mon 18/01/2021

New Music Buzz

Attention for the neglected soul sound of Little Rock, Arkansas

Kieron Tyler

Little Rock, the state capital of Arkansas, usually comes to mind in association with hometown boy Bill Clinton. Soul and funk fans, however, aren’t fussed with the sax-playing former governor and president and fixate on the city’s True Soul label, the home of a raft of rare and sought-after sides. Two volumes compiling the imprint have just been issued and include previously unissued tracks.

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theartsdesk at the Great British Beer Festival

Kieron Tyler A happy trio at the Great British Beer Festival

Held each year at the Earls Court Exhibition Centre, the Great British Beer Festival is the top-drawer event in any British beer enthusiast's diary. Organised by CAMRA (The Campaign for Real Ale), it’s a mind-boggling, discombobulating overload of more beer than it’s possible to imagine. Every non-corporate brewer is here, from the heard of (Fullers, Thwaites) to the local and barely heard of. Beer is central, but there’s food and games too. People are here too. Masses of them. And they’re...

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Iran’s pre-1979 pop music begins to reach the outside world

Kieron Tyler

Pop music was virtually eradicated from Iran in 1979 after the deposition of the Shah and arrival of Ayatollah Khomeini in power. Before then, the thriving scene supported many stars that drew on both local traditions and Kurdish music. Googoosh was a huge star, but she stayed in Iran after 1979 and was unable to record. Moving to Los Angeles in 2000 allowed her to perform and begin recording again. The arrival of a new British compilation covering 1970 to 1975 is fascinating.

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Amy Winehouse, 1983-2011

theartsdesk

Amy Winehouse, who was found dead at her London home this afternoon, was the greatest female pop singer of her time, in the way that Billie Holiday was of hers, says Peter Culshaw, the first of theartsdesk's writers who tell below what she signified to music and to them. More tributes come from Joe Muggs, Thomas H Green, David Nice and Matilda Battersby.

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2011 Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize nominations announced

Kieron Tyler The Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize nominations 2011: no surprises

The nominations for the 2011 Barclaycard Mercury Music Prize were announced earlier today. Beyond PJ Harvey and Elbow having won before, nothing wildly surprising cropped up.

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London’s South Bank to be engulfed by the past

Kieron Tyler Vintage at Southbank Centre will celebrate the pop culture of Britain's past

The weekend of 29 to 31 July will see London's Festival Hall transformed into what the venue describes as a “multi–venue vintage playground”. Vintage, founded by Wayne and Gerardine Hemingway, comes to London for the first time to celebrate the popular culture of Britain’s past. The Festival Hall is a fitting host, as it was constructed for 1951’s Festival of Britain and is, itself, a piece of living history.

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Beginner's Guide to the music of Scandinavia: not what it says it is

Kieron Tyler

Certain Nordic countries are identified with particular forms of music. Norway and Finland are the home to various strands of metal. Sweden’s pop songwriters and producers are world-renowned, attracting the likes of Britney Spears to Scandinavia. Iceland homes individualists like Björk and Sigur Rõs. Denmark’s influential Mew and Efterklang capture mood like no one else. But you won’t find any of this on the new three-CD set Beginner's Guide to Scandinavia.

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Lil B's I'm Gay (I'm Happy): a rap revolution?

joe Muggs

It's not often you can call pop music revolutionary, but this record is - in more ways than one. Bringing together techniques of engagement that have been honed by Radiohead, Lady Gaga, Lil Wayne and... um... Justin Bieber, the 21-year-old Berkley, California rapper Lil B appears to be on the verge of becoming the first bona fide internet-birthed superstar. I'm Gay (I'm Happy) appeared on iTunes yesterday, announced with a single tweet, with no prior warning whatsoever bar an...

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Birmingham - Home of Metal

Russ Coffey

This site has never acknowledged a distinction between high and popular culture. Nor, it seems, does the city of Birmingham. Currently bidding for UK City of Culture 2013, it is also promoting itself as the "Home of (Heavy) Metal". This summer, at various locations across the Black Country, a four-month festival looks at the likes of Ozzy Osbourne and celebrates the people who inspired him to “bark at the moon”.

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Mick Jagger leads supergroup with Joss Stone, Damian Marley and AR Rahman

Kieron Tyler

Mick Jagger is heading up a band named SuperHeavy. Also in on the project are Joss Stone, AR Rahman (composer of the Slumdog Millionaire soundtrack), Dave Stewart (the former Eurythmic) and Damian Marley. It seems outlandish and the product of an overheated PR person’s imagination, but many things in life can be both. Yet, this is real, not an April Fool-type joke.

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