Twenty One Pilots: Trench

Twenty One Pilots are one of those bands who passed us by, but turn out to be massive. We thought they were emo/rock and the first track, Jumpsuit, did not dissuade, with its heavy bass and touch of screaming towards the end. Track two Levitate takes it off in a different direction with fast rapping […]

Calendar Girls The Musical

  (Photo: John Swannell). Extraordinary tales about ordinary people make the very best stories and Calendar Girls The Musical is no exception. Showing at Hanley’s Regent Theatre this week, the show shines a light on the ubiquitous story of a group of WI members who bravely bared all for a fundraising calendar in memory of […]

The Beta Band: The Three EPs (Reissue)

Some years ago we went to the Green Man festival; we saw the best live band in the world, Flaming Lips, we saw Mumford and Sons and we even saw Gruff Rhys in wellies, but if you asked for one memory of the event it would be the solo set from Steve Mason, ex Beta […]

The Juniper Project: Fragments

Some flute-based releases we’ve reviewed have included the words “challenging” or “for lovers of technical flute playing”, euphemistically used for “verging on unlistenable”. Now comes this delightful album. It’s the music from a heavily costumed romance drama, the scene where the lovers float down the river on a sunny day (in a boat, obviously), the […]

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 […]