Courtney Marie Andrews: Honest Life

Musician Courtney Marie Andrews has been on the road since she was 16, when she left home in Arizona for her first tour. She travelled up and down the West Coast, busking bars and cafés. Then for a decade or so she’s was a session and back-up singer and guitarist for nearly 40 artists, including […]

Kreutzer Quartet: Choreography, The Soundtrack

So: you make a film about the importance of seeing music being played, featuring pieces that have a strong visual component (by Stravinsky, Ligeti, Lutoslawski and Finnissy). Then you release a CD soundtrack of that film. In other words, this is a CD of music that’s meant to be seen being played, that accompanies a […]

Leif Vollebekk: Twin Solitude

Vollebekk is a Montreal singer songwriter and multi-instrumentalist who is/was a fan of Nick Drake. We’d also guess he’s a big fan of David Gray, whose White Ladder this sounds very much like. For older readers, Gray was a singer-songwriter whose fourth album White Ladder was massive, partly helped by a memorable televised performance at […]

Nell Bryden: Bloom

“Singer-songwriter and BBC Radio Two favourite” says the Press release, which almost tells you all you need to know. It’s very melodic and carefully crafted and, for style, Carole King / Carly Simon. Classy, melodic tunes, delivered in a classic style. On one level, it’s flawless. Bryden has a pleasing, soulful mid-range voice, does nothing […]

Lower Than Atlantis: Safe In Sound

This is Lower Than Atlantis’ fifth studio album, which means they’re pretty good at what they do: delivering friendly, accessible melodic rock. The obvious references we can think of are on the pop side: Athlete (on a good day) and even ELO, though maybe a little of Incubus and melodic rock bands like Jimmy Eat […]

Amber Run: For A Moment, I Was Lost

Amber Run play atmospheric indie pop of a kind that you’ve heard before, but it’s got a fresh sound and it’s entertaining. It’s emotional pop with soaring harmonies aplenty and slightly falsetto vocals, the instrumentation lush and multi-layered. It starts off well with Insomniac, an emotive tune that reminded us of Longview. Amber Run also […]

Frank Carter and The Rattlesnakes: Modern Ruin

A friend in music radio once told us that some pretty decent bands fail because their members are so unpleasant — be mean to venues, music journalists and sound engineers and your career will be short lived. By the same token, Frank Carter must be the nicest man in music. Despite a decade-long career that’s […]

Menace Beach: Lemon Memory

The new year is not even a month old (well it is now, but not as we write) and we have already got two albums that could still be favourites at the end of the year. One is Frank Carter (see elsewhere) and the other is this. Menace Beach are certainly confident — they open […]

Kenari Quartet: French Saxophone Quartets

This fun album features pieces that used what was still a relatively new-fangled instrument in the classical form. The sax was invented in 1846 by the eponymous Mr Sax, and the pieces on here (from Dubois, Pierné, Françaix, Desenclos, Bozza and Schmitt) were written in the early to mid-20th century. French composers apparently went mad […]