The European festival season opens for business tonight with Pulp finally ending a hiatus that has lasted nearly a decade. In fact, the original incarnation of the band haven't played together since a gig in Barcelona in 1996.
Fittingly, Jarvis Cocker, Nick Banks, Candida Doyle, Steve Mackey, Russell Senior and Mark Webber have chosen Barcelona's Primavera Sound festival to break their live duck. The advance word is that the band are working extremely hard in rehearsals and are very determined to make this summer's shows as joyous and memorable as possible.
In the absence of any interviews, they've made a short statement. "We will not let you down," they solemnly declare. "The fact that so many of you have shown an interest is an inspiration -- we knew it was a big part of our lives, it's exciting to know it's a big part of your lives too. We have played the songs and the songs sound good. We can have fun together, get to know each other again. Christ, it's been too long -- we'd almost forgotten what you look like. Don't ever let that happen again. Cross your heart?" Of course, Pulp will also be appearing at this year's Electric Picnic.
After gloomily predicting the end of the album, a piece of fragrant nonsense and a stupid theory that's given way too much credence nowadays, Jon Bon Jovi has been having a pop at Lady Gaga. "Lady Gaga?" he scoffed last week in Memphis. "I remember her grandma, Madonna."
All very well, but then Jon had to ruin it slightly by indulging in a moment that can only be described as uber cheesy. "What's been the one constant all these years?" Jon said during a breakdown in The More Things Change. "You're looking at it."
The band decided to take a Daniel Day-Lewis approach to the recording of a track entitled Raw Meat, which involved taking the Lily Allen and Amy Winehouse producer out for liver sashimi. "One of them (note how the Black Lips are simply "them"!) touched my skin and they were like, 'Listen dude, we've got to get you to a hospital'. When I was there I was diagnosed with something with a lot of syllables in it -- endorhinitis, or something like that. I almost died. But I don't think it was intentional on their part."
A recent interview with The Horrors, an outrageous-looking bunch of gothic hipsters who made one of my favourite albums of 2009, Primary Colours, revealed that they were still working on its follow up. Imagine my surprise when, without warning, a digital promo of their third studio album, Skying, arrived in my inbox.
In an age where every other nonsensical random thought is tweeted and retweeted, there was a strict stipulation not to reveal even the very existence of the album until this week on any social media site.
If Skying proved to be a poor record, such talk would look ridiculous. Thankfully, it is genuinely amazing, even more melodic, psychedelic and daring than Primary Colours.
The Horrors' third album is up there with PJ Harvey and And So I Watch You From Afar as some of the best music released in 2011.
You can hear it for yourself this July.
Day & Night