mangan’s latest comedy has an altogether more serious side.
Knob-twiddler from the xx finds sadness amid the sunshine.
Ahead of Wu-Tang Clan's greatly anticipated Forbidden Fruit headline slot, Hot Press assesses the legacy of the most impressible force in hip-hop.
They've had their ups and downs - and now And So I Watch You From Afar risk controversy with their most radical departure yet. We join the band on the road in Luxembourg. Where they contemplate life. The universe and Jay Z.
Slight return from acclaimed blues-rockers
Life’s been tough for Passion Pit’s Michael Angelakos – who has fought a life-long struggle with mental illness. Now, though, he is in a good place – a state of mind reflected in the group’s winning third LP.
Winning return from Ireland's greatest good-time band
She’s always been a little severe, but a move to Los Angeles plunged english folkie Laura Marling into a full-blown existential crisis, as she reveals to Ed Power.
Sexual abuse, the corrosive effects of religions, the death of rock music – it’s all grist to the creative mill of latter-day soul-daddy Matthew E White
Welsh chanteuse has fun working through her identity crisis
LA hip-hop luminary unleashes his masterpiece
Moody mancs get their 80s on
Virginia soul-man goes dark
A 2012 chat with Alexis Taylor in which our man Ed Power dares to ask him about his band's geeky dress sense...
Underwhelming solo record from pop writer of the moment
Saviours of indie rock The Districts talk growing pains, extreme youth and how they fell for the blues.
Newcomer pours her pain into exquisite soul record
Rapper's long-awaited debut is a brilliant curveball.
Star-crossed siren plays it cool.
He’s been championed by the Brit Awards, Hozier and Taylor Swift and tipped for greatness in 2015. But James Bay is determined not to be perceived as just another pretty-boy strummer.
As excitement builds around Cuban-French twins Ibeyi, the sisters at the heart of the storm reflect on their rapid rise – and tragedy in their homeland.
Lush, but lifeless concert movie
For their very last album, Nordic electro duo Röyksopp have assembled a collection of bitter-sweet dance dirges. They talk about turning their backs on the long-play format – and their unlikely get-together with Benedict Cumberbatch.
Moving soundtrack to incredible documentary
Radiohead fans have had reasons to celebrate lately, with new LPs from singer Thom Yorke and drummer Phil Selway. Here, the latter discusses album giveaway controversies, the background to the band’s paradigm-shifting album Kid A and his increasingly confident steps into solo artistry.
ABYSMAL ‘RE-INTERPRETATION’ DESECRATES SGT. PEPPER
Starlet comes out swinging.
Bright return from electro boffin
British experimentalists score a bullseye with follow-up to Mercury win.
She was one of the first of a brace of exciting Guinness Amplify guests. Before her historic visit to Dundalk we caught up with Ellie Goulding to talk celebrity boyfriends, media pressure and moving house.
Brit-rapper seeks a big pop payday.
AUSTRIAN ELECTRO DUO FAIL TO MAKE YOU GO BLEEP AT THE KNEES
Dark and discombobulated third outing from indie moochers
Pop enigma of the moment, FKA Twigs talks about growing up mixed-race in Britain's whitest town, her dread of selfies – and why nobody gets to tell her what to do.
It’s the goriest, silliest, scariest TV show of the year – Ed Power previews The Strain, the ratings-slaying vampire romp from director Guillermo del Toro
Dance wunderkind trips up in his desire to have a grown-up moment
Pleasant yet forgettable Super Furry Animals side-project
This season’s doomed chanteuse (mostly) delivers.
The cult songwriter behind Avi Buffalo talks about creative struggle, growing up in the ‘burbs and why he’d rather be in a band than operate as a solo artist.
Enjoyably askew psychedelia from the English seaside
Mysterious Nordics deliver a big pop pay-off.
With trip-hop legends Portishead, less is more. Though not exactly prolific, their three albums to date have garnered a rabid following who can’t wait to welcome them to Ep. Geoff Barrow discusses Twitter rants, his hatred of the spotlight and why you can expect the band's next record when they’re ready...
They’re the buzzed about band of the moment. Fiona Burgess, of chamber-pop newcomers Woman’s Hour, discusses the transition from theatre to music and how growing up in Britain’s Lake District made her the artist she is today.
Rilo Kiley frontwoman waxes happy sad
They’re Harry Potter’s favourite band - now ‘sadcore’ partnership Slow Club are set to become everyone else’s most beloved downbeat folk duo as well
Publicity shy songwriter struggles to find her voice
Swedish country songbirds strike gold
He’s hip hop’s supreme protest artist – articulate, angry, possessed. But Public Enemy frontman Chuck D, soon to appear at Indiependence, is also sharp as a whip, with thought-provoking opinions on everything from the ghastly afterlife of Michael Jackson to America’s belated blossoming as a soccer-loving nation.
Sleazy singer waxes romantic, with disquieting results.
They owned the charts with the smash ‘Feel The Love’. But Rudimental want to be more than just another pop group. As the Londoners limber up for a headline turn at Longitude Festival, the band’s Amir Amor talks lightning strikes, overnight success and future ambitions.
Longitude-bound Bombay Bicycle Club spill the beans on bus break-downs, growing up on the festival circuit and their “cushy” backstage life.
Lauded singer-songwriter GROOVES on endless positivity
Walkmen frontman channels Sinatra on beguiling debut.
She was ridiculed for being 'overweight' and dismissed as a Courtney Love clone. Then cult rocker Brody Dalle almost lost her husband in a freak operation mishap. But she has bounced back with a cracking new album – and an entirely different perspective on life.
Post Alt-J group bring plenty of pretension
Sunrise rebirth for half-forgotten former buzz group
Beautiful South all-star lineup reunite with compelling results.
Gruelling break-up record from rising Brooklyn star
They’re the last great rock group of their era, with a devil-may-care outlook and a store of cracking anthems. But as the sea sessions bound Dandy Warhols mark their 20th anniversary, Courtney Taylor isn’t inclined to look back
Her last album made her a counter-culture star. But when time came to record a follow-up Tune-Yards' Merrill Garbus found herself drained of inspiration. Her solution was to travel to one of the world's poorest countries, a trip that put her artistic troubles in perspective.
The War On Drugs’ uplifting new album was inspired by a spell of depression, explains lead signer Adam Granduciel in an exclusive interview.
The Olympics boosted their profile but, as their latest album attests, electro-duo Fuck Buttons have been very good at making a name for themselves on their own terms too.
Last great British guitar band deliver solid fourth outing.
Gastronomically obsessed r’n’b singer springs into action
Loud and fucked up, the Pixies were the most important indie rockers of their generation – an influence on Nirvana, Radiohead… well, everyone essentially. In an exclusive interview, Joey Santiago talks about their tumultuous career, set the story straight about their place in the alternative rock firmament and explain why Deal walked out.
After over half a decade and too many liquid lunches to keep count of, Mad Man is preparing to shuffle into the horizon. Ed Power bids Don Harper and co a teary adieu.
Hyped rapper hits out at the nay-sayers but packs a pop punch too
Underwhelming follow-up from 'Pumped Up Kicks' sensations
Fascinating anti-pop from controversial newcomer
The humble bell has always held a special place in the heart of German techno producer Henrik Weber, aka Pantha Du Prince. You could say it has become an obsession.
Synth oddballs deliver career best
Their first album was a surprise hit - but when it came to a follow-up, The Jezabels found that making lightning strike twice was no easy thing.
'Wake Me Up' singer sticks to the formula
Indie Tunesmiths deliver career best
She's the buzzy newcomer in British pop - but don't let the catchy tunes fool you. Chloe Howl has plenty to say and little time for fools or misogynists, of whom she has encountered plenty.
Good cop continues her transformation into retro-soulstress
Midlife break-up record is as much of a bummer as you expected
Indie chanteuse puts her fists up
Annie Clark, aka St. Vincent, discusses her dramatic new musical direction, her love of spontaneous nudity and the time she took too many sleeping pills and had an imaginary conversation with a black power leader.
Nina Nesbit is the 'anti-Miley', a non-twerking confessional singer who thinks you can have a pop career while staying wholesome and family friendly
Experimental rockers plug in, deliver career best album
The quintessential good girl gone bad – and we mean that as a compliment – British pop star Ellie Goulding has swapped mumsy clothes and an unassuming air for a sizzling new image and a parade of famous beaus. Speaking exclusively to Hot Press, she opens up about her painful childhood, life in the tabloid glare and why she is prepared to (nearly) bare it all – but on her own terms.
Slacker icon stages low-key return
Brisk acoustic pop from Edinburgh ingénue
Post-Rock business as usual for Glasgow veterans
"Twerk-gate", the struggles of being a woman in an all-male industry and the ways in which overnight success can warp life-long friendships are all up for discussion as girl rockers Warpaint return to active duty with a cracking new record.
They're among the hottest debutants in British Rock, boasting a fanbase that includes Franz Ferdinand. With the Big Time calling, The Bohicas explain how they got from there to here.
Underground rapper tries variety of commercial suits on for size
Odds-n-Sods compilation proves the proverbial mixed bag
Britney & her producers go deep and dark
Odd couple duo pay homage to a country classic
Mixed bag from multi-tasking pop princess
London Grammar are the hottest newcomers in pop, no matter what the Mercury panel thinks.
Scandalous pop star presses the repeat button
Golden Gate psychedelic warriors still holding on for yesterday...
They’ve already conquered America with their glossy Nashville pop. Now, The Band Perry have Europe in their sights.
The flow is assured yet Eminem’s obsession with himself starts to get old
She’s the Scandinavian pop star du jour with a massive Avicii smash under her belt. Weirdly, though, Mø would rather not dwell on her biggest hit to date. For her, it’s about keeping it underground and edgy
Wayne Coyne’s merry crew blast into high, high orbit
Is Chelsea Wolfe the alt.pop Lady Gaga or a death metal singer who ended up trading in Moroder-esque electro-pop by accident? These and other mysteries are up for discussion as the buzziest new talent in indie-dom gives her first ever Irish interview
Teenage songwriter bogged down by his debt to the past
Enigmatic yet impressive return from Buenos Aires weirdo-pop Maven
Bastille have distinguished themselves from other post-Coldplay bands by appropriating the bits people actually liked about Chris Martin’s gang – specifically the throbbing, epic sweep and the sense of gauzy wonder.
Break-up record told from the inside
Perry draws on private pain for perky album with unexpected death
Esoteric newcomer hits pop paydirt
Efficient second album from the British Kanye
Polica were all set to bounce back with their second record – and then iTunes vetoed the cover art on the basis that, oh the horror, it portrayed human nudity...
They were the musical odd couple who conquered the world – until they woke one morning and realised they didn’t really get on. No sooner had they announced the split, than their album whooshed to the top of the charts. The Civil Wars' Joy Williams contemplates her group’s curious afterlife
THREE SISTERS DELIVER POWER-POP GOODS
One of the most laid-back dudes in rock, for his latest project strummer Newton Faulkner decided to shake things up by inviting the cameras into the recording studio and chronicling every minute of the making of his new album.
TEEN PRODIGY READY TO GO SUPEROVA
DREAMPOP PIONEERS STICK TO THE SCRIPT
California goth releases most diverse collection yet
Unfocused third outing from psychedelic pop stars
Bereavement and a looming sense of mortality have inspired the extraordinary new album from Anna Calvi. She talks about the difference between her stage personality and her everyday self, her terror of TV cameras and why, as a woman in music, she had to learn to say ‘no’
Darkly dazzling return from cult midwesterners.
Janelle Monae might be the weirdest mainstream pop star since David Bowie. In an exclusive Irish interview ahead of Arthur’s Day she talks about childhood poverty, her controverisal Robin Thicke photoshoot and how she managed to get Prince to sing on her new record.
She started writing as a way of coping with her parents’ divorce. A decade later Alela Diane found herself penning tunes that predicted the end of her own marriage. The coincidence is not lost on her, though it seems this sob story has a happy ending.
Synth pop trio make mixed debut
Mumford clones chill the marrow
With their doomy sound and downbeat image, White Lies have become an international success. That’s not to say they don’t have their moments of self-doubt, however. With their third album just arrived, frontman Harry McVeigh talks exclusively about the stresses and traumas that surrounded the recording of the LP
Rugged blues-rock from deepest, er, Derby
In 1976, without anyone’s permission, Giorgio Moroder invented the future. That was the year he cut ‘I Feel Love’ a dancefloor stomper with ice-water in its veins and a protean disco throb that would serve as a manifesto for generations of DJs and producers. Credit for creating modern electronica usually goes to Moroder’s immediate predecessors – Kraftwerk and their acolytes – but make no mistake, were it not for ‘I Feel Love’ the genre as we know it today simply wouldn’t exist. Out of nothing, from nowhere, he forged something radical and new.
Outsider Rock From Brit School Graduate
From her swan dress period to her new ‘Hellraiser’ look, Bjork is one of the last true mysteries left in pop. Ahead of her much-awaited Electric Picnic headline appearance, we assess the Icelandic singer’s legacy and trace her strange, impossible-to-predict career...
Songwriter no longer gripped by the thrill of parenthood...
Madcap gallop through the imagination of eclectic new talent...
Alex Ebert aka Edward Sharpe has overcome major dreams and substance-abuse issues to deliver us the mighty Magnetic Zeros.
As Naughty Boy, Shadid Khan has topped the charts, produced Emeli Sande's smash LP and proved there is life after Noel Edmonds. Ahead of Oxegen, he discusses his remarkable rise...
Empty album ruminates emptily on the emptiness of fame...
Steerage class indie rockers shoot for the heavens...
Euphoric electro duo perfect their happy/sad formula...
She was a cult singer and then Amanda Palmer raised a million dollars on Kickstarter. She followed this with a viral hit TED talk and suddenly here she is, super famous. The New Yorker talks about a year of highs, lows and lashings of online hate...
Anglophile Chicagoans channel their favorite shoegaze acts...
Post-rock moon children embrace the dark side...
They’ve been acclaimed as Blighty’s answer to Vampire Weekend. As the hype storm builds, buzz act Peace discuss rock star sandwiches and staying calm at the heart of the hype hurricane...
Game of Thrones approved electro poppers GO for the jugular
Best-known for directing Lana Del Rey’s balls-out ker-azy ‘Born To Die’ video, as Woodkid Yoann Lemoine has set himself up as a damaged crooner in the Antony Hegarty vein. In his only Irish interview he tells Lana haters to take a hike and discusses the difficult transition from pop promo wunderkid to struggling songwriter.
Nu-folk songbird GETS PERSONAL on much anticipated fifth album
Third outing for Zooey Deschanel and sideman M.Ward...
Triumphantly haunting second outing from London based ‘urban poet’...
A swooning, glistening show from electro duo...
Atlanta alterna rockers channel darkness into surprisingly brisk songs...
Tortured songwriter details his drug hell to spoonful effect...
Line-up changes, having to work day-jobs and now a row over their Fundit campaign. It’s been a turbulent 18 months for Fight Like Apes, but as Maykay tells Ed Power, they’re ready to rumble again...
Retro punk angst is brought bang up to date...
Business as usual from mercurial French rockers...
Sensitive songwriting is the Odell of the day...
Agreeable return from former nu-folkies...
Then again, you could argue she has reached a point where the tunes are almost an afterthought. On record, it’s all about her gobby, let’s-do-shots persona; on stage what you remember are the genuinely awesome stunts. This, you suspect, is exactly as intended.
Punk godfather puts the band back together, grasps for old glories...
Controversial strummer wears heart on sleeve...
OMD go retro with a vengeance...
There’s no encore – in the circumstances that might have been a bit too much to esxpect...
Bearded revivalist keeps it mellow...
Ex-coral man looks inwards...
Arena newcomers Imagine Dragons explain why they’re ready to take up the mantle of fellow Las Vegas-ites The Killers and conquer the world...
Buzz band finally live up to potential...
The American band make a stop in Ireland...
Karen O amd chums stage surprisingly slinky comeback...
Greatly hyped soulstress falls into the ‘interesting’ category...
Nu-folk gets a new haircut, and a haunting new sound...
The classic image of David Bowie from Aladdin Sane is part of a major visual celebration of the singer at the Victoria and Albert Museum...
Lots of emotion, little innovation from Brooklyn strummer Ed Romanoff...
Careworn songwriter goes dark electro...
Mysterious his ‘n’ hers duo get their Sade on...
Cult post-rockers cast off the doom AND step into the sunlight...
Stepping briskly between the best of Arc and Man Alive the group deliver a pleasant mass-market funk assault, a polite fusion of the danceable and the populist. They are, you suspect, just getting started...
Overshadowed by the rest of her family through her career, you have a feeling that Martha is at last coming into her own...
Perfect shoegaze pastiche from moochy Londoners.
Underground twins make a bid for the big time...
As if life as a jobbing singer-songwriter wasn’t tough enough, two years ago Ron Sexsmith had a health fright. He explains how coming to terms with mortality inspired his teary-eyed new album.
It was conceived of as an imperial capital that would one day rival Rome. Today, Washington DC is a bustling metropolis on the faultline between Red and Blue State Americ
As if life as a jobbing singer-songwriter wasn’t tough enough, two years ago Ron Sexsmith had a health fright. He explains how coming to terms with mortality inspired his teary-eyed new album.
The ghost of Sting haunts insubstantial debut
He’s rap’s brightest new star, with a fanbase that includes Snoop Dog, Dr. Dre and Pharrell Williams and a chart-topping album that outsold Rihanna. Kendrick Lamar talks about growing up in super-violent Compton, California and his struggle to stay grounded as his career goes supernova...
Brighton goth-moochers return with surprisingly accessible second record...
Stygian dance-floor bliss from dystopian Londoners...
Angsty Belgians wax angsty
She’ll quite happily talk about her high-profile dad but, with big things about to happen for Firehorse’s Leah Siegel, you might want to hold off asking about the time she made an uber-fan of Prince
Outtakes collection from electro-pop pioneers proves surprisingly cohesive
Indie darlings go mainstream with mixed results.
They came from nowhere to scoop the Mercury Music Prize and Hot Press ‘Album of 2012’ gong and their fabulousness is the one subject One Direction and Mumford and Sons can agree on. Say hello to Alt-J, Hot Press phenomenon of the year.
Button Factory, Dublin
The Twisted Pepper, Dublin
Sci-fi prog classic gets polished make-over...
Passion Pit are a band with the world at their feet but bipolar frontman Michael Angelakos has struggled to cope with fame.
The gardai’s favorite EDM purveyors bid a blaring farewell.
She was the indie pin-up of the moment. But when Marina & The Diamonds' debut album failed to become a mega hit her confidnece was badly knocked. It didn't help that, at that very moment, a game-playing lover was breaking her heart. In an exclusive interview Marina talks about rebuilding her self-belief by borrowing from Britney Spears, her decision to go blonde, and then brunette again, and why she doesn't care about the backlash against her chart-friendly new sound.
Apocalyptic instrumental music chimes with the times...
Nu-folk ingenue delivers the goods...
Ambient loveliness from Scotland’s Animal Collective...
Rising britrock strummer battles to escape shadow of his influences
As Morrissey’s loyal lieutenant Boz Boorer has his boss’ back no matter what. He discusses foot-in-mouth controversy, racism rows and voices his admiration for Imelda May...
Interpol frontman goes it alone...
Gwen Stefani and company carry on where they left off in 2001
Kanye rounds up posse for cameo-stuffed mix tape
She deserves to be as big as Florence + the Machine. So why is big-eyed pop goth Natasha Khan – aka Bat for Lashes – still a cult singer? With her most anticipated album yet on the way, she talks about her rivalry with Welch, her bouts of self-doubt and her decision to pose (almost) nude on the cover of the new record.
Canadian singer reprises her biggest moment
Three new compilations document the rude health of Irish music, past and present.
Impressive step forward for family concern
Brandon and pals ditch the eyeliner and the bad moustaches, return to stadium roots
Marc Almond has announced his intention to retire from writing original material. It won’t be the last you’ve heard of him, though...
Punk superstars kick off three album binge in familiar style
After some unpleasant wrangling with their former record label, Noisettes are back, better than ever before...
Odd Future crooner exits closet, delivers r&b masterclass
She’s written for Cheryl, had a massive radio hit in the US and almost crashed a Tony Bennett recording session. She’s Ingrid Michaelson.
They were tipped to be the new Oasis, but The View decided they’d rather party ‘til they dropped than sell millions of records. Five years later they’re somehow still standing. Singer Kyle Falconer tells Ed Power how they’ve not only survived but prospered.
As they prep for an Electric Picnic headline slot Alabama Shakes talk life, death and being the year's biggest buzz band.
Counting down to their Electric Picnic slot Wild Beasts‘s Hayden Thorpse talks Olympics, sexual identity and Liam Gallagher.
They’re the brainy electro stalwarts whose smart, emotive music look set to weather the ages. Whatever you do, though, don’t mention the ‘N-’ word to Hot Chip .
They look like a cult but Edward Sharpe And The Magnetic Zeros’ feel-good pop is anything but scary.
Noize Rockers Bring the Choons
They’re Bruce Springsteen’s favourite band and one of the last great blue-collar outfits in America. Now The Gaslight Anthem are back with possibly their finest record to date.
Psychedelic jape-meisters hook up with famous pals, fail to generate sparks.
Tori Amos meets Regina Spektor.
Cult Brooklynites learn how to write a tune.
Indie ragamuffins back to their best
Tree hugging fun from cult didgeridoo wielder.
Grab-bag of unreleased material hits the sweet spot
Proud parents lay on the sap with surprisingly moving results
Their appropriately named Give You The Ghost is one of the year’s most haunting debuts. Polica’s Channy Leaneagh discusses the heartache behind the record and how it feels to be championed by Jay-Z and Bon Iver.
Brimful of Asha stars still bringing the groove
Icelandic post rockers make busy with the aural wallpaper
Electro gloomsters let the light in
She's been embraced by the fashion industry, which can't get enough of her kooky looks and, er, vagina rings. Ahead of her much buzzed about Forbidden Fruit appearance, electro sensation Grimes tells us why she's happier being compared to Madonna than Lady Gaga.
Ahead of their Forbidden Fruit slot Friendly Fires discuss success, the death of a friend and why modern dance is frankly pants.
Heartland rockers go to Nashville, reclaim mojo
He used to be the party boy of the sensitive indie circuit. But Beirut boy wonder Zach Condon has grown up and calmed down. He talks about his mature new record, The Rip Tide, shivering ‘naked’ before the world and why, under the surface, he feels Irish.
Melodramatic crooner back to his best
Quirky songstress loses her edge
Adams demons are locked in a trunk somewhere, out of view, out of mind.
Sometime Blur ringleader gets his funk – and his Blackadder – on
Ed’s cousin delivers the goth pop goods on second record
Anthemic rockers go back to their roots
Vivacious Nordic sensation Ane Brun on working with Peter Gabriel, covering Arcade Fire and riding in a car with Jose Gonzalez.
They’ve split from the major label record industry and released a collection of obscure covers. You could say Counting Crows like doing things their own way.
They’re adored by everyone from Adele to Taylor Swift, who recently collaborated with them on the Hunger Games theme tune. Ed Power catches up with the increasingly massive The Civil Wars.
Art rockers deliver surprisingly accessible debut
Blur’s Brits Lifetime Award speech went on longer than the rest of the ceremony and they’ve been chosen to close the London Olympics. Meanwhile guitarist Graham Coxon has a new solo record out. He explains his departure and return from the day-job and why his latest LP is a sequel of sorts to ‘Girls & Boys’.
Indie quirksters go straight
What do you do for a second act when your first band was one of the most iconic in alternative rock history? Stephen Malkmus hasn’t quite figured out an answer to that question – but he’s having a lot of fun trying.
It’s taken the Muppets-loving Andrew Bird 10 years to become an overnight sensation. Ed Power catches up with the reluctant rock star in Paris.
They are the folk sensation du jour, two Stockholm sisters who sing as though they were dredged from the soil of Appalachia. In an exclusive face to face interview First Aid Kit talk about instant stardom, the burdens of fame and, in a good way, reducing Patti Smith to tears.
Violin Manipulator Plays It Straight, Records Best Album Yet
Gorgeous piano pop exudes quiet power
Ho-hum return to the synthpop motherlode from icon of misanthropy
On his first solo album in eight years, Mark Lanegan deals in glimmering death disco, dark funk and melancholic balladry. The man of few – occasionally no –
Now a duo, nu-gazers release career best.
Grunge icon releases career best collection.
Acid throwback transcends nostalgia value
After 10 years of being indie also-rans, The Maccabees have just produced a bona fide Britrock classic. Ed Power discovers how it all went right.
French troubadour gets his Britrock on
Older and wiser, Cohen gives us a tingle-inducing sign-off.
Meet Liz Green, the former teacher who has a voice like Billie Holiday fronting Antony and the Johnsons. Not bad for an artist who’s childhood dream was to the world’s firest female snooker champ.
Formed against a backdrop of intense tragedy We Are Augustines are the Springsteen-sound-alikes you don’t want to slap in the face. Singer Billy McCarthy talks frankly about the family death that inspired the group’s extraordinary debut.
They’re a bunch of hot new rockers with an iconic frontwoman and the stadium sized sound. Meet Sleeper Agent, the coolest thing to come out of Bowling Green, Kentucky since John Carpenter.
Some things are easy to predict: the economy will continue its torturous unravelling, your house will be worth even less this time next year, Dublin will fail to put back to back All-Irelands together. Other events are trickier to forecast. Who, in January 2011 would seriously (seriously) have imagined Adele shifting a kazillion records? Or that Jedward would still be humping the zeitgeist? As Hot Press retrieves its crystal ball from the top shelf and gazes into the (very near) future, all that can be said for certain then is this: the 12 months ahead in music will be many things but they won’t be boring.
She was the voice of a new generation of country singers, a breed that valued authenticity over record sales or bums on seats. Then, for reasons nobody understands, the songs stopped flowing. Gillian Welch discusses a long dark night of the soul that seemed it might never end – and the difficult road back.
Bon Iver were firmly established as a major force during 2011, with their Dublin show becoming the Hottest Ticket of the Year. Mainman Julian Vernon discusses Twitter, Supermacs and collaborating with Kanye.
We are getting our own back on the Vikings at last, as Philip O’Connor’s book about establishing GAA games in the Nordic countries confirms.
RiRi tones down the perviness and learns to smile again.
She’s come from nowhere to be a European-wide chamber pop phenomenon, a veritable Bjork for the dinner party set. But Agnes Obel confesses that overnight success has come at a heavy price.
Blues duo reach for the big time.
As the divine St. Vincent, Annie Clark performs ethereal orchestral pop. Still even a dulcet indie waif has to cope with a killer hangover every now and then.
It is a juddering, wailing tour de force – and a glimpse of what a special talent Calvi may become if she is granted the space and time.
Ace Yuletide album from alt. rock odd couple who go together like Brussel sprouts & potato croquettes.
A Christmas curio to make the hairs on your neck stand on end.
With the Irish Discworld Convention just a few days away, Ed Power talks to best-selling author – 65 million copies and counting! – Terry Pratchett about his disdain for literary snobs, why Tolkien was wrong about The Orcs and the fall-out from his controversial Choosing To Die documentary.
Having lost ground with their extremely difficult second album, CSS have come up with a new record, La Liberación, which returns them to the top of the electro-rock pile. Ed Power talks new beginnings and catsuit chic with Lovefoxx.
Flame-haired pop priestess serves up glossy reprise of chart-gobbling debut.
If tonight’s down-scaled show – it moved from the Olympia to the Academy – proves anything it’s that, when you’re packing these sort of killer tunes, location is irrelevant.
Ironic dance duo return, minus the irony.
He was the boy wonder of country rock before drugs, illness and an inability to rein in his creativity got in the way. Now Ryan Adams is hitched to a movie star and ready to proclaim himself an artist reborn. He talks about the long road to redemption and explains why he was never such a lost soul in the first place.
Stadium Überlords go dinner party rave – and it works.
She was the overnight sensation ten years in the making. As she prepares to make her way to Sligo Live KT Tunstall talks about how it’s getting ever harder to sell records, speaking her mind about Shakira and being splashed all over the tabloids.
The bad boy of alt. country is back on the straight and narrow.
Ex-Oasis man delivers his best record since Morning Glory.
Cult favourites for years, Beirut look set to truly hit the big time in 2011 (they’ve just graced the Hot Press Electric Picnic chat room, for lawd’s sake!). But the road to indie-stardom was far from straightforward for singer Zach Condon, as he explains in a revealing interview.
Belgium rockers back to their messy, majestic best
Confessional songwriter gets bogged down in a proggy mire near Kinsale.
Indie songbird waxes weird and aims for the limelight in same heartbeat.
Leicester crew reaffirm their standing as Britain’s most interesting and ambitious stadium rockers.
Gruff Rhys has recently engaged in a collaboration with Phil Collins. Yes, it’s true. Horrified Super Furry Animals fans, please read the small print below before rushing to judgement...
Ahead of their Stradbally slot, Ed Power caught up with Arcade Fire, the massive band currently making waves from Stradbally to Saskatchewan. They talk about the pressure of success, the incessant U2 comparisons and explain why they won’t let the haters get them down
They were every bloggers’ favourite band for 15 minutes in 2005. Then the zeitgeist moved on and the bandwagon ran out of fuel. What happened next? Back from self-imposed exile Clap Your Hands Say Yeah’s Alec Ounswourth has the answers.
In the ‘90s, he was the poster-boy for sample-riffic chillout. But DJ Shadow never wanted to be the king of comedown and his subsequent career saw him trying to shake off the tag, sometimes to the disappointment of his fans. Now he’s finally relented with an album that recalls his zeitgeist defining debut Entroducing. But what’s upmost on his mind is the music industry and the internet pirates slowly ripping it limb from limb.
Nu-folk songbird seizes the moment with career best long player.
Their record label is an energy drinks company and they famously scrapped their debut album and started over from scratch. You could say tattooed pop rockers Twin Atlantic aren’t fans of doing things the conventional way.
Chamber rock boy-wonder returns with most polished album to date.
They’re critics’ darlings down under – but can Cloud Control crack it overseas? As their big push for world domination gets underway, they talk about touring with Vampire Weekend, bagging the Australian answer to the Mercury and the perils of a dashed-off press release.
Unreconstructed guitar hero keeps on rockin’.
Reverential tribute to late folk singer.
Before Sigur Ros return from the post-rock wilderness with a long overdue new album, songwriter Kjartan Sveinsson is appearing as part of the Reich Effect in Cork. He talks about the minimalist composer, his band’s debt to Britney Spears and why you won’t find them frolicking with elves in the shadow of glaciers.
Duckworth Lewis Method singer returns with career-best solo album.
He’s spent most of his career in an existential mope, but now Patrick Wolf is in love and has decided he wants to sound a bit like Arcade Fire. Following the release of latest album Lupercalia, he talks about his extraordinary transformation – and the importance of his Irish roots.
Beyoncé’s thunder-stealing performance at Glastonbury ensures anticipation for her Oxegen slot is somewhere the far side of fever pitch...
Sibling duo featuring former Strokes girlfriend go 70s pop
Cult songwriter waxes mysterious with tingle-inducing results
Cheerleaders for the best in UK music, grime superstars Chase And Status certainly get around. Ahead of their eagerly anticipated Oxegen slot they talk about hooking up with Rihanna, being the Prodigy’s favourite band and a strange encounter with Snoop Dogg.
Their first album was a surprise hit. But when it came to a follow-up, Fleet Foxes found the recording process heavy going. Frontman Robin Pecknold talks about overnight fame, the crushing burden of expectations and his debt to WB Yeats.
The People’s Republic makes the perfect weekend getaway, says proud Corkonian Ed Power
Who says skinny white guys with guitars can't write about sex? Knocking the old cliches about uptight English guitar bands firmly on the naggin, Hot Press Album of the Year winners Wild Beasts return with a record chronicling in excruciating detail the squalid underbelly of sudden success. Over coffee and buns, they discuss new LP Smother, the pressure a Mercury nomination brings and the dark side of the English Lake District.
Avant-grade pianist turns in surprisingly conventional new record
Nu-ravers pack a saxophone and visit club med, circa 1985
Nu-folk cheerleaders return with an album that mistakes dullness for authenticity
She’s been labeled the Queen of Dubstep, but Katy B is just an old-fashioned pop singer at heart. The Brit school, her Irish roots and nicking tents at the Electric Picnic are all on the agenda as she meets Ed Power
Live @ Olympia Theatre, Dublin
Championed by MIA, Sleigh Bells guitarist Derek Miller muses on the poltics of being character assassinated by the NY Times and - maybe - producing Beyoncé.
Live @ The Olympia Theatre, Dublin
Live At Vicar St., Dublin
A gloomy post-industrial warehouse might seem a strange place to record your long-awaited new album. But that didn’t stop The Low Anthem giving it their best shot.
Radiohead Guitarist Gets His Ambient On For Second Soundtrack Project
Punk rock trio The Joy Formidable have a strange effect on their fans – some of whom are moved to express their love through the medium of the suggestive YouTube video.
Kristin Hersh was the snarling fairy godmother of ‘90s indie rock. But behind the scenes she struggled with a debilitating mental disorder, which brought her to the edge of madness. Now she has written a powerful memoir about her battle with the demons in her head.
Diddy's big dark beautiful fantasy proves surprisingly enjoyable.
Gloom pop debut stifled by lack of vision
You know him as the custodian of the biggest beard in indie rock. But there’s a lot more to Iron And Wine’s Sam Beam than heroic facial hair.
Veteran post-rockers reclaim their mojo.
Cult New Zealand Soft Rockers Spread Their Wings Overseas.
She’s the gloomy face of ‘nu goth’ and a deadringer for Lady Gaga to boot. With the buzz around Zola Jesus approaching deafening the artist otherwise known as Nika Danilova talks about her high school quest for anonymity, the plastic side of LA hipster-dom and why she can’t get her head around the ‘g’ word.
For stretches tonight, one has the sense of being trapped inside a Jethro Tull live record circa 1977.
Downbeat Piano-Woman Lets The Light In
With her zeitgeist humping goth-pop and Jack White-grade shredding, Anna Calvi looks set to become one of the faces of 2011. She talks about snarky critics, childhood illness and being whisked off for candlelit dinner by Nick Cave
Winehouse protege steps from the shadows on confident second record
Taking a taxi to the dark side of lurve it’s boy/girl couple JENNY AND JOHNNY. The girlier half of the partnership, Jenny Lewis, discusses provocative outfits, Brandon Flowers and growing up on White Russians in Vegas.
Their first album was an opinion-dividing hit. For the follow-up, KLAXONS have junked the nu-ravisms and taken the long way around. In their most comprehensive Irish interview of the year, they talk about their “disgusting” new video, singing with Charlotte Church and kicking down the doors of consciousness in New York.
Conceptual rockers go Americana crazy
Rodent-obsessed electronica composers sets phasers to banging
Indie chills and thrills from grief stricken electro popsters
Fratboys bring the party but not the tunes
New rave scenesters turn out to be rather less chameleonic than we'd imagined
Chamber-pop gloomsters revert to type on final installment of 'No Synths' trilogy
On a stormy evening in the capital, there is evidence that Midlake have finally found a way of combining the twin aspects of their sound...
Pop chanteuse lets the sunshine back in
LA quartet Warpaint might just be the hottest new band on the planet, but singer Emily Kokal is far more eager to talk about her Irish roots than the band's Tinsel Town associations
Slumming uber-producers chuck the guitars and get their smoove on
They’re one of the most buzzed about dance acts on the planet right now. So what the hell are The Count and Sinden doing signing with indie mainstay Domino?
Gorgeous electronica inspired by the death of a friend
Perv-pop queen Alison Goldfrapp talks about leaving the closet, hanging with Christina Aguilera and going on stage wearing nothing but video tape
So weird it's good studio comeback from Brooklyn based singer-songwriter
They’re the strangest musical collaboration since Marilyn Manson appeared on the Muppet Show. Isobel Campbell discusses the heartbreak behind her latest hook-up with Mark Lanegan and tells us why she’s swapped Glasgow for Los Angeles
Big-beat Nords clamber into a flotation tank for follow-up to last year’s comeback
Bequiffed Londoners channel Springsteen with predictably hilarious consequences
Gothic bleep-core duo Ethan Kath and Alice Glass, aka CRYSTAL CASTLES, could never be accused of being conventional.
In the middle of the noughties, Scissor Sisters were the biggest, gayest thing in pop. Then they came down with writer’s block and vanished for five years. Now they return to a music scene that has changed utterly...
Pleasant but ineffectual second outing from Canadian indie foursome
Genius robo-funk opus from worthy-of-the-hype OutKast protegé
Kylie sticks to formula, makes half decent record.
The Middle East talk about seeing the world with Mumford and Sons and keeping their integrity while all around are losing theirs
Vampire juggernaut goes indie schmindie for third outing.
BRIT SOUL PRODUCTION LINE KEEPS ROLLING
Electro-goths channel their inner Field Mice
Umpteenth Jack White side-project finally comes good
Mockney songbird grows up – but is she any wiser?
She’s a famous actress and style icon, but Zooey Deschanel would rather be known as one half of country-pop duo She And Him. She talks about juggling cinema and music and turns a bit nervous when conversation turns to famous lookalike Katy Perry.
Their dapper keyboard-player has departed, but The Hold Steady reckon they still qualify as the best bar band in America. Frontman Craig Finn talks religion, Bruce Springsteen and helping the Rolling Stones conquer Slane.
Berlin based electro crooner ratchets up the goo factor.
The Bob-sters first born presides over immaculate country collection.
Modfather gets his weird on
Country rock siblings step up to the mark with major label debut
A new breed of Northern band is taking the music scene by storm. And none is more ambitious than Derry’s General Fiasco.
Engaging but raw at the edges.
Folk Princess Turns The Screws On Blabbing Ex.
Behind their disembodied indie-pop, GIRLS are a band with a truly strange back story. Frontman Christopher Owens talks about meds, cults and Elvis Costello.
To describe this performance as surreal experience is a bit like stating that Shane MacGowan enjoys the odd drink.
They used to be droney and mysterious but now MGMT’s best mates YEASAYER have gone all pop. With a bit of luck, they might even be giving Rihanna a run for her money on the dancefloor.
Goldfrapp go cuddly and ‘80s – with surprisingly charming results.
The latest ragged-mopped Statesiders to transcend cult-stardom and plant a foot in the mainstream.
Florence Welch started the year a virtual unknown, and ended it an eccentric pop genius worthy of being mentioned in the same breath as Bjork, Kate Bush and Siouxsie Sioux.
Domino b-listers return with new producer but same old sound
Julian Casablancas and Grizzly Bear are fans. Now Baltimore duo Beach House look set to conquer the mainstream with their dreamy sound. They talk about the mean streets of their home town and confront the critics who claim they’ve heard it all before.
New York prepsters stick to their Paul Simon-goes-indie formula on successful second album
Dirty dance-diva bundles new EP with reissued album
Post-rock supergroup BATTLES talk about scoring an internet hit, whipping up Japanese ravers and why you should never, ever describe them as ‘math rock’.
Everything’s coming up roses for indie wallflower
Weird, sometimes wonderful softrock superproject
It sounds like the opening line to an elaborate joke – heard the one about the Englishman, the Irishman and the multi-million selling, gag-stuffed science fiction saga? However, Eoin Colfer is perfectly serious about breathing new life into Douglas Adams’ Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy series. But what has that got to do with The Blizzards? Read on to find out
For a few dizzying months in 2007, New Young Pony Club were London’s pre-eminent ‘it’ band. But despite a Mercury Music Prize nomination, commercial success never quite arrived. Now they’re regrouped and planning another full-frontal assault on the pop universe. Singer Tahita Bulmer talks about the personal traumas that coloured their new record and explains why they’re not angry with La Roux for stealing their electro-pop thunder.
Experimental’ album from American nerd-punks is surprisingly conventional – and all the better for it
Mr. Hudson talks about his mentor Kanye West’s Taylor Swift meltdown, the challenges of hanging with the hip-hop elite when you’re a skinny white guy from Birmingham and why the death of Auto-Tune is greatly exaggerated.
Codes’ epic sound has marked them out as one of the most exciting new Irish acts around. Just don’t tell them they sound a bit like Muse.
Strokes frontman ditches leather jacket, reinvents self as DIY Gary Numan
This year’s MGMT? Hockey would prefer to think of themslves as a cross between LCD Soundsystem and The Strokes.
“Meh” collection from London warbler
Decent mid-tempo rock from Swede-assisted Los Angelinos.
Close but no rosette for the new British diva on the block
Ed Power meets newcomer noiseniks HEALTH, whose experimental grindhouse din puts the ‘hard’ in hardcore.
Indie rock icon Lou Barlow talks about making the US top 20 with Dinosaur Jr and explains why he definitely didn’t invent grunge or lo-fi
They dress in black and tend to pout a lot. But don’t be put off by the long faces – The XX might just be the year’s most thrilling newcomers.
Engagingly bonkers epic from sci-fi paranoiacs.
Mournful folkie not quite as desolate as usual.
Vacuous debut from hotly tipped Australians.
Vacuous Debut from Hotly Tipped Australians.
They used to be a bit of a joke but, with the release of their fantastic new record, The Horrors are suddenly a band to watch. Faris Badwan talks about stepping out with Peaches Geldof, ditching the freak-show hair and recalls his traumatic childhood experiences on Palestine’s West Bank
Strangely moving robo-pop from hyped duo
Though her hippyish sensibilities are a throwback to the flower-power era, Florence Welch - aka Florence And The Machine - is one of the year's most hyped new artists. She talks about domestic violence, Andy Warhol and why sometimes hangovers can be good for you.
Following a potentially fatal bout of auto-immune deficiency, Airborne Toxic Event’s Mikel Jollett gave up a damned promising writing career to play music.
She’s the most hyped newcomer since... well, since as long as we can remember. But with her debut album finally here, BBC Sound of '09 winner Little Boots is equal parts nervous and excited.
A spirited return from Beth Ditto and company – but where are the new ideas?
Quality chugging from weirdo-rock institution
Tokyo is like a sci-fi version of the West – plus, the people are immaculately polite, the trains run on time and the chances of something unpleasant befalling you are virtually zero.
Assuming they haven’t all grown up by now, Manson fans will adore every dark, juvenile flourish. For the rest of us, The High End Of Low serves as a cautionary tale of artistic regression.
Further mystical adventures from grunge-era Kate Bush
Avant-hardcore zeitgeist-humping six-piece CRYSTAL ANTLERS traverse genres to intriguing effect.
Widescreen return from Jam wannabes
Raw, beguiling psychedelia from Californian newcomers.
He’s best known for his bout of fisticuffs with Jack White but nowadays it’s the dire situation of his native Detroit that is foremost on the mind of The Von Bondies’ Jason Stollsheimer.
Lo-fi freakster doffs cap to minimalism & screaming chipmunks
They’re the quirky electro-rockers who have got the music industry buzzing. But don’t mistake Passion pit for another bunch of MGMT clones. As their viral hit ‘Sleepyhead’ confirms, their whimsical sound is entirely unique – as is their enthusiasm for sampling obscure Irish harpists
Thrilling indie jinks from Arcade Fire wannabes
She’s named after a chessy ‘80s fantasy flick but there’s a lot more to Ladyhawke than retro vibes and over the top fashion.
Ghostly pop transmissions from buzzy Brooklynites
A Game of two halves as Brooklyn world music troop go synth pop on split disc
They’ve been underground stars for years now. Now ANIMAL COLLECTIVE are heading for the big time – provided pesky file-sharers don’t ruin their chances.
They’re the hottest thing in British rock, four working class kids done good from the wrong side of the Glasgow tracks. At the start of what is shaping up to be a whirlwind year GLASVEGAS talk fame, football and fisticuffs.
Impressive debut from calgary folk-pop outfit
A thought-provoking new tome from New Yorker scribe Malcolm Gladwell challenges the ‘genius’ myth.
Over the past 12 months, The Mighty Boosh have made the transition from cult favourites to arena-filling icons. Noel Fielding chats to Ed Power about playing huge venues, his friend Russell Brand's recent difficulties, and borrowing clothes from Courtney Love.
Retro-pop sensations MGMT take time out from hanging with movie stars and partying like its 1979 to talk about their overnight success.
Beyonce still proves that she's an all-around good performer even though her attempt to branch out into an alter ego fails a little.
Having a tapdancer instead of a drummer might seem like the height of indie schmindieness, but thanks to Conor Oberst, Tilly and the Wall are heading for the big time.
Destined for greatness, the Black Kids sell the crowd with their ambivalent lyrics and charm.
Overcoming a little bit of shyness, Juana Molina gives a nod to her South American sound and puts on a good show her second time around at Crawdaddy.
Mega balladeer returns with ‘street’ flavoured new record
Argentinian comedian turned indie starlet Juana Molina refuses to abandon Spanish and is bemused by lager-swilling Electric Picnickers.
Being evicted by Take That and hanging out with notorious Hollywood hellraisers like Matthew McConaughey are all in a day's work for keg-party rockers Iglu & Hartly.
Polite boys of British stadium pop stage bland comeback
Bird watching, real ale and having Jim Davidson taken out by a professional assassin are all on the agenda as British Sea Power swap salty tales with Ed Power.
Everything Is Borrowed is calculatingly whine-free, with lyrics that seem chiefly concerned with probing Deep Questions.
While other bands sip Fair Trade skinny lattes in Primrose Hill, Feeder have been championing the War Child cause in the conflict-ravaged Congo.
From child actress to Rilo Kiley frontwoman to hanging out with Elvis Costello: every day is Groundhog Day, but when you're Jenny Lewis that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Released on the web fully two months before it hits record stores, Bloc Party’s third album is as gleaming and hermetically sealed as one of Kubrick’s monoliths.
From the grim and gritty depths of east Glasgow, Glasvegas tout a sure-to-be-huge mix of ragged emotion and vintage vibrations straight out of the Phil Spector playbook.
East Glasgow quartet Glasvegas have nothing to do with the TG4 show. They're the anthemic band discovered by Alan McGee in the same venue he found Oasis.
Heartache, blue Speedos, David Grohl's 'ego ramp' - they're all grist for the mill as THE SUBWAYS return with a long-awaited second record.
Chicago duo ride to the rescue of hip-hop – on pimped up BMXs
Sharleen Spiteri surely feels more entitled than most to fling herself in the path of the onrushing Duffy/Amy/Adele bandwagon.
Joan as Policewoman, aka Joan Wasser, has had quite a year of it, balancing public success with private grief after the death of her mother.
Heralded britpoppers arrive with surprisingly nuanced debut, awash with yearning psych rock plaintive guitar chimes and lashings of damp-cheeked wistfulness.
They sound as if they've just arrived from the far side of Mars, but Brooklyn avant-rockers YEASAYER have some unexpected influences.
Folksy newcomers Fleet Foxes are one of the year's most critically-acclaimed bands. Just don't called them hippies.
Jack White-annointed synth-rocker raises his game on long-awaited sequel
Languid comeback from forgotten but not gone post-shoegazers
Youngbloods triumph with unpretentious pop
Would be blockbuster from the Jack Johnson it’s really not okay to like
Sprawling America travelogue stays strictly old school
Bruce cohort pays tribute to grumpy Canadian.
Surprisingly agreeable return from the High Priestess of country kitsch
Dreary britrock from Bloc Party wannabes
For a helium-voiced babydoll with a screwy stage-name and a silly haircut (recently abandoned), Lykke Li is certainly kicking up waves.
Hurricanes, Mexico and computers are on the agenda, but definitely not Kate Moss as Alison Mosshart waxes lyrical to Ed Power about The Kills' new album
Fresh from meeting Ringo, Zutons frontman Dave McCabe pitches up in Dublin, wondering if `Valerie' brought about some bad juju for Amy Winehouse.
Agit-prop poetry meets club beats on long-awaited debut from brit-rap tag-team
Animal Collective regale us with tales of Conan O'Brien, tour-bus illnesses and explain why the life of the footloose musician isn't always a romp through the daisies.
Touching ersatz folk from guitar wielding thespian... A Larum is a record of campfire belters, meloncholic melodies and gospel-tinged airs...
Beloved of both nu ravers and Timbaland who neglected to ask permission before sampling one of their songs, Crystal Castles might just be the biggest band to come out of leftfield this year.
For a pair of hyped to the heavens kids who pout waaay too earnestly in their photo-shoots, The Ting Tings prove surprisingly beguiling debutantes.
Take one Super Furry Animal, one lap-top wizard and one disgraced motor industry executive and you get synth revivalists Neon Neon and the year's best concept album.
They're making a splash in their adopted home of LA. Now Dublin ex-pats La Rocca are back to conquer the old country.
Genre-busting art-rockers Foals are the moody face of the 'new eccentric' scene. And they've got tastemakers in a proper tizzy.
Nordic singer Jonna Lee on her ambiguous relationship with her homeland and meeting Ed Harcourt in cyberspace.
They like to clown around, but hotly-tipped funkateers MGMT are deadly serious about their music - and their love for Hall & Oates.
They're flagbearers for the 'new eccentric' scene and the toast of the fashion set. So what are These New Puritans doing writing songs about Michael Barrymore?
"For Weezer fans awaiting the next installment, it adds up to a fascinating glimpse into the inner workings of Cuomo’s sweet, strange mind."
Gaspard Augé of acclaimed electro duo Justice on the group’s stunning live performances, upstaging Kanye West and putting the humour back into dance music.
"...the new record sees him pushing his songbook to extremes in entirely unexpected fashion."
"Adrian Crowley’s fourth album is a goose-bump inducing collection of folk ballads and bare-boned post-rock."
New York quartet Vampire Weekend are set to be one of the breakthrough bands of ‘08 thanks to their inspired brand of Afro-beat tinged rock. Just don’t mention Paul Simon.
She’s been hailed the Irish Amy Winehouse. But dusky-voiced chanteuse Carly is too unique a talent to fit neatly into a pigeon hole.
He’s the classic indie shyboy who quit music to become a bingo announcer because he can't bear the rock 'n' roll gossip mill. Now Jens Lekman is back with his finest album yet words.
"Giddy with end-of-days rapture, Beat Pyramid is a gorgeously gloomy puzzle box, a record salted with secrets, visions and intimations of wonder."
Former Test Icicles frontman Devonte Hynes, aka Lightspeed Champion, has returned to the fold with an excellent debut solo album.
"As diverting as the fashion show is, the costume changes can’t mask an unpalatable truth: Murphy’s discoid shtick is the stuff of cult adoration, not populist adulation."
We’ve tipped them for success in the past, and now, with a New Year upon us, Laura Izibor, Dirty Epic’s SJ Wai and Fight Like Apes’ MayKay are set to sweep all before them.
They invented 'nu rave', bagged the Mercury Music Prize and gave Noel Gallagher the mother of all migraines. You could say the Klaxons have had a busy 2007.
He’s the outstanding protest singer of his generation. But don’t let Bright Eyes catch you comparing him to Bob Dylan.
Elfin Scandinavian popster Robyn muses on creative freedom and the vagaries of the industry.
Since swapping Dublin for Los Angeles, hotly-tipped indie rockers La Rocca have experienced all the ludicrous pleasures and extremes of the City of Angels. Here, they regale us with tales from their California exile.
Kylie's persona infuses the album, even if her vocals do not. As pop heatseekers go, X is a heartbeat away from perfection.
Why dance/hip-hop crazies Dan Le Sac vs Scroobius Pip will not be giving away their new record free online.
14-legged groove machine Los Campesinos! are shaping up to be one of the year's most exciting new bands. Just don't call them twee.
From self-contained sound system to collaborators of choice for everyone from Mutya Buena to Kylie, Groove Armada have perfected the art of beat science.
In a packed and heaving Tripod, Drew shows us that sometimes artists are at their most interesting when grappling with turmoil.
A white man inducted into aboriginal culture, 29-year old Australian singer-songwriter Xavier Rudd eschews western-obsessed pop for more indigenous spirits.
Dizzee Rascal opens up about his teen hoodlum years and explains why fame has its perks.
What rescues Stanley Super 800 from their more outre instincts is frontman Stan O’Sullivan’s sterling pop chops.
Pete Doherty has just dropped one of the best indie rock records you’re likely to hear this year.
Rilo Kiley have been hailed as the new Fleetwood Mac, and not just for their exquisite soft-rock shimmer.
He’s the DIY pop genius who, in the space of a year, has gone from stacking the fruit shelves at Marks & Sparks to masterminding Kylie’s next record. Meet Calvin Harris the bedsit wunder-kind.
From the goodtime vibes of Hot Chip to the full-on sonic assault of Primal Scream, this year's Electric Picnic was even more fab than its predecessors.
Jacknife Lee shuffles into the spotlight with an album that sounds like a gloomy mash-up of the bands he’s helped transform into mainstream champs.
Super Furry Animals wax passionate about Nazi taxi drivers, nuclear power stations and obscure Celtic sports
Kala is an intoxicating junk-culture travelogue, a genre-humping mash-up of Bollywood rumbles, shrieking guitars and machine-gun rhymes.
In the late 90s, Travis made touchy-feely earnestness fashionable. Now they’re back to reclaim their sob-rock throne.
There’s no getting past the thick layer of grief that cakes Ash Wednesday. Far from plunging down a sinkhole of the soul, however, Perkins has struck a note of quiet defiance.
Sussex five piece Mumma-Ra, named after a character from an ‘80s TV show but otherwise earnest to the tips of their skinny denims, wax drippy in extremis.
The Pigeon Detectives deal in sweet, shimmering tempos: guitars jangle breathlessly, melodies swish and flutter.
The Pigeon Detectives deal in sweet, shimmering tempos: guitars jangle breathlessly, melodies swish and flutter.
Frontman Neil Finn is reluctant to engage in the arena-pleasing jinks with which Crowded House made their reputation – anyone hoping for another ‘Don’t Dream It’s Over’ is going to find Time On Earth a disappointment.
In places An End Has A Start is bleakly compelling; nevertheless, great swathes of the record strain towards a pasty arena-rock future.
The founding father of funk, George Clinton’s influence still informs virtually every hip-hop act on the planet.
Playing Live at the Marquee on Thursday 28 June: Having caused something of a sensation on the back of their smash hit single ‘Everytime We Touch’, the German-based Cascada are now bringing their infectious brand of dance-pop to Cork.
Icky Thump fizzes with ideas. Nevertheless, you wonder whether The White Stripes are trying too hard to prod a simple formula – guitar, drums, inscrutable irony – into a new direction.
Akron singer-songwriter Tim Easton has just settled in Alaska, a place where people “go mad or die”. Thankfully, he’s still alive and sane enough to tell the tale.
Fields may be equal parts Icelandic and UK indie, but make no mistake, they like to play loud.
Employing naked female man-slashers in their videos, hanging out with Lee Renaldo, Alex Kapranos and Rosanna Arquette – there's never a dull moment with The Cribs.
Soul sister Candie Payne may have Wayne Rooney’s accent but her music is pure Motown.
UK indie veteran Pop Levi explains how his music comes to him from other, extra-terrestrial dimensions.
Brit-rock heroes Maximo Park are back with a new album – and without the novelty hair-cuts. Here they talk about death metal, hip-hop and missing notebooks.
Send Away The Tigers is the sound of a group straining, and failing, to recapture glories long vanished. Time, chaps, to move on.
Rob Hawkins on why The Automatic just can’t seem to avoid fisticuffs...even with their own fans.
A universe removed from the campfire boilerplate of 2005’s Howl, Baby 81 sees Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (reunited with drummer Nick Jaggo) rediscovering their sub-Mary Chain fuzzbox growl.
They want to be the next Oasis and The Twang are certainly as lippy as the Gallaghers. Their aspirational indie-rock’s not bad either.
Taking the best – or at least, the most over-the-top – pieces of KLF, Slayer and Radiohead, Enter Shakarai are the hottest thing on eight legs at the moment.
They may be from the Isle of Wight but a little bit of The Bees’ hearts will always belong to Brazil.
They’ve got a killer dress-sense but there’s more to Mr. Hudson And The Library than spiffing threads. For one thing, they’re surely one of the first hip-hop acts fronted by an Oxford graduate.
Returning from a seven-year hiatus, the former Everything But The Girl frontwoman Tracey Thorn shows she’s lost none of her astuteness.
Languidly blending moods and textures, Everything Last Winter feels like a fantastic comedown record disguised as a witch-rock wig-out.
From indie shy-boys to multi-platinum chart toppers, it’s certainly been a long, strange journey for The Shins. By now, we all know that Natalie Portman played a part in their success – but what’s Elliot Smith go to do with it?
As the gobbiest man in rock Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell’s reputation proceeds him. So what’s with the nice guy act?
Raised in the American bible-belt, The Fray have traded Christian pop for Keane-style piano anthems. And yes, you can tell the difference.
Only the second unsigned band to sell-out the London Astoria (The Darkness were the first), this St. Albans foursome have variously been tagged as synth-wielding emo kids, New Rave of New Rave late-comers and indie boys on a hardcore trip.
Kicking off in a rush of rudimentary riffs and cracked vocals, The Weirdness suggests all of your fears have come true: rock’s angriest mob have turned into toothless old sleazes, and it seems they’re the only ones not to realise it.
They’re heavy, they’re mad but don’t mistake My Alamo for just another emo band.
They may use a tap dancer in place of a drummer but Conor Oberst faves Tilly And The Wall are no novelty group.
Stepping – okay, perhaps “ tripping” is a better word – into Pop Levi’s phantasmagorically unhinged universe is, by turns, a thrilling and disorienting experience.
Field Music’s second album sees the Sunderland three-piece delving deeper into intricate pysch-pop arrangements and bucolic atmospherics.
The Fratellis‘ John Lawler may have renounced rucking with The Horrors, but he’s not above impersonating Alex Kapranos.
Why is this band not dripping in hype? Never mind all those Libertines clones vying for your ear – IV Thieves are IV real.
Psapp are a London duo who toot on children’s toys and bang out rhythms on plastic fish. This sounds toxically cute and very nearly is.
Klaxons have got glowstick-waving fans, yes, but really, there’s so much more to this band than retro-beats, explains frontman Jamie Reynolds. For instance, have you heard the one about his spiritual healer grandfather.
Bloc Party's A Weekend In The City is both less oblique and more understated; initially the album proves harder work than its predecessor – at the same time it's more open about what it has to say.
Klaxons aren’t a novelty group and, no you don’t have to hate them. They aren’t very ‘rave’ – old or new – either.
Her record label thought it had signed the new Norah Jones. But Dublin teen chanteuse Laura Izibor is every inch her own woman.
Raised in India and hailed as an heir to Tori Amos, singer-songwriter Nerina Pallot is set to break big in 2007. Just don’t ask her about her appearance on kids’ television.
With Pete Doherty, Mani, Noel Gallagher and Alex Kapranos in their fan club, and a debut album that makes the Arctic Monkeys sound like jaded old has-beens, The View have ’07 by the short and curlies. Just don’t let them stay in your hotel.
Forget all the chatter about solo albums and injuries sustained on the road: Snow Patrol are revelling in the end of a triumphant year, one which saw Eyes Open become the biggest selling album in the UK in '06, as well as making serious inroads Stateside.
Annual article: It’s the C.I.A. wot done it, says Dominic Howard, as he explains why his Muse bandmates and him reckon that 9/11 was a put-up job.
We Are Scientists’ 2005 debut, With Love And Squalor, traded in fun if derivative indie-pop: there were snatches of Bloc Party’s avant-rock and lashings of The Killers’ new wave bombast.
Guess who’s back? Retirement, it appears, does not agree with Jay-Z, who declared he was hanging up his mic at the end of 2003’s The Black Album...
They’ve recorded with Broken Social Scene and once shared a flat with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. Now Toronto avant-rockers Metric are set to make a splash of their own.
The Polyphonic Spree may have fallen off the map but Swedish 29-piece indie-gospel ensemble I’m From Barcelona are here to fill the football-team shaped void left behind.
Ed Power reports on how Irish supergroup The Cake Sale are chouxing it for the kids.
In the flesh, CSS really plunge off the deep end, cranking out Godzilla riffs and machine-gun rhythms.
They might be godawful at applying make-up, but British buzz band The Horrors have a winning way with a three-minute pop tune.
For indie boys of a certain age, Tanya Donelly’s absence has been a cause to mourn. The Pixies may have written the A-Z yet in the early ‘90s nobody exemplified the bubble-gum indie aesthetic quite so hauntingly and thrillingly as Donelly’s band, Belly.
Fashion mags have been drooling over Sheffield’s Long Blondes for months now – a pavlovian reaction, one guesses, to frontwoman Kate Jackson’s knack for looking quite dapper in a vintage neck cravat.
Having started out busking on the rainy streets of Dublin, 747s have lately struck up a friendship with Arctic Monkeys and nearly triggered an international terrorist scare.
Messiah J and The Expert aim to put Dublin hip-hop on the map. To do so, they must tackle several deep-set prejudices – such as the belief that Irish people can’t rap.
Rollerskate Skinny frontman Ken Griffin is back with an ace new band, Favourite Sons. And, would you believe it, they’re the toast of New York’s rock scene. Even Jack White’s a convert.
A remarkably confident and infectiously upbeat indie salvo, A Public Display Of Affection throws many familiar shapes but wins the listener over through its sheer, unyielding exuberance.
Robbie Williams' seventh album is everything a pop record should not be.
Despite having Kevin Shields stolen away from them by Gemma Hayes, Primal Scream are in the best shape of their careers. So says Bobby Gillespie in a no punches pulled interview.
They love Afros, hate spandex and have a sneaking regard for The Police. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, please welcome Boss Volenti.
Doomed romantics are not in short supply at the moment, but even in a field as crowded as this, The Veils stand aloof and apart.
Their debut Hot Fuss sold over 4 million copies and in the process set The Killers up as one of the brightest young hopes of the modern era. On the eve of the release of their second album Sam’s Town, the band look like settling for nothing less than U2-sized supremacy. Now, if only Brandon Flowers would shave off that, ahem, controversial face fuzz.
No, not that LeToya. Far from being a Jackson scion, LeToya Luckett is a survivor of another dysfunctional family, having been an original member of Destiny’s Child.
When punk-funk art rockers The Rapture emerged a couple of years ago, they failed to translate tragic hipness into big sales. Road psychosis aggravated the problem, but they weathered in-fighting to ditch the DFA production and strike out on their own.
The Black Keys, two gawky indie archetypes from rust belt Ohio, have been investigating gutbucket blues to mostly memorable effect for the best part of five years now.
Are you ready to rawk? We should hope so, because Australian metal-heads Wolfmother have produced one of the albums of the year.
With the anthem ‘Welcome To Jamrock’, Damien Marley has proved himself a worthy inheritor of his father’s musical and political legacy.
Ahead of their much anticipated Electric Picnic spot, Bloc Party talk about going mad in Westmeath and explain why it’s time for a post-punk concept record.
You know her as the songstress from Stars and Broken Social Scene. Doing her own thing AMY MILLAN reveals herself to be, of all things, a country chanteuse, her heart heavy with woe.
Glam legends, electro pop pioneers, seminal new wave icons... those strange Sparks brothers are very much alive and kicking.
US/Indonesian trio Semifinalists met in London film school to forge a new sound out of weird Americana.
Don’t be fooled by the dreadlocks and crusty chic. Piano man Duke Special could be one of the breakthrough Irish talents of the year.
On their second record, the Montreal quintet have chosen to go widescreen, abandoning their previous tendency towards bed-sit mopery. The broader canvas suits, though don’t expect to find any of The Dears celebrating the fact.
Tapping the spirit of the shoegaze era Giant Drag have released one of the year’s most beguiling debuts. And in frontman Annie Hardy they have a rock icon in the making.
Razorlight are one of the best bands in the world, or so reckons their dapper frontman Johnny Borrell. In an exclusive interview, he talks about heroin addiction, his troubled friendship with Pete Doherty and explains why Arctic Monkeys are also-rans.
Recorded during the Manics’ two year hiatus (they’re due to reconvene in early 2007), the album sees Dean Bradfield dealing in familiar tropes. He’s still belting out those yearning choruses, still straining for breathless high notes slightly beyond his workman’s grunt.
Nordic trio Peter Bjorn and John have released one of the year’s pop classics. So why the long faces?
While to some the demise of Top Of The Pops is a mercy-killing, the relationship between music and television remains as awkward as ever.
A case of food poisoning in the Keane camp was Welsh band The Automatic's golden ticket to a Jools Holland performance. Next stop, a UK top five hit in the form of ‘Monster’.
Ditzy and epic in the same heart-beat, Brighton's The Pipettes lay their debt to the girl groups of the '60s on the table and dare you to smirk.
They’ve sold millions of records but don’t expect to find Beautiful South frontman Paul Heaton breaking out in a grin. Unless England have been stuffed at football.
It'll take more than a clapped-out tour bus to stop The Answer emulating their heroes. Ed Power hears how the Downpatrick rockers' burgeoning fan club already includes Jimmy Page and Philomena Lynott.
Sometime in the past 12 months Razorlight’s Johnny Borrell took a long, unflinching look at himself in a mirror and saw Pete Doherty staring back. From such moments of clarity are great pop makeovers forged. No longer content to hawk pretty-boy Oasis pastiches, the sulky-looking Muswell Hill-ian, who embodies Razorlight even if he doesn’t write all of the music, has junked the bad-boy patois and cultivated his inner Bacharach.
Yes, the incessant downpour ensured that Punchestown Racecourse often looked more like the set of a World War 1 epic than a music festival, but the rain couldn't dampen the 80,000-strong Oxegen crowd's spirits, not to mention the fiery performances delivered by Arctic Monkeys, Franz, The Who, the Chili Peppers and a cast of, well, hundreds.
Hurricane Katrina may have broken Mississippi native and country-pop starlet LeAnn Rimes' heart, but she has no interest in preachifying politics.
Following the implosion of Suede, drummer Simon Gilbert quit the rock'n'roll business and moved to Thailand, only to hook up with a pair of fellow ex-pats, making big music under the Futon banner.
Niall Breslin of Mullingar ska-rock mongrels The Blizzards is that rare thing, a strapping ex-rugby-playing Irish indie poster boy.
A trip to the World Cup brings a few surprises and some wonderful football.
Jewel has a sweet way with melody but, lyrically, is in hock to the drabbest of folk clichés.
Letting her inner ghetto princess off the leash, Furtado has crafted the first great mainstream pop record the year.
In frontman Richard Archer , Hard-Fi possess a wry, self-aware lyricist, with a gift for poetic bluntness. Musically, however, they remain some way short of virtuoso status – melodies plod when they might soar; their debt to reggae-flavoured post-punk can tip into pastiche.
Handsome Family albums – Last Days Of Wonder is their seventh – possess a mournful consistency but that, perhaps, is to their disadvantage.
Phone calls from Kate Bush, scraps with football mascots - it's been a rollicking year for new wave brats The Futureheads
Matisyahu is a rapper with a difference. As a Hassidic Jew he lives a strictly orthodox lifestyle. Whatever you do, don’t describe his music as ‘heeb-hop’.
My Chemical Romance are one of the hottest tickets in US rock. But is frontman Gerard Way really a Kurt Cobain for the 21st century?
Stepping out with Katie Melua has provided ample inspiration for Kooks frontman Luke Pritchard, who isn’t above sending himself up in song or indeed chronicling embarrassments in the bedroom. words Ed Power
With their affirmative vibes and sprawling line-up, indie heroes Broken Social Scene are a sight to behold. But keeping this 40-legged rock machine on the road isn't always exactly a romp in the playground, confesses fromtman keving Drew.
A week since the release of their second album, Dresden Dolls' Irish debut draws a capacity crowd.
Being lazy, one might dismiss Baltimore’s Spank Rock as a sweltering East Coast riff on Dizee Rascal. Squelchy beats, blink-and-they’re-over samples and front-man Naeem Juwan’s frenetic delivery mark this out as hip hop unabashedly of the left-field. Then the chorus, a looping girly-girl chant that burbles like a waterfall kicks in and you forget these guys are pure hipster bait. Marvelous, despite itself.
Fairuza have cheekbones, pouts, and occasionally, a memorable tune. Given to wild self-praise, they are a band with the capacity of vex and thrill in equal doses. This, though, is marvelous – an absurd, flamboyant chunk of neo-glam, with grinding riffs and a chorus worth spilling virgin blood for.
Having taken electro pop nihilism some distance past its logical conclusion on their unnecessary Evil Heat album – a bored rehashing of the landmark XTMR, with less tunes and more vowels. – the Scream throw a swerve ball with ‘Country Girl’, a lazy slice of Stone-derived country pop. It’s a tune with the air of something cobbled together from a garage sale yet, all the same, scrubs up a treat. You could bring it home to your mum.
Dublin band most likely Delorentos whet appetites with this thrilling taster for their debut album. ‘The Rules’ posits a sweetly naive collision of swaggering riffs and almost but not quite emo choruses. Too much hype may already have dulled their appeal – it’s ominous when you’re sick of a band not yet on their first record. For now, though, Delorentos are bright young things to watch.
Hot Chip are marvelous and I don’t care what you think. The world suffers a disgraceful shortage of indie-rock bands who wish they were techno heroes (Soul Wax...erm...) and Hot Chip are a welcome addition. One itsy-bitsy criticism – the song suffers a threadbare chorus. Window-lick beats and a yammering melody mean we’re prepared to forgive a lot, however.
She’s a sweet gal – and no, she won’t mind us describing her as such – with a voice that could raise blisters on a corpse. Still, the Rilo Kiley singer’s solo foray into bruised country-rock is several emotional scars short of convincing. You need to have lived through real pain to get away with this material. Lewis’ travails are, one suspects, strictly of the first world ‘mocha or latte grand? – being top of the Starbucks queue is SUCH a dilemma’ blend.
Are you, like me, just not digging Delaware’s The Spinto Band? Why such a fuss over five petrol pump attendant-types peddling Pavement/ Yo La Tengo indie-folk, only with all of the interesting loser conflict leached out. Also, singer Nick Krill’s whine achieves what we’d all considered impossible – it’s more irritating than the bloke from Clap Your Hands Say Yeah.
Oh, how we adore Phoenix, high-priests of Parisian easy listening and a band that recognizes the difference between louche and sleazy. Word was that, after the comparative failure of their last record, the newie would cleave to a conventional indie aesthetic. Well, the guitars are a little bit more fizzly. In all other respects: as classy as high tea at served on a silver tray.
Second let-down in a row from a London band who are genius at sound-bytes – they twigged the Fleetwood Mac revival six months before there rest of us and may just eke a career out of it. With its dreamy melody and furtive chorus – which sounds like a verse that’s been left out in the rain – ‘Fill My Little World’ tells a story of good intentions unfulfilled.
Another Antipodeon rock band attempting to simultaneously reference the soul of AC/DC, Led Zeppelin and the blues-era musicians those artists were cribbing from in the first place. It rocks, of course, but torn between the impulse to descend into post-prog psychedelia and straightforward meathead metal, Wolfmother are the sound of compromise, albeit compromise writ in large capitals with a string of exclamation points at the end.
Apparently Coxon’s latest LP, Love Travels At Illegal Speeds was a leap forward in so far as it contained songs that you can hum. Sheesh – what a sell out. Oh, and the thick-rimmed specs – isn’t it time Graham got over the late ‘90s dork chic thing? Nice chorus, though.
She’s New Zealand’s biggest musical star. For her new album, Bic Runga retreats from sunny pop songs in favour of an introspective sound inspired by the death of her father.
Playing a rare Irish show (the first since their ‘Erase/Rewind’ era pomp) the Malmo outfit had the air of arriving superstars – a necessary deception fans were happy to play along with.
Calexico’s Joey Burns might be one tired and emotional puppy, but promo fatigue hasn’t dampened his ire.
Self-confessed musos and manic Hall & Oates devotees, The Feeling might be the most exciting band you’ve heard all year. Just don’t call them a ‘guilty pleasure’.
The Charlatans throw a curve ball on their ninth record, which sees the former baggy heroes go reggae. Frontman Tim Burgess talks revealingly about the record’s difficult gestation.
Give praise for obnoxious guitars. Without them, Semifinalists' wistful, precious debut might be too much to take. As it is, a patina of unruly powerchords and blowsy bass riffs saves the day for the London-based American/Indonesian three-piece.
Kaiser Chiefs and Hard-Fi may have sold more records, but they’re mere also-rans in the tabloid fame game compared to Sam Preston. Ed Power finds out how the Ordinary Boys frontman is coping with life post-Big Brother.
For ‘With Strings’ (a tour captured truthfully, more or less, on the 20-track sprawl of Live At Town Hall) Everett appeared bent on contradiction, at once stripping down and expanding Eels’ sound.
His dreamy electro-pop is winning Ulrich Schnauss an international fanbase. In his native Germany however, they’re still not convinced. Maybe it’s something to do with all those guitars.
Hearts And Unicorns opens as it means to continue, with a dreamy blast of feedback and blizzard drifts of melody. There are cooed vocals and weird dissonant surges – think ‘90s college rock pin-up Tanya Donnelley warbling over a My Bloody Valentine fade-out.
Traffickers in happy/sad alt.pop, Guillemots are one of the year’s hottest contenders. But don’t believe all that nonsense about them performing with vacuum cleaners.
Watching so many acts in sequence, the audience may have discerned a hierarchy. Those on the cusp of mainstream success played with a cocky disregard for the actual event.
Like the album that immediately preceded it, Ringleader Of The Tormentors is a record of extremes. Extreme bitterness, extreme joy. Above all, extreme guitars – they chug and howl, burying the Moz whine beneath vast drifts of fretwork.
His tearful acoustic ballads have become a phenomenon. In a forthright interview José González discusses his terror of writing lyrics and meeting Craig David and tells of his parents’ flight from oppression.
According to my iPod, Rodrigo Y Gabriela is to be filed under ‘world music’: in fact it seems explicitly to defy such pat stereotyping.
Russian born, New York reared, Regina Spektor writes songs that seem to inhabit their own dark little world. No wonder she’s been compared to both Tori Amos and the anti-folk movement.
A problem is that, as Belle And Sebastian, begin a two night, sold-out run at The Ambassador, the album has not yet been released. A clutch of journalists and downloaders aside, not many are in on the secret.
Drive By Truckers can lay claim an unfortunate honour – they were the last band to play the French Quarter before Hurricane Katrina transplanted half of Lake Pontchartrain onto downtown New Orleans. This, their fifth album, was actually recorded before the disaster. Yet its muted, regretful air feels like an appropriate elegy for a ravaged metropolis.
The industrial indie-rock of New York’s Liars isn’t pretty, but it’s always honest.
Steafan Hanvey’s debut is a rare delight, a singer-songwriter record which eschews introspection and deals in sparkling, dare one say it, feel-good, melodies.
Drifting somewhere between the mosh-pit and the avant-garde Mogwai are back to their apocalyptic finest.
They’ve turned their back on breezy pop production and embraced a soulful, indie groove. Belle And Sebastian talk about the making of what might just be their finest record to date.
Toronto supergroup Broken Social Scene have been christened this year’s Arcade Fire. No wonder they look so worried.
Thanks to internet fueled word-of-mouth, Brooklyn’s Clap Your Hands Say Yeah are indie-rock’s latest sensation. But they’d much rather you compared them to Hall & Oates.
The confessional coffee-house rock of Martha Wainwright doesn’t pull any emotional punches.
Steeped in Latin mystery, José González’s tender ballads are set to make him the year’s biggest cross-over success.
What happens when post-rock becomes merely post? This is a dilemma confronting Mogwai, once frontiersmen of sonic extremity, now your third favourite band from the ‘90s.
Rilo Kiley’s Jenny Lewis has released her first solo record, a plaintive country pop epic that might just be her ticket to the mainstream.
Eyebrowy cast a mocking glance at the Irish rock scene. But their ambitions go further than local lampoonery.
Never mind the silly name, Test Icicles are set to be one of 2006’s most exciting new bands.
A dark, dank melancholy drifts over Broken Social Scene, the latest in an unfortunate series of Canadian bands lumbered with the ‘new Arcade Fire’ tag. In truth, the Toronto group traffic in sounds far stranger and more otherworldly than that of their Montreal compatriots.
Annual article: Cork asserted its innate supremacy in hurling, soccer, camogie, ladies’ football, and no doubt darts, dominoes and tiddlywinks.
Her political lyrics and aggressive rapping have made Ms Dynamite a singular presence in hip-hop. In an exclusive interview, she talks about her troubled family background and explains why she took three years out to have a baby.
Her sassy moves and plaintive songs have poised Laura Izibor for the big time.
Eurythmics have reformed for a once-off single. To mark the event, Dave Stewart discusses life, love and the harmonious power of pop music.
Carlos Santana is not afraid to share the spotlight. On his 38th album, the Latino virtuoso adopts a revolving door policy, roping in collaborators as though in mortal terror of being left alone. What results sounds like a sprawling salsa jam, frantic yet fatally devoid of a unifying mood or style.
A the Zutons prepare another visit to these shores, saxophonist Abi Harding talks to Ed Power about their hugely successful debut album, the not very difficult follow up and how she can spot a creep at a distance.
Forget Liam and Nicole and Pete and Kate, the hottest rock 'n' roll couple in town at the moment are The Subways' Charlotte Cooper and Billy Lunn. The female half of the duo tells Ed Power about the highs and lows of making beautiful music together.
Jarring, discordant, awash with uncomfortable blasts of tuneless guitar, For Screening Purposes Only follows in the tradition of great unlistenable records such as Big Black’s first LP and Throbbing Gristle’s early work.
Bacharach’s pop instincts clearly tug in both directions at once. This conflict is at the heart of At This Time, an extravagant, confused solo LP which cannot seem to decide whether it wishes to fetch up in a hipster coffee shop or in the background as your bank puts your call on hold.
Ms Dynamite may have found common cause with the international pop Mafiosi, but this is an LP rooted in specifics, the grime and grey of London’s inner-city.
The presence of Madonna feels almost incidental, as Price deals in back-beats and a pounding glib electro-clash. What comes out the other end, sparkling yet full of post-modern grit, is a Madonna song for people who don’t like – or even are actively hostile towards – Madonna.
The Dandies seem to feel both affection and disdain for their audience, a rag-bag of every-blokes and office girls.
Sick of being tarred with the art-school brush, Deus have released a no-fuss rock album. It may just be the best record of their career.
This sounds absurd and, in practice, proves nearly unlistenable. As Sarantos dribbles and coos, guitarist Matthew Friedberger drops discordant non-song fragments and sister Maria sings in a semi-coherent whisper.
Sweepingly angsty, Playing The Angel is the cyber-schlock masterpiece Martin Gore, DM-songwriter-in chief, has always threatened.
An elaborate, generous songwriter, Stevens proves unexpectedly fuss-free as a live performer.
If you know where to look, the internet is a strange place indeed.
How Claire Sproule's debut LP had its roots in a traumatic break-up.
Torquil Campbell, singer with Canadian indie achievers Stars, is a thoroughly nice guy – when he’s not plotting to put photographs of his naked, crucified, Spiddal-born wife on his album covers.
From balmy folk revivalist to angst-rock totem, there are many Neil Youngs. Sometimes, you wish there was only one: the feckless, snarling fallen angel of On The Beach and Rust Never Sleeps.
It’s a long time since they graced the stadium circuit, but Simple Minds are still thinking big. Jim Kerr takes time out from sunning himself in Sicily to tell Ed Power their plans.
Takk, their major label debut, comes across almost as conventional. There are proper songs! With names, and lyrics – conveyed in Icelandic yet recognizably of this universe. Have Sigur Ros gone normal on us?
Raised in the Bible belt, Kings Of Leon have fallen in love with the devil’s music. In an exclusive interview, they explain why rock ‘n roll is just like preaching and reveal what’s in store on their next album.
The wistful chamber pop of Mick Harvey is charming and, at times, very lovely.
They may have started out as avant garde indie noisemongers, but The Flaming Lips have matured into one of the greatest and most musical bands on Planet Earth. Plus, they do an utterly magnificent live show!
The damaged licks and feedback-fattened melodies of LA’s Black Rebel Motorcycle Club have always suggested a karaoke riff on your favourite avant-pop outsiders.
Sharp suits, a global fan base, his own luxury recording studio - David Gray has certainly come a long way. On the eve of the release of his latest album, he talks about the dark side of success and explains why he wants to leave the singer-songwriter tag behind
Stereo MCs 1993 breakout album, Connected, was the record that suggested indie and hip-hop could enjoy a beautiful friendship together. Since then, they, and the rest of the world, have struggled to find anything else to say on the topic.
Fans of Alfie, a waifish Manchester four-piece, like to fete the band for their ‘dependability’. This is a polite way of saying you adore something because it isn’t completely dreadful.
Alison Goldfrapp talks about going glam, troubled times with Tricky and the joys of rocking out.
Supergrass are survivors and don’t we just hate them for it? This has nothing to do with their music, a blokey psychedelia informed by a flair for everyman pop, and everything to do with cosmic justice.
Covers albums have traditionally ranked among pop’s most pointless pursuits. Frequently, they are flippant and lacklustre, offered up in fulfillment of contractual obligation or as a reminder to wavering fans that a band still exists.
Some performers wish you to know they can sing like angels and howl like banshees. In fact, so proud are they of their foundation-shaking vocals, they hesitate to allow anything as trivial as a song get in the way.
The twisted dance-punk of Hard-Fi is inspired by the angst of suburbia. But that hasn’t stopped them reaching for the stars – or breaking into an airport.
Middle age can cause strange wheels to rotate in the rock star’s mind.
Extreme heat can provoke strange reactions. People lose the ability to fret over pointless dilemmas. Such as: do I watch New Order or the Super Furry Animals? Or, when are Audioslave on and is there time to visit the loo first?
Weezer frontman Rivers Cuomo is one of rock’s great eccentrics. In an exclusive interview he talks about meditation, chastity and why ego is the enemy of art.
What is it about this mob that fails to persuade? Their steel peddle revivalism comes on like pastiche, yet it’s subtle, tender pastiche, delivered with intelligence and reverence. There are hints of Beck, glimpses of vintage Nick Cave and tremors too of music that is older, sadder, wiser.
With attitude and classy songs to burn, David Jones and his Departure bandmates are poised to become the new Kings of Skinny White Boy Pop.
In 2005, what is the point of REM? At times even they seem to be grasping for an answer. For nearly a decade now, the music of Stipe, Buck and Mills has told a story of wavering attention spans. Over that period, fans have cheered rousing, reflective echoes of previous glories – ‘Leaving New York’ might be their best stab at an unapologetic anthem since the mid 1990s – yet endured reams of disinterested dross also.
Most bands ache for the mainstream but Cane 141 crave something murkier: the adoration of the underground. Steeped in glitches, swaddled in concise bursts of digital weirdness, the third album from the Galway avant-pop three piece politely pleas for the love of an outsider.
The forensic pop-visions of Brian Eno frequently feel dredged from places alien to human emotion. How, his music seems to ask, can the vapid and random flutterings of the heart compare with technology’s unblinking perfection? For such reasons, Eno’s first album of five years, strikes a curiously retrograde note.
The music of Bodyrockers, a DJ/producer collaboration that wants to see your panty line, is creepy and shudder-inducing. One is put in mind of sweaty, sleazy nightclubs where the air is taut with soured lust and simmering aggression.
The comeback trail has, in its time, thrown up some far-fetched candidates. The highly inconvenient fact of John Lennon’s death didn’t prevent him appearing on a new Beatles single; Thin Lizzy’s busy touring schedule suggests they have long overcome the speed-bump of Phil Lynott’s passing. Few rebirths, though, have been as unlikely as that of The La’s, a Liverpool band undone by the tortured brilliance of its leader, Lee Mavers.
Back to his wonderful, eclectic self on new album Guero, Beck talks to Ed Power about the many sonic detours that have marked his career.
Having picked up an unjust reputation as slow-coaches, New York's Joy Zipper tell Ed Power about their rush to bang out the new record.
Ghostly, synthetic and smeared, possibly, in charcoal eye-liner, Billy Corgan’s first solo record throws a bleakly affectionate glance towards the ‘80s and the decade’s parade of sombre new-wave groups.
The suspicion that The White Stripes are a conceptual prank masquerading as a rock group intensifies with each outing. For their fifth dispatch, Jack and Meg contort their beaten up, gut-bucket blues into wrenching, subversive shapes. A feral heckle as much as a pop record, it flaunts its weirdness gleefully and capriciously.
Self-contained, intelligent, and far from the pouting princess of her stage persona, Natalie Imbruglia in person is a cool customer. The singer here discusses Kylie’s recent illness, her hit album Counting Down The Days, being the face of L’Oreal and forthcoming movie projects. “I couldn’t just do the one thing. I’d get bored,” she tells Ed Power.
Personal catastrophe invites two possible responses – surrender or quiet, dignified resistance. Eels, the American indie-pop band who flaunt their private traumas like couture fashion, have stumbled upon a third way. They’ve learned to laugh at the grisly comedy that is life. Not that you’d know it from their records, which are awash with avant-garde moroseness. Their most celebrated, 1998’s Electro Shock Blues, recalled the protracted death from cancer of the mother of singer and group leader, Mark Everett.
In Istanbul as a "curious neutral observer" of the Champions League Final, Ed Power was unimpressed by the Irish contingent’s putatively genuine support for Rafael Benitez’s Liverpool side.
Paul Wilkinson of widely touted Coleraine duo, The Amazing Pilots, on the making of the group’s Dave Odlum-produced debut album, Hello My Captor, joining artists like Jarvis Cocker and Evan Dando in paying tribute to Lee Hazlewood, and surviving a visit to the real-life Twin Peaks.
With The Coral’s third album, The Invisible Invasion, set to seal their reputation as one of Britain’s foremost indie bands, guitarist Billy Ryder-Jones here discusses their desire to make a classic album, collaborating with Portishead’s Geoff Barrow, and why their reputation as Liverpool chavs is entirely ill-deserved. “We’ve never nicked anyone’s stereo,” he explains.
Gorillaz are, in many ways, the pub conversation that went too far. On the back of a beer-mat, it’s certainly a perky conceit: a comic-strip band whose songs muddle genres with cartoonish chutzpah. In execution however, Damon Albarn’s pet endeavour has too often tended towards debilitating smugness. Toxically pleased with itself, Gorillaz’s self-titled 2001 debut felt like an open-top tour of Albarn’s ego.
Sometimes it feels as though Ireland is suffering an overdose of bed-sit earnestness. For a generation of songwriters, elegant mooching has acquired the character of a national pastime. Amidst the apparently bottomless onslaught of weepy self-consciousness, Paddy Casey cuts a solitary figure. Although no less gushing than his peers, the Dublin singer boasts songwriting chops to match.
Juliette Lewis always seemed too visceral, too wantonly scuzz, for Hollywood. Troubled stars are no novelty but Lewis paraded her confusion like a gunshot wound. Her perma-sneer and ragged complexion glowered in defiance of the dream factory. Frantic and feral , she stank up the screen like a noxious perfume. Understandably, it’s been a while since she was asked to front a rom-com. In the hiatus, Lewis has plumped for a career in guttural punk-pop. The question posed by You’re Speaking My Language, her frantic and debauched full length debut, is this: does she really mean it?
The musician crippled by pathological introversion is a familiar trope of indie-pop, a hackneyed pose long since drained of artistic potential. Yet the Amazing Pilots, a Coleraine act built around the songwriting partnership of brothers Paul and Phil Wilkinson, eke fresh possibilities from the stereotype of tortured shyness.
Not content with corrupting the youth of America with his music, the God of Fuck has diversified into painting, acting and writing. Plus: the singer’s encounters with literary outlaws JT Leroy and Hunter S. Thompson.
The latest wave of right-wing attacks on US musicians is likely to have a knock-on effect here, with the words and actions of our own artists coming under increased scrutiny. In a special hotpress report, Ed Power enlists the help of Marilyn Manson and a number of major Irish players to pick his way through the censorship minefield.
Exclusive: The new Coldplay album, X & Y, is set to finally hit the stores next month, and Hot Press has been granted a special sneak preview. Ed Power here gives a track-by-track guide to one of the most anticipated albums of the year.
Having departed from Suede in acrimonious circumstances a decade ago, Bernard Butler is now back working with his artistic soul mate, Brett Anderson, this time in The Tears. And as Anderson tells Ed Power, the duo feel their best work is still ahead of them.
Ed Power meets the team behind Monged, an edgy and exciting new play which explores the seamier side of contemporary Dublin.
There is a tendency to regard Bill Callahan, the morose Kentucky songwriter who trades as Smog, as a sort of bargain-basement Will Oldham, a rural malingerer perched perpetually on the brink of an emotional fault-line. For all its starkness though, Callahan’s oeuvre is tinged with a cautious beauty. Beneath the artist’s pained snarl – he’s one of those live performers who seems in constant distress – one begins to detect the hint of a rueful grin. For his 12th record, Callahan retreats from the mannered melancholia of his recent albums. Here, the ominous tranquility of nature is Callahan’s obsession. Where most see a tranquil lake, Callahan senses the sinister undertow.
10,000 Things' songs have a brutalised air, as though they were bullied into existence. Fitful guitars prowl the mix in search of a melody or, failing that, a purpose, while front-man Sam Riley yelps in a manner that suggests he’s about to have his throat slashed. For such reasons, their self-titled debut feels less like a statement of intent than an obstacle course through the muck. Opener 'Self Destruct' is as tired and tattered as an old denim jacket; a putatively anthemic 'Titanium Boxer Shorts' suffers delusions of tunefulness.
Kicking off in a ferociously derivative swamp-rock squall, Exhibit A initially goes out of its way to confirm your misgivings. Couched in zinging guitars that evoke a backwoods ZZ Top and melodies which could have been cadged from a Nashville pawnshop, the record comes on like the work of efficient, but disengaged , forgers. Perhaps The Features, whose semi-prominence is owed to a Kings Of Leon support slot last year, feel obliged to return the favour through the only means at their disposal: by offering up a misshapen hillbilly-metal pastiche. The gambit seems cheap, as though the group considers such shtick beneath them. It gets better though.
Six months ago, Kaiser Chiefs were complete unknowns. Now, they’re making appearances on the Ant and Dec show, playing Letterman, being saluted by Damon Albarn and heralded as the spearheads of “the new Britpop” movement. The group here give the lowdown on what’s been a hectic 2005 to Ed Power.
What rescues ‘I Can Do Nice’ from the ranks of singer-songwriter orthodoxy is its beguiling melody, delivered with the fretful strokes of an acoustic guitar. The song has the delicateness of spun sulk, the weird beauty of candlelight in pitch darkness.
The Galway singer So claims Sonic Youth, Pink Floyd and Neil Young (“with or without Crazy Horse”) as inspiration, but the only discernible influence here is Dylan-esque folk-pop. On the EP’s lead track, ‘Just For You’, he evokes sweeping vistas but forgets to include a chorus.
The urban Tom Cruise sounds so in love with himself a dissing would seem appropriate if only for the sake of balance. ‘Switch’, it turns out, isn’t entirely hateful – the novelty of a rap single devoid of misogyny or words that rhyme with ‘glok’ incline one to forgive its hammy exuberance.
Laika’ seems a peculiar choice for single, being the track where Arcade Fire’s debt to Talking Heads is at its most blatantly obvious. Better is the b-side, ‘My Buddy’, a cover of 1940 big band number by Alvimo Rey, great grandfather of AC frontman Win Butler.
Where The Killers and Interpol play karaoke with Joy Division’s legacy, BSP pay closer attention: ‘It Ended On An Oily Stage’ is a funereal romp that would make marble weep. That’s a recommendation, by the way.
‘Walking With A Ghost’ pulls off the neat trick of sounding terrifyingly significant and gorgeously throwaway.
In Tom Vek’s corner the quest for a lost link between Franz Ferdinand and Beck (Feck, anyone?) leads up a cul-de-sac of throbbing white-funk.
There is an endearing and bittersweet ballad in here somewhere but Wallmark cleave too tightly to the tenets of singer-songwriter convention.
The ‘around and ‘around’ of the title refers presumably to the opening riff, which the Dublin quintet enjoy so much they hang onto it for the rest of the song. Elsewhere, we find a sweaty indie-bloke bellowing about the pain of being misunderstood while the remainder of the band try to figure out who forgot to bring the tune.
The all-girl punk trio Fair Verona flaunt their influences like chunks of gaudy jewelry. There are flashes of The Pixies, a glint of The Breeders, and a saucy wink in the direction of The Donnas. The formula has an overly familiar ring. However, Fair Verona, who are from Tipperary but dress like escapees from a Seattle charity shop circa 1989, work it with chutzpah.
Mullingar’s The Blizzards have struck upon an appealing FM-rock schtick, buoyed up by optimistic swirls of piano and a bouncy chorus that seems to clamber down from the stereo and deliver a great big slobber of a hug.
Blink’s return is an engaging tale of hard work and honesty triumphing over indifference but, close up, the story feels less compelling. For while ‘The Tiny Magic Indian’ touts engaging emo theatrics, its ambitions in the direction of skater-punk anthemia fail to convince.
Neil Young that is. Up and coming Dublin rockers Hal are earning serious kudos for their winning take on classic ’70s rock sounds. And despite dark murmurings of artistic plagiarism, they sure as hell aren’t about to apologise for it, as they tell Ed Power. Photography by Emily Quinn.
The sun-dappled territory between chill-out electronica and gentle acoustic rock is the destination of Halfset, three Dubliners who wish life meandered at a more elegiac pace. Opening with a languid banjo loop that sounds like a dragonfly negotiating a marijuana haze, Dramanalog, Halfset’s mannerly and agreeable debut, casts so slight a presence you sometimes forget it is there.
It is Tom Vek’s curse that his music evokes nostalgia for our favourite trailblazers. The ramshackle indie-blues he peddles reminds you of a younger, more daring Beck. Those funeral-bell rhythms and caffeinated vocals offer traces of Talking Heads and Franz Ferdinand. His penchant for the odd mouth organ solo, meanwhile, has seen him tagged as “the new Dylan”.
The flamboyant torch songs of Rufus Wainwright feel like jetsam from a dazzling alternative reality. In Wainwright’s rococo otherworld, Busby Berkeley and Tin Pan Alley cast a languorous and lingering shadow. Overwrought emotion is respected artistic currency. And the Golden Age of Hollywood – the era of high-camp and brash musicals – abides in perpetuity.
Hailing Annie Berge-Strand, a Norwegian former DJ and sometime Royksopp collaborator, as the saviour of sussed chart music is possibly an unfair prognosis. Yet halfway through Anniemal, her cheeky and eloquent debut, you almost start to believe it.
Guero (Spanish for ‘white boy’) represents then is an attempt to reconnect with the slacker who went away. Having downplayed the legacy of Odelay for nearly a decade, Beck has retrieved his baggy trousers and tie-dye accessories and gone back to work.
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