thu 29/09/2022

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Album: Slipknot - The End, So Far

Thomas H Green

Make no mistake about it, Slipknot are massive. 23 years after their recording debut, they’ve had 8.5 billion streams, their sixth album, 2019’s We Are Not Your Kind, hit the top of the charts in 12 countries, including the US and the UK, and their spectacular shows are a global phenomenon. In fact, it’s live that this writer really embraces Slipknot but their last album demonstrated they still had the chutzpah to knock a longplayer out of the park.

Album: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cool It Down

Joe Muggs

It’s a minor tragedy that Yeah Yeah Yeahs arrived just in time to be bundled in with a spurious “new rock revolution,” because they were so much more than rock. The Strokes, The White Stripes, The Libertines all may have had decent enough songs, but all were ultimately extremely trad rock, sonically living in mythical pasts.

The Big Moon, Oran Mor, Glasgow review - partying...

Jonathan Geddes

Presumably before setting out on their current tour the Big Moon smashed a few mirrors, walked under some ladders and crossed the paths of numerous...

Album: Lambchop - The Bible

Nick Hasted

Lambchop’s 1997 breakthrough album took its title from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Borrowing The Bible is a more purposefully brazen gambit, as Kurt...

Music Reissues Weekly: Bill Nelson's Red...

Kieron Tyler

The British music weeklies were clear about where the Sound-On-Sound LP and its singles fitted into the current musical topography when they were...

Album: Gabriels - Angels & Queens, Part I

Peter Quinn

A mesmerising, superbly crafted debut album from the LA-based trio

theartsdesk Q&A: Abel Selaocoe

Tim Cumming

The South African cellist and rising star of World and Classical on the music, life and history embedded in his debut album 'Where Is Home'

Album: Beth Orton - Weather Alive

Joe Muggs

Cracked introspection and grand sweep sonics on a record of memory regained

Album: Mark Peters - Red Sunset Dreams

Barney Harsent

The multi-instrumentalist returns with an album of radiant resolution and sumptuous soundscapes

Album: Tim Burgess - Typical Music

Kathryn Reilly

Nothing typical to hear here, just an artist being passionately prolific

Music Reissues Weekly: The Best of Roxy Music

Kieron Tyler

What was on CD two decades ago reappears on vinyl

Album: Blackpink - Born Pink

Joe Muggs

The "Pink Venom" of capitalism concentrated to its purest form... yet

Album: Marcus Mumford - (Self-Titled)

Barney Harsent

The Mumford & Sons frontman finds catharsis in his solo debut

Album: Marina Allen - Centrifics

Kieron Tyler

US singer-songwriter’s jazz-tinged second album eschews templates

Album: Gogol Bordello - Solidaritine

Guy Oddy

Mixed heritage gypsy-punks add some hardcore punk to their sound

Album: Suede - Autofiction

Nick Hasted

Wistful post-punk thuggery from Britpop's comeback kings

Music Reissues Weekly: The Sons of Adam - Saturday's Sons: The Complete Recordings 1964-1966

Kieron Tyler

Definitive, long-overdue collection of the Sixties California garage punks

Album: Star Feminine Band - In Paris

Mark Kidel

Protest songs by teenage band from Benin

Album: Santigold - Spirituals

Kathryn Reilly

She's back and she's still blazing a creative trail

Album: Parkway Drive - Darker Still

Tom Carr

A heavy metal treasure trove - euphoric and atmospheric throughout, yet punchy and energetic

The Divine Comedy, Barbican review - a triumphant retrospective

Bernard Hughes

Ten albums in five nights showcase Neil Hannon’s endless invention - and stamina

Album: Ozzy Osbourne - Patient Number 9

Guy Oddy

A fiery good-bye to the USA from the Prince of Darkness

Music Reissues Weekly: Ultravox! - Live At The Rainbow 1977

Kieron Tyler

Before their first album is out, John Foxx & Co are on fire

Album: The Afghan Whigs - How Do You Burn?

Nick Hasted

Greg Dulli's veterans head for the hedonistic horizon, still finding wisdom in excess

Album: Julian Lennon - Jude

Kathryn Reilly

Here comes the son

Album: Tom Chaplin - Midpoint

Joe Muggs

Music that was always middle aged ironically ages gracefully

Album: Two Door Cinema Club - Keep On Smiling

Barney Harsent

An uneven return, but a passing grade for the electronic-infused indie trio

Dope Lemon, O2 Academy, Birmingham review - Australian cosmic cowboys bring the house down

Guy Oddy

Angus Stone’s long delayed UK tour finally kicks off in Birmingham

Album: Julia Hülsmann Quartet - The Next Door

Sebastian Scotney

Top-flight German jazz quartet finds freedom and natural flow

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

Close Footnote


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

latest in today

Savala Nolan: Don't Let It Get You Down review - findin...

Liminal: a word that conjures thresholds and between states. Caught between three languages – the adjective is a borrowing from the Latin...

'Serving the community means representing the narrative...

Just as I was moving from the US to the UK to begin working as the Artistic Director of the...

Album: Slipknot - The End, So Far

Make no mistake about it, Slipknot are massive. 23 years after their recording debut, they’ve had 8.5 billion streams, their sixth album,...

Yiyun Li: The Book of Goose - fame, reality and two teenage...

The Book of Goose, Yiyun Li’s fifth novel, is the...

This England, Sky Atlantic review - how Boris's No 10 g...

From underneath the messy ash-white thatch of hair, a strange mooing suddenly issues: Sir Kenneth Branagh is wrestling with Boris Johnson’s odd...

Kim Noble, Soho Theatre review - final part of trilogy about...

A dead pigeon. A dead squirrel. A dead fox. Lots of maggots – very much alive. I might be describing your worst nightmare (throw in a rat or two...

In Front of Your Face review - a day in the life

Twenty-four hours in the life of a Korean woman, Sangok (Lee Hyeyoung), are caught in scenes which feel like real time in Hong Sangsoo’s latest....

Album: Yeah Yeah Yeahs - Cool It Down

It’s a minor tragedy that Yeah Yeah Yeahs arrived just in time to be bundled in with a spurious “new rock revolution,” because they were so much...

Purcell's Playhouse, Bevan, Barokksolistene, Eike, Purc...

“What about the communication with the audience?” asked violinist and impresario Bjarte Eike in his First Person piece for theartsdesk...