Philip Hartmann: Invocazione brillante, Organ music by Carson Cooman

The lockdown could have stopped one-man organ machine Carson Cooman from composing, but it’s unlikely. He’s prolific and never stops. Normally we expect Erik Simmons to be playing Cooman’s work but for this it’s German organist Philip Hartmann, and he does a fine job. We used to find organ music hard going but repeated forced […]

Pottery: Welcome To Bobby’s Motel

This a fine album, interesting and meaty, with added cowbell for those who feel modern music lacks such percussive adornment. The title track kicks it all off, opening with a frantic snare roll and then the speeded-up soundtrack to a Tarantino movie, lots of tom toms, psychedelic guitar and a voice-over about dreams, then, after […]

Justin Wells: The United States

The title is a pun: it’s about life in the USA in these divided times but it’s also about the fact that we have more in common than differences, particularly the fact that we’re all born, live and die. “This record starts in the womb, and it ends after death,” Wells says of the album. […]

Fontaines: DC A Hero’s Death

We’re often not impressed with bands billed as “the future of rock” but we can make an exception for Fontaines DC. This new album is special; so good it had us singing – SINGING – to one track about three plays through. That literally never happens. It only seems 10 minutes since their debut album, […]

Alec Benjamin: These Two Windows

Singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin reportedly made his name in 2019 with a mixtape, which was streamed 540m times worldwide. This is his debut album. Our first observation would be that Benjamin has an androgynous voice. The first few plays we assumed he was a girl named Alec; when we Googled him, we seriously considered that we’d […]

Denai Moore: Modern Dread

This is a very nice album for those who like soul, pop, RnB, even trip hop. It’s so good – and this is rare praise – it puts us in mind of Little Dragon’s album of the same name (as the band, not a this). For that album at least they played cool, genre-hopping music […]

All Time Low: Wake Up, Sunshine

Life’s been hard just lately so this slice of nostalgia is welcome and pleasant. All Time Low have been going for years, starting in 2003. While pretty big, they never hit the heights of Blink 182, although many of the Blink hallmarks are here: catchy hooks, drums given some echo before a build-up, rapid fire […]

Fitzwilliam String Quartet: Schubert String Quartets

Rock bands attempt authenticity by doing unplugged or acoustic sessions; classical players do it by going back to basics. For this recording of Schubert’s famous quartets, the Fitzwilliam String Quartet used gut strings, and quizzed experts about playing techniques of the time the works were composed (1824). Lucy Russell’s Ferdinando Gagliano violin from 1789 is […]

Tim Fredericks: Singer Songwriter 2

This is a follow-up to an album that came out last year; they gave away the last one and we guess the same is true of this. It came out before lockdown, so now they can’t even give it away. The songs are by Tim Fredericks and his band, who are from Crewe, Macclesfield, Stoke […]