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 […]

Dave O’Higgins: It’s Always 9.30 in Zog

If the title alone doesn’t want to make you buy this — it’s surely the coolest album name ever — the sleeve, evocative of the old Blue Note house style, should. O’Higgins is a Birmingham-born jazz saxophonist, who has recorded 19 albums as a leader, so while he’s new to us, proper jazz fans must […]

My Indigo: My Indigo

Dutch singer Sharon den Adel is better known for leading Within Temptation, a symphonic metal band; it’s a genre that is less than huge over here, but is massive in Europe, where the band has shifted millions of albums. She wrote this to deal with personal problems. The album is probably okay for Europeans who […]

Port Cities: Port Cities

Unlike Hinds (see here), who are all quirk, Port Cities are not quite quirky enough; as those ghastly people on The Apprentice say, they have no USP. That’s not to say this is a bad album: Port Cities can turn in a good tune; the type Fleetwood Mac or Tom Petty fans would hear on […]

Nan Schwartz / Brenton Broadstock: Orchestral Works

If you’ve ever played your favourite album of film soundtrack music and thought: “Hmmm, if only they’d thrown in some jazz guitar, this would be perfect,” then this is for you. To make it clear: most of this album is palatable and listenable but it’s not lightweight classical film fare. This is music with gravitas, […]

Vance Joy: Nation Of Two

Joy is a singer/songwriter, the basic format of his songs between him and acoustic guitar. He’s ok; to call him average is harsh — to write and play one decent song is too much for most of us — but he brings nothing new to the game. Noah And The Whale did something similar, and […]

Michael Barenboim: Sciarrino – Tartini – Berio – Paganini

After an acclaimed debut solo album of music by Bach, Bartók and Boulez, Barenboim returns with this new recording, in which the word “virtuosic” is used in the Press release. It is that, but the mix of old and more modern means it’s not a CD of two halves, more like three or four. All […]

Josh Taerk: Stages

Taerk (pronounced Turk) looks and sounds like a refugee from Top Of The Pops in the 80s, up there with people like Nik Kershaw and Howard Jones — singer/songwriters far better at writing tunes then looking hip. We’d not heard of him, but you can tell he’s one those “big in their own country” acts, […]