sat 18/11/2017

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Depeche Mode, Manchester Arena review - synth-pop gurus raise the spirits of thousands

Javi Fedrick

For a band as big as Depeche Mode, in a venue as big the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, on a tour as big as their current Spirit tour, it almost doesn’t need saying that the pre-gig atmosphere is buzzing.

Robert Glasper, Barbican review - emotional fellowship and creative interconnections

Peter Quinn

As moments of transcendence go, Laura Mvula’s guest spot at Robert Glasper’s EFG London Jazz Festival show provided one of the year’s most transporting musical moments.Powered by the huge harmonic slabs carved out by keyboardist Travis Sayles and the vast backbeat of bassist Derrick Hodge and drummer George “Spanky” McCurdy, Mvula’s delicately outerspacious “Bread” was recast as a 10-minute meditation. The mantra-like repetitions of the refrain "Lay the breadcrumb down so we can find our way",...

CD: Paloma Faith - The Architect

Thomas H Green

Over the last few months Paloma Faith has been talking up her fourth album, The Architect. There were self-perpetuated rumours of her rockin’ out,...

Protomartyr, Deaf Institute, Manchester review -...

Javi Fedrick

Four albums in, Detroit’s Protomartyr have built up quite a following over the last five years. From the now-hard-to-find No Passion All Technique to...

Seeger MacColl Family, Cecil Sharp House review...

Liz Thomson

The family that sings together stays together… At least that’s true in folk music. Think of Waterson- Carthy and Seeger-MacColl. And last night at...

Mark Guiliana Jazz Quartet, Ronnie Scott’s review - sophistication and simplicity

Peter Quinn

Rhythmic feats and improvisational heat from the US quartet

CD: Morrissey - Low in High School

Barney Harsent

Bigmouth's back, but has he anything worthwhile to say?

Kesha, Electric Brixton review - a joyously sassy comeback

Thomas H Green

Pop's party girl returns with a tight band and a fistful of feisty songs

CD: Evanescence - Synthesis

Thomas H Green

Heinous orchestral M.O.R. goth-pop bombast

The Best Albums of 2017

Theartsdesk

theartsdesk's music critics pick their favourites of the year

Iceland Airwaves 2017 review - political change at Reykjavík's major music festival

Kieron Tyler

Brow-furrowing breakbeats and Russian post-punk jostle for attention in the land of lava

CD: Nadah El Shazly - Ahwar

Guy Oddy

A beautiful debut that’s straight out of Cairo

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Moody Blues

Kieron Tyler

The majestic ‘Days of Future Passed’ is given a 50th-anniversary makeover

CD: Matt Berry - Night Terrors

Joe Muggs

Booming comic actor in seductively subtle form on lush psychedelic album

An Evening with Pat Metheny, Barbican - sheer joy under the Missouri sky

Sebastian Scotney

A strong start to the 25th EFG London Jazz Festival

CD: Taylor Swift - Reputation

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Meet the new Taylor, same as the old Taylor

Saz'iso, Colston Hall, Bristol review - bewitching music from Southern Albania

Mark Kidel

The power of saze: much joy, but never far from almost gut-wrenching sadness

theartsdesk on Vinyl 33: Pet Shop Boys, AK/DK, Ian Dury, Grateful Dead and more

Thomas H Green

The widest-ranging record reviews available on this planet

Peter Perrett, Concorde 2, Brighton review - magnificent songs scorchingly rendered

Thomas H Green

The one from The Only Ones returns with a vigorously engaging band set-up

CD: The Corrs - Jupiter Calling

Liz Thomson

Twenty years on and the Irish family band still cut it

CD: Golden Teacher - No Luscious Life

Thomas H Green

Glaswegian electronic cosmonauts drop a mini-album that presses all the right buttons

CD: Angel Olsen - Phases

Javi Fedrick

Singer-songwriter at her most open in this career-spanning retrospective

Reissue CDs Weekly: Serge Gainsbourg & Jean-Claude Vannier

Kieron Tyler

The lost soundtrack music to ‘Les Chemins de Katmandou’ hits the shops with a bang

CD: Oli Rockberger - Sovereign

Peter Quinn

Beautifully crafted explorations of love, desire and loss from the returning Londoner

Queen: Rock the World, BBC Four review - we won't rock you

Jasper Rees

Unseen footage of Queen 40 years on explains why punk was a necessary antidote

theartsdesk Radio Show 21

Peter Culshaw

The latest radio round-up of sizzling world music releases and re-releases from Mali to Burkina Faso

CD: Sam Smith - The Thrill of It All

Joe Muggs

Un-thrilling stuff from the MOR soul sensation - sometimes thrillingly so

CD: The Burning Hell - Revival Beach

Kieron Tyler

The erudite Canadians tackle the impending apocalypse

CD Special: Bob Dylan's Trouble No More review - he’d never sound better

Tim Cumming

Revelations: the gospel years get the Bootleg Series treatment

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

Close Footnote

Subscribe to theartsdesk.com

Thank you for continuing to read our work on theartsdesk.com. For unlimited access to every article in its entirety, including our archive of more than 10,000 pieces, we're asking for £3.95 per month or £30 per year. We feel it's a very good deal, and hope you do too.

To take an annual subscription now simply click here.

And if you're looking for that extra gift for a friend or family member, why not treat them to a theartsdesk.com gift subscription?

newsletter

Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

latest in today

Depeche Mode, Manchester Arena review - synth-pop gurus rais...

For a band as big as Depeche Mode, in a venue as big the 21,000-capacity Manchester Arena, on a tour as big as their current Spirit tour...

Robert Glasper, Barbican review - emotional fellowship and c...

As moments of transcendence go, Laura Mvula’s guest spot at Robert Glasper’s...

Lake Keitele: A Vision of Finland review, National Gallery -...

Finland is celebrating its centenary this year and the...

CD: Paloma Faith - The Architect

Over the last few months Paloma Faith has been talking up her fourth album, The Architect. There were self-perpetuated rumours of her...

Protomartyr, Deaf Institute, Manchester review - post-punker...

Four albums in, Detroit’s Protomartyr have built up quite a following over the last five years. From the now-hard-to-find No Passion All...

Love, Lies & Records, BBC One review - Ashley Jensen too...

Love, Lies & Records (BBC One) is one of those...

Frang, CBSO, Gražinytė-Tyla, Symphony Hall Birmingham review...

Mirga Gražinytė-Tyla has such a rapport with her Birmingham public that she can silence a capacity crowd - 2000-plus audience members, spilling...