tue 09/02/2016

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Barry Adamson - Know Where To Run

Guy Oddy

 If these decisions were made on the back of quality and creativity rather than marketing muscle, Barry Adamson wouldn’t just be taking care of the next Bond theme tune, he’d be scoring the whole film. Unfortunately, media and record company politics will ensure that we get another substandard cruise singer instead and it’ll be everyone’s loss. Adamson’s soulful lounge jazz with grit and filmless soundtracks often suggest the legendary Lee Hazelwood fronting post-jazzers Get The Blessing...

CD: Wendy James - The Price of the Ticket

Thomas H Green

In the latter half of the 1980s, Wendy James’s band Transvision Vamp created quite a stir. Their music, including a chart-topping second album, was fizzing, bright-coloured, punky power pop and James was a pouting, hissy-fit of a frontwoman, emanating urgent wannabe-famous sexuality. She disappeared from view in the Nineties, turning up again in the new millennium, first with a band, Racine, and then solo.The second and final Racine album and James’s 2010 solo effort, I Came Here to Blow Minds...

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Long Ryders

Kieron Tyler

For its 6 April 1985 issue, the NME chose The Long Ryders as its cover stars. The colour picture of the band was emblazoned “A Shotgun Wedding of...

CD: Basia Bulat - Good Advice

Kieron Tyler

Canadian singer-songwriter Basia Bulat’s first three albums were recognisably folky. Her main instrument was the autoharp. Good Advice is different....

CD: Kula Shaker - K2.0

Russ Coffey

When Kula Shaker first tasted success in 1996, classic rock was at its least fashionable. That, however, wasn't the reason the band was ...

CD: Snarky Puppy - Family Dinner Volume Two

Peter Quinn

US collective delivers another appetizing smorgasbord of songs

CD: Elton John - Wonderful Crazy Night

Guy Oddy

Elton’s crazy night feels more like a quiet evening in

CD: Sidestepper – Supernatural Love

Mark Kidel

The latest from the electro-cumbia pioneers

Reissue CDs Weekly: African Head Charge

Kieron Tyler

Adrian Sherwood's influential reggae-inspired albums resurface

CD: GoGo Penguin - Man Made Object

Matthew Wright

Manchester post-jazz trio's Blue Note debut not quite as innovative as they think

CD: The Cult - Hidden City

Barney Harsent

Album no.10 from Ian Astbury and co. is patchy, but entertaining

CD: Rihanna - Anti

Joe Muggs

In which the world-conquering pop goddess puts on the brakes - to what effect?

CD: Gerard Presencer & Danish Radio Big Band - Groove Travels

Peter Quinn

Brilliant, multifaceted big band album from the British trumpeter and composer

CD: Lion Babe - Begin

Thomas H Green

Decent debut from big-haired US pop duo

Jim Dolan, the Singing Tycoon

Adam Sweeting

From boardroom to bandleader with JD & the Straight Shot

CD: Emma Pollock - In Search of Harperfield

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Scottish songstress beguiles with letters to her younger self

theartsdesk in Groningen: Uniting Europe with Music

Kieron Tyler

Frontiers are breached at Eurosonic festival and the European Border Breakers Awards

Reissue CDs Weekly: Harpers Bizarre

Kieron Tyler

A celebration of California’s pop at its most flawless

CD: Turin Brakes - Lost Property

Russ Coffey

The Balham boys say if it ain't broke don't fix it

theartsdesk on Vinyl: Volume 13 - Kurt Cobain, Wolfgang Flür and more

Thomas H Green

Records rated and reviewed, from rock'n'roll on 45 to avant-jazz at 33.3

Tony Allen and Jimi Tenor, Café OTO

Joe Muggs

Finnish-Afrobeat-Moog fusion melts the decades together

CD: Sia - This Is Acting

Katie Colombus

The singer who likes to remain unseen keeps herself hidden behind songs meant for other people

Ian Shaw, Pizza Express Jazz Club

Matthew Wright

Fine, eclectic new album launched with sparkling live show

CD: Tricky – Tricky Presents Skilled Mechanics

Mark Kidel

The Tricky Kid keeps the Bristol flame burning

CD: Suede - Night Thoughts

Guy Oddy

Brett Anderson’s mob return with a soundtrack that itches to be heard with its visuals

CD: The Besnard Lakes - A Coliseum Complex Museum

Kieron Tyler

Hard to penetrate fifth album from Canada’s musical fantasists

Reissue CDs Weekly: Still in a Dream - A Story of Shoegaze

Kieron Tyler

Exhaustive box set celebrating the still-influential sonic explorers of the Eighties and Nineties

CD: Daughter - Not To Disappear

Katie Colombus

Dark and deeply personal indie pop

When Bowie Came to Beckenham

Mary Finnigan

In 1969, Mary Finnigan took in a lodger at her flat in Beckenham. The name was Bowie. David Bowie

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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