Littlemen: It’s a Beautiful Thing

If ever an album hid its delights in its opening bars, it’s this. The start of opener The Girl With The Red Blouse sounds something like a country take on Wet Wet Wet’s Something In The Air, a gentle, slow pop tune with soft vocals, no indication of what’s coming. Then it builds in power […]

The Heliocentrics: Infinity of Now

The Heliocentrics bill themselves as psychedelic-funk which is about right: it’s a hybrid of jam music (Goat or Holy F—sprang to mind) mixed in with Portishead and some Can / krautrock. They claim to sound like the funk of James Brown and “the disorienting asymmetry” of Sun Ra (psychedelic jazz player) It’s all very cool, […]

Ben Bedford: Portraits

This is Bedford’s sixth album; his last, Hermit’s Spyglass, was excellent and this is even better. Perhaps not surprising, as he has picked songs from his first three albums to create a collection of songs, the intention’s clear from the album title. Hermit’s Spyglass told some good tales – it mapped daily life on a […]

Beans On Toast: Knee Deep In Nostalgia / The Unforeseeable Future

Beans (aka Jay McAllister) normally drops one album a year but clearly lockdown has left him with little else on his plate and we get two. They’re both self-explanatory in their titles. Knee Deep In Nostalgia sees man-of-the-people poet and guitarist Beans looking back fondly at his past and his likes, from memories of favourite […]

The Messenger Birds: Everything Has to Fall Apart Eventually

The Messenger Birds follow in the footsteps and The Black Keys, The White Stripes and Royal Blood, two blokes making a lot of noise (“That’s not a rock band, that’s just two guys!” they cite “some guy named Kevin” as saying on their Bandcamp page). Like Jack White, they’re from Detroit, Michigan. The album opens […]

Roderick Chadwick: La Mer Bleue

This technical and slightly self-involved album revolves around Catalogue d’Oiseaux (“Catalogue of birds”), a work for piano solo by Olivier Messiaen. The full work is 13 pieces, devoted to birds and dedicated to his second wife Yvonne Lorio. The CD takes in the first three, the Alpine chough (chocard des Alpes), The Eurasian golden oriole […]

Eagles: Live From The Forum

We’ve never really been massive fans of Eagles but you’d have to be a miserable wretch not to like this new double album recorded live at the impressive Inglewood venue, practically a homecoming gig for the band. Someone who saw Eagles years ago complained to us: “It sounded just like the records”, which is perhaps […]

Kulick: Yelling in a Quiet Neighborhood

We almost decided not to like Kulick on principle; he’s just too cool for school, cheekbones and all that. We watched a couple of videos and he looks like a yoof from Sarf Laandan, but he appears to be from America. This is surprising: the sound is English commercial indie/pop. He sounds like loads of […]

Idles: Ultra Mono

Idles and Fontaines DC trod similar ground with their early music, enjoyable fist-in-the-air ramshackle punky rock making political statements. The DCs moved on to slicker fare with their most recent release but Idles have not; it’s still gnarly. When it works, it’s great; other times less so. Expressing working class anger at the state of […]

Arcade Messiah: The Host

We first came across Arcade Messiah years ago, when we had a double (?) CD to review; we thought it was the career-end of a US cult prog band but they must have been very early releases from Arcade Messiah, and now we feel bad. Particularly as he gave this album away.Arcade Messiah is one-man […]

Ayalew Mesfin: Che Belew!

The Press notes say that Ayalew Mesfin is among the greats of 1970s Ethiopian music legends, the music he created with his Black Lion Band among the funkiest to arise from Addis Ababa. His records were mostly 7in singles and reel-to-reel tapes collected for this and it’s a charming and enjoyable album. The recordings are […]