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Pennyblackmusic: December 2021 (Reviews Update)


Ava Cherry

Ava Cherry, who was David Bowie's romantic partner and worked with him on 'Young Americans', speaks to John Clarkson about her forthcoming memoir, 'All That Glitters'.

Jah Wobble
Cathal Coughlan
Spring '68

Jah Wobble talks to Andrew Twambley about his time in Public Image Ltd and his new dub reworking of their 'Metal Box' album.
Former Microdisney and Fatima Mansions frontman Cathal Coughlan talks to Eoghan Lyng about his new project Telefis and album with Jackknife Lee, political history, musical history and more.
New York City=based but English-born singer-songwriter Edward Rogers talks to Malcolm Carter about his new project Spring ‘68’s French pop influenced album, ‘Sightseeing Thru Music’.

Asha McCarthy
World Party
Dead Men Walking
Dot Allison

Asha McCarthy tells Malcolm Carter about 'Epitaph', a shining beacon of an album that came from a place of darkness
World Party mainman Karl Wallinger looks back on the band’s career from its 1987 inception, focusing on acclaimed 1990 LP ‘Goodbye Jumbo’ which has recently been reissued.
Kirk Brandon talks to Andrew Twambley about the latest line-up of his punk supergroup Dead Men Walking, their new album 'Freedom, It Ain't On the Rise' and playing Fleetwood
Edinburgh-born singer-songwriter and musician Dot Allison talks to John Clarkson about ‘Heart-Shaped Scars’, her first new album in twelve years.

Don McLean
James McMurtry
Hamish Hawk

Ultrasound vocalist Andrew 'Tiny' Wood speaks to John Clarkson about the reissue in an expanded vinyl edition of their epic 1999 double album, 'Everything Picture'.
American singer-songwriter Don McLean speaks to Eoghan Lyng about the 50th Anniversary of his classic hit 'American Pie', his fascination with musical history and the surprising influences of several of his songs.
Austin, Texan singer-songwriter James McMurtry talks to Lisa Torem about his first album,in six years ‘The Horses and The Hounds’, and songcraft, politics, early influences and why he never could play like Johnny Cash.
Hamish Hawk’s latest album, ‘Heavy Elevator’, is making an impression and gaining national airplay. He speaks to Mark Rowland about his need to mix things up, making songwriting an everyday habit, and managing expectations.

Lucky Ones
Peter Waterman
European Sun

Ryan West, the singer and mandolinist with Canadian country/bluegrass outfit The Lucky Ones, talks to Julie Cruickshank about their debut album, their formation and coping with performing in a Yukon winter.
Producer Peter Waterman talks to Malcolm Carter about his mobile studio Longcroft Recording, how his career has survived lockdown and working with Southend-on-Sea trio In Earnest on their remarkable New EP, ‘Reasons To Stay Alive’.
An offshoot of The Sound frontman Adrian Borland's first band The Outsiders, The Crazies' only album 'A Simple Vision' was never meant to come out. Drummer Adrian Janes and clarinet player Bi Marshall explain why forty-three years after it was recorded it is finally being released.
Steve Miles from indie pop band European Sun talks about his group's recent first UK tour and how it has changed the band.

Visitor Comments


Hello and welcome to the December 2021 edition of the Pennyblackmusic Magazine. It has been an up and down year for us at Pennyblackmusic, In late January our writer Keith How died unexpectedly. A lovely man, Keith, who was a few days away from his 71st birthday, just got absolutely so much of what Pennyblackmusic is about - not always focusing on the mainstream and looking for the best in independent and alternative music. He did just that with his own monthly column column 'Under the Radar' in which he championed and gave a voice to some often very obscure acts, and almost a year ....more


Our writers and photographers reveal their albums of the year.

Idiot Son
How Music Journalism Can Fight Misogyny
Mike Hipple
Laura Shenton

We preview the next Pennyblackmusic Bands Night which will take place with Idiot Son, Morton Valence, The Volunteered and Simon Bromide at The Water Rats in London on the 29th January 2022.
In light of Marilyn Manson's downfall, Cila Warncke asks what music journalism can do to fight misogyny.
Anthony Dhanendran finds fascinating Mike Hipple's new book 'Lived Through That: 90s Musicians Today' in which he talks to and photographs an assortment of 90's indie musicians.
Lisa Torem is impressed with Laura Shenton's well-researched and informative book about progressive rock band Curved Air's early history in the 1970s.

Live Reviews

Jesus And Mary Chain
Lanterns on the Lake
Fenne Lily

At a concert at the Albert Hall in Manchester featuring classics from their brooding 1987 second album, ‘Darklands',’ Denzil Watson finds The Jesus and Mary Chain rendering a refreshingly subtle and dynamic range.
Nige Nudds at the Waterfront Studio in Norwich enjoys a compelling set from Mercury Prize nominated post-rock outfit Lanterns on the Lake in which they play their latest album 'Spook the Herd' in full.
Nige Nudds watches and photographs up-and-coming Fenne Lily’s captivating set at a packed Portland Arms in Cambridge.

Most Viewed (articles)

Favourite Albums

Don Zilla

In our 'Re:View' section, Maarten Schiethart finds that baffling, avant garde electronic wizard from Kampala Don Zilla is graced with a divine touch on his new album 'Ekizikiza Mubwengula' which was released earlier this year.
Zena Greig enjoys Oasis' new double live CD which captures the two infamous sell-out concerts they played at Knebwoth in 1996.
In our 'Re: View' section, in which our writers look back at albums from the past, Zena Greig reflects on Garbage's 2001 third album 'Beautiful Garbage', which is being released in a remastered, expanded version.


In 'Vinyl Stories' Dave Goodwin talks to some of our writers about their vinyl purchases of the year.
When chatting with a longstanding fellow writer for her 'A Life in Music' column, in which she talks to a different Pennyblack writer about the impact on music on their lives, Cila Warncke discovers that Denzil Watson doubled as a gigging musician in Sheffield and Lincolnshire.

Evidently Spencertown
Dave Grohl
Bandcamp Explorer
Tommy James

Spencer Robertshaw writes of heartache and romantic break-up in the latest poem in his 'Evidently Spencertown' poetry column.
In 'The Image That Made Me Weep' Kimberly Bright writes of a video image taken of Dave Grohl at The Foo Fighters' television debut on 'The Late Show with David Letterman' in August 1995.
In 'Bandcamp Explorer' Mark Rowland looks at some of the best releases on Bandcamp of the last year.
In her 'Raging Pages' book column, Lisa Torem reflects upon 'Me, The Mob and the Music: One Helluva Ride with Tommy James and the Shondells' which, co-written with Martin Fitzpatrick, tells of how the 60s's rock star's career was taken control over by gangsters.


Andrew Twambley takes photographs of singer-songwriter Ian Prowse at a home town show at the Liverpool Academy.
Andrew Twambley photographs The Libertines at a show on their latest tour at the Manchester Academy.

Steve Harley
Fontaines DC
Graham Gouldman

Andrew Twambley takes photographs of legendary singer-songwriter Steve Harley with the latest line-up of his band tCockney Rebel at the Lowther Pavilion in Lytham St Anne's.
Amanda J Window photographs Dublin-based post-punk band Fontaines DC at the Manchester Academy.
Andrew Twambley photographs 10cc's Graham Gouldman with his acoustic Heart Full of Songs four-piece at a the Royal Northern College of Music.

Most Viewed (reviews)


Gabriel Moreno
Elvis Costello and the Imposters
Neil Young And Crazy Horse

Intimate and evocative new album from poetic Gibralter-born but London-based singer-songwriter Gabriel Moreno
Upbeat but sometimes abstract latest album from Elvis Costello om which he reflects on his own and other men's growing pains
Urgent and reflective fourteenth album from Neil Young with with his original backing group Crazy Horse
Enjoyable and eclectic three CD post punk and alternative music from 1979 from Cherry Red

Martha And The Muffins
Courtney Barnett

This selection from their archives is a reminder of just how great Martha and the Muffins are. Lots of good memories but there’s also a freshness to their music that is sure to win them new fans.
Understated but uplifting third album from Australian singer-songwriter Courtney Barnett
Outstanding sixth album from Norwegian heavy metal band Spidergawd
Magical fourth album from Sølyst. the solo project of Kriedlier drummer Thomas Klein

Katie Melua

Canadian band The Honeyrunners’ new album showcases a taste of Southern rock with a soulful, funky vibe
Next instalment in Cherry Red’s successful C-series is ‘C91’, which shows that 1991 was a bad year for indie music, but the compilation itself is a joy to behold
Appealing combination of the political with the personal on surprising and enjoyable fifth album from Welsh singer-songwriter Marina which originally released last year has now come out in a deluxe edition
Effective acoustic reworking by Katie Melua of her 2020 eighth album

Silk Sonic
Henry Parker
Peter Hall
Aeon Station

Harmonic soul pop on debut album from Silk Sonic, the new project of Bruno Mars with Californian singer and drummer Anderson .Paak
Extraordinary second album from alternative/psych folk artist Henry Parker which while at one level influenced by the past also looks to the future
Finely polished baroque pop fighting to remain positive in the face of life’s difficulties on Peter Hall’s debut album
Harmonic and thought-provoking debut album from Aeon Station, the solo project of ex-Wrens' member Kevin Whelan which was fourteen years in the making

Josephine Foster
Paul Weller
Freya Beer

Understated but melancholic and wintry nineteenth album from singer-songwriter Josephine Foster
Experimental and inventive new album from Paul Weller which reworks some of his Jam, Style Council and solo back catalogue with orchestral arrangements
First-rate debut album from alternative and Gothic rock-influenced West London singer-songwriter Freya Beer
Worthwhile and impeccably chosen 50-track mixtape to raise money for Velindre Cancer Centre in Cardiff.

Alicia Keys
Mike Ryan
Vapors of Morphine
Modern Stars

Versatile double album from Alicia Keys which is split into two parts, one consisting of new songs, and the other of reworkings of songs from her back catalogue
Exquisite and astonishing eponymous second album from Wirral-based singer-songwriter Mike Ryan
Haunting and original post-rock on latest album from Morphine offshoot, Vapors of Morphine
Second album from Italian band Modern Stars which at its best is intriguing mixture of Western drone rock with Indian sitar, dull at its worst.

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors