wed 16/04/2014

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Kelis - Food

Thomas H Green

It’s hard not to admire Kelis Rogers’ spirited and unpredictable approach to the music business. She’s been through multiple incarnations, approaching them with real zest, the spiritual successor to Nena Cherry, albeit more prolific and emanating a very American hip hop raunch. At her career’s start she explored the shouty borderland where R&B meets rock; in “Milkshake” she created one of the sexiest, starkest, best R&B numbers of the century, yet her last album was produced with EDM-...

10 Questions for Drummer Billy Cobham

Matthew Wright

Drummer Billy Cobham has been an innovative and influential figure since the 1960s across jazz, Latin, funk and the areas of fusion between. He has played with Horace Silver, Miles Davis, Randy and Michael Brecker, and in 1971 was a founder-member of John McLaughlin’s Mahavishnu Orchestra, widely considered to have been the greatest jazz-rock fusion group of all. The sensitivity and thoroughness with which the drumming was integrated into the Mahavishnu Orchestra ensemble, and Cobham’s...

CD: Wallis Bird - Architect

Lisa-Marie Ferla

The ease with which Wallis Bird can flit between genres armed with nothing but a guitar and her warm, raggedly bluesy voice has been apparent since...

Ivo Neame Quintet, Kings Place

Matthew Wright

Pianist Ivo Neame, whose quintet gave a masterclass in the more reflective, concept-driven variety of contemporary jazz at Kings Place last night, is...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Vee-Jay Records

Kieron Tyler

 Various Artists: Chicago Hit Factory – The Vee-Jay Story 1953-1966According to the book accompanying this 10-disc tribute to the Chicago...

CD: Led Bib - The People in your Neighbourhood

Guy Oddy

Mercury-nominated jazzers return with plenty of new sounds

theartsdesk Q&A: Eels' frontman Mr E

Russ Coffey

Enigmatic alt-rocker discusses fun, fitness, parallel worlds, beards, and much else

CD: Paolo Nutini - Caustic Love

Russ Coffey

The pretty boy from Paisley ventures into new territory

CD: Wrangler - LA Spark

Thomas H Green

Electronic underground supergroup deliver science fiction sounds

theartsdesk in Oslo: The Tape to Zero Festival

Kieron Tyler

Boundaries between musical genres get a seeing to in Norway

CD: Phronesis - Life to Everything

Peter Quinn

Another transporting live album captures the trio at its most joyously direct

Spring Quartet, Barbican

Matthew Wright

Multi-generational jazz supergroup plays likeable set of expansive, freewheeling tunes

Listed: Hauschka's Abandoned Cities


Experimental musician describes the abandoned cities that inspired his elegiac new album

CD: EMA - The Future's Void

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Uncompromising songwriter takes on Big Data on an uncomfortably brilliant album

Evan Parker: 70th-Birthday Celebration, Kings Place

Matthew Wright

Master of improvisation celebrated a lifetime's spontaneity in glorious, creative exhibition

Interview: Karol Conka - a shiny new rap star from Brazil

Peter Culshaw

Music and politics with Brazil's newest star, who opened the La Linea Festival with a bang

theartsdesk in Estonia: Freedom and Music Thrive in the Shadow of Putin’s Russia

Kieron Tyler

Tallinn Music Week unites Pussy Riot and neighbouring Baltic states to confirm the power of song

Reissue CDs Weekly: Gram Parsons

Kieron Tyler

The early days of America’s great musical visionary

CD: SOHN - Tremors

Aimee Cliff

4AD's new signee makes nuanced pop music that takes its sweet time

Celebrating Jon Lord, Royal Albert Hall

Russ Coffey

An all-star line-up gathers to remember the many sides of Deep Purple's keyboardist

The New Arts Desk Radio Show 3

Joe Muggs

The past, present and future of cross-cultural intermingling

CD: Aloe Blacc - Lift Your Spirit

Thomas H Green

Patchy third album from "I Need A Dollar" singer

CD: Afghan Whigs - Do to the Beast

Guy Oddy

Sub poppers fail to enthuse after 16-year break

Polar Bear, XOYO

Matthew Wright

Acclaimed post-jazz band launch In Each And Every One at XOYO

CD: Marius Neset & Trondheim Jazz Orchestra - Lion

Matthew Wright

Norwegian saxophone virtuoso challenges Trondheim's collective with large-scale compositions

CD: Aisha Orazbayeva - The Hand Gallery

Joe Muggs

Elvis, Reich and John Cale - natural bedfellows?

Frankie Knuckles, 1955-2014

Joe Muggs

RIP the Godfather of House

News Exclusive: Tina Turner records with Led Zeppelin

Thomas H Green

First lady of rhythm & blues in the studio with rock legends

Miles Davis: Live at Fillmore East

Tim Cumming

A boxset of all the incendiary music from the trumpeter’s 1970 residency is a revelation

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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