thu 25/04/2019

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: P!nk - Hurts 2B Human

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Look behind the lyrics of some of P!nk’s biggest hits, and you’ll see that those powerhouse vocals and big pop-rock choruses have always been used to distract from a certain vulnerability.

Suede, Brighton Dome review - Brett Anderson gives it full frontman chutzpah

Thomas H Green

Suede finish “Sabotage”. It’s a mid-paced, elegant number set off by swirling, circling central guitar. Frontman Brett Anderson hangs from his microphone stand on the left apron of the stage to deliver it, with the lights down low. Afterwards he paces back to his bandmates, body taut, hair a-flop.

CD: Bad Religion - Age of Unreason

Guy Oddy

Bad Religion have been making politically aware, high-speed, melodic punk rock for throwing yourself around with glorious abandon for nigh on 40...

DVD/Blu-ray: Pet Shop Boys - Inner Sanctum

Thomas H Green

Pet Shop Boys are never shy of producing stylishly conceived fan mementos. Coming not long after Faber & Faber’s hardback collection of Neil...

Sleaford Mods, Dreamland, Margate review -...

Kathryn Reilly

Sleaford Mods are livid. About everything. But then, aren’t we all? If any single voice could represent this particularly bewildering era, it would...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Terry Allen

Kieron Tyler

‘Pedal Steal + Four Corners’: outstanding collection of the Texas-born polymaths’s aural plays

CD: The Cranberries – In the End

Asya Draganova

It’s all over now, as the Cranberries bow out

CD: Catfish and the Bottlemen - The Balance

Russ Coffey

Manufactured rock at its blandest

Take That, SSE Hydro, Glasgow review - capes and cameos in 30th anniversary spectacular

Lisa-Marie Ferla

The UK's most successful pop act celebrate their big birthday in style

CD: Rodrigo y Gabriela - Mettavolution

Guy Oddy

The Mexican guitar duo return to the fray with gusto

Get The Blessing, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review – West Country cats lay down some jazzy sounds

Guy Oddy

Bristol’s post-jazzers ease Birmingham into the Bank Holiday weekend

theartsdesk Q&A: Bananarama

Thomas H Green

The indestructible girl group on singing, clubbing, post-punk, Lemmy, George Michael and much more

CD: The O'Jays - The Last Word

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Philadelphia Sound leading lights call time on their own terms

John Mayall, Ronnie Scott's review – the legend on his own terms

Sebastian Scotney

Support act Jim Mullen playing better than ever

CD: Loyle Carner - Not Waving, But Drowning

Thomas H Green

British MC lays his heart on the line for album number two

Bebel Gilberto, Union Chapel review - less effort, more transcendence, please

Sebastian Scotney

The support act, Venezuelan singer Luzmira Zerpa, strongly impressive, too

Terry Riley & Gyan Riley, The Old Market, Hove review - gently pleasing evening of improvisation

Thomas H Green

Familial pairing slowly move from avant-jazz to somewhere further out

The Good, the Bad & the Queen, Great Hall, Cardiff review - a jolly big knees-up

Owen Richards

The return of Britain's most understated supergroup

Love Supreme, Roundhouse review - Laura Mvula's defiant confidence tops the bill

Sebastian Scotney

An impressively broad and mostly enjoyable mix of music

Reissue CDs Weekly: Marvin Gaye - You’re The Man

Kieron Tyler

Essential archive trawl, but not the unreleased album it’s touted as

CD: L’Impératrice - Matahari

Thomas H Green

Crafted Gallic disco-pop debut that emanates sleek summery allure

Oumou Sangaré, Earth review - the new Mama Africa takes her crown

Peter Culshaw

For the 15th anniversary of top world music label, the Malian singer goes African classical

CD: Bananarama - In Stereo

Barney Harsent

The first ladies of UK pop deliver hits and misses in a lively but uneven return

Sigrid, PRYZM Kingston review - unassuming, energetic and melodic

Russ Coffey

The Norwegian chanteuse thrills fans at an intimate venue

theartsdesk on Vinyl: Record Store Day Special 2019

Thomas H Green

RSD 2019 featuring reviews of releases U2, Desmond Dekker, Sunn O))), John Otway and more

CD: Fat White Family - Serfs Up!

Guy Oddy

Psychedelic pranksters fall into boring self-indulgence

CD: LSD - Labrinth, Sia, Diplo Present...

Joe Muggs

Team up of megabucks singer-songwriters and producer gels impressively

CD: The Chemical Brothers - No Geography

Thomas H Green

Ninth album from 1990s dance music giants is a party monster

CD: Jessie Buckley - Wild Rose OST

Owen Richards

Actor Buckley proves to be a true star in her latest film's soundtrack

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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