Denis Jones: 3333

Like The Courteeners, Denis Jones is from Manchester but unlike them he makes interesting music. On a website we found he was described as making “scuzzy Mancunian blues”, which is good, but misses out the word “electronic”. It’s the blues of a dirty city where residents have good reason to sing soulful songs, but it’s […]

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 […]

The Courteeners: St Jude Re:Wired

We saw The Courteeners on the St Jude tour at the Sugarmill in Hanley; we wanted to like them but found their laddish rock slightly off-putting. Singer Liam Fray did some acoustic numbers and we thought we could sense a feeling that he wanted to branch off into more adventurous areas and leave the lads […]

Nan Schwartz / Brenton Broadstock: Orchestral Works

If you’ve ever played your favourite album of film soundtrack music and thought: “Hmmm, if only they’d thrown in some jazz guitar, this would be perfect,” then this is for you. To make it clear: most of this album is palatable and listenable but it’s not lightweight classical film fare. This is music with gravitas, […]

Wolf Harden: Busoni, Piano Music, Vol. 10

As Shane Patrick Lysaght MacGowan famously wrote of Jimmy’s harmonica, it “soothed the souls of psychos and the men who had the horn”, and this programme of piano music has the same effect. It’s calming. A man with an appellation to rival Mr MacGowan, Dante Michelangeli Benvenuto Ferruccio Busoni was born at Empoli near Florence […]

Alice Dade: Living Music

The start (Air, for flute and string quartet) of this gentle and pleasant CD is pastoral, the music for a section of narrative from John Boy Walton (“Jim Bob never did tame that mountain lion, but it followed him all summer, and into the fall and as the leaves turned brown.”). Parts are more dramatic, […]

Finbar Furey: Don’t Stop This Now

If you’re into folk and associated genres, this is an album you must buy. Finbar Furey is an Irish legend, part of the Fureys. He toured and played hard, and life took its toll in 2013, when he had a near-fatal heart attack. He’s over it now (“A fella asked me if I had an […]

Sheridan Smith: Sheridan

We don’t watch much telly and live for us is gigs, not theatre, so the talented Ms Smith has passed us largely by: we’ve only heard people rave about Two Pints of Lager and a Packet of Crisps, Gavin and Stacey and Benidorm (but then, who needs more than Detectorists?). She starred in The Harry […]

Rae Morris: Someone Out There

We were expecting some kind of bland pop; if she’d been called Hólmfríður Grímsdóttir and from Reykjavik we’d have been more prepared. Morris is from Blackpool and we thought her debut was a little staid, but this is great. For most of the album she has that Scandinavian vibe going on, with vocals that are […]