Music News: Rufus Wainwright @ Oxford Union + Vagabond, Robyn Hitchcock, REM, more


Even six inches of snow couldn't keep Rufus Wainwright from speaking at the Oxford Union yesterday afternoon.

In an amusing and informative hour long Q&A session he talked about his forthcoming opera Prima Donna, reminisced about Jeff Buckley, talked about making his next album with just piano and vocals. "I'm the opposite of Dylan, I'm going backwards, I'm going acoustic!" he joked, keeping the 200 plus crowd warm with laughter.

Rufus won't be in sunny LA for the Grammy Awards this Sunday, where he has been nominated in the hotly contested 'Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album' category (for 'Rufus Does Judy At Carnegie Hall').

Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the Grammy's will be a performance by Robert Plant & Alison Krauss.

Jason Mraz will also be in attendance. He's been nominated in 3 categories: Song of the Year (for 'I'm Yours'), Best Male Pop Vocal Performance and Best Engineered Album.

His album 'We Sing. We Dance. We Steal Things' is unstoppable at present and has just turned Gold and is still sitting in the Top Ten this week. His irresistible single "I'm Yours" is knocking on the door of the Top Ten and is currently No.11 in the chart.

Tickets for the summer leg of Madonna's phenomenally successful 'Sticky & Sweet Tour' went on sale today in London and Manchester and sold out in minutes.

Madonna brings her acclaimed 'Sticky & Sweet Tour' to London's 02 Arena July 4th, 2009 and Manchester's MEN Arena July 7th.

Karima Francis is continuing to make waves this year, her infectious new single "Again", out March 9, 2009, is the Radio 2 record of the week next week.

If you haven't seen Karima she is playing London's Barfly on Tuesday (Feb 10th). A must see gig and a chance to hear tracks from her forthcoming debut album 'The Author', out March 23rd. Details of her new UK tour in March will be announced next week.

We're very excited about the new Lightning Seeds album in June, their first in ten years. Ian Broudie is back and has penned a disc full of wonderful new songs.

Early reaction to the Depeche Mode album 'Sounds of the Universe' is hugely positive. First single "Wrong" is a fine introduction and "Peace" seems to be a firm favourite. We can't wait for the 02 show in May.

Will Young's Question Time appearance raised more than eyebrows last night as it got the highest ratings for the last six years with 750,000 extra tuning in.

Vagabond played a short, tight set last week at Water Rats. They just keep getting better and better. Ladies down the front swooned over Irrepressible front man Alex Vargas, he really is one to watch.

Debut single "Sweat (Until The Morning)" sounds cracking live as does "I've Been Waiting" and "Don't Wanna Run No More". This guitar based six piece have an r&b pop sound like no one else.
We can't wait for their debut album in May. Their producer Brian Higgins was in the audience on Tuesday.

Sara Cox has been bigging up Just Jack's hot new single "Embers" out March 30th. She gave the track its first ever airplay and has been playing it ever since.

Just Jack releases his new album 'All Night Cinema' April 6th, with news of a tour to follow very soon.

The Fray release their eagerly anticipated self-titled new album on Monday (Feb 9th). On Tuesday (Feb 10th) they will showcase the album at a sold out show at the Scala.

Jersey Budd will support at Starsailor on Wednesday (Feb 11th) at The Luminaire.

Robyn Hitchcock has a busy week in-store. He kicks off his 11-date UK tour tomorrow (Feb 7th) in Glasgow, featuring a must see gig at London's Union Chapel (Feb 12th). Next week he releases his stunning album 'Goodnight Oslo'.

Miss this at your peril, R.E.M. re-release their seminal album 'Murmur' on Monday. The 25th Anniversary Deluxe Edition features that original landmark album re-mastered plus an additional disc with a previously unreleased concert recorded at Larry's Hideaway in Toronto three months after Murmur's April release.

More music: Jenny May music

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