tue 28/09/2021

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Kero Kero Bonito, Heaven review - euphoric bubblegum

Alfred Quantrill

Here comes the bride. True to Kero Kero Bonito’s unique musical and visual style, a chaotic but masterfully executed fusion of Japanese kawaii culture, kaleiodoscopic synth and indie rock, the audience at Heaven were greeted by lead singer Sarah Midori Perry entering in a wedding dress complete with bridesmaid, while instrumentalists Gus Lobban and Jamie Bulled both played the part of disaffected ushers behind their synth decks.

Album: Catherine Graindorge - Eldorado

Mark Kidel

Catherine Graindorge is a Belgian violinist and composer. Her second album explores the collateral damage of Covid: the dark sounds she produces have a strange beauty but barely surface from a grimness as dense as the mists in fin de siècle paintings of Bruges, the dark "Venice of the North".

Reissue CDs Weekly: Spiritualized - Ladies and...

Kieron Tyler

Looking for answers to what qualifies an album for a makeover and its attendant return to record shop racks can cause heads to spin. Multiple...

Album: Black Dice - Mod Prog Sic

Joe Muggs

There’s a strand of music that a friend of mine once referred to as “Caveman Electronics”, which snakes through the decades, never quite becoming a...

Album: Amon Tobin - How Do You Live

Thomas H Green

Amon Tobin is hard to pin down. His music has mutated over the years. He initially fitted in with Ninja Tune’s late-Nineties/early-Noughties roster...

Album: Nao - And Then Life Was Beautiful

Harry Thorfinn-George

The soulful singer goes for a more organic musical approach on her third album

Album: Lindsey Buckingham - Lindsey Buckingham

Nick Hasted

A lovely reckoning with ambiguity, loss and Fleetwood Mac by their exiled leader

Ben Howard, Royal Festival Hall review - authentic and reassuring

Katie Colombus

An intimate evening of internalised music

theartsdesk on Vinyl 66: Etta James, BABii, George Harrison, Helloween, Cat Stevens, Gnod and more

Thomas H Green

The biggest, most wide-ranging, regular vinyl reviews in the solar system

Album: Public Service Broadcasting - Bright Magic

Guy Oddy

Willgoose and Wrigglesworth celebrate Berlin

Reissue CDs Weekly: Help Yourself - Passing Through, The Complete Studio Recordings

Kieron Tyler

Box-set tribute to the idiosyncratic Seventies British band

Album: Sufjan Stevens & Angelo De Augustine - A Beginner's Mind

Katie Colombus

An intriguing album of music inspired by film

Album: Lil Nas X - Montero

Joe Muggs

For better or worse, the Georgia-born star brings consistency to an extraordinary array of sound

Duran Duran, O2 Institute, Birmingham review – an intimate gig for the local megastars

Guy Oddy

40 years on from their debut the New Romantic originators return home

Album: The Eivind Aarset 4-Tet - Phantasmagoria, or A Different Kind of Journey

Kieron Tyler

Norwegian jazzers take on space rock

Michael Janisch Band, Ronnie Scott's review - jazz's ace of bass makes a welcome return

Tim Cumming

The American bassist was joined onstage by some of the finest talents in British jazz

Album: The Felice Brothers - From Dreams To Dust

Nick Hasted

Dark Western myths and heavenly dreams from visionary Americana veterans

Reissue CDs Weekly: Goldie & the Gingerbreads - Thinking About The Good Times

Kieron Tyler

How a New York band became an essential part of the British Sixties pop boom

Out of the shadows: Dylan’s Eighties reappraised

Tim Cumming

Bootleg Series co-producer Steve Berkowitz gives an insider’s run-down on the latest Bootleg Series release, 'Springtime in New York'

Album: Limiñanas / Garnier - De Película

Guy Oddy

French psych-rock royalty and an iconic techno DJ team up for something special

Album: Helen Sung – Quartet+

Sebastian Scotney

A celebration of the great women jazz composer/pianists

Blade Runner, Avex Ensemble, Symphony Hall, Birmingham review - synths synced to screen

Miranda Heggie

Ridley Scott's masterpiece screened with a live performance of Vangelis's score

Album: Low - Hey What

Kieron Tyler

The Minnesota duo at their most transcendent

Nadine Shah, Winterstoke Sun Shelter, Ramsgate review - a thrilling return in a stunning venue

Kathryn Reilly

The sultry South Tyneside siren dazzles above the waves

Album: Martina Topley-Bird - Forever I Wait

Mark Kidel

Songs of maturity and experience

Reissue CDs Weekly: Laura Nyro - American Dreamer

Kieron Tyler

Lavish box-set collection of important albums by ‘The Funky Madonna of New York Soul’

Album: Drake - Certified Lover Boy

Harry Thorfinn-George

Way 2 Sexy Uncle D's long-delayed album is business as usual

Album: The Stranglers - Dark Matters

Thomas H Green

Eighteenth album from punk crossover originals combines the elegiac with the punchy

Album: Little Simz - Sometimes I Might Be Introvert

Kathryn Reilly

The talented rapper takes things to another level in her masterful fourth album

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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