Torgeir Waldemar “Jamais Vu” (Jansen Records, 2018)

With the release of the cleverly titled mini album Jamais Vu, Norwegian singer/songwriter Torgeir Waldemar revisits some of the songs from his first two albums and skillfully manages to present a very different interpretation. So what exactly is Jamais vu some of the more inquisitive among you may be asking yourselves?  In essence it’s the opposite of Déjà vu.  If Déjà vu is the sensation that a place or event someone is currently experiencing has been experienced before – even when that cannot actually be the case, Continue reading “Torgeir Waldemar “Jamais Vu” (Jansen Records, 2018)”

The Handsome Family, Hackney Round Chapel, 15th March 2018

Thanks to Loose Records to be here, and for us to still be married…” is Renee Sparks’s wry reflection towards the beginning of this evening’s performance in Hackney – about the unlikelihood of a musical and personal marriage of such longevity. While such a lengthy partnership might seem improbable to her, it’s certainly propitious for us – the audience – who are able to able to enjoy a live rendition of their 1998 album, ‘Through The Trees’, in all its glory tonight. Continue reading “The Handsome Family, Hackney Round Chapel, 15th March 2018”

Luke Tuchscherer “Shadows – Touring EP” (Clubhouse Records, 2018)

Ever since seeing Tuchscherer performing with the band The Whybirds in a small Bedford pub this reviewer has been quite partial to their (and his) take on the classic Americana driving song style of most of their material. You know. The jaunty guitars and perhaps a Hammond being propelled by a solid rhythm section and songs about highways, falling in love, poker or good things turned bad. And with his touring EP LT (can’t be writing that name lots of times, I’ll get it wrong!) has delivered something that holds true to the template and some. Continue reading “Luke Tuchscherer “Shadows – Touring EP” (Clubhouse Records, 2018)”

Beams “Teach Me To Love” (Independent, 2018)

Toronto based band Beams, are, by their own, admission, a hard band to define musically. The songs are led by the vocals and banjo of Anna Mernieks and, while the banjo is ever present and brings a distinctive sound to the table, it is the punchy rhythms, jangling guitars and crashing drums that provide a lasting impression. So it is that despite mandolin, lap steel and singing saw joining forces with Mernieks’ banjo, the obvious route into bluegrass or country has been body swerved and the seven-piece band have produced a body of work that has a much harder edge. Continue reading “Beams “Teach Me To Love” (Independent, 2018)”

Lloyd Cole, De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill on Sea, 4th March 2018

Lloyd Cole takes to the stage, looking more like a hip geography teacher than the brooding rock star of his youth, and launches straight into ‘Patience’, to the obvious approval of the capacity crowd at the De La Warr Pavillion. Once he’s finished his opening song he stops and takes a long, hard look at the crowd. After surveying the audience for a while he walks up to the microphone and delivers his first words of the evening; “Yeah….you’re not getting any younger either”. Continue reading “Lloyd Cole, De La Warr Pavillion, Bexhill on Sea, 4th March 2018”

You Are Wolf “Keld” (Firecrest Records, 2018)

Keld is an old Northern English word meaning “the deep, still, smooth part of a river”. That’s an economical word, and You Are Wolf’s album is also economical, the sparse sounds drawing on traditional songs that have fresh water at their heart. Kerry Andrews – who is You Are Wolf – thinks that salt water has for too long dominated the folk scene – with songs of sea borne exploring, whale hunting and shanties filling album after album. What about lochs? What about rivers? What about streams and pools? ‘Keld’ is the fruit of her labours in in-land waterways. Continue reading “You Are Wolf “Keld” (Firecrest Records, 2018)”

Yung Wu “Shore Leave” (Bar/None Records 2018)

A reissue of an album from 1987 which sold less than 5,000 copies on release, this is essentially a side project by the percussionist from the band, the Feelies –Dan Weckerman here taking the role of lead vocalist and songwriter. A reissue being released in time for Record Store Day, ‘Shore Leave’ is considered something of a lo-fi indie classic by fans of the Feelies, the latter releasing four albums between 1980 and 1991. Continue reading “Yung Wu “Shore Leave” (Bar/None Records 2018)”

Sarah McQuaid “If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous” (A Shovel and A Spade, 2018)

The cover of her fifth album shows a guitar morphed into a spade. Whilst Woody Guthrie wrote “This Machine Kills Fascists” on his guitar, Sarah McQuaid may as well have put “This Machine Kills Fracking” on hers. The title track opens with McQuaid warning her son not to go too deep in the garden with his shovel, but swiftly moves to ‘Splitting cracks in the rock to free the power inside’. If this is the most overtly political statement on the album, plenty more tracks are connected to the earth, and the moon.  Continue reading “Sarah McQuaid “If We Dig Any Deeper It Could Get Dangerous” (A Shovel and A Spade, 2018)”

Elle Mary & The Bad Men “Constant Unfailing Night” (Sideways Saloon, 2018)

The title gives a clue to the darkness enveloping this record – it wears its black heart proudly and does its best to draw us into the crepuscular. The music is core to the vision, tight and dark, rhythm-heavy, slow and taut, the vocals not disinterested but seemingly partially disengaged. Nina Nastasia leapt into my mind as I listened and nothing on repeat listens has done anything to shake her off. The sparse crisp production calls to mind the work of Steve Albini (Nina Nastasia’s producer of choice).. Continue reading “Elle Mary & The Bad Men “Constant Unfailing Night” (Sideways Saloon, 2018)”

Whiskey in the Pines “Sunshine from the Blue Cactus” (Independent, 2018)

Straight outta Tallahassee, Florida are Whiskey in the Pines, a ¾ bearded combo headed up by singer and principal songwriter David Lareau. They say that their state capital home is two hours from the nearest sun-kissed beach, so there’s little theme parking, surfing or bikini-clad girl watching in this six track E.P. All of which is a roundabout way of getting to the point – this is a fine, fine seven track E.P. Continue reading “Whiskey in the Pines “Sunshine from the Blue Cactus” (Independent, 2018)”