The Big Read

The National: ‘Sex, death and losing. What else is there?’

As The National celebrate the most successful year of their career with a run of summer festivals, Andrew Trendell joins the band of brothers on the road in Spain and the UK for a few rounds of tequila and to talk about anxiety, musicals, shopping, Playmobil figures, Queen, The Strokes, family, failure, their eighth album and why they’re still obsessed with “sex, death and losing”.

The Big Read – MØ: “The dream is to always push the boundaries”

When ‘Lean On’ became the most streamed song of all time, offbeat singer-songwriter MØ suddenly found herself in the record-breaking league of her idols, The Spice Girls. Stardom and superstar collaborators derailed plans for album number two but, as she releases new single ‘Sun In Our Eyes’, she’s ready to show the world she’s far more than a one-hit-wonder, finds Larry Bartleet

The Big Read – The Internet: ‘We belong together’

They’re the Odd Future off-shoot whose number includes singer/producer/badass Syd Tha Kid, producer/artist/renaissance man Matt Martians and the man being tipped as the new Pharrell, Steve Lacy. As they release their most collaborative album yet, ‘Hive Mind’, Jesse Bernard figures out what makes the contemporary funk heroes.

The Big Read – Gorillaz: “Murdoc leaving has been like a massive meteor strike, but instead of wiping out all life, it just blew up...

After decades at the top, Gorillaz have just released their first album without errant bassist Murdoc. And it’s had quite the effect on frontman/ape 2D, finds Dan Stubbs.

The Big Read – The Killers: “We’re on a wave right now and we don’t want to get off”

As The Killers head to Isle Of Wight ahead of a summer of festivals and stadium shows, Andrew Trendell talks to Brandon Flowers and Ronnie Vannucci Jr about celebrating their past and charging into a bold new future – with or without their fellow bandmates.

The Big Read – Calpurnia: “We’re best friends living the dream”

Finn Wolfhard and friends – no, not those friends – are set to take on the world with their debut EP, ‘Scout’, which is out today. Rhian Daly meets the band to talk about music, being mates with Mac DeMarco and what it’s like when one of your number is beloved for battling Demogorgons and demonic clowns. Cos what does that really matter when your guitarist can shred?

The Big Read – Lily Allen: “I’m taking ownership of my narrative”

In a world where public figures are scared to have opinions, we need Lily Allen more than ever. As the outspoken singer-songwriter releases sparkling new album ‘No Shame’, Nick Levine hears how divorce, defiance and the odd Twitter pow-wow helped her get her mojo back.

The Big Read – Slaves: “We want our ‘Song 2’ moment”

After the genre-hopping, Mike D-produced ‘Take Control’, Slaves are going back to basics. The order of the day for album three is guitars, guitars and more guitars. Gary Ryan heads to the home of the EU on the day the album is completed to find a band plotting world domination (and bowling)

The Big Read – James Bay: “It’s an artist’s duty to push boundaries”

It’s James Bay! Without his hat! Cavorting with a Stranger Things star?! Channeling Kanye?! Writing the best Strokes song The Strokes never wrote?! Dan Stubbs meets a man of big ambition and sweet-smelling feet

The Big Read – Chvrches: “The coven is pissed, the reckoning is coming”

"The punk-rock Joan of Arc of pop" ...That’s how Dave Stewart, formerly of The Eurythmics, summed up Lauren Mayberry after meeting her to work on ideas for Chvrches’ third album. And he may be on to something; ‘Love Is Dead’ filters religion, the refugee crisis and righteous politics through the band’s electropop-filter. The result? Grandstanding built for festival headline slots. Emily Mackay meets them in London.