Natalie McCool: The Great Unknown

We feel we should be kind about McCool’s new album. She has a tenuous Cheshire connection, so she’s almost local, and we’ve heard her earlier stuff and thought she had potential. But, as people sometimes say, this would be a vinyl album, where you play side one but rarely flip it over for side two […]

Joan As Police Woman and Benjamin Lazar Davis: Let It Be You

The Guardian review of this says it “doesn’t quite do the pair justice” but we think they’ve not listened to it enough. It takes a number of plays for its charms to become apparent, but they are there. The album sees Joan Wasser link up with New Yorker Benjamin Lazar Davis, a multi-instrumentalist, for a […]

Will Varley: Kingsdown Sundown

He’s an interesting guy is Mr V. He began playing open mic nights in London in the early 2000s, then set up Smugglers Records with the band Cocos Lovers (who we last saw at Green Man). He released his debut album Advert Soundtracks in 2011 and toured the album on foot, and has since toured […]

Baby Strange: Want It Need It

Every few years a band comes along with the message for young music fans that rock n roll can be fun. The last one was Vaccines, and before that Glas Vegas (maybe not so fun, but it was stripped down) and before that; well, there would have been someone. Baby Strange play swampy garage rock […]

Jacko Hooper: After The Storm EP

We played this one Sunday afternoon and it’s great Sunday music, laid back and reflective. We were sent a download and the tracks aren’t in the correct order but opener Closer is a gentle piano ballad, and the repeated refrain “my heart breaks when your lips shake” is nicely ambiguous — is the owner of […]

Franz Liszt: Transcriptions of Symphonic Poems

The music on this recording features solo piano versions of Liszt’s orchestral music, either produced by Liszt or transcribed under his supervision. According to the sleeve notes, Liszt often revised his own music while transcribing it, or gave the task to his pupils and select associates, overseeing their work and then revising before publication. These […]

Big Top Heartbreak: Deadbeat Ballads

An album we play quite often is Vincent Black Lighting’s Songs From The Underbelly Part Two (it’s 1,536,042 in music on Amazon). Musically it’s a kind of sedate punk rockabilly with fantastic lyrics about life in North West England (they were from Burnley or somewhere). It was never going to be a hit but they […]

Dan Whitehouse: That’s Where I Belong

Anyone who saw Danny And The Champions Of The World at Biddulph this year will know the Whitehouse sound — soul mixed with a splash of country and folk; this pleasant new album is in fact produced by Danny of Danny And The Champs. That’s Where I Belong is the standout song; it’s very familiar […]

Seasick: Steve Keepin’ The Horse Between Me And The Ground

This is undoubtedly Seasick Steve’s best album; the title aside it has no music hall showmanship about it — or at least no back of the cowboy wagon showboating — and it’s got depth and subtlety. Maybe Mr Wold is as sick of Seasick as we are, though it’s been an excellent career move. Though […]

Phil Collins: The Singles

It’s Phil Collins. It’s the singles. What more do you need to know? Avuncular Phil has drawn a stickman (sticksman?) playing drums on the cover to pretend it’s not just a hits package coming out before Christmas. The collection shows why Collins is vastly under-rated as a talent: if the Press hadn’t mocked him so […]