The Sunday Times guide to today's music scene : Part 1

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12 jan. 2009, 1h21m

Looks like a good series to grab. I'll copy it here and add links to artists / albums / tracks.

The Sunday Times guide to today's music scene : Part 2
The Sunday Times guide to today's music scene : Part 3
The Sunday Times guide to today's music scene : Part 4

January 11, 2009

The Sunday Times guide to today's music scene

Ambient I Alt-country I Americana I Anti-folk I Art rock I Blue-eyed soul I Conscious Rap I Electro I Emo I Fence Collective I Folk traditionalist I Folktronica I Freak Folk I Fridmann's Freaks I Gangsta rap I Garage I Grime I Hardcore I Heavy Metal I House I Hip-Pop I Indie rock I Manufactured pop I Montreal scene I Neo-Psychedelia I Nordic pop I Post-rock I Power-pop I Progressive rock I R&B I Second Childhood I Singer-songwriters I Slowcore I Synth pop I Techno


From singer-songwriters like Laura Marling to Techno, Emo and Folktronica: part one of our definitive guide to modern music




MP3 players on shuffle, internet radio communities such as Last.fm and “If you like this, try this” guidance on the web have contributed to a surge in people’s awareness of different musical eras and genres, and to a marked reduction in pop tribalism. These days, it is not only acceptable to admit a partiality to several distinct types of music, it’s positively de rigueur. In this brave new long-tail world, we are on a never-ending journey of discovery, veering off at any number of tangents. With the number of music genres reproducing like rabbits, the journey might become a trek. The most welcome help in such circumstances is a trusty travel guide, to place that journey in context, to make it seem less daunting and more fun (and discovering and buying new music should surely be that). Here, then, in the first part of a weekly series, is Culture’s musical satnav.

INDIE ROCK

Arctic Monkeys, Wild Beasts


Blokes who remember Meat Is Murder (and former riot grrrls, for that matter) grumble and groan when asked about today’s “indie” scene. From the early 1980s to the mid-1990s, the term was a rallying cry not merely for music released on independent British record labels such as Creation, Factory and Rough Trade, but for a DIY ethos and an awkward, oppositional attitude. Fey outsiders from Morrissey to Belle and Sebastian’s Stuart Murdoch, and fierce autodidacts from Mark E Smith to the masked men of Clinic, could rule their own roosts and connect with like-minded souls. Indie was then a way of life; now the word is applied, willy-nilly, to any two-bit guitar band in skinny jeans. Thus, indie has become a marketing category, empty of meaning. Critics call the interchangeably ho-hum tunes of The Kooks, The View, The Wombats, The Pigeon Detectives and their ilk “landfill indie”. How grateful, therefore, were grumpy middle-youths for Sheffield’s Arctic Monkeys, who cussedly signed for an independent label, in Domino, write great songs and cock a snook at the Establishment. Yorkshire, indeed, is a bastion of “proper” indie values, with labels such as Dance To The Radio and bands including the Cribs and Wild Beasts.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Recent: Arctic Monkeys, Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not (2006); The Cribs, Men’s Needs, Women’s Needs, Whatever (2007); Wild Beasts, Limbo, Panto (2008)

Classic: The Smiths, The Smiths (1984); The Jesus and Mary Chain, Psychocandy (1985); Belle and Sebastian, If You’re Feeling Sinister (1996)

Key track: Arctic Monkeys, When the Sun Goes Down (2006)

BLUE-EYED SOUL

Amy Winehouse, Adele, Duffy


The past two years in music have shown just how commercially potent remains, with singers such as Amy Winehouse and Duffy selling millions of albums around the world. A term originally coined in the 1960s to describe white singers and bands — such as the Righteous Brothers, the Rascals and Dusty Springfield — whose sound was indebted to and Soul music, it first became really big business in the 1970s and 1980s, when David Bowie, Hall & Oates, Rod Stewart, George Michael and Simply Red rode high in the charts with slick, soul-infused hits.

For some, the term will always be synonymous with a dilution of the form; and, at its worst, the genre has certainly lent weight to that argument. The Australian singer Gabriella Cilmi, who had a big hit last year with Sweet About Me, didn’t put a foot wrong in the song, which is a note-perfect facsimile of classic — and in a sense, that’s the problem. Yet from Dusty in the late 1960s to Amy today, white artists with real emotional and vocal heft have proved that soul can come from anyone, as long as the song, and the performance, communicates a sense of rapture or pain that is authentic and searing. Now the singer and Mark Ronson collaborator Daniel Merriweather looks set to join the party with his debut album, due in April.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Recent: Amy Winehouse, Back to Black (2006); Adele, 19 (2008); Duffy, Rockferry (2008)

Classic: Dusty Springfield, Dusty In Memphis (1969); David Bowie, Young Americans (1975); Daryl Hall & John Oates, Daryl Hall & John Oates (1975)

Key track: Amy Winehouse, Love Is a Losing Game (2006)

PROGRESSIVE ROCK

Muse, Radiohead, Secret Machines


To watch Matt Bellamy, the singer and guitarist of Muse, the Devon neo-prog trio, pirouette around a concert stage as notes cascade from his guitar, as his songs become ever more labyrinthine, grandiose and verging on absurdity, and as pyrotechnics explode above the band’s heads, is to witness all the mad splendour of prog rock, alive and well three decades after its heyday (and apparent death at the hands of punk). If, today, original prog dinosaurs such as Yes, Genesis and Emerson, Lake & Palmer are still (sometimes unfairly) the names most often wheeled out as evidence of just how pompous and overblown the genre could be, there is nonetheless a growing appreciation of the way-off-the-scale work of earlier bands such as the Mothers of Invention, King Crimson, Soft Machine and, lest we forget, the pre-megastardom Pink Floyd. Back in the days before prog and art rock were seen as two separate entities, the best practitioners not only justified their mission — to make music of a greater complexity and inventiveness than the standard rock-song format allowed for — with some superb albums, they also pointed the way towards the music of similarly unfettered and adventurous contemporary bands such as Radiohead and Muse.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Recent: Muse, Absolution (2003); Hope of the States, The Lost Riots (2004); Secret Machines, Now Here Is Nowhere (2004)

Classic: King Crimson, In the Court of the Crimson King (1969); Soft Machine, Third (1970); Yes, Close to the Edge (1972)

Key track: Secret Machines, Atomic Heels (2008)

NEO-SOUL

Alicia Keys, Angie Stone Raphael Saadiq


Long before the likes of Mark Ronson spliced together elements of classic 1970s soul and modern production techniques and rhythms, a new generation of American acts such as Tony! Toni! Toné!, D’Angelo, Lauryn Hill and Erykah Badu took a conscious decision to return to the era’s roots in the music of Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and Donny Hathaway, with a succession of 1990s releases that heralded a rediscovery of first principles — these can be heard in the recent work of artists such as Alicia Keys and Angie Stone, and, in an arguably more opportunistic form, that of Ronson, Duffy et al. Not that the original crew were exactly slouches in the sales department: D’Angelo’s superb Brown Sugar album sold more than 2m copies, The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill has clocked up a mighty 18m, Baduizm, the debut from Badu, went triple platinum in America and Macy Gray’s On How Life Is was also a multimillion-seller. With bass-heavy grooves, complex harmonies and classic soul instrumentation, these albums opened doors at record labels and radio stations for artists who followed in their wake: Keys, with global album sales in excess of 30m, has been the most obvious beneficiary. Others have not been so fortunate. With Hill clearly in a troubled place, and D’Angelo not having released any new material in eight years, it has been left to others to package up the idea and make off with the spoils. Which is, when you think about it, pretty much the history of black music in a nutshell.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Angie Stone, Mahogany Soul (2001); Alicia Keys, The Diary of Alicia Keys (2003); Lina, The Inner Beauty Movement (2005)

Key track: D’Angelo, Chicken Grease (2000).

FOLKTRONICA

Tunng, Four Tet, Caribou


As acoustic guitars returned to the fold in the late 1990s, laptops joined them by the campfire. If quiet was the new loud, then some of the sounds would be software-generated. Beth Orton’s stony cooing over gently distressed drums had made her the rave generation’s comedown queen when Four Tet (aka Kieran Hebden) released Pause in 2001. Its skittering brand of hip-hop fidgeted under a warm blanket of strings, and was born. Hebden refined his formula on Rounds (2003). Caribou’s bucolic reveries and Mira Calix’s spooky sonic collages have developed the more textural aspects of a genre whose co-ordinates aren’t particularly fixed, while songwriters from Adem (Hebden’s former band mate in Fridge) to Peter Broderick, and Juana Molina to Laura Veirs, have made good use of gadgets such as loop pedals and samplers. There’s a case, too, for describing Björk’s album Homogenic — its beats gurgling like geysers — as folktronica-esque. Yet the folk and electronic halves of the equation best add up in the songs of Tunng, where Sam Genders’s dour vocals are dappled by Mike Lindsay’s audio seed bank of buzzes, flutters and squelches.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Four Tet, Pause (2001); Tunng, Mother's Daughter and Other Songs (2005); Caribou, The Milk of Human Kindness (2005)

Key track: Tunng, Fair Doreen (2005)

ART ROCK

Franz Ferdinand, TV on the Radio, Bloc Party


For as long as real ale is served and beards are worn, grizzlier male music fans will gather in pubs and mutter into their pints about where went wrong. Not for them the jagged, post-punky rhythms of Franz Ferdinand and Bloc Party, both of whom favour music that sits somewhere between the hollow-eyed of the , the glammed-up artiness of early Roxy Music, the nervy dance music of Talking Heads and the jerky, confrontational experimentalism of Wire. No, what they want is someone who will reconnect the genre with something altogether proggier or more avant-garde. The poster boys for such nostalgists are early Genesis and Pink Floyd, Brian Eno and King Crimson. (You can trace a straight line from Arnold Layne to Psycho killer, but we’ll let that go.) They might like to try Brooklyn’s TV on the Radio. In a sense, each of the genre’s contemporary exponents, no matter how contrasting their road maps, is staying true to art rock’s core raison d’être: to make music that is, as one website puts it, “in the rock idiom . . . appealing more intellectually or musically, that is, not formulated along pop lines for mass consumption”. If that sounds like it rules out hit singles, somebody forgot to tell Franz Ferdinand.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Recent: Franz Ferdinand, Franz Ferdinand (2004); Bloc Party, Silent Alarm (2005); TV on the Radio, Dear Science (2008)

Classic: Roxy Music, For Your Pleasure (1973); Brian Eno, Here Come The Warm Jets (1974); Talking Heads, 77 (1977)

Key track: TV on the Radio, Shout Me Out (2008)

TECHNO

Richie Hawtin, Robert Hood, Jeff Mills, Speedy J, The Advent, Adam Beyer


When the different genres started to establish themselves in the dance-music boom of the early 1990s, territorialism was rife. If you were a person, you probably had a skinhead and would be seen in a house club either dead or under duress from a female. Techno was the music of the future, with sci-fi themes, indescribable noises generated by yanking machines into overdrive and a rigid 4/4 beat structure, with every beat pronounced for ease of dancing. It was acceptable to enjoy both, but the two sounds were, broadly, and . Although the Detroit producers made free use of “”, the pinging, metallic tone wrested from the Roland TB-303 bass generator, they also often based tracks on funky basslines, whereas acid techno was predicated on the 303. “”, a harder variant at absurd tempi with doom-laden imagery, developed in Rotterdam, and there were more abrasive strains of German techno, but broadly everyone was happy with the formula. Until several lone producers, including Richie Hawtin and Robert Hood, independently thinking something was getting lost in the maximal approach, took the sound back to basics, and a minimal movement centred on Berlin took root in about 2003. The latest technology could create music with an appealing sense of space; soon, minimal outstripped old-style techno in popularity. Now that the in crowd has moved on to a subtly different style called , techno is likely to beef up again, although the synthetic sound and sense of utter control inherent in minimal made it perhaps the most “techno” music yet.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Richie Hawtin, DE9: Transitions (2005); Cisco Ferreira aka The Advent, Trinity (2005); Trentemøller, The Trentemøller Chronicles (2007)

Key track: Ricardo Villalobos, Fizheuer Zieheuer (2006)

FENCE COLLECTIVE

King Creosote, James Yorkston, Pictish Trail


The Fence Collective is a bunch of musicians connected to the Fence label and based in or near the fishing village of Anstruther, in the East Neuk of Fife. While Fence emits a folky vibe, its artists also straddle rock, and even mainstream pop. Kenny Anderson used to run a record shop nearby, and, although the shop went bust, his time running it convinced Anderson that there was a vibrant local music scene desperate for some kind of outlet, so he set up Fence. Unlike EMI, say, or Sony BMG, the boss is also perhaps the best artist on the roster; Anderson records his sweet-voiced folk as King Creosote. To underline the family feel of the label, Anderson’s brother Gordon recorded as Lone Pigeon before helping to found The Aliens, and his other brother Ian is a key member of the collective, under the name Pip Dylan. Alongside King Creosote, the collective’s most high-profile member is James Yorkston, whose gorgeous folk songs sound traditional, but are in fact self-penned. Honest-to-goodness pop star KT Tunstall spent some time with the collective before she became famous, and her references to it in interviews helped to attract media attention to this unique and reassuringly DIY musical scene.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

King Creosote, KC Rules OK (2005); James Yorkston, When the Haar Rolls In (2008); Pictish Trail, Secret Soundz (2008)

Key track: King Creosote, You’ve No Clue Do You (2007)

GRIME

Dizzee Rascal, Wiley, Kano, Sway, Lethal Bizzle, Giggs, Ghetto, Durrty Goodz, Skepta, Chipmunk


It took Britain a while to develop a proper, home-grown answer to America’s all-conquering hip-hop sound. If you take 1979 (the year of Sugarhill Gang’s Rapper’s delight) as the birth year of American rap, then it was more than two decades before a coterie of young producer-MCs in east London came up with . It came about as an offshoot of music, the British urban club sound that combined soulful vocals with jittery rhythms, and it often finds itself lumped in with , which was being honed at about the same time in south London.

In fact, although the two styles are both in essence offshoots of garage with a lot more bass, grime can be distinguished by its vocal component: yes, grime is musically inventive and versatile, but the rapping is the artists’ calling card. As in the early days of New York hip-hop, grime MCs would gather at club nights for rapping contests or “battles”, which would often be filmed and circulated on DVD. Nowadays, the mixtape has overtaken the battle as the way for new artists to spread the word. The pioneer of grime (his name for the music, , did not catch on widely) is Wiley, even if it was his one-time protégé Dizzee Rascal who made the style widely known by winning the Mercury prize with his debut album, Boy in da Corner, in 2003, then being multiply stabbed the same year; and it is those two who took the style into new territory last year, with their electro grime songs scoring the genre its first No 2 and No 1 singles.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Dizzee Rascal, Boy in da Corner (2003); Wiley, treddin’ on thin ice (2004); Sway, This Is My Demo (2006).

Key track: Lethal Bizzle, Pow (Forward) (2004).

AMERICANA

Fleet Foxes, Bon Iver, Sufjan Stevens


If you study those end-of-year best-album lists, you’ll have seen the term “” a lot recently. Two key Americana releases — Fleet Foxes’ self-titled debut and Bon Iver’s For Emma, Forever Ago — were among the most acclaimed albums of 2008, demonstrating the increasing importance of the genre. The first problem you encounter when trying to define Americana is how you separate it from . Truth be told, the terms are often used interchangeably, and many artists have been described as both. The simplest way to separate the two is to say that alt-country is country that sits outside the current Nashville mainstream, while Americana draws more heavily on the folk tradition, and on those 1960s pop artists and rock bands — notably The Beach Boys and The Band — whose music seemed to evoke an earlier time. Some Americana artists wear their Americanness on their sleeve — notably Sufjan Stevens, with his series of albums each concentrating on one of the American states; others, such as Jim White and The Handsome Family, simply emerge from a peculiarly American sensibility; still others, such as , aren’t American at all. But if it’s rootsy and folksy, and would sound good being played on Bob Dylan’s Theme Time Radio Hour, it’s Americana.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Recent: Jim White, No Such Place (2001); Fleet Foxes, Fleet Foxes (2008); Bon Iver, For Emma, Forever Ago (2008)

Classic: Woody Guthrie, Dust Bowl Ballads (1940); The Band, The Band (1969)

Key track: Sufjan Stevens, Chicago (2008)

SLOWCORE

Low, Sun Kil Moon, Stina Nordenstam


began almost as a joke in the early 1990s, when the members of the band Low wondered what would happen if they played very, very quietly and very, very slowly in front of rock crowds used to the noise and energy of grunge. What happened was that they invented an astonishingly powerful musical form, in which, because relatively little is played, every single note and every single space matters. This helps to explain why there are — and will only ever be — a smattering of slowcore artists. Anyone can make an electric guitar sound okay at speed, but when you play only one note every three or four bars, you’d better know what you’re doing. Given the minimal musical backing, one of the key elements of successful slowcore is a captivating voice. Low feature the harmonies of married bandmates Alan Sparhawk and Mimi Parker; Red House Painters were fronted by the individual vocals of Mark Kozelek, who now leads Sun Kil Moon; while singer-songwriters who have been labelled slowcore (or the virtually interchangeable “”) also tend to be distinctive vocalists, such as the Swedish singer Stina Nordenstam, with her sadly beautiful little-girl whisper.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Low, The Great Destroyer (2005); Sun Kil Moon, April (2008); Tram, Frequently Asked Questions (2001)

Key track: Stina Nordenstam, Purple Rain (1998)

R&B

Beyonce, Rihanna, Justin Timberlake


Contemporary R&B — or , as American radio knows it — is not entirely separate from its rhythm-and-blues forebear, but, rather as the original did, it has evolved, in a sort of musical trolley dash, to incorporate pretty much any style (soul, disco, funk, hip-hop, rap and pop) it has found in its path. Today’s leading exemplars, such as Beyoncé, Rihanna and Justin Timberlake, dominate the charts, but do so with music that is often bracingly, and sometimes shockingly, experimental. Indeed, there is an argument for saying that no other mainstream musical genre today is as subversive and left-field as R&B. Hits such as Rihanna’s 2007-dominating Umbrella, or Beyoncé’s Crazy in Love, Deja Vu and now Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It), boast a sonic eccentricity almost unheard of in chart music. Umbrella and Single Ladies both have choruses where minor chords begin to stalk the song, lending the two tracks an unsettling air utterly at odds with the major-key chutzpah of the top lines. Producers such as Timbaland, The Neptunes, Christopher Stewart and Nate “Danja” Hills continue to push the envelope and steer their charges up the charts, making R&B not just one of the most pioneering forces in music today, but one of the most successful, too.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Amerie, Because I Love It (2007); Rihanna, Good Girl Gone Bad (2007).

Key track: Beyoncé, Single Ladies (Put a Ring on It) (2008)

EMO

My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy


While it’s unlikely that many have sloping fringes and kohl eyeliner in common, music fans and Millwall football fans appear to share an anthem: “Nobody likes us and we don’t care.” With brash riffing and bratty vocals, emo deals in teenage angst for kids weaned on the faux-goth Avril Lavigne and pop-punks Green Day. Despite claiming distant kinship with the anti-commercial zealots of , it’s slick, self-aware and shifting serious units. These fans suffer for their artists: beaten up, sometimes, for looking “sensitive” and accused, by the Daily Mail, of being a “sinister cult” promoting suicide. Do their heroes repay their loyalty? My Chemical Romance’s motto, Don’t Be Afraid to Live, couldn’t make it clearer that the Mail got the wrong end of the stick. As befits its adolescent concerns, though, emo isn’t comfortable in its own skin. Fall Out Boy’s pin-up, Pete Wentz, worries that he’s “a poster boy for something I don’t even understand”, and all three of emo’s leading bands have edged away from it with their latest albums. Inside, however, the hoodies continue to hum the Panic! at the Disco refrain “Oh, we’re still so young, desperate for attention”. They need a hug.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

My Chemical Romance, Three Cheers for Sweet Revenge (2004); Fall Out Boy, From Under The Cork Tree (2005); Panic! at the Disco, A FEVER YOU CAN’T SWEAT OUT (2005).

Key track: Fall Out Boy, Sugar, We’re Goin’ Down (2005).

SINGER-SONGWRITER

Laura Marling, Damien Rice, Ray LaMontagne, Aimee Mann, Cat Power, Ron Sexsmith


Laura Marling’s Mercury nomination for her Alas, I Cannot Swim album underlined that, however weird modern music might get, we always have a soft spot for good old-fashioned singer-songwriters. While everyone who writes and sings their own songs is technically a , that’s clearly not what the label means. When we think of a singer-songwriter, we think of someone who conforms pretty closely to a template laid down in the 1960s by the likes of Bob Dylan, Paul Simon, Joni Mitchell and Carole King: they probably play an acoustic guitar (although we would accept a piano), they’re maybe a bit shy (Marling describes playing larger venues as “scary”) and they almost certainly are capable of writing deeper than average lyrics with the ability to illuminate our lives. Since the 2001 rerelease of David Gray’s White Ladder, singer-songwriters have been firmly back in vogue, with Ireland’s Damien Rice and America’s Ray LaMontagne, in particular, plumbing the emotional depths so that we don’t have to. There is a subset of the singer-songwriter genre in which lurk sui generis artists such as Kate Bush and Randy Newman: they don’t quite fit in here, but then they don’t quite fit in anywhere else, and on the rare occasions when they manage to make an album, they’re always welcome. Cat Power has more recently joined their ranks.

ESSENTIAL RECORDINGS

Recent: Laura Marling, Alas, I Cannot Swim (2008); Damien Rice, 9 (2005); Ray LaMontagne, Till The Sun Turns Black (2006)

Classic: Joni Mitchell, Blue (1971); Paul Simon, There Goes Rhymin’ Simon (1973); Neil Young, Harvest (1972).

Key track: Cat Power, The Greatest

Source: The Sunday Times - Culture

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The Sunday Times guide to today's music scene : Part 2

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Commentaires

  • Babs_05

    Thanks for the comment, pobgirl5. Yes, I thought it was something I might come back to again and again. I'll grab future articles and link them all together, so keep an eye out. :)

    12 jan. 2009, 12h57m
  • Rotuhiiri

    "PROGRESSIVE ROCK Muse, Radiohead, Secret Machines" EMO My Chemical Romance, Fall Out Boy "ART ROCK Franz Ferdinand, TV on the Radio, Bloc Party" I'm surprised they didn't call Amy Winehouse 'jazz'...

    13 jan. 2009, 7h45m
  • Babs_05

    She is from a jazz tradition. What's your point?

    13 jan. 2009, 14h57m
  • Rotuhiiri

    No, there was no point, just sarcasm. What I do think however is that by applying these terms on bands incorrectly they are turning these 'genres', or whatever you may call them, into something they have been. If mainstream media call Winehouse jazz or Radiohead prog, some people will think they are.

    13 jan. 2009, 19h09m
  • Babs_05

    But are they incorrect? I know those writers at the Sunday Times aren't ignorant nobodies, they know their stuff. On the other hand, I was a bit surprised at Radiohead as prog etc. But then, they are a bit proggy aren't they? No denying it, they do go on a bit sometimes, lol. Winehouse [i]is[/i] jazz. We have to be careful of our own ignorance before we go challenging this stuff. She's from a pure jazz background and everything she has done since then stems from that. Soul, r&b, they come from jazz. But it's good to challenge. It's good to listen again with fresh ears, read around and reconsider things. I can tell you, when I was listening to Adam and the Ants, Blondie et al, no one was calling it post-punk then! You get a better picture as things evolve.

    13 jan. 2009, 19h28m
  • Hyoajin

    I like this.

    14 jan. 2009, 3h56m
  • Babs_05

    Thanks, Hyoajin. Keep an eye out, I plan to grab the series. (I hope there aren't too many!) :)

    14 jan. 2009, 4h57m
  • Orange_Anubis

    It cheers me up no end to see that they've completely got the point of contemporary R&B, that it's the natural home of the sonic avant-garde, rather than writing it off as production-line pap, as I so often end up reading.

    14 jan. 2009, 15h13m
  • Babs_05

    That's what I thought. I was astounded when I heard Flying Lotus last year. I had no idea there was this whole scene going on. Sunday Times writers are pretty good though, that's why I like them. Their features are brilliant.

    14 jan. 2009, 18h58m
  • Orange_Anubis

    Ah, I didn't mean the leftfield chin-stroking stuff like Flying Lotus, but the glossy chartbound stuff mentioned in the article, which rarely seems to get the credit it deserves for innovative production.

    16 jan. 2009, 14h06m
  • Babs_05

    Well, I still haven't heard the Umbrella song. Well, not properly like all the way through. I haven't heard much Rihanna. But I adore Beyoncé and I like Justin Timberlake. And Jay-Z seems to have the Midas touch. Where does Busta Rhymes fit? He's a clever and crazy man. And Missy Elliot? Adore her. She, especially, seems to be in a league of her own.

    16 jan. 2009, 14h29m
  • Babs_05

    Oh I like this!! New(ish) single from Busta Rhymes - Arab Money: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GYOmWQiVCFQ

    16 jan. 2009, 14h47m
  • Orange_Anubis

    Rihanna's like a slightly more robotic version of Beyonce, heh. Busta and Missy, very like minds it seems to me, both of them make hip hop that manages to be chart-friendly and properly weird and innovative at the same time. Arab Money's great, isn't it! Missy has a new album out - finally - in the next month or so, it's been put back more times than I care to remember. Am most excited, she's a very big favourite of mine.

    16 jan. 2009, 15h31m
  • Babs_05

    Big favourite of mine too. Just read she's got an album due next month, as has Busta Rhymes. Now I've decided I no longer give a **** what the Good Taste Brigade think, both will go in my 2009 Featured Albums radio. (yes, even I succumbed to that vile pressure, but no more!)

    16 jan. 2009, 15h36m
  • Babs_05

    ... actually, thinking on it, I've done quite well cocking a snook to the GTB, I had Jay-Z in my radio last year, and loads of really more questionable stuff. lol I love my radios. :D

    16 jan. 2009, 22h06m
  • catachresistant

    Well I ain't gunna comment on the rest of it, but I'm glad slowcore got a shout-out (although current? really? it's pretty much a dead form), and the choices are good. Stina isn't an obvious choice. BUT. They got their origins so very wrong. Low were slowcore latecomers.

    17 jan. 2009, 8h25m
  • Babs_05

    Maybe Low brought it to a wider audience, that's why they got the credit? No? Tell us what you know. Must confess, slowcore did my head in for ages, I couldn't get a handle on it. Probably because I heard of it too late and there were a bunch of forms flying around by then. Is that what you mean about Stina? I was thinking of the choices and decided they must be going for the most recent or the ones people are most likely to have heard of than the actual originators. I hadn't heard of the Fence Collective, but that was it. Not bad going! I wonder if they'll define . I don't know what it means. Thanks for the comments, eitaicoro, catachresistant.

    17 jan. 2009, 15h27m
  • catachresistant

    [quote]I was thinking of the choices and decided they must be going for the most recent or the ones people are most likely to have heard of than the actual originators.[/quote] Yeah, but the description implies that Low "started" it. "Almost as a joke", no less! I think the slowcore tag wiki on here gives a pretty good description of the genre and where it comes from. But then I would think that. Since I wrote it, and have an oversized ego. I don't really think of it as a real "genre", so much as a style. Which is probably where you get the "bunch of forms" thing from. Some of it is slowed-down math-rock (Codeine, Bluetile Lounge, Timonium). Some of it is minimalist singer-songwriter stuff (Red House Painters, Idaho, Lisa Germano). Other times it's glacial post-rock (Early Day Miners, Gregor Samsa, Coastal). Or some mix of all these. But it's a pretty much insignificant (in terms of future influence and mainstream penetration) form of music that had a brief moment of popularity in the nineties and then fizzled into almost nothing. The choices reflect that - those three artists are pretty much the only big names still kicking around. Although all of them have for the most part abandoned their "slowcore" roots. The listed albums are telling - The Great Destroyer marked Low's biggest change in sound. It's their most controversial album amongst fans. April is Mark Kozelek's most explicit homage to Crazy Horse to date. And Frequently Asked Questions edges Tram further and further into more traditional chamber-pop territory. Still, happy to see it there, and the author(s?) obviously do know their stuff. (dodgy choices for other genres? sure, maybe, but how many relatively popular modern prog bands can you think of right now? I can think of Marillion and that's it!)

    17 jan. 2009, 20h57m
  • Babs_05

    That was brilliant, thanks! When I think of 'genre' I think back to science classes at school and the whole thing of classification, which is what it is really. So to me, 'genre' means a particular collection of styles. And a style is one element. (?? I think. Just working it out as I write.) So from your description, I've got slowcore is rock at a snail's pace. That's to differentiate it from ambient, dream pop, and other slow, sleepy music. Is that right? So they will focus on guitars, drums, with some electronica. But hang on, Stina is a bit pop. She's more dream pop to me. Oh I see, pop elements have entered the slowcore genre. Ok! I can't think of any other proggy bands right now. Prog to me means a bit of self-indulgence mixed up with going on a bit. (Technical terms, don't you know!) And only rock, not pop. I've heard of some new bands that are a bit proggy. They'll be in my music discovery groups. Central Point: where artists and listeners meet and Next Big Things - NBTs. I've been shaking things up a bit... :)

    17 jan. 2009, 21h18m
  • hmonk

    You've got an acute accent for "Mother’s Daughter And Other Songs" instead of a straight-quote. A lot of newspapers do this to simulate curly-quotes on their web sites. It's worse because the last.fm font (at least as it shows up on my computer) shows no difference between the ’ (acute accent) and ' (single quote/apostrophe) except for one extra pixel of space. Still, it breaks the link, which should be to Mother's Daughter and Other Songs

    20 jan. 2009, 18h23m
  • Babs_05

    Nice catch, thank you. Yes, I c+p'd from their website but it was full of typos I noticed. I corrected as much as I could. Thanks for the right link. If anyone else finds any other errors, please do let me know.

    20 jan. 2009, 18h30m
  • rizzosh

    Orange_Anubis wrote: "It cheers me up no end to see that they've completely got the point of contemporary R&B, that it's the natural home of the sonic avant-garde, rather than writing it off as production-line pap, as I so often end up reading." Just like Orange_Anubis I was thrilled to read the Sunday Times' spot-on analysis of contemporary R&B. This sonic audacity is one of the main reasons I love it so much... And to choose Amerie's "Because I Love It" album as a prime example of this is again so spot-on. Brilliant album, so criminally underrated...

    21 jan. 2009, 17h12m
  • Babs_05

    Thanks for reading and your comment, rizzosh. I haven't listened to Amerie yet! I will now. I think that's the thing, mainstream media gets a bit chocka with the not-so-good stuff and so really good music gets sidelined. It probably has more to do with promotion budgets than anything else.

    21 jan. 2009, 18h24m
  • NettieStrauch

    I like the guide. Have been following the music styles in the #Sunday-Times. Many greetings, Annette

    29 jan. 2009, 11h38m
  • Babs_05

    Greetings, Annette. Glad you enjoyed the article. :)

    29 jan. 2009, 16h51m
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