You might expect Avril Lavigne to have a fashion sideline – but Beth Ditto and Pete Doherty? It's all very wrong, says Gillian Orr
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.
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.
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.
A feast of Soweto shimmer and tropicalia translucence
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.
When the Strokes emerged they set a template for indie bands arriving on a wave of hype only to find that the critics and the fans had moved on to the Next Big Thing by the time their second album arrived. Like the Strokes, Vampire Weekend (left) are a bunch of well-dressed, well-heeled New Yorkers. Their self-titled debut record, released in 2008, received both praise and reproach for their cherry-picking of Afro-pop influences and for their preppy style (personally, I liked how they looked and enjoyed about half of the album). Next week sees the release of Vampire Weekend's second LP, 'Contra' (reviewed opposite). For fans who can't wait until then, there has been much pre-release hype, some leaked songs and a great video for single "Cousins" (tinyurl.com/yfpojny). The record is currently streaming in full at tinyurl.com/2zgv8h. It follows in a similar vein to the first LP, a collection of charming pop songs but with an expanded palette of sounds and influences. While the band show signs of having staying power it will be interesting to see what reception 'Contra' gets from fans.
It's hard to listen to Vampire Weekend's second album without being struck by the resemblance to Paul Simon's Graceland, in a way which was never as obvious on their debut.
So how do bands end up with their names? Is there a band-naming website? Well, yes, actually, but none of these acts needed it. Gavin Cumine gets etymological
Foals sign off their set with "Mathletics", a song whose title rather succinctly describes the band's winning formula. Their songs are a more radio-friendly version of the math-rock practiced by the New York-based group Battles. The lyrics and inter-song banter demonstrate conspicuous intelligence – two of them are, after all, former Oxford university students. Meanwhile, their youthful onstage exertions are sufficiently athletic for each member of the five-piece to shed a few pounds per show.
They took many by surprise when they joined Africa Express in Liverpool last week. Now Franz Ferdinand tell Elisa Bray they have fallen under the spell of Afrobeat