Jonathan Hatchman@JonHatchman picks out the sounds and stories that have been making headlines over the last seven days… and presents them all as a handy playlist
The grandest story to have emerged from the world of music across the past seven days, undoubtedly, concerns the brand new Band Aid 30 single. Meanwhile, in other news – Damon Albarn played two career spanning shows at London’s Royal Albert Hall at the weekend, featuring a Blur reunion of sorts, as Graham Coxon joined the frontman for an encore, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds revealed the B-side to new single In The Heat Of Moment, as well as returning Grime pioneer Dizzee Rascal unveiling the video for new single Pagans. And to top it all off, iconic shoegazers – Ride have announced their reformation and plans for a World tour set to take place in 2015.
Albeit having been criticized by the likes of Damon Albarn and Adele, this year’s Band Aid Christmas single has already become the highest selling single of 2014, in less than one week of release. Featuring an all-star line up comprised of the likes of One Direction, Sam Smith, Bastille, Rita Ora, and more. As well as Bob Geldof, Midge Ure and Bono, of course, to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the much loved Christmas hit, with this year’s proceeds going towards an Ebola charity.
Following the release of his highly lauded Everyday Robots earlier this year, Damon Albarn played a two triumphant sets at London’s Royal Albert Hall last weekend. Gaining critical acclaim for his solo material renditions, alone, yet as a special treat for both of the nights’ audiences, Albarn was joined by a multitude of special guests. Featuring Brian Eno for a rendition of Heavy Seas Of Love, Kano for Gorillaz track Clint Eastwood and De La Soul for Fee Good Inc. Yet most notable of all was the appearance of Graham Coxon, for the show’s first encore, providing the closest thing that London has seen to a Blur reunion since the summer of 2012. As expected a stream of fan-filmed videos have hit the Internet, so here’s one of the better clips of Albarn and Coxon performing Blur hit Tender.
In other Brit-Pop news, Noel Gallagher and his High Flying Birds have unveiled the B-side for their new single In The Heat Of Moment, which will be taken from The Chief’s new album Chasing Yesterday which is due out in March, bridging the gap since the his 2011 solo debut. And while In The Heat Of The Moment provides a further insight into Gallagher’s post-Oasis maturation, its B-side – Do The Damage – is a punchy number that, dare we say it, could have even worked as a Definitely Maybe B-side, perhaps.
Also working towards his explosive comeback Dizzee Rascal has, this week, unveiled the video for his brand new song Pagans. Following a controversial Halloween themed music video for Couple Of Stacks, appearing on Halloween and then vanishing just three days later, the grime pioneer has once again demonstrated his flair for providing the world with cinematic music videos. This time around, Dizzee plays a Shaolin warrior that embarks upon a journey to the top, featuring a lyrical delivery that’s even sharper than his Samurai sword in this clip that’s most definitely unsuitable for the feint of heart.
Following fellow former Creation label mates The Jesus & Mary Chain’s return, Ride have also announced plans to return, set to play a string of shows including Barcelona’s Primavera Sound, London’s Field Day, and a handful of arena shows around the UK, beginning with a date at Glasgow’s Barrowland Ballroom. All that’s needed now is some new music to surface from the iconic Shoegazing pioneers.
Over the past year, Bipolar Sunshine have been setting the bar for a distinctive new sound that fuses vital elements of R&B, Pop and Soul, dusted with a sprinkling of Indie Rock that seeps into the mix. Now with a lengthy UK tour on the way for the spring of next year, paving the way for their awaited debut album, Bipolar Sunshine have, this week, unveiled a new single – Daydreamer – that features the band’s strongest pop leanings to date, collaborating with SBTRKT and producer Fraser T Smith. Projecting a sublime vocal aesthetic, an uplifting delivery, that’s become typical of the band, and most importantly: a chorus so vast that it sounds as though it was engineered especially for the summer’s music festival main stages.