Wilko Johnson: ‘Just get up there and play’

Five years ago, Wilko Johnson never imagined he’d reach 70. But now the straight-talking survivor is celebrating the milestone with his first headline show at Royal Albert Hall.

In the run-up to the gig, he tells us about overcoming a diagnosis of terminal cancer, an unlikely collaboration with Roger Daltrey, learning to live in the moment on stage, the effect of seeing The Beatles and Chuck Berry play live, and pretending his guitar is a machine gun.

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Triggerfinger are Colossal at 100 Club

To coincide with the release of their new album, Triggerfinger have announced a six-date UK tour that culminates in a show at The 100 Club on 10 October.

They’ve also launched an animated video for the LP’s title track, ‘Colossus’. The song, which showcases the Belgian trio’s now more expansive sound, marks the first time the band worked with two basses.

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Sophia Marshall says hello with ‘Bye Bye’

Sophia Marshall first made a name for herself as half of Americana duo The HaveNots. Now she’s back with ‘Bye Bye’, her debut solo album, that draws from her alt-country roots while adding traces of folk, rockabilly, indie pop, and even ‘90s trip-hop.

The singer-songwriter tells us about returning after a nine-year hiatus from making music, falling in love with Americana, the importance of sincerity, listening to too much Britpop as a teenager, and the song she wrote in the shower.

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Pet Shop Boys: Fundamental/Further Listening 2005-2007

Pet Shop Boys | Fundamental/Further Listening 2005-2007

You don’t get more unlikely pop stars than the Pet Shop Boys. Even when they first arrived on the charts, Neil Tennant was more Basil Fawlty than Simon Le Bon, while Chris Tennant got on with his mannequin impersonation.

Yet, even after 20 years, not much had changed. By 2006 the vocalist’s hair had turned silver and the keyboard player acquired sunglasses and a cap, but ‘Fundamental’ had the duo serving up articulate synth pop as if it were 1986. They even brought in Trevor Horn, who produced some of the ‘80s most overblown hits, to provide the same kitchen sink approach he used on songs like Frankie Goes To Hollywood’s ‘Relax’ and the Boys’ own ‘Left To My Own Devices’.

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The Blinding Lights aren’t dancing in the dark

The Blinding Lights might sound like they come from New Jersey, but the rock ‘n roll band hail from London where they’ve been making a name for themselves since 2015.

And the brothers Callum, Jack, and Theo Lury aren’t content with just being your standard trio. Live, they’ve been known to expand their sound with the Royal College of Music based string ensemble, The Delphi Quartet, and their own horn section, The Devastations.

Ahead of a string of hometown gigs, the group tell us about the thrill of playing live, family, having fun on stage, and what they’ve learnt from Bruce Springsteen.

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Interpol: Our Love To Admire

Interpol | Our Love To Admire (10th Anniversary Edition)

When Interpol arrived, with ‘Turn On The Bright Lights’, they did so fully formed. Not the work of a band trying to find a sound or an identity, their debut album was, like The Strokes’ ‘Is This It’, a detailed mission statement. Which poses the question: where to next?

The answer, for the NYC quartet, was more of the same: ‘Antics’ covered the same ground as its predecessor, but with weaker songs. So, for their third album, the band knew they needed to do something different.  

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Pet Shop Boys: Release/Further listening 2001-2004

Pet Shop Boys | Release/Further Listening 2001-2004

If ‘Actually’ is the one with all the hits, ‘Introspective’ the one with all the extended dance mixes, ‘Behaviour’ the commercially disappointing masterpiece, and ‘Very’ the one with ‘Go West’ and those pointy orange hats, ‘Release’ is Pet Shop Boys’ “guitar album”.

But, released at the height of nu-metal, this is no attempt by Tennant and Lowe to elbow Limp Bizkit and Linkin Park off the top of the charts. Instead, as to be expected, their elegant eighth studio album subtly incorporates tasteful guitar work courtesy of The Smiths’ Johnny Marr. Regardless of whether he’s strumming an acoustic, laying down atmospheric textures with his effects pedals, or playing a bonafide solo on ‘Birthday Boy’, his contributions never feel like an afterthought.

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