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Archives for November 2012

Later... leaves the building

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Mark Cooper Mark Cooper | 10:55 UK time, Friday, 30 November 2012

Exec producer Mark Cooper pays tribute to BBC Television Centre, as Later… moves out

Tonight, 30 November 2012, BBC2 transmits the last Later with Jools Holland from BBC Television Centre with a cast including star siren Lana Del Rey, exciting new talents like The Weeknd, Tom Odell, Tift Merrit and Palma Violets and legends like Soul II Soul and Nona Hendryx. Of course the actual filming and the transmitting of Later Live took place this Tuesday as cast, crew and a lively audience marked the end of Later…’s twenty happy years here in Shepherds Bush with as much great music as possible.

After 20 years, 41 series and more than 275 shows - not to mention 80-plus live editions since we went live on Tuesday, April 1, 2009 - Later… is comfortably the longest-running large studio show still in production at BBC TV Centre. Well it was until Tuesday!

It made for an emotional show for us and for the artists, who I think could tell what the occasion meant to the production team. The Weeknd, Tom Odell and Palma Violets had never appeared on television before and we tried to make them feel as welcome as all the acts who’ve passed through our scene dock doors...

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Ghosts of past and future - The week in BBC Music

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Elisha Sessions Elisha Sessions | 10:25 UK time, Wednesday, 28 November 2012

This week

The Palma Violets

Tuesday night was the last episode of Later... Live with Jools Holland to be filmed in the BBC's venerable Television Centre, due to be vacated at some unspecified point early in the new year. There was emotion in the air as Jools took the audience through their paces; before broadcast he asked them to applaud loud and long for "the fabric of the building".

But if the musicians were feeling weepy about the place they didn't show it. The Palma Violets ripped through a stonking couple of numbers, Soul II Soul gave the crowd what they wanted with an exuberant performance of Back to Life, the irrepressible Nona Hendryx took everyone to the river, and while The Weeknd went deep into their dysphoric come-down trip-hop sound, the results were electric. And Lana Del Rey was there, too, with a more relaxed and accomplished performance than the first time she came to Television Centre.

As usual, an extended version of the show will air Friday night.

You've only got a couple of days left to check out The Rolling Stones at the BBC, with gems from the vast archive of their BBC performances over the years. Of special note is a 1966 performance of "19th Nervous Breakdown" on Top of the Pops, thought lost forever but recently unearthed as part of a 60s-era documentary about women with depression.

Finally, it's Toddla T in LA, as the Radio 1 and 1Xtra DJ roots through the lush foliage of Los Angeles' music scene, talking to Tyler the Creator, The Gaslamp Killer, Childish Gambino and more.

Coming up

Louis Jordan

Ain't Nobody Here But Us Chickens? Saturday Night Fish Fry? He's maybe the most iconic musician you've never heard of - Louis Jordan, who blended party jazz and rock 'n' roll to create what might be the most effortlessly fun music ever made. In Choo Choo Ch'Boogie, Clarke Peters kicks off a four-part documentary on the man whose music is the basis for the West End smash, Five Guys Named Moe. It airs Thursday at 9:30pm (GMT) on Radio 2.

On Friday 30 Nov at 8:30pm (GMT), BBC Four's ridiculously comprehensive survey of the 70s continues with Disco: Ain't No Stoppin Us Now, with irresistible performances from all the likely suspects.

A bit later on BBC Four, it's a 1980 concert film of The Beach Boys Live at Knebworth, featuring all six canonical Boys - Mike, Carl, Dennis, Alan, Bruce and Brian - rocking a capacity crowd.

Out this week

We also review records fresh out of the oven this week, from the likes of ABBA, Dutch Schultz, Girls Aloud, Ingebrigt Håker Flaten New York Quartet, Jeff Wayne, Old Crow Medicine Show, Olly Murs, Rage Against the Machine, The Bryan Ferry Orchestra, The Lovely Eggs and Hemlock Recordings.

Vinyl memories - The week in BBC Music

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Elisha Sessions Elisha Sessions | 10:56 UK time, Tuesday, 20 November 2012

Catch up

The Sound It Out record shop

The Sound It Out record shop

You've got a bit less than a week left to watch Sound It Out, a strangely moving documentary on BBC Four about vinyl record shops in the UK and the kind of person to whom they're important. It's less a retelling of the Nick Hornby-esque list-making nerd mentality and more a study in subcultures and unexpected fraternity; don't sleep on this one.

1Xtra Live happened last week in Brixton, Manchester, Liverpool and Birmingham, and we've got clips and gorgeous photos from the likes of Kendrick Lamar, Alicia Keys, Rudimental, Disclosure, Miguel, Rita Ora, Wiley and many, many more. If you'd like a little taster of what it was like, you could do worse than watch this brilliant 4-minute recap.

Also last week, BBC Radio turned 90. At exactly 17:33 on 14 November, every BBC Radio station in the UK transmitted the same signal at the same time, a broadcasting first. To mark the occasion, Damon Albarn recorded a special - and, to some, fairly baffling - piece of sound art. You can hear it at the "Radio Reunited" website.

And finally, Pop Chart Britannia: 60 Years of the Top 10 celebrates six decades of climbers, fallers and sure shots, and looks at the often desperate shenanigans required to push a song into public consciousness.

Coming up

7-inch vinyl singles

What music used to look like

Tuesday 20 Nov at 10pm (GMT), Sinéad O'Connor, Tame Impala and more play the latest installment of Later... Live, Jools Holland's indefatiguable live music jamboree on BBC Two.

On Friday 23 Nov at 9pm (GMT), BBC Four premieres The Joy of the Single, an unashamed wallow in the glory years of the 7-inch vinyl single and the particular relationship to music it fostered. We suspect in this case Nick Hornby will feel right at home.

Out this week

We’ve got reviews of brand-new records out this week from Amy Winehouse, Björk, Chad Valley, Example, Led Zeppelin, Little Mix, Nostalgia 77 and the Monster and Pinback.

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Stars and charts - The week in BBC Music

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Elisha Sessions Elisha Sessions | 00:08 UK time, Tuesday, 13 November 2012

Catch up

Kendrick Lamar

Kendrick Lamar at 1Xtra Live

This week 1Xtra Live takes to the stage in four cities across the UK. Kendrick Lamar, Trey Songz, Angel, WizKid, and Tulisa played in Brixton on Monday, and Tuesday Rita Ora, Misha B, Wiley, DJ Fresh and Daley lit up Manchester. It doesn't stop there - there are huge shows planned in Liverpool and Birmingham as well. You can follow along and watch full sets on the 1Xtra Live site.

Radio 4's doing a brilliant series right now called Mastertapes, which somewhat follows the format of Inside the Actor's Studio, the American interview show. Musicians like Billy Bragg and Suzanne Vega talk to John Wilson about the record that made them famous. This is "the A side". In a follow-up programme, "the B side", audience members get to pose questions to the musicians, with some surprising and enlightening results. And the artists in question play one of their well-loved songs; you can't really ask DeNiro to "do" Travis Bickle, but musicians don't have a problem performing classics on cue - it's what they do. Anyway, this thing could run and run.

Last week Geoffrey Smith's Jazz on Radio 3 did an Art Tatum tribute show which has sadly expired from iPlayer, but to replace it there's a tribute to Sonny Rollins. So it's hard to complain, really.

There was also an astonishing performance from Lang Lang at the Roundhouse in Camden on BBC Four - dry ice everywhere, crazy lightshow; not exactly the normal Liszt recital. It, too, is gone from iPlayer, but if piano is your thing, there's no need to go unsated. In 2006, Richard Goode performed Mozart's thrilling Piano Concerto No. 23 at the Proms and it's available to watch in all its splendour for the next three days.

Coming up

A DJ chooses a record

Sharp dressing for the Official Chart

There's a big doc coming up to celebrate six decades of the charts - Pop Charts Britannia: 60 Years of the Top 10 which takes in the entire swathe from 1952 to the present day. It's got contributions from stalwarts like David Jacobs and Pete Paphides and peeks behind the curtain to explore the sometimes desperate music biz hustle required to power a song into the weekly chart's upper reaches. It's on this Friday at 9:25pm (GMT) on BBC Four. Here's a teaser as Paphides talks about drawing his very own chart magazine as a child.

This Friday night at 1am (GMT) on BBC Two - OK, OK, it's technically Saturday - you can catch Backstage, an unexpurgated account of Jay-Z's Hard Knock Life Tour back in the rise-to-power days of 1999. (Yes, they all look very young.) These were rappers at the very top of their game when hip hop truly took over pop music, and it's fascinating to see them right in the middle of it, not quite knowing if they were kings of the world yet or not.

Out this week

We review brand-new albums by Crystal Castles, El Perro del Mar, Hello Skinny, Hot 8 Brass Band, Saint Etienne, Soundgarden and The Rolling Stones.

Pop & plaudits - The week in BBC Music

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Elisha Sessions Elisha Sessions | 11:43 UK time, Monday, 5 November 2012

What you haven't missed yet

The CMA Awards

The CMA Awards

Bob Harris was at the Country Music Association Awards last week and he caught up with Tim McGraw, Carrie Underwood and more Nashville royalty backstage, which you can hear along with highlights of the main awards of the evening. Blake Shelton, Miranda Lambert and Eric Church were among the big winners of the night, while Taylor Swift, perhaps the night's biggest star, went home empty-handed.

In the first MOBOs after Jessie J controversially took home four awards, Emeli Sandé reinforced her post-Olympics chart dominance with gongs for Best Album, Best Female and Best R&B/Soul, and Plan B also did well, winning Best Male and Best Hip Hop/Grime. There were live performances from JLS, Stooshe, Labrinth, Dionne Warwick and many, many more. You can watch the whole thing on BBC Three.

In our album review editor Mike Diver's own personal awards for the month of October, a handful of records received his full-throated recommendation. Read the reviews, check out the YouTube links, and see if you agree.

And finally, alt-J took home the Mercury Prize this year, a victory that some critics are calling the rise of "boffin rock". This blog has yet to be convinced that female-led dance-pop is going to take a back seat to immaculately arranged, scholarly, post-everything indie any time soon, but the virtually unanimous critical approbation for alt-J's An Awesome Wave must mean something's in the air.

Coming Up

Sandie Shaw

Sandie Shaw

The unstoppable Later Live... with Jools Holland rumbles on with another blockbuster lineup including the likes of Soundgarden, Two Door Cinema Club, Trey Songz and more. It'll be live on Tuesday night, 6 Nov at 10pm (GMT) on BBC Two.

Queens of British Pop tracks Dusty Springfield, Sandie Shaw, Marianne Faithfull, Kate Bush and more with a tremendous range of interviews from their contemporaries and more recent performers they've influenced. Part 1 is on Friday, 9 Sept at 9pm (GMT) on BBC Four.

Out This Week

We've got reviews of brand-new records by Crowns, Emeralds, Jan Garbarek, Egberto Gismonti and Charlie Haden, Kidkanevil & Daisuke Tanabe, Manic Street Preachers, Meek Mill, Melody's Echo Chamber, P.O.S., Robbie Williams, Rolo Tomassi, Stars, Stubborn Heart, Trevor Moss & Hannah-Lou and various Scottish rock bands.

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