With two NME Awards in their pockets, Royal Blood last week set off on the most anticipated tour since the early days of the Arctic Monkeys. Barry Nicholson heads to Hamburg, Berlin and Glasgow to soak up the mayhem... This time last year, Royal Blood were preparing to set off on the NME Awards Tour, where they were a humble third on the bill, the raw, unreconstructed meat in a Temples-Circa Waves sandwich.
Australian newcomers The Preatures specialise in the kind of three minute gems new wave was invented for. Chief of these is their new single (and the track that first got them noticed) 'Is This How You Feel?'. That song sounds like Warpaint if they succeeded in writing a Radio 1 anthem, and is the staple of the band's live set.
Last week, Kanye West took a posse of grime emcees onstage with him at the Brit Awards to perform ‘All Day’. It's about time someone gave the grime scene the credit it's due, says one of the genre's biggest hitters, Wiley. We asked him for his take on the performance... The Brits is out of my league. Unless I make another ‘Heatwave’ or something that'll sell millions and millions for 10 years solid, the Brits are never gonna look at me.
"I felt like an outsider in my own country," Iggy Azalea told an interviewer in 2013, explaining her move to the States from her native Australia aged 16. "I was in love with hip hop, and America is the birthplace of that, so I figured the closer I was to the music, the happier I'd be. I was right." 8 years later, Azalea is Australian rap's biggest ever export - an international best-seller with four Grammy nominations to her name, but dogged by accusations of cultural appropriation.
In February 2013, Jimmy Whispers was badly beaten up in his Chicago hometown. The organ player and sometime graffiti artist was walking home drunk from a party when he was jumped and kicked in the mouth, losing a tooth and chipping half off another. Shocked and upset, he retreated into himself, only leaving his house to go to work and drinking heavily in the evenings. Two years on, Whispers is preparing for the release of his debut album 'Summer In Pain' (released in Europe via Field Mates Records and via Moniker in America).