- On the 50th anniversary of singer Jim Morrison’s death, we rank the LA band’s best tracks, from the summer of love anthem Light My Fire to the apocalyptic The EndJim Morrison frequently drew on his romantic dalliances for lyrical inspiration. Take Morrison Hotel’s raucous rocker Queen of the Highway, a song about his soon-to-be-wife, Pamela Courson, that frames their relationship as loving, if somewhat ill-fated: “He was a monster / Black dressed in leather / She was a pr
With her unerring ability to kickstart TikTok crazes, Doja Cat’s sci-fi concept album – with guest turns from Ariana Grande and SZA – shines as a paragon of 2021 popIt’s something of a surprise that Planet Her comes heralded as a concept album, “based on a fictional planet self-originated by Doja Cat on which all species and races of space exist in harmony”. Concept albums are traditionally signifiers of great portent and seriousness, the point at which
- The frontman, who has died aged 56, was beloved of John Peel, Super Furry Animals and a generation of indie fans for his unsparing but humane songcraftOne of the many advantages of being bilingual is that it doubles the number of languages in which I can enjoy music. But only one lyricist has ever made me gasp in awe: David R Edwards, frontman of Welsh band Datblygu, who has died aged 56 after a period of ill health including diabetes and epilepsy.Edwards’ way with words was absolutely ext
- Singer and bassist says diagnosis ‘sucks and I’m scared’, and he is having chemotherapyMark Hoppus, the bassist and vocalist with pop-punk band Blink-182, has announced he has been diagnosed with cancer.In a statement on Twitter, he said he had been undergoing chemotherapy for three months, and has “months of treatment ahead of me ... It sucks and I’m scared, and at the same time I’m blessed with incredible doctors and family and friends to get me through this
- via mtv.co.ukThis week our Get To Know artist is PHOEBE ΔΧΔ, she talks Jack Antonoff, 80s music and all-nighters…
- Singer directly addresses the court: ‘This conservatorship is doing me way more harm than good’‘Denied a baby’: key claims from Britney Spears testimonyBritney Spears has called for an end to the “abusive” conservatorship that has governed her life for 13 years, delivering an emotional speech to a Los Angeles court and saying: “I just want my life back.”Spears addressed the court during a hearing on the unusual legal arrangement that has stripped t
- As well as an extra six European and 20 North American concerts, the pop singer will play five UK stadiums in June 2022In what is becoming one of the longest goodbyes in pop history, Elton John has extended his final Farewell Yellow Brick Road tour with a series of dates around the UK, Europe and North America.In June 2022, he will perform at football stadiums in Norwich, Liverpool, Sunderland, Bristol and Swansea, adding to the 25 UK and Ireland arena tour dates that are scheduled for late 2021
- Her first album since she split from her manager father, 4 marked the beginning of Beyoncé’s artistic freedom, creative control and business empireIn February 2010, Beyoncé performed in Trinidad, insisted on making an appearance at one of the hottest clubs in Port of Spain (much to the obvious dismay of her bodyguards), and flew home. It was the final stop on her I Am … World Tour. A few months earlier, she had cancelled two subsequent dates without explanation. If she
- From the sunny vibes of rapper Topaz Jones to the guitar anthems of Du Blonde, here are the records that have really grabbed our readers over the last six months• Catch up on the Guardian’s albums of the year so far‘Beautiful but devastating’: Livia, 23, student, Glasgow Continue reading...
- Some of you went classic rock; others Iranian ambient. And yet others took on epic challenges that will takeyears to complete … here’s what you’ve been listening to while working under lockdownIf I need to concentrate on something really thorny, I go for Bach every time. It seems to allow my brain to work at a high level and I do almost all my best work to Bach. András Schiff or Angela Hewitt playing keyboard works, and Hilary Hahn on violin. Beethoven’s late quar
- 29 June 1971 An album more about Mitchell herself, less of scenes she’s observedJoni Mitchell’s new album, Blue, is about to he released here by Warner Brothers (K 44128). A large proportion of Joni’s most notable songs, to date, have been intensely visual. What she’s seen, she has refined; but the songs’ images have been those of the eye.The lyrics of Blue are less adventurous than in her previous three albums; on the other hand, its music is less careful. This is
- ‘Much later, someone told me it was actually slang for cunnilingus’When I was 17, I was in a female rap trio called the She Rockers. We saw LL Cool J and Public Enemy play Hammersmith Odeon when the 1987 Def Jam tour came to London. Afterwards, we saw Public Enemy in McDonald’s. We went “Oi!” and told them we were rappers, so they filmed us doing a freestyle rap, right there in McDonald’s. Continue reading...
- Guardian Australia has talked to more than 20 former employees who describe a ‘boys club’ environment at company’s Australian arm as US parent removes CEO
The most powerful man in Australian pop music, Denis Handlin, has been removed as head of Sony Music Australia, a week after Guardian Australia approached Sony’s head office with multiple complaints from former employees alleging a toxic work environment at the global company’s Australian operation.The complaints,
- Donington Park, LeicestershireExuberant scenes at the rock and metal festival test event find its 10,000 guinea pigs leaving Covid blues far behindWhen was the last time rock’n’roll felt this important? With the world starved of concerts, all eyes are on Download Pilot to roadmap the future of live music post-Covid. Granted, the three days are a shell of the festival’s usual fare; only 10,000 – one-11th of Donington Park capacity – descended upon a shrunken site thi
- (Rough Trade)
The former Hype Williams frontman has polished his rap-alt-rock aesthetic to the point of perfectionDean Blunt’s first band stole the name of celebrated rap video director Hype Williams and became infamous for playing the sort of gig where no one present was entirely sure it was really happening. They peaked with 2010’s The Throning, a deranged Sade cover. Since Blunt’s 2013 solo album, The Redeemer, the prolific Londoner has made music that finds surprising conco
- The rapper has worked with Kanye and Madonna and blazed a trail for black queer pop. Their new mini album, they say, feels like the start of a new chapter…Mykki Blanco has just moved to Hollywood, and five minutes into our conversation, the 35-year old rapper’s beloved mother calls. “She needs to chill out. Like, I don’t work?” laughs Blanco. “She’s helping me pick out furniture and she’s gone crazy about the whole thing.” There is something
- (Record Makers/MGMT)
The California musician addresses his disability head-on with this delirious blast of disco, funk, house and psychedeliaOn the cover of his superb debut, Cola Boyy sits strumming a guitar surrounded by various cartoon versions of himself, a jukebox in the corner of the room and his prosthetic leg on a table, next to a gun. “I wanted to take my disability and put it on blast,” the southern California musician, real name Matthew Urango, who was born with spina bifi
- The pandemic has revealed the Johnson government’s attitude to the arts: a mixture of indifference and hostilityHuman beings need to regularly gather together. Over the past 15 or so months, the fact that we have largely been deprived of such opportunities has been a key reason why so many people have felt so listless and disoriented – and, for that matter, why some have been driven to break the rules. Obviously, to understand what they have done is not to condone it, but there is so
Written in the shadow of his disputed immigration status, this charismatic rapper is unafraid to show his vulnerable sideBorn in Trinidad, raised in east London, this rapper and singer’s eventful autobiography was laid out on his moving debut, Demotape/Vega (2020). Berwyn’s mum’s struggles included spells in prison; her son sometimes found himself homeless. Like its predecessor, Tape 2/Fomalhaut is partly named after a star and charts the internal weather of its mour
- Nelson Mandela, Mary Seacole and Thierry Henry are some of the highlights of the tour of Black London from a new book by Avril Nanton and Jody Burton which celebrates Black history, culture and art in the capital. Andy Hall photographed a selection of the statues, murals and plaques Continue reading...
- At the age of just 22, the very last thing you want to hear is that you have stage 4 cancer, but for some people the only response is to tackle it head on – which is just what Ellie Edna Rose-Davies didI barely noticed it at first. A bump on the right side of my neck, small but definite. I was 22 and had no health issues (I’d never even broken a bone), so I didn’t think much of the lump. But my boyfriend was concerned, so I made an appointment to go to the GP.For the next few m
- This LA trio’s swooning sound runs from doo-wop to gospel and comes recommended by Elton JohnIf Elton John is calling something “one of the most seminal records I’ve heard in the past 10 years”, odds are you should be paying attention. The song in question was Love and Hate in a Different Time, taken from a debut EP of the same name – a recent release from the LA-based group Gabriels.The trio comprises gospel singer and choir director Jacob Lusk (possibly you’
The Brits show-stealing 20-year-old has earworms and wise words to burn on this tantalising mini-albumThe rise of Griff feels like a silver lining around the thundercloud that was 2020. While all around the 20-year-old pop powerhouse careers stalled, tours evaporated and sound engineers peed in bottles while driving delivery vans, this singer went from buzzy obscurity in Kings Langley, Hertfordshire, locked down with her family and foster siblings, to a Top 20 hit and a Brits rising sta
- Trademark high spirits and a genial Falstaff kick off Grange Park Opera’s summer season. Plus online treasures great and smallA defining feature of Grange Park Opera – not the only one, and not typical of opera companies – is a sense of humour. The Surrey-based festival treats its central endeavour – the work it makes on stage or, in this past year, on film too – with complete professionalism, but takes equal delight in playfulness around the edges. Often these unit
- Kuusisto plays Muhly, Glass and Mozart, while Giovanni Antonini and co pass the time of day with Haydn• First Light (Pentatone), the first collaboration on disc between the Finnish violinist Pekka Kuusisto and the Norwegian Chamber Orchestra, of which he is artistic director, presents works by Nico Muhly and Philip Glass: two New York composers of different generations united in friendship. Muhly’s Shrink (2019), a glittering, jittery, mischievous violin concerto written for Kuusisto,
- While 2020’s highlights package in place of the cancelled music festival offered solace, this time round it feels like a case of aggressive FomoWondering distantly how many more times I will watch Kylie Minogue’s Glastonbury set before I die. I must be on the, what, fourth or fifth viewing now? There is no occasion when putting the Kylie Glastonbury set on isn’t a good idea. It is a party in a box. Back-to-back bangers. Costume changes. The iconic “Oh, you” smile-an
- 10,000 rock and heavy metal fans look forward to weekend of moshing without masks at Covid pilot eventMoshing is surely the final stage of the journey back to normality in a post-lockdown world. Hundreds of sweaty people slamming into each other with full bodily contact might not appeal to everyone, but it is impossible not to appreciate how monumental a step it is after more than a year of being told to stay 2 metres apart.“After being distanced for so long, it’s going to be weird.
- Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
Young Norwegian Tabita Berglund delivered breakneck Beethoven as well as a Golijov tango and a poised Siegfried IdyllThe Hallé – at Bridgewater Hall for only their fourth performance to live audiences in 15 months – are back in business, thanks in part to a shiny new stage extension to help with social distancing. The extra pontoon envelops the stalls, shrinking the auditorium and bringing the music so close you could reach out and grab it. After s
- By focusing on physical product and clever marketing, acts are sprinting up the chartsGary Numan, Mogwai, Maxïmo Park, the Coral, Sports Team, Shame. Not the lineup to a cancelled two-day festival in Kidderminster, but acts who used D2C marketing to land high-charting albums. This ugly acronym stands for direct-to-consumer, and means pushing sales of physical records – often limited-edition – via their official stores and those of indie retailers. Their maxim, to quote Dua Lipa
- This week we’ve got driving guitars, a breathy Balearic-banger, and a hi-NRG belter Continue reading...
For their first album since 2009, the Norwegian duo keep things pared back to explore the complexity of love and desire
Love, and how it makes you throw in all your chips before you’ve even seen your cards, is the subject of this beautiful return from the Norwegian indie-folk duo. Eirik Glambek Bøe and Erlend Øye emerged at the turn of the century and were quickly lumped in with the likes of Turin Brakes and the dull “new acoustic” movement, but the purity o
- (Tri-Centric/New Braxton House)
Latin jazz, freebop and traditional swing rub shoulders as this mammoth set reworks iconic jazz themes and classic pop songsReeds-virtuoso and composer Anthony Braxton has spent half a century bridging contemporary music from bebop and improv to opera, and composing hundreds of original works – but the 67 tracks on this mammoth set rework the iconic jazz themes and classic pop songs that generally shelter under the collective title of “standards”
- Only 6% of music industry execs are Black. That system fails artists, say the founders of 0207 Def Jam, whose uniquely diverse boardroom aims to change the culture – for goodRick Rubin’s initial ambitions for Def Jam were modest. In 1984, it was simply a means for him to release music by his punk rock band, Hose. Its first office was his New York University dorm room. “We never had any aspirations other than playing in small clubs,” he says. “That was the ceiling fo
- The French singer says radiation has left her in immense pain, and fears a natural death would bring ‘even more physical suffering’Françoise Hardy, the French pop songwriter who found fame in the 60s yé-yé movement, has said she feels “close to the end” of her life in a new interview.Hardy, 77, told Femme Actuelle that in 2018 she was diagnosed with a tumour in her ear. It followed her diagnosis with lymphatic cancer in the mid-2000s, and a hospitalis
- The singer-songwriter recalls the life-changing joy of playing in an orchestra, the beauty of her first braids and being empowered by EternalThe first orchestra I played in was Birmingham School, a concert orchestra. The first time I played in a symphony orchestra was this powerful, life-changing experience, like the first time I took a plane – you know, when the engine kicks in and you’re about to take off? Playing with the brass section behind us and full woodwind, I was blown away
The 70-year-old Brit may cut an unassuming figure, but she refuses to trade on comfort, essaying pop head-on without ever sounding like a trend-chasing heritage actIt seems a strange thing to say about someone who was awarded a CBE last October, is still in possession of a major label contract at 70 and clearly has no problem selling out venues whenever she chooses to tour, but Joan Armatrading still feels like a weirdly under-sung figure in pop history. It’s not just that she was a
- Industry figures warn nightclubs and music venues also being pushed towards ‘financial cliff edge’ by delay in lockdown easingPeter Gabriel has said independent music festivals risk “losing everything” if the government does not provide an insurance scheme to cover the uncertainties of the 2021 season after the easing of lockdown was delayed from 21 June to 19 July.Gabriel, who co-founded the global music festival Womad, due to take place in Wiltshire from 22-25 July, tol
- Comprehensive study finds stark disparity in representation between the charts and the boardroomsDespite music industry organisations having pledged to improve racial representation in their ranks after last year’s Blackout Tuesday protest, a new report shows that in the US, leadership positions still overwhelmingly favour white men.The University of Southern California’s Annenberg Inclusion Initiative found that among 4,060 executives across 119 companies and six categories –
- via mtv.co.ukRock'n'roll ain't dead with Chubby and the Gang on the scene...
- In a new exhibition, the city’s more well-known breakout artists are celebrated alongside a richer, and lesser reported, strain of experimental musicIn Kid Creole and the Coconuts’ irrepressible 1980 song Darrio, a klatch of female backup singers bouncingly plead with the titular gentleman to get them into Studio 54. The otherwise obliging Darrio enumerates why he cannot (“That’s the only thing that money can’t buy”), before finally admitting “my kind of
- Spokesperson apologises to 22-year-old musician Sheku Kanneh-Mason for error and pledges to issue replacementA British cellist who was the first black winner of the BBC Young Musician award in 2016 and played at the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan has had his passport cancelled by the Home Office.Sheku Kanneh-Mason, 22, who was born and raised in Nottingham and appeared alongside his siblings on ITV’s variety show Britain’s Got Talent in 2015, sent off his British passport as part
- The world-class British jazz scene was hit hard by the pandemic. As live shows and in-person collaboration resume, Steam Down, Soweto Kinch and more discuss the futureMusic moves differently depending on the space it’s played in. A typical pre-Covid Wednesday evening at the Matchstick Piehouse in London would see its arch space filled with writhing bodies as the jazz collective Steam Down spilled off the stage, their music in dialogue with our yelps, claps and calls to the band.But on a hu
‘I don’t want to remember these things’: dark pop poet John Murry on surviving rape, heroin and family strifeThe singer-songwriter talks about his relative William Faulkner, his violent childhood and drugs – and saves a surprise until the endIf you’re after cheery crowdpleasers, John Murry is not your man. Murry is 41, barely known, and has never come close to denting the charts. Yet he has been compared to the great existential pop poets Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen and Scott Walker. And with good reason – he has a rich baritone, writes gorgeous ballads and is half in love with death. Th
- With turbocharged tracks storming the charts, both genres are having a boom – but did they ever really go away?Jungle and drum’n’bass are back, back, BACK! High Contrast’s Notes from the Underground album – its elegiac 90s rave moods created with vintage 90s tech – was a dance chart success at the end of 2020. Chase & Status’s RTRN II FABRIC mix, which turbocharged jungle classics, was huge last year, too. Harmony by Origin8a and Propa ft Benny Page
- From a Lagos slum, Olamide became one of Africa’s biggest music stars. A new, global deal is taking his vivid pop to the wider worldBariga, a sprawling northern suburb of Lagos, Nigeria that is home to more than 700,000 people, is infamous for its impoverished housing and gang culture – and for pushing a raw, jarring sound into the Nigerian mainstream. Olamide, long one of Africa’s biggest music stars, was one of the kids responsible for that shift: 13 years ago, he was walking
- Jim and William Reid fight to win back albums using US law which reverts rights to artists after 35 yearsThe Jesus and Mary Chain are suing Warner Music Group (WMG) for $2.5m (£1.77m) for copyright infringement after the company refused to terminate its ownership of five of their albums including the 1985 debut Psychocandy.In a lawsuit filed in California, Jim and William Reid invoked section 203 of the US Copyright Act of 1976, which allows authors to ask copyright holders to revert right
- From drill’s high watermark to Tuareg rock, Colombian pop and London jazz, here are our music editors’ picks of the best LPs from the first half of the year Continue reading...
- The Chicago rapper’s last album spent 47 weeks in the UK chart, testament to the power of his raw, introspective tracks. He discusses his journey out of crime and drug use towards being one of rap’s biggest stars“Every day a battle, I’m exhausted and I’m weary / Make sure I smile in public, when alone, my eyes teary / I fought through it all, but that shit hurt me severely.” Even acknowledging the widespread vulnerability and emotional honesty in today’s
- Historians aim to document small labels, record shops, pirate radio stations and clubs that helped scene thriveChingford Sainsbury’s may be an unlikely setting for an encounter that helped capture a key part of British cultural history, but MC Navigator’s weekly shopping trip to his local supermarket would prove crucial.Navigator, one of the leading figures in the jungle and drum’n’bass scene in the 1990s, bumped into Uncle 22 – another important player – who
The super-producer pulls out all the earworm tricks on his second album, but fails to find much real emotion Pi’erre Bourne is the super-producer behind some of the biggest rap tracks of the past decade, including Playboi Carti’s Magnolia and 6ix9ine’s Gummo. The Life of Pi’erre 5 is Bourne’s latest attempt to resurface as something greater than other people’s beatmaker, as an artist who can rival his melody-rapping peers such as Trippie Redd and
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