Arts and Entertainment

Dingwalls, London

Caught in the Net: Get your Converses on for the summer

In 2008, Converse roped in Julian Casablancas, Santogold and Pharrell to promote their shoes via a one-off single. As far as music/commercial tie-ins go, it was probably one of the more reasonable marriages, considering Converse's long-storied relationship with rock music.

Album: The Drums, The Drums (Moshi Moshi/Island)

The New York quartet The Drums are perhaps the highest profile exponents of the current trend of American indie bands attempting to re-deploy the sounds and attitudes of the British new-wave era.

Album: Foals, Total Life Forever (Warner Bros)

Compared to the claustrophobic Antidotes, Foals' second album is a breath of fresh air – as if someone had opened the windows of a hermetically-sealed rehearsal room upon the band's somewhat solipsistic math-rock exercises.

Vampire Weekend to open this summer's Eden Sessions in Cornwall

Vampire Weekend are set to make a return to the UK this summer headlining the Cornish music event, Eden Sessions on June 24 with special guests Broken Bells.

The New York indie quartet first played the Eden sessions in 2008 when they were special guests to The Raconteurs.

Caught in the Net - Making an impressive mess

Around about 2008, Vampire Weekend, Yeasayer and MGMT all hit the ground running with a sound that occupied a relatively similar sphere (give or take some different quirks here and there). The first two bands have kicked off 2010 with well-received new records and now it's getting to time for MGMT to re-enter the fray. Thus far, I can't say I've been fully convinced by the Brooklyn duo's brand of Dayglo, hipster-based wide-eyed psych-pop-rock – someone has probably come up with a more succinct label for their sound, but I'm going to ignore it. Perhaps their upcoming new album 'Congratulations' can sway me and other naysayers, when it lands in April. The first song to emerge from it is available as a free download from the band's website, whoismgmt.com. It's called "Flash Delirium", and is a promising opening salvo, full of the aforementioned elements but with more craziness added: shouty vocals, soft rock harmonies, flutes, swirling electronics, horns... Pretty much everything is thrown in there and it's an impressive mess.

Album: The Ruby Suns, Fight Softly (Memphis Industries)

On Fight Softly, The Ruby Suns leader Ryan McPhun goes it alone, writing, performing and producing these 10 songs virtually solo.

White Rabbits, ICA, London

Yeasayer are this year's Grizzly Bear, who were last year's Vampire Weekend. For every 12 months, it seems, there's a Brooklyn band on hand to enjoy the adulation of the critics and the loving embrace of the public. But as you're watching Yeasayer's wonderful new LP, Odd Blood, take its place in all the annual best-of lists come December, spare a thought for their fellow Brooklynite hipsters White Rabbits, whose presence on the scene remains curiously under-reported. White Rabbits' own sophomore effort, It's Frightening, may not be nearly as avant garde as Odd Blood, but is all the more fun for it.

Album: Various artists, Next Stop Soweto – Township Sounds...(Strut)

We've had plenty of vintage music from Mali, Nigeria and the Congo in recent years but very little from South Africa, so this CD is an exciting prospect for music lovers.

Band of the Week: The Drums

Our guest reviewer's recommendations...

Observations: A respectful plea for silence at the Brixton Academy

There were three of them, and they were standing right in front of me, yelling into each other's ears, shrieking with laughter, and generally having a high old time. And why not? Well I'll tell you why not. While all this was going on, Vampire Weekend were up on stage, giving the first of two shows earlier this week at the Brixton Academy. And this trio of concert-goers were not alone in preferring each other's incessant high-volume chit-chat to listening to a terrific performance by the zestful New Yorkers. There were plenty of other people around us who happily chatted their way through the music, and during the quieter songs a hubbub of conversation could be heard all over the auditorium.

JLS, Brighton Centre, Brighton<br/>Vampire Weekend, Apollo, Manchester

Deltoid-stroking JLS have got the tweenies screaming, even if their stage show wasn't up to much by mega-pop standards

Album: Yeasayer, Odd Blood (Secretly Canadian/Mute)

Like MGMT, Animal Collective and Vampire Weekend, Brooklyn's Yeasayer occupy a space where techno-conscious indie psych-rockers play around with left-field dance and world-music influences.

Vampire Weekend, Somerset House, London

London's pavements have just stopped resembling the ice-rink on which children spin, largely oblivious to New York's hippest band playing on the balcony above them.

Album: Vampire Weekend, Contra (XL recordings)

A feast of Soweto shimmer and tropicalia translucence

Album: The Whitefield Brothers, Earthology (Now-Again)

For this belated follow-up to their 2001 debut "In The Raw", the Munich-based Whitefield siblings Jan and Max have broadened their funk-soul approach with a range of African influences, albeit heavier, big-band flavours than those employed by Vampire Weekend.

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Prices correct as of 23 January 2015
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