The 1990s felt like the Swedish decade. Scandinavian style social democracy dominated politics whilst bands like The Cardigans and The Wannadies provided the songs for the CDs we so neatly stacked in all those IKEA shelf units. The Wannadies, led by cheeky, curly-haired scamp Pär Wiksten provided one of the ready assembled, rom-com songs of …

Beth Orton made me cry. Her surprising cover of The Ronettes song I Wish I Never Saw The Sunshine on her debut Trailer Park is electric with emotion and sad resignation. Beth’s trademark fragility hugged my soul and cured a bout of twenty-something gloomy angst. Beth does this. Now touring her eighth studio album – …

My pace quickens and acorns crunch underfoot. I’ve got the fear. Like the return of a recurring nightmare, I’m late for my lectures, again. October will always herald a new term, a new start and the anticipation of mind-expanding adventures – so welcome to the university of Hampstead aka HowTheLightGetsIn festival. My first lesson is: …

A fan clutches a Black Kids colouring book. Black Kids inspire this kind of devotion. He’ll probably colour it in without going over the edges. Then again, he won’t want to spoil the pristine pages of his heroes at all. He’ll wait for the limited-edition Black Kids felt tip pens to arrive. The 100 Club …

As the puddles form around the humdrum town and London joins the rest of this disunited kingdom to enter a new Dark Ages, a little French fun should be just the tonic. Yann Tiersen contributed much of the score for the Amelie film soundtrack back in 2001. The quirky beauty of Audrey Tautou and Yann …

There’s soaring inflation, public sector strikes and a cost of living crisis and somewhere in Northamptonshire the band Bauhaus are taking that angst and discontent and creating a goth classic. Bauhaus – or Bauhaus 1919 (as they were initially called) recorded their classic Bela Lugosi’s Dead amidst the industrial strife and political instability of Britain …

School was cruel. Blessed with an abundant record box of singles I had a passport to the parties but it came at a cost. Spending my paper-round money on vinyl but still clad in jumble sale garb didn’t go unnoticed by my mates, So a throwaway jibe about me being “square” stuck fast. To be …

Going to festivals and collecting the press accreditation is like childbirth – it’s best to forget how painful the process can be otherwise you’d never attend another festival again. So here I am in the sun-bleached fields at the back of Aulnoye-Aymeries railway station in Northern France wandering around aimlessly muttering “pardon, je suis Anglais” to …

It almost feels like stalking. I’ve certainly followed Steven Ansell and Laura-Mary Carter around over the years. From that captivating moment when I first heard Getting Boring By The Sea some fifteen years ago I was smitten by their edgy, wall of sound and the inventive spark between them. There was the Blood Red Shoes …

The kids are alright – they’ve got Glastonbury and Reading but where do you go if you want a grown up festival? To a field situated somewhere between Bicester and Oxford apparently! Kite Festival is the brand new summer bash where you’re more likely to experience a book reading than blokes barfing. A festival that …