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


San Cisco, Mo’Ju, Alex the Astronaut and more: Australian music for isolated times

Delivered... Guardian Staff | Scene | Sat 11 Jul 2020 1:58 am

Each week we add 15 (or so) new songs to a Spotify playlist to soundtrack your physical distancing amid coronavirus – and help artists you love get paid

As some states around Australia begin to slowly open back up and Victoria heads back into shutdown, Australia’s arts industry is still largely dormant – and the music industry was hit harder, and earlier, than most others. But until large gatherings and gigs happen again, there are small things you can do: it’s an imperfect solution but streaming Australian music can help.

Each week, in partnership with Sounds Australia, Guardian Australia adds some 15 new songs to a playlist for you to put on repeat.

Related: From Eskimo Joe to Hearts and Rockets: Australia's best new music for July

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Josh Pyke, the Veronicas, Lime Cordiale and more: Australian music for isolated times

Delivered... Guardian Staff | Scene | Sat 4 Jul 2020 12:00 am

Each week we add 15 (or so) new songs to a Spotify playlist to soundtrack your physical distancing amid coronavirus – and help artists you love get paid


As some states begin to slowly open back up, Australia’s arts industry is still largely in lockdown – and the music industry was hit harder, and earlier, than most others. But until large gatherings and gigs happen again, there are small things you can do: it’s an imperfect solution, but streaming Australian music can help.

Each week, in partnership with Sounds Australia, Guardian Australia will add some 15 new songs to a playlist for you to put on repeat.

Related: Drive-in concerts: music to the ears of audience- (and cash-) starved bands

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Denai Moore: Modern Dread review – hypnotic, surrealist bid for freedom

Delivered... Timi Sotire | Scene | Fri 3 Jul 2020 9:00 am

(Because Music)
Moore’s genre-blending electronic pop is an unsettling exploration of isolation and selfhood in an over-connected age

In her previous releases Elsewhere and We Used to Bloom, British-Jamaican artist Denai Moore incorporated R&B, folk and electronic influences, positioning her sound as having no boundaries. For her third album, her genre-blending tracks explore the paradoxical isolation that arises in an age when we are supposedly more connected than ever.

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Denai Moore: Modern Dread review – hypnotic, surrealist bid for freedom

Delivered... Timi Sotire | Scene | Fri 3 Jul 2020 9:00 am

(Because Music)
Moore’s genre-blending electronic pop is an unsettling exploration of isolation and selfhood in an over-connected age

In her previous releases Elsewhere and We Used to Bloom, British-Jamaican artist Denai Moore incorporated R&B, folk and electronic influences, positioning her sound as having no boundaries. For her third album, her genre-blending tracks explore the paradoxical isolation that arises in an age when we are supposedly more connected than ever.

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Beck’s greatest songs – ranked!

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Thu 2 Jul 2020 3:00 pm

As the prince of American alternative turns 50, we select his finest moments, from bluegrass ballads to breakup masterpieces and ‘beefcake pantyhose’

Beck’s most recent album, Hyperspace, was a missed opportunity, a gorgeously produced modern R&B album with barely any strong tunes. But See Through is good – its wash of synths paired with a staccato chorus makes it evocative of Swae Lee.

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Beck’s greatest songs – ranked!

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Thu 2 Jul 2020 3:00 pm

As the prince of American alternative turns 50, we select his finest moments, from bluegrass ballads to breakup masterpieces and ‘beefcake pantyhose’

Beck’s most recent album, Hyperspace, was a missed opportunity, a gorgeously produced modern R&B album with barely any strong tunes. But See Through is good – its wash of synths paired with a staccato chorus makes it evocative of Swae Lee.

Continue reading...

Washington, Wagons, Gordi and more: Australian music for isolated times

Delivered... Guardian Staff | Scene | Fri 26 Jun 2020 9:00 pm

Each week we add 15 (or so) new songs to a Spotify playlist to soundtrack your physical distancing amid coronavirus – and help artists you love get paid

As some states begin to slowly open back up, Australia’s arts industry is still largely in lockdown – and the music industry was hit harder, and earlier, than most others. But until large gatherings and gigs happen again, there are small things you can do: it’s an imperfect solution, but streaming Australian music can help.

Each week, in partnership with Sounds Australia, Guardian Australia will add some 15 new songs to a playlist for you to put on repeat.

Continue reading...

Arca: KiCk i review – joyful sonic vision of what pop could be

Delivered... John Twells | Scene | Thu 25 Jun 2020 1:00 pm

(XL)
Alejandra Ghersi’s new set is a subversive and mischievous fusion of aural fireworks and psychedelic lyricism aided by Björk, Shygirl, Rosalía and Sophie

Time, from Arca’s fourth album KiCk i, reduces a booming, bass-heavy 4/4 kick drum to a whisper that oscillates around Alejandra Ghersi’s blurry, anaesthetised words. “It’s time to let it out / And show the world,” she coos from a condemned space that evokes the atmosphere of a toilet stall at Berlin super-club Berghain. In the three years since her acclaimed 2017 album Arca, Ghersi has fallen in love and simultaneously found confidence from affirming her non-binary identity. If her previous album evoked a melancholy sci-fi opera set on a drifting space station, KiCk i is a live-streamed party, finding Ghersi at her most unrestrained, mischievous and joyful.

When something doesn't work, the failure acts as a reminder of the complexity of existence. Perfection is not revolutionary, but change is

Continue reading...

Arca: KiCk i review – joyful sonic vision of what pop could be

Delivered... John Twells | Scene | Thu 25 Jun 2020 1:00 pm

(XL)
Alejandra Ghersi’s new set is a subversive and mischievous fusion of aural fireworks and psychedelic lyricism aided by Björk, Shygirl, Rosalía and Sophie

Time, from Arca’s fourth album KiCk i, reduces a booming, bass-heavy 4/4 kick drum to a whisper that oscillates around Alejandra Ghersi’s blurry, anaesthetised words. “It’s time to let it out / And show the world,” she coos from a condemned space that evokes the atmosphere of a toilet stall at Berlin super-club Berghain. In the three years since her acclaimed 2017 album Arca, Ghersi has fallen in love and simultaneously found confidence from affirming her non-binary identity. If her previous album evoked a melancholy sci-fi opera set on a drifting space station, KiCk i is a live-streamed party, finding Ghersi at her most unrestrained, mischievous and joyful.

When something doesn't work, the failure acts as a reminder of the complexity of existence. Perfection is not revolutionary, but change is

Continue reading...

Pet Shop Boys: where to start in their back catalogue

Delivered... Kate Solomon | Scene | Mon 15 Jun 2020 2:07 pm

In Listener’s digest, we help you explore the work of great musicians. Next: the peerless pop duo who elegantly delved into the big issues

Actually

Related: Neil Tennant on West End Girls: 'It's about sex and escape. It's paranoid'

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‘Why should I try to have a future?’ The Weather Diaries, Lupa J and a she-wolf’s lament

Delivered... Jenny Valentish | Scene | Tue 9 Jun 2020 3:55 am

Kathy Drayton set out to make a documentary about the plight of Australian flying foxes. She ended up making one about her daughter instead

There had been previous obsessions; with eagles, with kangaroos. But when Imogen Jones first saw Princess Mononoke, a 1997 Japanese anime film that was made about the same time she was born, her alignment with the girl raised by wolves would be so profound that she would dress up as the character for years of her childhood.

Later she would name her electro-pop alter ego, Lupa J, in honour of the character.  

Related: Sydney film festival's isolation edition: from climate devastation to killer jellyfish

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Glastonbury’s Shangri-La goes virtual with Fatboy Slim and more

Delivered... Ben Beaumont-Thomas | Scene | Mon 8 Jun 2020 6:49 pm

Chaotic rave zone of cancelled festival will be rendered in 3D online for two-day event in July

Glastonbury may be cancelled for 2020, but one of its most eye-catching areas will party on regardless: Shangri-La is to be recreated in a 3D digital form for a free two-day online festival in July featuring Fatboy Slim, Carl Cox, Peggy Gou and more.

The area, an outdoor art gallery situated in the notoriously hedonistic south-east corner of the festival site, will be rendered in a videogame-like 3D landscape for the online Lost Horizon festival. It will be accessible on PC or via a mobile app, plus a virtual reality option via the Sansar platform, and feature “computer-generated avatars and green screen hologram performances”, according to organisers.

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The 100 greatest UK No 1s: No 1, Pet Shop Boys – West End Girls

Delivered... Laura Snapes | Scene | Fri 5 Jun 2020 9:00 am

Thirty-six years on, their debut single still pulses with beguiling ambiguity – a heady rush of lust, naivety, disco and opaque references to Lenin

West End Girls is a lens on to a glamorous demimonde. Primped young women and hungry young men meet in a corner of London that is starting to gentrify, although still seedy enough to expose the transactions behind the flirtation. You can almost hear their egos rattle as they use each other for sex and drugs, second-hand cool and sly oneupmanship, parsing the social codes in a suspicious, cinematic rush: “Have you got it? Do you get it? If so, how often? Which do you choose, a hard or soft option?” But a scene’s beautiful people are rarely as captivating as the wallflower at the orgy. After all, the West End girls and East End boys are doomed to a dead-end world. The real glamorous demimonde opened up by West End Girls is that of the Pet Shop Boys, perceptive night owls who make a virtue of being outsiders yet understand the allure of the charade.

Thirty-six years on, their debut single still pulses with that beguiling ambiguity; the exact emotion of Chris Lowe’s glacial chords and abrupt beat, and of Neil Tennant’s alternately wry and rhapsodic observations, impossible to pinpoint. Although Tennant cited Grandmaster Flash’s The Message as an influence on the rapped verses, West End Girls isn’t so much social commentary on London’s burgeoning yuppie class as it is an impressionist marvel, in which lust, naivety, disco and opaque references to Lenin rush by as if caught in the reflection of a bus window. TS Eliot’s The Waste Land was another influence. Years later, Tennant said he had never understood the poem, “but the poetry of it, the different voices talking about strange and disparate and even exotic things, is completely riveting and makes you want to read it again and again … hoping to find new meaning”. Some urbane listeners may have recognised themselves in the song, whether the flirtatious insider or worldly observer. But it is kids who send songs to No 1, and West End Girls was an aperture on to a mysterious adult world, the Pet Shop Boys’ distanced framing as captivating as the picture.

Related: Pet Shop Boys: 'The acoustic guitar should be banned'

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Neil Tennant on West End Girls: ‘It’s about sex and escape. It’s paranoid’

Delivered... Laura Snapes | Scene | Fri 5 Jun 2020 9:00 am

We voted the Pet Shop Boys’ debut single the greatest British No 1 of all time. Their frontman remembers the clubs, pathos and serendipity behind the hit

We named West End Girls the greatest ever UK No 1. Did we get it right?
Well, I would have chosen Good Vibrations. It’s obviously intensely subjective. I can see that West End Girls is quite a lot of records in one record. It’s a dance record. It was actually written to be a rap record, back in the day. It’s a moody soundscape. It’s about the city at night. It’s about boys and girls meeting to have fun and presumably to bond [laughs]. It’s about sex. It’s paranoid. At the same time, its message is sort of like Dancing in the Streets – it’s about escape into the city at night, which is emblematic of pleasure.

When you were writing it, did you have a sense that these elements were potent ingredients for a pop song?
Oh, it was completely instinctive. It was written in early 83. I used to get the records ’cause of being at Smash Hits: Grandmaster Flash, Afrika Bambaataa. One day I was at my cousin’s and we’d watched a Jimmy Cagney movie. Before going to bed, the opening lines came into my head and so I turned the light on and wrote them down. I got back to London and went with it and wrote a rap. These were the days when Chris [Lowe] and I used to make demos in a little studio off Camden Road. Chris was down from Liverpool University. We went into the studio, and I said to Chris and the guy whose studio it was: “I’ve written this rap!” Rather embarrassingly, I then performed it. Luckily, they were mildly impressed.

Related: One Hundred Lyrics and a Poem review – Neil Tennant’s superb songbook

Related: Neil Tennant: ‘Sometimes I think, where’s the art, the poetry in all this?’

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Lady Gaga: Chromatica review – Gaga rediscovers the riot on her most personal album

Delivered... Michael Cragg | Scene | Fri 29 May 2020 1:11 pm

Returning to the sound of her maximalist electro-pop heyday, Gaga explores buried trauma, mental illness and the complexities of fame on this return to form

A criticism often levelled at Lady Gaga is that the fantastical imagery she constructs around her albums eclipses the music itself. But it’s a sliding scale – and one that certainly mattered less when she was knocking out undeniable dance-pop party starters like Poker Face and Just Dance, or cementing her status as pop’s freaky outlier on the twisted Bad Romance. That she appeared in alien-like form in that song’s video made perfect sense: here was a chameleonic pop superstar in the vein of Bowie, Prince and Madonna opening a portal to an escapist dimension. Later, it made sense that she would lean into the imagery of hair metal on 2011’s gloriously OTT, Springsteen-referencing Born This Way. Yet on 2013’s bloated Artpop – billed as an exploration of the “reverse Warholian” phenomenon in pop culture, whatever that may be, and featuring at least one performance in which she employed a “vomit artist” to puke green paint on her chest – the aesthetic felt more like desperate distraction tactics.

Related: Lady Gaga's 30 greatest songs – ranked!

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