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Bring back Top of the Pops?

In these troubled economic times, we’re all having to adjust to a pre-boom reality. Gone are the days of poaching a quail’s egg to accompany your morning fry-up; no, now we boil a shoe. An old shoe. That we found on the street. On the foot of a homeless man. Yes, that’s the 21st Century. But the silver lining is that we take pleasures in the simpler things in life. For instance, I enjoy reading Ally Ross’ TV column in the Sun every Wednesday. But I enjoy reading it for free in WH Smith and therefore not giving 30p to organisations who employ phone hackers. Win and, let’s not be coy about this, win.

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The Latitude interviews – I Am Kloot

Many people were delighted to see John Bramwell, better known as I Am Kloot, gain some long-overdue recognition last year. The Mercury-nominated Sky At Night was a continuation of their darkly attractive worldview, more fully realised and hinting at the possibility of a larger audience to match their critical acclaim. We caught up with John to ask him his thoughts on the band’s appearance at the` Latitude Festival.

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In the City 2010

In the City was the late Tony Wilson’s gift to the British music industry, featuring guest speakers and a whole host of unsigned bands competing to be awarded the unofficial title of ‘boys or girls most likely to.’ This year’s event is in Manchester and features panellists including Elbow’s Guy Garvey and The Charlatans‘ Tim Burgess. It runs from the 13th to 15th and this year focuses on technology.

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The perils of patronage

During the recent Mercury Music prize press blitz, you’d have been forgiven for thinking John Bramwell, better known as I Am Kloot, was only in the running because he was pals with Elbow’s Guy Garvey. The media, looking for an angle, decided the comparision between the struggling indie band and the massively-successful indie band was the hook on the story. Garvey, for his part, saw a chance to get his mate some attention and commendably did his utmost to promote him. After all, he’d been there himself during the ‘Chris Martin’s favourite songwriter’ period. But does it actually help in the long-term?

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Elbow and the idea of the album

It may be archaic and even somewhat quaint to younger readers, but musicians used to spend a long time deciding the make-up of an album. Deciding what songs were selected wasn’t simply about which ones were best; many acts often left storming tracks go out as b-sides because they didn’t fit the concept of the album as a whole. Oasis’ ‘Masterplan’, R.E.M.’s ‘Ages of You’ and The Smiths magnum opus ‘How Soon Is Now?’ all made their way to the public as back-up to a single rather than an album track.

Similarly, it was important to get the track listing right. The album had to flow, it couldn’t be loaded up with the singles at the front, it had to be organic. Why? Because the audience would be listening to it as a whole, as one collective work of art.
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The Songs That Saved Your Life – The 00s: What Now?

ColdplayIn the final part of our look at decade-defining works, we shift gears slightly and look at what the current era will be remembered for musically. Frankly, we’re gutted John and Edward won’t release a record before the qualifying period ends.

So, the 00s, or the noughties, or whatever you chose to call them. What will they be remembered for? Iraq? Black President? Economic catastrophe? ‘Jenny from the Block’? Continue reading

Mercury winner not benefitting from usual sales boost

Debelle wins MercuryDespite her Mercury Prize win Speech Debelle’s debut album is struggling to make an impact in the charts, according to unofficial midweek figures.

Speech Therapy is showing no signs of the ‘Elbow effect’, slipping to below 90 after reaching 65 in the album chart last week. Though calling it ‘the Elbow effect’ would indicate it was a new thing last year, when in fact most Mercury winners have traditionally made a few bob in sales in the immediate aftermath of their win.

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