thu 20/06/2019

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Bedouine - Bird Songs of a Killjoy

Lisa-Marie Ferla

With her timeless vocals and jazz-inflected folk melodies, it feels like a bit of Los Angeles songwriter Bedouine lives in the golden age of Hollywood.

Download Festival: downpours can't dampen spirits at metal bonanza


Download is Britain’s premier metal festival, attended by all ages. Theartsdesk’s three person team offer up their reviews of one day each, as they navigated their way between Eighties hair metal, contemporary Viking metal and any other metal you might care to imagine…Friday 14th JuneBy Ellie Porter

Soweto Kinch, Jazz Cafe review - instant karma in...

Peter Quinn

Camden’s Jazz Cafe reverberated to the sounds of a 50-year-old spiritual jazz classic last night, as saxist and MC Soweto Kinch and his quintet paid...

Milton Nascimento, Barbican review – besotted...

Sebastian Scotney

Milton Nascimento is 76. Physically, he is quite frail; he had to be helped carefully onto the stage and then up into a high stool for this London...

CD: Hot Chip - A Bath Full of Ecstasy

Joe Muggs

Nineteen years, seven albums and untold side projects into their career, Hot Chip have for the first time enlisted outside producers: Rodaidh...

CD: Mark Ronson - Late Night Feelings

Owen Richards

Another well-crafted record of pure pop hits

Reissue CDs Weekly: R.E.M.

Kieron Tyler

The surprise return of ‘In Time: The Best of R.E.M. 1988–2003’

CD: Willie Nelson – Ride Me Back Home

Tim Cumming

Empathic third album in a late-career trilogy from the outlaw country icon

Backstreet Boys, SSE Hydro, Glasgow review - 90s boyband showcase grown-up new material

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Florida five-piece balance newness and nostalgia on DNA arena tour

Charlie Cunningham, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - Spanish guitar and strong songs

Katie Colombus

An endearing, intimate set of warm melodies and powerful, percussive guitar

CD: Jane Weaver - Loops in the Secret Society

Kieron Tyler

Perplexing mash-up of the sonic adventurer’s last two albums

CD: Madonna - Madame X

Veronica Lee

A mixed bag, but a brilliant and bonkers reinvention

Lenny Kravitz, O2 review - gloriously joyful rock 'n' roll

Ellie Porter

Love is in the air as the rocker brings his monster tour's latest leg to a thrilling close

CD: Hollywood Vampires – Rise

Asya Draganova

Fun to the last drop: the supergroup bring some originals to the party

Bob Dylan Special - Rolling Thunder Revue, Netflix

Tim Cumming

Martin Scorsese reexamines the legendary 1975 tour

Bob Dylan Special - theartsdesk Q&A: Scarlet Rivera

Tim Cumming

The violinist on 'Desire' and 'Rolling Thunder Revue' talks about working with Dylan at his peak

CD: Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars

Russ Coffey

The Boss shows his smooth side

Reissue CDs Weekly: Marty Wilde

Kieron Tyler

‘A Lifetime in Music’: eye-opening box-set tribute to a British pop great

CD: Kate Tempest - The Book of Traps and Lessons

Thomas H Green

Dynamic force in British poetry takes a bleak left turn that's sometimes musically flat

The Mystery of the Bulgarian Voices with Lisa Gerrard, Queen Elizabeth Hall review - voices from another world

Tim Cumming

The enduring power of the choir founded in 1950s communist Bulgaria

CD: Calexico and Iron & Wine - Years to Burn

Kieron Tyler

Renewal of the partnership between Americana stalwarts offers few surprises

CD: Avicii - TIM

Joe Muggs

The soul of extreme musical populism bared, heartbreakingly

CD: Jamie Cullum - Taller

Peter Quinn

A divertingly eclectic set of originals from the all-embracing singer-songwriter

Alfredo Rodriguez and Pedrito Martinez, Ronnie Scott's review - Cuban wizards of piano and percussion

Sebastian Scotney

Protean talents godfathered by Quincy Jones

theartsdesk at Red Rooster Festival 2019 - bustling Suffolk stately home hoedown

Thomas H Green

Three sunny days of well-curated Americana and boozy relaxation

Bon Iver, All Points East festival review – powerful, poignant and a little bit weird

Ellie Porter

Justin Vernon and friends head up the final day of the mammoth London event

CD: Naomi Bedford & Paul Simmonds - Singing It All Back Home: Appalachian Ballads of English and Scottish Origin

Liz Thomson

First-rate folk music that defines that special relationship

Reissue CDs Weekly: Jeanette

Kieron Tyler

The Anglophone world is given a taste of ‘Spain's Silky-Voiced Songstress’

CD: Santana – Africa Speaks

Barney Harsent

The legendary guitarist gets personal and has fun doing it

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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