mon 05/10/2015

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Mouse On The Keys - The Flowers of Romance

Joe Muggs

The Mule Musiq family of labels, from Tokyo, is one of the great secret goldmines of the dance music world. The house, disco, techno and ambient music they put out from top worldwide producers can very often be tasteful to the point of innocuousness on the surface but, perhaps in keeping with the Japanese sense of wabi-sabi, when given your time and attention it almost invariably reveals hidden beauty that make their releases ones you can come back to over the years.This album, however, seems...

Squeeze & John Cooper Clarke, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

Considering that they have never been known for their sartorial elegance, Squeeze are looking pretty smart and stylish these days. Band leaders Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook took to the stage in Birmingham looking especially dapper, with Tilbrook looking like he’d just walked off the set of Miami Vice in his pink suit. This was matched by a slick set with a video screen that showed what were more like short films for each song than the usual concert projections, making it clear that while...

theartsdesk in Hamburg: Reeperbahn Festival 2015

Kieron Tyler

An encounter with Hamburg’s Reeperbahn is akin to assimilation into a real-life kaleidoscope where bright lights, mass revellers and shills touting...

Reissue CDs Weekly: The City

Kieron Tyler

 The City: Now That Everything’s Been SaidWith early 1971's Tapestry, Carole King released a worldwide best seller which belatedly recognised...

CD: John Grant – Grey Tickles, Black Pressure

Barney Harsent

John Grant is nothing if not a confessional songwriter. On his last album, Pale Green Ghosts, there were moments of dark despair, caustic barbs and...

CD: Hurts - Surrender

Thomas H Green

Stadium synth bombast that has to be heard to be believed

The Lemonheads, Institute, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

The return of the erstwhile King of the Slackers, Evan Dando

CD: Tom Jones - Long Lost Suitcase

Matthew Wright

Diverse and supposedly autobiographical songs end up sounding too similar

theartsdesk Q&A: Mercury Rev

Kieron Tyler

Jonathan Donahue and Grasshopper talk beginnings, cassettes and hiss

CD: W.A.S.P. - Golgotha

Russ Coffey

He used to 'torture' maidens on stage, but what is Blackie Lawless up to now?

CD: Dungen - Allas Sak

Kieron Tyler

A new beginning and declaration of rights from Sweden’s sonic voyagers

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bert Jansch

Kieron Tyler

Albums two, three and four reveal different facets of the fast-moving Scots guitar whizz

CD: Squeeze - Cradle to the Grave

Jasper Rees

Wise old south London rockers wander fruitfully down memory lane

10 Questions for Composer Max Richter

Barney Harsent

With an eight-hour piece about to debut, the composer, pianist and producer talks Sleep

An Open Book: Laurent Garnier

Thomas H Green

Albert Camus to Thelonious Monk. Plus graphic novels and a nihilist hamster

Loose Tubes, Ronnie Scott's

Thomas Rees

A year on from their comeback, the eccentric British big band are on top form

CD: Yppah - Tiny Pause

Thomas H Green

An entirely winning collection of studio-built instrumentals from the US west coast

Unknown Mortal Orchestra, O2 Shepherd's Bush

Matthew Wright

Assured and compelling show emphasises the band's extraordinary diversity

CD: Don Henley – Cass County

Adam Sweeting

Veteran Eagle rediscovers the power of country music

CD: Lana Del Rey - Honeymoon

Guy Oddy

World-weary singer ramps up the sophistication and channels Blue Velvet’s Dorothy Vallens

Florence + the Machine, Alexandra Palace

Jasper Rees

Pre-Raphaelite poster girl still shouting with style

CD: New Order – Music Complete

Adam Sweeting

Manc legends find a new lease of life

Reissue CDs Weekly: Faces

Kieron Tyler

Archive discoveries and best-ever sound, but shame about the packaging

theartsdesk at the Chicago Jazz Festival

Martin Longley

Enthusiastic audiences celebrate a programme spanning be-bop to free extremity

CD: Peaches - Rub

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Electroclash shock-rock pioneer returns, brings friends (with laser-shooting buttplugs)

CD: Sexwitch - Sexwitch

Joe Muggs

Ritualistic weirdness, retro-psychedelia, and a rebirth for Natasha Khan

theartsdesk on Vinyl: Volume 9 - Queen, On-U Sound and more

Thomas H Green

From mainstream reissues to deeply underground curiosities, all vinyl life is here

Courtney Pine, Ronnie Scott's

Matthew Wright

Sensational solo performances launch like missiles from a static base

Jambinai, Rich Mix

Matthew Wright

Supremely intelligent South Korean fusion of noise-rock and folk

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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