Robert Plant: Carry Fire

We’ve been giving Robert Plant money for 40 years, so we’re rocking out around the zimmers to this (and it’s the 200th review we’ve written this year, go us!). A decade or so ago, we read that Plant expected to lose his record deal and sell purely to his fanbase; then came Alison Kruze and […]

Amadou and Mariam: La Confusion

There’s world music and there’s world music. There’s the rootsy world of earnest music fans, which is played by traditional artists who are probably seen as traditional in their own lands. Then there’s the world music that the owners of internet radios can listen to: music that’s played for (say) Africans to listen to as […]

Brazilian Landscapes

This fascinating CD is nominally classical with jazz influences, but you could call it world because of the rhythm, which leans towards the Latin. It’s a quiet and reflective album. The percussion plays varying roles in the music, coming to the fore in places and dropping back in others. There’s a sense of fun about […]

Various: Music from The American Epic Sessions

We thought Old Crow Medicine Show doing Blonde on Blonde live in Nashville was pretty cool but this is even better. The backstory is that it’s a television documentary on the early days of music. In the 1920s, as radio took over the pop music business, record companies took to the road to find new […]

Hackney Colliery Band: Live

Whenever we’re down in the dumps in the Review Corner, we often play Rock With the Hot 8, by The Hot 8 Brass Band, a New Orleans outfit that blend hip-hop, jazz and funk. It’s not brass as you might expect if you’re a fan of Foden’s Band, and nor are there eight of them, […]

Nadine Khouri: The Salted Air

Khouri is a British-Lebanese musician and songwriter based in London, whose work is described by the Press release as “music born of perennial outsider status”. The PR cites a four-star Mojo review (“dark, possessed beauty”) and a five-star Radio Two review (“fascinating musical tapestry”). We’d give it three stars (“all a bit the same, really, […]

Raphael Doyle: Closer

  Most albums get compared with other albums or bands; this one is a book, Primo Levi’s If This Is a Man. That’s the story of his life in Auschwitz and its first chapter describes how his (and by extension) the reader’s humanity can be completely taken away if someone’s a big enough bastard. It’s […]

Orchestre Poly Rythmo de Cotonou: Madjafalao

This is surely going to go down as a classic in world music. It’s ace. Poly Rythmo are from Benin and play afrobeat, funk, soukous and other styles, often based on religious music rhythms. They formed in 1966 and recorded around 500 songs between the late 1960s and early 1980s. We came across them via […]

Jeremy Loops: Trading Change

Mr Loops is somewhere between Ed Sheeran, as in acoustic-based pop, and he uses loops a lot (as one would expect), and the dreaded Mumfords — it’s the kiss of death to use the M word in a review now — but it’s banjo-centric and has the bouncy feel of the Mumfords at their best. […]

Xylaroo: Sweetooth

After reading the biog, this is not what we were expecting. The sisters that make up Xylaroo are from Papa New Guinea and now live in London, via Hong Kong, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, and we were expecting something a bit world, but opening song, Track A Lackin’ is a rollicking country tune. It […]