Saturday night: South African discopop hits

A review we found – probably just rewriting the Press release – said this focused on the period of fluctuation between the popularity of mbaqanga and the rise of bubblegum pop, with the sounds of disco, pop, boogie, and fusion. We don’t know about that. What we do know is that if you think early […]

El Michels Affair meets Liam Bailey: Ekundayo Inversions

This new album from singer Liam Bailey takes us back to John Peel shows, listening to music that led you to discover new bands and genres; it’s got that home-made feel that Peely liked, although everyone involved is a skilled musician. This follows, as the album title suggests, Bailey’s 2020 studio album Ekundayo, and the […]

Mulo Francel and Nicole Heartseeker: Forever Young

To call this easy on the ear would be like calling monsoons slightly damp or space slightly big: it’s really easy to listen to. The gist of is it that “globetrotting saxophonist” (cf the Press notes) Mulo Francel, part of jazz-world group Quadro Nuevo, has teamed up with classically-trained pianist Nicole Heartseeker to “cast a […]

Jill Crossland: JS Bach Keyboard Works

This is one of those CDs we struggle to review: “Bach keyboard played well” is a little short, so we resorted to the biography and sleeve notes. The playing sounds difficult but Crossland is up to the task; for most of the CD the music flows around the listener like a fast river of notes, […]

My Darling Clementine: Country Darkness

My Darling Clementine are Michael Weston King and Lou Dalgleish, who were married for 10 years before they formed the band, both being professional musicians. They play country / Americana and say they are influenced by country duos from the 1960s and 1970s, such as Tammy Wynette and George Jones, or Johnny Cash and June […]

Sakina Abdou, Barbara Dang, Peter Orins: Lescence / Gmatique

We’ve had this on the books a while but it’s an oddball; with Circum-Disc sending us some more new jazz, we thought we’d have a go. We’ve had some Peter Orins before and it was recognisably jazz, as in when you play the piano you get piano noises. Not so here. The trio play sax, […]

Dan O’Farrell and The Difference Engine: Richard Scarry Lied To Me

We’ve made a bit of an effort with this one (should you have to?) after reading a review from a mega-fan who couldn’t understand why O’Farrell wasn’t much more popular, what with his clever tunes and biting lyrics and all. We can tell him why: O’Farrell’s voice is an acquired taste. It’s not that he […]

Steve ‘n’ Seagulls: Another Miracle

For those who don’t know, Steve ‘n’ Seagulls (think about it) are Finns who play proficient bluegrass while doing covers of famous rock tracks. We think their cover of AC/DC’s Thunderstruck made their name, but looking for information on this, we found it riding high in the US bluegrass chart, so it must be good […]

Mari Joyce: Dear Moon

We listen to a lot of challenging music and for some weeks we’ve been missing something calming; we had some lovely Elgar songs and plenty of folk, but it wasn’t quite what we needed. Then came this. Ten seconds in, and we knew this was it. It helped that it reminded us of Fisherman’s Woman […]

Unk: Now

The PR from French label Circum-Disc opens by saying “We don’t really know how to pronounce _Unk” – obviously they say it “On ne sait pas vraiment comment…” and talks about “progressive, sometimes experimental” jazz, which always makes us nervous. This is not helped by the album opening with the drummer hitting something metallic, possibly […]