John McLeod: Complete Solo Piano Music

John McLeod CBE (born 1934) is a contemporary Scottish composer, and his love of the piano began as a schoolboy growing up in Aberdeen. This new (ish, we’ve had it some time) recording of his works for solo piano was made at four concerts given in the Stoller Hall, Manchester, as part of the Chetham’s […]

Carson McHone: Carousel

Forget all those bands with a new slant on country: McHone is from Austin, Texas, and she’s playing country as it should be played. You get fiddle, steel guitar and lyrics about broken hearts (hers) and no-good men (also hers, sadly). With Maybe They’re Just Really Good Friends you get the picture from the title, […]

Calva Louise: Rhinoceros

Who remembers The Subways? They’re still going (playing with the legendary Die Toten Hosen in Germany this summer), but long ago disappeared into their fanbase. They were a fun rock pop band, most notable for having a couple who split romantically but carried on the band. After an initial bursting on the scene they settled […]

Thrice: Palms

Thrice are supposed to be punk — or at least post-hardcore, a genre derived from hardcore punk — but it’s as much like punk as a marmoset is a halibut. This is pure rock and singer Dustin Kensrue has a powerful voice, not unlike Chris Cornell; in fact, in places this is more like Audioslave […]

Trapper Schoepp: Primetime Illusion

Schoepp is one of those artistes who sound like they’re going to be big, just because they’re so good. We thought it was a band but Trapper Schoepp is a real name of just one person, and Primetime Illusion is his third album. He writes songs about life, but in the same way as Squeeze […]

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 […]