wed 23/07/2014

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Black Top - # One

Peter Quinn

Initiated in the latter part of 2011 by Jazz Warrior and multi-instrumentalist Orphy Robinson and pianist/sound sculptor Pat Thomas, I saw the shape-shifting ensemble Black Top play an incredible gig as a sextet at its spiritual home, Café Oto, as part of the 2012 London Jazz Festival. It was my favourite performance of the festival, by a country mile.The elements that so impressed that night - the mercurial interplay, the constant textural shifts, the brilliant musicianship and the playfulness...

theartsdesk at Latitude: Lily Allen/Haim

Katie Colombus

The only bad thing about Latitude is a serious case of FOMO (fear of missing out). Some proper planning is advised - or a quick purchase of the Latitude App, if you're lucky enough to get reception over the weekend - to weigh up clashes and work out routes through the forest and up and down the undulating landscape of Henham Park, Suffolk.And yet the civilised chaos of who and what to see, where, is what makes up the Latitude experience. From the bewitching opening ceremony on the Waterfront...

theartsdesk at Latitude: Damon Albarn/Booker T...

Matthew Wright

Booker T Jones seduced, his delivery a river of molasses, his beaming smile so suave it was difficult to believe he was, actually, singing the blues...

CD: Fink - Hard Believer

Matthew Wright

The danger of working successfully in many genres is that fans come to expect something revolutionary with each release. A secondary threat is that...

CD: Richard Thompson - Acoustic Classics

Tim Cumming

There are two Richard Thompsons – the deft acoustic magician and the electric guitarist shaking the rafters and the bones of the most committed air-...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Ruthann Friedman

Kieron Tyler

Belated recognition for a unique singer-songwriter

CD: King Creosote - From Scotland with Love

Russ Coffey

More top-drawer nostalgia from the prolific Scotsman

CD: Jungle - Jungle

Thomas H Green

Rising London electronic duo don't quite match their hype

CD: La Roux - Trouble in Paradise

Joe Muggs

Elly Jackson has matured musically in her absence: but is that for the best?

CD: Preservation Hall Jazz Band - That's It!

Matthew Wright

Vivid and wide-ranging tribute to New Orleans musical traditions

Reissue CDs Weekly: Lewis

Kieron Tyler

A ground-breaking lost classic resurfaces

CD: Emma Tricca – Relic

Kieron Tyler

An album that aches with a spiritual yearning by this singular artist

theartsdesk Q&A: DJ Gilles Peterson

Matthew Wright

Taste-making DJ and broadcaster on jazz, how to stay relevant, and John Peel's legacy

CD: Judas Priest - Redeemer of Souls

Russ Coffey

Are the veteran Brum-rockers ripe for re-appraisal?

CD: Morrissey - World Peace Is None Of Your Business

Guy Oddy

British institution and one-time indie icon returns to form

CD: Honeyblood - Honeyblood

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Promising debut from Glasgow duo packed with sugar and venom

CD: Anushka - Broken Circuit

Joe Muggs

Can the new wave of dance music support a real songwriting partnership?

10 Questions for Bassist Marcus Miller

Tim Cumming

Marcus Miller talks musical and cultural origins and the philosophy of fusion

CD: Sia Tolno - African Woman

Peter Culshaw

Africa's big soul voice turns back the clock and reworks Afro-beat

Reissue CDs Weekly: Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young

Kieron Tyler

Warts-and-all document of the fantastic four’s mammoth stadium tour of 1974

CD: Jon Allen - Deep River

Russ Coffey

An accomplished piece from the hard-working journeyman

Jazz at Lincoln Center Orchestra, Barbican

Matthew Wright

Wynton Marsalis' technical brilliance and tonal lustre are beginning to seem historically isolated

theartsdesk at Glastonbury Festival 2014

Caspar Gomez

The fullest report of all from the best party on the planet

CD: Pulcinella - Bestiole

Matthew Wright

Toulouse-based band conjures winsomely quirky palette of sounds

Maria Gadu, Barbican

Peter Culshaw

Brazil's latest star wins on penalties after a tough match

CD: Sia - 1000 Forms of Fear

Joe Muggs

The trip-hopper turned hyper-popper boggles with scale

Calling Festival, Clapham Common

Russ Coffey

Solid gold headline acts mark the festival's new home

theartsdesk at the 2014 Glasgow Jazz Festival

Nick Hasted

Happy, hard-swinging variety on the Clyde

CD: Old 97's - Most Messed Up

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Boredom and excess as Texan alt-country rockers celebrate 20 years together

Footnote: a brief history of new music in Britain

New music has swung fruitfully between US and UK influences for half a century. The British charts began in 1952, initially populated by crooners and light jazz. American rock'n'roll livened things up, followed by British imitators such as Lonnie Donegan and Cliff Richard. However, it wasn't until The Beatles combined rock'n'roll's energy with folk melodies and Motown sweetness that British pop found a modern identity outside light entertainment. The Rolling Stones, amping up US blues, weren't far behind, with The Who and The Kinks also adding a unique Englishness. In the mid-Sixties the drugs hit - LSD sent pop looking for meaning. Pastoral psychedelia bloomed. Such utopianism couldn't last and prog rock alongside Led Zeppelin's steroid riffing defined the early Seventies. Those who wanted it less blokey turned to glam, from T Rex to androgynous alien David Bowie.

sex_pistolsA sea change arrived with punk and its totemic band, The Sex Pistols, a reaction to pop's blandness and much else. Punk encouraged inventiveness and imagination on the cheap but, while reggae made inroads, the most notable beneficiary was synth pop, The Human League et al. This, when combined with glam styling, produced the New Romantic scene and bands such as Duran Duran sold multi-millions and conquered the US.

By the mid-Eighties, despite U2's rise, the British charts were sterile until acid house/ rave culture kicked the doors down for electronica, launching acts such as the Chemical Brothers. The media, however, latched onto indie bands with big tunes and bigger mouths, notably Oasis and Blur – Britpop was born.

By the millennium, both scenes had fizzled, replaced by level-headed pop-rockers who abhorred ostentation in favour of homogenous emotionality. Coldplay were the biggest. Big news, however, lurked in underground UK hip hop where artists adapted styles such as grime, dubstep and drum & bass into new pop forms, creating breakout stars Dizzee Rascal and, more recently, Tinie Tempah. The Arts Desk's wide-ranging new music critics bring you overnight reviews of every kind of music, from pop to unusual world sounds, daily reviews of new releases and downloads, and unique in-depth interviews with celebrated musicians and DJs, plus the quickest ticket booking links. Our writers include Peter Culshaw, Joe Muggs, Howard Male, Thomas H Green, Graeme Thomson, Kieron Tyler, Russ Coffey, Bruce Dessau, David Cheal & Peter Quinn

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