Phil Collins: Testify

After raving about Collins’ previous reissues (Face Value, Hello I Must Be Going, No Jacket Required, Dance Into The Light), we have to say that the songs on this are pedestrian at best; he’s reissuing all his albums so he’s got to do this one, but it’s a bit unmemorable. Maybe he has to be […]

Yeasayer: Amen and Goodbye

You know what you’re getting with the surprisingly long-lived Yeasayer — catchy dance / pop with that hippy vibe that seemed to surround them and bands like MGMT, who emerged at the same time. The last couple of Yeasayer albums have been a bit Bombay Bicycle Club: you knew they’d be good and you knew […]

Qigang Chen: Enchantements Oubliés

This is a remarkable album, successfully combining the sound of English pastoral music with traditional Chinese — from Vaughan Williams to the music from an arty martial arts movie — and played in a way that sounds alternatively intimate and imposing, and cinematographic in places. The end result is highly palatable, though we’d guess some […]

Phil Collins: No Jacket Required

This was a massive album back in the 80s: the third solo studio album by drummer Collins, it sold 10 million copies in the US, 1.8 million in the UK and 20 million worldwide. No wonder Phil has such nice houses. It won the Grammy for album of the year in 1985. It bit like […]

September Girls: Age of Indignation

We’ve played this the usual dozen or so times but it’s not really an album suited to repeated play. In feeling, it reminded us of PiL for the stripped down intensity, with the vocals/drums giving it the sound of early Siouxsie. There’s a solid drone to the music, with lots of guitar washing over the […]

Altan: Widening Gyre

Altan are one of Ireland’s longest lasting bands, 35 years and counting, and the longest running line-up of founding members in Irish music. We confess never having heard of them. (We have heard of equally long-lasting Irish band Aslan, the band random name generator obviously getting stuck at “A” in 1980s Ireland). Altan specialise in […]

The Posies: Solid States

We’ve heard of The Posies but never anything by them. They’re from Bellingham, Washington — also hometown to Death Cab For Cutie — and been going since 1987, so we’ve either missed them or they’ve managed to remain cult. They play clever power/pop that reminded us most of Fountains of Wayne; they’re better than FoW, […]

Theatre of Voices: Buxtehude and his Circle

Dietrich Buxtehude was the greatest organ virtuoso of his time and a celebrated composer of both sacred and secular baroque music. He was so good and so famed that in 1705, JS Bach, then a young shaver of 20, walked from Arnstadt to Lübeck — where Buxtehude was organist — a distance of more than […]

Meilyr Jones: 2013

It takes some time to get into this adventurous, bold and frankly difficult pop album from former Race Horses frontman Meilyr Jones. It’s a mix of soul/dance music in the style of Dexy’s Midnight Runners and all manner of orchestral instruments: one comparison is early ELO — but far more the debut Electric Light Orchestra […]

The Heavy: Hurt and The Merciless

We’ve heard people raving about The Heavy and can see why: they’re basically the best wedding band you’ve ever heard, and they’ll keep you awake and happy on the drive to work. If “the best wedding band you’ve ever heard” seems harsh, it’s not meant to: fans of the Blues Brothers, particularly the live touring […]