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Reviews



Birdpen


All Function One
Haunting sixth album from Birdpen is a protest against technology’s stranglehold on our lives and society


Various


Riding The Rock Machine: British Seventies Classic Rock
Well-researched three CD box set which provides to the listener with a compelling sonic history of 1970's rock's lesser-known acts as well as also its legends


Black Pistol Fire


Look Alive
Canadian duo Black Pistol Fire offer impassioned and energetic rock with some subtle twists and turns


First Aid Kit


Who By Fire
Excellent tribute album to Leonard Cohen recorded live over two nights at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm by sibling duo First Aid Kit


Steve Robinson


Swallowing the Sun
Classic folky-pop with Beatle touches. on first album in five years from former Headlight and Roger McGuinn sideman Steve Robinson


Nick Cave And Warren Ellis


Carnage
Intense and versatile collaboration between Nick Cave and his fellow Bad Seeds member Warren Ellis


Global Village Trucking Company


Smiling Revolution
Impressive double CD anthology on Cherry Red from Iconic communal band The Global Village Trucking Company


Django Django


Glowing in the Dark
Uplifting and memorable fourth album from critically acclaimed London-based art rock band Django Django


Fanfara Awantura


Prawdziwie polskie techno
Ingenious blend of brass and techno music from Polish act Fanfara Awantura


Gillian Welch and David Rawlings


All The Good Times
Intimate and acoustic covers album from leading Americana duo Gillian Welch and David Rawlings


Ted Barnes


17 Postcards
Cinematic and richly rewarding solo album from Beth Orton guitarist and composer Ted Barnes


Bryan Ferry


Royal Albert Hall 2020
Excellent live album from Bryan Ferry, recorded at the Royal Albert Hall just before lockdown, all proceeds of which go to his touring musicians and road crew


Direct Hits


The Broadway Recording Sessions
Enjoyable compilation of Mod pop trio Direct Hits’ early recording sessions which are finally released by Optic Nerve Recordings but is mostly targeted at already converted fans.


Virginia Wing


private LIFE
Fifth LP which captures the present difficult times from experimental Manchester trio.Virginia Wing


Damn Vandals


You Me the Devil and the Sunshine
A year’s worth of pent-up energy and emotion blasts through Damn Vandals' new album with one banger after another


Zara Larsson


Poster Girl
Upbeat and positive latest album from acclaimed Swedish singer-songwriter and pop artist Zara Larsson


Coldharbourstores


Dearly Devoted
Sweetly jangling but flawed fourth album from London-based band Coldharbourstores


Lake Street Dive


Obviously
Unpredictable and innovative eighth album from Brooklyn-based five-piece act Lake Street Dive who have worked on this new release with hip-hop producer Mike Elizondo


Conrad Clipper


Herons' Book oF Dreams
Anonymous German composer Conrad Clipper’s second album is full of wistful piano instrumentals


Nature's Neighbor


Otherside
Eclectic twelfth album from Chicago-formed band Nature’s Neighbor which reflects upon the current pandemic


Sonia


Everybody Knows - The SIngles Box Set
Pure pop perfection on six CD box set from Hit Factory starlet Sonia


Eisenhowers


Judge a Man By the Company He Keeps
Confident Elvis Costello-influenced indie rock on latest album from Scottish band The Eisenhowers


Jason Ringenberg


Rhinestoned
Highly enjoyable solo effort, which was recorded during the 2020 Covid lockdown, from Tennessee’s Jason Ringenberg, one of the early pioneers of alt. country


Various


Shake the Foundations: Militant Funk and the Post-Punk Dancefloor 1978-1984
Impressive three CD box set from Cherry Red follows up the success of their previous post-punk box sets with this reflection into the more danceable part of the scene


Darrell Scott


Jaruso
Intimate live album recorded in an old church from Nashville-based singer-songwriter Darrell Scott which proves a heartwarming listen


Arlo Parks


Collapsed in Sunbeams
Inspirational debut album whose influences include Sylvia Plath from London musician and poet, Arlo Parks


Steve Earle


J.T.
Thoughtful and emotive album from Steve Earle, in which he pays tribute to his son Justin Townes Earle who died of an accidental drugs overdose last year by covering a collection of Justin’s songs


Barry Gibb


Greenfields
Appealing new album from Barry Gibb in which he has reworked some of his classic catalogue with a range of country artists including Dolly Parton, Keith Urban, Alison Krauss and Sheryl Crow.


Celeste


Not Your Muse
Fantastic debut album from Celeste who lives up to all her promise after winning a BRITS Rising Star award


Sharhabil Ahmed


The King of Sudanese Jazz
Festive frenzy funk on compilation album from 1970's era Sudanese musician Sharhabil Ahmed


Urlaub in Polen


All
Impressive sixth album and first in nine years from Cologne new wave krautrockers Urlaub in Polen


Rick Shea


Love and Desperation
Convincing new album from veteran country singer-songwriter Rick Shea which finds him on top of his game and undeterred by Covid restrictions using remote recording techniques with his band


McKenzie FIX


Pandora's Box
Over-polished but eclectic debut album from the McKenzie FIX, the new project of acclaimed Edinburgh-based singer-songwriter Ewan McKenzie


Myles Cochran


Unsung
Building on the promise of last year’s ‘My Own Devices’ EP, American bluegrass and country instrumental musician Myles Cochran’s new album shows his talents to the full


Iain Matthews


Fake Tan
Enjoyable new album from Fairport Convention and Matthews Southern Comfort’s Iain Matthews, which he has recorded with Norwegian musicians The Salmon Smokers


Pearl Charles


Magic Mirror
Eclectic second album from rising Los Angeles-based singer-songwriter Pearl Charles


Nick Cave


Idiot Prayer
Intense but quietly hopeful and resilient live piano-and-voice album from Nick Cave recorded alone in the empty Alexandra Palace in London


Taylor Swift


Evermore
Impressive second album in a year from Taylor Swift which finds her continuing to develop in an indie-folk direction


My Darling Clementine


Country Darkness
Excellent and unpredictable set of Elvis Costello covers from country duo My Darling Clementine


Conny Frischauf


Die Drift
First-rate synth pop which combines modern and vintage sounds on debut album from Viennese electronic artist Conny Frischauf


Rats on Rafts


Excerpts from Chapter 3: The Mind Runs a Net of Rabbit Paths
Unusual but brilliant psych pop on long-awaited third album from Rotterdam-based group Rats On Rafts


RVDS


Moods and Dances 2021
Flawed but promising electronica on new album from Hamburg-based DJ RVDS


Staves


Good Woman
Resilient and emotive first album in five years from Watford-based folk-pop sister trio The Staves


Jane Weaver


Flock
Optimistic latest album from 'Modern Kosmonaut' Jane Weaver which provides a vision for the brighter future that we all need


Randolph’s Leap


Spirit Level
Scottish folk-pop collective Randolph's Leap’s new album is full of catchy melodies and sunny skies


Dr Feelgood


Greatest Hits
Electrifying double CD compilation which spans nearly fifty years of music from Canvey Island’s Dr Feelgood


Joanna Connor


4801 South Indiana Avenue
Extraordinary album from Joanna Connor, which, produced by Joe Bonamassa, pays tribute to the Chicago blues club scene


Black Country, New Road


For the First Time
Experimental and promising debut album from eclectic Cambridge septet Black Country, New Road


JIM


Falling That You Know
Mellow West Coast pop on enjoyable debut EP from JIM, the new project of Crazy P's Jim Baron


Weather Station


Ignorance
Environmentally-conscious latest album from The Weather Station, the project of Canadian songwriter Tamara Lindeman, which finds her moving away from her acoustic roots


Still Corners


The Last Exit
Remarkable fifth album from dream pop pioneers Still Corners who for inspiration for this new record have taken an extraordinary trip into the American desert in search of something beyond our normal vision


Telescopes


Songs of Love and Revolution
Haunting and also surprisingly accessible twelfth album from London-based veteran noise/experimental rockers the Telescopes


Lost Doves


Set Your Sights Towards the Sun
Evocative and beautiful debut album from folk rock duo the Lost Doves, which provides a welcome antidote to these dark times.


Gary Lucas


The Essential Gary Lucas
Wide-ranging retrospective on eclectic career of guitarist Gary Lucas reflects his roles as Gods and Monsters band leader and adventurous collaborator with such as Jeff Buckley and Captain Beefheart


Kode9


The Jackpot
Energetic new digital only single from Scottish dubstep pioneer Kode9


Paul McCartney


McCartney III
Fantastic third all-solo album from Paul McCartney which he recorded spontaneously during lockdown


Davey Woodward and the WInter Orphans


Love and Optimism
Veteran Bristol mmsician Davey Woodward releases the flawed masterpiece he has always hinted at with the second album with his band the Winter Orphans


Annie Dressner


Coffee at the Corner Bar
Melancholic but also surprisingly upbeat third album from New York-born but now UK-based singer-songwriter Annie Dressner


Slow Readers Club


91 Days in Isolation
Excellent second album for 2020 from the Slow Readers Club, which created in very different circumstances from their last album proves a reminder of their energy and creativity


Michael J Sheehy


Distance is the Soul of Gravity
Sublime and understated but also emotionally rich first album in ten years from Michael J Sheehy







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