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McCookerybook and Rotifer
Ahead of the release of their delightful collaborative EP 'Equal Parts', songwriters Helen McCookerybook and Robert Rotifer discuss the 'completely joyful' experience of recording over two days in August and their desire to use the EP to transcend the divisions between the UK and Europe brought on by Brexit.
McCookerybook and Rotifer
In the second of a two part interview about their new joint EP 'Equal Parts', Helen McCookerybook and Robert Rotifer talk to Ben Howarth about their discovery of each other's music and working with one another.
Ben Howarth speaks to Peter Milton Walsh, the frontman with Australian alternative rock band the Apartments about his group's second 'comeback' album 'In and Out of the Light', his approach to songwriting and his plans for touring.
Singer-songwriter Ben Bedford has recently revisited three albums of storytelling folk with a new compilation. He tells Ben Howarth about the process of choosing the songs and how his musical influences have shaped a gradual change of direction on more recent albums.
After releasing several albums as Quiet Loner, Northern English singer=songwriter Matt Hill speaks to Ben Howarth about his latest album, the folk-influenced 'Savage Pilgrims', which is also his debut LP under his own name.
John Howard speaks to Ben Howarth about his as-yet-untitled new album, the benefits of home recording and the next two volumes of his memoir.
As he prepared for the release of 'Home Time', his 17th album, Darren Hayman speaks to Ben Howarth about his most personal album and his reflections on the end of his epic, award-winning 'Thankful Villages' project.
Back for his sixth interview with Pennyblackmusic, Joe Gideon tells Ben Howarth about his new album 'Armagideon', recorded with Jim Sclavunos and Gris-de-Lin. Having set out to write a set of lighthearted songs, he ended up with an album themed around the upcoming end of the world.
Ben Howarth speaks to Mads Baklien, vocalist, guitarist and synth player of new Norwegian group Spielbergs, about their latest EP, the surprise at being on tour, and what years in bands has taught them about surviving as a group.
Ben Howarth visits the home of Ian Button and chats about his Papernut Cambridge project.
Former Hefner member Jack Hayter speaks to Ben Howarth about his new album which was inspired by a year spent living in the suburb of Abbey Wood, which soon to change with the arrival of a new train line, is on the borders of outer London and Kent.
As he prepares to release his fifth solo album, ‘Animal Spirits’, David Ford tells Ben Howarth how an obsession with the causes of the 2007-8 banking crisis prompted him to write a ‘concept’ album about market economics.
Singer songwriter John Howard has published his autobiography, a heartbreaking and hilarious tale of how to nearly become a pop star in the 70s. He tells Ben Howarth how he wanted to be 100% honest but non-judgemental.
After a long wait and a move to a major label, Texas-born singer-songwriter Jarrod Dickenson is ready to unveil 'Ready The Horses' to a growing fanbase. He tells Ben Howarth about his love of recording on 2-inch tape and his desire to reach for the classic sounds of the 50's and 60's.
As he prepares to release his fourth 'solo' album, 'The Deluder' Idlewild's Roddy Woomble explains that he really sees it as the work of a genuine band over a 'really creative couple of months' and tells us about the 'great team' he has formed.
As Port Erin prepared for a set at Glastonbury and the release of their excellent fourth album ‘Ocean Grey’, Ben Howarth speaks to Reuben Myles Tyghe, the frontman of the west country three-piece Port Erin to learn more about their ten years as a band
Returning with the second volume of a three-part autobiography, John Howard takes Ben Howarth and John Clarkson on a compelling guided tour of the fringes of the late-70s, early 80s music industry, while also navigating an increasingly complex personal life in the shadow of the Aids crisis.
Ben Howarth profiles the Unthanks' extraordinary three CD latest album which combines elements of jazz and modern classical music as well as traditional folk and sets to music the work of several poets.
While he waits for a new studio album from rediscovered 70's songwriter John Howard, Ben Howarth enjoys a trilogy of vinyl pressings of his overlooked early work, an ideal companion to the recently-published autobiography.
Ben Howarth finds Andy Babiuk's book 'Beatles Gear: All the Fab Four's Instruments from Stage to Studio', which provides a history of the Beatles' equipment, to be original and unique
Ben Howarth finds much to recommend in a new book about the early years of the young Bruce Springsteen
Ben Howarth at the New Cross Inn in London enjoys an emotionally intense set to promote their second album 'Wasted Energy' from rising Melbourne punk band Press Club.
New Cross Inn, London, 5/9/2019
Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, 4/12/2015
Slaughtered Lamb, London, 15/9/2015
Union Chapel, London, 15/1/2015
Rotifer, John Howard and Mel Mayr - Servant Jazz Quarters, London, 26/11/2014
(and the Primary Colours) Hoxton Bar and Kitchen, London, 29/9/2014
Under the Bridge, London, 31/10/2014
Corsica Studios, London, 21/2/2013
Barbican, London, 1/3/2012
Scala, London, 17/10/2011
Roundhouse, London, 21/6/2011
Ani Di Franco
Shepherd's Bush Empire, London, 27/2/2011
Ben Howarth winds back the years to the mid-1990s as he watches Ash play a Greatest Hits set at the Shepherd's Bush Empire in London
Ben Howarth watches Craig Finn, more used to playing with a booming rock band behind him, perform an intimate solo set in front of an enthralled crowd in the basement room of London’s Slaughtered Lamb pub
Ben Howarth watches E Street Band multi-instrumentalist Nils Lofgren play a magical masterclass from his extraordinary back catalogue of own material at the Union Chapel in London
Manic Street Preachers
Ben Howarth refelcts upon Californian singer-songwriter Sean O'Brien's eighth solo album from last year, which is an enjoyable ride from power-pop to angsty punk.
In our 'Re: View' section, in which our writers examine albums from the past, Ben Howarth reflects on the Manic Street Preachers' 2007 album 'Send Away The Tigers', which has just been re-released in an expanded tenth anniversary edition
In our 'Re:View' section, in which we look back at albums from the past, Ben Howarth reflects on Oasis' iconic second album, '(What's The Story) Morning Glory', which was released twenty years ago
Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll
Having begun writing for Pennyblack at the same time as he collected his GCSE results, Ben Howarth has now been writing for the site almost as long as it has been around. As we approach our 20th birthday, he selects in 'Ten Songs That Made Me love...' some of the songs that sum up his experience.
In the first in his 'Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll' column in a year, Ben Howarth looks at a trio of albums that suggest there is still plenty to listen to for someone feeling out of touch with the modern music scene.
A new study claims to prove that the Beatles’ influence was overstated. In his regular 'Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll' column, Ben Howarth wonders whether that’s really the whole story.
In his latest 'Condemned To Rock and Roll' column, Ben Howarth asks what the imminent transition of the 'NME' to a freesheet tells us about the state of modern pop music
Ben Howarth in 'Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll' examines Jay-Z's new streaming service and Spotify rival, Tidal
In 'Condemned to Rock 'n' Roll' Ben Howarth reflects on recent UK government legislation towards the growing problem of ticket touts
Contemplative, experimental and highly rewarding seventeenth album from singer-songwriter, pianist and writer John Howard
On his second ‘comeback’ album after 2015’s acclaimed ‘‘No Song, No Spell, No Madrigal’, Peter Milton Walsh offers up a collection of songs that rival any since his band the Apartments’ first releases in 1978
Storytelling folksinger Ben Bedford compiles some of the best tracks from his first three albums, which serves as a reminder of just how compelling a songwriter he is
Americana singer-songwriter GF Patrick and his band pack everything they have into this compelling debut collection, which appears to be structured like a live show, with the best songs left until last
Compelling fifth album and first under his his own name from former Quiet Loner frontman and 'storytelling singer-songwriter' Matt Hill which finds him moving away from the alt. country of his past recordings and into folk
Underdeveloped but fiery post-punk/hardcore on debut album from enigmatic group the Imbeciles
Memorable and distinctive folk pop on first album in four years from Canadian singer-songwriter Basia Bulat
Fabulous combination of anger and rock on new album from feminist bluegrass trio Della Mae
Spellbinding third album from folk trio Salt House which combines original material with reworkings of poems
Bleak but passionate reflection on Brexit from Robert Rotifer, who although Austrian-born has spent the last two decades living in the UK
Extraordinary three CD latest album which combines elements of jazz and modern classical music as well as traditional folk and sets to music the work of several poets
John Howard's twelfth album since his 2005 comeback finds him merging his many influences into an assured and consistent set of songs
Mozes and the Firstborn
Enjoyable album of 90s-influenced indie rock aimed at the paternal demographic from Eindhoven four piece Mozes and the Firstborn
Enthralling second album from French acoustic singer-songwriter Raoul Vignal which is influenced by jazz and ambient music
Impressive combination of classical music, post-rock and ambience from New York-based cellist Julia Kent
First-rate new album from Indiana-based singer-songwriter Austin Lucas which proves to be one of the best folk/Americana records in recent memory
Marla and David Celia
Minimalist but haunting second solo album from ex-Crooked Fingetrs frontman and Americian producer and musician Eric Bachmann
Appealing country rock on third album from German/Canadian singer-songwriter duo, Marla and David Celia
Unpredictable and psychedelic-influenced latest album from Canterbury-based cult band Picturebox
Remarkable solo album from Robert Rotifer, one of the records in WIAIWYA's new 77 project each consisting of a 77 minute track, upon which the Austrian-born singer-songwriter who has been Kent-based for the last 20 years reflects how post-Brexit he no longer has guaranteed status in the UK
Blue Rose Code
Fourth album from Ian Button’s indie supergroup Papernut Cambridge plays back-to-front and finds him fleshing out the band’s glam-pop with a piano based-sound
The ever-reliable Wave Pictures are back with the first of two albums planned for release in 2018. This was recorded in a single all-night session and is none-the-worse for that.
Optimistic and uplifting fourth album from Blue Rose Code, the project of often melancholic Edinburgh-born and now Manchester-based folk artist and singer-songwriter Ross Wilson
Richly entertaining mix of gypsy-folk, show tunes and Springsteen-esque classic rock on second album from Irish five-piece the Eskies
Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors
Amanda J. Window
Dominic B. Simpson