mon 24/10/2016

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: LeAnn Rimes - Remnants

Russ Coffey

According to convention, a country gal like LeAnn Rimes should garner her lyrical inspiration from hard liquor and hard knocks. To see her then, the other week, on ITV's Loose Women discussing how it was actually the experience of being a stepmum that largely informed her new album, one couldn't help feel something of an anti-climax. Maybe, though, we underestimate the place of domestic life in songcraft. And, besides, Remnants, isn't actually a country album at all.Instead, the...

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Undertones

Kieron Tyler

Although the reformed Undertones, with Paul McLoone replacing original singer Feargal Sharkey, have been a popular live draw since 1999, John Peel’s anointing of “Teenage Kicks” from their debut EP as his favourite recording suggests this is what they were about: a single, timeless song.Of course, it was not. The singles or lead EP tracks which followed – “Get Over You”, “Jimmy Jimmy”, “Here Comes Summer” and “You’ve Got My Number (Why Don’t You Use It)” – were as wonderful. So were their first...

CD: TOY - Clear Shot

Joe Muggs

There's an eeriness about this record that comes of it being so very perfectly anachronistic. TOY have formerly mined various parts of experimental...

theartsdesk Q&A: John Lydon

Tim Cumming

It was first released on 23 November 1979, comprising three 45rpm, 12in records housed in 16mm metal film cans, and then reissued the following...

Loudon Wainwright III, London Palladium

Jasper Rees

Loudon Wainwright III, a going concern as a singer-songwriter since the start of the Seventies, has long since been occluded by the commercial...

CD: Lady Gaga - Joanne

Matthew Wright

Are these pared-down, country-tinged arrangements a career junction or a wrong turn?

Half a century of the Roundhouse

Marcus Davey

The director of the charismatic venue celebrates its history and its work transforming young lives

CD: Bon Jovi - This House Is Not for Sale

Russ Coffey

Has the post-Sambora line-up found its feet?

CD: Leonard Cohen - You Want It Darker

Mark Kidel

A slow joy-ride through the depths of the underworld

CD: Half Man Half Biscuit - And Some Fell On Stony Ground

Matthew Wright

Historic collection of scattergun gags

Reissue CDs Weekly: Tim Buckley

Kieron Tyler

Indispensible collection of previously unheard 1967 tracks from the great singer-songwriter

CD: Status Quo – Aquostic II - That's a Fact

Barney Harsent

The Quo strip back layers to reveal rather more than you might think

theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Agnes Obel

Kieron Tyler

The Danish singer-songwriter opens up about her third album ‘Citizen of Glass’

CD: The Pretenders - Alone

Joe Muggs

Chrissie Hynde goes to Nashville, but can she revisit former glories?

Icebreaker and BJ Cole, Milton Court

Helen Wallace

The post-minimalists reclaim studio electronica for the stage

CD: David Crosby - Lighthouse

Kieron Tyler

Collaboration with Snarky Puppy’s Michael League is a tender restatement of identity

On the road with Bob Dylan: the mother of all rockumentaries

Mark Kidel

DA Pennebaker’s 'Dont Look Back' created new myths for musicians

CD: Moby & the Void Pacific Choir - These Systems Are Failing

Thomas H Green

Electronic dance perennial rages at the machine

theartsdesk on Vinyl: Volume 21 - Sex Pistols, J Dilla, Uriah Heep, Hendrix and more

Thomas H Green

A treasure trove of all the newest, tastiest sounds on plastic

CD: Katie Melua - In Winter

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Cuddle up with a very special album from the Georgian-British songwriter

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Shaggs

Kieron Tyler

One of the greatest and most important albums of the Sixties hits the shops again

The Passion of Joan of Arc, Wells Cathedral

Mark Kidel

Dreyer's passion matched by powerful music

CD: Dr John Cooper Clarke and Hugh Cornwell - This Time It's Personal

Tim Cumming

Punk veterans celebrate the pop songs of their youth

CD: Green Day - Revolution Radio

Thomas H Green

California's premier power pop trio hit their twelfth album with issues to air

Jean-Michel Jarre, Brighton Centre

Thomas H Green

French synth original's thrills and spectacle fail to rouse a muted audience

CD: Barry Gibb - In The Now

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Long live the disco king

Songlines Music Awards, Barbican

Tim Cumming

Mariza and Sam Lee shine at this celebration of world music

CD: Norah Jones - Day Breaks

Peter Quinn

A welcome return to jazzier roots for the US singer-songwriter

First Person: Nico Muhly on music for two pianos

Nico Muhly

Composing 'Fast Patterns' for Kings Place's new London Piano Festival

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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