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 […]

The Blood Choir: Dartmoor (EP)

We’ve got a good knowledge of music but we’ve never heard of The Blood Choir. This EP is billed as “an object of pure fable among Blood Choir fans”; its four tracks comprising a “long-rumoured collection”, initially recorded between 2007 and 2009, long before the band’s 2012 debut album No Windows to the Old World. […]

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 […]

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 […]

The Trials of Cato: Hide and Hair

If you like folk and you’ve not heard of The Trials of Cato, we suspect this will change before the year is out. They produce folk that is recognisably traditional, with the commercial mass-appeal of Seth Lakeman and the musical prowess of a shredding metal guitarist. The people who don’t like this will probably be […]

The Beta Band: The Three EPs (Reissue)

Some years ago we went to the Green Man festival; we saw the best live band in the world, Flaming Lips, we saw Mumford and Sons and we even saw Gruff Rhys in wellies, but if you asked for one memory of the event it would be the solo set from Steve Mason, ex Beta […]

John Butler Trio: Home

Butler is one of those unfortunates who made his best album early on — Sunrise Over Sea —which fans love. We’re fans and we love it beyond reason; we’d happily pay to see him tour and just play Sunrise year after year, with a couple of other songs to stretch the set out; some newer […]

The Beta Band: The Three EPs (Reissue)

Some years ago we went to the Green Man festival; we saw the best live band in the world, Flaming Lips, we saw Mumford and Sons and we even saw Gruff Rhys in wellies, but if you asked for one memory of the event it would be the solo set from Steve Mason, ex Beta […]