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


The xx’s Romy: ‘I can now write about loving a woman and not feel afraid’

Delivered... Aimee Cliff | Scene | Fri 27 Nov 2020 7:00 am

Her forthcoming solo album is a love letter to formative years of queer clubbing and 00s Euro-dance, as the singer swaps black clothes and bleak moods for Technicolor euphoria

The problem with being an introvert writing dance music is that eventually you will have to dance in front of other people. “I’m definitely quite a shy dancer,” says Romy Madley Croft over a video call from the home she shares with her girlfriend, the photographer Vic Lentaigne, in north London. In lockdown, with no prospect of live shows, this wasn’t a problem, but now she’s starting to nervously ponder how she will perform her upbeat, house-indebted new music. “It’s taken a long time to get to the place where I really enjoy being on stage.”

Fifteen years, in fact. The familiar image of Madley Croft is as bassist and singer with the xx, the band she formed with London schoolfriends in 2005: dressed in black, shielded by her guitar, expression ranging between pensive and troubled. Even performing a sparkling dance track on stage, such as Loud Places by her fellow wallflower and bandmate Jamie xx (“I go to loud places to find someone to be quiet with,” she sings on the chorus), she stayed largely rooted to the spot. Yet on the cover of her debut solo single, Lifetime, in an acid-hued image captured – like the ones accompanying this article – by Lentaigne, she is caught in motion, arms raised high, hair swooshed.

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Iklan: Album Number 1 review – impressively taut electronica

Delivered... Phil Mongredien | Scene | Sun 8 Nov 2020 4:00 pm

(Soulpunk)
This collective with connections to Young Fathers and Soho offer up a bold, fat-free debut

It takes a certain year-zero chutzpah for an artist to release a debut album that omits all of their singles to date, but that’s what London/Birmingham/Edinburgh collective Iklan do on Album Number 1. Centred on sometime Young Fathers producer Timothy London, AKA Tim Brinkhurst, and vocalist Law Holt, with able backing from sisters Pauline and Jacqui Cuff (best known for their work with London as Smiths-sampling 90s pop act Soho), they’ve been working together for three years, and their recent prolific output – four standalone singles, with more promised – has almost felt like a clearing of the decks ahead of the album.

Given how much material they’ve chosen to exclude, it’s a surprise that Album Number 1 is so concise. Its 10 songs – all warped and distorted beats, alternately jarring discordance and woozy trip-hop – rattle past in just 23 minutes, their clipped, fat-free structures owing more to early Wire than any more obvious electronica peers, with no idea lasting long enough to outstay its welcome. Against this ever-shifting backdrop, Holt, an NHS nurse, holds centre stage, her unambiguous lyrics addressing racial identity (Who Am I) and police brutality (Pray for Timeless – musically, imagine a more austere take on Anohni’s 4 Degrees). It’s telling, however, that the outstanding moment comes with the irresistible momentum of No Use, wherein lie the most conventional pop dynamics of anything here.

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Lime Cordiale, Le Pie, The Whitlams and more: Australia’s best new music for November

Delivered... Nathan Jolly and Guardian Australia | Scene | Fri 6 Nov 2020 8:00 pm

Each month we add 20 new songs to our Spotify playlist. Read about 10 of our favourites here – and subscribe on Spotify, which updates with the full list at the start of each month

Related: Midnight Oil: The Makarrata Project review – a chorus of anger over stolen land

Related: Blake Scott: Niscitam review – Peep Tempel frontman's sprawling and powerful solo debut

Related: ‘Loud and proud, wrong and strong’: the ‘Yolŋu surf rock’ of Yothu Yindi’s next generation

Related: From Faith No More to faith healing: Melbourne’s Festival Hall sold to Hillsong Church

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Grammy awards rename world music category to avoid ‘connotations of colonialism’

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Tue 3 Nov 2020 11:32 am

Category to be renamed best global music album, described as ‘a more relevant, modern, and inclusive term’ by Recording Academy

The Grammys are changing the name of their “best world music” album category to “best global music” album, to avoid “connotations of colonialism”.

In a statement, the Recording Academy said the change came “as we continue to embrace a truly global mindset … Over the summer we held discussions with artists, ethnomusicologists, and linguists from around the world who determined that there was an opportunity to update the best world music album category toward a more relevant, modern, and inclusive term ... The change symbolises a departure from the connotations of colonialism, folk, and ‘non-American’ that the former term embodied while adapting to current listening trends and cultural evolution among the diverse communities it may represent.”

Related: 'So flawed and problematic': why the term 'world music' is dead

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‘The way I am is an outrage’: the Indigenous Brazilian musicians taking back a burning country

Delivered... Beatriz Miranda | Scene | Mon 26 Oct 2020 11:50 am

A vibrant underground of rap, metal, folk and more is thriving among Brazil’s embattled tribes, who are standing up to Bolsonaro’s environment policies

As Brazil’s world-acclaimed biodiversity turns to ashes, President Jair Bolsonaro has praised the country as an environmental role model. “It is not only in environmental preservation that the country stands out,” the far-right leader affirmed in a UN speech on 22 September. “In the humanitarian and human rights fields, Brazil has also been an international reference.”

At the same time, the New York Times has reported that a team of Brazilian lawyers are drafting a complaint to the International Criminal Court in the Hague with a view to bringing Bolsonaro to trial for crimes against humanity, for removing environmental protections for indigenous peoples. Bolsonaro has not responded, but has said: “Where there is indigenous land, there is wealth underneath it,” and in February proposed a bill to legalise mining in Indigenous lands.

I am afraid of whitening myself. I have to be careful to keep my roots and accomplish my mission: infiltrate power structures that say Indigenous peoples no longer exist

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Gorillaz: Song Machine Season One: Strange Timez review – playful and potent collaboration

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sun 25 Oct 2020 10:00 am

(Parlophone)
Damon Albarn is the melodic anchor to this pioneering album that balances concept with fun

The Now Now (2018) was one of those Gorillaz albums that dispensed with the hip hop-led collaborations that have often defined this band of ink and flesh. Guests are in full effect, though, on its follow-up: what’s billed as Season One of the band’s Song Machine concept, compiling the tracks Gorillaz have released monthly via their YouTube channel since January, plus extra helpings.

Everything that has ever been engaging about Gorillaz is present in spades here. Playfulness and conceptual ambition are all anchored by Damon Albarn’s melodic melancholy and his side-eye at the suboptimal state of things. His Bowie fixation waxes hard on unreleased tracks – such as The Lost Chord – as well those already in the public domain (Aries).

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Mirwais on producing Madonna: ‘I’m not comparing her to a bull but –’

Delivered... Michael Cragg | Scene | Tue 20 Oct 2020 3:35 pm

The electrofunk star is releasing an apocalyptic anthem fuelled by Trump, Covid and Kubrick’s 2001. He talks about his Afghan origins, overcoming drugs – and his role in Madonna’s yoga rap

Mirwais Ahmadzaï is trying to sum up his frequent collaborator Madonna. “You know bullfighting?” he begins ominously. “It works because the bull is so powerful that you have to weaken it.” Right. “Look, I’m not comparing Madonna to a bull,” he quickly adds, “but she was so powerful at that time.”

The Parisian, who turns 60 on Friday, peppers our 90-minute phone call with similar flights of fancy, ponderously linking Brexit to Baudrillard and dropping situationist truth bombs. And he has witnessed that power up close. A cult musician in France since the late 70s, and cited as an influence by the likes of Air and Daft Punk, Ahmadzaï was plucked from the sidelines by Madonna in 1999. He helped coax out her most experimental era, bolting his brand of heavily filtered, minimalist electrofunk on to the superstar’s 11m-selling album Music. His sonic fingerprints were all over two singles that immediately slotted into the already heaving Madge canon: the delicious electro-bounce of the title track and thigh-slapping country curio Don’t Tell Me.

Like the monoliths in 2001: A Space Odyssey that appear at a change in society, it's the right time for my album

I like to be provocative … I was an artist before Madonna. This is one of the secrets of our relationship

Related: Your vinyl choice: Record Store Day 2020 – in pictures

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Mallrat, Powderfinger, Flowerkid and Cry Club: Australia’s best new music for October

Delivered... Nathan Jollyand Guardian Australia | Scene | Tue 6 Oct 2020 5:30 pm

Each month we add 20 new songs to our Spotify playlist. Read about 10 of our favourites here – and subscribe on Spotify, which updates with the full list at the start of each month

Related: ‘Everything I do is about feelings’: Mallrat on making music for forgotten teens

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Why Radiohead are the Blackest white band of our times

Delivered... Daphne A Brooks | Scene | Fri 2 Oct 2020 10:00 am

Radiohead released Kid A 20 years ago today. It pointed a new direction for rock music – and mirrored radical Black art by imagining new spaces to live in amid a hostile world

Ask anyone who is the Blackest white rock band to emerge over the past 30 years, and my hunch is that few would say Radiohead.

The hypnotically wonky Oxfordshire quintet are lauded for intricate, challenging music that is now far from their grunge-era breakthrough. Their rapturous second album (1995’s The Bends) yoked together symphonic alt-rock melodies with even bigger feelings, and their post-prog-rock masterpiece OK Computer (1997) delivered darkly ominous late 20th-century dread about everything from rising neoliberal alienation to the coldness of technology. It prompted stop you in your tracks superlatives from critics, who became even more rapturous for the follow-up, Kid A, released 20 years ago today.

What makes Radiohead so radical are their deeply introspective other worlds, built as bulwarks against the tyrannies of everyday life

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Working Men’s Club review

Delivered... Dave Simpson | Scene | Fri 2 Oct 2020 9:00 am

(Heavenly)
The West Yorkshire band take the stark electronics of the post-punk scene and warm them with Detroit techno and Italian house – while addressing Andrew Neil with mischievous one-liners

The Golden Lion pub in Todmorden gives locals the chance to meet and talk about the high number of UFO sightings in the isolated West Yorkshire town. It’s also the centre of a thriving music scene, where 18-year-old Sydney Minsky-Sargeant’s band have undergone lineup changes to evolve from a guitar band into a New Order-type rock-electronic hybrid.

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Sleaford Mods review – a bracing stream of class consciousness

Delivered... Kitty Empire | Scene | Sat 19 Sep 2020 2:00 pm

The Nottingham punk duo let rip with a livestreamed battery of barbed lyrics, bizarre noises and back-to-basics beats

Across town at the Royal Albert Hall, the Last Night of the Proms is under way. In the basement of London’s 100 Club – a famous venue in the annals of punk, granted “special status” by Westminster council before Covid struck – a man from Nottinghamshire is, not for the first time, at the end of his tether.

“Fuck England! Fuck my country!” he bellows to an empty venue, “Lob it in the bin!” Singer Jason Williamson doesn’t recognise his homeland any more. BHS has gone down. The “rich list” grows ever bigger. “In the snakes and ladders,” people like him, he snarls, “are the Baldricks, son, and Blackadders.”

Williamson says out loud the things people would like to say but would get sacked for if they did

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AG Cook: the nutty producer behind the decade’s most divisive music

Delivered... Rachel Aroesti | Scene | Wed 16 Sep 2020 9:00 am

Having polarised pop with the abrasive PC Music, he’s now going solo. ‘I trust my own dislike of things’, he says

Describing AG Cook’s haircut is a challenge. Part mullet, part moptop, it also features elements of shag, perm and bowl. The more I try to place it the context of hair history (Paul McCartney? Joan Jett? Late-80s Deirdre Barlow?) the more disorientated I become. It is not the only thing about him that is liable to confound. Cook, 30, from London, is the man behind PC Music, the record label whose sickly, abrasive and ultra-synthetic output doubled as the most divisive sound of the decade.

Yet, in typically contrarian style, the lead single for Cook’s new solo album, Apple, sounds completely different. Oh Yeah is a catchy guitar ballad pumped full of brain-tickling nostalgia for late-90s pop-rock. Much like his hairstyle, it evades all my attempts to find any close relatives (Natalie Imbruglia? Deep Blue Something? Hanson?). According to Cook, his main influence was actually Shania Twain.

Related: The Guide: Staying In – sign up for our home entertainment tips

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One to watch: Moonchild Sanelly

Delivered... Kate Hutchinson | Scene | Sat 12 Sep 2020 2:00 pm

The South African star, a favourite of Beyoncé, blends the Durban sound of gqom with horny global beats

If you felt the giddy thrill of Cardi B and Megan Thee Stallion’s explicit hit WAP this summer then Moonchild Sanelly is bringing more of the same. With her trademark electric blue braids, Sanelly is one of South Africa’s most striking artists, and is unapologetic about female desire in her music. One new track, Where De Dee Kat, ends with sweet voices chorusing “penis penis penis”.

Sanelly is best known for rapping over a style of club beats called gqom, an apocalyptic, minimal electronic sound that came out of Durban townships and blends kwaito, house and techno. She moved there in 2005 to study fashion and immersed herself in the poetry and music scene, then relocated to Johannesburg, where she brings elements of punk, pop and hip-hop into her sound. She’s attracted the attention of Beyoncé, who put Sanelly on her The Lion King: The Gift soundtrack last year. The song, My Power, appeared again in her recent short film Black Is King. According to Damon Albarn, who worked with Sanelly on his Africa Express project, she is “a global superstar waiting to happen”.

Moonchild Sanelly’s Nüdes EP is out now on Transgressive Records

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Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Spiller: how we made Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)

Delivered... Interviews by Elizabeth Aubrey | Scene | Tue 8 Sep 2020 6:00 am

The dance classic was the first song ever to be played on an iPod. But, as its creators reveal, the demo was left in a car – then tossed on to a floor and forgotten

This was one of the fastest tracks I ever produced. It was 1999, the night before I was due to fly to Miami for the Winter Music Conference, where all aspiring DJs and producers went. I was trying to stay awake for my early-morning flight and put on an unreleased version of Carol Williams’ Love Is You. I ended up sampling it and, in a couple of hours, I had Groovejet more or less written.

Related: Sophie Ellis-Bextor on music, motherhood and lockdown discos: ‘Most of my children are feral!’

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Sophie Ellis-Bextor and Spiller: how we made Groovejet (If This Ain’t Love)

Delivered... Interviews by Elizabeth Aubrey | Scene | Tue 8 Sep 2020 6:00 am

The dance classic was the first song ever to be played on an iPod. But, as its creators reveal, the demo was left in a car – then tossed on to a floor and forgotten

This was one of the fastest tracks I ever produced. It was 1999, the night before I was due to fly to Miami for the Winter Music Conference, where all aspiring DJs and producers went. I was trying to stay awake for my early-morning flight and put on an unreleased version of Carol Williams’ Love Is You. I ended up sampling it and, in a couple of hours, I had Groovejet more or less written.

Related: Sophie Ellis-Bextor on music, motherhood and lockdown discos: ‘Most of my children are feral!’

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