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)”

Mekons “Existentialism” (Bloodshot, 2017)

It would be a terrible thing were you to be unfamiliar with The Mekons. Over almost 40 years they’ve recorded more than 20 albums of punky, post-punky and folky music that is at worst okay, generally very good and occasionally excellent (see 1989’s The Mekons Rock ‘n’ Roll, for example). That said, if you are indeed unfamiliar with The Mekons, this is either the best place to start, or the worst. Recorded shortly after composition, these 12 songs were recorded in one take around a single microphone in July 2015 with 75 die-hard Mekons, fans who themselves become part of the process, at the Jalopy Theatre in Brooklyn. Part performance art, part album.  Continue reading “Mekons “Existentialism” (Bloodshot, 2017)”

Seth Faergolzia “High Diver” (Blang, 2016)

seth Faergolzia 2016When I received this, I was intrigued. A bunch of songs taken from a larger bunch of songs, the results of a period where Our Seth was writing a song a day for a hundred days. Wow! Get that!, I thought. Let’s go! Press ‘play‘, “High Diver”: title track, good, decent; though something’s definitely off. Then “Rubbing It In” happens and there it is. Two tracks in and he’s had himself off. It made me think of the imperious Chilly Gonzales jamming with Kiwi ledges, Flight of the Conchords but sadly, it’s not. It’s a bad thing, and the cod Celtic mess that follows is worrying – despite saving itself after a couple of minute, I was left thinking, after the third song, “this guy’s made 20 albums? How come he doesn’t know what he’s good at yet?” because the absence of cohesion and identity just makes it a mess and unbelievable.  Continue reading “Seth Faergolzia “High Diver” (Blang, 2016)”

Kemper Norton “Toll” (Front and Follow, 2016)

Kemper Norton 2016My old boiler used to sound like ‘Mladic’ by Godspeed You! Black Emperor, so the musicality in machinery’s tonal shifts and sighs, and how it can create melody, isn’t new to me and is, I believe, in our DNA. Try watching Bjork in Dancer in the Dark (without bawling) for another example, and it’s perhaps because of this that I enjoyed much of this record, but inevitably with music like this, there’s a rub, because if you can’t hear sadness and a deep, inexplicable weariness in the hum of your fridge freezer, or find the sound of your boiler oddly beguiling, you should probably stop reading here.  Continue reading “Kemper Norton “Toll” (Front and Follow, 2016)”