fri 17/08/2018

New Music Features

Interview: Andy Serkis on playing Ian Dury

Jasper Rees

The career of Andy Serkis tends to point in one direction: darkness visible. Onstage, more recently on screen, he has inhabited a series of characters for whom violence is second nature. His Bill Sikes was utterly deranged, though a pussycat next to his Ian Brady in Longford (pictured below), whose ghastly charisma he seemed intuitively to understand. Serkis’s performance-captured Gollum gave global audiences the creeps.

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Electronica 2000-9: Back to the Grass Roots

joe Muggs

The received opinion is that the music of the 2000s has been characterised by fragmentation, discontinuity, faddishness and a lack of coherent identity.

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Music Business 2000-9: The Medium, the Message

Robert Sandall

The point at which the, ah, Noughties revealed themselves to me as a decade in search of more than just a decent name arrived when Sky News' showbiz gofer phoned up to ask me to come on and blah about this exciting new band that everybody was talking about, Arctic Monkeys.

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Pop Music 2000-9: The Triumph of the Noughty Girls

peter Culshaw

The girls have produced the best pop of the Noughties: Kylie’s “Can’t get you out of my Head”, Missy Elliot's “Get Ur Freak On”, Beyoncé’s “Crazy in Love”, Amy Winehouse’s “Rehab”, Duffy’s “Warwick Avenue” and Lady Gaga's "PokerFace" were just way better and more innovative pop music than that produced by the legion of blokey indie types (with a few honourable exceptions, like the Arctic...

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Don't Mention the RBS in Edinburgh

graeme Thomson

It was a month before Christmas and I was watching venerable folkies the Battlefield Band at Edinburgh’s Queen’s Hall. Halfway through their set they played “Robber Barons”, a new song about the nefarious medieval practice of German feudal lords charging exorbitant tolls on traffic travelling on the Rhine; as the verses mounted, it moved – seamlessly, like all good folk songs – to expose the habits of the unscrupulous bankers of the early 21st century.

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Garifuna Blues: Aurelio Martinez and Andy Palacio

peter Culshaw Aurelio Martinez (right) with mentor Youssou N'Dour

The new album of Honduran singer Aurelio Martinez hasn’t got a title yet, or a record label, and will probably come out next year. But already there’s enough buzz about him and it for his UK debut to bring out the great and good from the world music scene. Editors, PRs, DJs, record company types, promoters and journalists were out in force on a rainy December night last Friday in the decidedly un-fiesta-like atmosphere of Islington’s Union Chapel.

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PBS6: launch of Geordie supergroup

Alice Vincent Getting to know you: first rehearsal of Geordie folk pioneers PBS6

Common assumptions about the folk scene in Newcastle would conjure up images of regulars at busker’s night in the pubs around Ouseburn valley. Not so far from the truth, perhaps. But a new project started by Will Lang, who happens to be a tutor at Newcastle Universit, is revitalising the North-East’s traditional association with the genre. PBS6, a supergroup - if you will - of young, exuberant musicians from backgrounds varying from jazz to Irish accordion mastery, are launching their new tour...

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Thea Gilmore Rediscovers Christmas

Adam Sweeting

As Bob Dylan has reminded us recently, The Christmas Album is one of those music industry traditions more likely to deserve an ignominious burial rather than praise. Fortunately, Thea Gilmore has galloped to the rescue with Strange Communion, an artfully shaped collection of songs that shines flickering light into the mystical roots of the Yuletide season.

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The Moon and Tom Waits

howard Male

This week sees the much antipicated release of the Tom Waits live album Glitter and Doom - which almost rhymes with moon. Much has been written about the seismic change in Tom Waits’ music that occurred around 1983 with Swordfishtrombones. Before that date Waits was just a bar-room blues kind of guy: double bass, brushed snare, and fumbled piano were the accessible backdrop to songs of unfulfilled love and drowned Saturday nights. This Tom was always hunched over the...

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Brett Dennen, interview

Adam Sweeting

Astonishingly tall and surmounted by a luxuriant clump of dramatic red hair, Brett Dennen couldn't be mistaken for any other singer-songwriter. It's possible to detect any number of musical echoes in his songs - Neil Young, Dylan, Paul Simon - but thanks to his huskily soulful voice and a gift for conveying complicated sentiments in a resonant phrase, he manages to stand apart from the crowd here too.

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