Their band may be called Beach House, but when Baltimore dream-pop duo Victoria Legrand and Alex Scally were ready to record their fifth album they headed to a little place in the country. “It’s called Studio in the Country,” explains Scally, “and it was built in the 70s to be a premier studio way out in the middle of nowhere in Louisiana. Stevie Wonder recorded there, and Kansas recorded ‘Dust In The Wind’ there. It was the spot for a little while. It’s such a cool studio, but in the worst possible place. Studios are the coolest places in the world, but nobody even goes to them anymore because no-one wants to spend the money.”Read More
“Some people — you’re born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free,” so said Bob Dylan on '60 Minutes' in a 2004 interview, and he should know. Next week, August 2 will mark 53 years since Robert Zimmerman legally changed his name to Bob Dylan shortly before signing his first management contract in New York. While Dylan has deliberately clouded his reason for choosing his new surname - alternately confirming and denying that he took his inspiration from Dylan Thomas - his decision to reinvent himself with a catchier name seems more straight-forward. He was creating a persona for himself, one that came complete with a train-hopping troubadour backstory that was more fiction than fact. Dylan kept his real identity a closely guarded secret, and indeed he feared that the exposure of his real middle-class Jewish upbringing by Newsweek in November 1963 would undermine his career, but the story only bolstered his mythology.Read More
Consistently treading the line between high art and pop culture, Kanye West’s latest video not only sees him enlisting a Turner Prize and Academy Award winning artist to direct, but going one step beyond and only showing the video in an actual gallery. The Steve McQueen-directed promo – a nine minute stomp between ‘All Day’ and unreleased 'SWISH' cut ‘I Feel Like That’ filmed in a single take in a skuzzy warehouse in Kent’s Chatham Dockyard – is only viewable at Los Angeles County Museum of Art at the moment. No YouTube or Vevo for Mr West, thankyouverymuch. Kanye’s not the only one to enlist an art world luminary to direct a music video, though - here are eight other times big name artists stepped behind the camera for musicians...Read More
"I don't know… I keep coming back to the word technique..." In a pokey pizza place in Hackney, Ian Williams is failing to explain the unclassifiable sound of his band Battles' new album - their first since 2010’s pop-tastic 'Gloss Drop'. Ever since exploding into the big time in 2008 with otherworldly masterpiece ‘Atlas’, after a string of taut, exciting EPs, this is a band who have perplexed and perplexed. But it seems not even Battles can explain Battles.Read More
This weekend saw the release of Inside Out, hailed by critics as perhaps the greatest Pixar film to date - a claim no one makes lightly. This is, after all, the studio that brought us Toy Story. The charming Wall-E. The ultimately harrowing Up. Even the less distinguished among its 15 movies so far have struck some type of emotional chord - even Cars 2. It's this aspect of their movies that make Pixar so unique. No matter how fantastical its narratives and characters, whether they're lone robots roaming a dystopian earth, a family of dysfunctional superheroes or an estranged fish, Pixar movies' trademark is unlikely realness: exploring universal fears and ordinary emotions in extraordinary stories.Read More
Check Out These Poignant Fan Art Tributes To The Late Great Ian Curtis On The 35th Anniversary Of 'Closer'
This week, Joy Division’s second and final album ‘Closer’ hit 35. It’s a dark and swirling classic, released two months after the death of frontman Ian Curtis. Marking it, here's some fan-drawn tributes: from mmc1uk’s watercolour painting, which they created to raise awareness of epilepsy – a condition Curtis suffered – to Czech artist Don Mirakl’s kaleidoscopic piece, which perfectly encapsulates the band’s name. Check out these alongside the other great pieces below:Read More
Da Ali G Show excelled when it came to musical guests - but they only lasted for the first series, presumably because coming on the show was seen (accurately, to be honest) as an exercise in ritual humiliation. But! Sacha Baron Cohen managed to trick a fair few musical guests into making appearances on his character's show before people realised this. They are, for the most part, toe-curlingly brilliant. And we have ranked them for you.Read More