What festival?

With a vast array of festivals spread across the UK and Europe this summer, the question for many music lovers is which one do I go to?

MetMusic want to help, and over the next few weeks we are going to review lots of festivals and live music events to make it easier for you to choose.  From Croatia to Scotland and everywhere in between we have scoured the festival scene to provide you with the best information about who to see, where to sleep, what to drink and what to avoid.  Starting with Liverpool Sound City and ending in a blur at some point in September this festival season promises some great undiscovered bands and some monster hangovers.

Let’s go…

Festivals we recommend

Liverpool Sound City – 19th May  @Soundcity

Download Festival – 8-10th June  @DownloadFest

Rockness – 8-10th June  @RocknessFest

Parklife – 9-10th June @ParklifeFest

Beach Break – 14-18th June @BeachBreakLive

Isle of White festival -22– 24th June

Rock Werchter – 28June – 1st July @RockWerchter

Hide out Festival – 28june – 1st July @HideoutFestival

T in the park – 5 – 8th July @Tinthepark

Secret Garden Party – 19– 22nd July @SecretGardenHQ

Boom Town Fair 9-12th August @BoomTownFair

Green Man Festival – 17 – 19th August @GreenManFest

V Festival – 17 – 19th August @Vfestival

Reading and Leeds 24 – 27th August @OfficialRandL

Bestival 6 – 9th September @Bestival

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Arctic Monkeys album update…

Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders has claimed their new album ‘Suck it and See’ is “more mellow” than their last release ‘Humbug’.

Helders also said he hoped the band’s new track ‘The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala’would work well at festivals. “It has got quite a big chorus. Singalong stuff and simple choruses seem to work with a big crowd.”

Helders explained in an interview with The Fly magazine the approach the band took to recording the new album: “we knew what songs were going to be on the record before we even did it. We just recorded the twelve that are on there.”

There has already been debate over the cover of the album, being described as generally either brilliant or lazy by fans. It consists of a plain white background simply with the words ‘Suck it and See’ on the front, in similar fashion to The Beatles famous ‘White Album’.

The album, produced in California, is due out on June 6th.

Scissor Sisters prepare a musical…

Jake Shears of the Scissor Sisters has agreed to get involved in a musical adaptation of Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City novels.
He told Rolling Stone magazine: “I got an email from [librettist Jeff Whitty] wondering if I’d be interested in a musical that took place in the Seventies and had kinda fun themes that involved gays, copious drug use and trannies,” he says. “I said, ‘Of course – what is it?'”
Armistead Maupin’s Tales of the City, a production featuring all-new music written by Shears and John Garden, also of Scissor Sisters, is set to run at the American Conservatory Theater in San Francisco between May 18th and July 10th.
Shears, however, has no plans to join the production of Tales of the City as a performer, joking: “I couldn’t act my way out of a wet paper bag.”
As of yet there have been no plans made to run the show outside San Francisco, though Shears is hopeful to see it elsewhere in the future: “For the moment, we’ve just got our blinders on and we just want it to be the best show it can be for the city that it takes place in.”

Leeds’ latest club night…

Belfast born DJ Jordan McCuaig continues his venture into the party throwing business with club night ‘Clique’, which has already welcomed prominent names from around the world in 2010, such as Gary Beck from Minus Label, and Ryan Elliot from world renowned night club Berghain, in Berlin. And the party continues into 2011 with a range of events around Leeds.
“It’s good having DJs that I would love to watch, being able to bring them to our events, and play with them”, Jordan told me. “By throwing my own nights I’m able to host the sort of events that I would enjoy attending and the reward is seeing other people come to the event and ultimately share your enthusiasm. It’s also a good way to get my own name out there.”
With up and coming events such as an afterhours party in The Musiquarium, the emphasis seems to be on keeping the brand name out there. “Hosting events in the hours after other events in places like the O2 Academy is good fun as the momentum gathers from early in the night. We’re hoping to do a lot more events in the future.”
Clique DJ’s, Jordan McCuaig, Jamie Adams & Michael Townsend will be on decks. The event is free to enter with all drinks at £3.

Kasabian new album news…

It has been announced by a spokesman from their record label that Kasabian will release their new album in October.
Guitarist Serge believes the album is even better than their last, entitled ‘’West Ryder Pauper Lunatic Asylum’. He said: “It’s big songs that make you feel like anything’s possible. It’s a really positive record. I suppose it’s a combination of all three records but we’ve just taken it a bit further.”
Serge has previously revealed he wants the album to emulate the success of Radiohead’s ‘OK Computer’: “It’s a record that just makes you go, ‘Wow’. I want to aim for something that’s as incredible as that, just the feeling of being blown away that you get from that.”

Steve Tyler spends $20 on drugs over his career.

Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler has said that he has blown over $20 million on drugs during his career.
He said in his autobiography: “I blew 20 million. I snorted my Porsche, I snorted my plane, I snorted my house in that din of drugs and booze and being lost.”
His addictions were so bad that hide drugs and alcohol in a drum onstage so he could get through performances. “I kept my medicine cabinet on stage, in a fourteen-inch drum head, the bottom of which contained… one Dixie cup with a straw and blow in it and the other with Coca-Cola and Jack Daniels in it.”
“Left to my own devices I probably would have been dead several times over.”
After his eighth check in to rehab, he claims that it took a desperate plea from one of his children to make him really address his addictions: “When my son looked me in the eye, crying, and said, “Dad you were so high last night and I was afraid,” I needed that.”
Tyler is currently a judge on American Idol.

Japanese Voyeurs are a band to look out for.

Japenese Voyeurs

Thrash Hits recently said “the grunge revival is alive and kicking” and believe me, Japanese Voyeurs are fronting the party.

Consisting of female vocalist Romily Alice, bassist Tom Lamb, guitarist Johnny Seymour, drummer Steve Wilson, and most unusual for a grunge band, keyboardist Rich Waldren, it is to believe they are not from Seattle, and that this isn’t the 90’s.

Luckily, they are not fromSeattle, they’re from theLondon, and this isn’t the 90’s, its 2011, and Japanese Voyeurs are new, exciting and fresh, not to mention thunderously powerful.

Shrieking vocals, dynamics flirting between the quiet and explosive, murky and deathly phonics raging against invisible forces and destructive inner demons create a sound like no other.

They are most certainly a band to watch out for in 2011.

Richard Parker EP Out Now!

Richard Parker

Leeds based, instrumental provocateurs Richard Parker are unknown to most, but I assure you, with the release of their debut EP “Richard Parker”, they are set for big things in 2011.

Following in the footsteps of alternative outfits Explosions in the Sky and Mogwai they need no vocals to create intelligent and elegant music, with guitarists Mike Miller and Ben Budd unveiling tantalisingly intellectual, and musically impressive riffs, working together in perfect unison.

Bass player Andy Bayley and drummer Dave Barnes bring the power to the outfit, with thick running bass lines, explosive beats and perfectly timed percussion, they fill the ears with a wall of sound, as the guitars simply flit in and out of the ears, intriguing the mind as they pass.

Debut EP “Richard Parker” including tracks “Mechanisms”, “Second Hand”, and “Tempus” is set for release soon, visit http://richardparkerband.tumblr.com for details.

The History of the White Stripes

On February 2, 2011, after 6 studio albums, 26 singles, 1 live album, and excessive touring, the biggest blues rock duo around announced that they would officially cease recording and performing music as The White Stripes.

The announcement specifically denied any artistic differences or health issues, simply saying they split for “a myriad of reasons … mostly to preserve what is beautiful and special about the band”.

It is truly a sad, sad day for modern rock music, as I know they influenced many of the great rock bands we see emerging today.

I take a detailed look at their past, their six studio albums, how they changed the face of modern blues rock music for ever, and how Jack and Meg White brought riff heavy, pounding rock back to the UK.

The White Stripes (1999) –

The White Stripes’ debut album “The White Stripes” was released in 1999 on the independent label Sympathy for the Record Industry.

Produced by a young Jack White, the self-titled debut was recorded and developed at Ghetto Recorders studio in Detroit and was the raw beginning for the now Grammy award winning duo.

The album was unofficially dedicated to well known Mississippi blues musician, Son House, an artist who Jack White has admitted to being one of his biggest musical influences and his influence is bursting out of every second of this exceptional take on hard blues.

One of my top 5 debut albums of all time.

De Stijl (2000) –

The White Stripes’ second album “De Stijl” which, when translated, is the Dutch for “The Style”, is exploding with just that. It’s intense, original, raw, crunchy, uncompromising stylish blues rock, and stays true to the sound of their debut.

Released on the same label as their debut, Sympathy for the Record Industry, in the summer of 2000, “De Stijl”, along with “The White Stripes” is now considered to be a cult classic among the modern day blues rock fan, which is an astounding feat considering the whole thing was self-recorded on Jack’s 8-track analog tape in his own living room.

Equally as good as their first, no question.

White Blood Cells (2001) –

“White Blood Cells” was the third album to be released by the blues rock duo and was originally released in the summer 2001, again on Sympathy for the Record Industry.

However, despite gathering plenty of underground acclaim, this was the first time the band enjoyed its first significant mainstream success and “White Blood Cells” was re-released on major label V2 Records the following year.

Jack and Meg White had again decided to stick to their roots by creating a rough, ragged and sharp around the edges piece of musical genius, something for which they gained huge praise, making The White Stripes one of the most critically acclaimed bands of recent years.

Their fame in the UK was instantaneous, British paper The Daily Mirror called them “the greatest band since The Sex Pistols” and in 2002 British magazine Q listed The White Stripes as one of “50 Bands to See before You Die”.

“White Blood Cells” then proceeded to grant us such classic singles such as “Hotel Yorba” and “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” which became the backbone to The White Stripes forever growing, powerful live set list.

Elephant (2003) –

Marking the bands first major label release “Elephant” is often described as “the best White Stripes album of them all” and showed the world that they were only just getting started, and were still unwilling to compromise their raw, heavy blues style.

The album was their first UK chart-topper, as well as their first US Top 10 album, an enormous feat for any act.

The album then proceeded to reach double platinum in Britain, and platinum in the United States, showing The White Stripes had finally, and thankfully, hit the masses.

American magazine Rolling Stone gave the album a coveted 5 out of 5 star rating, and has since then they named Jack White as number 17 on their list of “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”.

In 2004 “Elephant” won a coveted Grammy Award for “Best Alternative Rock Album” and in late 2009, British indie magazine NME named “Elephant” as number 18 in the “100 Greatest Albums of the Decade”.

The album’s first single, “Seven Nation Army” has been the band’s most successful single yet and lead the White Stripes to another Grammy success in 2004, winning them “Best Rock Song”

Its success was then followed by a cover of Burt Bacharach’s “I Just Don’t Know What to Do with Myself” which is considered to be one of the best blues covers out there.

It was full steam ahead for The White Stripes at this point.

Get Behind Me Satan (2005) –

Again released on V2 Records, “Get Behind Me Satan” was recorded in Jack White’s then-Detroit home and shows The White Stipes taking a slightly more softer approach to their usually unforgiving and intense blues rock, with Jack White taking a more rhythmic approach to this album, replacing his electric guitar for an acoustic on the majority of the tracks, straying away from his normally riff heavy playing style.

Despite playing down their usual hard rock nature, they once again gained heavy critical acclaim with Rolling Stone ranking it as the third best album of the year, and again, winning them the Grammy for “Best Alternative Music Album” in 2006.

“Blue Orchid” and “My Doorbell” are seen as the two most recognizable singles taken from the album, both getting a large amount of radio air time and charting high both in the UK and US. They are also known as two of the best White Stripes singles behind the classic “Seven Nation Army”.

Icky Thump (2007) –

The White Stripes’ sixth album, Icky Thump, was released in 2007 on Warner Bros. Records, since V2 closed in 2006, and it was released on a one-album contract, something that neither The White Stripes themselves, or the record label knew, would be all they needed.

It entered the UK Albums Chart at number one and by late July had reached gold status in the United States, and led The White Stripes to do something no other rock band had done before. On February 10, 2008, almost two years to the day of their split, the album won them a Grammy for “Best Alternative Music Album”, the third year running for the rock duo.

Following the smoother, rhythmic feel to “Get Behind Me Satan”, “Icky Thump” showed the return to their punk rock and blues influences for which the band became known.

Recorded at Nashville’s Blackbird Studio it took a mere three weeks to record,  with most bands taking months to record an album.

Astonishingly however, this was the longest recording process of any White Stripes album to date, Jack and Meg refuse to sit around and do nothing.

Unfortunately however, it was all downhill for the previously married couple, and despite releasing such a sensational, crowd pleasing sixth studio album, they then unintentionally broke the hearts of thousands, as, in September 2007, they announced the cancellation of 18 tour dates due to Meg’s suffering from acute anxiety problems,

Following this, the duo cancelled the remainder of their 2007 tour dates including their scheduled tour of the UK, which would have been the last ever chance for any British fans to witness the magical live sound of The White Stripes.

And from then on, that was it, The White Stripes wouldn’t perform on British soil ever again, and their highly anticipated follow up to “Icky Thump” would never hit the shelves, leaving fans, musicians, and I’m sure The White Stripes moarning.

I’m still not sure that I’m over the death of this majestic blues rock duo, and my fingers will always be crossed, and I shall forever be hopeful, that one day, The White Stripes will once again play together.

Until then, The Dead Weather and The Raconteurs will have to do, but it will never be the same.