Oxegen 2011 – Saturday – Cashier No.9, Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Miles Kane & Arctic Monkeys

After an impressive but sparse Friday, Saturday had a lot to live up to but spirits were raised as Punchestown basked in glorious sunshine, a rare occurrence in recent years.

Away from the sunshine was Belfast 5-piece Cashier No.9 who were wooing  punters in the Heineken Green Energy tent with their brand of shimmering indie. The set which opened with EP title track ‘Goldstar’ was cheerful and charming and also included ‘Oh Pity’ and latest single ‘Lost at Sea’. A really enjoyable set and there’s little doubt these guys are ones to keep and eye on.

Over on the Main Stage fellow Northerners Two Door Cinema Club drew the biggest crowd of the weekend so far. The Bangor trio’s cheery and energetic indie-pop perfect complementing the mood of the crowd, buoyed by the sun, they lapped up tracks like ‘Something Good Can Work’ and ‘Undercover Martyn’. It was a performance full of energy and confidence as they continue to grow in stature, they seemed perfectly at home with the Main Stage billing. They also announced we can expect an album in early 2012.

London trio Kitty, Daisy & Lewis have already carved out a niche as fine purveyors of genre-hopping retro sounding music. A sound molded from a mixture of R&B, Swing, Country and Western, Rockabilly, Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll filled the 2FM Hotpress Academy. A wonderfully charming set full of feel good, toe-tapping infectious rhythm.

Next up was Miles Kane, who is probably best known for his role in The Last Shadow Puppets alongside Alex Turner of Arctic Monkeys. This boys got skills, confidence, swagger and supreme stage presence. He swaggered through a set of whirlwind of ’60s psych-soul swathed in twangs and spooky feedback and pulse-raising rock’n’roll riffs, including ‘Inhaler’, ‘Rearrange’, ‘My Fantasy’ and ‘Quicksand’ while the live ‘Kingcrawler’ almost makes the neck hairs stand on end. As the set progressed, for the first time all weekend the symbiotic relationship between artist and crowd was exploited to the full as each goes for it, pushing the other further and further. Kane’s blistering show is Saturday’s high point so far but there is still the small matter of a certain band from Sheffield to come.

For me Saturday’s main attraction was always going to be Arctic Monkeys who somehow I had never seen live. Four great albums in and they have solidified into one of the most formidable bands on the planet, surely they couldn’t let me down? They were in no mood to mess around launching into ferocious performances of ‘Brianstorm’, ‘Still Take You Home’ and ‘This House Is A Circus’. As the rolled through their set much like The Strokes the previous night, it is real drilled home how good they really are.

The new material sounded fantastic even if some of the momentum ebbed away somewhat as the rump of the crowd seemed unfamiliar with tracks like ‘Brick By Brick’, ‘Suck It And See’, ‘She’s Thunderstorms’ and to a lesser extent ‘Library Pictures’.  ‘Don’t Sit Down Because I’ve Moved Your Chair’ in particular was glorious with Turner’s voice sounding fantastic. 

The punters played their part too and when ‘When The Sun Goes Down’ and ‘I Bet You Look Good On The Dancefloor’ got an airing all hell broke loose throughout the crowd. ‘Teddy Picker’, ‘Florescent Adolescent’ and ‘Crying Lightening’ sounded great too before Miles Kane joined them on stage to close a memorable set with ‘505’. The performance was a glorious success if a little distant at times, the next time they announce their own Irish dates I’m there.

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Download: Steve Mason & Dennis Bovell – Yesterday Dub

Former Beta Band front man Steve Mason has joined forces with respected reggae artist/producer Dennis Bovell for a dub reinterpretation of his stunning debut solo album, Boys Outside, which was released last year.

The album is titled Ghosts Outside and will be available digitally on July 26th and physically from August 2nd. Ahead of the release Steve Mason & Dennis Bovell have kindly decided to give away ‘Yesterday Dub’, as a taste of things to come.

Going by this evidence the record will be a real treat. Mason’s haunting vocals are perfectly suited to a backdrop of stripped back dub beats and triumphant horns.

Stream/download ‘Yesterday Dub’ below and there’s ‘All Come Down’ for those who aren’t familiar with Mason’s wonderful sound.

Download: Steve Mason & Dennis Bovell – Yesterday Dub

 Steve Mason – All Come Down via Double Six

Video: Mr Bligh – Is This England?

North London’s Mr. Bligh came in for a lot praise here for his debut album Is This England?

An artist with a predilection for insightful social commentary. His debut record is a rumbustious rattle through London life exuding lyrical maturity and youthful rebellion in equally measures.

Anyway he has just dropped a new animated video for the ska-tinged single of the same name which pretty much captures the rich mixture of indie, punk, reggae sounds that makes the album so great.

Mr Bligh’s debut is available for FREE in exchange for an email address on his website right now.

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Download: Mr Bligh – Brand New Ting

Mr Bligh – Its Not Fair

Kitty, Daisy & Lewis – ‘I’m So Sorry’

London trio Kitty, Daisy & Lewis have already carved a distinct niche as talented purveyors of genre-defying retro sounding music. Their self titled debut album was molded from a mixture of  inspirations; R&B, Swing, Country and Western, Rockabilly, Blues and Rock ‘n’ Roll.

Their new single ‘I’m So Sorry’ has further caught the eye. Yes, like the rest of their music it hankers back to the 50’s/60’s but on this occasion there is a definite Jamaican ska vibe introduced. Feel good, toe-tapping infectious rhythms and trumpets galore.

‘I’m So Sorry’ is out April 18th while second album Smoking in Heaven is out May 3oth. They play Dublin’s Button Factory on May 5th.

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Max Tannone – ‘Dub Kweli’

Max Tannone the brains behind Jaydiohead and Mos Dub is back, previously he’d mashed Jay-Z over Radiohead and Mos Def over old school reggae and dub cuts. The New York mix specialist has returned with Dub Kweli, yeah you guessed it, this time he’s turned his attention to the other half of Blackstar, mashing Talib Kweli with classic dub and reggae tracks.

This fusion of Kweli’s rhythmic delivery of intelligent, insightful and political lyrics with the old school Jamaican reggae and dub vibes feels honest and fresh, with Tannone’s eye for mixing and timing  coming to the fore. The end result isn’t too dissimilar to Mos Dub, excellent feel good vibes and rhythms that you can nod your head to, a must have for fans of hip-hop, reggae and mash-ups, and, oh did I mention it’s free?

Here’s three very good reasons to grab the entire album from his website

Mp3: Dub Kweli – Your Gospel

Mp3: Dub Kweli – Mourning Unknown

Mp3: Dub Kweli – More or Less Dub

Roots Manuva meets WrongTom – ‘Duppy Writer’

Okay, Duppy Writer isn’t exactly new nor entirely Roots’ work. It’s a collection of re-works by producer Wrong Tom who was responsible for a series of mixes which became the bonus disc for the limited edition version of Slime & Reason. So pleased with the work he was brought in to expand the work into a full album.

Duppy Writer covers all four of Roots Manuva’s main albums, plus a brand new collaboration with Mr Manuva and Ricky Ranking on lead single ‘Jah Warriors’. The first taster is the smooth reggae/dub-tinged ‘Butterfly Crab Walk ft. Riddla’ – sounds like good stuff and any new Roots is always welcome.

Duppy Writer is released 6th September on ninja tune

Roots Manuva ft. Riddla – Butterfly Crab Walk

Max Tannone – Mos Dub

Summer has arrived and it’s got a new best friend, Mos Dub. The album is the brainchild of New York producer Max Tannone who has by now a pretty solid reputation for mashups. It can be an arduous task trying to find great mashups and mixtapes sometimes, due to the sheer volume on the web these days, fear not, this guy doesn’t disappoint.

The idea of pitting the lyrical stylings of Mos Def against the classic sounds of old school Jamaican reggae and dub is nothing short of genius and would be littered with pitfalls for most. Mos Dub cares not for pitfalls and strides majestically forward fusing the finest elements of styles and genres, capturing all the feel good vibes and rhythms of  reggae and rap to give an honest and fresh feel. Max’s skills for timing, mixing and mashing are impeccable without doubt. Similarly chosing  the intelligent, political and insightful lyrics of Mos Def’s which aren’t too far from what you would see from actual reggae artists gives it a true authentic Jamaican feel.

Whether or not like me, you’re a fan Mos Def and all his musical guises be it solo or in Blackstar with Talib Kweli, this blend with reggae and dub is a marvelous piece of work, let’s hope we get plenty of scorching sunshine to go with the cracking summertime tunes!

Mp3: Mos Dub – Johnny Too Beef

Mp3: Mos Dub – History Town

You can get the full album from Max Tannone’s website.