Last Friday, Blur made their live comeback at London venue Mode, a teeny 300-capacity sweatbox located (where else?) near the Westway. Here, to the delight of the gaggle of competition winners inside, they played new album ‘The Magic Whip’ from start to finish: the first airing of their first album in 12 years. Not all hope was lost if you weren’t among the chosen few, however. Last night (March 25) the band streamed the gig in full on YouTube, giving fans a glimpse at the record a month ahead of its April 27 release date.
It is fair to say that Julian Casablancas + The Voidz’ first record together wasn’t showered in praise when it was released in 2014. “Like a toddler orchestra let loose in a rehearsal lock-up,” wrote one detractor. “An acid bath of guitar squeals and off-beat drum machines,” said another.
We’ve probably all put our name to an e-petition at some point, whether it’s asking for Jeremy Clarkson’s P45 or demanding no tax is spent on a museum for Margaret Thatcher. Most never achieve their stated aim, nor are they ever really intended to: they’re simply a way of thumbing your nose and bearing your arse at something you don’t like.
A taste of pop mania on the road with Paramore last year didn't stop Dutch Uncles from grappling with alienation and anxiety on their fourth album, the impressive 'O Shudder', released last month via Memphis Industries. That same sense of unease is rife on 'Realm', the beautifully menacing B-side to new single 'Upsilon'. "You've been scarred in the wastelands by bad life management," trembles frontman Duncan Wallis above lightly mathy guitars and lush neoclassical strings before a dark jerking climax you'll spend repeat listens trying to unpick.