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Laura Barton

Laura Barton

Laura Barton was born in 1977 in Lancashire. She was educated at Winstanley College and Worcester College, Oxford. Following graduation, she began writing for The Guardian from 2000. She has also written for Q, The Word, and Intelligent Life, and has broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Until late 2011, Laura wrote a fortnightly column about music for The Guardian's Film and Music supplement, called "Hail, Hail, Rock and Roll", as well as a weekly column on women's issues, "The View from a Broad", for the newspaper's G2 section. Her first novel, Twenty-One Locks, was published in 2010 and recounts the story of "a young small-town girl facing the biggest decision of her life". A series of short stories about Northern soul was broadcast on Radio 4 in 2011.

Laura Barton on the RBP podcast

74 articles

By Artist | By Date

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Razorlight: Johnny Borrell – "I don't even look human"

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 28 July 2004

HE CLAIMS to be a better songwriter than Bob Dylan and has likened himself to Charles Dickens. But is there more to Johnny Borrell, the ...

Joy Division: Deborah Curtis: "I was just besotted"

Retrospective and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 11 April 2005

Twenty-five years ago, Ian Curtis, lead singer of Joy Division, killed himself. His wife Deborah talks to Laura Barton about getting over him, obsessive fans ...

The Ramones, Patti Smith, Talking Heads, Television: Heaven or Las Vegas: CBGBs closes down

Report by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 8 July 2005

Laura Barton on what the closure of the world's most famous punk-rock club, CBGB's, says about the state of New York's live music scene. ...

Tom Vek: "Everything I'm doing is so cool"

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 7 October 2005

Super-geek Tom Vek talks to Laura Barton about the silence between CD tracks, how his album 'just fell out of him' and what he gets ...

Arctic Monkeys: Have the Arctic Monkeys changed the music business?

Report by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 25 October 2005

THE ARCTIC MONKEYS swung toward the No. 1 slot this Sunday with an unstoppable momentum. ...

The Strokes: Rebirth of the Cool

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 25 November 2005

Once they were the hippest band on the planet; then it all went a bit quiet for the Strokes. They tell Laura Barton how they ...

Clap Your Hands Say Yeah: And the crowd goes wild: Clap Your Hands Say Yeah

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 9 December 2005

Earlier this year, Clap Your Hands Say Yeah were struggling to sell more than five albums a day. Now they're selling out every venue they ...

Daniel Johnston: "I know the darkness"

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 21 April 2006

"I love that girl so much I can't get enough of her crazy love" ('Crazy Love', Daniel Johnston) ...

Isobel Campbell and Mark Lanegan: When Beauty Met the Beast

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 21 April 2006

What happened when Isobel Campbell teamed up with the wild man of rock, Mark Lanegan? The result, says Laura Barton, could make her Queen of ...

Josh Ritter: Songs of innocence and experience

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 28 April 2006

Mark Twain, Bob Dylan, Einstein and Thomas Jefferson – singer-songwriter Josh Ritter tells Laura Barton what makes him tick. ...

Grandaddy: Jason Lytle: "Stuff doesn't happen unless I'm alone"

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 19 May 2006

The critics loved them. Their peers loved them. But Grandaddy never made the jump to stardom their contemporaries the Flaming Lips managed. Now the band's ...

Martha Wainwright: Fire in her belly

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 22 May 2006

She grew up in one of folk's first families and tried to resist following them into a musical career. But then Martha Wainwright fell in ...

Tom Waits, Neil Young: Jim Jarmusch: "Tom Waits said he would glue my head to the wall"

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 9 June 2006

WHEN JIM JARMUSCH speaks, it is like a man emptying out his pockets. "Wild Zero. Guitar Wolf. Where they're killing zombies. Rude Boy. The Clash. ...

Eagles of Death Metal: The innuendo crowd

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 19 August 2006

Eagles Of Death Metal are here to sentence you to "death by sexy". But not before they've charmed you with their double entendres, finds Laura ...

Broken Social Scene: Just one big happy family, eh?

Report and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 25 August 2006

A BLEARY-EYED AMY MILLAN is winding her way across Toronto in a desperate search for coffee. The traffic lights switch to green and she scans ...

A heckler's guide

Comment by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 6 November 2006

Want to know what to shout at Tony Blair when he makes his Farewell Tour next year? Then read on. ...

George Pringle: Hail, Hail, Rock'n'Roll: George Pringle

Essay by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 4 January 2008

I like my bus journey songs to have a narrative; 'cinematic mini-epics' as George Pringle might put it. Music for dreamers and loners ...

Amy Winehouse: How popular is crack?

Comment by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 23 January 2008

FOOTAGE HAS emerged of the troubled songstress Amy Winehouse apparently smoking crack at her home in east London. The substance is widely regarded as the ...

Adele, Duffy: Who's better – Duffy or Adele?

Comment by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 4 February 2008

The national topic of conversation has shifted from speculating on the weather to a more pressing subject: the search for this year's Amy Winehouse. ...

The Mountain Goats: John Darnielle — "I was a very pretentious young writer"

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 15 February 2008

John Darnielle is an obsessive-compulsive who loves monsters, Black Sabbath and the word Wyoming — and he's also one of America's best lyricists. ...

Bon Iver: Hail, Hail, Rock'n'Roll: Bon Iver

Report and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 29 February 2008

IF WE HAVE spoken in the past couple of weeks, I apologise. If you have poured out your heart and found me blank-faced, if you ...

Adam Green, The Moldy Peaches: Adam Green: The Park Bench Balladeer

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 10 April 2008

Adam Green's music, featured in the movie Juno, has brought him fame. That's fine, he tells Laura Barton, but he'd rather be at home eating ...

The Killers: Nice Dummies

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, Q, March 2009

"DAD! DID YA hear that? Double platinum!" Ronnie Vannucci hollers over the evening clatter of a Seattle restaurant. Several tables away, Vannucci Snr. raises his ...

Bikini Kill, Huggy Bear: Grrrl Power

Retrospective and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 4 March 2009

The Riot Grrrl scene brought feminism to alternative rock in the '90s. Fifteen years on, the aftershocks are still making waves, says Laura Barton. ...

Metric: The mellow mania of Metric

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 6 July 2009

They made their name with spiky, angry songs perfect for sweaty clubs. Now Metric are finding their lighter side. Will the band's fans go for ...

Liz Phair: Exile In Guyville (15th Anniversary Edition)

Review by Laura Barton, The Word, August 2009

All's Phair In Love And War: Raw, rude and "very 1993", Liz Phair led Girl Power's first offensive. ...

Cheryl Cole: Twist and pout: Cheryl Cole's new album cover

Essay by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 19 November 2009

If the pose seems vaguely familiar, it may be that side-on, over-the-shoulder look. Laura Barton has certainly seen it somewhere before. ...

Ellie Goulding: Pop Sensation

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 12 December 2009

"I KNOW THESE cups look dirty," says Ellie Goulding, frowning at the two floral mugs she carries across the room, "but really they're not. It's just ...

Kate & Anna McGarrigle: Kate McGarrigle remembered

Comment by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 20 January 2010

THERE ARE TWO words that have always epitomised the voice of Kate McGarrigle for me – they came in a Rolling Stone review that followed ...

Mumford & Sons: The Almighty Power of Mumford & Sons

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 11 February 2010

THE PUB IS filling up: City boys in pinstriped suits, women clutching dry white wines; candles are lit on upstairs tables, voices rise to fill ...

Fionn Regan: My Way or the Highway

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 22 February 2010

His debut album was nominated for the Mercury prize – then his label locked away the follow-up. For his third album, Fionn Regan is going ...

Frightened Rabbit: The Winter of Mixed Drinks

Review by Laura Barton, bbc.co.uk, 9 March 2010

IT'S BEEN THREE YEARS since Frightened Rabbit released their last record, The Midnight Organ Fight, a startling, brittle and quite brilliant break-up record that bared ...

She & Him: A Musical Marriage Made in Heaven

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 15 April 2010

"HOW'S THE SOY cappuccino?" asks Zooey Deschanel, sliding back into her seat and peering over at the white cup and saucer set before M Ward. ...

Eliza Carthy, Norma Waterson: Eliza Carthy & Norma Waterson: Gift

Review by Laura Barton, bbc.co.uk, 13 July 2010

Mother and daughter's first album as a folk duo is a beguiling listen. ...

Sharon Van Etten: Epic

Review by Laura Barton, bbc.co.uk, 11 October 2010

Melds pedal steel and electronica into something really rather gorgeous. ...

The Decemberists: The Changing of the Seasons

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 6 January 2011

A year ago, the Decemberists' Colin Meloy retreated to a house in the woods of northern Oregon. He tells Laura Barton about the effect it ...

Bon Iver: "I'm really confused right now"

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 9 June 2011

Bon Iver's first album brought Justin Vernon success beyond his comprehension. With his hugely anticipated second album out soon, Laura Barton asks – can he ...

Fleet Foxes: How Fleet Foxes are handling high expectations second time around

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 16 June 2011

Huge success began a steep learning curve for the Seattle band. Bandleader Robin Pecknold explains how the second album put the band in a "dark ...

Glen Campbell, J. D. Souther: J.D. Souther: Natural History/Glen Campbell: Ghost On The Canvas

Review by Laura Barton, The Word, September 2011

Half-centuries of rugged individualism are celebrated in two finely-chiselled new records. ...

Nick Lowe: The Old Magic

Review by Laura Barton, The Word, October 2011

Come raise a glass in the small, vivid, brilliantly disordered universe of Nick Lowe — its life, just not quite as we know it. ...

Andrew Bird's sonic arboretum reminds me of the natural music we are losing

Report and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 24 November 2011

IN CHICAGO'S MUSEUM of Contemporary Art this December, there will sprout up a peculiar kind of forest: 50 horned speakers, each standing between 19 and ...

Perfume Genius: "I've learned not to trust myself"

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 16 February 2012

Porn footage and his mum were two of the inspirations for songs on Mike Hadreas's second album, which, yes, features the same themes of lurid ...

John Martyn: One World... One John

Film/DVD/TV Review by Laura Barton, The Word, April 2012

A new John Martyn film is well-intentioned and clearly created with love — but falls short of the grand setting he deserves. ...

Paul Weller: Sonik Kicks

Review by Laura Barton, The Word, April 2012

Paul Weller's unchanging image limits our view of him. His third "experimental" record fizzes with aural innovation. ...

Janis Joplin: The Pearl Sessions

Review by Laura Barton, The Word, May 2012

Janis Joplin was a great storyteller. Here's the final album — with notes, sketches, first drafts and alternative endings. ...

Devendra Banhart: Mala

Review by Laura Barton, bbc.co.uk, March 2013

A sense of love and lightness lingers after this eighth album has run its course. ...

Eleanor Friedberger: "Rock is a young man's game"

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 8 August 2013

THE FORMER FIERY FURNACES singer talks about her new album, Personal Record, why she likes being a tomboy — and won't be playing electric guitar ...

Neko Case: "I have to battle with myself"

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 23 August 2013

Singer Neko Case was at the top of her game when she was struck silent by depression. She tells Laura Barton about retreating to her ranch ...

Razorlight — Johnny Borrell isn't a buffoon, he's a national treasure

Profile by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 10 June 2014

The world has mocked Johnny Borrell for a decade. For what? Doing the things we want rock stars to do. It's time to celebrate him, ...

Jack White's secret London gig: surgical masks, dry ice and disease

Live Review by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 3 July 2014

Late on Wednesday night, Jack White's fans were summoned to a dark 'medical research centre' off the Strand for a sinister immersive theatre show with ...

Kate Tempest: Poet, performer, novelist: the rise of the uncategorisable Kate Tempest

Report and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 12 September 2014

Mercury nomination and place on prestigious list of poets are well-deserved accolades for bright young performer ...

Benjamin Booker, DD Dumbo, Rag'N'Bone Man, Ike Turner: "A little punk, a little jazz, a little shoegaze": Meet the new blues

Report and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 1 January 2015

From the spirituals of the deep south to the White Stripes, it's a music that has constantly reimagined itself. But is anyone really ready for ...

James Bay

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, Q, July 2015

IN TWO YEARS, THE YOUNG BRIT SINGER-SONGWRITER JAMES BAY HAS GONE FROM BARMAN TO CHART-TOPPING, AWARD-WINNING HEARTTHROB AND IS MOBBED WHEREVER HE TRAVELS. NO WONDER ...

SOAK: Before We Forgot How To Dream (Rough Trade)

Review by Laura Barton, Q, July 2015

Derry youth's fragile debut. ...

Richard Dawson, St. Vincent, Super Furry Animals: Green Man festival, Glanusk Park, Brecon Beacons — home-town heroes and hot tubs steal the weekend

Live Review by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 24 August 2015

Super Furry Animals take Saturday with a gloriously long set, while a dazzling St Vincent proves that Green Man just gets better with age ...

Blick Bassy: "I want to expose the dangers of the immigration dream"

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 9 September 2015

The Cameroonian singer-songwriter draws on figures from Miles Davis to African freedom fighters to produce his soulful, melodic sound — but it wasn't until he ...

Björk on Iceland: "We don't go to church, we go for a walk"

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 16 November 2015

Björk used to walk across the tundra singing at the top of her lungs. John Grant left America for its rocky grandeur and Sigur Rós's ...

Mica Levi: The exceptional composer who obliterates boundaries with brilliance

Interview by Laura Barton, The Gentlewoman, Fall 2015

Mica Levi is a rebel with a cause: to smash up the divisions between musical genres, from three-note punk to the finest classical score. This ...

Bon Iver: 'There are people who are into being famous. And I don’t like that'

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 24 September 2016

Justin Vernon’s falsetto-folk infiltrated pop and caught Kanye’s ear but now he’s kicking against the fame game. For his new album, he explains why the ...

Leonard Cohen: Looking at Leonard Cohen's darkness misses the warmth of his words

Comment by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 11 November 2016

When you listen to the lyrics Cohen wrote, you realise how alive his language is – and how much he was seeking the light. ...

Laura Nyro: The passion and soul of Laura Nyro

Retrospective by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 19 April 2017

Twenty years after her death, the rhythmic and shifting life of a songwriter who composed for the stars – but sidestepped celebrity herself – is ...

Richard Dawson: Rough Trade East, London

Live Review by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 7 June 2017

RICHARD DAWSON OPENS his short, early-evening show at Rough Trade East with a traditional folk ballad, 'The Cruel Ship's Carpenter'. A contrary choice, perhaps, for ...

Richard Dawson: Time travel, BHS and urine – the strange world of folk singer Richard Dawson

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 30 June 2017

THE NEWCASTLE SINGER meticulously researches the worlds he conjures up in song – and that can mean details of local history or the minutiae of ...

Jane Weaver: Ramsgate Music Hall

Live Review by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 23 October 2017

CERTAIN ENGLISH female singing voices make a direct grab for the central nervous system. From Sandy Denny to Sarah Nixey, Maddy Prior to Sarah Cracknell ...

Jarvis Cocker: Ramsgate Music Hall

Live Review by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 29 March 2018

Moving like a spider and dispensing fruit to the audience, the one-time Pulp frontman's new songs seem some of the best of his career. ...

Beth Ditto: "I don't think I can act. I'm just really good at talking."

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 24 October 2018

The Gossip frontwoman has started acting, and her first role is a "redneck loud woman" in the new Gus Van Sant film. She talks about ...

SOPHIE: Oil of Every Pearl’s Un-Insides

Review by Laura Barton, Q, Summer 2018

Cutting-edge producer delivers dizzying dance-pop hybrid. ...

Sharon Van Etten: "The more I let go, the more I progress as a human being"

Profile and Interview by Laura Barton, The Observer, 6 January 2019

Known for complex songs about the dark side of love, the acclaimed singer-songwriter is back with a fifth album that explores synths, rock anthems, mental ...

Our Native Daughters: Songs of Our Native Daughters

Review by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 21 February 2019

FOUR BLACK FEMALE BANJO PLAYERS wrestling with gender, race, slavery, sexual assault and the domination of the male gaze might make an admirable-if-arduous prospect, but ...

The Stone Roses looked like every lad I'd known and filled me with northern pride

Comment by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 1 May 2019

The Mancunian band released their debut album 30 years ago this week, giving north-west teenagers music to call their own. ...

Bill Callahan: "Having a kid changed my whole perspective"

Interview by Laura Barton, The Independent, 3 September 2020

The singer-songwriter is releasing his 21st album, the acclaimed Gold Record. He talks to Laura Barton from his home in Texas about settling down, fatherhood ...

Fleet Foxes: "You can fake a guitar solo. You can't fake your voice"

Interview by Laura Barton, The Guardian, 23 September 2020

Back with a warm new album, Robin Pecknold talks about how the pandemic cured his anxiety – and how the Beach Boys' golden falsettos changed ...

Wolf Alice on that Marilyn Manson "upskirting incident"

Interview by Laura Barton, The Evening Standard, 27 May 2021

Wolf Alice were making a third album when Covid hit — now it's arrived and its creators are itching to get back to business. They ...

St. Vincent: Daddy's Home

Review and Interview by Laura Barton, Uncut, June 2021

AT LAST YEAR'S SUNDANCE, Annie Clark and Carrie Brownstein premiered a mockumentary they named The Nowhere Inn. Playing augmented versions of themselves, the film cast ...

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