The Guardian - Contemporary Music
Shepherd's Bush Empire, LondonThe Cuban duo brought a night of Latin American revelry to west London, with trombones, trumpets and thunderous bass Bailando is the word reverberating off the walls. Translated literally as dancing, it's not only the name of Gente de Zona's most popular song (and their opener for the show), it also perfectly encapsulates the night's mood. Before the show has begun, the crowd is already buzzing, waving Cuban flags in the air, clapping their hands and moving their waists in time with the warm-up DJ.
The west London MC reflects on Grenfell a year on, Jeremy Corbyn and grime's resurgence. Big Zuu, 22, grew up in west London, and with his cousin AJ Tracey and crew MTP, forms part of the new wave of grime MCs following in the mainstream success of artists like Stormzy. Two days after the Grenfell Tower fire last year, he recorded and released a fundraising tribute song and video.
Photographer Norman Lomax and writer Michael Walker joined a return coach trip from Belfast to Frankie's Nite Club in Raphoe, County Donegal, for a rave billed as Resurrection Beyond Belief. The Belfast end of the event was organised from a clothes and record shop in Church Lane called Snafu (soldier-speak, meaning Situation Normal All Fouled Up). We should have seen the omens.
(Good Music/Def Jam) In further proof that labels such as album, mixtape and EP have been rendered meaningless, Pusha T's much-anticipated third album arrives as a lean seven-track miniature opus that clocks in under 25 minutes. Brevity sharpens the ex-Clipse rapper's focus, though: rarely has he sounded as urgent, even with his signature laconic tempo, as he does on bravura opener If You Know You Know; or as authoritative as on Santeria, which packs three different movements into under three minutes. The same is true of Kanye West, who has always been more talented and interesting as a producer than as a rapper or personality.
The Nashville-based multi-instrumentalist mixes folk and ambient electronica, writing songs about nature and travel That Conner Youngblood's latest track is called Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge feels telling. Making music that's as exploratory, plaintive and soft around the edges as that peaceful title image suggests is the forte of this 28-year-old singer-songwriter. Youngblood is based in Nashville but was born in Dallas.
The Kingdom Choir's Windsor rendition of Stand By Me has shot Karen Gibson to fame. Here she explains how the passionate music has spread far beyond its church roots. Gospel is spreading, and we can praise Karen Gibson for that.
Crowded environments like festivals said to be a risk, amid surge in measles cases in West Midlands Public Health England is advising attendees at summer music festivals to be vaccinated against measles, amid worries that the events could allow for the easy spread of an outbreak. In a statement, the government body said that music festivals pose an ideal opportunity for the infection to spread quickly and that close-mixing environments such as festivals are more at risk of the disease spreading. Anyone with symptoms was also advised to stay away from music festivals.
The rapper's aversion to the mainstream takes his third album to some glorious heights, with the help of Skepta and Frank Ocean. But is his swaggering decadence wearing thin? A$AP Rocky's great gift isn't that he flies above rap trends - it's that he contorts them at will. Who else could be pitched as the successor to New York's golden-age legends while leaning on subwoofer-rumbling, screwed-up Southern hip-hop? Rocky is an ostentatious impresario who took hollowed-out cloud rap and Odd Future's lo-fi aesthetic and made it all sound like high-end fashion.
Despite his success, Pusha T is still rapping about drug dealing - but the sheer pleasure of his flow, and Kanye West's productions, smooth over any quibbles about authenticity A fair bit of rap is a self-fulfilling prophecy: rhyme about how lavish your lifestyle is until your success affords you a lavish lifestyle. You might have to spend all your rent money on Balmain in the beginning but, if you make it, authenticity catches up with you. Pusha T, now nearly two decades into his career both solo and with his brother in Clipse, took a riskier tack: rap about street-level drug dealing and stick at it, even when your lifestyle changes.
Streaming platform will reinstate XXXTentacion's music to playlists after artists including Kendrick Lamar threaten to pull their work Two weeks after Spotify removed music by R Kelly and rapper XXXTentacion from its editorial playlists, in accordance with its new hateful conduct policy, the streaming platform will restore music by the latter in response to a backlash from the industry and its own staff. Spotify announced the hate conduct and hateful conduct policy on 10 May, explaining it wouldn't censor content because of an artist's behaviour, but that its editorial decisions should reflect the company's values: When an artist or creator does something that is especially harmful or hateful (for example, violence against children and sexual violence), it may affect the ways we work with or support that artist or creator. Continue reading.
Etihad Stadium, ManchesterThe grinning megastar gets hands waving with no more than a guitar, some chummy bantz and his undeniably catchy hits There's a video on the internet of Ed Sheeran, before he was famous, playing to bemused passers-by in London's St Pancras station. He was more fresh-faced and less bearded, but was already purveying his now ubiquitous, one-size-fits-all mix of folk, soul, rap and bantz, urging the railway passengers to sing along and make a circle. In a staggeringly ironic comment to camera, he says: My music doesn't really hit everyone, otherwise I'd be a lucky man.
(Island) It is the law that every teen pop star eventually undergoes a very public sexual awakening, whether that be Britney cavorting with a snake or Justins Timberlake and Bieber respectively embracing debauchery and delinquency. The persona of every solo One Direction member can be summed up as: Yes, I have sex now. Even Taylor Swift has abandoned her good-girl persona for leather and frenzied gasps.
As Canada's first 'consent captain', Tanille Geib helps revellers with flirting, dating and hooking up on the dancefloor Most nights of the week, Tanille Geib can be found wandering through drunken crowds on a dance floor in the western Canadian city of Victoria. She's not a bartender or a bouncer - she's there to help patrons navigate the sometimes murky world of flirting, dating and hooking up in the wake of the #MeToo movement. Continue reading.
A collaboration between LCD Soundsystem and Soulwax, Despacio plays deep disco and classic rock but, with a rig heavier than Metallica's, it holds its own against the big drops of mainstream DJs James Murphy is bleary-eyed as he welcomes David and Stephen Dewaele - the Belgian brothers behind Soulwax and 2manydjs - into his Brooklyn home. Jetlagged from a recent flight back from South America, where his band LCD Soundsystem just wrapped another leg on their world tour, he's already looking forward to the next party: when all three play together, it's Despacio (Spanish for slow), an event unlike any other. Certain elements are like a house party, where people hang out, but they really go for it later, like a rave, says Murphy.
The soulful rock star picks his favourite songs from his back catalogue - from those trying to win his wife back, to those reflecting on his mother's death 'What's wrong with people? Lenny Kravitz wonders, when asked about the bad reviews he has had. They talk shit: that's OK. The 53-year-old, whose success in soulful, funk-laced rock'n'roll has earned 40m album sales and four Grammys, is in a hangar at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris, strutting in alligator boots to the sound of his band riffing Always on the Run.
Lauren Mayberry's vocals are strident and there are some brilliantly desolate ballads on the synthpop band's third album - but a big single still eludes them As a recent Observer profile noted, Chvrches' career has a strange trajectory. The Scottish trio are a pop band who have achieved fame on both sides of the Atlantic through relentless touring, but who have never had a hit single. No shame in that, but it's something their third album clearly seeks to rectify.
Sounds of the city dominate a playlist celebrating its resilience, including tracks from the Hot 8 Brass Band and Ben Harper Here is this week's playlist - songs picked by a reader from hundreds of your suggestions last week. Thanks for taking part. Read more about how our weekly series works at the end of the piece.
The streaming company will recompense songwriters not paid enough royalties, but one unhappy music publisher claims ruling is 'a free pass on wilful infringement' Spotify will pay out $112m (83.5m) in a settlement agreement, following two lawsuits that claimed songwriters hadn't been paid enough in royalties for their work being streamed on the service. The class action, a combination of the two lawsuits, originally came from David Lowery, an musicians' rights advocate from the band Camper Van Beethoven, and Melissa Ferrick, a songwriter and owner of a music publishing company.
Singer tells Elijah Flint he is minimising 'female self-respect and self-worth by saying someone should stay in a toxic relationship' Ariana Grande has admonished a Twitter user for suggesting that she should take responsibility for her ex-boyfriend Mac Miller's recent car accident and subsequent DUI. On Monday, Elijah Flint tweeted: Mac Miller totalling his G wagon and getting a DUI after Ariana Grande dumped him for another dude after he poured his heart out on a ten song album to her called the divine feminine is just the most heartbreaking thing happening in Hollywood. Continue reading.
Former girl group member Kaya Jones claimed members were used for sex by music executives - the group has now sued the Mail's parent company for publishing her remarks Girl group Pussycat Dolls are suing the parent company of the Daily Mail, after an article was published in which former member Kaya Jones said the group was a prostitution ring, where members were given drugs and passed around music industry executives for sex. The lawsuit, filed by the band's manager, Robin Antin, as well as under the Pussycat Dolls Inc brand name, is citing defamation as a result of the article, published in October 2017. It describes the article as intentional, reckless and malicious false and defamatory statements made by a disgruntled, unreliable and biased person looking for her 15 minutes of fame, Kaya Jones, when the defendants knew through their direct prior dealings with plaintiffs, or should have known, with even the most basic check, that Ms Jones was unreliable and her story obviously false.