Monday 18 December 2017

Love splits and tour troubles

CANCELLED TOUR: Kings of Leon's
Caleb Followill is suffering 'exhaustion'
CANCELLED TOUR: Kings of Leon's Caleb Followill is suffering 'exhaustion'
Eamon Sweeney

Eamon Sweeney

The golden couple of indie rock have split. Arctic Monkeys lead singer Alex Turner and 'it' girl Alexa Chung have ended their four-year relationship. Chung's spokeswoman has claimed that the couple's parting of ways is "completely amicable".

Apparently, the Vogue cover girl and the Sheffield songwriter -- who share similar first names and looks -- have been feeling the strain of living separate Transatlantic lives.

Arctic Monkeys release the second single from their fourth album Suck it and See next week, entitled The Hellcat Spangled Shalalala. When the Monkeys complete promotional and touring duties for this album, they've reached the end of their contract with Domino Recordings.

While a bidding war is likely to ensue, it's widely believed they will resign to Laurence Bell's label, who's granted them so much creative control and success to date. Suck it and See is certainly their most grown-up and romantic album, where Alex stopped writing about fights in the chipper and cab rank and forged some beautifully tender songs such as Love is a Laserquest. You can be sure that it won't be the last we'll hear from either party, as Chung's television career in New York also goes from strength to strength.

•The rigours of the festival season have seemingly taken their toll on both Caleb Followill of Kings of Leon and Jason Pierce of Spiritualized. This year's Slane headliners have been forced to pull US shows due to "exhaustion and dehydration". Caleb's brother Jared hinted that there may be more at stake. "I love our fans so much," he says. "I know you guys aren't stupid. I can't lie. There are problems in our band bigger than not drinking enough Gatorade."

Meanwhile, Jason Pierce of Spiritualized/Spaceman 3 fame has been forced to postpone two shows this month due to undisclosed "medical circumstances".

A statement regrets the cancellation of shows in Sicily and the Standon Calling Festival, but insists that "this is not a long-term issue".

An appearance in Vicar St this October has been already postponed until February so that Spiritualized can complete and release their new studio album due out this autumn.

•How the summer flies. Electric Picnic is only a mere month away. Day tickets for Sunday are available for the first time ever, which is good news if you're a Pulp fan, as Jarvis (below) and company close the festival.

I suspect Mr Cocker might also make a surprise appearance with Erol Alkan's Boys Noize, as he sings on their brilliant new single Avalanche, quite possibly the weirdest and best Leonard Cohen cover of all time.

However, EP is not the last hurrah of the summer. The following weekend, Berlin will host its second-ever major musical festival with Suede, Primal Scream, James Blake and Mogwai all making an appearance on a delightfully eclectic bill.

New Irish band Last Days of 1984 are also on board with a prestigious slot at this emergent festival, and they're certainly a band I'd heartily recommend checking out. The Dubliners will also play a Berlin showcase alongside Ham Sandwich, Le Galaxie, The Funeral Suits and Cashier No 9 on Friday, September 8.

This fosters further musical connections with the great city of Berlin. Irish acts such as Nina Hynes have been based in the German capital for years, while Shaun Mulrooney, formerly of Humanzi, is currently the booker with the famed Berlin venue White Trash.

Mulrooney releases an album called Phantasmagoric under the moniker Admiral Black this month. Produced by Tindersticks drummer Earl Harvin, it's a remarkable transition from Humanzi. Once an inspirational creative hunting ground for U2, Bowie and Iggy Pop, Berlin appears to be becoming a hotbed for new Irish talent.

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