No Hot Ashes: Hardship Starship

No Hot Ashes have the potential to be massive. The sound is somewhere between the Libertines and indie bands of that ilk, and slicker pop bands; Kubb maybe. The lyrics are more Busted than Arctic Monkeys. They’ve got something of the classic pop instrumentation of eighties pop bands (even Wham! in places), all presided over […]

Metronomy: Metronomy Forever

Gone is the wonky synth and in its place highly catchy and slick pop tunes and (to our ears) an album-long tribute to the band’s Ferdinand Mount’s influences over the years. He recorded his early albums on his own and this sounds like it’s just him, too. The result is some of his best songs […]

Emily Breeze: Rituals

This is a studied act, presenting the kind of music an intellectual type might believe reflects the cool chic followers of Jack Kerouac would adopt on a pilgrimage to La Rive Gauche in Paris. It’s apparently effortless and cynical, but served up with English wit, so you can always claim satire if anyone laughs. As […]

Reverend And The Makers: Best Of

We assume The Rev and his Makers are still going because the band’s Jon McClure is popular with journalists (so gets good coverage), and writes honest, heart-on-his-sleeve tunes, to which fans can relate. We recall he refused a record deal when his Sheffield homeboys Arctic Monkeys hit it big, preferring to work on his own […]

Alexander Moyzes: Symphonies Nos 11 and 12

Alexander Moyzes, who died in 1984, was one of the most significant figures in modern Slovak music. The sleeve notes say he created a style of composition that “was thoroughly Slovak in inspiration”, while taking account of contemporary trends in European music. It’s expressive music and while not unmelodic, it’s also got no memorable sections. […]

Incognito: Tomorrow’s New Dream

We thought we’d slipped through a time warp when we played this: back to the early 80s and listening to jazz-funk bands of that era: we best remember Freeez, but there was also Light of the World, whose Jean-Paul Maunick has led acid-jazz outfit Incognito since 1979. Acid jazz blends jazz, with soul, funk and […]

Brittany Howard: Jaime

This is the debut solo studio album by the lead guitarist / vocalist of chart-topping, Grammy-winners Alabama Shakes. It’s going to be on everyone’s “best of” lists come December, as it’s great. It’s not like the Shakes, though. Howard wrote and composed all of the music, and played a lot, too we suspect. The songs […]

Alexander Rahbari: My Mother Persia, Vol.1 Symphonic Poems Nos.1-3

Iranian conductor and composer Ali (Alexander) Rahbari has worked with more than 120 European orchestras. Born in 1948, he studied violin and composition at the Persian National Music Conservatory then went to Austria. In 1979 he was invited to conduct the Berlin Philharmonic Orchestra and became Herbert von Karajan’s assistant, working with him every day […]

Alexander Ffinch: Transformations

This CD sees Ffinch play Cheltenham College Chapel’s organ; he is college organist so he knows it well. The opener is Joseph Jongen’s Sonata Eroica. This was commissioned by Belgium Radio in 1930 for the inaugural concert at the art-deco concert hall and arts centre at the Palais des Beaux-Arts in Brussels. We like Belgium, […]

The Murder Capital: When I Have Fears

The year has been good for albums from our newly-invented genre of blinder punk: a style of raucous, gothic, riff-heavy rock that litters the soundtrack of Peaky Blinders, a show that has become increasingly Tarantino for its tunes. The days of it being Nick Cave and a few string sections are long gone. The Murder […]