Bryde: Like An Island

A lot of whether you like a song is down to the vocals: love the voice and you’ll like the music and vice versa (hence our apathy to Arctic Monkeys). Bryde’s voice is mesmerising and we love it. It’s strong but sounds vulnerable, and she reminded us of Paula Cole (Where Have All The Cowboys […]

The Courteeners: St Jude Re:Wired

We saw The Courteeners on the St Jude tour at the Sugarmill in Hanley; we wanted to like them but found their laddish rock slightly off-putting. Singer Liam Fray did some acoustic numbers and we thought we could sense a feeling that he wanted to branch off into more adventurous areas and leave the lads […]

Marmozets: Knowing What You Know Now

The title perhaps reflects that singer Becca Macintyre had to have a knee operation that left her housebound, giving them time to reflect on their rapid rise to fame. This new album seems to use up all the energy she accumulated while bed-ridden — it’s feisty and aggressive while still having some great singalong choruses. […]

Will Varley: Spirit of Minnie

Previous releases — this is his fifth studio album — have been just Varley and guitar; powerful songs maybe (try Something Is Breaking from Kingsdown Sundown) but still acoustic. This new album has a full band and sees him up his game considerably: comparisons with the likes of Marc Cohn or even The Boss in […]

Sunflower Bean: Twentytwo in Blue

This patchy album is more a promise of what could be to come than what is. At peak Bean they drop sharp indie pop, with lead singer Julia Cumming’s crystal voice contrasting with the scuzzy guitar. In other places it’s less convincing (a polite euphemism for forgettable). Opener Burn It is good, a plea to […]

Tom Misch: Geography

Years ago, we briefly flirted with trip hop/funk (Hull’s Fila Brazillia were a favourite) and this new album from Misch (born five years after Fila Brazillia formed) takes us back to those days: sleek, jazz-tinged funky pop that’ll be playing in any wine bar you care to enter for the next few years. There’s a […]

Speak, Brother: Young and Brave

Just to get the negativity over first: Speak, Brother are aimed at the Mumfords market, without the world-class songs that made the latter famous. Despite the mockery that followed Mumfords for a while because of their omnipresence, they did write some very good songs. That they were nice guys and being good live also helped, […]

Thomas Truax: All That Heaven Allows

We’ve not Googled Truax as we like the fact he is a mystery; to find out he’s called Gary and the son of an accountant from Manchester or he’s really called Dwayne from Ohio would spoil the mystique. The best comparisons with Truax’s music are from film: Donnie Darko or David Lynch (upon whom Truax […]

Field Music: Open Here

We guess you can either write tunes to make money or write what you feel you need to, sod the market and keep your self-respect. Field Music are in the latter camp; from what we can gather brothers David and Peter Brewis make minimal money from their music but have accumulated a back catalogue to […]