sat 27/08/2016

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Soulful Islamic passion: the Najmuddin Saifuddin group

Peter Culshaw

Qawwali music is amongst the most soulful, passionate music in the world. Many people have discovered it through the legendary Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, who was one the greatest singers of the last half century. Seeing him perform at an early WOMAD was a revelation - he was scheduled to perform for 90 minutes and kept singing for hours. No-one seemed to leave the tent to catch the headliners. In fact, they say for Qawwali to have its real impact, the performances should last at least a couple of...

CD: Warhaus - We Fucked a Flame Into Being

Thomas H Green

One of popular music’s mightiest talents, Leonard Cohen, at the age of 82, has a new album out in the Autumn, the fabulously titled You Want It Darker. If it’s anywhere near as good as his last one, this is great news. Those, however, who can’t wait until its arrival, may wish to check out the debut solo effort from Maarten Devoldere of the Belgian group Balthazar. It also has a great title, lifted directly from the pages of Lady Chatterley’s Lover, and it boasts a deliciously Cohen-esque...

CD: Morgan Delt - Phase Zero

Kieron Tyler

In 1966, David Warner assumed the title role in Karel Reisz’s satire Morgan – A Suitable Case for Treatment. The film’s Morgan Delt was a fantasist...

Prom 49: Quincy Jones Prom, Royal Albert Hall

Andrew Cartmel

As I waited outside the entrance to the Royal Albert Hall, someone leaned over to me and said: “My cocaine is to your left.” I glanced in that...

CD: De La Soul - and the Anonymous Nobody

Joe Muggs

De La Soul are the posterboys for creative longevity in hip hop. While some contemporaries have maintained a presence by relying on “heritage” status...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Betty Davis, Jeanette Jones

Kieron Tyler

Intriguing Sixties soul from the woman who married Miles Davis and a lost San Francisco belter

CD: Divine Comedy - Foreverland

Matthew Wright

Veteran orchestral balladeers play on the boundaries of the tuneful and twee

CD: New Model Army - Winter

Russ Coffey

They once believed in 'getting the bastards'. What do they believe in now?

CD: Bitch 'n' Monk - we are peering over

Matthew Wright

Debut album from vocalist/flautist duo both charms and bewitches

CD: David Brent & Foregone Conclusion - Life on the Road

Barney Harsent

Ricky Gervais takes his comic creation off the road and puts him into the studio

CD: Lisa Hannigan - At Swim

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Irish songwriter's third album finds her adrift

Reissue CDs Weekly: Heartworn Highways

Kieron Tyler

Soundtrack of the important film documenting country music as it redefined itself

CD: Blossoms - Blossoms

Katie Colombus

Mainstream indie-pop that's bound to make waves

Prom 36: Jamie Cullum Prom

Peter Culshaw

Flashes of greatness in a late night Prom packed with guests

CD: Dolly Parton – Pure and Simple

Matthew Wright

In Parton, as in Wilde – rarely pure and never simple

CD: Rae Sremmurd - SremmLife 2

Joe Muggs

Youthful Mississippi rap duo change their formula not one jot

theartsdesk Q&A: Conductor Jules Buckley

Matthew Wright

Pioneer of the non-classical repertoire on musical seriousness, Beardyman and Quincy Jones

Proms at...Cadogan Hall: Hardenberger, Gruber, ASMF

David Nice

Classy not-quite-easy-listening from Berlin, Vienna and Stockholm, with love

CD: Ryley Walker - Golden Sings That Have Been Sung

Kieron Tyler

Notable third album from the Chicago singer-songwriter

Reissue CDs Weekly: Jerry Ross

Kieron Tyler

Stylish celebration of Philadelphia’s musical mover and shaker

Campo Sancho 2016

Barney Harsent

Sancho Panza brought the bass bins from Notting Hill to bucolic Hertfordshire for a proper party

CD: Hieroglyphic Being - The Disco's of Imhotep

Thomas H Green

Techno-based American strangeness on Ninja Tune's sub-label

Standon Calling: Suede/Jess Glynne/Anna Calvi

Katie Colombus

A super-sized manor house garden party with a real feel for good new music

CD: The Moles - Tonight's Music

Russ Coffey

Richard Davies recaptures some of his old psychedelic magic

Camp Bestival 2016

Thomas H Green

Top space-themed family-friendly barney pulls the rabbit out of the hat

CD: Dinosaur Jr - Give a Glimpse of What Yer Not

Barney Harsent

J Mascis and co deliver a fuzzy blast that does everything right… again

WOMAD 2016, Charlton Park

Peter Culshaw

The celebrated world music festival returns in an almost vintage year for global sounds

CD: Wild Beasts - Boy King

Joe Muggs

Cumbrians continue to rework notions of what a rock band can be

The Impossible Gentlemen, Pizza Express Jazz Club

Sebastian Scotney

A five-piece contemporary jazz group at the highest international level

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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