mon 17/06/2019

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Reissue CDs Weekly: R.E.M.

Kieron Tyler

In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003 was issued by Warner Bros. in October 2003. Hitting shops in time for Xmas, it mixed hits like “Everybody Hurts”, “Man on the Moon” and “Orange Crush” with album and soundtrack cuts, and a couple of previously unissued tracks.

CD: Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home

Tim Cumming

Willie’s new album opens with the singer calling out to all the tired old horses saved from the knackers and put out to pasture. It’s not just something he does in song, but in life. It’s co-written with Sonny Throckmorton, an old mucker of the Zen cowboy’s who lives next to Nelson’s Luck studio in Texas – and next door, too, to the ‘stud’ of 60 or so retired horses saved by Nelson from the slaughterhouse and given a retirement home on his ranch.

Backstreet Boys, SSE Hydro, Glasgow review - 90s...

Lisa-Marie Ferla

They showed up with a 30+ song setlist, four costume changes and a floating platform, but the strongest moment of the Backstreet Boys’ tour was when...

Charlie Cunningham, Queen Elizabeth Hall review...

Katie Colombus

In a post Ed Sheeran world, with a glut of acoustic singer-songwriters like Lewis Capaldi, Tom Walker or Odell, James Bay, Jack Savoretti – all...

CD: Jane Weaver - Loops in the Secret Society

Kieron Tyler

If contemplated without a context, Loops in the Secret Society initially appears to be a bold 68-minute, double-album fusion of Hawkwind’s hum and...

CD: Madonna - Madame X

Veronica Lee

A mixed bag, but a brilliant and bonkers reinvention

Lenny Kravitz, O2 review - gloriously joyful rock 'n' roll

Ellie Porter

Love is in the air as the rocker brings his monster tour's latest leg to a thrilling close

CD: Hollywood Vampires – Rise

Asya Draganova

Fun to the last drop: the supergroup bring some originals to the party

Bob Dylan Special - Rolling Thunder Revue, Netflix

Tim Cumming

Martin Scorsese reexamines the legendary 1975 tour

Bob Dylan Special - theartsdesk Q&A: Scarlet Rivera

Tim Cumming

The violinist on 'Desire' and 'Rolling Thunder Revue' talks about working with Dylan at his peak

CD: Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars

Russ Coffey

The Boss shows his smooth side

Reissue CDs Weekly: Marty Wilde

Kieron Tyler

‘A Lifetime in Music’: eye-opening box-set tribute to a British pop great

CD: Kate Tempest - The Book of Traps and Lessons

Thomas H Green

Dynamic force in British poetry takes a bleak left turn that's sometimes musically flat

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices with Lisa Gerrard, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - voices from another world

Tim Cumming

The enduring power of the choir founded in 1950s communist Bulgaria

CD: Calexico and Iron & Wine - Years to Burn

Kieron Tyler

Renewal of the partnership between Americana stalwarts offers few surprises

CD: Avicii - TIM

Joe Muggs

The soul of extreme musical populism bared, heartbreakingly

CD: Jamie Cullum - Taller

Peter Quinn

A divertingly eclectic set of originals from the all-embracing singer-songwriter

Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez, Ronnie Scott's review - Cuban wizards of piano and percussion

Sebastian Scotney

Protean talents godfathered by Quincy Jones

theartsdesk at Red Rooster Festival 2019 - bustling Suffolk stately home hoedown

Thomas H Green

Three sunny days of well-curated Americana and boozy relaxation

Bon Iver, All Points East festival review – powerful, poignant and a little bit weird

Ellie Porter

Justin Vernon and friends head up the final day of the mammoth London event

CD: Naomi Bedford & Paul Simmonds - Singing It All Back Home: Appalachian Ballads of English and Scottish Origin

Liz Thomson

First-rate folk music that defines that special relationship

Reissue CDs Weekly: Jeanette

Kieron Tyler

The Anglophone world is given a taste of ‘Spain's Silky-Voiced Songstress’

CD: Santana – Africa Speaks

Barney Harsent

The legendary guitarist gets personal and has fun doing it

Michael Bublé, O2 Review – an entertainer second to none

Sebastian Scotney

Canadian crooner exhibits craft, stamina, experience and an ability to connect

Emmy the Great, King Tut's Wah Wah Hut, Glasgow review - emotions recollected

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Singer-songwriter performs her first album 'First Love' 10 years on

CD: Peter Perrett - Humanworld

Tim Cumming

A powerful second album confirms The Only Ones' singer's surprising resurrection

Mélanie De Biasio, QEH review – six years after 'No Deal'

Sebastian Scotney

Well-toured, focused, and on a rare visit to the UK

CD: Fujiya & Miyagi – Flashback

Barney Harsent

Brighton's motorik genre hoppers make great strides forward by looking back

Neneh Cherry, Brighton Festival 2019 review – beloved bohemian

Nick Hasted

Buffalo Stance still firm in a present-tense set

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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