fri 19/07/2024

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Album: Lava La Rue - Starface

Joe Muggs

Two of the biggest trends in 21st century pop culture today have been “poptimism” – broadly, the idea that pop as such is as serious and worthy of analysis as any other artform – and a kind of everything-everywhere-all-at-once telescoping of past influences into a grab bag of total availability.

Album: The Raveonettes - Sing…

Ellie Roberts

Indie rock duo the Raveonettes add an ethereal touch to 10 popular songs in their latest album, made up entirely of covers. Sing…, which features renditions of tracks by Gram Parsons, the Everly Brothers, the Cramps, Buddy Holly, and the Velvet Underground, is a soothing dream pop delight.

Album: Orange Goblin - Science Not Fiction

Guy Oddy

Orange Goblin have been flying the flag for exuberant biker rock for the best part of a generation. Yet, somewhat incredibly, their latest and 10th...

Music Reissues Weekly: Atlanta - Hotbed of 70s...

Kieron Tyler

Michael Thevis made his money from pornography. In the Seventies, his Atlanta warehouses were stuffed with most of America’s porn. Nationally, Thevis...

Album: Chris Cohen - Paint a Room

Kieron Tyler

Paint a Room is idiosyncratic, but it is an absolute joy. Accessible too. Permeated with a summery vibe, its 10 songs glisten like the surface of...

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Album: Catherine Russell and Sean Mason - My Ideal

Sebastian Scotney

New life for old songs from superb singer and pianist

Album: AJ Lee & Blue Summit - City of Glass

Thomas H Green

Tight, light, airy and persuasive bluegrass-Americana from California

Album: Joe Goddard - Harmonics

Joe Muggs

The Hot Chip mainstay serves up a feast - but are there too many cuisines at once?

Music Reissues Weekly: Angelic Upstarts - Teenage Warning

Kieron Tyler

Punk landmark remains as abrasive as it was in 1979

Paul Alexander: Bitter Crop - The Heartache and Triumph of Billie Holiday's Last Year review - setting the record straight

John Carvill

Busting myths in this sensitive appraisal of a jazz legend

Album: Kiiōtō - As Dust we Rise

Kieron Tyler

Jazz-tinged union of the former lynchpins of Lamb and Urban Cookie Collective

Album: Kokoko! - Butu

Mark Kidel

Music to raise the spirits of the forest

Glastonbury Festival 2024: A Sunlit Epic of Music, Madness, Chaos and Culture

Caspar Gomez

Take the full immersive novelette-length four day head-trip through the best party in the world

Album: Enter Shikari - Dancing on the Frontline

Tom Carr

Electronic-hardcore-rock fusion pioneers resist sitting on their hands

Album: Kasabian - Happenings

Thomas H Green

Eighth album from Leicester electro-rockers lacks heft

Sza, BST Hyde Park review - R&B superstar gives apocalyptic bug vibes

Katie Colombus

Sza and her tribe of dancers warm up the UK

P!nk, Hampden Park, Glasgow review - a high-wire act with bravado and bombast

Jonathan Geddes

The singer was dynamic in a show heavy on both spectacle and emotion.

Album: Jeff Mills - The Eyewitness

Joe Muggs

40+ albums in and the Detroit luminary is still creating bamboozling mesmerism

Music Reissues Weekly: Cluster - Zuckerzeit

Kieron Tyler

50th-anniversary nod to when Krautrock began embracing melody

Album: Imagine Dragons - Loom

Tom Carr

Nevada mainstream giants return with a little that is different, but a lot that is familiar

Album: Camila Cabello - C,XOXO

Joe Muggs

She's rattling the bars of her creative cage, but they're not breaking

Album: Johnny Cash - Songwriter

Liz Thomson

The Man in Black returns

Taylor Swift, Wembley Stadium review - the Eras Tour lights up London

Thomas H Green

A vivacious and extraordinary celebration of female community and power

Album: Linda Thompson - Proxy Music

Tim Cumming

Music by appointment to folk-rock royalty, from family and friends

Album: Madeleine Peyroux - Let's Walk

Thomas H Green

Ninth album from US singer is a quietly likeable set of retro jazz-blues contemplations

Music Reissues Weekly: The Cryin’ Shames - Please Stay, Do The Strum! - Joe Meek's Girl Groups and Pop Chanteuses

Kieron Tyler

The fabled Tea Chest Tapes yield more bounty

Album: Zara McFarlane - Sweet Whispers: Celebrating Sarah Vaughan

Sebastian Scotney

McFarlane's best album to date

Rain Parade, 229 review - the Paisley Underground perennials prove unafraid of their past

Kieron Tyler

Haziness, raga-esque guitar and top-notch psychedelia

Album: Wytch Pycknyck - Wytch Pycknyck

Thomas H Green

Debut from south coast quartet renders heavy rock as stunningly messed-up psychedelia

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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