Yaniv d’Or: Thoughts Observed

This is a beautiful collection of music, but quiet. It’s one for reflective evenings alone; they’re love songs sung sparsely by countertenor (falsetto) Yaniv d’Or. Dan Deutsch accompanies equally sparsely on the piano. The sleeve notes say that d’Or has previously explored the music of his Sephardic heritage, with his Spanish, Turkish, Egyptian and Libyan […]

Heath Common: Heath Common and The Lincoln 72s

Heath Common is a beat poet whose previous efforts have been a little hit and miss, but this new album is his most musical and probably the most likely to raise his profile. Admittedly that profile will go from cult figure’s cult figure to merely cult figure but we can at least recommend you consider […]

Stax Classics Otis Redding / Sam and Dave

Released as part of Stax Records’ 60th anniversary celebration, the Stax Classics series highlights some of the label’s biggest stars from the 1960s and 70s, budget-priced albums offering a dozen songs that “transcend the obvious hits”, as the PR says. (Also see the Bookers and Carla Thomas) According to one review, Otis Redding arrived in […]

Van Morrison: The Authorised Bang Collection

Yet another three-CD re-issue for Van fans, and this is pretty good. Although some tracks have knocked around as bootlegs, and Morrison clearly had issues with Bang at the time, he writes the sleeve notes and says Bang owner Bert Berns (who wrote Here Comes The Night) was a genius with soul. Berns met Morrison […]

Gorillaz:Humanz / Paul Weller: A Kind Revolution / Paramore: After Laughter

We’re lumping these albums together under the heading “stadium bands” because all we need to do is tell you they’re out. Oddly enough, we’ve never been fans of any: we never got Gorillaz, thought The Jam/Weller humourless (good singles, admittedly) and Paramore are the band we let the children like (they’ve got to have something […]

Mélanie Pain: Parachute

We’ve not come across Pain before but the Press notes say she has “left her pop-folk influences far behind”. Well, not all that far. This is a piano-based album that aims to be slightly arty and dreamy, with a minimalist sound. She sings in French throughout, the soft vocals part of the texture as much […]

Dreamgirls — Original London Cast Recording

  We’re not big fans of musicals but this impressed: we’d think if you’re a fan of plays ruined by singing, you’ll love it. This is (as the name suggests) the original London cast performing, and it was recorded live at the Savoy Theatre. It’s based on the story of R&B acts such as The […]

DJ Format and Abdominal: Still Hungry

At the risk of a generalisation, this is the kind of hip hop that older and more intelligent music fans like. DJ Format supplies up-tempo 90s funk and dance, with definite ska leanings, while Canadian rapper Abdominal contributes slick and rapid-fire lyrics that largely avoid swearing, and are witty, erudite and entertaining. He’d only mention […]

Brian May and Kerry Ellis: Golden Days

This is basically the best pub band in the world. You go out for a pint and there’s a band playing covers. The guitarist is ace, though he has a lot of hair and mutters about badgers. His cover of Parisienne Walkways is brilliant but a bit OTT, the Moore/Lynott original beefed up a little […]

Laura Marling: Semper Femina

We’ve missed a couple of Marling albums; she was always good but if this new album isn’t her best, we must have missed some crackers. The music is slickly delivered but intimate, and slightly downbeat. It takes in several genres; some parts are country, some folk, some jazz, a mix of English folk and 60s […]