Ramblings: new monthly column, Black Madonna intrigue, Kasabian and Cortes News


Yesterday we unveiled our new monthly column: Word on the Street. George has for many years been a passionate follower of beat-driven music (he hates the term ‘urban music’) and if you have an interest in grime, garage, dance, hip hop or r’n’b, then the column is going to be a ‘must read’. I think its a fantastic read and I’m very grateful to George for pulling it all together.

On Friday evening George sent me an intriguing Black Madonna-related link; you can find it here. What does it mean? a UK tour? a residency? an album? I guess we’ll find out on Tuesday, but any new Black Madonna news is welcome in my world.

Speaking of welcome news, there was a distinct whiff of 2002 about two of this week’s biggest new releases; new singles from Missy Elliott and Jamiroquai. The latter has also announced a gig at the Roundhouse in London. Both of these artists were huge influences on my music taste in my teens so I’m pretty chuffed that they’re back.

The Astral Penguins blog is growing in content and readership, and over the next couple of weeks we’ll be unveiling some new regular features. (at least) One of those features revolves heavily around the festivals coming up over the summer, and on a related note Kasabian were announced as the second of three headliners lined up for Leeds and Reading Festivals (the third is rumoured to be Eminem).

I confess I have a massive soft spot for Kasabian. I first saw them supporting the Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at the Leadmill in Sheffield many years ago, and it was obvious then that they were supremely talented. They’re one of the few British guitar-heavy bands to ascend to the top of festival line ups and stay there in the past decade, and with a new album on the way, this could be – yet another – big year for them.

Kasabian gigged day in and day out to hone their craft, and another British band who are following a similar approach is Cortes. I first saw them a couple of years ago as a support act and have seen then around five times since then. They posted two things on Facebook this week; (1) they’ve passed a million streams on Spotify – congrats! – and (2) they’ve been in the studio recording new music. Every now and then you see a band and think ‘these guys could – and should – be massive’; Cortes are one of those bands and I only hope Radio 1 and others continue to give them the support and air-time they need.

I’ll be back later on with the A List and tomorrow with the This Week Playlist. Until then…





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