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Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson

Ben Thompson began writing about music in 1985, when the divide between Live Aid and the Membranes upstairs at the Chalk Farm Enterprise seemed much starker than it does today. After a special Royal-Wedding-themed edition of his fanzine The Devil's Music (in conjunction with Droitwich's Smell My Woolly Mammoth) was rejected by the printers on the grounds that it didn't take the nuptials of Prince Andrew and Sarah Ferguson seriously enough, he forsook guerilla publishing for the mainstream media. Having had his first live review – of Big Flame at a pub in Bedford – published in Sounds at the impressionable age of 18, he went on to write for (among others) NME, New Statesman and Society, The Wire, The Independent, The Face, Blah Blah Blah, Zig-Zag, Spin, Request, the TLS, Australian Vogue, The Journal of Oral History and the Saturday Telegraph Magazine. He was rock critic of the Independent on Sunday from 1991-94 and GQ's film critic from 1997-2000, and currently contributes regularly to the FT, the Sunday Telegraph, Mojo and The Guardian online.

Ben Thompson's two books of music writing – Seven Years of Plenty, Ways of Hearing – and his history of '90s comedy, Sunshine on Putty, have led him to be described as a British Richard Meltzer (The Wire), "That guy" (Bill "Smog" Callahan) and "[being] to comedy what Woody Allen's Zelig is to history" (The Glasgow Herald). Over the last five years he has also co-written best-selling memoirs with Vic Reeves (Me Moir), Russell Brand (My Booky Wook) and Phil Daniels (Class Actor). He is currently working on books with Dizzee Rascal and Mike Skinner. A downloadable archive of The London Ear – the weekly Resonance 104.4FM radio show he has written, produced and presented since 2004 – can be found at www.thelondonear.co.uk

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List of articles in the library by artist

4 Hero

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, Seven Years Of Plenty, 1998

IT’S A humid, late-summer day in 1997. In a ramshackle northwest London recording studio, a soft breeze kisses the skin: not some cooling breath of ...

50 Cent: Always The Lion In The Room

Interview by Ben Thompson, Financial Times, February 2008

ON MEETING the rapper and business mogul 50 Cent, the first thing you notice is that he's a lot smaller than he looks onstage. In ...

Damon Albarn, Franz Ferdinand, Sir Victor Uwaifo, Vampire Weekend: Afro-Indie: Across The Great Divide

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, June 2008

Suddenly indie rockers are embracing African sounds. Could the long years of a cultural apartheid be coming to a close, asks Ben Thompson ...

Aphex Twin: The Mozart of Techno

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, MOJO, January 1994

"Is this the sound of old languages breaking up? Or of new ones forming?" ...

Aphex Twin: The Aphex Twin

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, Seven Years of Plenty , 1998

MIDI CIRCUS at Brixton Academy in 1992. Three men dressed in Creature From the Black Lagoon outfits are trying to eat each other, and a ...

Arab Strap: Strapping Youth: Arab Strap

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, Seven Years of Plenty, 1998

IN THE MIDDLE of 1996, dynamic Falkirk duo Aidan Moffatt and Malcolm Middleton were inspired by the first big weekend of their summer to write ...

David Axelrod: Swinging with The Ax: David Axelrod

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, June 2001

"LET ME straighten something out first," rasps living Los Angeles legend David Axelrod; crooking a bony finger at the heavy sunglasses he wears even though ...

Baby Dee: The Torch-Singing Tree Surgeon Branches Out

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, February 2008

"SOMETIMES I WORRY that I've become addicted to upheaval," says Baby Dee, torch singer, native of Cleveland, Ohio, and former harpist for Mercury Prize-winner Antony ...

Badly Drawn Boy

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, May 2000

THERE WAS ONE gig that really caught the attention of the swarming hordes of A&R men at 1998's In The City convention in Manchester. The ...

The Beta Band

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, July 2001

ON ENCOUNTERING a would-be interviewer who'd just been robbed of all his pound coins by a renegade parking meter, the Beta Band of a couple ...

Beyoncé Is Too Good For Glastonbury

Comment by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, June 2011

Glastonbury's complacent Pyramid Stage crowd just doesn't deserve the great Beyoncé ...

Björk

Interview by Ben Thompson, ES, September 2000

THE VIEW FROM the roof garden of Björk's penthouse suite at New York's elegant Soho Grand hotel is almost too much to take in at ...

Björk

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, MOJO, November 1997

THE RICKETY HAMMERSMITH RESIDENCE WHICH houses TFI Friday’s dressing rooms is an alarming place to find yourself, and not just because there’s a chance of ...

Black Grape: Shaun Ryder, Pop Star

Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, October 1995

Once the high priest of proletarian hedonism, Shaun Ryder has traded in the low-life for a leafy London suburb. It's been a good move. The ...

The Black Crowes: Amorica

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, December 1994

FORBIDDEN PLEASURES ARE GETTING harder to find. What price true rebel music when disco, metal, mid-'70s pop and all the grizzled outlaws of yesteryear are ...

Blur, Gorky's Zygotic Mynci, Massive Attack, Super Furry Animals, Tricky: This Must Be The Place: Newport, Bristol, Walthamstow, Colchester: Everybody's Talking About... The True Significance Of Location

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, 'Seven Years of Plenty' (Gollancz), October 1998

"A recent article in the New York Times proclaimed Newport as The New Seattle..." Caroline Sullivan, The Guardian, 13 December, 1996 ...

James Booker: The Unsung Piano Genius with Star-spangled False Teeth

Profile by Ben Thompson, MOJO, January 1994

"IF ALL AMERICAN PIANO PLAYERS LINED UP IN A ROW, each knowing the other’s abilities and talents, all would take a step back to recognise ...

British Sea Power: Naval Gazing For Beginners: British Sea Power

Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, November 2000

DESPITE ITS GRANDIOSE name, North London indie refuge The Monarch is the sort of venue which often struggles for mythological significance. Yet when British Sea ...

Broadcast: The Noise Made By People

Review and Interview by Ben Thompson, MOJO, April 2000

"PRAM WANNABES", "indie milksops", "poor man's Stereolab"... these are just some of the cruel insults heaped upon Broadcast's head when they first poked it above ...

Kate Bush: Aerial

Review by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, November 2005

Ben Thompson reviews an album of two halves ...

Captain Beefheart: the Artist

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, August 1994

DON VAN VLIET lives in the small and beautifully named town of Trinidad in Northern California, up by the Oregon border, 135 ft from the ...

Chipmunk, Dizzee Rascal, N-Dubz, Taio Cruz, Tinchy Stryder: N-Dubz and The Second Coming of Brit Pop

Overview by Ben Thompson, Observer Music Monthly, November 2009

It has been a long, rocky road for homegrown urban music in the UK, but this year N-Dubz and a close-knit group of stars have ...

George Clinton

Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, July 1996

GEORGE CLINTON has learnt some things in five decades of music-making, and one of them is how to make an entrance. As the Clinton party ...

cLOUDDEAD

Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, May 2001

A DISEMBODIED VOICE with a slight hint of helium in it intoning the words "I taught myself to survive a four storey fall wearing a ...

Cornershop: Back In Business: Cornershop

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, February 2002

Four years after a tribute to Bollywood chanteuse Asha Bhosle gave them 1998's most unlikely number one single, Ben Thompson welcomes the return of Cornershop. ...

Elvis Costello and the Imposters: The Delivery Man

Review by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, September 2004

RECORDED AT Sweet Tea Studios in Oxford, Mississippi, with guest appearances by Emmylou Harris and Lucinda Williams, The Delivery Man initially looks like a bold ...

Cypress Hill: Brixton Academy, London

Live Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, April 1994

THERE'S A KID slumped at the top of the Brixton academy stairs, his head poised vomitatiously over a large plastic bin. All you can see ...

Daphne and Celeste

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, ES, November 2000

ELVIS HAD The Ed Sullivan Show, The Sex Pistols had the Silver Jubilee boat trip. But for acid-tongued trans-Atlantic playground pop sensations Daphne and Celeste, ...

Craig David: It Started With A Boink: Craig David

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, ES, August 2000

EARLIER THIS year – around the time his first solo single made its chart debut at number one – Craig David appeared on the The ...

Iris DeMent

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, 1994

THE VOICE of Iris DeMent is a remarkable instrument. There's a sob in it, a roll of the tongue, a fluting quality that speaks of ...

Dizzee Rascal: Lovable Rogue: Dizzee Rascal: Showtime (XL) *****

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, October 2004

Deft and ultimately devastating follow up to 2003's Mercury Prize-winning debut. ...

Dizzee Rascal: Boy In Da Corner

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, 2004

PRECOCIOUS BOW roughneck Dylan Mills knocked up his first single (scabrous teen pregnancy shocker 'I Luv You') in downtime from his school music class at ...

Dizzee Rascal: Word Champion

Interview by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, April 2007

Dizzee Rascal is not proud of everything in his past, he tells Ben Thompson in a remarkably frank interview. But he's more than happy with ...

Eminem: His Name Is: Eminem

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, October 1999

THE ATMOSPHERE of ersatz serenity that is supposed to prevail in newly-refurbished West End hotel lobbies was never going to withstand the arrival of Eminem. ...

Brian Eno: An Uncle, A Celebrity, A Masturbator

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, 'Ways of Hearing' , 2001

ON THE BACK cover of A Year with Swollen Appendices, Brian Eno's diary of 1995, he supplies a handy guide to some of the things ...

Brian Eno: 'Lady Gaga's Meat Dress? I Did It First'

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, November 2010

Fashion disasters, electronic music, even the Lib-Con coalition...The super-producer and former Roxy Music wizard saw it all coming ...

Field Music, The Futureheads, Maximo Park: Maximo Park, The Futureheads, Field Music: How the North East was won

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, August 2005

Their accent may be regional but their success is global. Ben Thompson meets three new bands from pop music's latest hotspot ...

Future Sound of London, Orbital, Ultramarine, Underworld: Our Electric Friends: Humanising the Highway, from ‘Autobahn’ to Orbital

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, 'Seven Years of Plenty', 1998

DRIVING ON THE M25 in a rusty Mini. Early evening, thick drizzle. Only one windscreen wiper works because someone has snapped the end off the ...

Girls Aloud, Sugababes: Xenomania: Heart Of The Country, Home Of The Hits

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, July 2004

In rural Kent, the future of British pop is being shaped by Brian Higgins – a Phil Spector for the 21st century. Ben Thompson meets ...

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Godspeed You Black Emperor!

Report by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, 1999

A SHARP, PISTOL-LIKE report from an overloading monitor causes the already pained-looking sound engineer to wince into his levels meter. Godspeed You Black Emperor! have ...

Gorky's Zygotic Mynci

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, 1995

THE LEAP of faith required to enunciate the unappetising name of this mighty Pembrokeshire quintet – plain, pronounceable old Gorky's to their legion of devoted ...

Ben Harper

Interview by Ben Thompson, MOJO, August 1995

"IT STARTS OFF WITH A BIG CHUNK OF WOOD," says Ben Harper. And it's not Nick Nolte's acting technique he's talking about, or the history ...

PJ Harvey: The Troxy, London

Live Review by Ben Thompson, Sunday Telegraph, March 2011

ON THE LEFT of the Limehouse Troxy stage stands PJ Harvey – enrobed in one of her Belgian fashion confederate Ann Demeulemeester's trademark pristine, shroud-like ...

Kelis: The 'I Hate You So Much Right Now' Woman: Kelis

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, April 2000

STRIDING PURPOSEFULLY down one of the seamiest streets in Soho, 20-year-old Kelis (pronounced kuh-leece) Rogers is a day-glo Amazon. ...

Kings of Leon: Because of the Times *****

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, March 2007

It's not all their own work, but the lank-haired rockers' third set does more than merely ape their influences, raves Ben Thompson ...

Kings of Leon: A-Ha Shake Heartbreak

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, October 2004

AS WITH SO many of the best second albums - from Roxy Music's For Your Pleasure to Dizzee Rascal's Showtime - the first time you ...

Kings of Leon: Only By The Night (RCA)

Review by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, September 2008

WITH THE White Stripes facing an uncertain future, and The Strokes fragmenting into underwhelming solo careers, Kings of Leon are the sole survivors of America's ...

Krushed With The Reels Of Industry

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, New Musical Express, December 1987

As the East Midlands house of KRUSH arrests a nation with its jack-knife beat, BEN THOMPSON meets FON's latest sampling superstars. ...

Lady Sovereign, M.I.A.: M.I.A. and Lady Sovereign: A Far Cry From North-West London

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, Sunday Telegraph, January 2005

Two of this year's most eagerly anticipated records come from young women with some striking similarities. Ben Thompson talks to M.I.A. and Lady Sovereign. ...

Lambchop: Aw C'mon/No You C'mon

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer Music Monthly, February 2004

LIKE OUTKAST'S Speakerboxx/ The Love Below, the eighth album by Nashville's premier artisan country/ soul collective is a double-disc set designed to prompt endless speculation ...

Lambchop: Thriller

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, November 1997

Fourth album in three years from Kurt Wagner's Nashville swingers is a pithy eight tracks in duration, including an instrumental title number and three compositions ...

Lambchop's New Flavour

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, February 2002

Kurt Wagner, songwriter and former floor-layer, has stripped down the sound of his 13-strong band for their latest and finest album. He tells Ben Thompson ...

Leila

Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, September 2000

"WHEN YOU'RE YOUNG", explains 29-year old North London electro-soul auteur Leila Arab, "you get into these strange emotional states - either of over the top ...

Jamie Lidell: King's Cross Scala, London

Live Review by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, November 2005

JAMIE LIDELL'S live show at the King's Cross Scala offers a number of delightfully incongruous spectacles. Looming large among them is the sight of a ...

Low: The Lowdown on Low

Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, November 2000

"AND THE LIGHT it burns your skin," Low's Alan Sparhawk intones tenderly, his voice flickering like a candle by a sash window, "In a language ...

Madonna the Missus

Essay by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, May 2001

IN HENRY JAMES' 1873 short story ‘The Madonna of the Future’, the American protagonist visits the city of Florence, where he encounters a strange and ...

Madonna: Hard Candy

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, April 2008

Thanks to her henchmen, writes Ben Thompson, the shameless idol still has much to give ...

Massive Attack: Looking for Identities: Massive Attack

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, May 1998

A STATELY HARPSICHORD looms up out of a gently tapping drumbeat. A piano escorts an exquisite female voice through a bass guitar archway with the ...

Massive Attack: Blue Lines

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer Music Monthly, June 2004

FROM THE METROPOLITAN angst of 'Safe from Harm' - "If you hurt what's mine, I'll sure as hell retaliate" - to the insistent shaken bottle-top ...

Mercury Rev on the Other Side

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, 'Ways of Hearing', 2001

NOT SINCE Joy Division turned into New Order has a band coped as well as Mercury Rev with losing its lead singer. But given that ...

Mercury Rev: On The Other Side: Mercury Rev

Interview by Ben Thompson, MOJO, January 1999

HOW MANY BANDS ARE THERE who have made their best records after losing their lead singer? Whoever said "Marillion", go and sit in the corner, ...

Missy Elliott: This is Not a Test

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, November 2003

WAY BACK IN 1997, when Missy "Misdemeanor" Elliott launched her debut album Supa Dupa Fly with the touching dedication "To my mom... I would not ...

Missy Elliott: Missy In Action: The Divine Ms. Elliott

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, May 1999

MISSY "MISDEMEANOR" Elliott is an infamously snappy dresser, so when she emerges from a discreet recess in her LA hotel room wearing nothing more elaborate ...

Mogwai: Metal Ear

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, Ways Of Hearing, 2001

"They had brought this music with them when they were born, these bandmen, in their hearts and their muscles, their blood and their bones".Jay Allison ...

Motorhead: Corn Exchange, Cambridge

Live Review by Ben Thompson, New Musical Express, October 1987

"IF WE moved in next door to you your lawn would die" Lemmy once proclaimed gleefully. To a 12-year-old HM fan like myself, Motorhead always ...

N*E*R*D: Fly or Die (Virgin)****

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer Music Monthly, March 2004

IF ITS ILLUSTRIOUS predecessor – 2001's visionary soft-porn psychedelic soul masterpiece In Search of... – was anything to go by, the release of a new ...

N*E*R*D: The Search Is Over: N*E*R*D

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, August 2001

THEIR NAMES MIGHT not be familiar, but you'll know Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo by the sounds they make. As multi-million selling production team the ...

Nirvana: Kurt Cobain: Too Good For This World

Obituary by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, April 1994

AT MIDNIGHT on Friday, after the violence in Rwanda and before the end of the IRA ceasefire, a vaguely disdainful Radio 5 newsreader announces the ...

Nirvana at Reading

Live Review by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, August 1992

BY THE LAST day of the Reading Festival, the physical conditions have reverted to type. Soggy survivors cluster on little islands dotted between enormous mud ...

Nirvana: From the Muddy Banks of the Wishkah (Geffen)

Review by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, October 1996

FOR ALL THOSE who will overturn the tables like Jesus in the temple if they hear Nirvana Unplugged in another vegetarian restaurant, From the Muddy ...

Nirvana: In Utero

Review by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, September 1993

ROCK AND ROLL can be cruel. One minute you are a professional misfit, happily living out a punk-rock life of misery and alienation in an ...

Nirvana: Unplugged In New York

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, December 1994

IT SEEMS A PARTICULARILY VICIOUS IRONY:THAT A BAND THAT electricity seemed to flow through, a band who at their best could fling the weight of ...

Nirvana: National Theatre, Kilburn

Live Review by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, November 1991

WHEN NIRVANA appeared at the Reading Festival earlier this summer, they were just one more obscure American underground rock trio with a good LP and ...

Will Oldham: Palace Music: Viva Last Blues

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, September 1995

The albums of Palace eminence Will Oldham do not take long to listen to (this one lasts just over half an hour), but there is ...

Will Oldham: Viva Will Oldham: The Permutations of Palace

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, 'Seven Years of Plenty', 1998

THE VARIOUS mutations of the Palace name are a cover for the extraordinary career of Louisville's Will Oldham. The opposite of the businessman who opens ...

Palace Music, Will Oldham: Will Oldham: Bonnie 'Prince' Billy Sings Greatest Palace Music (Domino)****

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, February 2004

FIRST THINGS FIRST. The 15 songs that Louisville Kentucky singer-songwriter Will Oldham has chosen to reinterpret here (originally featured on three albums, an EP, a ...

Smog, Will Oldham: Heading For The Ditch: Smog and Will Oldham

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, February 2000

IT'S ONLY THE first week in February and already spring's sonic daffodils are poking through the boy-band mulch. Those who feared they would live their ...

Orbital

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, Ways Of Hearing, 2001

IT'S A GREY weekday lunchtime in glamorous East Anglia. Cambridge town centre is brought to a resentful standstill as a series of huge pantechnicons disgorge ...

Orbital: Brixton Academy, London

Live Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, December 1994

THE WAY THAT ORBITAL wanted to make music, one of the Hartnoll brothers said last year in a rare theoretical moment, was like an idealised ...

Jim O'Rourke: Catching Jim O'Rourke's Drift

Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, January 2002

THE CARDIGAN-clad figure of Jim O' Rourke looks up from his Holiday Inn coffee. "I'm a nightmare," he warns, pointing with a smile to a ...

Ozzy Osbourne: The Ozzmosis of Ozzy Osbourne

Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, 1995

IT IS THE Winter of 1980-1. Black Sabbath are playing at the Hammersmith Odeon, for the first time without Ozzy Osbourne – widely regarded as ...

Pavement: Across the Cracks: Pavement

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, 'Seven Years of Plenty' (Gollancz), 1998

PAVEMENT HEAVEN, steps 1-7: ...

Pavement: Crooked Rain, Crooked Rain

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, March 1994

THERE WAS MUCH wailing and rending of hair throughout the land at the news that Pavement had parted ways with their crazed 40-something drummer Gary ...

Pavement: Terror Twilight

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, July 1999

TERROR TWILIGHT'S penultimate track is a five and a half minute epic called 'The Hexx'. It begins with Stephen Malkmus taunting one of the swallows ...

Pet Shop Boys: An Attitude Thing

Interview by Ben Thompson, Sunday Telegraph, April 1996

THERE IS NO MORE embarrassing chapter in the big book of Pop Interview Ritual than the one in which you're forced to listen to music ...

Portishead: The Reluctant Debutante

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, December 1994

IF YOU WERE the most compelling and enigmatic new group in Britain, playing your first proper gig in the sort of London club where Christine ...

The Prodigy

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, Seven Years of Plenty, 1998

LIAM HOWLETT - soft-spoken mastermind behind The Prodigy's globe-subjugating juggernaut of organised chaos - is a very busy man. If you want some idea of ...

Pulp: Inside Jarvis: A Reluctant Stardom

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, Seven Years of Plenty, 1998

Autumn 1993 ...

Pulp: Jarvis Cocker: Sorted For Trees and Weeds

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, October 2001

AMID THE RUMPLED grandeur of West London's Cobden Club, the familiar angular figure of Jarvis Cocker stands out like a sore index finger. His ...

Pulp: His'n'Hers

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, May 1994

FORGET EVERYTHING you know about what great music is – Bessie Smith, The Beatles, Neil Young, Al Green, all gone (not forever, just for 40 ...

Queens Of The Stone Age: Queens of the Stone Age: Lullabies to Paralyze

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, February 2005

CANNED HEAT without the weight problem, ZZ Top without the tacky '80s gloss, Nirvana if Nevermind hadn't grown so big it blocked the road to ...

Rheinallt H. Rowlands

Profile by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, October 1996

THERE HAS ALWAYS been a place in pop for the driven outsider: the writer or performer spurred on by their own personal bob-a-job scout pack ...

MC Romeo, So Solid Crew: MC Romeo: Alpha Romeo

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, August 2002

IN THE TOP floor of the London bus that is taking me to interview fast-talking UK garage heartthrob MC Romeo, an effervescent group of black ...

Jill Scott Identifies Herself

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, Telegraph Magazine, November 2000

THE SOUND OF DISTANT laughter echoes up the corridor. As it comes closer - suffusing the chilly corporate air of Sony's West Soho HQ with ...

Sebadoh

Interview by Ben Thompson, MOJO, September 1996

THE BEST INTRODUCTION TO Sebadoh comes in the form of an 11 minute cut-and-paste manifesto, tacked – without the benefit of a title – onto ...

Sigur Ros: Takk

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, August 2005

A ROBE-FREE polyphonic spree, a depoliticised Godspeed! You Black Emperor, a less unforgivably insipid Talk Talk, Mogwai with the heavy metal taken out, the Cocteau ...

Simply Red: Mick Hucknall

Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent on Sunday, December 1995

Given that Lemmy of Motorhead's father was a priest, it makes a crazy kind of sense that Mick Hucknall's dad should have been a barber ...

Smog: The Man Behind the Smog

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, Ways of Hearing, 1998

BILL CALLAHAN HAS BEEN releasing strange and disturbing records as Smog – both on his own and with various accomplices, most notably erstwhile soulmate Cynthia ...

Sonic Youth: Experimental Jet Set, Trash & No Star

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, June 1994

THIS IS SONIC Youth's tenth album in all, bootlegs excluded, and it finds them making a determined and ultimately successful effort not to settle into ...

So Solid Crew: So Solid: The Crew's All Here

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, ES, November 2000

WITH MEMBERSHIP currently standing at twenty plus, Battersea's upsurgent underground garage crew So Solid seem to be trying to overwhelm the opposition by sheer weight ...

So Solid Crew: They Do Know: So Solid Crew

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, October 2001

SIFTING THROUGH a pile of So Solid Crew fanmail might be a disturbing experience for anyone worried about the state of the nation's spelling, but ...

Jon Spencer Blues Explosion: The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, MOJO, December 1994

Combustible blues, not as in Delta 12-bar, but as in Beefheart, braggadocio and Mick Jagger’s dick. ...

Sufjan Stevens: The 50 States of Rock: Sufjan Stevens

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, June 2004

THERE HAVE BEEN MANY extra-curricular activities traditionally associated with the life of the travelling rock'n'roller. Teaching knitting to the blind is not one of them. ...

The Stone Roses: Second Coming

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, February 1995

IF THE BYRDS HAD BEEN WELSH; IF Lenny Kravitz shopped at Kwik Save; if the Rolling Stones or Led Zeppelin or Wishbone Ash or Eddie ...

The Streets: Dead Cert: The Streets

Interview by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, April 2004

'I LOVE THE NAME "The Streets",' muses 24 year-old Mike Skinner - at once the mercurial creative-director, canny CEO and flaky spokesmodel of that thriving ...

The Strokes: Room on Fire

Review by Ben Thompson, Observer, The, September 2003

THREE HOURS before I am left alone in a press-office antechamber with Britain's only copy of Room on Fire, something very important happens on the ...

Super Furry Animals

Profile and Interview by Ben Thompson, MOJO, August 1996

BT: Listening to your debut album Fuzzy Logic, there seems to be a hint of British '60s psychedelic legends Dantalion's Chariot about it. ...

Teenage Fanclub: Grand Prix

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, June 1995

THE BUCKFAST BEATLES, THE Belshill Beach Byrds: whatever you want to call them, the Teenage Fanclub are back. And their new album (their sixth, if ...

Throwing Muses: University

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, February 1995

RETURNING TO COLLECTIVE ACTION after last year's earth-shaking individual effort Hips N Makers, Kristin Hersh sounds happy to have some back-up noise behind her again. ...

Tindersticks: Tindersticks

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, December 1993

BETWEEN NICK CAVE AND THE FALL maybe; or separating early Dexys from mid-peri-od Pogues; or even right back alongside Lee Hazlewood and Leonard Cohen – ...

Tricky: The Tricky Kid

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, 'Ways of Hearing' (Gollancz), 1998

HOTEL ROOMS ARE notoriously impervious to the characters of the people who stay in them: close proximity to a wicker basketful of complimentary toiletries has ...

Tricky: Return Of The Bristol Rover

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, June 2008

After exploding on to the trip-hop scene with Massive Attack and as a solo artist, Tricky decamped to America to go through what some see ...

Turin Brakes and the New Acoustica

Essay by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, June 2001

IN 1971, LESTER BANGS wrote an article for the American magazine Who Put The Bomp (reprinted in the Serpent's Tail anthology Psychotic Reactions and Carburetor ...

Underworld: And Then There Were Two: Underworld

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, August 2000

I SAW KARL HYDE get on a train with his baby daughter once, at Liverpool Street station. On the face of it, this was not ...

Usher: Rise of the House of Usher

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, Telegraph Magazine, July 2001

APPEARING ON Channel 4's Richard Blackwood Show during his last visit to Britain, clean-cut US R&B star Usher Raymond IV startled the crowd with the ...

Voodoo Queens: Voodod Queens: Chocolate Revenge

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, March 1994

UNREPENTANT BAD GIRLS with a taste for culinary and bibulous excess, the Voodoo Queens have cannily put their career back on track with a debut ...

The White Stripes: Detroit Spinners

Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, June 2007

SON HOUSE WAS one of the greatest of all blues singers. Born on a Mississippi cotton plantation in 1902, he died 86 years later – ...

Wilco: Taking Control in a Crisis

Report and Interview by Ben Thompson, Daily Telegraph, March 2002

ROCK AND ROLL is not the first place you would look for a new form of patriotism. Yet Yankee Hotel Foxtrot, the latest album by ...

Wilco's Winning Ways

Interview by Ben Thompson, Independent, The, May 1999

WILCO MAINSTAYS Jeff Tweedy (twinkly, weatherbeaten) and Jay Bennett (burly, dreadlocked) are savouring a momentary pause between engagements. A beleagured two-man colony of battered denim ...

Robert Wyatt: A-Shleep at the Wheel: Robert Wyatt

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, <i>Ways of Hearing</i>, 2001

ROBERT WYATT lives on an isolated estuary in the misty North-East of England, where he sometimes likes to sit in quiet contemplation with his wife ...

Robert Wyatt: Shleep

Review and Interview by Ben Thompson, MOJO, 1997

Soft Machine and Matching Mole legend makes triumphant return. Sterling work from all-star supporting cast Paul Weller, Brian Eno, Evan Parker, Annie Whitehead and Phil ...

Neil Young: Mirror Ball

Review by Ben Thompson, MOJO, August 1995

It revolves slowly and with a dignified air of formality, and when light shines on it you get a strange dappled effect. That effect, for ...

Neil Young: Out Of The Black

Essay by Ben Thompson, MOJO, September 1994

"Last night I dreamt I kissed Neil Young / If I was a boy I guess it would be fun." Sonic Youth, Creme Brulee, 1992. ...

List of genre pieces

Double Figures: Ten Years Of The Domino Effect

Press Release by Ben Thompson, Domino Records, July 2003

CAPTAIN'S LOG, stardate 1993: John Major's village-cricket-and-warm-beer based moral crusade inspires a parallel "back-to-basics" drift in UK rock 'n' roll (with Justine Frischmann as its ...

Origin of the Spices: From Riot Grrrl to Girl Power

Book Excerpt by Ben Thompson, Seven Years of Plenty (Victor Gollancz) , 1998

The riot grrrl/girl power liaison: from a whisper to a screen near you ...

Russell Simmons: The Emperor Of Rap

Interview by Ben Thompson, MOJO, July 1995

SO WHY DO THEY CALL RUSSELL Simmons 'Rush'? The Def Jam emperor loses little time in answering this question. ...

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