wed 28/09/2022

New Music reviews, news & interviews

The Big Moon, Oran Mor, Glasgow review - partying prevails despite band's bad luck

Jonathan Geddes

Presumably before setting out on their current tour the Big Moon smashed a few mirrors, walked under some ladders and crossed the paths of numerous black cats. Not only is this jaunt over two years in the making, endlessly postponed for the usual coronavirus reasons, but the foursome also lost most of their equipment in Spain just prior to hitting the road.

Album: Lambchop - The Bible

Nick Hasted

Lambchop’s 1997 breakthrough album took its title from Michael Jackson’s Thriller. Borrowing The Bible is a more purposefully brazen gambit, as Kurt Wagner tries to locate Americans’ spiritual hearts, in a shaken, besmirched and brutalised nation. It’s a record of reflection, reconciliation and quiet rebellion.

Music Reissues Weekly: Bill Nelson's Red...

Kieron Tyler

The British music weeklies were clear about where the Sound-On-Sound LP and its singles fitted into the current musical topography when they were...

Album: Gabriels - Angels & Queens, Part I

Peter Quinn

Lauded by Elton John (who called their 2020 debut EP Love and Hate in a Different Time “probably one of the most seminal records I've heard in the...

theartsdesk Q&A: Abel Selaocoe

Tim Cumming

South-African cellist Abel Selaocoe is about to begin his third major concert in London in under a year. As the support artist for kora player...

Album: Beth Orton - Weather Alive

Joe Muggs

Cracked introspection and grand sweep sonics on a record of memory regained

Album: Mark Peters - Red Sunset Dreams

Barney Harsent

The multi-instrumentalist returns with an album of radiant resolution and sumptuous soundscapes

Album: Tim Burgess - Typical Music

Kathryn Reilly

Nothing typical to hear here, just an artist being passionately prolific

Music Reissues Weekly: The Best of Roxy Music

Kieron Tyler

What was on CD two decades ago reappears on vinyl

Album: Blackpink - Born Pink

Joe Muggs

The "Pink Venom" of capitalism concentrated to its purest form... yet

Album: Marcus Mumford - (Self-Titled)

Barney Harsent

The Mumford & Sons frontman finds catharsis in his solo debut

Album: Marina Allen - Centrifics

Kieron Tyler

US singer-songwriter’s jazz-tinged second album eschews templates

Album: Gogol Bordello - Solidaritine

Guy Oddy

Mixed heritage gypsy-punks add some hardcore punk to their sound

Album: Suede - Autofiction

Nick Hasted

Wistful post-punk thuggery from Britpop's comeback kings

Music Reissues Weekly: The Sons of Adam - Saturday's Sons: The Complete Recordings 1964-1966

Kieron Tyler

Definitive, long-overdue collection of the Sixties California garage punks

Album: Star Feminine Band - In Paris

Mark Kidel

Protest songs by teenage band from Benin

Album: Santigold - Spirituals

Kathryn Reilly

She's back and she's still blazing a creative trail

Album: Parkway Drive - Darker Still

Tom Carr

A heavy metal treasure trove - euphoric and atmospheric throughout, yet punchy and energetic

The Divine Comedy, Barbican review - a triumphant retrospective

Bernard Hughes

Ten albums in five nights showcase Neil Hannon’s endless invention - and stamina

Album: Ozzy Osbourne - Patient Number 9

Guy Oddy

A fiery good-bye to the USA from the Prince of Darkness

Music Reissues Weekly: Ultravox! - Live At The Rainbow 1977

Kieron Tyler

Before their first album is out, John Foxx & Co are on fire

Album: The Afghan Whigs - How Do You Burn?

Nick Hasted

Greg Dulli's veterans head for the hedonistic horizon, still finding wisdom in excess

Album: Julian Lennon - Jude

Kathryn Reilly

Here comes the son

Album: Tom Chaplin - Midpoint

Joe Muggs

Music that was always middle aged ironically ages gracefully

Album: Two Door Cinema Club - Keep On Smiling

Barney Harsent

An uneven return, but a passing grade for the electronic-infused indie trio

Dope Lemon, O2 Academy, Birmingham review - Australian cosmic cowboys bring the house down

Guy Oddy

Angus Stone’s long delayed UK tour finally kicks off in Birmingham

Album: Julia Hülsmann Quartet - The Next Door

Sebastian Scotney

Top-flight German jazz quartet finds freedom and natural flow

Music Reissues Weekly: The Swinging Blue Jeans - Feelin’ Better Anthology 1963-1969

Kieron Tyler

There’s more to the Merseybeat go-getters than ‘Hippy Hippy Shake’

Fleet Foxes, Islington Assembly Hall review - exceedingly alive

Kieron Tyler

A very particular musical ecosphere exerts its pull

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

Close Footnote


Get a weekly digest of our critical highlights in your inbox each Thursday!

Simply enter your email address in the box below

View previous newsletters

latest in today

This England, Sky Atlantic review - how Boris's No 10 g...

From underneath the messy ash-white thatch of hair, a strange mooing suddenly issues: Sir Kenneth Branagh is wrestling with Boris Johnson’s odd...

Kim Noble, Soho Theatre review - final part of trilogy about...

A dead pigeon. A dead squirrel. A dead fox. Lots of maggots – very much alive. I might be describing your worst nightmare (throw in a rat or two...

In Front of Your Face review - a day in the life

Twenty-four hours in the life of a Korean woman, Sangok (Lee Hyeyoung), are caught in scenes which feel like real time in Hong Sangsoo’s latest....

Purcell's Playhouse, Bevan, Barokksolistene, Eike, Purc...

“What about the communication with the audience?” asked violinist and impresario Bjarte Eike in his First Person piece for theartsdesk...

Hallyu! The Korean Wave, V&A review - frenetic but fun

Remember Gangnam Style, the music video that went viral in 2012? PSY’s cheeky lyrics and daft moves attracted 1.6 billion hits on YouTube...

Bronwyn Adcock: Currowan review - a fire foretold, a warning...

In 2019 Australia endured the hottest, driest year since records began and their bushfire season escalated with unprecedented intensity. The fires...

Blu-ray: Love (Szerelem)

Károly Makk’s Love (Szerelem...

Igor Levit, Wigmore Hall review - titanic talent shows his l...

It probably tells you all you need to know about Igor Levit that when a mobile phone pinged just before his encore, he neither ignored it, nor...

Marina Abramović: Gates and Portals, Modern Art Oxford and P...

I have powerful memories of performances by Marina Abramović. Back in 1977 at Documenta in Kassel,...

Aida, Royal Opera review - dour but disciplined

No gods, ancient Egyptian or otherwise; no sinister priest along the lines of Russia’s antichrist Patriarch Kiriil, sending soldiers to their...