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 […]

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 […]