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Tuesday 20 August 2013

Linkin Park team up with Hard Rock to power the world with exclusive t-shirts

Linkin Park and Hard Rock International today announced the launch of limited-edition Linkin Park Signature Series: Edition 31 T-shirts, benefiting Music for Relief and its Power the World initiative.

These special-edition t-shirts, designed by Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda, will be available for a limited time only from Hard Rock locations all over the world this month, and available from the Rock Shops at Hard Rock Cafe London, Manchester and Edinburgh from August 23, priced £20.45.

The exclusive t-shirts, a partnership between the Linkin Park, the US Grammy-Award winning band and Hard Rock International, world-renowned entertainment and lifestyle brand, includes a men’s and women’s t-shirt.

A portion of the retail price from sales of Hard Rock’s  Linkin Park Signature Series: Edition 31 T-shirt  will benefit Music for Relief, a non-profit organisation founded by Linkin Park, and its Power the World campaign.

“The most exciting part of our partnership with Hard Rock is that it helps people,” says Linkin Park’s Mike Shinoda.  “There are people in the world who cook dinner over fires and people who have to perform emergency surgery at night via candlelight.

“The proceeds of these shirts will buy clean-energy cook stoves for families who only have access to dirty cooking materials which are bad for the environment and bad for their health. It will buy ‘solar suitcases’ to power things like hospital lights and medical devices in remote areas of the world without energy access.

“By dedicating funds to Music for Relief, this Hard Rock t-shirt project promotes sustainable energy awareness and helps people who need it.”

 Worldwide more than one billion people have no access to electricity, compromising health, education, safety and livelihoods. Linkin Park and Music for Relief launched Power the World to raise awareness about what it means to live without energy access and to highlight innovative clean energy solutions. Visit for additional details.

Hard Rock’s Linkin Park Signature Series: Edition 31 T-shirts will also be available online at and at Hard Rock Cafe, Hotel and Casino locations worldwide.

Friday 16 August 2013

Travis : Where You Stand review

Travis have faced an uphill battle ever since 1999 sophomore set The Man Who yielded so many memorable hit singles.

Why Does It Always Rain On Me, Writing To Reach You, Driftwood and Turn were among the most played songs on radio for what seemed an enternity.

How d'you follow success like that? Most often, you don't.

Since then they’ve been lacklustre and after their sixth album five years ago, they shut up shop.

Clearly, the rest has done them good because this is their best outing since their heyday, full of barbed pop hooks and musical ambition.

Best are Moving, despite its similarity to Killers anthem All These Things That I’ve Done, and Mother in which Fran Healy aptly sings: ”Why did we wait so long?"

He reprises time and again the old trick of taking a memorable phrase and repeating it until it's in danger of outlasting its welcome, but always stops shy of being shown the door.

Recorded across London, Norway, New York and Berlin's legendary Hansa Studios, it's at times pleasantly predictable.

But A Different Room adds Bowie-styled synthesisers, New Shoes treads on New Age beats and pop syncopation, and Where You Stand is a Coldplay clone.

No dizzy heights , then, but a high step back on the ladder. Good to have you back, guys.

Tierra Blanca : Shadowlands review

Somewhere over the pond Robert Rodriguez is soundtracking his latest movie.

He need look no further than Shadowlands, an album packed with moody wild western rock and stroll but, bizarrely enough, made by Brits.

John McKeown’s band serves up a Tex-Mex tapas of self-penned songs that recalls Rodriguez favourites Tito & Tarantula, as highlighted by the title track.

Both Beautiful Eyes and Only Love are dusty south of the border gems. Sex And Cash, meanwhile, finds the band moving up through the gears.

Unlikely covers include Prince’s When Doves Cry, Patti Smith’s Dancing Barefoot, Neil Young’s Only Love Can Break Your Heart and Scott Walker's The Electrician.

But then there's a surprisingly good take on David Essex hit Rock On, all stick drums and south of the border guitar. It really shouldn't work - but it does.

This could be the year's hidden treasure. Go search it out today.

Friday 2 August 2013

Martin Simpson : Vagrant Stanzas

Folk singer-songwriter and virtuoso guitarist Simpson strips everything back to the basics, singing live accompanied just by close-miked guitar or banjo, and it’s spellbinding.

Whether putting his stamp on Bob Dylan’s North Country Blues or telling the poignant story of forgotten war medic Jack Kirkpatrick in self-penned Jackie And Murphy, he is in fine form.

An unexpected highlight is the instrumental Civil War memorial Blue Eyed Boston Boy, played unusually on electric guitar.

The Lone Ranger - Wanted : review

Every big movie boasts two albums these days – one the original soundtrack and the other a collection of music ‘inspired by’ the film.

In the case of The Lone Ranger, saddle up for the latter, a rootsy set of Americana boasting some of the genre’s best exponents, among them Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Iron & Wire and The Rubens.

Best are Lucinda Williams’ Everything But The Truth, John Grant’s sublime Saddle The Wind and The White Buffalo’s American Dream.

Great album. Hi-ho Silver, away...

The Civil Wars : The Civil Wars review

Written and recorded even as they were falling apart at the seams, Joy Williams and John Paul White’s second album bristles with discord in contrast to dewy-eyed debut Barton Hollow.

Surprisingly, it’s better for that.

Although Williams rarely sounded sweeter on the likes of Tell Mama, Sacred Heart and Devil’s Backbone, it’s the sputtering guitar growl of I Had Me A Girl – a raucous Jack White-style country blues – that steals the sophomore show, along with the Damien Rice-like Eavesdrop.

If this is the swansong, it’s a bittersweet parting.