How do you write a chart-topping rock record, the biggest-selling of its kind in three years? Royal Blood dropped by the NME office while their scorching debut album was still rocketing towards a remarkable 66,000 copies sold. While they were here, they discussed at length the future of guitar music and the thrill of meeting Led Zeppelin's Jimmy Page, as well as giving us 15 second guides to tracks from their smash LP.
From crop insurance to gender violence, neuroscience to colour-shifting deep sea creatures, TED run lectures on many aspects of life on earth. Based in New York, the first conference happened in California in 1990, which equates to a lot of "ideas worth spreading". Though music hasn't been particularly well served so far, there are some brilliant culture-related talks out there.
On the eve of the release of The Vines’ fourth album, ‘Melodia’, in July 2008, NME published an official apology for building up the Australian grunge trio. “Let’s get this out of the way, because it’s not something we’re too fond of doing. To those of you who bought the issue of NME dated July 23, 2002, please accept our sincerest and most unreserved apologies,” it read. The writer apologised for that issue's heralding of Craig Nicholls as the de facto saviour of rock’n’roll. "Well, we weren’t right. And for that we’re sorry. But nobody deserved ‘Melodia’,” he wrote.
It takes most bands three or four albums to pluck up the sort of courage and experimentalism Cloud Castle Lake's debut EP 'Dandelion' seeps from every pore. One for fans of Atoms For Peace, Max Richter and Wild Beasts, the Dublin trio's first release is a heart-bruising ballet of monochrome guitars and sophisticated electronic fizz that marks Daniel McAuley, Brendan Jenkinson and Rory O'Connor as future trail-blazers. Don't believe us? Try the brilliant 'A Wolf Howling' on for size.
Protomartyr's second record 'Under Color of Official Right' was released earlier this year, and is already a strong contender for the title of album of the year. On it, the Detroit punk band tell tales of dodgy low-life's and the inner city turmoil that's rife in their poverty-stricken home, all with reference points that range from The Fall to James Joyce. I caught up with frontman Joe Casey recently, as he arrived in Baltimore for a live show on the band's last US tour.