Nick Faber … presents The Lost Highway Tapes

It’s always a problem reviewing albums from bands like Biffy Clyro or Foals: you know the sound, you expect the quality, and unless they cover Agadoo badly, you’re not going to be surprised. It might be the pinnacle of musical perfection, but it’s hard to get worked up about. The flipside is that albums from […]

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, […]

Badly Drawn Boy: Banana Skin Shoes

Private Eye mocks the term but Badly Drawn Boy is a bit of a national treasure; surely everyone likes him? Or at least likes the idea of him, a bobble-hatted troubadour turning out polished pop gems. You want all his releases to be good but if they’re not, you forgive him. We saw him live […]

Howard Skempton: The Man, Hurdy-gurdy and Me

We sometimes rave about albums but this is 100% wonderful. If we ever send a space rocket into space (in case you wondered where space rockets go), you could send this recording to sum up Britishness: witty, joyful, a bit mad, wildly eccentric and lots of fun. Whatever you want it’s got it, from early […]

Bombay Bicycle Club: Everything Else Has Gone Wrong

Bombay Bicycle Club are cursed by the same, er, curse as Foals: everything they do is good, but you expect that, so it’s hard to assess.Their quality control is just really high. We’ve long thought Foals and Bombay Bicycle are the best bands in the UK so we were doubly pleased when both released new […]

Neil Young and Crazy Horse: Colorado

Colorado is not one of Young’s great albums but it’s a grower and could go down as one of his later-career highlights. There’s a film with it; Young’s films are best avoided but someone who did watch said he comments in it to his band: “It doesn’t have to be good, just feel good.” That’s […]

Sam Baker: Horses and Stars

This is one of the most remarkable albums we’ve had in some time. Baker half sings and half talks and plays gentle electric guitar, but his songs tell a powerful story of normal folk and it has a real power. He looks like a beardless Kris Kristofferson, comes from Texas and has a gravelly but […]

Vampire Weekend: Father Of The Bride

Vampire Weekend were always smart, mixing African guitar and indie, and generally being intelligent. They met at an Ivy League university. Their drummer supports Spurs. So brainy are they perceived that all the reviews we read for this were themselves intellectual; we read several that verbosed at length but never mentioned any music. Here goes. […]

Gary Clark Jr: This Land

We knew we’d like this when we read the reviews. We’re not fans of formulaic music genres so we liked some bits of Gary Clark Jr’s music but not the bits where he settled down into what he’s known for, rock blues. He’s a fantastic guitarist but rock blues is rock blues and does tend […]

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 […]