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Fiona Hutchings - Reviews

Ian M. Bailey

Shots of Sun
Enjoyable 60's -influenced folk pop on new EP from UK singer-songwriter and guitarist Ian M. Bailey,. the first of a series of planned collaborations with Daniel Wylie of Cosmic Rough Riders


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

Django Django

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

My Darling Clementine

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

Baked A La Ska

Superb fifth albm from eleven-piece ska band Baked A La Ska who take an electic bunch of source material and give it a satisfyingly spooky sound

Her Crooked Heart

To Love To Live To Leave
Musically complex second album from Her Crooked Heart, the moniker for New York-based singer-songwriter Rachel Reis, proves highly personal but accessible

Alvarez Theory

The Alvarez Theory
Engaging eponymous debut album from London-based Americana/folk five-piece the Alvarez Theory, which includes well-crafted tales of about small town heroes and bar flies


We Who Are
Essential limited only vinyl only first album in fourteen years from 60’s-influenced Medway-based trio the Embrooks

David Bromberg

The Player: A Retrospective
First-rate compilation of early 70's material from Californian singer-songwriter David Bromberg whose name might not be instantly recognisable but whose trademark guitar fingerpicking has been very influential.

Ben Bedford

The Hermit’s Spyglass
Lyrical and intirguing if brief trip to the Prairie State with one man band Ben Bedord and his cat

Simon Stanley Ward and The Shadows of Doubt

Songs from Various Places
Amusing but accomplished second album from eclectic London-based folk musician and stand-up comedian Simon Stanley Ward


Exploding Head Syndrome
Discordant but often riveting and surprising eleventh album from experimental noise rock act the Telecopes

Last Day Sect

The Gothic Novel
Mesmerising and terrifying concept debut album on Gothic novels from supergroup trio Last Day Sect

Kaz Murphy

Ride Out the Storm
Fine fourth solo album from Americana storyteller Kat Murphy who sets out to explore life's predicaments in detail but also with a relaxed and engaging style

J. Allen

Oh Oblivion
Ethereal and orchestral vinyl only first single in two years from New York-based singer-songwriter J. Allen

Neville Staple

Return of Judge Roughneck
Excellent new solo album from Original Rude Boy Neville Staple, who has recreateds his famous Judge Roughneck persona

Aaron Keylock

Cut Against the Grain
First-rate debut album from teenage blues sensation Aaron Keylock in which trying to separate the music from the myth-making proves a challenge yet it also has its own kind of magic

Fairport Convention

Live 1974
Fabulous folk gem from the legendary Fairport Convention featuring the late Sandy Denny on lead vocals recorded live in New York in 1974


Dirty and distorted but compelling first single in ten years from self-proclaimed hottest freakbeat trio in the UK, the Embrooks

B Movie

Climate of Fear
Well-crafted latest album from cinematic 80's-formed electronic outfit, B-Movie

Ruth Theodore

You Can’t Help Who You Love
Off-kilter but compelling pop with her new single from London-based singer-songwriter, Ruth Theodore

SMASH Fashion

Junkie Luck
Impressive vinyl only single from sardonic Los Angeles-based outfit, SMASH Fashion

Van Susans

Melancholically beautiful new single from London-based alternative folk-rock outfit, Van Susans

Ordinary Boys

The Ordinary Boys
Enjoyable first album in a decade from the Ordinary Boys, which finds them still not having entirely shaken off the Madness associations of the past yet also having moved on


Go Cat Go! The Essential Rockabilly Collection
Appealing collection of rockabilly classic and rare cuts, which while rough aaroudn the edges, still is worthy of time and attention


La Petite Mort
Memorable latest album from 90's chart-toppers James, which was inspired in part by the deaths of singer Tim Booth's mother and best friend

Hallock Hill

Kosloff Mansion
Compelling minimalism on fourth album from Hallock Hill, the project of New York ambient musician Tom Lecky, which as well as appearing on CD also appears in a limited vinyl edition of two hundred copies

Charlie Tipper Experiment

Ride Out
Potentially promising one-track single from Bristol indie pop group the Charlie Tipper Experiment, ruined by its indistinctive vocals

Graham Day and the Forefathers

Love Me Lies/30-60-90
Excellent debut single from Medway garage-rock supergroup Graham Day and the Forefathers, who cover themselves with a rough and ready old Prisoners song


Indie Cindy
Charismatic and unpredictable first album in twenty-two years from seminal alt.rock giants, Pixies


Hypnotic and sinister-sounding debut EP from mysterious Norwegian singer, Farao

Marc Almond

Tasmanian Tiger EP
Sparklingly eclectic and energetic new five-song EP from Marc Almond

Nina Persson

Animal Heart
Confident and impressive debut solo album from Cardigans lead singer, Nina Persson

Lisa Stansfield

Elegant but predictable seventh album and first in ten years from British Soul giant, Lisa Stansfield

Kim Churchill

Some Days the Rain May Fall/Fear the Fire
Melancholic but compelling double A-side single from nomadic Australian musician, Kim Churchill

Emma Stevens

Uplifting debut album from much acclaimed singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, Emma Stevens

Math and Physics Club

Our Hearts Beat Out Loud
Superb indie pop on third album from Sacramento-based group, the Math and Physics Club

Gabriella Cilmi

The Sting
Accomplished and confident third album from Australian-Italian singer-songwriter Gabrielle Cilmi, which finds her moving in a striking new direction


Caramel Arms
Fantastic second EP from distorted Cambridge-based alternative rockers, Forest

Deaf Havana

Old Souls
Timeless and polished anthemic rock on third album from Norfolk-formed sextet Deaf Havana, who have recently supported Bruce Springsteen

Japanese Fighting Fish

Day Bomb
Urgent and compelling second album from improvisational lo-fi act Japanese Fighting Fish, which was recorded and mixed in garages and warehouses in their native London and New York


Uneven but ultimately appealing first ever reissue of 1969 Swamp Dogg-produced and written Southern soul/funk from Richmond, Virginia-based singer, Wolfmoon

Grand Opening

Don't Look Back into the Darkness
Melancholically beautiful and subtle fourth album from the Grand Opening, the project of Stockholm multi-instrumentalist John Roger Olsson

French Boutik

Ici Paris
Achingly hip but disappointing double seven inch second single from Paris-based indie pop act, French Boutik

Bad Shepherds

Mud, Blood and Beer
First-rate combination of covers including tracks by Madness and the Stranglers and for the first time also original material on third album from Adrian Edmondson's folk punks, the Bad Shepherds

Caviare Days

Who Deprived You of Your Smile?
Off-kilter psychedelia on excellent latest single from Swedish band, Caviare Days


...And So We Destroyed Everything
Epic and cinematic post rock on imaginative debut album from Sydney-based instrumental group, Sleepmakeswaves

Gentleman's Dub Club

Give It Away
Hypnotic latest single from politically conscious nine-piece reggae act, Gentleman's Dub Club.

Belle Ghoul

Saturday Knife Fight
Instantly catchy yet unpredictable limited edition vinyl only single from Belle Ghoul, whose members include Electric Six member Christopher Tait and Patti Smith's daughter Jesse Smith

Guilty Ones

Conquer the World
Tantalisingly brief new single from oddball London-based group, the Guilty Ones

Mexico Indigo

The Trumpet
Competent but also uninspiring debut single from London-based trio, Mexico Indigo

Common Tongues

Tether and Twine
Satisfying debut EP from choral-sounding Brighton-based indie guitar act, Common Tongues

Sarah Blasko

Strings-oriented and dark download only latest single from fourth album ofAustralian singer-songwriter, Sarah Blasko

Dear Reader

Heartfelt third album from Dear Reader, the project of South African singer-songwriter Cheri MacNeil, in which she reflects upon her home country

Man Without Machines

The Kreuzberg Press
Versatile electronica on debut album from Dundee-based five-piece Man Without Machines, who take their main influences from 80's synth pop and European politics

They Might Be Giants

Brilliantly offbeat latest album from American alternative duo, They Might Be Giants

Nick Cave And The Bad Seeds

Push the Sky Away
Enthralling fifteenth album from Nick Cave and the bad seeds, which reflects on the invasive influence of the interent on 21st century culture

Market Square

Afternoon Tide/Inside My Head
Potentially promising vinyl only debut single from new psychedelic band the Market Square Heroes, ireversably ruined, however, by its weak production

Higher State

I Just Pretend/Ain't It Hard
Derivative 7 inch vinyl only single from UK 60's folk pop act, the Higher State

Cheek of Her

Megaphonic EP
Witty and clever pop on new EP from the Cheek of Her, the project of London-based singer-songwriter, Helen Dooley

Pennyblackmusic Regular Contributors