With the Blur reunion up and running to rapturous acclaim, it would be perhaps appropriate if their US counterparts Pavement (left) – often cited as a major influence on Blur's post-Britpop reinvention – were to make a comeback too. The band split after their 1999 album, 'Terror Twilight', which was good but showed signs they were running out of steam. Since then, there have been rumours that they might reform – most recently, the band's guitarist Scott Kannberg sent out some smoke signals in January. But don't hold your breath; frontman Stephen Malkmus has struck out on his own, while bassist Mark Ibold has hooked up with Sonic Youth. Prior to that, Kannberg had his own band, Preston School of Industry, but now, at least, he's become somewhat nostalgic by reverting to his Pavement-era stage name, Spiral Stairs. Under the moniker, he will release a new album, 'The Real Feel', in October. The first taste of it is "Maltese Terrier", a jangly, jaunty slab of guitar alt-rock, complete with Sixties harmonies, banjo plucking and tinkling piano lines. Listen to it at tinyurl.com/lnjq2r.
Star sign painters
Warpaint are an LA based band comprised of three girls and one guy, known to describe themselves as a "libran cancerian lioness with a bit of geminiacal insanity and scorpionic fire". They also make a quite lovely sound with dreamy vocals, off-kilter hazy guitars and elements of pyschedelia. Their debut EP will get a worldwide re-release on the independent label Manimal Vinyl (manimalvinyl.com) in September after which they plan to record an album. In the meantime five tracks are at myspace.com/worldwartour, while standout song "Elephant" is a free download at tinyurl.com/lb26ew, Read my interview with them at independent.co.uk/lryan.
Foxes deliver new cub
Between the Sarah Brown walkabouts, band reunions and Michael Jackson eulogies, there was new music to be found at Glastonbury. Among it was an unheard song from Fleet Foxes. On 6 Music's Glastonbury coverage, the band's front man Robin Pecknold performed an acoustic version of the new effort "Blue Spotted Tail" – a quiet and sad-sounding affair, with Pecknold's delicate vocals and lyrics posing questions big and small. Get the song at tinyurl.com/nayurj.
Regan runs a bigger Protection Racket
Back in 2006 Fionn Regan was a little-known Irish songwriter. Then came his debut album 'The End of History', critical acclaim, a Mercury Prize nomination, a US record deal and photoshoots with Annie Leibovitz in Vanity Fair. He's back in the studio now and recently posted a demo track, "Protection Racket", at myspace.com/fionnregan, in which he employs more electric guitars and organs than before and by the sounds of things, he's having lots of fun.
The deluge begins
No doubt there will soon be countless musical tributes to Michael Jackson – after John McEnroe's discussion with Sue Barker about Jackson during the Wimbledon coverage, I'm particularly excited to see if Mac indulges his musical tendencies and knocks out a cover version. One of the first tributes came from The Roots and Erykah Badu, who collaborated brilliantly in 1999 on "You Got Me" from The Roots' album 'Things Fall Apart'. During a break from being Jimmy Fallon's house band on his US TV chat show, The Roots and Badu recorded a cover of "I Wanna Be Where You Are" from Jackson's debut solo album, 'Got To Be There'. The Roots' drummer Questlove then "tweeted" a link to the song – tinyurl.com/nhmhdq.