Erik Simmons: Carson Cooman: Masque (music for organ)

We reviewed a church organ album the other week, and just couldn’t be doing with it. Very discordant and unsettling. This, on the other hand, is very different and we’ve been playing it over and over all week. If you told us a while ago that we’d be moaning about pop bands and praising church […]

Evans The Death: Expect Delays

The NME gave this 8/10 but we’re not sure we would agree. More like seven. Evans The Death — which is a good name for a band — play retro indie pop that we ought to like more than we do. It’s characterised by strong female vocals and an early 80s sound, with a soul […]

Champs: Vamala

This isn’t The Champs who had that hit with the famous Tequila, but just Champs — it’s brother Michael and David Champion. The music is mournful folk/pop, as if Simon and Garfunkel were very sad about something like getting old or having silly hair. Or about being remembered for writing a song about rabbits. There’s […]

Duke Special: Look Out Machines!

Duke Special (he’s Irish and really called Peter) has been producing impressive pop albums for some time. Rather like Rufus Wainwright, he can both hit and miss his target, though he’s never less than totally ambitious and it’s always lovingly produced. This new album is a definite bull’s-eye. Opener Wingman sets the tone, his slightly […]

Echosmith: Talking Dreams

This is an excellent pop album, with all the benefits and disadvantages that entails. On the upside: think Ladyhawke. Catchy/lively pop/dance tunes that rapidly wend their way into your brain. They’re all catchy and instantly likeable; not least Come Together, the opening track, and Cool Kids, which is all about wishing you were as cool […]

GoGo Penguin: v2.0

We actually bought this ourselves — paid our own money for it — mainly because it was on Gondwana records, and we had a press release from them quite recently and they sounded cool. Gogo Penguin are a jazz trio and to our ears it sounds like Bob James, the famous inventor of easy listening […]

Jack Savoretti: Written In Scars

Mr Savoretti is, we guess, going to be the cool sound of 2015 (if he’s not already). This is a really classy album, packed with style and beautifully arranged. If you want to be critical — which is supposed to be our job after all — he reminded us of Paolo Nutini, who similarly sells […]

Epoca Barocca: Janitsch, Sonate Da Chiesa

Yet another relative unknown who deserves better, this is a lovely album. If you want to listen to classical music, this is how you imagine it: gentle, timeless baroque music playing in the background while you read Dickens, or press wild flowers or paint. Cultured. Johann Gottlieb Janitsch (1708–1763) was a German Baroque composer and […]

Quartet Base: Le Diapason

Another release on the French Circum-disk label, Quartet Base is a jazz outfit that, like Troyka, seems to rely on some degree of improvisation, and, again like Troyka, seem a band capable of a little humorous mischief. This is an album which we’d guess is avant-garde jazz, though the sound is varied. It opens with […]

Troyka: Ornithophobia

This progressive jazz album from the talented trio Troyka (players include Kit Downes, Mercury nominated in his own right) is book ended by fairly traditional sounding jazz. Opener Arcades sounds like any modern jazz track you might care to hear, before it suddenly takes off in a prog rock direction. Prog because of the frequent […]