Vyacheslav Artyomov: The Way to Olympus

Artyomov is a modern composer from Russia writing with the ambition and scope of a man who knows his work is important. From what we read, his life in Russia has been hard, so perhaps a belief in your own standing in the history of music is crucial. He writes big, ambitious tunes; listening to […]

Tami Nodaira, Ichiro Nodaira, Toru Takemitsu: Japanese Guitar Music Vol 4

Despite the title, this is actually a guitar and flute recital; works for flute accompanied by guitar. It’s also not particularly “Japanese” in feel; it’s mostly a gentle and almost ambient sound, with little in the way of metre. “A unique sensibility and an imaginative flair for its colours and expressiveness,” say the sleeve notes […]

Gorillaz: The Now Now

We like Gorillaz as a singles band as much as the next primate, but have never really dug the albums, at least until this one. Probably because it’s low key, induces calm and doesn’t try anything too clever. Opener Humility is a gentle pop tune. It could have been made by any middle-ranking, decent chill-out […]

Blair Dunlop: Notes From An Island

All Dunlop’s albums we’ve had in the past have been good – you’re always guaranteed quality with Mr D – and we have seen him move from folk to pop, and Notes From An Island sees the move continue. It’s now more pop than folk, and more commercial. The tunes always seem simple (but aren’t […]

Anne-Marie: Speak Your Mind

This is everything that’s right and wrong about modern pop music. Wrong, because it’s as formulaic as they come – EDM beat, X Factor-style vocals, lavish production but little melody (it’s all about the beat, man….) — but right because it’s impossible not to enjoy it, and it’s cheerful. Anne-Marie can sing: Wikipedia reports she […]

Andrew McCormack: Graviton

Nominally jazz, if only for the instruments used, this ambitious album takes in everything from prog to bop. On his website McCormack explains that gravitons are tiny particles that carry the force of gravity. “It is what brings you back down to Earth when you jump,” he says, though how this applies to the album […]

Calypso Rose: So Calypso

Calypso Rose is 78 and a calypsonian (a new word on us). She started writing songs at 15, and has composed more than 800 tunes and recorded more than 20 albums. Born Linda Sandy-Lewis, she grew up on Tobago, the birthplace of calypso. This new one is a follow-up to her 2016 platinum seller Far […]

The Handsome Family: Through The Trees

This re-issue — it’s 20 years since The Handsome Family first released it — is bloody marvellous. Its basic sound could be 100 years old, a couple of (rather sinister) folks with beards and overalls making country music on a porch, but it’s got a modern feel and the lyrics are heartfelt; in fact, that’s […]

Hinds: I Don’t Run

When 2016’s Leave Me Alone came out, Hinds were the new super-cool indie band. We found its ramshackle garage charms, well, charming, but they had one sound and that charm faded as the album played through. It would have been a good six-track EP. Wikipedia reports that it only debuted at 47 on the UK […]