mon 25/05/2020

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Album: The Magnetic Fields - Quickies

Russ Coffey

In pop music, less is often more and it doesn't come much shorter-and-sweeter than Quickies, the new collection from New York songwriter Stephin Merritt.

Reissue CDs Weekly: Keith Relf - All the Falling Angels

Kieron Tyler

“Collector of the Light” is based around what sounds like a treated bass guitar. As the neck is moved up and down, multiple notes are plucked at once. The instrument’s sound is subaquatic, wobbly. Over this, a distant, echoey voice sings of being the “collector of light”, restoring dreams and “silver points of wonder”.

Album: Diplo Presents Thomas Wesley - Chapter 1:...

Guy Oddy

Word has been out for a while that EDM megastar Diplo has decided to throw a curve ball with his musical career, don a cowboy hat and release a...

Album: The 1975 - Notes On A Conditional Form

Nick Hasted

The 1975’s career is about navigating ambition, and finding ways to be an interesting, worthwhile big band after the music industry and rock music...

Album: Footsie - No Favours

Joe Muggs

Footsie might not have the profile of a Skepta or Wiley, or even his Newham Generals partner and recent IKEA advert soundtracker D Double E. But...

New Music Lockdown 7: Soundgarden, Carl Cox, Tim Burgess, Island Records Auction and more

Thomas H Green

The latest, liveliest selection of music-related stuff to watch, do and listen to at home

Album: Badly Drawn Boy - Banana Skin Shoes

Barney Harsent

No slip-ups as Damon Gough returns with his strongest release in nearly two decades

Album: Steve Earle & The Dukes - Ghosts of West Virginia

Liz Thomson

Steve Earle digs deep for an album of pitch-perfect Americana

Reissue CDs Weekly: Damily - Madagascar Cassette Archives

Kieron Tyler

Revealed - the spiky music the guitarist made before moving to Europe

theartsdesk on Vinyl 57: Gramme, Terry Edwards, The Orb, The Monochrome Set and much more

Thomas H Green

The most extensive monthly record reviews for lockdown times

Album: Tim Burgess - I Love the New Sky

Kieron Tyler

An artful pop treasure from the ever-busy Charlatans frontman

Album: Charli XCX - how i'm feeling now

Joe Muggs

Cutting edge electronics in lockdown album from the always exploratory pop star

Album: Kaitlyn Aurelia Smith - The Mosaic of Transformation

Joe Muggs

Mystical synth-wrangler continues to create warm oceans of sound

New Music Lockdown 6: David Gilmour, Taylor Swift, Prince, Bat For Lashes and Blossoms

Thomas H Green

This week's freshest stay-at-home music recommendations to keep things lively

Little Richard (1932-2020) - sexuality, spirituality and rock'n'roll's gospel roots

Mark Kidel

An appreciation of the late star's unique artistry

Album: Moses Sumney - græ

Nick Hasted

Liquid R&B and tender masculinity as a questing singer seeks a clean gender slate

Album: Jason Isbell and The 400 Unit - Reunions

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Southern rocker delivers another songwriting masterclass

Reissue CDs Weekly: Bob Stanley & Pete Wiggs Present The Tears of Technology

Kieron Tyler

Winning celebration of the synthesiser as an enabler for expressing emotion

Album: Paradise Lost – Obsidian

Asya Draganova

Singing along, while sinking into darkness: a metal album to play on repeat

Album: Hayley Williams - Petals for Armor

Thomas H Green

Debut album from Paramore frontwoman is a funkin' great surprise

Album: X – Alphabetland

Guy Oddy

Rootsy punk veterans return on an unexpected high

New Music Lockdown 5: Foals, Claptone, Luke La Volpe, Minecraft's music festival and more

Thomas H Green

Five spanking new stay-at-home music recommendations for this week

Album: Dinosaur - To the Earth

Nick Hasted

Mercury nominees inquisitively explore acoustic jazz roots

Album: Mark Lanegan - Straight Songs of Sorrow

Mark Kidel

The intense exploration of a tortured soul

Reissue CDs Weekly: King Size Taylor and the Dominoes

Kieron Tyler

‘Dr. Feelgood’, the complete recordings of the Merseybeat legends, is a blast.

Isolation Song Contest review - a fun alternative to Eurovision

Veronica Lee

Real thing is cancelled but comics come up trumps

Album: BlackLab - Abyss

Guy Oddy

Japanese dark witch doom duo cast a very heavy spell

Album: Fink, Bloom Innocent - Acoustic

Liz Thomson

From Fink Funk to folk fusion

New Music Lockdown 4: Neil Young, Roger & Brian Eno and a trip to Nashville

Thomas H Green

The latest, most intriguing stay-at-home music recommendations

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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