The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band: Poor Until Payday

  The Reverend Peyton’s Big Damn Band do one thing and do it well, playing their old-fashioned country blues at 250 gigs a year from bars to festivals. The Rev plays authentic guitars, too: a 1930 steel-bodied National, a 1934 wood-bodied National Trojan Resonator and a 1994 reproduction of a 1929 Gibson acoustic, while drummer […]

Beans On Toast: A Bird In The Hand

Beans On Toast (aka Jay McAllister) sings the same song over and over; the words might change but his musical accompaniment has a small range, and exists to make words melodic. He’s a mate of, and like, Frank Turner, just less grand. Early on, he explains his modus operandi to listeners, saying he’s “at it […]

Ray Cooper: Between The Golden Age and The Promised Land

Cooper is known to folk fans as Chopper: he joined Oysterband in 1987 after bassist Ian Kearey left, himself leaving the band at the end of the Ragged Kingdom tour in February 2013, to pursue a solo career. (He was also in 3 Mustaphas 3 and OK Jive). In a self-penned biography, Cooper says of […]

Emily Lockett: My Imagination

Lockett is a local teenage singer and this is her new album, but she gets the same scrutiny as the signed bands we review … and comes up pretty well, (always a relief). She cites Taylor Swift’s early work and Avril Lavigne as influences, so we listened to some Lavigne, and it’s not a bad […]

Basement: Beside Myself

Basement sound like they’re from California but this slick emo / rock band are actually from Ipswich. Their music is a commercial take on the old emo sound — it reminded us of now-defunct Farewell My Enemy and bands of that ilk — who set the scene for bands such as Jimmy Eat World, My […]

Shred Kelly: Archipelago

Shred Kelly should be bigger, if they could only get some more variety. They blend folk and rock — almost prog in places — that makes individual tracks interesting, but leaves the listener unsure as to what they’re about. The punning name doesn’t help; they’re not a joke band. The title track opens and promises […]

Tea Street Band: Frequency

  The Press release for this claims the band follows in the wake of “tunefully idiosyncratic” Liverpool bands like The Coral (partly true) and are closer to artists such as Tunng (not really). The partial truth is that they are tuneful but it’s not really idiosyncratic and Tunng would not readily spring to mind — […]

Neneh Cherry: Broken Politics

Cherry’s fifth album in 30 years take some appreciating, but after a number of plays, we like it a lot. It takes those repeated plays to get into as it’s nuanced, and nuanced can take time. All the songs feature Cherry’s vocals over percussion, although that percussion might be piano, and some of it is […]

Clean Bandit: What Is Love?

  Clean Bandit fall in that category of bands who surprise us by getting very famous (when much better bands do not). They’re as brainy as the lovechild of Brians May and Cox: some band members met at Jesus College, Cambridge, while another member was at Westminster School and in a string quartet with the […]

Estrons: You Say I’m Too Much, I Say You’re Not Enough

This is billed as punk but it’s somewhere between indie — proper early indie, when it was an approach and not a genre — and rock. If they could be accused of lacking the genuine feel it’s because they can play their instruments far too well (“The Damned can play three chords, The Adverts can […]