Choose a Language

Guardian Music News

Latest music news, comment, reviews and analysis from the Guardian
  1. Guns N' Roses: how they soundtracked my last gasp of pre-teen freedom

    In the first of a new series on the artists who had a formative influence on our writers, Rebecca Nicholson celebrates the hysterical melodrama of Axl Rose and co

    When I was small, I would memorise the lyrics to songs by New Kids on the Block and Kylie Minogue and put on performances in the front room for my poor parents. I was always obsessive about music. Then suddenly, when I was around nine, I became totally devoted to Guns N’ Roses. It was before the internet and nobody I knew liked them, so to this day I can’t work out where it came from. But it was big. Bigger than forcing myself to cry when I listened to Tears on My Pillow on repeat. Bigger than learning the dance routine to Hangin’ Tough. I insisted I was going to the local disco – which was not fancy dress – as Axl Rose, my hair swept into a red bandana, where I begged the DJ to play Sweet Child o’Mine, ecstatic when he finally agreed. My fellow nine-year-olds were more keen on sitting down for Oops Upside Your Head than twirling around the dancefloor, hopping on one leg like Axl; in order to air-guitar that giant among riffs, I had to move seamlessly from Axl to Slash and back again. Where do we go now? Home, to bed, tucked up before 9pm.

    Continue reading...
  2. UK government rejects 'musician passports' as stars attack 'shameful' touring deal

    Minister says UK is not pursuing a touring waiver, as stars including Elton John and Sting say musicians ‘shamefully failed’ by Brexit

    The UK government will not pursue a waiver scheme that would allow British musicians to tour the EU without the need for visas, carnets and work permits for each individual member state.

    The announcement comes as over 100 artists including Sting, Bob Geldof and Elton John have signed an open letter published in the Times on Wednesday, calling on the government to negotiate paperwork-free travel for British musicians touring in Europe. The signatories say musicians have been “shamefully failed” by the government’s Brexit deal with the EU.

    Continue reading...
  3. Music review – Sia’s controversial film about autism lacks coherence and authenticity

    The pop star’s directorial debut is a hodge-podge of giddy numbers and narrative tropes, and its star, Maddie Ziegler, lacks credibility

    Australian pop star and songwriter Sia Furler’s feature directorial debut Music is in effect two very different films with wildly disparate tones, stuck together using a sludgy mixture of by-the-book drama and hipstery eclecticism.

    One – a collection of music sequences presented in spanking bright colours, with sets and costumes that seem designed to replicate the experience of taking magic mushrooms during a fashion show or contemporary art exhibition – is nothing but self-conscious.

    Continue reading...
  4. Van Morrison to start legal action over Northern Ireland Covid ban on live music

    Music legend stirs further pandemic controversy, challenging Northern Ireland government’s recent ‘blanket ban on live music’ in court

    Van Morrison will challenge the Northern Irish government in court over its “blanket ban” on live music in licensed venues arising from coronavirus restrictions, his lawyer said on Tuesday.

    Solicitor Joe Rice said the Northern Irish singer-songwriter, who has released several protest songs against Covid-19 rules in recent months, will ask the high court in Belfast to review the policy.

    Continue reading...
  5. Life Without Buildings: in praise of the cult Glasgow band revived on TikTok

    Fronted by Sue Tompkins and her free-associative language, the band have become a touchstone for TikTok teens – and, on their 20th anniversary, still sound like no one else

    Amid a relentless stream of events that are not what we bargained for, one tiny good thing has come out of nowhere: the sudden return of the cult Glasgow band Life Without Buildings, thanks to viral ubiquity on TikTok.

    All over the app, teenagers (notably young women) are using a 15-second slice of the band’s math-y post-rock single The Leanover, released before they were born, to soundtrack videos in which they, well, do what teenagers do: bleach their hair, demonstrate “fairycore” makeup, vape exuberantly or simply emote for the front-facing camera. Most often, though, they mime enthusiastically to singer Sue Tompkins’ remarkable vocal performance, which veers charismatically somewhere between the stylings of Gertrude Stein and TLC’s Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes. “If I lose you, if I lose you,” she chants, over Chris Evans’ bass thrum, “uh huh, uh huh, uh huh, mm-mmm.” A stuttering, sung-spoken incantation of wired and insensible longing, it sounds improvised, as if it fell out of her mouth fully formed, though it wasn’t. One TikToker captioned their video: “These aren’t words but I like them.” Another wrote: “I have no idea what this means but I love it.”

    Continue reading...