Hattie Briggs “Young Runaways” (Wise Dog Records, 2016)

Hattie BriggsIt’s hard not to draw comparisons to other female singers and songwriters whilst listening to this record, as it has so many of them referenced along the way, it is such a striking lineage you find yourself trying to place the reference constantly. Briggs will clearly be enjoyed by the fans of artists like Bush, King, Chapman, Armatrading and Mitchell; and is deserving of that company.  Continue reading “Hattie Briggs “Young Runaways” (Wise Dog Records, 2016)”

Peter James Millson “The Red Café” (Ind, 2016)

Peter james Millson, 2016An album of late night laments, jazz infusions and electronic flourishes reminds me of the late Colin Vearncombe, ABC and David Sylvian.  It does feel a little like a 80/90’s pop star making a ‘grown up’ record, and it is difficult to place in any genre, which is a relief.  A really believed in record, top production, check out ‘Dreams Take Flight’ glockenspiel.  Continue reading “Peter James Millson “The Red Café” (Ind, 2016)”

Mogwai: The Barbican, London – 15th September 2016

There is a dichotomy that is going to run through this review – is it a review of a live gig or is it a review of a documentary film? Mogwai’s last album was the soundtrack for the film “Atomic: Living in Dread and Promise” and this concert neatly solved the problem of how to play music so closely tied to a visual presentation by playing it as an accompaniment to the film. It’s a neat, and near ideal, solution – as the film gains a lot of emotional punch by having the score presented live and at full Mogwai volume, but it does leave the band in the strange position of playing second fiddle to the strong images being projected whilst they themselves are lost in the stygian gloom of the barely lit stage. Continue reading “Mogwai: The Barbican, London – 15th September 2016”

Georgia Ruth “Fossil Scale” (Navigator Records, 2016)

Ruth-Georgia-2016On her second album Welsh songstress Georgia Ruth, nominated in 2014 for a Radio Two Folk Award, offers more radio friendly music although in this instance it’s more likely that it will be Radio 6Music who will be championing her. Discarding for the most part her usual instrument, the harp, and sticking to lyrics in English (aside from her cover of Meic Stevens’ Sylvia sung in Welsh) Ruth layers her voice over a gently pulsating wave of keyboards, synths and guitars throughout the album, the end result a shiny and laid back slice of almost ambient music. Continue reading “Georgia Ruth “Fossil Scale” (Navigator Records, 2016)”

Mackenzie Shivers “Living in My Head” (Independent, 2016)

mackenzie-shivers-2016“Living in My Head” is the six track EP follow up to Mackenzie Shivers’ debut album “Neverland”. Citing her influences as, amongst others, The Chieftains, Elton John and Joni Mitchell, the songs on the EP have a richness and maturity to them. The opening track “This River” is minimal, built around an emphatic and hypnotic beat, with a distinctly Celtic feel. Shivers’ voice carries the song, with some interesting and unexpected harmonies which raise it above the ordinary and take a side road from the mainstream that you might otherwise expect. Continue reading “Mackenzie Shivers “Living in My Head” (Independent, 2016)”

Ben Abraham “Sirens” (Secretly Canadian, 2016)

ben-abraham-2016Ben Abraham first released Sirens in Australia in 2014; it has now been picked up for world-wide release and promotion by Secretly Canadian. Its thirteen songs have been described by Abraham as “a roadmap to my awkward and naive twenties”, and it’s clear from the first listen that these are more than randomly selected songs. Often under three minutes in length, occasionally under a couple of minutes, they are like chapter synopses or the soundtrack to a slightly off-kilter rom-com. Continue reading “Ben Abraham “Sirens” (Secretly Canadian, 2016)”

Sophia Marshall “The Paper Thin EP” (Independent, 2016)

sophia-marshall-2016Best known as one half of the acclaimed and much missed Havenots, Leicester’s Sophia Marshall has been absent from the music scene for some time.  She’s recently dipped her toe back in and the results are a few gigs and this five track EP.  Live, her delightfully delicate and fragile vocals, shown to such good effect in the Havenots, sometimes struggle to be heard above the full band she gigs with.  In the studio of course such things aren’t an issue and the light, summery pop feel of her music whirls the listener along on a gossamer trail that delights and entrances. Continue reading “Sophia Marshall “The Paper Thin EP” (Independent, 2016)”