Hot Chip: Escapism is the opposite of what we should be doing

On the eve of their seventh album, the best British pop act of their generation talk about two decades of music-making A quiet Friday afternoon by Londons Regents Canal. Two dads who have known each other since they were 11 theyre now 39 are having lunch without the kids. One is a smiling, broad-shouldered bear in a pink T-shirt. The other is smaller and bespectacled, hiding under a baseball cap. They look slightly hipsterish, but blend into the background seamlessly. A huge yellow bag and rucksack under the table contain their rather different outfits for later that day. Five hours later, Alexis Taylor is in front of thousands at the All Points East festival in Victoria Park, Hackney, his cap …

Roky Erickson, US psychedelic rock star, dies aged 71

Frontman of the 13th Floor Elevators described as heroic icon of modern rockn roll Roky Erickson, one of the most enduring and adventurous exponents of American psychedelic rock, has died at the age of 71. Ericksons death was confirmed by his representatives in a statement that described him as a heroic icon of modern rocknroll and one of the best friends the music ever had. The cause of death had not been released and the representatives appealed for privacy for his family. ZZ Tops Billy Gibbons, a long-time friend, said: Its almost unfathomable to contemplate a world without Roky Erickson. He created his own musical galaxy and early on was a true inspiration. Erickson was the frontman of the 13th …

Which is the world’s most musical city?

Is it a metropolis like London or a New York or a smaller city where music is the focus? The event was advertised as a pedal steel all-dayer something you would usually be unlikely to see outside of Nashville. But on a recent Sunday afternoon it was a pub in central London that opened its doors to eight pedal-steel guitar players. London, and its small independent venues, embrace the wacky and wonderful with open arms, says Joe Harvey-Whyte, a pedal steel player who attended the annual event at the Betsey Trotwood pub. It brings a community together in such a fractured city. Music is part of the streets, underground, clubs, pubs, houses, tower blocks and bedrooms of the UK capital. …

The ordinary boys: how Ed Sheeran-inspired troubadours swept the charts

Theyre soulful, tattooed, wear hats and, from Tom Walker to Lewis Capaldi, theyre absolutely everywhere. So what does their dominance say about 2019? By the end of 2018, critics were the New York Times Jon Caramanica. In this moment of international pop utopianism, Britain, naturally, has gone the other way. Our current pop stock-in-trade is a school of male singer-songwriters with exceptional voices and wilfully unexceptional images that entrench an impression of authenticity. They are all white, despite their soulful vocals, which sing of safely secular salvation (theyll provide it), epic loves (theyve had and lost them) and struggle (broadly defined). These ordinary boys bolster their yearning with a sound that homogenises sturdy rock heft, EDM dynamism and delicate electronica, …