Live Music: Hugh Masekela and Larry Willis

Hugh Masekela & Larry Willis – St. John the Evangelist, 10.11.13 Tottenham-raised poet/musician Zena Edwards acknowledged how privileged she was to open the show for two jazz legends with her eclectic offerings influenced by rap, Zulu and Irish folk music. Beginning with an African folk song, her pure, enviable a cappella rang around the tall […]

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Villagers give stellar performance at the Oxford O2

Having recently surrounded myself once more with the music of Irish indie-folk band Villagers, as preparation for a short piece for OxStu’s Mercury Prize special, my anticipation for this gig was at something of a high when I arrived (admittedly a couple of minutes late) at the O2 Academy on Sunday evening. I am fond […]

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Album Review: Surfing Strange – Swearin’

Fast-rising noise-poppers Swearin’, Philadelphia’s most exciting export since spreadable cheese, have amassed something of a clamour over the last couple of years. Their self-titled debut album of last year presented a surprisingly comfortable marriage of sun-kissed pop hooks and unapologetic guitar squalls; we should look in particular at the sweetly infectious vocal refrain of ‘Kenosha’ […]

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A short introduction to… Underground hip-hop

Emerging in the early to mid-‘90s in response to an increasingly materialistic and dumbed down rap mainstream, underground hip-hop is a vibrant and defiant musical subgenre, albeit a vaguely defined one. Nearly any fault you can find with commercial hip-hop is absent in the best underground rap; simplistic lyrics and expensive clothes got you nowhere […]

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