New Music reviews, news & interviews
The Mule Musiq family of labels, from Tokyo, is one of the great secret goldmines of the dance music world. The house, disco, techno and ambient music they put out from top worldwide producers can very often be tasteful to the point of innocuousness on the surface but, perhaps in keeping with the Japanese sense of wabi-sabi, when given your time and attention it almost invariably reveals hidden beauty that make their releases ones you can come back to over the years.This album, however, seems...
Considering that they have never been known for their sartorial elegance, Squeeze are looking pretty smart and stylish these days. Band leaders Chris Difford and Glenn Tilbrook took to the stage in Birmingham looking especially dapper, with Tilbrook looking like he’d just walked off the set of Miami Vice in his pink suit. This was matched by a slick set with a video screen that showed what were more like short films for each song than the usual concert projections, making it clear that while...
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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A ROOM WITH A STEW
Leicester Square Theatre
21 September – 6 December 2015 & 2 – 8 January 2016
A brand new live show with fresh material in preparation for Stewart's next BBC2 series of Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle. Throughout this extensive season, the middle-aged comedian will explore new subjects, try-out brand new material and will cut and add sections. Urine, the Union Jack and the ghosts of dead comedians are some of the subjects Stewart explores ... see it live now months ahead of transmission.
"What is exhilarating is how many surprises he still throws in and how deft his jumps are from one tone to another.... invigorating" Times ★★★★
Stewart Lee is a BAFTA and Comedy Award-winning comedian and writer. Stewart Lee’s Comedy Vehicle is in its 4th series for BBC2. He is a regular columnist for the Observer and is probably appearing at a theatre near you soon.
For more information and to book tickets please visit www.stewartlee.co.uk
Age guidance: 14+
Running time: approx 90 mins plus interval
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