fri 13/12/2019

songwriters

Sŵn Festival 2018 – a welcome return to form

It’s been a tough few years for Sŵn Festival. Once a genuine rival to fellow urban festivals Great Escape and Sound City, recent events have fluctuated between one-dayers and a string of ticketed gigs. 2018 marked the biggest change yet, but also a...

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CD: John Grant – Love Is Magic

There are people who do and say awful things in the name of honesty. It can be used as a cover for rigorous appeasement of our own worst impulses, or as a thin veil to disguise needless personal attacks on those around us. With singer-sonwriter John...

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Matangi/Maya/M.I.A. review - not your average popstar

Why is M.I.A. such a problematic pop star? Why can't she just shut up and release a hit? Tellingly, this is the very question the singer poses at the start of Matangi/Maya/M.I.A - a question she's been asked throughout her career, from interviewers...

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CD: Prince - Piano and a Microphone 1983

Knowing a deceased artist's archives are available for re-release is a double-edged sword. Will there be a shoddy flood of any and every old bit of tat a la Jimi Hendrix? Will there be half-arsed, half-finished and even fake songs bodged together by...

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CD: Madeleine Peyroux - Anthem

Peyroux made her name by channelling the sultry sensuality and soul of Billie Holiday and breathing new life into well-known songs written by others - notably Elliott Smith and Leonard Cohen.She still brings enchantment to covers, but has...

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Proms at...Cadogan Hall 4, Connolly, Middleton review - perfect partnering in the unfamiliar

“It has a music of its own. It produces vibrations.” Oscar Wilde was being ironic when he had Gwendolen contemplate the sound of her beloved’s drab name in The Importance of Being Earnest, but he had a point when it comes to composers and poetry....

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CD: Gorillaz - The Now Now

It’s hard to know who to write about when reviewing a new Gorillaz release. According to the official line, the band have shorn their usual guests to focus on the core creative team: vocalist 2D, drummer Russell, guitarist Noodle, and new bassist...

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CD: Snail Mail - Lush

Lindsey Jordan was 16 when she released her first EP as Snail Mail on her local punk label Sister Polygon Records. Two years later, she has graduated from high school and signed to Matador Records, home of Stephen Malkmus, Kurt Vile and Helium. Lush...

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Karen Cargill, Simon Lepper, Wigmore Hall review - opulence within bounds

Singing satirist Anna Russell placed the French chanson in her category of songs for singers "with no voice but tremendous artistry". Mezzo Karen Cargill has tremendous artistry but also a very great voice indeed, a mysterious gift which makes her...

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Mood Music, Old Vic review - riveting critique of the music biz

Playwright Joe Penhall and the music biz? Well, they have history. When he was writing the book for Sunny Afternoon, his 2014 hit musical about the Kinks, he had a few run-ins with Ray Davies, the band’s lead singer. A couple of years ago The Stage...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Mark E Smith

Since releasing their first record, Bingo Masters Breakout, Mark E Smith (b 1957) has led The Fall through some of rock music’s most extreme and enthralling terrain, cutting a lyrical and musical swathe that few other artists can match. An outsider...

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theartsdesk Q&A: Musician Albert Hammond

Albert Hammond might not be a household name but he's still, undeniably, one of the world's greatest living songwriters. His songs have sold 360 million copies, ranging from Starship's soft-rock classic "Nothing's Gonna Stop Us Now" to Julio...

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