sun 03/05/2015

New Music reviews, news & interviews

The Warlocks, Rainbow, Birmingham

Guy Oddy

The Warlocks are a psychedelic band from LA that dress not unlike the Velvet Underground in their prime and who are clearly not given to star-like behaviour. They slope onto the stage at Birmingham’s Rainbow, tune up and burst straight into “Red Camera” from their 2009 album The Mirror Explodes. A heavy, dense mediation that comes on like a deep, Spacemen 3-flavoured drone, it whacks up the volume and sets the tone for the evening. It doesn’t get the audience moving around much but it certainly...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Eurovision 2015

Kieron Tyler

 Various Artists: Building Bridges - Eurovision Song Contest Vienna 2015Mind-bogglingly, Australia is a first-time entrant in Eurovision 2015. The nature of Europe may be a concern for some backwards-looking British voters in next week’s election, but the inclusion of Australia in a competition organised by the European Broadcasting Union extends the remit of being European beyond even the wildest imaginings of foolish fringe politicians. The competition may be seen on Australia’s TV...

theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Peter Perrett

Thomas H Green

Peter Perrett (b. 1952) is best known as the singer and songwriter of the Only Ones, a group who originally flared to brilliant life between 1976 and...

CD: Mumford and Sons - Wilder Mind

Russ Coffey

Mumford and Sons, world conquering as they are, still fall victim to various accusations. Some, for instance, say they’re bland. Others detect a...

CD: Palma Violets - Danger in the Club

Thomas H Green

“A lot of bands want to over-complicate their second album,” says Palma Violets bassist Chilli Jesson in the press release. “We know that we didn’t...

San Fermin, Jazz Café

Matthew Wright

Brooklyn indie-poppers bring their amusingly brassy collage to Camden

CD: Django Django – Born Under Saturn

Barney Harsent

The Scottish band strike gold with a move towards the dancefloor

CD: Andreya Triana - Giants

Matthew Wright

Five years in the making, Triana's second album is well worth the wait

Reissue CDs Weekly: Dion

Kieron Tyler

Confident and previously unheard early Seventies concert from 'The ‘Wanderer’

CD: Olivia Chaney - The Longest River

Tim Cumming

The young English singer's long-awaited album delivers treasures

The Return of Peter Perrett

Thomas H Green

One of the late Seventies' most talented but elusive returns

The Fall, Brixton Electric

Tim Cumming

A powerful sub-lingual assault on the senses

CD: Blur - The Magic Whip

Joe Muggs

Their eighth album - and first in over a decade - could be one of their best

Public Service Broadcasting, Corn Exchange, Brighton

Thomas H Green

Pathé News rock 'n' rave from an eccentric, independent and very English success story

Three Tales, Ensemble BPM, IMAX Science Museum

David Nice

Reich and Korot's dynamic reflections on 'progress' get new life from a young ensemble

CD: Jenny Lysander - Northern Folk

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Promising young Swedish songwriter reinvents pastoral folk

Laura Marling, QEH

Fisun Güner

Her talent may be special, but the evening never truly rocked for the singer-songwriter

CD: Snarky Puppy and Metropole Orkest - Sylva

Peter Quinn

Ambitious and imaginative US-Dutch collaboration thrills at every turn

10 Questions for Musician Ron Sexsmith

Russ Coffey

Canadian songwriter talks yoga, dogs, hipsters and much more besides

CD: Squarepusher – Damogen Furies

Guy Oddy

Electronica veteran returns with some challenging but engaging sounds

Percy Sledge: 'When a man loves a woman he can't even think right'

Jasper Rees

The great soulman, who has died, on the creation of his classic ballad

Wild Card, Jazz Café POSK

Matthew Wright

Nu-jazz funksters revel in old-school melodic improvising

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bert Jansch

Kieron Tyler

Defiintive reissue of essential debut album from influential folk stylist

CD: Speedy Ortiz - Foil Deer

Lisa-Marie Ferla

A third album worth shouting about from US indie rockers

CD: Passenger – Whispers II

Matthew Wright

Sequel album even more raw, spare and gritty, despite gentle folk-pop sound

The Necks, Village Underground

Matthew Wright

Australian slo-mo improv trio spin a potently hypnotic web

Paul Simon and Sting, O2 Arena

Fisun Güner

A memorable evening as the pair light up the stage with classic songs and thumping good tunes

CD: Alabama Shakes - Sound & Color

Thomas H Green

Second from Athens, Alabama's finest moves them forward impressively

CD: Stealing Sheep - Not Real

Kieron Tyler

Second album from Liverpool trio emphasises the extraneous instead of the songs

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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