BEST MUSIC BOOKS OF 2019 – Evening Standard, 28 Nov 2019

Writing a memoir has become as predictable a part of a pop career as playing your best album track-by-track on tour and consuming more drugs than the South Wing of St Thomas’ Hospital. This year a few musicians indicated that, as album sales figures fade, this typing lark isn’t just a one-off. Dance producer Moby and Suede’s frontman Brett Anderson… Read more →

A CELEBRATION OF TALK TALK AND MARK HOLLIS, Royal Festival Hall – Evening Standard, 27 Nov 2019

Talk Talk’s frontman Mark Hollis died in February but he left the music world long before that, making this tribute evening an incredibly rare opportunity to hear his idiosyncratic music played live. Past collaborators, younger admirers and founding keyboard player Simon Brenner journeyed through one of rock’s stranger career paths, which ended after Hollis released his only solo album and… Read more →

CIGARETTES AFTER SEX interview – Evening Standard, 22 Nov 2019

Among my range of hard-hitting interview questions, I don’t think I’ve previously been cheeky enough to ask someone if they’ve ever had sex while listening to their own music, but Greg Gonzalez does rather invite the enquiry. The Texan musician called his band Cigarettes After Sex, then set about making two albums of foggy, post-coital indie guitar songs that sound… Read more →

BJÖRK, O2 Arena – Evening Standard, 20 Nov 2019

An artist’s first arena appearance is usually an indication that they’re at their commercial peak, fully in the mainstream with enough hits to fill 90 minutes or more. For Björk, making her inaugural visit to the O2 at 53, it was an opportunity to display the world of her most recent album on the grandest scale. Anyone hoping to hear… Read more →

BJÖRK interview – Evening Standard, 15 Nov 2019

Björk at the O2 Arena is a concept that might have made more sense in the Nineties, if only the venue had existed. That was when the Icelandic musician was making platinum-selling albums, her startling, vaulting voice front and centre in pop culture. Today the mainstream is a distant memory as the 53-year-old, together with her recent close collaborator, the… Read more →

CELESTE interview – Evening Standard, 8 Nov 2019

Celeste meets me in the cafe at the front of The Premises, a Hoxton rehearsal studio which celebrates its prestigious clientele with signed photographs all over the walls. The 25-year-old, full name Celeste Waite, isn’t famous enough to be up there herself yet, with just one EP and a handful of singles out there so far, but already there are… Read more →

HEADIE ONE interview – Evening Standard, 1 Nov 2019

Headie One apparently got his nickname because his head looks like a 50 pence piece, but it’s hard to tell as the Tottenham rapper descends the backstage stairs in Brighton’s Concorde 2 venue. At the latest stop on a headline tour that will culminate at Brixton Academy next week, his biggest show yet, he’s got the hood of his wide… Read more →

LABRINTH interview – Evening Standard, 25 Oct 2019

I’ve got a bone to pick with Labrinth. I interviewed the singer/songwriter/producer in September 2014 about his imminent second album, which was called Take Me to the Truth and was due either in November or December of that year. But it never arrived, and I can’t help but feel that my article was in some way responsible for the lack… Read more →

SLOWTHAI, Brixton Academy – Evening Standard, 21 Oct 2019

Tyron “Slowthai” Frampton’s arrival was preceded by a vigorous audience chant of “Fuck Boris” – the same sentiment expressed by the Northampton rapper when he stole the show at last month’s Mercury Prize ceremony, also available in the lobby for £25 in T-shirt form, if anyone fancied marking this politically charged weekend by wearing multiple naked cartoon Prime Ministers.  … Read more →

KREPT & KONAN interview – Evening Standard, 18 Oct 2019

When I meet Casyo “Krept” Johnson and Karl “Konan” Wilson, things are looking good for the Croydon rap duo. We’re in the meeting room at Apple’s Beats studio in King’s Cross, where they’re about present the 33rd edition of their show Play Dirty Radio. They’ve just finished filming their role as judges on The Rap Game, a talent show for… Read more →