Thursday, 4 October 2012

News: Sufjan Stevens to release Christmas EP box set

The man is nothing if not consistent in his dedication to Christmas music and his ambivalent relationship with the holiday. Every year Sufjan records some songs, classics and originals, and sends them to a select group of family and friends. Seldom do they leak!

This one covers the years 2007-2012 and contains 5 EPs and numerous goodies, following a similar format to 2006's Songs For Christmas

The sample track, Christmas Unicorn, brazenly interpolates Love With Tear Us Apart by Joy Division.
Read story on Asthmatic Kitty website

Friday, 14 September 2012

Review: Emanuel and the Fear, The Janus Mirror

I rated their 2010 album Listen quite highly, even if it did contain numerous mis-steps in its 60 minute running time. Just give us your best songs with no messing about was my online advice to Emanuel and the gang. Either other people had told them the same thing or they take my comments very seriously (as of course everybody should). So here it is: The Janus Mirror, 8 songs and less than 40 minutes.

The band has shrunk from an unfeasible 11-piece to a more realistic 6-piece. Given the small stages they still find themselves playing this must be an improvement in safety too. Although the sound they make on this recording is as big as ever with strings striving to be heard with the framework of some well-recording searing guitar riffs, thumping bass patterns and snappy drumming. Making a big noise is hardly a unique talent, but Emanuel Ayvas backs it up (once again) with some very solid tunes, lyrics and arranging as the sound veers between Jethro Tull, The Beatles, ELO and Broken Social Scene.  

My Rating: 8/10

Baroque poppy?  Just a little.

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Review: Patrick Watson - Adventures In My Own Back Yard

 Patrick Watson returns with a more mellow sound, the piano ballads taking precedence over the band. Review to follow.

Tuesday, 6 March 2012

Monday, 20 February 2012

Review: Peter Broderick -

Album cover

Peter Broderick is a multi-instrumentalist, original hailing from Oregon but based in Berlin in recent years. This relocation seems to have every connection with fellow new Berliners, The Danish band Efterklang, with whom Peter regularly collaborates.


Sunday, 11 September 2011

Review: Tori Amos - Night of Hunters

As an occasional fan of Ms Tori rather than a devotee, I was very pleased to hear the announcements heralding this album's release. It's basically Tori on piano, plus a string quartet and a few wind instruments, all played and sung to the highest standard, this album is being released by Deutsche Grammophon after all.

There's a lyrical theme/song cycle here - which frankly I can't be bothered to relate - and each tune is based on a piece of classical music (Bach, Chopine, Schumann, Schubert, Debussy, Satie et al). And should anyone  question whether classical composers could write pop tunes - just listen to some of these exquisite melodies.

My only criticism is the lyrics which are decent but not great. However that matters little when encountering such stellar music making.
I wasn't expecting a Tori Amos album to feature in my year's top ten, but it's now highly likely. Brava Tori!

My Rating: 10/10, it's a beautiful listen.

Baroque poppy? Essential. This blog exists for albums like this.

Friday, 9 September 2011

Review: Gabriel Kahane - Where Are The Arms

 Gabriel's second singer/songwriter about follows a similar format to the first. Full review to follow.