fri 17/01/2020

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Album: Bombay Bicycle Club - Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

Liz Thomson

Bombay Bicycle Club have a knack for quasi-prophetic titles. Their fourth album, So Long, See You Tomorrow, released in February 2014, turned out to be their last, at least for a while. For when the accompanying tour concluded at London’s Earls Court – the final event before the wrecking ball deprived London of another iconic venue – the band decided they’d had enough.

Album: Aoife Nessa Frances - Land of No Junction

Kieron Tyler

What a lovely surprise. A debut album with its own sensibility that’s come out of the blue. Aoife Nessa Frances is from Dublin and the terrific Land of No Junction – the title comes from a mistaken hearing of Llandudno Junction – signals the arrival of a major new talent.

theartsdesk in Brussels - jazz, openness and...

Sebastian Scotney

“Brussels – The Cultural Guide” for 2020 is a very substantial book. It consists of 212 tightly-packed pages in a quite small font. The message is...

Album: Las Cobras - Selva

Guy Oddy

Selva is the sophomore album from Uruguay’s arch tripsters, Las Cobras. More ethereal and even less direct than its predecessor, Temporal, it is a...

Judy Collins, Grand Central Hall, Liverpool...

Liz Thomson

It’s a good few years since Judy Collins last toured Britain and Ireland, though in the US she’s rarely off the road. Over the last couple of years...

Album: Gabrielle Aplin - Dear Happy

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Self-love soundtrack to a songwriter piecing herself back together

Reissue CDs Weekly: She Came From Liverpool! - Merseyside Girl-Pop 1962-1968

Kieron Tyler

Bold and enjoyable attempt to shift the Merseybeat focus towards the female

Album: Field Music - Making a New World

Kieron Tyler

Audacious concept album examining the still-extant ripples of World War One

Album: Electric Soft Parade - Stages

Thomas H Green

Brighton indie-psyche stalwarts offer a luscious, heart-rending exploration of grief

Albums of the Year 2019: Little Simz - GREY Area

Jo Southerd

Records to return to again and again, from a year better left behind

Albums of the Year 2019: Bruce Springsteen - Western Stars

Russ Coffey

The Boss led a bumper year for veteran rockers

Reissue CDs Weekly: Jon Savage's 1969-1971 - Rock Dreams on 45

Kieron Tyler

Alienation surfaces as the Sixties make way for the Seventies

Albums of the Year 2019: Sturgill Simpson - Sound & Fury

Ellie Porter

Endlessly creative singer's fourth album is country, but not as we know it

Albums of the Year 2019: Liz Lawrence - Pity Party

Owen Richards

In a year of big releases, this gem is worth hunting out

Albums of the Year 2019: Leonard Cohen - Thanks for the Dance

Liz Thomson

The last magnificent testament of Leonard Norman Cohen

Albums of the Year 2019: Sharon Van Etten - Remind Me Tomorrow

Katie Colombus

A sound reminiscent of days gone by but with a shoegazy sway that keeps it relevant

Albums of the Year 2019: Claire Martin - Believin’ It

Peter Quinn

Award-winning vocalist touches the heart and lifts the soul

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Best of 2019

Kieron Tyler

‘The Daisy Age’, ‘Diggin’ in the Goldmine - Dutch Beat Nuggets’ and ‘Peter Laughner’ set the bar for others

Albums of the Year 2019: Seratones - Power

Howard Male

Heart, energy and some cracking good tunes from a new Louisiana band

Albums of the Year 2019: Nick Cave - Ghosteen

Mark Kidel

Beauty and soul out of suffering and darkness

Albums of the Year 2019: Mark Turner Meets Gary Foster

Sebastian Scotney

A remarkable concert from 2003, released in 2019

The Libertines, Margate Winter Gardens – last post on the TS Eliot-named tour

Kathryn Reilly

The ageing hell-raisers return to their adopted home for a pre-Christmas blow-out

Albums of the Year 2019: Josienne Clarke – In All Weather

Tim Cumming

A perfect companion for the longer, darker nights of your year

Reissue CDs Weekly: Big Front Yard

Kieron Tyler

Lost but marvellous Malvern mid-Seventies band are finally heard

Albums of the Year 2019: Slipknot - We Are Not Your Kind

Asya Draganova

A place where anger meets sophistication

Albums of the Year 2019: Mega Bog - Dolphine

Kieron Tyler

Confirmation that Erin Birgy is ready for more than a cult audience

Rod Stewart, Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, O2 review - Tonight's the Night

Liz Thomson

Pushing 75 and still hot

Albums of the Year 2019: Sault - 7

Barney Harsent

A punk-funk-soul one-two that leaves you dazed and delighted

Albums of the Year 2019: Terror Danjah - Invasion

Joe Muggs

One of grime's earliest production pioneers at the top of his game

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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