The UK’s best small music venues

The coronavirus crisis has left hundreds of grassroots music venues across the UK with uncertain futures. Struggling to pay rents and wages as lockdown continues, more than 556 venues are currently at risk of imminent and permanent closure. Last week, Music Venue Trust – a charity set up in 2014 to help protect the long-term futures of grassroots music venues in the UK – launched a new initiative to help collectively support those most in need via its #saveourvenues campaign...

Moses Sumney – 'grae' review

Moses Sumney has spent his life on the margins, living in the in-between spaces that defy simple categorisation. His groundbreaking debut, 2017’s ‘Aromanticism’, a genre-less album that blurred 1970s-inspired soul with alternative jazz, was well-received but saw the musician widely labelled as an R&B artist – much to his dismay. His parents are Ghanian and Sumney grew up in California (at various points he lived in Riverside and San Bernardino) and he’s often asked to describe his heritage in singular terms...

'White Lines': inside Netflix's drug-fuelled tribute to Ibiza

“As soon as I read the script, I just knew,” says actor Daniel Mays, remembering his first encounter with Netflix mystery-thriller White Lines. “I got to the scene with the banana, the cocaine and the dogs and that was it: I was sold.” In the eagerly-anticipated new show, which is already being hailed as the hit of the summer, Mays plays Marcus – a washed-up, 40-something DJ living in Ibiza who dabbles in drug-dealing to make ends meet...

Shaun of the Dead: Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg on their zombie classic

Simon Pegg was the first person I’d ever met who was as obsessed with George Romero’s Dawn of the Dead as I was. One evening, I was round at Simon and his pal Nick Frost’s flat for drinks when I said we should make our own zombie movie, a horror comedy. It would be from the point of view of two bit-players, two idiots who were the last to know what was going on, after waking up hungover on a Sunday morning...

On The Cover – Glass Animals: “Everything that made me who I am was taken away by the accident”

It feels like a miracle to be talking to Joe Seaward, drummer of Oxford’s indie quartet Glass Animals. His bandmates tell NME it is a miracle. Seaward himself is certain it is. “I think that my accident shook everyone to the core,” he says, balancing his head in his hand, his fingertips tracing the outline of a deep scar on his skull. “Everyone was very close to losing a friend, a brother, a boyfriend, a son and a bandmate.” His eyes fill with tears. In July 2018, Seaward was hit by a truck whi

Tame Impala's Jay Watson on his new solo album as GUM: "I’ve spent a lot of my life trying not to fuck it up"

When not touring with Tame Impala and Pond, Jay Watson has been writing music for his solo project GUM whenever he can. “Because of Tame and to a lesser extent Pond, I don’t have a day job,” laughs Watson. “I haven’t had one now for a long time, almost a decade. I’m really lucky in that respect so I think I actually have heaps of free time but in tiny little blocks, not necessarily a huge chunk.” Despite a busy few years with his other bands, he has still managed to find time to release four s

Nazar's musical storytelling is inspired by war, displacement and hope

Nazar was an exile in Belgium when he first experienced racism, aged 10. Asked by a teacher why his dad wasn’t around, Nazar explained he was in Angola, a soldier in the civil war. The teacher sniggered and accused him of lying, prompting ridicule from his class-mates. “They were so used to judging the parents of black kids and assumed that because mine weren’t around, they must be in prison,” he explains. “My father was deep in the jungle, fighting. I stopped attending classes.”

Nigel Godrich and Laura Bettinson on Ultraísta: “It’s about feeling strength in the fact we’re all together in this”

Ultraísta – the super-group made up of Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich, dance artist Laura Bettinson and Atoms for Peace drummer Joey Waronker – returned with a new album just days before the country found itself on lockdown. We caught up with Nigel and Laura to hear all about life in these strange times and how fans think their latest album, ‘Sister’, is the perfect soundtrack for self-isolation...

Bree Runway: Meet the Missy Elliott-approved rising star whose fearless pop is challenging colourism

Bree Runway is a bold new DIY musician from Hackney whose music draws as much on early noughties-era MTV as it does her rich Ghanaian heritage — and it’s an approach that’s already earned her favourable comparisons with the likes of Missy Elliott, Grace Jones and Kelis. Watching and studying artists like The Neptunes, Britney Spears and Lil’ Kim during her teenage years gave Bree an escape from the relentless bullying she experienced at school...

Georgia Live Review - London

On a day when hundreds of gigs, tours and festivals were cancelled one after the other as the coronavirus crisis escalated, DIY dance-pop producer Georgia was the epitome of keep calm and carry on last night as she delivered an uplifting ode to hedonism. For the nervy and slightly sparser crowd in attendance, the rave-like opener 24 Hours brought some much-needed catharsis. “Hey Heaven, let’s go f***ing mad!” the former Brit school attendee and one-time session drummer for Kate Tempest later bellowed, as she sought to reassure...

Joyous female creativity: Kate Tempest and more at 6 Music Festival

“It shouldn’t be a novelty that we have an all-female line up,” Nadine Shah assertively told a sold-out audience at Camden’s Roundhouse yesterday. Opening the final day of the BBC 6 Music Festival, Shah was the first of five acts performing on International Women’s Day. Part celebration of female talent, part pointed comment to a music industry where male-heavy festival line-ups continue to dominate, the event felt on a par with forward-thinking festivals like Primavera Sound where gender parity is the norm...

Musicians react to SXSW cancellation as coronavirus continues to spread

Musicians have been reacting to news that the 2020 edition of SXSW has been cancelled as the coronavirus crisis escalates. The event in Austin, Texas, which features music, film and comedy, was due to begin on March 13 and run until March 22. Yesterday (March 6), organisers announced the official cancellation of the event by the city of Austin. “We are devastated to share this news with you,” they wrote in a statement posted on their website...

Alanis Morissette Live Review, London

The 25th anniversary celebrations of Alanis Morissette’s seminal 1995 album Jagged Little Pill began in style last night, as the Canadian opened with a series of emotive, stripped-back performances that brought a sold-out Shepherd’s Bush Empire to an awed silence. The intimate set-up mirrored Morissette’s iconic 1999 MTV Unplugged performance as she sat between two guitarists and delivered acoustic renditions from an album that has sold more than 33 million copies...

Brooke Bentham - 'Everyday Nothing' review

Brooke Bentham was just 18 when her first single ended up on Radio 1. Earning comparisons to Angel Olsen and 1990s slacker heroes Pavement, a record deal arrived a year later, as did two EP releases and a string of high-profile festival slots. When she was 21 the South Shields songwriter began work on her debut album, fully expecting it to arrive within a year. But a crippling case of writers block left her unable to write a single song for close to two years...

Brooke Bentham Interview

Brooke Bentham has mixed emotions when she describes her debut album, ‘Everyday Nothing’. Whilst she cannot hide her excitement about its upcoming release, she’s also aware of the struggle it has taken to get here. She singles out one line from album standout, ‘Keep It Real’ to sum it all up. “Every day falls apart / It’s everyday nothing. That was the line which really captured what my life was like when I was trying to write the album,” Brooke tells NME over the phone from her London home...

The 1975 Live Review, London

Silencing 20,000 screaming fans is a tough task but one Matty Healy, frontman of The 1975, managed with ease last Friday thanks to a little help from Greta Thunberg. Healy insisted on silence, head lowered, as his recent collaboration with the young environmentalist played over the big screens. An eerie hush descended as thousands of fans quietly raised their hands in solidary with Thunberg’s message. The buoyant Love It If We Made It followed and united the audience in a hopeful call for change...

Inhaler Live Review, London

Just hours before their headline appearance at London’s Heaven last night, Inhaler shared the news on social media that all of their remaining tour dates had sold out. For a group who are yet to release an album, it was certainly an impressive achievement. A few songs in and it quickly became apparent why the Dublin quartet are causing such a stir. Charismatic lead singer Elijah Hewson proved a formidable frontman, working the audience into a rocky frenzy and impressing with his soaring vocals.

Moses Boyd - ‘Dark Matter’ review

It’s perhaps no wonder that Moses Boyd’s debut solo album draws on an eclectic range of influences. Growing up in Catford, south London, Boyd’s music-loving family played everything from gospel, soul and funk to experimental, rock and reggae. On any given day, Boyd said it was normal to hear Björk, Debussy, N.E.R.D., Tupac, Nas and Youssou N’Dour in his childhood home. At school, meanwhile, Boyd was already swapping beats with his grime-loving classmates in his first year and later, after taking up the drums aged 13...

Glass Animals Live Review, Manchester

A storm may have been raging in the north of England last night, but you wouldn’t have known once inside the tropical-tinged interior of Manchester’s Gorilla. Transformed into a summery paradise, the stage at the intimate 600-capacity venue is adorned with palm trees, pineapples and sun-kissed lighting as Glass Animals made a welcome – and emotive – return to touring. It’s been a traumatic 18 months for the Oxford quartet, following the serious injury of drummer Joe Seaward after a road accident in Dublin...
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