Multi-Tasting

“Oh no, I don’t listen to that sort of music.” I’m sure you’ve heard someone say that. I’m sure I’ve been guilty of saying this. Restricting musical taste so much to genre not only means a person may miss out on some amazing music, it ignores how oblivious to genre distinctions many musicians area. Idea Channel discussed… Read more »

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Listening Experience: Alasdair Roberts (Eponymously titled)

In popular music, the term folk is often added to any music played on acoustic instruments, with arpeggios instead of leads and which includes thoughtful lyrics. Literary references are not uncommon. With Alasdair Roberts, the term folk is not simply lazy short-hand. His latest album has its roots fixed deep in the rich earth of British folk. Much of the charm is… Read more »

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Religious Music for the Non-Religious

Religious music gets short-shrift from a non-believer such as me. It is usually associated with Christian popular music,  and the adjective “Christian” is to music what “light” is to food. It can be tacked on to practically anything but the result is rarely satisfying and on occasion oxymoronic. We snigger equally at light butter as we do at Christian black metal. Yet, the numinous can be the foundation… Read more »

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Talking Sides

A number of artists avoid  labelling the sides of a record simply A and B. In some cases, the group or singer is having a little fun. Other times, the unconventional labelling invites a different interpretation of the album. The two sides of Joy Division’s Unknown Pleasures are labelled Outside and Inside. While an obvious play on the… Read more »

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Words Painting One Clear Picture

Given my fairly ordinary suburban upbringing, the world of fine art had to reach me via unorthodox channels, namely music. The exposure didn’t always lead to further exploration of the artist in question. But the focus on less typical subject matter certainly gave my imagination something to work on, sheltered in my room, listening. Adorable – “Sistine Chapel Ceiling”… Read more »

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Listening Experience: The Wave Pictures – Great Big Flamingo Burning Moon

The songs on this album have legs. As soon as the needle dropped, out they pounced one after another. For me, it’s a welcome return to form. For all of its strengths, The Wave Pictures’ last release City Forgiveness (not counting their excellent collaboration with Stanley Brinks), which totalled 20 songs split over two LPs,  was somewhat laboured…. Read more »

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Fine Instrument

The ukulele. For a better part of pop music history, the instrument has been regarded as a novelty – a point of view no doubt supported by the the sight of Tiny Tim, singing in falsetto as he strums along. But in recent years, a number of performers have taken up the instrument and shown that it is definitely not a… Read more »

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Listening Experience: Darren Hayman – Chants for Socialists

For some, socialism seems as quaint as the vinyl record on which I listened to Darren Hayman’s latest collection of songs – Chants for Socialists. The format and the ideology are only for hold-outs and true believers. This assumption would be a mistake. With this album, Hayman manages to humanise the politics through his delicate song-craft and thus make… Read more »

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Crate-Digging Prague: CD Krakovská

It has been a while since I was here. I used to come about once a month. It was enough time to ensure their new arrival section and filled up with some decent records. Over the years I found plenty: Television, The Smiths, The Cure, The Jesus and Mary Chain, John Coltrane and Keith Jarrett, not to… Read more »

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Listening Experience: Cosines – Oscillations

The Cosines work lures you in with its charm. There is singer Alice Hubley’s deadpan vocals (somewhat reminiscent of Frances Gibson from The Cannanes), her ungarnished take on life and relationships and the krautrock musical styles, which thankfully never overwhelm the songs. The band’s debut Oscillations on Fika Recordings captures their strengths in a way that is honest without once being maudlin. The… Read more »

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