MR EAZI interview – Evening Standard, 15 Sept 2017

When a Mr Eazi song starts playing, you’ll know it’s him straight away. “Zagadat! It’s your boy Eazi,” he announces every time, as the beats kick in. He made up the word zagadat. “It means spiritual, beautiful,” he explains. Think of it as his logo, his Universal Pictures globe at the start of a movie. I’ve rarely met anyone so… Read more →

MERCURY PRIZE 2017 commentary – Evening Standard, 15 Sept 2017

The Mercury Prize is the most subjective of awards – no counting of sales figures, no academy or fan votes – just 12 people in a room arguing. For every supporter of whatever the judges name the album of the year, there will be an equal and opposite detractor. I’m with them this time. Process, the debut album by 28-year-old… Read more →

JOHN LEGEND, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 13 Sept 2017

In a crowded field, John Legend has been one of Donald Trump’s most outspoken celebrity critics. The smooth pianist’s date music was an unlikely place to look for political fire, yet it was occasionally present, most obviously on the closing song Glory. The Oscar-winning theme from the 2014 film Selma, it was played to a backdrop of civil rights marches… Read more →

ALT-J interview – Evening Standard, 8 Sept 2017

Back in 2011, when Alt-J were recording their debut album, singer-guitarist Joe Newman’s father popped down to the recording studio. He was so inspired by what he heard that he went straight to the nearest bookies, where he tried to put money on them to win the Mercury Prize the following year. “This would be a much better story if… Read more →

JESSIE WARE interview – Evening Standard, 1 Sept 2017

Listening back, it’s a little tricky to tell whether I’ve spent an hour interviewing Jessie Ware about her new album or her new baby. The two are closely interlinked. Her third long-player, which has a due date of October, was conceived while she was pregnant and mostly written after her daughter was born. Much of it was recorded in No.… Read more →

VINCE STAPLES, Kentish Town Forum – Evening Standard, 31 Aug 2017

The future’s bright for Vince Staples, who used a giant orange video screen as a backdrop to present alien rap music that was light years ahead of most artists in his orbit. The 23-year-old Is from Long Beach, California, like Snoop Dogg. While his early single, Blue Suede, slightly recalled Snoop’s old G-funk squeal, his approximation was queasy, not sunny.… Read more →

FOO FIGHTERS interview – Evening Standard, 25 Aug 2017

Dave Grohl has another term for a band hiatus – he calls it an “I hate us”. There was reason to believe that his band Foo Fighters were on shaky ground at the start of last year.   During their last world tour, the frontman’s badly broken leg meant the cancellation of seven massive shows – including two Wembley Stadiums… Read more →

TAYLOR SWIFT – Look What You Made Me Do review – Evening Standard, 25 Aug 2017

  Last Friday she deleted all of her social media posts to replace them with three sinister snake videos. In the early hours of this morning Taylor Swift slid back into view with the first song from a new album.   The mean electronic buzz and orchestral strings of the single, Look What You Made Me Do (written with past… Read more →

MIRANDA LAMBERT, Apollo – Evening Standard, 24 Aug 2017

It has taken a long time for country star Miranda Lambert to leave her own country. This was only the 33-year-old Texan’s first solo show in London and her second appearance here, having made her debut at last year’s Country to Country music festival. Back home, meanwhile, she’s been named Female Vocalist of the Year for the last eight years… Read more →

CHARLIE SLOTH interview – Evening Standard, 18 Nov 2017

Charlie Sloth is usually pretty good at introducing himself. “It’s the people’s prince, the best looking fat guy in the universe, just ask your mum!” is his regular opening salvo when he arrives at the microphone to host the drivetime show on BBC Radio 1xtra or The Rap Show on Radio 1. It’s when he has to introduce his own… Read more →