Thursday, 31 July 2008

'Christmas..' is coming - maybe

The Flaming Lips have been working on a movie - 'Christmas On Mars' - for about a decade. The project was looking set to become the 'Lips' very own 'Chinese Democracy' as the release was delayed and delayed. indeed the band's website still proudly boasts that "Christmas on Mars' will be available in time for Christmas 2003".

Well, they didn't quite make that. But - but - it looks like it might be actually - finally - about to emerge. Yesterday, a trailer appeared on YouTube and the band are promising that the film will be shown at music festivals over the next few months and will be out on DVD in October, along with a CD of the music.

So will it be any good? On the evidence of the trailer, it will be strange, of course, but there doesn't seem to be much in the way of dialogue. Or acting, really. Basically, it looks as though it's either going to be amazing or rubbish. Lets hope it'll be worth the wait.

Sew Low Owl Bum

Jason Lytle was the creative force behind Grandaddy, the brilliant American alt.rock act who sadly split shortly before the release of their fourth and final album, Just Like The Fambly Cat, back in 2006. He's just added to myspace the first taster of his debut solo album (or Sew Low Owl Bum, as he'd have it on his website). The track's called Flying Thru Canyons and it's quite lovely in a very understated kind of way. It's now looking like his as yet untitled record won't emerge until next year, but until then, you can hear the track here and sigh wistfully to yourself.

Gnarls Barkley - Reckoner

Mini Post: A high light in the current Gnarls Barkley live show has been Cee-Lo Green belting out a version of Radiohead's Reckoner, check it out all over YouTube, start here.

Wednesday, 30 July 2008

Lights In The Sky: Cheap Mobile Phone Footage Reveals All

Last weekend Nine Inch Nails kicked off the Lights In the Sky tour. With Trent promising an interactive light show that will blow your mind, we went to YouTube to see if he has delivered.

Streaming footage taken on a cheap mobile phone camera is always the worst way to watch concert footage but once you get past the compressed sound and low-res picture, the answer to our question is: Yes, this show is amazing!

Check out this compilation of some of the lighting effects.
0:30 – Static blizzard / 0:40 – The haze clears / 1:47 – Massive projection of Trent’s head / 2:00 – Head is wiped away by a stage hand with a torch / 2:24 – Kanye West-esk glowing moonscape / 4:00 – Coolest of all a 6” tall fully interactive drum machine.

Combining front and rear stage projections, with some very cool interactive pieces this show looks brilliant, only question that remains is "Will the band lose some of its live energy when hidden behind the high tech effects and video screens?"

I need to see this show for myself.

Tuesday, 29 July 2008

Half Yearly Report: Part I

With more than half the year gone we take time to look back at some of our favourite albums from the first 6 months of the year.

Cut Copy – In Ghost Colours
Back after leading the initial wave of 00’s indie dance bands Cut Copy were in danger of becoming just another in the bloated pool of the genres followers. But, on In Ghost Colours they change the formula just enough to keep it sounding new. The danceable beats are still there as is the obvious love of French house, but DFA production, better song writing and the addition of distorted guitars take Cut Copy to a whole new level of cool. Essential tracks are So Haunted, Out There On The Ice, Feel The Love and a re-recorded version of Hearts on Fire.

Crystal Castles – Crystal Castles
Ambiguous copyright laws and a “he stole/she stole/I sampled/no you stole!” controversy largely robbed Crystal Castles brilliant self titled debut the praises of the music press. Combining a keyboard full of video game sound effects, a laptop loaded with fresh samples a good dose of uncontrollable energy Crystal Castles prove that it is still possible to produce a dance punk record that is both fun and dangerous. Remixes of Health and Van She are highlights but the albums best track is a Crystal Castles original Courtship Dating.

Portishead – Third
Returning after more than a decade out of the game, Portishead have delivered an album that sounds fresh and very now, while still feeling very much like the Portishead that went quiet at the end of the nineties. A lot of the familiarity comes from the group’s still downtrodden view of the world and Beth Gibbons fragile lyrics. Machine Gun (with its crushing industrial beat) is one of the best singles of the year so far, other highlights are The Rip, and the oh-so delicate Hunter.

Nine Inch Nails – Ghosts I-IV / The Slip
Just a few years ago it would have been unbelievable to consider that Nine Inch Nails could have produced two albums in 6 months. Now free from both drugs and his record company Trent Reznor has been on a creative roll giving us Ghosts I-IV in March and The Slip in May. Despite being released as mp3 downloads both albums are best when taken off the laptop and treated like traditional albums: played loud on the stereo. Ghosts I-IV a collection of 36 instrumentals has an atmosphere that absorbs the listener as they trawl a dark-dark journey into the apocalypse. The Slip starts off where Ghosts left, but quickly pushes you away and punches you in the face with raw aggression. It is near impossible to separate Ghosts into individual highlights, the Slip however is dominated by the powerful 1,000,000.

More half year highlights to come...

Wednesday, 23 July 2008

Mercury Prize Shortlist Announced. And It's Quite Good.

The twelve albums shortlisted for the Nationwide Mercury Prize have just been announced. The award, now in its seventeenth year, is for the best British album released over the previous twelve months, and is known for its unpredictability, with the winner normally alternating between a bland and obvious choice or something completely obscure. But unlike poor Kele's Mercury, this Mercury is not in retrograde, indeed the 2008 shortlist is probably the best, in terms of its strength, breadth and depth, for years:
  • Adele - 19
  • British Sea Power - Do You Like Rock Music?
  • Burial - Untrue
  • Elbow - The Seldom Seen Kid
  • Estelle - Shine
  • Laura Marling - Alas I Cannot Swim
  • Neon Neon - Stainless Style
  • Portico Quartet - Knee-Deep in the North Sea
  • Rachel Unthank & The Winterset - The Bairns
  • Radiohead - In Rainbows
  • Robert Plant & Alison Krauss - Raising Sand
  • The Last Shadow Puppets - The Age of the Understatement
There certainly don't appear to be any duds on the list, or any obvious omissions. It's particularly pleasing to see British Sea Power receiving their first nomination - they're a wonderful but often overlooked band, and their third album, 'Do You Like Rock Music?' is a thrilling piece of work. The Last Shadow Puppets' nomination means that for the third year running, an Alex Turner album will be on the list, and maybe Radiohead will finally win their first Mercury Award for In Rainbows, easily their best in years.

If it was up to me, though, I'd hand the award to Elbow. 'The Seldom Seen Kid' is a magnificent epic of an album, made as a tribute to a dear friend of the band, and is in equal parts desperately sad and gloriously joyful.

The winner is announced on September 9th. What do you make of this list? What was missed off? Do you even care?

Sunday, 20 July 2008

Sleep When I'm Dead

Last weekend The Cure released the latest of their Mix 13 singles, Sleep When I’m Dead is pretty standard post Bloodflowers the Cure single (watch the video here).

In a note posted to the Cure website Robert Smith announced the release of a Mix 13 remix EP, and delivered the following predictable news.

(frowns... wonders if a 17 song 80 minute album is a double... ?)


How will I be dealing with the disappointment? I think I will push my fringe out of my eyes, get out my Crayola EMOs and write a poem.

You make me wait and wait and wait,
filled with teenage hate.
offered a remix EP,
I guess that makes up for things to a degree.

Surely you can do better than that? Post your efforts in the comments.

Guilty as Charged.

2008 has been a busy year for Danger Mouse, having already released a new Gnarls Barkley album and performed production duty for The Shortwave Set, The Black Keys, and Martina Topley-Bird. Now he pops up as co-producer on Beck’s eight album Modern Guilt.

Everything about Modern Guilt screams “Danger Mouse was ‘ere”, the quiet cool, the late 60’s early 70’s psychedelic rock, the high-hat, the stomping dance tunes are all here. But, it is also unmistakably Beck, bringing his vocal drawl, smart rhymes, eccentric lyrics and love of genre switching. The cumulative result is Beck’s most consistent and best album since 2001’s Sea Change.

The albums two most upbeat tracks are Gamma Ray and Modern Guilt, musically neither would feel out of place on the last Gnarls Barkley album, bouncing along while Beck ironically sings about perils of modern life: environmental carnage, social disconnection, and self pity.

Lead single Chemtrails is the album’s highlight; it is a spaced-out rock track, the oh-so paranoid lyrics tell a story of military experimentation while the song strays all over great synth line before tumbling back into place with a huge drum fill.

Replica is a drum and bass track that, courtesy of its slick production and layered keyboards, does not feel out of place wedged between the airy pop of Walls and labouring rock track Soul of a Man.

On album closer Volcano, Beck tells us “I don't know, Where I've been, But I know, Where I'm going, To that Volcano”. We can only hope that when he returns from the volcano he gets straight back into the studio with Danger Mouse.

Tuesday, 15 July 2008

Lights No, Cameras No, Lazers Yes, Maths Hell Yes!!

The video for Radiohead's new single House of Cards is a live action video created with no cameras. Rather, a spinning laser thing and a bunch of sensors were used to capture Thom Yorke crooning along as a bunch of actors play out the songs story of adultery and fishbowls.

The data captured by the laser sensors was then graphed as a 3D model, hey presto out pops an innovative film clip.

You can also watch the making of here, eager fans with a hidden talent for maths can download the data set and plot there own 3D models, then results can be shared on the House of Cards YouTube channel.

If you are less interested in maths and 3D rendering of large data sets you can have a point and click play with the data here.
Forget about your house of cards,
and I'll do math

Sunday, 13 July 2008

I Want to Be Cool, Tall, Vulnerable and Luscious

mini post: When I think back to high school and some of those defining bands I think Stone Roses, Smiths, Oasis, Blur but one that really was at the heart of my music tastes as a girl and especially as a teenager was Liz Phair. She is my Joni Mitchell. Her music was beautiful, clever, angry, angst ridden, funny and still is today. So much so that 15 years on from the 1993 release of Exile in Guyville she has reissued the brilliant album. The album sits proudly (along with whitechocolatespaceegg) in my top albums of all time.

The reissue was released late last month on ATO and includes bonus tracks including Ant in Alaska and Wild Thing. Check out a great live version of Fuck and Run from Phair's 24 June show in Chicago celebrating the reissue.

Saturday, 12 July 2008

Glastonbury Coverage Starts Here

Come back all week for the Glastonbury 2008 review Bawley style.

But first a shower, shave and some sleep.

Photo Journal: Glastonbury In Colour

Day Review: Thursday 26th June - Welcome To Glastonbury
Day Review: Friday 27th June - Wellingtons Outside The Hospital Doors
Day Review: Saturday 28th June – From Scrumpy & Western to Brazilian Party Rock (and everything in between)
Day Review: Sunday 29th June - Hunched Double Over a Bucket

Guest Blog: Just for Laughs (feat. James Blunt)

Fall Out: Jay-Z Slams, Sales Soar

Watch Online: One Week Only

Preview: Countdown To Glastonbury: Free Music
Preview: Countdown To Glastonbury: TopTips

Guest Blog: Just For Laughs (feat. James Blunt)

Proving that Glastonbury is not just about the music, Bawley has invited guest blogger Fandango to share her views on the action in the Cabaret tent.

It might be blasphemy to say this, but it is possible to suffer from ‘live music fatigue’ over the epic weekend that is Glastonbury. There comes a point when one really can’t be arsed walking, like, a whole 600 metres, to see yet another top-shelf band strutting their stuff. Happily, Glasto offers plenty of alternative activities: the eternally amusing pastime of hippy-watching, for example, or updating your Facebook status at the solar-powered net cafe (a noble concept, but somewhat stymied by the lack of English sunshine). A much better idea is to pull up a stool in the Cabaret marquee and enjoy back-to-back performances from a fine selection of talented comedians – bliss! Here’s a few we sampled when the beats got the better of us:

Kevin Eldon came highly recommended but when we fronted up at the allotted timeslot, the compere informed us that Kev had cancelled at the eleventh hour and had been replaced by some poet dude, Paul Hamilton. Performance poetry? We almost walked out. But despite my early prejudice, I’d have to say I warmed to this chap and his snappy little verses, the highlight being the decidedly short sonnet entitled Tony Blair’s Contribution to World Peace. (Later we would learn that Paul is, in fact, Kevin’s alter ego. Lucky we didn’t leave then!)

I had high hopes for compatriot Brendon Burns, expecting that he, of all people, would be unlikely to use British in-jokes that are wasted on a newly-arrived colonial like myself: I still don’t know what a scouser is, and I’m not fully across the UK supermarket hierarchy. Anyway, Brendon was a bit of a disappointment – not only for his liberal references to Brits I’d never heard of, but also because he turned out to be one of those f&%#ing comedians that thinks saying f&%# a few times in every f&%#ing sentence will make them f&%#ing funnier than fuck.

A Glastonbury veteran, Mitch Benn warms the crowd up with a few tales of Glasto in years gone by. I’ve heard many people whinge about the mud of 2005, but none to such comedic effect as this chap. The real gold, however, begins when Mitch picks up his guitar to punch out a few of the satirical songs for which he is renowned. He quickly endears himself to the crowd by singing about his homicidal feelings towards James Blunt, whom he aptly describes as ‘the only man on earth who’s his own rhyming slang’, and then adopts a Chris Martin-esque croon to lambast the homogeneity of modern pop in Everything Sounds Like Coldplay Now. He flirts with political incorrectness in I Want An African Baby, particularly with his justification being ‘it’ll match my shoes and my bag’. My absolute favourite is his ode to the Iraqi debacle, Happy Birthday War, in which he ponders why the Iraqis aren’t more grateful for the liberty which has been so generously bestowed upon them ‘for the price of just 100 civilians a day’; he draws a huge cheer from the peace-loving Glasto crowd with the song’s final plaintive appeal ‘perhaps we ought to cut our losses and call it a draw?’ Good point, well made, Mr Benn. Laugh and cringe at the video clip here.

The thing I find most refreshing about Josie Long is that she is a female comedian who doesn’t base all her jokes around childbirth or other joys of womanhood – forgiving one fairly tangential reference to polycystic ovary syndrome. The crowd seems to delight in her wide-eyed chirpiness and ‘glass half full’ take on life, but if (like me) you’re the kind of person who finds more hilarity in twisted cynicism than in sunshine and light, Josie’s unlikely to get your belly wobbling.

Wednesday, 9 July 2008

Tasty fresh Lambchop coming soon

Lambchop have been quietly relasing brilliant albums since the early nineties. Their last album, Damaged was my favourite of 2006 and all its tracks still sit very near the top of my iTunes 'most played' list. I'm excited, then, that they've just announced details of their eleventh album, entitled 'OH (ohio)' which comes out on October 7th.

Dubious artwork aside (is that Noel Edmonds?), the taster track, 'Slipped, Dissolved And Loosed' which is streaming over on stereogum suggests the album's going to be another good 'un. Richer, warmer and a little rougher than the band's more recent work, it's still classic Lambchop: Utterly beguiling and perfectly constructed. The band head out on a tour of UK and Europe in September.

Tuesday, 8 July 2008

Everything is Going to Shit

mini post: Today Bloc Party released their new track Mercury after quite some build up and even a facebook countdown application (cool huh?). Early reviews from punters are less than impressed with the direction Kele Okereke continues to take the band. Where are the guitars one might ask.

Like 2007's Flux, Mercury is produced by Jacknife Lee and gives us a hint of what the coming third album will sound like. In the end controversial Flux was loved by fans the world around however here at bawley we're not quite sure we'll warm to Mercury anytime soon. Kele, we get your retrograde-war sub-text but perhaps this time mercury going into retrograde is a sign for something else. Maybe I just got up on the wrong side of the bed this morning?

Listen and watch here.

Monday, 7 July 2008

Sunday 29th June - Hunched Double Over a Bucket

Sitting in the sunshine eating a breakfast of poached egg, beans, and vegetarian sausage, I pull out the guide and make plans for Glastonbury’s final day. Again, there is an impossible amount to see, but at least the ground has dried out - making getting around easier - so I draw up an ambitious timetable that will allow me to see nine acts across four stages and at least five genres.

On the way to my first stop I pass the Other Stage, where a small crowd of nostalgic flag-waving Australians and curious Brits have gathered to see the Hoodoo Gurus play their very Oz brand of rock. I walk on.

Arriving at the Dance Lounge, The Shortwave Set have already started playing to a crowd of less than two dozen people. A strange choice for the Dance Village, the Shortwave Set’s sound is a strung out mix of psychedelica, indie guitar pop and surf music. But the small crowd and strange location don’t stop the band - dressed in janitors’ coveralls and joined by two dancing girls with pom-poms and calico dresses (The Pagan dancers)- putting on a great show for those that were present. Replica is an obvious highlight.

Arriving at the John Peel Stage, I discover that The Whip and Yeasayer have had their set times swapped over. The unknown quantity that is The Whip deliver an energetic set of nu-rave standards that, despite not hitting any incredible highs, manages to get the audience shaking about with hands in the air. Following this, Yeasayer starts off very sedately - the audience wants to, but finds it hard to get into the groove of the Brooklyn band’s complex rhythms. The mid-show arrival of 2080 helps turn the corner for the band, a beautiful track that picks the audience up and delivers them to a very nice place. It is in this place that the audience remains for the remainder of Yeasayer’s time on stage. Closing out with a heartfelt thank you before playing Wait For The Summer and Sunshine, Yeasayer leaves everyone to take on the rest of the day with a really good feeling inside.

A vegetable samosa in one hand and a pint of Somerset cider in the other, I head back into the Dance Village where Melbourne’s bearded ravers Midnight Juggernauts are playing Dance West with almost the same set they toured Australia with on the Dystopia/Into the Galaxy tour last year but, perhaps with a nod towards Glasto’s guitar rock history, they have turned up the noise. Older tracks such as Shadows and 45 and Rising do well with the rougher guitar sound, but it is Tombstone that causes the mostly Australian crowd to just about lift the roof off the tent. As is becoming his way, maniac drummer Daniel Stricker takes his tom-tom into the audience for the finale, Into the Galaxy. I leave sweaty and satisfied that Midnight Juggernauts delivered the best performance of the many Australian acts here this weekend.

Montreal-based Stars play a beautiful set on the John Peel Stage, engaging the small crowd with their girl/guy vocals and perfectly constructed songs. At times the crowd seem a little unfamiliar with the tracks and start to chat amongst themselves before being drawn back in by a catchy melody or powerful lyric. As closer Take Me to the Riot comes on, everyone is giving their full attention to the performance and shouting along during the chorus.

In transforming 2007 album Version to the live stage, Mark Ronson has assembled the Version Players, a small orchestra in which he is largely anonymous on guitar, while most of the on-stage antics are left to the roll-call of guests called on to sing, strum, and rap the album’s hits. The songs recreated by Ronson and the Version Players are so well known that they don’t even need vocalists to entice the crowd to sing along, with just a trumpet solo leading Apply Some Pressure and God Put A Smile Upon Your Face. The arrival of Tiggers and a pair of hyperactive rappers for Toxic is the first time we get to hear any vocals from the stage. Ronson acknowledges The Zutons before performing his cover of Valerie, then invites a noticeably boozed Lily Allen on to the stage. With a bottle of cider in one hand and the lyrics sheet in the other, her performance is shambolic: she forgets the words and confuses the band during Littlest Things, and needs help from the audience to get through Kaiser Chiefs’ cover Oh My God. ‘Nanny Allen died yesterday’, she offers by way of explanation. Lastly, Daniel Merriweather joins in for Stop Me, during which Ronson finally accepts some of the limelight by playing his guitar from the front row of the crowd. Mark Ronson, the Version Players and their numerous guests provide a real guilty pleasure on the festival’s last afternoon.

Returning to the John Peel Stage for the umpteenth time today I stop off for some dinner, choosing a delicious looking felafel burger with organic yogurt and extra chilli sauce.

Crystal Castles’ infamous live show has drawn a large crowd, who over the next twenty minutes witness what will become one of the festival’s most talked about sets. Staring with sweaty versions of Reckless and Through The Hosiery, Crystal Castles immediately have everyone moshing along as singer Alice Glass manically jumps between the stage, photo pit, and audience. Skins endorsed Courtship Dating is the highlight, with screeching samples howling over the top of Glass’ vocals, which effortlessly switch between husky whisper and jackal’s scream. During the first notes of Alice Practice, Glass climbs half way up the lighting rig and starts shaking it wildly. Security respond by cutting the stage power to whistles and boos from the crowd. After a short talking to (slap on the wrist), the band is allowed to start playing again. The second the band starts, Glass is climbing all over the crowd barriers, held back from the throbbing masses by a determined security team who are also having to deal with crowd surfers popping up quicker than tents in the Dairy Fields. Now being held only by her jacket, Glass seems to want nothing more than to immerse herself in the crowd; she struggles under the grip of the security staff and it is clear their patience with her is running out, and following Yes No the set is brought to a sudden halt. Crystal Castles may not have won too many friends and will probably never be invited back to Worthy Farm, but their reckless abandon and willingness to ‘stick it to the man’ did get everyone talking.

I start to feel a sharp pain in my stomach, which at first I assume is a deep sadness brought on by the knowledge that, with only Spiritualised and The National left on my agenda, my Glastonbury weekend is nearly over. However, after a dozen visits to the notorious long drops and one to a port-a-loo, it becomes apparent that it is not sadness but a very angry (and probably salmonella-infested) organic felafel burger that is causing my pain. So while most of the site’s campers are enjoying the festival’s last night, I am left hunched double over a bucket wishing for nothing more than a bus off this wretched farm. Where’s a homeopathic apothecary when you need one?

Saturday 28th June – From Scrumpy & Western to Brazilian Party Rock (and everything in between)

The rain has stopped and for the first time the sky contains some blue patches; however, Friday’s rain and 180,000 pairs of feet have turned the grassy fields into a sloppy brown mess - wellingtons again today.

After a short stack of organic vegan pancakes, we take a stroll through the Healing Fields where you can visit a homeopathic chiropractor, a tarot card reading podiatrist and a mooncup vendor. We escape to the Avalon stage and The Wurzels. The Wurzels, we are reliably informed, are Somerset legends: their songs of cider, cheese and combine harvesters virtually invented the Scrumpy and Western genre. In total contrast, the Black Kids are flash in the pan 80’s flavoured indie pop. They arrive to a moderate-sized crowd on the Other Stage, but fail to impress. The only time the audience really get involved is during singles Hurricane Jane and I’m Not Going To Teach Your Boyfriend How To Dance With You.

By mid-afternoon, the sun is out and the queue for pear and strawberry cider at the Brothers Bar extends well into the Jazz stage audience, which is fine for most as the line moves fast and Eric Bibb is on stage playing his acoustic blues.

A young crowd has gathered at the Other Stage for The Wombats, who are joined on stage by a large inflatable wombat. The band start their set gathered round a single microphone doing a capella version of Tales of Boys and Girls and Marsupials - a novel way to kick things off. For the next forty minutes, the whole crowd is singing, dancing, and loving the band for the simple sing-along pop songs they play to perfection. Between songs, guitarist Matthew Murphy and drummer Dan Haggis exchange banter in a refreshingly unrehearsed manner, and appear genuinely appreciative of the opportunity to be playing at Glasto to such a large and enthusiastic crowd.

Over at the John Peel Stage, Vampire Weekend play their second set of the festival, the intellectual afro-beat influenced indie pop bringing smiles to the faces of the large crowd. A-Punk is a mid-set highlight, but the biggest response comes for penultimate track Oxford Comma, everyone jumping at the chance to sing “Who gives a fuck about an oxford comma?, ..., ..., Ooo-Ooo Ooo-Ooohoo”

Approaching the Park Stage, the crowd is noticeably larger than it has been all weekend. When we hear the opening strings and drum roll of The Age of the Understatement, it becomes clear that today’s Park Stage surprise guests are The Last Shadow Puppets, who play a short set covering their singles. The crowd, already satisfied with the surprise guests, are in raptures when Jack White (The Raconteurs/White Stripes) joins the band for set-closer Wondrous Place.

Expanded to a five-piece for the live setting, MGMT use the extra bodies to great effect, boosting the sound of their debut album into a surprisingly heavy psychedelic rock show. The band’s intention to rock is made clear with head bang’n, hat flipp’n opener Weekend Wars, and the set continues to reel you in during Pieces of What before closing out with the bands three biggest hits. For Electric Feel, MGMT are joined by Har Ma Superstar who screams out the chorus while throwing his tubby frame around the stage, jumping, dancing and doing the splits. Time to Pretend is next, getting a colossal cheer and the whole audience singing. Most of the band then exit, leaving original members Andrew VanWyngardan and Ben Goldwasser to lead a massive karaoke style sing-along for Kids, the short set finishing with VanWyngardan stuck in the photo pit after crowd surfing a good 15-20 rows back into the audience.

All the cool/indie kids seen to have decided against the Amy Winehouse/Jay-Z extravaganza on the Pyramid; rather, they have assembled at the Park Stage to close out Saturday night with Battles followed by CSS.

Battles arrange themselves in a line along the front of the stage and reproduce their math rock brilliantly. John Stanier would have to be the festival’s hardest working drummer, making his job no easier by using the highest hi-hat ever seen: a full six feet from the ground, it requires him to jump from his stool with every strike of the cymbal. Disappointingly, earlier delays mean that Battles have to cut their set short following Leyendecker.

CSS have an elaborate stage setup with helium balloons and rabbit head mirror balls hanging from every possible location. The band run onto the stage wearing tightly curled white wigs, before being followed by interminably bouncy singer Lovefoxxx who appears to be wearing a full body steel wool ball along with her white wig. New track Rat is Dead (Rage) is pulled off sensationally before the Lovefoxx removes her steel wool, revealing a more practical silver cat suit. Alcohol and Music is my Hot Sex deliver the Brazilian party vibe before another costume change, this time the leaving Lovefoxx in a hideously bright multi-coloured cat suit. Closing the set with Lets Make Love and Listen to Death From Above, and a gear smashing version of Alala, CSS were perfect as a stage-closing act, delivering party tunes that kept everyone smiling, dancing, and happy late into Saturday night.

Still high from the fabulous CSS, we head to Trash City, one of the site‘s two after-hours party fields. Approaching the entrance we find that pretty much everyone else has the same idea, but we manage to squeeze in. Trash City is a cluster of bars, clubs and an outdoor dance floor that contains a flame-spurting DJ booth at its centre. Despite the strict dress code (all guests must have a moustache), The Horsemeat Disco has a long line at its door, so we head to the slightly less busy drag biker bar The Dragstrip. Inside, it is dangerously full with a body-to-body crowd partying to a raucous punk band while dudes in drag pole dance around the room.

On the way back to our tents, we pass through Glastonbury’s other late night party district: Shangri-la. It looks like everyone who is not at Trash City has squashed into Shangri-la. After a quick drink in The Tarts and Tease, a champagne and burlesque bar with Amsterdam-style ladies dancing in window boxes, we drag our tired selves up the hill to our tent and try to sleep - no easy task when camped just a short stumble from the Shangri-la’s 14 micro venues.

Saturday, 5 July 2008

Radiohead live in Australia (well kind of)

This Monday triple j is presenting a one hour set by Radiohead, recorded earlier this year this set covers the In Rainbows album plus some older favourites.

Triple j, Live at the Wireless, Monday 7th July 8pm (11am BST), on the radio and online

Friday 27th June - Wellingtons Outside The Hospital Doors

After waking to the soft pitter-patter of rain on nylon, we gather our wet weather gear, pull on freshly purchased wellington boots and emerge from the tent to the smell of baked beans and soy sausages. One vegetarian fry up later, we are ready for the official first day of Glastonbury 2008.

Arriving at the huge Pyramid stage, a small crowd has already started to build for the festival’s main stage opener, Kate Nash. For Nash’s set, the stage has been decorated as an underwater garden with Nash herself seated inside a large clam shell as she starts her set with Pumpkin Song. The audience response for Nash is a little indifferent, with most people more focused on site familiarisation and claiming prime positions for later.

Next, we head past the Park Stage and up Pennard Hill, where this year the fence has been pushed back higher than ever before. From here, we enjoy a spectacular view across the whole site while listening to the end of Sparkadia’s second set of the festival and Beggars, who open their slot with a cover of Leonard Cohen’s The Future before playing thirty minutes of fairly standard festival rock for the seated but appreciative crowd.

Santogold is next on The Park Stage; the Philly-based MC is joined on stage by a DJ and two backing dancers dressed in what look like air stewardess uniforms, topped off with white Wayfarers like all the cool kids are wearing this year. Santogold’s style is hard to describe: she raps but the music is new-wave, she screams like a punk but has smooth R&B beats. Regardless, the crowd love every bit - L.E.S. Artistes gets a huge response, and not even the rain can dampen the fun in set closer Creator.

Listed in the Glasto guide as a guilty pleasure, Ben Folds was filling the lunch time slot on the Other Stage. Playing a lot of songs from his forthcoming fifth solo album, Folds’ set suffers from lack of familiarity. The crowd’s willingness to get involved is not increased by the appearance of Amanda Palmer of the Dresden Dolls, who joins Folds for two songs from her yet to be released Ben Folds-produced solo album. It is not until Folds plays old fave Army and a cover of Dr Dre’s Bitches Ain’t Shit that he starts to win the crowd over. Unfortunately, by then it is too late.

While stopping for delectable home baked organic brownies at Cafe Tango in the Greenpeace field, we were lucky enough to witness a performance of Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit - a poorly timed broken arm had reduced them to a three-piece for this intimate set. Even one man down, the band produce a stomping sound that, with Flynn’s ability to swap from resonator guitar to banjo to violin, means the Sussex Wit would be equally at home in the backroom of an American bar as they would atop potato crate at an Irish folk festival. He looks no more than 15 years old, but his boyish face belies an amazing depth and maturity to his lyrics. The stories as sung by Johnny Flynn tell tales of heartbreak, loss, and belonging - covering all three in single The Box. Flynn is a real surprise find at this giant festival.

With the rain still falling, Lupe Fiasco took to the Jazz World stage to a sea of rain coats and wellingtons - definitely not the stylish hip-hop crowd to which he is accustomed. But never mind, Lupe still looked and acted the part, energetically delivering his thinking man’s hip hop with the help of guest MCs and vocalists. In a good sign for hip-hop headliner Jay-Z, the crowd bounced right though the performance, with highlights being Daydreamin’ and Paris, Tokyo. The only disappointment for me was the rushed version of Kick Push.

Back at the Pyramid, the crowd has swelled in anticipation of Editors’ appearance. The band is clearly delighted at the chance to perform for such a large audience, and their songs translate really well to the large stage. Older tracks Blood, All Sparks, and Munich hold up really well next to the newer material but the real highlights come from 2007’s An End Has A Start, with title track Bones and set closer Smokers Outside The Hospital Doors getting the biggest responses. Editors are my Pyramid Stage highlight for 2008.

Starting with Nobody Move, Nobody Gets Hurt and finishing with The Great Escape, We Are Scientists have a large crowd dancing at the Other Stage but lose points for Blink 182-esque toilet humour between songs and a slightly dull guest appearance from Lightspeed Champion's Dev. Meanwhile in the Queen’s Head, wearing suits as sharp as their sound, the Young Knives are playing a short warm up set ahead of their performance on the John Peel Stage later that night.

The sun is setting and the field in front of the Pyramid is filling with inebriated masses as the Fratellis swagger onto the stage. Opening with Mistress Mabel and Flathead, the crowd are immediately into it, singing/shouting out the lyrics. Chelsea Dagger gets everyone shaking their hips before closer Milk and Money leaves the Pyramid perfectly warmed up for Kings of Leon.

Over on the John Peel Stage, Reverend and the Makers push their groove-based funk rock out to a huge crowd. The audience doesn’t stop dancing for the whole set, although some of the momentum of the performance is lost when guest MC Lowkey raps politically over Open Your Window, but this is compensated for by front man Jon (The Reverend) McClure’s performance perfectly interchanging his own lines with infamous words from The Stooges (I wanna be your dog) and Massive Attack (Karmacoma). Near the end of the set, as things are going nuts and the whole crowd is singing along to He Said He Love Me, one fan lights a flare which fills the cavernous tent with bright red light and smoke. In true Glastonbury spirit, this doesn’t represent a fire risk but just enhances the live experience.

Closing the John Peel Stage tonight are The Cribs. The Cribs (sadly minus sometimes member Johnny Marr) punch out indie punk track after indie punk track, helping transform the audience from a bunch of tired zombies to carefree dancing machines. The response to Hey Scenesters! and Men’s Needs is particularly overwhelming, a live-wire finish to the official first day of Glastonbury 2008.

Friday, 4 July 2008

Jay-Z Slams, Sales Soar

Mini Post: Jay-Z's mocking of OASIS during his Glastonbury headline set looks to have triggered a massive increase in sales of the Manchester bands back catalogue.

Jay-Z walked on to the stage on Saturday night pretending to play the guitar and singing along to OASIS's biggest hit Wonderwall. Since then in-store and download sales of the single have pushing the track back into the Top 100 some 13 years after its release.

Anyone brave enough to predict a Jay-Z Noel Gallagher collaboration?

Thursday, 3 July 2008

One Week Only

Can’t wait for more reviews? Want to feel part of the action? Got a spare 20 hours in your week?

For the remainder of the week you can stream the BBC Glastonbury recordings straight into the comfort of your own home. Twenty hours of superb footage, no vegie burgers, no crowds, no rain, no mud, no sleeping in a tent less than 50 yards from a 24 hour “50’s rock and roll diner” themed night club.

Thursday 26th June – Welcome to Glastonbury

Arriving on the Glastonbury site just after midday on Thursday, we are immediately amazed at how big it is and how many people have already arrived and claimed a camp site they hope will keep them high and dry for the weekend ahead.

While the main stages are still getting the finishing touches put on them, we head out from our Shangri-la campsite to find some organic vegie burgers and see our first bands of the weekend.

The Queen’s Head is a small tent containing a bar, sing-star booth, and stage where Q magazine is presenting some its favourite acts. First up is singer-song writer Pete Greenwood. Greenwood’s songs are delicate personal tales which are unfortunately overpowered by the sound check going on at the nearby (read: way too close) Other Stage.

Next up, triple j and Bawley favourites Sparkadia march on to the stage looking cool as ever, kitted out in slim black jeans and hair gel. The crowd love the performance, with highlights of the set being the ever popular Morning Light, a massive sounding live version of Animals, and bass driven b-side The Plague. By the time Sparkadia leave the stage, the Queen’s Head crowd has spilled out the tent and across the field behind.

After chilling out on Persian rugs and high backed leather sofas in the guardian lounge, we move across to the Dance Village to catch Melbourne’s Cut Copy. With only two small stages open on Thursday night and more than half the 180,000 ticket holders already on site, finding room to dance is sometimes an effort. But, the effort is easily justified when Cut Copy are blasting out indie dance tunes at their finest. After four years of near constant touring and uncountable compilation appearances, older tracks such as Futures and Going Nowhere have grown into live electro-pop anthems, but the real highlights of Cut Copy’s set come from this year’s In Ghost Colours release. In the live setting, Lights and Music loses a lot of its cheesy synth sound but gains a lot more purpose, Out There on the Ice has the whole audience singing and bouncing along, before So Haunted screams over the crowd with twin guitars and swirling feedback. The build up and the release when the bass is dropped during set closer Hearts on Fire nearly blows the roof off the tent.

Leaving the Dance Lounge and heading back to Shangri-la it starts to rain: Welcome to Glastonbury.

Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Time to Pretend: Falls Festival 2008

I know New Years seems like a long way away but if you are even thinking about the possibility of attending Falls Festival in Lorne and going camping over New Years Eve you should register for the ticket ballot. This doesn't guarantee you a ticket but it pretty much guarantees you won't get a ticket if you don't register.

Registration closes 27 August with the first line-up being announced on 13 August. Current rumours suggest that MGMT and Beck will be playing and bawley's own Glastonbury sources over the weekend report that MGMT rock live!

Click here to register and stay tuned to bawley for more news soon.

Glastonbury In Colour

Here is a run down of the action from across the Glastonbury site last weekend.

All photos here were taken exclusively for Bawley using a Kodak FunSaver Disposable camera.

View from Pennand Hill:

Sparkadia @ The Queen's Head:

Don the wet weather gear, now for breakfast:

Santogold @ The Park:

Rosin Murphy @ Dance East:

Editors @ Pyramid Stage:

The Raconteurs (Saboteurs) @ Pyramid Stage:

The Fratellis @ Pyramid Stage:

Flags @ The Park:

Black Kids @ The Other Stage:

British Sea Power @ The John Peel Stage:

Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit @ Cafe Tango:

Lupe Fiasco @ Jazz World:

The Wombats @ The Other Stage:

Flame Spewing DJ Booth @ Trash City:

Dangerously Full Trannie Bar @ Trash City:

Neil Cowley Trio @ Jazz World:

Nut Cases @ Everywhere:

The Imagined Village @ Jazz World:

Battles @ The Park:

The Shortwave Set @ Dance Lounge:

The Whip @ The John Peel Stage:

Midnight Juggernauts @ Dance West:

Balkan Beat Box @ Jazz World:

Yeasayer @ The John Peel Stage:

Stars @ The John Peel Stage:

Goldfrapp @ The Pyramid:

Mark Ronson @ The Other Stage:

Neil Diamond @ Pyramid Stage:

Crystal Castles @ The John Peel Stage:

Tunng @ The Park:

Where did all the Tents Go?:

Bag Packed Home Time:

Thanks to Mark O for the special moments not captured by Bawley's on the ground photographer.