Michael Kiwanuka – ‘KIWANUKA’ review

Looking ahead even as he evokes the work of greats as such as Bill Withers and Gil Scott-Heron, Michael Kiwanuka's bravura self-titled record sees him fiercely reclaim his identity “Are you really giving up? Are you really going to stop right now?” Michael Kiwanuka asks on new track ‘Living in Denial’, the lyrics from his self-titled latest feeling like pages from his diary five years ago. An artist well known for his struggles with self-confidence, Kiwanuka may well have spoken those words to

Kele Okereke – ‘2042’ review

Kele Okereke is no stranger to politics. He recently wrote music to accompany the anti-Brexit play Leave to Remain, and this extremely outspoken new album follows suit. Where its predecessor, 2017’s ‘Fatherland’, saw the Bloc Party singer anticipating becoming a father for the first time. Here Okereke has gone back to his fierce experimental roots; the folk leanings of ‘Fatherland’ feel like a distant echo. The assured sonics on ‘2042’ mirror the commanding social commentary, as he scrutinises the fractured world his children (he has a second on the way) will inherit. Okereke explores what it means to be black, British and gay in 2019.

The Lighthouse review: the most gripping horror film of the year

An extraordinary, unsettling film that will stay with you long after the final credits Stories of humanity raging against the elements (and going a little mad with it) have long dotted film and literature – Melville’s Moby Dick, Stevenson’s Treasure Island, Coleridge’s The Rhyme of the Ancient Mariner to name a few. Now, via The Witch director Robert Eggers, there is another, The Lighthouse, in which William Dafoe and Robert Pattinson battle nature as its most ferocious and wild. Playing two li

Pet Shop Boys still light years ahead at BBC Radio 2 Live

The sold-out audience at BBC Radio 2’s Festival in a Day were surprised yesterday as an Indian summer unexpectedly descended, basking Hyde Park in glorious sunshine. Simply Red’s Mick Hucknall came more prepared than most during his opening set of the day, clad in a short-sleeved shirt and shades and armed with a host of summer-tinged hits. The joy progressed with Bananarama whose mix of breathless Eighties disco and warm humour brought buckets of fun to the afternoon.

Steve Clarke and Rachel Goswell debut album review, The Soft Cavalry

Somewhere between shoegaze and synth-pop, tackling frustration, anxiety and confusion, this powerful debut shows it's never too late to follow your dreams. The Soft Cavalry’s eponymous debut is borne out of an old-fashioned love-story. Until 2014, Steve Clarke – the group’s mastermind, lead vocalist and guitarist – was working as a jobbing musician, providing backing vocals for various musicians whilst also balancing work as a tour manager. In 2014, Clarke was asked to work with the newly reformed Slowdive...

Glastonbury Festival 2019 review, Sunday

Sunday at Glastonbury got off to the brightest of starts thanks to the enduring good weather and a surprise appearance from Sir David Attenborough on the Pyramid Stage. Receiving a welcome normally reserved for rock stars, the 93-year-old praised Glastonbury for its decision to go plastic-free just days after Extinct Rebellion led a procession of 20,000 through the festival’s fields to raise awareness of climate change. Attenborough’s appearance was brief but powerful and the pinnacle of the gr

Review - Thom Yorke, 'Anima'

Thom Yorke’s third solo album feels like it begins where Radiohead’s OK Computer left off: “Goddamned machinery, why don’t you speak to me? / One day I am gonna take an axe to you,” he torments on new offering The Axe. Where OK Computer was the warning, Anima is the reality: technology has taken over and our true inner selves, our “animas”, are lost. In Yorke’s new world, humans are devoid of self, walking around in a limbo state somewhere between dreams and foggy realities. His falsetto haunts

Albums of the week: Madonna, Kate Tempest and Bastille

Coming 36 years after her self-titled debut, Madonna’s Madame X might just be one of the most exciting, baffling and bold albums of her career. Influenced by her life in Lisbon, London, New York and LA, Madame X is dizzying in its range of influences. There’s Latin pop, house, disco, reggaeton, trap, even classical snatches of Tchaikovsky. Many moments impress, mostly because of how much they surprise: Madonna, below, revels, as always, in being unpredictable...

Mahalia at O2 Shepherd's Bush Empire, review

Seven years after signing to Asylum Records — also home to Ed Sheeran and Charli XCX — Mahalia Burkmar earned a superstar welcome as she took to the stage at a sold-out Shepherd’s Bush Empire show. It was a poignant moment. Still only 20, Leicester-born Mahalia was 13 when she signed a record deal amid a wave of hype and early comparisons to Erykah Badu. Yet in the intervening years, mainstream success has largely eluded her. After two busy years that have seen Mahalia step up to larger venues

Albums of the week: Jenny Lewis, Lucy Rose and These New Puritans

It has has been five years since Jenny Lewis’s last album, The Voyager, earned praise for its soul-baring realism. A tumultuous time for the former Rilo Kiley frontwoman, it dealt with everything from the break-up of her band to struggles with depression; it also explored her fractured relationship with her father — and his subsequent death. Life hasn’t been much kinder to Lewis in the ensuing years; she’s lost her mother to cancer, split with her partner of 12 years and has spoken out in suppo

These New Puritans – 'Inside the Rose' review

These New Puritans have made a career out of difference, often pushing the sonic senses of listeners to extremes as they delve into the deconstructed, the abstract and the obscure. “I want music that sharpens you,” TNPs’ Jack Barnett said in a recent interview, adding that music should “amplify your nervous system.” The description couldn’t be more apt for Inside the Rose, their first LP since 2013’s Field of Reeds...
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