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Indian E-music – The right mix of Indian Vibes… » Pop and rock

Sharon Van Etten: Remind Me Tomorrow review – assured, gorgeous electro-tinged progression

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Fri 11 Jan 2019 10:00 am


Like all of Sharon Van Etten’s previous albums, 2014’s Are We There was preoccupied by a prior toxic relationship – co-dependency couched in a sour combination of abuse and affection. Its follow-up opens with a track that references that period of disquieting soul-baring in the form of a meta-confessional: I Told You Everything has Van Etten divulging the details of her traumatic past to a sympathetic new partner, but not the listener. It’s a move that acknowledges the musician’s suffering but also inches the story forward, hinting that the New Jersey native has a different life now (a suggestion confirmed by her hectic-sounding recent biography: over the past four years she has had a child, taken up acting and started studying for a degree in counselling). Change is something echoed in the sound of Remind Me Tomorrow too, a collection that sees Van Etten edge away from her trademark guitar and towards drones, piano and vintage synths.

Related: Sharon Van Etten: ‘The more I let go, the more I progress as a human being’

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Tunisian techno, Xitsongan rap and Satanic doo-wop: the best new music of 2019

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas, Laura Snapes and Ammar Kalia | Scene | Fri 28 Dec 2018 11:00 am

From cheeky rappers to explosive hardcore punks, we introduce 50 artists sure to make an impact in the coming year

She has already sung backing vocals for Chance the Rapper, guested on Sam Smith’s last album and steals the show on Mark Ronson’s forthcoming LP of “sad bangers” – all because of a truly remarkable voice that marks her out as the coming year’s Adele. Here’s hoping her superhuman vocal control will be put to service on equally strong songs.

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Suede, Earl Sweatshirt and the Lovely Eggs: readers on their albums of 2018

Delivered... Guardian readers | Scene | Wed 26 Dec 2018 1:02 pm

Following our critics’ vote, we asked you to tell us what you have been listening to this year and why you think it’s worthy of celebration

A stunning reinvention of their sound which nevertheless sticks with the classic crooning tendencies and clever observational lyrics of Alex Turner. Favourite track: Four Out of Five is the obvious contender – a lead-off single with a festival-ready chorus. I also find The Ultracheese to be strangely moving. Guillaume, 35, France

Thank you for all your contributions and comments on our critics’ list – you can continue the conversation below

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Tell us: what was your album of 2018?

Delivered... Guardian readers | Scene | Fri 21 Dec 2018 7:00 am

We will publish a selection of readers’ favourite albums before the end of the year

After canvassing over 50 of our music writers and totting up their votes, we’ve announced our 50 best albums of the year, topped by Christine and the Queens’ sensual neo-boogie classic Chris.

But a list of 50 – and you can see the whole thing here – inevitably misses out out dozens of brilliant albums, so we’d love to hear from you about the recordings you think were unfairly overlooked by our vote. In love with the latest chapter of Father John Misty’s wry catalogue of self-obsession? Outraged that Guardian critics bucked their stereotype and didn’t reward Beyoncé and Jay-Z’s collaborative album? Did you think great soundtrack recordings – Black Panther, A Star is Born, Phantom Thread – should have been recognised?

If you’re having trouble using the form, click here. Read terms of service here.

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The 50 best albums of 2018, No 2: Robyn – Honey

Delivered... Alex Needham | Scene | Thu 20 Dec 2018 7:00 am

Gorgeous harmonies and unerring emotional intelligence dominate on this looser, clubbier follow-up to Body Talk

Eight years ago, Robyn released the three batches of songs that would become the album Body Talk. She had always been at pop’s vanguard: her 1995 debut Robyn Is Here had helped usher in Max Martin’s Cheiron Studios, paving the way for Swedes to go on to rule the charts. Body Talk’s taut, tough electronic pop and keenly feminist lyrics seemed to herald the birth of a new kind of pop star: smart, forward-thinking and in total control.

Related: How Robyn transformed pop

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‘This cuts across society’: how singeli music went from Tanzania to the world

Delivered... Kate Hutchinson in Uganda | Scene | Mon 17 Dec 2018 2:30 pm

With up to 300 beats per minute, singeli could be the world’s most frenetic music. In Dar es Salaam, its creators explain how it helps to create a better life

On a neon-lit jetty overlooking the River Nile, a young Tanzanian DJ called Sisso is playing a bracing barrage of blips, bells and breakneck beats that could blast apart a heart-rate monitor. We are at Nyege Nyege, a pan-African festival in Uganda that curates contemporary club music from across the continent, and it’s the first time so many musicians from Tanzania have made it here. Sisso and his peers have taken a 30-hour bus journey and crossed two borders in order to play at the event. Their sets are being streamed live to the world via Boiler Room.

The music these Swahili speed freaks make is a street-level sound known as singeli. It has been ricocheting around the ghettos circling Dar es Salaam for almost 15 years, with unbridled synth lines, percussion pitch-shifted up to alien frequencies and super-speed lyrical flows.

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Orbital review – techno giants still raging against the political machine

Delivered... Stevie Chick | Scene | Sun 16 Dec 2018 12:47 pm

Hammersmith Apollo, London
Their sledgehammer polemic is brought up to date in an gloriously overwhelming visual and musical assault on the senses

With their torch-equipped spectacles, Orbital long ago turned the cliche of techno artists’ facelessness to their advantage, creating a brand as unmistakeable as the Ramones or Deadmau5. Tonight, they amplify that facelessness several leagues beyond 11, with a bone-crushing PA and a stage so dominated by the storeys-high video screens that the silhouetted duo – brothers Phil and Paul Hartnoll – appear as glitchy stray pixels in the show.

There is precious little banter. As they have for almost three decades, the pair communicate through their music and images, sound and vision pulsing in often perfect sync. It’s the kind of show where you walk home whistling the video feeds; the visuals don’t so much overwhelm the music as end up an intrinsic, inextricable element of Orbital’s art. Those visuals aren’t always subtle. The pneumatic Impact, for instance, scores images of smoke-belching factories, Hazchem symbols and words such as “garbage” and “pollution”. Satan, their Butthole Surfers-sampling banger, fuses hard-edged industrial throb and imagery suggesting the military industrial complex as the root of all evil. The concept is hardly controversial 28 years on, but the blood-quickening track remains simplistic, powerful and compelling.

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Grammy nominations 2019: Cardi B, Kendrick Lamar and Drake lead the pack

Delivered... Laura Snapes | Scene | Fri 7 Dec 2018 5:31 pm

Strong showing for female and hip-hop artists suggest renewed focus on diversity – but it’s a mediocre year for British acts

After controversy about the Grammys’ failure to recognise women’s achievements at the 2018 ceremony, female artists dominate key categories in the nominations for the 2019 awards. Country stars Maren Morris and Kacey Musgraves, rapper Cardi B, pop futurist Janelle Monáe and Lady Gaga could all take home major awards at the 61st Grammy award ceremony in Los Angeles next February.

Elsewhere, Kendrick Lamar and Drake dominate proceedings, with eight and seven nominations respectively. Along with Childish Gambino, AKA Donald Glover, they could rectify the other dispute that emerged from this year’s awards – namely the Recording Academy nominating but not awarding major hip-hop artists.

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‘The British music industry needs to update’: Paloma Faith, Nao, Sleaford Mods and others on 2018’s music controversies

Delivered... Alexis Petridis | Scene | Fri 7 Dec 2018 7:00 am

Artists including Kojey Radical, Let’s Eat Grandma and Róisín Murphy discuss the year’s biggest stories, from Childish Gambino’s This Is America to the rise of K-pop and Jessie J’s success in China

April: Kanye West reaffirmed his support for Donald Trump on Twitter, part of a turbulent year in which he claimed slavery was “a choice”, released several albums, visited Trump in the White House, handed out Yeezy shoes in Uganda and announced he was thinking of building a flying-car factory.

Kojey Radical: I feel conflicted. I’ve got Yeezys on right now. The problem is, for all the contribution he’s made to music, he’s gotten to the point now where he just likes the conversation.

I listen to drill from the comfort of my nice home, but it’s bleak. These lads are virtually crying on the microphone

Related: This is America: theories behind Childish Gambino's satirical masterpiece

Surely certain powers will be extremely happy to see the rise of K-pop. It’s cultural warfare, in a way

I get called to talk at Oxford because I’m a black female. Just by existing, I’m political

Related: Why has the UK stopped producing pop superstars?

Related: Has 10 years of Spotify ruined music?

If a young artist came to me now and said: 'Do I need to get signed?’ I’d probably say no

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The 50 best albums of 2018: 50-31

Delivered... Electronic music | The Guardian | Scene | Tue 4 Dec 2018 7:00 am

Our countdown of the year’s most exciting sounds – updated every weekday – brings intensely confessional pop, otherworldly blues and the magic of twisted flamenco

Over to James Blake, who tweeted of Rosalía’s second album:
“Just what the actual afjhkhhhhhdiquyhqkzjdhjsnbahjkbbsbdhsjajbaFfdfffdffffffffffffffffffff.” Indeed. El Mal Querer sounds like nothing else released this year: the 25-year-old Catalan trailblazer’s fiercely passionate and subversive concept album combines flamenco tradition with an avant-garde approach to R&B. Read our full review.

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Underworld review – pulse-pumping euphoria with dank dance superstars

Delivered... Mark Beaumont | Scene | Mon 3 Dec 2018 8:00 am

Village Underground, London
The electronic alchemists serve up rich rave manna with tales of love, lust and squalor in a career-spanning set that shows them still at the height of their galloping powers

Those dirty numb angel boys and mega mega white things who are here on a nostalgic trip to the church of lager are welcomed by Karl Hyde with arms spread wide. The ferrety Underworld singer knows full well that Born Slippy .NUXX – the throwaway 1995 B-side that accidentally made them dank dance superstars – defined the narcotic breakdown of the 90s as distinctly as Parklife encapsulated its winking Britpop high; a feverish alcoholic’s diary entry pounding over the closing scenes of Trainspotting.

So he presents the track’s iconic space echo to the throng at this low-key club show (Underworld’s last London gig was at Alexandra Palace in 2017) like so much rave manna, worshipping the hook with the trancey pose of a synth-summoning shaman. But only at the end of the night, well into the early hours, once Underworld have proved themselves more pivotal electronic alchemists than the one-hit ponies behind Renton’s theme.

Related: Underworld: ‘It doesn’t matter where music comes from – it’s how it connects’

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The top 100 songs of 2018

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas and Laura Snapes | Scene | Mon 3 Dec 2018 7:00 am

Guardian music writers have picked their favourite songs of the year – from UK drill breakthroughs to pure pop anthems – and put them all on a giant playlist

Kicking off our roundups of the best music of 2018, polled from votes by more than 50 Guardian music writers, we count down our favourite tracks of the year – topped by a man who managed to unpick US racial politics, launch a thousand thinkpieces and reach No 1 in the US charts, all with a single track. Read about the top 20 below, and hear the whole top 100 in playlists on Spotify and Apple Music. We’ll be counting down the albums of the year throughout the rest of the month, with No 1 announced on 21 December.

Related: This is America: theories behind Childish Gambino's satirical masterpiece

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Clean Bandit: What Is Love? review – underwhelming chart catnip

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Fri 30 Nov 2018 9:15 am


Clean Bandit began with an undeniable aura of nerdiness. They met at Cambridge, where two members of the original lineup led a string quartet; their first hit was called Mozart’s House and merged the composer’s work with a squelchy dance beat. However, the studious trio soon garnered a reputation for being boffins of a different variety: as the Top 10 hits and online streams racked up (to date: nine and 4bn, respectively), it became clear they had masterminded a failsafe formula for churning out chart catnip.

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Jónsi: Frakkur 2000-2004 review – playful, engaging solo works

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 25 Nov 2018 9:00 am

Bowed guitar to the fore, Jónsi Birgisson is one of the lodestones of 21st-century art rock. With Sigur Rós becalmed again (their last album was in 2013), and his other projects – Riceboy Sleeps and Jónsi solo – on mute, the Icelandic musician has corralled some previously unreleased electronic solo pieces under the name Frakkur. Some of these are loose on the internet in grainier form; a handful came out in a very short vinyl run last Christmas.

Dating from the early 2000s, these often engaging tracks take the form of amorphous ambient glides and playful digital sketches, each album corresponding to a different set-up of gear, locale, time and theme. The earliest tracks – SFTLB 1-9 – riff hard on innocence, while TB 1-8 find Jónsi sampling junk-shop toys into clubbier fare before a sonorous unease takes hold.

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Vessel: Queen of Golden Dogs review – a gloriously weird electro-odyssey

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Fri 23 Nov 2018 12:00 pm


The Bristolian musician Sebastian Gainsborough made their name with a strain of dance music that’s not really designed for the dancefloor. Their expansive, ambitious post-club compositions have drawn on everything from dubstep to post-punk in pursuit of an intelligent and often slightly contrarian sound. Their third album takes the template a step further, combining classical instrumentation with the clanging dissonance and glitchy, unnatural tempos of the internet age. The result is a record that feels pretentious – but in a good way: carefully considered and aiming towards something more philosophical than your average electro-odyssey.

Made in rural Wales over an 18-month period, Gainsborough took inspiration from a romance with a violinist, and strings of varying levels of loveliness litter the album accordingly. But it isn’t only their partner to whom they pays tribute – the majority of songs are dedicated to various muses. Torno-me eles e nau-e (For Remedios) – a mass of dour chanting that evolves into sugary vocal harmonies – is a tribute to the Spanish surrealist painter Remedios Varo; the florid techno epic Argo (For Maggie) is named after novelist Maggie Nelson.

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