mon 24/02/2020

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Imagining Ireland, Barbican review - raising women's voices

Tim Cumming

Recent politics surround the EU and nationhood, fantasies of Irish Sea bridges and trading borders more porous than limestone have revived the granular rub between Eire and Britain, and the Celtic Tiger cool of the Nineties is a history module these days.

CD: Caribou - Suddenly

Joe Muggs

Around the turn of the millennium, when Dan Snaith started releasing music – initially as Manitoba, then Caribou, and latterly also Daphni – he tended to get lumped in with the folktronica movement. In fact, the closest he came to actual folk was a heavy influence from the more delicate side of late 60s psychedelia.

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bona Rays

Kieron Tyler

For record buyers, Bona Rays left limited evidence for their existence. One single was issued by the aptly named Mystery Records in 1981. Pressed in...

CD: Grimes - Miss Anthropocene

Joe Muggs

Grimes is hilarious. For all the grandiose conceptualism, apocalyptic visions, high tech sonic manipulation, outré costumes, modish witchery,...

Supergrass, Barrowland, Glasgow review -...

Jonathan Geddes

As Gaz Coombes noted around the halfway point of Supergrass’s Barrowland set “the last time we were here it was to say goodbye”. That was a decade...

Album: BTS – Map of the Soul: 7

Guy Oddy

K-Poppers don’t lift the soul so much as drain it

Napalm Death, O2 Institute, Birmingham review - the Grindcore progenitors hit the spot

Guy Oddy

Brummie metallers leave ears ringing with a joyful sound

Album: Ozzy Osbourne - Ordinary Man

Russ Coffey

The Prince of Darkness defies his (health) demons for a late-career high

Album: Moonlight Benjamin - Simido

Mark Kidel

Haitian Vodou queen with the deep voice

Cage the Elephant, O2 Academy, Glasgow review - old-fashioned rock n' roll from Kentucky sextet

Jonathan Geddes

Frontman Matt Shultz carried the band through a lively set

Sam Lee, EartH Hackney - capturing the spirit of the moment

Sebastian Scotney

A strong, resonant and identifiable voice

The Murder Capital, QMU, Glasgow review - Dublin outfit find catharsis through pummelling songs

Jonathan Geddes

Slow-burning set builds to a thumping conclusion

Album: Lanterns On The Lake - Spook The Herd

Kieron Tyler

The atmospheric Newcastle band wrestle with the issues of the day

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Honeycombs - Have I The Right? The Complete 60s Albums & Singles

Kieron Tyler

Exhaustive box set dedicated to the Joe Meek-produced hit-makers

theartsdesk on Vinyl 56: Kreator, Lee "Scratch" Perry, Disney, Twin Atlantic, Elton John, Buddy Rich and more

Thomas H Green

The widest-ranging monthly record reviews in this universe

Album: Pat Metheny – From This Place

Sebastian Scotney

A beautiful but complex album

Album: Tami Neilson - CHICKABOOM!

Lisa-Marie Ferla

New Zealand-based country powerhouse keeps it in the family

Angel Olsen, Eventim Apollo review - rock reinvention at its loudest

India Lewis

A wonderful voice, lost in sound

The Hu, O2 Academy, Bristol review - heavy metal meets throat-singing

Mark Kidel

Mongol invasion with a spiritual twist

Album: Huey Lewis and the News - Weather

Thomas H Green

Perennial West Coast feel-good band bring the bland on possibly their final outing

Lonnie Holley, Cube, Bristol review - outsider with vision

Mark Kidel

Wake-up call from the spirit world

Carly Rae Jepsen, Brixton Academy review - punchy, polished pop

Miranda Heggie

Sugary yet substantial music from Canadian pop princess

Album: Tame Impala - The Slow Rush

Owen Richards

Kevin Parker returns with his most optimistic album yet

Album: Elephant Stone - Hollow

Guy Oddy

Canadian space cadets go inter-planetary

Reissue CDs Weekly: Hank Williams

Kieron Tyler

‘Pictures From Life’s Other Side’ reveals less-familiar aspects of the life of troubled country star

Transatlantic Sessions, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - folk fusion from Burns to the boss

Miranda Heggie

Scottish, Irish and American traditions are woven together by this Celtic supergroup

CD: Tennis - Swimmer

Mark Kidel

Deceptively simple but well-honed little symphonies

Jonas Brothers, SSE Hydro, Glasgow - reunited siblings look to the future with slick show

Jonathan Geddes

Wild hysteria greeted every song from the trio on their comeback tour

CD: Green Day - Father of All Motherfuckers

Barney Harsent

The Californian punk trio embrace rock'n'roll as they reach their teens

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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