tue 26/07/2016

New Music reviews, news & interviews

FEWS, Prince Albert, Brighton

Thomas H Green

The indie scene isn’t currently enjoying a peak period but FEWS’ debut album, Means, which came out a couple of months back, makes as close a case for tight, post-punk guitar songs played by skinny guys as anything released this year. Part of this is undoubtedly down to producer Dan Carey, whose work with multiple acts, from Bat For Lashes to Kate Tempest to Bloc Party, shows he knows how to capture the best of an artist. But last night the Sweden-based four-piece had to prove they could hack...

theartsdesk on Vinyl: Volume 19 - Sisters of Mercy, Peter Gabriel, Solomun and more

Thomas H Green

This month we’re just going to get straight into it. It’s summer, the sun's out, no time for waffle, just slap a disc on the turntables and wallow in the richness of the sound. Below 42 vinyl releases are reviewed, with no genre boundaries maintained. There should be something there for everyone. Dig in.Eerie Eerie (Tee Pee)Yes, the cover art is just terrible but the eyes are continually drawn to it in awed fascination. The music contained within is equally cheap and trashy but, upon extended...

CD: Purple – Bodacious

Guy Oddy

Purple’s 2014 debut album, (409), was a burst of party punk straight out of Texas that deftly avoided crass clichés while letting the good times roll...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bitori, Space Echo

Kieron Tyler

Since achieving international success in the final years of the 1980s, the late Cesária Évora has dominated much of globe’s perception of music from...

theartsdesk in the Faroe Islands: G! Festival 2016

Kieron Tyler

Familiar words pepper the lead item on the 9am radio news: "Brexit", "Theresa May", "Boris Johnson". Yet the bulletin is delivered in the first...

CD: Viola Beach - Viola Beach

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Young band's posthumous release is a fitting epitaph

Pet Shop Boys, Royal Opera House

Thomas H Green

30 years on, the electro-pop duo still joyously push the show to new places

CD: Ben Chatwin - Heat & Entropy

Joe Muggs

Further bleak and beautiful ambient-classical-drone textures

Becca Stevens Band, Sam Wanamaker Playhouse

Matthew Wright

Sensational performance from Lauren Laverne's Wonder Woman

CD: Jim Causley & Luke Thompson - The Clay Hymnal

Tim Cumming

The Great Cornish poet set to music

CD: Black Merlin – Hipnotik Tradisi

Barney Harsent

George Thompson's debut is a clever and considered communion of cultures

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Hollywood Brats

Kieron Tyler

Another outing for the essential album by Britain’s very own New York Dolls

CD: John Martin - The Hidden Notes

Matthew Wright

Subtly original showcasing of saxophone multiphonics

CD: MSTRKRFT - OPERATOR

Thomas H Green

Canadian electronic duo take no prisoners with their third album

CD: Bosco Rogers - Post Exotic

Guy Oddy

Anglo-French duo’s debut is a psychedelic guitar pop masterpiece

CD: Hedvig Mollestad Trio - Black Stabat Mater

Kieron Tyler

An unforgettable encounter with Norway’s sinuous rock-jazz riff machine

Stevie Wonder, Hyde Park BST Festival

Sebastian Scotney

Masterful four-hour show from a genius of popular music

CD: Elliot Galvin Trio - Punch

Peter Quinn

A unique sound-world created from the endless resources of jazz, classical and pop

Mumford & Sons, Hyde Park BST Festival

Markie Robson-Scott

Uplifting return home adds African sounds to the faithful banjo

Reissue CDs Weekly: Kris Kristofferson

Kieron Tyler

A whole heap of the country-fried singer-songwriter proves too much

CD: Steven Tyler - We're All Somebody From Somewhere

Katie Colombus

A summery foray into country music

CD: Cliff Martinez - The Neon Demon OST

Thomas H Green

Soundtrack to Nicolas Winding Refn's fashionista horror flick contains nuggets worth mining

CD: The Avalanches - Wildflower

Barney Harsent

The Aussie sample stitchers' follow-up inhabits the light and makes sense in the sun

CD: The Fiction Aisle - Fuchsia Days

Thomas H Green

Second from Brighton outfit heads into deliciously cosmic easy listening

theartsdesk at Love Supreme Festival 2016: Kamasi Washington, Esperanza Spalding and Stanley Clarke

Thomas Rees

Laid back atmosphere, inspiring music at the UK’s only green field jazz festival

Burt Bacharach, Royal Festival Hall

Andrew Cartmel

Joss Stone joins the legend for a soulful spectacular

Carole King performs Tapestry, Hyde Park BST Festival

Joe Muggs

Kitsch and intensity collide in a performance of the blues at the heart of the mainstream

Walk Off The Earth, 02 Academy Brixton

Katie Colombus

An authentic and endearing set from a self-made internet sensation

Reissue CDs Weekly: Pink Floyd

Kieron Tyler

To mark the anniversary of his death, we take a look at Syd Barrett's historically important first recordings

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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