Don McLean: Botanical Gardens

Lyrically this is for those who think political correctness has gone mad, and the loss of the days when a man could walk round openly staring at pretty girls in dresses is to be lamented. The opener Botanical Gardens is, reduced to its essentials, about a man who ain’t getting any eying up girls in […]

Dmitri Tymoczko: Rube Goldberg Variations

An off-beat album with even madder sleeve notes, this album is surprisingly enjoyable in a low-key sort of way. The title refers to Rube Goldberg, an American cartoonist and inventor: a Rube Goldberg Machine is a crazy contraption that accomplishes a simple task in the most complicated, and funniest, way possible. He is to the […]

Turnstile: Time And Space

A bit like Wille and the Bandits last week, the familiarity of this was instantly comforting, at least if you like punk/rock and some screamo/falsetto vocals. Ok, so you’ve got to like loud music to appreciate this but it’s so much more than whatever you first think it is. It reminded us of Beastie Boys, […]

A Garland for John McCabe

This is an odd album, though we ended up liking it more than we expected. It’s done with love for a man the composers respected and is more a private playlist, something to be shared among friends (and it’s been paid for by subscription). It’s unlikely to be performed live. After playing it several times, […]

Marcus Blunt: Orchestral Works

The last album we reviewed with a celestial image on the front was from Vyacheslav Artyomov, a serious Russian who writes epic music. His view of the universe was big and scary; space is infinite and you’re a puny human. Blunt’s title piece, Aspects of Saturn uses as its inspiration Saturnus. He is the Roman […]

Lauri Porra: Entropia

This meld of prog rock and classical is as interesting an album as you’d want; entertaining if you like your prog broken down and your classical with bass solos and lots of 4/4 time. Mike Oldfield managed it on Tubular Bells. Adventurous brass band fans might also find much to like. Porra, (40), is an […]

The Stranglers: The Classic Collection

The Stranglers were without doubt the best band to emerge from the punk era. The Damned were largely rubbish, the Sex Pistols as manufactured as The Spice Girls and The Clash lacked any quality control; their longevity is down to all their fans later becoming music journalists and banging on about what a seminal band […]

The Magic Gang: The Magic Gang

There’s a long line of bands producing catchy guitar-based pop, to varying degrees of success, on what one could call the Weezer-Echosmith spectrum, Weezer clearly being the daddies, Echosmith truly excellent but less successful. Or there’s Black Kids, who shone brightly but briefly, or Fountains of Wayne. The list goes on. We suspect The Magic […]

David Federmann: Water’s Edge

We never mock people with geeky hobbies, because for a long time we obsessed over Rob da Bank’s early morning music show: dance, chill-out and acoustic music combining to often glorious effect. This new album from French jazz aficionado and electronic producer Federmann would have fitted right in. It would have been the first tune […]

Molly Tuttle: Rise

First the predictable joke: the opener is Good Enough but this mini-album is more than good enough. It’s marvellous. Though she plays bluegrass it doesn’t, on the surface, sound it. Bluegrass, the genre of American roots music that emerged from Appalachia but is shaped by Irish, Scottish and English traditional music, is often typified by […]