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The Cure’s Robert Smith: ‘I was very optimistic when I was young now I’m the opposite’

The singer and songwriter has been curating the Meltdown festival, and is planning to record the first Cure album in 10 years. But will it be fuelled by magic mushroom tea? The first thing Robert Smith does is apologise for the makeup. He hasnt worn it since his last concert with the Cure, in December 2016, but he has a photoshoot today at the Royal Festival Hall and thinks his features are too indistinct without it. To be honest, I would be disappointed if he wasnt wearing it, along with…

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Rage Against the Machine beats X Factor’s Joe to Christmas No 1

After an Facebook campaign against Simon Cowell's chart domination, music fans celebrate their victory In recent years, it had become as predictable as elections in North Korea singer wins X Factor, singer’s debut single goes to No 1. So when Joe McElderry won the TV talent contest, he was no doubt confident he would celebrate Christmas at the top of the charts. Alas for the 18-year-old from South Shields, it wasn’t to be: a song almost his own age denied him the top spot after a successful online campaign. Killing…

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Abba announce first new songs for 35 years

Swedish four-piece take to Instagram to announce two releases that will form part of an avatar tour project Abba have announced that they have written and recorded their first new songs since they split in 1983. The Swedish four-piece, who had nine No 1 hits in the UK between 1974 and 1980, and who have sold hundreds of millions of records worldwide, in Brussels earlier this week. The centrepiece is the two-hour TV show co-produced by NBC and the BBC, which will see the band perform as computer-generated avatars. Ulvaeus…

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‘You don’t own or control me’: Janelle Mone on her music, politics and undefinable sexuality

The cyborg-fixated singer is back with her first album for five years. Outspoken as ever, she explains why shell always speak up for black women and how much she misses her mentor, Prince Days before she delivers her unequivocal Times Up speech at the Grammys We come in peace, but we mean business Janelle Mone walks into an upper-level hotel suite in Manhattan, just as sunset begins to fade over the Hudson river. Her 5ft stature is amplified by a wide-brimmed hat and a warm, room-owning confidence. She is dressed…

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‘Columbine destroyed my entire career’: Marilyn Manson on the perils of being the lord of darkness

He has been called an emissary of Satan and falsely blamed for one of the most notorious shootings in US history. But the singer has never been afraid of outrage. Is that really an excuse, though, to flick our interviewers testicles? It is while discussing the difference between his stage persona and his day-to-day life that Marilyn Manson leans over and flicks me in the testicles. This comes as quite a surprise: I have encountered a lot of unusual things as a journalist, but have thus far managed to get…

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In defence of Ringo Starr a masterful drummer and the Beatles’ unsung genius

He may have lacked precision and showmanship and he did write Octopuss Garden. But those who dismiss Ringo as a journeyman who got lucky wildly underestimate a rhythmic powerhouse In 1983, the British comedian Jasper Carrott made an unhelpful contribution to Beatles legend when a tribute video for Starrs Rock & Roll Hall of Fame presentation. Is it someone thats technically proficient? Or is it someone that sits in the song with their own feel? Ringo was the king of feel. What this means is that many of Ringos best…

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Holger Czukay, bassist with Can, dies aged 79

The man who helped give the German psychedelicists their driving rhythm section was found at his apartment, with the cause of death currently unknown Holger Czukay, co-founder and bassist with pioneering German rock band Can, has died aged 79. He was found by a neighbour at his apartment, converted from Cans old studio in Weilerswist near Cologne. The cause of death is currently unknown. His wife Ursula had died in July, while his former bandmate krautrock by the British music press, alongside bands including Tangerine Dream, who paired the strident…

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‘That’s Melodrama’: Lorde plays exclusive show on Sydney’s Cockatoo Island

Singer takes the stage in a sparkling playsuit, throwing off the dark intensity of her last tour. This time, shes dancing with us The last time Lorde toured a solo show it was 2014. Then 18, Ella Marija Lani Yelich-OConnor already a few years into her career was touring her debut album Pure Heroine, and its breakout track Royals. She had disarmed critics with a voice, lyrics, stage presence and songcraft a decade older than they thought they should be. She had sold 5m records and performed at the Grammys.…

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Adele review: global star shines all the brighter on emotional night

Wembley Stadium, LondonAfter hinting it may be her last live tour, Adele gave the crowd the expected highs and lows A year ago this week she was at Glastonbury, oscillating between devastating ballads of loss and enquiries as to which of the audience had shit themselves. Now, Adele rounds off her 25 tour with four nights at Wembley hosting 98,000 people a night a stadium record for a music event coming to commune in the emotional Big Four: love, anger, sorrow, joy. Having told the world earlier in the day…

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Eminem: Elton John got me off drugs

The rapper has revealed that he relied on Elton Johns support while battling an addiction to painkillers Eminem, while struggling with drug addiction and celebrity, found solace in an unexpected confidant, he revealed this week. The controversial rapper is “friends”, it seems, with Sir Elton John. “Me and him have had similar lives and stuff,” Eminem explained in an interview with the Detroit Metro Times. “We became friends and I talk to him about things, career-wise.” Em and El didn’t always seem so sympathetic, however. The artists’ first meeting, at…

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Ed Sheeran at Glastonbury 2017 review thrillingly raw and defiantly alone

The headliner admits to last-night nerves, solo with just a guitar and effects pedal in front of the huge crowd, but their vocal support puts fire in his belly I have to admit, offers Ed Sheeran at the start of the weekends final Pyramid stage headlining set, Im very nervous. On one level that seems faintly ridiculous hes currently one of the biggest pop stars in the world, capable of annexing virtually the entire Top 20 at a stroke. On another you can see why he might approach Glastonbury with…

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Hotel California owner says Eagles’ trademark claim is ‘baseless’

The company behind the hotel in Baja California flatly denies trying to mislead travellers into thinking it is linked to the famous band The owner of a Mexican hotel being sued by the Eagles for using the name Hotel California has called for the case to be dismissed. Hotel California Baja, the company which runs the Todos Santos hotel in Baja California, said the band long ago waived its trademark rights, having waited four decades to assert them since releasing the song Hotel California on a 1976 album with the…

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Harry Styles: Harry Styles review ticking every box on the Take Me Seriously checklist

This post-One Direction debut is a melange of musical homages that fails to reach the heights of Styles idols. But one thing it isnt is dull Whatever else you may have made of them, you could never accuse One Direction of not following the script. Over the course of their career, they did everything Harry Styles may have chosen the trickiest path of all. His debut album, Harry Styles, ticks every box on the Take Me Seriously checklist. Team of triple-tested songwriting help assembled, including platinum-plated hitmaker and former alt-rock…

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Maurice Gibb, talented but tormented Bee Gee, dies

Maurice Gibb, the linchpin of the hugely successful but critically underrated Bee Gees, died yesterday in hospital after collapsing at his home in Miami, Florida, last week. Maurice Gibb, the linchpin of the hugely successful but critically underrated Bee Gees, died yesterday in hospital after collapsing at his home in Miami, Florida, last week. The 53-year-old star, who played and sang on hits including Tragedy and Jive Talkin’, had appeared to show signs of recovery this weekend after suffering a heart attack during an operation to remove an intestinal blockage.…

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