Fantastic work by on the first two by the Guardian:
1. First, a New Order interview conducted by Dorian Lynskey. New Order haven't been particularly interview shy over the years, but they've always been reluctant to really open up about anything, particularly regarding relationships (or lack thereof) between the band members. Lynskey got Bernard Sumner to be honest about his feelings for Peter Hook and challenged him over his numerous past comments about him seeing no future for New Order. Getting Gillian Gilbert to talk about anything would be somewhat of a revelation, here, she opens up about her hiatus from the band for the past ten years (including, sadly, a 2007 cancer diagnosis that she has thankfully recovered from).
In reference to New Order's famously blundering ways (disastrous, drunken gigs in the 80's, legendarily bad financial management), Lynskey offers the following comment: "This is why, although you can hear New Order's influence in countless bands, nobody uses their career as a blueprint." Is there a better one-sentence summary of New Order?
2. You thought New Order were shy and reclusive? You haven't seen anything ... here's Rob Fitzpatrick interviewing -- AR Kane!!
AR Kane's story is one of the oddest and most fascinating in music history. Somehow they got practically signed to a record contract without actually existing or having any songs (as told in the interview)! It was all based on a concept, "it's a bit Velvet Underground, a bit Cocteau Twins, a bit Miles Davis, a bit Joni Mitchell". A band that would mix all the best parts of those acts would probably be the best thing ever. But you couldn't possibly sum up AR Kane any better -- they were all about the concept, never about the execution (which was usually patchy). They could do radio-friendly dance pop and completely radio unfriendly dream pop and shoegaze that still sounds fresh today. They exaggerate when they claim that MBV were a "jangly indie band until we put out 'Baby Milk Snatcher'" but otherwise their honesty and realistic post-assessment of themselves comes off as refreshing. They're honest about their deficiencies (especially in the very beginnings of the band's existence), about who did their thing better than they did, and when they felt the magic was gone and they weren't motivated to continue in AR Kane, they ended it and never regretted it. It helps that they recorded "Pump Up the Volume" and made a bazillion dollars off it (or at least whatever was left over after they paid royalties and fees for the samples), so they probably don't feel bitter that AR Kane weren't more successful.
Their last album "New Clear Child" was actually not too bad though. It was much too "dreamy" and lacking in guitar-led chaos and experimentation, but it was 1994 and you can't blame them for trying to distance themselves from the then-worn out sounds of shoegaze (indeed, any shoegaze band that hadn't already disintegrated would go in that direction as well, if they hadn't already).
3. Finally, a Clash Music feature on the Top 10 Lost Factory Records, hand picked by James Nice and Mike Pickering. Of course some of these records weren't actually on Factory, so read the comments from Nice and Pickering to understand the concept behind the list. I'm posting this for the links to the songs (which are beyond great without exception) and Pickering's debunking of the oft-repeated story that Factory passed on signing Black Box (which would have earned them more money than they could count and probably would have transformed Factory into a full-fledged dance music label, closer to XL at the time or what Warp are releasing today).