Danny Schmidt: Standard Deviation

We thought Standard Deviation was a song about two girls falling in love over a shared fondness for physics but the release notes say it is a “romance set in the multi-dimensional realm of theoretical physics”. Schmidt goes on to say that it “touches on the pushback” that smart women face in traditionally male-dominated arenas, […]

John McCabe: Mountains

This new album from the late John McCabe dates back to 1985. He visited the EMI studios in Sydney to make an album of works by American and Australian composers. The project never materialised, the studios closed, and the masters were presumed lost. Then a cassette copy found among the composer’s papers, and remastered. This […]

Erik Simmons: Jubilee, Carson Cooman organ music vol. 10

Carson Cooman makes Neil Young look a slacker, and many of Young’s albums are from the vaults, not new. Cooman is composer in residence at the Memorial Church, Harvard University, and a prolific composer, the recordings often played by Erik Simmons — this is his 10th Cooman organ album for Divine Art. This latest collection […]

SWMRS: Berkeley’s On Fire

SWMRS are from the US but they really should be English; equally this CD is ostensibly punk but in reality it’s a gang of lads having fun and playing songs that are the modern equivalent of Knees Up Mother Brown. Opener Berkeley’s On Fire has a guitar riff and some wonky singing — as well […]

Johnny Lloyd: Next Episode Starts In 15 Seconds

Lloyd is the former Tribes frontman: Tribes were an indie band, formed in 2010 and splitting in 2013. They might not have bothered your pop radar much, but it’s all part of a learning curve for a musician. Lloyd next appeared (to us anyway) with the Eden EP in 2017, which was a flawless pop EP, showing […]

Holy Moly and The Crackers: Take A Bite

This lot are one of those bands that are fundamentally a live band, playing raucous (but tight) gypsy / dance rock. Imagine Mumfords with a brass section and disco high-hats. And personality. Regulars at Rode Hall’s Just So festival will have seen many such a band — indeed, Holy Moly and The Crackers were on […]

Daniel Garcia Trio: Travesuras

Pianist Daniel García’s playing dominates this album of meaty jazz, though double-bassist Reinier Elizarde and drummer Michael Olivera do not go unnoticed. The release notes talk about flamenco and jazz being brothers; you’d not automatically think of flamenco listening to this (though there are some exotic sounds down there in the rhythm section); he’s more […]

Blood Youth: Starve

Metal outfit Blood Youth — they hail from the land of cream teas and muffins, Harrogate — are a visceral lot, their music loud and uncompromising. The album is marked by three elements: the frontman’s voice, which gets screamed hoarse over the album’s course — he sounds very annoyed about something, probably the queue for […]

Eitenne Cutajar: Mdina Music For Horn

This is a new recording of (as the name suggests) music for horn by Etienne Cutajar, featuring violinist Carmine Lauri and pianist John Reid. The music comes from Beethoven, Brahms and Richard Strauss as well as modern composers Heinz Holliger, Jesmond Grixti and Jörg Widman; the work Mdina is by Grixti. Cutajar is principal horn […]

BartolomeyBittmann: Dynamo

Out on jazz label ACT, this new album is prog in the same way that Gordon Giltrap could be prog, in his better moments (which is why Heartsong is so famous and his duller stuff not). Opener Elefant lays down the pattern: superfast playing of guitar (it’s actually a mondola according to the sleeve notes) […]