wed 22/08/2018

New Music reviews, news & interviews

CD: Neil & Liam Finn – Lightsleeper

Ellie Porter

Once pleasingly described on the Flight of the Conchords radio show as ‘the King of New Zealand’, Neil Finn has a new gift for his subjects (and the rest of the world, happily) in the form of this new album, which sees him recording with son Liam for the first time. 

CD: Jackie Oates - The Joy of Living

Liz Thomson

Birth and death are nowhere more entwined than in folk music, and the seventh album by Radio 2 Young Folk Award-winner Jackie Oates poignantly honours both her father and her daughter, his unexpected death just five days before the birth of Rosie. Inevitably, her life went into free-fall, “intense emotion at the joy and sadness that had struck me all at once”.

Reissue CDs Weekly: Teenage Fanclub

Kieron Tyler

The cover images of the four albums Teenage Fanclub issued on Creation Records suggest ambivalence. While Bandwagonesque’s title acknowledges the...

CD: Kate Nash - Yesterday Was Forever

Russ Coffey

Kate Nash is no quitter. For years her heavy London accent and kitchen-sink lyrics made her an easy target for mockery. Nash always brushed it off....

CD: Ariana Grande - Sweetener

Joe Muggs

This may be tempting fate, and minutes after publication of this she'll probably be arrested for stabbing a dog or something, but Ariana Grande seems...

theartsdesk on Vinyl 42: Flaming Lips, Blacklab, Juno Reactor, U2, Ross From Friends and more

Thomas H Green

The widest ranging vinyl record reviews on Planet Earth

Jake Shears, Concorde 2, Brighton review - a blitz of glitz

Caspar Gomez

The Scissor Sisters frontman makes Brighton feel like dancin'

CD: Moskus - Mirakler

Kieron Tyler

Fourth album from a Norwegian trio with little regard for genre constraints

CD: Oh Sees - Smote Reverser

Owen Richards

Prog excellence that walks the line between mastery and excess

CD: Slaves - Acts of Fear And Love

Guy Oddy

Kentish punks tread water with their third

Reissue CDs Weekly: A Kaleidoscope of Sounds

Kieron Tyler

Superb collection of ‘Psychedelic & Freakbeat Masterpieces’

CD: Mark Lanegan & Duke Garwood - With Animals

Kieron Tyler

Spectral union of America’s master of melancholy and the British multi-instrumentalist

CD: Gorgon City - Escape

Thomas H Green

Fully functional, if predictable, return from pop-house duo

CD: Tom Baxter - The Other Side of Blue

Liz Thomson

After 10 years, Baxter breaks the silence

Cambridge Folk Festival review - women rule the roost

Liz Thomson

The 54th festival was a broad tent dominated by Patti Smith and Janis Ian

CD: Jake Shears - Jake Shears

Caspar Gomez

The Scissor Sisters' singer comes back solo at full fruity tilt

h 100 Awards: Music - an impressive range of quality

Thomas H Green

The Hospital Club's h100 Award music nominees showcase a scene where variety is strength

BaianaSystem, Village Underground - the new Brazilian contenders

Peter Culshaw

Post-genre band turn up the heat in triumphant London debut

CD: Death Grips - Year of the Snitch

Guy Oddy

Experimental hip-hoppers’ sixth album has plenty to chew on

Reissue CDs Weekly: Gary McFarland

Kieron Tyler

The return of ‘Soft Samba’ and ‘The In Sound’, two of the jazz individualist's best albums

CD: Gulp - All Good Wishes

Barney Harsent

A Super Furry Animal and friends return with a blissful follow-up

CD: Iggy Azalea - Survive the Summer

Joe Muggs

Australian-American good-times rapper sings the cultural appropriation blues

WOMAD 2, Charlton Park review - rainbows and rumba

Peter Culshaw

Globalism still rules in a field in Wiltshire

CD: The Proclaimers - Angry Cyclist

Thomas H Green

Tenth album from Scottish pair has poetic teeth, righteous attitude and solid songs

theartsdesk at Camp Bestival 2018 - from Astley to apocalypse

Thomas H Green

Theartsdesk team takes both sun and storm at the annual family shindig

CD: Dee Snider - For the Love of Metal

Thomas H Green

Over-the-top antics from one of heavy rock's hammiest old hands

WOMAD, Charlton Park review – drawing the world a little closer

Tim Cumming

Off on the road to Morocco, Estonia, Senegal, Turkey and many more

CD: Bansangu Orchestra - Bansangu Orchestra

Peter Quinn

Joyous noises and fascinating rhythms from remarkable band of London's finest

Reissue CDs Weekly: Gathered From Coincidence

Kieron Tyler

Terrific three-disc celebration of ‘The British Folk-Pop Sound of 1965-66’

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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