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, […]

The Xcerts: Hold On To Your Heart

The Xcerts have been going for years, formed by 13-year-olds Murray Macleod and Jordan Smith in 2001, and have toured with Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, Fightstar and Taking Back Sunday. They were meant to support Guns N’ Roses but for “logistical reasons” all the support bands were forced to drop off of the tour. […]

Joachim Kühn Trio: Love and Peace

Somewhere between easy listening and classical is this new CD from jazz pianist Kühn. The music has too much melody and edge to be bland, though it only kicks off into high-energy modern jazz at the end. If you want a thumbnail for the album, imagine a simple, slightly bluesy take on jazz standard Summertime […]

The Wombats: Beautiful People Will Ruin Your Life

Another decent album from The Wombats, who survived being lumped in with the landfill indie mob and morphed into a decent pop band playing upbeat tunes. It’s more than a decade since the band’s Let’s Dance to Joy Division was a hit, and they’ve managed to keep going despite a lack of hits. We’d guess […]

Howie Payne: Mountain

Payne was previously in The Stands, short-lived melodic rockers treading the same ground as The Thrills and The LAs. We found their appeal, like that of The Thrills, limited. This album was recorded over four days. Most of the songs were done in a couple of takes, giving it a relaxed, live vibe. While he […]

Jamie Lawson: Happy Accidents

Lawson, who is 42, was the first artist to be signed by Ed Sheeran’s record label Gingerbread Man Records. He and Ed were mates back in the day. Top marks to Sheeran for loyalty but he’s never going to sign a death metal band: his acts are going to sound like him. (As far as […]

Michael Korstick: Dmitri Kabalevsky, Piano Sonatas and Sonatinas

The sleeve notes say Dmitry Borisovich Kabalevsky, born in St Petersburg on 30th December 1904, achieved international success with music such as his Second Symphony (1934). He came behind Prokofiev and Shostakovich and along with Khachaturian in the “big four” of Soviet music. The First Sonata (1927), which opens this CD, is among Kabalevsky’s earliest […]

Son of Dave: Explosive Hits (By Other Artists)

The other week we reviewed SoD’s latest album Music For Cop Shows, which is good, but we made a couple of points with which he disagreed, and he contacted us over Twitter. To call him grumpy would be like calling Donald Trump orange; it might be an act and he might well be sat at […]