sun 28/11/2021

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Music Reissues Weekly: Box Of Pin-Ups - The British Sounds of 1965, Think I'm Going Weird - Original Artefacts From The British Psychedelic Scene 1966-68

Kieron Tyler

Signs of irrevocable change materialised in December 1965. On Wednesday the 8th, a new band named The 13th Floor Elevators debuted live at The Jade Room in Austin, Texas. Band members prepared for the experience by taking LSD in the run-up to the booking.

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, The Mill, Birmingham review – Geordie rockers blow the roof off

Guy Oddy

When those cold winter nights start closing in, there is really only two choices for facing up to the unpleasantness that this brings. Stay at home, batten down the hatches, whack up the heating and blow the expense. Or go out and immerse yourself in some hot and sweaty rock’n’roll.

Album: Arca - KICK ii / KICK iii / KICK iiii

Joe Muggs

Alejandra Ghersi – Arca – is one of the most influential musicians on the planet in the last decade. Even aside from working with huge names like...

Album: Justin Adams & Mauro Durante - Still...

Tim Cumming

Adams has long been Robert Plant’s guitarist in bands including the Sensational Space Shifters, as well as working with fellow Space Shifter Juldeh...

Album: Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit - Georgia...

Thomas H Green

Jason Isbell is a bigger noise on the other side of the Atlantic than he is in the UK but his last three albums have, nonetheless, bothered the...

Album: Nell & The Flaming Lips - Where The Viaduct Looms

Kieron Tyler

Never mind the Nick Cave songs, audience member hook-up with Wayne Coyne’s mavericks invites further collaboration

Nu Civilisation Orchestra, What's Going On, Birmingham Town Hall review - bringing a masterpiece to life

Miranda Heggie

Marvin Gaye's seminal album performed in full with passion, joy and integrity

Grace Petrie, Summerhall, Edinburgh review - songs of solidarity

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Protest songs for survival at twice-rescheduled show

Album: Sunn O))) - Metta, Benevolence - BBC 6 Music: Live on the Invitation of Mary Anne Hobbs

Guy Oddy

The Kings of Drone Metal reconfigure and reinterpret for the Beeb

Music Reissues Weekly: Lenny Kaye Presents Lightning Striking

Kieron Tyler

Eras and geography combine to generate a compilation as erudite as 1972’s ‘Nuggets’

theartsdesk Q&A: jazz musician Charles Lloyd

Nick Hasted

Jazz Zelig’s long, strange trip from Howlin’ Wolf to Norah Jones

Soweto Kinch, LSO / 'London Third Stream', London Sinfonietta, EFG London Jazz Festival review - projects from the political to the loop-y

Sebastian Scotney

Thoughtful provocation from Soweto Kinch

Album: Adele - 30

Katie Colombus

An authentic journey of emotional vulnerability

theartsdesk Q&A: Low, the band - 'Structure is key in minimalism. Especially in pop minimalism'

Kieron Tyler

Mimi Parker and Alan Sparhawk reveal their thoughts about recent album ‘Hey What’ and offer a gardening tip

Album: Elbow - Flying Dream 1

Barney Harsent

Eschewing big-arena balladeering, Guy Garvey and co have staged a revolution for no 9

Cécile McLorin Salvant, EFG London Jazz Festival review - strength, vulnerability and humour

Peter Quinn

The vocalist and composer channels Kate Bush and Brecht/Weill to transfixing effect

OMD/Scritti Politti, Brighton Centre review - an engaging, ebullient good time

Thomas H Green

Heritage synth-poppers turn Tuesday night into party night

Album: Deap Vally - Marriage

Guy Oddy

Heavy blues rockers are back with a bang

Album: Willie Nelson - The Willie Nelson Family

Liz Thomson

God's own country music

The Jesus and Mary Chain, Barrowland, Glasgow review - Scottish siblings still the loudest gang in town

Jonathan Geddes

The East Kilbride brothers at their most thrilling when blasting out more obscure material

Album: Robert Plant and Alison Krauss - Raise the Roof

Mark Kidel

Brilliant formula still makes for gold

Jazz Voice, EFG London Jazz Festival review - from intimate delicacy to stunning virtuosity

Peter Quinn

Celebration of the voice offers cherished classics and newly composed delights

Music Reissues Weekly: Essiebons Special 1973-1984 Ghana Music Power House

Kieron Tyler

Proof that highlife was never a musical straitjacket

Album: Ladyhawke – Time Flies

Kathryn Reilly

The misfit mistress of synth-pop returns with a mixed offering

Album: Rod Stewart - The Tears of Hercules

Thomas H Green

They can smell Rod's latest set of stadium whiffers on Mars

Black Pumas, O2 Institute, Birmingham review - bluesy grooves with high octane energy

Miranda Heggie

Sweet, sultry soul from swiftly rising Austin duo

Album: Damon Albarn - The Nearer The Fountain, More Pure The Stream Flows

Nick Hasted

A great English pop musician in insular, melancholy solo mode

Album: Idles - Crawler

Thomas H Green

Fourth album from Bristol alt-rock pummellers lets the shade bleed through

Jane Weaver, Hare & Hounds, Birmingham review – alt-popper struggles with lethargic audience

Guy Oddy

Indie veteran brings the tunes but can’t get the party started

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

Music Reissues Weekly: Box Of Pin-Ups - The British Sounds o...

Signs of irrevocable change materialised in December 1965. On...

Paris Photo 2021 review - a moveable feast

Paris Photo 2021 was a wonderful show. Back after the pandemic it was moved to the Grand Palais Éphémère, a temporary structure built...

Scenes from the Wild, Morgan, CLS, Paterson, Southwark Cathe...

Dara McAnulty’s Diary of a Young Naturalist (14 at the...

The Unforgivable review - Sandra Bullock gets stuck in a doo...

Based fairly closely on Sally Wainwright’s 2009...

Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs Pigs, The Mill, Birmingham rev...

When those cold winter nights start closing in, there is really only two choices for facing up to the unpleasantness that this brings. Stay at...

Album: Arca - KICK ii / KICK iii / KICK iiii

Alejandra Ghersi – Arca – is one of the most influential musicians on the planet in the last decade. Even aside from working with huge names like...

Four Quartets, Harold Pinter Theatre review - brilliant Fien...

Words flow like water in TS Eliot’s Four Quartets, shimmering with allusion, swirling...

Giltburg, Hallé, Elder, Bridgewater Hall, Manchester review...

Sir Mark Elder and the Hallé were making something of a...

A Christmas Carol, The Old Vic review - not quite a festive-...

Four years and a Broadway run on from its Old Vic debut,...