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18 марта, 10:00

Creep Show: Mr Dynamite review – ominous, inventive and funny

(Bella Union)Electronica has played an increasingly prominent role in John Grant’s ever-evolving solo career, the Midlake-assisted balladry of 2010’s Queen of Denmark largely being usurped by synths by the time of 2015’s absorbing Grey Tickles, Black Pressure. His 2016 performance with British analogue electro trio Wrangler (comprising Cabaret Voltaire’s Stephen Mallinder, Tunng’s Phil Winter and sometime John Foxx foil Benge) at the Barbican, London, felt like a natural next step. Two years on, that project has a name, and a debut album that is by turns ominous-sounding, inventive and, on K Mart Johnny – a Blue Jam-like evocation of plastic-dinosaur-based children revenge – surprisingly funny. For the most part, the voices of Grant and Mallinder have been heavily treated, pitched up or down, rendering their contributions largely indistinguishable, as on the rudimentary electro of Tokyo Metro and the vocoder-assisted Pink Squirrel. It’s telling therefore that the closing Safe and Sound, on which Grant’s affecting baritone is unadorned by studio trickery, stands head and shoulders above the rest. Other highlights include the lurching funk of Modern Parenting and the icy Kraftwerkisms of Fall. Continue reading...

08 марта, 09:00

Peaches: 'We smoked a joint, started screaming and suddenly had some songs'

In 2000, recovering from cancer and heartbreak, Merrill Nisker bought a synth, renamed herself Peaches and made a scorching album that became a feminist classic. In this extract from our Start podcast, she relives the sex, pain and pillow talk that fuelled The Teaches of Peaches Podcast: how Peaches created her soundI had no idea I would become a musician; I fell into it. First, I had a band called Fancypants Hoodlum. It was quite expressive in terms of how I performed. I had good musicians with me and was learning to play electric guitar – to nobody other than myself.I didn’t feel there was a community of people that I related to musically. I felt a kinship with a band called Spin the Susan. They reminded me of the band in Beyond the Valley of the Dolls. They had two female singers and I wanted to start a band with one of the girls. She had a next-door neighbour with a basement jam room. There was another guy she had a crush on, who was in a band, so she suggested the four of us work together. Immediately I was like: “I want an all-girl band, this is not what I’m looking for.” But I went anyway. Continue reading...

03 марта, 21:00

One to watch: Nakhane

There’s an irresistible boldness to the rising South African singer who has cast aside religion and embraced his sexualityHe’s a relative newcomer to the global stage but in his native South Africa Nakhane, 30, is an LGBTQ trailblazer with a startling voice, in more ways than one. His second album, You Will Not Die, documents a turbulent adolescence spent wrestling with sexuality and Christianity, and is delivered with heart-stopping fragility. He has been openly gay since his 20s, but there was a time when, he has said, “I was convinced I would be able to ‘heal’ my homosexuality. I lived in constant fear; controlling myself at all times.”By contrast, his music is fearless – emphatic Perfume Genius pop chronicling a journey to self-acceptance via sweeping strings, 80s synths, mbira-style percussion and the eventual rejection of his religious beliefs. The electronics are a recent addition, after years as an acoustic singer-songwriter in Johannesburg. But after making a club hit with house DJ Black Coffee in 2015, and becoming disillusioned with the folk scene, he ditched the twiddly guitars for strutting glam and electro flourishes. Continue reading...

24 февраля, 05:14

CAKEWALK SONAR LIVES — BANDLAB TECHNOLOGIES ACQUIRES CAKEWALK BRAND FROM GIBSON: [Updated at 17.20…

CAKEWALK SONAR LIVES — BANDLAB TECHNOLOGIES ACQUIRES CAKEWALK BRAND FROM GIBSON: [Updated at 17.20pm GMT to reflect CEO Meng Kuok’s statement about not charging existing SONAR customers again for cross-grades and also BandLab’s hiring of Cakewalk personnel] BandLab Technologies — the company behind social music platform BandLab, as well as Rolling Stone magazine, Mono cases, […]

18 февраля, 10:00

Fischerspoon: Sir review – not worth the nine-year wait

(Ultra) Fischerspooner were key to the electroclash movement that briefly twinned Europe’s gay capitals and New York almost 20 years ago. The American duo have finally resurfaced with their first album in nine years, produced by REM’s Michael Stipe. In an unfortunate choice of phrase for British readers, W magazine described frontman Casey Spooner’s voyage of discovery after ending a long relationship as “bumming around Europe”. Sadly, the album doesn’t sound half as much fun as the journey. Yes, Stipe’s work is often impressively feral, pitting harsh junkyard-dog synths against mountains of reverb. Yet the songs are largely weak, paralysed by unresolved tension. They lack the explosive catharsis that made Fischerspooner’s very first single Emerge an underground classic, or the radio-friendly arrangements of their best album Odyssey. Continue reading...

17 февраля, 08:23

2018 Winter Olympics: gold for Yarnold and Britain on day eight – as it happened

Lizzy Yarnold takes skeleton gold to make GB historyElise Christie suffers further agony after crashingLatest medal table | Full event schedule 2.33pm GMT The ice hockey ends 4-0 to Russia. The Russians clinch the group and progress automatically to the quarter-finals. The US face a qualifying playoff on Tuesday. “My favourite thing about ice hockey is the Zamboni machine that cleans the ice,” writes Tom Lutz. “It is very pleasing to see the ice go from marked to nice and shiny.” I think we can all identify with that. But of course today is all about another glorious slider: Elizabeth Anne Yarnold MBE, who became the first two-time gold-winning Winter Olympian in British history with a simply stunning run of 51.46 seconds on her last slide in the skeleton, a performance which both seized the day and got into final competitor Janine Flock’s head. Sport at its very best. And let’s not forget the bronze medals secured by Laura Deas and Izzy Atkin. It’s been a wonderful day for Britain ... nearly. Let’s hope Elise Christie recovers from her crash on the short track, and earns some redemption later in the week. Thanks for reading, everyone! 2.17pm GMT Kamil Stoch wins gold for Poland in the men’s large hill ski jump! He retains the title he won in Sochi, with 285.7 points, beating Germany’s Andreas Wellinger by 3.4 points. Wellinger’s final effort was a massive 142 metres, 5.5 longer than the Pole’s jump, but the wind factor did for him. The German’s happy enough, though, with gold in the normal hill already in his back pocket. The pair embrace sportingly at the bottom of the slope, and that’s Poland’s first medal of these Games. Continue reading...

10 февраля, 13:00

The surreal success of MGMT: 'I assumed it would all go away. Like it was all a dream'

Ten years after their indie pop anthem Kids, Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden are back and working with Beyonce’s producer. But can they stop the self-sabotage? MGMT were huge. The duo graced 2008 with three festival classics: Time to Pretend provided them with a manifesto, Kids an anthem and Electric Feel a floorfiller. Their synth-swathed astral indie seemed a logical progression from nu-rave’s MDMA epiphanies to tuning into the cosmos on LSD. They were part of a group of acts, which included Yeasayer, Passion Pit and Santogold, who went from Brooklyn warehouse infamy to suddenly proper on-David-Letterman famous. Along the way, they inspired a Gucci runway show and made hippy headbands a thing.Behind the scenes, however, the relationship between the two members was of complementary opposites: the analytical Ben Goldwasser and the free-spirited Andrew VanWyngarden. “It’s strange,” Simon O’Connor of fellow Brooklynites Amazing Baby told Rolling Stone in 2010. “There would be weeks where they didn’t even speak to each other. Then they’d spend a whole day writing in Ben’s room, and then go their separate ways again. They’re like a married couple that has really good sex but that’s it.” Continue reading...

08 февраля, 22:46

Uncooperative Actors Who Stormed Off Set

Things aren't always happy and easy on the set of our favorite TV shows and movies. Here are 25 actors who reportedly walked off the set.

02 февраля, 16:00

Beyond retro: 80s-obsessed producers are taking Rihanna back in time

Remixers like Initial Talk and Tronicbox are revitalising modern pop hits with a vintage makeoverWith its booming synth line, machine drums and cooing chorus, Into You sounds like your average sugary 80s pop hit. Its YouTube video boasts a mulleted female singer, too, and comments from people who remember its release (“This song inspired Madonna’s Like a Virgin intro. She revealed it in an interview to Oprah,” says one; “This brings me back to 83 where I had my first kiss behind the school’s football field,” offers another). This would all be pretty pedestrian stuff for the internet, if it wasn’t for the fact that Into You didn’t come out in the 80s at all, and all of the people commenting know that full well.Rather, it is a remix crafted to sound like a forgotten hit, and was created by Canadian producer Tronicbox from Ariana Grande’s 2016 hit of the same name. It’s just one of a proliferation of 80s “throwbacks” (fauxbacks?), which includes a remix of Dua Lipa’s New Rules by Japanese producer Initial Talk that was given an official release by the artist at the end of last year (3m Spotify streams and counting). Continue reading...

12 января, 19:06

This Disturbing North Korean Morning Routine Shows How Creepy Life Is in Pyongyang

From what they do in the morning to other odd routines, we're betting your life looks a lot different than a typical North Korean's.

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22 декабря 2017, 15:23

Last Christmas we lost George Michael. Now he’s an unlikely beacon of hope | Simon Hattenstone

After the singer’s death, the world waited for the sordid tabloid exposés. Instead we got stories about his extraordinary generosityThere was always a poignancy to the song Last Christmas, but George Michael could have never imagined just how poignant it was to become. On Christmas Day, it will be a year since Michael died; 25 December 2016 was not only his last Christmas – it was his last day on Earth.There is no song that sums up the contradictions of Michael so beautifully as Last Christmas. It is cheap, schmaltzy and reeks of artifice (think of the dodgy electronic drum and plonky synth). Yet it is also a melancholy masterpiece (that anguished voice soaring in the final “I gave you my heart”). It may be based on a lie (Michael is distraught because he has been dumped by the woman he loves – Last Christmas was released in 1984, 14 years before he came out as gay) but it could not be more emotionally honest. Continue reading...

12 декабря 2017, 09:00

The best albums of 2017, No 9: Kelela – Take Me Apart

Alternative R&B found its emotional side in this striking study of a breakup, from separation to reconciliation to renunciation• More on the best albums of 2017• More on the best culture of 2017The term alternative R&B has always been a weird one. Most straightforwardly it is used to describe R&B artists who adopt unconventional vocal stylings, or incorporate other genres into their music. Perhaps without meaning to it has also acquired another sense; of a style that is cool and icy, of a genre suitable for fashion shows and shorn of anything as icky as emotion.Kelela has been placed in the bracket of alternative R&B since her debut mixtape, Cut 4 Me, was released in 2013. A collaboration with producers from the labels Fade to Mind and London’s Night Slugs, it was full of synth washes, discordant motifs and deep, deep bass. Kelela’s vocals were clipped, constrained and locked in an ethereally high register. Her lyrics were also minimalist, but they were working with emotional themes, from the propulsion of lust to the fear of rejection. Continue reading...

09 декабря 2017, 10:00

Pharrell Williams: ‘It rains and they shoot black people’

N.E.R.D are back with a politically charged new album featuring Kendrick Lamar, Rihanna, Ed Sheeran and cosmic synthsPharrell Williams is in a conference room at the London HQ of his record label, Sony. He’s here to play music from the new album by his alt-rap band N.E.R.D, the group he fronts alongside schoolfriends Chad Hugo and Shay Haley, who subverted the face of hip-hop with their punk-infused riffs in the early-00s. “I don’t know if you’ve seen the news or who’s running my country but it’s a real fucking shit show,” Pharrell says while introducing the record. “I’ve never seen such desperation in my life.” Related: Pharrell Williams 'takes a knee' in Charlottesville protest Continue reading...

05 декабря 2017, 20:08

TONIGHT WE’RE GONNA PARTY LIKE IT’S 1982: A Band Without a No. 1 Hit Is Outselling Bruno Mars and Ed…

TONIGHT WE’RE GONNA PARTY LIKE IT’S 1982: A Band Without a No. 1 Hit Is Outselling Bruno Mars and Ed Sheeran. Depeche Mode, the British synth-pop group formed in 1980, is having one of the most remarkable tours in modern music and its most-successful concert run ever. The band sold 1.27 million tickets through the […]

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03 декабря 2017, 11:00

Nabihah Iqbal: Weighing of the Heart review – a thoughtful, immersive debut

(Ninja Tune)Discarding the ambiguity of former moniker Throwing Shade, London alt-pop artist Nabihah Iqbal’s first full-length release deals in thoughtful, expansive soundscapes. This is a more laid-back affair than her earlier work, though it’s just as immersive. With airy, propulsive percussion, languid curls of grungey guitar, 1980s-sheen synths and hazy vocals, tracks such as Saw U Twice and In Visions are disarmingly straightforward lo-fi pop songs, while the glimmering subtlety of Alone Together and dreamy rave euphoria of Untitled Friday are especially invigorating. An album that improves with each listen, with an accomplished, ornate warmth. Continue reading...

02 декабря 2017, 19:00

This Disturbing North Korean Morning Routine Shows How Creepy Life Is in Pyongyang

From what they do in the morning to other odd routines, we're betting your life looks a lot different than a typical North Korean's.

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17 ноября 2017, 13:00

Nuns on the drums! The bizarre world of 'superniche' cover bands

Elvis has his share of impersonators. Obscure 60s garage rockers and neo-Nazi punks, less so. We meet the weirdest tribute acts on the circuit – from an all-women Fall to a heavy metal Bee Gees You wouldn’t say the place was packed. There are, perhaps, 20 people in the back room of the Unicorn pub in north London watching the first band on tonight’s bill. They seem wary at first, keeping their distance from the stage, but slowly they begin to follow the heavy, stoned groove of the music and their heads begin to nod, then shake, then finally bang.There are several unusual things about this performance. First, although this is a metal band playing a metal show in a metal pub, there isn’t a guitar on the stage: three synthesiser players flank a drummer. Second, the musicians are only playing covers. Third, they are only playing covers of one band’s songs. This is the debut gig by Electronica Wizard, whose performances are devoted to recreating, on synths, the work of the doom metal band Electric Wizard. Continue reading...

07 ноября 2017, 18:34

Niger Business Survey Indicator

Leading Economic Index in Niger decreased to 3.60 percent in September from 3.70 percent in August of 2017. Leading Economic Index in Niger averaged 3.87 percent from 2012 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 22.70 percent in January of 2014 and a record low of 1 percent in November of 2014. In Niger, the Economic Outlook Synthetic Indicator - ISC (Indicateur Synthétique de la Conjoncture) - summarizes the activity of different economic sectors in a given month, including industrial production, construction, internal trade and services, anticipating future movements in GDP. A higher indicator signals an increase in economic activity. This page provides - Niger ISC- actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news.

07 ноября 2017, 18:33

Ivory Coast Business Survey Indicator

Leading Economic Index in Ivory Coast decreased to 5.60 percent in September from 5.70 percent in August of 2017. Leading Economic Index in Ivory Coast averaged 4.24 percent from 2012 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 5.80 percent in March of 2017 and a record low of 0.10 percent in February of 2015. In Ivory Coast, the Economic Outlook Synthetic Indicator - ISC (Indicateur Synthétique de la Conjoncture) - summarizes the activity of different economic sectors in a given month, including industrial production, construction, internal trade and services, anticipating future movements in GDP. A higher indicator signals an increase in economic activity. This page provides - Ivory Coast ISC- actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news.

07 ноября 2017, 18:33

Mali Business Survey Indicator

Leading Economic Index in Mali increased to 3 in September from 2.90 in August of 2017. Leading Economic Index in Mali averaged 1.51 from 2012 until 2017, reaching an all time high of 5.20 in February of 2015 and a record low of -13.80 in December of 2012. In Mali, the Economic Outlook Synthetic Indicator - ISC (Indicateur Synthétique de la Conjoncture) - summarizes the activity of different economic sectors in a given month, including industrial production, construction, internal trade and services, anticipating future movements in GDP. A higher indicator signals an increase in economic activity. This page provides - Mali ISC- actual values, historical data, forecast, chart, statistics, economic calendar and news.