sun 31/05/2020

New Music Reviews

Fleet Foxes, Hammersmith Apollo

Matilda Battersby

Music folklore has it that this band from Seattle changed their name from Pineapple back in the hazy days before their debut album went platinum because frontman Robin Pecknold thought Fleet Foxes sounded like a weird, outmoded English sport - a bit like fox hunting.

Read more...

Disappears, The Borderline

Kieron Tyler Disappears: White-light intensity from Chicago

Sometimes you stare at live bands and question why they bother. It’s a pact - the band plays, the audience looks on and claps. Last night’s debut British show by Chicago's Disappears raised that question. The night before, they’d played Amsterdam’s Paradiso and here they were at a venue in central London with an audience of 60 or 70. White-light intense, their conviction shone. This hypnotic show became a secret, even with the draw of Sonic Youth's drummer Steve Shelley in their line-up. But...

Read more...

Singles & Downloads 13

Thomas H Green Wiley's hectic schedule pauses briefly to drop a contagious pop nugget

At one level the day of the single is gone - the 7-inch, the CD, the physical format - and yet, at another it's more relevant than ever. Sure, any track can now be downloaded from an album and hit the charts but singles, downloads - chosen representative songs - still give the best snapshot of what an artist is capable of. With this in mind, theartsdesk gleefully tucked into the latest batch of releases which includes Depeche Mode, Arctic Monkeys, pop, rave, folk and a whole...

Read more...

Tessa Farmer, Danielle Arnaud Art Gallery/Crypt Gallery

howard Male In Tessa Farmer’s world a mummified cat can become an entertainment complex for fairies and bugs

The world of artist and entomologist Tessa Farmer really is a world, wholly self-contained and free of human kind – unless you see her tiny warring fairies as symbolic of mankind’s conscience-free decimation of our planet’s environment and co-inhabitants. And it’s hard not to when you see them relentlessly picking over the corpse of a bird, mugging a mouse, or scrapping with a hornet, their tiny skeletal forms so industriously yet somehow amusingly destructive.

Read more...

Seasick Steve, Electric Ballroom

David Cheal Seasick Steve: The fewer the strings, the better

A guitar with one string? There is indeed such a thing. It’s played by Seasick Steve, and it consists of a stubby plank of wood, a pick-up and a couple of nails. And a string. The man born 70 years ago as Steven Wold plays it with a slide, and it makes a fabulous, sleazy sound. It’s one of a collection of manky-looking instruments played by Seasick Steve, the former hobo, drifter, session musician and studio engineer who has experienced a late blossoming in popularity as a bluesman and...

Read more...

Rush, O2 Arena

Russ Coffey

Explosions, 40ft flames, light shows and back projections. It may have been at the Dome but at times it felt more like being in a music video. A mini-film opened the concert. Rush circa 1973 were boys called Rash, and they’d play only when professor Alex Lifeson operated his music machine. The contraption also had a button marked “Time Machine”. When pressed this catapulted the band, on stage, back and forth through their 37-year career.

Read more...

Villagers, Liquid Room, Edinburgh

graeme Thomson

Last week Villager-in-Chief Conor J O’Brien was awarded an Ivor Novello award (Best Song Musically and Lyrically, in case you’re curious) for the title track of his Mercury Prize-nominated debut album Becoming a Jackal.

Read more...

Fanfare Ciocârlia vs Boban Marcovic - Balkan Brass Battle, The Dome, Brighton

Thomas H Green Balkan brass bands Fanfare Ciocârlia and Boban Marcovic prepare to whip up a musical storm

Subtlety is overrated. I've always thought so. Critical consensus too often rates nuanced, emasculated emoting over music that smashes you over the head with an iron bar. From hardcore punk to gabber to speed metal to the sort of dubstep that sounds like four-storey bass bins begging for mercy, music that's ballistic doesn't leave room for quibbling. You're either on the bus or you can piss off and listen to Bon Iver in your bedroom.

Read more...

Quartet West, Barbican

peter Quinn

The first night of this weekend residency by the renowned bassist, composer and band-leader Charlie Haden celebrated the 25th anniversary of Quartet West and their new Emarcy release, Sophisticated Ladies. A winning mix of tender balladeering and coruscating instrumentals, the quartet's music-making – rather like the finest wines – seems to improve and deepen with age.

Read more...

Lee "Scratch" Perry and Max Romeo, Brighton Dome

Thomas H Green

There are often times when I dislike the smoking ban. Tonight was one such. A few years ago, a gig such as this would have been awash with marijuana smoke and that was as it should be. At a guess I'd suggest the crowd, who range from 16 to 60, or older, and seem thoroughly disparate, all have one thing in common: that they enjoy the odd toke.

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Matthew Kneale: Pilgrims review – adventures on the road to...

Some things really never change. After a blatant cheat perpetrated by a well-connected lout, one of the humblest pilgrims in Matthew Kneale’s band...

Moyra Davey: Index Cards review – fragments of the artist

Moyra Davey’s biographical note, included in Fitzcarraldo Editions’ copy of Index Cards, describes “a...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Edikanfo - The Pace Setters

Ghana was visited by two British musicians in the early Eighties. One was Mick Fleetwood, who recorded the Visitor album in Accra during...

Keiichiro Hirano: A Man review - the best kind of thriller

Keiichiro Hirano’s A Man has all the trappings of a ...

DVD: Little Women

For the average female millennial, Greta Gerwig’s Little Women is the perfect film to watch in lockdown. Brought up on Winona Ryder’s Jo...

The Vast of Night review - perfectly paranoid

The Vast of Night’s premise scarcely guarantees originality. Non-...

Dalí Theatre-Museum, Figueres, virtual tour review - tantali...

Salvador Dalí’s house at Portlligat on the Costa Brava is straight out of the pages of a lifestyle magazine, its sunbaked white walls dazzling in...

Album: Bab L'Bluz - Nayda

Bab L’Bluz are a Franco-Moroccan band, They’re the latest in a...

This House, National Theatre at Home review – timely revival...

There is a line of argument that – unfairly – blames ...