T in the Park playlists

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 at 2:14pm

As festival season continues, our attention this weekend turns to Perth and Kinross, Scotland, for T in the Park. If you like drunk Scottish people, Iron Bru, haggis or any other slightly xenophobic stereotypes, then T is the place for you this weekend.

The event, now in its sixteenth year, boasts one of the strongest line-ups of the entire summer with the likes of Eminem giving a rare performance, hip-hop heavyweight Jay-Z and festival favourites Kasabian, Muse and Stereophonics.

If you can't make it this year we have the next best thing; a selection of playlists to give you the T in the Park experience from the comfort of your own home.

T in the Park 10 (Friday)
SMP user christopherhewitt has put together playlists featuring the best artists from all three nights at T, beginning, logically, with Friday. This playlist has multiple tracks from all the big players on the opening day including space rockers Muse, legendary ravers Faithless and, fresh from one of the most succesful sets of Glastonbury '10, Florence + The Machine.

T in the Park 10 (Saturday)
Saturday rolls around and, if you've had any sleep, you're probably nursing your first hangover of the weekend. What you need is some good music. Sorted. Click here for Slim Shady himself, Eminem, local lad Paolo Nutini, and Stereophonics. Away from the main stage there are class acts such as The Black Keys, The Coral and Julian Casablancas.

T in the Park 10 (Sunday)
The final day of T in the Park 2010 doesn't disappoint either. Arguably the best British band of the moment Kasabian headline the main stage with some bloke called Jay-Z on before them, legends Madness play the Radio 1/NME stage and there are also sets from The Cribs, Empire of the Sun and Bombay Bicycle Club.

T In The Park 2010
If you'd prefer all the big names from T in the Park 2010 in one handy playlist, then we have that for too courtesy of losthippo. Just click here, turn it up, and enjoy.

Guide to T in the Park ‘09
Get in the mood for this years happenings or reminisce about your T '09 experience with this playlist featuring all the best acts from last year. Franz Ferdinand, Kings Of Leon, Mr. Scruff, The Horrors, Bloc Party and Blur showcase why T in the Park is one of the most popular festivals of the summer.

Gary Evans

Album review: Kylie - Aphrodite

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 at 12:47pm

Kylie - Aphrodite

Despite beginning her career in the 1980s, Kylie is perhaps the perfect encapsulation of a consummate 21st century pop star. She obviously looks the part, she's got the ability to generate the necessary hype (who can forget 'those' gold hot pants), and most importantly she has a nack for snaring the hottest producers and songwriters of the pop epoch.

On Aphrodite this means super-producer Stuart Price who has previously twiddled the knobs for the likes of New Order, The Killers and Madonna, X-Factor stage stormer Calvin Harris, dreary posh-rocker Tim Rice-Oxley from Keane, Scissor Sisters' Jake Shears, superstar DJ and Swedish house mafioso Sebastian Ingrosso, I could go on.

The caliber of her cohorts speaks for itself, but how does the album fair from this collective of chart troublers? Pretty well, actually. Lead single All The Lovers sums up perfectly what the album is about with Price's mid-paced electro backing and Kylie's lightweight but blithe lyrics. It's a similar story with Calvin Harris' track Too Much, but with a little extra kick courtesy of the Scotsmans driving house synths.

Tim Rice-Oxley's track in comparison feels a little sluggish as one the most down-tempo and purposeless tracks on the album but business soon picks up again with the Ingrosso produced number, Cupid Boy, which grabs the house vibe and runs with it, introducing big dance floor friendly breakdowns and the appropriate 'swoosh' noises.

This is not the most substantial music you will ever, but then who expects that from Kylie. On Aphrodite she's done what she does best; uplifting, carefree, dance-pop, created with the help of all the right names in all the right places. 7/10

Gary Evans

Album review: Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 at 11:23am

Big Boi - Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty

What is actually going on with Outkast? Are they still together, have they split, do they now solely make music separately but then stick it together as a double album? Who knows, who cares, because both as unit and individually they have regularly produced some of the most creative, experimental, and best, hip-hop of recent years.

Big Boi is undoubtedly the lesser known Outkaster - who can compete with a partner that dresses like a physcadelic golfer from outer space - but he is by no means musically inferior. Speakerboxxx, although basically a dirty south party banger of an album, was still far superior in imagination than most of Antwan Patton's peers.

But this is his first official solo album, therefore offering him the freedom to write without the Outkast moniker hanging over his head. And perhaps this freedom got the better of him as he purportedly began recordings for this is album in 2004 but after problems with his, and Outkasts, record label refusing to release the album and then preventing him including any numbers that feature André 3000, it has finally been given its release on Def Jam. You still following? Good. Let's get to the music.

Well, the elements are as eclectic as ever; funk, jazz, rock, electro, R&B and, er, a choir and orchestra (General Patton). The Train Part 2 is the most Speakerboxxx-esc track featuring laid back soul crooning over BB's expeditious rhymes. Tangerine is Nirvana guitars infused with funk and dirty southern rapping.

The album closes with Back Up Plan, perhaps the stand-out track, with its catchy female vocal hook and old school scratching showing that Big Boi is equally as equiped to produce radio friendly hip-hop as he is with his more left-field productions.

Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son of Chico Dusty is one of the most inventive hip-hop albums you will ever hear and puts the repetitive girls, guns and bling hip-pop nosence that constantly troubles the charts to shame. Now if only we could get Big Boi and Andre 3000 together on one record imagine what they could achieve. 7/10

Gary Evans

Album review: Mystery Jets - Serotonin

Wednesday, July 7th, 2010 at 10:09am

Mystery Jets - Serotonin

The music business is a paradoxical microcosm - you know, a bit flaky and that. While Jedwood (those unsettling little Irish fellas from the X-Factor) sign with Universal the day after being dropped by Sony Music, Mystery Jets are left without a deal after the release of the brilliant Twenty One.

Things normally seem to sort themselves out though; Mystery Jets have released Serotonin on Rough Trade while you can expect to see Jedwood stacking shelves in a supermarket near you, soon - probably coming in a little late and then moving products to the wrong place at the wrong time.

No such problem for MJ though. After the marked musical progression from their solid debut album Making Dens to the dazzling, Erol Alkan produced, Twenty One, their latest effort shows further ambition but not in the 'let's make an abstract concept album' sense.

Instead, it seems that Mystery Jets have chart ambitions judging from the structured three-minute indie-pop formula most tracks follow. The 80s synth pop explored on Twenty One continues here with the melodic ballad It's Too Late, tale of heartbreak The Girl Is Gone and title track Serotonin which has flashy Euro dance effects throughout. What keeps all of this from sounding like a car crash in The Human League's recording studio is Blaine Harrison's delicate quivering voice, heartfelt lyrics and the sheer joy these tracks organically exude.

Every track on this album could be a single, they are so captivating. Just when you think Dreaming Of Another World is the perfect, jocular, summer soundtrack, along comes Lady Gray and somehow surpasses it. "And if life deals you lemons / You make lemonade" wails Harrison. It reads awfully, but I defy you not to smile when you hear it.

Indie-pop undeniably has negative connotations (The Wombats anyone?) but not when Mystery Jets do it. This is an unashamedly 80s influenced pop album and it is done masterfully. The Eel Pie Island band have created a contender for album of the summer, and probably the year. 8/10

Gary Evans

Album review: Rusko - OMG

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 9:59am


Rusko -OMG

Meet Christopher Mercer, aka Rusko. If you are in any way into dubstep you will know him as the hard-partying poster boy of stoner-step, famed for his electric DJ sets. If you not will probably find OMG a confusing cacophony of body shuddering bass, beeps and genre bending.

Dubstep has had a meteoric rise to prominence in the past few years after being championed by the likes of Annie Mac on Radio 1 and attracting attention stateside from superstars who want the one of the genres hottest properties twiddling the knobs on their music (Chase and Status Rihanna for example). However, with the exception of Burial's Mercury Prize nomination for Untrue, there has yet to be a major breakthrough dubstep album. So, can Rusko change all that?

The answer is, probably not. Credit where credit is due, Rusko has almost single-handedly strived to make dubstep a much chirpier (not a common adjective for dubstep), party friendly, strand of electronic music. As where Burial is ensconced in dark, reflective, drones and tones, our man from Leeds is making his music more accessible - something which is not popular with the dubstep formalist.

OMG is ultimately a victim of this goal as tracks invariably end up as watered-down electro-dubstep mashups. Album opener Woo Boost highlights his intentions perfectly, opening with a wall of squeals, sirens and synths. From here on in Rusko defies you to not have as good a time as he does by throwing everything but and the kitchen sink at your ears such as UK garage banger Hold On, old school rave-up Kumon Kumon or the hype hip-step of Scarewearl. OMG is an album from the most modern of electronic artists and there is definitely a place from Rusko in electronic music, but where? 6/10

Gary Evans

Album review: Kula Shaker - Pilgrims Progress

Tuesday, July 6th, 2010 at 9:17am

Kula Shaker - Pilgrims Progress

I've always liked Kula Shaker - a very unpopular opinion in the music press, with most of my friends, and also with anyone who overhears my iPod judging by the looks of disdain the jangling sitars receive. But really, what's actually wrong with them? I know the whole Indian and Hindu thing was a bit annoying, and there was those comments about the Nazis, and the lead singer's name is Crispian, but apart from that what's not to like. K was a good album, at the time the fastest selling debit since Definitely Maybe, and their cover of Hush is a classic.

Since K, however, it has been a capricious time on the good ship Shaker. They were unable to replicate their debut's success and after a few disappointing albums, several splits and reformations, and one of their members doing one to join Oasis, they're back and sounding good.

Pilgrims Progress is unmistakably KS but in several new guises. Figure It Out is textbook psychedelic Shaker complete with Indian Sanskrit, Only Love is as good as anything on K and things get a little strange on several other tracks but in the best possible way. Peter Pan RIP is bizarre but beautiful, "Gather 'round / This is the tombstone / Of Peter Pan R.I.P," begins Mills, "Peter Pan / He won't come back / They chained his feet /And broke his back" he laments.

Modern Blues and Barbara Ella highlight the band's love of all thing 60s, both are supernatant but vibrant. Elsewhere the album is tightly produced and free-flowing. There are all kinds of crazy exotic instruments and Indian spoken word moments but this is Kula Shaker after all, would you expect anything less?

A solid album, with varying influences and sounds. Whether it will ever be cool to like KS remains to be seen. 8/10

Gary Evans

Singles Club

Monday, July 5th, 2010 at 8:16pm

Interpol - Lights
The sharp suited, chain-smoking, New Yorkers are back, minus one Carlos Dengler. After completion of the bands fourth album the man with the most decumbent bass since Peter Hook announced he was moving on to be replaced by freelance guitar slinger Dave Pajo. So, with the addition of Secret Machines frontman Brandon Curtis to their live line-up, the reshuffle is complete but what about the music? Lights will offer no major surprises to Interpol devotees. It is wrought, driving and lustrous. Paul Banks vocals are as caustic as ever, bound in Interpol's heraldry razor-sharp riffs. A spectacular return that leaves us chomping at the bit for the new album.

The Futureheads - I Can Do That
The 'Heads eponymous debut was one of the best albums from the new wave of indie that surged through the middle part of this decade. Their follow-up, News & Tributes, was a marked progression and, although not particularly commercially successful, it was very well received critically. After the inevitable major label split, their past two albums have been released on their own label, Nul Records, and have seen them return to an almost formulaic Futureads imprint of three-minute post-punk pop with big sing-a-long choruses, which is where we find them with I Can Do That - a happy caricatured amalgamation of many previous outings. But, as The Futureheads are one of the best and most likeable bands in the country, this is a good thing. Plus, who else could get away with an Orville (yes the duck) impression at the end of their music.

Plan B - Prayin'
The latest release from one of the albums of the year so far, The Defamation of Strickland Banks, is Prayin'. The now constantly besuited Ben Drew has reinvented himself from grimey acoustic hip-hoper to big soul superstar and this track highlights how much of an easy transition it has been. This instalment in the tale of Strickland Banks sees him in murderous mood, "O’Lord above, if I’ve just killed a man / Let somebody, take the blame", expertly backed by his big band and crooned beautifully in his Smokey Robinson falsetto. Here's to reinvention, long may it continue.

Rusko - Hold On
Dubstep's current poster boy is Leeds born Rusko. However, Hold On sees him on an old school UK garage tip with Dirty Projectors warbler Amber Coffman providing the vocals. Christopher Mercer is known for his wild DJ sets but unfortunately he hasn't manged to translate his uninhabited live shows to record with this flat effort which no amount of twisted bottom end, beeps and distortion can save.

The Baseballs - Three Lions
After our national teams farcical performance in the World Cup it seems fitting that we should have our misery cemented with a preposterous cover by a ridiculous band, who are German of course. The Baseballs for those of you lucky enough to have never heard them are a covers band - I'm really not sure if it's a joke or not and I don't think they know either - that do terrible things to already bad music. This time however they have taken terrace classic Three Lions and butchered it beyond belief. Listen to this and you'll be sick as parrot etc etc.

Snoop Dogg - Pay Ya Dues (Snoop Dogg G-Mix)
Fresh from almost single-handedly saving a flat Gorillaz performance at Glastonbury Snoop is back with a track of his own. It's hard not to be impressed by the west coast rapper's rhymes spit over a sparse drum beat despite the obligatory hip-hop bigotry, boasting and threats of violence that characterise his lyrics. An old school track with Snoop doing what he does best over a straight forward beat, free from over production and unnecessary guest vocalists.

Gary Evans

Win iTunes Festival tickets to see Amy Macdonald & Tiffany Page

Monday, July 5th, 2010 at 1:00pm


How would you like to win 1 of 10 pairs of tickets to see Tiffany Page and Amy Macdonald performing at Camden's Roundhouse in London on 16th July as part of the iTunes Festival?

To enter all you have to do is follow the simple steps below:

1. Make sure you're a registered member. Click here to register, it only takes 10 seconds. Note, if you're not a registered member of the site then you won't be eligible to win as we won't be able to get in touch with you.

2. Leave a comment below telling us why you would like to go to see Amy and Tiffany play live. Make sure you also post your SMP username so we can contact you. We'll then pick 10 winners by random on Wednesday afternoon.

That's it! The deadline for this competition is 12 noon on Wednesday 7th July 2010. We will be contacting the 10 lucky winners via the messaging system so make sure you log into the site to pick up any messages you have.

Rules: All entrants must be over 14 years of age.

Both Tiffany and Amy have created Spotify playlists for us. Check them out below to find out a bit more about them and their musical influences.

Tiffany's Playlist

Amy's Playlist

BBC 6 Music saved!

Monday, July 5th, 2010 at 12:09pm

After the colossal outcry from fans, artists and industry insiders alike, BBC 6 Music has been given a momentary reprieve.

This morning Twitter was awash with the news that the station is to saved before reports were confirmed by the BBC.

The BBC Trust confirmed 6 Music will remain on air while more research is carried out after a massive campaign to keep the station alive.

Well done to all of those involved in saving the 6!

To celebrate, here is the best 6 Music playlists we have to offer:

BBC 6 Music Playlist - May / June Highlights
The latest and best music from BBC 6 Music featuring the amazing new tune from The Coral, 1000 Years, more mastery from LCD Soundsystem with I Can Change, the brilliant Schoolin’ by Everything Everything and loads more dead good music you will really love.

BBC 6 Music’s top 100 tunes of 2009
A plalylist showcasing why BBC 6 Music is so important with their top tracks of '09. Bat For Lashes, Eels, Frank Turner, Jamie T, Julian Casablancas, Morrissey and much, much more make up this quality 'list.

BBC 6 Music Ex-Playlist Compilation (Updated Weekly)
More mega music from Gil Scott-Heron, The xx, Paul Weller and a whole host of others.

Long live BBC 6 Music!

Gary Evans

Playdio playlists

Monday, July 5th, 2010 at 9:45am

Introducing Playdio, a brilliant new website which has introduced an interesting way of producing playlists. As the name suggests, they have creatively crafted half playlist, half radio shows. So basically you get all the best chitchat, banter and craic that comes with a radio show interspersed with great music from Spotify. However, you also have the option to skip the bits you don't want to listen to.

Read more about Playdio and what they do here.

You can check out the playlists the have put together below.

Phill and Phil Episode 1
The first episode from Never Mind The Buzzcocks legend Phill Jupitus and sidekick Phil Wilding who offer witty banter on everything from smoothie Nazis to trying not to swear. The music isn't bad either with tunes from the likes of Gang Of Four, The Hold Steady, Dr. Feelgood, Paul Weller and much, much more. Give it whirl, you might just like it.

The Soul of David Bowie
A brilliant program looking at the influence of soul on one of the greatest pop stars of all time. Mark Webster presents with an awesome selection of music such as George Benson, Little Richard and Donna Summer.

The Carriage Clock
A brilliant and eclectic show featuring poetry from beat hero Jack Kerouac, jazz from John Coltrane and hip-hop from Mos Def. An awesomely diverse program well worthy of your time.

Peter Curran Playdio Show 1
Peter Curran's Playdio show plays everything from rave and inde to rock 'n' roll and soul. Check out classics from The Chemical Brothers, Joy Division, Bill Withers and The Rolling Stones.

Wah Wah Family Trees #1
Wah Wah 45s offers a selection of soul cuts that are connected to the record label. Click here for Colman Brothers, Hardkandy, Speeka and many more.

Talc Episode One
Tunes selected by soul funksters Talc include Empire Of The Sun with Walking On A Dream, Kraftwerk's The Model and Superman Lover by Johnny ‘Guitar’ Watson. Check out the band's own music here.

GD’s Bitesize Bonus
'If music be the food of love, let’s get fat' goes the tag line and with tracks from Pendulum, Prodigy and Faithless who are we to disagree.

Gary Evans