Bastille Cover Story - Rolling Stone

Bastille are attempting to fit onto a small black couch in a studio in east London. They’re struggling to get their faces into full view on the laptop screen and so squeeze up some more. Bass player Kyle Simmons perches on the left arm of the sofa next to frontman Dan Smith, who he asks to “budge up”. Drummer Chris “Woody” Wood sits snugly next to Dan and guitarist Will Farquarson bookends the quartet, all four squashed together and sinking awkwardly into the sofa until they find their balance…

The art of Radiohead’s Kid A and Amnesiac: ‘We were all in a state of wild madness’

“I don’t think anyone is prepared for fame and all the things that come with it,” says long-term Radiohead collaborator Stanley Donwood. The visual artist should know: he has created all their album covers to date and was there to witness how shell-shocked the group were following the success of their third album, 1997’s OK Computer. “Everyone thinks fame is great but it’s very weird. Psychologically, being famous put them into a really strange place.

Gregory Porter - The Saturday Interview

I said my whole life my father gave me nothing,” says jazz musician Gregory Porter, “but the very reason I fill the Royal Albert Hall, the very reason I do television shows and all this, is because of a gift from him.” That gift was his voice. A velvety blues-baritone, it melds optimism with grit, hinting at pain without ever letting it dominate. It’s been compared to Lou Rawls, Bill Withers and Teddy Pendergrass – but he got it from his dad.

Edgar Wright: ‘The idea of there being the good old days in any form is a fallacy’

“I still get anxiety at the start of every working day,” says Edgar Wright, now almost 27 years into his filmmaking career. Outwardly, the director of Hot Fuzz and Shaun of the Dead is confident – gregarious even, both on set and today on video call from a London hotel – but he is hardly immune to nerves. “I get asked by film students if I ever suffer from imposter syndrome,” he explains, “and I say, ‘Yes, every single day.’ I always walk onto set thinking that I’m going to be found out…”

Tori Amos: ‘I was on my knees emotionally. I could not deal with one more crisis’

On the cover of her new album Ocean to Ocean, Tori Amos stands atop a cliff in Cornwall, her adopted home since moving here from the US in the late Nineties. Her famous flame-red hair flows down a long black dress, the colour signifying both personal loss and the loss she’s felt from afar over the past year. She has one arm outstretched, pointing across the sea to where her family and friends are located. A year spent apart from them through the pandemic, she says, took a huge emotional toll…

Scott Pilgrim vs The World - The Vegan Police Scene

In a film full of gloriously surreal moments, //Scott Pilgrim Vs The World//’s vegan-police scene might well outdo all else. After an epic showdown with evil ex and professed vegan Todd Ingram (Brandon Routh), Scott (Michael Cera) tricks him into sipping a coffee with half-and-half; cue the bombastic arrival of the VPD (Thomas Jane and Clifton Collins Jr), bursting through a wall, wielding neon-green finger laser guns, and arresting Todd for infraction of vegan code 827. This is not how combat sequences are generally resolved in a Hollywood film.

Doc and roll: Why we’re living in the golden age of music documentaries

It has to be about much more than music,” Lana Wilson, director of Taylor Swift’s Miss Americana, says on what makes a successful documentary about a musician. “As I filmed and events unfolded, I realised people watching this film are not just seeing their favourite pop star; they’re not just seeing one of the best songwriters of all time in action. They’re seeing a model of how you can be a woman in this world and not be silenced.”

Album reviews: Lindsey Buckingham (self-titled) and Enrique Iglesias – Final Vol 1

It’s been a tumultuous few years for Lindsey Buckingham. After being fired from Fleetwood Mac in 2018, he had to undergo life-saving, open-heart surgery in 2019 and then the pandemic hit. Buckingham called it “a trifecta of events that were completely off the charts” – which is, perhaps, putting it mildly. Despite his troubles, Buckingham’s seventh studio album is far from a dour, downbeat affair. In fact, it’s quite the opposite...

Spice Girls: How Girl Power Changed Britain – a damning look at the music industry

In the first episode of Spice Girls: How Girl Power Changed Britain, we see father and son management team Bob and Chris Herbert holding auditions for “a girl version of Take That”. They have a rating system for the applicants, and Chris reads aloud the scorecard of one such hopeful: a 20-year-old Victoria Beckham. “Dancing – six; singing – five; looks – seven, not very good skin; personality – five.” It’s just one example of the patriarchal behaviour the group come up against…

Jennifer Hudson: ‘Playing Aretha Franklin was the scariest thing ever’

Jennifer Hudson was “blessed” to have been able to hang out a fair bit with Aretha Franklin before getting to play her in a film. She undertook the gargantuan task of embodying the late Queen of Soul for the upcoming biopic, Respect, but the fact that Franklin respected Hudson too went a long way. Franklin famously never allowed singers to open for her throughout her career. She was, however, particularly taken with Hudson after seeing her as a contestant on American Idol in 2004, so she made an exception...

Album reviews: Common – A Beautiful Revolution Pt 2

Veteran rapper Common breathes a sigh of relief after one of the darkest periods in America’s history. With a new president and galvanised communities post-Black Lives Matter protests, the artist-activist sounds buoyed, looking to the future with optimism. On several tracks, he raps about the power of community affecting change over upbeat funk, snatches of jazz and Afro-futurist themes. A soulful chorus from LA singer-songwriter PJ on “A Beautiful Chicago Kid” is an inspirational message of triumph, while...

ABBA announce album Voyage and release first new music in 40 years

Swedish pop icons Abba have announced their long-anticipated reunion today (September 2), after almost 40 years apart. Following the announcement this evening in London, the group – made up of Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad, Agnetha Fälskog and Björn Ulvaeus also unveiled two new singles: “I Still Have Faith In You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down". Both songs will appear on their forthcoming, 10-track album, Voyage. The album, which will be the group’s first studio album since “The Visitors"....

‘Let It Go’ was about pressure on women: Frozen’s songwriters on redefining Disney

On its 2013 release, Disney’s Frozen was a box office phenomenon. As well as earning more than $1.3bn (£95m) in cinemas and overtaking Toy Story 3 as the highest-grossing animated film of all time, it redefined what it meant to be a Disney princess, tearing up age-old gender stereotypes with the character of Elsa – a feminist icon for our times. The film also won two Oscars: Best Animated Feature and Best Song for “Let It Go” – Disney’s first top 10 chart hit since 1995...

ABBA’s Voyage announcement - everything that happened

ABBA have announced that they are releasing their first new music in 40 years, as well as the launch of a “revolutionary” concert next year. Following the announcement this evening in London, the group – made up of Benny Andersson, Anni-Frid (Frida) Lyngstad, Agnetha Fälskog and Björn Ulvaeus also unveiled two new singles: “I Still Have Faith With You” and “Don’t Shut Me Down”. Both songs will appear on their forthcoming, 10-track album, ‘Voyage’.

Graham Coxon interview: ‘I was drinking a lot because it knocked off the anxiety’

“I’m very different now to how I was then,” says Graham Coxon, singer-songwriter and guitarist in Blur, inhaling on his vape. He’s reflecting on the difficult Think Tank album sessions, which led to his departure from the band in 2001. “I should’ve been talking about what my difficulties were with myself, my anxiety, fitting in with the world, a lot earlier.” But he’s ready to speak up now? “Yes, well, I’ve been in therapy for well over a year nearly every day because of some recent events...

Album reviews: Maisie Peters – You Signed Up for This, and Chvrches – Screen Violence

The Scottish trio mark their 10th anniversary with Screen Violence: a gothic-tinged album exploring our difficult relationship with the screen – from video nasties to social media savagery on our phones. David Cronenberg’s 1983 sci-fi Videodrome is a thematic touchstone; as is Disintegration-era Cure. The Cure’s Robert Smith even makes an appearance on standout “How Not to Drown”, his voice a moody, quavering contrast to frontwoman Laura Mayberry’s soaring, sugary-pop vocals...

"The ending is special": what to expect from Nia DaCosta's terrifying 'Candyman' sequel

Released in the autumn of 1992, the original Candyman was an early favourite of one Jordan Peele, who was 13 when the film was released. The Get Out director was a huge horror fan, but up until Tony Todd’s casting as the titular bogeyman who appears after saying his name five times in the mirror, Peele had not seen a Black actor in a major horror role. “I was a horror fan as a kid, but we didn’t have a Black Freddy Krueger or a Black Jason Voorhees,” Peele said recently...

Big Red Machine – ‘How Long Do You Think It’s Gonna Last?’: Taylor Swift-assisted melancholy

Back in 2008, The National’s Aaron Dessner was assembling material for a charity compilation named ‘Dark Was The Night’. He sent the sketch of a song called ‘Big Red Machine’ to Bon Iver, aka Justin Vernon, who turned the track into what Dessner has called an emotional “beating heart”: a song where understanding our own emotions and those of others was central. The two formed a songwriting duo, and their second album...

Deafheaven – ‘Infinite Granite’ review: a heartfelt love letter to '90s shoegaze

Ever since their 2011 debut, San Francisco’s Deafheaven have alternated between two opposing musical selves: the heady dreaminess of shoegaze and the emotive torment of black metal. Few bands have successfully combined the two as skilfully as Deafheaven, yet fifth album ‘Infinite Granite’ represents an about-turn, the five-piece opting for a singular stylistic path. On this love letter to ’90s shoegaze, the black metal menace of their earlier work is replaced by lush soundscapes and dreamy psychedelia...
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