thu 17/06/2021

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Album: Francis Lung - Miracle

Kieron Tyler

After listening to Miracle on repeat, the impression which lingers is that its creator has assimilated a lot of music. First and third album Big Star, Magnetic Fields, The Left Banke, the non-rock side of Abbey Road, Nilsson, Lloyd Cole, Plush, Emitt Rhodes, the poppy side of Field Music, a smidge of Elliott Smith, the swoon of Brian Wilson.

Album: Joan Armatrading - Consequences

Liz Thomson

Back in dark days of the first lockdown when she was birthing her new album, Joan Armatrading was the subject of a TV documentary called, not surprisingly, Me, Myself, I, a fascinating look at a career now almost 50 years old.

Reissue CDs Weekly: Screamers - Demo Hollywood...

Kieron Tyler

In its first issue of 1979, Melody Maker included an article by Jon Savage on a Los Angeles band named Screamers. “They're ambitious, talented and...

Album: Julian Lage – Squint

Sebastian Scotney

Expectations are high with Julian Lage; they always have been. The guitarist is one of the special ones: born on Christmas Day (1987)...appearing...

Album: Maroon 5 - Jordi

Joe Muggs

Well this is bleak. Seven studio albums, three live albums, two compilation albums, one remix album, three EPs, 33 singles, 23 music videos, 120...

Album: Garbage - No Gods No Masters

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Shirley Manson-fronted rockers sound as vital as ever

Dark Days, Luminous Nights, Manchester Collective, The White Hotel, Salford review - a sense of Hades

Robert Beale

Musicians and artists find out where the bodies are buried

Album: Marina - Ancient Dreams in a Modern Land

Thomas H Green

Fifth album is the best so far from a re-energised, revitalised, newly mouthy pop star

Album: James - All the Colours of You

Nick Hasted

Covid and other contemporary ills haunt the Manchester perennials

Reissue CDs Weekly: Donovan - Hurdy Gurdy Songs

Kieron Tyler

Never mind the hiccups, it’s the songs that count

Album: Tomorrow X Together - The Chaos Chapter: Freeze

Peter Quinn

An impressively varied second album from the K-pop five-piece

Album: Wolf Alice - Blue Weekend

Thomas H Green

A big venue proposition who remain individual and creatively dynamic

Album: The Cult of Dom Keller – They Carried the Dead in a UFO

Guy Oddy

Fierce psychedelic weirdery straight out of Nottingham

Album: Greentea Peng - Man Made

Joe Muggs

Rebel dub soul from south London: both of the now and tapped into a deep lineage

Album: Liz Phair - Soberish

Lisa-Marie Ferla

A welcome return from a songwriter with something to say

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Loft - Ghost Trains & Country Lanes

Kieron Tyler

The ill-fated early Creation Records band gets anthologised

Album: Crowded House - Dreamers Are Waiting

Peter Quinn

A strong return for the newly expanded quintet

Album: Billy F Gibbons - Hardware

Guy Oddy

ZZ Top’s frontman still has the blues

theartsdesk Radio Show 31 - special guest: TV soundtrack maestro Dominik Scherrer

Peter Culshaw

Special guest Dominik Scherrer, eclectic award-winning composer of The Serpent

Album: Scotch Rolex - TEWARI

Joe Muggs

Japanese Berliner's music meets that of the East African electronic avant-garde

Glastonbury Festival: Live at Worthy Farm livestream review - glitched access upstages beautifully shot live footage

Caspar Gomez

Calamitous technical upset overshadows Coldplay, HAIM, Damon Albarn, Kano, IDLES and the rest

London Bulgarian Choir, Kings Place review - dark Slavic tales in waves of sound

Peter Culshaw

Revival of ancient Bulgarian songs in an inspiring return to live music

Tangled Up in Blue: Bob Dylan turns 80

Liz Thomson

Among Dylan biographies, Robert Shelton's is the only true eye-witness account

Album: black midi – Cavalcade

Asya Draganova

London experimentalists evolve into new pastures

1971, Apple TV+ review - rock'n'roll's golden year?

Tim Cumming

Amazing music, incredible footage, and more amazing music: welcome to 1971

Reissue CDs Weekly: Sunshine Theatre

Kieron Tyler

Stunning early Seventies Welsh quartet are rediscovered

Live is Alive!, Brighton Festival 2021 review - local talent makes for snappy return to gig-land

Thomas H Green

Dakka Skanks, AFLO. and the Poets, Super Dupes and Tiawa kick up a small storm

Album: Mdou Moctar - Afrique Victime

Mark Kidel

Hendrix of the desert blasts away

Album: Twenty One Pilots - Scaled and Icy

Russ Coffey

An arrestingly upbeat release from the minstrels of millennial angst

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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