Weekend news is our new weekend feature where we round up news & links of the past week and curated from our favourite, noteworthy and newsy articles found via social media. We focus on good news stories based around music, film, entertainment and culture. Themes may be silly or sublime but are always important according to Jacqueline.
New & Notable in Music
Tanya Donelly (gearing up for her own tour, in news that crashed websites recently) has teamed up with Dylan in the Movies for a gorgeous cover of The Smiths “Shoplifters of the World” on Please Please Please: A Tribute to The Smiths (American Laundromat Records). Here, the quick paced, high energy rallying cry from Moz & Marr becomes an elegant molasses drip of Americana via a subtly different arrangement with different instruments. It’s an example of the beautiful potential of cover songs to highlight the timeless quality of great originals and the rare beauty of a skilled tribute a gifted artist. Mastery like this adds a pleasing polish to both versions in a way that is such a rare treat for fans <applause>.
The Clone Roses, the Stone Roses cover band who became the door-crashing late night smash of late 2015’s Shiiine On Weekender (and will return to 2016’s Shiiine, continue their massively successful campaign with major dates across the U.K. this spring. How’s this for a recommendation: “I can’t believe it’s not butter. The second best Stone Roses in the world” – Mani (!!!)
Pete Fij has been DJing this spring and brings his Never Stop Discotheque to Chichester, West Sussex, April 30th featuring the best in 1980’s Alternative including: Mazzy Star, The Pixies, Kraftwerk, XTC and more. Event page here.
Just announced: Rolling Stones Superfans will want to watch out for the upcoming DVD/ SD Blue-ray Totally Stripped documentary & album which saw the band revisit many of their classic tracks and create new stripped back versions (1995’s Stripped was a starting point).
James’ Tim Booth shares his favourite albums in The Quietus: “The Pixies should have been as big as Nirvana.”
Baby-faced Robert Smith and The Cure’s First Time in America – Dangerous Minds
A global alert for those who share my admiration for the elusive, enigmatic, endlessly interesting man: Terry Hall has been rather active on Facebook recently and posted new pictures. Le sigh. Did you get your Specials summer/fall gig tickets yet? I guarantee you won’t regret it.
Music Festival Season: UK, US & Canada
The U.K. continues to far outpace the U.S. and Canada with both ongoing traditional weekenders and innovative new festivals. Here’s a few to mark in your calendar as you plan ahead, and we’ll be covering summer music festivals in UK, US & Canada more broadly in upcoming weeks (and via our own field trips to our must-attend festivals!)
Check out the Festival of House, in Angus, Scotland “in the woods!” 10-11 June, with Underworld, Rudimental DJ, Leftfield, and the enormously well recieved Hacienda Classical (with live orchestra) Justin Robertson, Graeme Park and many more. (Via Rowetta Satchell/Facebook)
Happy Mondays headline The Big Kahuna Festival, August Bank Holiday (25th-27th August). This new festival, and it’s a big one will be held, intriguingly, on a farm ” just on the edge of Crawley.” Big Kahuna is sized just right for festival goers peak enjoyment, with about 6,000-8, expected. Acts booked include Boney M (!!!!) Orbital’s Paul Hartnell, a DJ set from 808 State, Utah Saints and more. Full camping. Tix are available now.
Shiiine On Weekender (11-14th November 2015, Minehead Arena) (which we love without reservation or any illusion of cool detachment, after our great experience at the first one in 2015) continues to announce a killer program with the additions of The Farm, the returning hit of James Atkin (EMF) debuts from The Electric Soft Parade and Manchester’s The High. Shiiine On organizers /wizards emerged last year in bold Hacienda colours and followed up that promise with a line-up that was as inspired as an unforgettable DJ night: a mix of classic Manchester/ Indie/ Dance artists and iconic DJs and events that kept the mood high and happy all weekend long with a minimum of fuss. In advance of our preview coverage just know that this year’s line up does not disappoint. It meets the brief of a really great large scale house party where everyone has good taste and is simpatico with performances by Echo & The Bunnymen, The Wonder Stuff, the reunited House of Love, Echobelly, the returning Thousand Yard Stare, The Frank & Walters, Black Grape, CAST, Jesus Jones, the already historic pool party, great slots for emerging bands, club nights, and is also, in a genius move, stuffed with tributes: The Clone Roses, Oasis UK, The Smyths & The Cure Heads. Great DJ sets keep it going all weekend long and take us back to the youthful days when we needed no sleep, all inside the strangely wonderful big top of Butlin’s in Minehead (near Bristol). Get yours now as it’s expected to sell out (hotel and chalet style accommodations).
Pop Culture /Counter-culture News
Leonardo DiCaprio Donates $1 Million to Start World’s Largest Marine Life Sanctuary. Since 2010, DiCaprio has donated over $30 Million in grants to over 65 organizations in a clear act of walking the walk to aid the cause of global climate change, a long time cause DiCaprio has spoken about including taking time out of his 2016 Oscar winning speech to speak on the subject to his legions of fans and powerful friends alike. The current initiative will increase the protected marine sanctuary around Seychelles from 1% to 30%, making it the second largest in the Western Hemisphere. This news represents ways in which pointed, careful and knowledgeable action can make meaningful changes with global impact, and it’s great news for everyone who cares about the earth’s resources and preservation of its natural habitats.
Toronto Public Libraries have announced a new musical instrument lending library to provide access to learning. Starting with one library (Parkdale) and 100 instruments, this initiative will include a public donation drive which is supported by Long and McQuade music stores. Juno winning Canadian musical power couple Raine Maida and Chantal Kreviazuk lent their support to the initiative’s launch. This program follows the terrific and much needed work of Joe’s MILL (Musical Instrument Lending Library) in Kingston, Ontario, which has loaned out musical instruments for a decade with quiet assistance via instrument donations from many major Canadian bands.
In other happy Canadian music news, the 2016 MusiCounts Teacher of the Year Award was sponsored solely this year by our very own Rock Gods RUSH. The music education charity announced Don Bossé of Fredericton High School, Fredericton, NB as 2016’s recipient. The annual award celebrates one music teacher’s dedication and passion in their contribution to music education. Since our Canadian Rock Gods are down to earth Toronto boys, they took the awardee out personally to shop for a Juno-ready suit at Holts. We Canadians are not your average bears. Thank you Rush and congratulations to Don Bossé & Fredericton High School.
Against a disturbing amount of outside pressure and resistance, a public service billboard was finally erected encouraging Scientologists living under brutal Disconnection policies to reach out to their outside friends and families at StopScientologyDisconnection.com National media was on site as this billboard was unveiled near L.A.’s Scientology hive. Ex-members regularly report they are shunned and lose connections to their parents, children or siblings who are still “in”. One of the most heartbreaking aspects of this policy, disconnection also means that members wishing to leave the cult (who are often poor and in debt) have often lost all former ties and support networks that are so necessary to rebuilding lives. The billboard is a public statement against censorship and invites healthy dialogue. Now why would any group find that a threat?
In a year that has started out really rough for musical heroes, we lost another legend this week as Merle Haggard died on his birthday (which he predicted) at 79. We wrote a tribute to this singular and endlessly influential Country Outlaw here.
Film / TV Finds & News
American Crime Story: The People vs. OJ Simpson from TV powerhouse Ryan Murphy (Glee, American Horror Story/AHS, on FX) looked terrible from a distance when it was announced. There were a lot of wigs, and the 8 month trial that was really just a culture-killing circus, along with the 90’s looks was maybe something best left in the dust of unhappy memories. The 10 part series wrapped this week, and being based on facts, unfortunately we still didn’t get a different ending with justice for murder victims Nicole Brown Simpson and Ron Goldman. With twenty years of hindsight, can this pseudo-Shakespearean tragedy trigger insights, debate, discussion and change? In this climate?
The series gets the tone right throughout the 10 hours of the deeply painful car crash this spectacle was, while offering entertainment and camp, as well, for your viewing pleasure. It seems to have sparked some healthy debate and discussion in online forums. The reasons why people were firmly in one or the other O.J. camp (which had criminally little to do with the facts of what should have been an open and shut case) can now, with time, be given nuance about the complexities of racial experience, racial and social biases, and the deep, urgent need for real diversity in leadership positions everywhere as well as the need for zero tolerance of “bad apples”. (This could be applied equally to Mark Fuhrman or O.J. Simpson.) Culture changed forever in that terrible year. Media and reality, and Reality TV, ushered in a new era of blatant corruption and agendas where once were revered institutions. Hollywood became an irreversible parody of itself. Old bones are waking up and jumping into the spotlight again, with mixed results. There has been little to no justice. We’ll write more on this series next week.
Have you seen The Lobster? This highly original, absurdist and darkly funny interrogation of the medicated, jaded state of modern relationship and social dynamics is a must see. We highly recommend it for a first date, it should save you some time by forcing the hard questions to spring to mind during your walk home. There are great nods to Wes Anderson and David Lynch present. The film is carried beautifully by Colin Farrell, a great actor who’s well deserving as the focus of this spare, claustrophobic post-apocalyptic world which is refreshingly free of hard science. Rather, it looks at the heart with a clean incision. See it. And then you will love this song. (Directed by Yorgos Lanthimos (Dogtooth) in his first English language feature, with Rachel Weiss and John C. Reilly). (In select cities, in Toronto at TIFF Bell Lightbox)
NOWNESS, the addictive digital magazine/channel we’ve recently fallen for, has an interesting feature where they splice first and final frames of films.
New in Books: Essential music writer / biographer Zoë Howe has shared the cover art for her forthcoming debut novel (September 2016, Matador) Shine On, Marquee Moon. It looks delicious and is hotly anticipated (including by me.) We send our congratulations to Zoe as Shine On, Marquee Moon was shortlisted for the Virgina Prize for Fiction in March 2016.