Declan Welsh and The Decadent West: Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold

Declan Welsh and The Decadent West should have a simpler name, preferably beginning with The. They’re a The band: their name suggests a kind of whimsy, but this they lack. They’re a straightforward indie band with a penchant for songs that sound like hit singles; not the same as actual hit singles, but they sound […]

The Prince And The Pauper (New Vic Theatre, Newcastle)

Prince (left), Pauper (right). Or is it the other way round … ? The New Vic doesn’t do a panto at Christmas but instead presents a classic story, always with impressive live music and often with gymnastics, from the swashbuckling Treasure Island to the frostier The Snow Queen (aka Frozen). They’re always entertaining and mark […]

Echoes Of Swing: Winter Days at Schloss Elmau

Echoes of Swing are in top form for this festive album, the quartet of Bernd Lhotzky (piano), Colin T Dawson (trumpet), Chris Hopkins (alto saxophone) and Oliver Mewes (drums) joined for this by US jazz singer Rebecca Kilgore (“one of the best interpreters of the Great American Songbook” says Wikipedia). The premise of the album […]

Cipriano de Rore: Missa Vivat Felix Hercules / Motets

If your idea of heaven is male vocalists singing religious Renaissance music as you ponder the meaning of life, this beautiful CD is for you. Cipriano of Rore (1516-1565) composed the Mass in honour of his patron, Ercole II d’Este, the sound meant to convey the latter’s Godliness. The sleeve notes are interesting; the tenor […]

Francisco de Peñalosa: Lamentations

This is a beautiful collection of religious music from the Renaissance. If you like religious vocal music that errs towards the sombre — the album title gives it away— this is a must. The singing is fantastic and the acoustics of wherever it was recorded only add to the experience. Peñalosa’s music is redolent of […]

London Myriad: Four

In this week’s Chronicle we report on a young musician’s plans to bring good modern classical music to this area, and a couple of recent releases from Divine Art would seem to be ideal for pressing the case of modern (ish) classical music. This album, launched last week, is a delight. It includes works by […]

Liam Gallagher: Why Me? Why Not

Noel’s younger brother has teamed up with his “army of songwriters”, as the older Gallagher mocked, to deliver a likable pop album that mixes two things Noel was best known for, sounding like The Beatles and writing Oasis crowd-pleasers. Most of the tracks could be late-era Beatles outtakes, down to George Harrison’s guitar gently weeping, […]

Tiny Changes: A Celebration

The full name of this album is A Celebration Of Frightened Rabbit’s The Midnight Organ Fight and it has become a de facto tribute album to the band’s songwriter Scott Hutchison, who took his own life last year. It was recorded before he died; the covers are not mournful, more life-affirming. This is how it […]