Seasick: Steve Keepin’ The Horse Between Me And The Ground

This is undoubtedly Seasick Steve’s best album; the title aside it has no music hall showmanship about it — or at least no back of the cowboy wagon showboating — and it’s got depth and subtlety. Maybe Mr Wold is as sick of Seasick as we are, though it’s been an excellent career move. Though […]

Phil Collins: The Singles

It’s Phil Collins. It’s the singles. What more do you need to know? Avuncular Phil has drawn a stickman (sticksman?) playing drums on the cover to pretend it’s not just a hits package coming out before Christmas. The collection shows why Collins is vastly under-rated as a talent: if the Press hadn’t mocked him so […]

Kate Jackson: British Road Movies

Jackson was in The Long Blondes, one of those bands we always thought we should listen to more but never did; slightly worthy indie. This solo effort, coming eight years after songwriter Dorian Cox’s ill health caused the Blondes to split, is much more appealing. A reasonable thumbnail of this would be a UK indie […]

August Wells: Madness Is The Mercy

August Wells is a duo, the Dublin vocalist and songwriter Ken Griffin and John Rauchenberger, a New York pianist. They’re one of those bands with cult superstardom written over them, thanks to the sumptuous arrangements and Griffin’s distinctive voice (baritone?). Griffin is of Irish bands Rollerskate Skinny and Favourite Sons, the former apparently being popular […]

Tom Winpenny: Williamson, Organ Music

If often helps to understand a composer: an on-line obituary to Williamson compared him to fellow Oz ex-pats Barry Humphries, Germaine Greer and Clive James, leaving a “culturally deadening” Australia. The obit noted: “It is possible that some of his headline-making indiscretions at the expense of the fashionable would have remained private if he’d been […]

Elizabeth Hilliard: Sea To The West

There’s no use pretending this is an easy album to get into, though it is beautiful and calming in places. It’s an album of contemporary works for solo voice with occasional electronics, six works by four composers, all written for the solo voice. If it was purely an electronic album it would be out on […]

Hawklords: Fusion

As this album’s first notes ring out, it’s like putting on Hawkwind’s excellent 1980 space rock album Levitation — psychedelic guitars, thumping bass and drum pounding on a par with Ginger Baker, who joined the Hawkwind for that album. Then the vocals come: Ron Tree is not Dave Brock, but this is a different band […]

Jess Morgan: Edison Gloriette

Morgan is a singer-songwriter who has crowd-funded her previous albums, though this is on Norwegian record label Drabant Music. She creates rootsy folk / country / Americana music that’s beautifully simple. Opener The Longest Arm has harmonica and prompts Neil Young comparisons with its downbeat harmonica/acoustic guitar sound. It’s hard to pick other comparisons but […]

New Order: Singles

Everyone else is going to praise this, so for the sake of cussedness we’re going to dissent. You can never tell which bands are going to live for ever and which will disappear. When bands are new, it’s hard to pick the stayers, like that U2 lot, who flogged Fire round for ages and looked […]

Billy Talent: Afraid Of Heights

Billy Talent are one of those bands you only hear of when you see a long queue of young people outside a gig and wonder who the big draw is. We had them pegged as punk, albeit the grungier end, but we’re guessing that loyal fanbase is getting older and Billy Talent see the need […]