fri 15/01/2021

New Music reviews, news & interviews

10 Questions for Musician and Broadcaster Cerys Matthews

Sebastian Scotney

Cerys Matthews is a best-selling author, award winning DJ and multi-million selling musician, singer, reciter... and broadcaster, originally from Wales. Her wide-ranging Sunday morning radio show on BBC 6 Music has a large, loyal and appreciative audience. She also presents the Monday night Blues Show on BBC Radio 2.

Gillam, Hallé, Bloxham, Hallé online review - music of poetry

Robert Beale

Jonathan Bloxham makes his debut as conductor with the Hallé Orchestra in the third of the Hallé’s Winter Season concerts on film.

Album: Skyway Man - The World Only Ends When You...

Thomas H Green

When the concept album first properly took flight, in the late 1960s, before it became slave to the bloated artifice of prog-rock, it was an...

Album: Katy Carr - Providence

Tim Cumming

Back in 2013, the London-based singer, songwriter and multi-instrumentalist launched the first of a trilogy of albums exploring her Polish roots and...

Album: New Age Doom - Himalayan Dream Techno

Guy Oddy

theartsdesk eases into 2021 with a Disc of the Day title, Himalayan Dream Techno, that will be hard to beat over the next 12 months, even if it is a...

Album: Hilang Child - Every Mover

Kieron Tyler

Directness competes with the impressionistic on Ed Riman’s second album

Reissue CDs Weekly: Charles Mingus @ Bremen 1964 & 1975

Kieron Tyler

Live recordings where the jazz great wouldn’t ‘tone down his performance to meet the audience’s tastes’

Album: Viagra Boys - Welfare Jazz

Thomas H Green

Stockholm punks impress with heart and musical range on their second album

Album: Steve Earle & The Dukes - JT

Liz Thomson

JT, RIP: Steve Earle's loving tribute to his son

Albums of the Year 2020: Phoebe Bridgers - Punisher

Mark Kidel

The gifted young and the old reflect on troubled times

Albums of the Year 2020: Maria Schneider Orchestra - Data Lords

Peter Quinn

A dazzling double album from the acclaimed composer, arranger and bandleader

Albums of the Year 2020: Drive-By Truckers - The Unraveling

Nick Hasted

Sorrow and anger at a trampled American Dream

Reissue CDs Weekly: Lost Innocence - Garpax 1960s Punk & Psych

Kieron Tyler

High-octane collection of engineer-producer Gary Paxton’s excursions into garage rock

Albums of the Year 2020: A.G. Cook – 7G

Harry Thorfinn-George

A mammoth 49 song post-post-modern riot of sound

Albums of the Year 2020: Joensuu 1685 - ÖB

Kieron Tyler

The welcome return of Finland’s spiritual explorers

Albums of the Year 2020: AC/DC - Power Up

Russ Coffey

Was classic rock the best escape from the 2020 blues?

Albums of the Year 2020: Laura Marling - Song for Our Daughter

Katie Colombus

A strangely prophetic yet comforting album for our times

Albums of the Year 2020: Fiona Apple - Fetch the Bolt Cutters

Lisa-Marie Ferla

Making space for the things we don't talk about in quarantine times

Reissue CDs Weekly: Looking back at 2020

Kieron Tyler

Kenny Carter, Game Theory, Norwegian jazz, The Stooges, Hank Williams and more

Albums of the Year 2020: bdrmm - Bedroom

Barney Harsent

A shoegaze debut that lifts its eyes, looks to the future and elevates the form

Album: Chilly Gonzales – A Very Chilly Christmas

Kathryn Reilly

Find this under your tree and you'll be a winner

Albums of the Year 2020: Steve Earle & The Dukes - Ghosts of West Virginia

Liz Thomson

In a year when we all dug deep, Steve Earle discovers a rich seam

Albums of the Year 2020: Bob Dylan - Rough and Rowdy Ways

Tim Cumming

Dylan pulls out the stops for this late-period masterpiece

Reissue CDs Weekly: Sumer Is Icumen In - The Pagan Sound Of British & Irish Folk

Kieron Tyler

Three discs seeking to evoke a ‘woodland peppered with invocations’

Albums of the Year 2020: Songhoy Blues - Optimisme

Guy Oddy

Mali’s unlikely musical superstars speak truth to power while moving hips and feet

Albums of the Year 2020: Cleo Sol - Rose in the Dark

Joe Muggs

A luminous highlight of a Brit soul renaissance

Albums of the Year 2020: Marius Neset – Tributes

Sebastian Scotney

The Norwegian saxophonist finds reasons to be cheerful

Albums of the Year 2020: Melt Yourself Down - 100% Yes

Thomas H Green

The music that kept spirits raised during the year of you-know-what

Songlines Music Awards - Cerys Matthews introduces a global line-up of winners

Tim Cumming

The World Music magazine celebrates its 12th annual awards

Footnote: a brief history of new music in Britain

New music has swung fruitfully between US and UK influences for half a century. The British charts began in 1952, initially populated by crooners and light jazz. American rock'n'roll livened things up, followed by British imitators such as Lonnie Donegan and Cliff Richard. However, it wasn't until The Beatles combined rock'n'roll's energy with folk melodies and Motown sweetness that British pop found a modern identity outside light entertainment. The Rolling Stones, amping up US blues, weren't far behind, with The Who and The Kinks also adding a unique Englishness. In the mid-Sixties the drugs hit - LSD sent pop looking for meaning. Pastoral psychedelia bloomed. Such utopianism couldn't last and prog rock alongside Led Zeppelin's steroid riffing defined the early Seventies. Those who wanted it less blokey turned to glam, from T Rex to androgynous alien David Bowie.

sex_pistolsA sea change arrived with punk and its totemic band, The Sex Pistols, a reaction to pop's blandness and much else. Punk encouraged inventiveness and imagination on the cheap but, while reggae made inroads, the most notable beneficiary was synth pop, The Human League et al. This, when combined with glam styling, produced the New Romantic scene and bands such as Duran Duran sold multi-millions and conquered the US.

By the mid-Eighties, despite U2's rise, the British charts were sterile until acid house/ rave culture kicked the doors down for electronica, launching acts such as the Chemical Brothers. The media, however, latched onto indie bands with big tunes and bigger mouths, notably Oasis and Blur – Britpop was born.

By the millennium, both scenes had fizzled, replaced by level-headed pop-rockers who abhorred ostentation in favour of homogenous emotionality. Coldplay were the biggest. Big news, however, lurked in underground UK hip hop where artists adapted styles such as grime, dubstep and drum & bass into new pop forms, creating breakout stars Dizzee Rascal and, more recently, Tinie Tempah. The Arts Desk's wide-ranging new music critics bring you overnight reviews of every kind of music, from pop to unusual world sounds, daily reviews of new releases and downloads, and unique in-depth interviews with celebrated musicians and DJs, plus the quickest ticket booking links. Our writers include Peter Culshaw, Joe Muggs, Howard Male, Thomas H Green, Graeme Thomson, Kieron Tyler, Russ Coffey, Bruce Dessau, David Cheal & Peter Quinn

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