Charli XCX: Charli

We had Charli XCX pegged as bland pop singer aimed at teenagers who listen to X Factor but we were either wrong or she’s taken a new direction. This still bears all the hallmark of commercial pop — she’s not daft enough to abandon tunes that will sound good on the radio or in clubs […]

Jason Aldean: 9

The name sums it up: this is Aldean’s ninth album so he’s called it 9. This lack of subtlety sums up the enterprise. Not that it’s bad: it’s what a certain style of country should sound like, that style being the music to accompany drivers along the endless roads of rural states, or to play […]

Cattle and Cane: Navigator

Some albums divide opinion among people; this one can divide opinion inside your head. On one hand they’re a young British band (brother and sister) who have produced a slick pop / soft rock album that could boost them up to stadium level — particularly in the US. Well done and good luck to them. […]

Kano: Hoodies All Summer

Kano works in the genre of grime and is well respected. We don’t live in London or have to deal with knives and murder on a daily basis so can’t really relate to the world he talks about. As he says: “And these gunshots never reach your town / It’s never on top when you […]

Hobo Johnson: The Fall of Hobo Johnson

This is entertaining at first play through, a kid with ADHD’s take on life and its stupidity. It’s clever and funny in places, but the only people who are going to press play a second or third time are frat kids at an American college who want something to sing along to while chugging beer. […]

Code Sangala: Mizu

Last week we wrote about a CD from classical music label Naxos’s new world arm, a rootsy collection of traditional folk from Mongolia; this week is the opposite end of the spectrum, a cheerful collection of radio-friendly tracks from Malawi. Mizu means roots in Chichewa, the national vernacular language in Malawi. Sangala is clearly a […]

Georgie: Live!

Georgie is new to us; we guess she has a devoted fanbase who love her bluesy vocals. This is an acoustic set, recorded live at Trinity Church, Nottingham — she’s from Mansfield so it’s practically a home-coming gig. It’s all about the music. Georgie delivers minimal and deadpan chat between the songs. “This is a […]

Declan Welsh and The Decadent West: Cheaply Bought, Expensively Sold

Declan Welsh and The Decadent West should have a simpler name, preferably beginning with The. They’re a The band: their name suggests a kind of whimsy, but this they lack. They’re a straightforward indie band with a penchant for songs that sound like hit singles; not the same as actual hit singles, but they sound […]

Liam Gallagher: Why Me? Why Not

Noel’s younger brother has teamed up with his “army of songwriters”, as the older Gallagher mocked, to deliver a likable pop album that mixes two things Noel was best known for, sounding like The Beatles and writing Oasis crowd-pleasers. Most of the tracks could be late-era Beatles outtakes, down to George Harrison’s guitar gently weeping, […]

Amy Studt: Happiest Girl In The Universe

This dreamy pop album opens gently, Studt caressing the microphone and pleasing people who experience autonomous sensory meridian response (those of you who like to hear wrapping paper fondled and gently-spoken sibilants). After this she sings more forcefully, at the top of her register, the music remaining gentle. She is somewhere between Dido, Bjork and […]