mon 26/07/2021

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Album: Willow - Lately I Feel Everything

Thomas H Green

Willow Smith has done more during her life than the average 20-year-old. The daughter of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith, she bounced off her childhood appearance in her father’s film I Am Legend to a No.2 UK hit with “Whip My Hair” a decade ago, and has since released a bunch of music.

Reissue CDs Weekly: Chris Barber - A Trailblazer's Legacy

Kieron Tyler

The book included with this splendid box set dedicated to British jazz innovator Chris Barber includes a series of quotes paying tribute to his standing. Billy Bragg says "Chris Barber's influence on British popular music, be it through playing jazz, creating skiffle or promoting R&B, has been immense.

Album: Anne-Marie - Therapy

Thomas H Green

Anne-Marie Nicholson is a hard-working young woman from Essex whose career description is “Global Girl-next-door Pop Star”. She has incrementally...

Album: Jackson Browne - Downhill From Everywhere

Liz Thomson

It’s hard to believe that it’s almost 50 years since I splurged a day’s Saturday pay on For Everyman, Jackson Browne’s second album. The title track...

Album: Leon Bridges - Gold-Diggers Sound

Nick Hasted

The sleeve splices Little Richard and Sam Cooke in an archaic, explosive burst of ecstasy. Neo-soul star Leon Bridges’ third album doesn’t settle in...

Album: Peyton - PSA

Joe Muggs

Perfectly smooth and subtly strange modernist Texan soul

Shadow Kingdom: The Early Songs of Bob Dylan review - noir settings for classic numbers

Tim Cumming

Spine-tingling performances in Dylan's live-streaming debut

Album: Darkside - Spiral

Guy Oddy

Nicolas Jaar embraces melodies while keeping things decidedly mellow

Reissue CDs Weekly: Karen Black - Dreaming Of You (1971-1976)

Kieron Tyler

Marvellous collection of the actor’s previously unknown recordings

Album: David Crosby - For Free

Liz Thomson

Age has not withered him

Album: Wavves - Hideaway

Nick Hasted

Ripped and torn emotions as pop-punks return to roots

Album: Craig Fortnam - Ark

Joe Muggs

The mossy language of psychedelic folk proves strangely new

10 Questions for Harry Grafton of Red Rooster Festival

Thomas H Green

On The Rolling Stones, Americana, and his festival surviving COVID-19

Album: Gary Kemp - Insolo

Thomas H Green

Unlistenably middle-of-the-road post-prog bland-fest from Spandau Ballet songwriter

Album: Chet Faker - Hotel Surrender

Mark Kidel

Mellow and feel-good white soul

Reissue CDs Weekly: The Count Bishops - Speedball

Kieron Tyler

How pub rockers' 1975 EP helped set the agenda for punk rock

Album: Tones and I - Welcome to the Madhouse

Thomas H Green

Debut full album from Australian hit-maker is heartfelt and jovially characterful

Album: Jam & Lewis - Vol. 1

Joe Muggs

The world-bestriding production duo pour some sugar on it

Album: Tom Odell - Monsters

Nick Hasted

Growing singer-songwriter seeks depression's roots

Album: Stone Giants - West Coast Love Stories

Guy Oddy

Brazilian electronic musician and producer Amon Tobin gently trips out

Reissue CDs Weekly: Yardbirds - Yardbirds

Kieron Tyler

The ‘Roger The Engineer’ album is made-over as a box set

Album: Härtel Trübsbach - Great Again

Sebastian Scotney

Great viola playing combining heavenly and daemonic

10 Questions for Bobby Gillespie of Primal Scream

Thomas H Green

The singer talks concept albums, Mary Chain days, and his new music with singer Jehnny Beth

Album: Emma-Jean Thackray - Yellow

Joe Muggs

Leeds via London jazz of the most audaciously cosmic kind

Rag‘n’Bone Man, Jazz Café review – powerful first post-lockdown gig

Katie Colombus

Like a pint of Camden Pale Ale after months in the desert

theartsdesk on Vinyl 65: Solomun, Black Sabbath, Trojan Records, The Creation, Seefeel, Motörhead and more

Thomas H Green

The biggest, most wide-ranging regular vinyl reviews in the universe

Album: Laura Mvula - Pink Noise

Peter Quinn

Mvula's love letter to the Eighties is a heartfelt tour de force

Album: Bobby Gillespie and Jehnny Beth - Utopian Ashes

Nick Hasted

Doomed love ruefully dissected by an appealing odd couple

Reissue CDs Weekly: Elton John - Regimental Sgt. Zippo

Kieron Tyler

Reg Dwight's period as a psychedelic popster is revealed

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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