Dave Dove and Amy Wakefield: The Players

This opens with You Ask Me, sounding like a Whitest Boy Alive song, with clean acoustic guitar and double bass, before the vocals come in; it’s clear we’re in home-made territory though in a good way — we once returned from Shetland with a boxful of CDs from local musicians sounding like this. It’s endearing […]

Highasakite: Camp Echo

If you’re going to name your album after a camp in Guantanamo Bay and then call yourself Highasakite, you’d best not be offering a stoner’s view of American politics. “It’s bad stuff, man.” Happily, Highasakite’s Ingrid Helene Håvik says Camp Echo is “more a state of mind”, and we know what state that is: chilling […]

John McCusker: Hello, Goodbye

Charming is the word for this solo album from fiddle player McCusker: he’s celebrating 25 years as a professional musician but as he joined the Battlefield Band when he was still a nipper (well 17) he’s still a comparative stripling. As well as the Battlefield Band, he’s played and produced with Kate Rusby and Heidi […]

Hoffmeister/Beethoven: Duos for violin and cello

Franz Anton Hoffmeister worked as both a composer and a publisher. In 1778 he was appointed kapellmeister to Count Franz von Szecsenyi; in his publishing job he was friendly with Mozart, and published work by Mozart and Beethoven. He also composed himself. We’d guess he was workmanlike rather than a great composer so his publishing […]

Septura: Music For Brass Septet Music 4

This is volume four in a series of CDs in which Septura imagine that four composers had written for brass. Featured on this CD are Italian composer and organist Giovanni Gabrieli; composer, organist and singer Tomás Luis de Victoria; Giovanni Pierluigi da Palestrina, Renaissance composer of sacred music, and Orlande de Lassus, a Franco-Flemish composer […]

Frightened Rabbit: Painting Of A Panic Attack

Last week we were wondering whether The Boxer Rebellion’s latest album would see them do a Snow Patrol and crack the big time, but noted it was hard to judge an album before and after greatness, because that greatness made you view it differently. Who knows? This latest from Frightened Rabbit is different: this is […]

Joseph Lanner: Viennese Dances

We’d heard of Mr Lanner — he invented formal Viennese waltz, taking a peasant dance and turning it to a refined art form enjoyed by high society — but we didn’t know that a “waltz” was the closed-hold dance position, which explains the sleeve notes (see below). We also didn’t know it was danced at […]

Max Raptor: Max Raptor

We’ve been getting Max Raptor material for some years and the raucous punk/rockers get better each time. The opener on this new album, Keep The Peace, is excellent: it sounded like they poured the ingredients of high energy punk into a tube of toothpaste and what came out was more intense and focused than what […]

Underhill Rose: The Great Tomorrow

This is not a ground-breaking album or anything new but it’s appealing and while it sounds modern they have a traditional sound too, with banjo, fiddle and pedal steel in there. It’s more to the folk side of country than the rock. Having said that, opener Our Time Is Done is the full band playing […]

The Boxer Rebellion: Ocean By Ocean

We had a couple of The Boxer Rebellion albums last year; they’re one of those bands playing finely honed pop music whose fans adore them but who mysteriously fail to get big (though as getting big means playing barns like the Manchester Arena and staying smaller means playing more personal gigs at the Apollo or […]