NME rating: **** out of 5
Buy TicketsThe Suffolk singer-songwriter returns with an album about fame and bum bleach. It’s kind of weird
Some numbers about your friend and mine, Ed Sheeran. By the time he signed a record deal at the age of 19, the Suffolk singer had already self-released three albums and six EPs. His debut album, ‘+’, unexpectedly shifted over a million copies in 2011. ‘Shape Of You’, a lead single from third studio album ‘÷’, was streamed 6,868,642 times on Spotify in a just one week. He’s popular, you know?
This hasn’t always resulted in positive reviews, though Ed’s way past caring about that. He recently told The Guardian: “I’m at the point where even if I get a one-star review for every album I released for the rest of my life, I’ll still be able to play music.” Luckily there’s no reason to test the theory. The latest Ed Sheeran album (his return after a three-year hiatus/gap yah) is a collection that, somehow, adheres to his perfect pop template… while also being quietly weird.
‘Galway Girl’ is a stomping Irish hip-hop jig that recounts dancing a merry ceilidh with the girl of your dreams while Van Morrison parps away in the background. It’s all too seldom you can write that kind of sentence about an A-list artist who hangs out with Taylor Swift and has penned tunes for the likes of Justin Bieber and The Weeknd. ‘New Man’ is a crisp, Latin-themed R&B number that makes fun of an ex-girlfriend’s new boyfriend who has a bleached bumhole (we’re not entirely sure how Ed knows this). ‘Eraser’ is an acoustic rap banger on which Sheeran manages to moan about superstardom (“money is the root of all evil and fame is hell”) without sounding like a right bloody berk.
There’s nothing here with the incongruous sex appeal of ‘Sing’, everyman Ed’s saucy 2014 collaboration with Pharrell Williams, and the rap verses on ‘Eraser’ indicate Suffolk’s finest has less than wicked flow. But his latest album is as likeable as he seems in interviews: assured but unassuming and sometimes hard to fathom. There’s probably a mathematical formula to Ed Sheeran’s success, but he’s the only one who can crunch the numbers.
Release Date: March 3, 2017
Record Label: Atlantic
The full list of nominations for the Ivor Novello Awards 2017 has been unveiled – honouring the likes of Adele, Coldplay, Skepta, Nick Cave and many more.
The prestigious awards ceremony, arranged by BASCA in association with PRS for Music, is now entering its 62nd years of ‘celebrating, honouring and rewarding excellence in songwriting and composing’.
This year’s list sees Michael Kiwanuka, Nick Cave and Laura Mvula battle it out for best album, while Coldplay have two songs in the Most Performed Work category up against Adele. Meanwhile, Mystery Jets take on Laura Mvula and Michael Kiwanuka for ‘Best Song Musically And Lyrically’.
“BASCA’s nominations for the 62nd Ivor Novello Awards are as diverse and impressive as the contemporary UK music scene itself,” said BASCA chair Crispin Hunt. “As the only peer nominated music award ceremony in the country, we’re especially thrilled to be honouring such a cool selection of both emerging and established nominees; they are the true architects of the music we love, and reflect the creative global force that is British music writing. Our congratulations go out to everyone nominated today.”
The ceremony will be held on Thursday May 18 at the Grosvenor House in London, and will see artists awarded with International Achievement, Lifetime Achievement, Outstanding Song Collection, Outstanding Contribution to British Music, and the Special International Award, Songwriter of the Year, The Ivors Jazz Award and The Ivors Inspiration Award alongside the below nominated categories.
Best Song Musically and Lyrically (This award recognises excellence in songwriting craft; with particular reference to melody, lyrics, harmony and structure)
‘Black Man in a White World’ – Written by Dean ‘Inflo’ Josiah Cover and Michael Kiwanuka
‘Overcome’ – Written by Laura Mvula and Nile Rodgers
‘Telomere’ – Written by Blaine Harrison and Henry Harrison (Mystery Jets)
Best Contemporary Song (This award recognises outstanding originality in songwriting; songs which capture the moment and/or explore the boundaries of contemporary music)
‘Love$ick’ – Written by A$AP Rocky and Mura Masa
‘Man’ – Written by Skepta and Josh Homme (Skepta)
‘Sexual’ – Written by Dyo, NEIKED and Elina Stridh (Performed by NEIKED ft Dyo)
Album Award (This award recognises exceptional songwriting and consistency across an album as a whole)
‘Love & Hate’ – Written by Brian Burton, Dean ‘Inflo’ Josiah Cover and Michael Kiwanuka (Michael Kiwanuka)
‘Skeleton Tree’ – Written by Nick Cave and Warren Ellis (Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds)
‘The Dreaming Room’ – Written by Laura Mvula
PRS for Music Most Performed Work (This award credits the work having received the most broadcast, online and general performances in the UK during 2016. It is compiled by The Ivors sponsor, PRS for Music)
‘Adventure of a Lifetime’ – Written by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin (Coldplay)
‘Hymn for the Weekend’ – Written by Guy Berryman, Jonny Buckland, Will Champion and Chris Martin (Coldplay) ‘When We Were Young’ – Written by Adele Adkins and Tobias Jesso Jr
Best Original Film Score (This award recognises outstanding composition for a feature film and how well the music enhances the visual content.
‘High-Rise’ – Composed by Clint Mansell
‘Kubo and the Two Strings’ – Composed by Dario Marianelli
‘My Scientology Movie’ – Composed by Dan Jones
Best Television Soundtrack (This award recognises outstanding composition for a television programme and how well the music enhances the visual content)
‘The Collection’ – Composed by Dominik Scherrer
‘The Witness for the Prosecution’ – Composed by Paul Englishby
‘War and Peace’ – Composed by Martin Phipps
East coast to West (and pretty much every electronic-music-speaking metropolis between!), Cosmic Gate have spent the last 3 months packing dancefloors across the States. Delivering their purest musical essence through ‘Materia’, the album’s 22-date North American tour has wowed Cosmonauts coast-to-coast, drawing rave reviews along the way. Now, playing their part in 2017’s trance spring, it’s another continent’s chance to get that bit closer to ‘Materia’s sonic magic.
Into April, Nic & Bossi switch their focus to Europe, today dropping word of their first tranche of NSEW dates across the continent.
Gearing up on April 7th at the Ministry of Sound, Nic & Bossi bring all ‘Materia’s musical verve and eye-socking visuals to London town, before heading way out west to Bristol the following weekend. Eastern European hotspot shows like Hungary and Poland follow, while central and northern regions like The Netherlands and Finland are locked to rock later in the month.
Full date & place details below; more info on ticket availability is available through the Cosmic Gate social media resources listed below! Oh, and if you don’t see a city near you featured below, fear not! A second leg of European ‘Materia’ dates will be announced a little closer to summer.
Cosmic Gate Materia Album European Tour – Part One
14.04 – Cream @ Motion, Bristol, UK
15.04 – Cinema Hall, Budapest, Hungary
16.04 – Fuel Beachclub, Bloemendaal, The Netherlands
21.04 – Epic Club, Bydgoszcz, Poland
22.04 - Empire @ Circus, Helsinki, Finland
Whetting the appetite that much more, you can get a peek at what’s in store, via Materia’s Europa trailer:
John Warren Geils Jr., better known as J. Geils, the guitarist of the the J. Geils Band, was found dead in his home in Groton, Massachusetts Tuesday. He was 71. Rolling Stone has confirmed Geils' death. According to Groton Police, "a preliminary investigation indicates that Geils died of natural causes."
"At approximately 4 p.m., Groton Police responded to a home on Graniteville Road for a well-being check," Groton Police said in a statement. "Upon arrival to the house, police located a man who was unresponsive. He was declared dead at the scene ... The Groton Police Department is investigating the death, as is standard procedure in all unattended deaths, however foul play is not suspected at this time."
The J. Geils Band released a slew of albums during the Seventies and early Eighties. With vocalist Peter Wolf at the helm, the band became best known for singles like "Centerfold," "Love Stinks," "Come Back" and "Freeze-Frame," which have since become rock radio mainstays.
On Facebook, Wolf shared a short message about his former bandmate, writing, "Thinking of all the times we kicked it high and rocked down the house! R.I.P. Jay Geils."
Formed in Worcester, Massachusetts in 1967, the J. Geils Band became fast local favorites and released their self-titled debut in 1970. They broke through on the Billboard 200 in 1973 with their record Bloodshot, and over the course of the next decade honed a sound that blended blues rock, R&B, soul and pop. During the Seventies, the J. Geils Band would release eight studio albums and two live records while touring relentlessly – but they wouldn't hit their commercial peak until the beginning of the next decade.
In 1980, the J. Geils Band released Love Stinks, their first platinum-selling record, while the following year they notched a Number One with their 12th album Freeze-Frame. That album featured the group's only chart-topping hit, "Centerfold," while its title track also reached the Top 10 of the Billboard Hot 100.
However, the band began to fall apart in the aftermath of its success. Wolf did not appear on the J. Geils Band's final album, 1984's You're Gettin' Even While I'm Gettin' Odd. The J. Geils Band officially split in 1985, but began to play the occasional reunion show in 1999. In 2012, however, Geils officially quit the group and sued his bandmates for conspiring to go on tour without him and unlawfully using the band's trademarked name.
Outside of the J. Geils Band, Geils remained busy as a musician. In the mid-Nineties, he released two albums with his band Bluestime and during the 2000s, he returned to his jazz roots with three solo records.
The 32nd induction ceremony - which welcomed the likes of Tupac, Pearl Jam and ELO - also honoured the late 'Purple Rain' artist
Lenny Kravitz paid tribute to Prince during the 2017 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony by performing two of the late artist’s greatest songs.
Friday night’s (April 7) ceremony saw Joan Baez, ELO, Journey, Pearl Jam, Tupac and Yes all welcomed into the hallowed Hall, but attention on the night briefly turned away from those artists to honour Prince, who was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in 2004.
Kravitz was entrusted with helming the tribute to Prince – who passed away a year ago this month, which caused Kravitz to reveal that, upon hearing the news, “a piece of me died” – at the ceremony, and chose to honour the late artist by performing cover versions of ‘When Doves Cry’ and ‘The Cross’. Backed by the Love Fellowship Choir, Kravitz gave a passionate performance that suitably honoured the legacy and artistry of Prince.
Watch fan-shot footage of Lenny Kravitz’s tribute to Prince below.
Elsewhere at this year’s Rock & Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, Pearl Jam performed three songs after being introduced by former late-night talk show host David Letterman.
Tupac, meanwhile, was honoured with an emotional speech from his close friend and collaborator Snoop Dogg, who called the late artist “the greatest rapper of all time.”
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