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


Brit awards nominations 2018: Dua Lipa beats Ed Sheeran with five

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Sat 13 Jan 2018 7:45 pm

The New Rules singer caps her breakthrough year with the most nominations at British music’s biggest awards ceremony

Dua Lipa, the breakthrough pop star who scored a huge summer hit with New Rules, has earned the most nominations at the 2018 Brit awards – even beating Ed Sheeran, despite his spectacular year-long assault on the charts on both sides of the Atlantic.

She was nominated in the British female solo artist, breakthrough act, single and video categories, along with the night’s biggest award, British album of the year. Without being able to be nominated in the breakthrough category, Ed Sheeran is the runner-up with four nominations, for British male solo artist, video and single (each for Shape of You), and the album award for ÷, the biggest-selling album of 2017 in the UK. East London rapper J Hus and platinum-selling songwriter Rag’n’Bone Man each received three nominations.

Related: How Dua Lipa became the most streamed woman of 2017

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********, ∆, †‡† … the most unpronounceable band names ever

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Tue 9 Jan 2018 1:04 pm

Whether it’s a marketing gimmick or a way to stop anyone ever talking about your band, musicians are rejecting random nouns in favour of punctuation and ancient languages

Of all the stock ways to name a band (lame puns, random nouns, Something Something and the Somethings), one of the most enduring is choosing something totally unpronounceable. Take ********, whose “first and final” album The Drink is out at the end of the month. They’re probably pronounced Guinness, given this self-penned guide to their name: “Generally Underwhelmed. Incognito. Niceties. Not Even Slightly Suggestive.”

Their aggressively out of tune Bontempi jams, like Dean Blunt tinkering in a haunted bingo hall, aren’t likely to bother the mainstream, so they might as well stop people even being able to talk about them. Or is it the opposite – that they’re making their very unpronounceability a talking point? Well, whether obfuscation or marketing device, they’re far from the only ones to choose a name that requires a record company briefing before you can insert it into dinner party conversation.

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From Chinese communes to Durban taxis: how dance music went global

Delivered... Matthew Collin | Scene | Fri 5 Jan 2018 7:00 am

While western dancefloors are often full of jocks craving Instagram moments, the internet is helping techno, psytrance and more reach uncharted territory

• ‘I’ll be going through a slum to a rich club’: India’s upside-down rave scene

After darkness falls, there are strange phantasmagorical rumblings deep in the guts of cities around the world: a disused slaughterhouse near the Danube in Belgrade, an old air-raid shelter beneath the streets of Shanghai, a vast concrete swimming pool under a football stadium in Tbilisi, an unsignposted apartment building in the cobbled back alleys of Istanbul.

Over the past three decades, electronic dance music has spread to places such as this on the way to becoming a worldwide culture, establishing a home in some of the most unlikely places, mainly because of the relentless enthusiasm of the iconoclasts, misfits, fanatics and hustlers who have embraced the music and sought to build communities around it.

Vegas clubs can feel like showpiece sports tournaments with lines of fans facing the stage, holding up phones

Related: 'I'll be going through a slum to a rich club': India's upside-down rave scene

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Coachella 2018 lineup announced, headlined by Beyoncé and Eminem

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Wed 3 Jan 2018 10:56 am

The Californian music festival will also feature the Weeknd, David Byrne, Cardi B and dozens more pop and rap stars

Coachella, the two-weekend Californian event that traditionally kicks off the summer’s festival season, has announced the lineup for its 2018 edition.

Beyoncé will headline on April 14 and 21, in her first live shows since her Formation world tour in 2016. The R&B star took 2017 off from live performance after giving birth to her twins Rumi and Sir, and the Coachella announcement will further fuel rumours she is gearing up to release new material.

pic.twitter.com/ivjHgj9uae

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The Prodigy review – teeth rattled in dystopian breakbeat pantomime

Delivered... Graeme Virtue | Scene | Tue 19 Dec 2017 1:41 pm

Glasgow Academy
Twenty years on from their multimillion-selling album The Fat of the Land, the Prodigy refuse to get nostalgic, nor reduce the energy levels below total pandemonium

In an era when memories can be monetised, most bands – active or otherwise – might hungrily eye the 20th anniversary of their most successful album as an opportunity to mount a special tour to shore up their legacy and top up their Isas. Not so the Prodigy, Liam Howlett’s tetchy but tireless road warriors.

As Britpop shrivelled, their third album, 1997’s The Fat of the Land, took Howlett’s uncouth youthquake of evil techno and hot-wired breakbeats to the world; an astonishingly successful incursion into the US arguably laid the groundwork for the recent EDM explosion. Two decades on, you could forgive these Essex boys a backward-looking victory lap to fatten the brand.

Related: The Prodigy: 'we should be as important as Oasis or Blur'

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The Prodigy review – teeth rattled in dystopian breakbeat pantomime

Delivered... Graeme Virtue | Scene | Tue 19 Dec 2017 1:41 pm

Glasgow Academy
Twenty years on from their multimillion-selling album The Fat of the Land, the Prodigy refuse to get nostalgic, nor reduce the energy levels below total pandemonium

In an era when memories can be monetised, most bands – active or otherwise – might hungrily eye the 20th anniversary of their most successful album as an opportunity to mount a special tour to shore up their legacy and top up their Isas. Not so the Prodigy, Liam Howlett’s tetchy but tireless road warriors.

As Britpop shrivelled, their third album, 1997’s The Fat of the Land, took Howlett’s uncouth youthquake of evil techno and hot-wired breakbeats to the world; an astonishingly successful incursion into the US arguably laid the groundwork for the recent EDM explosion. Two decades on, you could forgive these Essex boys a backward-looking victory lap to fatten the brand.

Related: The Prodigy: 'we should be as important as Oasis or Blur'

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The best albums of 2017, No 6: LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

Delivered... Nosheen Iqbal | Scene | Fri 15 Dec 2017 7:00 am

Plot twist! James Murphy and co returned with an exquisite ode to love, musical heroes and middle-age

It was the comeback that was never supposed to be, for a band that were never allowed to disappoint, after they flamboyantly broke up with farewell shows at Madison Square Garden in 2011. The stakes were high: fans had been given an unimpeachable legacy and a perfect ending. Why, went the logic, would James Murphy dare sully the music we loved and adored in the noughties by – plot twist! – making more of it?

Well, because there was more to say. American Dream, for all its declarative intent, didn’t so much chronicle the state of the nation as it does Murphy’s place in it now; the middle-aged cool guy in a middle-aged cool band, lamenting relationships and heroes, love and ageing. It is exquisite. A moody, pulsating epic that wears its references – Berlin-era Bowie, 80s Talking Heads, the entire first decade of DFA Records’ output – without being wearying.

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The best albums of 2017, No 6: LCD Soundsystem – American Dream

Delivered... Nosheen Iqbal | Scene | Fri 15 Dec 2017 7:00 am

Plot twist! James Murphy and co returned with an exquisite ode to love, musical heroes and middle-age

It was the comeback that was never supposed to be, for a band that were never allowed to disappoint, after they flamboyantly broke up with farewell shows at Madison Square Garden in 2011. The stakes were high: fans had been given an unimpeachable legacy and a perfect ending. Why, went the logic, would James Murphy dare sully the music we loved and adored in the noughties by – plot twist! – making more of it?

Well, because there was more to say. American Dream, for all its declarative intent, didn’t so much chronicle the state of the nation as it does Murphy’s place in it now; the middle-aged cool guy in a middle-aged cool band, lamenting relationships and heroes, love and ageing. It is exquisite. A moody, pulsating epic that wears its references – Berlin-era Bowie, 80s Talking Heads, the entire first decade of DFA Records’ output – without being wearying.

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Kitty Empire’s best pop of 2017

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 10 Dec 2017 1:00 am

From Jay-Z to Taylor Swift, it’s been a year of high political and personal drama in the worlds of rap, pop and rock

• Observer critics’ reviews of the year in full

With a couple of weeks to go until the new year, a number of significant records still teeter on the edge of an unannounced drop in 2017. Rihanna, for one, loves a fourth-quarter release; and Frank Ocean has hinted tantalisingly that he did make his promised five albums before he turned 30 at the end of October – he just hasn’t released one of them.

But the past 11 and a bit months have already seen more than enough melodrama: heartache and soap operatics, lawsuits and moral victories, and everywhere a political climate that was impossible to outrun. There were albums that engaged explicitly, from Hurray for the Riff Raff’s The Navigator to Joey Bada$$’s All-Amerikkkan Bada$$.

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The best albums of 2017: 50-41

Delivered... Electronic music | The Guardian | Scene | Tue 5 Dec 2017 7:00 am

We start our countdown of this year’s most outstanding sounds with slacker duets, African fusions and mournful brilliance. Tune in tomorrow for another reveal

41

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The best albums of 2017: 50-41

Delivered... Electronic music | The Guardian | Scene | Tue 5 Dec 2017 7:00 am

We start our countdown of this year’s most outstanding sounds with slacker duets, African fusions and mournful brilliance. Tune in tomorrow for another reveal

41

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The top 100 tracks of 2017

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 4 Dec 2017 12:00 pm

In the year the album’s power eroded, we collate the 100 best songs of 2017 as voted for by Guardian critics – and put them in a giant playlist

Many listeners are still in love with the album: a piece of work that allows a musician to fully sketch out their current worldview. And we’ll be counting down our favourite 50 albums of the year over the next three weeks.

But others have made a decisive shift away from albums and towards playlists on streaming services – often curated by Spotify or Apple themselves. We explored the phenomenon here – as well as how albums are mutating in response – and started our own monthly playlist.

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The top 100 tracks of 2017

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 4 Dec 2017 12:00 pm

In the year the album’s power eroded, we collate the 100 best songs of 2017 as voted for by Guardian critics – and put them in a giant playlist

Many listeners are still in love with the album: a piece of work that allows a musician to fully sketch out their current worldview. And we’ll be counting down our favourite 50 albums of the year over the next three weeks.

But others have made a decisive shift away from albums and towards playlists on streaming services – often curated by Spotify or Apple themselves. We explored the phenomenon here – as well as how albums are mutating in response – and started our own monthly playlist.

Continue reading...

Nabihah Iqbal: Weighing of the Heart review – nostalgic, sweet pop and pristine beats

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Thu 30 Nov 2017 11:30 pm

(Ninja Tune)

For the last few years, Nabihah Iqbal has been confecting bright and airy electronica as producer Throwing Shade. For her debut album, she bursts out from between the synths with a warm and fuzzy vocal-led collection of tracks that nod to both New Order-ish post-punk and the intimate dream pop of the early 90s. The record also recalls fellow Londoners Real Lies, whose layering of street-lamp lit synths and gutter/stars portraits of the city echo in tracks like Zone 1 to 6000. The latter is just one of the highlights of an album that weaves sweet pop melodies and strange, scuttling beats together into something that feels both nostalgic and recklessly new. It’s all done with a precision and neatness that betrays Iqbal’s dance music roots, with each moment providing an aesthetic delight, from the medley of drumbeats that opens Eternal Passion to the liquid gold guitars that frequently surface.

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Readers recommend playlist: your unlikely collaborations

Delivered... George Boyland | Scene | Thu 30 Nov 2017 1:00 pm

This week’s reader-curated list gives us pairings such as Neneh Cherry and Youssou N’Dour, and the combined powers of Bono, Brian Eno and Pavarotti

Here is this week’s playlist – songs picked by a reader from hundreds of suggestions on last week’s callout. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly series works at the end of the piece.

The KLF, Bill Drummond and Jimmy Cauty, the world’s biggest-selling singles act of 1991, were never short of ideas. Some were good, some were decadence on a bun. It’s hard to get away from their burning of a million quid and then making a house brick from the ashes. Fortunately, they were rarely short of musical ideas, and their chart success bought them an appointment with Tammy Wynette for the Illuminatus-inspired Justified and Ancient, with which we begin this list.

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