Brittany Howard: Jaime

This is the debut solo studio album by the lead guitarist / vocalist of chart-topping, Grammy-winners Alabama Shakes. It’s going to be on everyone’s “best of” lists come December, as it’s great. It’s not like the Shakes, though. Howard wrote and composed all of the music, and played a lot, too we suspect. The songs […]

Alexander Rahbari: My Mother Persia, Vol.1 Symphonic Poems Nos.1-3

Iranian conductor and composer Ali (Alexander) Rahbari has worked with more than 120 European orchestras. Born in 1948, he studied violin and composition at the Persian National Music Conservatory then went to Austria. In 1979 he was invited to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and became Herbert von Karajan’s assistant, working with him every day […]

Alexander Ffinch: Transformations

This CD sees Ffinch play Cheltenham College Chapel’s organ; he is college organist so he knows it well. The opener is Joseph Jongen’s Sonata Eroica. This was commissioned by Belgium Radio in 1930 for the inaugural concert at the art-deco concert hall and arts centre at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. We like Belgium, […]

The Murder Capital: When I Have Fears

The year has been good for albums from our newly-invented genre of blinder punk: a style of raucous, gothic, riff-heavy rock that litters the soundtrack of Peaky Blinders, a show that has become increasingly Tarantino for its tunes. The days of it being Nick Cave and a few string sections are long gone. The Murder […]

Idil Biret: Mozart, Piano Concertos Nos. 15, 24, 25 and 27

We review a lot of classical albums and favour the more interesting — but often flawed — because they’re easier to write about (and lesser names deserve the publicity). Mozart, on the other hand, is not flawed, so you’re down to which performance of any piece is best. Sniffy reviewers might find fault with this […]

Blink 182: Nine

This is Blink’s ninth album. We’ve bought most of them, but this will be the last; they’ve become formulaic and lost all their wit, declining over the last few albums. There is some Auto-tuned vocals too (for Alkaline Trio’s Matt Skiba, replaced Tom DeLonge); we’re pretty sure their younger selves would have mocked this, back […]

King Calaway: Rivers

Manufactured bands are nothing new, but this is the first country band we’ve seen. It’s probably giving websites whose names include “rebel” and “outlaw” collective heart attacks. King Calaway are your stereotypical boyband, five singers who don’t write any of the tunes. They seem to have had money thrown at them and have — it […]

4WD: Live

4WD is a European jazz supergroup — Nils Landgren, Michael Wollny, Wolfgang Haffner and Lars Danielsson. All four members are bandleaders in their own right, hence the band name. The studio version came out earlier this year; they’ve toured it, got better and recorded it. Note it’s the band that’s live: this is not alive […]

Gilbert Rowland: Froberger, Harpsichord Suites

This came out a while back but there’s not much to say: nice music played well. With two CDs (48 tracks) of pretty similar music it doesn’t vary a whole lot; it does what the title says. Johann Jakob Froberger is perhaps one of those sadly overlooked composers, in this case his own fault: Wikipedia […]

Robin Walker: Turning Towards You

We like the sleeve image of this; we think it’s supposed to be someone looking out over a lake, but it’s definitely got a creepy feel, in the style of Don’t Look Now. Once you see the image correctly, it perhaps suggests rather twee English music: we expected artsong, or at least singing, but it’s […]