tue 01/12/2015

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Sunn O))) - Kannon

Guy Oddy

Kannon, Sunn O)))’s (pronounced “sun”) first non-collaborative album since 2009’s epic Monoliths and Dimensions, is a doomy triptych that will make long-term fans of the American band very happy indeed. Taking inspiration from the Buddhist Guanyin Bodhisattva “perceiving the cries of the world”, walls of distorted guitars played very, very slowly provide a cosmic and crushingly heavy groove that suggests that Stephen O’Malley and Greg Anderson are still very much on top of the drone metal game...


Thomas H Green

You want punk? You got it. The debut album from NOTS explodes into the room and all 11 songs fly by in a rampaging 27 minutes. The all-female quartet from Memphis have been signalling, via singles on their local scuzz-rock label Goner (home to Jay Reatard), that We Are NOTS would be taking no prisoners, and it lives up to such promise. Producer Doug Easley, whose work with Sonic Youth and the White Stripes may have recommended him to the band, does not polish, he merely marshals their fury to a...

Sculpture/Alex Smoke & Florence To, Dome...

Thomas H Green

It might sound hackneyed but Sculpture can only be described as truly psychedelic. They achieve this via a thoroughly original stage set-up. Dan...

Reissue CDs Weekly: John Barry, Mikael Tariverdiev

Kieron Tyler

In 1986, the Russian state honoured Mikael Tariverdiev with the People's Artist of Russia award, a mark of respect given to only the most significant...

CD: Jools & Ruby – Jools Holland and Ruby...

Matthew Wright

Jamaican-born R&B singer Ruby Turner has been part of Jools Holland’s touring band for more than a decade now, her rich and athletic tone a great...

CD: Pope Francis - Wake Up!

Joe Muggs

One of the stranger outings for liberation theology

CD: The Vamps - Wake Up

Thomas H Green

A drippy, if anthemic, second date with the latest teen dreams

James Morrison, O2 Shepherd's Bush

Matthew Wright

Live-show charisma lifts anodyne material

Disappears perform David Bowie's Low, 100 Club, London

Barney Harsent

A night of highs as the US rock band tackle 'Low'

CD: Senegal 70

Mark Kidel

Music that surfs the elation of post-colonial freedom

10 Questions for Composer Ludovico Einaudi

Adam Sweeting

What are the elements that make up Einaudi's music?

CD: The Corrs - White Light

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Nostalgia and nonsense on Irish siblings' big return

Reissue CDs Weekly: Marc Bolan

Kieron Tyler

Mammoth, warts-and-all compendium of what the Seventies superstar got up to behind closed doors

CD: MALIJA - The Day I Had Everything

Peter Quinn

All-star trio delivers meticulously crafted performances of new material

Keith Jarrett, Royal Festival Hall

Tim Cumming

Grand piano man in solo mode

CD: Def Leppard - Def Leppard

Russ Coffey

The Sheffield soft rockers are back - just be careful which songs you download

The Vaccines, Brighton Centre

Thomas H Green

London rockers deliver an object lesson in buzzy, contagious guitar pop

10 Questions For Singer-Songwriter ESKA

Matthew Wright

Multifaceted performer on the Mercury Prize and musical humanity

CD: Adele - 25

Katie Colombus

She's back – all hail the queen of soul-pop

theartsdesk on Vinyl: Volume 11 - Peter Gabriel, Lush and more

Thomas H Green

Dub reggae, Susanna Hoffs, psyche-rock, hip hop and much, much more on black plastic

Cassandra Wilson/Lionel Loueke, Royal Festival Hall

Thomas Rees

The Grammy-winning singer’s angsty, delayed performance sparks a public row

Adele at the BBC, BBC One

Adam Sweeting

Reclusive singer announces new album '25' with BBC special on Friday

Gomez, Osborne, Britten Sinfonia, Järvi, Milton Court

David Nice

Six out of seven pieces going nowhere: no pizzazz about this jazz/classical melée

Maria Schneider Orchestra, Cadogan Hall

Peter Quinn

A landmark performance from Schneider's first-class New York band

CD: The Suicide of Western Culture - Long Live Death! Down With Intelligence!

Guy Oddy

Post-rock electronica from Barcelona that challenges for Best Album of the Year

Imagine Dragons, SSE Hydro, Glasgow

Graeme Thomson

Custom-built arena rock with soul from post-digital Nevadans

ABC, Pavilion Theatre, Worthing

Thomas H Green

Eighties retro-modernists bring the party to the south coast

Jarrod Lawson, O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire

Matthew Wright

Articulate lyricist and adventurous composer warms a jittery Shepherd’s Bush

Fuzz Club London Weekender, London Fields Brewery

Guy Oddy

Multi-national psych fiends rip up a storm

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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The Hairy Ape at the Old Vic


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