mon 22/04/2024

New Music Reviews

Pressure Drop, Wellcome Collection

Fisun Güner The liberal meets the far-right hard nut in a play exploring English identity

Four podia occupy the Wellcome Collection’s temporary gallery space. Three are stage sets: a living room, a pub and a funeral parlour, all recognisable as “typical” working class - in fact, the living room might have been based on Pauline Fowler’s dog-eared front room. The fourth, placed further back, is where Billy Bragg will intercut the dramatic action with a new set of songs with his three-piece band, plus engage in a bit of ad-lib banter that will direct the audience back and forth across...

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Berlin Sounds, Ether Festival, Queen Elizabeth Hall

Paul McGee

One of the recurring themes in BBC4's recent documentary, Krautrock: The Rebirth Of Germany, was the importance placed by so many of its participants upon transcending Germany's then-recent past. Move on several decades, and you now have a country with a rich, varied and unique musical culture that not only has a global reach and influence, but which can also afford the luxury of being able to look back at itself and even have a little fun at its own expense.

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Bombay Bicycle Club, The Forum, London

Bruce Dessau

It's not the bobbies on the beat that are getting younger, it's the bands. Bombay Bicycle Club formed while at school in north London's Crouch End and were already making a name for themselves when they left full-time education in 2008. Rock and roll domination is on the curriculum instead, thanks to the success of last year's debut album, I Had the Blues but I Shook Them Loose.

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The Metal Machine Trio, Royal Festival Hall

Tim Cumming

A great wall of noise greets the audience as it settles in to the Royal Festival Hall - the sound of some heavy outer planet’s radio frequency, a subtly oscillating drone that recalls NASA’s recordings of radio emissions from Saturn made by the Cassini spacecraft.

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Dan Arborise, The Roxy Room, Edinburgh

graeme Thomson Dan Arborise: 'An organic kind of guy, in quiet thrall to nature.'

Sometimes the back story doesn’t lead you to where you expect it might. Sometimes that turns out to be a good thing. Dan Arborise was born in Borneo to Polish parents, which opens up all sorts of musical possibilities, most of them probably far less exciting than they sound, but in reality his music is as English as sweet summer rain.

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Laura Marling, Corn Exchange, Cambridge

Russ Coffey

To call Laura Marling folk rock’s Sylvia Plath for the Pete Doherty generation probably sounds like faint praise. But ever since I heard her described thus I haven’t been able to lose the Plath comparison. Fragile, sensitive, effortlessly talented; Marling’s all these things.

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Balkan Beat Box, Dingwalls

howard Male Balkan Beat Box take global fusion to new levels

“I can’t fucking hear yer!” are not the welcoming words one expects to hear from a world music favourite, it has to be said. But the audience at Dingwalls don’t look like the usual world music crowd either. This Brooklyn trio have clearly crossed over into the more lucrative club global category, and their hyperactive light show is further evidence of this. But good luck to them, because they are certainly the best of the bunch at doing this whole funky, jazzy, ragga, reggae thing, as well as...

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Laurie Anderson, Barbican Theatre

David Cheal

“I want to tell you a story. About a story.” Thus spake Laurie Anderson at the beginning of her new show, Delusion, which is running for four nights as part of the Barbican’s Bite season.

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Birthdays on the Tube: 10-16 April

Peter Culshaw Dusty Springfield: she had soul power

This week's birthday musicians include Dusty Springfield singing “Son of a Preacher Man”, Joel Grey advocating polygamy, Mikhail Pletnev playing Rachmaninov, early hip hop from Herbie Hancock and Afrika Bambaataa, Henry Mancini and Bessie Smith. Videos below.

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Paolo Nutini, Royal Albert Hall

David Cheal

Earlier this week, when the line-up for Richard Thompson’s Meltdown festival was announced, one name in particular will surely have raised a few eyebrows: Paolo Nutini. Among the appearances by serious old folkies and earnest young Wainwrights and an “evening of political song” that Thompson has planned for his stint as curator of the annual festival on London’s...

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