Graeme Thomson

Why Easter is the most rock and roll religious holiday 

Easter is by far the most rock and roll religious holiday. Christmas might be the time when the pop vultures circle, plucking from the bones of garish sentiment, but the wham-bam narrative mic-drops of Holy Week are of a different order. Easter has provided a dramatic template for every rock opera, concept album, heroic comeback and combustible band dynamic

Richard Madeley, Kate Andrews, Lloyd Evans, Sam McPhail and Graeme Thomson

35 min listen

This week: Richard Madeley reads his diary (01:06), Kate Andrews describes how Kate-gate gripped America (06:18), Lloyd Evans warns against meddling with Shakespeare (11:38), Sam McPhail details how Cruyff changed modern football (18:17), and Graeme Thomson reads his interview with Roxy Music’s Phil Manzanera (25:23).  Produced and presented by Oscar Edmondson. 

Why I was wrong to think Idles obvious and depressing

I never had Idles down as a great Bristol band, I confess. In fact, I never had them down as very much of anything at all. Through occasional and accidental contact, I associated the quintet with a cadre of unlovely groups – Sleaford Mods, Shame, Soft Play (formerly Slaves), Viagra Boys – that emerged in

A stellar night at Celtic Connections

Sometimes I think, in the end, only the voice truly matters. Dress it however you wish, zhuzh it up with textural condiments: cool electronics, warm strings, harsh noise, romantic rhythm, ambient atmospherics. It’s all decoration. The human voice is what we respond to most fervently and instinctively in popular music. This – far from infallible

Small moments vs Big Ideas: Peter Gabriel’s i/o reviewed

Peter Gabriel is terribly fond of a Big Idea. With Genesis he would sing in character as a lawnmower, a fox and as ‘Slipperman’. His final work with the band, in 1974, was The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, a double album driven by what we might kindly describe as a ‘kaleidoscopic’ narrative involving a

The case against re-recording albums 

In 2012, Jeff Lynne released Mr Blue Sky: The Very Best of Electric Light Orchestra. Except it wasn’t. It was 11 new re-recordings of classic ELO songs – which isn’t the same thing at all. Lynne, bless him, believed that having gained more experience as a producer, he could now improve the songs that made

New Order’s oldies still sound like the future

The intimate acoustic show can denote many things for an established artist. One is that, in the infamous euphemism coined by Spinal Tap, their audience has become more ‘selective’. Attempting to make the best of a bad job, the artist shifts down a gear while aiming upmarket, much in the manner of a balding man

Uneasy listening: Kathryn Joseph, at Summerhall, reviewed

I have always been fascinated by artists who bounce between tonal extremes when performing, particularly the ones who serve their songs sad and their stagecraft salty. Adele, for example, fills the space between each plushily upholstered soul-baring ballad by transforming into a saucy end-of-pier variety act, coo-cooing at the crowd and cursing like a squaddie.

The problem with pop-literary collaborations

‘We all secretly want to be rock stars,’ the 2022 Booker Prize-winning author Shehan Karunatilaka said recently. By ‘we’ he meant novelists, and he was more or less right. Most authors want to be rock stars, just as many rock stars aspire to bookish credibility. The former crave a whiff of glamour and instant gratification;