Elephant Sessions: What Makes You

Elephant Sessions’ claim to fame is that they blend trad folk (they’re from the Highlands) with indie rock, which means they have an electric rhythm session, plus electronic dance beats, and mandolin and fiddle. Peak Elephant Sessions is possibly the bit in Colours where it all drops down to an electronic kick drum and ambient […]

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, […]

Ward and Parker: One

Ward, or it could be Parker, was in Nizlopi, who had a massive hit with the JCB Song (don’t play it, you’ll never get it out of your head). The general tenor of that was a wise but homely narrator who knows what life’s about, doing the right thing. There’s the same kind of air […]

Dave Fidler: Songs From Aurora

  This fine new album from Dave Fidler — he plays the guitar — highlights the difference between professional musicians and the more amateur. Fidler, who has toured with John Bramwell from I Am Kloot, wrote and recorded this album while touring the festival circuit with his family in his caravan, Aurora — hence the […]

Damien Jurado: In The Shape of a Storm

“There’s nothing left to hide” Jurado sings (sings? more like mutters or whispers) during Lincoln, the opener of this new album, and it could be a comment on this stripped down offering. All that’s here is the guitar, Jurado’s voice and the songs. It was recorded in two hours one afternoon; preceded, one assumes, by […]

Fontaines DC: Dogrel

We read some profiles from Ireland before listening to this Dublin band; the Irish Press loves them and hails them as the next global hit for the city. This is partly because the band is so Dublin — “Dublin in the rain is mine,” the vocals bellow within seconds of the opening song Big (as […]

Dallahan: Smallworld

This is a tasty folk / roots album. The opener is an instrumental, Aye Chiki, which uses instrumentation typical of any folk band but — as the name might suggest — with an Eastern flavour. The beat (to our ears) is Tartar, and reminiscent of some of the music we collected following a recent trip […]

Richard Sutton: Paper Plane

There are people who like non-league football for its grassroots nature, people doing something for the love of it, and the same is true in music: this CD is one for people who love honest, heart-on-its-sleeve folk/pop. Sutton is a guy who plays guitar (possibly for a living, he seems to play regularly at a […]

Tim Fredericks: Singer Songwriter

This album, which we guess is a labour of love (they’re giving it away) is from a band that if not local is at least regional: members are from Crewe, Macc, Stoke and Manchester. The tracks on this were recorded between 2015-19, so we guess when money was spare. The opener is a full band […]