tue 23/04/2019

New Music Reviews

Synth Britannia, BBC Four

Adam Sweeting

Would-be axe murderers of the BBC often propose to lop off (among other things) TV channels Three and Four, but Four’s music coverage is vastly better value for viewers’ money than the executive pension fund. Synth Britannia stuck firmly to Four’s “Britannia” formula, being a bunch of talking heads and clumps of archive footage interwoven with synth-pop classics from the late Seventies and early Eighties.

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Spiritualized: Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space, Royal Festival Hall

Robert Sandall

 
Performing your classic album as a full concert item has become a significant part of rock’s heritage culture in recent years, and the tide of potential classics is rising all the time. Last night, it was the turn of Spiritualized to re-visit their 1997 opus, Ladies and Gentlemen We Are Floating In Space.
 

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Cara Dillon, Union Chapel

Russ Coffey

With her impish looks and translucent, near-perfect voice Cara Dillon does well to avoid the “coffee table” epithet.  As a "product" she looks prime for mass marketing into the suburban dinner party circuit. But as an artist she is much better than that.

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Mott The Hoople, Hammersmith Odeon

howard Male

If Bowie, Bolan, and Roxy Music were the shimmering glam triumvirate of early 1970s British pop, then what were Mott the Hoople? Surely they don’t belong with the likes of the Sweet, Suzi Quatro and… er… Gary Glitter. In fact with their R&B and rock 'n' roll roots they’ve more in common with some of the decade’s more credible rockers such as the Faces or even the New York Dolls. It was in their ragged swagger and the stylised arrogance that vocalist Ian Hunter projected while...

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Joan As Police Woman, Union Chapel

Robert Sandall

You’ve got to take the pedal off the metal at some point, and in 2009 the prodigiously energetic New Yorker Joan Wasser – otherwise known as Joan As Police Woman - has apparently decided to ease up and release an album of cover versions.

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2562 album launch, Corsica Studios SE1

joe Muggs

For some people, dubstep has an identity problem. Its suburban origins and recent global spread, its propensity for hybridity, the relatively genial nature of the scene, and perhaps worst of all its popularity with – whisper it – students lead some commentators to regard it with suspicion.

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Orchestre Poly Rythmo, Barbican

Peter Culshaw

They played their first concert in 1969, and 40 years later the TP Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou, to give them their full name, had their UK debut last night at the Barbican as part of their first European tour. They are the latest expression of a growing cult of classic bands who hit their peak in 1970s Africa. The music of Nigeria’s Fela Kuti has never...

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Dinosaur Jr, Koko

joe Muggs

Dinosaur Jr never change.  Formed in 1984, the trio added a heavy dose of rock classicism to the then-current sound of US hardcore, inadvertently inventing grunge in the process.  Since then, members have come and gone around lead singer/guitarist J Mascis – eventually returning in 2005 to their original lineup featuring Lou Barlow (also leader of Sebadoh and Folk Implosion) on bass and “Murph” on drums – and the Mascis has calmly watched scenes come and go.

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Orbital, Brixton Academy

joe Muggs

Orbital occupy a singular position in the pantheon of Nineties dance live acts that made it to arena-show status. Paul and Phil Hartnoll's trademark shaved heads and specs-with-headlights gave them a massively spoddy image that belied an everyman quality to their music, but although their early releases unquestionably helped form the distinctively British sounds of rave and hardcore, they never quite became part of those scenes.

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Kinky Friedman, The Komedia, Brighton

Thomas H Green

With his latest campaign to become Governor of Texas just kicking into gear, Kinky Friedman should probably be at home in the US, rather than on the south coast of Britain. The man himself says that he's been "sent out of state so I wouldn't screw up". In 2006 he took 13 per cent of the vote as an independent candidate but next year he has the backing of the Democratic Party so it's more than just the eccentric whim of a Jewish country singer.

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