Micah P. Hinson “When I Shoot At You With Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You” (Full Time Hobby, 2018)

It begins innocently enough. The sound of musicians setting up, and given the album was recorded in 24 hours, it’s an apposite scene setting. Then it starts. If you’re unfamiliar with Hinson’s voice, think of the saddest, most mournful sound you can and double it, but even with that knowledge, he’s never been as jaded and forlorn as he is here. Continue reading “Micah P. Hinson “When I Shoot At You With Arrows, I Will Shoot To Destroy You” (Full Time Hobby, 2018)”

The Burning Hell “Baby” (BB*Island, 2018)

Frank Zappa asked the question in 1986, “Does Humour Belong In Music?” I don’t know if that was a rhetorical question or not, but to head uncertainty off at the pass, the answer is yes. Flight of the Conchords and the national treasure (TM John Peel) that is Half Man Half Biscuit, are just two that justify an affirmative answer to that question. That said, Weird Al Jankovic and Tenacious D also make ‘humorous’ music but, to compare such acts to The Burning Hell, is to compare Cannon & Ball to Stewart Lee, so, like music of any genre, there’s some good and there’s some not so good. Continue reading “The Burning Hell “Baby” (BB*Island, 2018)”

Kurt Vile “Bottle It In” (Matador, 2018)

I wrote five separate reviews for this, changing every time I listened to it, liking the tracks that are likeable more with every listen. But, you know, four songs make up 37 minutes of it, so the tracks and the bits that aren’t as likeable, just get less so. I’m explaining that away with how great the likeability of the likeable songs is. I was talking to a friend about Kurt Vile the other day, and War on Drugs, and I wondered if you could really like Kurt Vile if you already liked Dinosaur Jr and yes, I know he’s likely heard that a million times, but still. It’s why I never really liked War on Drugs. I’ve never been a fan of Springsteen. Continue reading “Kurt Vile “Bottle It In” (Matador, 2018)”

A Box of Stars “Days Drunk Off Heat” (Independent, 2018)

Weird times, man. We live in bizarrely binary times, defined by what we are not, rather than what we are. Or so it feels a lot of the time. We’re either anti, or pro and on both sides of the Atlantic even more so, even if we only had a passing interest until fairly recently. We all know what everyone is talking about in the UK and we all know what everyone is talking about in the US. What did we talk abut about before this loss of humanity and basic decency? Continue reading “A Box of Stars “Days Drunk Off Heat” (Independent, 2018)”

Twain “Rare Feeling” (BB*Island, 2018)

I started and stopped writing about this LP a bunch of times. Too smart arse. Too gushing. Too esoteric. Trying too hard to sound clever about an album I’ve grown to genuinely love, in the hope it will make anyone reading it curious enough to track it down and (hopefully) fall for it themselves. Then I listened to it one more time and came to realise it’s the finest album I’ve been passed since I first started reviewing albums for this site some 10 years ago, and there’s simply no way to adequately express how much I adore and obsess over it; or how much I want it to be lauded and known by all, but also how much I want to keep it to myself too. Continue reading “Twain “Rare Feeling” (BB*Island, 2018)”

Ivan Moult “Longest Shadow” (Bubblewrap Records, 2018)

Throw a dart in the air of any hamlet, village, town or city in the UK and the chances are it’ll land on the head of an introverted and melancholic singer-songwriter with an acoustic guitar, a sad face and who in all likelihood, will be more Charlie Drake than Nick Drake. Happily, Ivan Moult falls into the latter category and though clearly a fan of Nick Drake, and John Martyn for that matter, there are hints of Iron & Wine too. Continue reading “Ivan Moult “Longest Shadow” (Bubblewrap Records, 2018)”

Woods End “II” (Independent, 2018)

Brendan Behan said ‘critics are like eunuchs at a harem; the know how it’s done, they’ve seen it done every day, but they’re unable to do it themselves.’ While I’d stop short of referring to myself as a critic, it’s a valid point, and as much as everyone’s a critic these days, not everyone has the right to be. Perhaps I don’t either, but that’s another pointless discussion. It was submitted, I received it, so here’s my critique. Continue reading “Woods End “II” (Independent, 2018)”

The President Lincoln “Pilgrims and Aliens” (Nine Mile Records, 2018)

The Gaffer generally, and understandably, prefers reviews to not be written in first person. I suppose the prospect of being even partly responsible for unearthing another Everett True would actually be a burden too heavy for even the shoulders of the broadest human, but this review is contingent on me being able to say this. I don’t like Placebo star Brian Molko’s voice. Don’t know a thing about him, could well be a good egg so good luck and all the rest of it to him. But that voice. No. So you see, I can’t make these observations the site’s observation. Continue reading “The President Lincoln “Pilgrims and Aliens” (Nine Mile Records, 2018)”

Malachi Vale “Swan Song” (Maisonnette, 2017)

Machai Vale is the pseudonym of Marc Gagnon, a Montreal native whose previous recorded output was with alt-punk-country-swing (it says here) outfit, Pipo Fiasco. Having no idea what alt-punk-country-swing is, it was hard to know what to expect though expectations were low. Thankfully, there was no need for nerves as this is an immaculate, meticulously performed and recorded EP, its 5 songs calling to mind Leonard Cohen, as on opener and single Soleils, Tom Waits on Monkey and Lambchop on Quarantina. Continue reading “Malachi Vale “Swan Song” (Maisonnette, 2017)”

Pete Fij/Terry Bickers “We Are Millionaires” (Broadcast Recordings, 2017)

Second album from ex-Creation artists who flirted with success in the late 80s and early 90s with Adorable (Fij), House of Love and Levitation (Bickers) and who, through the education of life and its attendant struggles and joys, re-routed their indie rock past and delivered 2014’s well received debut “Broken Heart Surgery”. Continue reading “Pete Fij/Terry Bickers “We Are Millionaires” (Broadcast Recordings, 2017)”