Southern Tenant Folk Union “What Would You Give for a Leader with Soul?” (Johnny Rock Records, 2016)

Southern-Tenant-Fol-Union-2016On the “What would you give for a leader with soul?” EP the Southern Tenant Folk Union continues to blend bluegrass and a first folk revival sound to produce four heartfelt songs of protest and questioning. There’s more than a touch of “With God on our side” about the title track – that’s ok, Dylan got the tune from “The Merry Month of May” via Dominic Behan’s “The Patriot Game”. Folk singing – that’s recycling in operation. There’s no need to guess where the questions it poses comes from – so, you say that you’re tired of career politicians with no convictions, so here’s your challenge: will you vote for a politician offering a New Deal for the future? Continue reading “Southern Tenant Folk Union “What Would You Give for a Leader with Soul?” (Johnny Rock Records, 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”

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)”