Moonsville Collective EPs “I” “2” “3” (Moonsville Records 2017)

These three EP’s are the first three instalments of a planned quartet of releases, and there’s nothing startlingly different about each record. They are all super competent Americana, aiming foursquare for the middle ground, populated by the likes of later period Avett Brothers, five tracks each, short and sweet punches, drawing no blood but spraying sugary harmonies with each jab landing. Continue reading “Moonsville Collective EPs “I” “2” “3” (Moonsville Records 2017)”

Lydia Loveless “Boy Crazy & Singles(s)” (Bloodshot Records, 2017)

Starting off as a punk inspired country siren, Lydia Loveless soon progressed to offering feisty pop orientated numbers, still imbued with a country punk attitude. Boy Crazy & Single(s) is a handy catch up compendium of her 2013 EP, Boy Crazy along with several songs originally released as singles. Released in both CD and vinyl editions it’s the latter which is likely to appeal to hard core fans as none of these have previously been given the vinyl treatment. For others, the CD is a fine introduction to Ms. Loveless’s music. Continue reading “Lydia Loveless “Boy Crazy & Singles(s)” (Bloodshot Records, 2017)”

The Raving Beauties “Raving For Bap” (Farm Music, 2017)

Irishman Bap Kennedy left us far too early, hit by the curse of cancer and passing on at only 54 in 2016.  In his memory, and with all proceeds going to Marie Curie cancer care, comes this great five track tribute EP from The Raving Beauties.  The twist here is that the Beauties don’t actually exist, being in fact a one-off collaboration between Belfast man Brian Bell and Oxford’s rather wonderful Dreaming Spires. Continue reading “The Raving Beauties “Raving For Bap” (Farm Music, 2017)”

Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine “Tennessee Beach” ( Independent, 2018)

Faecal Microbial Transfer. There. I’ve said it. I’m not saying that this debut album from Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine is shit. In fact, the opposite is true: it’s excellent! It’s just that when I say I have a gut feeling about this band, it reminds me of the feeling in his gut that Jeff Leach, anthropologist and founder of the Human Food Project, and American Gut, experienced whilst out on a field trip with the last hunter-gatherers on the planet – the Hadza of East Tanzania. Now, some might say that East Nashville, where Eagle flies, or East Tanzania, ain’t that different in their own sweet, way. They’re both pretty wild. Ask Todd Snider! Anyhoo, engaged with his quest to research the human microbiome, in his enthusiasm, out in the bush, Jeff scooped up a steaming pile of fresh poo, deposited by one of his Hadza guides, with a turkey baster and fired said ca-ca deep into his own rectum and gastro-intestinal system. Continue reading “Eagle Johnson & Clean Machine “Tennessee Beach” ( Independent, 2018)”

Orphan Colours “All On Red” (At The Helm Records, 2018)

“Your friendly neighbourhood Americana supergroup,” they say, and while one might think that it’s a tad pompous there’s an element of truth in this statement. From the ashes of ahab, a band who always seemed to be on the cusp of making it, Stephen Llewellyn, Dave Burn and Graham Knight eventually teamed up with ex Noah & The Whale (another on the cusp band) guitarist, Fred Abbott and Steve Brooks (from Danny & The Champs) to form Orphan Colours. An EP release in 2016 was well received and now we have the debut album, an album forged in the face of adversity. As Llewellyn explains, “At the end of 2013 both ahab and Noah & The Whale had been chewed up and spit out by the music business.” Despite this, Llewellyn was determined to give it another go, the new band revved up and raring to go, the album title referring to his final gamble as he bet all on the band’s success. Continue reading “Orphan Colours “All On Red” (At The Helm Records, 2018)”

James Edwyn & the Borrowed Band “High Fences” (Dead Records Collective, 2017)

January is a miserable month. The weather’s terrible, nobody has any money, everyone’s back at work for another year’s grind and there’s next to nothing happening musically. Which makes the release of ‘High Fences’ something to celebrate and then some (ok, it was actually released in mid-December but just go with it ok). Continue reading “James Edwyn & the Borrowed Band “High Fences” (Dead Records Collective, 2017)”

Hunter Muskett “That Was Then This Is Now” (Limefield, 2013)

In 1969 The Beatles released Abbey Road, 150,000 attended the second Isle of Wight Festival, Lulu shared first place in the Eurovision with Boom Bang-a-Bang and, somehow absent from the Wikipedia entry for that year, Chris George, Terry Hiscock and Doug Morter formed Hunter Muskett. A year later, following a signing to Decca and the release of their first album, bass player Rog Trevitt joined to become the fourth musketeer. A second album followed in 1973 before the band called it a day the following year. Continue reading “Hunter Muskett “That Was Then This Is Now” (Limefield, 2013)”

The Deportees “The Birth Of Industry” (Independent 2017)

A foreboding vintage photograph of a grounded ship in an estuary adorns the cover of this, the debut release from Scotland’s The Deportees (who, after some momentary confusion, I realised are not to be confused with the Swedish indie band, Deportees… note the absence of the ‘The’). A bleak and arresting image, the photograph is fitting, offering an appropriate visual for the tone struck by the band throughout “The Birth Of Industry” – a desperately sorrowful collection of songs if ever there was. Continue reading “The Deportees “The Birth Of Industry” (Independent 2017)”

No Thee No Ess “California” (Folkwit Records, 2017)

The Welsh psychedelic wizards relax the weirdness (a bit – the opener Mind Flow Bender is still far out into a universe where Hawkwind are a little bit tame) and head towards Americana. California (the title song) is all harmonies and restraint, the music remaining mannered, bubbling away without boiling over into a soup of noise but with enough seepage towards another dimension to keep things interesting. Florid Peaks is even gentler; it simmers, the vocal melody is full of sunlight and when we reach the instrumental interlude, again though, there are enough hints that things could get weird, so that they don’t have to, it can just be pretty without having to apologise for it. Continue reading “No Thee No Ess “California” (Folkwit Records, 2017)”

Various “Sing And They’ll Sing Your Song” (Megaphone, 2018)

This album provides a retrospective of the twenty years of Megaphone records, founded by Stephane Bismuth after putting together Shack and Arthur Lee for a tour. The label released The Magical World of the Strands and a host of other eclectic artists. This record provides a cross-section and starts quite rightly with Something Like You by Michael Head, which I’m assuming you are all familiar with. You are, aren’t you? Continue reading “Various “Sing And They’ll Sing Your Song” (Megaphone, 2018)”