Ed Sheeran: No 6 Collaborations

Sheeran has got to be an unlikely global star by playing bland tunes aimed at targeted demographics. You can snigger but he knows what he’s doing and he’s done better than you. You can’t get any bigger than global superstar so perhaps this album marks the end of his career plan phase one and a […]

Tatiana Primak-Khoury: Lebanese Piano Music 2

We weren’t sure what this would sound like: Arabic? Jewish (unlikely, admittedly)? Persian? None of these, it’s very European and could be a couple of centuries old, and not — in the case of one piece — three years. Piano Sonata No 4 (1963) opens and is from Anis Fuleihan. He was director of the […]

Marina: Love + Fear

The Diamonds are gone — perhaps she had them recut — and now it’s just Marina. She and her now-resized Diamonds passed us by a little; a bit too poppy. People apparently liked her lyrics although, like the Diamonds, these appear to have been somewhat cut. This album is also poppy, but appealing. She has […]

Jenny Lewis: On the Line

This new album from Lewis encapsulates why she should be more famous — and why she isn’t. Musically, it’s damn near perfect with clever lyrics, flawless tunes and moments when you think pop music can get no better. Her backing band includes — get this — Beck, Benmont Tench (ex Tom Petty, delivers some lovely […]

Anton Batagov: Big My Secret (Live)

Batagov is a Russian pianist and post-minimalist composer. Some piece on the internet said of him: “The post-Cagean philosophy of Batagov’s projects eliminates any boundaries between ‘performance’ and ‘composition’ by viewing all existing musical practices, from ancient rituals to rock and pop culture and advanced computer technologies, as potential elements of performance and composition.” Whatever […]

Body Type: EP2

Body Type are from Australia and play scuzzy rock somewhere between the stark indie of Kleenex and the pop of Kim Wilde. The songs are solid rather than sparkling but we have to say we’d cross a festival field to see them live, they’re probably entertaining. There seems to be a lot of bass and […]

John McCabe: Mountains

This new album from the late John McCabe dates back to 1985. He visited the EMI studios in Sydney to make an album of works by American and Australian composers. The project never materialised, the studios closed, and the masters were presumed lost. Then a cassette copy found among the composer’s papers, and remastered. This […]

Ward and Parker: One

Ward, or it could be Parker, was in Nizlopi, who had a massive hit with the JCB Song (don’t play it, you’ll never get it out of your head). The general tenor of that was a wise but homely narrator who knows what life’s about, doing the right thing. There’s the same kind of air […]

Maria Lettberg: Zara Levina, Piano Concertos

Zara Aleksandrovna Levina died in 1976 and, as you might guess, was a Soviet pianist and composer, now sadly languishing in relative obscurity. This new CD from (mainly) pianist Maria Lettberg aims to put that right, and it’s a pleasingly varied programme of music; you wouldn’t necessarily guess it was all the same composer. The […]