Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Moving to WordPress

Sick of Blogger's 'quirks' - so now this site will be updated at jambothejourno.wordpress.co.uk

Please update your bookmarks etc accordingly.



Monday, 12 October 2009

The Twilight Sad: Forget The Night Ahead

Some albums are easy to write about. Nuances leap out at you, hooks are obvious, lyrics are noteworthy, patterns emerge through the music. But none of that has happened for me with the Twilight Sad’s second album Forget The Night Ahead.

After ten listens, I’m still struggling to put my thoughts on the album into words. I think I like it. I think it’s good. But I can’t be sure. It’s so deep, so full of layers that need time and thought to unravel that it’s almost impossible to judge at this stage.

It’s definitely a progression musically from their début, I can tell you that for certain. It’s a bigger record, with more going on, more instruments thrown in (apparently the band used a fire extinguisher on one of the tracks), more sound, more everything. But it doesn’t suffer from it, it’s still subtle, gentle and charming, despite its brash, loud exterior at times.

Many of the tracks don’t seem to go anywhere, and they don’t go anywhere particularly quickly. It’s often a pedestrian ride, but that’s good, it gives you time to think, to analyse, to delve into the album’s depths, to interpret the meanings and feelings behind it.

Accessible windows into the album are few and far between. The Room, a future single, is possibly the best song to judge whether the band are right for you, all building, sweeping, epic soundscapes, with glockenspiel used to great effect. The band have never been shy of deviating from the traditional guitar-bass-drums-vocals combo, and they’re the stronger for it. Other styles and sounds might not appear on the surface, but listen carefully enough, and they reveal themselves over time.

Lyricist and singer James Graham could do with being higher in the mix; his voice is often straining to be heard below doom-laden guitar and you have to listen extra hard to snatch a couple of words of lyric. But it’s deliberately obtuse. Forget The Night Ahead is not a record to dip in and out of, to listen to the odd track on the bus or the Tube, to listen to at parties, or indeed in company. But it’s a great late night listen, the atmospheric darkness of the music drawing you in to the mysterious, thick world of the Twilight Sad.

Fans of Frightened Rabbit will find plenty to love here (the Twilight Sad are effectively their noisier, bolder cousins) but Forget The Night Ahead will also attract fans of My Bloody Valentine, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Hope of the States, Phil Spector and My Latest Novel, whose Laura McFarlane contributes to a couple of tracks here.


This review was written for TMM.

Friday, 9 October 2009

Radiohead ‘will be making an album’

Radiohead’s Ed O’Brien claims the band were misquoted when it was reported back in August that they had given up on making albums.

O’Brien, speaking to NME, said: “We were misquoted. We will be making an album!”

Thom Yorke had told Beliver magazine that “None of us want to go into that creative hoo-ha of a long-play record again.” However, the magazine elected to not print Yorke’s justification of that quote, adding “Not straight off.”

Yorke went on to say: “It worked with In Rainbows because we had a fixed idea about where we were going. But we’ve all said that we can’t possibly dive into that again. It’ll kill us.”

But O’Brien says Radiohead will be heading into the studio soon, with a release next year expected. He said: “We’re going into the studio in winter. It’s always miserable! Are we at the whim of the seasons? We are! When you’re in a studio in the countryside, the music you make is definitely affected by what season it is.”

This article was written for TMM.

Guardian part 7: A tale of two interviews

Just days after my last update I got a call from the Brighton Argus, inviting me to come down for a chat. Brighton is a long way away but I didn't have to think twice and booked my train tickets — all ten hours journey time of them — immediately.

But first was Congleton. I was taken with the place straight away. To get there you have to drive through the footballer's paradise that is Alderley Edge, and I was worried Congleton would be a clone, all boulangaries and pretentious little cafes. But it's a charming little town, formerly industrial, and now very much a place where it feels people go to bring up families, or to spend their last few years in peace and quiet.

I was kept waiting before the interview, which gave me the chance to flick through the three newspapers produced at the offices, the Chronicles of Congleton and nearby towns Sandbach and Biddulph. In essence the newspapers are identical apart from four news pages (the front and back pages, and the centre spread) specific to each paper. They have quite a distinctive design, with stories from the front page continuing onto the back rather than inside, and no set design for the pages. They basically pour the text onto the page and see how it fits, they told me. It's hard to explain, but it doesn't really look like a newspaper on some of the pages.

The interview went well, although I felt I could have sold myself a bit better on some of the questions. I spoke of my passions for music and football, and that I sometimes felt that writing about them spoiled my enjoyment — the editor, a music writer himself, seemed to agree.

After our chat, I had to do a press release re-write to test my news sense and writing skills. I felt very comfortable with this as it was the kind of thing I did regularly during my degree. It detailed some fictional tourism plans, focussing on the town's bearbaiting history, and I had some fun with it, coming up with the so-bad-it's-good word play headline of 'Bearly believable tourism plans'. I hope it raised a chuckle.

It's a small operation there, with only one edition produced per week. The staff seemed friendly enough, as well as busy, with some of the sub-editing and page designing done by the reporters. I'd be given my own patch if I got the job. I left confident that I had given a decent account of myself, but knowing that I could have done better. I was rusty after the long gap between interviews.

Brighton went much better. My day was already six hours long before I got there, and I was greeted by teeming rain and a swirling wind — not exactly what I had in mind from my adventure to the seaside. The Argus has a big, open-plan, office, and a youthful vitality about its staff. I was interviewed by two men, both under 30 I think, which was disconcerting at first but then comforting as the chat progressed.

This time I felt I put across my strengths more positively and more effectively, They seemed impressed by the editions of the Students' Union mag I edited last year. It was a hell of a trek for just twenty minutes or so of interview time, but I think this showed my dedication and hunger for the role.

The interview actually began with them mentioning this column, which threw me a little as for some reason I'd forgotten that potential employers would have read it having given the link on my CV and covering letter. But I recovered enough to explain how I got involved, although it slipped my mind to mention the Guardian careers fair I'm speaking at in a fortnight.

I wandered around the city centre after finding the right bus (the Argus offices are on an industrial estate three miles out of town) and wondered how I would fit in. It seemed a bit bohemian for me, but then perhaps there is that side of me just waiting for the chance to show itself.

Having had time to reflect on my performance at both interviews I think I may not be highlighting my achievements enough. I have realised I've been a bit reluctant to make a big deal out of writing these articles for the Guardian, apart from in pub-based bravado with my uni friends back at the start of the summer. I think I've been scared of coming across as arrogant to employers, who might think I am showing off about my achievements. But actually by downplaying it, I think I could have been depriving myself of the chance to get more interviews.

I mean, writing this column is hidden away at the bottom of the media experience section on my CV, when really, it's easily the most impressive thing I've done so far, and should be right at the top where it can catch the eye better.

I am going to re-do my CV.

I was told at both interviews that they would make their decisions quickly and that I would hear back this week, so I'm just playing the waiting game once more but to round off a productive week where I've learned a lot about myself, I also passed my driving theory test at the first attempt between the two interviews.

This article was written for the Guardian.

The Raveonettes - In And Out Of Control

It’s difficult to pinpoint exactly when the Raveonettes fell out of vogue. Back in 2003 they heralded a bright new era in rock, riding the crest of the wave brought about by the Strokes, showing that women could once more front successful yet alternative bands. Blondie are the obvious point of reference, but the Raveonettes were always a bit more sleazy and exciting.

But somewhere, undoubtedly, it all went wrong. Mention the name of the band to a teenage scenester and you’re likely to get a blank look in return (although this is generally just what their faces look like, so be wary of reading too much into it). A band who formerly adorned many a bedroom wall in poster form are in danger of slipping by the wayside.

So it’s a good job that their latest record, In And Out Of Control, is cracking, and arguably their best collection of songs so far. There’s not a totally duff track present, and although none of the songs really have the stunning immediacy of some of their early work, it’s a mature, thoughtful and polished record. That might set alarms ringing, as the Raveonettes were always brilliantly raw, with none of the rough edges smoothed out, but it’s very definitely a good thing. You have to move on eventually.

They’ve also moved on from the aping of the Jesus and Mary Chain, trying their hand instead at ear-bleeding My Bloody Valentine-style levels of sheer noise on ‘Break Up Girls!’, which, brilliantly, gave me a massive headache the first time I listened to it. That hasn’t happened since the first time I heard Mika, but this was much better. Unfortunately the effect is somewhat spoiled by the ploddingly pedestrian closing track that follows. It seems the duo haven’t quite got their annoying habit of trying to do ballads out of their heads yet. Note to the Raveonettes: You are not the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. ‘Last Dance’, the other prominent slower song here, flops similarly.

It’s a bitter contrast from the opening of the album, which goes, amazingly, “BANG!”, right in your ear. I don’t recommend listening through headphones as your head might actually explode on impact. More albums should definitely start with the singer shouting in your lughole.

The standout track here is the phenomenally brave ‘Boys Who Rape (Should All Be Destroyed)’. Based solely around the repeated line of, erm, “Boys who rape should all be destroyed”, some sinister sitary guitar floats over the top, before a stunning piece of harmonics from Sharin Foo and Sune Rose Wagner closes the track. It’s an astonishing song, and you have to admire the balls of the pair for even attempting it.

It really works as an album too. It’s over before you know it, but that’s not to say it isn’t involving and immersive. ‘Suicide’ and ‘D.R.U.G.S.’ are, conversely, highlights, and the sheen of quality persists right the way through the record, making it the band’s most complete work. As you’ve probably gathered, the album is typically dark lyrically, but the contrast with the newly upbeat music works particularly well. Juxtaposition is the in thing for the Raveonettes as they progress towards ten years as a band.

So could a renaissance for the band be on the cards? On the basis of this, there’s no reason at all why not.

This review was written for Muso's Guide.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Frightened Rabbit announce tour dates and new single

Scottish indie-folk heroes Frightened Rabbit have announced details of a November tour in support of a brand new single.

Swim Until You Can’t See Land will be the first release from the band’s upcoming third album, and is out November 16 via digital release and 7″ vinyl.

Singer Scott Hutchison explains: “Swim Until You Can’t See Land was the title I had in my mind before I even started writing the album. I was becoming more and more interested in the idea of a rejection of the habits and behaviour most people see as normal, and in turn embracing a certain madness.

“It’s about losing your mind in order to reset the mind and the body. Forget what’s gone before and wash it out. This is not necessarily a geographical journey, as the ’swim’ can involve any activity in which you can lose yourself. It’s a good introduction to the record as the theme unravels therein.”

Muso-speak maybe, but we love Frightened Rabbit here at TMM, and we look forward to hearing the new record, which should drop early next year.

The band will also head out on a giant tour in November in support of the new single. The dates:

07 Aldershot, West End Centre
09 Oxford, Academy 2
10 York, Duchess of York
11 Nottingham, Bodega
12 Liverpool, Academy 2
14 Coventry, Kasbah
15 Northampton, Roadmenders
16 Brighton, Corn Exchange
17 Southampton, University
19 Exeter, Lemon Grove
20 London, Troxy
21 Tunbridge Wells, Forum
22 Cambridge, Soul Tree
24 Sheffield, Plug
25 Whitehaven, Civic Hall
27 Fort William, BA Club
28 Stirling, Tolbooth
29 Inverness, Ironworks

01 Aberdeen, Moshulu
02 Dundee, Fat Sams
05 Galway, Black Box
07 Dublin, Academy^
08 Dublin, Academy^
09 Belfast, Mandella Hall^
13 Manchester, Ritz^
14 London, Shepherds Bush Empire^
22 Glasgow, ABC

(^ dates with Modest Mouse)

This article was written for TMM.

The Twilight Sad: Forget The Night Ahead

Some albums are easy to write about. Nuances leap out at you, hooks are obvious, lyrics are noteworthy, patterns emerge through the music. But none of that has happened for me with the Twilight Sad’s second album Forget The Night Ahead.

After ten listens, I’m still struggling to put my thoughts on the album into words. I think I like it. I think it’s good. But I can’t be sure. It’s so deep, so full of layers that need time and thought to unravel that it’s almost impossible to judge at this stage.

It’s definitely a progression musically from their début, I can tell you that for certain. It’s a bigger record, with more going on, more instruments thrown in (apparently the band used a fire extinguisher on one of the tracks), more sound, more everything. But it doesn’t suffer from it, it’s still subtle, gentle and charming, despite its brash, loud exterior at times.

Many of the tracks don’t seem to go anywhere, and they don’t go anywhere particularly quickly. It’s often a pedestrian ride, but that’s good, it gives you time to think, to analyse, to delve into the album’s depths, to interpret the meanings and feelings behind it.

Accessible windows into the album are few and far between. The Room, a future single, is possibly the best song to judge whether the band are right for you, all building, sweeping, epic soundscapes, with glockenspiel used to great effect. The band have never been shy of deviating from the traditional guitar-bass-drums-vocals combo, and they’re the stronger for it. Other styles and sounds might not appear on the surface, but listen carefully enough, and they reveal themselves over time.

Lyricist and singer James Graham could do with being higher in the mix; his voice is often straining to be heard below doom-laden guitar and you have to listen extra hard to snatch a couple of words of lyric. But it’s deliberately obtuse. Forget The Night Ahead is not a record to dip in and out of, to listen to the odd track on the bus or the Tube, to listen to at parties, or indeed in company. But it’s a great late night listen, the atmospheric darkness of the music drawing you in to the mysterious, thick world of the Twilight Sad.

Fans of Frightened Rabbit will find plenty to love here (the Twilight Sad are effectively their noisier, bolder cousins) but Forget The Night Ahead will also attract fans of My Bloody Valentine, the Jesus and Mary Chain, Hope of the States, Phil Spector and My Latest Novel, whose Laura McFarlane contributes to a couple of tracks here.


This review was written for TMM.

Liam confirms ‘Oasis is no longer’

Liam Gallagher has confirmed that Oasis will not continue as a band following his brother Noel’s departure.

He told the Times: “We’ve always had a lot of fun. That’s why it was never hard work for me. It was a joy and it was always a bit of a bummer when the tour ended. You know, it was great. Obviously you’ve got to get back and see the missus and the kids and all that. Nothing lasts for ever. But it was never, ‘Uh, fuck, I need to get off the tour because my head’s up my arse’.” (A reference to Noel? Most probably.)

“Oasis is no longer. I think we all know that. So that’s done. It’s a shame but that’s life. We had a good run at it. The thing about Oasis is, no one … we ended Oasis. No one ended it for us. Which was pretty, kind of … cool. I’m thinking of what the next step is musically, which is all my mind’s on.”

Whether Liam’s future includes an Ian Brown style solo career or forming a new band is not clear, but it is obvious that in his mind, he has already moved on from Oasis. Whatever happens next, it will be fascinating to compare the futures of Noel and Liam; always inextricably linked through Oasis, and now thrown apart to find their own way.

This article was written for TMM.

Wednesday, 7 October 2009

The Xx - Islands

‘Islands’ is a brilliant choice of single for The Xx. Most of the tracks on their eponymous debut do not make much sense on their own, but ‘Islands’ makes its breakthrough brilliantly, the girl-boy vocals of Romy Madley Croft and Oliver Sim provide a superb introduction to what the band is all about.

It’s short and sharp, with lots going on despite its typically understated charm, and even contains the closest thing The Xx has produced to a hook, in the repeat refrain of “I am yours now…”, a typically heartfelt and bed-cuddly line that makes The Xx the perfect alternative lovers band.

B-side ‘Do You Mind?’ is no different to the rest of The Xx’s material, which at the moment shows an ability to remain consistently excellent, but in future might show them to struggle progressing their sound. It’s typically sexy, with Croft and Sim inviting the listener to come home with the pair of them, over untypically brash drums. Minimalism is the key to The Xx and at some point they are going to have to bring new things to the party. But at the moment, we should just settle for what they are giving to us, the finest music by a new British band this year.

As a gateway into the mysterious and wonderful world of The Xx, ‘Islands’ is majestic. But let’s hope they remain our little secret for now, yeah?

This review was written for Muso's Guide.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Sergeant: Sergeant

So then, the third album from Dundee’s premier pop scamps the View. It’s a typically upbeat, jangly record with nothing to make it stand out from the crowd… hang on, what’s this? It’s not the View? We better start again…

OK, so this is actually Sergeant, a four-piece from Fife. They’ve been on my radar for a couple of years – I think I even saw them at Leeds festival back in 2007 – but their sound has been polished so much it’s nigh-on unrecognisable from their early ramshackle and lovable noise.

It doesn’t help that Nick Mercer’s unremarkable vocals are almost an exact copy of the View’s Kyle Falconer, and the music is a pale, toothless imitation of the Dundee band’s debut record Hats Off To The Buskers.

The best track present is the album’s last, It All Comes Back To Me. Harmonies make a rare appearance, and it lifts the track above the landfill indie it accompanies for the rest of the record. Jo Whiley probably loves this band, and that should be enough to put you off.

It’s not a bad record. It’s easy to nod your head along to it, and the songs are short and sweet enough to hold your attention. But once the record is finished, the hooks leak out of your brain as quickly as sand through your hands, and all you’re left with is an empty feeling. There’s nothing as interesting in Sergeant as other bands of their ilk either. They’re just a wee bit dull, and it’s hard to recover when you’re first album is boring. What a shame…


This review was written for TMM.

Cornerstone will be next Monkeys single

Arctic Monkeys have announced that the second single to be lifted from their Number One album Humbug will be Cornerstone.

It will be released on November 16, and again the band will collaborate with Oxfam for the method of release.

Cornerstone was the obvious choice for the band, as lyrically it is the most recognisably Monkeys track on Humbug, their third studio release. It tells the tale of singer and main lyricist Alex Turner’s attempts to rid himself of his obsessional mooching over an ex-girlfriend by trying to get off with similar looking ladies, and joins Riot Van and Mardy Bum as one of their best ’story’ songs.

The band head out on a UK arena tour in November.

This article was written for The Music Magazine.

Cult With No Name - Careful What You Wish For

A few listens in to this second offering from London duo Erik Stein and Jon Boux, a.k.a. Cult With No Name, I’m still struggling to find anything interesting about the album to tell you.

It’s mostly a male voice singing and a piano playing. The two parts are by two different blokes, with Stein singing (sometimes sounding like Robbie Williams, and on the poppier moments more like the Pet Shop Boys) and Boux prodding away listlessly at the piano, with some moodily atmospheric swirly stuff going on in the background on some of the tracks and, even more rarely, some electronica stabbings that sound like the basic settings on a Casio keyboard for toddlers. And not in a good way.

There’s nothing to lift it beyond the mundane. Stein’s lyrics are mostly trite platitudes, the melodies samey, and the swirls of sound uninteresting. It’s not awful, it’s just dull. It is possible to tap your foot along, even to concentrate on it for a few seconds at a time before boredom inevitably sets in, but it’s too amateurish to be taken seriously, and not pleasant enough to be simply background music.

Cult With No Name have bedroom project stamped all over them. Two friends with big ideas, but without the talent to realise them. Careful What You Wish For is full of half-baked premises, pieces of sound that with the right backing might work, but that fall flat in this setting.

A smattering of violin in ‘Something Better Than I Know’ and a bit of guitar in ‘She B.C.’ can’t lift the monotony in the middle of the album, and by the horrible cover of the Stranglers’ ‘Golden Brown’, any smidgen of interest has leaked away.

It’s not possible to pick highlights or even lowlights from this effort, as none of the tracks are distinguishable from each other. It’s just a big slushy mish-mash of unformed sound, and it’s really not at all worth an hour of your life. Expect something by the Cult With No Name to adorn a car advert sometime soon. It’s that kind of banality.

This review was written for Muso's Guide.

VV Brown - Game Over

I really want to dislike VV Brown. I hate her faux-alternativeness, her desperation to do anything going in her pursuit of success, her hair, her name, pretty much everything about her. She seems to be everywhere, yet somehow I’ve avoided almost all of her music. Until now. So I was all set to deliver a written sucker punch to her flailing career. Kick a woman while she’s down? Why the hell not.

But annoyingly, I like ‘Game Over’. It’s bold and brash, somehow modern yet retro-styled, but more than anything, it makes you want to dance, and that’s what pop music is all about. Well it should be. And there’s none of this breakdown rubbish, calming things down for a bit in the middle of the song. Oh no. If anything it builds in pace to a thrilling climax, and the hooks, of which there are plenty, will live with you for hours. You’ll probably wake up humming it and cursing yourself.

It’s the fourth single from her debut album, which tanked despite all the hype and the promo, but ‘Game Over’ might just be the track that earns her the success she so craves. VV Brown has won me over. Whether the public is as fickle remains to be seen.

This review was written for Muso's Guide.

Sunday, 4 October 2009

Burnley 2-1 Birmingham

Burnley swept aside a poor Birmingham team to extend their winning streak at Turf Moor to ten matches, after a one-sided match that the Clarets should have won by more than the final score of 2-1.

Two early goals in the second half were enough to seal the points, with Birmingham's reply coming from virtually the last kick of the match.

Fletcher gave Burnley the lead after an incisive counter attack, and minutes later Andre Bikey added a second with a fine goal.

Owen Coyle had his old mentor Alex McLeish alongside him on the touchline, but he outclassed his old master tactically.

Burnley moved Bikey into midfield to allow a return for club captain Steven Caldwell, and Bikey's physicality negated any threat from midfield from Birmingham, who mustered very little in the way of attacking threat all game.

A gusty wind made conditions difficult and both sides found it hard going for the first half, David Nugent with Burnley's best chance, shooting straight at Joe Hart from twenty yards, and Lee Bowyer diverting a cross away from rather than towards the Burnley goal, from a rare Birmingham foray forward.

But Burnley started the second half brightly and quickly sealed the points. James McFadden wasted a free-kick for Birmingham in a great position, and Burnley broke at breakneck speed.

Tyrone Mears carried the ball for forty yards through the centre of the park before slipping in Steven Fletcher down the inside left channel. Nugent was screaming for the ball across the penalty area but Fletcher took it alone, and although his shot was straight at Hart, it somehow cannoned off the goalkeeper's legs and into the roof of the net. It was an untidy end to a fabulous break, but once the Clarets got their noses in front they didn't look back.

The second goal came quickly. Bikey won the ball in his new midfield role and rode a couple of untidy Birmingham challenges before advancing on goal. The Cameroonian then played a glorious one-two with Nugent on the edge of the area, and Bikey advanced on goal to finish calmly into the far corner, across Hart, before celebrating acrobatically.

Mears had a free-kick tipped over by Hart and Bikey should have done better with a free header from the resulting corner as Burnley briefly smelled blood and a rout, but they sat back and closed out the match instead.

Birmingham got an unlikely consolation deep into stoppage time when Sebastian Larsson curled a glorious free-kick into the top corner, beating Brian Jensen at his near post.

Owen Coyle was furious with losing the clean sheet at the death, but when he reflects with his players over the international break, they will be delighted with a fourth win of the Premier League season. But McLeish has worries. Criticised by home fans for a defensive team selection last weekend, this display was easily their worst of the season, and they won't collect many points on the road with performances like this.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Burnley v Birmingham match preview

Burnley manager Owen Coyle has lots of decisions to make regarding his team selection as he hunts a tenth straight win at Turf Moor.

Captain Steven Caldwell is available for the first time this season, and Andre Bikey or Clarke Carlisle could make way to make room for the skipper. Another option for Coyle is to move Bikey into midfield, although he has previously stated that he will use Bikey in defence only.

Chris McCann is sure to be a big losee for the Clarets, and more bad injury news has come this week with Jay Rodriguez and Fernando Guerrero both picking up injuries in Wednesday night's reserve win against Hull. Steven Thompson scored two goals in that game but he will have to be content with a place on the bench.

Coyle is known to like a settled eleven and he may name the same team that were thrashed at Spurs, although the pressure is on to make changes to a midfield that has struggled. However, Kevin McDonald is thought to be struggling with a knee problem, and he may miss out.

Up front David Nugent is likely to keep his place, and Steven Fletcher may start alongside him rather than off the flank.

Birmingham are without their record signing Christian Benitez, as the striker has returned to his Ecuador homeland after his father was involved in a car accident. Marcus Bent and David Murphy are doubts, and James McFadden is expected to join Martin Taylor and Cameron Jerome on the sidelines. Stuart Parnaby and Franck Queudrue could be on line for recalls to the starting eleven.

Up front, Birmingham manager Alex McLeish will choose between Kevin Phillips, Garry O'Connor and Gary McSheffrey for his striking line-up, although he could well match Burnley's expected formation of 4-5-1. Sebastian Larsson will be a threat from set pieces on the left, and experienced men Lee Bowyer, Teemu Tainio and Barry Ferguson will make up the midfield.

Summer signings Scott Dann and Roger Johnson have forget a tight partnership at the heart of the Birmingham back line, the pair presiding over one of the meanest defences in the top flight so far this season. On loan goalkeeper Joe Hart will start in goal, with Gregory Vignal and Stephen Carr expected to keep their places at full back.

Both sides will look at the match as a good chance to pick up a crucial win, but Burnley's 100% home record this season makes them favourites to collect the points, despite the injury woes of the last fortnight. It's likely to be a tight game, and an early goal for either side could be enough.

Prediction: Burnley 1-0 Birmingham.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009

Charlotte Hatherley on piracygate

Former Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley, now a successful solo artist in her own right, has given TMM her views on the file sharing debate.

It’s a particularly vital question to ask Hatherley, who is about to release her third solo album, New Worlds, on her own label, Little Sister Records.

“It should have been dealt with a long time ago. Record labels don’t know what the fuck they’re dealing with. Fuck the labels, it’s the artists who need to make money. I’m all for fucking record labels,” she told us. “I don’t expect to make any money from record sales, the only way to do it is to tour. It’s getting to the stage where only rich kids can afford to make music, there’s so many BRIT school, middle-class artists at the moment.

“I’m lucky in that I can play guitar for other people [Hatherley sets off a UK tour with Bat For Lashes tomorrow] and I can sell directly from my website. Kids need to realise [when they illegally download music] that they’re depriving artists of making a living. There’s no way some bands can survive. It’s quite bleak in so many ways.

“But cutting off internet connections isn’t the answer.”

The full interview with Charlotte, in which she talks to TMM about playing guitar for Bat For Lashes, her new album New Worlds and leaving Ash, will be on the site soon.

This article was written for TMM.

Charlotte Hatherley - Alexander (Little Sister Records)

Hitting 30 is terrifying for most people. But some revel in growing older and becoming more mature. And it seems that ex-Ash guitarist Charlotte Hatherley is one of those such people.

The revelation from her former bandmates that they asked her to leave, rather than her choosing to quit, will have come as a surprise to many people. But Hatherley was never likely to let a minor thing like effectively being sacked stop her.

'Alexander' is the second single from her third solo release New Worlds, an atmospheric record that puts her at the pinnacle of British female alt-poppers. Her previous two albums were confused in style, but Hatherley seems to have finally struck a balance.

'Alexander' is charmingly gentle and swirling to start, with haunting piano underlying Hatherley's honeyed toned. Later, there's the trademark Hatherley angular, hooky guitar lines complementing her barked vocal of "You're innocent, you're innocent", making a rather super single that deserves to win her many more new fans.

And even better than that, she's moved away from the Kate Bush comparisons that were threatening to overshadow her solo work by playing guitar on tour. Now there's a better candidate to take over Bush's weird-pop crown in Bat For Lashes, Hatherley can concentrate on her own thing. And it sounds like there's a lot more to come.

Rating: 4/5

This review was written for Daily Music Guide.

Thom Yorke puts new band together, announces L.A. shows

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke has announced a pair of shows in Los Angeles and has completed the line-up of his band for the gigs.

Yorke has enlisted the services of Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea, R.E.M. collaborator Joey Waronker and multi-instrumentalist Mauro Refosco as well as long-term Radiohead producer Nigel Godrich.

“In the past couple of weeks I’ve been getting a band together for fun to play ‘The Eraser’ stuff live and the new songs etc, to see if it could work!” the singer wrote on Radiohead’s Dead Air Space blog. The post was accompanied by a picture of the five musicians, all sporting a worrying amount of facial hair.

He added: “We don’t really have a name and the set will not be very long cuz… well… we haven’t got that much material yet! But come and check it out if you are in the area.”

The band, who are expected to play new compositions that may end up as Radiohead songs, will play the Orpheum Theatre on October 4 and 5. It is not yet known whether they will play any gigs in the UK.

This article was written for TMM.

Monday, 28 September 2009

Chapman Family epic tour in offing

The hottest band from Middlesbrough since…well…er..anyway, a great new band from Middlesbrough, the Chapman Family, will tour extensively from next month in support of a new single.

Virgins will be released on October 19 and the band will support the single with a massive six-week jaunt from the beginning of next month, starting in Stockton-on-Tees, working all the way around the country, before finishing off with a homecoming show at Middlesbrough’s Empire on November 14. If they survive that long.

Those tour dates (all 28 of them, we counted) in full, there’s bound to be one near you:

02 Stockton-on-Tees, Kubar
03 Liverpool, Academy 2
05 Derby, Rockhouse (Club NME)
06 York, The Duchess
07 Manchester, Ruby Lounge
09 London, KOKO (Club NME)
10 Leeds, Met Uni
11 Hull, The Lamp
12 Coventry, Kasbah
15 Newcastle, Cluny
14 Sheffield, The Plug
16 Stoke, Sugarmill
17 Preston, Mad Ferret
18 Wrexham, Central Station
28 Brighton, Engine Rooms
29 London, Barfly (XFM Night)
30 Bristol, Start The Bus
31 Oxford, Bullingdon

02 Cardiff, Barfly
03 Southampton, Hamptons
04 Guildford, Boiler Room
05 Winchester, The Railway
06 Wimbledon, The Watershed
07 Reading, Plug ‘N’ Play
08 Harlow, Club Quartroz
12 Edinburgh, Sneaky Petes
13 Glasgow, King Tuts
14 Middlesbrough, The Empire

Tickets aren’t much more than a fiver for most shows, and are available now, from here.

This article was written for TMM.

Lily and Dizzee to share arena shows

The other day we ran a story suggesting Lily Allen was about to quit music and this morning the Smile singer has announced a pair of joint-headline arena gigs with Dizzee Rascal in the Spring.

Whether the two shows are a final ‘Goodbye’ from Allen to her fans or not remains to be seen, while they represent an epochal moment in the stratospheric rise of Dizzee Rascal into the mainstream.

Lily and Dizzee (We just love typing that, it rhymes so well) praised each other in a statement released to accompany the announcement of the gigs.

“I’m really looking forward to playing these special shows – I’m a massive fan of what Dizzee does,” Allen said, while Dizzee commented: “Lily and I have both worked well in the past so it’s no doubt these shows will be nights to remember.”

The shows will take place at Manchester’s MEN Arena on March 5, and London’s O2 two nights later. Tickets are on sale next Friday (October 9) at 9am.

This article was written for TMM.

Sunday, 27 September 2009

Spurs 5-0 Burnley

Four goals from Robbie Keane condemned Burnley to a fourth straight away defeat of the season, with Tottenham Hotspur running out clear and deserved 5-0 winners at White Hart Lane.

All the pre-match talk focussed on the renewed match-up between David Nugent and Harry Redknapp, but the former Portsmouth striker was reduced to feeding off scraps for the entire afternoon as Spurs' attackers ran riot in the second half.

It could have all been different though, as Steven Fletcher had an equalising goal chalked off for Burnley, looking to have been onside before finishing smoothly past Carlo Cudicini.

But minutes later Spurs broke and Jermaine Jenas' deflected a crucial second goal past Burnley goalkeeper Brian Jensen to effectively rule the game over as a contest before half-time.

Keane had given the hosts the lead from the penalty spot twenty minutes in after Andre Bikey clumsily and unnecessarily brought down Jermain Defoe. The Irishman sent Jensen the wrong way, and that gave him the confidence to add three more goals in the second half.

Burnley started the second half brightly but couldn't get the goal to get back in the game, Robbie Blake missing the Clarets' best chance as he hit the post after Cudicini dropped a cross.

And Spurs soon found their scoring boots again. Aaron Lennon burts down the flank before pulling back an intelligent cross to Keane, who swept the ball impressively into the top corner.

It was four not long after, as Keane raced on to Huddlestone's lofted ball from defence before driving the ball left-footed into the bottom corner.

And the rout was complete when Keane scored his fourth of the afternoon through Jense's legs and in off the post.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

Jambothejourno seeks work: Part 6

It's only taken four months since finishing uni — but I've got an interview. It's for a trainee reporter job at the wonderfully named Congleton Chronicle. After the despondence of my last entry, I really feel like I've made positive progress in the past couple of weeks and this is my reward for my hard work.

The interview is next Wednesday morning and I'm already swotting up on Congleton and its surrounding area, researching the newspaper, its staff and its owners and generally trying to absorb as much information about the place as I possibly can.

I'm not counting my chickens before they're hatched though. I'm working on an application for the BBC's Journalism Trainee Scheme, which seems to be the sort of thing people like me should be going for. It's open to anyone without a degree in broadcast journalism, and best of all, it's a paid position, spanning a whole year while you are trained to BBC standard.

I have experience of broadcasting through student radio, albeit mostly in a guest/expert role rather than as a presenter or a producer but I never had any formal training in using the equipment or writing specifically for a broadcast audience.

The application requires me to answer various scenario questions about how I would handle various situations. Most of them focus on how I would react to being given a task on my own I couldn't complete without assistance. But rather than it being a simple multiple-choice style test, it asks you to rate various actions from 1 (very ineffective) to 4 (very effective).

There are also three questions that give me the opportunity to sell myself and my skills, and the final part of the application asks me to critique either a television or a radio news bulletin. The deadline is two weeks away so I plan to spend lots of time on it before sending it away.

Rejection duly came from the Isle of Man job I wrote about in my last update, but I'm still firing off new applications, trying to tailor my CV and covering letter for each one as I go. The latest lucky publications to be pestered by me are The Press in York, the Times & Star in Cumbria, Kent on Sunday, the Brighton Argus and intriguingly, the Grimsby Telegraph, who are advertising the same trainee sports reporter/sub-editor role as they were at the start of the summer.

Also, I booked my driving theory test for next week as I get closer to being ready for my practical test. Hopefully by the end of October I'll have a full driving license and I'll be a more attractive proposition for employers.

And, having semi-successfully managed The Music Magazine (I didn't break it), a friend's online webzine, while he was away on holiday for a week, he made me his news editor. So that's keeping me busy as I source stories, drum up new contributors for the site, commission pieces and continue to write and upload articles.

Finally, I've been asked to speak about my time looking for work at the Guardian's London Graduate Fair next month, after one of the organisers saw my pieces for this site. I'll be appearing at the Media Moves: broadcast, digital and print journalism session alongside ex-Heat editor Julian Linley (as if I'm not enough of a draw for attendees). Although it's exciting, and I'm truly honoured to have been asked, I'm a bit nervous about speaking to an audience, and I need to buy a new shirt! This is going to be a really big thing for me and hopefully I'll be able to do some networking while I'm there and get some writing commissions off the back of it.

This article was written for the Guardian.

Friday, 25 September 2009

Spurs v Burnley match preview

Burnley travel to the scene of their Carling Cup semi-final capitulation still looking for their first goals and points on the road this season to face a Spurs team that have made an impressive start to the campaign.

The Clarets have been rocked by the news that both Chris McCann and Martin Paterson will miss three months of action through knee injuries, but are boosted by Brian Jensen's dead leg not being as bad as first feared. Jensen has a good chance of facing Spurs, but should certainly be back for Burnley's next home game next Saturday against Birmingham.

Steven Caldwell is back in full training but he will have to wait for Clarke Carlisle or Andre Bikey to be unavailable to get his chance to reclaim the captaincy. Temporary skipper Graham Alexander has found his place under question of late but an improved display in the win over Sunderland, coupled with McCann's enforced absence, means he will hold on to his place, with Joey Gudjonsson likely to be McCann's replacement.

David Nugent is a certainty to replace Paterson up front, and Coyle may reshuffle his attacking options further with Chris Eagles and Fernando Guerrero both impressive at Barnsley despite Burnley's exit, and Robbie Blake and Steven Fletcher struggling to get into matches on the road.

A crushing 5-1 win at Deepdale over Preston by Spurs' second string in midweek gives Harry Redknapp a pleasing selection headache. Peter Crouch scored a hat-trick and it would be no surprise to see him return to the team at the expense of Robbie Keane. Jermain Defoe is likely to hold on to his spot as he looks to build on his six goals so far.

Redknapp may replace Gomes in goal with Cudicini and Sebastian Bassong will start in the heart of the back four. Much will depend on the fitness of Ledley King, with Redknapp hopeful his captain will be fit, although a hamstring injury is likely to keep him out. Spurs will also be without Jonathan Woodgate and Giovani Dos Santos, while Luka Modric will be lucky to play again this season after breaking his leg a few weeks ago. Redknapp will have to rejig his defence, with Hutton a possibility to come in at right-back with Vedran Corluka shuffling across to centre-back.

Tom Huddlestone has finally made a midfield spot his own this season and he will continue his partnership with Jermaine Jenas, with Aaron Lennon providing midfield width. Wilson Palocios will offer bite in the centre of the park.

The match up will spark memories of that famous Carling Cup tie, where Burnley completed a stunning comeback to win 3-0 in 90 minutes at Turf Moor to level the score on aggregate. But the Carling Cup rules dictate away goals do not come into play until after extra-time, and Roman Pavyluchenko struck to break Burnley's hearts with a winning goal just a minute and a half time from the final whistle, with Defoe adding undeserved gloss to the scoreline with another late goal.

That painful denial of a trip to Wembley spurred the Clarets on to make the play-off final and ultimately gain promotion to the Premier League, but they will still be looking for revenge over a Spurs team who were incredibly fortunate to make the final of the competition.

Having won their opening four matches of the league season Spurs have stumbled of late with defeats to Chelsea and Manchester United, but they will look at the visit of Burnley as an excellent chance to get back to winning ways. And despite those two losses, Spurs have been one of the more impressive teams in the Premier League this season and a home win is fully expected.

Spurs' pacy attack will be far too much for a Burnley team yet to find their feet away from home, but a goal might at least be forthcoming for the Clarets, which would be a helpful boost ahead of their next away trip down the M65 to Ewood Park.

Prediction: Tottenham 3-1 Burnley.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

Injuries take gloss off Sunderland win

Although a third successive home win in the Premier League arrived on Saturday when two David Nugent goals sealed a 3-1 win over Sunderland, it’s not been a good week for Burnley FC.

First we learned that Chris McCann would miss three months of action after damaging knee ligaments during the game, then we crashed out of the Carling Cup at Oakwell, where we haven’t won in over 75 years, and Martin Paterson also tore his knee cartilage in the game and he too will miss three months of action. Out of a cup competition to lower league opposition and two crucial members of the first team out until Christmas. Great stuff. Fortunately goalkeeper Brian Jensen, stretchered off in the first half at Barnsley as Paterson was, looks like he’ll be fit for the next match.

There’s also rising discontent at the way the local police are handling the upcoming match with Blackburn Rovers. Burnley fans will only be allowed on to the game if they travel on official coaches from Turf Moor, meaning dozens of exiled Clarets will have to travel past Ewood, to get on an antiquated coach, sit inside Ewood for three hours before kick-off, be locked in for at least an hour after the game, sit on the coach for hours in traffic to get back to Burnley, to then drive back along the M65, past Blackburn, to get home. It’s an absolute farce.

7000 Burnley fans made their own way to Ewood the last time played them and there was no trouble. The police are over-reacting to the Cockney idiots that wrecked the West Ham-Millwall match a few weeks ago. Many Clarets, including myself, will be put off attending the match because of the draconian measures. It’s a lot of hassle to go to when you can watch the match in your own front room on telly, or go to the pub.

Some fans are even proposing walking to the match in protest, possibly raising money for Accrington Stanley in the process. It would be fantastic to see Burnley and Blackburn fans walking hand-in-hand (well, maybe not that far) to Ewood. It’d be a real two fingers up to the police who seem to think treating us all like criminals will ensure the event passes without trouble.

Hopefully we will pick up our first away goal and point at Spurs on Saturday, but it’ll be a big ask after their impressive start to the season. Their attack is pacy and that’s the type of play we generally struggle against. Chris McCann will be a huge miss for us. He’s been virtually ever-present for the last three seasons and has developed into a highly influential midfielder. Whoever takes his place has big shoes to fill.

But with Nugent likely to step into the side, we have a new talisman, and a fresh brightness and sharpness about our play when he gets involved.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

Thursday, 24 September 2009

Lily Allen to quit music?

Lily Allen has threatened to quit music.

In news that will please anyone forced to listen to Radio One all day, the pop princess says that she has “no plans to make another album” when her contract with EMI comes to an end. Both of the singer’s albums so far have gone to Number One.

On a blog post that has now been taken down, Allen added: “I don’t (at this point) stand to profit from legislation. Except future purchases of previously recorded material (which wont be much).

A spokesperson confirmed that the blog post was written by Allen, but denied that she will quit music. They said: “She is not quitting pop music.” Which seems pretty emphatic to us.

Allen has found herself in the news lately over her controversial views on the filesharing debate, with many condemning her for her opinion, but with others coming out in defence of her.

It remains to be seen whether Allen’s UK tour at the end of the year will be her swansong as a musician, but it is thought that she wants to go into acting, following her father, Keith.

This article was written for TMM.

Paterson out for three months

Martin Paterson has torn the cartilege in his knee, meaning he will miss three months of action.

The striker twisted his knee off the ball in Tuesday night's defeat at Barnsley, and may now not be available until the new year.

An operation on the knee last night confirmed the damage.

"We were hoping he had just nicked it, which would have been two to four weeks, but it's the worst-case scenario and coming on the back of the news of young Chris McCann it's a body blow for both the players, first and foremost," manager Owen Coyle told Sky Sports News.

"That's my concern. It's not great news when your young players, who I believe are top players, get injuries and our thoughts are with the players.

"It will be hard for them to take, but we will make sure they get the best rehabilitation and support system in place and I do know they will both come back bigger and stronger and better players for the football club.

"They are both young players who have been terrific since I have been at the club and both of them have got a big role to play when they come back."

Paterson and McCann will now both be absent from first team duties for at least two months each, leaving Burnley with a big hole in their squad. However, their absence will give players such as Steven Thompson, Jay Rodriguez, Joey Gudjonsson and Kevin McDonald a chance to taste Premier League action.

The dead leg suffered by Brian Jensen at Bransley is not expected to keep him out long-term, and the giant goalkeeper may even be available for Saturday's trip to Spurs.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

Girls: Album

There’s something charmingly honest about Californian duo Girls that disarms most possible criticisms. The pair freely admit being on pills for most of the recording process of the record (tellingly, the band’s website, listed on their MySpace page, points straight to a drugs website. The band do not have their own website). They are happy to tell stories about their chequered past, both in interviews and in their songs, and they evidently wear their broken hearts on their sleeves. It’s often painful listening to their lovelorn tales.

Life has been eventful for Christopher Owens (writes and plays the songs) and Chet White (does whizzy production stuff). Owens was born into and brought up in a cult – a real one, none of this pretendy, take a few drugs and lark about ones – and only escaped, to Texas, when he was 16. There, he rebelled. It took being rescued by a millionaire philanthropist – yes, really - to save Owens from an almost certain drugs-related death. Moving to San Francisco calmed him down, but a nasty break-up knocked him back and gave him lots of songwriting material. Many of the tracks on Girls’ cleverly titled début, Album (take that, search engines!), tell the tales of this split. After that, he met White, a fellow slacker, and the pair started making music together. The rest, as they, say, is history.

Girls are a schizophrenic band. One moment they’re crooning modern Beach Boys lullabies (Lust For Life) and the next they’re creating epic yet somehow sparse soundscapes of ice cool next-to-nothingness (stand out track Hellhole Ratrace).

Opening track Lust For Life is a contender for single of the year, Owens playing with the idea of homosexuality in the opening line: “Oh, I wish I had a boyfriend / I wish I had a loving man in my life”. The juxtaposition of the jaunty guitar lines and Owens’ upbeat vocals with the oh-so-sad lyrics combine magnificently, and the song rushes past before it’s barely started, “ba ba ba” backing vocals transporting you to an LA beach. In truth, it could do with another verse-chorus repeat at the end to pad it out, but as it is, its two and a half minutes of angst-filled joy stick in the mind for most of the rest of the record.

“I know I’ve made mistakes / but I’m asking you to give me a break,” pleads Owens on next track Laura, one of a handful of songs on Album that could represent musical love letters to his former lover. And the heartbreak just keeps on coming. Weirdly, it makes you feel better about your own lost and unrequited loves, as they can’t possibly have been as brutal as the one that inspired this record. Or maybe Owens’ soul is just too open. It’s an honour to be allowed a peek inside his heart.

Jangly guitars lie over most tracks, adding to the Beach Boys comparison, but it’s really the humanity contained in these twelve songs that make the similarity between the two bands clear. Although I’m pretty sure the Beach Boys never wrote a song with a title as provocative and sweary as Big Bad Mean Mother Fucker.

They’re capable of going all shoegazey and JAMCish when the mood takes them though. Epic centrepiece Hellhole Ratrace takes the efforts of Glasvegas and the Big Pink to create a similar sound and makes them look really rather silly, such is the quality of Girls’ songwriting.

If you like the faux-bohemianism of MGMT, you’ll love this even more. It all adds up to one of the year’s most immersive début albums.

This review was written for TMM.

Wednesday, 23 September 2009

Charlotte Hatherley: New Worlds

It’s pretty fair to say that Charlotte Hatherley has achieved a lot. Having bolstered Ash’s line-up to a foursome while she was still at school, she stayed with them for almost nine years until leaving at the start of 2006 to pursue other projects. At the time it was thought it was Hatherley’s decision to leave, but since the ‘amicable’ split, it has been revealed that the three original members had asked her to leave. The true reason behind the split is still shrouded in mystery.

On the basis of this, Hatherley’s third album, it could be that Tim Wheeler and co. were simply scared of her upstaging them. New Worlds is a record that has a very definite sheen of quality all over it. Gone all the rough edges of her début Grey Will Fade, and the sound is a huge leap forward from the lo-fi and somewhat dreary and unformed follow-up The Deep Blue. Playing live with Bat For Lashes has certainly helped Hatherley develop her own sound; New Worlds is the album of a woman sure of herself and ready to move forward in her career. Plus, playing with someone with such obvious pretentions to Kate Bush’s throne has helped Hatherley distance herself from the comparisons between herself and Bush.

Hatherley is surprisingly still just 30 – she seems to have been around forever – but instead of having a major panic and an early midlife crisis (as I plan to when I hit the big 3-0), she’s created one of the finest British alt-pop records of the year. It’s bright, shiny and bold, with Hatherley’s often throaty vocals clearly having been worked on by the guitarist. Now her voice is sweet and sugary, but still with enough variation to be punch when it’s needed, as on first single White, and possible next single Full Circle, which contains one of the dirtiest, fuzziest basslines of the year so far.

The instrument of choice for most of the album is, of course, still the guitar, with Hatherley not stepping out of her comfort zone too much. iTunes refuses to give the album a genre, labelling it ‘unclassifiable’ but in reality the record is unashamedly poppy. Hatherley remembers her way around a gigantic hook well from her days with Ash, although she uses them sparingly rather than drowning the often subtle music in them. It’s good to see her stick to her guns instead of going down the obvious electro route popularised by Pixie La Boots, or whoever is in vogue this week.

Hatherley has for the first time found her quality control button as well. The album doesn’t sag in the middle, due to an excellent running order that fills the the mid-section of the record with short sharp tracks that pass well before their welcome is outstayed. Only towards the end of the ten tracks does attention wander, but in today’s now now now gimme gimme gimme generation, that in itself is a triumph. And the sudden end to closing track Wrong Notes leaves you wanting more.

New Worlds is an exciting step for one of Britain’s brightest talents. Up next for Hatherley: cracking the mainstream.

This review was written for TMM.

Paterson to undergo knee op

Burnley FC's medical team have been quick to react to Martin Paterson's knee injury in last night's Carling Cup exit at Barnsley, with the striker set to undergo an exploratory operation tonight to assess the extent of the damage.

Another long-term injury, after Chris McCann was ruled out for two months with media ligament damage, would be a huge blow to the Clarets after a promising start that has seen them win three of their opening six matches in the Premier League.

However, David Nugent's double in Saturday's win over Sunderland would cushion the blow if Paterson was to be ruled out for any lengthy period of time, and Jay Rodriguez and Steven Thompson, who was absent from the Barnsley match with a bug, are both also waiting in the wings for their first chances of the season to impress.

Meanwhile, it is thought that the dead leg suffered by Brian Jensen at Oakwell is not serious, and manager Owen Coyle is hopeful his goalkeeper will be available for Saturday's trip to Spurs.

He told the official club website:"As we thought, Brian suffered a dead leg and I am hopeful he could be fit for the weekend.

"But the news on Martin Paterson is a little worse. He has tweaked a cartilage and will undergo an operation tonight (Wednesday), at which point we will know further how long he will be sidelined for."

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

Barnsley 3-2 Burnley

Burnley crashed out of the Carling Cup on a disastrous evening at Oakwell that saw Martin Paterson and Brian Jensen stretchered off injured and their Roses rivals Barnsley go through to the fourth round after a 3-2 win.

The Clarets made several changes from Saturday's 3-1 win over Sunderland with Kevin McDonald and Joey Gudjonsson competing in midfield for the right to replace the injured Chris McCann for Saturday's trip to Tottenham Hotspur, and Richard Eckersley, Christian Kalvenes, Chris Eagles and Fernando Guerrero all coming in to the starting eleven.

But it was Steven Fletcher, the goal hero from the previous round at Hartlepool, who opened the scoring as he finished powerfully from 18 yards. Barnsley struck back immediately though, Jon Macken bundling home after Iain Hume had headed against the woodwork.

Paterson and Jensen were both taken off on stretchers before Anderson de Silva thumped Barnsley ahead from 25 yards just before half-time.

Burnley replaced Richard Eckersley with Michael Duff at the break and pulled level minutes into the second half. Barnsley couldn't cope with Guerrero's mazy run and the Ecuadorian slid a cross in for Eagles to tap in the equaliser.

But Hugo Colace headed home de Silva's cross with fifteen minutes to go to seal a Premier League scalp for Barnsley and to knock Burnley out of the competition they almost reached the final of last season.

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

Tuesday, 22 September 2009

Big Pink to ‘out-Muse Muse’

The Big Pink say they play to ‘out-Muse Muse’ when they support the Devon trio on their November arena tour.

The London duo, whose debut album A Brief History Of Love we thoroughly enjoyed, will play six giant gigs with the current album chart-toppers.

“I remember seeing Muse when I was way, way younger and I’m pretty sure Coldplay were supporting and look what happened to them,” Milo Cordell told NME.COM.

We have never played somewhere so big in our lives, we are pretty freaked out by it. It’s a long way from playing what we’re used to, but we are psyched and are going to try to out-Muse Muse.

Tickets are sold out for the gigs, but you can catch the Big Pink on their own headline tour next month.

This article was written for TMM.

Dizzee Rascal: ‘Shakespeare is violent’

The always entertaining Dizzee Rascal has given an interview to BBC Radio 5 Live in which he lambasts people who criticise rap music over its apparently violent undertones.

The 2003 Mercury Music Prize winner said: “I’ve seen Macbeth and it’s about killing and witches and all that. Shakespeare is in the curriculum and it’s violent! You can talk about rappers being responsible but at the end of the day they are trying to entertain. It’s about the artistry that rap is about.”

Dizzee, real name Dylan Mills, also defended himself over the infamous interview on BBC’s Newsnight programme (see video below). He said: “I was happy with it. Some other people were not happy with it, but I was all right with it.

Mills also spoke of the resentment he feels others have of his success, claiming: “I know my roots but I fly, I’m not a tree by the way, so, I don’t have to stay planted in the ground. I do what I want. The whole thing about the grime scene and me selling out, well, OK, I don’t make music that sounds like it did seven years ago but kids today do and a lot of them are doing what I was doing six years ago so haven’t I left something positive behind?”

Dizzee Rascal’s fourth album Tongue N’ Cheek, containing the smash hit singles Dance Wiv Me, Bonkers and Holiday, is out now.

This article was written for TMM.

Foo Fighters to release Greatest Hits

Foo Fighters have announced details of a best of compilation to be released this Winter.

Arguably America’s finest singles rock band over their 14-year career, the band are well due a collection of their singles. The record will be released November 2.

It will feature two new songs, Wheels and Word Forward. Wheels, a typically jaunty and meaty slab of riffy rock, will be released as a single next week (September 29).

Full tracklisting for the album, titled Greatest Hits, is as follows:

All My Life
Best Of You
The Pretender
My Hero
Learn To Fly
Times Like These
Monkey Wrench’
Big Me
Long Road To Ruin
This is a Call
Skin and Bones
Word Forward
Everlong (acoustic)

Obviously fans will own all the tracks except the new ones, and non-fans can listen to all the old ones on Spotify, but hey, it’ll be a good CD for the car, no?

This article was written for TMM.

Barnsley v Burnley match preview

Burnley were boosted this week by the return of skipper Steve Caldwell to training, but as one Claret left the tratement table, another finds himself confined to it.

Chris McCann will be out of action for at least two months with knee ligament damage, and that means Joey Gudjonsson and Kevin McDonald will scrap for his place in the team at Barnsley tonight. David Nugent is cup-tied after appearing in an earlier round of the competition for parent club Portsmouth, but Michael Duff will inch closer to a retun to the first team with another start.

Owen Coyle will be keen to progress in the competition after last year's run, but he is unlikely to risk important first team players such as Brian Jensen, Clarke Carlisle, Graham Alexander and Robbie Blake. Steven Fletcher scored twice from the bench against Hartlepool in the last round and he may be given the chance to add to his tally with a rare start up front. Martin Paterson could be given another chance to prove himself with Nugent likely to take his place for Saturday's trip to Tottenham, or Coyle could give a run out to Steven Thompson or Jay Rodriguez.

Fernando Guerrero is expected to make another start on the left flank as he closes in on his debut start, and Chris Eagles might be given a chance to sharpen up his fitness.

Coyle might well totally replace the back five from Saturday's win over Sunderland, with three of his summer signings still yet to make an appearance in a league match: David Edgar, Richard Eckersley and Brian Easton. Diego Penny is expected to start in goal while Christian Kalvenes, absent from first team action since the opening day defeat at Stoke, may get a game at left back.

Barnsley have former Burnley forward Andy Gray cup tied as well as Nathan Doyle, and Daniel Bogdanovic, Jamal Campbell-Ryce and Emil Halfredsson are all likely to miss out through injury. Bogdanovic has scored all three of Barnsley's goals in this year's competition so far and he would be a big miss for Mark Robins' team.

The Yorkshiremen have made a poor start to this season, lying in the relegation zone with just five points from their opening eight games. However, four of those points have come from their last two games as their form looks to turn a corner.

Barnsley have former Preston man Jon Macken in their ranks but the striker is without a goal so far this season.

An away win seems inevitable, but Barnsley had a famous cup run under previous boss Simon Davey, and they will be keen to add Burnley to their list of recent Premier League scalps. But Burnley's second string know that this is their chance to impress manager Owen Coyle and they should be too good for a side who look likely to be relegated this season unless they improve markedly.

Prediction: Barnsley 1-3 Burnley

This article was written for FansOnline Burnley.

Monday, 21 September 2009

Who should write the England 2010 World Cup song?

So, the other week, Fabio Capello and his men completed qualifying for next summer’s football World Cup in South Africa with a simple win over Croatia. And now the uninteresting bit (qualifying for the thing) is out of the way, we can look forward to the World Cup Finals, the best part of which, of course, are the football songs.

Embrace did the last official offering with the turgid World At Your Feet, and the Enemy are the first band to throw their hat into the ring, with lead singer Tom Clarke telling the Sun: “I’d like to get Peter Crouch to rap. We’d let him to his robot dance too. I reckon Wayne Rooney could be an angry rapper. We’d do it just so we could say, ‘We’ve recorded the official England song’.”

Valiant reasons indeed from the Coventry band…

Obviously a Three Lions re-re-re-re-release is inevitable and Keef Allen might be persuaded to reform Fat Les with Alex James of Blur, but who else might be in contention? Noel Gallagher might see it as an ideal opportunity to launch his solo career. Or Liam might get his remaining bandmates together and release something new as Oasis. Elbow know their way around a big chorus and could be tempted to give it a go.

Or there could be someone less obvious. Morrissey could put the murmurings of him being a racist to bed at last by becoming a figurehead for English football fans. Radiohead could do something typically uplifting and perfect for terrace-chanting. Girls Aloud could team up with Xenomania to record a pop opus that would blast away the opposition.

What would you like to see become England’s official World Cup song? Let us know below.

This article was written for The Music Magazine.