Boo Hewerdine: Open

This new album is a sort of greatest hits for Hewerdine; it features unreleased recordings made during sessions in 2003. The tracks include early versions of two of his classic songs (Muddy Water and Geography) as well as acoustic recordings of concert favourites such as Microfilm and Name, the latter song opening the album. As […]

Heath Common: Encounters With Light

Common is a beat poet from Manchester. In real life (and under a different name) he’s a headteacher, and we wonder what his pupils think: “Sigh; Sir’s taken mescaline and started reading Henry Miller again…” Still, it’s a well-paid job and we suspect he’s funded most of his releases himself. This is the most ambitious […]

Villa-Lobos: Guitar Manuscripts Vol 3

Heitor Villa-Lobos was a Brazilian composer, described as “the single most significant creative figure in 20th-century Brazilian art music,” at least by Wikipedia, our go-to guide for classical advice. A prolific composer, he wrote numerous orchestral, chamber and instrumental works and often infused his music with the sounds of Brazilian folk or street music. Originally […]

Alan Doyle: Where I Belong (Book)

After reviewing Bill Nelson’s book last week, despite not being familiar with his work from De Bop Deluxe onwards, this week it’s Alan Doyle. Not only did I not know who he was, but I’ve never heard of his band either. Doyle is the singer and guitarist with Canadian folk supergroup Great Big Sea and […]

Aero Flynn: Aero Flynn

Something to do with flying and an alcoholic who swung from chandeliers: we weren’t expecting much from this. In fact — stunning. It’s vying with Mounties and Malpas as our album of the year. Flying swashbuckler Aero Flynn is really Josh Scott, and he’s a mate of Justin Vernon, whose own alias, Bon Iver, is […]

Ratatat: Magnifique

This is definitely a grower; one play is not enough to start to appreciate its charms, and for several plays we were planning to dismiss it as a little bit annoying (a feature of their earlier work, apparently). As a rough guide, it’s quirky electronic dance/pop that sounds like it should be on French label […]

Lindemann: Skills in Pills

This is a side-project of Rammstein frontman Till Lindemann, together with Peter Tägtgren (Hypocrisy and Pain – us neither). The sound is Rammstein in their mellower dance moments (Mutter sprang to mind), so it’s industrial rock but with less guitar, and more synth and melody. On the whole, it’s got a softer sound. The major […]

Bill Nelson: Diary of a Hyperdreamer Vol 2 (it’s a book)

Ok: I admit that I’d heard of Bill Nelson and knew a couple of odd songs but didn’t know much about his first big band, Be Bop Deluxe — except that proper musos loved them at school — or any of his subsequent work. After buying a box set of Be Bop Deluxe (a bargain, […]

Neil Young: The Monsanto Years

Reviews of this are mixed and we’d guess are split by age: people who know enough to understand how the Great Vampire Squid of Goldman Sachs infiltrates government on both sides of the Atlantic will find it much more satisfying than people who don’t know as much, and think it all a little far-fetched. (Doubters: […]

Accademia Daniel: Graupner – Concerti e Musica di tavola

There’s nothing more to say about this album other than it’s a delight. It’s not an album that’s intellectually challenging and the music doesn’t seem to operate on a deep level, it is just pleasurable. It’s music for festivities and pleasure, and 300 years or so after it was written, it’s as pleasurable now as […]