mon 27/02/2017

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Temples - Volcano

Kieron Tyler

Temples’ debut album, 2014’s Sun Structures, was an instant and surprise success. Within weeks of its release, the Brit-psych outfit were headlining major venues for the first time. Sun Structures went UK Top Ten. Tame Impala had opened the door and Temples stepped through. As if to stress this, Volcano’s fourth track, “Oh the Saviour”, rhymes “lava” with “impala” and, three tracks on, “Open Air” could pass for a Tame Impala stomp-along.

Reissue CDs Weekly: George Jones

Kieron Tyler

In May 1956, the Texan label Starday issued a wild rockabilly single by Thumper Jones. Its top side, the kinetic “Rock It”, was primal, uncontrolled and wild. The flip, “How Come It”, was less frenzied but still driving and infectious. Original pressings of the two-sided pounder in either its 45 or 78 form now fetch at least £200. This is not your usual rockabilly rarity though. The record’s label credited the songs to a Geo. Jones.

Tanita Tikaram, Barbican

Matthew Wright

There’s scarcity value in a Tanita Tikaram gig these days. Like seeing a rare bird, you feel special for simply having been there. Last night, in a...

theartsdesk on Vinyl 25: Pink Floyd, The Damned,...

Thomas H Green

Vinyl is not a cute, retro, style statement. Well, OK, it can be. But it’s also an analogue format that’s as current as its user wants it to be....

CD: Sleaford Mods - English Tapas

Thomas H Green

Sleaford Mods have had an amazing run. The duo are prized by their fans for their ultra-basic set-up – a guy with a can of lager standing by a laptop...

The Best Albums of 2017


theartsdesk's music critics pick their favourites of the year

CD: Alison Krauss - Windy City

Liz Thomson

First solo outing in 18 years reworks some country classics

10 Questions for Musician Kevin Rowland

Thomas H Green

The Dexys main man talks songs, books, and much else - but not the 1980s

Lost in France

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Nostalgic music documentary gets a hero's welcome at Glasgow Film Festival

CD: José James - Love in a Time of Madness

Matthew Wright

Original collection of songs doesn't always lift off

CD: Brian Jonestown Massacre – Don’t Get Lost

Guy Oddy

Anton Newcombe’s psychedelic rockers try a range of flavours and come up trumps

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bizarre

Kieron Tyler

A respectful acknowledgment of Estonia’s post-independence musical pioneers

Josh Ritter, St Stephen's Church

Liz Thomson

Solo appearance from artist inspired by desire to 'play messianic oracular honky-tonk'

CD: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah - The Tourist

Russ Coffey

Can Alec Ounsworth's hipster outfit justify a fifth outing?



Win tickets for London or Manchester shows by Finnish cello metallers Apocalyptica

CD: Vera Lynn - Vera Lynn 100

Jasper Rees

New versions of old tunes from the World War Two songbird as she reaches her century

Hevisaurus, RFH

Katie Colombus

Decent rock riffs from Finnish dinosaurs. What's not to love?

CD: Right Said Fred - Exactly!

Thomas H Green

1990s novelty hit-makers return with their ninth - yes, ninth! - album

CD: Aurelio - Darandi

Joe Muggs

Honduran Garifuna songwriter and surf guitar stylist revisits his career best

Listed: How I Do Love Thee


Let theartsdesk count the ways with our romantic favourites from all over the arts

Barbara Dickson, Union Chapel

Liz Thomson

Folk songstress provides a transport of musical delight to her native Scotland

CD: Six Organs of Admittance - Burning the Threshold

Kieron Tyler

Ben Chasny’s venerable vehicle eschews musical strategies in favour of focusing on the song

Reissue CDs Weekly: New Order

Kieron Tyler

Revelatory collection of the Mancunian innovators' extra-curricular activities

CD: Dreadzone - Dread Times

Mark Kidel

A rousing Dionysiac journey of liberation

CD: Ryan Adams - Prisoner

Liz Thomson

Divorced prolific singer-songwriter channels his inner Boss

CD: Sherwood & Pinch - Man vs Sofa

Thomas H Green

Brit bass heavyweights do themselves proud with second album

CD: Joel Culpepper - Tortoise

Mark Kidel

Black British talent in the making

CD: Thievery Corporation - The Temple of I and I

Guy Oddy

Chill-out veterans roll up some high-grade ambient dub

Reissue CDs Weekly: Erasmo Carlos

Kieron Tyler

Surprise reappearance of hip early Seventies albums from the Brazilian popster

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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