Hollowsage & the Three Mile Islanders “Nuclear Home” (Independent, 2020)

This was first sent in to AUK towers in March this year, but something happened and everything went mad and there’s little point in explaining what that thing was, as besides it causing misery to thousands, it’s boring. If you need to know what happened, you’re either an alien or waking from a coma, both of which preclude you from reading this. You probably have more pressing things to do, anyway. Continue reading “Hollowsage & the Three Mile Islanders “Nuclear Home” (Independent, 2020)”

Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom “Never Work” (BB Island, 2020)

Initially due for release on 3rd April, this terrific album was delayed due to a global pandemic, so was pushed back to International Workers Day which, given this once in a lifetime occurrence, has made the themes herein oddly apposite. The millionaires and the billionaires have been little use in dealing with the effects precipitated by a global pandemic, and those of hitherto less socially respected roles have been the ones keeping many countries going. Capitalism is on its arse. Workers, actual workers that is, are finally being acknowledged, as is the very nature of work itself. Continue reading “Ariel Sharratt & Mathias Kom “Never Work” (BB Island, 2020)”

AmericanA to Z – The Replacements

I’ll admit to not knowing what is and isn’t Americana. If I thought it was cowboy boots and Southern charm, I’d not be here. What I think of as Americana is more than that, and you know, one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter, so it’s a subjective thing. Continue reading “AmericanA to Z – The Replacements”

Arik Dov “The Man” (Independent, 2020)

I saw a t-shirt once that said “there are too many bikes, said no one ever” and I thought that was funny. Not laugh out loud funny, but funny cos it’s true funny. I’d wear one that said “we need more melancholy solo acoustic records by singer-songwriters, said no one ever” cos, you know, it’s also funny cos it’s true. We do not need more melancholic records by singing and songwriting men. We just need the occasional one. Continue reading “Arik Dov “The Man” (Independent, 2020)”

The Saxophones “Eternity Bay” (Full Time Hobby, 2020)

Sometimes I get passed an album that is so well written, so beautifully put together and so perfectly delivered, that it makes me feel like a couch potatoes whose corpulence has forced him to wear slip-on shoes for a decade or two, angrily telling their TV that the 21-year-old athlete playing for the team he supports isn’t fit to wear the shirt. I mean, c’mon. I don’t even like saxophones. Continue reading “The Saxophones “Eternity Bay” (Full Time Hobby, 2020)”

David Dondero “Filter Bubble Blues” (Fluff & Gravy Records, 2020)

What does it say about me that I hadn’t heard of David Dondero before this LP? Especially given that in 2006, NPR’s All Songs Considered named him one of the best living songwriters alongside similarly underrated names like Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney and Tom Waits. Who knew? Well, lots of people, it seems. So here I am, a Johnny-Come-Lately telling you all what I think of this veteran singer songwriter’s new album – his. I know. The neck.
Continue reading “David Dondero “Filter Bubble Blues” (Fluff & Gravy Records, 2020)”

Neil Hamburger “Still Dwelling” (Drag City, 2019)

Neil Hamburger is the anti-comic creation of Greg Turkington, a thoroughly despicable and creepy looking individual who you wouldn’t want to see talking to anyone you cared about. It’s a brilliant creation whose characteristics and persona are presumably why these songs were chosen for covers, along with the couple of originals thrown in for good measure, but ultimately, your enjoyment of this album rests heavily on how you feel about Hamburger’s shtick. Continue reading “Neil Hamburger “Still Dwelling” (Drag City, 2019)”

Burly “Self Titled Demon” (Five Kill Records, 2019)

I hate saxophones. I hate even writing the word saxophone. It’s Baker Street’s fault. I have a near pathological hatred of that song and for a while, thanks to a Stuart Maconie penned urban myth, I hated Bob Holness.  But I think my sax life might be about to improve. Burly give good sax, see. And vibes, and jazzy drums and breathy guitar. They’re a jazz ensemble playing indie rock, basically, and it’s niiiiice. Doesn’t harm that the lyrics read like poetry, are delivered with real emotion and there’s a sense that these songs were composed, rather than written which, given their two-year gestation, this makes perfect sense and is in line with their self- described  ‘non-urgency’ style. Continue reading “Burly “Self Titled Demon” (Five Kill Records, 2019)”

Wanderingted “I Could Be You” (Independent, 2018)

Wanderingted is both the alias of the singer-songwriter Ted Schmitz and the clue to what he sounds like. His debut album ‘I Could Be You’ is a folk-rock journey to a new place somewhere between Saint Paul, Minnesota, where he was born; a garden shed in London where he wrote the album; and his current abode and band location, Berlin. Through his downplayed, disarmingly beautiful voice over the ground of Midwestern twang from banjo picking and guitars, along with poetic elegance from the piano, Schmitz takes the listener on a wandering journey that evokes all of these places and somehow, a new place for the listener to dream of. Continue reading “Wanderingted “I Could Be You” (Independent, 2018)”

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)”