Dag Wirén: String Quartets Nos. 2-5

The CD notes talk about the “tapestry of drama” of Dag Wirén’s work and it’s a good phrase; this is expressive music that is tightly woven and has something of a flourish to it, though it’s a touch restrained. Wirén, born in 1905, studied at the Stockholm Conservatory from 1926 to 1931, coming into contact […]

The Vegabonds: V

The Vegabonds are from Alabama and play likable southern rock meets country. It’s music to play in bars and tap your toes too, reflecting on that gal you lost, but enjoying happy memories rather than bitterness. It’s not music for crying in your beer. Opener Partyin’ With Strangers is in many ways a work of […]

Mark Stroppa: Space

The release notes on this make it clear this is modern music: Stroppa “views composition as musical research” and is “constantly aware of the dual nature of artistic thought, the discourse about the thought and the thought itself”. On this release, the Ensemble KNM Berlin “explores the topological qualities of the sound worlds” it says. […]

Muse Simulation: Theory

It must be great being in Muse. Cool band, everyone’s got a soft spot for you, you can fill stadiums but also pop into Teignmouth Costa and not get mobbed. The main problem with Muse is that everyone takes them so seriously, because they’re clever people and make clever music. One review we read for […]

Graciela Jiménez: Solo Piano Works

Last week we reviewed the excellent album by Mariko Terashi (Piano); this week it’s another good piano programme, though different. Argentinian pianist and composer Graciela Jiménez is inspired by the landscape and folk melodies of her native country, say the sleeve notes, and this is a welcome introduction to her work. Without resorting to nationalistic […]

Architects: Holy Hell

There can be few better genres to deal with tragedy than loud metal, and grief suits the music of Architects. This is the band’s first album since the death of guitarist and songwriter Tom Searle, twin of drummer Dan, and the death dominates the album. Subtle it’s not, in any sense of the word, which […]

The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: Poor Until Payday

  The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band do one thing and do it well, playing their old-fashioned country blues at 250 gigs a year from bars to festivals. The Rev plays authentic guitars, too: a 1930 steel-bodied National, a 1934 wood-bodied National Trojan Resonator and a 1994 reproduction of a 1929 Gibson acoustic, while drummer […]

Beans On Toast: A Bird In The Hand

Beans On Toast (aka Jay McAllister) sings the same song over and over; the words might change but his musical accompaniment has a small range, and exists to make words melodic. He’s a mate of, and like, Frank Turner, just less grand. Early on, he explains his modus operandi to listeners, saying he’s “at it […]

Ray Cooper: Between The Golden Age and The Promised Land

Cooper is known to folk fans as Chopper: he joined Oysterband in 1987 after bassist Ian Kearey left, himself leaving the band at the end of the Ragged Kingdom tour in February 2013, to pursue a solo career. (He was also in 3 Mustaphas 3 and OK Jive). In a self-penned biography, Cooper says of […]

Emily Lockett: My Imagination

Lockett is a local teenage singer and this is her new album, but she gets the same scrutiny as the signed bands we review … and comes up pretty well, (always a relief). She cites Taylor Swift’s early work and Avril Lavigne as influences, so we listened to some Lavigne, and it’s not a bad […]