wed 01/02/2023

New Music reviews, news & interviews

Album: Lisa O'Neill - All of This Is Chance

Tim Cumming

Lisa O’Neill is a part of the new wave of Irish contemporary folk artists, one that encompasses the likes of Lankum, Ye Vagabonds and John Francis Flynn, all of them putting their albums out on Rough Trade, which makes the venerable English Indie label something of a centre for what the present and future of Irish folk music sounds like. (Lankum’s Radie Peat and O’Neill have also sung together, on the excellent “Factory Girl”, part of the showcase This Ain’t No Disco.)

Album: Robert Forster - The Candle and the Flame

Kieron Tyler

Reflections on how the past relates to now suffuse The Candle and the Flame. The album’s closing track is “When I Was a Young Man.” When he was 21, sings Robert Forster, “I wrote songs, I was unsung, unheralded and undone”. His figurative brothers David and Lou showed him the way. Now in his mid-Sixties, he has a considerable artistic inventory to look back on. Including The Go-Betweens, solo albums, his writing. Messrs Bowie and Reed would be proud of what they helped initiate.

Music Reissues Weekly: Padang Moonrise - The...

Kieron Tyler

“Ka Huma” by Ivo Nilakreshna sounds as if a jazz band was taking on rock ’n’ roll. There’s a swing and sway, busy rhythm guitar and a lead female...

Album: Sebastian Rochford, Kit Downes - A Short...

Sebastian Scotney

A Short Diary, a duo album for piano and drums, contains music of astonishing directness, calm and concentration. The story of how it came into being...

Album: Deathprod - Compositions

Joe Muggs

Ambient is everywhere now. After a quiet (lol) 2000s, when it rather disappeared into the cracks, perhaps tarred with the sense that the more cosmic...

Celtic Connections: Juliette Lemoine, Orchestral Qawwali Project review - fusion of myriad musical traditions

Miranda Heggie

Scotland's premier folk festival is back with a bang

Album: Låpsley - Cautionary Tales of Youth

Thomas H Green

Alt-easy listening electronic not-pop themed around heartbreak but lacking songs

'Time Out of Mind' Revisited - a deep focus take on classic Dylan

Tim Cumming

The latest in Bob Dylan's Bootleg Series captures the creation of one of his most powerful albums

Callum Au and Claire Martin, Cadogan Hall review - 'Songs and Stories' live at last

Peter Quinn

From delicious reboots of Porter and Mitchell to newly composed Homeric delights

DVD: Oscar Peterson - Black + White

Sebastian Scotney

Barry Avrich’s documentary celebrates the music and career of the great jazz pianist

Music Reissues Weekly: Bob Stanley / Pete Wiggs Present Winter of Discontent

Kieron Tyler

Saint Etienne-compiled series of do-it-yourself aural postcards from post-punk’s liminal zones

First Person: Kings Place Artistic and Executive Director Helen Wallace on a year of 'Sound Unwrapped'

Helen Wallace

'A wild swim through celestial sounds': this year's innovative programme runs the gamut

Album: Silverlake - Jim Rockford’s Smile

Guy Oddy

Psychedelic soul and sultry disco to keep hips moving

Album: Måneskin - Rush!

Tim Cumming

Raucous, gritty Roman rockers release their third album

Album: Biig Piig - Bubblegum

Joe Muggs

Punchy statement of intent for the Irish pop self-starter

Album: John Cale - Mercy

Mark Kidel

Welsh octogenerian's avant-garde adventures

Album: Ghost Woman - Anne, If

Kieron Tyler

Musically literate Canadian’s second album evokes unintended parallels

Music Reissues Weekly: Rustic Hinge and the Provincial Swimmers

Kieron Tyler

Seventies Britain’s freakiest freak-rockers finally get their day in the sun

Album: Billy Nomates - Cacti

Cheri Amour

The Bristol songwriter’s sophomore album is a survival story, reviving us for what lies ahead

Album: The Subways - Uncertain Joys

Guy Oddy

A changed three-piece return from their eight-year hiatus

Album: Ladytron - Time's Arrow

Guy Oddy

Electro goths provide a dense cinematic soundtrack to these dystopian times

Album: Iggy Pop - Every Loser

Thomas H Green

The Ig returns with a short, catchy album of California-touched, punk-tinted rock

Music Reissues Weekly: George Martin - A Painter In Sound

Kieron Tyler

Dizzying pre-Beatles tribute to the musical polymath

Album: Lucas Santtana - O Paraiso

Mark Kidel

A timely hymn to nature from Brazil

Album: Juni Habel - Carvings

Kieron Tyler

Norwegian singer-songwriter’s second album stays firmly in the twilight

Album: CVC - Get Real

Thomas H Green

Rising Welsh live phenomenon are catchy but cutesy on record

Albums of the Year 2022: caroline - caroline

Harry Thorfinn-George

caroline's Rough Trade debut arrived fully formed

Albums of the Year 2022: Beyoncé - Renaissance

Katie Colombus

Queen Bey keeps the dream alive for women everywhere

Music Reissues Weekly: Guerrilla Girlsǃ - She-Punks & Beyond 1975-2016

Kieron Tyler

Compilation self-billed as ‘a five-decade alternative to the macho hegemony of rock’

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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