Stevie Nicks: 24 Karat Gold — Songs From the Vault

This is a collection of Nicks’s tunes, the ones she had just lying around and it’s, well, a Stevie Nicks album. Despite the fact that the tracks are from various years (between 1969 and 1987), it holds together well as a body of work. Recorded in Nashville with a group of session players (including Dave […]

Alexander Kostritsa: Three Generations of Mazurkas

The mazurka sounds like a Greek starter (“I’ll have a mazurka followed by a moussaka please”) but it’s actually a lively Polish folk dance, with the accent on the second or third beat. The Poles say mazurek. This new CD looks at the mazurka as it developed from a dance to full-blown Romantic art-music — […]

Black Swan Lane: A Moment of Happiness

Black Swan Lane play melodic and fairly gentle tunes given a goth air thanks to the husky vocals of Jack Sobel (who along with John Kolbeck is the only original member, former Chameleon Mark Burgess having left). They’ve not changed their sound over the three albums we have in the Review Corner vaults (there’s three […]

She Keeps Bees: Eight Houses

She Keeps Bees play rootsy, stripped down music that’s somewhere between indie and blues. The songs are mostly led by Jessica Larrabee’s soulful voice; they’re from Brooklyn but there’s a swampy aroma of Louisiana about this. Apparently the duo’s previous albums had a loud/quiet thing going on, and while this is lacking here they still […]

Gerard Way: Hesitant Alien

We were never massive fans of My Chemical Romance (too theatrical) but we like this solo album from the band’s main man a lot more. There are shades of MCR on here (No Shows) but mostly it’s arty glam/pop — Way is obviously a fan of British music from Bowie and Bolan to Britpop. Way’s […]

Emma Stevens: Waves

All those people buying “music” by X Factor Cowell clones should stop what they’re doing and buy this instead. Stevens is talented: she started playing guitar as a nipper, had cello and piano lessons, joined the Surrey Youth Orchestra and started songwriting at 13 or so. She’s so talented she helps out the less able […]

Manu Katché: Live In Concert

Katché became known as the drummer on Peter Gabriel’s 1986 album So, and went on to work with the likes of Sting, Eurythmics, Dire Straits, Manu Chao, Youssou N’Dour and Joan Armatrading, as well as Joe Satriani. A top player, in other words. But he’s equally (probably more, on the evidence of this album) at […]

David Ellis: Concert Music

The big question with this is: why haven’t we heard of him? Most of us could remember at least one Cheshire poet laureate, most locals know of the famous footballers and rugby players with local connections, and artist David Shrigley is famous for being born in Macclesfield. (We once asked him if he’d driven through […]

The Barr Brothers: Sleeping Operator

We reviewed this a few weeks ago but it’s out now and we’re mentioning it again because it’s so good. In fact, with the releases from this week (see this page) and last — Jackson Browne, Josh Pyke — you could spend all your CD pocket money for the year and not regret it. In […]

Allo Darlin’: We Come From The Same Place

We were most delighted to get this, as we thought Allo Darlin’ had split up. Their debut, 2010’s Allo Darlin’ is one of our favourite indie pop albums of recent years (and it’s proper indie pop, not manufactured guitar music). The follow up Europe was a bit slicker and not as immediately likeable; we play […]