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By Mary Chang
on Wednesday, 7th August 2013 at 6:00 pm
Mumford and Sons have become an all too easy target in the music world. So that’s why the promo video for ‘Hopeless Wanderers’ impresses me all the more. Instead being the band that everyone seems to love to hate right now (which is pretty unfair IMO) in their own music video, Mumford and co. hired impersonators.
Well, some pretty famous stars: Arrested Development/Juno/The Kingdom actor Jason Bateman deputises for Winston Marshall, The Office/The Hangover star Ed Helms plays Ben Lovett, and former Saturday Night Live in-house actor/comedians Jason Sudeikis and Will Forte play Marcus Mumford and Ted Dwane, respectively. This ain’t no ordinary promo video. (One has to wonder if these celebrities have been watching M&S at their high-profile festival performances as of late…) Watch it below.
By Mary Chang
on Thursday, 1st August 2013 at 4:00 pm
Johnny Flynn and the Sussex Wit appeared in mid-July at the Live at the Lewes Stopover 2013, sponsored by Gentlemen of the Road, Mumford and Sons‘ record label. So it’s not a huge stretch of the imagination that Marcus Mumford made a surprise appearance, ukulele in hand, when Flynn’s band were ready to play their song ‘The Water’ in the lovely town of Lewes. This rendition’s beautiful, it gave me chills. Watch the performance below.
Flynn and band go on tour in the UK and Ireland in October.
By Mary Chang
on Saturday, 13th July 2013 at 10:00 am
Love ‘em or hate ‘em, the Mumford and Sons crazy train of mainstream popularity rolls on. As does the promo video for ‘Babel’, which literally scrolls to your right for the duration of the black and white visual. Watch it below.
2012 had it all, didn’t it? London 2012, the Diamond Jubilee, James fucking Bond returning in a blaze of balls-out guts and glory and some great music to boot (we’re ignoring Muse’s Olympic song ‘Survival’, don’t worry).
Had it all though? Every classic British summer needs something, and 2012 was drastically missing it: that cornucopia of eccentricity and old-school values, Glastonbury. Where were Mssrs. Eavis squared, where was the Pyramid Stage, where was Worthy Farm? Healing, nursing its wounds. In preparation for a shindig 26-30 June 2013 that’ll remind the British populace of the importance of the institution that is the Glastonbury Festival of Contemporary Performing Arts.
To make it a year to remember, though, one thing is certain. That the bands they are going to have must have that clout that makes punters stand erect and to attention. Enter Mick Jagger, Keith Richards, Charlie Watts and Ronnie Wood, a year after the Rolling Stones‘ 50th anniversary. They’ve never played the legendary Pyramid Stage and it seems that finally the Eavises have gotten their way and secured easily one of the biggest draws that the music industry has to offer.
Joining them atop the almighty Pyramid are a band who have already set tongues a wagging once with their Glastonbury exploits. We are of course talking about the Arctic Monkeys (pictured at top), who are now four albums strong and flaunting their new-found maturity. The most surprising and probably most controversial bill-topper is the biggest marmite act around at the moment: The USA-smashing Mumford and Sons, riding high on the crest of the wave of success of last year’s ‘Babel’, and wading through the swathes of critical approval.
But with Glastonbury, you know it isn’t all about the headliners, with over 1,000 artists appearing across a multitude of stages over the weekend. Arctic Monkeys not floating ya boat? Check out The Smashing Pumpkins instead. Pyramid Stage too mainstream for you? Portishead will be bringing their trip hop stylings to the farm in a set surely not to be missed at any cost.
Further down the bill you’ve got math rockers Foals, Enter Shikari, Mr. Controversial Tyler, The Creator and crooner Maverick Sabre.
That take your fancy? Well, if it does, resale is closing up, so get that hammer out and give your piggy bank a good smashing, as this festival is *not* one to be missed.
Is there any point to the BRITs? Granted, it gives a certain demographic of London teenager the opportunity to sting Daddy for the eye-watering £70 ticket price, no doubt getting stuffed with half-term pizza and fructose syrup before spending three hours squealing loudly at microscopic effigies of their latest tabloid-endorsed musical crushes. But beyond that, does any vestige of musical credibility remain within the unhallowed, chart-obsessed recesses of the BRIT Award psyche?
A swift perusal of the nominations, released yesterday, would indicate: maybe, actually. The usual mega-selling suspects are there: Emeli Sandé, Mumford and Sons, Robbie Williams, Olly Murs. But look a little deeper and could there just be enough respect for the breakthrough, even the underground, so that beyond the face paint and lasers, there’s a bedrock of credibility?
Step forward Richard Hawley, the most unlikely of the entire nomination list, proving that the BRITs aren’t immune to a decent bit of ‘70s-throwback guitar action and heart-on-the-sleeve balladry from a bequiffed Yorkshireman. Plan B also deserves a shout for his unflinching portrayal of council estate life in ‘Ill Manors’, which still deserves to make more of an impact than it has.
Jessie Ware gathers two nods, a fine result for her this early in her career, single-handedly making 2011’s Critic’s Choice Award for her namesake Jessie J look ever more ridiculous. The more listeners turned on to her coolly urban soul, the better. Paloma Faith is also up for two gongs – British Female Solo is fair enough, but British Album of the Year for ‘Fall to Grace’, for a collection significantly worse than her début, is deeply suspect. British Group unoriginally throws up two previous Mercury Prize winners: unlikely media darlings alt-J, and minimalist electro-songsters the xx; Muse are nominated for the ninth (and tenth) time, with Mumford and One Direction predictably making up the numbers. A rum collection, if ever there was one, and despite the disparate yet singular talents of each, hardly a state-of-the-nation statement.
The British Single category is too depressing to analyse deeply. Suffice to say a more turgid collection of middle-of-the-road dross it’s difficult to conceive. Any list containing the execrable ‘Mama Do the Hump’ by Rizzle Kicks deserves to be encased in concrete and dropped into a very deep hole. Thankfully each of the British Breakthrough nominees have something to commend them, though surely Jake Bugg is the most extraordinary of the lot; his compellingly grizzled, world-weary, yet uplifting take on vintage blues in his debut album means he should have no problem in lifting the spotted statue next month.
Ironically, there’s far less to complain about the International (read: American) nominees. Perhaps it’s because we expect the USA to do bigness well, it’s difficult to complain about someone like Bruce Springsteen being nominated, although one wonders just how much pride of place a BRIT award would take on the dashboard of his pickup truck.
As always, it’s good to see producers, the guys behind the desk who really make the music, getting their opportunity to shine, although it seems somewhat unfair that Damon Albarn should be sharing their limelight – hasn’t he had enough of it by now? If the Albarn effect can be resisted, Paul Epworth should walk away with this one, although personally I prefer listening to his sister’s output to his. And what of Amy Winehouse and The Rolling Stones, both nominated, neither deservedly? Stop it, BRITs! Pick people who are more alive!
The 2013 BRITs take place on Wednesday the 20th of February at London’s O2 Arena. TGTF will be reporting, either from the event itself, or from somewhere else in London more interesting. Watch this space.
Who should win the British Brits, I reckon?
Male Solo: Richard Hawley
Female Solo: Jessie Ware
Breakthrough: Jake Bugg
Group: One Direction
Single: Alex Clare – ‘Too Close’
Album: Plan B – ‘Ill Manors’
Producer: Paul Epworth
Full list of nominees after the jump.
Continue reading The 2013 BRIT Awards – The Nominees
By Mary Chang
on Monday, 5th November 2012 at 6:00 pm
Mumford and Sons‘ current single ‘Lover of the Light’ has a pretty cool video: it’s a mini film starring and directed by actor Idris Elba. I’ll let the band take it from here:
We are, quite obviously, huge fans of Idris Elba’s acting work, as pretty much anyone can agree he’s the most badass British actor since Richard Briars. So we trusted him as the director for our latest video.
“We’ve been fortunate to work with some great directors in the past, but we’ve always been uncomfortable with the process of making music videos. We’ve never really enjoyed being in them, unless they involve live performance.”
“Talking to Idris and Dan [Cadan, acclaimed script writer] about making a video that we’re not in made it a lot more fun to think about. They went off and wrote the treatment after our ale-infused conversation in a pub in London, and what they directed, we are proud to present as: ‘Lover of the Light.’”
Mumford will also release a live DVD, ‘The Road To Red Rocks’, on the 26th of November through Gentlemen of the Road/Island Records.