Alec Benjamin: These Two Windows

Singer-songwriter Alec Benjamin reportedly made his name in 2019 with a mixtape, which was streamed 540m times worldwide. This is his debut album. Our first observation would be that Benjamin has an androgynous voice. The first few plays we assumed he was a girl named Alec; when we Googled him, we seriously considered that we’d […]

Denai Moore: Modern Dread

This is a very nice album for those who like soul, pop, RnB, even trip hop. It’s so good – and this is rare praise – it puts us in mind of Little Dragon’s album of the same name (as the band, not a this). For that album at least they played cool, genre-hopping music […]

All Time Low: Wake Up, Sunshine

Life’s been hard just lately so this slice of nostalgia is welcome and pleasant. All Time Low have been going for years, starting in 2003. While pretty big, they never hit the heights of Blink 182, although many of the Blink hallmarks are here: catchy hooks, drums given some echo before a build-up, rapid fire […]

Fitzwilliam String Quartet: Schubert String Quartets

Rock bands attempt authenticity by doing unplugged or acoustic sessions; classical players do it by going back to basics. For this recording of Schubert’s famous quartets, the Fitzwilliam String Quartet used gut strings, and quizzed experts about playing techniques of the time the works were composed (1824). Lucy Russell’s Ferdinando Gagliano violin from 1789 is […]

Tim Fredericks: Singer Songwriter 2

This is a follow-up to an album that came out last year; they gave away the last one and we guess the same is true of this. It came out before lockdown, so now they can’t even give it away. The songs are by Tim Fredericks and his band, who are from Crewe, Macclesfield, Stoke […]

Koyo: You Said It

Koyo are from Leeds but the sound is American and they’re one of those bands who sell a bazillion albums in the Heartlands but never do so well over here; Hoobastank springs to mind, mocked by snooty critics but selling 10m albums. It’s a sound British bands often fail to do well, either being too […]

Charli XCX: How I’m Feeling Now

This is a very modern album, recorded by XCX at home during lockdown and in consultation with fans via social media. It’s also modern in that it’s mostly style over substance; she can write a melody but it’s hard to recall any of it afterwards. The national critics seemed to love it, but she’s probably […]

Primo! Sogni

We should like Primo! more than we do. They play indie punk in its truest sense, and will sound familiar to any ageing music fans who remember the rise of the DIY ethos, and songs commenting on life. This being 40+ years since indie first emerged, Primo! are more polished than the original bands but […]

Justin Badgerow: Reminiscences of Brazil

This is an entertaining and varied programme of piano music. The Brazilian side gives the music life and a vivacity that’s a little unexpected but don’t expect it to sound very Latin American. It’s as much in the feel and passion as the rhythm. It’s robust, and powerfully played; there’s nothing of the polite salon […]

The Psychedelic Furs: Made Of Rain

The Furs were British (formed in London in 1977) but are most famous for an American movie, when John Hughes used Pretty In Pink for his film of the same name. We can’t be the only people who know them for that one tune. They “went on hiatus” after finishing touring in 1992 and although […]