sat 28/01/2023

New Music Features

Interview: The Unthanks

Russ Coffey

Misery may be folk music’s stock-in-trade but no one does it quite like the British. Maybe it’s part of our heritage. We are a nation, after all, that has not only invented a drink called bitter but have a brand called Doom Bar. And within the UK, there’s one particular volume of folk music that is unparalleled in its bleakness. It’s called the Northumbrian Minstrelsy, and it’s the first place Rachel Unthank, of critically acclaimed folk group The Unthanks, goes to look for new songs to...

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Opinion: Noise annoys – will venues ever sort out their sound?

Bruce Dessau

Last month I thought I'd gone deaf. After decades of standing too close to the loudspeakers I'd finally got my comeuppance and my ears had given up the ghost.

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theartsdesk in Oslo: by:Larm Festival 2011 and the Nordic Music Prize

Kieron Tyler

Oslo’s annual by:Larm festival celebrates Nordic music. Over the three days, just under 180 acts play Norway's capital: 142 are Norwegian, 15 are Swedish, with single figures each for Iceland, Denmark, Finland and even Greenland. Time presses, and hard choices have to be made about what to see. This year, by:Larm also hosted the inaugural Nordic Music Prize, awarded to Iceland’s Jõnsi, for his recent album Go.

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Opinion: Can we please kill off the guitar as cultural icon now?

Thomas H Green

There's been a lot of waffle lately about rock'n'roll being dead.

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theartsdesk in New York: A Dirty Weekend with the New York Dolls and a Jazz Princess

Peter Culshaw

I didn't realise how much I liked dirt. Especially New York dirt. I was going to do a rant about boutique designer hotels, which seem ubiquitous in Manhattan. Major case in point: the Gramercy Park Hotel, where I used to stay in the Nineties and Noughties. It was independent, a bit scruffy, with a great bar full of artists and rock'n'roll types and other degenerates, a perfect location and cost about a hundred dollars a night.

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theartsdesk in Madrid: Nuevo Flamenco Comes of Age

Peter Culshaw Miguel Poveda, one of the nuevo flamenco performers appearing at Sadler's Wells Flamenco Festival

I am far from the first - and in very good company - to worry about the over-commercialisation of flamenco. As far back as in 1922 Manuel de Falla and Federico Garcia Lorca, respectively Spain’s greatest composer and poet of the time, decided to organise a singing competition in Granada in which only singers from the villages were allowed to enter. The polished, preening urban stars of the Café Cantantes were ineligible. My resistance to the genre was partly to do with the Gypsy Kings,...

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Opinion: Iggy's adverts are so very, very wrong

Thomas H Green

The idea of "selling out" has clung to popular music, and indeed most art forms, for a long, long time. In our postmodern techno-consumerist society it's an increasingly outdated and irrelevant concept. The book Faking It: The Quest for Authenticity in Popular Music by Hugh Barker and Yuval Taylor shrewdly takes the whole notion of selling out to pieces, from the blues of the early 20th century to Moby's deconstruction of those blues decades later. Or rather, it simply points out...

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Interview: Andy Gill, Gang of Four

Russ Coffey

If you’ve never heard a Gang of Four track, you probably still know their music. Their influence is all over the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Bloc Party, Franz Ferdinand, and R.E.M to name but a few of their fans. And that's just the musical legacy. Because Gang of Four, primarily active from 1978 to 1983, if they changed anything, changed the way bands considered the role of rock music.

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Year Out/Year In: Electronic Music Digs In and Spreads Out

joe Muggs

2010 saw some major shifts stirring up the UK club music ecosystem and unleashing some fascinating hybrids and variants of existing sounds out into the wild. As the hefty bass of dubstep muscled its way firmly into the heart of the mainstream, everything else was forced to rearrange its position, with some surprising results.

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Year Out/Year In: New Music To Look For

theartsdesk

In the next instalment of our Year Out/Year In series, theartsdesk's New Music writers cast a critical eye over 2010, and offer some recommendations for 2011, incorporating some very funky videos. Our selection of recommended albums from the past year ranges wildly over electronica, world, jazz, indie, rock and folk. We also note some disasters and sad losses.

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