sun 23/07/2017

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Lana Del Rey - Lust For Life

Thomas H Green

Lana Del Rey is hard to suss. Her cinematic plasticity is part of her appeal, yet it’s also what makes her difficult to love. One thing she cannot be accused of is laziness. For a star of her stature, she’s fairly pumping out music, with this sixteen-tracker her fourth album since her 2012 breakthrough, Born to Die. Del Rey’s patented style is opiated mournfulness, a kitsch, Californian, 21st Century spin on what Portishead were doing 20 years ago. This is no bad thing. She’s a more interesting...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Ramones

Kieron Tyler

Production gloss and deliberation are not notions immediately springing to mind while pondering the 1976-era Ramones. Even so, this new edition of their second album, the ever-wonderful Leave Home, reveals that careful consideration was given to how they presented themselves on record.

CD: Alice Cooper - Paranormal

Guy Oddy

The cover of Alice Cooper’s first album in six years shows the erstwhile Vincent Furnier with two heads. This, one assumes, is supposed to provide a...

CD: Arcade Fire – Everything Now

Howard Male

If you consider the fanciful notion that Arcade Fire are a kind of Canadian art house Dexys Midnight Runners who have substituted strained angsty...

CD: Jupiter & Okwess - Kin Sonic

Mark Kidel

Staff Benda Bilili and Kasai Allstars redefined the sound of Congolese dance music: the supremacy of the Rumba popularised by Franco and others, with...

CD: The Vamps – Night and Day (Night Edition)

Barney Harsent

The Vamps' third album is overwrought, overcompressed and, thankfully, over quite quickly

Reissue CDs Weekly: Anne Briggs

Kieron Tyler

The intense British folk classic 'The Time Has Come' hits the racks, again

CD: Alan Broadbent - Developing Story

Peter Quinn

The pianist's orchestral magnum opus is packed with extraordinary things

Enter theartsdesk's Young Reviewer of the Year Award


In association with The Hospital Club's h.Club 100 Awards, we're launching a new competition to find a brilliant young critic

The Best Albums of 2017


theartsdesk's music critics pick their favourites of the year

CD: Dizzee Rascal - Raskit

Thomas H Green

Pop is out, high-velocity lyricism is in, on a startling showcase of word play

theartsdesk on Vinyl 30: Moby, The Beach Boys, Napalm Death, John Coltrane and more

Thomas H Green

The best monthly vinyl record reviews on the world wide web

CD: Emma Stevens - To My Roots

Liz Thomson

Wanted - more light and shade!

CD: Boris – Dear

Guy Oddy

Japanese noise-mongers mark their 25th year with a masterpiece of heaviness

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers, Hyde Park review - electrifying American classics

Katie Colombus

The Lumineers and Stevie Nicks join the 40th anniversary party at the British Summer Time Festival

CD: Pete Fij/Terry Bickers - We Are Millionaires

Thomas H Green

Old school indie doyens' second album proves their debut was no fluke

Reissue CDs Weekly: Silhouettes & Statues - A Gothic Revolution

Kieron Tyler

Suitably monumental salute to the cobwebbed, dark and uncomfortable

CD: Christian Scott aTunde Adjuah - Diaspora

Matthew Wright

New Orleans trumpeter goes in search of the African-American tradition

CD: Melvins - A Walk With Love and Death

Joe Muggs

Doom, anger and grot from the still-abiding Seattle grindmasters

BambinO / Last And First Men, Manchester International Festival

Robert Beale

‘Opera for babies’ and a voice from 2,000 million years in the future

Steve Winwood, Eventim Apollo review - multi-talented performer redesigns his back catalogue

Adam Sweeting

Six decades of rock, soul and R&B revisited

CD: Haim - Something to Tell You

Russ Coffey

The Californian sisters are back, but will they continue to charm as before?

CD: Lucy Rose - Something's Changing

Katie Colombus

Music that manages to embody the spirit of travel and the importance of shared experience

CD: Autarkic – I Love You, Go Away

Barney Harsent

Tel Aviv producer Nadav Spiegel's latest collection is a triumph of head and heart

Reissue CDs Weekly: Beach House

Kieron Tyler

Compilation of the meta-shoegazers may as well be a new album

CD: Peter Perrett - How The West Was Won

Thomas H Green

One of Britain's greatest, least celebrated songwriters returns after two decades away

CD: Calvin Harris - Funk Wav Bounces Vol. 1

Thomas H Green

Dance-pop kingpin has an easy-going time with his US megastar mates

theartsdesk at Glastonbury Festival 2017

Caspar Gomez

Chaos, Corbyn, Katy Perry and four days in the festival fields of dreams

CD: Public Service Broadcasting - Every Valley

Guy Oddy

PSB’s third veers too close towards infotainment for comfort

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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