WONDERFUL WARDELL

Posted on June 4, 2013

The sun is finally out and all we want to do is hang out in the park with good friends, scrumptious snacks and even better tracks! Here at Topshop HQ, we’re obsessing over Theo and Sasha Spielberg’s freshly released EP “Brother/Sister” and reckon that if you don’t already love it too, you soon will. If you’re by any chance wondering whether these two are related to legendary director Steven Spielberg, you’re right! They’re his kids so it looks like creativity runs in the family. We’re loving their summery sound that’s best summed up as melodic Cali pop and sounds just like summer should. Wardell are currently streaming a brand new song entitled “Call It What You Want so once you’ve caught up with them, head over to their site to take a listen. How could you not with such a cute album cover?!

What inspires the music you make?

Our surroundings, our state of mind, what we’ve listening to the day before, how hungry we are, how tired we are… etc.

When did you know that you wanted to go into music?

Pretty early on! When Theo realized he wasn’t going to become a professional soccer player and when Sasha first heard “My Heart Will Go On” by Celine Dion.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played?

Stubbs in Austin. It was surreal and the BBQ was beyond and the Small Black, Haim and the Vampire Weekend folks are just a real ball! It was also an outside venue which made it that much more breezy.

What have you been listening to recently?

Theo’s been listening to the new Vampire Weekend album and I’ve had “Started From the Bottom” by Drake on repeat. I’m loving old Kate Bush demos, Haim, Ike and Tina Turner right now. We also love Dirty Projectors, Haerts Nicolas Jaar and Darkside as well as Papa who are friends of ours and who’s music we love.

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

Haim, for the ultimate family affair. Or Kendrick Lamar. We’d be perfectly fine with that. But mainly Barack Obama.

© by Jonathan Simpson

How would you describe your style?

For me (Theo) it’s Californian prints, always comfy, always warm enough. For me, (Sasha) it’s never warm enough but always comfy. A lot of collars, high waisted bits, two pieces. It’s like I’m dressed in summer get-ups but in winter colors. My style is very confused, all the time. Hopefully in a good way.

What are your touring must-haves?

Protein bars, the Internet every now and again, and a car iPhone adapter. That being said, we haven’t fully gone on tour yet, so we’ll get back to you!

Check out the banana leaf print Sasha Spielberg is wearing here.

THE ITUNES FESTIVAL JUST GOT BIGGER

Posted on May 30, 2013

Can the iTunes Festival line-up get any better? The question is yes, and that’s mainly thanks to Mother Monster a.k.a. Lady Gaga. We’ve long crushed over Lady Gaga’s catchy tunes and eclectic videos – not to mention that amazing wardrobe – but we’re beaming with excitement at the idea of her opening the iTunes Festival on September 1st. If that wasn’t enough iTunes have just announced another list of new musical champions we can’t wait to catch. From hip hop star Kendrick Lamar to our favourite indie girl group Haim, today’s drop of artists has us looking forward to September more than ever. Check out the full line up below with the new artists in red.

If you haven’t already noticed we’re taking our summer obsession with festivals to the next level and teaming up with the iTunes Festival to make it extra special in true Topshop style.  There’s exciting news today in which even more acts have been added to the illustrious list of stars hitting the iTunes stage. Today we can confirm that the buzzed about POLICA will be bringing their hyped tunes to the Roundhouse stage alongside classics Jimmy Eat World, cool newbies Palma Violet and the chart-topping Bastille!

Bastille are about as excited as we are – “ we can’t wait to play at the iTunes Festival again. Last year we were massively distracted seeing ourselves on giant TV screens for the first time. Hopefully this year, the crowd will know some of our songs!” The same can be said for Palma Violets who will be supporting the epic Queens of Stone Age, “We’re very excited about playing with Queens, they’re such legends! It will be fun to support a band that has so much character and creativity!”

And that’s not all! Check out the rest of the amazing line up below and stay tuned over the coming weeks where there’ll be the chance for Topshop fans to win tickets to the shows, read intimate interviews, listen to playlists and more!

Lady Gaga – 1st September
Sigur Ros supported by POLICA – 2nd September
The Lumineers supported by Phox – 3rd September
Paramore supported by Fenech Soler – 4th September
Rizzle Kicks – 5th September
Queens of the Stone Age supported by Palma Violets – 6th September
Phoenix supported by Little Green Cars – 7th September
Bastille supported by The 1975 – 8th September
Arctic Monkeys supported by Drenge – 9th September
Jake Bugg supported by Valerie June – 10th September
Kings of Leon supported by Jim Eat World – 11th September
Elton John supported by Tom Odell – 12th September
Chic featuring Nile Rodgers supported by Janelle Monae – 14th September
Vampire Weekend supported by the Olms – 15th September
Jack Johnson -16th September
Ludovico Einaudi supported by Agnes Obel – 17th September
30 Seconds to Mars supported by The Family Rain – 18th September
Kendrick Lamar – 19th September
Primal Scream supported by Skinny Girl Diet – 20th September
HAIM supported by Dan Croll – 21st September
Ellie Goulding – 22nd September
Jessie J supported by Lawson – 23rd September
Robin Thicke – 24th September
Pixies supported by No Ceremony – 25 September
Tinie Tempah supported by Naughty Boy – 26th September
Dizzee Rascal – 27th September
Justin Timberlake – 29th September
Katy Perry supported by Icona Pop and Iggy Azaela – 30th September

The iTunes Festival Low Down

The annual music extravaganza has brought some of the most exciting artists in the industry – Adele, The XX, One Direction to name but a few! – to London’s iconic Roundhouse venue and this year we’re getting involved. The month of 30 completely free shows is kicking off in September and we’re already bursting with excitement!

So from the achingly cool French synthpop band Phoenix to Glaswegian rockers Primal Scream, there’ll be a show that you’ll be coveting a ticket for! Go to iTunes.com/Festival for all the latest news, to download the app and win tickets. Don’t forget to follow @iTunesFestival to keep up to date with all the Festival news and join in the conversation using #iTunesFestival and see which artist is coming next.

If you can’t be there in person, fear not! You’ll be able to stream the shows live or afterwards with iTunes; on your iPhone, iPad or iPod touch via the official iTunes Festival app; or on your big screen with Apple TV, not to mention having exclusive artist access and backstage content on Topshop.com. Don’t forget to Like the iTunes Festival on Facebook too!

THE BRIT FESTIVAL LOW DOWN

Posted on May 20, 2013

Trying to navigate the mass of festivals in the UK is completely mind blowing. More than ever the little island on which Topshop was born (yes that’s Great Britain) has so many incredible festivals popping up across its shores that it’s hard to see which ones we should be considering for our precious weekends away. Foodie? Raver? Poetry-lover? Regardless of your festival preference we’ve done a little research (with the help of some festival-fans around the office) and picked some of the most exciting events happening this summer. So get ready and start booking those tickets!

THE OMG-EVERYONE-AWESOME-IS-PLAYING ONE: FIELD DAY

25 May @ Victoria Park, London

Solange. Animal Collective. Daughter. Kurt Vile. Basically everyone achingly hip in music right now (bar Frank Ocean) is playing. Plus it’s a mere £50 and a short walk from Bethnal Green tube station. London hipsters unite for this might be the most exciting line up that has yet to grace Victoria Park. Make sure not to miss a good dance out to Egyptian Hip Hop and the cooler than cool, King Krule. As for style, watch out for some serious fashion lovers here with kimonos and wide brim hats galore and more high tops than you can shake a stick at. Also, there really is a beauty to a festival in which you can probably get the last tube home!

Get tickets for Field Day, here.

THE WOW-DAVID-BYRNE-IS-PLAYING ONE: END OF THE ROAD

30 August – 1 September
Larmer Tree Gardens, Dorset

We won’t lie to you but here at Topshop HQ most of our Monday morning blues are washed away by a few plays of Talking Heads’s Take Me To The River so we were naturally overcome with excitement when it was announced David Byrne himself would be playing this year’s End of the Road festival. Our obsession with this musical-champion aside, End of the Road festival is worth a look. It’s less about raving it up and more about chilling it out with some glorious bands on the roster. The lovely Belle and Sebastian take a headline spot alongside Sigur Ros and there’s a little bit of new in the form of California cool kids Warpaint who are back with a vengeance. Set in the lovely Larmer Tree Gardens of Dorset we’re thinking maxi skirts and embellished gilets will be the style must-haves for this set of festival goers and we’ve already looked into a camper van for our journey south!

Get tickets for End of the Road festival, here.

THE SOMETHING FOR ABSOLUTELY EVERYONE ONE: LATITUDE

18th – 21st July
Henham Park, Suffolk

Mad about German electro? Adore the ballet? Enjoy a bit of spoken word? Interested in cabaret? That’s right, you can rave it up with Kraftwerk, be mesmerized by the Ballet Boyz, hear Carol Ann Duffy get all poetic as well as rocking out to some naughty dance skills from Soho’s finest burlesque dancers all in one festival. (I know, our minds are blown too). Suffolk’s Henham Park is probably the most unique combination of artists in one spot, Latitude festival really covers all the bases. There’s glam camping for those who need a shower and something a little more substantial than a yoga mat to sleep on and there’s even a gourmet restaurant on site from the folks at Giant Robot. Oh, and did we mention there’s multi-coloured sheep?

Get tickets for Latitude here.

THE BIG ONE: GLASTONBURY

26th – 30th June
Worthy Farm, Pilton

Well, we couldn’t not mention it right? As usual their line-up is comprehensive to say the least. See into the early hours with Crystal Castles and Hurts, throw your hands up and sway into summer with Haim and Laura Mvula or get right into the front for a serious throwback with legends The Rolling Stones. Everyone says you have to do it once and with a relentlessly amazing line-up year after year there’s no way of regretting nabbing a ticket. Yes, walking from field to field may be a bit of a schlep and yes, there’s probably very little chance you’ll get a good view of the The Rolling Stones but it’s Glastonbury! And that means seriously good times.

THE FOODIE ONE: THE WILDERNESS FESTIVAL

8th – 11th August
Cornbury Park, Oxfordshire

Okay, so it’s not just food but Wilderness Festival has a special place in our hearts for it’s amazing roster of chefs and restaurateurs that offer talks and tasters dedicated to their lives in eating. Think Ottolenghi and his rose water specialities; Russel Norman waxing lyrical on the beauty of Polpo; Mark Hix on his fascination with oysters – our mouths are watering as we write – The Wilderness Festival has filled a gap in the festival market that we didn’t even know was there. It’s our festival wild card! Taste buds aside there’ll be blissed out tunes from Empire of the Sun and Martha Wainwright as well as performances from the talented bunch at Shakespeare’s Globe and talks from the mind-expanding folk at Intelligence Squared. Culturalistas, take a breath, this is the festival your dreams are made of.

Get tickets for The Wilderness Festival.

THE ONE THAT’S WORTH THE TREK: NO. 6 FESTIVAL

13th – 15th September
Portmerion, Wales

Yes we know, the dates brutally co-incide with London Fashion Week so there’s no chance we’re getting any time off work (weep!) but if we did we’d be signing up to this beautiful little festival in a flash. Set in the gorgeous surroundings of Portmerion in North Wales which it’s pretty much a fairy tale village come true. There’s even a castle to stay in for accommodation. (YES, a castle!) This is a festival for those of you wanting to completely escape the real world and head somewhere far away from anything “ordinary”. And with a musical and arts program that would make any festival-goer overjoyed, what’s not to love? There’s the haunting vocals of James Blake, the renaissance of Chic ft. Nile Rodgers (is that a Daft Punk Get Lucky inspired comeback we see?) and some of our favourite songstresses of the moment taking the stage… hello Laura Mvula and  Lianne La Havas! This one is definitely worth the journey.

Get tickets for No. 6 Festival, here.

BACK TO BRILLIANT: COLD WAR KIDS

Posted on May 14, 2013

There are some bands that hold a special place in our heart and for a few of us here at Topshop HQ, Cold War Kids do just that. The band became an iPod, iTunes and general stereo regular for us when – to the joys of many an indie kid – they launched their debut album Robbers and Cowards in 2007. NME declared them the best new band in America and the rest of the presses heralded their sound as something completely new (which is pretty special in these days of mass music and shared sounds via the ever growing music blogosphere). Our personal penchant for dancing around our bedrooms to Hang Me Up To Dry aside, we’ve been keeping track of Cold War Kids’ movements since their early days. It’s been a bit of a ride for the band – founding member Jonnie Russell left to pursue his own projects and their second album was met with mixed reviews – but we’ve got a feeling 2013 can surely be all about their second coming. The foursome are back with the new album Dear Miss Lonelyhearts and once again embracing their melodious, blues-inspired, indie rock with the same sensitive lyrics and gorgeous vocals from Nathan Willett. This time around there’s just a little more energy, it’s vibrant and varied with Miracle Miles keeping us dancing at our desks and Louder Than Ever sending us back to 2007 with big smiles.

We chatted to the face behind the bass Matt Maust about their latest album, favourite gigs and Nick Cave.

How does this new album differ from your earlier stuff?

Oh, it’s got a great mixture of songs that were kind of “built in the studio”, and then songs like we had on our first record that are very much 4 people playing live in a room, and then a few songs that are kind of a mixture of both.

Did anything specifically inspire this new album?

Nathan read a book called Dear Miss Lonelyhearts, but I haven’t read it yet. I know some of the lyrics were kind of inspired by the book. I think our new guitar player Dann, (who also produced the record) inspired us some. Gaining a new member always makes you rethink your band and style. He brought ideas to the table that were new and refreshing.

How does your creation process begin? 

Very organic. For lack of a better word, I think we sometimes “jam” and ideas come that way usually. It’s a healthy mixture of spontaneity, and zeroing in on things with a microscope.

What’s the best gig you’ve ever played? 

At La Cigale in Paris. We’ve played a few times there and it’s the best crowd and room that I’ve ever been to.

What have you been listening to recently?

The new Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Grinderman, Roxy Music, Can b-sides and rarities and Richard Swift. Also this band We Barbarians.

What artist most excites you?

Dieter Roth for visuals, Nick Cave for music, Michael Winterbottom for film, and Wim Wenders for everything.

If you could collaborate with anyone who would it be?

Wim Wenders or PT Anderson.

What are your touring must-haves?

Coffee, pens and crayons, postcards, Fernet.

Watch the video for their latest track Miracle Mile, below and catch them on tour here.

When we were 15 we were having sleepovers, revising for exams, and eating a lot of junk food. Hayley Williams on the other hand was putting together a band and writing the music we’d be throwing our hands in the air to in just a few short years. Doesn’t it make you just the tiniest bit jealous?

Green eyes aside, the band Paramore have been somewhat of a phenomenon, speaking to teens, pop-lovers, alt-fans and wannabe-punks across the world since they exploded onto the scene with All We Know is Falling in 2004. They were the answer to many a youth’s yearning for something more than the bubble-gum, manufactured pop of the early noughties. For us, in leadsinger Hayley Williams, we found an alternative style icon we didn’t know we even needed.

From her metallic orange hair to fitted t-shirts and Dr Martens, us Topshop girls have a serious soft spot for Hayley Williams’ under-done punk-inspired look. (Did we mention she’s wearing a much-loved Dweeb t-shirt from Topshop in her video for Still Into You?) This lady’s locks alone have influenced millions of fluorescent tresses and even inspired a standout copper and coral make-up range for MAC.

Style aside, Hayley and the boys have championed their own brand of emo-pop perfectly. After three albums, a very public band shake-up and all still in their early 20s, Paramore are back with a record Hayley describes as, “needing to find whatever’s next.” Undoubtedly the pressure is on for their first foray as a threesome but we’re equally not surprised to find the album an all around good ‘un. Most surprisingly is how much brighter it is; brimming with energy, high-octane melodies and  a lot less of that teenage angst and a little more sweetness than what’s come before. Fear not, it’s a far cry from the saccharine teeny-boppers out there but some of our favourite moments have come from Hayley’s new opportunities to flex her vocal cords – an emotional Hate to See Your Heart Break and a very soulful Ain’t It Fun - are our top tracks to hear Hayley rock the mic.

We spoke to the  busiest women in the music biz — as she tours across the states – to get the low down on writing a new album in a very new way, what she’s listening to and being a t-shirt and jeans girl.

How did the band’s new make-up alter the album making experience?

Everything with us works differently now. The writing process was the most insane head trip. Taylor stepped up into a primary writing role and I’ve been wondering why we ever waited so long to start writing songs together. He is a mad scientist when it comes to composing music and experimenting with sounds. It was all very new and it made the writing and recording process the most fun we’ve ever had creating for Paramore.

Was there an element of catharsis in the album’s creation or a central inspiration behind the album as a whole?

I guess the main idea behind the whole thing is getting up in the morning and just putting one foot in front of the other. Growing up. Rising above your own past and people’s limited expectations of you.

Did living in LA rather than Tennessee influence your music?

Yeah, I feel like it totally did. For one, it’s constantly sunny there. Almost to the point of it being obnoxious! Haha. The vibe went along with most of the songs we were writing. On top of that, it was good to get away from familiar places and comforts and all that.

We’re big fans of your style here – do you work with a stylist to perfect it?

If we’re doing a video or a big performance, our friend Elizabeth Barrois styles us. Well, except for Taylor. He’s adopted the Johnny Cash uniform. All black everything. For the most part though I really just like to dress myself. I know I’m not great at it… I don’t even know anything about fashion but I think that’s why I can enjoy it.

What are some of your favourite designers or brands to wear?

J Brand, Rag and Bone, Tripp, Topshop, Jeremy Scott. Nothing too fancy. Well, some Miu Miu too. Really though, I’m a t-shirt and jeans girl at heart.

Do you have any style icons or women in music whose aesthetic you appreciate?

Siouxsie Sioux, Cyndi Lauper, Gwen in the ’90s, Missy Elliot in the ’90s —remember the trash bag?—, oh and Scary Spice.

What music are you currently listening to?

A little of everything… Purity Ring, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Iceage, my guy’s band (New Found Glory’s Chad Gilbert)  What’s Eating Gilbert, the new Tegan and Sara album.

What are your touring must-haves?

I like the bus to feel like home. Candles, aromatherapy oils, herbal teas… And then of course my computer and other technical crap, which is why the world needs candles and aromatherapy in the first place.

Do you have any shows you’re particularly excited about playing?

We’re playing my favorite ballroom theater type venue in NYC next month. The Hammerstein Ballroom. It’s completely gorgeous. The contrast between the whole place and our music and our fans and all the sweat is perfect to me.

If you could collaborate with any artist who would it be?

I never can decide who’d be the most interesting or the most fun. I’m also not great at co-writes. It makes me nervous. Writing lyrics and all that feels so personal. How do people sit down in the same room and do that with strangers? Maybe I’ll find out someday…

Watch the latest music video from Paramore, Still Into You, and get Hayley’s  Topshop t-shirt here.