Conor Oberst to retire ‘Bright Eyes’, takes Monsters of Folk on the road

Conor Oberst, the man behind the wonderful Bright Eyes and in front of the not-so-wonderful Mystic Valley Band, has announced he plans to retire the Bright Eyes name.

Supergroup Monsters of Folk, in which Conor plays with Bright Eyes chum Mike Mogis, folk legend M Ward and My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James, are popping over to Europe in November, including a date in London on 17th.

Gideon Conn documentary on TV tonight

Manchester’s finest folk-hip-hop troubadour is to spread his sweetness on telly boxes all over the country tonight with a folkumentary on Channel M.

The fly-on-the-wall documentary is part of the series ‘Hitting Home’ produced by students at Salford University.

Album: She & Him – Volume One

She & Him are not a band willing to live by clichés. By all means, the first collaboration between a guitar-wielding bluesman and a Hollywood starlet should be equal parts dull and self-indulgent. Volume One breaks the formula effortlessly from the heartbreaking opening vocals by actress Zooey Deschanel, one half of a team completed by M. Ward. The key is the wide range of influences audible in every track – there is as much room on Volume One for the softer side of Motown as there is for the livelier side of Les Paul and Mary Ford. ‘Why Do You Let Me Stay Here’ takes its leaf out of the latter’s book, a charming and energetic track in which one can hear every ounce of joy that the band have squeezed out of putting together their album.

Album: Slow Club – Yeah So

Before this debut album arrived to review, I already had 12 Slow Club tracks on my iTunes, which gives some idea of how prolific they’ve been already. So here are 12 more (13 if you include the secret track), and, mostly, they’re a very welcome addition to the Slow Club cannon.

Live: Bombay Bicycle Club

Bombay Bicycle Club frontman Jack Steadman jerks around the stage like Chris Martin. Which is a bit weird. It is good for the band, though, for without his eccentricity, a four-piece who’s debut album is a glorious indy-blues stomp would look distinctly out of their depth in the live arena.

Review: Latitude festival 2009

At four years old, Latitude has grown out of toddlerdom and is now walking happily on its own two (eco-friendly) feet. It has developed into a wonderful family-friendly festival that is the darling of the liberal media and the middle classes. But such a reputation cannot be built upon vegan food stalls and top-notch recycling alone; no, Latitude Festival is built instead upon that most solid of all foundations – damn good entertainment! Whilst the festival is indeed ‘more than just a music festival’ with its impressive array of cabaret, comedy, literary and poetry acts, it is the music I wish to talk about.

Alessi’s artwork on show in Hammersmith

As many of you will know, Alessi Laurent-Marke, able captain of Alessi’s Ark, does much more than writing scintillating, magical folk songs. She’s the worthy purveyor of a delectable variety of handmade and lovely things via her blog, and she’s rather keen on having a scribble with the ol’ felt tips.