fri 01/07/2022

New Music reviews, news & interviews

The Bobby Lees, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review - rock’n’roll like it should be

Guy Oddy

In a week when all kinds of people were going bonkers over an octogenarian playing songs from over 50 years ago to tens of thousands of people in a field in Somerset, it’s nice to know that rock’n’roll has not yet rolled over completely to become family friendly entertainment. In fact, if an evening with the Bobby Lees is anything to go by, it’s positively thriving – as long as you know where to look.

Album: Imagine Dragons - Mercury - Act 2

Barney Harsent

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas.” That’s the rule, right? Unless, of course, what happens is that you form a pop-rock act with a remarkable ear for a route-one hook and a direct line to the emotional core of teenagers everywhere. In that case, you definitely don’t stay in Vegas.

Glastonbury Festival 2022: an unexpurgated...

Caspar Gomez

Last days of June 2022, I sit in my writing hut. My liver is radioactive jelly, my nose reinforced concrete, my leg muscles marathon-cramped, and...

Album: Gwenno - Tresor

Kieron Tyler

“The historic, the prehistoric, the natural, architectural, geological, ornithological, or on the side of its folklore, Christian or heathen – the...

Album: Paolo Nutini - Last Night in the...

Guy Oddy

The last time that Paolo Nutini was on the public stage, he was knocking out fine blue-eyed soul and having substantial hits like “Scream (Funk my...

The Rolling Stones, BST Hyde Park review - let it rock!

Tim Cumming

Who can match The Rolling Stones firing on all cylinders? No one, that’s who

Album: Damien Jurado - Reggae Film Star

Thomas H Green

US artist's latest is singular to the point of opaque, but also often intriguing

Music Reissues Weekly: Whatever You Want - Bob Crewe's 60s Soul Sounds

Kieron Tyler

Proof there was more to the one-man music business than The Four Seasons

Album: James Vincent McMorrow - The Less I Knew

Peter Quinn

Sixth album from multifaceted Dubliner hits peak melodicism

Album: Regina Spektor - Home, before and after

Katie Colombus

Sincerity made entertaining through quirks, pathos and orchestral backing

Blk Jks, Moth Club review - Johannesburg’s art-rockers are more straightforward live than on album

Kieron Tyler

Reconfiguration is combined with addressing unfinished business

Album: Hollie Cook - Happy Hour

Kathryn Reilly

The album that summer 2022 so desperately needs

Album: Porcupine Tree - Closure/Continuation

Graham Fuller

Progressive rock's cultiest heroes return with a leftfield fusion of old and new

Album: Vadim Neselovskyi - Odesa: A Musical Walk Through a Legendary City

Sebastian Scotney

A poignant and superbly achieved solo piano album

The superstar, the Svengali and a rising young talent

Mark Kidel

What can singer-songwriter Tom Webber learn from the Costello legacy?

Music Reissues Weekly: Ban the Bomb - Music of the Aldermaston Anti-Nuclear Marches

Kieron Tyler

The folk and trad-jazz soundtrack to the early days of the UK’s anti-nuclear movement

Album: Linda Ayupuka - God Created Everything

Mark Kidel

Praising the Lord in Northeastern Ghana

Album: Alanis Morissette - The Storm Before the Calm

Katie Colombus

An existential move from angst-rock to meditative calm

theartsdesk on Vinyl 71: Sparks, Ibeyi, Amy Winehouse, The Residents, Hanterhir, Astor Piazzolla and more

Thomas H Green

The most extensive regular vinyl reviews on the planet

Album: Binker Golding - Dream Like A Dogwood Wild Boy

Sebastian Scotney

Top-class production gives the music an epic quality

KITE Festival, Kirtlington Park review - engaging speakers and tunes aplenty in the Oxfordshire countryside

Guy Oddy

Grace Jones, Confidence Man and Delia Smith help to usher in the 2022 festival season

Album: Foals - Life is Yours

Tom Carr

Seventh album from alt-rock stars sees them put on their dancing shoes

Pat Metheny & Side-Eye, Eventim Apollo review - energy and melodic clarity

Sebastian Scotney

Inexhaustible guitar maestro finds a new generation of listeners

Harry Styles, Ibrox Stadium, Glasgow review - pop prince lets the music do the talking

Jonathan Geddes

The pop troubadour continues his evolution at his first stadium show

Album: Ron Trent presents WARM - What Do the Stars Say to You

Barney Harsent

The producer's first album in more than a decade is a smooth-as-silk success

Music Reissues Weekly: Barney Wilen - Zodiac

Kieron Tyler

French jazz curio with an impeccable cultural context resurfaces

The Great Estate, Redruth review - Cornwall's finest festival extravaganza

Katie Colombus

A right royal knees-up in the magnificent grounds of Scorrier House

Album: Hercules & Love Affair - In Amber

Joe Muggs

NYC dance maven goes fully goth with stunning results

Album: Nick Mulvey - New Mythology

Thomas H Green

The ex-Portico Quartet singer-songwriter continues his increasingly mystic song cycle

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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