Bryde: Like An Island

A lot of whether you like a song is down to the vocals: love the voice and you’ll like the music and vice versa (hence our apathy to Arctic Monkeys). Bryde’s voice is mesmerising and we love it. It’s strong but sounds vulnerable, and she reminded us of Paula Cole (Where Have All The Cowboys […]

O’Hooley and Tidow: WinterFolk

In our minds, O’Hooley and Tidow are linked with Kate Rusby: we really admire what Rusby does, but her music is too glum for us to ever listen to. We saw her live once and she joked about her glumness in the run-up to announcing her next song, I Am Sad. Ho ho. Belinda O’Hooley […]

ZZ Top: Tonite at Midnight

Some live albums undergo more than a little studio engineering before hitting the shops; as one might hope with ZZ Top, they seem to have pressed “record” and what they played is what you get. The mix on opener Got Me Under Pressure sounds a bit raw and if a drum fill starts a fraction […]

Phil Collins: Dance Into The Light

We confess to never having heard this album or any of its songs, and it’s possible that even if we had, we’d have forgotten them. It’s all a bit unremarkable, though it’s a pleasant album with several enjoyable songs. The downside is that it’s Collins at his slickest; unmemorable tunes with an unremarkable voice don’t […]

Phil Collins: Face Value / Both Sides

It’s not quite up there with Blackadder going over the top or Del Boy missing the bar and falling over, but one truly great television moment was the opening episode of Miami Vice: Crockett and Tubbs drive down a waterfront road in a Ferrari Daytona Spyder, racing to a show-down. The soundtrack that made it […]

Terence Charlston: Mersenne’s Clavichord

This pleasant album is more important for scholars of music and keyboard buffs than your casual listener, though it’s a nice enough collection. Early-music specialist Terence Charlston is playing Mersenne’s Clavichord, a clavichord built according to specifications left by Marin Mersenne – no examples of an original French clavichord survive. Wikipedia reports that Mersenne, a […]

Ordinary Boys: Ordinary Boys

If ever there was a band that don’t sound like they’re reforming out of desperation, it’s Ordinary Boys on this rather decent new album. We confess we couldn’t name any of their tunes from their previous incarnation, though Wikipedia informs us that their big hit Boys Will Be Boys featured in the fifth Harry Potter […]

Shuya Xu: Nirvana

Unlike the Schubert also reviewed this week, this is not easily accessible and should be approached with caution. You need some expertise in the handling of classical music to deal with it, and probably gloves. This is modern music, and as discordant, erratic and as dramatic as you might wish. Xu Shuya graduated from Shanghai […]

Joel Rafael: Baladista

Rafael is the real deal if you want folk: born in 1949, he’s known in the States as an interpreter of Woody Guthrie’s lyrics and music, though despite a long life he’s released only eight albums (two of which were Guthrie: both called Woodyboye: Songs Of Woody Guthrie). Musically: it’s mostly Rafael and his acoustic […]

Chilly Gonalez: Chambers

After being mean about three new bands, we’re slightly down on Chilly as well, and we’ve got all his albums. Never mind: he’s Canadian, so he’ll just be polite about it. You’ve all heard Chilly’s music: he won a Grammy for his collaboration with Daft Punk and composed the inaugural Apple iPad campaign music, Never […]