Rob Keeley: Twists and Turns

Skittish is the word for this CD from Keeley. This is partly because of the pairing of instruments such as clarinet and harpsichord (which create a sound different to what one normally hears) but also because of the music itself, which skitters about like a giddy rabbit in a summer’s field. The sound is somewhere […]

Green Day: God’s Favourite Band

No really, God loves them. Not THE God, obviously, the one whose son’s birth we celebrate, but a Python-esque carton voiced by an actor on the Stephen Colbert show, presumably so they could name this hits package what they did. Green Day’s last hits package was 2002’s International Superhits, at which time they had a […]

Alexander Armstrong: In A Winter Light

  We were expecting to mock this: a cursory play through, a pithy review, job done. Unfortunately, it’s pretty good; if it was more Christmassy, it’d come with free reindeer poo and tinsel. We played it about six times on the run. Armstrong is not only the voice of Dangermouse, he went to St Mary’s […]

Franz Nicolay: The Humorless Ladies of Border Controli

Subtitled “Touring the punk underground from Belgrade to Ulaanbaatar” this is probably the best travel book ever written by a musician, up there with Steve Earle’s novel for best book of any kind by a musician, and probably the best book about touring ever. There’s not much about the actual gigging, a repetitive event that […]

Madeleine Mitchell: Violin Muse

This CD demonstrates the violin at its most bleak/stark/purest; take your pick. Even Atlantic Drift, which opens with the sound of a lively folk song, is sparse and with an edge. This is not a criticism, just to say the album is mostly not warm or romantic, just dry and slightly melancholy; more a funeral […]

Pet Shop Boys: Elysium

This was their 11th album and named Elysium for the place the ancient Greeks sent their Gods for a blissful afterlife. It’s chilled and for a dance act, low key. That’s not to say the album lacks variety. Not as good as Very, reviewed last week but it has the comfort of the familiar, a […]

Squeeze: The Knowledge

Younger readers might not have heard of Squeeze, famous for hits such as Up The Junction and Cool for Cats; witty, insightful lyrics coupled with catchy pop tunes. In latter years they’ve reformed and toured but not achieved the same status as Madness or even some of the 2-Tone bands still touring. It was never […]

The Septura Ensemble: Music for Brass Septet, Vol.5

This is not really a Christmas album, but it’s Christmassy. Septura (not to be confused with the Brazilian metal band from Belo Horizonte)  brings together a number of London’s leading brass players. It’s a brass septet and thus has no traditional repertoire, and is creating its own, recording a series of 10 CDs of different […]

Simon Callow with the Brighouse and Rastrick Band: A Christmas Carol

As a Christmas treat this is great. Fans of audible books know that a good reader can make the difference between a good and bad book (that Jane Austen we once listened to will never be forgotten, with its mispronunciation and poor edits. And poor edits./ This version of Dickens’s classic is as luxurious as […]