Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra: Beck: Symphonies Op.2

The title suggests orchestra but the music here is played by Canada’s Thirteen Strings Chamber Orchestra, which, as its name suggests is 13 strong (plus conductor Kevin Mallon). The result is a tight performance of these works, producing a pleasing CD. Franz Ignaz Beck was composing just before the “classical” period and the works performed, […]

Stone Foundation: A Life Unlimited

Brass, soul and Hammond organ: to people who like certain types of soul, this album’s mix of these sounds is probably preferable to a cosy night in with their spouse. Opener Beverley (which perhaps unavoidably has echoes of the Zutons’ Valerie in the chorus) is sublime soul, with strings, brass, Hammond and smooth vocals. It’s […]

Amadeus Guitar Duo: Baroque Moments

The joy of getting CDs you’d never normally come across is that of discovery and we were curiously pleased to find the Amadeus Guitar Duo, a husband and wife mini-industry (though perhaps not so mini, they probably have the castle next door to Andre Rieu) who between them have churned out close to 20 albums […]

Kim Churchill: Silence/Win

Churchill is supporting Bellowhead and John Butler next week (Chepstow Castle and Shepherds Bush Empire respectively), both indicative of the amount of talent the Aussie singer songwriter has; this album, his second, has really impressed us. Australian music can be derivative but Churchill has his own sound, a sort of happy pop folk. His live […]

Bobby Long: Ode To Thinking

We’ve not heard of Mr Long before but the interweb informs that he had a tune in the first Twilight film and apparently has such a strong fanbase that he fan-funded this album in a little over a month. It’s a simple but powerful album, with Long leading the way on acoustic guitar and vocals; […]

The Selecter: Subculture

It’s difficult for bands like The Selecter: on one hand they’re playing to an aging fanbase of 2-Tone fans who just want to hear what they know. We saw Selecter at Capesthorne’s Rewind on Saturday, playing to an audience looking to relive the 1980s and hear all the old tunes. On the other: they’ve still […]

José Antonio Escobar: Luis Milan: El Maestro

Ah, just to be known as “El Maestrao” eh? Not that’s he’s around to appreciate it: Luis died in 1561 and was a Spanish Renaissance composer. He was a vihuelist, which is what people were before they became guitarists: the vihuela is a guitar-shaped string instrument from 15th and 16th century Spain, Portugal and Italy. […]

Live: Rewind, Capesthorne Hall, August 2015.

It was party time at Capesthorne Hall over the weekend as the latest of the now-annual Rewind festivals was held at the Siddington stately home. The event, which had a daily capacity 20,000, was sold out as thousands of fans of the 80s legends descended on Capesthorne in a range of fancy dress outfits. The […]

Lianne La Havas: Blood

A bit of a curate’s egg from Ms Barnes, with some songs swooningly nice and others gliding past the ears unheard, making as much fuss a quietly moving halibut. Opener Unstoppable is one of the former, a sultry, a slow jazzy number reminiscent of a summer’s day and sun-dappled trees. Wonderful is stripped back to […]

Calls Landing: Heirlooms

Watching Kerrang! television (as we often do), it’s noticeable that many of the tunes played are getting for two decades old — the likes of Blink 182, Sum 41, Offspring and Alien Ant Farm all get heavy rotation. Then there’s New Found Glory, who are maybe not up there with Blink or Green Day as […]