tue 03/05/2016

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Snarky Puppy – Culcha Vulcha

Matthew Wright

Snarky Puppy make music on their own terms. Boundary-straddling is their stock in trade, from their origins between Brooklyn and Texas, their technique comprising complex orchestration and individual improv, an expansive approach to genre that spans spiky experimental to the seediest lounge-funk, and an aesthetic that’s heavily amplified but flavoured with horn-driven acoustic sound.After a series of Family Dinner albums that flouted their eclecticism with guest appearances from world music,...

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Move, The Yardbirds

Kieron Tyler

The figures are approximate, but the Yardbirds’ first studio album has been issued on CD at least 12 separate times. With The Move, their debut album and its follow-up Shazam have each had a comparatively paltry eight outings on CD. As for vinyl editions, setting aside the UK originals in mono and stereo and contemporaneous worldwide pressings, similar quantities of reissues of the three albums have hit shops from the mid-Seventies onwards. The Move have not been afforded au courant hipster...

CD: Gregory Porter - Take Me to the Alley

Lisa-Marie Ferla

I find myself incredibly conflicted by a musician like Gregory Porter. Is my lack of response to his effortlessly soulful voice (the “liquid spirit...

CD: Beyoncé - Lemonade

Katie Colombus

When life gives you lemons, what do you do? Well, Beyoncé took the fruits of her musical labour, those of the black women before her and...

10 Questions for Musician Debashish Bhattacharya

Thomas H Green

Debashish Bhattacharya (b 1963) is India’s leading lap steel guitar player. Equally happy in the worlds of Indian classical and West-leaning...

theartsdesk on Vinyl: Volume 16 - Santana, Yeasayer and loads more

Thomas H Green

From Emmylou Harris to German jazz to London techno, all the new vinyl action is here

Jazz FM Awards 2016

Peter Quinn

Legends and up-and-coming stars are recognised at the third Jazz FM Awards

CD: Ry X - Dawn

Thomas H Green

Spectral electronic balladry from rising LA-based Australian talent

The Fall, The Garage

Tim Cumming

An evening of unearthly delights with the Wise Ol' Man of rock'n'roll

CD: Brian Eno - The Ship

Mark Kidel

Eno paints another masterpiece

theartsdesk at the Savannah Music Festival, Georgia

Martin Longley

Georgian charm and high-quality roots music make for a delightful programme

Unamplifire Festival, The Master Shipwright's Palace, Deptford

Tim Cumming

The Nest Collective celebrates a decade of the best in folk and world music

CD: Wire - Nocturnal Koreans

Thomas H Green

Fifteenth album from respected post-punk perennials

Reissue CDs Weekly: Close to the Noise Floor

Kieron Tyler

Thrilling celebration of the UK’s early indie-synth mavericks

CD: RM Hubbert - Telling the Trees

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Award-winning Scottish artist forges new creative partnerships

Manu Dibango & the Soul Makossa Gang, Ronnie Scott's

Matthew Wright

Legendary Cameroonian star gives fitful account

CD: Travis - Everything At Once

Katie Colombus

Cheerful rock pop with a smooth, summery vibe

Prince, 1958-2016

Joe Muggs

Unique, irreplaceable, unequalled: the incomprehensible loss of a complete one-off

Jeff Lynne's ELO, O2 Arena

Russ Coffey

The Brummie pop genius returns - how sunny does he sound today?

10 Questions for Musician Beth Orton

Thomas H Green

The singer-songwriter talks about California, EDM, music-making, money and more

CD: Dälek - Asphalt For Eden

Guy Oddy

Thrills aplenty from the reformed US experimental hip hoppers

CD: Melt Yourself Down - Last Evenings on Earth

Kieron Tyler

Chants and cross pollination from the exotic interface of jazz and post punk

Xavier Rudd, The Electric Ballroom

Katie Colombus

Australian globalist imbibes the spirit of his sounds

CD: Phronesis - Parallax

Peter Quinn

Warm-hearted lyricism and propulsive rhythms from the Scandinavian/British trio

Reissue CDs Weekly: Sandy Denny

Kieron Tyler

Collection of acoustic recordings is an indispensable primer on one of Britain’s most important voices

Kathryn Williams, Sydenham St Bartholemew's Church

Joe Muggs

The singer-songwriter who brings deep poetry to Radio 2 demonstrates her lasting appeal

CD: Damir Imamović's Sevdah Takht - Dvojka

Mark Kidel

Bosnian melancholy reaches deep into the soul

The KVB, Ramsgate Music Hall

Barney Harsent

The Darkwave duo bring light as they showcase their new album

CD: Miracle Legion - Portrait of a Damaged Family

Barney Harsent

The reformed US rock band finds rich form with 'lost' album

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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