As you might have noticed from our fairly constant and excited yabbering on about it, Florence + The Machine release their new album ‘How Big, How Blue, How Beautiful’ on June 1. The Machine are a deeply important part of Florence Welch’s process and live show – from musical collaborator Isabella Summers’ co-writes and keyboards to guitarist Rob Ackroyd, who’s been carrying the injured singer on and off stage over the past month or so.
The first song I remember hearing: Michael Jackson – something from ‘Bad’ “I used to wear denim jackets. I had this weird brown hat that was more John Wayne than Michael Jackson but I thought I was MJ even though I had really bad dance moves with knobbly knees.
For years, Eminem – real name Marshall Mathers – had been a jobbing Detroit MC, scrubbing dishes by day and honing his skills in rap battles at local hangout The Hip-Hop Shop by night. Then Mathers found his voice: a new, unhinged alter ego, Slim Shady. Eminem’s major label debut ‘The Slim Shady LP’, released 15 years ago today pricked liberal consciences with its rhymes about violence, murder and drug-taking.
“A decade is a long time to be in a band; you almost feel a little bit sick of who you are,” explained Sleater-Kinney guitarist Carrie Brownstein in 2005. By this point in their career, the band had surpassed their DIY queercore roots in 1990s Olympia, Washington to become feted indie-rock champs – a success built on Brownstein and Corin Tucker’s interlocking guitars, Tucker’s unhinged vocals and Janet Weiss’ bolshy percussion. But after six similar albums and a challenging tour for 2002’s political post-9/11 album ‘One Beat’, the trio were agitated, itching to “stretch their legs”.
India loves Michael Jackson. Sure, because of his music, but also partly because Michael Jackson loved India right back. The singer made a tonne of stops to the country in the years before his death, most notably in November 1996, when he staged a huge concert in Bombay and refused to accept a penny from proceeds. Instead, 85% of ticket sales went towards creating 270,000 jobs for young people in Maharashtra - a move that earned him a special Humanitarian Award at the 1999 Bollywood Awards.