fri 30/01/2015

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Zun Zun Egui - Shackles Gift

Mark Kidel

Zun Zun Egui, who emerged from Bristol’s indie-boho scene a few years ago, are one of those bands who come closest to the essence of their potential when playing in an intimate and sweaty small venue. Recording their frenzy for posterity has never been easy. This their second album treads a similar path to their first, Katang: it’s good but rarely evokes the incandescent fury and derangement of their performances.Front-man Kushal Gaya is originally from Mauritius, and his musical roots – midway...

CD: Steve Rothery - The Ghosts of Pripyat

Russ Coffey

The more I listen to Steve Rothery the more convinced I am he possesses one of the fattest, juiciest guitar tones around. Indeed one could argue Rothery should be seen as one of the more interesting stylists of his generation. The reality, however, is that he remains dreadfully underrated: his own Wikipedia page even faint-praises him as once winning an award for Yorkshire and Humberside’s best guitarist. Ghosts of Pripyat, Rothery's first solo album, may not remedy this. Fans, though...

Ghostpoet, Village Underground

Katie Colombus

Ghostpoet – aka Obaro Ejimiwe – released his first album Peanut Butter Blues and Melancholy Jam in 2010. He has since been named as The Guardian’s...

Julian Cope, Glee Club, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

While Julian Cope’s albums are usually fairly expansive affairs which employ a vast array of instruments, an audience with the Arch Drude is a more...

Jan Garbarek Group, Stormen, Bodø

Kieron Tyler

Norway’s celebrated jazz colossus Jan Garbarek hadn’t played the north Norwegian city of Bodø for 15 years. Moreover, he and his group took the stage...

CD: The dø - Shake Shook Shaken

Kieron Tyler

Franco-Finn duo embrace electropop with unremarkable results

CD: Renegades of Jazz – Paradise Lost

Matthew Wright

Curious, ambitious blend of breakbeats and distorted brass proves compelling

Reissue CDs Weekly: Tyrannosaurus Rex

Kieron Tyler

Marc Bolan’s confident advance to superstardom is tracked over his first three albums

Genesis Breyer P-Orridge, October Gallery

Tim Cumming

From Throbbing Gristle to pandrogyny: Genesis Breyer P-Orridge reflects

CD: Meghan Trainor - Title

Lisa-Marie Ferla

US singer's chance to prove she's about more than that bass

PJ Harvey: Recording in Progress, Artangel at Somerset House

Mark Kidel

The musician in full creative swing: a voyeur’s delight

CD: Napalm Death – Apex Predator – Easy Meat

Guy Oddy

Grindcore veterans take on predatory capitalism

Latvian Radio Choir, Kļava, St John's Smith Square

Gavin Dixon

Not enough choir, too much choreographed perfection for a true John Cage happening

CD: Africa Express Presents... Terry Riley's In C

Mark Kidel

Minimalism and Mali: a marriage made in heaven

CD: Panda Bear – Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper

Barney Harsent

Noah Lennox's latest album is meaty, beaty, big and bouncy

Die Antwoord, O2 Academy Brixton

Russ Coffey

Ninja and Yo-Landi Vi$$er bring Zef-side to South London

CD: Mark Ronson - Uptown Special

Thomas H Green

Fourth from New York golden boy DJ-producer is uptown but not top ranking

Reissue CDs Weekly: Radio Birdman

Kieron Tyler

The ultimate statement on Australia’s greatest cult band

CD: Sleater-Kinney - No Cities to Love

Lisa-Marie Ferla

A welcome return from the saviours of rock

First Aid Kit, Symphony Hall, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

Swedish sisters woo an all-seated crowd - eventually

CD: BC Camplight – How to Die in the North

Kieron Tyler

Philadelphia singer-songwriter is reinvigorated after moving to Manchester

CD: The Waterboys - Modern Blues

Guy Oddy

Mike Scott’s crew bring some psychedelic soul to the Big Music

Paolo Nutini, O2 Arena

Matthew Wright

Newly soulful singer shows his voice at its theatrical best

The Prodigy get Nasty: Single/Video Review Special

Thomas H Green

The original rave juggernaut returns after half a decade away

CD: Enter Shikari – The Mindsweep

Thomas H Green

Hertfordshire electro-rockers' reach exceeds their grasp

Reissue CDs Weekly: Magma

Kieron Tyler

The challenging French visionaries beloved of snooker ace Steve Davies and John Lydon

CD: Belle And Sebastian - Girls in Peacetime Want to Dance

Matthew Wright

Veteran Scottish indie band varied and seductive with new, shimmering sound

CD: Theo Parrish – American Intelligence

Barney Harsent

Theo Parrish's latest offering is strong on songs but overlong

CD: The Callstore – Save No One

Kieron Tyler

Compellingly dark debut album from transplanted Frenchman

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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