Ben Bedford: The Hermit’s Spyglass

This album tells a day in the life of Ben and Darwin the Cat in a farmhouse (“The Hermitage”), a proper little house on the prairie (Illinois). Some of the tracks are short — opener Morning Rise is only 1:20), and he gulps Morning Coffee in the same time. Some are instrumental, such as The […]

Danny Schmidt: Standard Deviation

We thought Standard Deviation was a song about two girls falling in love over a shared fondness for physics but the release notes say it is a “romance set in the multi-dimensional realm of theoretical physics”. Schmidt goes on to say that it “touches on the pushback” that smart women face in traditionally male-dominated arenas, […]

Still Corners: Slow Air

This new album marks a change in direction for Still Corners. The last album of theirs we had was rooted in England in the 80s, mixing the gloomy beats of Bronski Beat with the more commercial sound of Bananarama (in places anyway). It was too slow to be dance or have you spinning right round […]

Willard Grant Conspiracy: Untethered

We first came across Willard Grant Conspiracy on a compilation, a song called Soft Hand, a great downbeat blues/Americana tune with hypnotic vocals and addictive inputs from strings and guitar; it’s about lying in bed. We’ve bought albums since and the quality is always good, if you like gloomy Americana. Their songs always have atmosphere […]

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 […]

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 […]

Neil Young: Songs for Judy

Recent Neil Young live albums can sometimes be of the “I guess you had to be there” kind: the recording is not the same as the actual event, and even for die-hards, they can be a bit meh. Songs for Judy is different. Young’s guitar tech and tour photographer Joel Bernstein taped live shows from […]

Sons of Bill: Oh God Ma’am

If anyone complains to us that “there’s no good music about any more … not since <insert name of briefly popular band> split”, we’re going to perform drastic dental surgery with this CD, which is both excellent and new. (Why do people say that about music? No-one ever says, “There’s no good paintings any more, […]

Israel Nash: Lifted

We don’t know much about Mr Nash, but his music lands perfectly formed and ideal for summer. It’s apparently the Texas-based singer’s fifth album, and it’s — as only critics ever say — a slab of feel-good 60s/70s hippy Americana all ‘bout peace and love. There are no real standouts but it’s a consistently good […]