Tuesday, 31 January 2012


New mini-album “Narrow” out March 19th 2012
Tour dates announced April 2012

The expression ‘an old soul in a young body’ has been attached to Anja Plaschg, aka Soap&Skin, more than once and as she releases her new mini-album, Narrow, entirely self-played and produced, she again sounds wise beyond her years. The teenage wunderkind whose 2009 debut album Lovetune for Vacuum charted across Europe attempted to look twice her age in the cover portrait, and if she didn’t quite pull it off she certainly made a convincing widow in weeds.

But since her initial success Plaschg has come to know real sadness, not just its verisimilitude. Her father died suddenly of a stroke in July 2009 and her response, the traumatic, cathartic wail ‘Vater’, is as openly emotional and intense as pop music gets, an outpouring of genuine pain in the face of death. The vocals are unsettling and eerie, while the piano-led arrangement, owing more to modern classical than run of the mill singer-songwriters, slips into appropriately dissonant and discomfiting areas. Though sung in German the emotions expressed are identifiably beyond language. Yet even this harrowing love song to a dead parent concludes with a moment of levity, a clipped note that echoes and mocks the ‘everlasting chord’ that concluded the Beatles’ ‘A Day In The Life’. It’s strangely intimate, like a little window into their relationship.

A touching and rigorously purified cover of "Voyage Voyage", a global Europop smash back in the eighties for the curiously named (and coiffed) chanteuse Desireless, follows. Soap&Skin takes what was once a melancholic example of French disko and turns it eastward, its wistfulness now turned into mittel-European gloom. Though it was a hit here untranslated, British audiences are largely unaware of just how familiar the song is in Europe, the stuff of drunken singalongs at chucking out time. Plaschg’s version makes Susanna and the Magic Orchestra’s stark reworkings of hard rock classics sound like hard rock, so bleak is it. It suits her.

‘Deathmental’, with its crashing programmed stabs and gothic lyrical imagery, offers a few minutes of genuine sonic violence. The deceptively slight lullaby "Cradlesong" might lure the listener in with its wonderfully lulling melody, yet its lyrics proffer a distressingly sleepless night. The first single ‘Wonder’ is an easier way into Plaschg’s world, a stark ballad carried by unearthly multi-tracked harmonies and a beautiful string arrangement. Next to it the gentle, brief ‘Lost’ suffers stoically while the stately, elegant ‘Boat Turns Toward The Port’, built round a loop of what sounds like an old typewriter (or perhaps a shop till), is over before a listener can decode it, otherworldly and tantalizingly out of reach. The orchestral force of the harried farewell aria ‘Big Hand Nails Down’, both intimate and expansive, cries out for a widescreen grand finale, a close-up twenty feet wide.

Still only twenty one, Plaschg still retains the fearlessness of youth, and if Narrow is more vulnerable than her debut then it’s proof that self-doubt comes with experience. The young Austrian remains a talent to be mentioned alongside Kate Bush and fellow farm girl Polly Jean Harvey.


1. Vater
2. Voyage Voyage
3. Deathmental
4. Cradlesong
5. Wonder
6. Lost
7. Boat Turns Toward The Port
8. Big Hand Nails Down

UK/ EU Tour dates now announced and on sale:

Feb 10 Vienna Arena (www.arena.co.at)
Feb 12 Berlin Volksbühne (www.volksbuehne-berlin.de)
Feb 15 Linz Posthof (www.posthof.at)
Feb 16 Graz Orpheum (www.spielstaetten.at)
Feb 19 Saint Malo La Route Du Rock Chapelle St.Sauveur (www.laroutedurock.com)
Feb 27 Munich Freiheiz (www.freiheiz.com)
Feb 28 Luxemburg Kulturfabrik (www.kulturfabrik.lu)

Apr 11 London Scala (www.scala-london.co.uk)
Apr 17 Paris Le Trabendo (www.trabendo.fr)
Apr 18 Brussels Ancienne Belgique (www.abconcerts.be)
Apr 20 Rotterdam Motel Mozaique Schouwburg (www.motelmozaique.nl)
Apr 21 Hamburg Kampnagel (www.kampnagel.de)
May 4 Dornbirn Spielboden (www.spielboden.at)

Vintage Festival

Vintage 2012 | 13-15 July | Boughton House, Northamptonshire

Whether your thing is swing, rockabilly, mod, soul, funk, disco, ska, film, art or design, or if you just want to dress up and get an authentic make-over for a day, Vintage Festival is a sensual delight, a big dressing-up box, a collector’s dream and a joyous creative feast for all ages. For one glamorous weekend we celebrate the music, fashion, film, art, design, dance and food from the 1920s to the 1980s that has made Britain the world’s creative and cultural hot bed.

The glorious grounds of Boughton House provide the backdrop and will transform into a multi-venue playground where, over 3 days, pass holders can ‘learn the dances’, take in specially curated live performances, exclusive DJ sets, catwalk shows, brilliantly conceived food and cocktails, or take advantage of the decade specific hair and beauty makeovers and all the wonderful vintage shopping on offer.

Tickets on sale now.

Monday, 16 January 2012

The BRIT Awards 2012 Nominees

British Male Solo Artist
Ed Sheeran
James Blake
James Morrison
Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds
Professor Green

British Female Solo Artist
Florence & the Machine
Jessie J
Kate Bush
Laura Marling

British Breakthrough Act
Anna Calvi
Ed Sheeran
Emeli Sandé
Jessie J
The Vaccines
British Group
Arctic Monkeys
Chase & Status

British Single
Adele - Someone Like You
Ed Sheeran - The A Team
Example - Changed The Way You Kissed Me
Jessie J ft Bob - Price Tag
JLS ft Dev - She Makes Me Wanna
Military Wives/Gareth Malone - Wherever You Are
Olly Murs ft Rizzle Kicks - Heart Skips A Beat
One Direction - What Makes You Beautiful
Pixie Lott - All About Tonight
The Wanted - Glad You Came

Mastercard British Album of the Year
Adele - 21
Coldplay - Mylo Xyloto
Ed Sheeran - +
Florence & The Machine - Ceremonials
PJ Harvey - Let England Shake

International Male Solo Artist
Aloe Blacc
Bon Iver
Bruno Mars
David Guetta
Ryan Adams

International Female Solo Artist
Lady Gaga

International Group
Fleet Foxes
Foo Fighters
Jay Z/ Kanye West
Lady Antebellum
Maroon 5

International Breakthrough Act
Aloe Blacc
Bon Iver
Foster The People
Lana Del Rey
Nicki Minaj

Outstanding Contribution to Music

Critics Choice
1st - Emeli Sandé
2nd - Maverick Sabre
3rd - Michael Kiwanuka

British Producer
Paul Epworth
Ethan Johns


Tuesday, 10 January 2012


Michael Kiwanuka BBC's Sound of 2012

Michael Kiwanuka was unveiled on Friday as the winner of the BBC's Sound of 2012 poll. He's just released his third EP 'Home Again', which follows on from the release of the earlier EPs 'Tell Me A Tale' (24th April 2011) & 'I'm Getting Ready' (24th July 2011).

Michael Kiwanuka Tour Dates

London (XOYO) (24/01),
Birmingham (14/02),
Brighton (15/02),
London (Islington Assembly Halls) (16/02),
Leeds (18/02),
Liverpool (19/02),
Manchester (20/02),
Newcastle (23/02),
Glasgow (24/02),
Edinburgh (25/02).



BONES’ single released Feb 20th.
Taken from the forthcoming album of the same name,
released on Feb 6th via [PIAS]

Strength comes from our bones – the knowledge that, deep down, nothing is impossible. 'Bones', the stunning new single, and album of the same name, from Young Guns, captures exactly that: it's a hymn to bravery and boldness, the defining statement so far from one of our finest bands.

‘Bones’ picks up perfectly where lead single, ‘Learn My Lesson’, left off – with it’s instant anthemnic quality and most importantly, serves as further proof that Young Guns could well be on the cusp of something very special.

The band, who recently announced a run of small intimate shows to mark the release, a tour they aptly labeled the Bare Bones Club Tour, will also tour the UK with Enter Shikari in March. The dates for both can be found below:

FEBRUARY (Bare Bones Club Tour - Headline Shows)
02: HIGH WYCOMBE Bucks University
03: LEEDS The Well
04: LIVERPOOL University Stanley Theatre
06: GLASGOW King Tuts
07: SHEFFIELD, Corporation 2
08: MANCHESTER Deaf Institute
09: NOTTINGHAM Rescue Rooms
10: LONDON Borderline (HMV Next Big Thing)
11: BRIGHTON The Haunt
12: KINGSTON, Fighting Cocks (Matinee’s at 12pm & 3pm)
13: PONTYPRIDD Muni Arts Centre
14: SALTASH Livewire
15: BATH Moles
17: DUBLIN Academy 2 (Matinee Show)
18: BELFAST Speakeasy (Matinee Show)

MARCH (w/ Enter Shikari)
17: EDINBURGH Corn Exchange
18: HULL University
22: PLYMOUTH Pavillion
23: LONDON Hammersmith Apollo

A video for ‘Bones’, directed by Tim Mattia (Biffy Clyro, The Dead Weather) will be on TV Channels and online imminently.



Friday, 6 January 2012

Enter Shikari preview

Video still revealed for new single 'Arguing with Thermometers

Enter Shikari reveal a still from their forthcoming video for the track 'Arguing with Thermometers' taken from their third album 'A Flash Flood Of Colour'- released January 16th.

The video was filmed in New York's Bronx district on a rare day off during the band's six week North American tour. 'Arguing With Thermometers' will receive its debut radio airing this Thursday - 5th Jan - from Zane Lowe who stands in for Chris Moyles on BBC Radio One's Breakfast Show this week. Keep an eye out for the video going live soon!