tue 07/02/2023

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Eliza Carthy and The Restitution, Barbican review - folk at its finest

India Lewis

Eliza Carthy has been busy, as she always has. Recording various albums with various artists during the pandemic, her show with her band, The Restitution (and many others), at the Barbican on Saturday, was well stuffed with music, musicians, laughter, familial connections and celebrations. 

Album: Yo La Tengo - This Stupid World

Guy Oddy

Yo La Tengo’s new disc would appear to be an homage to the indie scene of the mid 1980s: a place before baggy beats became the groove du jour and where dancing with wild abandon was somewhat of a rare occurrence.

Music Reissues Weekly: The Senders - All Killer...

Kieron Tyler

The New York Dolls, The Ramones, Suicide, Television, Blondie, The Dictators, The Heartbreakers, The Shirts, Richard Hell and the Voidoids. From 1974...

Album: Shania Twain - Queen of Me

Liz Thomson

Shania Twain describes her sixth studio album as “a song of gratitude and appreciation. I was inspired that I still had air in my lungs” – and it...

Album: Kelela - Raven

Harry Thorfinn-George

Kelela, the DC-born artist, has been fusing R&B with experimental electronics since her 2013 mixtape Cut 4 Me. In 2017 she released her debut,...

Northern Winter Beat 2023 review - Panda Bear, Sonic Boom and Širom amongst the highlights in Denmark’s north

Kieron Tyler

Agreeable Aalborg accommodates a festival integral to its environment

Album: The Waeve - The Waeve

Thomas H Green

The debut album from Rose Elinor Dougall and Blur's Graham Coxon mingles the vital with the wafting

Album: Lisa O'Neill - All of This Is Chance

Tim Cumming

The Irish singer-songwriter delves into the natural world for her magical new album

Album: Robert Forster - The Candle and the Flame

Kieron Tyler

At an uncertain time, the former Go-Between takes stock

Music Reissues Weekly: Padang Moonrise - The Birth of the Modern Indonesian Recording Industry

Kieron Tyler

Eye-opening compilation where knowing the context is essential

Album: Sebastian Rochford, Kit Downes - A Short Diary

Sebastian Scotney

An album of grieving. And solace. And real class

Album: Deathprod - Compositions

Joe Muggs

Norwegian ambient abstraction just keeps on keeping on

Celtic Connections: Juliette Lemoine, Orchestral Qawwali Project review - fusion of myriad musical traditions

Miranda Heggie

Scotland's premier folk festival is back with a bang

Album: Låpsley - Cautionary Tales of Youth

Thomas H Green

Alt-easy listening electronic not-pop themed around heartbreak but lacking songs

'Time Out of Mind' Revisited - a deep focus take on classic Dylan

Tim Cumming

The latest in Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series captures the creation of one of his most powerful albums

Callum Au and Claire Martin, Cadogan Hall review - 'Songs and Stories' live at last

Peter Quinn

From delicious reboots of Porter and Mitchell to newly composed Homeric delights

DVD: Oscar Peterson - Black + White

Sebastian Scotney

Barry Avrich’s documentary celebrates the music and career of the great jazz pianist

Music Reissues Weekly: Bob Stanley / Pete Wiggs Present Winter of Discontent

Kieron Tyler

Saint Etienne-compiled series of do-it-yourself aural postcards from post-punk’s liminal zones

First Person: Kings Place Artistic and Executive Director Helen Wallace on a year of 'Sound Unwrapped'

Helen Wallace

'A wild swim through celestial sounds': this year's innovative programme runs the gamut

Album: Silverlake - Jim Rockford’s Smile

Guy Oddy

Psychedelic soul and sultry disco to keep hips moving

Album: Måneskin - Rush!

Tim Cumming

Raucous, gritty Roman rockers release their third album

Album: Biig Piig - Bubblegum

Joe Muggs

Punchy statement of intent for the Irish pop self-starter

Album: John Cale - Mercy

Mark Kidel

Welsh octogenerian's avant-garde adventures

Album: Ghost Woman - Anne, If

Kieron Tyler

Musically literate Canadian’s second album evokes unintended parallels

Music Reissues Weekly: Rustic Hinge and the Provincial Swimmers

Kieron Tyler

Seventies Britain’s freakiest freak-rockers finally get their day in the sun

Album: Billy Nomates - Cacti

Cheri Amour

The Bristol songwriter’s sophomore album is a survival story, reviving us for what lies ahead

Album: The Subways - Uncertain Joys

Guy Oddy

A changed three-piece return from their eight-year hiatus

Album: Ladytron - Time's Arrow

Guy Oddy

Electro goths provide a dense cinematic soundtrack to these dystopian times

Album: Iggy Pop - Every Loser

Thomas H Green

The Ig returns with a short, catchy album of California-touched, punk-tinted rock

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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