mon 20/05/2019

New Music Reviews

Way to Blue: The Songs of Nick Drake, Barbican

joe Muggs

The dominant look among all ages of the sell-out audience at the Barbican Hall last night was distinctly “smart-Bohemian”, with plenty of thick-rimmed specs, duffle coats and subtly outré hairdos visible as they took their seats and gave one another knowing nods on spotting the “Fruit Tree” motif in the stage décor. For Nick Drake, the fragile Cambridge-born singer-songwriter who died of an overdose of antidepressants in 1974 aged 26, is perhaps the perfect cult artist: utterly singular, too...

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Brian Eno - Another Green World, BBC Four

Adam Sweeting

I’ve never been quite sure whether Brian Eno is a musician, or somebody for whom music happens to be the end product of a chain of cognitive processes. Certainly it was music that powered him to prominence, either as the inventor of ambient music, a performer with Roxy Music, or as a collaborator with artists ranging from rock gods U2 and David Bowie to composers Harold Budd and Philip Glass.

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Rupa & the April Fishes, Rich Mix

howard Male

I used to argue that there was no such thing as a World Music style, in the sense that, say, indie music or trad jazz are fairly sonically delineated. But now I’m not so sure. Over the past decade or so, most cosmopolitan cities in the world have probably produced at least one band with a line-up that invariably includes an accordion player, a double bassist (rather than a bass guitarist), a violinist (just the one), maybe a horn player or two, and a multi-lingual vocalist.

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Astral Social Club at Catch, Shoreditch

joe Muggs The genial noise-generator Neil Campbell aka Astral Social Club

Neil Campbell is a one-man subculture. In 30 years of music-making in various configurations of improvised rock, psychedelia and electronics, he has released hundreds of hours of recordings, mainly in micro-editions of home-produced cassette, CD or mp3, and collaborated endlessly with a global network of musicians that have fallen through the cracks of genre or stylistic allegiance. Since separating from Leeds-based guitar drone group Vibracathedral Orchestra in 2006, he has mainly concentrated...

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A Celebration of British Jazz, Ronnie Scott's

peter Quinn

If times are hard for pop and classical music, for jazz – magazines going to the wall, broadsheet column inches telescoped to the point of near-oblivion, major labels ditching their jazz division – things were just that little bit harder. But a new year, a new decade, and all such introspective thoughts had to be temporarily put on hold for this one-night-only mini-festival of British jazz at Ronnie Scott's.

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Nowhere Boy

Adam Sweeting

It’s been a very good year for Beatlemania, with all the albums re-repackaged and the group going virtual in Rock Band. The BBC lobbed in their own Beatles season-ette, and one of the more striking images from their riot of documentary footage was of John Lennon escorting his Aunt Mimi up the steps onto the plane taking them to America, with her handbag and Sunday-best hat.

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Lucumi Choir, St John's Church, Waterloo

Paul Bradshaw The Lucumi Choir: songs to the Yoruba orishas sung in a Christian church

As we gathered in St John’s Church in Waterloo last Thursday to hear The London Lucumi Choir perform, on the same day people in their thousands were making the pilgrimage to the Church of San Lazaro in Cuba. In that church, just outside Havana, pilgrims walk or sometime crawl the few miles to the Church, often bearing gifts of rum and cigars as penitence.  It is a sign of the times that songs to the orishas – the deities that populate the Yoruba religious pantheon, who all have their...

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Ray Davies, Hammersmith Apollo

Glyn Brown

Ray Davies, that old curmudgeon, has said he’s not keen on touring alone since the demise of The Kinks. But he’s sorted that out for the moment by choosing to play alongside 45 new people – the members of the Crouch End Festival Chorus, with whom Davies has decided to reinterpret his hits. You’d think this could be undiluted lift-music hell: the Mike Sammes Singers trample everything...

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Them Crooked Vultures, Corn Exchange, Edinburgh

graeme Thomson

From the moment the roadies began assembling Dave Grohl’s drum-kit in a manner that resembled the construction of the Queen Mary on Clydeside, it was clear that power was going to be the watchword of last night’s Edinburgh appearance by Them Crooked Vultures, the supergroup that’s threatening to give the term a good name.

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J Mascis, The Garage

Rose Dennen

J Mascis can almost only sound like J Mascis. Comparing the original material of J Mascis and the Fog and the Dinosaur Jr songs he played last night at the Garage in Islington, there's not a huge amount of difference between the bands. His laid-back, almost comatose delivery and very particular song structures stamp his personality onto every song.

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