Ben Bedford “The Pilot And The Flying Machine” (Waterbug Records, 2016)

a3621921761_10American singer-songwriter Ben Bedford’s fourth album is one of a plaintive, pure open sounding recording. The sound was obtained through utilising the acoustics of Douglas Avenue United Methodist Church in Springfield, Illinois. The Pilot And The Flying Machine was recorded over five days in January of this year, Bedford (acoustic guitar, vocals) and his touring partner of the past two years, Diederik van Wassenaer (violin, viola) and Ethan Jodziewicz (double bass) plus his wife, Kari Bedford who performs graceful harmony vocals. Jodziewicz studied under the legendary Edgar Meyer; and in turn is linked with him when engineer David Sinko (Punch Brothers, Meyer, Yo Yo Ma) does the honours in the department. Continue reading “Ben Bedford “The Pilot And The Flying Machine” (Waterbug Records, 2016)”

Scott Cook and the Long Weekends “Go Long” (Groove Revival, 2016)

scott-cookA bit overly complicated, you just want Cook to make a record, and forget the Frisbee spin off game sleeves etc.  Musically it is very appealing, lyrically hilarious; “Judging from the angle of the sun its beer o’clock is good that said, as is a “cluster folk”. Recorded in a weekend, recorded live off the floor, it sounds like chums having a good time. Continue reading “Scott Cook and the Long Weekends “Go Long” (Groove Revival, 2016)”

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)”