Posts Tagged ‘Blogposts’

New music: Noonie Bao – Do You Still Care?

Monday, June 4th, 2012

This Swedish singer recalls a slightly less melancholy Lykke Li

As any fool will tell you, pop is best when it’s happy on the outside but sad on the inside. Swedish singer Noonie Bao’s second single, Do You Still Care?, perfects that balance with ease. Having quit school and left Stockholm at 16 to move to a mountain village in Switzerland, she then ended up working in a recording studio in Paris. From there she started to build up confidence in her own songs, returning to Stockholm where she signed with EMI and started writing for other people. Taking inspiration from Swedish folk, Van Morrison and modern day R&B, Bao’s songs, particularly Do You Still Care?, recall a slightly less melancholy Lykke Li, the spite of a lyric such as “Seeing you doing good, it rips my heart out” surrounded by delicate piano chords, jaunty, percussive beats and, in one slightly odd moment, something resembling a panpipe solo (ignore that bit if you can). For the video, Bao travelled to New Dehli, India, for the festival of Holi, which makes for what looks like a colourful couple of days.

• Do You Still Care? is out now on 2many Freckles.

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Bobby Womack – The Bravest Man in the Universe: exclusive album stream

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Be among the first to hear the brand new album from Bobby Womack, The Bravest Man in the Universe

In his recent and at times mind-boggling interview with the Guardian’s Alexis Petridis, the extraordinary Bobby Womack made the assertion that “bad as I been, I can sing my ass off, better than I could before”. (You can read the interview with Womack here.)

The 68-year-old soul legend also said that his new record, The Bravest Man in the Universe, is the “best thing I’ve ever done”. That’s some claim even for him to make, particuarly given it sees him working with producers of a different generation: his former collaborator in Gorillaz, Damon Albarn, and Richard Russell, head of Womack’s new label XL.

Alexis Petridis wrote: “The album, which sets Womack’s careworn voice and acoustic guitar against clattering electronics, and mixes old gospel songs with guest appearances by Lana Del Rey, is a triumph. It may even be as magnificent as all the other magnificent albums Womack has released.”

Have a listen here and tell us what you think in the comments section below.

• The Bravest Man in the Universe is released on XL Recordings on 11 June.

Reading this on mobile? Click here to listen.

Bobby WomackPop and rockUrban musicLana Del ReyFatoumata DiawaraCaspar Llewellyn 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Live music: coming up

Monday, June 4th, 2012

Lee Ranaldo, Elton John and Slash are among the shows our writers will be reviewing this week. Take a look at the list and tell us about live music you’ve seen recently

Each week we publish a list of concerts our writers will be covering in the next few days, and we invite you to tell us about shows you’ve attended recently or bands you hope to see soon.

Here’s what our writers will be seeing this week (all subject to last-minute change):

Jubilee concert at Buckingham Palace, London

Endellion Quartet/Hough at Wigmore Hall, London

I Fagiolini at Bath festival

Elton John at the Yorkshire Event Centre, Harrogate

Netrebko/Kaufmann/Schrott at the Royal Albert Hall, London

Slash at Hammersmith Apollo, London

Murray Perahia at the Barbican, London

Lee Ranaldo at Brudenell Social Club, Leeds

Oliver Knussen at the Aldeburgh festival

Amsterdam Baroque Orchestra/Koopman at Spitalfields festival, London

Maxwell Davies in Liverpool

Angela Carter/Belcea Quartet at the Bath festival

Richard Hawley at The Forum, London

Match & Fuse at Vortex Jazz Club, London

If you’ve seen, or are going to see, any concerts this week, let us know in the thread below. And if you’d like to share gig pictures with us, please post them to our Flickr group. You can tweet your gig reviews to @guardianmusic using the hashtag #gdnreview.

Pop and rockIndieClassical musicAdam 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Listen to Manifest! by Friends: exclusive album stream

Friday, June 1st, 2012

Be among the first to hear the Brooklyn band’s debut album – and let us know your thoughts

Manifest! is the debut album by Brooklyn band Friends. Our New Band of the Day writer is already a fan, praising their percussion-heavy funk-pop in a piece last year, and so there’s no good reason why you won’t be either.

You can get to know more about their music, as well as their knowledge of bedbug mating rituals, by reading this interview by Michael Hann. Or you can simply play the album in full using the widget above.

As always, let us know your thoughts in the comments below.

IndiePop and 2012 Guardian News and Media Limited or its affiliated companies. All rights reserved. | Use of this content is subject to our Terms & Conditions | More Feeds

Why pop stars won’t be attacking the monarchy this jubilee

Friday, June 1st, 2012

The Sex Pistols led a series of blistering musical attacks on the monarchy. Why don’t today’s pop stars do the same? Have they gone soft? Or do they have more important targets?

Overfamiliarity can erase certain qualities from even the greatest songs and the first thing to go is usually a sense of danger. The best way to prevent God Save the Queen fading into its own myth is to think again about the kind of country in which it made landfall back in 1977.

In England’s Dreaming, Jon Savage remembers: “What seemed terrifying about the jubilee was its sheer unanimity: the only critical press coverage was in the Morning Star and the New Statesman, while anti-jubilee festivals at Alexandra Palace and Blackheath were damp squibs. There was a brisk trade in ‘Stuff the Jubilee’ badges but that was all. Any dissenting voice was shut out.”

Sex Pistols manager Malcolm McLaren saw a publicity opportunity and forced Johnny Rotten to retitle a song he had been working on called No Future, reasoning that “No Future sounds like an ad for a bank”. When it went to No 2, kept off the top spot by the combination of Rod Stewart and alleged music industry chicanery, it was a truly shocking provocation – a declaration of war that began with the Queen and proceeded to dismantle the whole sorry country. Shortly afterwards, Rotten was set upon by a knife-wielding gang who chanted, “We love our Queen, you bastard!” and left him with two severed tendons.

Such a response is, thankfully, unimaginable now. Ardent republicans might find the current flowering of bunting and jingoism oppressive, but they’re not short of safe outlets for their dissent. To write a song attacking the Queen now would seem almost quaint, because Britain has changed and so has the monarchy.

During the 80s republicanism was almost a given among the children of punk. Morrissey was unstinting in his contempt, though he transformed it into something much richer, stranger and funnier than mere polemic on the title track of The Queen Is Dead. Ian Brown was more blunt in the vengeful folk of the Stone Roses’ Elizabeth My Dear: “Tear me apart and boil my bones/ I’ll not rest till she’s lost her throne.” A couple of years later Manic Street Preachers offered the war cry of Repeat (“Repeat after me/ Fuck queen and country”) and the youthfully overheated We Her Majesty’s Prisoners (“Celebrate Buchenwald as her majesty’s heir”), admittedly not their finest moment.

By then, however, Britain had already moved on. In 1977, the Queen was an unparallelled symbol of undeserved privilege, social injustice and sclerotic conservatism, standing in for the whole British establishment. She was soon eclipsed on that front by Margaret Thatcher, a far more compelling rage magnet, whose death was imagined in lurid detail by Elvis Costello on Tramp the Dirt Down in 1989, the same year as Elizabeth My Dear. Today one might think of the current government, bankers, the global mega-rich – almost anyone in fact – as far more urgent targets than the old woman in the palace.

At the same time, the royal family have been exposed to so much scrutiny, and experienced so many setbacks, that they invite more pity than anger. Pet Shop Boys have always loathed the monarchy with a passion but when they came to write a song about it, 1993′s Dreaming of the Queen, Elizabeth was portrayed as a sad, lost figure, drinking tea with a disconsolate Diana – not a political creature but a character in the dream of a narrator who fears he has Aids. The following year Blur’s This Is a Low depicted her in passing as a similarly weakened figure: “The Queen, she’s gone round the bend/ Jumped off Land’s End.”

The point of political songwriting is that it should move with the times. Some sources of injustice endure but there’s not much call right now for songs about apartheid, the Troubles or the threat of nuclear war. The Queen is still with us, to the irritation of a substantial minority but her symbolism has waned. If you want to rail against power and privilege in 2012 then look to Wall Street, Davos or Number 10 first. This jubilee, the Queen will not be needing Rod Stewart’s help.

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