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Music review: Atoms for Peace - Thom Yorke revels in his newfound creative freedom

“We've decided we're gonna do a workout video,” Thom Yorke jokes, presumably alluding to his vest-clad surfer look. The Radiohead frontman is displaying his more laidback demeanour, warmed by the Los Angeles sun where this side project came together. Wobbling his head and twitching his shoulders to Atoms For Peace's grinding leftfield rhythms, Yorke revels in his newfound creative freedom, even if reaching the heights of his other band remains a harder challenge.

Confusion reigns

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Kele Okereke of Bloc Party

Bloc Party, Earls Court, London

So here we are. After various side-projects, a three-year hiatus and the briefest of UK tours to promote 2012’s Four, Bloc Party have arrived at the not-long-for-this-earth Earls Court for their biggest ever show.

Kele Okereke of Bloc Party at Xfm's Winter Wonderland concert at the O2 Apollo Manchester

Bloc Party, Maximo Park, Everything Everything, Delphic, Spector and Findlay, Xfm Winter Wonderland, Apollo, Manchester

Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke is in fittingly combative mood, given how he has bulked up during his band’s three-year hiatus.

Bloc Party, Birthdays, London

Celebrating the top spot of their new album Four in the midweek charts, Bloc Party announced this intimate show at Birthdays in Dalston on Twitter. Stating that it would be free and on a first-come, first-served basis, the bar recommended that Bloc’s numerous fans not attempt to camp overnight but from 8am the next day they were already queuing for the show.

Album: Bloc Party, Four (Frenchkiss)

After flirting with electronica and Kele Okereke's disco-tastic solo adventures, the fourth Bloc Party album sees them rediscovering guitars with a vengeance – and many tracks here come with the sort of epic quality that has helped Muse filled arenas.

Album: Bloc Party, Four (Frenchkiss)

As ever, Kele Okereke’s energies are divided between the political and the personal on Four, with agit-punk assertions like “ Coliseum” and “Kettling” and the contemptuous pillorying of political duplicity in “So He Begins to Lie” punctuated with more tenderly rendered emotional wrestling on tracks such as “Truth” and “Real Talk”.

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Les Savy Fav, Electric Ballroom, London

"This is a concert," Tim Harrington reminds us, "and we're going to smash this room to ashes." The singer has already abandoned his unhealthy looking vest to the crowd, the nipple peepholes he gnawed in it earlier maybe adding to its attraction. He's bald and bearded, the roll of fat around his stomach suggesting just the right amount of appetite.

Interview: Kele Okereke

While his reputation as a difficult interviewee precedes him, I was still excited to get a chance to talk to Kele Okereke at the Creators Project last weekend. I figured that since I wasn’t going to be asking him what he had for breakfast, or doing a meta-piece on his disdain for the interviewing process, as the NME tried in 2005, I’d be ok.

Kele, Village Underground, London

"As you may or may not know, I have a day job in another band," says Kele Okereke mischievously from the tiny stage under Hoxton's stone arches. Indie-rock lovers couldn't fail to recognise the Bloc Party frontman's rich London voice, but they could be forgiven for a double-take. Thoroughly beefed up, vest-clad and cap tilted way back on his good-looking head, Okereke, or the The Boxer, as his new solo album attests, is grinning. It was a rare sight in his day job, and one you'd think would be even rarer now that the band is on indefinite hiatus, but it becomes highly familiar by the end of this brief, 50-minute set.

Blondie, Westonbirt Arboretum, Gloucestershire<br/>Kele, Digital, Brighton

Blondie performing for picnickers in the Cotswolds might seem unlikely, but somehow it works

Album: Kele, The Boxer (Wichita)

The Bloc Party is over but Kele comes out fighting

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Indie kids and ageing rockers come together outside Broadcasting House to protest against closure of the pioneering digital station
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