Robin Stevens: Prevailing Winds

This is a mostly enjoyable mixed bag of short works; you probably won’t like them all but it’s a diverting collection of music. In his sleeve notes, Stevens says that composing miniatures such as presented here can be liberating: if it doesn’t work, it’s less time wasted. They also add to a composer’s technical skills, […]

Camargo Guarnieri: Chôros, Vol 1

We’ve got bogged down a little with this: it’s so engrossing we’ve played it on repeat instead of getting on with other reviews. Guarnieri was born Mozart Camargo Guarnieri in 1907, and his dad was an Italian immigrant and music lover. He not only named his sons after great composers (Mozart, Verdi, Rossine and Belline, […]

Ryan Hamilton and The Harlequin Ghosts: Nowhere To Go But Everywhere

You could be in danger of hearing far too much of this likable pop album, which is basically Busted for adults and might get a lot of radio play. We’ve never heard of the band before but they are clearly all experienced musicians. Hamilton is American, and the Ghosts from the UK; Hamilton has played […]

Thomas Bartlett: Shelter

Pianist/producer Thomas Bartlett has toured the world and worked with people from The National to David Byrne and produced the likes of St Vincent and Sufjan Stevens, with whom he earned Academy award and Grammy award nominations. But like all the rest of us, come lockdown he was stuck at home with only his piano […]

Kerry Turner: Horn Works

The sleeve notes say that Turner developed his reputation as a composer with the American Horn Quartet, but has written horn and piano at the same time as his horn quartets. He performed these works for horn and piano along with Kristina Mascher-Turner, appearing as the Virtuoso Horn Duo. Since the majority of these pieces […]

Pottery: Welcome To Bobby’s Motel

This a fine album, interesting and meaty, with added cowbell for those who feel modern music lacks such percussive adornment. The title track kicks it all off, opening with a frantic snare roll and then the speeded-up soundtrack to a Tarantino movie, lots of tom toms, psychedelic guitar and a voice-over about dreams, then, after […]

Justin Wells: The United States

The title is a pun: it’s about life in the USA in these divided times but it’s also about the fact that we have more in common than differences, particularly the fact that we’re all born, live and die. “This record starts in the womb, and it ends after death,” Wells says of the album. […]

Fontaines: DC A Hero’s Death

We’re often not impressed with bands billed as “the future of rock” but we can make an exception for Fontaines DC. This new album is special; so good it had us singing – SINGING – to one track about three plays through. That literally never happens. It only seems 10 minutes since their debut album, […]

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 […]