tue 04/08/2020

New Music Reviews

Noah and the Whale, Roundhouse

David Cheal Noah and the Whale's Charlie Fink: Beyond folk

They’re a fun band with some cracking tunes and they provided a vibrant night’s music last night at the Roundhouse, but where on earth did the idea come from that Noah and the Whale are a folk band? On this evidence, they’re about as folkie as Motörhead. Granted, they have a violinist in their line-up, but this is really no signifier of folkiness. In fact, the musician who sprang to mind most frequently...

Read more...

Suuns/ Gyratory System, Corsica Studios, London

Kieron Tyler Suuns: Locked tight for power

It took until the fourth song of their set for Suuns to take off. Lurching into “PVC”, the Montréal quartet gelled. Monolithic drums, pounding, relentless bass guitar and slabs of sheet-metal guitar rolled off the stage. Harnessing the power of heavy metal, they’d achieved escape velocity. More powerful than on album, the unassuming-looking Suuns made a compelling case for their stripped-down, post-...

Read more...

Atari Teenage Riot, O2 Islington Academy

joe Muggs Atari Teenage Riot's glowering demagogue, Alec Empire

The last time I saw Atari Teenage Riot play was in a gig venue above a pub some time around 1999 and it was one of the most intense gigs I've ever experienced. Then-member Carl Crack – who would take his own life not long after – was clearly a man on the edge, and the entire group were acting wired, scared and weird. They made the most stupendous racket, and the well-over-capacity audience reacted by leaping about so violently that the building needed structural repairs afterwards. To be...

Read more...

Sufjan Stevens, Royal Festival Hall

David Cheal

“Hi, I’m Sufjan Stevens,” said Sufjan Stevens as his show, the first of two nights at the Festival Hall, got under way. “I’m your entertainment for the evening. I’ll be singing a lot of songs about love and death and the apocalypse. But it should be a lot of fun." This was quite an understatement. Fun?

Read more...

The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain, Leeds Town Hall

graham Rickson They pluck, pick, slap, whistle, shout, hum and harmonise, effortlessly - they're not leaning on lamp posts: The Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain

The trick is to transform something relatively easy into something dazzling and bewilderingly complex. Seeing the Ukulele Orchestra of Great Britain is like watching eight masters of close-up magic. You’re not quite sure where to look, unable to believe quite what you’re hearing. These are boom times for the four-string ukulele. You can pick up a functional instrument for a tenner and learn three chords in five minutes, meaning that a huge repertoire of Western pop songs is yours for...

Read more...

Peter Doherty, Shepherds Bush Empire

Bruce Dessau

One can safely say that there is never a dull moment with Peter Doherty. His life is such a soap opera it is often easy to overlook the fact that, even if you don’t buy the tortured-poet schtick, he is clearly a gifted songwriter. It is such a shame he cannot knuckle down and stick to his day job and bash out some more classics.

Read more...

Asian Dub Foundation - Music of Resistance, Brighton Dome

Thomas H Green

It's been a while since I've spent time with Asian Dub Foundation. In the mid-Nineties, when they first appeared, they were one of the most exciting acts around and I enthused about them in print at every opportunity. They were born of an east-London community music project, mashing up the then-new sounds of drum and bass with agitprop showmanship and anti-racist politics. The result was a visceral live act that fitted as well beside the rising Brit-Asian wave (Talvin Singh, Nitin Sawhney,...

Read more...

Syriana, Purcell Room

howard Male “Oh, there you are!” Some but not all of Syriana finally locate the photographer

As someone brought up on the concise innocent perfection of the pop single, I have to confess I’m a bit of a hard sell when it comes to sprawling instrumentals. They feel like unfinished songs to me; empty landscapes that need figures in them to create context, narrative, or just a focal point to give meaning to the whole. But there have been a few primarily instrumental acts over the years that have convinced me, and the multicultural five-piece Syriana have now joined their ranks.

Read more...

David Ford, Cabaret Voltaire, Edinburgh

graeme Thomson

Earlier this week, in my review of Shelby Lynne, I suggested that the record industry’s one-way ticket on a fast train to oblivion is, at least, proving to be the mother of invention.

Read more...

Singles & Downloads 12

Thomas H Green A still from Chase and Status's harrowing 'Time' video

Hip-hop soul, chart rave and Balearic beach-pop with a 1990s flavour, synthesiser-led space-rock, a localised Goth-electronic revolution, Kenyan Kamba beats, an eccentric attempt at bringing opera into pop, and vibrations from dubstep's deep roots. As ever, theartsdesk's singles round-up takes you round the houses, up some dead-end alleys, down the docks and along sweeping avenues you never knew existed, hopefully dropping you home exhausted but happy with a selection of...

Read more...

Pages

latest in today

Scrounger, Finborough Theatre online review – autobiography...

During the current pandemic, stories about isolation have a particular resonance. Feelings of claustrophobia, loneliness and frustration slide off...

'Rehearsing Beethoven with Barenboim felt like an histo...

Joining the Vienna Philharmonic as a student and young...

John Cleese, livestream from Cadogan Hall review - abandon a...

At the age of 80, John Cleese probably doesn't care what people think of him. But then, when you were one-sixth of Monty Python and co-creator of...

Album: Fantastic Negrito - Have You Lost Your Mind Yet?

Like Fantastic Negrito’s previous, Grammy-winning albums, ...

Ali Smith: Summer review - a hopeful present, beautifully de...

It is no surprise, given her Cambridge Intellectual literary style, that Ali Smith’s Summer is multi-layered, referential, and filled...

Reissue CDs Weekly: Shellshock Rock

The feather in this particular cap is a DVD of director John T. Davis’...

Mary South: You Will Never Be Forgotten review - canny tales...

Never Let Me Go meets free, two-day shipping.” This is how Mary South describes “Keith Prime”, the first story in her debut collection....

Emily St John Mandel: The Glass Hotel review - a Ponzi schem...

Vast wealth and equally vast fraud are part of the plot in The Glass Hotel, Emily St John Mandel’s irresistible fifth novel, but much...

Proxima review - family frays before lift-off

This sober French space movie is concerned with...