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Rob Young

Rob Young

Rob Young was born in Bristol in 1968. He has worked as a music writer and editor since 1993, when he joined the staff of The Wire. His books include All Gates Open: The Story of Can (Faber & Faber, 2018), Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain’s Visionary Music (Faber & Faber, 2010), and histories of Rough Trade and Warp in Black Dog Publishing's Labels Unlimited series. He edited the collections of Wire articles, Undercurrents: The Hidden Wiring of Modern Music (Continuum 2002), The Wire Primers: A Guide to Modern Music (Verso 2009), and No Regrets: Writings On Scott Walker (Orion 2012). 

Rob has contributed to many publications including Uncut, Sight & Sound, The Guardian, Frieze, Artforum, Art Review, LRB and the New Statesman, as well as art catalogues on Jeremy Deller, Pink Floyd, Carsten Nicolai and Seb Patane. He currently lives in Oslo, Norway. 

Rob's blog

55 articles

By Artist | By Date

List of articles in the library by date

Frank Black: Frank Black (4AD CAD 3004 CD/MC/LP)

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, April 1993

PUNCH ME out if I mention The Pixies more than twice. Times have changed and Black Francis wants us to call him Frank Black. This ...

Tortoise: Getting Up To Speed

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, March 1996

Depending on your point of view, American group Tortoise are either cutting edge avant rock, or ponderous Prog revivalists. Either way, the buzz generated by ...

Aphex Twin, Si Begg, Squarepusher, Cristian Vogel: Richard James, Tom Jenkinson et al: A Taste Of Wonderland, Ministry Of Sound, London

Live Review by Rob Young, The Wire, September 1997

AH, A DUMBSHOW — now that's entertainment. In the middle of the floor in the largest of the Ministry Of Sound's three shapeless spaces, the ...

Mark Hollis, Talk Talk: Return from Eden: Mark Hollis

Profile and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, January 1998

As the prime mover behind Talk Talk, Mark Hollis threw off the shackles of a pop existence to create the bleakest, yet most lyrical orchestral ...

John Martyn: Felling Gravity's Pull

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, June 1998

After rising to prominence with the late 60s electric folk renaissance, John Martyn uprooted songform and subjected it to a serious sonic makeover on a ...

Grooverider: Locked Groove

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, September 1998

As one of the few drum 'n' bass starfighters still standing, is it too late for the lone Grooverider to save Jungle from burning out? ...

Portishead: Tangled Up In Blue

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, December 1998

After three albums and a world tour which nearly put paid to them, the members of Portishead are resting up. In Bristol, Geoff Barrow and ...

John Zorn: Barbican, London

Live Review by Rob Young, The Wire, March 2000

ZORN'S BACK: that part of his anatomy, clad in a casual red pullover above yellow-flecked combat slacks, is, in fact, what is presented to the ...

Vladislav Delay: Against the grain

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, March 2000

"I'm quite a moody person and I like blue music," says Vladislav Delay, the enigmatic 23 year old musician from Helsinki, and the latest prodigy ...

Laurie Anderson: Epiphanies: Laurie Anderson

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, May 2000

Laurie Anderson tells Rob Young how a great white whale lured her towards her latest revelations ...

Pole: Bassline shifter

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, June 2000

Pole music combines glitch electronics with the cyclonic eddies of dub. In London, Rob Young meets its creator, Stefan Betke, to uncover a secret life ...

wire200.net/minehost: Brainwashed.com

Profile and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, October 2000

Webmaster Jon Whitney controls Brainwashed.com, a central hub for music's outsider tendency, hosting sites for World Serpent, Tortoise, Kid606 and more.  ...

Add N to (X): Invisible Jukebox: Add N to (X)

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, November 2000

Every month we play a musician or group a series of records which they're asked to identify and comment on — with no prior knowledge ...

Sigur Ros: Desolation Angels: Icelandic music

Report and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, January 2001

Spearheaded by Sigur Rós, Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson and the Kitchen Motors collective, Iceland’s hardy children of nature are proving stubbornly resistant to the World Rock ...

Beth Gibbons & Rustin Man: Out of Season

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, December 2002

Lighting out for a rural retreat, Portishead singer Beth Gibbons and ex-Talk Talk bassist Paul Webb fashion a pastoral strain of folk rock.  ...

Matthew Herbert: The Body Politician

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, May 2003

If electronica constructed entirely from sampled body parts, stacked recordings of falling telephone directories or the noise of domestic appliances hasn't already established that utopian ...

Dean Roberts: Lost City Rambler

Profile and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, April 2004

"I LIKE TO get songs to find their place in the air and sort of float there," says Dean Roberts, who began his career in ...

Christian Marclay: djTRIO (Asphodel)

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, January 2005

CHRISTIAN MARCLAY's djTRIO is a changeable turntablist threesome with himself as the constant. The seven tracks here document seven different improvisations in as many locations. ...

LCD Soundsystem: Liquid ecstasy: LCD Soundsystem: LCD Soundsystem (DFA/EMI) *****

Review and Interview by Rob Young, Uncut, February 2005

New York's disco infiltrators put the "cross" in crossover ...

Bill Fay: Tomorrow Never Knows

Retrospective and Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, March 2005

AFTER MAKING TWO OF THE FINEST BUT OVERLOOKED APOCALYPTIC SINGER-SONGWRITER ALBUMS OF THE EARLY 70S — WITH JAZZ ARRANGER MIKE GIBBS AND FREE GUITARIST RAY ...

Konono No. 1: Konono No 1: Congotronics

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, March 2005

IN AFRICA, corrupt and irresponsible governance has led some of the continent's most prominent modern musicians to cast themselves as surrogate leader figures — think ...

Sun Ra: Cosmic Relief: Sun Ra & His Solar Arkestra: The Magic Sun

Film/DVD/TV Review by Rob Young, Uncut, April 2005

Important documentary artefact of late-'60s avant-garde jazz ...

Jamie Lidell: Boy in a Bubble

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, July 2005

Digital avant funk sound boffin and flamboyant vocalist by turns, Jamie Lidell's live appearances are spectacular feats of improvised technology and showmanship. On the release ...

ABC, Cabaret Voltaire, Clock, Heaven 17, The Human League: Martin Lilleker: Beats Working For A Living – Sheffield Popular Music 1973-1984 (Juma)

Book Review by Rob Young, The Wire, July 2005

PRACTICALLY EVERY city in Britain has a roster of musical hod carriers with appalling names. This exhaustive history of Sheffield's music scene is crammed with ...

Boards Of Canada: Protect and Survive

Interview by Rob Young, The Wire, October 2005

In a rare face to face interview at their Scottish retreat, Boards Of Canada break their self-imposed isolation to scotch the myths that have coalesced ...

Pentangle: The Time Has Come

Review and Interview by Rob Young, Uncut, February 2007

4CD Connoisseur Collection Of Rare Mercurial Magic From British Folk/Blues/Jazz Supergroup. ...

Fairport Convention: Come all ye rolling minstrels

Retrospective and Interview by Rob Young, Uncut, September 2007

They were a bunch of uptight Londoners who wanted to be the Byrds. But after a tragic road crash, Fairport Convention holed up in the ...

Six Organs Of Admittance: Shelter From The Ash

Review by Rob Young, Uncut, December 2007

OVERUSED PHRASES such as "freak folk" or "acid folk" tend to play up the potential gonzo overtones of America's current underground scene. ...

Pentangle: Album By Album

Guide by Rob Young, Uncut, May 2008

OF ALL THE British folk groups of the late '60s, Pentangle were the most commercially successful. Where Fairport Convention and Steeleye Span chose a more ...

Shirley & Dolly Collins: The Harvest Years

Review and Interview by Rob Young, Uncut, September 2008

Remastered recordings dust off the crowning glories of English folk's Indian summer. ...

John Martyn: Ain't No Saint

Review and Interview by Rob Young, Uncut, October 2008

Outtakes and unreleased live recordings shine new light on the angels and demons at war in a 40-year career. ...

The Incredible String Band: Tricks of the Senses

Review by Rob Young, Uncut, February 2009

Two CDs of lost sounds from the Scottish folk starsailors. ...

PJ Harvey, John Parish: PJ Harvey & John Parish: A Woman A Man Walked By

Review by Rob Young, Uncut, April 2009

Grunge! Banjo! Dub! Swearing! Old friends play at musical double-dare, says Rob Young. ...

Davey Graham: Davy Graham: A Scholar And A Gentleman

Review by Rob Young, Uncut, January 2010

Perfectly tuned survey of the dad of DADGAD's musical wanderings. ...

David Bowie: David Bowie

Review by Rob Young, Uncut, February 2010

The Dame's debut: an enduringly curious dispatch from "Gnome-man's land", expanded and remastered. ...

Bill Fay: Apocalypse When?

Profile and Interview by Rob Young, Uncut, April 2010

The return of a remarkable English visionary. ...

The Incredible String Band: Reissues

Review by Rob Young, Uncut, April 2010

Scottish psych-folkies seek (and find) enlightenment. Praise be, says Rob Young. ...

Sandy Denny, The Strawbs: Sandy Denny & The Strawbs: All Our Own Work

Review and Interview by Rob Young, Uncut, August 2010

Early recordings of English folk's finest voice, definitively remastered. ...

Fairport Convention: What They Did On Their Holidays: Fairport Convention at Farley House, Summer 1969

Book Excerpt by Rob Young, 'Electric Eden' (Faber), August 2010

NOTE: This is an excerpt from Rob Young's superb new folk opus Electric Eden: Unearthing Britain's Visionary Music, published in August 2010 by Faber & ...

Sandy Denny, Fairport Convention, Fotheringay: Sandy Denny: "I don't think she ever gave the future the time of day…"

Retrospective by Rob Young, Uncut, October 2010

When Sandy Denny left Fairport Convention at the height of their success, she seemed destined for solo stardom. What went wrong? With the help of ...

The Edgar Broughton Band: The Harvest Years 1969-1973

Review and Interview by Rob Young, Uncut, February 2011

Out, hippies, out! Four CD set captures the righteous, blues-rocking anger of Warwickshire's counterculture warriors. ...

Jonny Greenwood, Radiohead: Jonny Greenwood: "What do I do? I just generally worry about things…"

Report and Interview by Rob Young, Uncut, April 2011

THE CAR PULLS into the courtyard of a small complex E of offices in the middle of a housing estate on the fringes of Didcot, ...

Traffic: John Barleycorn Must Die (Deluxe Edition)

Review by Rob Young, Uncut, April 2011

Winwood and pals' pastoral funk apogee, remastered. ...

George Russell: The Complete Remastered Recordings On Black Saint & Soul Note

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, May 2011

THE LYDIAN Chromatic Concept of Tonal Organisation is seldom invoked these days, but jazz composer George Russell's theoretical attempt to lift jazz up and away ...

Mickey Newbury: American Trilogy (Saint Cecilia Knows/Mountain Retreat)

Review by Rob Young, The Word, May 2011

Mickey Newbury's songs were made famous by other people. In his own hands they reveal a strange and magical thumbprint. ...

Fleet Foxes: Pack Mentality: Fleet Foxes: Helplessness Blues (Bella Union)

Review by Rob Young, The Word, May 2011

Fleet Foxes return, warmer and more bracing, with a set of vivid utopian folk songs for an age of modern austerity ...

The Beatles, Crosby Stills Nash & Young, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor: David Browne: Fire And Rain: The Beatles, Simon & Garfunkel, James Taylor, CSNY and the Lost Story Of 1970 (Da Capo)

Book Review by Rob Young, The Word, June 2011

AROUND 15 MAY 1970, Neil Young glanced at Time magazine's coverage of the killing of four students at Kent State, grabbed a guitar and within ...

Bon Iver: Bon Iver (4AD)

Review by Rob Young, The Word, July 2011

After the world's greatest break-up album, Bon Iver has pulled himself out of the quagmire of regret — with invigorating results. ...

Meg Baird: Seasons On Earth

Review by Rob Young, The Word, October 2011

Those in search of rapturous folk meditations with all the urgency of the '60s revivalists... tune in to Meg Baird. ...

First Aid Kit: The Lion's Roar

Review by Rob Young, The Word, February 2012

Gorgeous close-harmony singing and undiluted Americana —from the wide-open prairies of Stockholm ...

Scott Walker: Bish Bosch

Press Release by Rob Young, 4AD Records, September 2012

Bish (n. sl.), bitchBosch, Hieronymous (c. 1450–1516), Dutch painterBish bosh (sl.), job done, sorted* ...

Neneh Cherry: Blank Project (Smalltown Supersound)

Review by Rob Young, The Wire, February 2014

NENEH CHERRY's re-emergence as a solo artist has been a long, gradual process.  ...

Can: Ulrich Adelt: Krautrock: German Music In The Seventies (University of Michigan Press)

Book Review by Rob Young, The Wire, April 2017

AS ULRICH ADELT points out in his introduction to this sweeping survey of German music, there have been relatively few books on krautrock, even fewer ...

Can: Truth at 33 rpm

Book Excerpt by Rob Young, 'All Gates Open: The Story of Can' (Faber), May 2018

ONE OF THE many resonances of Can's name is the canister housing reels of celluloid film, a precious container protecting that most flammable and crumply ...

Scott Walker: From the sun lounger to the electric chair: Scott Walker's experimental genius

Comment by Rob Young, The Guardian, 26 March 2019

Fired up by Noam Chomsky in the late 1970s, the musician's "late style" became a forbidding avant-garde zone that fearlessly engaged the modern world. ...

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