Benicassim Fest Adds Crystal Castles, Noel Gallagher, More

Don’t want to sweat the middle of the California desert surrounded by trendy young people experimenting with drugs and neon body paint in order to see your favorite bands all in one place? Luckily for you, there are plenty of alternatives, among them the Festival Internacional de Benicassim, where you can sweat on a beach in Spain while surrounded by trendy young people experimenting with drugs and neon body paint in order to see your favorite bands all in one place.

Mancunian icons The Stone Roses,  Florence and the Machine and The Vaccines were already named as top-billing acts for the festival, which will take place July 12th – 15th in the festival’s namesake Valencian beach town, late last year. Added acts this week include Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Katy B, Miles Kane, New Order, Crystal Castles, The Horrors, Bombay Bicycle Club and Example. More additions will follow next week. 

November Music Reviews: Florence and the Machine, David Lynch, Atlas Sound


Florence and the MachineCeremonials (Island Records) That Florence Welch nominally aligned herself with the machine makes good sense. Since the 2009 release of her chart-topping debut, Lungs, the 25-year-old English singer has transformed into something of a juggernaut, steamrolling through glossy editorials, awards ceremonies, and multicontinental tours. On her latest effort, produced by Paul Epworth—fresh from Adele’s 21—Welch swaps her pre-Raphaelite look for the harder-edged Modernism of Tamara Lempicka (don’t worry, she’s still a redhead). Recorded at Abbey Road Studios, Ceremonials trades in big themes—no less than love and death, guilt and violence—without seeming grandiose, and the result is every bit as rousing as Lungs. On single “Shake It Out,” a return to form is a step forward for Welch. –Megan Conway

David LynchCrazy Clown Time (Sunday Best Recordings) For fans, David Lynch’s break from filmmaking has been disconcerting. But it’s a comfort to know the enigmatic and fundamentally unsettling nature of his work is still alive, even if it arrives in the form of his new album, Crazy Clown Time. Though described by the director as “blues-inspired but not blues,” the music faithfully reflects that most American of genres. You can almost see the radiating blue light of Mulholland Drive’s Club Silencio (now a real club in Paris, backed by Lynch). The 14-song record seduces you into a haunted dream world, and if that sounds familiar, it’s because the music shares many elements with Lynch’s past collaborations with Angelo Badalamenti. “Strange and Unproductive Thinking” is essentially a spoken-word manifesto on how dental health effects mental health, while the title track approximates a psychosexual teen nightmare à la pre-elastic Laura Palmer. If you’re truly Lynch-obsessed, you’ll revel in the eccentricities, but if you’re just tuning in for the hype, you might need a lobotomy afterwards. —Hillary Weston
WimWim (Modular Records) Aussie quintet WIM arrives in the States via Modular Records, home to a bevy of successful, eccentric musicians, including Architecture in Helsinki, Ladyhawke, the Rapture, and Cut Copy. But the group’s emotive, piano-based melodies and strong vocal harmonies are a strange fit for the label’s aesthetic. Their sound builds methodically and at times a little too conventionally, which can make their self-titled album a bit pedestrian. “John,” the strongest track, breaks away from the pack with its beautiful accordion introduction and innovative use of vocals at the bridge. Despite the lukewarm debut, though, WIM has promise, and with Modular backing them, they’re sure to succeed in this hemisphere.—Dana Drori
KorallrevenAn Album by Korallreven (Acéphale Records) The debut effort from Swedish trance pop artists Daniel Tjäder (also of the Radio Dept.) and Marcus Joons, known collectively as Korallreven, follows closely on the heels of their ambitious August mix, A Dream Within a Dream. “As Young as Yesterday” sets an ambient tone for the 10 tracks, with breathy vocals from Taken by Trees singer Victoria Bergsman (who appears twice on the album) layered over a hypnotic medley of 808s and acoustic guitar. The result is as a crisp as autumn in Stockholm, punctuated by sudden bursts from electronic synths and drums to kick up the groove. —Nadeska Alexis
Carter TantonFreeclouds (Western Vinyl) The name may not ring a bell, but odds are good you’re familiar with Carter Tanton’s work: the New York-based musician used to front the band Tulsa, and his captivating vocal skills were showcased on the group’s much-heralded, My Morning Jacket–like 2007 EP I Was Submerged. Now a member of indie-rock outfit the Lower Dens, the singer-songwriter still managed to carve out some time to record and release his solo debut, Freeclouds. A number of the songs—not to mention the title—were inspired by David Bowie’s 1969 “Wild Eyed Boy from Freecloud.” Tanton skillfully weaves his own bittersweet tales—all steeped in nostalgic Americana—over eclectic samples and twanging guitar chords. —NA
Atlas SoundParallax (4AD) Much like the albums that preceded it, Bradford Cox’s third solo effort, Parallax, features the Deerhunter frontman’s soothing and experimental sounds, but the LP is surprisingly poppy and uplifting, too. Traces of catchy rock songs can be found on tracks like “The Shakes” and “Te Amo.” Even melancholy terrain like “My Angel is Broken” is set against upbeat guitar riffs. Cox’s lyrics take center stage here, often repeating in succession to create rhythms that all but hypnotize the listener. The elegiac “Terra Incognita” and the folksy, haunting “Flagstaff” (which evolves into an experiment in lo-fi soundwaves) represent the album’s rare dark moments, but Cox raises the tempo for “Nightworks,” ending with an optimistic bang. —DD
Noel GallagherNoel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Sour Mash/Mercury Records) More than a decade ago, a then fresh-faced Pete Doherty called Oasis’ Liam Gallagher “a town crier” and his brother, Noel, “a poet.” On High Flying Birds, Noel’s first full-length solo effort, the British rocker puts the full range of his rhapsodic talent on display—sans heavy guitars. Free from the confines of the band, he ventures into new territory while holding fast to his poetry. Instruments vary from song to song, shifting from moody minor keys to brassy oomph. The big band sound on “The Death of You and Me” is a throwback to ’70s Kinks. —HW

Afternoon Links: Emma Stone & Andrew Garfield Dating IRL, Galliano in Court

● Radioactive spiders weren’t the only critters creeping The Amazing Spider-Man set. Word has it that Cupid was lurking around, too, as costars Andrew Garfield and Emma Stone are reportedly upside-down kissing in real life. [Us Weekly] ● John Galliano entered a Paris courtroom today to face charges of loving Hitler in public. 70 years ago, if you told the Führer he’d be complicit in the downfall of one of the world’s most famous designers in 2011, he might have said something like, “Das ist großartig!” [The Cut] ● Some good news and bad news for fans of The Wire actor Idris Elba: He just got cast as the lead in Guillermo Del Toro’s sci-fi tentpole Pacific Rim, but that puts his chances of starring in Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained in doubt. (In related news, it looks like Jamie Foxx is in.) [Deadline]

● If you haven’t already seen these videos of John Krasinki, Emily Blunt, Jason Segel, and Allison Brie, they’re worth a watch, if only to further hammer home the “Stars! They’re Just Like Us!” hypothesis. [Vulture] ● Noel Gallagher married his longtime girlfriend, Sara MacDonald, but brother Liam was not invited to the champagne supernova. Russel Brand, however, was. He played Best Man. [CNN] ● And in more frivolous news, Obama is bringing 10,000 troops home from Afghanistan, which we estimate will mean at least 700 new viewers for The Voice. Everyone wins! [{encode=”” title=”NY Times”}]

Simon Cowell’s ‘Idol’ Replacement: Lady Gaga, Noel Gallagher & Perez Hilton All Possible

Heartbreak make all of us dancers why don’t you? America is torn, what with Simon Cowell kicking this basset hound of a talent show out of his sprawling villa of an empire, instead taking in a more pedigreed pup like X Factor. X Factor, which overseas, has a pretty spotless track record when it comes to puking out fly-by-night pop stars like this broad, this broad, and a bloke who got to #1 by pretending to be Miley Cyrus. But with Cowell leaving such a large void in our hearts, who’s to fill in for him?

There are a lot of names being thrown about. Some sources have dropped Lady Gaga and Perez Hilton. Although Cowell himself mentioned the former only in a guest judge capacity and the latter because of his “good taste”. Which conflicts with another firm requirement he puts forward: “This person, specifically, has got to have a lot of experience in the music industry.” To his credit, Hilton did dupe a room full of suits into giving him his own record label imprint–as part of Warner Bros.

Also mentioned: The possibility of Howard Stern. Somehow Noel Gallagher has also ended up in the mix. Some are saying that Ellen, who’s already locked horns with Cowell, may just be pushed to becoming the new face of the singing competition.

But all this speculation is basically a long-winded and elaborate way of saying, “Why should the circus go on when the ringleader’s already set the tent on fire?” Because, America, it’s our job to pluck all the Adam Lamberts out there and push them to the forefront of national conversation. Showbiz depends on it.

Links: Megan Fox as Hannah Montana, Noel Gallagher J’accuse

● Demi Moore will take a break from working out and being Mrs. Ashton Kutcher to guest-star on her husband’s new show The Beautiful Life. [DailyMail] ● Megan Fox reveals in Cosmo that the one missed role she wishes she’d said yes to was the Hannah Montana movie. [JustJared] ● Matt Damon will accept the American Cinematheque Lifetime Achievement Award at the ripe old age of 39. [ContactMusic]

GQ magazine should send Robert Pattinson and Jennifer Aniston a fruit basket because their covers are keeping the magazine afloat in these difficult times. [Showbizspy] ● A baby (or babies) does Jenna Jameson’s body good; the former porn star has come back from the brink of skeletor-ness since having a couple kids. [TMZ] ● Noel Gallagher blames “lack of support and understanding from management and bandmates” for killing Oasis. Thanks a lot Liam. [NME]

Links: Marc Jacobs Wedding Weekend, Jon Gosselin’s Bicycle Thing

● Did Usher’s soon-to-be ex-wife Tameka Foster lift her Huffington Post blog “She’s Pretty for a Dark-Skinned Girl …” from Aisha Curry’s book Pretty for a Black Girl? [BVBuzz] ● After months of false reports, are Marc Jacobs and Lorenzo Martone finally tying the knot? It seems so. The couple will have a small ceremony in Massachusetts with an after-party for their fashion posse this weekend. [P6] ● The GOOP Empire, continues to expand with Gwyneth Paltrow designing a line of luxe basics for French label Zoetee’s. [MarieClaireUK]

● To no one’s surprise, Noel and Liam Gallagher are no longer speaking, despite the fact that they are currently touring the world together. [TheSun] ● Christian Audigier reveals that new BFF Jon Gosselin wants to do something with bikes. With a sidecar fit for eight perhaps? [People] ● A study by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention confirms what we already knew: gamers are overweight and most likely depressed. [Yahoo]

For Once, Noel Gallagher Get Attacked

Some things beg to be spread across the internet like a fire that is wild, and this is one of them. Last night, Oasis closed out Toronto’s weekend-long Virgin Festival, and in the middle of their performance of “Morning Glory,” something happens (see 1:30 mark). I’m currently in the process of setting up an interview with one of the Gallagher brothers to promote their upcoming album, and after this (and this), please oh please let it Noel.

Noel Gallagher Fans Attack!

Earlier today, a concerned gentleman e-mailed BlackBook demanding I issue an apology for my post on Noel Gallagher’s negative reaction to Jay-Z headlining Glastonbury (the gentleman doesn’t think it’s right). Apparently the article was picked up by an Oasis fansite, causing the minions of Oasis Nation to unleash their wrath upon me in the comments. Throughout the day, my colleagues and I shared laughs over gems such as: “ben barna you have your head jammed up or [sic] politically correct ass,” while another lauded “Classic idiocy from a low-grade journalist who clearly hasn’t done their research.” At least they consider me a journalist. Thanks guys! See the comments yourself for the full effect. What pissed them off so much, was that apparently I called the fragile Mr. Gallagher a racist.

I have since learned that you cannot use such a loaded term when discussing someone as beloved as Noel, which is why Emily Eavis, co-founder of Glastonbury, tip-toed around it. Allow me to address those upset by the post, in all caps, so you don’t miss it this time: EMILY EAVIS INSINUATED THAT NOEL GALLAGHER’S COMMENTS WERE RACIALLY MOTIVATED. I SAID THEY WERE NOT. I SAID THEY WERE BASED ON JEALOUSY. Read the last sentence again, and maybe you’ll get it. Take your time, no rush. What I found so delicious about this whole episode is that everyone who isn’t a rabid Oasis fan (i.e. doesn’t spend their time on Oasis fan forums) didn’t interpret the post as a anti-Gallagher smear. Meaning, fans let their commendable passion for Noel Gallagher and his band override those equally commendable reading comprehension skills.

I am a huge fan of Oasis — I grew up with their music, and I love the Gallagher brothers. Noel is a brilliant songwriter, and Liam has one of the most distinct voices in modern rock. Five years ago, after leaving the hospital after an 18-day stay, the first song I listened to on my walk home was “Cast No Shadow.” It was inspiring. But, having said that, I will never ever let my love for Oasis alter the way I read and understand sentences. That would be dangerous and irresponsible. But I’m glad you guys do, because this last day has been an absolute hoot.