Category Archives: Album reviews

Duncan Lloyd: I O U O M E

Duncan Lloyd’s been busy. Within a month of his band, Maximo Park, releasing their sixth album, the guitarist is back with his latest solo outing.

But this is no slapdash EP thrown together from off-cuts that didn’t make the grade for the Park’s ‘Risk To Exit’. A 10-track collection of propulsive, emotionally charged songs this is a fully fledged album that perfectly complements the output of his day job.

Continue reading Duncan Lloyd: I O U O M E

Little Steven: Soulfire

Little Steven | Soulfire

Eighteen years is a long time between albums. But Stevie Van Zandt has an excuse – or four. Apart from his acting gigs on ‘The Sopranos’ and ‘Lilyhammer’, hosting the weekly radio show ‘Little Steven’s Underground Garage’, and working to restore music education in disadvantaged schools, he’s been a little busy as Bruce Springsteen’s right-hand man.

After spending much of the past two decades, and as recently as February, out on the road in the E Street Band, the guitarist is now going it alone once more. And, quite fittingly, he’s chosen to do so with new recordings of songs that span his entire five-decade career as musician, songwriter, record label owner, arranger, and producer.

Continue reading Little Steven: Soulfire

Thomas Wynn & The Believers: Wade Waist Deep

Thomas Wynn & The Believers | Wade Waist Deep

Thomas and Olivia Wynn never stood a chance – music is in their blood. The children of a Florida music legend who made his name as the original drummer of ‘70s stalwarts Cowboy, they were destined to follow him into the scene. And while Eric Clapton hasn’t covered one of their songs, as he did with their dad’s ‘Please Be With Me’, on the evidence of ‘Wade Waist Deep’ that can’t be far off.

Continue reading Thomas Wynn & The Believers: Wade Waist Deep

Imelda May: It’s a sin what we’ve done to love

Imelda May | Life. Love. Flesh. Blood

Imelda May isn’t the first. From ‘Blood On The Tracks’ reflecting Bob Dylan’s crumbling marriage to the death of Sting’s parents casting a shadow over ‘The Soul Cages’, real life has a way of working its way into a musician’s work. But never before has it brought about as striking a transformation as on ‘Life. Love. Flesh. Blood’.

Gone is a marriage of 18 years. Gone is that hair. And, most importantly, gone is that big-band-swing rockabilly sound, replaced by something far more intimate, restrained – and powerful.  

Continue reading Imelda May: It’s a sin what we’ve done to love

The Black Angels: Death Song

The Black Angels | Death Song

“How can I stay with no hope, with no chance/ As I’m travelling upside down into a world of the unknown?” laments Alex Maas on ‘Life Song’, the astral-travelling finale of The Black Angels’ bleakest album yet.

Largely written and recorded during the most divisive, brutal, and ugly US election campaign in recent memory, these are meditations on survival, violence, love, greed, hate, devotion, anxiety, and capitalism. Desperate songs for desperate times.

Continue reading The Black Angels: Death Song

Rainbreakers: Rise Up

Rainbreakers | Rise Up

(Photo credit: Mark Lloyd)

Rainbreakers are full of surprises. There’s only so much four men can do across five songs with just guitar, bass, drums, and vocals, but every time you think you’ve got the band all figured out, their music takes an unexpected turn.

It all begins with a psychedelic guitar riff embellishing the vintage blues rock of opener ‘On My Own’. And as Ben Edwards sings about the realisation that no relationship is better than a destructive one, the song settles into a comfortable groove – until lead guitarist Charlie Richards throws down a hot-blooded solo that transforms the song into something all the more urgent.

Continue reading Rainbreakers: Rise Up

K. Flay: Every Where Is Some Where

K. Flay|Every Where Is Some Where

“My music,” says K. Flay’s Facebook bio, “is a version of indie hip hop, mixed with electronics, mixed with me headbanging. But I’m still figuring it out.”

Turns out, that’s not entirely true. Listen to the the LA-based singer-songwriter’s second album, and it’s clear she’s already got it all figured out. Her follow-up to 2014’s ‘Life As A Dog’ is lyrically powerful and musically ambitious. Against a backdrop that confidently fuses the alternative rock of Garbage and Yeah Yeah Yeahs, the industrial pop of AWOLNATION and latter day Depeche Mode, and the hip-hop swagger of Dizzee Rascal and Wiley, she tackles self-acceptance, personal insecurities, the reality TV star now in the White House, and issues of empowerment.

Continue reading K. Flay: Every Where Is Some Where