BRITS 2016: Live Updates

22:14: Adele brings this year’s lacklustre BRIT awards ceremony to a close. It was of course inevitable when Adele released ’25’ back in November, she would dominate music charts and ceremonies over the coming 12 months. Tonight sadly is another nail in the coffin for the BRIT awards which continues to get more tame year on year. Not even cheeky chappies Ant & Dec could save this year’s lame show. Safe performances and pre-scripted acceptance speeches don’t wash with me. Credit where credit’s due, Adele has played a huge part in British music over the last 12 months but so have many other artists. The last two and a half hours have felt more like a celebration of Adele’s life rather than a celebration of British music. Let’s hope there’s more booze fuelled incidents to report on next year rather than this tame affair.

22:12: My money’s on Jack Garratt to pick up next year’s Best British Male award. You heard it here first.

22:08: Surprise surprise Adele’s ’25’ picks up the BRITs ‘Album of The Year’. A foregone conclusion to a pretty uneventful evening. Bring back Madonna, all is forgiven.

22:05: The Weeknd rivalling Jess Glynne for worst haircut of the evening. ‘The Hills’ is great though and this performance proving why he’s had such a successful 12 months.

22:00: As IF Adele didn’t win an award. Good for One Direction winning Best Video for ‘Drag Me Down’. Shouldn’t Louis be changing nappies though? And where are the other two members of 1D?

21:47: Heartfelt speech about Bowie by Gary Oldman, if a little lengthy, followed by a musical tribute featuring “the future of music” (in Bowie’s words) Lorde. Whilst I might not agree with his sentiment, she is doing a good job of proving just how incredible David Bowie was. A fitting tribute for such an influential and groundbreaking artist.

21:39: The BRITs honouring David Bowie is about the most sensible thing they’ve done all night. A dramatic but moving tribute to Bowie from Annie Lennox and no question that he should be honoured with the ‘British Icon’ award.

21:30: Is there any point voting for this Best Video category? We all know Adele is destined to win. Also, WHY is Jessie J nominated? She stopped being relevant a long time ago.

21:26: Little Mix lightening up proceedings following Adele bawling her eyes out. A different spin on hit ‘Black Magic’ proves that they’re probably one of the best girl bands to come out of this country for a long time. Singing, skimpy outfits and choreographed danced routines seems to be the ‘perfect recipe’ for a chart topping girl group. Not sure about the tribal routine though.

21:23: Adele winning the ‘Global Success Award’. Probably deserved, but we’ve all seen enough of her for one night. Yet another acceptance speech from that very distinctive (read: annoying) voice of hers, this time getting a bit emotional, no doubt earning her a few more headlines for tomorrow. She can do no wrong at this awards ceremony it seems.

21:20: Didn’t expect Catfish & The Bottlemen to win Best British Breakthrough. Thought Jess Glynne or James Bay were almost guaranteed it. Well deserved though and a nice short acceptance speech that maybe others could learn from.

21:17: Highlight of the night is without a doubt the unexpected appearance from Drake. His dance moves have certainly improved from that ‘Hotline Bling’ video. Very raunchy!

21:13: Nice to see a bit of ‘Consideration’ from Rihanna’s new album ‘Anti’ getting an outing before going into lead single ‘Work’. Still no idea what on earth she is going on about. Absolute drivel.

21:08: Turns out the half naked lady from earlier was supposed to be a BRIT award. Clearly lost on me.

21:05: Unsurprisingly Biebs picks up the award for ‘Best International Artist’. Despite his philosophical acceptance speech, he seems to be the only artist tonight so far tonight to not take his award for granted.

21:04: Are Major Lazer the first people to face the right way when presenting an award? Definitely the first and probably only act to open with wagwan.

20:59: Really don’t understand how James Bay won Best British Male. Such an average performance.

20:55: Coldplay pick up Best British Group. Well deserved for Chris Martin’s humorous acceptance speech if nothing else. Would have been nice to see Foals pick up the award but this is the commercial BRIT awards after all.

20:45: Adele wins Best British single for ‘Hello’. Unsurprising given how big the song was but boring and predictable as far as the BRIT awards go. It almost feels as if the whole night is catered towards her. Multiple awards and no doubt that big finale performance. Loads of hype surrounding her but is she really worthy of all these awards? Hopefully she doesn’t win again so we don’t have to hear her speaking voice again.

20:44: Impossible not to love Ant & Dec. By far the best thing about the show so far.

20:41: Jess Glynne medley. Potentially the worst hair in music. She also has the worst fashion sense. However, her music is actually quite good and she’s got a cracking live voice.

20:40: Don’t really know why a half naked lady appeared in front of Ant & Dec then.

20:38: Did Tame Impala win that because they were the only band in attendance? The best of a very poor category. U2? Really?

20:28: James Bay really needs to get a new hat. On a serious note, James Bay has hardly been the Best British male of the last year though has he?

20:27: Kylie presenting Best British Male. Realistically the only time she’ll ever be on the BRITs stage again.

20:25: That jacket is still looking HOT.

20:22: Bieber ruins it when he speaks. He’s ditched James Bay too to perform ‘Sorry’. Without a doubt one of the best songs from last year.

20:20: Who would have thought a year ago it would have been cool to like Bieber? His jacket is almost as good as ‘Love Yourself’. James Bay getting in on the action too with his rolled up sleeves.

20:12: Talking of One Direction here are Louis & Liam for Best British Female. No surprises that Adele won, especially given the rest of the females in the category. Ant & Dec alluding to Adele’s infamous cut off speech from a few years ago has easily been the highlight of a rather tame BRIT awards so far.

20:11: Expecting Adele to clear up tonight. One Direction should win Best Video though for ‘Drag Me Down’.

20:05: On to the music and Coldplay kick off the show with ‘Hymn For The Weekend’. A slick performance from the band. Plenty of confetti as ever.

20:01: Already making light of last year’s infamous cape incident, Ant & Dec get this year’s BRIT awards off to a cracking start. The less said about that electronic opening, though, the better. What an absolute waste of time.

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Two For Tunesday: 23rd February 2016

Catfish & The Bottlemen – Soundcheck

“I feel like the last album was the support band, or even the soundcheck and this one’s the headliner,” Van McCann said in regards to Catfish & The Bottlemen’s forthcoming second album. The band have released teaser track ‘Soundcheck’, the first new material since their critically acclaimed debut album ‘The Balcony’.

On first listen ‘Soundcheck’ certainly lives up to its billing of being louder and more brash than anything off the group’s first record. ‘Soundcheck’ is the sound of Catfish experimenting, broadening their musical horizons but maintaining the rawness of their original sound. It’s an exciting step forward for a band that look set to continue to build on the hype and success they’ve already become accustomed too.

Jake Bugg – On My One

Whereas Jake Bugg’s self-titled debut album received many plaudits, it was follow up ‘Shangri La’ that really grabbed my attention. Following intensive touring of the album, Bugg took a break last year, before returning to the studio to begin work on its follow up. Last week Bugg released ‘On My One’, the first taster from his forthcoming third album.

“I’m just a poor boy from Nottingham, I had my dreams but in this world they are gone,” Bugg sings in this slow, laid back number. At just over two minutes in length, ‘On My One’ doesn’t give too much away but is decent enough and further proof that Bugg is continuing to evolve as a musician.

Rihanna – Anti

rihanna-album-cover

Home to possibly the worst album campaign for some time, Rihanna’s ‘Anti’ was finally unleashed to the world last month, albeit initially for free via TiDAL. The question is, however, following over a year of build up, was the album actually worth the wait, and can anyone actually understand the Barbadian singer? 

Perhaps most notable on first glance at ‘Anti’ is the omission of all three of last year’s promotional singles; ‘FourFiveSeconds’, ‘Bitch Better Have My Money’ and ‘American Oxygen’. The good news, however, is that actual lead single ‘Work’, doesn’t set the precedent for the rest of the record. 

Opener ‘Consideration’ is one of the album’s most fascinating tracks, a curveball that sets the tone of the album nicely. ‘James Joint’ acts almost as an interlude than a song itself, whilst the 80s disco vibe of ‘Kiss It Better’ is about as commercial as ‘Anti’ gets. It’s Rihanna’s surprise cover of Tame Impala’s ‘New Person, Same Old Mistakes’ however, which is the record’s defining moment. Re-titled ‘Same Ol’ Mistakes’, Rihanna’s stamp on the track is even trippier than the original. ‘Desperado’, ‘Love On The Brain’ and the Florence + The Machine sampling ‘Goodnight Gotham’ act as other album highlights, whereas ‘Work’ really is the album’s only weak moment. 

Given its tiresome build up and its messy single releases, I was all ready to hate ‘Anti’. Like most, I’d written it off before I’d even heard it. However, Rihanna has surprised us all by producing one of the year’s most exciting and versatile records. Of course it would have been relatively easy for her to release another album full of club bangers, but that’s far too straight-forward for an artist of Rihanna’s nature. On ‘Anti’, Rihanna has gone completely left-field, throwing everyone off the scent and in doing so, has produced the most consistent and enjoyable record of her career thus far. There are only a handful of artists that could take a 3 year break from music and remain this relevant and be as prominent in the charts as Rihanna has, especially given such a risky release strategy. Despite the initial criticism, all things considered, Rihanna is back and is doing just fine.

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Two For Tunesday: 16th February 2016

Rudimental – Rumour Mill 

Featuring vocals from Anne-Marie and Will Heard, Rumour Mill is the next track to be lifted from Rudimental’s ‘We The Generation’ album, which went to No.1 back in October of last year. 

The song strays from Rudimental’s usual drum and bass style and opts for a slightly more mainstream approach. Vocalists Anne-Marie and Will Heard take turns on the verses before combining together for the song’s chorus. The distinct sound of Rudimental trumpets are present throughout and, despite being catchy enough, ‘Rumour Mill’ lacks the firepower that previous Rudimental singles have possessed. 

Travis – 3 Miles High

Scottish outfit Travis release ‘3 Miles High’, the second single to be taken from their forthcoming 8th studio album ‘Everything At Once’ due for release at the end of April. 

Whereas the album’s title track strayed from Travis’ usual formula, ‘3 Miles High’  is the perfect slice of guitar filled pop that we’ve come to expect from Travis over a career spanning more than two decades. Whilst Travis’ early work remains their best, ‘3 Miles High’ is heaps better than anything off the group’s 2013 album ‘Where We Stand’ and should invest interest in the band’s forthcoming album. The track’s video, directed by frontman Fran Healy and shot in his home of Berlin, sees the group hoisted on to the torsos of strongman athletes in adult-sized baby harnesses and walked around the city. The video is all very silly but maintains the band’s sense of humour, which has been present throughout their very decorated career.

TWO FOR TUNESDAY: 9th February 2016

Lukas Graham – 7 Years

Lukas Graham has seemingly come out of nowhere as he heads for No.1 this week with his breakthrough single ‘7 Years’.

Originating from Denmark, Lukas Graham’s ‘7 Years’ recalls the singers childhood along with his hopes and dreams. It details smoking weed aged just 11 as well as looking forward to the future. “I couldn’t go any further than 60 because my father died at 61,” Graham, 27, has said. ‘7 Years’ is highly emotive and catchy throughout and would be well deserving of the No.1 spot this week, should it cling on to its midweek position. ‘7 Years’ is lifted from the ‘Lukas Graham’ album, due out at the end of next month.

Foals – Birch Tree

‘What Went Down’ was, in my opinion, the best record of 2015. Ahead of the band’s headline arena shows which start later this week, Foals release ‘Birch Tree’, the third single from the LP.

‘Birch Tree’ is all about the nostalgia of the place you grew up in and is both wonderfully laid back and catchy. Speaking about the track, lead singer Yannis Philippakis said: “This was written when me and Jimmy were hungover in Utrecht, onstage doing a soundcheck. It felt kind of consoling at the time. Then we worked on it in Oxford, then I got really into this boxy old drum machine, and so the kind of hip-hop quality of the groove came from that. It feels summery to me, it has a sense of what West Coast music should be.” The accompanying video, whilst simplistic, manages to cover the essence of the track perfectly. Another triumph from one of the UK’s most exciting bands.

Beyoncé Does A Beyoncé

Beyoncé did a Beyoncé and dropped the video for her new track ‘Formation’ without any warning last night.

The video comes just a week after Coldplay released their ‘Hymn For The Weekend’ promo featuring Beyoncé and just a day before the pair headline the Super Bowl half time show. The track itself verges on dull, however, and lacks any sort of tune or rhythm. It’s a far cry from hits such as ‘Drunk In Love’ and ‘Single Ladies’ and not a track worthy of lead single status.

‘Formation’ is available to stream and download for free via Tidal right now, whilst Beyoncé’s new album is reportedly complete and could be released at any given moment.

You can watch the ‘Formation’ video, featuring Beyoncé’s daughter Blu Ivy below:

The Last Shadow Puppets’ Beautiful New Artwork

The Last Shadow Puppets have just revealed the artwork for their second album ‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect’ and it’s glorious.

shadow art

Out on April 1st, the supergroup, consisting of Alex Turner and Miles Kane, have written and recorded 11 brand new tracks. The album’s track-listing is as follows:

1 Aviation

2 Miracle Aligner

3 Dracula Teeth

4 Everything You’ve Come To Expect

5 The Element Of Surprise

6 Bad Habits

7 Sweet Dreams, TN

8 Used To Be My Girl

9 She Does The Woods

10 Pattern

11 The Dream Synopsis

‘Everything You’ve Come To Expect’ features lead single ‘Bad Habits’ which was released last month.