sat 25/05/2024

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Album: Twenty One Pilots - Clancy

Tom Carr

If there is one positive of the past decade, it must be the growing openness with mental health and wellbeing. Whether in the films we watch or music we listen to, there is much less of a stigma in addressing anxiety, depression, and mental health issues in general.

Album: Isobel Campbell - Bow to Love

Thomas H Green

Isobel Campbell has maintained a consistent career on the fringes of popular music for three decades. She's made a home in the area where indie, folk, rock and BBC 6Music merge.

Album: Samana - Samana

Kieron Tyler

The final track of Samana’s third album is titled “The Preselis,” after the west Welsh mountain range – the place antiquarians suggested as the...

The Great Escape Festival 2024, Brighton review...

Caspar Gomez

If the weather’s good TGE Beach is a grand start to a day. As it sounds, it’s a purpose-built seafront space to the east of central Brighton,...

Music Reissues Weekly: Andwella - To Dream

Kieron Tyler

Original pressings of Love And Poetry sell for up to £2,800. Copies of the August 1969 debut album by Andwellas Dream can sometimes also be found for...

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Album: Barry Adamson - Cut to Black

Guy Oddy

The coolest Mancunian returns with a lesson in style

The Great Escape Festival 2024, Brighton review - a dip into day one and the elephant-in-the-room

Thomas H Green

An opening snapshot of Brighton's multi-venue showcase

Laufey, Royal Albert Hall review - fans in heaven

Sebastian Scotney

The sequence of heartbreak songs sounded same-y

Album: Billie Eilish - Hit Me Hard and Soft

Tim Cumming

Desire and longing are the submersibles that propel Eilish’s riveting third album

Album: Jack Savoretti - Miss Italia

Thomas H Green

Middle of the road singer embraces family history with an album of Italian pop

Hidden Door 10th Birthday Party, St James Quarter, Edinburgh review - going underground

Miranda Heggie

Car park transformed into gallery/rave venue for multi-art celebration

Conchúr White, St Pancras Old Church review - side-stepping the past to embrace the future

Kieron Tyler

Northern Irish troubadour pushes forward

Pop Will Eat Itself, Chalk, Brighton review - hip hop rockers deliver a whopper

Thomas H Green

Eighties/Nineties indie-tronic dance mavericks take the roof off

Album: Beth Gibbons - Lives Outgrown

Mark Kidel

Intimate songs of unavoidable sorrow

Music Reissues Weekly: Little Girls - Valley Songs

Kieron Tyler

Deserved tribute to the Los Angeles new wave popsters who failed to click

Album: Ani DiFranco - Unprecedented Sh!t

Liz Thomson

Tough, uncompromising, unflinching

Album: Abigail Lapell - Anniversary

Thomas H Green

An engaging - if doleful - set from the Canadian folk-Americana singer

Album: Kings Of Leon - Can We Please Have Fun

Joe Muggs

The good ole boys of stadium indie go back to basics: will it work?

Album: Bab L'Bluz - Swaken

Guy Oddy

Fiery psychedelia to lift your soul coming straight out of the Maghreb

Album: Pokey LaFarge - Rhumba Country

Liz Thomson

A pig in a pokey, as the singer farms in Maine and reads the Bible, with technicolor results

Album: Josienne Clarke - Parenthesis, I

Tim Cumming

Redefining the self, from the most absorbing of British singer-songwriters

Music Reissues Weekly: West Coast Consortium - All The Love In The World

Kieron Tyler

Top-drawer British harmony pop band whose promise was unfulfilled

CVC, Concorde 2, Brighton review - they have the songs and they have the presence

Thomas H Green

Welsh sextet bring their lively Seventies-flavoured pop frollicking to the south coast

Album: Dua Lipa - Radical Optimism

Joe Muggs

An admirable attempt to catch the magical groove that helped us through lockdown

Album: Sia - Reasonable Woman

Katie Colombus

An awesome singer-songwriter comes into her own

Mitski, Usher Hall, Edinburgh review - cool and quirky, yet deeply personal

Miranda Heggie

A stunningly produced show from one of pop’s truly unique artists

Album: EYE - Dark Light

Thomas H Green

New band from MWWB singer Jessica Ball prove worthy of what came before

Nadine Shah, SWG3, Glasgow review - loudly dancing the night away

Jonathan Geddes

The songstress offered both a commanding voice and an almost overwhelming sound.

Orbital, O2 Institute, Birmingham review - the techno titans celebrate their rave years in style

Guy Oddy

The 'Green' and 'Brown' albums get a full airing to an ecstatic crowd

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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