Dolly Parton: I Believe In You

Dolly. It’s impossible to say anything bad about her: rose from nothing, written some classic tunes and knows the value of every single one, but not mean either — she gave the rights to I Will Always Love You (the best-selling single by a woman in music history) to her former manager Porter Wagoner, for […]

Bob Chilcott: All Good Things

Nominally this is jazz but as far as jazz goes, it makes Bob James sound like Metallica; it’s more like music for a trendy evangelical church, though choral singers will probably love it, too. Vocal group Commotio figure highly. Chilcott recently worked with Congleton Choral Society, who loved him. The CD reminded us of the […]

David Braid: Songs, Solos and Duos

This is a CD that shows that good music is hard to categorise. Wrexham-born Braid is a classical composer only because he’s on a classical label and plays classical guitar, but with a nudge in any direction this could be jazz or acoustic/folk pop. His mingling of jazz with folk and classical make this an […]

Guy Wampa and Justin Percival: Ammut

We played this several times knowing nothing about them. It’s slick and commercial; the singer (a Wampa or a Percival, we know not) sounds like the Canadian K-os (released some slick hip hop a decade ago, including Crabbuckit and Love Song), with smooth soulful vocals, and music to match. And despite being electronic, it’s a […]

Judah and the Lion: Folk Hop N’ Roll

Take Mumford and Sons and add some scuzzy guitar and drum machine, and you’ve got Judah and the Lion. They’re big in the States — the single Take It All Back (on here as Take It All Back 2) was top of the US alternative charts for ages. Given that our own inventors of this […]

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart: The Echo of Pleasure

The Pains of Being Pure at Heart are an American indie pop band, formed in 2007, and centred around songwriter Kip Berman. This is a nice album of heartfelt 80s pop but it suffers from the fact that The War On Drugs’ new album, which travels a similar road, is so much better. This is […]

The Smiths: The Queen Is Dead

With various politicians and actors being forced to admit egregious behaviour, we thought we’d make a confession of our own: we think Morrissey is over-rated. Back in the day, we loved The Smiths, especially Johnny Marr’s guitar, but came to think that Morrisey was not a barbed wit in the style of Oscar Wilde but […]

Neil Young: Hitchhiker

This is a rather magical album: Young rolls up to a studio in 1976, on a night of the full moon, and plays some songs, accompanied only by weed and beer. Some songs go on to be classics, two have not been released before. It’s a got a bit of Clint Eastwood Man With No […]

Hawklords: Six

The whole Hawkwind / Hawklords thing is a bit of a problem: if you’ve liked the space rock mothership nonsense since 1823, when Dave Brock first strapped on a guitar, you like what you know and want what you like, and this is it. The rest of us, maybe not so. Hawklords feature former Hawkwind […]

Betsy: Betsy

“The new Cher” say some of the reviews, and that’s not just the sound. The feel of the whole CD harks back to an era when a woman could have a ship’s gun between her legs and not get mocked on social media. The sleeve art is Betsy wearing tight tops in a garage-based scenario […]