wed 27/01/2021

New Music Features

Adele at the BBC, BBC One

Adam Sweeting

As you all know by now, Friday is D-Day for Adele's new album 25, and part of the all-media Adelathon is Friday night's show on BBC One, Adele at the BBC. It's a mix of live performances and taped sequences linked together by chunks of interview with Graham Norton, and makes the perfect relaunch package for the reclusive superstar. It opens, aptly enough, with her performing "Rolling in the Deep".

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theartsdesk in Reykjavík: Iceland Airwaves 2015

Kieron Tyler

The attack is relentless. Its power pummels like a gale. The 2015 model Mercury Rev begin their set at Iceland Airwaves as they meant to finish. Never has this band been so forceful, so kinetic. Yet their trademark balance of filmic drama and delicate melody was not sacrificed during this convincing revitalisation. On stage at Reykjavík’s Harpa concert hall on the festival's second day, Mercury Rev set a bar so high it sowed seeds suggesting nothing could top this.

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Jazz Central - London... or Odessa?

Peter Culshaw

For an art form that has been quite often written off over the last half century, Jazz seems in extraordinarily rude health. Today sees the opening of the biggest ever EFG London Jazz Festival featuring scores of venues and hundreds of groups throughout the capital.

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RIP musician and producer Allen Toussaint

joe Muggs

Allen Toussaint, who died last night aged 77, apparently just minutes after coming off stage in Madrid, was the soul of New Orleans. Irma Thomas, The Neville Brothers, Dr Longhair, The Meters, and of course the Nighttripper himself Dr John: all of them benefitted from his magic touch, whether as producer, arranger, songwriter or pianist of enormous talent.

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'We want you guys to do the video in the nude'

Travis Barker

We  had an awesome producer, Jerry Finn, who was just a few years older than us. Jerry was usually wearing a Replacements T-shirt and Vans sneakers. He had worked with Green Day, Jawbreaker, and a bunch of bands on Epitaph Records, including Rancid and Pennywise. Jerry wasn’t some asshole rolling up to the studio in a Bentley - he was one of us. He could be honest with us, and we would listen to him, which is really important.

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theartsdesk in Paris: Peregrinations on the Pigalle

Kieron Tyler

Sometimes appearances can be deceptive. The frontman on stage looks as generic it gets. His scruffy beard, retro specs, baseball hat, shapeless jeans and the bulging outline of a mobile phone stuffed in his trouser pocket don’t add up to suggest that his band Tahiti Boy & the Palmtree Family are going to be anything distinctive. But the studied casualness belies what actually takes place musically. This is exceptional.

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CD Special: Bob Dylan, The Cutting Edge 1965–1966

Tim Cumming

Can you have too much of a good thing? I ponder this as I scroll through the 109 watermarked MP3s of Bob Dylan’s recording sessions spanning 13 January 1965 to 16 February 1966, for Bringing It All Back Home, Highway 61 Revisited, and Blonde on Blonde.

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theartsdesk in Hamburg: Reeperbahn Festival 2015

Kieron Tyler

An encounter with Hamburg’s Reeperbahn is akin to assimilation into a real-life kaleidoscope where bright lights, mass revellers and shills touting bars, night clubs or strip joints combine in a single multi-sense overload. The tumultuous thoroughfare is dedicated to excess.

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An Open Book: Laurent Garnier

Thomas H Green

Laurent Garnier, 49, is a key figure in the development of French electronic dance music. A DJ at the Haçienda in Manchester just as house music began to explode in 1987, he went on to helm nights at the Rex Club in Paris in the Nineties. These became a vital hub around which French dance music coalesced. Garnier went on to be a successful producer and live performer, releasing multiple albums, many for his own F Communications label.

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theartsdesk at the Chicago Jazz Festival

Martin Longley

The Chicago Jazz Festival is a freebie extravaganza, held over the Labor Day holiday weekend, its massive crowds welcomed by the looming chromium jelly bean that is sculptor Anish Kapoor’s Cloud Gate. Onward into Millennium Park, right on the shore of Lake Michigan, there are a pair of long tents for the afternoon sets, with alternating bands ensuring constant musical motion.

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