Echoes Of Swing: Winter Days at Schloss Elmau

Echoes of Swing are in top form for this festive album, the quartet of Bernd Lhotzky (piano), Colin T Dawson (trumpet), Chris Hopkins (alto saxophone) and Oliver Mewes (drums) joined for this by US jazz singer Rebecca Kilgore (“one of the best interpreters of the Great American Songbook” says Wikipedia). The premise of the album […]

Cipriano de Rore: Missa Vivat Felix Hercules / Motets

If your idea of heaven is male vocalists singing religious Renaissance music as you ponder the meaning of life, this beautiful CD is for you. Cipriano of Rore (1516-1565) composed the Mass in honour of his patron, Ercole II d’Este, the sound meant to convey the latter’s Godliness. The sleeve notes are interesting; the tenor […]

Francisco de Peñalosa: Lamentations

This is a beautiful collection of religious music from the Renaissance. If you like religious vocal music that errs towards the sombre — the album title gives it away— this is a must. The singing is fantastic and the acoustics of wherever it was recorded only add to the experience. Peñalosa’s music is redolent of […]

Liam Gallagher: Why Me? Why Not

Noel’s younger brother has teamed up with his “army of songwriters”, as the older Gallagher mocked, to deliver a likable pop album that mixes two things Noel was best known for, sounding like The Beatles and writing Oasis crowd-pleasers. Most of the tracks could be late-era Beatles outtakes, down to George Harrison’s guitar gently weeping, […]

Tiny Changes: A Celebration

The full name of this album is A Celebration Of Frightened Rabbit’s The Midnight Organ Fight and it has become a de facto tribute album to the band’s songwriter Scott Hutchison, who took his own life last year. It was recorded before he died; the covers are not mournful, more life-affirming. This is how it […]

Amy Studt: Happiest Girl In The Universe

This dreamy pop album opens gently, Studt caressing the microphone and pleasing people who experience autonomous sensory meridian response (those of you who like to hear wrapping paper fondled and gently-spoken sibilants). After this she sings more forcefully, at the top of her register, the music remaining gentle. She is somewhere between Dido, Bjork and […]

Chris Gall and Mulo Francel: Mythos

Saxophonist Mulo Francel is well known (though not to us; we won’t pretend) for his work with platinum-selling jazz/world quartet Quadro Nuevo; Gall is a fifth member for live gigs. Kulturnews magazine credits Francel with the “most sensuous saxophone sound in Europe”. The idea of this album apparently began at the end of a hard […]

Bob Bradshaw: Queen Of The West

The music is warm and rich but we find Bradshaw’s vocals a little dry (which we would also find fault with Bread over), but there’s a lot going on. He has lots of ideas and the band is good, his voice just fails to excite us. That aside, it’s a meaty album with a lot […]

No Hot Ashes: Hardship Starship

No Hot Ashes have the potential to be massive. The sound is somewhere between the Libertines and indie bands of that ilk, and slicker pop bands; Kubb maybe. The lyrics are more Busted than Arctic Monkeys. They’ve got something of the classic pop instrumentation of eighties pop bands (even Wham! in places), all presided over […]