Derek Robertson

Editor-In-Chief @ Drowned In Sound. Freelance journalist and music writer: Guardian, Independent, VICE, Timeout, The Quietus, Clash, Loud & Quiet, The Skinny, Gigwise.

What London's Night Czar Could Learn From Amsterdam's Success

Spend any time in Amsterdam, and it soon becomes apparent that its reputation as one of Europe’s premiere destinations for debauchery and bacchanalian pursuits remains alive and well. The red light district, freely available drugs of all kinds, and the proliferation of super strong beers have turned the city centre into a late night playground for the lads’n’ladettes-on-tour brigade, noisily slurring and vomiting their way between cheap dive bars and seedy alleyways.

Mountain Man 'Magic Ship' Review

Sometimes less is more. The bareness of Mountain Man’s three voices – Molly Sarlé, Amelia Meath and Alexandra Sauser-Monnig – was precisely what made their debut record, 2010’s ‘Made The Harbor’, such a captivating, intimate listen. You could hear fingers scrape acoustic guitar strings, individual breaths, and their gorgeous harmonies reverberating around the walls of the abandoned ice cream parlour they recorded it in.

Jungle 'For Ever' Review

It’s been four years since a mysterious production duo known only as “T” and “J” burst into soundtracks and cool lists with their ’80s infused neo-soul and funk-lite jams. They played the hype well; the easy euphoria of ‘Busy Earnin” was quickly installed as the Hipster Soundtrack Of The Summer, while their self-titled debut, an ultra-modern, shimmering collection of syncopated grooves and synth washes, seemed ready-made for sync opportunities and radio ubiquity.

Land Of The Midnight Sun: DiS Does Secret Solstice 2018

Stepping out of the rugged, custom-built MAN truck is like stepping onto another planet. It’s 2° Celsius, visibility is about four metres, and a frozen wind blasts across the desolate, icy landscape into our faces. We’re near the top of Iceland’s second largest glacier, Langjökull – a journey that’s taken us nearly four hours from Reykjavik – for a very special event; what’s billed as the world’s only rave inside a glacier.

Welcome To: Malmö

Over the last ten years, Sweden’s third largest city, long the ugly duckling to Stockholm’s elegant swan, has grown to become a hip destination in its own right, one where the old sits comfortably next to the new. With the redevelopment of the waterfront area complete – now Europe’s first carbon-neutral district – the city of Malmö has added a modern, cosmopolitan edge to its traditional squares and pretty neighbourhoods, with a food culture and nightlife to match.

A Bright Start: DiS Does Sharpe Festival

The last few years have seen a proliferation in the number of European showcase festivals, and to the likes of MENT, Spring Break, Vil Vil Vest, Eurosonic, and Tallinn Music Week we can now add Sharpe, a brand new event aimed at providing promising new artists a platform to break borders and gain wider recognition. We sent Derek Robertson and Dom Gourlay to Bratislava to dive into the local scene and find out who’s worth discovering.

Timeout's 21 Best Things To Do In Amsterdam

With tourist numbers continuing to go through the roof, it seems Amsterdam is as popular as ever with the city break crowd – and, even for residents, the city’s ever-changing nature means there’s loads to explore. In fact – while the Dutch capital’s hedonistic reputation still attracts hordes of stag and hen dos, and those wanting to lose themselves in debauchery – there’s so much more to this elegant, compact city than sex’n’drugs.cru

Tanukichan 'Sundays' Review

If there was any doubt about Hannah Van Loon’s musical change of direction since leaving indie poppers Trails And Waves, it’s washed away with the first thirty seconds of her debut album as Tanukichan. The overload of fuzzed-out guitar coupled with the power riffs that crop up throughout ‘Lazy Love’ sets ‘Sundays’ down a path that it rarely veers from; heavy on the reverb, treacle-thick rhythms – songs that have the weight of a humid, late-summer afternoon.

Too Clever For Their Own Good? On Arctic Monkeys, Art, & Critical Kickings

There was a time when Arctic Monkeys could do no wrong. Alex Turner’s wry, savvy social commentary marked him out, at a mere 19 years of age, as a Poet Laureate for millennials, his lyrical dexterity earning comparisons to John Cooper Clark and Jarvis Cocker. The scorching, clever guitar anthems of their debut led to chart-topping singles, the Mercury Music Prize, and a rumoured million pound record deal; the last great superstar band, destined for greatness, headliners of the future.

Parquet Courts 'Wide Awake' Review

What now for slacker rock? I’ve always had the feeling that Parquet Courts were late to the party. Had they appeared a few years earlier, they might have enjoyed the cultural cache and critical acclaim heaped on fellow New Yorkers The Strokes and Interpol. Then again, perhaps they’d have endured the same struggle to break free from that scene’s gravity. As it is, they’ve defiantly followed their own outsider instincts, pairing literate, savvy rock with skittish punk and fizzing guitars.

Coming In From The Cold: Iceage Interviewed

An audience with Elias Bender Rønnenfelt is not supposed to be an easy ride. He’s “rock’s most difficult frontman”, a scowling, sullen presence who wields paperback novels by cult writers like a shield. He’s the tempestuous frontman given to falling around on stage and howling at the heavens. He’s the dark and mysterious post-punk poet for Millenials, a modern-day Byron revelling in excess. And, above all, he has a well-documented dislike for music journalists and the endless rounds of promotion required for an album launch.

Tallinn Music Week Review

It’s not every festival that opens with a heartfelt address by the actual President, but then Tallinn Music Week is a festival like no other. “I’m so proud to see how this has developed into a creative hub, combining the freshest thinking about music, the future of our cities, and facing environmental challenges,” says Kersti Kaljulaid in a keynote speech that also touches on love, our shared humanity, and what Martin Luther King can still teach us 50 years after his assassination.
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