BEST ALBUMS OF 2018 – Evening Standard, 12 Dec 2018

It’s all “mixtapes”, “playlists” and “projects” round here these days. Some musicians will do anything to avoid calling a collection of more than a dozen examples of their music an album. But rather than signalling the death of the form, as some have suggested, I reckon it means that they understand what a big deal it still is. The album… Read more →

HOZIER interview – Evening Standard, 7 Dec 2018

Hozier’s breakthrough hit, Take Me to Church, was an angry howl against organised religion, with a grim black and white video that depicted homophobic abuse in Russia. His recent comeback single, Nina Cried Power, is a stirring tribute to the protest songs of the Civil Rights movement and the struggles of their singers. So I thought the Irish singer-songwriter may… Read more →

THE BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF 2018 – Evening Standard, 6 Dec 2018

When’s the best time to write your autobiography? That’s a tougher question for musicians than all those diary-keeping politicians. Do you get it done early, when you’re still big news but there’s less life to record, as Stormzy, 25, and Lily Allen, 33, did this year? Or late, like The Who’s Roger Daltrey, 74, whose memory banks may be f-f-fading… Read more →

BRING ME THE HORIZON interview – Evening Standard, 30 Nov 2018

There’s a song on the next Bring Me the Horizon album called Heavy Metal. It features the beatboxer Rahzel and a heavy dose of electronica and is a considerable distance away from devil-horned, hair thrashing cliche. Not content with being one of the UK’s biggest hard rock bands, now the Sheffield quintet are setting out to become its most interesting.… Read more →

MAREN MORRIS, Omeara – Evening Standard, 27 Nov 2018

It’s inevitable that a musician who has made their pop breakthrough since their last London gig will come back through town for another show, but it isn’t usually much smaller. Texas-born singer-songwriter Maren Morris is a big noise in the country world, winning a Grammy for her song My Church, though we know her as the voice of Zedd’s dance-pop… Read more →

SLAVES, Alexandra Palace – Evening Standard, 26 Nov 2018

Slaves are one of modern music’s less likely successes. The Kent duo have sent three albums into the top 10, all full of brutal rock music that, if it was any more rudimentary, would be performed in the Alexandra Palace car park on dustbin lids rather than in the great hall itself. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8rBK2mCIZmY   They overreached a little here, with… Read more →

HAMZAA interview – Evening Standard, 23 Nov 2018

In her Dalston bedroom, Hamzaa keeps a small white board on which she writes her goals for the year. It has a lot of ticks on it.   “It says ‘500k streams across Apple Music and Spotify’. I passed that a while ago. Another one was ‘Headline show sell out’. I didn’t think I’d sell out my first ever headline… Read more →

CHRISTINE & THE QUEENS, Hammersmith Apollo – Evening Standard, 21 Nov 2018

The introductory music swelled, the stage lights rose and revealed… six people having an argument. Heloise Letissier, or Christine, now known by the mononym Chris, soon arrived to sort them out through the power of dance, West Side Story style. So began a thrilling evening powered by restless movement, Gallic electrofunk and a visual surprise at every turn. The 30-year-old… Read more →

IMAGINE DRAGONS interview – Evening Standard, 9 Nov 2018

  Dan Reynolds of Imagine Dragons is in a good place. Physically, that means he’s at home in LA, world tour done with, walking his six-year-old daughter to school every day, coaching her soccer team and also kept busy by her younger sisters – 18-month-old twins.   Emotionally, things are looking up for the 31-year-old singer too. After announcing in… Read more →

SAM FENDER interview – Evening Standard, 2 Nov 2018

It’s almost over before it’s begun for me and Sam Fender, when I mistakenly refer to his North Shields home town as South Shields. The singer-guitarist does not care to be associated with the other side of the river, the birthplace of 2009 X Factor winner Joe McElderry and half of Little Mix, thanks very much.   North Shields, the… Read more →