fri 20/10/2017

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Nick Mulvey, De La Warr Pavilion review - a band chasing the ecstatic

Thomas H Green

British singer-songwriter Nick Mulvey’s new album, Wake Up Now, is one of the year’s finest. However, there’s a moment on the single “Myela”, a heartfelt Afro-Latin stomper protesting the plight of refugees, which can grate. The song suddenly stops and female backing singers begin a nursery rhyme chant of “I am your neighbour, you are my neighbour”. On record it seems trite, however, in concert at this eye-pleasing, airy Bexhill-on-Sea venue, it’s transformative. Mulvey and his five-piece band...

CD: Bootsy Collins - World Wide Funk

Guy Oddy

For those who are unsure of Bootsy Collins’ place in the funk pantheon, he is the bassman who put the One into James Brown’s “Sex Machine”, “Soul Power” and “Talkin’ Loud and Sayin’ Nothing”, as well as everything that came out of the first ten years of George Clinton’s Parliament-Funkadelic.

CD: The The - Radio Cineola: Trilogy

Guy Oddy

It’s a long time since The The were bothering the charts with songs that, while often witty and thought provoking, resolutely viewed the glass as not...

The Best Albums of 2017


Disc of the Day reviews new albums, week in, week out, all year. Below are the albums that our writers gave five stars (listed at the top) or four -...

CD: Super Besse - La Nuit*

Kieron Tyler

Super Besse are from the Republic of Belarus, Europe’s sole dictatorship – a country where freedom of expression and opportunities for individual...

CD: Mark Kozelek with Ben Boye and Jim White

Howard Male

The cult American singer songwriter tackles the domestic and universal with equal panache

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Residents

Kieron Tyler

'80 Aching Orphans': the ultimate entry point into the eyeball-headed musical nonconformists

CD: Jessie Ware - Glasshouse

Barney Harsent

A captivating voice struggles to overcome a surprisingly flat collection

CD: P!nk - Beautiful Trauma

Thomas H Green

Seventh album from US star fails to go beyond the now ubiquitous self-empowerment anthemic

The Pretenders, Brighton Dome review - phone-free and feisty

Thomas H Green

Chrissie Hynde's outfit revel in punky Americana to good effect

2017 Parliamentary Jazz Awards: the votes are in

Peter Quinn

Exciting times for UK jazz celebrated at premier awards for the music

CD: Robert Plant - Carry Fire

Mark Kidel

The endlessly surprising rocker will not go quietly

CD: Beck - Colors

Russ Coffey

The Californian experimental-rock genius goes pop

Woody Guthrie: 'The true voice of the American spirit'

Liz Thomson

Fifty years on from his death, a box set celebrates the folk singer hailed by Bob Dylan

Nile Rodgers: How to Make It in the Music Business, BBC Four review - good times had by all

Jasper Rees

Rhythm king tells his story of disco conquest one more time

Reissue CDs Weekly: PP Arnold

Kieron Tyler

A first-time outing for Bee Gees and Eric Clapton-assisted recordings by the soul-gospel powerhouse

CD: St Vincent - Masseduction

Howard Male

Annie has her cake while shoving great handfuls of it in her mouth

Tunes of the Munster Pipers review - wondrous collection confounds expectations

Peter Quinn

A 19th century treasure trove is brought thrillingly to life

Dua Lipa, Brighton Dome review - tomorrow's star today

Thomas H Green

Britain's latest favourite girl-pop success story partially seals the deal on the road

CD: Courtney Barnett & Kurt Vile - Lotta Sea Lice

Guy Oddy

Courtney and Kurt kick back with some mellow slacker tunes

CD: Marilyn Manson - Heaven Upside Down

Thomas H Green

Industrial metallers' 10th album may be hammy but it delivers requisite kicks

h.Club 100 Awards 2017: The Winners


News from The Hospital Club's annual awards for the creative industries, plus theartsdesk's Young Reviewer of the Year

CD: Liam Gallagher - As You Were

Barney Harsent

Former Oasis and Beady Eye frontman looks to the future, but remains steeped in the past

Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, O2 Arena review - intimate emotional release

Russ Coffey

An exhilarating evening with an electrifying atmosphere

CD: Carla Bruni - French Touch

Mark Kidel

Too smooth to be true

Reissue CDs Weekly: Motörhead

Kieron Tyler

Smart 40th-anniversary edition of Lemmy and co’s timeless debut album

CD: Cécile McLorin Salvant - Dreams and Daggers

Peter Quinn

The vocalist and songwriter delivers one of the great live jazz albums

CD: Miley Cyrus - Younger Now

Joe Muggs

With the hype subsiding, the former child star seems to be going back to her roots

Sparks, O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire review - age does not wither them

Liz Thomson

At home in London, old-timers Ron and Russell Mael find an audience that remembers

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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