sun 28/05/2017

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Reissue CDs Weekly: Hoyt Axton

Kieron Tyler

Hoyt Axton’s songs were heard most widely when recorded by others. Steppenwolf recorded his “The Pusher” in 1967. It featured on their early 1968 debut album but was most pervasive in summer 1969 after it was included on the soundtrack of Easy Rider. Axton himself didn’t release a version until 1971, when “The Pusher” appeared on his Joy to the World album. The title track, another of his best-known compositions, had charted earlier that year for Three Dog Night.

CD: Binker and Moses - Journey to the Mountain of Forever

Peter Quinn

Two of the most impressive young musicians on London’s jazz scene, tenor saxist Binker Golding and drummer Moses Boyd hoovered up every award in sight following the release of their debut album Dem Ones, including a brace of gongs at the Jazz FM Awards 2016 (for UK Jazz Act of the Year and Breakthrough Act of the Year) plus Jazz Newcomer of the Year at the 2016 Parliamentary Jazz Awards.

Swans, Asylum, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

There are not many bands who are obtuse enough to begin a gig with a 45 minute unrecorded song, especially when they are preparing to go their...

CD: DJ Hell - Zukunftsmusik

Thomas H Green

Helmut Geir has been around the block multiple times but, like an electro-sonic Batman, always pops up just when he’s needed. Never much moved by...

theartsdesk on Vinyl 28: Manic Street Preachers,...

Thomas H Green

While the 36 records reviewed below run the gamut of Wreckless Eric to Democratic Republic of the Congo Afro-electronica, this month there’s also a...

CD: Vieux Farka Touré - Samba

Mark Kidel

The fiery music of a country under threat

The Best Albums of 2017


theartsdesk's music critics pick their favourites of the year

CD: Mark Mulcahy - The Possum in the Driveway

Barney Harsent

The Miracle Legion frontman's latest solo effort consistently surprises

London Vocal Project, Jon Hendricks review - towering homage to a Miles Davis classic

Peter Quinn

Kings Place hosts European premiere of vocalese master's magnum opus

It Was Fifty Years Ago Today! review - without a little help from their friends

James Woodall

Absence of original music undermines Sgt. Pepper and Beyond documentary

CD: Linkin Park - One More Light

Russ Coffey

Erstwhile nu-metallers' new direction falls flat

Reissue CDs Weekly: Shel Talmy

Kieron Tyler

Conscientious collection shows more to the producer than his work with The Kinks and The Who

CD: The Charlatans - Different Days

Guy Oddy

Tim Burgess invites along a load of mates but then just chills out

CD: Shitkid - Fish

Thomas H Green

Imaginative, punk-tinted, strange-pop from Sweden

Yasmine Hamdan, Scala review - sultry, epic and doom-laden

Peter Culshaw

Lebanese indie star dreamily balances Orient and Occident

CD: Miles Mosley - Uprising

Matthew Wright

Los Angeles bassist's solo debut draws on the most potent traditions in black American music

CD: Lisa Knapp - Till April Is Dead: A Garland of May

Tim Cumming

Inventive musical settings hail the folk singer as Queen of the May

CD: Oumou Sangaré - Mogoya

Mark Kidel

Mali's songbird flirts with a contemporary sound

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Creation

Kieron Tyler

The important Sixties band is the subject of two new but quite different reissues

CD: Jane Weaver - Modern Kosmology

Kieron Tyler

Never mind the inspirations, it’s the musical conceptualist’s songs which matter

High Focus Records showcase, Brighton Festival review - smart hip hop, dodgy sound

Thomas H Green

Exuberant Brighton label showcase featuring Ocean Wisdom, The Four Owls and Jam Baxter

CD: Harry Styles - Harry Styles

Barney Harsent

The One Direction star tries gamely to live up to the hype machine

CD: Pumarosa - The Witch

Thomas H Green

London outfit's debut has the potential for major pop-rock crossover

Bob Dylan, Wembley Arena review - mannered vocals, poor sound, upsetting

Liz Thomson

Stormy weather but no hard rain for 76-year-old Nobel Laureate at SSE Arena Wembley

Pink Floyd: Their Mortal Remains, V&A review – from innocence to experience and beyond

Adam Sweeting

Brilliantly inventive exhibition revisits a half-century of the Floyd

CD: Jim Jones & The Righteous Mind - Super Natural

Guy Oddy

The Righteous Mind’s debut is a punk-blues scorcher

CD: Juana Molina - Halo

Kieron Tyler

Career highlight from Argentina's musical witch

Reissue CDs Weekly: Alice Coltrane

Kieron Tyler

Startling, essential collection of previously obscure music recorded at a California ashram

CD: Ryuichi Sakamoto - async

Matthew Wright

Innovative fusion composer returns after illness to ponder mutability

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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Win a Luxury Weekend for Two to Celebrate Brighton Festival!

Kate Tempest

Prize includes a boutique hotel stay, dinner for two and tickets to Brighton Festival’s hotly anticipated events!

Brighton Festival is a fantastic, exhilarating and leading annual celebration of the arts, with events taking place in venues both familiar and unusual across Brighton & Hove for three weeks every May. This year, the Festival an eclectic line-up spanning music, theatre, dance, visual art, film, comedy, debate and spoken word. With the acclaimed recording artist, poet, playwright and novelist Kate Tempest serving as Guest Director.

Enter this competition for a chance to win a fantastic break for two over the opening weekend of Brighton Festival (Saturday 6 - Sunday 7 May).


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