wed 29/06/2016

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Beyond The Wizards Sleeve - The Soft Bounce

Thomas H Green

The first I heard of Beyond the Wizards Sleeve was eight whole years ago. It was a tune called “Winter in June” and was a Lemon Jelly-meets-The Orb-style cosmic noodle with the added, and memorable, benefit of long-deceased BBC gardener Percy Thrower rambling over the top. It was exquisitely rustic English electronic weirdness. From their Viz-on-LSD name onwards, BTWS seemed to be just a passing fancy for Erol Alkan and Richard Norris, a couple of thoroughly imaginative DJ-producers with their...

CD: Metronomy - Summer 08

Katie Colombus

I’m going to be honest, Metronomy isn’t really my bag. Perhaps I’m not hipster or highbrow enough, but I just don’t get their jam. I feel a bit like Jon at the beginning of Lenny Abrahamsson’s Frank – slightly bewildered by the depths of the intellectual pop he’s witnessing, recognising the genius in there somewhere, but somehow on the outside of the super-cool in-crowd.To me, Metronomy are basically saying “huh, yeah, it is all a big joke, like the lyrics are so simple but they’re funny...

The Orchestra of Syrian Musicians, with Damon...

Dylan Moore

Before playing a version of  “Out of Time”, the lead single from Blur’s 2003 album Think Tank, Damon Albarn explains that “at Glastonbury, it...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Wake Up You!

Kieron Tyler

It begins with “Never Never Let Me Down” by Formulars Dance Band. “You’re the only good thing I’ve got,” declares the singer of a garage-band answer...

CD: Drcarlsonalbion – Falling With a Thousand...

Guy Oddy

Around the Summer Solstice seems a fitting time for Dylan Carlson’s latest solo album to appear under his Drcarlsonalbion guise. For Falling With a...

CD: Paper Tiger - Blast Off

Joe Muggs

British space-funk collective blend local and global while keeping rumps shaking

CD: Mark Barrott - Sketches from an Island 2

Barney Harsent

The producer and record label boss delivers a beautiful blend of influences

Sónar Barcelona 2016

Joe Muggs

A glimpse of what Europe's cosmopolitanism can really mean in Barcelona

CD: Deerhoof - The Magic

Kieron Tyler

Yet another frustrating album from the art-punk outfit

theartsdesk on Vinyl: Volume 18 - Star Wars, Plaid, Air, Fog, 18+ and more

Thomas H Green

From alt-pop to doom metal to Haitian party tunes, all musical life is here

CD: Hannah Georgas - For Evelyn

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Expect the unexpected on Canadian songwriter's immersive breakup album

Reissue CDs Weekly: Lust for Life

Kieron Tyler

This self-declared official 40th anniversary of punk compilation misses the mark

CD: DJ Shadow - The Mountain Will Fall

Thomas H Green

Game-changing US producer embraces the new with mixed results

CD: Jake Bugg – On My One

Barney Harsent

The distinctive singer struggles to find a unique voice

CD: Neil Young + Promise of the Real – Earth

Adam Sweeting

Inexhaustible campaigner gets back to his eco-roots

CD: Red Hot Chili Peppers - The Getaway

Russ Coffey

The indestructible funk-rockers give a nod to their past

A salute to Dave Swarbrick's singing

Graham Fuller

The legendary Fairport Convention fiddler also had a voice to reckon with

DVD: Born to Boogie

Kieron Tyler

Marc Bolan and T. Rextasy caught at their peak in the first film directed by Ringo Starr

Found Festival 2016, Brockwell Park

Caspar Gomez

Solid dance music line-up ruined by bad organisation, low sound and dreadful security

CD: Laura Mvula – The Dreaming Room

Howard Male

Unique artist's second album proper is hampered slightly by over production

Laura Mvula, Festival of Voice, Cardiff

Dylan Moore

The girl from Birmingham feels right at home in Wales

Reissue CDs Weekly: Folque, Undertakers Circus

Kieron Tyler

A pair of Seventies albums confront Norway with its identity

CD: Swans – The Glowing Man

Guy Oddy

Swans' latest line-up bows out with yet another career best

CD: Sarah Jarosz - Undercurrent

Thomas H Green

Country-tinged US singer-songwriter's fourth matches musical virtuosity with emotional punch

CD: Train - Does Led Zeppelin II

Matthew Wright

A plastic bouquet of an album, okay till you get up close

Seasick Steve – A Myth Unravels

Matthew Wright

The author of the hobo-bluesman's new biography scrapes his chin from the floor

AC/DC, Olympic Stadium, Queen Elizabeth Park

Russ Coffey

They came promising Rock or Bust - what did they deliver?

CD: Eli Paperboy Reed – My Way Home

Guy Oddy

Retro soul man praises the Lord and gets toes tapping

Malcolm Middleton, The Lexington

Thomas H Green

Pin-sharp Scottish singer-songwriter's highly anticipated return to touring

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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